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 It was originally made with butter instead of coconut oil, but it was easily adapted into a vegan treat.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

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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! :)

Almond Poppy Seed Quick Bread

Quick breads are the best. You can throw all the ingredients together in one or two bowls, pour everything into a pan and leave it in the oven for an hour.  There is no annoying whipping of egg whites, chopping of fruit, boiling of sugar or spooning batter into little cups. So easy! And this recipe makes TWO loaves. So more for sharing. Nom.

Almond Poppy Seed Bread 2

I was really excited about this recipe because the only way I’ve ever eaten poppy seeds is in lemon poppy seed muffins. After this recipe, almond is my new favorite flavor.  Everyone who has tried it has had the same reaction: “OMG. Yum. Can I have another slice?”  I made this bread yesterday and one of the loaves is already gone… so if you are in a pinch and really want to impress your family with treat for Easter, make this!

Almond Poppy Seed Bread 4

Almond Poppy Seed Bread
Makes two 9×5″ loaves

Bread:
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup poppy seeds
1 1/3 cup canola oil
3 room temperature eggs
1 1/2 cups milk (I used almond milk, your favorite should be fine)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract

Glaze:
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray two 9×5-inch loaf pans with cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl, whisk  flour, salt, baking powder, sugar, and poppy seeds. Set aside.

In another large mixing bowl, whisk the oil, eggs, milk, and extracts until combined.

Using a wooden spoon, make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour the wet mixture into the well and use the spoon or a rubber spatula to combine the ingredients. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans. Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a loaf comes out clean. (Here, if your edges appear to be browning too quickly, top with aluminum foil midway through baking)

When the breads are finished in the oven, make the glaze: In a large bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and both juices until smooth and runny. Add the liquid slowly so the glaze doesn’t become too runny.

Run a butter knife along the edges of each pan, then invert the pans and remove the still-warm loaves. Place the loaves, right side up, onto serving plates and drizzle each one with the glaze. Cool completely before slicing.

Recipe adapted from AllRecipes

Almond Poppy Seed Bread 1

Fresh Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins with Orange Glaze

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins 1

Yay, muffins!

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins 2

Fresh Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins with Orange Glaze
Makes 12 large muffins

Muffins:
1/2 cup butter or margarine (I used Earth Balance)
1 cup milk (I used almond milk)
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus 1 tablespoon
3/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup strawberries, chopped
1 cup chocolate chips

Glaze:
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
2-2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 400º. Line 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray. In a small bowl, toss chopped strawberries with one tablespoon of flour, set aside. In small bowl, whisk together butter, milk, vanilla, almond extract and eggs, set aside. In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in center of dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and stir just until combined (do not over mix). Gently fold in strawberries and chocolate chips. Divide batter over 12 muffins (cups will be quite full).

Bake for 18-20 minutes or until lightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand for 5 minutes before removing from pan to cool on a cooling rack.

To make the glaze, whisk ingredients together until thick and smooth. Dip tops of completed cooled muffins into glaze or pour over the top. Allow to dry before eating, then enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Hidden Ponies

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins 3

Coconut Milk Brownies

Coconut Milk Brownies 2

It was the name of these brownies is what caught my eye. Coconut milk? My lactose intolerant dream ingredient.  It’s the rich, decadent, magical little fix that makes everything creamy again!  As it turned out, these still contain two entire sticks of butter in addition to the coconut milk, but there’s nothing a Lactaid pill can’t fix, right? Right (hopefully). So I tried them.

These babies really do pack in the calories– coconut milk, butter, and entire bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips? But more calories can only mean one thing, MORE FLAVOR! Once again, my housemates approve, and I am happy to present to you, another dense, fudgy, and delicious brownie recipe.

Coconut Milk Brownies 1
Coconut Milk Brownies
Makes on 9×13″ pan

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2 cups sugar
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup coconut milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Frosting
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2-2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9×13 baking dish.  In small saucepan over low heat, melt butter completely. Stir in sugar and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Do not allow sugar mixture to boil. Add the chocolate chips and stir until melted.

Pour butter mixture into a large bowl or stand mixer and beat in coconut milk, eggs, and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, combine the cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and flour. Gradually add to the wet mixture and mix until well combined. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for about 35-45 minutes, until a tester comes out mostly clean. Let cool on a wire rack until completely cool.

While the brownies are baking, make the frosting by whipping the butter until lighter in color. Add the vanilla and coconut milk and beat until combined. Slowly add the cocoa powder and mix until combined. Add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until frosting has reached desired consistency. Spread over brownies once completely cooled.

Recipe from A Duck’s Oven

Coconut Oil White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Coconut Oil Cookies 1

My god, Averie is good.  Coconut oil instead of butter? Why didn’t I think of that? My lactose-intolerant self leaped for joy when I found these  butter-less cookies.  After trying this recipe from Averie Cooks, I’m pretty sure I’ll be making a trip to Costco to get one of those gallon-sized tubs of coconut oil…

These are best eaten straight from the oven– they’re chewy, gooey and really sweet, just how I like my cookies!  I had a little bit of trouble with the dough— it was super dry and crumbly so next time I think I will reduce the flour and increase the oil a bit.  Just a tip!

Coconut Oil White Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 15 cookies

1/2 cup coconut oil, softened (softened to the consistency of soft butter; not rock hard and not runny or melted)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup bread flour (I subbed all purpose flour here)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (6 ounces) white chocolate chips

To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine coconut oil, egg, sugars, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed to cream until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes. Note – Coconut oil should be the consistency of soft butter like you’d use to cream with sugar and eggs in traditional cookies. If coconut oil is rock hard, microwave it in a small bowl for 5 to 10 seconds or just until it begins to soften. If coconut oil is runny or melted, place it in the freezer momentarily until it firms up. A tiny amount of runniness is fine; it’s an oil and that happens. But do not use melted or purely liquid coconut oil because you can’t effectively cream a liquid; it would be like trying to cream liquid butter.

Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flours, baking soda, salt, and mix until just combined, about 1 minute. Add the white chocolate and beat momentarily to incorporate or fold in by hand.

Divide dough into approximately 15 equal-sized pieces. Place dough mounds on a large plate, and slightly flatten each mound. Very important to get the dough mounds in the exact shape you want to bake them in because after chilling, flattening or re-shaping them is very difficult. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours; up to 5 days. Do not bake these cookies with dough that has not been properly chilled because they will spread.

Preheat oven to 350°F, line or grease a baking sheet. Place dough on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart; I bake a maximum of 8 per sheet. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, or until tops have just set, even if slightly undercooked and glossy in the center. They firm up as they cool and I recommend the lower end of the baking range because they taste best when softer and paler. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 to 10 minutes before moving. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Alternatively, unbaked dough can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.

Recipe from Averie Cooks

Lemon-y Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars 1

Happy spring break everyone! I realize I fell off the blogging radar for a bit, but don’t worry because I’m back with an AWESOME lemon bar recipe for you to try.

I was going to lie to you all and say that I was too busy with homework and papers to update PITK, but seriously, when has school ever stopped me from baking?  The truth is, I have been in sort of a baking rut for a while.  Despite the hundreds of recipes I have bookmarked, pinned and favorited on Foodgawker and Tastespotting,  nothing was really catching my interest.  Something must have been seriously wrong with me, right? Anyway, a few days ago, I decided to just pick a recipe and get back into the swing of things… this is what I ended up with!

These lemon bars are actually tart and taste lemony, and it’s because the lemon filling contains a full cup of fresh lemon juice.  My housemates approve– one of them commented that they are some of the best she’d ever had!  If you’re looking to incorporate a little splash of summer into the dreary winter… this is surely the recipe for you :).

Perfect Lemon Bars
Makes one 8×8 pan

Crust
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp lemon zest
1/2 cup butter, room temperature

Filling
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed and strained
3 tablespoons flour

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 8×8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil.
Make the crust. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest. Cut butter into chunks and add to flour mixture. Blend in with an electric mixer at low speed until mixture forms coarse, sandy crumbs. Pour into pan and press mixture down (with your fingers or the back of a spoon) into an even layer.
Bake for 16-19 minutes, until just lightly browned around the edges.

While crust is baking, make filling. Whisk together all filling ingredients in a large bowl.
When the crust comes out of the oven and is still hot, pour in filling mixture.
Bake for about 20 minutes, or until filling is set and does not jiggle when the pan is gently shaken.
Cool completely before slicing.
Top slices with confectioners’ sugar to serve.

Recipe adapted from baking bites

Lemon Bars 2