Saturday, September 13, 2008

baking, berries and kids

The Bean and I are on our way to establishing what I hope will be an ongoing routine. Every so often on a Friday afternoon, we head for the kitchen while the Boo naps. I put on my baking apron with the red and white stripes and the Bean puts on his..errr..."apron". Then we get all the ingredients out to bake a special treat.

I read the recipe and measure things out. He's in charge of dumping the ingredients into the bowl and stirring "like a hurricane". It's all part of my master plan to teach the Bean how to cook and eat good food.

This past week, I decided to make Blueberry Crumb Bars from the Smitten Kitchen. I've had this recipe on my to-make list since she posted it in July. It took me that long to get around to making them because the blueberries kept finding their way into the kids' snack cups instead of the mixing bowl. And then I decided that I wanted a real pastry cutter, instead of the two knives I have been using to make my pie crusts.

I love baking with the Bean. Sure, he got a little impatient and mid-stir and got down off the chair to line up my measuring cups along the windowsill. But he came back to help me finish. And of course, sample some of the blueberries. He even likes to mimc mommy and take photos of the food -- with sometimes better results than me (see below).

BeanPhotos: midway through and the final result, ready to serve

Like most other desserts in our house, this one barely lasted 48 hours. We polished off the last crumbs on Sunday night. And we only shared it with one other adult. Seriously, sometimes I think we need a little more self control. Or maybe I need to triple the recipes.

Smitten Kitchen Blueberry Crumb Bars
original source recipe from
The only two things I changed from the Smitten version were the type of sugar and flour. Otherwise I followed this recipe to the T. Or should I say B? I'm keen now to try the suggested variation with cranberries and orange instead of blueberries and lemon.

1 cup organic cane sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup cold butter (2 sticks or 8 ounces)
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest and juice of one lemon

4 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup white sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 9×13 inch pan.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup sugar, 3 cups flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt and lemon zest.
3. Use a fork or pastry cutter (also known as pastry blender in some parts) to blend in the butter and egg until the dough is crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.
4. In another bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Gently mix in the blueberries.
5. Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.
6. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown.
7. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for doing this!
I was trying to come up with something to use the fresh blueberries I have in the cooler.