Want to go straight to the crumble recipe? Click here to find this Concord grape and peanut butter crumble.
I have been a doggy foster parent to Jynx for two whole weeks now. Of course, I knew going into this that it wouldn’t be easy. But a little part of me also secretly hoped that time with me would magically heal and transform Jynx into a social, outdoor walk-loving dog. Is that so surprising? And honestly, after the first week, I really thought we were there: I felt like we were just a few more walks away from that miraculous transformation. Jynx was excited to go on her walks and she was tolerating the elevator. Her tail was up and she was perky. When I called Jynx’s rescuer to update her that first week, we were both amazed at how quickly she had progressed. We were all so very happy. Then, as I walked Jynx along the canal one night, a firecracker went off somewhere in the distance and I watched poor Jynx jolted into absolute terror. It hurt to watch our progress unravel. Within a split second, one sound sent us back to where we started, if not further behind. I guess we went forward too fast and too soon. It was too easy up until that point.
Life sent us an explosive reality check.
Jynx’s rescuer warned me that we would be faced with setbacks that draw Jynx back into her little world, and that’s exactly what happened. It was like a switch flipped inside her head, and she was afraid again. It took several days after to get Jynx back to being almost comfortable on her walks. She does have a few “perky” moments these days when we are out: instances when her tail is up and she is sniffing everything while exploring the grass by the canal. But we also have walks where within seconds of facing the outside world, she wants to go home. She circles around me, tail down, pulling as much as she can trying to get us to go back, refusing to walk forward, seemingly incapable of walking in a straight line. For me, the saddest part is that she is significantly less excited to go out these days. She’s alright once she’s out, but when I clip on her leash, she sits down, trembling, and she refuses to go anywhere. I have to tug her to the door (sometimes bribing her with treats, but that’s not always enough). She eventually understands we are going out, or maybe it sinks in that she hasn’t got much of a choice, and then we are off, out the door, and we are good. Still, the initial reaction of trembling and fear makes me sad.
So, I’m not going to lie. There have been many, many instances that are really tough to get through. I mostly feel like I don’t know what I’m doing. I often worry that I’m doing the wrong thing for her, but I try. We try. When she pulls to go home within seconds of reaching the canal, I halt, and then I charge forward, tugging her along, not giving her a chance to hesitate. We plough forward, together, and eventually, she snaps out of it and starts sniffing around curiously, and then I know we’ve won that round. That round is probably only a minute long (sometimes less), but we won it together. Inevitably, she wants to go home again seconds later, and then I halt, take a breath, and then we start forward again. Some walks are just like that, especially when we are surrounded by people, dogs, cyclist, rollerbladers, and the general chaos that is summer activities…
Throughout it all, I am still trying to teach her: when we enter the elevator, I say “corner!” and pull her into the corner. Now when I say “corner!”, she understands to go to the corner of the elevator. I’m also teaching her when we come home from our walk, I like to stop at the mailbox to check my mail, so I exclaim “mailbox!” and now she comprehends enough to stop (or if she’s being difficult, her ears perk up and I know she gets it, even if she just doesn’t want to follow the command). See, we are progressing! And two nights ago, when there was a thunderstorm in the middle of the night, Jynx crawled closer on the bed and she squished right up against my chest, trembling like a leaf. She usually sleeps next to me, but it was the first time that she had ever settled so close to me when she was in her “scared” mode. She spent the rest of the night curled up against me, not moving an inch. I took that as a sign of trust and love, and all the rest just washed away. Life will probably throw us a zillion more reality checks and there will be moments that send her back into her little world, which makes us both want to cry, but we will get through them together somehow.
This week, I’ve been craving comfort. I’d made a fantastic Concord grape & rosemary focaccia, but still had the rest of a basket of Concord grapes to get through, I thought it would be cool to transform my favourite sandwich into a homemade dessert. I am a HUGE fan of peanut butter and jelly. As a kid, I went through a phase where for breakfast, I’d make mini Eggo pb & j sandwiches, slapping thick layers of peanut butter and jam between two toasted mini Eggo waffles . Let’s just say it wasn’t my healthiest of phases, but they sure tasted amazing. The Concord grape filling takes a little more time than the usual crumble fruit filling, but it is worth it because this recipe makes a tart, jewel-toned jam layer that fits snuggly under a peanut buttery cookie topping. I like a generous amount of crumble on my fruit bakes and this peanut butter crumble topping recipe makes a double batch, enough to make this crumble and even a few cookies baked on the side for snacking on later. If you aren’t a fan of peanut butter, you can always swap out this peanut butter crumble and opt for an honey oat crumble or even a chocolate crumble instead.
Concord grape and peanut butter crumble recipe
Concord grape and peanut butter crumble
This dessert is a fun play on the classic peanut butter & jelly sandwich: a peanut butter cookie crumble topping on top of a Concord grape compote makes this Concord grape and peanut butter crumble the most comforting dessert
- 480 grams Concord grapes ~3 3/4 cups
- 100 grams granulated sugar 1/2 cup
- 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp minute tapioca
For the peanut butter crumble
- 142 grams oats 1 1/2 cups
- 94 grams all-purpose flour 3/4 cup
- 100 grams light brown sugar 1/2 cup
- 128 grams all natural 1/2 cup, unsweetend smooth peanut butter
- 115 grams unsalted butter 1/2 cup
To make the filling
- Rinse the grapes thoroughly and dry them.
Pinch grapes to push out the green flesh. Put the flesh into a medium saucepan, reserving the skins in a 7 inch round ramekin baking dish (like this one on Amazon).
- Add sugar and lemon juice to the pan, and cook on medium-high heat to bring the mixture to a boil. Continue heating for 6 to 8 minutes, until the flesh breaks down and releases the tiny seeds.
- Strain the mixture and push it through a sieve placed over the bowls of grape skins.
- Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes, add the tapioca, and then let it sit for 1 hour to cool at room temperature.
To make the peanut butter crumble
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- Mix all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl, then work in the butter, followed by the peanut butter until the mixture resembles a coarse crumble (you can use your hands, a fork, or a pastry cutter for this step).
- Crumble half the mixture over the grape filling (reserving the other half for cookies).
- Bake the crumble for about 40 minutes, until the fruit filling is bubbling hot and the crumble is beginning to brown on the top.
- Let the crumble cool about 30 minutes before serving. Serve warm or cold.
I do my best to bake with the finest ingredients. Stirling Creamery, a Canadian company, has provided the butter for this post.