Posts Tagged ‘agave syrup’

Blueberry Bars


By Sarah Lagrotteria

Blueberry Bars

Last week I shared a photo of my first attempt at making blueberry bars. I had looked online for a basic, well-received recipe and made a few changes—subbing butter for lard, cutting the fat from the equivalent of 2 sticks of butter down to 1, and adding lemon juice to the berries and lemon zest to the crust to brighten the overall flavor.

The result was pretty with its pillowy clouds of butter crunch crust, but very rich and sweet.  Not really my style.

Round two was a mix of the original and my basic crumble recipe. I traded the white flour for stone-ground whole wheat, the white sugar for a combo of brown sugar and agave and added oats and cinnamon.  When it’s hot from the oven, fragrant and bubbling, it seems unreasonable to ask friends to wait until it cools into bars.  So I served it to three pals as a hot crumble,  asking only that they leave enough for Lydia and I to taste.

Here’s what was left:

Blueberry Crumble

A hit!

Lydia then tested the recipe a third time to see if it would work as well made vegan.  She used Earth Balance instead of butter and added walnuts.  Gorgeous, isn’t it?

Blueberry Bars with Walnuts

You taste blueberries tart and sweet and crumbly brown oat—a bit of oven-baked summer that is infinitely more intriguing than the original butter and sugar bomb.

Blueberry Bar on Plate

It’s satisfying as breakfast or dessert.  And great for picnics, potlucks and barbecues.

Whole-Grain Blueberry Bars

2 cups dry oats (both rolled and quick-cooking work just fine)

1-1/4 cups whole-wheat flour (can also use AP)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, cold and cut into small cubes. Can substitute Earth Balance

1 cup chopped walnuts

3 cups blueberries, rinsed and drained

1 tablespoon agave

2 tablespoons cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 375.  Grease an 8×8 baking square or similarly sized baking dish.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and lemon zest.  Use your fingers or two knives to “cut” in the butter or margarine until the crumble is sandy in texture.  Mix in the walnuts.

Pat half the mixture into an even layer on the bottom of the pan and bake until lightly golden brown, 13-15 min.

In a separate bowl, combine the berries, agave, lemon juice and cornstarch.  Gently toss until no cornstarch is visible. Spread the berries over the baked crust then top with an even layer of the remaining crumble.  Bake until crust is golden brown and berries begin popping, 20-25 minutes.

To make bars, let cool completely then chill for 1 hour before attempting to cut.  Otherwise, spoon out hot or cold as a fruit crumble.


Sweet Mint Tea

Sweet Mint Tea

Sweet Mint Tea

by Lydia Ellison

My mom’s best friend is named Laura and she came into my life when I was 10 years old. I looked up to Laura so much as a young girl because she wore a hot pink bikini to sun tan in her suburban driveway on the weekends, she loved Madonna and she drove a white Camaro. My brother’s and I loved the nights when Laura would come over and her and my Mom would make shrimp and scallop stir fry for dinner (not the highlight of the night for me) and Laura would tell us animated stories about her day at work and let her brush her long hair. She was like our cool big sister.

Of course I am still thankful to Laura for teaching me the Vogue dance but more pertinent to my life these days is her recipe for Sweet Mint Tea. It was her Grandmother’s recipe and Laura always had a pitcher of it in her fridge. My mom has been making this tea to much acclaim for the last 15 years and always has a pitcher in her fridge now, made with fresh mint from her garden. Now that I am about the age Laure was when she first came into our life, I notice I too have a pitcher in my fridge at least once a week (though I use a natural sweetener instead of white sugar). Once you try this recipe you will too.

Sweet Mint Tea

makes 1 pitcher

2 or 3 bags of Black Tea (I like PG tips)

4-5 sprigs of fresh mint

the juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup of Agave syrup or 1/3 cup of sugar

Fill your pitcher with boiling water and add tea bags and mint sprigs and the Agave syrup or sugar and mix until dissolved. Allow to seep on the counter for 30 minutes. Remove the tea bags leaving all of the mint leaves in the tea and add the juice of one lemon stirring again. Allow the tea to cool down before you put it in the fridge overnight. The tea MUST chill overnight in the fridge where it will get slightly murky and fantastically potent. Serve over ice.