Apple Oat Loaf

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Apple Oat Loaf

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

Ingredients

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

Instructions

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

Recipe Notes

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

Zucchini Loaf

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

zucchini, garden, newfoundland, highway, dessert,

Zucchini Loaf

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

Ingredients

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

Instructions

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

Recipe Notes

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

 

Rum Spiced Banana Bread

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rum Spiced Banana Bread

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

Ingredients

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

Instructions

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

Partridgeberry Marshmallows

marshmallow, partridgeberry, newfoundland, dessert, sweet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Partridgeberry Marshmallows

Course Dessert
Servings 24 pieces

Ingredients

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

Instructions

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

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.

Partridgeberry Chewies

Chewy oatmeal cookies with the slightly tart taste of partridgeberry jam
Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes
Servings 2 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup All purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup partridgeberry jam

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.

Molasses Drop Cookies

cookies, dessert, molasses, ginger, cinnamon, cookie, soft, chewy, newfoundlandI remember these cookies fondly.  My mother made them often and I used to grab two or three of them with a tall glass of cold milk.  These molasses drop cookies are soft, chewy, and full of molasses flavour.  The cinnamon and ginger help round out the slight bitterness that molasses can bring.  I guarantee this will be one of your favourites.

These cookies also go by the name of Lassy cookies.  Lassy is obviously a shortened form of molasses and has worked its way into the Newfoundland vernacular.  There are lassy buns, lassy candy, and lassy bread.  There is another cookie called the lassy mog.  It starts off like the molassses drop cookie, but you add raisins and nuts to the batter.  Of course, molasses is great by itself on some bread or toutons, but it’s even better in the form of a cookie.

You start by creaming together the shortening and the brown sugar.  Once that is creamed add the egg.  Whip this batter for two minutes.  Don’t cheat and make sure you whip the batter for the proper amount of time.  This incorporates air into the batter and will make your cookie light and fluffy.   Take the time to preheat your oven to 350F.

While that is being mixed combine the sour milk and molasses.  Milk can be soured by add a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to fresh milk and let it sit for five minutes or so.  When you mix the molasses into the milk you will see curdled pieces of milk floating about.  This is perfectly fine.  The soured milk help balance out the flavours of the cookie.

In another large bowl combine your flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.  Use a wire whisk to evenly mix the dry ingredients.

Now, with your mixer on low add about 1/3 of the flour mixture to the creamed mixture.  Then add about 1/2 of the milk/molasses to the batter.  Add the next third of flour, then the rest of the wet ingredients.  Finally add the last of the flour mixture.  You always want to end mixing with the dry ingredients.   This way you can judge if the batter is too loose or stiff.  Also you won’t run the risk of over mixing your batter.  Mix until clear.  That is, until you don’t see any white of the flour in the batter.

Line your cookie sheet with parchment or Silpat.  You can just use cooking spray on your cookie sheet, but if you read this blog regularly you’ll realize I like using a Silpat.  It makes cleaning so much easier and the cookies don’t stick at all.  Invest in some Silpat liners.  You’ll thank me later.

cookies, dessert, molasses, ginger, cinnamon, cookie, soft, chewy, newfoundland

Scoop the batter with a #30 scoop onto the liners, leaving space for the cookies to spread slightly.  Bake for 12-15 minutes in the middle of the oven.  Because you can only do one pan at a time, I scooped my cookies and left them in a cool place so they wouldn’t deflate while the others were baking.  The coolest place was my garage, so I set the pans out there.  The cookies will look slightly underdone when you take them out, but rest asured, they will continue to bake when they cool on the pans.

Let them cool on the pans for a few minutes before you place them on a cooling rack to cool completely.

cookies, dessert, molasses, ginger, cinnamon, cookie, soft, chewy, newfoundland
Molasses Drop cookies

Molasses Drop Cookies

Amazing chewy Molasses Drop cookies.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 3 dozen

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar lightly packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup fancy molasses
  • 3/4 cup milk soured
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cloves

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Cream together the shortening and brown sugar. Add one large egg. Beat for two minutes on medium speed. Mixture should be light and fluffy.
  2. In a small bowl combine soured milk and molasses. To sour milk add one tbsp of lemon juice or vinegar to fresh milk. Set aside for a few minutes.
  3. Combine the flour, baking soda and powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves in a large bowl. Stir with wire whisk to distribute ingredients evenly throughout.
  4. Add 1/3 of the dry mix to the creamed mixture while the mixer is on low. Add 1/2 of the milk/molasses mix. Add the next third of dry ingredients, then the rest of the wet. Finally add the last of the dry and mix until clear. No white flour should be showing in the batter.
  5. Drop with #30 scoop onto lined cookie sheets. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Let cool on pan for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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

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 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 frozen pastry shell big enough for a 9" pie
  • 2 eggs large
  • 2/3 cups brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp butter melted
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup This is the clear kind
  • 1 tsp Screech Dark rum plus extra for sprinkling after
  • 1/3 pound pecan halves you may need more if they are broken

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.

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.

Steamed Carrot Raisin Pudding

Small steamed puddings make a great hostess gift.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

Flour mixture

  • 3/4 cup All purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup currants

Cream mixture

  • 1/3 cup butter unsalted
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar light
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 3/4 cup carrot, grated
  • 3/4 cup potato, grated peeled
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs about one slice

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.

Scrunchies

scrunchie, cookies, coconut, chocolate, chocolate chip, peanut, chewy, oatsNo, this isn’t a post about the elasticty donut a lot of women sported in their hair in the eighties.  It’s about a drop cookie and this drop cookie is chock-a-block full of different ingredients from all over my pantry.  There’s creamy coconut, chocolate chips, and crunchy peanuts.  It almost sounds like I’m writing an ad for a chocolate bar, but this is a cookie.

Ever have one of those days where you look in the pantry and don’t really know what to make?  Sometimes it happens to me too often.  I’m missing a key ingredient and I really don’t want to make a trip to the store for one thing, because it won’t be just one thing I’ll pick up.  So I started searching through my recipes.  And because it’s February already (where did the time go?) this cookie has a touch of maple syrup for flavour.  It’s basically a dump cookie.  You take a whole bunch of different ingredients and blend them all into one cookie.  We’re famous for taking ingredients from the people who visited us from different parts of the world.  Check out my post about molasses to see just that.cookies, scrunchies, peanut, coconut, oats, chocolate, chocolate chip

Also, if you’re wary about having a cookie with peanuts because of allergies, please feel free to leave them out.  Just replace the amount with more chocolate chips, or tree nuts if you’re not allergic to them.  I would suggest something on the crunchy side though.  It’s a great added texture.

Mix the following together in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or with a hand mixer: oil, brown sugar, egg, milk, and maple syrup.  Either will work fine for this recipe as the batter doesn’t get too stiff.  Now add the oats, coconut, chocolate chips and peanuts.  Then sit back and chill.

Really.  The mixture needs to chill in the fridge for at least ten minutes.  This way the oats will slightly absorb some of the oil and the cookies won’t spread as much.  That’s my tip for the day.  If you don’t want your cookies to spread, chill the batter first.  Of course, you can also put the batter in muffin tins, like I did for my chocolate chip cookies, but it isn’t necessary.

Preheat your oven to 375F.  While the mixture is chilling, you can mix the dry ingredients.  Mix in a bowl the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Take the chilled batter out and slowly add the flour mixture until you can’t see any more flour in the batter.  Using a #30 scoop transfer the batter to a parchment or Silpat lined cookie sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes.  I did mine for 9, but you know your oven best.  When you take the cookie out of the oven it won’t look completely cooked.  This is okay.  It will still continue to cook while it sits on the pan to cool.  Let to cookies cool on the pan for at least ten minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Scrunchies

This wonderful cookies is packed with great ingredients from your pantry.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup light brown sugar lightly packed
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp milk any fat content will do (whole, 2%, 1%, skim)
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 3/4 cups All purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts salted

Instructions

  1. In stand mixer with paddle attachment or hand mixer on low speed, combine the vegetable oil, brown sugar, egg, milk, and maple syrup. Add the coconut, oats, chocolate chips, and peanuts. Mix until blended. Chill in the refrigerator for at least ten minutes.
    scrunchie, cookies, coconut, chocolate, chocolate chip, peanut, chewy, oats
  2. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir with wire whisk to combine. Remove chilled mixture from fridge and add the dry ingredients on low speed until you can't see any flour in the batter.
  3. Preheat your oven to 375F.
  4. With a #30 scoop, place even scoop on a parchment or Silpat lined cookie sheet, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the edges are slightly brown. Let the cookies cool on the pan for at least 10 minutes.
    scrunchie, cookies, coconut, chocolate, chocolate chip, peanut, chewy, oats
  5. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!
    scrunchie, cookies, coconut, chocolate, chocolate chip, peanut, chewy, oats

Recipe Notes

You may substitute another nut if you have a peanut allergy.  This will obviously alter the flavour of the cookies.  Or increase the chocolate chips to one cup and omit the nuts completely.

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.


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
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 3 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups All purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk any fat will do (whole, 2%, 1%, or skim)
  • 1/2 cup butter melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup partridgeberry jam also known as lingonberry

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.