The original version of this recipe comes from my old Harrowsmith Cookbook, Volume 1, which was published in 1981, the year I graduated from high school. The cookbook was a gift from an old boyfriend, the vegetarian one, and I’ve made many dishes from its well-worn pages. The relationship was short-lived, but the gift has been a treasure. The Blueberry Crisp recipe, found in my cookbook on the stained and dog-eared page 222, has been a favourite.

I usually make this recipe with saskatoon berries, but frozen blueberries were what I had, so that’s what I made. The topping is the one I use for any fruit crisp I make, saskatoon, blueberry, strawberry, rhubarb. A perfect desert, especially served warm and topped with ice cream. This morning’s crisp is for a friend’s potluck birthday party this evening.

Here’s the original recipe, with the changes I have made included in brackets:

Crunchy Blueberry Crisp

Filling:

4 cups blueberries (or any fruit – I usually use at least 5 cups of fruit.The more fruit the better, I think!)

2 Tbsp tapioca (If I have it, I use it. If not, I leave it out. The tapioca keeps the dish from being overly juicy.)

1/3 cup sugar (Today, because I had organic cane sugar in my cupboard, that’s what I used.)

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp lemon peel (This would probably be really good, but I’ve never included it. Just lazy, I guess.)

Mix it all up in a bowl, and add to a buttered 9″ square baking dish. I like to use one of my old wedding gift casserole dishes, because then I have a lid to use for storing any leftovers in the fridge. Also, I just like using those wedding gifts. I love that they, like the marriage, are still going strong!

Topping:

2/3 cup brown sugar (Again, today, I used my organic cane sugar.)

3/4 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup flour (I used spelt today, but I’ve used a variety of flours for this and they have all turned out great.)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp salt

6 Tbsp butter (I got tired one time of measuring out 6 tablespoons and figured out that 6 tablespoons is really close to 1/3 cup, so I use the 1/3 cup measurement now. ‘Cause I’m a lazy cook, remember? And I melt the butter in the microwave. Makes the mixing easier.)

Mix all the topping ingredients together and place on top of berries.

Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.

I’ve had so many compliments on this recipe over the years. It really is yummy!

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This was my mom’s Go To recipe. When Dad announced, Oh by the way, I need to take some goodies to the office today, or the kids needed something for the bake sale, or it was potluck – any baking emergency, actually – blonde brownies came to the rescue. They made an appearance in countless school lunches, and have been a staple at family gatherings for as long as I can remember.

So, in honour of Mother’s Day, and because they are just plain yummy, here is my version of this awesome treat. And hey, if the big yellow bowl is in the dishwasher because you used it to make the Saturday morning pancakes, then the beautiful blue bowl that your sister gave you as a wedding shower present will work just fine.

Blonde Brownies

3 cups brown sugar

1 cup butter or margarine

3 eggs

3 tsp vanilla

3 cups flour (I’ve done these with different combinations of flour, and even 100% whole wheat works great.)

3/8 tsp baking soda

Measure the brown sugar into the beautiful blue bowl. Heat butter to boiling, and add to brown sugar. (The butter must be boiling. This is very important. Something science-y happens to the brown sugar when combined with the boiling butter. Trust me, they just don’t turn out the same if all you do is melt the butter.) Stir well. Add eggs and vanilla and stir some more. Add flour and baking soda and mix it all up.

Grease three 8″ square cake pans. (You could improvise with larger pans, but we like the outside brownies, the couches and the chairs, better than the inside brownies. And my mom used to always grease and flour her pans, but I just grease. The crust is a little crunchier, but we like them that way. Plus, I’m kind of lazy that way.)

Divide the batter among the pans and pat it down with your hand. Top with chocolate chips. (I’ve topped with many different things: butterscotch chips, peanut butter chips, pecans … whatever sounds good to you is good with me!)

Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes. Let cool a few minutes and then cut into squares.

Today, I topped my brownies with chocolate chips and walnuts. Yum. One bite, and you’ll feel like you’ve gone back in time thirty years and you are sharing potluck in an old church basement somewhere on the Saskatchewan prairie. Really.

Couches and chairs. Get it?