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

Print Recipe
Sour Cream Raisin Cookies
sour cream, raisin, cookie, christmas, newfoundland, dessert, brown sugar, holiday
Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
sour cream, raisin, cookie, christmas, newfoundland, dessert, brown sugar, holiday
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.

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Blackberry Coconut Bars

blackberry, bar, dessert, berry, newfoundland, egg, coconut, meringueThings have been very busy this time of year and I apologize for neglecting all my blog friends.  I want to make it up to you by giving you this quick and easy bar recipe that can be made in less than an hour.

One thing that I’ve relied on for years is cake mix.  There are so many different recipes out there using boxed cake mix as a base.  There are even a few books put forth by a woman calling herself the Cake Doctor.  She doctor’s cake mixes making wonderful bundt cakes, cookies and bars.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used that book.

This recipe is adapted from one of hers.  If you’ve made some raspberry or blueberry jam from all the berries you’ve picked then this recipe will help you use some it up.  My brother and I used to go picking berries when we were youngsters and you can still find people selling buckets of berries on the side of the road in Newfoundland.  While it’s past berry picking season now, you must have made some jam with all the wonderful fresh berries picked.  Or you can use store bought jam, of course.  We had a friend give us some wonderful blackberry jam, so I thought that would go with the coconut flavours of this bar.

Preheat your oven to 350F.  Mix together the cake mix, melted butter and egg yolks.  The mix will be crumbly, but that’s okay.  Press the mixture into a greased 9X13 pan so you have an even layer reaching all the sides.  Bake this layer for 8-10 minutes until just browned.  Remove from the oven, but leave the oven on for later.  Place aside to cool.

In a clean mixing bowl, place the egg whites and start mixing with the whisk attachment.  You can also use a hand mixer.  I stress that the bowl should be spotless.  Any chance of fat in the bowl (like you used the same bowl to mix the cake layer – hello egg yolks), will cause your eggs whites to fall flat and you’ll never get to the stiff peak stage.  When the egg whites are a little frothy, add the cream of tartar.  Keep mixing on high while slowly sprinkling in the sugar.  You want to add the sugar gradually so you can incorporate lots of air into the egg whites, making them nice and fluffy.  Keep mixing until you have stiff peaks.  That means you can pull the beaters (or the whisk attachment) out of the egg whites and they will still form small white peaks without falling over.  If the whites are too soft, just whip a little longer.  Then fold in the ground coconut*.

Meanwhile, in a microwave safe bowl, put the jam.  Microwave for 30-45 seconds; just enough for the jam to be spreadable.  Now spread it in a nice even layer on top of the baked cake layer.

Then spread the whipped egg white layer on top, but try not to mix it into the jam.  You want to spread everything evenly to all the edges.  Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden.  Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool.  Cut into 24 bars, or smaller if you want squares.

blackberry, bar, dessert, berry, newfoundland, egg, coconut, meringuePro tip: The egg whites should be room temperature.  They will whip up fluffier and easier.  If you keep your eggs in the fridge, then leave them on the counter for at least 30 minutes before you make this recipe.

*The toasted coconut should be finely ground.  I used my spice grinder, but if you don’t have one, just use your food processor.

Print Recipe
Blackberry Coconut Bars
Prep Time 15 min
Cook Time 45 minutes
Passive Time 30 minutes
Servings
bars
Ingredients
Cake layer
Jam layer
  • 1 1/2 cup fruit jam raspberry, strawberry, or your favourite
Meringue layer
Prep Time 15 min
Cook Time 45 minutes
Passive Time 30 minutes
Servings
bars
Ingredients
Cake layer
Jam layer
  • 1 1/2 cup fruit jam raspberry, strawberry, or your favourite
Meringue layer
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Mix together the cake mix, melted butter and egg yolks.  The mix will be crumbly, but that's okay.  Press the mixture into a greased 9X13 pan so you have an even layer reaching all the sides.  Bake this layer for 8-10 minutes until just browned.  Remove from the oven, but leave the oven on for later.  Place aside to cool.
  3. While the cake layer is baking you can mix your meringue layer. Using a clean bowl on your mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and set the mixer on high. Slowly sprinkle in the granulated sugar and whip until you have stiff peaks with the egg whites. Fold in the ground toasted coconut.
  4. Meanwhile, in a microwave safe bowl, put the jam.  Microwave for 30-45 seconds; just enough for the jam to be spreadable.  Now spread it in a nice even layer on top of the baked cake layer.  
  5. Now spread the whipped egg white layer on top, but try not to mix it into the jam.  You want to spread everything evenly to all the edges.  Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden.  Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool.  Cut into 24 bars, or smaller if you want squares.  
Recipe Notes

You'll want toasted coconut for this recipe.  Just take some shredded coconut, place it on a parchment lined cookie sheet and broil on low for about a minute.  Keep an eye on this because you'll go from light brown to black in seconds.  Keep the pan a couple of inches from the broiler and watch it like a hawk.

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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

Print Recipe
Apple Oat Loaf
Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 70 minutes
Servings
loafs
Ingredients
Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 70 minutes
Servings
loafs
Ingredients
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.

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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

Print Recipe
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
Servings
slices
Ingredients
Course Dessert
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Servings
slices
Ingredients
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.
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Screech Pecan Tart

tart, pecan, nuts, screech, rum, pastry, crust, newfoundland

This is the week that most of us will be courting our sweetheart with flowers, chocolate, or a lavish dinner.  If you haven’t remembered that holiday here’s a quick easy tart to help you get back in the good books.  This tart contains a little bit of Newfoundland dark rum for flavour.

Newfoundlanders have been drinking rum as long as they have been trading with the British.  They traded with Jamaica and other islands for sugar, molasses, and rum.  I did a post about the history of molasses and the sugar trade, and you can read about it here.

Long before any Canadian liquor board was created, the Jamaican rum that was eventually to be known as Screech was a mainstay of the traditional Newfoundland diet.  At this time, salt fish was being shipped to the West Indies in exchange for rum. This resulted in fish becoming the national dish for Jamaicans and rum becoming the traditional drink for Newfoundlanders.

Not being overly concerned with alcohol content, the early fishermen tended to drink the rum at incredibly high strength with no attempt made to temper the taste.  When the government took control of the alcohol trade in the early 20th century they put the rum in a sophisticated, unlabeled bottle and fortunately did not alter the rum itself.

This delightful product may have continued indefinitely as a nameless rum except for the influx of American servicemen to Newfoundland during World War II. As the story goes, a visiting American WWII serviceman downed the rum in one quick toss. His howls of distress caused a bystander to rush to his aid, roaring “What the cripes was that ungodly screech?” The taciturn Newf simply replied, “The screech?” ‘Tis the rum, me son.” As word of the incident spread more soldiers began trying this mysterious rum, adopting it as their favorite. Thus a legend was born.

This dessert contains a little bit of the drink, but not enough to make you howl in distress.  It’s quick to make, and looks grand on the plate; like you spent hours.

You’ll first need a pre-made frozen pie pastry from the store.  Get the kind which is rolled into a tube, instead of the one that comes with a foil pan.  You won’t need the pan and the rolled pastry is easier to manipulate.  Place the thawed pastry into a 9″ tart pan.  Get the pan which has a removable bottom.  It will make removing the tart so much easier after it’s baked.  Press the pastry to the sides of the greased pan and trim off any excess over the edge of the pan.  Place the pan on a lined cookie sheet and set that aside.

Preheat your oven to 350F.  In a large bowl whip your eggs, brown sugar, and melted butter.  The sugar shouldn’t have any lumps.  If they do, crush them down with your whisk.  Add the clear syrup and rum.  Whisk until combined.   Pour the mixture into the tart pan.  Place the pecan halves into the slurry in any design you like.  You can leave a little space between the nuts so you can see the batter in between. Carefully carry your tart pan to the oven and bake for 45-60 minutes.  Check the tart after 45 minutes to see if the pecans are getting too brown.  If so, cover with foil and continue baking.

Remove tart from the oven.  The filling should be a bit wobbly but it will set once it cools.  While still warm sprinkle the tart with a couple more tablespoons of Screech.  Let cool on a wire rack before removing it from the pan.  Serve with a nice whipped cream or your favourite ice cream.

pecan tart with screech dark rum

Print Recipe
Pecan Tart with Screech Dark Rum
This pecan tart fortified with Newfoundland Screech Dark Rum will get you hot under the collar in more ways than one!
Course Dessert
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45-60 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Dessert
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45-60 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Take pastry out of the freezer to thaw about 30 minutes before you make the dessert. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Press the thawed pastry into a greased 9" tart pan. This pan should have removable bottom. Press the pastry up the sides of the pan evenly and remove any excess. Place the tart pan on a lined cookie sheet. This will make transferring it to the oven easier and catch any spills.
  3. In a large bowl whip the eggs, brown sugar, and melted butter. Add the corn syrup and rum. Transfer the mixture to the tart pan. Add the pecans in a nice pattern in the filling. Place in the middle rack in the oven and bake for 45-60 minutes. Check after 45 minutes and cover the tart with foil if the pecans are too dark.
  4. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with 2 tbsp. of rum and then let cool. Carefully remove the tart from the pan and serve with whipped cream or ice cream.
Recipe Notes

You may use any dark or spiced rum if you don't have Screech.  I was not endorsed or compensated by the makers of Screech for this post.

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Steamed Carrot Raisin Pudding

dessert, carrot, raisin, pudding, sauce,
Carrot Raisin Pudding with Brown Sugar Sauce

Steamed puddings have been around for centuries.  Early puddings used to be cooked in animal intestines — as haggis still is. This wasn’t overly convenient. The intestines were only available when an animal was slaughtered, and required a good deal of work to clean them before they could be used.

Cloths for boiling puddings weren’t thought up until the early 1600s. Pudding cloths were lined with suet and flour, the mixture was poured into this, the cloth was tied up and then boiled under water for hours. When it was boiled in a cloth, it came out sphere shaped. With the advent of the cloth technique, Steamed Pudding making in England started to take off.  In Newfoundland, a steamed pudding, such as Figgy Duff, usually comes as part of Jiggs dinner.  Jiggs dinner is a boiled dinner done on Sundays with salt beef, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, and turnips.  All are boiled together in a large pot, as well as the dessert in a pudding bag.

Steamed dessert puddings that rose (such as Christmas or Plum pudding, or Sponge puddings), would not have been possible before the invention of baking powder (in America, in the mid-nineteenth century.)

While it may seem like a lot of work, steamed puddings are relatively easy to prepare and cook.  You just need something to cook the pudding in, usually a large pot and something to hold the pudding.  You can use a pudding bag, an old (clean) coffee tin, or a pudding mould.  Pudding bags and molds can be found at home and decor stores, or you could click on the ad at the bottom of my post.  (Subtle as a lead pipe, I am.)

This steamed carrot pudding is a great way to hide a little more veg into your meals.  It’s a sweet pudding, and should be served with a sauce.  The easiest way is just to buy the caramel, chocolate, or custard sauces available at the supermarket.  I will tell you how to make a homemade sauce, so stay tuned for that.

For your pudding, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and allspice in a large bowl.  Add the raisins and currants and toss them with the flour mixture.  Make sure they are coated with flour.  It will evenly distribute the fruit throughout the dessert.

In another bowl with your hand mixer on medium, cream the butter and brown sugar until smooth.  Add the beaten egg to the creamed sugar.  With your mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture until the batter becomes too stiff to mix.  Fold in the remaining flour/fruit.

Stir in the grated carrot, potato, and bread crumbs.  The batter will be thick.  Stecarrot, dessert, raisin, pudding, sauceamed puddings typically don’t have much flour because you don’t want the dessert to be too gummy.  Place the batter into a greased pudding mould.  If you do not have a mould, then use steam-proof container and cover with aluminum foil.  Secure the foil with an elastic so no water can get in or out.  Place the mould into a large pot and pour water so it reaches at least half way up the sides.  Bring the water to a boil and turn down the heat to simmer.  Steam the pudding for 2 1/2 hours, then uncover and place in a preheated 350F oven for 10 minutes.  This will just firm up the crust.

Serve with your favorite sauce.


Print Recipe
Steamed Carrot Raisin Pudding
Small steamed puddings make a great hostess gift.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 3/4 hours
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Flour mixture
Cream mixture
Course Dessert
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 3/4 hours
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Flour mixture
Cream mixture
Instructions
  1. For the flour mixture combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and allspice in a large bowl. Add the raisins and currants. Toss to coat. Set aside.
  2. Cream together butter and brown sugar with you mixer on medium speed. Add the beaten egg. Stir in the grated carrot, grated potato, and bread crumbs.
  3. Slowly add flour mixture to the creamed mixture. Mixing by hand if the batter becomes too thick for the electric mixer.
  4. Pour the batter into a greased pudding mould and lightly press the batter down to make a flat layer. Cover and place in a large pot. Fill the pot with water so the water comes at least halfway up the sides of the mould. The mould should not touch the bottom of the pan, so you may have to use a small can or trivet. Bring the water to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer. Steam for 2 1/2 hours.
  5. Keep an eye on the water level, just in case the water level gets too low. Just add a little more hot water if necessary. Once steamed remove the lid and place in a preheated 350F oven for 10 minutes.
  6. Serve with your favourite sauce.
Recipe Notes

If you prefer individual puddings, divide the pudding batter among greased custard cups or ramekins, filling about 3/4 full.  Cover with aluminum foil and steam for about an hour.  Serve warm with sauce.

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Partridge Berry Mini Muffins

partridgeberry, mini, muffin, dessert, sweet, berry

If you visit Newfoundland during the summer and early fall you may see people parked by the side of the highway.  They will be sitting there in metal lawn chairs with plastic ice cream buckets at their feet.  Those buckets are probably filled with freshly picked berries.  When we were kids, my brother and I would pick wild blueberries for our nan’s pies.  We would take a plastic margarine tub and was told “Don’t come back until it’s full!”  She still insists we have some pie when we visit.

Newfoundland is unique in that the soil is fairly acidic, making it perfect conditions for acid loving fruit.  The most common fruit one can find is blueberries, raspberries, dogberries, partridgeberries, and bakeapples.  You may not have heard of the last two.  Bakeapples, also known as cloudberries, look like a pale orange raspberry and grows in boggy areas.  Partridgeberries, also known as lingonberries or cowberry, are hearty and the plant can survive temperatures as low as -40C.

partridgeberry, berry, newfoundland,, plant
By Dawn Endico from Menlo Park, Ca.

The fruit is quite tart and can have a slightly bitter aftertaste.  Both berries are perfect as a jam or in a sweet dessert.

That’s why I like these mini muffins.  They are the perfect size for a quick snack.  The partridgeberry jam in the center gives you that little tartness, coupled with the sweetness of the muffin.

If you want to make them as a regular muffin, then you’ll have to bake them a little longer, and of course, add a little more jam.

Check out the recipe below and tell my your thoughts.  If you don’t have partridgeberry jam you can use your favourite flavour of jam you have on hand.  If you’re close to a certain Scandinavian furniture store, they carry lingonberry jam.  It’s the same thing but with a different name.



Print Recipe
Partridge Berry Mini Muffins
These mini muffins are a great quick snack when you want something a little tart.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 375F. Spray a mini muffin pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt with a wire whisk. In a medium bowl, beat the milk, melted butter, egg and vanilla extract with a fork until well blended. Add the milk mixture to the the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
  3. Using a #30 scoop (1 oz) scoop a level amount of the batter into each mini muffin pan cup. Take a disposable plastic bag and add the jam. Cut a small piece off one corner and squeeze a little bit of jam into the middle of the muffin batter. You'll only need about 1/2 teaspoon per muffin, if not less. Bake for 20 minutes and check with a toothpick for doneness.
  4. Allow the muffins to cool in the pans completely. Remove from the pan and sprinkle with icing sugar. Serve immediately. If you want to serve them later, then hold off on the icing sugar as it will get absorbed by the muffin and disappear.
    partridgeberry, mini, muffins, dessert, sweet
Recipe Notes

You may substitute your favourite jam if you can't find partridgeberry.

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Cinnamon Bun Rice Krispie Bites

cinnamon bun rice Krispie bitesIt took me a little while to think about what I wanted to write for this post.  Usually I try to connect it with Newfoundland or some childhood memory I have growing up there.  But I got to thinking that this is my blog and I can just post a recipe of something I like to make.  I’m a Newfoundlander, so that’s the most connection you’re gonna get.  If you want something with a stronger history, try my recipe for Twelfth buns or apple pandowdy.  They’ll give you a bit more history of the province as well as something yummy to eat.

One thing businesses are well at doing is marketing.  When you’re walking through the mall and suddenly you’re bombarded with that lovely scent of baking mixed with cinnamon.  You know that there’s a cinnamon bun kiosk somewhere nearby and that heavenly smell is coming from there.  You wander over and see the rows of fluffy cinnamon buns smeared with the rich, smooth cream cheese icing.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I know that I can’t stop at one bite.  Next thing I know there’s an empty plate where that massive cinnamon bun once was.

This rice Krispie recipe will have the same flavours as those wonderful cinnamon buns you can find in the mall, but with a lot less guilt.  The rice Krispie base is spiced with cinnamon and there’s a little more marshmallow than a normal rice Krispie treat to give it that extra soft bite.  On the top of course is the cream cheese icing, except this time it’s in a nice, manageable swirl sprinkled with cinnamon.  The perfect bite.cinnamon bun rice Krispie bites

So you’re going to make the rice Krispie bottom layer like you would with the regular batch of rice Krispie treats.  Melt the butter in a large saucepan under medium/low heat.  Once the butter is melted add the marshmallows and stir occasionally until you see no more bits of marshmallow left.  It should be a smooth consistency.  Remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract, cinnamon, and rice Krispie cereal.  Working quickly transfer the mixture to a 10X15 parchment lined cookie sheet.   Spread the mixture evenly to the edge of the pan.  You can use a spatula or your hands.  I like to use my hands by just quickly running warm water on them and quickly pressing the mixture down.  You may have to do this a couple of times if your hands become too sticky.  Once you have an even layer set the pan aside for the mixture to set.  About 30 minutes.

cream cheese icing
The batter should be smooth.

While that is setting, make the cream cheese icing.  Both the butter and cream cheese should be at room temperature before mixing.  With your paddle attachment on your stand mixer, or using your hand mixer, mix the butter and cream cheese on medium until smooth. You shouldn’t see any lumps in your batter as this will clog the piping tip later.  Turn the speed down to low and slowly add the icing sugar a cup at a time until you have a smooth consistency. Do not be tempted to add the icing sugar all at once, unless you want your kitchen to look like the set of a winter wonderland.  Add the vanilla extract and milk and turn the speed back up to medium.  Mix well until light and fluffy.  If the batter seems too thick add a bit more milk, but only a teaspoon at a time.  Conversely add more icing sugar if it’s too runny.

Back to the rice Krispies.  With a two-inch round cutter, cut out individual circles.  With my batch I got about 48 circles.  You can place the cutter pretty close to each circle as there isn’t any spreading, and you’ll be covering them with the icing anyways.

cinnamon bun rice Krispies
I spread these out, but you can see how close I came when cutting.

Remove the rice Krispie parts from in-between the circles with a knife or small spatula.  They can be used and reshaped for another project if you like, but I just had them as a snack.

Now that you have the little circles ready, grab your icing.  Place a Wilton #6 tip in your piping bag and fill with the icing.  You can also just use a disposable plastic bag with the corner cut off, but your piping may not be as smooth.  Starting at the center, make a spiral going out the edge.  Repeat with the remaining rice Krispie circles.  Sprinkle with cinnamon.

As I said before, I got about 48 treats with my batch.  You could use a larger circle which would give you less, of course.  If not serving right away, keep refrigerated for a maximum of three days.  Let them come to room temperature before serving.  Enjoy these cute little cinnamon bun treats.cinnamon bun rice Krispie bites


Print Recipe
Cinnamon Bun Rice Krispie Bites
A perfect size to satisfy your cinnamon bun cravings.
cinnamon bun rice Krispie bites
Course Dessert
Prep Time 30 minutes
Passive Time 30 minutes
Servings
bites
Ingredients
Rice Krispie base
Cream Cheese icing
Course Dessert
Prep Time 30 minutes
Passive Time 30 minutes
Servings
bites
Ingredients
Rice Krispie base
Cream Cheese icing
cinnamon bun rice Krispie bites
Instructions
Rice Krispie base
  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan under medium/low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until melted completely.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Quickly add the cereal and cinnamon. Transfer to a parchment lined 10X15 cookie sheet. Press down to evenly spread the mixture to all sides of the pan. You may use a spatula or your hands. Your hands should be slightly damp to prevent the batter from sticking.
  3. Set it aside to cool and set. Minimum 30 minutes.
Cream Cheese Icing
  1. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment under medium speed whip the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla extract and turn the speed to low.
  2. Slowly add the icing sugar a cup at a time until it's all incorporated. Mix on low until incorporated. Add the milk to smooth out the icing.
Building the bites
  1. After the rice Krispies have set, use a two inch round cutter to cut out circles. Remove the excess for later, or to snack on.
  2. Place a Wilton #6 tip in your piping bag and fill with icing. Carefully pipe spirals on the top of each rice Krispie treat. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon.
Recipe Notes

Kelloggs has not endorsed or compensated me in any way for this post.  All opinions are my own.  All images are property of Gutfounded.  If used please acknowledge the source.

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Twelfth Buns

And so it ends, Christmastide.  The twelfth night, or Epiphany, has passed and we’re going back to our daily lives.  The kids are back in school, and most of us are back to work.  I just wanted to get one last Christmas post in before the season is over.   Here’s a clip from This Hour has 22 Minutes about mummering:

As I said before Old Christmas day was a big thing in Newfoundland, more so for my parents and grandparents than now, but there are still traditions of mummering and celebrating throughout the province.  Depending on what part of the province you were from sometimes it was called mummering and sometimes called Janneying. The term “mummer” was derived from the fact that those who were mumming remained silent (mum) to prevent those for whom they performed from guessing their identities. The origin of the word “janneying” is uncertain, but some believe it was derived from “jannies,” referring to young boys who disguised themselves to perform mischief during the Christmas season. It’s also thought as another form of Johnnies, a common name for young boys.

I was reading an account about Old Christmas day and there was a mention of Twelfth buns.  This is taken from the Dictionary of Newfoundland English: “Those twelve nights [of Christmas] we’d be at it, and the last night we[‘d] make a pan of sweet buns, twelfth buns, and give ’em to the people. Every house we’d go to we’d give ’em a bun for Twelfth Night.”

I was talking with my father the other night and he remembers going Janneying when he was a boy. Like mummering, the group would go in the house, play a bit, stay for some cake and then move on.  Here’s a great recount of those times taken from the Southwest Arm Historical Society: “Where we lived in St. Jones, Christmas was good because we’d be Jannying for the twelve days of Christmas. We’d go to people’s door and knock. When they come out you’d say, “Any Jannies ‘lowed in?” They’d say come on in now. They’d try to guess who we were. Then they’d give you a piece of cake and a drop of syrup. Sometimes the people would want you to dance.

On Old Christmas night, we’d go around to the different houses. Around 11:00 pm a number of young people would get together and make an old twelve cake. Everyone would bring something to put in the cake like figs, fat pork, berries and whatever you could get. When it was baked, we’d all share. Somebody would bring partridge berries and we’d steep it in the kettle and remove the berries and drink the juice. This was how we made berry ocky.”

So I got to searching about buns, and cakes.  Unlike now sweet bread was considered a treat.  Sugar and raisins were not something you would throw into bread; too expensive.  Bread usually was the plain white loaf, made into the three bun loaves, used for everyday meals.  Sweet breads were for special occasions like the holidays.  Breads such as raisin loaf were only made a few times a year.

A sweet bread is an enhanced dough, usually with eggs and sugar.  Then you can augment the dough by added ingredients like fruit or nuts.  My grandmother’s cinnamon raisin bread is always a big hit when we go visit.  I like it toasted with a slathering of butter. This recipe I have is done in the bread mixer, so I can mix it and walk away and do other things while the bread is proofing (like write blog posts).

This recipe makes a two pound loaf and will be separated into twelve buns.  In the bread maker place the following ingredients in this order:

  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup skim milk powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter (room temp)
  • 3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp bread machine yeast
  • 1 cup raisins

Put machine on dough cycle and mix.  I like to have my water a little warm, just to give the yeast a bit of a head start.  The trick is that if you can leave your finger in the water for five seconds comfortably then it’s warm enough.  Longer than that the water is too cool.

Once the cycle is complete remove dough and shape into twelve buns.  I noticed the buns were about 80 grams each.  I measure them because I like to have all the buns about the same size, but you can eyeball it too. Place the buns in a greased 9X13 pan and leave to rise again in a warm place.  About 30-40 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350F and once risen again, bake for 25 minutes.  Let cool on the rack for 20 minutes.  Enjoy with a nice warm cup of tea or coffee, and a little bit of butter.

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Cinnamon Raisin Buns
This raisin bun is perfect for a sweet treat in the afternoon.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Passive Time 2 hours
Servings
buns
Ingredients
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Passive Time 2 hours
Servings
buns
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Measure all ingredients into baking pan in the order given. Insert pan into the oven chamber. Select "Dough" cycle.
  2. When dough is done in bread machine, remove from pan and shape into twelve equal sized balls. Place into a greased 9X13 pan. Let rise in a warm space for 30-40 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350F. Place pan in oven and bake for 25 minutes, until the tops of the buns are a golden brown. Once done remove from oven and brush with melted butter (optional). Let cool for 20 minutes on rack.
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Amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies

A little while ago I found an article through Flipboard about baking your cookies in a muffin tin.  Here’s one such article from another baker: Chocolate Covered Katie.  Many times I’ve scooped cookies out onto the pan, have them all a nice uniform scoop, only to have them bake and spread.  The bane of many a baker.  While there are a few reasons for spreading (ie. batter not blended well, butter deposits, etc.) this muffin tin method will at least control the spreading.  So I decided to give it a try.

The result: amazing!  The cookies all came out a nice uniform shape and thickness.  They’re on the thicker side, but that gives the cookie a lovely chewy texture with crispy edges.  I used my tried and true chocolate chip recipe and was delighted to see the lovely browned cookie pop of out of the muffin tin.  Needless to say I tried a couple once they were cooled with a glass of cold milk.  Heaven.

One of the great things about cookies is that you don’t really need a special occasion to bake them.  I know that the holidays are done for most of us, but you have to try this method of baking cookies.  Just make one batch and invite some friends over for tea, or slip a couple in your kid’s lunch.   They also freeze well.  Once they’re baked and cooled, put them in one layer on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer.  Once frozen, place them in a plastic container or cookie tin between layers of waxed paper.  That way they won’t stick together.   Then you can grab a couple at a time, throw them in your lunch bag and have thawed cookies by lunch.  Once frozen they are good for up to three months, if they last that long.

Preheat your oven to 350F. In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  With your mixer cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs one at a time and then the vanilla extract.  Turn the mixer to low and slowly add the flour mixture.  Mix until you can’t see any more flour in the batter.  Fold in the chocolate chips.  I just dump them in and put the mixer on low for a couple of turns.  Just enough to evenly distribute the chips.

I sprayed my muffin tin with a non-stick spray only because I wanted to make sure that the cookies came out.  Using a two tbsp scoop, place an even scoop in each muffin tin.  Press down the batter with the floured bottom of a glass.  Don’t worry about the little excess flour.  That will get absorbed by the cookie.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned along the edges and the center is still soft.  My cookies baked for 15, so I suggest set the timer for 15 minutes, check them and add one or two minutes if necessary.  It’s super easy to go from just baked to over-baked.  Plus the cookies will continue to bake while they rest in the muffin tin as they cool.  Once removed from the oven allow the cookie to cool completely before you remove them from the muffin pan.  At least 20-30 minutes.  I know you will be tempted to take them out early (I was) because of the enticing smell of freshly baked cookies wafting through your house, but persevere.  The waiting will be worth it.  Once they are cooled pop them out with a butter knife or small spatula and put them on a cooling rack.

The result: perfectly round cookies that are thick and chocolaty with nice crisp edges and a soft, chewy center.

Print Recipe
Amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies
These deep chocolate chip cookies are the perfect snack.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 min
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 min
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix well.
  3. On medium speed cream the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add the egg, one at a time, until incorporated. Add vanilla extract.
  4. Turn speed of mixer to low and slowly add the flour mixture. Continue mixing until you can no longer see any flour in the batter. Fold in the chocolate chips until evenly distributed.
  5. Spray a muffin pan with non-stick spray. Using a 2 Tbsp. scoop (#30) place an even scoop into each muffin cup. Press down the batter with a lightly floured bottom of a glass. Bake for 15-20 minutes. The cookie should be slightly brown on the edges with a soft center.
  6. Allow the cookie to cool in the muffin tin: 20-30 minutes. Remove with butter knife or small metal spatula.
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