Blackberry Shortbread Wedges

Blackberry Shortbread WedgesIt’s never fun to come home from vacation, but I think I did it right this time. Returning over the holiday weekend left me ample time to relax, grocery shop, meal prep, put up all the new things I bought in Swan’s Island and Portland, and watch all of The Good Place season 2. I’m calling it a success.Blackberry Shortbread Wedges

Getting back into the groove yesterday wasn’t too terrible, but a piece of my heart is definitely still in Maine. You know, where it’s not 95 degrees.Blackberry Shortbread Wedges

Two days before I packed up to go home, my sister and I walked a good stretch of the North Road at a snail’s pace, picking upwards of a quart of tiny wild blackberries in about two hours. It might sound dull, but I can assure you that Eliot and I were anything but bored.Blackberry Shortbread WedgesBlackberry Shortbread Wedges

The vast majority of the berries we found were the blackberries we expected, but we also spotted a blueberry patch and two teeny raspberries. All the apple trees were starting to turn, too. Maybe one day I’ll vacation a little later so I can enjoy them.Blackberry Shortbread WedgesBlackberry Shortbread Wedges

I’ve written before about how I consider baking (and cooking) to be a form of active meditation; I feel the same way about foraging for berries. It’s easy to get lost in the simple process of plucking them from bushes and interacting with nature in a very tactile way. Berry-picking is probably the only time in my life where I am able to peacefully, fearlessly coexist with bees and that I’m not mad about a few good scratches from thorns. If anything, they’re little badges of honor.Blackberry Shortbread WedgesBlackberry Shortbread WedgesBlackberry Shortbread Wedges

I’ve made pies with my foraged berries the last three years I’ve been on Swan’s Island, but decided to keep it easy this year, opting instead for these Blackberry Shortbread Wedges.Blackberry Shortbread Wedges

They’re a slight adaptation of my Sweet Cherry Shortbread Bars (and their apple counterpart), this time baked in an 8-inch round pan. The resulting wedges (or bars or whatever you want to call them) are served up almost like pie, and have a thick, buttery shortbread crust that is difficult to stop eating. You could certainly serve these at room temperature, but my fellow vacationers and I preferred them straight from the fridge. There’s just something about the combination of cold, tangy blackberry filling and rich shortbread.Blackberry Shortbread Wedges

You’ll notice in the photos that I didn’t line the pan with foil or parchment—that’s only because I didn’t have any at our house. Instead, I greased and floured the pan and then sliced and served them directly from the pan. You may follow my lead here, or line the pan with foil and lift them onto a cutting board before slicing. I’ve written instructions for both methods in the recipe.Blackberry Shortbread WedgesBlackberry Shortbread Wedges

However you choose to go about making these, I urge you to do so in these last weeks of summer. We saw pumpkins for sale as we drove out of Maine on September 1st, and while I am all for pumpkin after September 20th, I’m going to enjoy these end-of-season berries while I can.Blackberry Shortbread WedgesBlackberry Shortbread Wedges

Blackberry Shortbread Wedges
makes one 8-inch pan, 8-12 wedges

Filling:
3 cups fresh blackberries
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Shortbread:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes

Place oven racks in top and bottom positions. Preheat oven to 375F. Butter and flour an 8-inch round cake pan, or line with aluminum foil, leaving overhang, and grease with butter. Set aside.

Make blackberry filling. In a medium mixing bowl, combine blackberries, lime juice, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and cornstarch. Set aside while you make the shortbread.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Add cold butter. Use your fingertips to rub butter into flour until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. It will be powdery, but should hold together when pinched. Set aside 1 cup of the mixture for topping.

Pour remaining shortbread mixture into prepared pan. Spread it around to cover the bottom of the pan before using your hand to pack it down into an even layer. Prick several times with a fork. Pour blackberry filling over the top, leaving behind any excess liquid. Spread berries into an even layer.

For the topping, use your fingers to pinch together small portions of the reserved shortbread mixture. Scatter them over the top of the blackberry layer.

If your pan is on the shallow side, place it on a rimmed baking sheet to collect any light overflow. Bake on the bottom rack of the oven for 20 minutes. Move bars to the top rack and bake for an additional 10-12 minutes, until barely golden. Tent with foil if anything begins to brown too quickly. Let cool in the pan on a rack until they reach room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 90 minutes, or until cold.

If pan was buttered and floured, slice and serve wedges directly from the pan. If it was lined with foil, use overhang to remove to a cutting board. Peel off foil before slicing and serving.

Leftover Blackberry Shortbread Wedges will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. They will soften over time.

Blackberry Shortbread Wedges

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Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Hello from Swan’s Island!Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}VJ and I got here Saturday afternoon. It was supposed to be us and two more that day, but due to a work snafu, they didn’t join us until yesterday. Thank goodness for our other guest, my sister, EliotBlueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Since it’s just been the two of us these last few days, meals have been simple. As I’ve mentioned many (many, many, many) times, VJ is a gluten-free vegan. I am neither of those things, but it simply doesn’t make sense to make meat or floury baked goods just for me. I made scrambled eggs and ate a piece of avocado toast, but it was all vegan and gluten-free otherwise.

I’m not complaining.Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}While everyone else I know was going to work Monday morning, I made this Blueberry Baked Oatmeal for us. Made with gluten-free old-fashioned oats, rice milk,* and aquafaba in place of eggs, it was the perfect way to start the day. And also the next day—it makes enough for six people.

*You could use almond milk or another unsweetened non-dairy milk, but we have a nut-allergic friend here and we’d like not to poison him, you know?Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}This oatmeal is super simple to make. With just a few minutes of prep-work and 40 minutes of bake time, you’ll be rewarded with a rich, cinnamon-spiked oatmeal that is positively bursting with blueberries.Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}You just need two bowls and a stirring implement to put it together, and you probably have all the ingredients already (with the possible exception of blueberries).Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}VJ and I prefer our oatmeal on the sweet side, so I used 1/2 cup maple syrup here. If you’d like a less-sweet breakfast, you can reduce it to 1/4 cup.Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Feel free to add nuts or seeds (toast them with the oats!), or stir in coconut flakes or mashed banana. Everything we eat on Swan’s Island comes from one pre-ferry grocery trip on the mainland, so meals are paired down and simple. I like this oatmeal as-is with an additional drizzle of maple and a pat of butter, but that’s just me.As with many of the recipes on this site, this recipe can be made with many variations. Feel free to take my favorite and make it yours.Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}
makes about 6 servings

2 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats (certified gluten-free for gluten-free)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly-grated lemon zest
2 cups non-dairy milk (I used rice milk)
6 tablespoons aquafaba (or 2 large eggs or 2 flax eggs)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup (may be reduced to 1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 pint fresh blueberries, divided

For serving:
maple syrup
butter (vegan or regular)
yogurt

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a deep 9-inch pie plate or other casserole dish. Set aside.

Place oats on a dry rimmed baking sheet (or other large pan) and toast in the oven for 5 minutes, or until fragrant. Let cool a few minutes. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl and stir in cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together non-dairy milk, aquafaba, maple syrup, oil, and vanilla. Stir in oat mixture.

Reserve 1/4 cup blueberries for topping. Scatter remaining blueberries in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Add oatmeal mixture over the top and spread out as evenly as you can. Dot with remaining blueberries. Bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes, or until the center is lightly set.

Let oatmeal cool for at least 15 minutes before serving with additional maple syrup, butter, and/or yogurt. Oatmeal is best warm or at room temperature.

Leftover oatmeal will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Blueberry Doughnuts

Blueberry DoughnutsAre you tired of berry recipes yet? I hope not because I’ve got at least a couple more coming this summer…Blueberry Doughnuts…starting with Blueberry Doughnuts.Blueberry DoughnutsOh, yes. We’re talking crispy-edged, fluffy-centered cake doughnuts that are absolutely loaded with teeny tiny blueberries. Real blueberries—not whatever sketchy goop they put in the Blueberry Doughnuts you find at the national chains!

Side note: Sorry for saying “goop” on a food blog/website that does not belong to Gwyneth Paltrow.Blueberry DoughnutsBut back to doughnuts.

As it’s summer and blueberries are in season, you’d probably guess that I use fresh blueberries here, but you’d be wrong. As you can see in my photos, the fresh blueberries in my grocery stores are the size of marbles right now, and that’s just too big to work in these doughnuts. I tried two batches with those and ended up fishing most of them out of hot oil before they burst and spattered all over my kitchen! Hot oil burns are no fun, and neither are Blueberry Doughnuts with only one or two whole blueberries.Blueberry DoughnutsThe secret to quality homemade Blueberry Doughnuts is to use the smallest blueberries you can find. If you have access to tiny wild blueberries and are somehow sick of eating them by the handful, they would work really well here. If, however, you are like me and don’t live anywhere near a wild blueberry patch, the frozen Wild Boreal Blueberries from Trader Joe’s work just fine 🙂 Blueberry DoughnutsBlueberry DoughnutsThe rest of this recipe is just like making any other cake doughnuts. Fold the blueberries into a simple sour cream dough before rolling and cutting your doughnuts & doughnut holes. The frozen blueberries tend to turn the dough a periwinkle color—this dissipates during frying, but it’s kind of fun, right?!Blueberry DoughnutsBlueberry DoughnutsThese doughnuts get a two minute fry in hot oil before being dipped in a classic glaze. If you want to jazz them up a bit, feel free to swap some of the water in the glaze for lemon juice, or even dip them in a creamy glaze like the one I use for Funfetti Cake Doughnuts!Blueberry DoughnutsBlueberry DoughnutsY’all, homemade Blueberry Doughnuts are sooo delicious! You’ll love their golden exteriors and blueberry-studded interiors, not to mention how surprisingly simple it is to make quality doughnuts at home ❤ Make a batch this weekend!Blueberry Doughnuts

Blueberry Doughnuts
makes 16-18 2 1/2-inch doughnuts + doughnut holes

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup (4 oz) full-fat sour cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries, thawed and drained
vegetable or canola oil, for frying

Classic Doughnut Glaze:
1 pound confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons light corn syrup (or mild honey)
6 tablespoons hot tap water

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

Combine sour cream and butter in a small bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until butter is totally melted. Let mixture cool a few minutes, until warm to the touch but not uncomfortably hot (if it’s too hot, it could scramble the eggs).

In a small mixing bowl, use a whisk to beat eggs. Whisk in sour cream/butter mixture, followed by vanilla. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold wet ingredients into dry. Carefully fold in blueberries. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. Dough will be a bit soft.

Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment.

Liberally flour a surface and rolling pin. Uncover dough and transfer it to the floured surface. Roll it out to 1/2-inch thickness. Use a doughnut cutter (or graduated cookie cutters) to cut doughnuts. Place cut doughnuts on prepared pan. Re-roll dough as needed.

Pour about 2 inches of oil into a large heavy-bottomed pot and heat to 350F. Line a rimmed sheet pan with two layers of paper towels and set a cooling rack over the top.

Once oil reaches frying temperature, slip 2-3 doughnuts into the pot. Fry 1-1.5 minutes per side, until golden and cooked through. Remove to rack. Continue frying in batches of 2-3, letting the oil return to temperature in between. Fry doughnut holes for 1.5-2 minutes, flipping at around 45 seconds (some may flip on their own).

After all doughnuts are fried and cool enough to be handled, make the glaze. In a large mixing bowl, whisk all ingredients together until smooth. Pour glaze into a shallow dish. Dip one doughnut at a time, spooning more glaze over the top as you go. Transfer back to rack. Repeat with all remaining doughnuts. Glaze will set after 15-20 minutes.

Serve immediately. Doughnuts are best the day they are made. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for about a day.
Blueberry Doughnuts

Friday Favorites: Berries

Every year, I look forward to all the berries that show up in the late spring and early summer. When I’m not eating them by the box, straight from the fridge, I’m tipping them into all sorts of baked goods and other warm-weather treats! There are loads of fresh berry-based recipes in my Recipe Index and there are at least a few more coming this summer, but I thought maybe you could use a little baking inspiration this weekend. Here are some of my “berry” favorites 🙂Friday Favorites: Berries
Blueberry Muffins

Is there any berry-based treat more iconic than Blueberry Muffins?! My version of this classic recipe stays super moist and tender thanks to a combination of both melted butter and oil, as well as a cup of buttermilk in the batter. And that’s to say nothing of all the soft, jammy, bursting blueberries ❤ Friday Favorites: Berries
Blueberry Kolaches

And speaking of blueberries, they are the stunning centerpiece of these soft, buttery homemade kolaches. I formulated the base recipe over the winter to go with a homemade grapefruit curd filling, but I am totally over-the-moon for this summery fresh berry version.Friday Favorites: Berries
Raspberry Fudgsicles

Now, one for the days that it’s too hot to bake. I am all too familiar—the kitchen is the only un-air conditioned room of my apartment. Luckily, there is no need to heat up your home to make these vegan, sugar-free ice pops! These frozen treats are made with super-nutritious ingredients like avocado, coconut milk, and medjool dates, and flavored with cocoa (I recommend dutch process) and fresh raspberries. If you want to jazz them up even further, you could give them a dip in my Homemade Chocolate Shell!Friday Favorites: Berries
Brown Butter Strawberry Shortcakes

As far as I am concerned, these are the best strawberry shortcakes on the planet. You may feel otherwise, but rich, flaky brown butter biscuits, whipped cream, and macerated fresh strawberries are pretty difficult to argue with!Friday Favorites: Berries
Strawberry Rhubarb Galette

There’s a brief window every year where rhubarb and strawberries are both in season at the same time—I highly recommend you take advantage of it and make yourself a galette! This freeform pie is simple to make and wrapped up in a Whole Wheat Pie Dough that plays beautifully off these seasonal flavors.Friday Favorites: Berries
Blackberry Pie

Another thing that goes well with Whole Wheat Pie Dough? Fresh blackberries! I picked every berry in the pictured pie while in Maine last summer, but if you haven’t scheduled a late summer vacation in coastal New England, grocery store blackberries will work just as well 🙂 Friday Favorites: Berries
Red, White & Blueberry Cake

The Fourth of July is coming up in a few weeks and this berry-centric is a perfect centerpiece! Thin layers of white cake, whipped cream frosting, sliced strawberries, and blueberries make for a delicious, festive dessert.Friday Favorites: Berries
Have you made any of these recipes? What do you like to make with fresh berries? Let me know on Instagram @e2bakesbrooklyn or in the comments!

Blueberry Kolaches

Blueberry KolachesIf the warm weather could just get its act together and show up already, that’d be great. I am so tired of wearing a jacket.Blueberry KolachesWinter tends to linger up here. While the sub-freezing days are long gone, I could do without anything under 70 degrees. It seems like every time we get a nice day, the cold creeps back.Blueberry KolachesIt could absolutely be worse, but…I just want some consistency, you know?Blueberry KolachesAnyway, I may not have any control over the weather outside, but it is decidedly spring at the green market and in my kitchen. I’ve got berries on the brain, as evidenced by last week’s Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Compote and today’s Blueberry Kolaches!Blueberry KolachesBlueberry KolachesBlueberry KolachesBlueberry KolachesI’ve made three batches of these traditional Czech pastries this week and I can’t. get. enough.Blueberry KolachesBlueberry KolachesBlueberry KolachesThey’re a springtime spin on the Grapefruit Kolaches I made earlier this year. While those were good, I made a few adjustments to the recipe—streamlining is the name of the game these days—and think these kolaches are even better.Blueberry KolachesI mean, it’s pretty hard not to love buttery, pillowy soft pastry, cinnamon crumble (posypka), and fresh blueberry filling ❤Blueberry KolachesYep. Tastes like spring.Blueberry Kolaches

Blueberry Kolaches
makes about 16-18 pastries

1/2 cup (1 stick) + 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup full-fat sour cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon lemon zest (from 1 medium lemon)
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 large eggs, room temperature

Blueberry Filling:
1 pint (12 ounces) fresh blueberries
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Posypka (Crumble):
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

The night before you want to eat kolaches, make the dough. Cut 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter into 8 pieces.Combine butter, whole milk, and sour cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Melt together, stirring occasionally, until mixture is warm to the touch (about 115F). Pour into a large mixing bowl and stir in sugar. Sprinkle yeast over the top and allow to prove for 5 minutes. Mixture will have just a few small bubbles.

Add 1 cup of the flour, the lemon zest, and salt to the wet ingredients. Fold together. Fold in beaten eggs, followed by 2 1/4 more cups of flour. Dough will be very soft and a bit sticky.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead 5 minutes before forming into a ball. Dough will be very soft and sticky—use a bench scraper for easiest kneading. Grease a mixing bowl with oil. Place dough ball in the bowl, being sure to grease it on all sides. Press plastic wrap to the surface of the dough. Refrigerate overnight, about 8-12 hours.

Make the blueberry filling. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, or until berries start bursting. Cool for a few minutes. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Remove dough from refrigerator and discard plastic wrap. Into two pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough until it’s 1/2-inch thick. Use a 2 1/2-inch round cutter to cut kolaches, rerolling as necessary. Place 2 inches apart on prepared pans.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Brush on the tops of cut kolache dough. Flour the back of a tablespoon and press it into the center of one kolache to make a well. Immediately fill with 1/2 tablespoon (1 1/2 teaspoons) of blueberry filling. Flour the tablespoon again and repeat process with all remaining kolaches on the baking pan. Repeat process with remaining baking sheet.

Loosely cover with plastic wrap (or greased foil) and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free place for 30-45 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Make the posypka (crumble). Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Stir with a fork until crumbly.

Position oven racks near the center. Preheat the oven to 350F.

Remove plastic wrap from one baking sheet of dough. Top each kolache with a big pinch of posypka. Bake kolaches uncovered for 18-20 minutes, rotating pans front to back at the 10 minute mark. They will be barely-golden when they are done. Brush baked kolaches with 1 tablespoon melted butter.

Let kolaches cool slightly on the pans. Serve warm.

Kolaches are best the day they are made, but may be refrigerated for a couple of days. Warm before serving.Blueberry Kolaches