Category Archives: Desserts

Happy Holidays: Ginger Cookies

Do you ever think to yourself, “Man, I’m so sick of cookies?”

Me neither.

This time of year, food-based web sites are overrun with tempting cookie recipes, each pledging the perfect addition to a holiday get-together.  Homemade cookies also make a great gift for tireless host or hostesses, friendly co-workers, and anyone you want to show your appreciation.  This year, in true city-girl-turns-surburbia-queen, our list of cookie recipients expand to include the mailman Continue reading

Game On: Zucchini Brownies

Don’t play with your food.  While this may be a common directive for many families at the dinner table, it doesn’t always apply to kitchen creatives determined to make baked goods both healthy and satisfying.  Myself, included.

Earlier this year, Serious Eats posted an article comparing applesauce and non-fat yogurt in place of oil in boxed brownie mixes.  In this head-to-head competition, yogurt created a “rich and velvety” taste and texture that rendered it the winner.  The lactic acid in yogurt tenderizes the flour and helps keep baked goods moist and light, while cutting fat and calories. Continue reading

Kabocha and Coffee: Raspberry Oat Bars

Monday through Friday, I step off the train in the morning at Penn Center Suburban Station following a 45 minute commute, and the smell of coffee smacks me in the face.  I love it; in fact, look forward to it.  Without ingesting a bit of caffeine, I’m awakened for the second time.

Allow me to add another aroma I wouldn’t mind confronting each morning: kabocha squash baking in the oven.  Sweet, nutty, and fragrant like a decadent dessert when, in reality, it’s a nutritious impostor with many recipe functions.

Kabocha arrived in my CSA share, among other varieties of produce that are new to my vocabulary (thank you, Landisdale Farm!).  From Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes and Red Tropea Onions to Sweet Dumpling Squash and Sugar Baby Watermelons, I’m amazed at the innumerable varieties of fruits and vegetables.  Squash isn’t just squash anymore – it’s kabocha, acorn, sweet dumpling or zucchini. Continue reading

A Plum Rescue: Blueberry Plum Crumble

Yellow plums showed up in my CSA share this week.  Admittedly, I wasn’t certain they were plums at first, despite being identical in shape and packaging to their purplish-red hued, already identified relative.  My brother and I quizzically looked at the perfectly round, yellow globes and raised an eyebrow to each other.  He then shrugged his shoulders and stated, “Well, at least I know I’ll be reading about them on your blog!”

He’s right.  And they are plums, as sweet as the other plums we have known.  To be honest, I hadn’t planned on using them for this recipe, but they proved to be a valuable, last-minute addition to this Blueberry Plum Crumble.

Plums are a stone fruit, like peaches and nectarines.  Science Daily reports that they have a very similar nutrient profile to blueberries, chock full of antioxidants and phytonutrients.  Combined with a good amount of dietary fiber, vitamin C, magnesium and potassium, plums help keep blood pressure and cholesterol levels low.

Not only does this recipe mark the first use of yellow plums, it marks the first recipe found and posted from an actual, physical cook book, rather than the internet.  The Complete Step-by-Step Cookbook (1999 version) was a gift from my garage-sale loving mother who, in a sleep-sacrificing Saturday morning search for the ultimate bargain, paid 50 cents for a beautiful, hard cover compilation filled with colorful pictures and in-depth instructions to help dummy-proof recipe re-creation.  Funny how I still manage to goof… but plums came to my rescue.

I’ve been wanting to try a crumble ever since my sort-of successful Rhubarb-Apple Delight.  With so much fruit in season, it’s fun to dress it up with a little bit of sugar, flour and butter — even for a dietitian.  The thought of soaking my taste buds with a nutrient-packed, tart and crunchy dessert (or breakfast, or snack) makes the idea of turning on the oven amidst a veritable heat wave significantly less distasteful.

So, what started as a Blueberry Crumble thanks to my purchase at Sunrise Sunflower Farm, ended with the addition of 6 plums to even out the fruit-to-crumble ratio.  But as you layer the fruit and the crumble, don’t be surprised if there’s some crumble left over – save it to experiment with other fruits, or, as Tartelette suggests, bake it separately to serve over ice cream or freeze it for up to three months for use at a later time.

Blueberry Plum Crumble

Adapted from Pear Crumble recipe from of The Complete Step-by-Step Cookbook – 1999 (page 357)

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 6 small plums, pitted and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place blueberries in a small bowl.
  3. Mix turbinado sugar with 1 teaspoon cinnamon and stir together with blueberries.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together remaining cinnamon, flour and brown sugar.  Rub or cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  5. In an 8×2 baking dish, layer crumble mixture and blueberries.  Add plums into rotation (see Recipe Notes below).  Finish with crumble layer on top.
  6. Bake 30 minutes or until golden on top.  Serve hot or cold.

Recipe Notes: The original recipe is for a Pear Crumble, which uses canned pear spears as well as the juice from the can.  Since I used fresh fruit, the fruit juice is missing from this recipe, although I really do not think it affected the quality (it’s still delicious!).  I also added the plums after I mixed the blueberries with the sugar and cinnamon mixture; feel free to add the plums at this point, as well (Step 3), so they get wrapped in cinnamon-sugar goodness, too!  Additionally, I substituted turbinado sugar for granulated sugar and butter for margarine.