Blueberry Crumble Cake

Breakfast is a very divisive meal. Both for experts ('the most important meal of the day') and for these blue-eyeds' significant others. The two boys prefer to take their time basking in the morning newness and sipping their coffees slowly, before even contemplating their breakfast foods...if they even get to thinking about breakfast at all.

On the other hand, this is how our collective thought process goes when the alarm sounds; 'Noooooo. Snooze. Noooooo. Snooze. Noooooo. I don't want to get up. I want...ooooo, Kelly Clarkson. I love this song. Hmmmm...what can I eat for breakfast? NOW. I am so hungry NOW.'

So you can imagine the mini-coup chez Blue-Eyed Bakers when we discovered a breakfast pastry of sorts that not only resulted in one less morning snooze on our part but also incited pre-coffee early morning excitement in the boys.  

Blueberry Crumble Cake. Extra Crumble. Screw the coffee. Thankyouverymuch.

Blueberry Crumble Cake
Serves 10

Print Recipe

For the Cake:
2 cups blueberries (approximately)
2  cups all-purpose flour, mixed with pinch of salt plus 2 teaspoon baking powder
¼ cups unsalted butter
¾ cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
½ cup milk
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon dry bread crumbs
½ cup chopped walnuts

For the Topping:
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 375° F.

First, make the topping. Combine all Topping dry ingredients and then cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. You can double this part too, like we did.

Next, make the cake.  Sprinkle berries with 1 ½ tablespoons of the flour mix. Toss gently. Set aside. 

Cream butter and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla extract. Beat mixture until fluffy and light. Stir in the remaining dry cake ingredients alternately with the milk. Then, stir in the lemon rind. Spoon stiff batter over floured blueberries and fold gently until just mixed.

Turn into a buttered 8- or 9-inch square pan that has been dusted with some dry bread crumbs. Then, sprinkle cake batter with nuts and the prepared topping.

Bake on the  center rack in the preheated for 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out with just a few crumbs on it.  Allow to cool in the pan for at least 30 minutes before serving.


Peanut Butter & Jelly Bread

Today we are baking bread. 

Hey! Wait!  Don't run away!  This isn't that scary bread baking - we promise.  This is that fun bread baking.  Yeah you heard us.  FUN.

You totally don't trust us.  We're hurt.  We're sad.  We love you.  We wouldn't lead you into the bread baking lion's den.  Trust.

And put away the bread maker.

This is no-knead, easy-peasy, delicious, chewy, crunchy, doughy bread.  And you made it!  Yes you did!  Yay you!

Oh and you put peanut butter and jelly in it too.  Yes you did.  Yay you! 

Because sometimes that whole assembling the peanut butter and jelly sandwich routine is just too dang hard.  It's ok.  We know.  Sometimes we just eat the peanut butter out of the jar with a really large spoon.  Um, you weren't supposed to know that.

But back to the bread.  There is a very smart man named Jim Lahey who apprently loves carbs as much as we do, but hates that scary bread baking thing.  He likes the easy bread baking thing.  We heart Jim.

And he makes you feel really good about yourself because you follow his recipes and then you get this bread that actually tastes like bread.  Like really, really, REALLY insanely good bread.

And he puts peanut butter in bread.  And jelly!  And chocolate! Wait that's for another bread baking lesson...although someone might have slathered this PB&J loaf with some Nutella.

Crap you weren't supposed to know that either.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bread
Adapted from Jim Lahey's My Bread
Makes 1 8 inch loaf

Print Recipe

1 large egg, beaten
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (280 grams) bread flour
2 tablespoons (20 grams) whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon (4 grams) table salt
1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) instant or other active dry yeast
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (260 grams) cool (55 to 65 degrees F) water
3 tablespoons (50 grams) unsalted smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup (35 grams) unsalted dry-roasted peanuts, whole
1/4 cup (35 grams) unsalted dry-roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
1/3 cup (100 grams) seedless fruit jam of choice
Nonstick cooking spray
Additional flour for dusting

1 8 x 4.5 inch loaf pan

Set aside 1 tablespoon of the beaten egg for glazing the bread.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flours, salt, yeast, and the remaining egg. In a blender, mix water and peanut butter until smooth. Add peanut butter mixture to the flour mixture and mix (a spoon or your hand works the best) until you have a wet, sticky dough - about 30 seconds. Stir in the whole peanuts.  Cover the bowl and let it sit at room temperature until the surface is dotted with bubbles and the dough is more than doubled in size, 12-18 hours (we let ours rise for about 16 hours).

When the first rise is complete, sprinkle the surface of the dough with flour. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the dough out of the bowl in one piece and onto a lightly floured surface.  Flour your hands and gently pat and pull the dough into a rough rectangle about 8 by 12 inches.

Spread the jam evenly over the surface of the dough, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides. Lifting a short end, fold one third of it over to the middle of the rectangle, then continue rolling up the remainder into a cylinder. Tuck the ends of the dough under the bottom so the jelly doesn't ooze out during baking.

Lightly coat the loaf pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle half of the chopped peanuts into the bottom of the pan. Transfer the dough, seam side down, to the loaf pan and sprinkle the remaining chopped peanuts on top. Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and let it rise for an hour in a warm spot.  When the dough has doubled in size it's ready.  If it doesn't hold an impression when you poke it with your finger, let it rise for another 15 minutes.

15 minutes before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 450°F, with a rack in the center.

When rise is complete, brush the top of the dough with the reserved beaten egg. Bake until golden, about 1 hour.  If the peanuts start to brown too quickly, you can cover the loaf loosely with foil.  As soon as the bread is complete, invert the pan onto a rack, remove the pan, and turn the bread right side up to cool thoroughly.


Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Peanut Butter Pizza

There are lots of things from the 80's that we do not miss.

Mork and Mindy, for one. Rubik's Cube, for another. Sharing a bedroom.  The word "radical." Garbage Pail Kids and leg-warmers. Not having cable television. Matching turtlenecks and overalls.

Um, and awkward bowl cut haircuts. 

Then, there are a lot of things from the 80's that we desperately wish would make a comeback.

Esprit. Rainbow Bright. Thundercats and Fraggle Rock. Stacy Q! Watching Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Labyrinth fives times a day. Devouring a slice of chocolate chip marshmallow peanut butter pizza.

That's right. You heard us correctly. 

Pizza but for dessert.

We know. AMAZING.

Multiple times a week, our Mummy would whip up one of these beauties and serve it on paper napkins along side a Tupperware sippy cup of milk to the hundreds of children inevitably playing at our house. 

And, in that very 80's way, it was totally easy and totally bad for you (it was like the Hamburger Helper of desserts). As if anyone cared as long as it tasted delicious.

And, it does. Taste delicious, we mean. We think the Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Peanut Butter Pizza should make a comeback. You should help us start the trend again. 

Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Peanut Butter Pizza
Serves 12 adults (or 45 kids) 

Print Recipe

1 cup brown sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
½ cup smooth peanut butter
½ teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 egg
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
A 10.5 ounce bag of miniature marshmallows
1 14 ounce package of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine sugar, butter, peanut butter, vanilla and egg; blend well.  Add flour; stir in until it resembles Play-Dough consistency. 

Press dough evenly over bottom of 12 or 14-inch pizza pan, forming rim along edge. Bake for 10 minutes until crust is slightly brown and puffing up.

Sprinkle with chocolate and marshmallows; continue to bake for 5 to 8 minutes or until marshmallows are puffy and lightly browned. Do not let them burn!

Cool completely before cutting into skinny wedges and serving with tall glasses of milk. 

Seriously, it's this simple. 


Hokey Pokey

Who wants to make something delicious?  Easy?  Delicious AND easy?  You there!  Yes you!  Come on down and let's chat about a little something called hokey pokey...

Yes the name is ridiculous.  But let's forget about that.  Focus on the delicious and easy part.

Really easy.  See these three ingredients?

That's all you need.  Yes we're serious.  Can we even call this a recipe? 

Ok good because we are.

You must make this ridiculously named stuff now.  You have the ingredients.  Go check.  We'll wait...

It's crunchy.  And chewy.  And is a rather fabulous addition to a bowl of ice cream.  Or a bowl of melted chocolate.  Or that morning bowl of Cheerios.  Go on, add some in...we won't tell.

Oooh and plus, there's this marvelously satisfying part of the "recipe" when you get to shatter this lovely, glossy pancake of sugar into a million little pieces. 

Maybe it was a rough day.  We won't judge.  But hokey pokey helps with rough days.  Just saying.

Hokey Pokey
Adapted from Nigella Lawson

Print Recipe

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

In a small saucepan off the heat, combine the sugar and corn syrup and stir together.  Place over medium high heat.  Do not stir.  Allow the sugar and corn syrup to melt together and begin to bubble and darken - about 3-5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and immediately whisk in the baking soda.  The mixture will bubble and turn light gold.  Quickly pour the mixture onto a piece of parchment paper.

Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes, then break up into shards and enjoy.


Buttermilk Ice Cream with Stewed Fruit

So, this is how last weekend's blue-eyed convo went;

Katy: "When you visit me this weekend, we are having a dinner party."

Abby: "I'll make pimento cheese and specialty cocktails. It will be Southern themed. YAY!"

Katy: "YAY themes! We'll make fried chicken and biscuits. What do you want for dessert?"

Abby: "Ice cream."

Katy: "What kind?"

Abby: "The ice cream kind."

Katy: "Helpful. Well, not sure how it happened, but I have an abnormal amount of buttermilk in the fridge and the most recent Bon Appetit. We're totally set."

Abby: "With stewed stone fruits!!!"

Later Abby claimed to have never mentioned stewed stone fruits (liar liar pants on fire) so we had to wing it...

But you know what, team? After mustering up a little courage (or recklessly consuming several specialty cocktails), the fresh plums and peaches and lots of sugar mostly masked the complete ignorance on our part.

And, well, the tartly sweet lemony smoothness of the buttermilk ice cream took care of the rest.

Buttermilk Ice Cream with Stewed Fruit
Serves 10 people
Adapted from Bon Appetit August 2010

Print Recipe

For the ice cream:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
8 large egg yolks
1 cup granulated sugar

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups buttermilk
1 cup creme fraiche
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt

For the stewed fruit:
1 pound mixed stone fruit (such as plums, peaches and nectarines), pitted and sliced into wedges
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup water

Bring cream to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Whisk egg yolks, sugar and vanilla extract in a medium bowl to blend. Slowly, patiently whisk hot cream into yolk mixture to temper the eggs and avoid scrambling them. Return mixture to saucepan and stir constantly over medium-low heat until custard is thick enough to coat back of a wooden spoon, about 3-5 minutes (make certain not to allow this mixture to boil).

Pour the custard through fine strainer into clean bowl (just in case you are human and there are a few eggy bits in the hot cream blend). Cool to room temperature, at least an hour. Whisk in buttermilk, creme fraiche, lemon juice, and salt. Chill custard until cold, about 4 hours or overnight.

Process custard into an ice cream maker and mix according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer ice cream to containers; cover and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.

Meanwhile, make the stewed fruit. Put all the ingredients into a medium saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and allow sugar to dissolve and syrup to reduce by about half.

Pour over ice cream and serve.

DO AHEAD: The ice cream can be made up to 3 days ahead. Keep it frozen until you are about 5 minutes away from serving to allow it to soften. You can also make the fruit ahead and keep it covered in the fridge though it is much tastier when the fruit and syrup are hot and melt the ice cream a little...yum!