Friday, July 2, 2010

Impulse Buys and Baking Ruts

I love the Summer. When the sun and heat finally make their appearance, both people and produce begin coming out en masse as well, bringing new vibrancy to the neighbourhoods around us. If you're me, this is never clearer than when the farmers markets open for business. That last week of May, everyone is out in full force even though there isn't much on offer but rhubarb and asparagus, but come berry season... oh berry season!!...those stalls are jam-packed with cherries, raspberries, blueberries, and if you catch them at the right time you'll even see the last of the strawberries mixed in too. Later in the season come the peaches and currants, and if you're lucky you might even see a few pints of gooseberries make their appearance.

So when I hit the farmers markets, especially when things are looking that good, I can't help but buy. And I buy lots. More than I can eat raw from the containers, as good as they are! So, into baked goodies a bunch of them go - muffins, pies, cakes, etc. - and the rest of them get the IQF treatment for those January cravings. The only problem with buying so much of everything that is so good is that as a baker it lands you into a bit of a rut with your creations. Not a bad thing, per se, but let's just say that yesterday's loaf is just one of the many berried things to come!

So with some more of my bounty this year, I dreamed up these oatmeal-crowned, blueberry-crammed squares. With an agave and brown sugar mix lightly sweetening the cooked blueberry filling, it's a fresh complement to the simple spelt and oatmeal base. They're good candidates for bake sales or picnics, and you can take a pan to a potluck and watch them disappear!

What do you do with your farmer's market bounty? Do you have the same lack of impulse control I do?

Blueberry Oatmeal Crumble Bars
Makes 9 squares
1 1/4 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen and thawed)
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp agave nectar
2 tbsp tapioca flour
2 tbsp cold water
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
2/3 cup spelt flour
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp maple extract (optional)
1/4 cup large-flake or rolled oats

  1. In a saucepan, combine blueberries, water, sugar and agave and place over medium heat.
  2. Cover and cook until berries pop and soften, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.
  3. In a small dish combine tapioca flour, cold water and lemon juice. Stir into the berries and cook until thick and clear, about 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in lemon zest and cool completely.
  5. Preheat oven to 350F, grease a 9" square pan.
  6. In a bowl, combine spelt flour, rolled oats, brown sugar, flaxseed, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, stirring well.
  7. Add water, oil and maple extract (if using), stir to form a slightly sticky "pressable" mixture.
  8. Press dough into the bottom and slightly up the sides of the pan.
  9. Bake 20 minutes.
  10. Add cooled blueberry mixture, spreading to the edges of the crust.
  11. Top with remaining 1/4 cup large flake oats.
  12. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool completely (ideally chill) before cutting.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 145.8
Total Fat: 3.8 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 51.9 mg
Total Carbs: 32.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.3 g
Protein: 2.2 g

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