Summer Foraging Recipe: Elderberry-Blueberry Jam with Chia Seeds

In the woodland valleys of Central California, Elderflower trees have been in bloom all spring with their prolific, lacy white blossoms.  I've enjoyed making Elderflower syrup, candied elderflowers and sweet Elderflower Tempura.  A few days ago, I noticed that some of the trees are starting to bear fruit -- diminutive, tart little berries, deep purplish-blue growing in heavy clusters.  

Inspired by a love of biscuits and jam, foraging, and adapted from a recipe from Simply Beyond Herbs, I whipped up a simple and delicious jam made from the foraged Elderberries, fresh blueberries and using chia seeds for a perfect jammy consistency.

Enjoy and Happy Foraging!
PrintWith ImageWithout Image Elderberry-Blueberry Chia JamYield: One half-pint jarAuthor: Jenn Erickson Prep time: 10 MCook time: 10 MTotal time: 20 M An easy and delicious sweet-tart jam to make from foraged Elderberries. Ingredients:1 1/2 cups elderberries, rinsedPinch of salt1 cup blueberries, rinsed2 Tablespoons Chia Seeds1/2 Tabl…

Recipe: Brown Buttery Buttermeal Cookies

The other day, my family was driving home on our long daily commute from school and work when we struck up a conversation about cookies.  One of my girls chimed in, "My favorite cookie is Buttermeal!"  We think that she meant to say chocolate chip oatmeal -- in particular the ones with macadamia nuts, coconut and semi-sweet chocolate chips made by her Uncle Deuce. And yet, we were all struck by how instantly appealing the idea of a "Buttermeal" cookie sounded.  So, we spent the rest of the car ride talking about what would go into a Buttermeal cookie if one were to actually exist.  We concluded that it would be buttery like shortbread and would have the subtle nutty flavor of oatmeal.

This weekend, I experimented by riffing on a few well vetted Irish Shortbread recipes and ultimately came up with what the family deemed the perfect Buttermeal Cookie.  They are simple to make and are addictively delicious.  If you like shortbread, buttery cookies, and are keen on the sweet/salty thing, these are a must try.

Buttermeal Shortbread Cookies

1 cup salted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup Rolled Oats (not instant or quick-cook)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup brown sugar (not packed)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 Tablespoons sanding sugar, raw sugar, or organic sugar (large crystals is what you're going for)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.  Butter a 10" springform pan and set aside.

Step 1:  In a large microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup, melt butter.  Stir in vanilla extract and set aside to cool.

Step 2:  Spread oats out on a small baking sheet.  Bake at 300 for 8 minutes to lightly toast the oatmeal.

Step 3:  In the bowl of a food processor, combine toasted oats, flour, brown sugar, salt, baking powder and corn starch.  Use 12 times for 3-second intervals.  

Step 4:  Pour in the butter/vanilla mixture.  Run food processor till mixture comes together into a cohesive dough (just about 5 seconds).  Transfer dough to the prepared springform pan and press evenly into the bottom of the pan.

Step 5:  Sprinkle the top of the dough with the 2 Tablespoons of coarse sugar.  Then, gently shake the pan side to side to evenly distribute the sugar.

Step 6:  Bake at 300 for 25 minutes.  Allow the cookie 10 minutes to cool on a wire rack before removing the outer ring from the springform.  Use an offset spatula or thin butter knife to make sure the cookie is not stuck to the pan.  Then, invert the cookie on a cutting board.  Flip back on to another flat surface so that the sugared top is facing up.  Cool for another 5 minutes before cutting into wedges.  Serve warm or cold.  

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