Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Blueberry Pie Bars

 If you love blueberries, and you love pie you will be thrilled with this yummy recipe for Blueberry Pie Bars. The blueberries are in a creamy filling and surrounded by a crumb style crust. When I saw the recipe last week, I knew I had to make them immediately. The bottom crust is pretty sturdy to hold the filling and there is a thin layer of crust on top also. These blueberry treats are a definite winner in our household. I hope you give these delicious treats a try.
Blueberry Pie Bars
Adapted from a wonderful blog, Annie's Eats. She used blackberries instead of blueberries.

For crust and topping-
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
zest of half a lemon
3/4 cup (12 tbsp.) unsalted butter

For the filling-
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream- I used vanilla Greek yogurt
6 tablespoons flour
pinch of salt
juice of half a lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla-I omitted since I used vanilla yogurt
15-16 ounces fresh blueberries (can use frozen if they have been thawed and drained of excess juices)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x9 inch baking pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, salt and zest. Add the cold butte and process pulse in short bursts until the mixture is crumbly.

2. Reserve 3/4 of the mixture to use as topping. Add the rest of the crumb mixture to the prepared pan and press to form an even layer of crust on bottom of pan. Bake 12-15 minutes until light golden. Let cool 10 minutes before proceeding.

3. In a medium bowl. make the filling. Combine eggs, sugar, yogurt (or sour cream), flour, salt lemon juice and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Gently stir in the blueberries. Spread the filling over the pre-baked crust. Crumble the reserved topping evenly over the filling.

4. Bake until the top is beginning to brown and the bars are just set, about 45 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Chill to firm up the bars before slicing and serving. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Basic Homemade White Bread

 Does anything smell better than bread baking in the oven? I think not!
So yesterday, I made this fantastic white bread that I have had bookmarked forever it seems like, and my house smelled heavenly with the aroma of freshly baked bread. This simple white bread has a tender, moist, but sturdy crumb, and makes the most wonderful toast. I can't wait to make grilled cheese sandwiches with it too.
I must admit to an accident though. When taking the bread out of the pans, I dropped a pan and it landed upside down on a chair! Thankfully not on the floor, but the top of the bread was torn up some. sigh~ So we ate that one first. I don't know if I've ever mentioned what a klutz I am; now you know.
 Anyway, these loaves are delicious to eat, easy to cut and make wonderful toast and sandwiches. Just what I was looking for in a homemade white bread. And the dough was so easy to work with. I used my mixer to stir it up, (and I about killed my hand-mixer) and then kneaded it for about 5 minutes. It only bakes for about 30 minutes so this bread was ready in time for lunch. I hope you'll give it a try!
Basic White Bread
Adapted from this wonderful blog, Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. Natasha adapted it from Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Bread.

5 cups bread flour (all-purpose flour can be used)
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt-I used fine sea salt
1 package Quick Rise yeast (2 1/4 teas.)
2 cups whole milk, warmed to about 120 degrees
3 tablespoons melted shortening, cooled

Directions: The recipe is originally mixed with a stand mixer, (but I used and almost killed my hand mixer). *Directions for stand mixer below.
1. Grease 2 loaf pans.
2. Put all ingredients into a large bowl. If mixing by hand, use 4 1/2 cups flour to start and add the extra 1/2 cup as needed. Stir bread well until it comes together. Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes. Dough will come together in a nice ball and be very workable.
3. Place dough in a greased bowl and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. If kitchen is cool, it can take longer to double.
4. When dough has doubled, punch down. That release the air in the dough. Now divide the dough evenly in half. Shape each half in an oval, then roll ups and tuck the ends under. Lay into greased loaf pans. Cover and let dough rise about 45 minutes.
5.Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake bread for 10 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake another 20 minutes. Internal temperature on bread should be 200 degrees F. When done, and loaves should sound hollow when tapped on bottom. Remove bread  (carefully), from pans and cool on wire racks. Enjoy!

*If using a stand mixer, mix with dough hook for 3 minutes to combine, and then 5minutes to knead. Then turn dough out on a floured surface and knead until it forms into a soft ball. Follow remaining directions above.