Archive for: blueberry
I often add fresh blueberries to quick breads and muffins when the berries are in season and have a lot of flavor, but blueberries in the off-season can sometimes be disappointing and not deliver the rich, jammy flavor that you want to get from a perfect blueberry. This Blueberry Swirl Bread is an easy to make quick bread that packs in a lot of blueberry flavor thanks to a flavorful blueberry swirl running through the center of the loaf.
The base for this quick bread is a tender, vanilla-scented batter. The batter is made with the “muffin method,” meaning that it is made with melted butter and requires no creaming. It is a fairly thick batter that also has plain greek-style yogurt in it. The yogurt keeps it moist and tender, and the thick batter is able to support the weight of the blueberry preserve swirl. The vanilla and blueberries go very well together and the bread has a slightly sweeter flavor than similar breads made simply by stirring whole blueberries in – although if you do have very sweet, ripe blueberries on hand, you might want to stir a handful in along with the swirl!
I used Bonne Maman’s Wild Blueberry Preserves, which is packed with whole wild blueberries. Preserves, as opposed to jellies or jams, typically have chunks of fruit in them and you will get the best results in this recipe if you start with good, flavorful preserves. I recommend only swirling the preserves in slightly so that you get a dark, good looking swirl – but be sure to put a little effort into it, because if you don’t, your preserves may sink to the bottom of the loaf.
Nothing is more disappointing than biting into a beautiful blueberry muffin at a bakery or coffee shop and finding out that there aren’t very many blueberries inside. Unfortunately, this happens more often than it should (and it really should never happen) because some bakers will stud the outside of their muffins with berries and skimp on berries in the batter. When you bake your own blueberry muffins, you can have complete control of how many berries make it in to each bite – and these Bountiful Blueberry Muffins are just packed with them.
The muffins are simple, with a warm buttermilk flavor and a light sweetness that really allows the blueberries to “pop” in every bite. Blueberries are definitely the star here, and eating a muffin where the blueberries stand out so much also shows you how many other muffins mask the flavor of blueberries a bit – or simply don’t play it up enough. I used fresh berries in my muffins and always prefer to use fresh when I can get my hands on a fresh basket of them. If you are using fresh berries, be careful when you fold them in to your batter so that you don’t burst any of them. You can also use frozen berries. If you are using frozen, toss them in a teaspoon or two of all purpose flour before stirring them in, so that they don’t “bleed” any frozen berry juice into your batter and turn it pink.
This muffin batter is thick, which means that the berries will stay firmly in place during baking and won’t all sink to the bottom of the muffin. It also means that you can really heap the batter into your muffin cups, filling them up a lot more than you would with your average muffin recipe (usually you aim for 3/4ths full). A thick batter like this one will rise up a lot during baking, creating a muffin with a lovely, large top. Don’t be alarmed that the baking time is longer than it might be for some other muffin recipes, either, since bigger muffins with thicker batters often need a little extra time in the oven to cook all the way through. Just be patient, check your muffins for doneness with a toothpick and you’ll be enjoying a batch of these before you know it.
If any cake recipe could inspire you to bake cakes a little more often, it should be this one. This Almond Cake is an easy, low maintenance cake that needs no special preparation and tastes delicious even when it is served plain. The finished cake has a dense, pound cake-like consistency and a tight, tender crumb. It has a good almond flavor, which I enhance slightly by adding a bit of almond extract in addition to vanilla. It goes with everything from chocolate to berries to a simple sprinkling of powdered sugar, so once you add it to your repertoire, you can serve it any number of ways.
This cake is a variation of similar cakes that I have seen Jacques Pepin on his shows over the years. Like him, I mix this cake up in the food processor and it takes no time at all. I always have ground almonds/almond meal in my pantry, and if you do too you can mix this up in a bowl without a food processor, but the processor comes in handy when you only have whole almonds and need to grind them down into the flour mixture for the cake. I usually bake the cake in a single layer, but it can also be split and filled with fresh berries, whipped cream or a berry compote, like the one I made here.
I topped this cake of with an incredibly easy blueberry compote that I make in the microwave. It can also be made in a saucepan, but as long as you have a good sized microwave safe bowl, it is very easy to do in the microwave. I combine blueberries (fresh or frozen) with a small amount of cornstarch and some blueberry preserves. The preserves add just a touch of sweetness and help give the compote a nice, thick consistency. Raspberry preserves can also be used and you’ll still get a strong blueberry flavor. I simply add a scoop of the compote onto each slice of cake before serving, and keep the leftovers for topping waffles, pancakes and other cakes.
I suspect that blueberry muffins might be the most popular type of muffin out there, since they are so ubiquitous at coffee shops and bakeries. They’re popular for a reason: blueberries are delicious, attractive to look at and add a lot of moisture to muffins. A good blueberry muffin recipe also makes a great base for other flavors, like these Blueberry Coconut Muffins, where I added shredded coconut in along with my blueberries to give the muffins a chance to stand out from the crowd of other blueberry muffins.
The batter is simple and sweet, with a hint of vanilla extract to give it some flavor. It is easy to mix up in just a few minutes, and it is thick enough to prevent the blueberries from sinking into the bottom of the pan after you divide the batter into your muffin tin. The coconut sprinkled on top of the muffins toasts during baking, adding a subtle crunch and enhancing the coconut’s overall flavor. The muffins are moist and tender, with a fluffy interior that gets a slight chewiness from all the coconut in the batter. They are best when they’re fresh, but they will keep well for a few days if you can’t eat them all at once.
I used frozen blueberries in these muffins. Frozen berries have a few advantages over fresh blueberries, such as the fact that they are available year round and they are very easy to fold into a muffin batter without having to worry about the berries breaking up. Even when blueberries are in season, I will still often use frozen berries in my baking. Both fresh and frozen berries will work equally well in this recipe. Similarly, both sweetened and unsweetened coconut will work equally well. Sweetened coconut is more common and will add a bit of extra sweetness to the finished muffins, but unsweetened will still lend a great coconut flavor.
My No Knead Whole Wheat Honey Sandwich Bread is one of those recipes that you just might find yourself making over and over, because it is so fast and easy – especially for a yeast bread recipe – and it makes a great all purpose loaf of bread for sandwiches and toast. The loaf is also fairly plain, which makes it a great base for variations. With a little cinnamon, a little brown sugar and a generous amount of dried blueberries, I turned this sandwich bread into one that makes excellent french toast.
No-Knead Whole Wheat Cinnamon Blueberry Bread starts out with a mixture of whole wheat flour and bread flour. The flours are heated slightly before being incorporated into the the dough, which helps the loaf to rise faster and make it into the oven more quickly. The dough can be mixed by hand, but I tend to whip it up in my stand mixer, so it really tasks very little time to put together. The whole wheat flour gives the bread a very nutty flavor and a slightly coarser crumb than all purpose or bread flour would. The slightly airier texture of the finished bread makes this perfect for soaking up an eggy french toast batter or lots of butter after toasting. It doesn’t have the sweetness of a cinnamon swirl bread, which often has additional sugar added when making the swirl, but it still has plenty of flavor from the cinnamon and all of those blueberries.
Dried blueberries make a nice change from raisins in this bread dough, adding a sweet and fruity flavor to the loaf. The berries plump up nicely during baking, too. If you have raisins or currants, you could easily substitute those into this recipe or use them in a mixture with some blueberries. Dried cranberries could be subbed in in the fall and winter for a tangier note in cooler weather. This bread slices easily and makes great toast, especially if you finish it off with butter and cinnamon sugar. If you end up taking the french toast route with your finished loaf, pick up some fresh blueberries and make a nice compote to top off your breakfast!