Depending on where you live, blueberry season may be here already or getting close. Baking with fresh blueberries is the best, and that’s why I chose to try a recipe called Continue reading
I found some blueberries at a really good price at my local market, so it was the perfect time to make this Blueberry Almond Pound Cake! If you like blueberries, you will need to try this–it’s so moist, dense, and rich! You can also use frozen blueberries in this cake, but the baking time will be slightly longer. I prefer using fresh blueberries because the frozen berries tend to give the batter a blue-ish color. The almonds and almond extract give this pound cake a really nice flavor and the glaze adds a little extra sweetness. Serve it for dessert at dinner or at a brunch with coffee or tea.
BLUEBERRY ALMOND POUND CAKE by NancyC
Makes one 10″ bundt cake
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
- 1 (8-ounce) block of cream cheese, softened
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 cup sliced or coarsely chopped almonds
- 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 3 to 4 Tablespoons Half & Half (light cream), depending on desired consistency
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 Tablespoons sliced or coarsely chopped almonds for garnish (you can lightly toast them if you prefer)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10″ bundt pan; set aside.
In large bowl, blend butter, cream cheese, almond extract, and sugar until mixture is creamy and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and blend well after each addition.
In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture to creamy mixture and mix well.
Stir in sliced almonds, mixing to evenly distribute in batter and then gently fold in the blueberries and blend evenly into the batter. Spoon batter into prepared bundt pan. Bake 50 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean or almost clean (do not overtake, or cake will be dry).
Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan onto a serving plate (you may need to loosen the edges of the cake from the pan a little with a knife). Let cake cool completely.
While cake is cooling, mix the glaze ingredients and after cake cools, drizzle glaze over the cake. Sprinkle the almonds on top. Makes about 8-10 servings.
Have you been enjoying fresh blueberries this summer too? What kind of blueberry baked goods have you been making lately?
This is such an easy and healthy recipe for breakfast, a snack, or dessert! it’s from a new book called The SirtFood Diet. Before I received my review copy, I had never heart of “Sirtfoods.” In a nutshell, what I read in this book was that polyphenol nutrients from certain plants are good for us. And plants that have “noteworthy amounts” of sirtuin-activating polyphenols are called “Sirtfoods.” I know this sounds pretty technical, but the book gives a good explanation about all this. It also provides information about the top 20 Sirtfoods, along with other foods that are beneficial. I found that I actually like a lot of these foods, which include Arugula, Garlic, Green Tea, and even Cocoa!
This book explains that Sirtfoods, rich in special nutrients that help activate the same “skinny genes” in our bodies that fasting triggers, can help in effective weight loss–and so the Sirtfood Diet was created by nutritionists Aidan Goggins and Glen Matten. I haven’t tried the diet, so I can’t endorse it, but I’m sharing what the book says about it. The diet includes a plan for losing 7 pounds in seven days, along with keeping the weight off. There’s a recipe section that includes a good variety of healthy dishes–some even include chicken and beef. The authors also recommend having a good juicer to get the most benefits from this diet.
After looking through the recipe section, I decided to try this yogurt recipe because I loved all the ingredients and it was so simple to make. Simple as it is though, I actually made this recipe the wrong way! I put the berries over the yogurt instead of the yogurt over the berries! it does work better to put the yogurt over the berries as the recipe says, so be sure to layer the ingredients right! Even though I made this wrong, it does look pretty, doesn’t it? 🙂
YOGURT WITH MIXED BERRIES, CHOPPED WALNUTS, AND DARK CHOCOLATE from the SirtFood Diet
Makes 1 serving
- 1 1/3 cups mixed berries (I used some organic fresh strawberries and frozen blueberries)
- 2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (or vegan alternative, such as soy or coconut yogurt)
- 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons dark chocolate (85 percent cocoa solids), grated
Add the mixed berries to a bowl and top with the yogurt. Sprinkle with the walnuts and chocolate.
That’s all there is to it! I’m so glad dark chocolate is good for you, even if it’s the 85% cocoa solid kind; I actually like the really, really dark chocolate better than the sweeter varieties.
Are you a healthy eater and have you heart of Sirtfoods?
I don’t have a veggie garden of my own this summer, but friends and coworkers have been so nice to share from their gardens with me! That’s how I ended up with some zucchini. Since I also had fresh blueberries just waiting to be used, I decided to make these muffins that I first made several years ago. The zucchini and blueberries make these muffins really moist and the cinnamon gives them a great flavor. If you like, you can top the muffins with a homemade cream cheese frosting and fresh blueberries (you can use fresh or frozen blueberries in the batter). You can also try substituting blackberries, raspberries, or chopped strawberries for the blueberries.
BLUEBERRY ZUCCHINI MUFFINS by NancyC
Makes 24 to 25 regular-size muffins or 12 to 13 jumbo muffins
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup light olive oil or non-GMO canola oil
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- 2 cups shredded zucchini
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line two 12-cup regular muffin pans or two 6-cup jumbo muffin pans with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, beat together eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar. Fold in the zucchini.
In large bowl, mix flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.
Add the egg mixture from the medium bowl to the flour mixture in the large bowl; stir all ingredients together until moistened. Gently stir the blueberries into the batter.
Spoon batter into the muffin cups, about 3/4 full. Bake regular muffins for 22-24 minutes and jumbo muffins for 32-34 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean (if using frozen berries, your baking time may be a few minutes longer).
If you want to get a little fancy, you can top these muffins with some cream cheese frosting and garnish with a few fresh blueberries. Here’s a frosting recipe I’ve used with these muffins before:
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
- 1 8-oz. block of cream cheese at room temperature
- 2 Tablespoons butter, softened
- 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- fresh blueberries for garnish
In a medium bowl, blend cream cheese and butter together, then add the powdered sugar a cup at a time. Blend well. Using a rounded scoop about the size of a tablespoon, put a dollop of cream cheese frosting on the center of each muffin. You should have enough frosting to put big dollops on if you want to. Then add some fresh blueberries to the top of each muffin.
That’s pretty easy, isn’t it? If you’re not going to eat these until later, store in a covered container in the refrigerator to keep the blueberries fresh. This recipe is a great way to use your garden zucchini! Are you growing zucchini this summer?
Have you ever been to an afternoon tea? I’ve been to two–one was at a hotel and the other was at a bed and breakfast. They were both such a treat! Having tea with friends and tasting fancy little tea sandwiches, cakes, scones, and pastries was such a wonderful break in the day.
My tea time memories came to mind as I was looking through my review copy of Afternoon Tea at Home by Will Torrent. Just looking at the cover photo will make you want to treat yourself to a special tea time or host your own afternoon tea!
The book has a wide selection of recipes–scones, spreads, tarts, cakes, tea sandwiches, cookies–everything you could ever want for tea time. And there are beautiful full-color photos of the recipes.
I decided to try the Blueberry and Buttermilk Scones since I had already been thinking about making some scones. The book also includes instructions for making Honeycomb Butter to serve along with these scones, but I just made the scones. I really liked them–they’re slightly sweet and moist, with lots of blueberries. I’ve had scones before that were too dry, but I thought the texture of these was just right!
BLUEBERRY AND BUTTERMILK SCONES from Afternoon Tea at Home
Makes 16 small scones
- 2 3/4 cups (350 g) all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- a pinch of salt
- 1 stick butter (125 g), chilled and diced
- generous 1/3 cup (75 g) granulated sugar (also called caster sugar)
- 2/3 to 3/4 cup (175-200 ml) buttermilk (I used 3/4 cup)
- 1 1/4 cup (150 g) fresh or frozen blueberries
- 2 Tablespoons whole milk
- 2 Tablespoons turbinado or demerara sugar (these are raw, unrefined sugars; you can substitute granulated sugar if you don’t have these)
Preheat oven to 400˚F (200˚C). Note: I also lined a baking sheet with parchment paper for the scones.
Sift the flour, baking powder, and a pinch of salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the chilled, diced butter and rub into the dry ingredients using your hands (I found it easier to use a pastry blender rather than my hands). When the mixture resembles sand and there are only very small pieces of butter remaining, add the granulated sugar and mix to combine.
Make a well in the middle of the mixture, add the buttermilk and blueberries and stir to combine using a rubber spatula. One the dough starts to come together, use your hands to form a rough ball.
Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Very lightly knead for about 30 seconds to bring the dough into an almost smooth ball but do not overwork the dough. Cut in half and flatten each half into a round disc each about 6 1/4 inches (16 cm) in diameter. Using a long, sharp knife cut each disc into 8 triangular wedge shapes.
Arrange the wedges on the prepared baking sheets and brush the tops with a little milk, scatter with turbinado sugar and bake on the middle shelf of the preheated oven for 12-14 minutes, or until well-risen and golden.
Cool on a wire rack and serve slightly warm with butter or honey butter.
These scones would be great not only for tea time but for breakfast or brunch, too!
Have you been to an afternoon tea? Or hosted one?