With school back in session and the days getting cooler, summer’s becoming a distant memory. The good news is that this also signals the beginning of baking season (for me, anyway). With the warm, tart taste of summer’s wild blackberries still lingering in our heads, I thought these blackberry/oatmeal/walnut crumble bars would make the perfect back-to-school treat. Summer sandwiched between layers of fall.
I promised my husband I wouldn’t get carried away with the Halloween blog posting, but the kids still need a healthy after-school snack, don’t they?
Orange bell peppers make festive (and edible) dip vessels, and are a lot easier to carve than pumpkins.
Cut off the tops like you would for a jack-o-lantern, then use a grapefruit knife (what do you mean you don’t have one?) or your hands to remove the inner membranes. Rinse out any seeds.
Carve a simple jack-o-lantern face. My nose and mouth were a little too low; try to keep the “face” on the flat part of the pepper, before it curves under. This will keep the filling from oozing out too much.
Fill with a dark-colored dip, such as black bean or a 50/50 mixture of hummus and olive tapenade. (The stuff Peyton Manning keeps talking about in his DirectTV commercials.) I used about 1/2 cup of store-bought hummus and 1/2 cup of store-bought kalamata tapenade.
For a better presentation (since I messed up the face), I elevated the pepper jack-o-lantern with an upside-down custard cup.
Serve after school (or at a Halloween party) with carrots and breadsticks. And don’t forget to eat the pepper afterwards, unless you’re wary of double-dippers. . .