Peanut Better

27 Jan
Peanut Butter! In a jar!!

Peanut Butter! In a jar!!

We will never buy commercial peanut butter again.

Last January, I was newly pregnant and working the night shift reorganizing the store and was constantly in need of protein-filled snacks. We had a 30% discount on items in the snack aisle, so I bought myself the biggest container of honey roasted peanuts we had. Which is pretty big. I wanna say it was a full pound of peanuts. Which was more than I could eat in the time I was working there, and then it sat in our pantry at home as I got paranoid about fetuses and allergens, and then babies and allergens.

And then finally, I got tired of looking at it, stumbled on this blog post, and figured it was time to get rid of the giant pantry-hog.

Which brings us to our year-old tub of peanuts which turned into this magnificent jar of peanut butter, with a slightly stale flavor.

Okay, look, I know store-bought is better than stale, but I can see the potential in this peanut butter. Which is why I added oil, to replace the oil that had staled out (am I making up words again? I am). And then I added cinnamon and a little extra honey (which was crystallized from age) because I am just that decadent. And then we spread it on stale wheat thins and ate them. Because that is the state of our pantry.

So I guess what I’m saying is that this is a recipe for turning stale pantry items into something edible.

 

DAIRY SUBSTITUTIONS:

None. It’s peanut butter. However, if you have a peanut allergy, you should probably not make this. Also, you should probably never eat anything from my kitchen.

Helpfully, MOMs even sells their peanuts with peanut butter in mind.

Helpfully, MOMs even sells their peanuts with peanut butter in mind.

THE RECIPE:

Put peanuts in the food processor.

Step 1: Put peanuts in the food processor.

Put peanuts in food processor. Turn on. Turn off periodically to keep motor from overheating. Keep processing.

Step 2: Keep going... I know, it looks like it isn't going to work. Trust me.

Step 2: Keep going… I know, it looks like it isn’t going to work. Trust me.

Maybe throw some flavors in that thing. Keep processing. Look! You made peanut butter!

Step 3: Peanut Butter!

Step 3: Peanut Butter!

 

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Butterscotch Pie

2 Jan

I would love to give you photos of this pie, except it was a total impulse bake and I forgot. And then, it vanished within 48 hours, along with my opportunity to photograph it. So I guess I’ll just have to make it again for two reasons: to actually get a photo or two, and to make sure it actually works as anticipated. See, not only was it an unplanned pie, but I did it without a recipe. That is to say, I made my very own recipe. I am so proud of me.

DAIRY SUBSTITUTIONS:

I made this recipe. Therefore, there are no substitutions. If you would like to make this full of dairy, use butter, milk, and heavy cream. And then weep for your cholesterol.

THE RECIPE:

Prebake a pie crust using your favorite recipe.

  • 1 stick (8 Tbsp) of butter (Earth Balance)
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Combine in a medium saucepan, stirring frequently until it bubbles beautifully and smells so good you can’t stand it anymore. Add:

  • 1 c. heavy cream (Mimicreme)
  • 1/2 c. milk (I used almond milk)

Stir until butterscotch dissolves, and bring back up to barely simmering. Whisk together:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/4 c. corn starch
  • 1/2 c. milk (almond milk)

Temper the egg mixture in. That is, add a little bit of the hot liquid to the egg yolks, stirring constantly to avoid scrambling the eggs. Add more, a ladleful at a time until the egg mixture is warm. Then pour the warmed egg mixture back into the pot, again stirring constantly until it gets nice and thick. Pour into prebaked crust and bake at 350°F for 30-45 minutes, or until the pie firms up except for a slightly jiggly center.

Yogurt Substitutes

19 Oct

As a woman, there are certain times when stocking yogurt is an essential part of the diet. Contrary to what the yogurt marketing people seem to think, this has little to do with diets and female-ness in general and a lot more to do with the consequences of yeast and the benefits of probiotics. Whenever I’m prescribed antibiotics, I pack away the yogurt to prevent… unfortunate feminine complications (ladies, you know what I’m talking about). Most recently, I used soy yogurts as an additional source of protein during pregnancy, and then to help prevent thrush in the early days of breastfeeding.

I think it’s really important to check the nutritional labels of these products. Yogurt is sold to us as a health food, but in reality, I’ve found most of the flavored yogurts to have only slightly less sugar than the comparable soy ice creams. I’m not saying that eating yogurt is a bad thing. I just think it’s disingenuous to label them as health food.

Whole Soy & Co Organic Yogurt

This is probably my favorite brand so far. It’s got a great balance of flavor and price — the only one cheaper in my grocery store is Silk, which is usually only a few cents cheaper and is not organic. Whole Soy, by contrast, is certified organic, non-GMO, Kosher, Vegan, and gluten-free (why would you have gluten in yogurt? Is that really a concern?).
The texture is thick and creamy, with a smooth consistency. The flavors are bright, with a significant tanginess, so I usually stick to flavors where the tang works well (lemon and lime are good, vanilla is a little awkward on its own). The lemon is probably my favorite, followed closely by lime and peach. I’m not crazy about blueberries in general, so when I found whole blueberries in the bottom of the “mixed berry” and very little other berry flavors, I was a bit disappointed, although the raspberry and strawberry are among the assortment I enjoy.

Protein content is good — for example, the lemon has 6g of protein to 18g of sugar and 3.5g of fat (See? Not health food). My organic grocery store of choice sells them for 89 cents per 6 oz tub. They’re a little harder to find than some of the more mainstream brands, but not impossibly hard to find.

Verdict: Whole Soy & Co is the brand we usually keep on hand because of its great balance of price to flavor.

DSC_0051So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt

My mother picked up several of these for me after my daughter was born (see above: preventing thrush), in raspberry, chocolate, and pina colada.

This was the first time I’d tried coconut milk yogurt, and wow is it different than the soy. It’s a lot thinner in texture, and the consistency was a little lumpy. Not horribly so, but there wasn’t the smoothness I’m used to from the soy yogurts. There was definitely real fruit present, which gave a nice raspberry flavor. But it was also definitely sweetened further than I usually think fruit needs. You can see that in the nutrition info too: 20g of sugar, 1g of protein, and 6g of fat.

The other big consideration: as with all of Turtle Mountain’s coconut milk products, it comes with a hefty price tag. They usually run about $1.89 per 6oz tub where I shop. However, they are available in some major grocery stores.

Verdict: If you can’t do soy and you like your snacks sweet, this is a good option for you. Personally, I’ll stick with the less expensive soy options.

 

Amande Almond Milk Strawberry yogurt

Amande Almond Milk Strawberry yogurt

 

Butter Substitutes

16 Aug

Updated Feb 2014

One of the main problems in dairy-free cooking is substituting butter. Restaurants don’t know how to work without it, and baking gets… complicated if you use the wrong substitute. Some taste like chemicals when spread on bagels, and others melt if you look at them funny, turning chocolate chip into lace cookies.

You can’t just go over to the Dairy section and grab just anything labeled “margarine”. A lot (and I mean a lot!) are made with milk derivatives. I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, with all sorts of fancy milk-derived chemicals; Land O’ Lakes, which has now replaced the “sweet cream” variety my grandmother preferred with a margarine that uses buttermilk; or the generic “Store Brand”, with who knows WHAT in it.

As if all this weren’t complicated enough, a few years back, people became aware of the concept of trans fats. By which they mean… margarine. So what’s a dairy-free girl to do to eat well and keep her health? I need a dairy-free butter replacement, free of trans fats, that melts at the appropriate temperature during baking and tastes great on a bagel.

Gee, that should be simple.

For those of you looking for the quick answer, Ben and I use Earth Balance Organic Whipped for bagels, pancakes, and the like. But its melting point is very low, which makes it next to useless for baking. For baking, we prefer Earth Balance Original, (in sticks or a GIANT tub) which melts at nearly appropriate baking temperatures (see below), but I think it tastes a little waxy on its own.

Smart Balance

If you can’t find Earth Balsmart balanceance in the stores near you, you can probably find its bigger mass-market brother, Smart Balance. The most important thing to know about Smart Balance is that not all of their spreads are non-dairy. That means every time they change their packaging, double check the ingredients. Currently, I believe the non-dairy spreads are the Light with Flaxseed oil and the Organic.

Spread on bagels, it gives that lovely margarine/butter flavor with a touch of salt. Its lower melting point means that it sinks into all the bagel bubbles and is super spreadable.

When I’ve tried baking with it, I’ve found that the melting point is just too low. The cookies always spread too far, so unless your goal is lace cookies (which, really, isn’t such a bad goal either), I’d say skip it for baking.

Verdict: Our household choice for a spread. Do not use for baking.

Earth Balance

EB_ORGANIC_lgThis is the closest dairy-free alternative to butter in terms of chemistry that we’ve found. Its melting point is slightly lower than butter, but within a close enough range that your altitude and climate affect the baked goods more. I tend to cut baking times a little shorter than recommended (except for hard meringues — those get a little extra time), but that might also be because we live in a sea-level swamp. It’s also nice that it comes in sticks, which makes measuring a lot easier. Although I do wish the wrapping machine they used was a little more precise; I’d say 90% of the sticks I get have the tablespoon markings not centered.

We’ve gotten it in tubs when we couldn’t find the sticks, and we’ve used it as a spread. Ben doesn’t mind the flavor, but I think it has a slight waxiness to the flavor. It’s subtle enough that it doesn’t come through in baking, but it makes my bagel feel a little artificial and potatoes end up a little less desirable.

Verdict: This is our household baking choice. I’m not a fan of it on bagels, though.

Olivio Coconut Spread

My mother brought this to a recent family dinner as a non-butter alternative for me. Not only did we try it, she sent it home with us, so we’ve had a good chance to give it a shake-down.

First, a word of warning. You know how you’re probably used to that vaguely butter color that all margarines are dyed? Yeah, this one’s white. Also, it’s a coconut oil base, which means all the saturated fat you usually find in coconut oil.

We used it on bagels and french toast, as well as melting it down with a little lemon to go with crab. It’s quite nice, although I found it to be a bit sweet and you get a definite hint of coconut. By the time we’ve finished breakfast, it’s starting to look pretty melty, so I haven’t tried baking with it.

Verdict: Good as a spread, although not my favorite.

Peach Blackberry Pie, Version 1.0

9 Aug

Peaches and blackberries have pretty much the same season around here. Which sounds to me like they ought to experience some of the same desserts together. We already did a crisp, so when I asked Ben what to do with the other half of the peaches: work on perfecting the crisp or do a pie, he was pretty quick to answer pie.

I cut up four small peaches last week as part of the ends of our basket of seconds, but then put them in the fridge to keep until I made pie. Which is a week later. Which means they have started to ferment. I think that’s a good thing, actually.

What happens when the fetus inside starts kicking at the flour-covered counter. Also, pie.

Also, since it took a week to get to this pie, there were a lot fewer blackberries to add to it. I can proudly say we lost very few to mold. Most of them were lost to ice cream. So instead of little dots of cooked blackberry, I pureed them with the tablespoon of sugar, strained out the seedy bits, and used it as more of a sauce. I had figured since the first half of the peaches had fermented, I would skip the bourbon, but the blackberries were stubbornly not blending without more liquid, so a hint did show up in the sauce. Not even a full splash — let’s call it a “splish”. I think I’ve made my position on cooked peaches pretty clear: they require bourbon, as does banana bread, Southern grandmothers, and largely pregnant women who have just discovered the third-trimester back ache. (Sadly, thanks to the hormones, my tolerance is down to that of five year old, and since I think an intoxicated fetus is a poor choice, I’ve limited myself to quantities that won’t even get me buzzed, which means I have to get my bourbon fix through baking, and satisfy myself with the very occasional miniature glass of wine or half a beer. You cannot pick crabs without beer. It’s just Not Right.)

When I’m looking for a baking recipe, this is the crazy that I go through: Open my binder of print-outs to see if I’ve already got a recipe I like. Check ALL THREE OF THESE BOOKS to compare recipes. Search online for additional options. Eventually settle on an amalgam of about fifteen recipes. Throw in a hefty dash of “winging it.”

I’ve struggled with finding a good pie crust recipe. I kept trying these “no fail” recipes, like one from Alton Brown, or Cooks Illustrated, or even Bakewise, but their easy “no fail” techniques to adapt the traditional crust always left me with sticky, messy dough. Oh sure, it baked up tasty, but in our humid kitchen, I couldn’t get a sticky pie dough to transform into a pretty pie crust. It’s summer time in Maryland. The humidity is about 138%, unless it’s raining or you turn your air conditioning down to 50.

I did learn a lot from all those recipes, however. Shirley Corriher’s technique of adding a little vinegar gave the crust a flavor I liked a lot (she says it helps with “tenderness”). So when I went back to the super-traditional crust recipe, I threw a splash of vinegar into the ice water. Alton’s advice about chilling the dough is helpful, although mine never stays as cold as he recommends, and CI’s admonishments about over-handling the dough… well, okay, I completely ignore those. But when it comes to my baking, I’m a handsy kind of girl.

We made a double recipe of the crust, which turned into a Peach Blackberry Pie and Welsh Pasties.

A pocket full of delicious dinner. Crust by Megan, pork filling by Ben.

DAIRY SUBSTITUTIONS:

If you use shortening in your pie crust, then the answer is NONE. If you use butter, then you want a good butter-alternative. I like Earth Balance for baking.

THE RECIPE:

Filling:

  • 4-6 medium sized peaches, fresh and in season

Peel using your favorite method. I like to wash them, cut them into wedges, and pull the skin off with a paring knife. If they’re ripe enough, I can almost use my fingers to get just the skin, leaving all the fruit intact. Then, cut the flesh into bite-sized pieces.

  • a handful of blackberries
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • Small splash of bourbon

Combine in small food processor, with a stick blender (if yours hasn’t mysteriously DIED FOR NO REASON), or mash up by hand. Strain into a bowl (or directly over the cut peaches) to remove all the stems and seeds. Add:

  • 1 Tbsp flour

Stir the whole mess together to get a pinkish peach gooey loveliness. If your pie crust isn’t ready yet, toss the bowl in the fridge while you finish it.

Roll out the crust into your pie plate, add the filling, then roll out the top crust. Don’t forget to cut vents so the top doesn’t explode. Bake according to the crust recipe instructions, which in our case was 45 minutes at 450°F.

I would include a picture of the inside, but we may have eaten it all.

The Importance of Being Normal

25 Jul

Ben came home from the summer camp he’s teaching with a story about one of the girls in his camp. She’s allergic to dairy, eggs, and peanuts, and has to eat separately from the rest of the kids in the camp in a “peanut-free zone”. I can’t even begin to imagine how hard that is — at least with my allergy, I could sit next to kids eating things that would’ve harmed me. Food, in our society (and from what I can tell, most societies), is a social thing as well as something for nourishment. When we get together with people, we talk about meeting up for lunch or dinner, or grab a cup of coffee. For kids in public school systems or very busy summer camps, lunch time might be the only unstructured social time they get with their classmates. And that means that for those of us with allergies, it’s not just eating that’s harder, it’s socializing.

I do a lot of contract work, which means I eat a lot of first meals with coworkers. The allergy comes up in conversation. A LOT. I don’t mean to be one of those people who’s always talking about my digestive tract, but when someone suggests we go out for pizza, they keep pushing for answers when I say I’m not up for joining them there. Or the number of times I’ve been offered cake or cookies, and when I politely decline, I get asked, “What, are you on some sort of a diet?” Yes, I’m on the thinner side of the spectrum (a result, I would wager, more to do with a diet low in saturated fat, rather than due to a genetic predisposition or all that exercise I avoid), so when these middle-aged women scowl at me with their slowing metabolisms, criticizing me for a diet they think I’m on and don’t need, a lot of the time I will speak up and tell them it’s because of an allergy (although, more and more lately I stay silent). When we go to restaurants, I’m used to playing twenty questions with the waiters just to find out what I can safely order.

I deal with a lot of that crap when outside the house, but now that I’m an adult, I can declare our house a Dairy-Free Zone. Okay, so it’s not a hard and fast rule, and Ben will occasionally bring something home that’s his to eat, like a tub of yogurt from the cows I nearly went to college with or leftovers from a restaurant. But for the most part, he’s voluntarily restricted his own dairy consumption, which means very little in our house. Come to think of it, we lost most of the contents of our fridge from the power outage, and I don’t think any dairy has entered the house since.

As a kid, it was a lot harder. At home, my parents kept dairy products for themselves (why shouldn’t they? As adults, we have the privilege of choosing our own food). At school, I ate my packed lunches because I could never have anything from the school cafeteria. And in elementary school, the lunch time teasing was pretty bad. I remember being chased around the lunch room with cartons of milk, having drops of milk flicked at my bare skin, string cheese wiggled in my face. Kids are really cruel about things they don’t understand, and in big settings like a school cafeteria, it’s really hard for the five adults present to keep an eye on three hundred socializing kids (had they even understood what was going on, and at that point, I’m not so certain they did).

So when Ben told me about the seven year old girl with the food allergies, who had one classmate who could sit with her because of the peanut allergy, but then shook a pudding container in her face and wiped cheese on her leg? I cried, and I don’t think it’s just the hormones this time.

I thought back to seven-year-old me and what I so desperately needed to hear.

Being a kid with allergies is so hard. All the grown-ups think they’re helping by giving you special cheese and a special plate of things you can eat. And yeah, sometimes that stuff is exciting, like when you go to a vegan restaurant and you can order anything on the menu. But special is only special when it’s, well, special. It’s only exciting when it’s different, when you can spend most of your time being normal. I can’t even count the number of times I cried myself to sleep because I just wanted a stupid ice cream cone like everyone else. Or the times I made myself sick because “well, a little bit will be okay”.

But you know what? What I eat now is normal. In our house, our normal “butter” is Earth Balance. When I say “please pass the milk”, it’s usually soy (although sometimes coconut or almond). And if I want, I can have ice cream for dessert, because we bought some at the store and it’s okay. I can open our refrigerator and eat anything I want to. And it’s No. Big. Deal.

And those decadent dairy-free desserts I make for myself? Most of the people I share them with can have dairy no problem, and don’t even care that what I made is cow-free. At Thanksgiving, my dairy-free pumpkin pie is regularly topped with whipped cow-cream. The raves I got for my dairy-free pumpkin cheesecake! And you know what else? Our wedding meal was totally dairy-free. And most people never even knew.

So hang in there, kiddo. It’s hard now, I know. But when you’re done with school and living on your own, you get to plan your own meals. And then whatever you choose to make is normal.

 

Birthday Cake for Megan!

22 Jul

When you’ve got a dairy allergy, getting a good birthday cake can be hard. It usually means either a) spending a fortune at a vegan bakery (assuming you can even find one), b) having a friend make one for you, or c) making it yourself.

I learned to bake because I like baked things, and the only way to safely have them is to do it myself. I’m also one of those masochistic bakers who really only gets excited about a challenge. My meringue pies usually have a full 4″ of meringue on top. I made six types of macaroons until I found one that was good enough for my standards. So when I was deciding what type of birthday cake I wanted this year, for my last birthday without children, when I’ve got a ton of time at home, I went a little crazy.

Holy crap! I made that!

I went through my three standby cookbooks, searching for The Perfect Recipe. I narrowed it down to the Deep, Dark Chocolate Cake with Ganache and Chocolate Ruffles from BakeWise (it’s the image on the cover, actually) or Smitten Kitchen’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake. Turns out, the chocolate ruffles need a pasta roller to get the modeling chocolate nice and thin, so that one will have to wait until I own or can borrow a pasta roller. So Chocolate Peanut Butter it is! (Oh, the hardship!)

Deb recommends a sour cream based chocolate cake for that one, which I’m sure is lovely, but sour cream is one of the harder dairy items to substitute. So I looked for a replacement decadent chocolate, and ended up (still with her site) with the Double Chocolate Layer Cake. So now I’ve set myself up to make a chocolate-buttermilk layer cake with a peanut butter cream cheese icing and a chocolate peanut butter ganache… dairy free. Some days even I think I’m crazy. Oh, and the cake also calls for two 10″ pans, which I don’t own. So we’re doing it in 8″ round pans, which this chart tells me will make FIVE 8″ rounds.

Somebody stop me.

Look, I’m not going to lie to you. This cake took pretty much all day to make. We started the batter after breakfast, around 10am. Aside from a break for lunch, a break for a shower, and a quick beer run, it’s what I did with the entire day. I finished icing the cake about 5:30pm, then popped it in the fridge to chill. This is not your every day cake. This is a Special Occasion Cake. I probably won’t make something this elaborate again until Thanksgiving. Ben says I should make this same cake again, but I’ve never been good at repeats.

By the way, do you see the slice taken out of that top image? It took five of us to eat that much of this cake, and it wasn’t easy. When I say this cake is rich, I’m not exaggerating.

Clearly, we need a bigger oven. Or fewer layers. Nope, definitely a bigger oven.

DAIRY SUBSTITUTIONS:

The cake batter calls for 3 ounces “fine quality semi-sweet chocolate” and 1 1/2 cups “well-shaken buttermilk”. As far as potential dairy sources on a cake recipe, we’re doing pretty good. There are a number of good non-dairy chocolates out there — I actually used Baker’s, because that’s what we keep on hand, but the Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips are also usually okay. As always, check the packaging before you buy. I hate when they reformulate without telling you.

As for buttermillk, you can now find coconut milk kefirs, which I am told taste quite similar to buttermilk. We used So Delicious Coconut Yogurt Beverage, although I think you could probably also use soy or coconut yogurt diluted down with soy/coconut milk. Seriously, I don’t know what’s wrong with you dairy-eating people, but I checked the expiration date at least three times after I opened it. Ben swears that’s just what yogurt-related products smell like. I was very concerned, but I added it to the batter anyways.

The icing gets a little more complex, but not too much so. The peanut butter cream cheese frosting uses a Tofutti cream cheese, which I’ve even used successfully in the past for a cheesecake. And the Chocolate Peanut Butter Glaze calls for heavy cream, which I swapped out with unsweetened Mimicreme.

Somehow, we ended up with only 3 layers instead of 5. Also, they’ve got the density of a neutron star.

THE RECIPE:

Instead of reprinting the whole thing here, I’ll direct you straight to Deb’s Smitten Kitchen for the recipes. The layers are from the Double Chocolate Layer Cake, and the two frostings are in her Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake recipe, and the substitutions are pretty straight-forward. I also really recommend taking a look at some of her notes on baking. They really do help the process.

If you’d like the recipe with dairy substitutions but no other comments or notes in an easily printed format (for use while cooking), here’s the version I used: Double Chocolate Layer Cake (docx file)

What To Make When You Buy A Thousand Peaches: Peach Crisp

21 Jul

Simultaneously a simple and complicated dessert.

I went to the farmer’s market this week. Since we’ve been out of town, it’s felt like ages since I had myself a good peach (okay, it was eleven days). Also, it was my birthday and I felt indulgent. So not only did I buy a week’s supply of perfect peaches (both white and yellow), I also picked up a quarter-bushel of seconds. Well, I think it was a quarter-bushel. Look, I don’t actually know how much a bushel is, but it was one of those pretty wooden baskets that’s the smaller size but not the smallest size. And it was four dollars, and one of them is the size of Nimitz’s head.

I figured if I had two thousand peaches, I would feel okay about cooking some instead of greedily slicing them and stuffing them into my mouth. (I slice them first because I get organic produce, and I like to see the bugs before I bite into them, thanks.) So that’s what I did. Well, first a couple got sacrificed to the Beast Within, but then I figured I’d better bake some of them. I found a suitable recipe in Alice Water’s The Art of Simple Food (a lovely gift from the cast of Barack Stars, which gets broken out whenever I have a super-simple thing I want to make but am not quite sure how), and made the crisp topping yesterday.

DAIRY ADJUSTMENTS:

The only dairy adjustment I had to make was swapping out Earth Balance for butter, which at this point I consider to be not an adjustment at all. If you’re dealing with nut allergies, you should adjust the crisp topping accordingly — maybe add some oats instead to help absorb moisture. And if you’re dealing with a gluten issue, I’d say go with a cobbler instead and use your favorite gluten-free biscuit recipe on top.

I also added oats to the topping because oats make me think I’m eating healthy, although I forgot to add them while mixing and instead just sprinkled them on top. And bourbon, because you can’t have cooked peaches without bourbon.

Served elegantly in… a bowl. Look, I’m working on the whole presentation thing, but plating is an entirely different matter. Besides, we were ready to just veg in front of Netflix by that point, so don’t judge me.

RECIPE:

Topping (makes 3 cups):

  • 1 cup nuts (I used walnuts and almonds)

Chop in food processor. Then add:

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 6 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Process until mixed, maybe one or two pulses. Add:

  • 12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) butter (or butter substitute, aka Earth Balance), chopped into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup oats (optional)

Pulse a few more times to combine, so that it’s still grainy, not a thick dough. Toss in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. Can be refrigerated for a week-ish, frozen much longer.

Filling:

  • 4 ripe peaches, or however many it takes till it looks like it’ll fill your dish.
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp (-ish) brown sugar
  • splash of bourbon (I just used Jim Beam)

Pit and peel the peaches (She recommends a quick dip in boiling water to get the skins off more easily. I don’t know what’s wrong with her California peaches, but my Maryland peaches peel with absolutely no trouble), then cut into bite-sized chunks.

Toss the peaches with flour, brown sugar, and bourbon, and put them in your baking dish. Top with the crisp mixture (you don’t have to use all of it), and sprinkle a few more oats on top just to be thorough. Bake for 40-45 min at 375°F (See Notes), or until the crust starts to turn golden and you just can’t stand it anymore.

NOTES:

I forgot to add oats while mixing the crisp topping, so I just threw a ton on top. We liked it, but wanted more oats (thus the adaptation to add 1/4 cup in with the crisp topping).

Next time, I would also change the crisp to peaches ratio. This one turned out about one to one, but the peach juices also bubbled over, which means the dish really couldn’t handle any more. If I had a deeper dish, I might use more peaches and match it to the full crisp recipe.

Our oven is notoriously unreliable — the knob has almost no relationship to the temperature inside the oven. So throughout baking, I check every 15 minutes or so to make sure the thermometer inside the oven is near where we want it. For instance, for this recipe we wanted a temperature around 375°F, so we set the dial between 250 and 300 (yes, I purposely omitted the degree symbol, since those numbers clearly have nothing to do with temperature).