apple pear blondies

Apple Pear Blondies

WELL…uhhhhh…it’s been an interesting few days here in the ol’ U.S. of A, hasn’t it?

I’m part of the more than 60+ million folks that are shaking their heads in disbelief in this moment, and I am currently going through my own grieving at this time. There really is no other way to say it. I’m not about to get fully political in this post, as I’m sure you came here for a recipe and not a rant. All I can say is stand up for what you believe in and don’t be afraid to take peaceful action that will move us all forward. Be sure to deal with your emotions in healthy ways. Take time for self care and know that it’s okay to feel emotional right now; if you feel that your emotions are getting the best of you, don’t hesitate to reach out for a helping hand!

Okay, now, shall we move onto some deliciousness?

apple pear blondies

Since the election, my two coping mechanisms have been levity and eating. As Waz from Let’s Nom Nom posted on one of my Instagram photos the other day, to paraphrase, she’s been a carboholic since November 8th. Me too! Ha! Handpulled Chinese noodles, queso fundido, tacos, rice and beans, donuts, you name it! During my lunch break today, I had some zucchini in my Old Beijing Bolognese noodles from The Handpulled Noodle. I thought to myself, “Well, hey now! A vegetable! I’m being healthy again!”

apple pear blondies

This dessert has a good dose of fruits in it, between sweet apples and tender pears. The blondie mix itself lends to a buttery and slightly caramelized flavor to the overall dessert. I can not claim this to be healthy by any means, but you could do worse.

apple pear blondies

Go ahead. Eat a few of your feelings. We’re all allowed! Just continue to stay on that good grind for the most part. 😉

Apple Pear Blondies
(Makes 9 large squares)

Ingredients:

– 1 stick butter, melted and slightly cooled
– 1 & 1/4 cups flour
– 1/2 cup white sugar
– 1/2 cup dark brown sugar (light brown sugar can be used)
– 1 egg
– 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
– 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1 tablespoon lemon juice
– 1 medium apple, cored and diced into small chunks
– 1 medium pear, peeled and diced into small chunks

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350 °F.. Lightly grease and 8″ x 8″ pan and set aside.

2.) Melt butter in microwave or over stove top until melted. Set aside and allow to slightly cool while you mix your other ingredients together.

3.) In a large bowl, combine apples and pears. Toss with lemon juice and set aside.

4.) In a large bowl, whisk egg. Add sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla. Whisk together until combined. Slowly add melted butter into mixture, whisking continuously to avoid the residual heat from the butter cooking the egg. Add all dry ingredients to wet mixture until combined; the batter may be a little thick and sticky, but that is normal!

5.) Gently fold apples and pears into the mixture until all fruit is combined and coated.

6.) Add mix to prepared baking pan and bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the blondies comes out clean or with virtually no crumbs.

7.) Remove from oven and cool on cooling rack, in its baking pan, for at least one hour before cutting and removing from pan. Wrap blondies tightly in plastic wrap if not eating immediately.

apple pear blondies

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Very Blueberry Muffins

I’m all about eating as many blueberries as I can before the season is over.

Admittedly, I was looking forward to crafting a lot of recipes while I was in Connecticut this past weekend. However, I was there to work – I was photographing an aunt’s 50th high school reunion, a two-day event – and I was more drained than my iPhone’s battery after spending 5 minutes looking at Snapchat stories.

very blueberry muffins

My father, ever the baker and seeker of all things sweet, had whipped up a batch of blueberry muffins, and I definitely had my share over the weekend. He got the recipe from an old cookbook he bought me years ago, The Baker’s Bible; what I love about this recipe is that it’s akin to banana bread, as in the fruit is partially blended with the batter as opposed to simply mixing whole pieces of fruit into the batter.

Okay, okay, so I cheated a little this weekend. Ha! Thanks for letting me steal your muffins, Dad!

very blueberry muffins

Very Blueberry Muffins
(Recipe adapted from the Baker’s Bible recipe for Very Blue Blueberry Muffins)
(Makes 12 muffins)

Ingredients:

Muffins:

– 2 cups flour
– 2 cups fresh blueberries, whole
– 1/2 fresh blueberries, mashed
– 2 eggs
– 1/2 cup milk
– 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 2 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
– 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
– Zest of 1/2 orange (optional)

Muffin Topping:

– 1/4 cup coarse sugar, such as Sugar in the Raw
– 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
– 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease the insides of the muffin pan cup or line the cups with liners. Set pan aside.

2.) Sift flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon into a large bowl. Combine with sugar. Make large well in the center of the dry mixture and set aside.

3.) In another large bowl, beat eggs, milk, cooled melted butter, vanilla extract, and (optional) orange zest. In a small bowl mash the 1/2 cup of fresh blueberries; add to wet mixture and combine until blended.

4.) Pour wet batter into the well in the center of the dry mixture; stir gently until all ingredients are combined, but no not overmix. Gently old whole fresh blueberries into the batter.

5.) In a small bowl, combine coarse sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg for muffin topping. Set aside.

6.) Carefully spoon batter into prepared muffin pan cups, filling 1/2 – 3/4 of the way up. Sprinkle with coarse sugar mixture. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with few crumbs. Remove pan and allow to cool on a cooling rack for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from muffin pan cupcakes; allow cupcakes to continue cooling on cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Seal leftover muffins in airtight container.

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peach bread

Peach Bread

Well ain’t this peachy!

I’m actually surprised that, at least at my local farmers’ market (the Inwood Greenmarket in northern Manhattan), I haven’t been seeing that many peaches or nectarines! This past Saturday, only one vendor out of the six regular farm stands had peaches! I was tempted to even look at other vendors, alas, the pickle vendor and the sausage vendors were low on peaches as well. (Haaaa.) Also, the vast majority of the peaches for sale at the vendor were rock hard! Like, if I threw one at someone’s head, I’d likely be charged with attempted murder. Rock. HARD. Admittedly, it was rather amusing to watch myself and my fellow peach purchasers feeling inside giant wooden crates, poking and squeezing peaches until we found passable ones. Eventually, I found two. It was quite the task!

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It would be so easy to throw these into a pie or a galette. Peach cake? I’ve seen it. Peach cupcakes? I’ve eaten a few in my time. However, I was hard pressed to think of a time when I had ever seen or eaten peach bread. I just struck me as I was imagining what to do with my fruits. I love banana bread and zucchini bread. Why wouldn’t a peach bread work? Imagine a nice cakey yet moist bread with luscious pieces of fresh peach speckled throughout.

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The road to this perfect bread was not without a few bumps.

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I based parts of this recipe off of a general one I found via Google, and I can’t figure out which web page I got it from! (If you stumble across this, Wonderful Peach Bread Person, shoot me a note so I can give proper credit.) Still, I tweaked small parts of this recipe. The original recipe ended up being very doughy, so much so that I couldn’t fold in the peaches! Also, the recipe that I based it off of called for 60 minutes in a 325°F oven. Oh, man, that was a near-disaster! After an hour, the bread was pale and slightly raw at the bottom still! An extra 20 minutes in the oven at 350 solved the problem, albeit making the bread a tad on the drier side.

Anyone that develops recipes knows it’s rarely perfect on the first go-round.

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After more tweaking, I got that bread I was looking for. Now I expect the popularity of peach break to rocket, thanks to me. (Ha! A gal can dream…)

peach bread

Peach Bread
(Makes one loaf)

Ingredients:

– 2 & 1/2 all-purpose flour
– 2 cups fresh peaches, chopped small
– 3 eggs
– 1 cup sugar
– 1/2 cup vegetable oil or 1/2 unsweetened apple sauce
– 1 tablespoon baking powder
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1 tablespoon cinnamon
– 1 tablespoon vanilla

Before We Get Started…

– This recipe will will an standard loaf pan (8 & 1/2″ x 4 & 1/2″ x 2 1/2″).

– I have not experimented with any other flours besides all-purpose for this recipe, so test at your own risk!

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease bread pan or line with parchment paper. Set aside.

2.) In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients; whisk until incorporated.

3.) In a separate large bowl, whisk eggs. Slowly add sugar to eggs while continuing to whisk. Slowly stream in oil while containing to whisk. Add vanilla and star to combine.

4.) Fold wet mixture into dry mixture until combined. Fold in peaches into batter until incorporated.

5.) Pour batter into prepared bread pan. Bake for 45 – 50 minutes or until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.

6.) Move pan to cooling rack and cool for at least 20 minutes before removing and slicing; if not slicing, wrap in plastic wrap.

berry oatmeal smoothie

Berry Oatmeal Smoothie

Surely, I’m not the only person in the world that has made an excellent smoothie from random fruits, veggie, et al in my kitchen, right?

Originality is not my strong suite in this posting. Haaa.

This past Monday, I took a day off of work. I spent the day doing laundry along some spring cleaning and reorganization in my bedroom. Noon rolled around, and I knew the grumbles I felt in my stomach weren’t good ones. Conversely, with me having to run back and forth between the laundromat on my street corner, I didn’t want to whip out the heavier artillery and make a sizable Monday brunch.

Blessed be frozen berries, almond milk, chia seeds, oranges, skyr, and oats, as well as the blender that pulverizes them together into a gorgeous purple viscous liquid.

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I like adding oats to my smoothies. It gives them more bulk and an extra shot of fiber. It makes me feel healthier, especially if I had a giant handful of Cadbury Mini Eggs hours prior to consuming this smoothie. Heh…

Berry Oatmeal Smoothie
(Serves One)

Ingredients:

– 1 cup frozen berries (your choice!)
– 1 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
– Juice of one orange
– 2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt or skyr (omit if making vegan version)
– 2 heaping tablespoons rolled oats
– 1 teaspoon chia seeds (optional)
– Sweetener of choice, to taste

Before We Get Started…

– Be warned: If using seeded frozen berries (raspberries and / or strawberries) and chia seeds, the mixture has a very, well, seedy texture. If you prefer a smoother smoothie, omit chia seeds and / or use blueberries.

-If omitting yogurt to make a vegan version, increase the amount of oats by one tablespoon to add a little bit more bulk, if preferred.

Directions:

1.) Combine all ingredients in a blender; blend on high until desired consistency. Serve immediately. Ponder why you needed to read directions as to how to blend a smoothie and / or ponder why Allison bothered to create directions on how to blend a smoothie. Shrug and decided that someone needed to know. Drink. Enjoy!

dutch baby pears

Dutch Baby

Today, a blizzard named Jonas is paying Manhattan a very spirited visit, though his reception is a bit chilly. I figured it’d be a good day to whip up something baked for breakfast.

dutch baby pears

True story: For the vast majority of my 31 years, I believed a Dutch Baby was a recipe my parents created.

Shy of two years ago, I realized I was very incorrect.

Damn you, Andrew Zimmern!

dutch baby pears

It was always a dinner staple in our house, served with a hot side of sizzling bacon and a large bottle of maple syrup; I honestly can never recall it being served for breakfast. Then again, my parents were, and still are, huge fans of breakfast for dinner.

I never quite got it.

dutch baby pears

I like my breakfast foods served before noon, or at least before 3 on the weekends.

dutch baby pears

Still, I can not deny my love of a Dutch Baby.

dutch baby pears

Just give it to me in the a.m.

dutch baby pears

Dutch Baby
(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

– 2 large eggs
– 1/3 cup flour
– 1/2 whole milk
– 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
– 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
– Pinch of salt

Before We Get Started…

– Toppings for a Dutch Baby range, and you can go as simple or decadent as you please. Growing up, I ate it drizzled with maple syrup. However, other great toppings are fresh berries, toasted sliced almonds, confectioners’ sugar, or skillet-roasted apple slices. See Step 4a for a spiral-cut pear recipe.

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 425°F.

2.) Whisk eggs, flour, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt until a smooth batter forms.

3.) In a 10″ cast-iron skillet, melt butter over medium heat until melted; tilt skillet to ensure butter covers the entire bottom; alternatively, melt butter in a 10″ oven-proof skillet or 10″ round baking dish.

4.) Pour batter into skillet over melted and transfer to oven. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, or until edges are browned and batter has puffed and set. Remove from oven. See Before We Get Started… for topping suggestions. In these photos, I used spiral-cut pears:

dutch baby pears

4a.) Spiral-cut one pear on a medium-blade setting; I used a Bartlett that was slightly underripe. In a large frying pan, melt one tablespoon butter on low heat. Add pear to pan and sprinkle with a few good shakes of both cinnamon and ground nutmeg. Cook for two minutes or until slightly softened. Top Dutch Baby with pear and sprinkle lightly with confectioners’ sugar or one teaspoon of fresh-squeezed lemon juice.