AmazonEncore sent me a copy of Janie Hibler’s “The Berry Bible”at just the right time, because finally, finally, FINALLY, there is an abundance of berries in the universe, and I’ve been hoarding them. Buying up two-for-one containers full of blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries and putting them in just about EVERYTHING. Smoothies. Pancakes. Pies. Fruit salads. Tossing them into my oatmeal. Sprinkling them over my ice cream.
I needed some new ideas, and this book has them. Strawberry Mojitos. Brioche French Toast with Sauteéd Berries. Blueberry-Loganberry Ginger Jam. Hot-Smoked Turkey with Blackberry Barbecue Sauce. Strawberry-Rose Geranium Syrup. Damn Good Western Pennsylvania Black Raspberry Pie. Berries in Bittersweet Chocolate. Pages and pages of berry recipes, some using berries I’d never even heard of.
That’s like discovering new planets you can put in your mouth.
“The Berry Bible” also includes an A-to-Z guide to berries (from arctic raspberries to cloudberries, lingonberries, mountain ash and thimbleberries), berry anecdotes, berry trivia and a helpful chapter on “Berry Basics.”
What’s not included?
The 2004 hardback version of this book has photographs; this new paperback version doesn’t. It’s a shame to have a book full of berry recipes – especially one with a glossary of berries – and not a single photograph.
That said, if you love berries, you’ll love this book. The recipes are far from the same old-same old, right down to the muffins. The Berry Buttermilk Muffins I made for breakfast last weekend were light and tangy and cakey, with just the right amount of sweetness from the cinnamon and sugar baked onto their tops and bottoms. And they were chock full of berries. Almost to the point of falling apart. Which means they were just right.
Berry Buttermilk Muffins
Adapted from Janie Hibler’s “The Berry Bible”
Makes 12 regular muffins or 9 jumbo muffins
- Ground cinnamon for sprinkling
- 1/2 cup sugar, plus sugar for sprinkling
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 pint (1 cup) frozen raspberries, blackberries, blueberries or huckleberries
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a muffin tin and sprinkle liberally with cinnamon and sugar.
- In a large bowl, sift together 1 3/4 cups flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Cut in the butter with 2 knives or a pastry blender.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and buttermilk. Blend with the dry ingredients until just combined–it will still be lumpy.
- In a separate bowl, toss the berries in the remaining 1/4 cup flour, and fold into the batter.
- Fill the muffin cups to the top, and sprinkle generously with cinnamon and sugar. (If you’re making jumbo muffins, pour a little water into the empty muffin cups.)
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Serve warm.