Blueberry Oat Crumble Bars

We're fortunate enough to live five minutes away from a blueberry farm. Our fridge is overflowing with blueberries. We've gone through twenty pounds of blueberries in the last two weeks. I'm not exaggerating. Poppy has had some truly horrific diapers.

These bars are rich and buttery but the blueberries add a fresh element so they're not too heavy. They're great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or dollop of whipped cream, but they're also a lovely summer breakfast with a little yogurt and an iced coffee. These bars are versatile is what I'm saying.

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Blueberry Oat Crumble Bars

Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups old fashioned oats
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup cold butter
4 cups fresh blueberries
Juice of half a lemon
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt

Directions
Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly grease 9" x 13" pan.

In large mixing bowl, mix together flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, and cinnamon. Cut in the butter until mixture is uniformly crumbly. Reserve 1-1/2 cups mixture and press the remaining into the bottom of the prepared pan.

In another mixing bowl, gently stir together blueberries, lemon juice, granulated sugar, cornstarch, and 1/4 tsp salt. Pour blueberries over crust. Sprinkle reserved crumbs over top of the blueberry mixture.

Bake for 45 - 50 minutes until blueberries are bubbly and top is lightly golden.

 

Spicy Oatmeal Cookies

These cookies do not make any sense. Let's start with the name: Spicy Oatmeal Cookies. Spicy, to me, means hot like a chili pepper. These cookies are not hot like a chili pepper. They're spiced. They contain nutmeg and cloves and taste a little bit like autumn. But they're not spicy. They don't even contain cinnamon, which I would consider the "spiciest" oatmeal cookie spice, you know? Next, they contain no chocolate. None. No cocoa powder, no chocolate chips, nary a chocolate chunk in sight. What even is the point? Also, these are crunchy cookies. I definitely prefer to stay in the land of ooey, gooey, chewy cookies.  Finally, the most egregious abuses of baked goods: they contain nuts. Not almonds or pecans, the less offensive of the nut world. Walnuts. The worst. 

And yet, when my sister texted me a picture of the recipe card where she recorded Mom's Spicy Oatmeal Cookies we remember so fondly from childhood, I couldn't wait to get baking. The only substitution I made was to use butter in place of shortening; the rest I kept exactly how my mom used to make when we were kids. And they are perfection. Grady won't eat them because of all the bits, Poppy can't eat them because she's allergic, and Shawn just looks confused whenever he bites into one and realizes all over again that these are non-chocolate cookies, but I don't care. They are exactly how I remember them.

A quick note: you might be tempted to skip the almond extract because it seems a bit fuss-ass to have both vanilla and almond extract but please, for the sake of your cookies, resist. Use both and revel in the tastiness. 

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Ingredients

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
7/8 cup all-purpose flour (whaaaaat? I know. I just used my one cup measure and scooped out a heaping tablespoon. Old recipes are weird.)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup medium shred, unsweetened coconut
1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

Preheat oven to 375-degrees.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Beat butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add egg, vanilla, and almond extract and beat until combined.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cloves. 

Blend dry ingredients into butter mixture just until combined.

Add coconut, oatmeal, and walnuts.

Form dough into small balls. Flatten slightly. Place on baking sheet spaced approximately 1.5 inches apart.

Bake 12 - 14 minutes until lightly golden.

Enjoy! 

Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies. 

Half & Half Chocolate Chip Cookies

Shawn and Grady's favourite cookie is the classic chocolate chip cookie but for Father's Day, I wanted to give the classic a little oomph. I didn't want to fundamentally change the basic chocolate chip cookie, but I did want to make it feel a little more special. These half & half chocolate chip cookies look impressive but don't take much more time to make than regular cookies. The recipes can be made as standalone cookies or they can be combined to make a fancier-but-still-classic chocolate chip cookie.

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

I tweaked this recipe slightly to suit my purposes.

Ingredients

½ cup unsalted butter
¾ cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

Melt butter.

Stir in sugars and salt until a smooth paste has formed.

Whisk in the egg and vanilla until combined well.

Stir in flour, baking soda, and chocolate chips gently until combined. Do not over mix. 

Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour, preferably overnight. (I know. I know! What a pain. But it honestly results in tastier, more flavourful cookies.) 

Double Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Ingredients

½ cup unsalted butter
¾ cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾  cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup white chocolate chips

Directions

Melt butter.

Stir in sugars and salt until a smooth paste has formed.

Whisk in the egg and vanilla until combined well.

Stir in flour, baking soda, cocoa, and chocolate chips gently until combined. Do not over mix. 

Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour, preferably overnight. 

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Half & Half Cookie Assembly

Preheat oven to 350F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Scoop spoonfuls of chocolate chip cookie dough onto prepared cookie sheets. (I use my 1-teaspoon cookie scoop and the cookies are the perfect size.) Scoop similar-sized spoonfuls of double chocolate chip cookie dough and then roll the two balls together in your palms to create one ball of cookie dough that is half plain chocolate chip cookie dough and half double chocolate chip cookie dough. Flatten slightly and place two inches apart on cookie sheet.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until slightly browned. Remove from cookie sheet and cool completely. Enjoy!

Makes approximately 40 cookies.

Apple Crisp Blondies

I know it's kind of a weird time of year to be posting an apple recipe but trust me, if you could see the rain we're getting today you would understand. I can't even think about lemons or rhubarb right now. We are not getting a light sprinkle of spring rain. We are getting drenched. We're in need of comfort food to warm the bones so apples it is!

This recipe is based on these apple blondies. I bet the crumbly cheddar cheese topping from this apple pie would also work, in place of my oat topping. 

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 apples, peeled, cored, and diced (my pieces were approximately chickpea-sized)

Topping

1/4 cup cold butter
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease 9x13-inch baking pan.

In large mixing bowl, combine melted butter, sugars, vanilla, and eggs. Stir in dry ingredients (you could sift the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl before mixing into the butter mixture but that requires time, energy, and dirtying another bowl). Batter will be quite thick.

Gently stir in apples and press mixture into the bottom of prepared pan.

In dirty mixing bowl (look, I don't have time for perfection right now, okay?), combine topping ingredients with pastry cutter, two knives, or your fingers, until butter is incorporated and you're left with pea-sized crumbs. Sprinkle evenly over batter and lightly press into the surface.

Bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes until toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. 

Enjoy with a cup of tea and the knowledge that spring has to show up at some point. Stay warm, friends. 
 

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