Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Making use of the waning blueberry days.

Slowly, hesitantly, and quite reluctantly I am letting go of summer... but, for the sake of one final hoorah, I am taking total advantage of the blueberry crop. Fortunately I am doing this without any guilt: blueberries are one of the most nutritious (and, personally speaking, delicious) of all berries. Not only are they are chalk-full with antioxidants, but new research shows that Anthocyanins, the pigment that gives them that familiar hue, may help fight skin cancer, ward off wrinkes, and get brain cells working at hyperspeed (a good thing!). What's more, they have been noted as a superfood for keeping a trim waistline.

Okay, as for a little confession, my passion for blueberries is a fairly recent development. My earliest memories of the juicy little fruits was of my mom encouraging me to fill up with them before my elementary school standardized tests. She was keen on the brain-boosting benefits, but, for me, the association of blueberries and hours of filling in bubbles on Scantrons was not exactly pleasant.

For years after my negative testing experiences I made every attempt to snub blueberries... and was quite successful. That was all until this year, when on a rigorous hiking expedition with my dad, I was presented with the option of adding blueberries to my pancakes. Suddenly it was as if all my bad memories faded away; in that moment nothing in the world sounded better than blueberries. To my delight the berries were better than I ever imagined.

Since that day, my former enemy has transformed into my new obsession. I have looked for all possible ways to integrate blueberries into my diet. From the more traditional muffins to new spins on salsa, I have discovered that blueberries make a great addition to a variety of foods.

Still looking to expand on my blueberry recipe repitoire, I decided to wander into new territory and attempt to create some concotions of my own.

The first was a blueberry cookie made with the base of a stovetop blueberry reduction... resulting in the swampy color. However, as so eleqountly phrased by one of my tastetesters, "The asthetics are the only things bad about this cookie." (Although I argue there is something modern about the unoriginal cookie-hue!)
Swamp Cookies...
looks can be deceiving.

  • 2/3 cups almonds
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 3/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  • In small saucepan, create simple sugar mixture by bringing 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water just to boil. Add 3/4 cup blueberries and reduce to honey-like consistency. Remove from heat and allow to cool 10 minutes.
  • Blend almonds until smooth. Combine with 1/3 cup sugar, and brown sugar in large bowl. Beat with mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add vanilla and egg; beat well.
  • Lightly spoon flours into measuring cups; level. Combine flours, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg, stirring with whisk. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture in three batches; beat at low speed until just combined. Stir in blueberry sauce. Allow to chill 10 minutes.
  • Divide dough into 30 equal parts and roll into balls. Place 1 tbps. sugar in bowl. Lightly press balls into sugar; place sugar side up on greased baking sheet.
  • Make criss-cross pattern on cookie tops with fork dipped in water.
  • Bake 1/2 batch for approximately 9 minutes. Repeat with second half. Allow to cool.
Note: These was defintely a trial run on these cookies. While they turned out tasting good, I will most likely make some adaptations to my next batch. Possibly, whole blueberries inside of the cookies, then drizzled with the blueberry reduction.

My next venture into blueberry land is an adaptation on one of my very favorite recipes: Cranberry, Orange, and Granola bars. I would go as far as saying that the resulting creation trumps the original! There is so much goodness in these little bites... not to mention a good old serving of patriotism!
All-American Cream Bites...
red, white, and blueberry!


  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 6 tbsp. margarine, melted
  • 3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice (zest first!)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 3/4 cup reduced fat sour cream
  • 2 tbsp. whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. grated lemon rind
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  • Prepare crusts by combining first seven ingedients in medium bowl; whisk. Drizzle butter and juice over mixture, stirring until moistened. Reserve 1/2 cup mixture. Press remaining mix into 32 coated muffin-tin bottoms.
  • Prepare filling by combining all ingredients of the filling in a medium bowl; stir well. Divide mixture evenly amongst the 32 muffin-tin bottoms. Sprinkle reserved mixture over filling. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool.
So while blueberry season may be waning my memories of these delicious treats will last me long into the winter... or at least until mid-September when I resort to frozen berries! Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Hi there! Welcome to the food blogging world . . . looks like you're going to love it and I am sure it's going to love you! :)

    I really like baking with fresh fruit, and I love blueberries. I have to tell you that I think your mom must have been well ahead of her time if she encouraged you to eat them before tests. You've got a smart mother! I just wish fresh berries were available locally year round, but frozen ones are good too in baked goods, and if the health benefits are still there frozen or fresh that's all the better.

    I look forward to visiting your blog again!