Blue Ribbon Vanilla Ice Cream

28316477385_5f107d4eb0_z28316477385_5f107d4eb0_zBlue Ribbon Vanilla Ice Cream from Kitchen in the Hills. Made with a creamy custard base and real vanilla bean. Summertime classic. #icecream #vanilla #summer #dessert

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This vanilla ice cream is a summertime classic. It’s simple. Made of a sweet custard base and real vanilla– vanilla bean if you have it.

It’s creamy and sweet, rich but not cloying.

Blue Ribbon Vanilla Ice Cream from Kitchen in the Hills. Made with a creamy custard base and real vanilla bean. Summertime classic. #homemade #icecream #vanilla #summer #dessert

I’d like to think it’s the kind of dessert that could be the blue-ribbon winner of a small town ice cream contest. It’s simple and traditional, but good ingredients and a lot of love make it award-worthy.

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Simple Frosted Cocoa Brownies

Simple Frosted Cocoa Brownies | Kitchen in the Hills | These simple cocoa brownies are a snap to make! They come together in under an hour, with 10 ingredients you probably already have. They're fudgy with rich chocolate flavor. #kitcheninthehills #brownies

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The solstice and the 4th of July are the two big days that mark the beginning of summer.

Now we are in the thick of it. Expect barbecues, picnics, and day trips to the beach. Pool parties if you’re lucky.

These brownies are easy to pull together and they’re great for events. Take them anywhere. They’re delicious. They’re chocolatey from the cocoa, but they are also light enough that they won’t overwhelm everything else on the table. The frosting is thick enough that it won’t melt in the heat. I never thought I’d say that I liked a cakey brownie, but these have a lighter texture and I love them– something about them reminds me of childhood.

So bake these, share them, take them with you.

(Note: Don’t skip the frosting on these. The brownies alone have a dry and crumbly texture, and they don’t do well un-frosted.)

Simple Frosted Cocoa Brownies | Kitchen in the Hills | These simple cocoa brownies are a snap to make! They come together in under an hour, with 10 ingredients you probably already have. They're fudgy with rich chocolate flavor. #kitcheninthehills #brownies

Our key ingredients. Flour, sugar, cocoa.

Would you believe me if I told you this recipe only uses 10 ingredients? It’s true.

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Lemon Bars

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It’s the tail end of winter and the lemons are everywhere. I live in an adorable neighborhood where people fill their yards with fruit trees, flowers, and crazy-looking succulents. One house a block and a half down from me has a lemon tree out front, brimming with fruit every year in late winter. Right now there are a hundred, maybe two hundred, fruits on their tree. Every time I walk by, I consider knocking on their door and asking if I can buy a bucketful. To turn into lemon bars, lemon tarts, lemon meringue pies, lemonades.
I haven’t worked up that much neighborly courage yet. The lemons in today’s recipe aren’t from my neighbor’s tree, but even the ones from the market are amazing this time of year.
lemons

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Mini Blueberry Cream Scones

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Hello August.

Hello birthday. Hello to the last lazy afternoons and plane rides. Hello golden afternoons and ever-so-slightly-earlier sunsets.

To be perfectly honest, this new month snuck up on me.

Here I was thinking that summer was just beginning– I had finally learned to take advantage of my weekends and enjoy the season. I learned that I could make it to the pool for an hour after work, or hike in the hills in the afternoon sun. Take a picnic to the local park and enjoy the sunshine and warmth. Have lunch on the lawn. Count on it being light outside until nearly 9 PM. Eat tomatoes and corn and berries for an afternoon snack, because all of the produce is perfectly ripe and sweet this time of year.

And suddenly, it’s August. Back-to-school season, and nearly Fall semester.

I’m going spend another month or two pretending that summer will never end.

One thing you should definitely do this month, before berry season is over?

Make these scones. Make these scones, a blackberry pie or two, strawberry shortcakes, and peach-berry-basil cobblers. But begin with these scones.

These mini blueberry cream scones will be an instant hit at brunch!

These tiny cream scones are incredibly easy to make. You just whisk together your dry ingredients, stir in your cream, and add the best blueberries you can find. There’s not much more to it.

And, especially for being one of the simplest things to come out of your oven, these little scones are delightful. Light, tender, just dense enough. Bite-sized. Bursting with berry flavor, the baked and concentrated juice sometimes running down the sides, sticky and sweet. Golden brown on top and just a little crisp around the edges.

Eat these straight out of the oven or on the same day as you bake them for the best texture. If you need to store these overnight, an airtight container at room temperature will do. But if you can? Always go for fresh scones.

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Banana Chocolate Chip Crumb Cake

This recipe feels strange and out-of-place on my blog in the middle of summer. This recipe does not feel summery at all. It feels like something you bake up in October, when the air turns crisp. Or in December, for an office holiday party. Or maybe in late February, with the first snow melts.

But there have been summer cold snaps in the East Bay, and I feel like they perfectly justify this banana chocolate crumb cake in the middle of July. The longest day of the year has come and gone, and I feel like this city still hasn’t made up its mind about the weather.

I spent the summer solstice wandering city sidewalks, blocks of shops and houses in full afternoon sun. It was Father’s Day, so I painted a mug at the ceramics studio for my dad. I ran a few errands. I went to the market for fresh produce. Filled my bag with corn, peppers, shallots, lemons, apricots, apples, mangoes, and plums.

I had dinner at a West Berkeley comida under string lights and a crescent moon.

It was so hot outside, and the warm weather continued for a week and a half.

Less than a week later, the weather turned cold and foggy. I found myself in the kitchen with a mug of hot chocolate and craving this banana chocolate crumb cake. Sweltering hot days turned into a streak of chilly nights.

The weather is back to normal over here, blazing hot and constantly sunny… But I’m still eating slices of this cake out of the freezer.

Here’s how we make it.

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Apricot Cashew Yogurt Bowl

As promised, a yogurt bowl recipe. Truly effortless. Extremely simple.

A perfect way to use homemade yogurt. A healthy snack, and portable if you make it in a jar.

If you saw my blood orange yogurt bowl recipe, you’ll see that this bowl works the same way– yogurt topped with fresh fruit, honey, and nuts. It’s a fail-proof formula, and one that barely requires a recipe.

This particular bowl– with homemade yogurt, apricots, and cashews– is my go-to late spring, early summer bowl. (I know it’s mid-summer now, but there are still apricots in the markets, so I’m going to say this recipe is still fair game.)

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