What do you do when it snows 9″ on top of a few inches still on the ground? You send the dogs outside to play and take pictures.
I love to watch Brandy run. She had a good four years of puppyhood with injured or uncomfortable legs until we could get her the TTA surgeries she needed. Now I know she aches for walks and plays time in the backyard, and even though it’s a little cold she could care less.
Dollar loves to fetch sticks but when the snow is this deep, he can’t find them and it makes me laugh to see his face when the stick he just saw disappears into the snow.
His white fur always looks dirty in the pristine white snow.
Brandy is photographed best in snow and bright sunlight. Her dark features stand out against the snow – especially when she digs her nose in it.
We were sad over the travel warnings and unplowed roads that kept us from visiting family. But being snowed in with green beans and ham is not bad at all.
All week we’ve been eating peanut butter compote bars for breakfast thanks to a bottle of Butler blackberry wine I’ve had on the shelf for months. I received it from an event and considered keeping it for a recipe since I’m not much of a wine drinker. Months went by and it sat there, waiting for me to pick it up and pop open the cork.
Frozen fruits were on sale at my grocery store so I bought up one bag of blueberries, one of the strawberries, and one bag of mixed blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. A random combination of these fruits would be mixed with sugar and blackberry wine to create a winter compote that can lull the blues out of anyone. You could use any wine you like, fruit flavored or not. I stumbled across a red wine jelly recipe shared on Punk Domestics made from grapes, apples, water, and red wine. It’s one of the few wine jam recipes I’ve seen on the interweb – but it can be done!
BREAKIN’ DOWN THE JAMS
Jams, jellies, compotes, marmalades, butters, preserves – which is which? Serious Eats breaks it all down for you and explains how compotes can be made with fresh or dried fruit and contain more than one variety of fruit. They are also slow cooked in sugar and occasionally have liquors stirred in.
Jams have a lot of sugar, which acts as the preservative when you want to water bath can your jam and eat it at a later date. Compotes can have less sugar and still taste great when devoured within about a month of making. Food52 explains how to make a compote without a recipe, nodding to the fact that compotes are easy going and require less attention to detail.
I only needed 1 1/2 cups of berry wine compote for these peanut butter bars, leaving 4 1/2 cups left. Ice cream, anyone? We’ll get to that later.
Alcohol will thin out your fruit compote but enhance the flavors of the fruit while also adding a bit more sugar. Allow it to simmer on the stove and most of the alcohol will cook off making it safe for kiddos if that’s your concern. My strawberry rhubarb lambic preserves is another example of how wonderful alcohol can be in fruit spreads. (Find a full list of my canning adventures here).
We picked up a jar of creamy peanut butter at Whole Foods and this stuff was so thin and liquidy, it was more like soup than peanut butter. We couldn’t give it to Brandy without dripping it all over the floor. Instead of throwing the jar away, I searched for a recipe that would allow me to use 1 1/2 cups of peanut butter, and the first thing I found was Ina Garten’s Peanut Butter Jelly Bars.
Roasted peanuts, peanut butter, butter… what could go wrong? Absolutely nothing! Ina never lets me down (unlike Martha, whose past 2 baking recipes I’ve tried have been failures). I used slightly less peanut butter because I had already dipped into it a bit, but that didn’t change anything. This recipe was easy and did not require much time outside of making the compote, which I made the day before these peanut butter bars.
Ina calls for 1 1/2 cups of a jam in her recipe. I warmed it up so it was easier to spread on the first layer of batter. You spread one layer of batter on the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking pan as the base. Spread the compote on top, then pinch off pieces of the remaining batter and sprinkle it on top leaving a small amount where your chopped peanuts can fall and stick to the berry wine compote.
BERRY WINE COMPOTE
- 6 cups mixed frozen berries such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries
- 4 cups white granulated sugar
- 1 cup blackberry wine
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 packet liquid pectin
- In a large dutch oven, stir together the frozen fruit with the white granulated sugar. Allow sitting for 30 minutes.
- Stir in the wine and lemon juice. Bring the fruit and sugar to a bubbly simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Let cook for 30 minutes.
- Stir in the liquid pectin and let cook for 10 more minutes. Allow the compote to cool slightly before using in Ina’s Peanut Butter Bars or before storing in sealed jars in the refrigerator for later. The compote will thicken after cooling off.