Copycat Panera Strawberry Poppyseed and Chicken Salad


This salad. I have been obsessed with this summery salad since it first debued at Panera. Berries, pineapple, mandarin oranges, feta cheese, and grilled chicken. I’ve tried for years to re-create it at home. Even posting a similar one here, although I never have been able to get the dressing quite right at home.

So, you can guess how excited I was a year or so ago when I found the Panera poppyseed dressing in the refrigerator section at Target (note: I can also buy it at Kroger, although it is usually slightly less expensive at Target).


I now have the hubbs hooked on it too. I’m not kidding when I say we ate this weekly until we had to retire the grill for the winter. Now that the warmer weather is creaping back and berries are creaping back into the stores, we’ve picked that habit back up. It is now at the point where I prefer our homemade version — we add WAY more fruit!

The recipe is pretty quick and easy. Washing berries, draining the pineapple and mandarin oranges, and grilling the chicken. We use a variety of berries depending on store sales/which ones look better, but the traditional is strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. You’ll notice blackberries replacing the blueberries in this photo. Use whichever berries you like! As for the salad, you can cut up an entire head of Romaine lettuce or you can buy the pre-mixed salad mixes. We honestly do both depending on the time we have available. You could even use pre-grilled chicken to make this a layer and go type of dinner.



(Printable Recipe)

Copycat Panera Strawberry Poppyseed and Chicken Salad
Adapted from Panera/The Cookin’ Chemist Original

1 lb. boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
1-2 heads of Romaine lettuce (or other pre-mixed greens), washed and chopped
1 (16 oz) pkg. strawberries, rinsed and sliced
2 (6 oz) pkg. rasberries, rinsed
2 (6 oz) pkg. blueberries, rinsed
1 (15 oz) can pineapple tidbits (or pieces), drained
2 (8 oz) cans mandarin oranges, drained
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 pkg. feta cheese
Panera Poppyseed Dressing

Preheat the grill. Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken breasts. Grill until cooked through. Let set for 5 minutes. Slice.

Divide the salad greens between 4 plates (we usually do 2 plates and 2 bowls for lunches). Top with the berries, pineapple, mandarin oranges, pecans, and feta cheese. Top with the sliced chicken. Add dressing in desired amounts.

Baked Oatmeal To Go

baked oatmeal to go close

Anyone have any good tips on how to consistently work out in the morning? With the new job, I’m working longer days, so I’d love to knock my workout out in the morning before work. My problem – this involves being at the gym to workout at 4:30 AM. Doable in my world if I have to do it once. Four times a week… going to be a struggle.

As I think I’ve mentioned before, most mornings, even if I’m not trying to get to the gym before work, there is not much of a chance that I am going to have time to actually cook something. I tend to get out of bed at the last possible minute to give me enough time to get out the door, so grab and go is a great philosophy in this house. With my much earlier mornings in mind, I pulled this recipe out for some make-ahead breakfasts and was surprised to realize that I had yet to blog on it.

baked oatmeal to go in pan

baked oatmeal to go

The recipe is from Leanne of Healthful Pursuit, and I have already lost count of how many times I have made these. They bake in a muffin pan to allow for individual servings, and at 2 “muffins” a morning, one recipe lasts most of my week. They keep well in the refrigerator, and I just reheat them after I get to work in the mornings. They smell great coming out of the microwave due to the cinnamon, and I often get comments asking what I am eating. One thing to note, the texture of these is going to be different from a traditional muffin. With oats, little fat, and no flour, you will not get a traditional crumb. The other thing about these is the batter. It will seem a little runny. Do not worry. They will bake together. I use an ice cream scoop to spoon it into the muffin liners and fill them as full as I’d like my muffins to be. No need to worry about the 1/2 to 2/3 full rule here. As far as add-ins, one of my favorite things to add into these are blueberries. I add them to the batter rather than just as a topping, and I have had success using both fresh and frozen berries.

I made a batch of these this morning for work Friday and this weekend, so we will see if I get any comments at my new place. Maybe looking forward to breakfast will actually get me to the gym at 4:30 on Friday morning? Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Baked Oatmeal To Go
Adapted from Healthful Pursuit

1 egg or 1 flax egg (1 Tbsp. ground flax seed mixed with 2 Tbsp. warm water, sit for 5 minutes)
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 over-ripe banana
1-1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (could use any milk)
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
2 Tbsp. ground flax seed
2 tsp. cinnamon
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 to 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (or other desired mix-ins)
muffin liners

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with muffin liners. Set aside.

Place the egg/flax egg, applesauce, banana, milk, maple syrup, and vanilla in blender or food processor. Blend until just combined.

Place the dry ingredients (oats through salt) in a large bowl. Mix to combine. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Fold in the blueberries or other mix-ins. Spoon into the muffin liners using an ice cream scoop. It is okay to fill the liners pretty full. The muffins will only rise slightly while baking. There should be enough batter for 12 muffin cups.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Eat warm or cool completely and store in the refrigerator until needed. To reheat: remove the liner and rewarm in the microwave for about 1 to 2 minutes.

Triple Berry Crisp

triple berry crisp close with ice cream

With this blog and simply just feeding the two of us, I have spent my fair share of time in the kitchen. Cooking is something I enjoy. It’s fun, it is stress relief, and the best part is you (*usually) get to enjoy the results of your experiment. While I’ve cooked/baked for several years, I almost always follow a recipe. I blame the pharmacist in me. Too Type A. Too precise.

I say that to tell you this. I made this crisp recipe on a whim, mostly on my own, with only a little recipe inspiration. Certainly, it is hard to screw up a fruit crisp, but I am still excited to report that I am getting to the stage of spontaneity in the kitchen. In fact, this crisp came about because the grocery store was out of zucchini (yes, I had to buy zucchini), and the berries there were so good that you could smell them as you walked by the stand. Recently, I have made a couple more dishes where I’ve found myself inspired by an ingredient, and I hope to share them soon.

triple berry crisp

Back to the crisp. Who doesn’t love fruit crisp/crumbles? Ripe, juicy fruit at its peak combine with a topping that is really nothing more than an oat-filled streusel. I made ours in ramekins for individual-sized servings. As much as I like crisp, leftover crisp just isn’t quite the same, and a whole pan is just too much for 2 people. The fruit in question here is strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries, but you can really use any fruit that speaks to you (or needs to be used up in the fridge). I’m sure peaches or other stone fruit would be wonderful here as well. So grab some ice cream (or whipped cream if you prefer) and make this before berries are gone for the summer. Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe) 

Triple Berry Crisp
Loosely inspired by Pioneer Woman

2 cups total of raspberries, blueberries, and chopped strawberries
1 tsp. cornstarch
2-3 Tbsp. sugar (more or less depending on how sweet the fruit is)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1/4-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
heaping 1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
2 Tbsp. cold butter
vanilla ice cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease ramekins.

In a medium bowl, combine the washed berries, cornstarch, sugar, and vanilla. Stir and divide evenly between 2 ramekins. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and oats. Cut the butter into the mixture and combine until crumbs form. You can add more butter and/or more oats/flour until it is the desired consistency. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit in the ramekins. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the fruit is bubbly and the topping is light brown and crisp. Serve while still warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Rhubarb Berry Baked Oatmeal

rhubarb berry baked oatmeal after baking

Things have been a little quite around here. If anyone reads (or tries) to read this little blog with any regularity, I do apologize. I had a job opportunity that presented itself prior to the completion of my residency, so I am doing double duty right now. Residency during the day, job #2 on nights and weekends. I am telling you this not as an excuse, but more as a statement of fact. There hasn’t been much for cooking around here, and what is accomplished is being made by the hubs!

So what do you do when you find yourself needing to pack a day’s worth of food before you set off in the morning. Plan. Plan. Make things that travel well, and plan some more. I have talked about liking baked oatmeal due to it’s portability before. It keeps well, reheats well, and has definitely made for some oohs and aahs at work. 

rhubarb berry baked oatmeal fruit

This recipe adapted from Nutmegs, seven was born out of the necessity to use some of the rhubarb that had been living in my freezer for quite some time. I knew it would work well for my portable breakfast, but I really had no idea I would enjoy it as much as I did. Now if anyone will send me some of the rhubarb they have overtaking their backyard, I’ll be forever grateful. I have a month’s worth of breakfasts left to pack before I’m done, and rhubarb is almost impossible to find down here! Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Rhubarb Berry Baked Oatmeal
Adapted from Nutmegs, seven

400gm of rhubarb, thawed if frozen
1 pint blueberries
2 Tbsp. honey
200 gm old-fashioned oats
15 gm sliced almonds
15 gm chopped pecans
60 gm brown sugar 
1 tsp. baking powder
1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
475 mL (2 cups) unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or skim milk)
1 large egg
3 Tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray an 8×8 inch baking dish with non-stick spray. 
Spread the rhubarb and half the pint of blueberries over the bottom of the pan. Drizzle with the honey. Set aside.

Mix the oats, nuts, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, egg, applesauce, and extracts. Sprinkle the oat mixture on top of the rhubarb. Pour the egg mixture over the oats, making sure the pan is equally covered with the liquid. Sprinkle the remaining blueberries on top. Bake for 40 minutes or until the oat mixture has set and turned a little crunchy on the top. If saving for future meals, cool completely before packaging. This makes 6 breakfasts for me. Otherwise, serve warm.

Baked Oatmeal with Berries and Bananas

banana-berry baked oatmeal after cooking

It will not be a surprise to anyone that knows me well to hear me say that morning and I are not great friends. My dad has a quote that he’s seen 4:00AM more often from the night side than the morning side, and my natural tendencies lie much more on his night owl side of life. Unfortunately, in being a resident, I’ve learned that alarms set before 5:00AM are much more common than I prefer.

I tell you that to set the scene for my morning route. Basically everything from my lunch to my gym bag needs to be grab and go. This includes breakfast as there is a slim to none chance that I am going to have time to cook anything in the morning. Out of all the quick breakfast choices I plan, this baked oatmeal from Skinny Taste is one of my favorites. It’s highly adaptable – I’ve made it with different berries, different nuts, different sweeteners, and even different milks and it always turns out great. Better yet, it keeps well in the refrigerator, allowing me to make it ahead and have single serving breakfast options ready to go in the refrigerator.

banana-berry baked oatmeal clsoe
banana-berry baked oatmeal

A minute or so in the microwave at work, and I have a healthy, delicious, warm breakfast. Can’t beat that for so little work. Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Baked Oatmeal with Berries and Bananas
Adapted from Skinny Taste

2 over-ripe bananas, sliced (can use frozen bananas that have been thawed)
1-1/2 cups blueberries (or any combination of berries)
1/4 cup honey, divided
1 cup uncooked quick oats
1/4 cup chopped or sliced nuts (I like almonds)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. cinnamon, divided
pinch of salt
1 cup fat-free milk or unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray an 8×8-inch baking dish with non-stick spray. Set aside.

Arrange the banana slices in a single layer over the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle half the berries over the bananas. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon honey and 1/4 tsp. cinnamon. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the oats, half of the nuts, baking powder, remaining 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, and salt. Mix well. In a separate small bowl, mix the milk, egg, and vanilla together. When the banana mixture has finished baking, spread the oat mixture evenly over the top of the bananas. Pour the liquid mixture over the oats, covering the entire surface of the dry mixture. Sprinkle the remaining berries and nuts over the top. Bake the oatmeal for about 30 minutes or until the top of the oatmeal has set.

Keeps well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Makes 6 servings. Can reheat oatmeal squares in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.

Fruity Coconut Chicken Salad with Berry Poppy Seed Vinaigrette

Since September hit, I have been seeing a lot of fall-themed recipes across the blogs. Don’t get me wrong, I still love pumpkin, apples, soups, and stews, but I am not quite ready to give up on summer. The weather has been gorgeous here the past week since we’ve dropped to right around or just below 100 degrees for a high. It’s also been cooling off better at night – I actually saw a reading in the 70’s in my car on the way to work the other morning (granted it was 5:30AM). I haven’t been able to enjoy the weather on an outdoor run yet since I’ve been on call this week, but I assure you that I will be out there as soon as I can.

Since stone fruit and berries have still been on sale around here, I thought this salad was appropriate to share. The inspiration for this salad came from finding this berry poppy seed dressing on Our Best Bites. I am amongst the group that enjoys fruit in my salad, and I thought that the coconut chicken would pair well with the berries to make a great lighter meal. I didn’t have any pineapple when I made these, but I think that this would make a great addition to the flavors here.

One note, I actually ended up using chicken tenders rather than chicken breasts as that is what I had stocked in the freezer. Chicken breasts would work just fine. You may need to adjust the ratios of coating, and just be sure to cook them to the appropriate temperature as gauged by a meat thermometer. The dressing does need to be made ahead of time, but it can certainly be made the night before to help speed up the cooking process when it is dinner time. Overall, we ended up really enjoying it, and it’s definitely a recipe I will continue to make for as long as I can get my hands on good fresh fruit this fall 🙂

(Printable Recipe)

Fruity Coconut Chicken Salad with Berry Poppy Seed Viniagrette
Dressing recipe from Our Best Bites

3-4 chicken tenderloins
4 Tbsp. unsweetend shredded coconut (can use sweetened if preferred)
1/4 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs
pinch of salt
1 egg white
6 cups preferred salad greens (we love spinach, but a lettuce mix would work well too)
1-2 cups berries – blueberries, strawberries (sliced), raspberries, blackberries
1 nectarine, pitted and sliced
fresh pineapple, chopped (optional – I think this would be a great addition!)

1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup honey
1-2 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp. grated onion
1 tsp. kosher salt or other coarse salt
10 cracks of freshly ground black pepper (1/4-1/2 tsp)
1 cup raspberries, blackberries, or strawberries
2/3 cup canola oil
1-1/2 tsp. poppy seeds

For the dressing, combine the vinegar, honey, garlic, onion, salt, pepper, and berries in a blender. Blend until smooth and then, with the blender running, add the oil in a steady stream. Turn off the blender and whisk in the poppy seeds. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

For the chicken, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray. Combine the coconut, panko, and salt; place in a shallow dish. Add egg white to another shallow dish. Dip the chicken in the egg white, then coat in the coconut mixture.  Bake for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Divide the salad greens and fruit between 2 plates. If desired, slice the chicken and add on top of the salad. Dress individual plates with the dressing. There will be extra dressing. It should keep in the refrigerator for 5-7 days. Enjoy!

Yield: 2 dinner-sized salads

Cookie Carnival: Wild Blue Energy Chews

It’s time for the Cookie Carnival again! As a refresher, it’s a monthly group hosted by Tami at Tami’s Kitchen Table Talk. Tami scours the recipes and comes up with two cookie recipes for the members to make throughout the month. I really like this group for a lot of reasons:

1) Tami always seems to find recipes I’d never run across on my own. 
2) There is no pressure to bake.With that, there is no due date (with the exception of the end of the month). You can bake them and post them at any time throughout the month.
3) Cookies! They may be my favorite type of dessert!

This month, I chose to make the wild blue energy chews since I had another group making a chocolate-based cookie in the same time frame. It is a Betty Crocker sponsored recipe and starts with their oatmeal cookie mix. While I usually try to avoid using mixes, it certainly does make these quick. I was done from start to finish in about 30 minutes! The resulting cookies were good. I underbaked mine just a tad because oatmeal cookies HAVE to be a little bit chewy. We’ve recently found that we really enjoy dried blueberries, and the combination of them with the almonds and wheat germ really do give these a “healthier” vibe. One deviation that I had from the published recipe was the yield. The website claims this should make 30 cookies. If you’ve ever seen one of those packages, they aren’t very big. I never really measure my dough balls, but I finished with 18 cookies that are probably 1-1/2-inch in diameter. It’s really not a big deal, but I have no idea how you would get 30 cookies. They would be cookie bites!

Would I make them again? Sure, but I think I’ll substitute a from-scratch oatmeal cookie recipe. Thanks Tami for another great pick! Be sure to stop by her blog in the next few days to catch the cookie round-up!

(Printable Recipe)

 Wild Blue Energy Chews
From Betty Crocker

1 pkg. Betty Crocker oatmeal cookie mix
1/4 toasted wheat germ
3 Tbsp. butter, softened
3 Tbsp. canola oil
3 Tbsp. water
1 egg white
1/2 cup dried blueberries
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, stir cookie mix, wheat germ, butter, oil, water, and the egg white until soft dough forms. Stir in blueberries, almonds and chocolate chips. Roll dough into teaspoonful balls and set on the cookie sheet. Flatten the balls slightly with your hands or a spatula.

Bake 11 to 13 minutes or until edges are light brown. Cool on the pan for 5 minutes. Remove from the cookie sheet to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. 

SMS: Cherry (or Blueberry) Clafoutis Tart

So I think I may have failed hosting a baking group 101 this week. It is 2:00pm local time, and I am just now getting my post up having just finished baking MY assignment a little bit ago. I certainly have my excuses as I’ve been out of town more than home in the past couple of weeks. But those aside, I should have planned a little better and for that I apologize!

Excuses completed, Happy Mothers’ Day to any mom’s out there (including my own!). Hopefully, you all were able to have a wonderful day with your families! This is my second time hosting SMS, and I always find it a little bit nerve racking to choose the recipe. No doubt, it is a little bit fun, but both times I found myself worrying about which recipe would fit in with what people are doing in their lives right now. May is often a busy month, so I wanted a recipe that wasn’t too complicated but was also pretty enough that it could be served at any of the gathering opportunities that this month provides. In addition, my other requirement is that I wanted to pick something that is different from the types of desserts I usually make on my own. Since I have never had nor heard of a clafoutis and it seemed like a dessert that would have a great presentation, this was the recipe I chose.

As is typical, whenever you are in a hurry to make a recipe, nothing seems to go right. You might notice that my “cherries” are less than red in the pictures. Oddly enough, the store we stopped by to pick up my last minute ingredients did not carry frozen cherries. After a quick google search for clafoutis on my phone, I settled on using frozen blueberries, but I would really like to try this again using cherries. Cherry-almond is such a classic combination, and it sounds like they would pair well together here. My other problem came in the shape of a large crack in my cookie crust while it was baking. My tart pan has a removable bottom to make it easier to take the tart out of the pan after baking. As you can imagine, the crack combined with the non-sealed bottom of the pan lead to a dripping tart after I poured in the custard mixture. Thank goodness for an old cookie sheet under my pan! 

Despite my lack of planning, the tart looks like it turned out quite well. We haven’t cut into it yet because it is still cooling, but I am excited to try it after dinner. My husband and I both really enjoy custard-type pies, so I’m hoping it will be as good as it looks! Even though I was a less than stellar host, thanks for baking along with me this week ladies! Be sure to stop by the blogroll to check out tarts from the other members!

(Printable Recipe)

Cherry (or Blueberry) Clafoutis Tart
From The Sweet Melissa Baking Book

Cookie Crust (enough dough for two 9- or 10-inch tarts):
14 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
zest of 1/2 lemon
1 large egg
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour

1 pre-baked tart shell
2/3 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean
3 large eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch
pinch kosher salt
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 cup frozen cherries, thawed and drained, or 1-1/2 cups fresh cherries, pitted
3 Tbsp. sliced blanched almonds, toasted for sprinkling
powdered sugar, for sprinkling

For the crust, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, zest, and slat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and mix to combine. Add the flour and mix until combined. Be sure to scrape down the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Pat it together into one piece. Divide the dough into two equal parts, flatten into 6-inch round disks, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Put what you will use today in the fridge and place the other in the freezer for another time. Chill the half in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes before rolling.

When the dough is chilled through, remove it from the refrigerator and let it rest at room temperature for 10 minutes, until it is malleable. Lightly flour a work surface. Lightly flour the top of the dough, and using a rolling pin, press gently on the dough from the middle upward, and the the middle downward. Turn the dough disk a quarter turn and repeat the light pressing process. Add more flour if needed to prevent sticking. The dough should now be a round, flatter version of the original dough disk. Sprinkle lightly with more flour if necessary, and gently roll the dough so that it is in an inch wider all around than it was. Make a quarter turn, lifting the dough if it is sticking and lightly flouring the work surface below. Repeat until the dough is roughly 12-inches in diameter and 1/4-inch thick. Place the dough in a pie plate or tart pan and press lightly to fit. Do not stretch the dough.  Instead, push the dough with your fingers until it is in place. Trim the edge of the dough so that there is 1/2-inch of dough hanging over the edges. Turn the excess dough under itself, creating a nice uniform edge to crimp. If you have any cracks or holes, patch them by pressing the dough together with your fingers. Refrigerate until firm, 20 to 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the crust with parchment paper or lightly greased aluminum foil, and then fill it to the top with pie weights  (dry rice or beans also work). Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until lifting the liner, the crust appears “dry” and no longer has the appearance of raw dough. Remove the weights and liner. If the edges are getting brown, lightly tent with aluminum foil. Bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until the crust is lightly golden. Remove to a wire rack to cool before filling.

For the custard filling, in a heavy saucepan, stir together the heavy cream and the milk. Using a small paring knife, split the vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds and the pod to the cream mixture. Place over medium heat and bring to scalding (180 degrees F on a candy thermometer). Scalding liquid will be steaming, and tiny bubbles will form on the edges of the pan. Remove from the heat, cover, and set aside to seep for 10 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. After the seep time, in a slow steady stream, whisk the still warm cream mixture into the egg mixture. Stir in the almond extract. Strain the mixture through a fine-meshed strainer into a clean bowl.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the tart shell on a rimmed cookie sheet. Scatter the cherries evenly over the bottom of the prebaked shell. Pour the custard over the cherries. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the custard is set. Remove to a wire rack to cool to room temperature. Sprinkle the almonds around the edge of the tart and dust the almonds with powdered sugar. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled. This clafoutis is best eaten the day it is made.

Fruit-Topped Angel Food Cake Squares

Well, this dessert was the destination for the previous angel food cake. It sounds (and looks) pretty simple, but the combination of the pudding part with the berries and cake ends up with something better than the individual parts. We were first introduced to this recipe from a college friend who is one of the best cooks that I know. I think that Jenna probably fed me a couple times a week while I was still living in the dorms during my last year of college.

Since then, this has became one of my husband’s favorite desserts. I have to admit that it is up there on my list too =) We usually only make it once or twice per year because around here it is one of those things that is “dangerous” to have around the house. In making my own cake, it was larger than the ones that I had previously bought. The extra cubes of cake soaked up more of the pudding mixture. In this one, I missed the little pools of pudding that normally form around the cake pieces, so next time, I will probably save some of the cake for another use (like strawberry shortcakes). Either way, there aren’t too many ways you can go wrong with this dessert. Enjoy!

I am linking this to Sweet Tooth Fridays!

(Printable Recipe)

Fruit-Topped Angel Food Cake Squares
From Jenna R.

1 loaf (1 lb) angel food cake (12×5 inch)
1-1/2 c. milk
3 containers (6oz) fat-free yogurt (I like vanilla)
1 can (14 oz) fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1 box (6 serving size) instant pudding mix, any flavor (cheesecake is our favorite flavor)
2 c. quartered strawberries
2 c. fresh blueberries
2 c. fresh blackberries

Spray a 9×13 inch pan with nonstick spray. Cut angel food cake into 1-inch pieces with a serrated knife. Place in the prepared pan in one layer. 

In a medium bowl, mix the milk, yogurt, sweetened condensed milk, and pudding mix with a wire whisk until well blended. Pour over the cake pieces. Gently tap the dish on the counter to remove any air bubbles. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Just before serving, gently mix all the berries and spread over the top of the cake. Cut into squares and serve.

Blueberry and Cream Cookies

Before you pass these by as being a weird flavor of cookies, give me a second and take a look. I am going to tell you right up front that the worst part of these cookies is the wait time. The positive aspects of a relatively short preparation time is one of the things that I love about making cookies. You can get a craving and go from nothing to a batch of freshly baked cookies in a little more than an hour. These cookies definitely do not work that way, but coming from one inpatient cook to another, the wait is worth it.

The recipe for these babies comes from an article about the pastry chef Christina Tosi from the Momofuku Milk Bar in New York City in the September 2010 issue of Bon Appetit. I will admit that I, too, thought the idea of a blueberry and cream cookie was a little odd. However, I was intrigued by her recipe for a crumble-like ingredient that she calls “milk crumbs.” The recipe uses powdered milk to make a crumb that is then incorporated into many of her recipes. I was hooked. I happened to have some powdered milk in the pantry from anther recipe, and I wanted to know how “milk crumbs” would taste.

So, how do they taste? Sweet and almost a little bit salty (in a good way).  In fact, if you cook like I do, make a little bit extra to assure you have enough to “sample.” They really do give a “dairy” flavor to the cookies that is a little bit hard to put your finger on. My husband who turned his nose up at the name of the recipe has hinted that these may be his new favorite cookie. They really are delicious. The only complaint about these cookies is that they bake-up quite crispy. The recipe is written to bake the cookies at 375 degrees which is higher than where I always bake my cookies (at 350). It is nice to have a little bit of crunch around the edges, but I may try to bake these at a lower temperature next time to see if I can get a little more chewy texture in the center. I’m quite sure there will be a next time. 

To note, I halved both the milk crumb and cookie recipes and ended up with 18 large cookies.

(Printable Recipe)

Blueberry and Cream Cookies
From Momofuku Milk Bar as printed in Sept. 2010 issue of Bon Appetit

Milk Crumbs (makes about 2 cups):
3/4 c. nonfat dry milk powder
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
3/4 tsp. coarse Kosher salt
6 Tbsp. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

2 c. (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1-1/2 c. sugar
1-1/2 c. plus 2 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. plus 2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
2 large eggs
5-1/4 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. coarse Kosher salt
1-1/2 c. (full recipe) milk crumbs
1-1/2 c. dried blueberries

For the milk crumbs, preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the milk powder, flour, sugar, cornstarch, and coarse salt in a medium bowl; toss to mix evenly. Add butter; stir with fork until cluster form. Spread mixture evenly on prepared sheet. Bake until crumbs are dry and crumbly, but still pale, about 10 minutes. Cool completely on the sheet. Can be made about 1 week ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

For the cookies, combine butter, both sugars, and corn syrup in a large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until fluffy and pale, occasionally scraping down sides of the bowl, about 3 minutes. Add eggs; bet on medium-high speed until mixture is very pale and sugar is completely dissolved, about 10 minutes. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; beat on low speed until just blended, occasionally scraping down sides of the bowl. Add milk crumbs; mix on low speed until just incorporated. Remove bowl from mixer. Stir in blueberries just until evenly distributed (dough may be sticky).

Using a 1/4-cup ice cream scoop for each cookie, drop dough onto 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled until baking time.

Preheat to 375 degrees F. Line 2 (18×12-inch) rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Transfer 6-chilled dough scoops to each sheet, spacing at least 4 inches apart (cookies will spread). Bake cookies until golden, about 20-22 minutes. Repeat with remaining chilled dough, cooling and relining sheets between batches. Transfer cookies to racks. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

I’m linking these to Sweet Tooth Friday and Sweets for a Saturday!