Updated: Oct 7, 2020
One of the projects I have been working on during quarantine is making my own baking extracts. You know, some people make sourdough, others make banana bread, I make homemade extracts. If you’re wanting to make extracts at home, it’s apparently very easy! You take a subtle-flavored liquor (I used vodka, but you can also try moonshine or gin) and add a proportionate amount of any flavoring you want. This can be anything from vanilla bean, lemon, almond, mint, etc. You add the vodka and flavoring together in a mason jar, cover, and let sit in a cool/relatively dark place for 6-8 weeks, agitating every week or so. For my first attempt at making homemade extracts, I decided on the following: vanilla bean, chamomile, rose, marigold, and lavender.
My thoughts are my first attempt. The vanilla, chamomile and lavender turned out perfect! The rose was a tad too subtle for my liking so I added in a splash of rose water to get the flavors all movin’ and groovin’, and for the marigold I just added more dried marigold leaves and it turned out great. I bottled them up when I returned to my apartment in early June and knew I had to bake with these extracts ASAP.
I saw these crumble bars from King Arthur’s Flour and knew I had to make them. I loved the combination of crunchy, golden brown crumble layers sandwiching the roasted blueberry filling in between. I decided to add the lavender extract to both the crumble and the blueberries to add a subtle hint of that flavor. I didn’t want to go too far as to not turn these bars into lavender soap bars.
If you are interested in making any of these extracts at home, I linked the food safe florals here.
Blueberry-Lavender & Hazelnut Crumble Bars
Prep Time: 30-40 minutes
Bake Time: 90 minutes – 95 minutes
Yield: 24 bars
4 cups (567g) fresh or frozen blueberries
3/4 cup (156g) light or dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange rind (zest)
½ tsp lavender extract*
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 cups (482g) All-Purpose Flour
2 cups (198g) old-fashioned oats
2 cups (425g) light or dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
24 tablespoons (340g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
½ tablespoon lavender extract*
½ tablespoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup (82g) hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
2–3 Tablespoons (30-45g) heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon lavender extract*
Pinch of salt
1 cup (235g) vodka
½ cup (80g) lavender buds
1| For the Lavender Extract: In a 32oz mason jar, stir together the vodka and lavender buds. Cover and let infuse at room temp in a dark place for 6-8 weeks. After which, strain through a mesh strainer and funnel into extract jars.
Tip: You want to use high-quality vodka. Local is best. Splurge, you and your future extract deserves it.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2| For the Filling: In a medium bowl, toss the blueberries, brown sugar, orange zest, and salt. Pour the mixture into a 9" square pan or shallow dish and roast for 40 minutes. The berries should be floating in a pool of shallow juice, but not drowning in it. If the berries are drowning, simply pour off some juice. Set aside to cool.
3| To make the topping: Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, oats, sugar, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the melted butter. Keep the mixer running to allow the crumbly mixture to come together in big clumps. Add the extracts and mix until everything holds together when squeezed.
4| Lower the oven's temperature to 350°F. Line a 9" x 13" pan with parchment, and clip the parchment to the sides of the pan.
5| Measure out 7 cups of the topping and divide: 4 cups for the base and 3 cups for the top.
6| Put 4 cups of the mixture into the prepared pan, pressing down firmly to form a solid base. I used the bottom of a mason jar to make sure the base layer was even. Bake this layer for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden and firm to the touch. Remove it from the oven and cool for 10 minutes.
7| Spoon the roasted fruit over the bottom base. Squeeze the 3 cups of topping into larger clumps and place them gently on the fruit to form a layer that covers the fruit without any large gaps peeking through.
8| Return the pan to the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and crisp.
9| Remove the bars from the oven and allow to cool. Remove them from the pan by lifting them out with the parchment paper and setting them on a cutting board. Drizzle the glaze over the bars and sprinkle with sea salt and the toasted hazelnuts. Cut into 24 squares.
10| For the glaze: In a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, heavy cream and extract until desired consistency is achieved.