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.

Cinnamon Raisin Buns

This raisin bun is perfect for a sweet treat in the afternoon.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Servings 12 buns

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups warm warm
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup skim milk powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar packed
  • 2 tbsp butter room temperature
  • 3 3/4 cups All purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast
  • 1 cup raisins

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.

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.

Amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies

These deep chocolate chip cookies are the perfect snack.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 3 dozen

Ingredients

  • 3 cups All purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs large
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

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.

Santa’s Shortbread

20161209_130916 One of my favourite cookies for the holidays is shortbread.  Its rich buttery taste just gets me in the mood for sitting in front of a warm cozy fire with a mug of hot chocolate and these great cookies.  This is also the perfect cookie to set out for the jolly old elf himself for his yearly visit.

It has been said that shortbread originated in Scotland.  Leftover bits of dough would be made in little disks and baked on the side of the fire.  Biscuits were literally twice baked and that’s where the word came from: ‘bis’ – twice/two and ‘coctus’ – cooked in latin became bescuit in Old French and eventually biscuit in English.  Butter gradually replaced yeast as dairy farming became more popular in Scotland.  You may wonder why it’s called shortbread as it doesn’t really resemble any type of bread we know now.

Butter, the defining ingredient in the recipe, is often listed as “shortening,” hence the cookie’s name: “short (ening) bread.” In fact, butter is so integral to the cookie that in 1921 the British government legislated that any product called shortbread must contain at least 51% fat derived from real butter. Thank you Britain for keeping the rich cookie tradition alive.

The high butter content produces a crumbly texture. Fat inhibits gluten, a protein in wheat, which allows dough to rise. Gluten gives dough a chewy texture. Higher fat content slows down gluten. Its protein strands are then shorter, rather than longer, producing a more crumbly texture rather than a chewy one.  This particular shortbread is whipped instead of made into a dough and pressed into a mold or cut into cookie shapes.  Because it’s whipped the cookie can be piped with a piping bag.

Preheat your oven to 350F.  You’ll start by whipping in a standing mixer with the paddle attachment.  I recommend using a standing mixer instead of the handheld kind, just because it has more power.  This is a stiff batter and the smaller mixer might not be able to handle it.  So, whip the butter and shortening until fluffy.  On low speed add the flour, cornstarch, icing sugar, and extracts and whip on medium/high until light and fluffy.   The batter should be stiff, but soft enough to pipe.

Place batter in a piping bag with a large star tip.  I have a massive wax piping bag and I used a Wilton #4 star.  Note, fill with bag about 20161209_104650half way with the batter.  Your hands will thank you later.  If the bag is too full then it will be really hard to pipe the cookies.

Pipe rosettes with the piping bag by making two circles on top of each other with the batter and end in the middle of the cookie.  The batter should be about an inch or so high.  It will flatten with baking. Leave about two inches between each cookie and try to do alternate spacing with the rows by piping the next row of cookies slightly lower than the previous row.  This way the cookies will have room to spread and you can fit a little more on each tray.  I use Silpat liners for my cookie trays but you can also use parchment.

Place a piece of glace cherry in the middle of each cookie (or use holiday sprinkles) and bake for 10-12 minutes.  The cookies will flatten out and be slightly darker, but not much.  If there’s browning around the edges then they may be over-baked, resulting in a tough cookie.  Let the shortbread cool on the pan for about five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.  Enjoy with a cool glass of

Cooling cookies.
Cooling cookies.

milk or your favourite hot beverage.

Santa's Shortbread

These light whipped shortbreads are perfect for a visit from St. Nick.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes
Servings 4 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1 pound butter 454 grams
  • 1/2 pound vegetable shortening
  • 4 1/2 cups All purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 3/4 cups cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp butter extract
  • glace (candied) cherries red and green

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. In stand mixer whip butter and shortening until fluffy. Turn mixer to low and slowly add flour, icing sugar and cornstarch until incorporated. Add vanilla and butter extract. Turn mixer to medium/high and whip batter until light and fluffy.
  2. Using a piping bag with a star tip, place batter into the bag until the bag is about half full. Twist bag shut and pipe rosettes on a Silpat lined baking sheet. Top each rosette with a piece of glace cherry. You may use colourful sprinkles if you wish. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the colour has changed slightly and the cookie has flattened.
  3. Let cool on the pan about five minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes 4-5 dozen.

Recipe Notes

If you don't have Silpat liners, just use parchment.

Snowballs

Well, it’s the start of December and all the magazines, shows, and shops are filled with the sights of the season.  If you haven’t already, it’s time to start with your holiday baking.  I know that some of you have already started, possibly even started in the summer, but this quintessential Newfoundland Christmas treat is a must have for anyone.

One of the things you will always find in every Newfoundland cookbook for the holidays is a recipe for snowballs.  For as long as I remember these have been a requirement for holiday baking.  My mother would make dozens for the holidays and keep them in a metal tin on the freezer lined with waxed paper.   Every couple of days my brother and I would go to the freezer, grab one each, and sloppily rearrange the remaining so you couldn’t notice one had been takeSnowballsn.

The lovely little bites are a mixture of chocolate, oatmeal, and coconut.  The recipe I use is found in the Purity cookbook and is originally meant as a bar.  The snowballs are offered as an alternate way.  Personally, I’ve only known people to make them as balls, so feel free to try them out as a bar.

These are great slightly chilled, as they get a bit too soft when left to warm to room temperature.  Truthfully, there’s enough coconut and sugar in them, they don’t really freeze solid.  So, I’ve enjoyed them straight out of the freezer.  They’re called snowballs for a reason, right?

Melt butter and chocolate in a saucepan under medium/low heat.  You don’t want the chocolate to scorch, so if the butter starts to bubble it’s too hot.  Add the sugar and mix until dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and add the vanilla and beaten egg.  Also, if the chocolate is too hot the egg will cook too fast and you’ll have little bits of egg whites throughout your mix.  If you like, you can temper the egg and vanilla with a little chocolate mix in a separate bowl and then add it to the saucepan.  Then add your oatmeal, coconut, and optional nuts.  I personally don’t add the nuts because I like the chewiness of the oatmeal and coconut.  Also, it makes it a lot easier if you’re doing this for a potluck or Christmas party.  You don’t have to worry about anyone with a nut allergy if you leave them out.

Now, you’ll have to let this rest for a little while for the mixture to cool down and for the oatmeal to absorb a bit of the moisture.  I like to make a batch and let it sit in the fridge overnight.  If you do this, take it out about an hour before you need to make the balls.  Otherwise it’s too hard to scoop.

Now, with a small scoop, make a ball about the size of a golf ball and roll it in the shredded coconut.  Place on lined cookie sheet and put back in the fridge or freezer.  When the snowballs are solid, you can put them in a container.  Separate layers with waxed paper to prevent them from sticking together.

Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

Snowballs

These lovely bitesize coconut, oatmeal, and chocolate morsels will be a hit at any holiday get-together.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut plus extra for rolling
  • 1 cup quick oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts optional

Instructions

  1. Melt butter and chocolate in a saucepan under medium low heat until chocolate is completely melted. Add sugar and stir until dissolved.
  2. Remove pan from heat and add beaten egg and vanilla. Mix in coconut, quick oats, and optional nuts. Chill until firm a couple of hours or overnight. If overnight, let the mixture sit on counter to warm slightly to room temperature for about an hour.
  3. With a small scoop, make a golf ball size ball and roll in shredded coconut. Chill until firm on lined cookie sheet. Place in container with waxed paper between the layers.

Recipe Notes

If you want to make this a bit more adult, use cream de cacao or coconut shnapps instead of vanilla.  The small amount of alcohol will heighten the flavours a little.

Apple Caramel Oatmeal Bars

apple caramel barsJust last week was Guy Fawkes day.  It is an annual commemoration observed on November 5, primarily in Great Britain. Its history begins with the events of November 5, 1605, when Guy Fawkes, a member of the Gunpowder Plot, was arrested while guarding explosives the plotters had placed beneath the House of Lords. Celebrating the fact that King James I had survived the attempt on his life, people lit bonfires around London, and months later the introduction of the Observance of 5th November Act enforced an annual public day of thanksgiving for the plot’s failure.

Settlers who came over to Newfoundland brought this tradition of lighting bonfires and it has continued ever since.  The town of Grand Falls-Windsor hosts a bonfire night and it has become quite the celebration.  People donate their wood and paper and a large bonfire is created, safely away from people’s houses.  Bonfire night is another ‘old world’ tradition that Newfoundland keeps alive.

Some rural communities also have bonfires with no connection to Guy Fawkes.  There may be a connection to ancient pagan customs instead. In Great Britain fires would be lit for Samhain (pronounced Saw-win) to appease the Celtic gods and bring light back to the dying sun.  Samhain becomes our modern Halloween, so it’s easy for the bonfire tradition to blend together, being only five days apart.

Because I’ve been playing around with molasses and apples and made the apple pandowdy, I found another great recipe you can carry with you.  These apple caramel bars are perfect as a snack sitting by the bonfire or later in the year when your bonfire is indoors. (Note: I mean your fireplace.  Please, for the love of God, don’t make a bonfire in your house.  Are ya stunned?)  These bars are moist and chewy from the oatmeal and the molasses gives it that unique Newfoundland taste.

Preheat your oven to 350F.  Combine flour, oatmeal, brown sugar, and baking soda in a bowl.  Add melted butter and molasses.  Mix until combined.  Press about half of the mixture into a parchment lined 9X13 pan.  Make sure to have the parchment come up the sides.  It will be easier to remove later.  Press down to make even layer, extending completely to all sides.  Bake for eight minutes.  Remove from oven to let cool slightly.

Peel, core, and slice apples.  I used Granny Smiths because I like the tartness against the sweetness of the molasses and caramel.  If you want to change it up, just make sure it’s a good baking apple.  Place apples on top of baked oatmeal layer.

Remove lid from caramel sauce and microwave for 30 seconds to one minute.  This will make it easier to pour over apples.  Use a glove to remove sauce from microwave.  This is warmed sugar.  It can get very warm.  Pour evenly over the apples.  If needed spread the sauce so it covers most of the apple layer.  I used President’s Choice Dulce de Leche sauce, but any caramel sauce will do.  Sobey’s has a Whiskey Caramel sauce which would be lovely.

Add remaining 1/2 cup flour to the leftover half of oatmeal mixture and combine.  Sprinkle topping on the caramel, remembering to cover all the dessert.  Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Let cool on rack completely before removing from pan.  If you like you can cool in the fridge and then cut.  If so, let it warm to room temperature before serving.  Enjoy as a bar, or cut larger pieces and serve with whipped cream.

Apple Caramel Oatmeal Bars

These bars are a great treat after a cold day. Sit by the fire and have a bite.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 32 bars

Ingredients

  • 2 cups All purpose flour
  • 2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup butter melted
  • 1/2 cup fancy molasses
  • 3 cups apples sliced thinly
  • 1 jar caramel sauce
  • 1/2 cup All purpose flour

Instructions

  1. Combine flour, oatmeal, brown sugar, and baking soda in large bowl or mixer.
  2. Melt butter in a microwave safe bowl. Add molasses to butter to combine. Add oatmeal/flour mixture and mix until no flour is showing.
  3. Press about half of the mixture into a prepare 9x13 pan lined with parchment. Make sure there's an even layer going all the way to the sides of the pan. Bake for eight minutes in a 350F oven. Remove and let cool slightly.
  4. Peel, core, and slice 3 cups of apples. Place sliced apples on cooled, baked oatmeal layer. Spread evenly.
  5. Microwave jarred caramel sauce until it's soft enough to pour: about 30 seconds to one minute. You want the sauce to still be thick, so soft enough to pour and spread. Pour evenly over apples.
  6. Add 1/2 cup flour to remained oatmeal mixture. Mix until flour is incorporated. Crumble mixture on top of caramel/apples layer. Make sure to coat evenly and cover the top completely. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool completely before cutting into bars. Makes 32.

Where’s my Mummy?

mummy-cupcakes-3It’s the week before Halloween and I thought it would be fun to get a little Halloween dessert post in.  Of course, you’re probably inundated with pumpkin spice flavoured everything.  September had barely begun and I was pumpkin spiced out.  Drinks, cookies, breads, Kisses®, goodness knows what else.  I’ve even made a few pumpkin flavoured things myself, but I haven’t perfected the recipes yet, so it will have to wait for another post.

Growing up Halloween was a little questionable.  You never knew until the day of if you would have to wear your costume over your snowsuit or not.  More times than not there would be snow on the ground when you went trick or treating.  Sometimes a considerable amount.  When I was in grade one the snow plows had already been down the street to clear away the snow from the roads the week before Halloween, so my brother and I had to crawl over snow drifts to get to some folks’ doorways.  Didn’t stop us though.  Nothing will stop a youngster from getting candy.

Anyone remember these?

My brother and I donned our plastic masks with the elastic strap.  The mask would be worn for about five minutes until your warm breath made it too uncomfortable to wear.  Or your eyelashes had frozen to the inside of the mask because of the condensation.  Then you would have to pull the mask up over your toque so you wouldn’t feel suffocated.  Then the elastic would snap off because it was only held on by two staples on the sides of the mask.  Don’t forget the plastic costume which had to be bought a size larger than you needed because it had to fit over your snowsuit.  The costume was either a super hero or what was currently popular on television.  In reality it was a plastic bag with arms and the character’s picture on the chest.  Only the really well to do kids had homemade costumes.

So, my brother and I went up and down the street where we lived, walked to the doors of our neighbours and shouted “Trick or treat!” behind clammy plastic masks.  Don’t get me wrong.  I wouldn’t have traded it for the world.  Free candy don’t ya know.

And occasionally you would get a homemade treat, usually a popcorn ball or goodie bag.  Nowadays those are automatically thrown out, but back then we all knew our neighbours and didn’t think any different.  With those memories I wanted to make something that you could give out to your trick-or-treaters this year maybe at a Halloween party or school.  These mummy cupcakes are easy and quick to make.  You don’t have to make the cake from scratch if you don’t want.  Just use a Devil’s food cake mix, but add a few more items.   It will provide a richer, denser cake and people will think it’s homemade.  I won’t tell if you won’t.

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine with the cake mix, your eggs, sour cream, melted butter and milk.  Mix until smooth.  Fill cupcakes liners 3/4 full.  Place batter in oven and drop the temperature to 325F.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Test for doneness with a toothpick.  Let cool 10 minutes and remove from pan.  Let the cupcakes cool completely before icing.  That way it won’t melt if you put the icing on too early.

In a clean mixing bowl combine the butter and shortening.  If you are using a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment.  On low speed, add the icing sugar carefully.  Keep adding the icing sugar until you get about 5 cups in.  Then add the vanilla and milk.  This should smooth out any lumps.  Turn the mixer to medium and continue to mix until the frosting is light and fluffy.  If it seems too thick, just add a little more milk.

Are you my mummy?
Are you my mummy?

Add a layer of icing to the tops of the cooled cupcakes.  I used a Wilton 102 petal piping tip for my “bandages,” but you just use a plastic bag with the corner cut off.  It will work just as well.  Make crisscrossing bandages over the top of the cupcake.  Occasionally turn the cupcake so all the bandages are not going in the same direction.  Add two candy eyes and you’re done!

Happy Halloween everyone!

Mummy cupcakes

Quick and easy mummy cupcakes for all your boils and ghouls.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 18 cupcakes

Ingredients

Cupcakes

  • 1 box Devil's Food Cake mix
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup milk

Buttercream icing

  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter room temperature
  • 5-6 cups icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tbsp milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl or stand mixer combine the following: cake mix, eggs, sour cream, melted butter, and milk. Mix until smooth.
  2. Place in lined cupcake pan and fill each liner 3/4 full. Don't be tempted to overfill. I've made that mistake too many times. Place in oven and drop temperature to 325F. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Test for doneness with toothpick. Let cool completely.
  3. In clean mixing bowl combine the butter and shortening. Mix well and add the icing sugar slowly, unless you want your kitchen looking like the background to a white Christmas. Add vanilla and milk. Turn mixer to medium and mix until frosting is light and fluffy. Add milk if frosting seems too thick.
  4. On cooled cupcake, put a layer of white frosting. Using a piping bag with a Wilton 102 petal tip, or the cut end of a plastic bag, pipe bandages across the top of the cupcake. Remember to alternate directions to give it a random look. Add two candy eyes.

Apple Pandowdy

One of the things I love about the fall is the crispness that’s in the air.  It’s cool enough that you’ll still need a jacket, but not so cold that you need to bundled up to the gills.  That will come later.

canopy
Can you find my dog?

I took advantage of the lovely weather and took the dog for a little walk.  Nearby there’s a series of trails one can take.  Each trail varies in length from just under one kilometer to over three kilometers.  So not to long that halfway through you’re wondering “Why did I start this stupid hike in the first place?” The forest trails are a great place to contemplate life, or just enjoy the beautiful hues of red, orange, and yellow.

Another great thing about fall is apples.  Yes, you can get apples all year ’round now, but fall there an abundance of great varieties that you usually don’t see for the rest of the year.  So, instead of just settling for the usual Gala, Red Delicious, or Granny Smith, there are great ones like Ambrosia, Honeycrisp, or Northern Spy.

As I was researching the previous post about molasses, I found a Apple Pandowdywonderful recipe called Apple Pandowdy.  It was printed in my copy of the all New Purity Cookbook.  This cookbook has been around Newfoundland kitchens for decades.  My grandmother has a well worn copy in her kitchen and I have mine.  I highly recommend it if you want a cookbook that will give the basics of cooking as well as a little bit of history.  Purity is a company in Newfoundland which makes a variety of desserts and snacks, and many other goodies.  Any Newfoundlander will tell you stories about growing up chewing on a piece of hard tack or jam-jams.

I’ve adapted the recipe from the one in the Purity Cookbook.  The great thing about this recipe is you can make it a day in advance and it won’t affect the taste in the slightest.  In fact it may be better.  The flavours would have had a chance to meld and blend and the sauce will be slightly less runny.

Molasses mixture
Sauce before mixing

First preheat your oven to 375F.   Then make the sauce.  Combine the molasses, flour, salt, and cinnamon in a saucepan.  Add one cup of water and heat on medium until the sauce thickens.  It should take five minutes or so.  Remove from the heat. Then add the butter one piece at a time and stir with a whisk until the butter is melted.  I cut my butter into four pieces so it would melt a little faster.  The add the vanilla and lemon juice.  The sauce should be thick, like a caramel.

Peeled apples
Peeled apples

Peel and slice 4 cups of apples.  I used four, but you may need more or less depending on the size of the apples.  Place in a greased 9 inch square baking dish.  Pour the sauce on the apples, trying to cover them completely.

Creamy sauce on apples
Creamy sauce on apples

Now to make the topping.  Add the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.  Cut in the butter.  This is the same thing as when I made the scones, but the butter pieces should be finer.  Add the milk and beaten egg and combine.  The batter should be thick.

Biscuit topping
Biscuit topping

Scoop on top of the apples and spread out to cover the top.  Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 35-45 minutes.

Let cool slightly before serving.  The crust can be “dowdied” or broken into smaller pieces and then served. Great with whipped cream or ice cream.

Look at that amazing creamy sauce.  The molasses gives it that unique taste of Newfoundland without making it too sweet.  The crust is fluffy and light and soaks up the sauce beautifully.  The perfect dessert after a crisp fall walk through the woods.

Enjoy this wonderful apple pandowdy!
Enjoy this wonderful apple pandowdy!

Apple Pandowdy

A rustic apple dessert with a lovely drop biscuit crust.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

Sauce

  • 1/2 cup fancy molasses
  • 1/4 cup All purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 4 cups apples peeled and sliced. Use baking apples for firmer texture.

Biscuit topping

  • 1 1/4 cups All purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup butter cold and cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk

Instructions

  1. Blend together in a saucepan the molasses, flour, salt, and cinnamon. Add the water and heat on medium until mixture has come to a boil and thickened slightly. Remove from heat and add the butter pieces one piece at a time until each one is melted. Add vanilla and lemon juice.
  2. Peel and slice 4 cups of apples. Slices can be about 1/4 inch thick. Arrange apple slices in a greased 9" square baking dish which is at least 2" deep.
  3. Pour sauce over apples, making sure to cover the apples as much as possible.
  4. Prepare biscuit dough. Combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Cut in butter pieces with a pastry cutter or two forks, until the butter is finely incorporated. Add the milk and beaten egg and mix to make a soft dough batter. Drop with a spoon over fruit mixture. Spread evenly but do not stir.
  5. Bake in a preheated 375F oven for 35-45 minutes until crust in golden brown. Cool slighty but serve warm. Makes 6 servings.

Cranberry Cinnamon Scones

If you are ever visiting friends or family on the island be ready to stay a while.  Newfoundlanders are the most welcoming and friendly folk.  More often than not you’ll hear these words or something close to it:

“D’jeet yet?”

“Any in ya?”

For the mainlander unaccustomed to the Newfoundland vernacular, let me explain.  The first is “Did you eat yet?” and the second is similar; asking if you had anything to eat lately.  It would be considered poor hospitality if someone who was visiting went away hungry.

While the conversation flows someone would put the kettle on to start water for tea, or, if you’re lucky, the tea would still be there from the morning’s brew.  Newfoundlanders like their tea strong.  It wouldn’t be unheard of to have a kettle on the stove with two or three bags thrown in and then another added every once in a while if the flavour goes down a bit.

When I was a kid I would have my tea in the morning for breakfast, fortified with two large teaspoons of sugar and enough milk added to make the tea a light caramel colour.  It almost more milk than tea, but it suited me fine.

The next would be “Giv’us a biscuit.”  And the platter of homemade biscuits would come out.  Tea biscuits would be the most common.  Sometimes they would made freehand or rolled out and cut out with a small glass dipped in flour.  It would be heaven to get one just out of the oven and covered in butter.  20161019_140914

For special occasions you would get a scone.  These are a bit more rich, being made with egg.  That’s the recipe I’ve made today.  Because the days are getting cooler, and I love the warmth of cinnamon, I’ve decided to make cranberry cinnamon scones.   These have a light taste of cinnamon combined with the sweet tangy cranberries.  You could use raisins if you like.

Preheat your oven to 450F and combine your flour, salt, baking powder,
sugar, 20161019_124555and cinnamon.  Cut in the butter.  You can use a pastry fork, two regular forks, or your hands.  I like to use my hands because I can feel the flour coating the butter pieces.  Plus I find it mixes more evenly this way.

BTW, this is a great starter recipe for children.  They love to get their hands into things and would love to feel the soft butter squish between their fingers.  I would recommend supervision, of course.20161019_125207

Add the cranberries and toss to coat.  In a small bowl combine the egg and milk and beat together.  Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and add the wet ingredients.  Using one hand, mix together.  I suggest one hand because this will be the time the phone will ring and then you’ll have a clean hand to answer it.  Mix until it forms a soft dough.  Turn out onto floured surface.  Hand form into a circle about 12″ in diameter.  Cut into 20161019_130824eighths.

Place onto greased cookie sheet or parchment or Silpat.  I like to have them separated a little so there’s enough room to grow and the sides get a crust.  You can place them together more if you like the sides softer.  Brush with milk and added crystalized sugar.  This is larger than granulated sugar and should be available at most grocery stores.  I got mine at Bulk Barn.

Bake for 10-12 minutes in a 450 oven until golden.  Let cool and serve with butter and jam.  Enjoy with your favourite tea.  Any in ya, yet?20161019_140855

Cranberry Cinnamon Scones

Cranberry Cinnamon Scones - perfect for a cool fall day.
Course Breakfast
Cuisine British, Canadian, English
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 8 pieces

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup All purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup butter cold, cut into small 1/4" pieces
  • 1/2 cup craisins Can use raisins instead
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450F Blend or sift together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon. Cut in finely the cold butter. Add craisins and toss gently to coat. 

  2. Combine egg and milk. Add to dry ingredients and combine together until a soft dough forms. 

  3. Turn onto a lightly floured surface a knead gently 6-8 times. Form into circle about 12" in diameter and 1/2" thick. Cut into eight wedges. 

  4. Place on greased baking sheet or Silpat. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes. Yield 8 scones.