Have you noticed that dessert wise, mini is it? Mini is super fun. Mini cupcakes, macarons, cake pops, mini scones. We like mini. I like mini. Frankly I’m kind of mini dessert obsessed. With mini you can enjoy with no guilt. Just don’t eat 14 minis. One great thing about mini desserts is, there is no cutting. This is really handy when you are entertaining, everyone can help themselves. We are coming up on the season of family gatherings. Family reunions, graduations, backyard barbeques. Mini is your friend when entertaining. Caterers have known this for years. Now, don’t get me wrong, I still love the look of a beautiful full size pie and they have their own glory. Bringing someone a full size pie as a gift is a beautiful thing. For years commercial food marketing dominated super size. Super size fries, Big Mac, Big Gulp as an example. I know we are talking dessert here, but I think as consumers now we’ve gone to the other extreme and we figured out that when it comes to mini; mini is it. Having mini desserts at weddings is very in. Cruise around the internet and search among wedding blogs and you will find dessert tables with mini treats are really en vogue. Mini is here to stay. Get in touch with your inner mini and bake up some minis…
See my recipe for All Butter Pie Crust
Blueberry Mini Pies
yield: ~ 8-10 mini pies
recipe adapted from “Mini Pies” by Christy Beaver and Morgan Greenseth
One recipe of my All Butter Pie Crust (see above)
3 Cups blueberries
1/4 sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1 Tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. culinary rose water (optional) (if you don’t like rose; just replace with water)
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
milk for brushing pie crusts
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Generously grease a 12 cup standard size muffin tin with butter or cooking spray.
2. Combine the berries, sugar, flour, cinnamon, rose water, lemon zest and lemon juice in a large bowl.
3. Roll out the pie crust to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Using a 4 inch round or scalloped edge cutter, cut 12 crusts. Re-form and re-roll dough as necessary.
4. Carefully shape the crusts into the wells of the muffin tin, crimping the edges with your fingers.
5. Fill each mini pie to the brim with the blueberry mixture, about 3 tablespoons for each pie. Top each pie with a decorative mini cut out if desired.
6. With a pastry brush, lightly brush the pie crusts with milk and then sprinkle with sugar.
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the crusts are golden brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes in the muffin tin, then carefully remove the pies from the pan and place on a wire rack to finish cooling. To remove, first try to spin the pies in the muffin wells. If they need a little extra help, run a butter knife along the edge of the crusts to pop them out of the tin. I like to pop the cooled pies into pretty paper muffin liners- it makes it handy to have something to eat out of helps protect the pies from cracking. Since the pies shrink a little during baking they fit nicely into paper lines without any problem.
8. Serve, or store in an airtight container at room temp for up to 2 days.
Scones are probably one of my favorite breakfast treats. A hot scone, the morning paper and a good cup of joe is the beginning of a good day. The thing I love about scones is the possibilities are endless. You can make up any combination of fruit or fruit and nuts. This scone recipe is simple and rustic; no rolling out, no fussy cutting, just scoop and drop. This is a good recipe if you have company coming for a weekend. Make the batter ahead of time-scoop them all out on a parchment lined sheet tray, freeze until firm and then remove them from the tray, store in a ziplock bag; then when you want scones you can bake them off; you just have to adjust the baking time for longer.
Blueberry Drop Scones
(yield: 8-10 scones)
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/4 Cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling on top
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. lemon zest
6 Tablespoons cold butter, cut into small cubes
1 Cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 Large egg
3/4 Cup milk
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a medium bowl, with a fork combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon zest. Using a pastry blender cut in the cubes of butter until mixture is crumbly but you still have pea sized pieces of butter.
2. In a measuring cup whisk the egg and milk. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the milk mixture using a fork to combine. Fold in the blueberries. The batter will be very wet.
3. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper drop batter using an ice cream scoop; leaving 2 inch space between each scones. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Serve warm.
As a kid growing up in Michigan my friends and I would pick blueberries in the summer to try and earn some cash.
I say try because we were not really good at making any money. Somehow the berries would end up making it into our mouths more than the bucket. It was a social gathering with all of our friends lined up along a row of blueberry bushes talking, plucking, eating and dropping a few berries into a bucket. After our one bucket was collected, which seemed to take an eternity; we would collect our meager cash and head home on our bikes with our bellies full of blueberries.
I still think that Michigan has the best blueberries ever. I admit, I may be a little biased in that thinking. Living in California now I am fortunate to have a wide range of wonderful ripe fruit but there is something about a Michigan blueberry or any blueberry that brings up fond memories of my summers growing up in Michigan. When the season of blueberries was coming to a close, my Mother would always buy the last bit of wonderful berries she could find (in large quantities I might add) and squirrel them away in the freezer so we had berries during the winter. There are about a million recipes for blueberry buckle or coffee cake and this is just my version I’ve come up with. I hope you enjoy it.
Blueberry Buckle (Blueberry Coffee Cake)
3/4 C sugar
6 Tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 C milk*
1/4 C sour cream (*if you don’t have sour cream, you can use all milk and bump up the amount to total 1/2 cup)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Cups fresh blueberries; washed and drained
1/4 C sugar
1/4 C light brown sugar
1/3 C all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 C butter, softened
1/3 C chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 375º F.
2. Prepare an 8 inch square pan with a parchment sling and lightly spray with baking spray, or grease the pan. You know about my obsession with parchment slings, right?
3. In a medium large bowl, cream the sugar and butter until combined. Add the egg and mix until combined.
4. In a small bowl combine the dry ingredients: 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt.
5. In a one cup measuring cup whisk the sour cream, milk and vanilla together; set aside.
6. To the creamed mixture from step one, add in 1/2 half of the dry ingredient mixture from step 4, alternating with the milk mixture, ending with the last of the flour mixture.
7. Gently fold the blueberries into the batter.
8. Spread the batter [it will be quite thick] into the prepared pan.
9. Prepare the crumble: combine the sugars, flour, cinnamon, butter with a pastry blender, then mix in the nuts. Sprinkle over the batter.
10. Bake at 375º F for about 50 minutes until the top is golden brown.
Note: you can double this recipe and use a 9 x 13 inch pan if you have a large posse to feed.
MOTHERS CAN BE QUITE PREDICTABLE CAN’T THEY….
It comes as no surprise to me that my Mother asked if I was going to make anything “healthy” for my blog.
I knew this was coming. I just didn’t expect it so [gulp] soon.
My Mother likes to eat
pretty healthy. No scratch that.
She eats very healthy.
I swear I am her daughter.
We do share the same DNA, yes.
It’s not that I don’t understand these things. I am a Nurse after all.
I do try to incorporate more healthy choices in my diet.
I SWEAR MOM, IT’S TRUE!!
I know right now, my Mother is at home laughing hysterically as she reads this.
I was thinking about my Mom and Dad especially when I formulated this healthy recipe.
My Dad just recently recovered from heart surgery and is doing great so more than ever they are trying to make healthy choices a daily part of their lives.
So Mom and Dad, this is for you. I know, who’d of thunk it?
Blueberry Cherry Granola
4 Cups Rolled oats (also known as old fashioned)
3/4 C sliced almonds
1/3 C sunflower seeds (roasted, unsalted or raw is fine too)
1/3 C vegetable oil
3/4 C honey
1/4 C hot water
1/4 C dark brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or 1 tsp. vanilla is fine)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 C dried tart cherries; chopped fine
1/2 C dried blueberries
Preheat the oven to 300 °
Prepare a 1/2 sheet pan or rimmed cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper or a silicone silpat if you have one.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the oats, nuts and seeds. Set aside.
In a 4 Cup glass measuring cup, place the oil, honey, water, dk. brown sugar,cinnamon, vanilla, and salt. Microwave on high for one minute.
Pour the hot mixture over the oat mixture and stir to combine thoroughly. Spread the granola out on a 1/2 sheet pan or a rimmed cookie sheet and bake at 300 ° for 30 minutes. Remove the granola from the oven and right on the same pan, stir in the dried berries.
Bake for an additional 45 minutes. Cool completely and enjoy over your favorite yogurt [it's amazing with Greek yogurt] or with milk.
Happy healthy heart Dad! ♥ (of course, you too Mom!)
PANCAKES AND SUNDAY MORNINGS….
Is there a better combination? I think not.
Sunday is my favorite day of the week. There are so many good things about Sundays. Sleeping in late, reading the Sunday paper with a good cup of Joe, Sunday morning jazz, and last but not least…fluffy lemon blueberry pancakes.
This recipe is adapted from a recent issue put out by Fine Cooking Magazine titled: “Breakfast”. The recipe in the specialty magazine is for buttermilk pancakes and I tweak it to make it my own by adding few ingredients. Their specialty magazines are popular can be found on news stands and online at www.finecooking.com Fine Cooking is one of my all time favorite cooking magazines if not my favorite.
I love the classic combination of lemon and blueberry and this is a great way to celebrate those flavors in a pancake. We are coming into blueberry season, so now is the time to enjoy ripe blueberries and most importantly, enjoy your Sunday mornings!
Lemon Blueberry Pancakes (adapted from Fine Cooking buttermilk pancake recipe) For plain pancakes just omit the lemon zest and blueberries. Note: if you have a large posse you can easily double this recipe and also the pancakes freeze well for quick morning grab/nuke/eat in the car sans syrup because yes you are the best Mom!
Yield: about twelve 4-5 inch pancakes
3 T unsalted butter; more for serving
9 oz (2 cups) all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups buttermilk (room temp) * [TIP: If you don't have buttermilk; simply take 2 cups of milk and add 2 measured Tablespoons of either lemon juice or white vinegar to the milk and let it sit for 10 minutes and it will thicken slightly and "sour" just like buttermilk].
1 tsp. vanilla extract (Note: The magazine recipe does not call for vanilla; but I always add vanilla to my pancakes- I think they just taste better)
2 large eggs
zest from one large lemon
1 to 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed well and drained. (Note: if it’s not blueberry season, by all means use frozen– rinse the berries and let them strain in a mesh strainer to remove as much water as possible.)
Vegetable oil, for the griddle/skillet
Pure maple syrup, for serving
blueberry preserves, for serving
Heat the oven to 200 degrees. Melt the butter in a small bowl in the microwave and set aside to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk, eggs, lemon zest and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Whisk gently until the dry ingredients are ALMOST incorporated; STOP before the batter is evenly moistened. Add the cooled melted butter and mix until the batter is evenly moistened (THERE WILL BE LUMPS. Now, walk away. YES I know there are lumps, just back up and resist the overwhelming urge to beat out the lumps…I swear it will be okay. This is going to ensure fluffy pancakes Let the batter rest for 10 minutes. Resting the batter also helps any gluten that has formed a chance to relax which also gives a more fluffy and tender pancake.
Heat a griddle or a large skillet over medium heat until a few drops of water briefly dance on the surface before evaporating. Lightly oil the pan/griddle. Working in batches, pour about 1/3 cup of the batter onto the pan/griddle for each pancake, now drop as many blueberries as you like onto the pancake immediately after pouring the pancake, poke them down in slightly with your finger. I like to do one pancake at a time in a skillet, but if you have a large griddle you can do more than one; simply leave about an inch in between pancakes. When you see bubbles rise to the surface and the edges look dry carefully flip them over and cook until the cake is nicely browned about a minute more. TIP: You can find “pancake” spatulas at places like bed bath and beyond; they are round shaped large spatulas. So cool as it makes flipping fun and less stress. Okay a word about pancaking: There is something weird about making pancakes; I swear the FIRST PANCAKE IS ALWAYS BAD. It’s either too dark, not dark enough etc. Just chalk it up to pancake karma and know that you usually have to sacrifice the first pancake to the PANCAKE GODS. I know, you figured this out too, huh?
*TIP: If your family is not standing over your shoulder grabbing pancakes :-) I like to hold the pancakes in a warm oven at 200 degrees while I finish the rest. I take a cake pan and line it with a large piece of tinfoil that is big enough to hang over the sides of the cake pan, and after each pancake I take off the skillet, I reach in the oven carefully and plop it in the pan and loosely cover the cakes with the tinfoil while I commence pancaking.
Serve with hot butter and maple syrup. Or if you want to try my version; I like to take a dollop of blueberry preserves and fold up the pancake like a taco and eat it this way.