Blackberry Crumb Cake

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I LOVE crumb cake so this recipe was irresistible as a use for my last half pint of fresh picked blackberries. It was originally a recipe for Blackberry Crumb Muffins. Because the description in the New York Times article made it sound so decadent, I decided it should be more of a dessert than a breakfast and more of a cake than muffins. After eating some for dessert, we woke up and ate more for breakfast! I preferred it for breakfast with a cup of coffee. It would also be wonderful for a special snack with a cup of tea. 🙂 This recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I substituted Greek yogurt for sour cream in the cake.

For the Crumb Topping:

  • 255 grams all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 75 grams granulated sugar (about 1/3 cup)
  • 105 grams dark brown sugar, lightly packed (about 1/2 cup)
  • 6 grams ground cinnamon (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 1 gram ground allspice (about 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 1 gram fine sea salt (about 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 170 grams unsalted butter, melted (12 tablespoons; 1 1/2 sticks)

For the Cake:

  • 170 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature (12 tablespoons; 1 1/2 sticks)
  • 200 grams granulated sugar (about 1 cup)
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream or fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 325 grams all-purpose flour (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 10 grams baking powder (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 3 grams baking soda (about 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 3 grams fine sea salt (about 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 pint fresh blackberries (or use raspberries, blueberries or diced strawberries)
  • confectioners’ sugar, for dusting, if desired
  1. Heat oven to 350. If making muffins: Grease or line 24 muffin cups. If making a cake: Grease and line a 9 x 13-inch glass baking pan with parchment paper; grease parchment.
  2. Make the crumb topping: whisk together flour, sugars, spices and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Pour in melted butter and stir until crumbs form.
  3. Prepare the cake: using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, then scrape down sides of mixer. Mix in yogurt/sour cream, vanilla and zest.
  4.  In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture to batter and beat until just mixed. Fold in berries with a spatula and make sure batter is completely mixed.
  5. Spoon batter into prepared muffin pans, filling each cup only halfway. Pinch large crumbs from topping mixture and scatter evenly on top of the batter.
  6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes for muffins, or 35-40 minutes (on convection) for a 9 x 13-inch cake, or until golden and the center springs back when very gently pressed with a finger. (A cake tester will come out with crumbs attached, but it shouldn’t be wet.) Transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or let cool completely and freeze.
  7. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if desired, before serving.
Yield: 24 muffins or a 9 x13-inch cake

White Peach & Raspberry Cobbler with Butter Biscuits

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Did I mention that my family went peach, raspberry & blackberry picking? 🙂 It was difficult for me to decide to make with all of the goods (besides jam, of course!), but my husband wanted COBBLER! Then it was difficult to pick the recipe…I have made this in the past and enjoyed it, it used a combination of two of my fresh fruits and sounded great- so, the decision was made. I don’t bother peeling peaches for a cobbler- it is such a rustic dessert. This recipe was adapted from Bill Neal’s Southern Cooking.

For the Fruit:

  • 8 large peaches, peeled (if desired), & sliced (I used white peaches)
  • 2 cups raspberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 T flour
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

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For the Biscuits:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 T unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • Flour, sugar
  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving
  1. For fruit, combine peaches, raspberries, sugar, flour and cinnamon in large mixing bowl; pour into greased 13 x 9-inch baking dish. (I skip a step and combine everything in the greased baking dish.) Set aside. Heat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. For biscuits, mix flour, baking powder, 1 T sugar and salt in medium bowl. Cut butter into flour mixture with pastry blender. Stir in milk and cream until just combined (don’t over mix); turn onto floured surface.
  3. Gently knead dough and roll or pat to 1/2-inch thick. Cut into circles or other shapes with biscuit cutter; place biscuits on top of fruit. Sprinkle biscuits with sugar.
  4. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until biscuits are lightly browned. Serve with ice cream.

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Cornmeal Summer Berry Muffins with Streusel Topping

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The first time I made these muffins I made several modifications to the recipe. I used buttermilk (with additional baking soda as well), some whole wheat flour, and lemon extract in the streusel topping; I also made 12 muffins instead of 10 (per the recipe) and the tops were still overflowing. They were not very good- edible, but just okay. I was really disappointed because they are described as the favorite muffin in a bakery cookbook that I really like.

After going blackberry and raspberry picking with my family, I decided to try to make them again. I usually say that streusel makes everything better, but in this case following the bakery recipe made everything better! 🙂 The beautiful fresh berries were a bonus too. I did use 1 percent milk, vanilla instead of almond extract in the streusel, and I made 16 muffins instead of 10 (per the recipe). I didn’t even substitute any whole wheat flour- very hard for me not to do…. They were DELICIOUS! Perfect size too. This recipe was adapted from More from Macrina: New Favorites from Seattle’s Popular Neighborhood Bakery by Leslie Mackie with Lisa Gordanier. Corn flour could be used in the place of cornmeal, if available.

For the Streusel Topping:

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 T medium-ground cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 T chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 -inch pieces
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract or almond extract

For the Batter:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 T medium-ground cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 T granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest (from about 1 large lemon)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup plus 2 T whole milk (1 percent is okay too)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  •  1 1/2 cups assorted fresh berries halved (I used blackberries & raspberries)
  • 6 T (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  1. Position a rack in the  center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. (I use a convection oven.) Grease 16 muffin cups with canola oil or cooking spray. Line with paper liners, if desired. Set aside.
  2. To make the streusel topping, combine the flours and sugar in a medium bowl. Cut the butter into the flour mixture with a fork or pastry cutter until the mixture has a coarse, crumbly texture. Add the vanilla or almond extract and mix for another 30 seconds. Set aside.
  3. To make the batter, sift together the flours, granulated and brown sugars, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the lemon zest and mix well.
  4. Whisk together the eggs, milk, and vanilla in a separate medium bowl.
  5. Working quickly and gently with a rubber spatula (overmixing can result in tough muffins), fold the egg mixture into the dry ingredients in 3 additions. With the last addition, add the berries.
  6. Add the melted butter by pouring it in a stream, creating a circle on the top of the batter. Continue to fold gently until the butter is just incorporated. (Some of the dry ingredients may not be fully absorbed.)
  7. Let the batter sit for 4-5 minutes before dividing; it will thicken up and be easier to scoop.
  8. Divide the batter among 16 muffin cups. Sprinkle each muffin generously with streusel topping.
  9. Bake for 18 minutes (on convection), or until the muffins are golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Note: These are best eaten the day they are made, but they can also be wrapped securely and kept in the freezer for up to 2 weeks. To serve, thaw them and reheat in a 325 degree oven for about 8 minutes.

Raspberry Cocktail

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This cocktail caught my eye- I love raspberries and it was suggested to try it for an afternoon cocktail poolside. (nice image!) 🙂 We had family visiting and it was the perfect time to try a new cocktail too. This recipe was adapted from The Book of Great Breakfasts and Brunches by Terence Janericco, via CHOW.com. While the raspberries were macerating there was some concern that the drink was going to be too potent- we shouldn’t have worried. It has a nice balance between the fresh fruit and gin. I used agave nectar instead of simple syrup and Cointreau instead of Kirsch. It’s such a special summer cocktail! A treat.

Total Time: 15 mins, plus 2 hrs macerating time
Makes: 4 to 6 drinks

  • 1 cup fresh raspberries, plus additional raspberries for garnish
  • 6 ounces gin
  • 8 ounces dry white wine
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 ounce agave nectar or simple syrup
  • 1/2 ounce Cointreau or Kirsch
  • 8 ice cubes
  1. Lightly mash 1 cup of the raspberries in a bowl. Pour in the gin and let macerate at room temperature for 2 hours. Place the raspberries and gin in a blender and blend until smooth, about 20 seconds. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl and strain the mixture. Discard the solids.
  2. Rinse the blender and add the raspberry mixture, wine, lime juice, agave nectar, Cointreau, and ice cubes. Blend until the ice is crushed, about 10 seconds. Pour into 6 cocktail glasses and add a fresh raspberry to each glass.

Whole-Wheat Raspberry Ricotta Scones

raspberry scones

According to the queen of food blogs, Deb Perelman of smittenkitchen.com, these scones are impossibly moist for scones and, especially, for whole-wheat scones. Not only are they are moist- but tender, and surprisingly filling. I thought that they would need some sort of jam to add sweetness but they were PERFECT warm from the oven. This recipe is from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook: Recipes and Wisdom from an Obsessive Home Cook by Deb Perelman. I only modified the baking time for a convection oven. I love baking recipes that include the weight of the ingredients because it makes the preparation that much faster (and more foolproof)!

  • 1 cup (120 grams) whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 T (15 grams) baking powder, preferably aluminum-free
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
  • 1/2 tsp table salt (I used coarse salt)
  • 6 T (3 oz or 85 grams) unsalted butter, chilled
  • 1 cup (4 3/4 oz or 135 grams) fresh raspberries
  • 3/4 cup (190 grams) whole-milk ricotta
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) heavy cream
  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In the bottom of a large, widish bowl, whisk flours, baking powder, sugar, and salt together.
  3. With a pastry blender: Add the butter (no need to chop it first if your blender is sturdy), and use the blender to cut the butter into the flour mixture until the biggest pieces are the size of small peas. Toss in the raspberries, and use the blender again to break them into half- and quarter-berry-sized chunks.
  4. Using a flexible spatula, add the ricotta and heavy cream to the butter mixture and stir them in to form a dough. Then use your hands to knead the dough gently into an even mass, right in the bottom of the bowl. Don’t fret if the raspberries get muddled and smudge up the dough. This is a pretty thing.
  5. With as few movements as possible, transfer the dough to a well-floured counter or surface (I put the flour on parchment paper to ease clean-up), flour the top of the dough, and pat it into a 7-inch square about 1 inch high. With a large knife, divide the dough into nine even squares. Transfer the scones to the prepared baking sheet with a spatula. Bake the scones for about 11 (convection) to 15 minutes, until they are lightly golden at the edges. Cool them in the pan for a minute, then transfer them to a cooling rack. It’s best to cool them about halfway before eating, so they can set a bit more.

Do ahead: Scones are always best the day they are baked. However, if you wish to get a lead on them, you can make and divide the dough, arrange the unbaked scones on your parchment-lined baking sheet, freeze them until firm, and transfer them to a freezer bag. If you’re prepping just a 1 day in advance, cover the tray with plastic wrap and bake them the day you need them. If you’re preparing them more than 1 day in advance, once they are frozen transfer them to a freezer bag or container. Bring them back to a parchment-lined sheet when you’re ready to bake them. No need to defrost the frozen, unbaked scones- just add 2 to 3 minutes to your baking time.

raspberry scones

Brown Sugar-Oatmeal “Sunshine” Muffins

Macrina Sunshine Muffins

Our public library has an amazing cookbook collection. It is dangerous for me to have so many recipe resources! When perusing the new cookbooks, I spotted this recipe in More from Macrina: New Favorites from Seattle’s Popular Neighborhood Bakery by Leslie Mackie with Lisa Gordanier. The authors describe these tasty muffins by saying that their caramel tones from the brown sugar and nice contrast from the fresh raspberries bring a smile to your face and a change in your mood (even on a wet Seattle day). I really wanted to make (and eat) “sunshine” muffins- but because we have had so many hectic mornings lately, I didn’t have the time. Then we had snow and a two-hour delayed school opening- the perfect opportunity to make a special breakfast. These muffins were delicious – on a snowy day in Stony Brook! The recipe makes 8 standard size muffins with large muffin tops, in my opinion too large (the muffins look like mushrooms!). I will make 12-14 muffins next time.

For the Cinnamon-Sugar Topping:

  • 2 T granulated sugar
  • 2 T light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

For the Batter:

  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 T thick-cut rolled oats, divided
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 heaping cup (about 3/4 pint) fresh raspberries

Yield: Makes 8 standard size muffins

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 335 degrees. Grease the top of a standard-size muffin pan with canola oil so the muffin tops don’t stick and line 8 cups (or 10) with paper liners. Set aside.
  2. To make the cinnamon-sugar topping, whisk or rub together with your fingertips the granulated and brown sugars, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small bowl until thoroughly distributed. Set aside. (There will be a lot extra.)
  3. To make the batter, sift together the brown sugar, flours, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the 1/2 cup oats and whisk to throughly combine. Whisk together the buttermilk, vanilla, and eggs in a separate medium bowl.
  4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, then pour the buttermilk mixture into the center. Working quickly and gently (overmixing can result in tough muffins), fold the dry ingredients into the wet by making just 3 passes with a rubber spatula. Add the melted butter by pouring it in a stream, creating a circle on the top of the batter. Continue to fold until the butter is just incorporated (some of the dry ingredients may not be fully absorbed), then gently fold in the raspberries.
  5. Divide the batter among 8 (or 10) muffin cups. (I use an ice cream scoop- it makes this job a breeze.) The batter will be slightly mounded. Top the muffins with the remaining 2 tablespoons oats and a dusting of cinnamon-sugar topping. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the muffins are golden brown on top and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for about 20 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cheesecakes with Raspberry Hearts

Mini Cheesecake

This is a cute and super tasty Valentine’s Day dessert. I made 1/4 of the recipe, and used warm raspberry jam to make the hearts. I poured the hot water into the baking pan after placing it in the oven- then I only had to worry about spilling it when I took it out! My husband could have easily eaten two. Delicious. This recipe is from Martha Stewart Living.

  • Yield: Makes 32 mini-cheesecakes
  • 1 1/2 cups finely ground graham crackers (about 12)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 container (6 ounces) fresh raspberries
  • 2 pounds (four 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, room temperature
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Stir together crackers, butter, and 3 tablespoons sugar; press 1 tablespoon into bottom of each cup. Bake until set and beginning to color at edges, about 7-10 minutes. Transfer tins to rack to cool.
  2. Puree raspberries in a food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds. Press through a fine sieve; discard solids. Whisk in 2 tablespoons sugar.
  3. With mixer on medium-high, beat cream cheese until fluffy. On low, add remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar in a slow stream. Mix in salt and vanilla until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined after each (do not overmix) and scraping bowl.
  4. Spoon 3 tablespoons filling over crust in each cup. Drop two dots of raspberry puree about 1 inch apart in cupcake. Drag the tip of a toothpick or wooden skewer down through centers of dots to create a heart.
  5. To bake, set tins in oven in roasting pans filled halfway with hot water; bake until set, about 34 minutes (30 minutes on convection), rotating halfway through. Transfer tins to racks to cool completely. Refrigerate in tins, uncovered, at least 4 hours; remove from tins. Refrigerate in air-tight containers up to 5 days.

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