Blueberry Corn Muffins

By Rebecca Blackwell

Moist and Tender Blueberry Corn Muffins

Homey blueberry corn muffins that are moist and tender, packed with blueberries, and sweetened with a touch of honey.

Blueberry Corn Muffins

When it comes to food, I am easily influenced by what I read. Whatever the characters are eating, I want some. If they are cooking, I want to make what they’re making. I just finished reading The Help – for the third time – and, predictably, started craving pork chops and ham and corn bread and caramel cake and, yes – even chocolate pie.

The last time I read the book, I created this recipe for Caramel Cake with Salted Caramel Italian Meringue Buttercream. This time around, I wanted to bake corn bread. If it was the dead of winter, I might have been perfectly content with plain old corn bread. Since it’s August and I am obsessed with fresh fruit, I decided that Blueberry Corn Muffins, warm from the oven and dripping with butter and honey, was exactly the right way to start the morning.

Any morning. Preferably this morning.

Blueberry Corn Muffins

A few thoughts about cornbread and corn muffins…

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Fresh Peach Pie

By Rebecca Blackwell

Fresh Peach Pie with Colorado Peaches

This Fresh Peach Pie has a flaky sugar encrusted lattice pie crust bursting to overflowing with juicy peaches flavored with a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Fresh Peach Pie

Oh, Colorado Peaches… how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Peach Pie. (duh) Peach and Raspberry Pie. Peach Scones. Peach Crisp. Peach Crepe Cake. Peach Ice Cream. And, of course, fresh peaches, soft and ripe and so juicy you have to stand over the kitchen sink to eat them, letting the juice drip deliciously down your chin.

Fresh Peach Pie

Colorado peaches rock. Since they’re only available for a few weeks out of the year, everyone in my house practically makes themselves sick on them while we have them. I find myself buying box after box, turning the ones we don’t eat raw into peach desserts, pouring juicy slices over pancakes or waffles, slicing them over yogurt, and making them into jam. I even freeze a few for later, because a peach smoothie in the middle of January is a luxury no one should have to live without.

But here’s the thing about making Peach Pie with fresh Colorado peaches: They are really, really juicy. This is why they are so unbelievably delicious. But all that juice can make for a runny pie. The trick is to control the amount of juice you use in the peach pie filling and use a combination of pectin and cornstarch to thicken the juice.

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Mocha Almond Sables

By Rebecca Blackwell

Tender Chocolate Shortbread Cookies with Roasted Almonds, Espresso and Cayenne

Melt-in-your-mouth dark chocolate shortbread cookies laced with roasted almonds, espresso, a hint of cayenne pepper, and rolled in caramely sweet, crunchy turbinado sugar.

mocha almond sables, chocolate shortbread cookies

Oh my, but these chocolate shortbread cookies are addictive. They are buttery, not too sweet, speckled with roasted almonds and laced with espresso and cayenne pepper. Cayenne pepper, you ask? Yes, indeed. Cayenne is absolutely lovely with dark chocolate. The trick is to add just enough to deepen the chocolate flavor and add a bit of a kick without going overboard. I should know. As my family will tell you, going overboard with cayenne is something I am extremely susceptible to.

The problem is that I just LOVE what cayenne does to other flavors, intensifying them and adding complexity to dishes that might otherwise be bland. So, I add just a teeny tiny bit more, and then just a teeny tiny bit more, and a teeny tiny bit more, until my poor family sits around the dinner table sweating and trying their best to choke down a dinner much to spicy for their poor tender pallets. It’s a problem.

mocha almond sables, chocolate shortbread cookies

But for these, I got the amount of cayenne exactly right. Don’t be afraid, my dear reader. Each bite contains just a hint of spice. Just enough to make otherwise plain chocolate butter cookies interesting and intriguing. Well, the roasted almonds and turbinado sugar help with that too. They are kind of like Clark Kent before he turns into Superman. (Ok. They’re not that great. I might be exaggerating.) However, I am NOT exaggerating when I tell you they are addicting.

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Strawberry Mojito Cupcakes

By Rebecca Blackwell

Strawberry Mojito Cupcakes

Incredibly moist strawberry mojito cupcakes infused with fresh mint and rum, iced with Mojito Italian Meringue Buttercream.

Strawberry Mojito Cupcakes

Last week, one of my closest friends, celebrated her 50th birthday at a local brewery. My contribution to the festivities were these strawberry mojito cupcakes – a fitting flavor because Lynn makes a kick-ass mojito, of which I’ve certainly had my share, sitting in her kitchen or on her patio, while we discuss our lives and solve all the worlds problems. Rum has that effect on me. Life feels easy and fun after a mojito or two, with no problem too large or complicated.

I maintain that it’s impossible to not feel a bit carefree while sipping something fizzy, tropical, fruity and boozy. Which is exactly what I was going for with these cupcakes, and I’m happy to report that they were a huge hit at the party. One guest called them “life changing”, causing me to feel quite smug. Naturally.

Here’s my lovely friend with her cupcakes, proving to all of us that 50 is the new 30.

Strawberry mojito cupcakes

Now, I’m not saying that you MUST eat strawberry mojito cupcakes while also sipping on a mojito… but, why wouldn’t you? Like a good mojito, they are slightly sweet (not cloyingly so) and a bit tart, with just a hint of refreshing mint to balance everything out. There’s enough rum in both the cupcakes and the buttercream frosting to know it’s there without overpowering the other flavors.

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Glorified Gingerbread

By Rebecca Blackwell

Favorite Old Fashioned, “Glorified” Gingerbread

My family has been making this gingerbread recipe for as long as I can remember. It’s the only gingerbread any of us make. We wouldn’t consider making anything else. It is, after all, glorified gingerbread.

Favorite old fashioned gingerbread

The recipe for Glorified Gingerbread was handed down from my great grandmother to my grandmother to my mother to me. My mom made it all the time when I was growing up and it was one of the first recipes I asked her for when I first moved out of the house and decided I should learn how to cook something other than grilled cheese sandwiches. I have faithfully made it several times a year ever since, successfully ensuring that my kids will someday want to make it for their kids. And so it goes.

It’s supremely simple and delicious, keeps for days and freezes well. We especially love to eat our gingerbread for breakfast, but it also makes a great afternoon snack.

Favorite old fashioned gingerbread

This is what I make when …..

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