Monthly Archives: July 2015

Blueberry Crumb Cake

It’s blueberry season and I have been eyeing a blueberry crumb cake recipe from Smitten Kitchen for a few weeks. I have bought blueberries at the farmers market or store every week, but never bit the bullet and made the cake. (Or, Brent ate them all, but I’m not here to play the blame game!)

 I walked into my pal Sarah’s (I think she is my #2 biggest fan?) baby shower, and there was the cake sitting on the counter! I started squawking and asking our gracious host: “TERESA! IS THAT THE SMITTEN KITCHEN BLUEBERRY CRUMB CAKE?!” Yes. It was. I ate it and it was so tasty I knew I’d be making it later that day to share with all of my pals at work.

And I did. And you should to. Here’s how.


 Blueberry Crumb Cake
serves 8-10 // recipe from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients
Cake:
2 cups minus 1 tablespoon (i.e. 1 3/4 cups + 3 tablespoons or 240 grams) all-purpose flour* see note
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup, or 55 grams) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pint (2 to 2 2/3 cups, 12 to 16 ounces, or 340 to 455 grams) fresh blueberries, clean and dry
1/2 cup milk, any kind
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Topping:
5 tablespoons (40 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup, 2 ounces or 55 grams) unsalted butter, cold is fine
Pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS
1. Heat oven to 375°F. Wash and dry your blueberries… dry them super well!

2. Butter a 9-inch round baking pan (with at least 2″ sides) and dust it lightly with flour; line it with a round of parchment paper just on the bottom of the pan. (As a note, my pan was 9″ but only had a 1.5″ side, so I made Brent his own tiny cake. This worked fine, but the end result would look nicer if you used a pan with at least a 2″ side.)

3. Make the topping by mixing the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt, then cutting the butter in with a pastry blender, fork or your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside. Note, this is going to seem too wet for a crumble topping. If you want add another teaspoon of flour, but if you don’t it turns out just as fine.

4. In a medium bowl, mix your dry ingredients: whisk flour, baking powder, and salt until combined. *Flour note: I used a 50/50 mix of all purpose flour and whole wheat flour the second time I made this and I prefer this method. Try it!

5. In a large bowl (or stand mixer), beat butter, sugar and zest of the lemon together until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined.

6. Beat in 1/3 of the dry ingredient mixture until just combined, followed by 1/2 the milk; repeat with remaining dry ingredients and milk, finishing with the dry mixture. The batter will be very stiff, and that’s ok!

7. Fold blueberries (carefully) into cake batter until evenly distributed.

8. Scoop cake batter into prepared pan and smooth so that it is flat. Add the topping. Bake in heated oven for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out batter-free.

 9. You can let the cake cool completely in the pan on a rack (I’d recommend this as I didn’t do it, or just cool it in the pan for 20 minutes before flipping it out onto a cooling rack, removing the parchment paper lining, and flipping it back onto a plate.

10. Be extra fancy and dust with confectioners’ sugar. I just used a fine mesh strainer and about 2 teaspoons of confectioners’ sugar and shook it on top. It made it look like I was an expert baker or that I bought it at a fancy bakery.

 I gave my co-workers a reason to eat cake in the morning, and they liked it so I think this will be something I make  again soon. Maybe my next excuse will be when Sarah has that baby in a few weeks. At least I won’t be the one sqwaking!

Homemade Cheez-Its for Megan

Our two pals (Justen & Megan, nosy) are marrying each other next weekend and we have been celebrating! Most recently at Megan’s bachelorette party, held at a beautiful Minnesota winery.

Meg sometimes gets hangry and loves Cheez-Its (who doesn’t….) so I thought a nice part of her gift would be a homemade version that might soak up the wine the next day.

This recipe was harder than driving to the store and opening up a box of crackers, but barely. It has only a few ingredients and tastes fantastic. These are not a health food, but a fun gift or snack for a party.

I found many recipes but the one I went with, which was great, was America’s Test Kitchen inspired.  Homemade Cheez-Its
serves 1 Meg // recipe adapted from America’s Test Kitchen and Tracey 

Ingredients
6 oz (1 1/2 cups) grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (or more, I put another shake in)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2-3 tablespoons water

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 375 F.

2. Line two baking sheets with parchment.

3. Add cheese, butter, salt, and pepper to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or add to a food processor. Mix on low speed until the mixture comes together and starts to stick to the sides of the bowl, about 30 seconds.

4. Add the flour and cornstarch, beating until incorporated – the mixture should look like coarse sand.

5. Mix in 2 tablespoons of water. (If the dough seems too dry, you can add up to 1 tablespoon of additional water to bring it together.)

6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

7. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into a rectangle with a rolling pin to about 1/16-inch thick. Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut the dough into 1-inch wide strips, then cut 1-inch squares from those strips. (If you have  fancy-edged-pastry cutter, use it! Also, the size of the cracker doesn’t have to be perfect.)

8. Transfer the squares to the prepared baking sheets – pack them in pretty tightly, they don’t spread very much!

9. Using the flat end of a wooden skewer (or something similar), poke a hole in the center of each dough square.

 10. Bake the crackers until the edges just begin to turn gold brown, which takes about 15-20 minutes. (Check them and turn the pan in the oven after ten minutes, then check again at 15 minutes, then every few minutes after until they are done.

11. Let the crackers cool on the baking sheet.

Pack them up in a mason jar, tie a bow around it and give it to your favorite bachelorette of the month. Or yourself. Or anyone else. Everyone will be jumping for joy.