A relaxing vacation with family is never complete without homemade goodies, and I very much enjoyed sharing the duties with my mother this year. It should come as no surprise that blueberries were the ingredient of choice this time, and we book-ended our daily meals with blueberry muffins at breakfast (hers) and blueberry bars for dessert (mine).
Mom used a tried-and-true muffin recipe from a book we both love, The Art and Soul of Baking. I think her special touch in the kitchen makes them come out just perfectly, and the very, very few left over certainly prove it.
Next time I just might put her to work and ask her to document her kitchen experiences for me to share!
As for me, I spent a few days before the trip packing, cleaning, and whipping up my own contributions. I put together a green salad -- sorry, no pictures of that one -- and two featured treats: Dad's Famous Sangria and a new recipe for blueberry bars. In order to pay due attention to each, I'm splitting up my food recaps so you'll have to wait for the next post to salivate over the sangria.
The bars were relatively simple to make, using only the food processor to create the crumble mixture for the top and bottom. I intend to substitute other seasonal fruit for the blueberries in the future, as I think this recipe is versatile enough for just about anything.
Finger prints or blueberry indents? You decide.
Once the top is sprinkled with the same dough as the bottom, the whole thing bakes and releases the most delicious aroma of blueberries. I couldn't wait to taste, and it looks like this familiar face couldn't wait either...
Some for me? Please?
Distracting Perkins with a toy to keep him safely out of the way, I pulled this out of the oven:
Done! Well, almost.
Initially I was a little skeptical that this large mass of berries and crumble could stand alone when cut into bars, but I worried for nothing. I allowed it to cool completely (resisting all temptation to dive in and taste right away!) and sliced the whole thing into individual-serving bars. We decided to serve them gently reheated and with a dollop of whipped cream, and...
Perfection. Light, flavorful, and refreshingly simple. J deemed this "one of the best desserts... ever." High praise indeed. After long days of walking, shopping, kayaking, and some mini-golf, these sweet desserts hit the spot. I certainly plan to make them again, both in their original form and with some variations. I would call both blueberry dishes a resounding success!
Stay tuned for a sangria-centric post in the near future, and some more experimentation with seasonal ingredients.