Before making this cobbler, the most amazing thing happened to me. On account of participating in America’s Test Kitchen Boston Blogger Cookie Challenge I had the opportunity to take a tour of the test kitchen itself, along with 6 or 7 other bloggers who had also participated in the challenge. I pass the ATK building every single day on my walk from home to work and have more than one friend involved with the test kitchen, either as a full-time employee or volunteer. I’ve always felt like my relationship with ATK resembled “six degrees of Kevin Bacon”, always kinda-sorta-touching on them, being in love with their recipes and publications but never really connecting with the people or place itself, until now.

The tour was totally overwhelming and good lord you should see the amount of notes I took, trying to make sure every single detail I found even remotely interesting made it into my notebook and, supposedly, into my brain for a long time. For example, did you know they have one of the largest private cookbook collections in the US? It’s not surprising when you hear it, because most of the recipes they use in order to come up with the ATK-perfect version are found in cookbooks, but the amount of cookbooks made me stumble over myself a little bit. They were organized, shelf after shelf, by region or genre, like “entertaining” or “holiday”. The test kitchen building is very small, so we noticed how everything of theirs, cookbooks, pans, napkins, etc, was meticulously organized.

I guess here’s where I leave off my notes and talk about what was most important to me about this tour. I felt so lucky and insanely appreciative of the generosity we were showed while touring. It’s a small space with so much hustle and bustle and sometimes I felt so bad, like I was only there to step on everyone’s feet and make it impossible for anyone to do his or her job. I’ll make it very, very clear: everyone was SUPER nice and not a single person made us feel unwelcome. Some employees even stopped to talk to us and answer questions. It was then that I realized how unique and truly awesome ATK is; they care deeply for food, and most importantly, for people. The recipes they painstakingly develop and books they laboriously put together and the photos they spend so much time perfecting are all for us, the public, so we can enjoy good food with ourselves, our families, the people we love, the people we might love, and the list goes on. All of this care and passion comes through in each recipe and article and equipment testing, directly to us. It was exhilarating to tour the test kitchen and meet some lovely people, but it was even more exhilarating to fully understand my relationship with ATK, that of adoring public.

So, yes, before making this cobbler touring the test kitchen was the most amazing thing to happen to me. Then I made the cobbler, and, quite fittingly, eating it is now the most amazing thing to happen to me. Good gravy, it’s a heck of a recipe and if you have any sort of blueberry (frozen or fresh) within 50 miles, make this and you won’t regret it! I made a few adaptations only because of the ingredients I had on hand, like substituting heavy cream for some of the milk (to use it up) and instead of using a lemon sugar, I used cinnamon to spice the cobbler. I will be the first to recommend you pick up the most recent issue of Cook’s Country and try their recipe as is, but until then, hopefully this will suffice!

(Thanks again, ATK – you never, ever let me down!)

Texas-Style Blueberry Cobbler

(Recipe adapted from Cook’s Country (issue September 2011), an America’s Test Kitchen publication)

Yields one 9 by 13 inch pan (enough to feed at most ten people)

Notes: I adapted this recipe to make it sort of a love child between the Texas-style cobbler and another fabulously famous recipe, blueberry boy bait. The original recipe uses lemon instead of cinnamon as a complementary flavor to the blueberries while I used cinnamon. I also had some heavy cream in the fridge so did about a cup of heavy cream and ½ cup milk – the results being a richer cake and amazing enough that I dropped everything, packed up the cobbler, and took it to my place of work to force-feed some co-workers.

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pats, and ½ cup, or 1 stick, butter, melted and cooled to room temperature

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

3 cups blueberries (if using frozen berries, thaw first)

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¾ teaspoon salt

1 ½ cups milk

 

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In the same glass, 9 by 13 inch pan in which you plan to bake cobbler, melt four tablespoons butter in oven while preheating. Keep an eye on the butter while melting in the oven, taking it out before it starts to bubble – this will not take long, 8 to 10 minutes at most.

2. In a large mixing bowl and using a potato masher, mash blueberries with 1 tablespoon sugar until coarsely mashed.

3. In a separate, large mixing bowl, combine flour, 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Whisk in milk and cooled, melted butter, until batter is smooth.

4. Pour batter evenly into prepared pan. Dollop mashed blueberry mixture over batter, as evenly as possible, then sprinkle with ¼ cup granulated sugar.

5. Bake in preheated oven until edges are golden and crispy, 45 to 50 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking time.

6. Once out of oven, let cobbler cool in pan on a cooling rack at least 30 minutes before serving.

I would serve this immediately and eat it as soon as possible (not a difficult thing to imagine once trying it). I refrigerated a good portion of it and it was definitely edible the next day but you lose the crispy, golden edges that are so amazing the first day.

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We all know I love me some pancakes, yes sir-ee. Pancakes might, in fact, be my favorite Breakfast Tuesday treat and may well be the reason I started posting breakfast recipes once a week. That and this website, amazing. Every time I gush about pancakes as a food item, the first thing I point out is how easy they are to manipulate. You could find a way to incorporate any type of flour, wheat, oat, or corn product and you could probably find a way to use any and all types of fruit (though that adventure would require a little more culinary creativity, it could be done).

I fell in love with this pancake recipe on account of the brown sugar, something I don’t normally see, and the use of oat bran/wheat germ. Wheat germ is something that I use weekly, as a topping for various hot cereals, but never have I used it as an ingredient in a baked good. In fact, that really hadn’t occurred to me until just recently, when I came across Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for wheat germ cookies. And oat bran, well, it’s a little embarrassing that I don’t think I’ve EVER even bought oat bran. I liked it well enough in cereal and didn’t really think I’d have any use for plain ol’ oat bran. Boy was I wrong. These ingredients not only added an amazing textural contrast to the juicy blueberries but also upped the flavor quotient, turning what can be a sometimes-bland breakfast treat into an interesting meal. I’d like to think these are kinda-sorta healthy, but try not to delude myself like that too often.

The only thing I’d do differently next time is separate the eggs and whisk the whites before folding them into the batter. I’m not sure if that would do anything, but it’d be worth a try to see if there are any changes in overall fluffiness.

Enjoy, and happy Breakfast Tuesday everyone!

 

Whole Grain Blueberry Pancakes with Oat Bran and Wheat Germ

(Adapted from Pinch my Salt)

Yields 16 to 18 pancakes using a ¼ cup measure

Ingredients:

1 ½ cup whole wheat flour

¼ cup wheat germ

½ cup oat bran

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 ½ cups milk

½ cup sour cream

2 eggs

2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly

1 to 1 ½ cups blueberries (I’m sure different berries would work, too.)

Method:

(If using a cast-iron skillet, preheat over medium heat.)

1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, wheat germ, oat bran, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and brown sugar. Set aside.

2. In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together milk, sour cream, and eggs.

3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring with a wooden spoon until just combined.

4. Stir in butter and blueberries. (Optional step: Let batter sit for 10 minutes. I’m not sure why this works science-wise, but my pancakes tend to cook more evenly and have a better texture after resting.)

5. Scoop batter into greased, preheated skillet by the ¼ cupful, cooking pancakes on each side over medium heat until brown on each side. (You will know pancakes are ready to flip when the edges are dry and bubbles start to pop up in batter.)

Serve immediately, or, if you’re me, keep them in the fridge for up to 3 days, reheating as necessary

My hetero-life-mate, or more commonly known as a best friend, and I went out for a lovely dinner last night to celebrate Valentine’s Day. The drinks were stellar (whiskey and lavender honey over ice!), the food was incredible, and the atmosphere was warm and cozy, with vibrant fabrics, red brick, and wire chairs. The evening took an interesting turn, however, when we asked about the dessert specials and not one of them contained chocolate! Not a one! It’s Valentine’s Day, for goodness sake! We want some gosh darn chocolate!

Special treat of the week: Valrhona cocoa powder!

I knew at that moment that my Post-Valentine’s Day Breakfast Tuesday would not only have to revolve around chocolate but also be enough like dessert to make up for my lack of dessert the night before.

Chocolate pancakes and blueberry sauce with a sprinkling of unsweetened coconut? Mission accomplished. This breakfast was so sweet and tasty that after eating it I ran around my apartment for 10 minutes, and then passed out on the couch in a sugar coma. Definitely cured my craving for an extravagant chocolate dessert.

Chocolate Pancakes

(Recipe found on the Gourmet Magazine website)

Yields 10 to 12 medium-sized pancakes

Ingredients:

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

½ teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

¾ cup butter milk, or ¾ cup milk with one teaspoon vinegar left sitting for 5 minutes before use

½ cup vegetable or canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Unsalted butter to grease pan

Method:

1. If using a cast-iron skillet, preheat on medium-low heat.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, leavening agent, and salt. Set aside.

3. In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine all other ingredients. Whisk liquid ingredients together until combined.

4. Add wet ingredient mixture to dry ingredients, stirring until smooth (a few lumps are okay).

5. Let batter rest for 10 minutes before using.

6. Grease skillet with unsalted butter and scoop pancake batter into skillet with a scant ½ measuring cup or serving spoon. Heat over medium or medium-low heat until bubbles form on the surface, about 5 minutes. Flip pancake, heat for another 3 minutes, and turn onto a serving plate.

Writing out times for pancakes is always a little iffy, because it depends on how your oven heats the skillet. My gas range tends to overheat everything, so my pancakes sometimes take a little longer over low heat, to avoid burning.

Blueberry sauce

(Recipe is a mash-up of many different recipes, because they are all about the same)

Yields 1 ¼ cups sauce

Ingredients:

2 cups frozen or fresh blueberries

1 cup granulated sugar

½ cup water

1 teaspoon lemon juice

(Optional: 2 teaspoons grated lemon or orange zest)

Method:

1. Combine blueberries, sugar, water, and lemon juice in a medium heavy-bottom saucepan.

2. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.

3. Once mixture boils, lower heat to medium and simmer sauce for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it reaches desired consistency. If you want, you can mash some of the berries while stirring.

4. If using zest, stir in zest once sauce is off the heat. Serve warm

Store refrigerated in an air-tight container for up to 7 days.