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Berry Berry Good

My children and I can mark summer's course by the progression of berries in our New England garden. When the first strawberries begin to turn crimson, June is here; blueberries mark Independence Day; raspberries mean summer is in full swing; and by the time the last of the blackberries arrive, the season is winding down.

Whether you pick your own or buy them at a farm stand or supermarket, berries are a quintessential summer food. They're wonderful for eating right out of your hand -- or for enjoying in easy recipes like those below, each delicious with any type of summer berry or with frozen as well as fresh fruit.

Kathy Gunst is a Parenting contributing editor and the author of The Parenting Cookbook.

 


 

Berry Cobbler

This classic dessert tastes even better with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Kid-Friendly RecipePrep time: 15 minutes  
Cooking time: 35 to 40 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
  • Cooking spray or butter to grease the pan
  • 4 cups mixed berries
  • 3 Tbs brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract, optional
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 6 Tbs unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granola

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a small, shallow casserole, pie plate, or ovenproof skillet. Mix the fruit with the brown sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl.
  2. In another bowl, sift the flour and stir in the cinnamon. Add the butter, using two knives to work it into the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Gently mix in brown sugar and granola.
  3. Place the fruit in prepared dish. Spoon on the topping. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until topping is brown but not dry or burned. Serve cobbler hot, warm, or at room temperature.
Kid-Friendly RecipeHow kids can help: Toss the fruit; make the topping; pour in the fruit; spoon on topping.

Per serving(1/6 recipe):  356 calories, 4 g protein, 14 g fat, 57 g carbohydrate, 145 mg sodium, 31 mg cholesterol, 5 g fiber.

 

 


 

Berry-Orange Muffins

Grated orange rind adds a subtle citrus note to the berries in these simple muffins. Serve with Quick Berry Jam.

Kid-Friendly RecipePrep time: 12 to 15 minutes  
Cooking time: about 30 minutes
Yield: 10 to 12 muffins
  • Cooking spray or butter to grease muffin pans
  • 5 Tbs butter  
  • 3/4 to 1 cup sugar (depending on how sweet the berries are)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 cup low-fat milk
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 Tbs baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup berries

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a 12-muffin (for small muffins) or 10-muffin (for medium size) tin or line with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar using an electric mixer or beat vigorously with a spoon. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until incorporated. Add vanilla and blend well; then add milk and blend until incorporated.
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt over butter mixture and stir until flour is just incorporated, using a large spoon or spatula.
  4. Gently stir in the berries. Divide the batter among the muffins. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool in the pan for a few minutes, then turn out muffins. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Kid-Friendly RecipeHow kids can help: Mix the batter; line muffin pans; pour the finished batter into the pan.

Per serving(one small muffin; 1/12 recipe): 153 calories, 3 g protein, 6 g fat, 22 g carbohydrate, 196 mg sodium, 50 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber.

 

 


 

Berry And Yogurt Parfait

Serve these "parfaits" of layered yogurt, granola, and fresh berries in clear bowls or glasses (plastic for little ones). They make a great breakfast, snack, or dessert and can be made up to 2 hours ahead of time and refrigerated.

Kid-Friendly RecipePrep time: 5 to 7 minutes  
Yield: 4 servings
  • 2 cups plain or flavored low-fat yogurt (for dessert, substitute frozen yogurt or ice cream)
  • 3 to 4 Tbs maple syrup, depending on desired sweetness
  • 3/4 cup granola
  • 3/4 cup mixed berries

 

  1. Stir maple syrup into the yogurt. Place 1/4 cup yogurt each into 4 small bowls or glasses. Sprinkle with 2 Tbs of the granola and 2 Tbs berries. Gently top the berries with another 1/4 cup yogurt, 1 Tbs of granola, and the rest of the berries. Drizzle lightly with maple syrup, if desired.
Kid-Friendly RecipeHow kids can help: They can make the entire dish, layering the ingredients in the glass or bowl.

Per serving: 227 calories, 8 g protein, 6 g fat, 38 g carbohydrate, 155 mg sodium, 7 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber.

 

 


 

Meringue Shells With Berries and Whipped Cream

These crisp, crunchy meringue "cookies" make great shells for whipped cream and any berry mix.

Kid-Friendly RecipePrep time: about 15 minutes  
Cooking time: 12 to 15 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
  • Cooking spray or butter to grease cookie sheets
  • 3 egg whites, at room temperature (leave out for 15 minutes before use)
  • 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whipped cream
  • 2 cups mixed berries

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 275°F. Generously grease 2 cookie or baking sheets.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites using an electric mixer until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until almost stiff. Add sugar a little bit at a time, then the vanilla extract. Continue beating until the whites are stiff and shiny. Divide mixture into sixths, then spoon 6 large rounds onto the greased cookie sheet. (Separate the meringue rounds by at least 2 inches; you may need to bake them in two batches.) Being careful not to flatten the rounds, use a spoon to create a slight hollow in the middle of each (to hold the whipped cream and berries later).
  3. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, or until the shells are just beginning to turn a light golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool. Place on serving plates and fill each shell with 4 Tbs of whipped cream and 1/3 cup of the berries.
Kid-Friendly RecipeHow kids can help: Mix all ingredients together; shape and hollow out the meringue rounds; fill with whipped cream and berries.

Per serving(1 filled shell): 276 calories, 3 g protein, 14 g fat, 38 g carbohydrate, 44 mg sodium, 50 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber.

 

 


 

Mixed Berry Cake

This fresh, light cake is ideal for a summer afternoon.

Kid-Friendly RecipePrep time: about 15 minutes  
Cooking time: 12 to 15 minutes
Yield: 6 servings

The Cake

  • Butter to grease the pan
  • 1 cup plus 1 Tbs flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch salt  
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 4 Tbs (1/2 stick) butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup low-fat sour cream or plain low-fat yogurt (for a tart flavor)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups berries


Topping

 
          
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mixed berries

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch round cake pan; dust with Tbs of flour and set aside..
  2. In a large bowl, sift cup of flour, baking powder, and salt. Using an electric mixer, add sugar and egg and beat well. Add melted butter, sour cream or yogurt, and vanilla, and mix to incorporate. Gently fold in berries. Pour batter into prepared cake pan. Bake on middle shelf of oven for 45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool; remove from pan.
  3. In a bowl, whip cream until soft peaks form. Add sugar and vanilla; whip until just stiff. Top cake with whipped cream and berries. If you aren't serving cake immediately, serve each slice with a dollop of whipped cream and 2 Tbs of mixed berries.
Kid-Friendly RecipeHow kids can help: Prepare pan; mix and pour batter; top cake with whipped cream.

Per serving (1/8 cake): 264 calories, 3 g protein, 13 g fat, 35g carbohydrate, 155 mg sodium, 64 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber.

 


 

Quick Berry Jam

Spread on toast, muffins, or pound cake or enjoy on ice cream. It stays fresh for up to 10 days, covered, in the refrigerator.

Kid-Friendly RecipePrep time: 2 to 5 minutes  
Cooking time: about 20 minutes
Yield: 1 cup
     
  • 2 cups berries
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs sugar

 

  1. In a medium saucepan mix berries and sugar and cook over moderate heat for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened.
Kid-Friendly RecipeHow kids can help: Mix the berries and sugar. (Cooking is off-limits for kids, since jam can splatter.)

Per serving (2 Tbs): 42 calories, 0 g protein, 0 g fat, 11 g carbohydrate, 0 mg sodium, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber.

 

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