Monday, July 30, 2012

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Blueberry Bread

Well, the blueberry recipes just keep coming, don't they?   I hope that's okay with you guys, because this Whole Wheat Oatmeal Blueberry Bread sure is scrumptious! 

With all the streusel-topped blueberry yumminess that's been making appearances around our kitchen, I was in the mood for something a little more hearty and healthy.  This bread really hit the spot.

It's packed with wonderfully fresh blueberries, oats and whole wheat flour, plus the buttermilk was a great substitution for the regular milk that the original recipe called for.  The original recipe also called for 1 cup of frozen berries.  I doubled it to two full cups and used fresh instead of frozen fruit.  Quite delightful, if you ask me.  :)

While the fresh berries really make this bread something special, if blueberries aren't in season and frozen is all that you can find, then by all means go for it.  It will still be delicious!

Bon appetit, my friends!  :)

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Blueberry Bread
Adapted fromFrom Judy's Kitchen

1 cup quick oats
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
6 Tbsp canola oil
1 cup white flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease one large loaf pan.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, mix together the first six ingredients on medium speed until mixed thoroughly.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the white flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.  Add to the buttermilk mixture and stir until just moistened.   Next, carefully fold in fresh blueberries.

Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of bread comes out clean.

Leave in loaf pan for 10 minutes after removing from oven, then remove from pan and cool on rack.

Serving Idea: Drizzle your favorite icing over top for a yummy brunch bread.

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Roasted Cherry Almond Brownies + A Product Review

It's cherry season, my friends!  And what goes perfectly with cherries?  Chocolate, of course!

I can't remember a time when I didn't love cherries.  In fact, I once drank so many cherry-flavored SqueezeIt drinks (does anyone else remember those??), that I broke out in a cherry-induced acid rash.  I know, I know...lovely.  Although, I must admit that I only really developed an appreciation for FRESH cherries...pits and an adult.  My cherries of choice as a kid were of the maraschino variety, plucked right out of a glass jar.

I recently brought a bag of the gorgeous red fruit home from the store and didn't know right off what I wanted to make with them.  The answer came in the form of chocolatey, intensely rich and fudgy brownies, studded with roasted cherries and sliced almonds...Oh, yeah!

Now, these definitely aren't your normal, boring ole' cakey brownies.  The juices from the cherries keep these brownies incredibly moist and fudgy in texture.  These are not meant for the chocolate-faint-of-heart.  :)

Another reason that I couldn't wait to make these, is because the great folks at OXO recently sent me one of their Good Grips Cherry/Olive Pitters to try out.  I really don't know what I've done all these years without a good cherry pitter!  One thing that has kept me from cooking and baking with fresh cherries as often as I'd like is the fact that you have to stand there and pit each and every one.  Not fun, if you ask me.  I can honestly say that this OXO Cherry Pitter made the job super easy and so much faster.  The holder is generous enough to hold large cherries, and the splatter shield kept me from getting red juice everywhere.  The handles are soft and comfortable, and it seems very sturdy and well-made.  Now, I'm not one to keep tons of extra little gadgets in my kitchen that I don't use often, however, this is certainly one that's worth having.

So, if you're having a chocolate-induced craving anytime soon, give these brownies a try.  In fact, if you want to go ALL out, maybe you should even top them off with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.


Bon Appetit, my friends!

The OXO Good Grips Cherry/Olive Pitter made quick, easy work of pitting the cherries.

Roasted Cherry Almond Brownies
Adapted from:

2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and halved
1/2 cup butter
2 cups chocolate chips, plus 1/2 cup reserved
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tbsp sugar (divided)
4 eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Preheat the oven to 450 F.  Combine the cherries and 2 tablespoons of the sugar in a small roasting pan and toss well to combine.  Roast the cherries for 10 minutes, or until they begin to release their juices.  Remove the pan from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 325 F.

Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper or line it with foil and grease it very well with butter. In a small bowl, combine the flour and salt and then set aside. Melt the butter in a medium size saucepan, then add the chocolate chips and stir with a wooden spoon until they are melted. Remove from the heat, add the sugars and stir to combine.

Add the almond extract and the eggs, one at a time, stirring between each addition. When the mixture is smooth and shiny, slowly add the dry ingredients to the mixture in the saucepan. Add the chopped cherries and the reserved chocolate chips.

Spread the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan and then sprinkle the top with the almonds. Bake for 28-32 minutes, just until an inserted toothpick shows moist crumbs. Let the bars cool completely before slicing. Enjoy!

Note:  I used a 10x10 baking dish (for thicker brownies) and increased the total baking time to about 40 minutes.

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Blueberry Scones

I love a good scone for breakfast.  They're easy to grab as I run out the door for work in the morning, and they're delicious, too.  It had actually been a while since I've made scones, and with it being blueberry season and all, what better time??

I sure have been on a blueberry kick lately...Scones, Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes, Blueberry Muffins, a Blueberry Buckle, and even Whole Wheat Blueberry Oat Bread (coming soon to a blog near you!).  

This scone recipe from Martha Stewart is really scrumptious.  Some scones are extra dry and hard as bricks, but not these.  They come together quickly, and as they bake, the blueberries sort of burst and make these scones so pretty it's hard not to gobble one down right out of the oven (but why wait, anyway?).

These are fantastic warmed up, with a little butter melted over the top and a hot cup of coffee on the side.  That sounds like the perfect way to start the day, if you ask me.

Bon Appetit, my friends!  :)

Blueberry Scones
Adapted from:

Yield:  Makes 8

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, plus more for sprinkling tops
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, picked over and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing tops
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with rack in center. Place a baking mat on a baking sheet, and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut in butter until the largest pieces are the size of peas. Stir in blueberries and zest.
  3. Using a fork, whisk together cream and egg in a liquid measuring cup. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients, and pour in cream mixture. Stir lightly with fork just until dough comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead a few times to mix well.
  4. Pat dough into a 6-inch square about 1 1/4 inches thick. Using a floured knife, cut into four 3-inch squares. Cut squares in half on the diagonal to form eight triangles. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Brush tops with cream, and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until golden brown, 20 to 22 minutes. Transfer scones to wire racks to cool.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Peach-Almond Upside-Down Cake

The epitome of summertime deliciousness!

Brad recently surprised me with a subscription to Food Network Magazine, and I love it.  In their July/August 2012 issue, they featured a Farmers' Market Menu, which starred this Peach-Almond Upside-Down Cake as dessert.  All of the juicy, marvelous peaches at the farmers' market lately has had me dreaming of peachy flavored goodness, so when I saw this recipe I made a mental note to try it.

That opportunity came about a week later when Brad's parent's invited us over for a steak dinner.  Oh boy, does Brad's dad know how to make an awesome steak!  We never EVER turn down dinner at their house.  I had the baking bug that day, and the peaches were calling my name.  So, I got to work making this cake to take to dinner for everyone to enjoy.  


In fact, my father-in-law declared that this cake was one of his favorite desserts that I've EVER made...ever!

The cake itself is incredibly tender and moist.  Plus, yummy little pieces of almond bits add such an incredible taste and texture, making this cake one you won't soon forget.

On top of all that goodness, lies a layer of caramelized sweetness, with beautiful peach slices arranged in pretty circles.  This dessert is the absolute epitome of summertime deliciousness

Bon Appetit, my friends!  :)

Yes, Please!!!

Peach-Almond Upside-Down Cake
Adapted from:  Food Network magazine, July/August 2012

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 medium fresh peaches, pitted and cut into 6 wedges each
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole almonds
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon butter pecan or almond flavored extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
Vanilla ice cream, for serving (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter a 9-inch-round cake pan. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp water and then add 3/4 cup sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until smooth and deep golden brown, 8 to 11 minutes. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and tilt to coat the bottom. Arrange the peach wedges snugly in the bottom of the pan in a single layer, cutting to fit if needed. 

(My Notes about the first step:  When caramelizing the sugar mixture, stir occasionally, as the recipe states.  After about 7 minutes, keep an even closer eye on the mixture.  As soon as it turns a golden brown color and is a smooth consistency, remove it from the heat and pour into the cake pan.  The mixture will burn quickly if not careful.  During the caramelization process, the sugar mixture tends to start off pretty wet but then becomes dry right before it starts to change color.  Don't be alarmed if the mixture hardens in the bottom of the cake pan.  It will become gooey again during the baking process.)

Next, combine the flour, almonds, baking powder and salt in a food processor and pulse until the almonds are finely ground. 

Beat the remaining 7 tablespoons butter and 3/4 cup sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts. Beat in the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk and beginning and ending with the flour mixture; beat in each addition until just incorporated. 

Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool 30 minutes. Invert onto a plate and let cool completely. Serve with ice cream. 

Note:  This cake is best the same day it's baked, still a little warm from the oven.  Just be sure to let it cool for 30 minutes before inverting onto a plate.

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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Fabulous Blueberry Buckle

We just can't get enough blueberries around here lately!  We've bought huge buckets of them at the farmer's market the past two times we've been, so I've had to come up with different ways to use the perfect little berries full of blue summer deliciousness.

I know, I know...sounds like such a terrible predicament.  ;-)

I saw a photo of a Blueberry Buckle while perusing blueberry recipes, and it made me stop in my tracks.  It sounded like perfection - A rich, moist cake batter packed full of so many blueberries that there's probably more berry than actual cake, with a streusel topping made of cinnamon, butter and light brown sugar sprinkled over the top.  Oh MY goodness, folks.

Blueberry muffins are one of my weaknesses, and this cake is so much like a huge blueberry muffin in cake form.  It's quite wonderful!

After making this dessert, I got to wondering why it's called a "buckle." As it turns out, the cake batter rises up around the blueberries as it bakes, encasing the fruit in batter and causing the streusel topping to buckle, which creates a distinctive crinkly appearance.  Other people say that it's called a "buckle" because when you see it, your knees buckle because it looks so delicious!

Either way, this recipe is a definite keeper.  

Bon Appetit, and HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY, my friends!  I hope your day today is filled with lots of great food, family, fun and fireworks! :)

Blueberry Buckle
Source:  Laura's Sweet Spot blog
Adapted from ”The New Best Recipe” By Cooks Illustrated
Serves: 8
1/2 cup (2.5 oz) all purpose flour
1/3 cup packed (3/5 oz) light brown sugar
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces and softened 
1 1/2 cups (7.5 oz) all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
10 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup (4 2/3 oz) granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
20 oz (4 cups) blueberries
For the Streusel:
Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, combine flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and salt on low speed until well combined and no large brown sugar clumps remain, about 45 seconds. Add butter; beat on low speed until mixture resembles wet sand and no large butter pieces remain, about 2 1/2 minutes. Transfer to bowl; set aside.

For the Cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F and grease and flour a 9″ round cake pan.

Whisk flour and baking powder together in bowl; set aside. Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat butter, sugar, salt, and zest on med-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down bowl as necessary. Beat in vanilla until combined, about 30 seconds. With mixer on medium speed, add eggs 1 at a time; beat until partially incorporated, scrape down bowl, and continue to beat until fully incorporated (mixture will appear broken). With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture; beat until flour is almost fully incorporated, about 20 seconds. Stir batter with rubber spatula, scraping bowl, until no flour pockets remain and batter is homogeneous; batter will be very heavy and thick. Gently fold in blueberries until evenly distributed.

Transfer batter to pan. Spread batter evenly to pan edges and smooth surface. Squeeze portion of streusel in hand to form large cohesive clump; break up clump with fingers and sprinkle streusel evenly over batter. Repeat with remaining streusel.

Bake until cake is deep golden brown and toothpick comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and let cool.
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