Tag Archives: easy baking

Blueberry Crumb Cake

Blueberry Crumb Cake - simply beautiful, simply delicious


Next week is Cake Week, and in honor of our efforts to woo you with cake and as a teaser of the treats to come, I’m sharing this little snack cake to help get you in the mood. This recipe features one of my favorite things – itty bitty dried wild blueberries. They’re so sweet, they’re like candy. You’ll love how simple this crumb cake is to make. And it’s even more perfect warm out of the oven with your morning coffee or cup of tea.

NanaBread’s Blueberry Crumb Cake:
2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of table salt
1/2 cup (one stick) of butter, softened
3/4 cup of granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon almond extract (or vanilla, if you prefer)
1/2 cup milk
1 pkg. dried wild blueberries (3 to 4 ounces)

For the crumb topping:
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1/4 cup of light brown sugar
1/3 cup of all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (half a stick) of butter, softened

Optional Glaze:
4 ounces of cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon of almond extract
1 1/4 cup of powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 – 1 tablespoon of milk

To start, pre-heat your oven to 400F. Prepare an 8″ x 8″ square pan. I use parchment paper to make a paper sling, then lightly spray it with cooking spray.

To start the cake batter combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl, mixing with a wire whisk to blend as well as remove any lumps. Set it aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy, then add the sugar and continue to beat for 2 minutes more. Add the egg and almond extract; mix just until combined. Add half of the flour mixture and beat on low speed just until blended. Add the milk and mix to incorporate, then finish with the other half of the flour mixture, stopping just before the flour is fully incorporated. For a tender crumb cake, you don’t want to over mix. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the blueberries, and finish incorporating the flour and berries with a rubber spatula. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.

To make the crumb topping, combine the sugars, flour and softened butter in a mixing bowl. Beat with a wire whisk until it forms soft, lumpy crumbs. Spoon them evenly over the cake batter and place in the middle of the center rack of the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick or skewer comes out clean from the center of the cake.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before glazing or serving.

If you’d like to make the optional glaze, place the cream cheese in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high power for 30-45 seconds, or until the cream cheese is completely softened. Whisk in the flavorings, then slowly whisk in the powdered sugar. Add enough milk to thin to the consistency you like. Spoon or pour over the top and serve.

Makes 4 very large servings or 9 regular servings.

Now, I’m off to have a slice with my coffee this morning. Care to join me?

Care to join me for breakfast? Coffee or tea?

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Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

Need cookies in a hurry? Try these beauties!

Forty-five minutes. That’s all you’ll need. Seriously, that’s how quick and easy these cookies are. See for yourself!

NanaBread’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies:
1 cup of creamy peanut butter
1 cup of Peanut Butter & Co.’s Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter
1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 cup of all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons of baking soda
good pinch of salt
1 cup roasted peanuts (I used lightly salted)

Plus 2-3 tablespoons of sugar for sprinkling on top

Pre-heat your oven to 350F. Dump all cookie ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir until thoroughly combined. The dough will be a little thick, so I used a heavy wooden spoon. Using a cookie scoop or a spoon, form dough into walnut-size or golf ball size balls. {Yes, I said balls. Stop giggling.} Place about 2″ apart on an ungreased non-stick cookie sheet (or use silpat mats, if you have them) and sprinkle with additional granulated sugar. Bake for 10-14 minutes, or until the cookies start to crack as seen in the photos. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool completely. Makes 24-30 cookies.

See? Chocolate peanut butter cookies in under an hour. Start to finish. It might take longer to run to the store for a gallon of milk. Now let’s dig in!

Seriously. Is there anything better than warm cookies & cold milk?

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The Amazing Crustless Coconut Pie

I don't know how it works, but it does and it's delicious!


Yes, you heard correctly. It’s a crustless pie and it’s crazy simple to make. I first had it around 1990 or 1991 when my mother and I visited a tea room in Stafford, Texas. The tea room is long gone, but my love for this pie has never waned. If you love coconut, give this one a try and see if it doesn’t knock your socks off.

Crustless Coconut Pie:

1 14-oz. can of sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
1 1/4 cups of milk
1/2 cup of Bisquick, Pioneer or other dry baking/biscuit mix
3 whole eggs
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
1 cup of sweetened flaked coconut

Pre-heat your oven to 350F. Put all ingredients except for the coconut into a blender and blend on low speed for 3 minutes. Pour into a greased 10″ pie plate or casserole dish (I used a rectangle Pyrex). This will puff, so don’t fill your dish to the very top. Let it sit for 5 minutes to allow the ingredients to settle properly, then sprinkle the coconut evenly across the top.

Place on a foil-lined baking sheet with a raised edge (to prevent spills) and place in the center of the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown, the center is slightly jiggly, and a knife inserted near the edge comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool to completely. Like a souffle, this will deflate as it cools, so don’t panic if you notice shrinkage.

Serve at room temperature for best results. Leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator. Serves 6-8, depending on serving size.

Gorgeous and golden straight from the oven.

Note: This recipe was adapted from the Grateful Prayer Thankful Heart Blog who adapted it from the Favorite Brand-Name Best-Loved Recipes of All Time published in 1996 by Publications Limited. Her photo, by the way, is gorgeous. So if you want to see a spectacular photo of this pie, click on the link and be prepared to drool. My version is a cross between her recipe & my mother’s.

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Granola Brownies: they’ve got granola in them, so they’re good for you…right?

Granola Brownies: breakfast or snack? You choose.


Last week, I experienced a “fail” on a first-time recipe. I attempted to make homemade granola bars with chopped dates, coconut, almonds and dark chocolate chips. While it tasted spectacular, the bars just never stuck together. Guess my granola mix was too dry. Next time, I’ll add more honey. BUT… from lemons we make lemonade, and from failed granola bars, we make granola (which was great over Greek yogurt, by the way). And since I can can never seem to leave anything alone, I decided to kick it up a notch by making granola brownies. I mean, it makes sense in an unconventional way. Oats are good with chocolate. So are almonds, dates and coconut. And nothing satisfies a craving for sweets like a brownie, so…

Here’s how it all went down:
1 stick of unsalted butter
3 ounces of unsweetened chocolate
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup of granola, divided
Optional Ingredient: 2-3 Tbsp. Hershey’s Dark chocolate syrup
(because I’ve learned that nothing makes chocolate brownies taste more chocolatey than adding more chocolate, or a pinch of instant espresso powder)

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter and chocolate squares (and the optional chocolate syrup, if you so choose). Beat with a whisk until smooth, and add the sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. In a small bowl, blend flour, baking powder and salt. Stir into the chocolate mixture just until combined; do not over mix. Stir in 3/4 cup of your favorite granola (if it’s in bigger chunks, break it up). Press into an 8″ x 8″ baking pan lined with parchment paper or foil. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of granola over the top and press gently so it sticks.

Bake at 350F for 18-22 minutes (depending on your oven) or until the center is set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pan. Using the parchment paper or foil edges, lift the brownies from the pan and cut into squares. If you want nice, clean edges put your brownies in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to cool, then cut into squares.

Tip: individual brownies can be plastic-wrapped and frozen for a quick snack to drop into your child’s lunchbox (or your own). It’s perfect for back-to-school snacks, after school snacks, or my-kids-are-grown-and-I-just-want-a-granola-brownie-for-myself treats. Unconventional? Perhaps, but they’re still nutty, and gooey, and delicious. And just like that, a fail becomes a win.

Recipe credit: brownie base is America’s Test Kitchen “Bake Sale Brownies”

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Quite Possibly the Easiest Summer Berry Dessert You Will Ever Make


This is one of those “accidental” recipe finds, discovered while browsing comments on The Pioneer Woman’s website. PW posted a photo blog of fabulous strawberry recipe photos (many of which made me weep with joy), but it was the first comment posted that really grabbed my attention. Sydney B posted a link to a strawberry clafouti recipe. A strawberry what?!? Clafouti. That’s klah-FOO-tee. Say it with me. “Klah-FOO-tee.” I like it! It sounds like a party in a Pyrex. Reminds me of KC & the Sunshine Band. It’s got me singing, “Shake shake shake…. shake shake shake… shake clafouti. Shake clafouti.” Let’s see if that’s not stuck in your head the rest of the day, right? But what IS a clafouti, really? I needed to know.

“Clafouti, is a baked French dessert of black cherries (or other fruit) arranged in a buttered dish and covered with a thick flan-like batter. The clafouti is dusted with powdered sugar and served lukewarm.”

There. Now we know. So back to Sydney B’s link. It took me to www.shutterbean.com, where I discovered the easiest berry dessert I’ve ever made. And since I love berries and I love custards, this has the potential to become my go-to throw-down company’s coming dessert-in-a-hurry recipe. Thank you, Tracy the Shutterbean!

Here’s how easy this recipe is. For the record, it calls for strawberries, but I threw in some raspberries, too. Basically, you butter a glass baking dish. Toss your fruit with 2 teaspoons of cornstarch and arrange them in the bottom of the dish. Combine the other ingredients in a blender and whiz for 15 seconds. (I didn’t want to dig out my blender, so I used a mixing bowl and a whisk – old school style). Pour the mixture over the fruit and bake it until the center is set and the top is lightly browned. Remove it from the oven, sprinkle it with powdered sugar, and serve it warm. Done. Can you believe it? Seriously… from start to finish, it took 10 minutes to pop this into the oven. To see Tracy’s step-by-step photos and recipe, click here. You won’t be sorry.

If you love summer berries and creamy custards, you should try this. I will give you a few tips. Use really ripe, sweet strawberries. If your strawberries are really large, cut them into bite-size pieces. If you add raspberries like I did, increase the sugar to 1/2 cup or it will be really tart. Other than that, this recipe is simple, easy to make, and bursting with the fabulous flavors of summer berries and vanilla. And that’s all I need. Well, that and the Strawberry Kiss Cake posted by Brooks the Cakewalker from the Pioneer Woman’s photo post mentioned above. Have mercy! If you make that one, I am SO coming over!

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