Emily Columpsi

"The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery" -Mark Van Doren

Scrumptious Crumbs

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This week marks the beginning of the dessert category, which just so happens to be the last category for my learning project. I am very excited for these next few weeks because as long as I can remember I have always enjoyed baking. That being said, I am very comfortable with this category, and in my baking abilities.

I decided early on in the week that I wanted to bake some bar cookies; however, I didn’t know what flavor. I began my search a few days earlier than usual because I knew that there would be many options to look at. However, I quickly remembered all the way back to week one when I was introduced to the blog Smitten Kitchen. I remember going through this blog and noticing all of different dessert categories/recipes. As a result, I began my search there. I clicked on recipes and an entire recipe index popped up. To top it all off, this index was organized further into different sections such as Ethnic foods, Seasons, fruit, vegetables and of course sweets. As I was searching through the sweet recipes I came across a tiny section dedicated to bar cookies. How convenient! I looked through the options and one recipe stood out to me: Blueberry Crumb Bars. I love blueberries, so this recipe was perfect.

As I looked through the recipe, the directions were all very explicit. As well, the ingredients were all very basic and I have worked with them all before in other baking recipes. That being said, I felt like I didn’t have to conduct any online learning for this particular recipe because I was feeling very confident. However, before I could start anything I needed to make sure that we had all of the ingredients. I scavenged the house for everything that I needed and it just so happened that we had everything. This was a plus. So I organized all of the ingredients on the counter and got ready to bake.

Recipe:

1-cup white sugar

1-teaspoon baking powder

2 cups all purpose flour

1-cup cold unsalted butter

1 egg

¼ teaspoon salt

Zest and juice of one lemon

4-cups fresh blueberries

½ cup white sugar

4-teaspoons cornstarch

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Depending on how hot your oven gets this temperature may be to high/hot. I know for a fact that our oven gets really warm, so I turned down the temperature to 350 degrees.

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In a medium sized bowl, stir together 1-cup sugar, baking powder and 3 cups of flour. Once these ingredients are blended together mix in salt and lemon zest. Then use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the butter and egg. I happened to come across a new kitchen tool while preparing this mixture. A zester! First of all, I didn’t even know that we had one, and second of all I was very excited to use it. I assumed it would be more complicated than it actually was –it was very simple to use. You just grate the lemon on top. After the zest was in the bowl the smell of lemon overwhelmed my senses –but in a good way. The aroma was so fresh and light. Blending in the butter and egg was definitely a process. I used a pastry cutter to blend in these ingredients and man I’ll tell you it took a lot of upper body strength –of which I don’t have. It probably took me about 10 minutes to cut the butter up in fine enough pieces. Once everything was mixed together the crumble/dough was so light and, well, crumbly. Grease a 9×13 inch pan. Then take half of the dough and pat it into the prepared pan, and spread evenly.

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In another bowl, stir together the remaining sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Gently mix in the blueberries trying not to pop any. Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust. The recipe called for fresh blueberries; however, fresh blueberries are not really in season right now. That being said, I used frozen blueberries instead. I simply took the blueberries out of the freezer and let them sit for a bit so that they could un-thaw. Then I measured out what I needed, placed them in a colander and strained them under cold water so that the ice would melt off of the blueberries and ultimately clean them. I also made sure that the blueberries were mostly if not completely dry before I added them to the bowl. Once the blueberries are evenly distributed over the crust, crumble the remaining dough over the berry layer.

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Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the top is slightly brown. As well, the blueberries should be bursting or bubbling up the sides. Cool completely before cutting into squares. If would like you could crumble the bars over ice cream!

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Oh my word. These blueberry crumb bars were so unbelievably good. They were moist and the blueberries added just the right amount of juiciness. To be honest, as I was putting them in the oven I was worried that they weren’t going to taste very good because the crumble seemed sort of off to me. On the contrary, it was the best part. I got my parents to taste them and they seemed to really enjoy them. My dad was literally freaking out. He repeated about ten times how delicious they were –he even ate an entire row to himself. I am very pleased with myself as well with this dish. I have always loved to bake so I knew I was going to do well with this category. It is definitely a nice way to finish off this learning project. Even though these crumb bars are delicious on there own, I bet they would taste even better with ice cream.

MMMMmmmmm.

Next week is the last week for my learning project. However, I am not that bummed since my learning project revolved around learning a practical life skill that I can put into practice any day, even when the semester is over.

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