Squashberry Cake

This cake is kept moist with Squashberry sauce from the Dark Tickle Company

Moving house is interesting.  We recently picked up sticks and moved to be closer to work.  Now, instead of a thirty minute drive to work, it’s a couple minutes walk.  There’s less wear and tear on the car, on the environment, and on our pocketbook.  So it’s good all around.  Because we had to pack up everything, I realised that there’s so much stuff we’ve collected over the years.  This time moreso than other times we’ve moved because this time we did everything ourselves.   The last time we have the benefit of a moving company, so it was a little harder to see all the crap stuff we’ve got.  We’re slowly starting to declutter (again) and get rid of things we haven’t used in months, if not years.

One thing I did find, though, was a small bottle of syrup we were given a few years ago as a Christmas present: Squashberry sauce from the Dark Tickle Company.  The Dark Tickle Company takes Newfoundland’s fresh berries and makes wonderful jams, jellies, syrups and spreads out of them.  They even have tea, coffee, and chocolates.  Perfect for any gift giving or as a treat for yourself.  When we go back to visit, we always pick up a jar or two to savour later.  They ship worldwide, so check them out.  I’m sure you’ll find something you’ll like.  You get your own bottle of Squashberry sauce here.

Squashberries similar to high bush cranberries and are part of the honeysuckle family.  Squashberries thrive in low to middle elevations in Newfoundland’s moist forests, rocky slopes, and along margins of wetlands. It is a decidous shrub which reaches heights ranging from 2 to 12 feet. The plant has smooth gray bark and shallowly lobed, sharply toothed leaves.The autumn frosts turn the reddish berries a glistening red. The tart, clustered berries are often picked in late summer and early fall as well as after the first frost. Squashberry bark was often chewed and juice swallowed to cure such ailments as lung colds. The Haida Indians considered these berries food for supernatural beings.

I found this recipe in one of my bread cookbooks and thought it would be perfect for using the sauce.  The original recipe used a rum sauce to soak the sponge, but any sweet syrup will do.  You could use lemon and add some zest to the batter for a tart dessert.  As this is a yeast product, the end result comes out more like a soaked bread than cake.  There’s only a little sugar in the recipe, so most of the sweetness comes from the sauce soaking in.  Serve with a nice vanilla ice cream or whipped cream to compliment the cake nicely.

Squashberry Cake

Print Recipe
Squashberry Cake
This yeast cake is closer to bread than cake, and is kept moist with delicious Squashberry sauce from the Dark Tickle Company.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 90 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Passive Time 2 hours
Servings
pieces
Ingredients
Course Dessert
Prep Time 90 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Passive Time 2 hours
Servings
pieces
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Measure cake ingredients into your bread machine's baking pan in the order listed. Select Dough cycle.
  2. Spray bundt pan with cooking spray. With floured hands or a rubber spatula, remove dough from baking pan and pour into a prepared bundt pan. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for 45 to 60 minutes. Preheat oven to 350F (180C).
  3. Bake cake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. Tip the cake onto a large plate and leave upside down. Immediately with a long skewer poke numerous holes in the cake. This is where the sauce will soak into the cake, making it moist. Slowly spoon the sauce over the warm cake, letting it soak in. I used a pastry brush to make sure all the cake was covered. Let cake sit for two hours before serving.
Recipe Notes

It may seem like a lot of sauce, but it gets soaked into the cake very quickly.  If you like, warm the sauce slightly in the microwave.  This will help it absorb faster.

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White Chocolate Cranberry Krispie Treats

white, chocolate, cranberry, rice krispie, marshmallow, christmas, snow, If you know me then you know I love me a Rice Krispie treat.  I’ve made so many over the years I can’t keep count.  I love experimenting with different flavours.  In the past I’ve made Cinnamon Bun Rice Krispies, as well as throwing in things like chocolate chips and marshmallows.

I’ve hit the jackpot with this one.  I love the tartness of the cranberries mixed with the snowy white chocolate.  Perfect for a treat after playing in the snow, or taking the dog for a winter walk.

I’ve used Kellogg’s Rice Krispies in this recipe because I love their taste and crunchiness.  I haven’t been compensated by Kellogg’s in any way.

Another thing I like to use is the 1/2 cup squares of margarine.  You can use butter if you like, but I can find margarine in convenient squares in the grocery.  It’s fast and it’s one less thing I have to measure.

So, let’s tuck in and get started.  Spray a 9X13 pan with cooking spray and set aside.  In a large pan melt 1/2 cup of margarine or butter under medium/low heat.  You don’t want to burn your fat before things get started.  Then add about 400/450 grams of mini marshmallows.  I think the bags come in 400 or 450 gram size.  Whichever it is use the whole bag.  If you get the 1 kg size, like I do, then eyeball about 1/2 the bag.  Stir until all the marshmallows have melted.  Remove the pan from the heat and add the vanilla.

Now we’ll have to work quickly as the mixture sets up fast.  Add the rice Krispies, cranberries, white chocolate chips and stir to combine.  You’ll want to have a nice, even distribution of ingredients.  Then add about a cup or so of mini marshmallows.  Pour the mixture into the 9×13 pan and press down to make an even layer.  I like to wet my hands with some cold water and then press down.  That way the melted marshmallow won’t stick so much and you can work the corners better than with a spatula.  Place the pan in the fridge to cool.  About an hour or so.  When done, remove from the pan and cut into squares.

This batch makes about 48 one inch squares, but you can cut them larger if you like.  Another tip for making it a bit fancier is to drizzle some melted white chocolate on top before you cut the squares.  Just take 1/2 cup of white chocolate and a teaspoon of butter and microwave for 30 seconds.  Then stir until all the chips are melted.  Use a fork and dip it in the melted chocolate and drizzle over the rice Krispies.

white, chocolate, cranberry, rice krispie, marshmallow, christmas, snow,

White Chocolate Cranberry Krispie Treats

Creative a festive holiday treat with white chocolate chips, tart cranberries and mini marshmallows.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 48 squares

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 450 grams mini marshmallows
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 cups Kelloggs Rice Krispies
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows

Instructions

  1. Spray a 9x13 pan with baking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan melt the 1/2 butter over medium/low heat. When melted add the 450 grams of mini marshmallows. Stir until melted.
  3. Remove from heat and add the vanilla. Stir to blend. Quickly add the Kellogg's Rice Krispies, cranberries, and white chocolate chips. Stir to even distribute. Then add the mini marshmallows. Stir again.
  4. Place the mixture into the prepared 9x13 pan and press down with a spatula. If desired wet your hands with cool water and press down the mixture to make a nice even layer. Place in the fridge to cool for about an hour.
  5. When cooled and firm, remove from pan and cut into squares.

Christmas Cookie Countdown – Oatmeal Fruit Cookies

cookie, contest, newfoundland

This week’s cookie is one that I personally like.  While it can technically be made any time of the year (as are most cookies), I personally like cinnamon flavour around this time.  It makes you feel warm and brings forth visions of sitting by the fire while sharing these cookies with your loved ones. Oatmeal cookies have always been a favourite of mine.  I like the more chewy ones over the crisp cookie.  So this cookie is perfect for that reason.

This is another drop cookie.  It’s one of the easiest cookies to make.  You can try other drop cookies, like my molasses drop cookies, or the Newfoundland classic, scrunchies.

I’m just going to dive right in with this one.  You’ll need to mix your brown and white sugars with the oil in a bowl with the mixer on medium.  Add the egg and vanilla.  Mix well.  Then add the banana, coconut, and raisins.  In a separate bowl mix together the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon.  With your mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients until clear.  Then add the oatmeal.  I’ve used quick cooking oats for my cookie, but you could use regular oats for an even more chewy cookie.  Mix until well combined.

I let my batter sit in the fridge to firm up a little.  You want the batter to be a bit cooler for scooping.  Just throw it in the fridge for 30-45 minutes.  While that is happening, you can preheat your oven to 350F.  The cooler batter will mean that the cookies won’t spread as much as a batter that is at room temperature.  Because these cookies are only about a couple of inches across after baking, I though it was a good idea to chill the dough.

Scoop onto a parchment or Silpat lined cookie sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes.  The cookies will be a nice brown colour when done, with slightly darker edges.  Again these cookies freezer very well, so if you make them today, you can store them away until the holidays.

cookie, newfoundland, oatmeal, banana, cinnamon, raisin, chewy

Oatmeal Fruit Cookies

Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 14 minutes
Servings 4 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mashed banana approximately one whole banana
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 cup All purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups quick cooking oats

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl with the mixer on medium, combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and oil.
  2. Add the egg and vanilla. Mix well.
  3. Add the mashed banana, shredded coconut, and raisins. Combine.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix with a whisk until all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Turn mixer to low and slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet. Mix until clear.
  5. Add the oatmeal and mix until combined. Transfer batter to fridge to cool for 30-45 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 350F. Scoop batter onto parchment of Silpat lined baking sheets with a couple of inches between scoops.
  7. Bake for 12-14 minutes until the cookies are lightly browned and the edges are a little darker. Let cool on sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer to rack to cool completely.

Christmas Cookie Countdown – Sour Cream Raisin Cookies

cookie, contest, newfoundlandWell, the Christmas music is playing, I’ve got a nice hot cup of tea by my side so I’m ready to start giving you some of my favourite holiday cookies.  I’m starting off with a drop cookie.  Drop cookies are one of the easiest cookie to make.  Cookies like my molasses drop cookie or chocolate chip are examples of a wonderfully easy cookie.  You just scoop out the batter onto a cookie sheet and bake.   You can be more precise with a cookie scoop so they all look the same and bake evenly.  I like using a scoop for that reason.  And it’s a little faster than using spoons.  Not to worry though, if you don’t have a cookie scoop, just use you tablespoons and you’ll be fine.

sour cream, raisin, cookie, christmas, newfoundland, dessert, brown sugar, holidayWhile most wouldn’t think about using sour cream in a cookie, it works really well.  It gives in a nice creamy texture with a hint of sourness.  And this cookie keeps well too.  You can make some and freeze them for the holidays and they’ll stay soft (after thawing, of course) and won’t crumble.  Perfect for your holiday get-togethers when you have to bring a housewarming gift.

First preheat your oven to 375F.  Now cream the butter.  You’ll want to get your butter nice and fluffy, so whip the butter for at least a minute.  Remember to have the butter at room temperature first.  It will make this step so much easier to do.  Add the sour cream to the mixture.  You’ll want to use full fat sour cream for this recipe.  It adds to the creaminess of the cookie.  Don’t worry about the fat content.  It’s not like you’re going to eat a dozen of them while watching a Christmas movie because you got home late and skipped supper.  No, nothing like that ever happened.  Ahem.

After you blended the sour cream and butter, add the brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla.  Mix well.  In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Mix well to evenly distribute the ingredients.  Put your mixer on low and slowly add the dry to the wet batter.  Mix until clear.  That means you shouldn’t see any specks of flour in the batter.  Fold in the raisins.

Scoop by the tablespoon onto parchment or Silpat lined cookie sheets leaving about an inch between each scoop.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.  The cookies will have a slight colour so don’t be tempted to keep them in longer.  They will continue to cook as they sit on the cookie sheet.  Let them cool for about 10 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.sour cream, raisin, cookie, christmas, newfoundland, dessert, brown sugar, holiday

Sour Cream Raisin Cookies

Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup butter unsalted if possible
  • 2/3 cup sour cream full fat
  • 2 cups brown sugar lightly packed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups All purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup raisins Can substitute currants or Craisins if desired.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Cream butter on medium until fluffy. Add sour cream. Blend well.
  3. Add the brown sugar, vanilla, and eggs to butter/sour cream mixture. Mix on medium until well combined.
  4. In separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Blend together with a wire whisk to evenly distribute the ingredients. Turn mixer to low and slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet. Mix until clear.
  5. Slowly fold in raisins to batter.
  6. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet, leaving about an inch between scoops. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until set.
  7. Let cool on pan for about 10 minutes and then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.

Recipe Notes

Currants or Craisins can be substituted for the fruit.

Always have your ingredients at room temperature for baking unless specified.

Apple Oat Loaf

apple, oat. loaf, savoury, fall, autumn, cinnamon, farm, picking, breadMy family came up to visit this week and we wanted to show them around the area, so we did a little sight-seeing.  Just a little drive up the road is Homestead Orchards.  They used to be a dairy farm but the owners switched over to apples a few years back and now the son runs the farm.  They offer pick-your-own apples, as well as strawberries and fresh corn.  The strawberries help them out during the beginning of the summer when the apples aren’t quite ready, helps them in the pocketbook too.   They even bake apple goods on-site, so you can pick up a fresh apple pie or apple blondie hot from the oven, if you choose.

When we arrived there were three types of apples ripe for picking.  Apples ripen earlier or later during the season depending on the type.  When we went there were galas, gingergold, and jonamac apples ready to be picked.  They recommend you bring your own bags so it’s easier on the environment too.

When you arrive you can see rows of apple trees laden with ripening fruit.  The ones which are ready are clearly marked and you’re welcome to taste while you pick.  Jonamac is a combination of a Jonathon and a MacIntosh apple and is a perfect baking apple and great for applesauce and apple butter.  We spent about half an hour going through the trees and finding the ones we liked.

After you go back to the barn area, your apples are weighed and you pay a very reasonable price per pound.  Of course we picked up an apple blondie to go too, since the smell of fresh baking was wafting through the air.  At this time of year who could resist.   Talk about farm to table!

A while ago, I picked up some steel cut oats thinking that they were similar to large flake.  Boy was I wrong.  While the oats are delicious, I hadn’t realized how much more prep would be needed for the steel cut variety.  I foolishly picked up the large bag and we’re still have about half a bag left.  Instead of always trying to use it up making breakfast, I searched for another way to use these wonderfully filling grains.  What did I find?  Honey oat loaf.  Since we have the fresh apples, why not combine the two?

This recipe requires a little prep as you have to soak the oats for a couple of hours before everything else is mixed together.  You could even do it overnight and leave them in the fridge if you like, but you really only need to soak them for a couple of hours.

After the oats have softened, place in large mixing bowl.  Preheat your oven to 350F.  Mix in your melted butter and honey while on the mixer is on low.  Add the eggs and mix well.  In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Blend the dry mix with a whisk until well combined.  While the mixer in on low, add about 1/3 of the dry ingredients.  Then add 1/2 of the milk, one more third of dry, the last of the milk, and finally, the last of the dry.  You should always end mixing with the dry ingredients.  That way you can tell if your mix is too wet or dry and you can adjust accordingly.  Then fold in the diced apples.   Place even amounts into two greased 8×5 pans and bake for 70 minutes.  The dough is very dense so it needs the longer bake time.

Once removed from the oven, immediately remove from the pans and let cool on the rack.  The steel cut oats give the loaf a nice chewy texture, interspersed with the warming flavour of apple and cinnamon.

apple, oat, cinnamon, loaf, savoury, bread, farm, picking, fall, autumn, harvest

Apple Oat Loaf

Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 2 loafs

Ingredients

  • 2 cups steel cut oats
  • 2 cups water boiling
  • 4 1/2 cups All purpose flour
  • 5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter melted
  • 1/4 cup honey liquid, not creamy
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • 2 cups apples peeled, small dice

Instructions

  1. Place steel cut oats in a large bowl and cover with the two cups of boiling water. Let sit uncovered at room temperature for 2 hours. Stir once half way through.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  4. In a small microwave safe bowl, melt butter and honey then stir into bowl with oats.
  5. Beat egg into milk and alternately add milk mixture and flour mixture to large bowl with oats stirring with a wooden spoon as you add each. Do not over mix, just mix to combine wet into dry. Fold in diced apple pieces.
  6. Generously spray two standard size loaf pans (8X5) with non-stick cooking spray and scrape the dough into the pan, using half the batter for each. Using a spatula, smooth out the top then place in oven for 70 minutes (one hour and ten minutes), or until a tooth pick inserted in center comes out clean. The dough is dense so we recommend leaving in for the full 70 minutes.
  7. As soon as the bread comes out of the oven, remove from pan and cool on a wire rack to cool completely. Slice and serve with additional drizzled honey.

Recipe Notes

Note: this bread is not meant to be that sweet.  I personally like to use more tart apples for a greater contrast in taste.  Experiment and let me know how you do.

Zucchini Loaf

zucchini, garden, newfoundland, highway, dessert, A couple of months ago I planted some zucchini sprouts purchased from our local garden centre.  Every year I seem to lose my memory about how abundant zucchini plants are under ideal conditions.  This summer’s crop is doing really well.  We’ve had quite a bit of moisture this season.  Some farmers are complaining it’s too wet, while others say their yield is the best they’ve seen for years.  You can’t please everyone.

We went away last week to do some camping for the weekend and came back to find two huge zucchinis tucked away under the leaves.  I had thought I found most of the small ones, but for some reason there’s always one or two which I overlook.  Needless to say, the ones I didn’t pick were about the length from my elbow to my fingers, about a foot and a half.  So, I picked them and thought about what to do with all this wonderful bounty.

First I made some muffins.  It’s my go-to for using up stuff.  Then zucchini tots.  They are like tater tots, but use zucchini instead of potato.  Basically toss some grated zucchini in a large bowl with some bread crumbs, egg, salt, pepper, grated cheese, and garlic.  Press into little bite-size balls and bake at 400 for 20 minutes.  Yummy and fast.

Then came the loaves.  I’ve made 10 so far and there will be more coming.  Erma Bombeck talked about being that neighbour who has so much zucchini that you end up sneaking next door in the dead of night with little gift baskets filled with zucchini and ringing the doorbell.  As you crouch behind the potentilla, You spy your neighbour gingerly pick up the basket expecting an abandoned child or pet and pull back the gingham.  A cry of exasperation comes from their lips as they realize they’ve now been cursed with the gift of produce.

When we were visiting Newfoundland a few years ago we took a drive up the Northern peninsula to visit L’anse Aux Meadows.  It’s a national historic site which shows when the Vikings visiting the northern part of the island thousands of years ago.  As you’re driving up the highway you have to first be on the lookout for moose.  That highway is famous for accidents involving moose and cars.  Unfortunately neither the car with its passengers nor the moose fair well when they meet.  Always be careful driving, especially at dusk.

One other thing you’ll notice is along the highway there are gardens.  I thought it a bit peculiar to see a fenced garden just plopped along the highway.  Most of the plots that we were driving past were started in the late 1960′s when the highway was constructed. Up until then gardening had been a challenge due to the lack of plentiful and fertile soil along the coast. However, when the major road was built the dirt was piled up alongside the road where it could be put to great use in growing the main Newfoundland crops of potatoes, cabbages, and turnips.

While our garden isn’t along the highway, I wanted to share some of the bounty with my zucchini loaf recipe.  This recipe is fairly easy and you can add raisins or chocolate chips for variety.  I’ve added some All Bran buds for a little extra fiber.

Preheat your oven to 375F.  In your mixing bowl combine the eggs, oil, sugar, apple sauce, and vanilla.  Mix until combined.  Then add the grated zucchini.  Mix to combine.  In a separate bowl add the flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and soda.  Mix with a wire whisk to evenly distribute the ingredients.  With the mixer on low add the dry ingredients to your wet.  Mix until you can’t see any more flour.  Then add the All Bran Buds.

Pour into a prepared 8X5 loaf pan.  I spray mine with cooking spray, but you can butter and flour the pan if you prefer.  Bake for 50-60 minutes until a knife comes out clean when inserted in the center of the loaf.   Let cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes.   Then remove from the pan and let cool completely.

zucchini, garden, newfoundland, highway, dessert,

Zucchini Loaf

These moist and not too sweet loaves will help you use up all that wonderful zucchini you have been blessed with.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 1 loaf

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs large
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce unsweetened (one serving cup)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cups zucchini, grated OR 2 cups frozen grated.zucchini
  • 3 cups All purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup All Bran Buds

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375F.
  2. In your mixing bowl combine the eggs, oil, sugar, apple sauce, and vanilla.  Mix until combined.  Then add the grated zucchini. Mix on low until evenly combined.
  3. In a separate bowl combine the flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and powder. Mix thoroughly with a wire whisk until evenly distributed. With you mixer on low, add the dry ingredients to the wet. Combine until you no longer see any flour. Add the All Bran Buds cereal.
  4. Pour into a greased 8X5 loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes. It's done when a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then remove and let cool on the rack completely.
  5. Makes 8-10 slices.

Recipe Notes

I like to take some of the moisture out of my grated zucchini before I bake with it.  You can toss the grated zucchini with some salt and then place the zucchini in a fine sieve.  Place the sieve over a large bowl to catch the liquid.  Let sit for a least an hour.  Afterwards pat dry with a clean dish towel.  You can also use paper towel.

 

Butterscotch Cereal Bars

butterscotch, bar, square, dessert, newfoundland, camping, travel, make ahead

It’s the Victoria Day weekend and the first thing that comes to mind for most people is camping.  This is traditionally the weekend everyone brushes off the camping gear and heads out to the lake, cottage, or park.  It’s warm enough during the day to go hiking or play some sports, but cool enough at night to have a nice bonfire going.

Camping can be a little different in Newfoundland than in other places I’ve been.  My parents had a camper trailer that collapsed and you had to crank to raise.  Similar to this one.

camper trailer nostalgia

Everything would be packed into the base of the trailer and hooked onto the back of the car.  Then we would drive for a couple of hours and camp at a provincial park for the weekend.  That way we could go exploring to the beach, or on many of the trails in the park.  My parents would usually stick around the camper and relax.  At least, that’s how I remember it as a child.  In reality they probably did relax with some beers.

In Newfoundland, though, you can usually find campers just off the side of the highway parked in gravel pits.  It’s not uncommon for people to just pull off the side of the road, just feet from the busy highway, and park there for a couple of days.  Usually it was beside a lake so you could go fishing if you wanted.  Maybe catch something for supper that night.  It’s not as common as it was, gravel pit camping, but you can still catch the occasional camper parked along the highway if you’re visiting the island.

I always look forward to camping and the wonderful things you can make beside the campfire.  We all grew up with roasting marshmallows on sticks and blowing them out after they caught fire.  Or wrapping a potato in foil and laying beside the warm embers to have a beautifully roasted potato, smothered in butter, with your dinner.  Or bring your cast iron frying pan and fry up the fresh trout you caught in the morning in the nearby pond.  Something about being outside makes the food taste so much better.

Of course we brought some homemade goodies too.  Usually cookies and sandwiches.  I thought of this quick recipe you could take with you on your car ride to the camping ground or to have as a snack around the nice warm fire. They also keep really well so you can make them a few days ahead.

In a large sauce pan melt the butter under medium-low heat.  Once the butter is completely melted add the marshmallows and stir until melted as well.  Then add the butter extract, pudding mix, Skor bits, and cereal.  You’ll have to work quickly as this seizes up fast.  Transfer the mixture to a greased 9×13 pan and press down to make an even layer.  Let cool for a couple of hours and then cut into squares.  Makes 24-36 squares depending on how big you cut them.

butterscotch, bar, square, dessert, newfoundland, camping, travel, make ahead

Butterscotch Cereal Bars

Course Dessert
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 24 squares

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 400 grams marshmallows mini or large will do
  • 6 cups Frosted O's cereal
  • 1 tsp butter extract
  • 1 package butterscotch pudding mix
  • 1/2 cup Skor Bits reserve 1/4 cup for topping

Instructions

  1. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, under medium-low heat, melt the butter until completely melted. Add the marshmallows and stir occasionally until all the marshmallows have been melted.
  3. Remove from the heat and add the extract, cereal, butterscotch pudding, and Skor bits. Mix until combined. Quickly transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Press down to make an even layer. I used my hands just slightly dampened with cold water.
  4. Let the mixture cool completely for at least an hour. Remove from pan and cut into squares.

Rum Spiced Banana Bread

rum, banana, bread, loaf, dessert, sugar, screech, newfoundlandSo if you have been following my blog, you would have realized that I made the lovely Portuguese orange cakes the last time and they were topped with sanding sugar.  And if you haven’t been following my blog, then sign up for updates so you don’t miss out on the fun and food.

Anyway, I bought the sanding sugar and, of course, had a little left over because I wasn’t sure how much I would need for the last recipe.  Needless to say, there may be a few more recipes coming your way which have sanding sugar in them.  Oopsee.

There were a few bananas which were going off and getting too soft to enjoy so they were placed in the freezer for later baking.  I don’t know how that happens.  It seems that the bananas go from green to overripe in days.  I have all the best intentions about eating them for breakfast, or throwing them in a lunch bag, but when I get around to it I just don’t feel like eating bananas that day.  So they ripen.

Banana bread has become such a common dessert and you’ll find millions of variations out there with a myriad of ingredients and extras.  I wanted something fairly simple (read: one bowl mixing) and a subtle nod to my home province of Newfoundland.  What would be easier than throwing in some Screech?  Booze is better in most things.  Right? Right? –crickets chirping–

The thing about banana bread is that your bananas have to be as ripe as you can stand it.  That’s the good thing about throwing them into the freezer when they reach the peak ripeness.  That way you can preserve all the sweetness of the sugars in the fruit, without all the peskiness of attracting fruit flies.

Don’t get me started.  I left some bananas out to ripen once and within a couple of days I was finding little fruit flies everywhere.  It was like that scene in Amityville where the flies are covering the windows.  Freaky.   Needless to say, I throw them into the freezer before things get too out of hand.

Preheat your oven to 350F and put the ripe bananas in your stand mixer and mix on low.  You want the bananas to be mushy, almost liquid-like.  The softer the better.  You’ll get more banana flavour if they are really ripe.  Still mixing on low, add the melted butter, sugar, eggs, and rum.

Then mix your dry ingredients.  You can throw everything in the mixer, but I personally like to mix my dry ingredients first to make sure everything is evenly distributed.  Mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Add that slowly to the wet mixture and blend until clear.  That is, you don’t see any more flour in the batter.  Do not overmix as the bread will be too chewy.

Pour into a greased eight inch loaf pan and set aside.  In a small bowl combine a couple of tablespoons of sanding sugar and a little bit of the rum.  You want the sugar to absorb the rum, but not be soaking.  You don’t want the sugar to dissolve.  Sprinkle the sugar on top of batter and bake for 50 minutes on the middle rack.  Use the knife test to check for doneness.

Let the loaf cool in the pan on a rack for 10-15 minutes.  Remove from the pan an let cool completely.  Serves 8-10.rum, banana, bread, loaf, dessert, sugar, screech, newfoundland

Rum Spiced Banana Bread

This light banana bread has the subtle flavour of rum and a pleasing sugary crust.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 10 slices

Ingredients

  • 3 bananas very ripe
  • 1/3 cup butter melted
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp Screech Dark rum
  • 1 1/2 cups All purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 tbsp sanding sugar for topping the loaf

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. In stand mixer on low with the paddle attachment, mash the bananas until soft. The bananas should be very well broken down. Add the melted butter, sugar, egg, and rum.
  3. In a separate bowl combing the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix thoroughly.
  4. With the mixer still on low, add the dry ingredients. Mix until clear. Pour the batter in a greased 8 inch loaf pan.
  5. In a small bowl combine the sanding sugar and a few drops of rum. Mix until moistened. Sprinkled the flavoured sugar over the top of the batter. Bake for 50 minutes. Check for doneness with a toothpick or until a inserted knife comes out clean.
  6. Let the loaf cool on a rack in the pan for at least 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool completely. Serves 8-10 slices.

Buttermilk Banana Muffin

muffin, banana, buttermilk, sugar, dessert, cinnamonFor the longest time I thought everything my mother created in the kitchen was a Newfoundland invention.  When I was a youngster she would make cabbage rolls from scratch.  She would make the filling and boil the cabbage and spend the afternoon rolling them up and baking them for supper.  Same with Chinese food.  She would cut up pieces of chicken, dip them in batter and deep fry them.  Then she would make her own sweet and sour sauce and serve them with stir fried veggies and rice.  I thought both of those dishes were Newfoundland recipes.  Later, when I was older, I found out that those recipes weren’t authentic to just Newfoundland.  But that’s the great thing about food, it becomes authentic to the person making it.

As a baker I’ve learned how to do pastries and breads from around the world.  I’ve made baguettes from France, Victoria sponges from England, Swiss meringues, and countless others.  But when I try a recipe and I get comfortable with it, then I can experiment and make authentic to me.  I can add my ingredients and my take on the recipe.  So that’s what I’ve done with this basic banana muffin recipe.

I’ve added the richness of buttermilk and the sweet cinnamon sugar to just give it my spin on a classic muffin.  Yes, you can find many, many, many banana muffin recipes out there, but I haven’t found one that adds the cinnamon sugar on top.  And that’s the great thing about recipes.  You just tweak it a little and it becomes yours.

So, enjoy these wonderful buttermilk banana muffins with a nice cup of tea.  And who knows, maybe you’ll change it up to make it your own and it will be just as good, if not better.  Remember to invite me over so we can swap!

muffin, banana, buttermilk, sugar, cinnamon

Buttermilk Banana Muffin

A moist banana muffin with the slight tanginess of buttermilk and sweet sugar cinnamon topping.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 10 muffins

Ingredients

Muffin

  • 2 cups All purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup mashed banana about 3 bananas
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

Topping

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine melted

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Use a whisk to mix thoroughly.
  3. In a large bowl with your hand mixer combine the mashed bananas, buttermilk, egg, and vegetable oil. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add the dry ingredients. Blend until you cannot see any flour. Do not overmix.
  4. Transfer the batter to greased or lined muffin tin. Using a scoop, fill each until 3/4 full. Bake on middle rack in the oven for 20-25 minutes. The muffins should be slightly brown around the edges.
  5. Let cool for a couple of minutes in the pan and then transfer to a rack to cool completely. Meanwhile combine the remaining cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl for the topping.
  6. Once the muffins have cooled, take one and first dip in the melted butter, shaking off any excess. Then dip in cinnamon sugar.

Partridgeberry Marshmallows

marshmallow, partridgeberry, newfoundland, dessert, sweet

It’s been bitterly cold for days here and I was starting to lose hope for all chances of ever warming up so I wanted to make something I could have a little snack with something warm.  While I don’t know if these would be good in hot chocolate, I do know that these would be great WITH hot chocolate.

The cool thing about marshmallows is that they are so deceptively easy to make, yet no one really thinks about making them.  And once you’ve had the homemade kind, it’s really hard to go back to the store bought chewy styrofoam ones.  The only reason I use the store bought ones is for Rice Krispie treats like my Apricot Curry Rice Krispies or my Cinnamon Bun Bites.  Both use the store bought marshmallows wonderfully.

These, though, offer the sweet, airy texture of marshmallow and the slightly tart perkiness of the partridgeberry.  The wonderful red swirl throughout the marshmallow isn’t necessary but it looks really good when you bring them out for guests.  I adapted this recipe for one using Nutella from www.papernstitchblog.com.

First lay out parchment paper over a 9×13 pan and dust extensively with powdered sugar. They will be sticky.

Pour the three packs of gelatin into 1/2 cup of water and let it sit for about ten minutes.

While you wait for the gelatin go ahead and add the rest of the water, corn syrup , salt, sugar to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and allow the candy thermometer to reach 240 degrees.

Next in your mixing bowl combine the gelatin and slowly add the sugar stovetop mixture. Be careful it will be very hot. Beat in the mixer for about 8 minutes until the bowl is warm to the touch and the mixture resembles marshmallow fluff. Now you can add flavor to the marshmallows by adding in your vanilla.

Next add in about 1/4 of the partridgeberry jam and beat until smooth about 1 minute. Work quickly and pour the marshmallow mixture into the pan and use a spatula sprayed with grease to smooth it out.

Then using a knife swirl the rest of the jam into the marshmallows.  Let it sit for about six hours or overnight.

Cut as desired and dust the marshmallows with the rest of the powered sugar.

Partridgeberry Marshmallows

Course Dessert
Servings 24 pieces

Ingredients

  • 1 cup powdered (icing) sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 packages unflavoured gelatin
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup This is the clear kind
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup partridgeberry jam

Instructions

  1. First lay out parchment paper over a 9×13 pan and dust extensively with powdered sugar. They will be sticky.
  2. Pour the three packs of gelatin into 1/2 cup of water and let it sit for about ten minutes.
  3. While you wait for the gelatin go ahead and add the rest of the water, corn syrup, salt, and sugar to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and allow the candy thermometer to reach 240 degrees.
  4. With the whisk attachment on your stand mixer combine the gelatin and slowly add the sugar stovetop mixture while the mixer is on low. Be careful it will be very hot. Turn the mixer to high and whip for about 8 minutes until the bowl is warm to the touch and the mixture resembles marshmallow fluff. Now you can add flavor to the marshmallows by adding in your vanilla.
  5. Next add in about 1/4 of the partridgeberry jam and beat until smooth about 1 minute. Work quickly and pour the marshmallow mixture into the pan and use a spatula sprayed with grease to smooth it out.
  6. Then using a knife swirl the rest of the jam into the marshmallows. Let it sit for about six hours or overnight.