Rhubarb and Blueberry Streusel Recipe

First and foremost my apologies for not posting in some time. Unfortunately I got diagnosed with leukemia back in March which has prevented me from creating more recipes in my kitchen. I could go on and on as to how I could improve hospital food, only if it were as simple as a spice or two, but I am not going to go there. I’m just happy to be home with my wife and kids, and to be able to be back in the kitchen when my energy permits, and this past week was probably one of those good weeks with as much energy as I think I may have over the next few months.

It’s funny the first thing I did when I came home was make a meal for my family. Thai basil chicken to be exact. Granted we were blessed to have family and friends bring over meals for my family as I was laid up in the hospital, whether that be of gift cards, casseroles, or other homemade goodies; my wife and kids (and I) were so very thankful in receiving all of the gifts during the challenging time, but being able to whip something up in my kitchen felt oh so good, and let’s just say my wife and kids loved the spice and flavor impact of the Thai food.

So I had a small amount of time on my hand this past week, and I decided to whip up a dessert I knew my wife and daughter would love (and hoping my boys would take down), and that was a rhubarb and blueberry streusel.

 

Rhubarb and Blueberry Streusel Recipe
Rhubarb and Blueberry Streusel Recipe

This recipe is so easy to make, and makes excellent use of rhubarb, something that is perfect right now and is in season this Spring.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint blueberries, washed and cleaned, strained
  • 2 cups rhubarb, cut into roughly 1/3-inch-thick pieces, exterior skin removed
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, divided (plus a little extra for sprinkling)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 12 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
  • 2 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Butter. I know. It probably makes this recipe so delicious. Not only that but the combination of rhubarb and blueberries, along with the light brown sugar brings this one together. Cut into bars, these are addicting. Trust me.

Start by preheating your oven to 350°F.  Line it with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. This helps with removal and slicing when it is done cooking.

Combine the blueberries, sliced rhubarb, lemon juice, and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a large bowl. Set this aside to macerate while you make the crust and streusel. I love macerating.

Place 2 1/2 cups of the flour into a food processor. Cut the butter into large chunks and add to the flour along with the cream cheese, salt, and remaining 3/4 cup of the light brown sugar. Pulse to combine the mixture until moist and crumbly, with no chunks of butter remaining.

Remove about 1 2/3 cups of this crumbly mixture from the food processor and set it aside for the streusel topping.

How to make rhubarb and blueberry streusel
How to make rhubarb and blueberry streusel

To the rest of the mixture still in the food processor, add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour, whole egg, baking powder, and vanilla. Blend until it just starts to come together to form a dough. This should only take a minute or two.

Press the dough evenly into the lined pan (it’s easier to do this if your hands are slightly damp). Bake for 10-15 minutes. I use a glass 8×12 pan a few inches deep.

Strain the macerated fruit to remove the excess liquid. Spread the fruit in an even layer over the surface of the partially baked crust. Sprinkle the reserved streusel topping over the surface of the fruit and then sprinkle on a little more light brown sugar. Bake again for 40 to 50 minutes until the topping is golden-brown.

Let the pan cool for 20 minutes before lifting out of the pan using the parchment paper. Let the streusel cool, then slice into squares.

Rhubarb and Blueberry Streusel Recipe
Rhubarb and Blueberry Streusel Recipe

Take square. Take a bite. BACK AWAY FROM THE STREUSEL. THEN BACK UP TO IT AGAIN AND GRAB ANOTHER SQUARE. This is how it goes with this dessert, it’s that good.

If you are looking for a super simple dessert, one that is seasonal, and one that is darn right addicting, you will have to give this rhubarb and blueberry streusel recipe a try.

Pizza Muffins

Recently I was thinking of making another batch of my taco cups.  Gosh we loved those, and what’s not to love about using a muffin tin to batch out something that everyone is going to love, in bite sized form.  That’s when it dawned on me as I was looking at a batch of pizza dough that I could probably get away with molding that dough into the muffin tins and make pizza muffins! Low and behold these things were dynamite, and they were such a huge hit that one of my kids (they all devoured them) said I could make those any time for him. I knew that was a sure sign.

Pizza Muffins Recipe
Pizza Muffins Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch of your favorite pizza dough, room temperature
  • cooking spray
  • your favorite pizza sauce
  • sliced pepperoni, diced
  • mozzarella cheese
  • shredded colby jack cheese, optional
  • Other favorite pizza ingredients, optional

My kids all agree (for the most part) on cheese and pepperoni pizza, hence this style of pizza muffin, however feel free to use your favorite pizza ingredients.

Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees.

Next, spray your muffin tin with cooking spray.

Take a generous ball of dough, enough dough to mold into each muffin tin, and then to each ball, form into the muffin tin. Repeat with each ball of dough.

I kind of went deep dish style on this one where I placed the meat on the bottom layer, but you create your own style.

Place diced pepperoni onto the bottom of each formed dough ball. Top with mozzarella, then some shredded colby jack cheese, then cover with pizza sauce.

 

Pizza Muffin Ingredients
Pizza Muffin Ingredients

Place into your preheated oven, and cook for about 15-20 minutes.

Once cooked, remove them from the oven, and using a butter knife, wedge each one out onto a serving plate. Shower with fresh parmesan cheese if desired.

Now dig in. These reminded me of hand sized deep dish pizzas, but in muffin form. And if you want to talk about something delicious, and additive, these are the ones to go for. Hope you enjoy!

Neapolitan Style Pizza

I am always on the constant pursuit to try to perfect pizza. You might already be familiar with all of the pizza recipes I’ve made, and as they have always been great (in my opinion), I am always looking to improve on the dough. I believe with this last batch, I probably did a fairly close job to making a neapolitan style pizza dough. It had the right amount of air pockets, and a good chew.

This past week allowed me to tinker with the dough and bust out the KettlePizza (which I love using). Granted the pizzas only took minutes to cook in the KettlePizza, the dough itself was the star and took days to ferment.

Neapolitan Style Pizza Recipe
Neapolitan Style Pizza Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 lb 00 flour, plus more for dusting your work surface
  • 25 g kosher salt
  • .80 g active dry yeast
  • 2 1/4 cups warm water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, optional
  • buffalo mozzarella
  • your favorite pizza sauce
  • your favorite toppings

The goal is to measure by weight, so if you have a digital food scale (which I highly recommend), use it. I found that measuring by weight rather than volume is one of the keys to a good hydration ratio. I also have been using the double zero style flour as it is a bit finer and gets the texture I am looking for.

Start by adding the flour to a mixing bowl along with the salt, yeast, and then slowly add in the water. Slowly mix, either by hand, or what I use, the KitchenAid mixer. Mix for only a minute or so, then let it rest for a few minutes. After a few minutes scrape the sides of the bowl with a wooden spoon to get any flour into the center of the mixing bowl, then mix on medium for about 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, turn off the mixer. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, then with a kitchen towel. You will place this in a warm area to let the dough rise. I like to place a coffee mug filled with water and place into our microwave for about a minute, then let the steam build up. I then remove the mug, and place the covered bowl in there.

Once the dough has risen, about double in size, if not more, then lightly flour your work surface, and divide the dough into 3 equal portions. Lightly oil with olive oil, place in a sealed container, and place into your refrigerator for 4 days to ferment. Yep, I did 4 days, and it was awesome!

Neapolitan Style Pizza Recipe
Neapolitan Style Pizza Recipe

After 4 days, and when you are ready to make the pizzas, remove the dough, a few hours in advance, from the refrigerator to let it come close to room temperature.

Lightly flour your work surface with the double zero flour. Remove one of the balls of dough from the container and place onto the floured surface.

Gently working from the center outward, begin shaping your dough into a pizza like shape. I find that the circle does not need to be perfect, but once you have formed your dough into a thin circle, then move it onto a lightly dusted pizza paddle. Now begin building your pizza.

Take some sauce and lightly coat your pizza. Then top with a a good buffalo mozzarella cheese. I tear off chunks of the cheese and top on the pizza. I’ve found that buffalo mozzarella cheese works way better than a store bought shredded type.  Then top with your favorite ingredients. The pizza above used thinly sliced mushrooms, onion, and bell peppers.

If you are using an oven, preheat it to the highest temperature, along with the pizza stone, or if you are using the KettlePizza then make sure your kettle is heated. I like my kettle heated to around 700 degrees.

Slide your pizza in onto the stone or into your kettle, and cook until the crust is golden and the toppings are cooked.

The end result is a perfect crust that was crisp, airy, and had the perfect chew, and that four day fermentation did the trick! I’m sure I will continue to tinker with dough throughout my life, but so far this one is the shining star. Good luck and I hope you enjoy!

Thumbprint Cookies

As I noted in my previous post with the easy homemade turtles, I am not one for baking sweet treats, but this time of year always gets me, especially with my youngest daughter. She has that baking spirit in her, loves falling measurements (I do not), and has that look in her eye as though she just wants more and more Christmas cookies. I’ve done my share in the past, and typically only knock out one or two cookies per holiday season, but I decided I needed to make another cookie for her, along with her help, and decided to almost create a shortbread style thumbprint cookie.

Simple Thumbprint Cookies

Simple, easy, and quick. Perfect for me, and my daughter.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 12 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/4 cup of flour
  • Hershey Kisses

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Get a mixer out with a paddle attachment. Add the butter, salt, powdered sugar, salt, and vanilla, and beat on medium heat until it gets nice and creamy. Slowly pour the flour, continuing on medium heat. Once the flour is incorporated and a bit thick, slowly add in the milk and incorporate until you have a nice cookie dough.

Roll these into about teaspoon to tablespoon style balls, forming them with a pit of pressure as the dough is a bit rough. Place onto a non-greased cookie sheet, continuing until all balls are formed.

Place the cookie sheet into the preheated oven and cook for about 8-10 minutes, then remove and to each cookie, make a thumbprint in the middle of each cookie. They will be a bit hot, but my daughter could handle the heat, so it’s not all that bad.

How to make thumbprint cookiesReturn the cookie sheet back into the oven, and cook for about another 10 minutes or so, or until the edges get a bit golden brown.

During this time, start unwrapping the Hershey chocolate kisses.

Remove from the oven, and begin placing a Hershey kiss into each thumbprint.

Let them cool a bit, then pour yourself a nice glass of milk, and enjoy. These cookies, as though they are a bit dry like a shortbread style cookie, are simple, delicious, and perfect for the holidays. Merry Christmas everyone!