Blueberry Crisp

Blueberry Crisp

Happy Easter, guys! Sorry for the hiatus, I’m alive I promise. It’s funny how life takes over sometimes.

My last post was in November 2013!  Back then, I was working at a tech start up in Chicago.  I was wide-eyed and excited to be in a new city, and quickly fell in over my head with things to do, so blogging took a bit of a backseat.  For the past 10 months, I have been exploring the Windy City’s food scene (seriously, I was going a little overboard and sometimes trying 2-3 new restaurants a week), taking dance classes and making new friends.  Chicago is a wonderful place with tons to do- I am especially going to miss the summer street fests and beaches.

Now, a lot has changed, and I’m back in my hometown in Michigan.  I’m starting a new job (tomorrow morning actually) in client services for a larger tech company, and I couldn’t be more excited about it.  I’m living with my family again, and have been spending some quality time getting re-acclimated with my childhood home.  It’s an adjustment from the hustle and bustle of the city, but one big perk is that I get to spend a lot more time with my family and focus more on PITK.

The food is better in my childhood home, too.  It helps when there are multiple cooks :). This blueberry crisp is from my family’s Easter dinner tonight, and it’s been a favorite in my house for years now. My mom started making this because it doesn’t use too much sugar and it is lighter than a pie. It was originally made with butter instead of coconut oil, but it was easily adapted into a vegan treat.

Dessert doesn’t get easier than this, people!

Blueberry Crisp 2

 

Blueberry Crisp
Makes 1 9-inch round crisp

3 pints (6 cups) blueberries (thawed and drained, if frozen)
1 tablespoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/4 cup flour (I used white, can switch up to make GF)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
4 tablespoons coconut oil, solid
1/3 cup sliced almonds (can sub oatmeal here for similar texture)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat over to 375F. Grease a 9-inch round deep-dish pie pan and set aside.

Toss blueberries with the white sugar, cinnamon and 1/4 cup of the flour. Spoon into pie pan. Combine the remaining 1 cup of flour, brown sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl. Add coconut oil and use a pastry cutter to cut into the pastry mixture until it becomes crumbly. Stir in the almonds and lemon juice. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the berries.

Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the blueberries bubble and the top is a golden brown color. Cool for 30 minutes, and serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

White Chocolate Cherry Cookies + settling in

Image

Eek it’s been 3 months since I’ve been on here!  My transition into real-personhood has been pretty smooth, but blogging definitely takes a backseat to busy work life.  Since I usually take pics of my food in natural light, it’s been difficult to catch you know, “good sun” around a 9-5 work schedule (and more obviously, finding time to even cook/bake).

Since my guacamole post, I’ve moved to a new apartment in a different neighborhood of Chicago and I’ve been working a real job for almost 6 months now.  FINALLY, I’m starting to feel a little more relaxed , but stress from the past few months left me feeling like a chicken running around without its head.  I don’t really know how to describe what I’ve been doing since I’ve moved, but I can say it’s all been a humbling experience! I’ve been learning about super fun stuff like building credit, finding a dentist and making new friends.  (All of these things are still in progress…).

Anyway, I found this recipe on Sally’s Baking Addiction a while ago and have been dying to make them.  (As another side note, another thing that is different in Chicago is that everyone I meet seems to be watching their weight and won’t eat sweets! Meaning, my roommate, my co-workers, my friends…. One more reason I haven’t been baking so much is that there is no one around to eat my treats).  I’m a little bummed that they turned out to be so ugly compared to Sally’s pictures, but they are sweet and soft, just like she promised.  Now… just have to find someone to give them away to before I eat the whole batch…

White Chocolate Cherry Cookies
Yields 2-3 dozen cookies, depending on size

3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
3/4 cup dried cranberries (I used dried cherries)

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper, but do not preheat oven yet (dough requires chilling).

Mix dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.  Cream butter and sugars together until fluffy and pale in color.  Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined.  With the mixer running on low, slowly add in dry ingredients.  Dough should become stiff, but not crumbly.   Do not overmix.  Stir in white chocolate chips and dried fruit (I opted for cherries, I’m sure dried blueberries would work well too).

Make one big ball of dough and cover with saran wrap.  Refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes, or as long as 3 days.  Chilling the dough allows the flavors to deepen, aka makes better tasting cookies, so if you have the time, be patient! :)

Banana Cranberry Breakfast Bread

Banana Cranberry Breakfast Bread 1

After all the Christmas treats I thought it was time for a “healthier” snack.  I also needed to get rid of some grossly black bananas and the cranberries that have been sitting in my freezer since October.

I’m proud of this recipe. I usually am not able to combine ingredients in a way that produces edible food– I’m a recipe follower– but this time I remembered some of my mom’s tips about health-i-fying recipes and actually made something tasty.

The best part is, it’s not too bad for you, so you don’t even have to feel guilty about eating it for breakfast.

Banana Cranberry Breakfast Bread
Makes one 9×5 loaf

1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries**
1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (can sub all-purpose or whole wheat, but the texture will be slightly different)
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs, room temperature
1 cup mashed bananas (about 3 medium)

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Grease and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan.  In a medium bowl, mix cranberries in flour, oats, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt.  Set aside

In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugars until light-colored and fluffy.  Add applesauce and blend.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Stir in mashed banana.  Add cranberry/flour mixture to shortening/sugar mixture and stir until just combined.  Spoon batter into prepared pan

Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the loaf. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.

**TIP: Any berry can be subbed in here! I imagine apple, peaches and mango would be great too.  Let me know in the comments how your experiments go.**

My recipe, inspired by Allrecipes

Banana Cranberry Breakfast Bread 3

Butterscotch Cocoa Brownies

Butterscotch Cocoa Brownies 2

Can a food blog ever have too many brownie recipes? I’m going to start a collection…

This here is the kind of dessert that you know is going to be good as soon as you taste the batter.  After I put the pan in the oven to bake, I helped myself to some batter from the spatula (I always make sure to leave a little on there for tasting before I wash up…) and knew right away that these were going to be a hit!  They’re totally drool-worthy. The brownies are dense, chewy and super fudge-y, and to make things even better, you can mix everything in just one bowl.

I found the recipe on my old housemate’s blog- Broma Bakery (side note: her name is Sarah.  She is an AMAZING baker and wants to own her own restaurant one day! She inspired me to create PITK– and I still check Broma regularly for recipe ideas! Check her page out!).  She found the recipe on another blog then ended up adding butterscotch chips.  To make sure everyone gets credit for their genius contributions, I included a link to the original recipe at the end of the recipe. :)

P.S. I’m on a chocolate binge lately.  Expect more brownie recipes soon.

Butterscotch Cocoa Brownies
makes 16 brownies

10 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-processed)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, cold
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup butterscotch chips

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.

Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and microwave for 1:30 minutes. Remove and stir until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. Set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot. It looks fairly gritty at this point, but don’t fret — it smoothes out once the eggs and flour are added.Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the butterscotch chips, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.

Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.

Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.

Recipe adapted from honey & jam

Butterscotch Cocoa Brownies 3

Here’s a shout out the the Shine Supper Club! Hope all your club members try this delectable treat (tip: try not to eat the whole pan in one night)!

Peanut Butter Cup Oreo Ice Cream Cake

Ice cream+ cake…. ICE CREAM CAKE!

I had a craving and made this on a whim with lactose-free ice cream.  What a great idea on my part.  My housemates drooled over it before I’d taken pictures…  so as soon as we finished (Photographer Emily is back! She took these beauties) they helped me demolish the whole thing.  It’s a snap to put together… just try not to eat it too quickly (or risk a brain freeze! :)).

Peanut Butter Cup Oreo Ice Cream Cake
Makes 9″ cake

1 package Oreos, divided
5 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream, softened
1 cup mini peanut butter cups, roughly chopped

Lightly grease a springform pan. Crush 2/3 of the Oreos (two of the rows or roughly 24 cookies) in a food processor or by hand with a rolling pin and a plastic bag. Stir in melted butter and press into bottom and sides of the springform pan. Freeze for 10 minutes.

Spread one quart of the ice cream over the Oreo crust. Roughly chop the remaining Oreos and sprinkle over this first ice cream layer. Freeze for 20-30 minutes.

Spread remaining quart of ice cream over the Oreo layer and then top with chopped peanut butter cups. Freeze for at least 5 hours. To serve, let sit 10 minutes and run a hot knife around the edge. Release the springform pan, and serve with hot fudge or caramel. Enjoy!

Recipe from Kitchen Confidante

Banana Crumb Snack Cake

I can’t stop baking. My housemate had overripe bananas… so he asked me if I wanted them for baking.  How could I say no?  Food should never be wasted.

Instead of the usual loaf bread I wanted to try something a little bit different… this may be my favorite way to use up old bananas yet!  There is plenty of sugar and butter to outshine the healthy addition of the banana, but that aside this is a must try recipe.  My house devoured a whole pan in just a few hours… so you might want to double this one!

Banana Crumb Snack Cake
Makes 1 8×8 square cake

Streusel:
6 TBSP all-purpose flour
6 TBSP firmly packed brown sugar
3 TBSP unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. freshly-grated nutmeg

Cake:
1 1/3 c. cake flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly-grated nutmeg
3 very ripe/overripe bananas (about 1 c.)
3 TBSP buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
½ c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1 large egg

To make the streusel, in a small bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, butter, cinnamon, and nutmeg with your fingertips until the mixture resembles lumpy sand.  Refrigerate until needed.

Place a rack in the center position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter and flour an 8×8 pan or line with parchment and spray.  In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg.  Set aside.  In a medium bowl, mash bananas with a fork.  Add in buttermilk and canilla and stir to combine.  Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large bowl with a hand mixer) cream together butter and sugar on medium-low speed until fluffy, 2-3 minutes.   Add the egg and beat until thoroughly completely incorporated.  Add the banana mixture (The batter may appear curdled for a moment, but will come back together with the dry ingredients.) and beat to combine.  Reduce the mixer to low and gradually add the flour mixture in two additions, beating just until incorporated.  Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the top.  Bake the cake until it springs back when gently pressed in the center and a round wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35-38 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan completely before cutting and serving.  Will keep, tightly covered on the counter or in the refrigerator, up to 3 days.  Serves 9.
Recipe from Apple A Day

Vegan Lavender Cake with Lemon Buttercream and Raspberry Sauce

THIS CAKE, oh my goodness.

I found this recipe a while ago and asked my mom to make it for my 21st birthday.  It was the perfect choice too, because it is completely vegan and everyone in my family was able to eat it.    While the recipe may look a little bit complicated,  the steps are not difficult and the end result is totally worth it.

I’ve never had any lavender-flavored dessert before, and this one combines the delicate floral taste with hints of lemon and raspberry to make one unique and delectable dessert.  Drool.

My boyfriend liked it so much that he specifically requested it for his 21st birthday as well.   I thought that was a wonderful idea, and he was reeeaaaalllyyy happy when I showed up at his door holding it.  Happy 21st Mikey!

Lavender Cake
Makes 2 8″ round cakes

2 cups soy milk, divided
2 tsp vinegar
2 Tbsp culinary lavender flowers
2 3/4 cup cake flour (If you can’t get cake flour you can sub 2 1/2 cup all pourpose flour plus 1/4 cup cornstarch)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cup sugar
4 tsp vanilla

Lavender Syrup
1/3 cup culinary lavender
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups water

Lemon “Buttercream”
1/2 cup Earth Balance
1 cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp lemon juice, plus more as needed
zest of one lemon (if you want a pure white frosting, you can use some lemon extract)
1/4 tsp salt
1 lb powdered sugar, sifted

Raspberry Sauce
10 oz frozen raspberries
3 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tsp arrow root dissolved in 1 tbsp water

For the cake:
Grease two 8″ cake pans and line with parchment. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350°
Combine 1 cup soy milk with vinegar in a mixing bowl and set aside to curdle. In a saucepan, combine remaining 1 cup soy milk and the lavender. Bring to a boil, remove from heat and let sit for five minutes. Strain and combine with the vinegar mixture. Add sugar, oil, and vanilla and stir to combine. In a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the flour to the wet ingredients and stir together until just mixed. Divide batter between the prepared pans . Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

For the syrup:
In a heavy saucepan combine ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until mixture begins to thicken. Let cool and strain.

For the buttercream:
In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment beat the Earth Balance and shortening until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, lemon juice, salt, and lemon zest and beat to combine. Add powdered sugar and beat on medium until frosting is smooth and fluffy. Add more lemon juice or soy milk if necessary to achieve a spreadable consistency.

For the sauce:
Combine berries, sugar, and water in a sacupan and bring to a boil. Cook until berries are broken down. Stir in the arrowroot mixture and cook until the sauce begins to thicken. Strain to remove the seeds and let cool.

Assembly:
Place a layer of cake on a plate or cake board. Brush or drizzle with lavender syrup and frost top. Place second layer on top, brush with syrup and frost top and sides.

Plating:
Use a squeeze bottle or a spoon to drizzle some of the raspberry sauce on to each plate. Cut a wedge of cake and place on top of the sauce.

Yum.

Recipe from The New Vegan Table

Chocolate Tofu Pie

Given my life-debilitating handicap (lactose-intolerance! I’ve been feeling very sorry for myself during my everlasting hunt for Lactaid cottage cheese), I’m typically very willing to try any recipe that is not chock full of dairy products.  I’ve experimented with a lot of strange sounding ingredients, but I’ve still found that coconut milk and cashew cream usually can’t fill the void that things like cream cheese and butter have left in my life.

I often still miss my cheesecakes, milkshakes and slow-churned ice cream, but I can say with confidence that I’ve found my new guilty pleasure in the form of this delectable, dairy-free treat!

Chocolate tofu pie has a rich chocolate flavor, a cheesecake-ish texture and tastes absolutely divine.  The recipe requires no baking, and is made in a food processor in under 10 minutes. There are only six ingredients, and one of them is tofu… weird right? I threw mine into a vegan oreo crust for an extra chocolate punch, but you can probably do a graham cracker crust, pastry crust… or go crustless and forgo those extra calories!

I found this recipe on Chocolate Covered Katie, and while she loves to share her ingenious recipes with the foodies all over the web, she does ask that other bloggers don’t re-post her recipes on their sites.  I tweaked the name a little bit, she originally called it the Ultimate Chocolate Fudge Pie, but I thought that Chocolate Tofu Pie might be a little bit more enticing for my readers:).  I didn’t change any of the ingredients though, so if you would like to try it for yourself (which I highly recommend), you can find her recipe here!

Apple Pie Bread

This bread was the product of my attempt to use up all of my perishable foods before going to Singapore for the next three weeks!  I modified the original recipe a bit in order to cram the maximum amount of apples into it and omitted the nuts and raisins completely.  The end result was a moist, chunky loaf of bread with a crunchy, nutty streusel over the top.  This recipe will surely make another appearance in my kitchen come fall.

Today was a great day.  My other best friend, Shannon, came back from studying abroad in the Netherlands last night at 5 pm.  Since my exam ended today at 10 am, we all got together and I finally got to have a girls day with my friends from high school!  We hung around outside, made coconut margaritas and caught up on each other’s lives.  Too bad I have to leave so soon after our reunion!

Don’t worry though, I will not be neglecting PITK during my travels, so expect a post about food in Singapore very soon!

Apple Pie Bread
Makes 1 9×5 in loaf

1/2  cup butter, softened (I used Earth Balance)
1/2  cup granulated sugar
1/2  cup packed brown sugar
1/3  cup buttermilk (for DF use 1/3 c non-dairy milk with 2 teaspoons vinegar)
2  teaspoons baking powder
2  eggs
1  teaspoon vanilla extract
2  cups all purpose flour
1/2  teaspoon apple pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
3  cups peeled apples, diced
streusel – nut topping (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.  Cream butter and sugars in a large bowl. Add the buttermilk and baking powder; beat until combined. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until combined. Add flour, apple pie spice and salt; then, you guessed it, beat until combined.

Toss the apples and in a bit of flour before adding to the batter. Stir in apples by hand. Spoon batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Prepare the streusel topping and sprinkle over the batter. Bake for 60 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool bread in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely.

Wrap and store overnight before slicing. (Or you know, eat it as soon as it’s cool enough like I did).

Streusel – Nut Topping

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3  tablespoons flour
2  tablespoons butter, softened
1/3  cup walnuts or pecans, chopped

In a small bowl combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and flour. Using a pastry blender or fork cut in the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in walnuts or pecans.

Adapted from BHG 

Vegan Banana Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

I am officially in panic mode.  My mom emailed me a few days ago and said “OMG.  There is less than a month until we go to Singapore.  I need to lose four pounds– I gain weight every time I go home!”  I looked at my calendar, and sure enough, our flight is in less than 3 weeks.
My mom, brother and I go to Singapore every year or so.  My mother is a native Singaporean, and now that my grandparents are getting older, we’ve been much better about visiting on a regular basis.  I love Singapore … it’s steaming hot, bustling, and really different from my hometown.  The food is definitely the best part (okay, and the shopping too), and my mom and I have been known to gorge on durian, noodle soups, dim sum, roti pratha, and my mom’s favorite kueh.   My Singaporean family also tends to express their love through food- so during our visits we are always meeting relatives for lunch, dinner, supper, tea, etc..  That is really great for my taste buds and family bonding and all… but not so great on my waistline!  So, after reading my mom’s email, panic mode has indeed ensued.
So, here is my LAST dessert recipe until I leave for Singapore.  Seriously. The last.  My posts for the next few weeks will be all salads and oatmeal with fruit and lettuce wraps.  I can do this, right? Right.
This cake was surprising.  I actually decided to make this 100% vegan and used flax meal instead of the egg and it is delightful.  The peanut butter frosting is creamy and decadent and I doubt I will ever use another peanut frosting again.
I ate a slice of this for breakfast, but you could eat it as a snack, with tea or coffee or as dessert after dinner.  Now who wants a slice? Seriously… I gotta give this thing away before I ruin my Singapore diet.
Vegan Banana Cake
Makes one 9″ round or 9×9″ square cake

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup banana puree
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup water
4 teaspoons flax (can substitute 1 egg for non-vegan)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, sift the flour, powder, soda, salt (and flax, if using).
In a smaller bowl, combine sugar, maple syrup, banana puree, oil, water, and egg.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Pour into a greased 9×9 baking dish (round or square). Bake for 20-24 minutes or until knife inserted comes out mostly clean.

Recipe from Pinch of Yum

Vegan Peanut Butter Frosting (I kid you not, the best peanut frosting in the entire world)

1/4 cup margarine, softened
2 tablespoons shortening
1/3 cup creamy natural peanut butter
1 tablespoon barley malt syrup or molasses, optional
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 to 2 tablespoons rice milk or soy milk

Cream together the margarine and shortening at medium speed until smooth. Add peanut butter, barley malt syrup/molasses, and vanilla, and beat until very smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the sugar; the mixture will be very stiff. Dribble in rice milk a little at a time, beating continuously till frosting is pale tan and very fluffy.

Adjust the thickness of the filling by adding rice milk or more confectioners’ sugar in small amounts if necessary

Recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World