Recipe epiphanies: Mixed berry cobbler

This is an experimental recipe with the base of a mixed berry cobbler inspired by creating an alternate Thanksgiving dessert. Note: it is gluten-free but can be altered.

Gluten free mixed berry cobbler ideal for a Thanksgiving dessert. Photo by Carlee Rizzo.

It seems that this time of year it is all about pumpkin recipes or how to make the best Thanksgiving turkey. But from year-to-year, there isn’t much variation on the classic dishes. Perhaps it is time to take a chance — and possibly impress your family — with your newest dessert: mixed berry cobbler. But, It doesn’t have to be just any mixed berry cobbler, you can make it your own.

My husband Zach and I are “experimental bakers” in the sense that we don’t usually follow the recipe. It is often us suggesting, “You know what would make this better?” Since I’m gluten-free, recipes that shouldn’t be gluten-free are often a little bland, so we need to spice things up.

This mixed berry cobbler recipe is a holiday take on what can be a mediocre dessert. It pairs the base of a cobbler with berries — the ones you might still have in your freezer from the last berry picking season — and a dash of cinnamon that gives it a warm autumn flavor.

My mom would usually make cinnamon buns for breakfast on Thanksgiving day, but I couldn’t have any, so I might have a slight obsession with adding cinnamon to recipes, even my hot chocolate.

Zach adds powdered sugar on top of almost every baked good that he makes which gives the cobbler a snowy presence for the month of Novembrrr.

Don’t forget to pair your cobbler with your favorite brand of vanilla ice cream. It adds a creamy element that gives the dessert balance; it’s so easy to make. Don’t just take this from me: Try it for yourself and wow your family with a delicious surprise at the holiday table.

Mixed Berry Cobbler (Zach and Carlee Christensen Edition)

For gluten free cobbler

Preheat the oven to 375.

For the mixed berries

  • 2 cups of mixed berries
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar

A key to making sure that all the berries are baked equally is to quarter the strawberries so they are the same size as the rest of the berries. You can use frozen berries — if you have blueberries or raspberries from berry picking season, those would make a great addition — but you have to defrost them first, or you can use fresh berries. However, they are not in season so frozen may be best.

Mix in the 2 tablespoons of sugar with your mixed berries in a small bowl. Make sure you have enough to cover an 8x8 pan.

For the crust

Dry ingredients

  • 1 cup of gluten free flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/4 cup regular sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Oats

Wet ingredients

  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 large egg

Simply whisk together all your dry ingredients in a large bowl. You can decide how much cinnamon and oats you want to add if you are following this recipe or add something else. It is called an experimental recipe for a reason. We added a few dashes of cinnamon and about a little less than a 1/4 cup of oats to our dry ingredients. After you have mixed the dry ingredients, set it aside.

Mix together your melted butter and your egg in a small bowl. Tip: Wait for the butter to be cool to add your egg. Once mixed, add your wet ingredients to your dry ingredients and lightly fold them together until you get your dough.

Get out your 8x8 pan and evenly cover the bottom of your pan with the dough. Save some for a second layer on top. Pour your mixed berries on top, covering the bottom layer. Zach suggests adding powdered sugar at this step to bring the flavor of the mixed berries out. Finally, add your second layer on top of the berries. This will add a crispy element to your dessert that pairs well with the moisture of the first and second layers. We did it in patches so the berries would come through. We topped the cobbler with brown sugar and baked it for about 25 minutes or more. It depends on your oven — ours is a little off but it does the trick.

Once the top is golden and crusty, it’s time to take it out of the oven. Sprinkle the top with powdered sugar and you're done. Served best with vanilla ice cream.

There are lots of ways to alter this recipe. If something doesn’t seem right, try adding more dry ingredients or wet ingredients depending on what the issue is. The first time we made this dessert, we didn’t prepare enough mixed berries, so that could be one thing to look out for.

Experiment before it’s time for the real deal: Thanksgiving dinner. Happy Holidays!