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The Yankee Express

Healthier Baking in the Blackstone Valley

by Christine Galeone

The value of coziness is underrated. Whether it’s derived from snuggling with pets, creating a knitted cocoon, or sipping hot cocoa, it’s a simple joy that everyone can embrace.
One cozy food is blueberry pie squares. Frequently served warm, the dessert offers warmth, a soothing aroma and as much sweetness as a blueberry pie. And with very little added sugar, it’s healthier than many similar treats. 
One of the primary reasons that these squares are healthier is because there are no artificial ingredients, colors or preservatives, and there’s only a minimal amount of added sugar. Inflammation caused by eating too much sugar can make people more susceptible to most of the worst illnesses, diseases and conditions.  
Another good reason to try this recipe is because of the health benefits of blueberries. Blueberries are considered to be a superfood for many reasons. They are certified by the American Heart Association to be a heart-healthy food. Loaded with antioxidants, they are believed to be beneficial in fighting cancer and in improving brain health. Additionally, the anthocyanins – which give the fruit its deep color – may have antidiabetic effects. 
Cinnamon also has antioxidant properties. And cardamom, which is a source of vitamin c, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium and potassium, has anti-inflammatory properties and can protect against oxidative stress that causes various health conditions.

Blueberry Pie Squares

Square Crust Ingredients:
2 ½ Cups of Flour 
1 Cup of Butter (melted to the consistency of shortening)
½ tsp. Baking Powder
½ tsp. Salt (omit if using salted butter)
½ tsp. white vinegar
10 tbsp. cold water

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
Cut in butter until like peas.
Sprinkle vinegar over the mixture. 
Sprinkle 1 tbsp. of water over part of mixture, toss with a fork, and move moistened dough to the side of the bowl. Repeat with the rest of the mixture, until it’s all moistened.
Gather dough into two balls, and flatten each one (on a floured surface).
Roll each ball of dough into a 1/8 inch thick crust.  

Square Filling Ingredients:
3 Cups of Blueberries
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Cardamom
¼ Cup Granulated Sugar
3 Tbsp. of Flour

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine all the filling ingredients.
Place the bottom crust on the bottom of a 9X13 rectangular baking dish.
Spoon the filling evenly onto the unbaked crust.
Cover the filling with the top unbaked crust, and bake the squares for about 40 minutes. Makes about 16-20 squares.
Let cool a little and serve warm if desired. Enjoy!
  Everyone could benefit from a little more coziness. To find it, why not indulge in a healthier treat? Happy (healthier) baking!