Triple Berry Scones

One of my favorite things to do on the weekend is curl up with a good book, a cup of coffee, and a freshly baked pastry. Okay, to be fair, it’s usually multiple cups of coffee and more than one pastry, but I do stick with one book. It had been a while since I was able to indulge in this relaxing pastime, and I was experiencing serious cravings for a scone. Luckily, my weekend schedule was pretty light and the weather outside was overcast and rainy. It was the ideal time to commit to staying in and testing out a new scone recipe.

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I’ve only dabbled with making scones a few times in the past, and they sadly produced less than stellar results. This was is it though. I could feel it. Today was going to be the day I conquered the scone.

To me, the perfect scone, is soft and slightly crumbly on the inside, yet firm and crisp on the outside. Extra points go to the ones that are dusted in crystallized sugar. And, of course, berries. ALL the berries.

As I set off to make these scones (recipe via Pretty. Simple. Sweet), I was having a hard time picking just one type of berry to use. So naturally, I decided to use all of them. The mix I chose included blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. You can find frozen mixed berries at your local grocery store or, if you prefer, you can opt to use a single type of berry.

Pretty. Simple. Sweet’s recipe delivers on exactly the kind of scone I was craving. The use of heavy cream in the dough produces a pastry that is rich yet balanced. The extra sugar on top adds sweetness which is cut by the zest of the lemon and the juice of the berries.

I have a feeling this recipe will be getting a lot of use in my kitchen…

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All-the-Berries-Berry Pie

Some days just call for pie. They really do.

The morning was slightly overcast, and Mother Nature was starting to hint that fall is coming. So naturally with the grey clouds and cooler temperatures, I woke up craving pie. What, that’s never happened to you? Well, morning pie cravings happen to me more than I’d like to admit, but rarely do I give in to them. This time, however, I couldn’t resist. It was just one of those days that called for pie. I wanted the comfort of flaky crust, sweet berries, and fluffy whipped cream paired with a warm cup of coffee while I curled up in my reading chair. Now you see where I’m going with this. Sounds pretty good, right? I know. That’s why I made pie.

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You may have heard of berry pie or even a triple berry pie, but get ready, this pie has ALL the berries in it. Okay, not literally all of them, but it does have four different types: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. It’s like one big berry dance party in your mouth.

And for the crust, oh man, this recipe delivers 100% flaky, buttery, golden goodness. I’m a pretty harsh critic when it comes to crust, but will definitely bookmark this to use for future pie endeavors.

Finally, top your pie with homemade whipped cream and voila, pie perfection. Enjoy!Pie_good

Pie Crust
2 and ½ cups all purpose flour
1 and ¼ teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons butter, chilled and cubed
¾ cup vegetable shortening, chilled
½ – ⅔ cups ice water
1 egg, beaten (for brushing the crust)

Berry Filling
½ cup sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
2 cups strawberries, halved (fresh or frozen)
2 cups mixed berries (fresh or frozen, I used frozen blackberries, blueberries, raspberries)
¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Whipped Cream
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Directions
Begin by preparing your pie dough at least 1 hour before you plan on baking your pie; the dough needs time to chill. You can find step by step instructions here at Sally’s Baking Addiction.

After the dough has chilled for nearly an hour, you can prepare the filling. To make the berry filling, first mix sugar and cornstarch together in a medium bowl; set aside 1 tablespoon of this mixture (it will later be sprinkled on the pie dough). Next, add in berries and cinnamon then stir until well combined. Let the berry mixture sit for 10-15 minutes.

While the berry mixture rests, preheat the oven to 375ºF and then roll out your pie dough. Remove one of the dough disks from the fridge and, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to form a 12-inch circle (mine was a little closer to 14-inches; just make sure the rolled dough will cover the bottom and sides of the pan. You will want a little bit of excess hanging over the sides which will be helpful when connecting the lattice pieces). To easily transfer the dough to the bottom of the pie pan, roll the dough around the rolling pin and then unroll into the pie pan. Once transferred, gently press the dough into the corners of the pan. Next sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of cornstarch and sugar on top of the rolled out dough; this will help prevent the bottom of the pie from becoming soggy. Next pour berry filling into pie pan. Finish your pie by rolling out the second dough disk into a 12-14 inch circle and then cut into 1 inch strips to be used as the lattice. For further detailed instructions on preparing your lattice top, you can check out this overview.

Once you’ve finished your lattice, brush the dough with egg and then sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake for 20-30 minutes until edges are golden brown, then cover edges with foil and continue baking for an additional 20-30 minutes until the center is bubbly and has thickened.

To make the whipped cream, add the heavy whipping cream to a chilled mixing bowl. Whip on medium-high speed until stiff peaks are about to form then add in sugar and vanilla. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form; be careful not to over-whip or the cream will become too thick and lumpy.

Blueberry Muffins with Cinnamon Streusel Topping

With blueberries still on my brain, I knew what had to come next. Muffins.

Blue.Berry.Muffins.

I’m talking muffins that are real, thick, and juicy…. no wait, sorry, that’s not referring to muffins. But, seriously, whenever I pick out muffins, I go for the one that has the biggest top. I’d be a loyal customer at Top of the Muffin to You! So my challenge in this baking endeavor was to make a muffin with the ideal golden brown top bursting forth from a base that would be moist and overflowing with berries. Also, I knew I wanted to add a streusel topping. Because, yum.

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I knew certain baking pans were made specifically for muffin tops, but I didn’t have one and that also felt a little like cheating. So, I did some research. Turns out there are some tricks you can do to help your muffin top reach its fullest potential.

  1. Fill er’ up: fill your muffin tins at least ¾ of the way full or to the top, if you dare!
  2. Turn up the heat: turn your oven to 400 instead of the recommended 350 or 375, this will quickly activate the leavening ingredients and allow the sides to rise while the center bakes more slowly.
  3. Run the clock: since you’ve increased the oven temperature, be mindful of the baking time. 18-20 minutes should do the trick but you can also start with less time and regularly check the trays.
  4. Chill out: let your cold ingredients come to room temperature before adding them to your batter; this encourages proper mixing and even baking.
  5. Mix like a pro: after combining the dry and wet ingredients, fill the trays and place in the oven as soon as possible. This allows the leavening agents to work properly.

I applied these tips and added a streusel topping to a basic blueberry muffin recipe found on William Sonoma’s website. Thanks WS!

Streusel Topping
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼  cup light brown sugar
⅓ cup all purpose flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ cup cold butter

To prepare the streusel, mix all dry ingredients in a bowl and then cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle streusel topping over muffins before baking. Voila!

Blueberry Danish with Vanilla Glaze

When you hear the word danish, your mind probably goes to a long white box filled with an overly sweet pastry and ingredients you can’t pronounce. I know that’s what I think of. Well friends, it’s time to throw this idea out the window. But seriously, if that’s what’s sitting on your counter, go ahead and just throw it out. This danish recipe is going to blow your mind…. and your taste buds.

IMG_1294What’s that you say, you’re not a fan of soft, flaky pastry filled with the sweet, sweet goodness of fresh fruit drizzled with the perfectly balanced vanilla glaze? Stop. Just stop. Are you even human? I too would like to say I can resist this baked treat…. wait, who am I kidding. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to say that. I love me some danish. I may or may not have eaten an entire one of these danish braids by myself. I mean, it has fruit in the middle, that’s totally acceptable, right?

Now that you’re mouth is watering, and you’re picturing yourself eating this danish with perfect self control while sipping your morning coffee (good luck with that!), you’re ready for the recipe. My thanks go out to Sally from Sally’s Baking Addiction. She offers great step by step pictures and helpful tips along the way. Do yourself a favor and go check out this recipe.

Since I had a surplus of fresh blueberries on hand, (I know. Life is hard) and because blueberries are delicious, I opted to change the filling from raspberry to blueberry; you can use whatever berry you like but the temperature and boiling time may vary. I also added slivered almonds to the top before popping the completed braid into the oven, because why not? See below for the blueberry filling variation.

Blueberry Filling:

  • 3 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon warm water
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

Whisk together the warm water and cornstarch in a small bowl. Set aside. Combine the blueberries and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir and allow the blueberries to break down, about 5-6 minutes. Mix in the cornstarch/water. Reduce heat and gently simmer for 3 minutes until the sauce begins to thicken. Set aside to come to room temperature before using. You can also keep it chilled in the refrigerator or if you’re impatient like me you can pop it into the freezer for a hot second (aka several minutes, you don’t actually want it to freeze).

Blueberry Coconut Bread

One of the things I look forward to most during summer, other than replenishing my body’s Vitamin D levels, are fresh berries. Berries on berries on berries. While recently telling my friend how excited I was for blueberry season, she brought up that her family faces a dilemma each year. A dilemma? Wait, I thought we were talking about berries. The only berry problem I could think of was having no berries. Intrigued, I asked her to explain what she meant. She told me that her family has a blueberry bush at their house and each year they don’t know what to do with all the berries. As she said this, my jaw literally dropped, and I started to feel like a little kid in school waiting to be called on by the teacher. Ooo, ooo. Me! Pick me! I nearly had to sit on my hands to contain my excitement. While attempting to regain composure, I told her I would gladly take some of those fresh, juicy, blueberries off her hands.IMG_1184

Thinking of the blueberry harvest I was about to come into, my mind started to dance and skip around the endless recipe options. My first thought was bread. Yes, bread. Don’t give me that look. A moist loaf of bread with a slightly crunchy top that perfectly balances sweet and savory and would be oozing with fresh berries, how could I resist? Well, I couldn’t.

While perusing one of my trusted recipe sources, Smitten Kitchen, I came across an easy Coconut Bread recipe. Eager to bake, I quickly scanned the ingredients. Flour, check. Milk, check. Baking powder, check. You get the idea. Luckily it looked like my pantry was stocked and just waiting for me to make this bread. Reading the recipe, you might be wondering what happened to those berries we were talking about. Oh, don’t you worry. Knowing that coconut and blueberries pair nicely, I decided to load this loaf with berries. Lots and lots of berries. For the complete recipe check out the amazing step by step post from Smitten Kitchen. Before I leave you, three things to keep in mind:

  1. To make this a Blueberry Coconut Bread, simply add berries! I added about 2 cups.
  2. I’d highly recommend making the Salted Honey Brown Butter Spread. Don’t be intimidated by how fancy it sounds, it’s really easy, and you know you want it.
  3. Heed her warning when it comes to cinnamon. I’m a cinnamon fanatic and opted to add the full amount. However, I think the flavors of the coconut and blueberries are better enhanced when they’re not fighting for the spotlight.