Currently viewing the tag: "blueberries"

Blueberry Apple Bars

A kind reader pointed out to me that there  is a slight mistake this Blueberry Apple Crumb Bar recipe in The Vanilla Bean Baking Book, so I’m putting the recipe here (with corrections). The ingredient list is correct in the book, but the directions mention ‘baking soda’ instead of ‘baking powder’, and list cinnamon in the filling when there is none. Sorry about that!

If any of you happen to live in Winona, Minnesota, or are visiting there this weekend, I’ll be doing a book signing at The Blue Heron Coffeehouse from 2-4 this Saturday, January 14th. The Blue Heron is the coffeehouse I talk about throughout my book, and where I learned to bake, and it’s wonderful to be going back for this event.

I am also teaching a class in St. Paul at Cooks of Crocus Hill Sunday, February 5th, from 1-2:30. I’ll be doing some demonstrations, sharing treats, and signing books. You can register here if interested!

You can find a few of my recipes from the book around the web. So many beautiful posts, I’m totally overwhelmed! Julie from Always with Butter made my chocolate chip cookies. Molly from My Name is Yeh made my yellow cake with chocolate frosting. Michelle from Hummingbird High made my cheesecake, and Cynthia from Two Red Bowls made my cheesecake with a hazelnut twist. Alex and Sonja from A Couple Cooks made my shortbread with chocolate. Food 52 made my oatmeal white chocolate cookies. Sara from Sprouted Kitchen made my whole wheat banana chocolate muffins. Cindy from Hungry Girl Por Vida made my honey cake and added grapefruit. Elizabeth from Brooklyn Supper made my orange cranberry bundt cake. Alana from Fix Feast Flair made my brown butter buttercream. Alanna from Bojon Gourmet made my peanut butter granola. There are a few more that I will post later!

Thank you again for all your support. It’s been so fun to see what everyone is making from the book on Instagram, and I appreciate all your kind words and reviews. If you make something from the book, please tag it #vanillabeanbakingbook so I can find it!

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blueberry, almond, and plum crumble | the vanilla bean blog
This Is Just To Say
I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold
-William Carlos Willams
blueberry, almond, and plum crumble | the vanilla bean blog

blueberry, almond, and plum crumble | the vanilla bean blog

blueberry, almond, and plum crumble | the vanilla bean blog
I couldn’t resist posting that Williams poem to go along with a recipe involving plums. I’ll never forget reading it for the first time in my 9th grade English class, and becoming immediately enamored with playful poems that didn’t rhyme or seem to follow any rules. I went home and tried to mimic his style in pages of my journal, writing the worst poems known to man. But the attempts were sincere, and somewhere in my box of memories there is a stack of poems about peaches, plums, and dreamy boys who never noticed me.

Plums do make a good breakfast, however, and if you happen to have some of this crumble left over the next day, heating it up and topping it off with a little yogurt (or ice cream) is definitely a good idea. This summer crumble comes from Kate Doran‘s new book, Homemade Memories. Highlighting favorite childhood treats: ice creams, cookies, doughnuts, pudding pots, cakes, and every sugar-dusted possibility in between, it’s a collection of recipes perfect for any nostalgic baker. (Side note: I may have to give in and add this dish towel to my collection at some point.)
blueberry, almond, and plum crumble | the vanilla bean blog

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mixed berry scones
“How can I find the words? Poets have taken them all and left me with nothing to say or do.”
“Except to teach me for the first time what they meant.”
-Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane, Dorothy Sayers: A Busman’s Honeymoon

I’m not one for using expletives much in my day-to-day, but I must admit this past Monday a very loud one flew out of my mouth as my twitter notifications lit up my phone. Somehow, I had won the Reader’s Choice portion of the Saveur Food Blog Awards for Baking and Desserts. I’m not going to lie to you, I’m still pinching myself. It’s a huge honor, a dream come true, and I have you to thank. All you wonderful, lovely readers who took the time to cast a vote my way, thank you so much.

I share the category with the amazing Izy from Top With Cinnamon (who won Editor’s Choice), and I am excited that in just over a month I get to meet her, along with so many other favorite bloggers.

But in the meantime, scones! My family went out Monday night to celebrate with dinner, but I just had to bake something, too. Mixed berries, crème fraîche, and lavender seemed like a good combination, and they might be my favorite scones to date. The berries are tart, the lavender subtle, and the crème fraîche smooth and dreamy, rounding everything out. A perfect way to start the day.
mixed berry scones
Also, a few things:
Michael Jackson. Amazing.

Great writing advice, all in one place.

The Office Stare Machine.

-I can’t wait for Kimberley’s new book! And, Erin’s too!

-I’m now contributing over at Wit + Delight! You can check out my first post, for Strawberry-Basil Smoothies.

-I also have Chocolate Sugar Cookies up on Handmade Charlotte.
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I spent the weekend tossing and turning, crazy sick with the flu. While it was absolutely miserable, it was the first time in months that I had time to really hear myself.
There are moments during sickness where one grasps delirium and clarity at the same time. Almost like in childbirth, the mind and all energy is turned inward, focusing on how the body is reacting and responding. In this space of time the soul cuts through any suffering, offering itself loud and clear. It’s important to listen in these moments, to hear one’s self.
I asked myself hard questions. I thought about my time, and how I ignore it’s unyielding ticking. I wondered at my hands and feet – how they’ve been idle, and unconcerned with building and forging. I was bewildered at my daily evolution – living a world through a digital and removed mind instead of feeling and being with all parts: hair and face and limbs and toes. My heart spoke: it moved me, and demanded of me. And there, in that juncture of illness and lucidity, I made an action toward breaking bread and planting seeds, toward scrubbing floors on hands and knees, toward face-to-face and arm-in-arm. A movement towards good health, and conscious, and being. Drink with me, if you will.
I like having dinner guests.  It’s lovely, catching up, sipping cold beer, laughing and watching the little ones race around. Sometimes friends come spur of the moment, to chat the afternoon and evening away. Even though it’s last minute, I still have to have dessert. I can’t help it. It somehow doesn’t feel right to skip that after dinner sweetness.
Luckily I had bought plums earlier that day. And there were blueberries left over from the CSA. I always have buttermilk on hand, and cardamom is stocked in my pantry, too. So let’s make a cake: a pretty, tasty, upside-down cake. It’s brilliant purple top will be the highlight of the table, and it will taste as good as it looks. Another every day cake to make life more enjoyable.

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Blueberry muffins were a staple in our house. I remember a tower of Jiffy boxes stacked next to the cereal in our cupboard above the stove. My mom would pull one out, and we would beg her to let us help stir everything together. She taught us how to measure oil, and crack eggs, and not to over mix. It was  most exciting when she would make them at dinner [muffins with dinner! we were giddy!], the tiny specks of blueberries dazzled us, and we crammed the muffins in our mouth, still warm and soaked in butter.
Oh, famous blueberry muffin. How I’ve made you so many times, only to be disappointed. Anybody with me? I don’t know how many different recipes I’ve tried over the years – too many to count. They are either too dry, or boring, or have too many steps for something that should be easy.  Coffeehouses and cafes serve me blueberry mini-cakes that stick to my teeth and throat. And those boxed muffin mixes! Alas, they have lost their charm.

There is one recipe I always come back to – another jem from the Blue Heron Coffeehouse. It is easy to put together – no melting or creaming of butter, no cooking down fruit into jam, and the final product is rewarding. I’ve tweaked things just a bit over the years; changing baking temperatures and flour amounts, and I’ve been pleased with the tender crumb, the blueberry flavor, and those feelings of nostalgia that wash over me as I pull them out of the oven. Now I make them for my mom, bringing them over with the kids, and we once again revel in sweet blueberry goodness.

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Purchase my cookbook!

Amazon / Barnes & Noble / BAM / IndieBound

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