Blueberry Buckle

Blueberry Buckle.

Cream butter, sugar and egg.

Add dry ingredient to butter mixture.

 

 

 

 

 

Fold in blueberries.

Sprinkle topping on top, pressing into batter in 3-4 places.

 

 

 

 

Ready for the oven.

Ready to eat.

Two adorable little girls.

Two beautiful teenagers. Friends since 1st grade.

Blueberry Buckle

In lots of my cookbooks, stories accompany recipes. A recipe might be passed down, a family favorite, or bring up a funny memory. This Blueberry Buckle comes with a story, too. I had just turned to the recipe in my daughter’s elementary school cookbook when my daughter’s friend said, “That’s my mom’s recipe!” And so it is. Now, every time I make this not-too-sweet-but-deliciously-tart Buckle, I will think of the two adorable little girls who have grown into beautiful teenagers right before my eyes.

Shout out to Wendy Nubel for the recipe and Linda Eagle for putting the Wyoming Wild Cooks Cookbook together.

Happy baking, hon.

Ingredients Cake:

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature (I used margarine.)

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1/2 cup low-fat (2%) milk (I used almond milk.)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed and drained

Ingredients Topping:

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour

1/3 cup quick-cooking oats

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature (I used margarine.)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 10-inch round springform pan or a deep-dish pie pan.

2.  In a small bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt.

3. In a medium bowl, cream butter, sugar and egg with an electric mixer. Add milk and vanilla, then beat until light yellow and fluffy. Stir in flour mixture, then carefully fold blueberries and spread in pan.

4. In a small bowl, mix topping ingredients with fingers until blended, then sprinkle on top of batter. Press your fingers about half-way down into batter in 3 or 4 places until batter looks bumpy.

5. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist, but not wet, crumbs. It can be served warm right from the pan. Heads up: it took longer to bake, which may be a result of my substitutions.

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Three Berry Lovely Hostess Gifts

Chocolate-covered raspberries from Sweet Nothings.

One of the best things about summer is getting together with friends. With less carpools and craziness, it’s nice to hang out and catch up. I love that the day seems longer. Last night, we left a concert in our town’s park about 9pm and it was still light.

Summer invitations mean hostess gifts. Here are three berry-lovely ideas.

I found this adorable strawberry basket filled with chocolate-covered raspberries at Sweet Nothings, a chocolate shop in Summit, NJ. How easy is this to make yourself? All you need is a basket, filler “grass,” and candy or berries. How about making a berry mix? Wrap the mix in plastic wrap and nestle it inside the basket. Tie a bow and off you go!

Hand-thrown berry bowls filled with local berries.

Berry bowls aren’t just pretty, they’re practical since they are small colanders. I made the two ceramic bowls above, but I’ve seen them in several stores. How sweet would it be to give the hostess a berry bowl already filled? Want to make it even sweeter? Bring along whipped cream and (dare-I-say?) chocolate sauce.

Photo of Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries from bettycrocker.com.

I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture the last time I made Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries. Click here for a recipe. Know what’s fun about making these? Finishing up the leftover melted chocolate at home.

Berry-yummy!

Sources: Sweet Nothings  and bettycrocker.com

 

Snickerdoodle Cookies

Snickerdoodle Cookies

Bakers.

Summer Guests.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snickerdoodles Cookies

What’s my go-to indoor activity with kids? Baking, of course! When my friend and her daughters visited recently, this easy recipe was a hit. These Snickerdoodles are cake-y, light, and so yummy, we had to limit ourselves or we could have eaten the whole batch at once!

 Ingredients:

2 3/4 cups (385 grams) all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature (the Joy of Cooking recipe calls for 1 cup butter, but we thought it was too much)

1  1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated white sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Coating:

1/3 cup (66 grams) granulated white sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2.  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder.

3.  With an electric mixer, beat together butter and sugar until smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg. Scrape down sides of bowl. Beat in vanilla extract.  Add flour mixture and beat until dough is smooth. If dough is soft, cover and refrigerate until firm enough to roll into balls.

4.  Shape dough into 1-inch (2.54 cm) round balls.

5.  Coating: In a large, shallow bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon.

6. Roll balls of dough in the cinnamon/sugar mixture and place on prepared being sheets, about 2 inches (5 cm) apart.

7. Then, using the bottom of a glass, gently flatten each cookie to about 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) thick.

8. Bake cookies for approx. 8 – 10 minutes, or until they are light golden brown around the edges. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool.

Yield: About 6 dozen cookies

Store cookies in an airtight container, at room temperature, for about 10-14 days.

Source: www.joyofbaking.com

 

Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake

Cinnamon Streusel Coffeecake

Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake

Gather dry ingredients.

Gather dry ingredients.

Beat butter and sugar

Beat butter and sugar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add dry ingredients and sour cream a little at a time.

Add dry ingredients and sour cream to wet ingredients a little at a time.

Mix streusel ingredients.

Mix streusel ingredients.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pour half the batter into a bundt pan and cover with half the streusel mixture.

Pour half the batter into a bundt pan and cover with half the streusel mixture.

Cut a slice and enjoy!

Slice and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake

I found this recipe in my Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking cookbook. It was so easy to follow, I made it twice in the same day! One coffee cake stayed at home and lots of mini coffee cakes were given out.

Happy baking, hon.

For the Streusel Filling:

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/3 cup (2 1/2 oz/75 g) firmly packed brown sugar

3/4 cup (3 oz/90 g) chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

 For the Batter:

2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 oz/390 g) all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup (6 oz/185 g) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/4 cups (10 oz/315 g) granulated sugar

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups (12 oz/375 g) sour cream

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 10-inch (25 cm) tube pan or Bundt pan.

2.  To make the streusel filling, in a small bowl, combine butter, flour, brown sugar, nuts, and cinnamon. Using a pastry blender or fork, mix until crumbly. Set streusel aside.

3.  Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

4.  In a large bowl, with a mixer, beat together butter and granulated sugar on medium-low speed until creamy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in vanilla. Add dry ingredients in 3 batches alternately with sour cream and mix on low speed just until batter is blended and almost smooth.

5.  Pour half of the batter into prepared pan and smooth surface with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle evenly with half the streusel filling. Cover with remaining batter and sprinkle with remaining streusel.

6. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 40-45 minutes. (Cook less time if you make smaller coffee cakes. The small cakes I made were done in about 25 minutes.) Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out of pan and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.

Tip:  For cakes, butter and eggs should be room temperature. They can be taken out about 2 hours before baking. If you cut the butter into small chunks it will warm up faster. To bring eggs to room temp more quickly, place them in a bowl of warm water.

Related Post: Cinnamon Chocolate Coffee Cake

I added mini chocolate chips to the mini coffee cakes because why not?

I added mini chocolate chips to the mini coffee cakes because why not?

Time for Pie (Gluten Free Dough)

Gluten Free Baking cookbook by Michael McCamley.

Gluten Free Baking cookbook by Michael McCamley.

Inspiration Photo.

Inspiration Photo.

Do you need a good gluten free dough recipe? 

This gluten free pastry dough recipe can be used for pie, quiche or other baked goods.  In this post, you’ll find ingredients and directions for making an Apple Pie as well as a link to a How To video I posted on You Tube.

Raw gluten free pastry dough doesn’t have the same sweet, buttery scent of regular dough but, once baked, the crust is flaky and delicious. Trust me, when this is served, there are no leftovers!

Happy baking, hon.

My Gluten Free Apple Pie.

My Gluten Free Apple Pie.

Click HERE to watch–Ta Dah!–my second, and short, How To Video.

Gluten Free Pastry Dough Ingredients

3 2/3 cups gluten-free flour, plus extra for dusting

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 stick butter, plus extra for greasing (I used Crisco vegetable shortening.)

1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk)

Apple Pie Filling Ingredients

6 cups apple slices (I use a combination of Granny Smith and other varieties)

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

approximately 1 Tablespoon flour

dash salt

1 egg, beaten (used to brush on top of crust before baking)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degress F.

2.  Combine apples, sugar, lemon juice, salt and spices.  This mixture will give off a lot of liquid so use a slotted spoon when spooning into pie crust, allowing you to spoon the apple mixture without the excess liquid.

3.  To make the pastry dough, combine the flour, xanthan gum, and confectioner’s sugar in a large bowl. Rub in the butter (or vegetable shortening) with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. Add the egg and milk (or almond milk) and combine to make the dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

4.  On a gluten free floured surface, divide the dough in two and roll each piece out to form a large circle*–one to line the pie plate and one to go on top of the pie. Line the pie plate with one of the pasty circles and add the apple filling.

5.  Add the second pastry circle as a lid and, using a fork, crimp the edges of the pasty all the way around. Pierce the pie in the middle a couple of times to let out steam during baking.

6.  Brush the top of the pie with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden.

Serves 8

*I rolled out the dough by a)pressing dough ball down to flatten it, b)sandwiching dough between two pieces of wax paper, then c)rolling the rolling pin on top of the wax paper.  (Demo can be seen in the video.) If the dough sticks to the wax paper, you can spray the wax paper with non-stick spray.

**You can make this pie ahead and freeze it.  Let pie cool completely before wrapping in saran wrap and aluminum foil.  A couple of days before serving, defrost at room temperature.

Serving options:

Serve warm–after removing from oven, let cool about 20 minutes.

Serve room temperature–cool completely.

Rewarm defrosted pie– warm in a preheated 250- 275 degrees F oven, uncovered, until desired temperature.

Time for Pie (Pumpkin)

I’ve been using this recipe for years. It’s easy to follow and the pie is always delicious. We’ll call it a winner!

Happy baking, hon.

PUMPKIN PIE

Basic Pie Crust:  Single Crust

(to make two pies crusts, see Double Pie Crust measurements in Apple Pie recipe)

1 1/3 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

1/4 cup ice water

Food Processor Directions:  Insert steel blade in food processor. Mix flour and salt, then place the mixture in the food processor. Add shortening and process until mixture resembles cornmeal (about 5 seconds). Slowly pour ice water through feed tube and process until dough forms a ball (about 5 to 10 seconds). Chill dough for easier handling.

Roll out ball of dough into a circle. Line a 9-inch pie dish with crust. Flute the edges.

Shortcut:  If you don’t have time to make your own crust, use store-bought pie crusts.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Pumpkin Filling (for one pie)

2 eggs

2/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 16 ounce can cooked pumpkin

1 13 ounce can evaporated milk–0R–3 ounces non-dairy creamer or almond milk

1 egg, beaten (used to brush on top of crust before baking)

Beat 2 eggs in a large mixing bowl.  Add remaining ingredients except extra egg to be brushed on crust and blend thoroughly.  Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell.  Brush egg on edges of crust.  Bake at 425 degrees F for  20 minutes, then reduce to 325 degrees F and bake another 35 to 45 minutes.  Pie is done when middle of pie is set.  Tip:  If edges of pie crust are getting medium brown and middle of pie isn’t set yet, gently wrap tin foil around perimeter of crust until it’s done.

*This pie freezes well.  Let pie cool completely before wrapping in aluminum foil and freezing.  A day before you are going to serve it, defrost at room temperature (not in the fridge).

Serving options:

Serve warm–after removing from oven, let cool for 20 minutes.

Serve room temperature–cool completely.

Rewarm frozen pie– warm in a preheated 275 degrees F oven, uncovered.

Time for Pie (Apple)

Basket Weave Crust on Apple Pie

Basket Weave Crust on Apple Pie

Thanksgiving’s almost here which means one thing…pie! I’ve been using this recipe for years and it’s always come out delicious. Click here to watch my You Tube How To video. Next up…pumpkin pie!

Happy baking, hon.

APPLE PIE

Basic Pie Crust:  Double Crust

2 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup vegetable shortening

1/3 to 1/2 cup ice water

Food Processor Directions:  Insert steel blade in food processor.  Mix flour and salt, then place the mixture in the food processor.  Add shortening and process until mixture resembles cornmeal (about 5 seconds).  Slowly pour ice water through feed tube and process until dough forms a ball (about 5 to 10 seconds).  Chill dough for easier handling.

Basket Weave:  If you want to form a basket woven crust, make extra dough ahead of time.  Shortcut:  If you don’t have time to make your own crust, use store-bought deep dish pie crusts.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Filling

6 cups apple slices (I use a combination of Granny Smith and other varieties)

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

approximately 1 Tablespoon flour

dash salt

1 egg, beaten (used to brush on top of crust before baking)

Combine apples, sugar, lemon juice, salt and spices.  This mixture will give off a lot of liquid so use a slotted spoon when spooning into pie crust, allowing you to spoon the apple mixture without the excess liquid.

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.

Split dough in half, form two dough balls and roll out each half into a circle.  Line a 9-inch pie dish with the bottom crust.  Spoon apple filling into the crust and smooth apples into an even layer. Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of flour on top of filling mixture.

Position top crust over the filling and trim and flute the edges.  (Photos and a short crust rolling video will be added to the blog soon.)

Basket Weave:  I was inspired Martha Stewart Living’s November 2012 magazine cover which features a basket woven pie crust.  To form the basket weave, cuts the dough into 8 strips.  First lay 4 strips across the filling.  Secondly, carefully weave remaining strips through the dough strips already laying across the filling.  Then press top and bottom crust edges together and flute edges.

Egg Wash:  Without brushing fluted edges, brush top of pie with beaten egg.  Cut steam vents in the top crust if needed.

Bake the pie at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F  and bake for another 40 – 45 minutes.  Pie is done when top crust is lightly browned, the apple filling is bubbling, and the apples are tender when tested through the slit in the crust with a toothpick.

*This pie freezes well.  Let pie cool completely before wrapping in aluminum foil and freezing.  A day before you are going to serve it, defrost at room temperature (not in the fridge).

Serving options:

Serve warm–after removing from oven, let cool for 20 minutes.

Serve room temperature–cool completely.

Rewarm frozen pie– warm in a preheated 275 degrees F oven, uncovered.

American Flag-Inspired Cupcakes and Cookies

Hostess gifts idea: Bring dessert on a dish the hostess can keep. Wrap them in cellophane for a pretty presentation.

DIY Hostess gift idea: Bring dessert on a dish the hostess can keep. These funky melamine dishes are from SEED387. Wrap cookies in cellophane for a pretty presentation.

Need a patriotic-themed kid activity? Or are you in the mood to bake? Either way, enjoy this re-post.

Hon, you know what I like about a holiday besides spending time with family and friends?

 The built-in theme!

One of my daughters and I had fun taking the American flag colors to the extreme.  We baked red, white and blue sugar cookies and cupcakes.  Click here for sugar cookie and Royal Icing recipes.  My daughter decorated with flags while I tried my hand at tie dye effects. I used a toothpick to “drag” two or three icing colors from the center out, then swirled with the toothpick to create a tie dye look.

Patriotic Cookies

Patriotic Cookies.

Tie Dye effect.

Tie Dye effect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing.

Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing.

Coloring on cookies.

Coloring on cookies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Baking Day continued with red, white and blue cupcakes. 

We were inspired by Ziploc Bag’s Patriotic Piped Tri-Colored Cupcakes, but they turned out to be more challenging than they looked.  So, we abandoned our pastry bags and spooned the colored batter into baking cups.  The result?  Still patriotic, fun and delicious.

*Tip:  Wear plastic gloves because colored batter is messy and stains.

1. Start with boxed cake mix. Separate batter into three bowls.

1. Start with boxed cake mix. Separate batter into three bowls.

2. Add red food coloring to one bowl of batter and blue to another, leaving the third bowl vanilla.

2. Add red food coloring to one bowl of batter and blue to another, leaving the third bowl plain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3. Transfer three bowls of batter into three pastry bags (or Ziploc bags) OR skip this step and spoon colored batter into baking cups one at a time in colored strips.

3. Spoon batter into three pastry bags (or Ziploc bags) OR skip this step and spoon colored batter into baking cups one at a time in colored stripes.

 

 

4. Seal pastry bags or Ziploc bags OR skip this step if not using bags at all.

4. Seal pastry bags or Ziploc bags OR skip this step if not using bags.

 

 

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5. Tape bags together so batter can be piped at once OR skip this step.

5. Tape bags together so batter can be piped at once OR skip this step.

 

Tri-colored cupcakes after baking.

Tri-colored cupcakes after baking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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6. Frost and decorate cupcakes. We used store-bought icing.

6. Frost and decorate cupcakes. We used store-bought icing.

American Flag Fun!

American Flag Fun!

DIY Graduation Party, S’mores Station

Dessert Table.

Dessert Table.

What’s a party without dessert?

Set up a Make-Your-Own-S’mores station. Surround mini burners with marshmallows and graham crackers lined with chocolate.

Do you toast your marshmallow until its lightly-browned or burnt-to-a-crisp? These are important decisions!

One side of the S'mores station.

The graham cracker and chocolate side of the S’mores station.

The marshmallow side of the S'mores station.

The marshmallow side of the S’mores station.

S'more Cupcakes made by The Jersey Smore.

S’more Cupcakes made by The Jersey S’more. These are no ordinary cupcakes. Under the chocolate coating is a s’more. Yum!

Related Posts:

DIY Graduation Party, Step-by-Step Prep

DIY Graduation Party, Cookie Favors

DIY Graduation Party, Mason Jar Centerpieces

DIY Graduation Party, Outdoor Decor

DIY Graduation Party, Selfie Station

Sources: In Thyme Catered Events and The Jersey S’more Company

 

 

 

DIY Graduation Party, Cookie Favors

Fun favors!

Favors ready to hand out. I tied (so punny!) the black and white check theme to the cookie colors and ribbon.

Graduation Hats.

Graduation Hats.

Diplomas.

Diplomas.

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_9916

IMG_9918

Fun Favors! 

Throwing a party? You might think favors would be last on the list of things to take care of, but if you plan on handing out cookies, make them in advance. They’re a lot of work, but worth it. Trust me!

Sugar cookies can be baked ahead of time and frozen, then defrosted and decorated OR the finished cookies can be frozen. Either way, set aside time if you are going to bag and wrap them.

Shout out to Michele Schonhorn, who showed me how to make the icing smoother and outline the design. Her sugar cookie recipe is slightly different than mine so I’m listing it here. Shout out also to my assistant baker, none other than Graduate #1.

Happy baking, hon!

Basic Sugar Cookie Recipe 

Ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (I used margarine to make recipe non-dairy)

1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

1 egg

2-3 teaspoons flavoring such as vanilla or almond

2 1/2 – 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cream together softened butter and confectioner’s sugar.
  3. Crack egg into a separate bowl and add flavoring. Add to the butter/sugar mixture and mix until egg is thoroughly incorporated.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt, then add the dry mixture, little by little, to the butter/sugar mixture. (Tip-a paddle attachment works well. Dough will by sticky.)
  5. Roll out on parchment paper to about 1/4 inch thick, using flour for dusting as necessary. Cut and bake for 7 – 8 minutes.

Yield: 2 – 2 1/2 dozen cookies. The recipe doubled will yield approximately 4 -5 dozen.

Notes:  The dough DOES not need to be refrigerated, but it does need to rest a little after mixing. It will firm up a bit after a minute or two. Baking times are approximate so watch the cookies. If they are browning, they’ve been in a little too long.

Royal Icing Recipe

Ingredients

3 3/4 cups confectioners sugar

3 Tablespoons of meringue or dried egg white powder

6 Tablespoons warm water

Beat about 4 minutes by hand. Thin icing, if needed with extra tablespoons of warm water.

Add color in small amounts. (Tip–it’s easier to darken a color than lighten it.)

Related posts: DIY Graduation Party (Party Prep Step-by-Step)American Flag-Inspired Cupcakes and Cookies, Melted Snowman Cookies, Cookie Crazy, DIY Party Favors, Character Driven Gingerbread Cookies