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,

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Zucchini Loaf
These moist and not too sweet loaves will help you use up all that wonderful zucchini you have been blessed with.
zucchini, garden, newfoundland, highway, dessert,
Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50-60 minutes
Servings
loaf
Ingredients
Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50-60 minutes
Servings
loaf
Ingredients
zucchini, garden, newfoundland, highway, dessert,
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.

 

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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.


Print Recipe
Partridgeberry Marshmallows
Course Dessert
Servings
pieces
Ingredients
Course Dessert
Servings
pieces
Ingredients
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.
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Partridgeberry Chewies

cookie, newfoundland, partridgeberry, oatmeal, raisin, spices, dessertWhata yat?  It’s been a little while since I’ve posted, so I wanted to get you all up to speed.  I had a tooth removed so I wasn’t feeling the best for a couple of days.  The dentist told me that I had to eat soft foods.  You know, like oatmeal, soup, yogurt, and the like.  At least I know what it will feel like when I’m put in the home later.  Nothing could be too hot or cold, as it would cause me discomfort.

So I found this chewy oatmeal cookie.  The dentist said I could eat soft foods and this cookie is nice, soft, and chewy.  The partridgeberry jam gives it a bit of a tang, and the spices round out the flavour.

If you’re wondering what the heck are partridgeberries, they are a berry that’s common to the Atlantic provinces. They grow on bushes low to the ground and are very hearty.  The flavour is similar to a cranberry, but can be a little bitter on the finish.  You won’t notice the bitterness with this cookie though.

First preheat your oven to 350F.  Cream the shortening and the sugars with the paddle attachment on your stand mixer.  You want to get this mixture well blended and then add the egg and vanilla.  Whip for about two minutes so it’s nice and fluffy.  These cookies bake flat so you’ll want to get them nice and aerated.

While that is mixing combine the flour, baking soda and powder, salt, and spices.  Mix the dry ingredients together to distribute evenly.  Turn your mixer to low and slowly add the dry mix to the creamed batter.  Then add your oatmeal, jam, and raisins.  Spoon tablespoons onto a Silpat or parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.  They will spread a bit so leave a couple inches between each.cookie, newfoundland, partridgeberry, oatmeal, raisin, spices, dessert

The cookies will look a little moist when they come out of the oven, but they will continue to bake slightly when they are cooling.  Let them cool in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer them to a rack to cool completely.

Print Recipe
Partridgeberry Chewies
Chewy oatmeal cookies with the slightly tart taste of partridgeberry jam
Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Servings
dozen
Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Servings
dozen
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. In stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the shortening and both sugars. Cream well until blended. Add the egg and vanilla. Beat until fluffy, about two minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl mix your dry ingredients together: flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Blend so all is distributed evenly.
  4. Slowly add the dry to the creamed mixture with your mixer on low. Then add the oatmeal, raisins, and jam. Mix until blended. Do not overmix.
  5. Scoop about a tablespoon full (#30 scoop) on parchment or Silpat lined cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cookies will be slightly moist in center. Let cool for a couple of minutes on the pan and transfer to a rack.
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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


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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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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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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.


Print Recipe
Santa's Shortbread
These light whipped shortbreads are perfect for a visit from St. Nick.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
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.

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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!

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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
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
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.

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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!

Print Recipe
Mummy cupcakes
Quick and easy mummy cupcakes for all your boils and ghouls.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
cupcakes
Ingredients
Cupcakes
Buttercream icing
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
cupcakes
Ingredients
Cupcakes
Buttercream icing
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.
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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!

Print Recipe
Apple Pandowdy
A rustic apple dessert with a lovely drop biscuit crust.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35-45 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Sauce
Biscuit topping
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35-45 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Sauce
Biscuit topping
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.
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