I know berries are not in season any more but if you have bags and bags of frozen blueberries in your freezer like I do then this recipe is perfect for you. I like fruit bars because you feel like your kinda sorta eating something healthy (but you secretly know that your not). These bars had a good soft crust, a juicy but firm center and and soft crumbly topping. The original recipe, adapted from my 'Joy of Cooking: All About Cookies' cookbook, uses just jam for the filling but I thought it would taste great with some berries mixed in as well. Feel free to use any berry you like but I found that frozen blueberries worked really well.
Blueberry Streusel Bars
2 Cups flour
1/4 Cup white granualted sugar
1/4 tsp salt
12 Tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces
3 Tbsp milk
1 tsp almond extract
1 Cup blueberry jam
2 1/2 Cups frozen blueberries (or more if desired)
1 3/4 Cups flour
2/3 Cups sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
8 Tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 Cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 Large egg
2 Tbsp milk
1) Preheat oven to 375F and grease a 13*9in baking pan (I used an 8in square pan and cut the recipe in half but I posted the full recipe so you could make more!)
2) Sift together flour, sugar, and salt then add cold butter and cut into flour mixture using two knives or a pastry blender until the mixture forms coarse crumbs
3) Stir in milk and almond extract and knead until mixture begins to hold together but is not wet (you can add more or less milk depending on the texture of your dough)
4) Press mixture into prepared pan and place in the fridge for 15min, then bake the chilled dough for 12-15min until the center is barely firm
5) While baking make the struesel: mix together flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
6) Cut butter into flour mixture using two knives of a pasty blender until the mixture forms coarse crumbs.
7) Stir in oats using a fork, then lightly mix in the egg and milk until mixture is just moist enough to clump together
8) When crust comes out of the oven spread jam over hot baked crust then sprinkle blueberries evenly all over, then continue with sprinkling the streusel evenly over the blueberry layer
9) Bake bars for 25-35min until blueberry mixture is bubbling and the struesel is evenly browned
10) Let bars cool in pan completely then cut and enjoy!
I had some friends over for a big salmon dinner last week and I couldn't decide on what to make for dessert. My friend Evan doesn't like chocolate and my friend Lindsay can be picky when it comes to dessert. After searching the web, I found lots of cake recipes using soda pop. My favorite type of pop is root beer but I didn't think Lindsay would like that so I decided to go with pink cream soda because 1) cream soda is awesome and 2) I thought it would be cool to have a pink cake to go with the pink salmon dinner. The cake turned out really well, I served it plain with ice cream and it tasted like a cream soda float. The cake itself was moist and didn't have an overpowering cream soda flavor and came out a light pink color.
Pink Cream Soda Cake
1 Box white cake mix
4 Large eggs
10 Oz. of pink cream soda
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
(you can add a few drops of red food coloring to it if you want the cake to come out more pink but it will still go a light pink color without it)
1) Follow the cake mix box instructions (I used a bundt cake pan but you can use anything just follow the baking times and temperature on the box)
2) Follow the cake mix box directions (mine said to mix all the ingredients together on low speed for 30sec. then continue blending on medium speed for 2min)
3) Pour cake into prepared pan and bake according to cake mix box instructions (I baked mine at 325F (because I used a dark non-stick pan) for about 30min or until my toothpick inserted in the middle came out clean)
4) Let cake sit at room temperature and serve plain, with ice cream, or make some icing to go on top and enjoy!
Tips for Chocolate Covered Strawberries
- Always wash and dry the strawberries before using them
- I find its best if you make the chocolate covered berries the day of eating
- I like to use semiweet chocolate (I find that milk chocolate is too soft and dark chocolate is too hard when they dry)
- I like to use white candy coating rather than white chocolate (it melts better and is easier to use)
- I find that it is better to dip the strawberries when they are at room temperature rather than cold because the combination of the hot chocolate and the cold strawberry can cause the berry to 'sweat'
- I like to flash freeze the berries for 1min after I dip them - Once I've dipped about 10 berries I put them in the freezer for 1min or less so the hot chocolate doesn't 'cook' the berry too much
- After some testing I've found that the chocolate covered berries can last overnight at room temperature and still be fine (I stored them in a box but still allowed some air to breathe)
- If you need to keep them longer than overnight I would recommend you keep them in the fridge or else the berries might go bad (the only down side to this is that when you remove them from the fridge the berries form beads of condinsation - this is from the berries trying to breathe through the chocolate - they will still taste good but the apperance isn't the same as the first day you made them)
- All in all making chocolate covered strawberries can be fun but can also be frustrating and involves a lot of trial and error - to be safe buy and make your strawberries the day of eating them and enjoy!
A few weeks ago I was called to bake for a wedding, they asked me to make some tarts and chocolate covered strawberries for the dessert table at the reception. The bride stated that her color scheme for the wedding was brown and purple so she thought it would be a great idea to have me make some blueberry tarts to help match her color scheme. I decided to make homemade shortbread tart crusts from scratch, top them with homemade vanilla pudding, and garnish them with blueberries and semisweet chocolate.
The shortbread crusts worked out really well and the recipe was easy to follow. I found that during baking they did puff up a little bit so I had to pierce them with a fork half way through baking them. I made the tart shells in advance and they last for a few days stored in a air tight container. I've made this vanilla pudding recipe before and I find it full proof, it always turns out well and tastes very smooth and creamy. The vanilla pudding is best after it has sat in the refridgerator overnight. The combination of all the ingredients worked out well, they were best eaten right after asembly but they also tasted good after a few hours in the fridge.