Sunday, 29 December 2013

Cinnabon Ice Cream

One of my daughters loves Cinnabons.  I must admit I have a weakness for cinnamon buns myself, but she has the opportunity to stop for one once a week and she lovingly consumes every morsel.  A few weeks ago, I was passing that same location and I couldn't resist buying a couple. My daughter wasn't feeling well and couldn't eat hers, so I put it in the freezer.  (I just chopped it frozen, it made it a lot less messy that way.) Several days later I found a recipe for cinnamon ice cream.  I put two and two together and came up with this heavenly recipe for Cinnabon Ice Cream.  I hope you like it.  


Ingredients


1 3/4 cups whole milk
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large Cinnabon, cubed
9 tablespoons chopped pecans, toasted

Method


In a large heavy saucepan, heat milk and sugar until bubbles form around sides of the pan.  Whisk a small amount of hot mixture into eggs; return all to the pan, whisking constantly.  Cook and stir over low heat until mixture reaches at least 160* F and coats the back of a spoon.  

Remove from hear, quickly transfer to a bowl; place bowl in ice water and stir for 2 minutes.  Stir in the 2 cups of cream, cinnamon and vanilla.  Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Make the ice cream in a ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

In a large freezer container, layer a third of the ice cream, 1/2 cup butterscotch sauce (you can use homemade or store bought), 2/3 cup chopped Cinnabon and 3 tablespoons pecans.  Repeat two times.  Swirl mixture and freeze until firm.  Enjoy!

Makes about 2 1/4 quarts.

  



Monday, 16 December 2013

Toasted Almond Toffee

Have you ever made something that was so good, you couldn't believe it?  Well, this toffee is one of those recipes.  I have made this for five or six years at Christmas.  My mother sat beside the candy dish for about an hour before she noticed the toffee.  Then when she noticed it, she asked if I made the candy.  Silly question!  She sampled one piece and then another and another.  She finally asked "why did I start eating this? This is so good, I can't stop!".  Believe me, it is that good!


Ingredients


2 to 2 1/2 cups chopped, toasted almonds, divided
6 (1.55 oz) Hershey's milk chocolate bars
1 pound good-quality butter (do not use margarine)
2 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method


Scatter half of the almonds over 2 medium-sized baking sheets, reserving the remaining almonds for the topping.  Break the chocolate bars into pieces.  

In a heavy 3-quart saucepan over medium heat, bring the butter, sugar and water to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to boil.  Cook, stirring constantly, to the hard crack stage (300* F).

Remove from the heat.  Quickly stir in the vanilla.  Immediately pour a thin layer of hot toffee over the almonds on the baking sheets.  The toffee will not completely cover the baking sheets.  Immediately place the chocolate pieces on top of the hot toffee: the chocolate will melt within a few minutes.

Sprinkle with reserved almonds, lightly pressing the almonds into the chocolate with the palms of your hands.  let stand until the chocolate is firm.  The toffee may be cooled in the refrigerator or freezer if preferred.  Break into pieces.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature, in the refrigerator or freezer as desired.  Do not store in a container with other candies.  

Makes about 2 1/4 lbs.  


Thursday, 21 November 2013

Rolled Shortbread Cookies

I got this recipe from my mom, I have no idea how long she had it, but I have been using it for more than thirty years.  I have never had a problem with them and they have a wonderful rich flavor.  This recipe only makes four dozen cookies, depending on the size, but it can easily be doubled. 


Ingredients


1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Method


Cream butter thoroughly.  Add sugar gradually, creaming well.  Add vanilla, cream in.  Add flour, baking soda and salt in small amounts, mixing well.  Add more flour if dough is very sticky.  Chill, a couple of hours before proceeding with recipe.  Roll out 1/4" thick.  Cut with cutters, decorate as desired.  Bake at 300F degrees  until lightly browned, about 25 minutes. 

Makes about 4 dozen cookies, depending on the size. 







Monday, 11 November 2013

Butterscotch Squares

I was given this recipe from a dear friend almost 30 years ago.  I have made them every year at Christmas ever since.  I always ask my family, "what is on your list for things you would like me to make this Christmas?" and the first thing out of everyone's mouth is "butterscotch squares".  They are super easy and they freeze well.

 

Ingredients


1/4 cup butter
2 cups butterscotch chips
1 cup peanut butter
3 cups miniature marshmallows

 

Method


Melt ingredients slowly in a saucepan.  Pour into greased 8" x 8" shallow cake pan.  Allow to set before cutting.  You can also use one cup of butterscotch chips and one cup of chocolate chips.  They freeze well. 

Makes 25 squares.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Mapple Pudding

 

No, I didn't spell that wrong, it's a mix of maple syrup and apple cider, so I decided to call it mapple!  There is nothing more comforting than a warm apple pudding served with vanilla ice cream.  The fresh grated ginger really kicks it up a notch. It is a real fall treat. 


Ingredients


1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup milk, divided
2 cups apple slices (about 2 medium apples, peeled and cored)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh chopped ginger
1 cup sweet apple cider
1 cup grade B maple syrup

Method


Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.  In a medium bowl, cream together butter and sugar.  Beat in egg.  Stir in flour  mixture, a third at a time, alternating with milk (beginning and ending with flour mixture).

In a medium bowl, combine apples, sugar, cinnamon and ginger and place in an ungreased two-quart casserole dish.  Pour batter over apple mixture, making sure all apple pieces are covered. 

In a medium saucepan over high heat, combine cider and maple syrup and bring to a boil, stirring often.  Pour over batter; it will sink.  Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 



Thursday, 3 October 2013

Marmalade Chews

This recipe is about 70 years old.  It is from my husband's grandmother's collection.  I'm going to write it down just as it is written.  They never went into great detail back then with recipes.  They are a chewy, raisin studded, spicy oatmeal cookie.  They are a really nice fall cookie and a great cookie jar filler! 

 

Marmalade Chews


Cream :  2/3 cup shortening
                 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
                 1 cup white sugar
 
Add:  2 beaten eggs
           2 teaspoons vanilla
 
Beat well. 
 
Blend:  2 cups all-purpose flour
               1 teaspoon baking powder
               1 teaspoon baking soda
               1 teaspoon salt
               1 teaspoon cinnamon
               1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
               1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
 
Add to creamed mixture and combine well.  Blend in 2 cups rolled oats, 1/2 cup marmalade, 1 cup raisins.  Drop by teaspoons onto lightly greased cookie sheets.  Bake at 350 degrees F. for 15 minutes. 
 
Makes 4 dozen cookies


Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Church Windows

I have been making these squares since my children were little, more than twenty years.  They couldn't be any easier to make.  They are a great recipe to get the kids involved.  They are addictive little devils, so be forewarned!  The recipe makes a large pan of squares. 

 

Ingredients


1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup butter
300g pkg. of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla
400g pkg. of coloured miniature marshmallows

Method


In a medium saucepan melt peanut butter, butter and chocolate.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and marshmallows.  Pour into a greased 9" x 13" baking pan and chill.  When completely set, cut into squares.  Store in refrigerator.  Makes about 35 squares.


Sunday, 11 August 2013

Light and Luscious Lemon Cheesecake with Blueberry Compote

This cheesecake has a light almost soufflĂ©-like texture.  The fresh blueberry compote is spooned over each slice before serving.  It's a real late summer treat. 


Ingredients


1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted

2 pounds (907g) cream cheese, softened
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar, divided
4 large eggs, separated
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream

3 cups fresh blueberries, divided
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Method


Crust - Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 9" springform pan.  In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter.  Pat the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Bake the crust for 8 minutes or until lightly browned.  Set the pan on a wire rack to cool completely.  Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F. 

Filling - In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese at medium-low speed until creamy, about 2 minutes.  Gradually add 1 cup of the sugar and beat until blended.  Add the egg yolks one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla extract and mix until blended.  Add the sour cream and mix until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

In a clean mixer bowl, using the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites at medium speed until they begin to turn opaque.  Very gradually add the remaining 1/3 cup sugar, then increase the speed to high and beat until softs peaks form.  Using a rubber spatula, gently fold one-third of the whites into the cream cheese mixture.  Fold in the remaining whites in two more additions. Scrape the batter into the cooled crust and smooth the top into an even layer. 

Cut a 18-inch square of heavy duty aluminum foil and wrap the foil around the outside of the pan.  Place the pan in a roasting pan or large baking pan.  Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come up the sides 1 inch.  Bake the cheesecake in the water bath for 50 t0 5 minutes, until just set. 

Turn the oven off and prop the door open.  Leave the cake in the oven for 1 hour to set completely. 

Remove the cake from the water bath and set it on a wire rack to cool completely. Refrigerate the cheesecake at least 6 hours before serving.

Blueberry Compote - In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup of blueberries with the sugar.  Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the berries pop and release their juices, about 7 minutes.  Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing down on the berries to release as much liquid as possible.  Discard the berries in the sieve and let the blueberry juice cool.  Stir in the remaining 2 cups of berries and the lemon juice into the juices. 

To serve, remove the sides of the pan, slice the cake with a think-bladed sharp knife, wiping the knife clean between each cut.  Serve each slice topped with a generous amount of blueberry compote. 

Store in the refrigerator, loosely covered, for up to 2 days. 

 

Makes one 9-inch cake, serves 10 to 12.







 

Monday, 15 July 2013

How Sweet Is That?'s Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream

Although I have only been making this ice cream for a couple of years, it was one of those instant hits.  Everyone who has ever tried it, loved it.  You can make it with or without an ice cream maker.  You can change up the candy in it to suit your own taste. 


Ingredients


1 can (300ml) regular or low fat sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup chocolate syrup
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 cups whipping cream, whipped (DO NOT use non-dairy whipped topping)
1 cup coarsely chopped peanut butter cups or candy bar of your choice
1/4 cup peanut butter

Method


Combine sweetened condensed milk, chocolate syrup and vanilla.

Fold in whipped cream.  Fold in chopped candy bar.

Pour contents into ice cream maker and churn for 20 minutes.  Drop peanut butter by teaspoons in ice cream maker.  Continue to churn for 10 minutes.  Turn off ice cream maker and put the ice cream into a container, cover and freeze for 6 hours or until firm.

Without an ice cream maker, simply add the peanut butter and pour into a 9" x 5" loaf pan, cover and freeze for 6 hours. 

Tips -  You can add any chocolate bar or Smarties type candy.  You can increase the chocolate syrup to 2/3 cup if you like a more chocolate ice cream base or omit the peanut butter. 

 

Makes 10 to 12 - 1/2 cup servings


Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Citrus Pound Cake

This recipe makes a large tube pan or bundt cake sized cake.  It has a firm crumb and lovely light citrus flavor.  It's wonderful plain or with ice cream or fresh fruit and whipped cream.  It stays fresh for days and even freezes well. 


Ingredients

 

Cake


3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
1/3 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
3/4 cup plain yogurt (1%, 2% or no fat)

Glaze


1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 lemon juice

Method


Cake


Combine flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda; set aside.  Cream butter and sugar on medium speed of an electric mixer until well blended.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating lightly after each addition until smooth, then beat on high speed until thick and creamy, about 5 minutes.  Add rinds.  Add dry ingredients alternately with yogurt and orange juice, beating on low speed until blended.  Spread batter in greased and floured 10" tube pan or bundt pan.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 65 to 75 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes in pan, then remove to a wire rack.

Glaze


Heat sugar and juice together, stirring to dissolve sugar.  Poke holes with a fork or toothpick in surface of the warm cake.  Brush glaze over the cake, letting it soak in.  Cool cake completely before slicing.

Makes about 16 servings.

Tip - If not using the glaze, a simple dusting of icing sugar is a nice finish.  Freezes excellent.  Omit glaze if freezing. 

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Vanilla Cupcakes With Vanilla Icing

This is my signature cupcake.  These are light vanilla cupcakes with a very light fluffy vanilla icing.  There are a lot of different kinds of icing out there, each one having a place.  This icing is nice and light and fluffy.  It is equally as pretty when it is coloured with gel paste colours, such as Rainbow Dust ProGels.  Keep in mind that the colour darkens as it sits.  Always start with a small amount and add colour in small amounts as you need it.  You can always add more colour, but you can't take it out.

 

Vanilla Cupcakes

 

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup milk
4 egg whites, unbeaten

Method

Blend flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in large mixing bowl. Add shortening, 2/3 cup milk and vanilla.  With an electric mixer, beat 2 minutes on medium speed, scraping sides and bottom of bowl constantly.  Add remaining milk and unbeaten egg whites.  Beat 2 more minutes, scraping bowl frequently.

Fill greased or paper lined muffin cups 3/4 full and bake at 350 degrees F. for 15 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Remove from pans, cool.  Frost as desired. 

Makes 24 cupcakes. 

Vanilla Icing


Ingredients


1 cup butter, softened
1 cup vegetable shortening, such as Crisco
6 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla

Method

Combine butter and shortening.  Add icing sugar, whipping cream and vanilla.  Beat at medium-high speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, for 10 minutes (I use my stand mixer for this recipe) or until smooth and the proper consistency.  You may need to add another tablespoon or two of whipping cream.  Colour if required. 

Makes about 6 cups of icing. 

 

Monday, 10 June 2013

How Sweet Is That?'s Baked Pasta

This is one of those recipes that I have used for the last twenty plus years. It can easily be doubled so you can put one in the freezer to bake another night.  I like to use it for a meatless dinner or a side dish for ham etc.  I love the bit of nutmeg in it, it really changes it up from the usual baked pastas. 


Ingredients


1/2 lb. (250g) pasta, such as penne, ziti, rotini or (my favorite) rigatoni
1/4 cup butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 lb. (250g) ricotta cheese
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
1 - 28oz (796ml) tin diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Method


1) Cook pasta.  Rinse with cold water.  Drain well.  Reserve.
2) To prepare sauce, melt butter in a large saucepan.  Add garlic and onion and cook 3 to 4 minutes. 
3) Add flour and cook 3 minutes, stirring often.
4) Add milk, salt, pepper, nutmeg and cayenne.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat.  Cook gently 5 minutes. 
5) Combine pasta with sauce, ricotta, mozzarella, tomatoes and parsley.
6) Pour into a 9" x 13" dish or casserole.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. 
7) Bake in a preheated 350* oven for 25 to 30 minutes until bubbling and brown. 

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Thursday, 30 May 2013

How Sweet Is That?'s Butterscotch Sauce

 
 
 
 

This is a rich and decadent butterscotch sauce that you can use for many different things.  When my children were young, their favorite use was on vanilla ice cream with bananas sliced on top.  You can use it for a drizzle for cheesecakes, over baked apples or just to sweeten up a piece of pie or cake.  Once you start putting it on a few different things, you'll be looking for ways to spread the sweetness. 

 

Ingredients

 
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup golden corn syrup
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup whipping cream
 

Method

 
In a heavy saucepan, over medium-high heat, bring brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and water to a boil, stirring constantly.  Boil for one minute, reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes.  Remove from hear and carefully stir in vanilla.  Let cool slightly.  Stir in cream.  Sauce thickens as it cools.  Store in sealable jar in the refrigerator. 
 
Makes 1 1/2 cups.
 


Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Summer Slush

This recipe was given to my by my oldest friend, about 15 years ago.  She said that she made this every year at Christmastime.  I made it for a few years at Christmas and I finally thought "why am I saving this only for Christmas? This is a truly summery treat!".  I use empty plastic ice cream containers to keep the frozen slush in.  I like to have it in the freezer year round.  It's great for children and adults alike.  I like it diluted with ginger ale, sprite or 7up.  It's equally as nice when you add a splash of rum! 

 

Mix, Boil and Cool -  



4 cups sugar
6 cups water

Blend Smooth -



5 ripe bananas
1 tin of frozen lemonade
2 tins of frozen orange juice
1 - 40 oz. can of pineapple juice

Mix syrup with fruit mixture and freeze.  Make 12 pints.  To serve, mix equal amounts of slush mixture with 7up, ginger ale, wink etc.

 

                                   

Sunday, 26 May 2013

How Sweet Is That?'s Barbecue Sauce

With barbecue season in full swing, I thought I would post a recipe for a family friendly barbecue sauce.  This is a sweet flavorful barbecue sauce, that only takes a few minutes to prepare.  It's the only barbecue sauce we used when our children were young.  Some of the store bought sauces are too spicy for the younger crowd.  Even though my children are grown, but they still like to use this sauce.  I always have a bottle in the fridge year round.  It's great for chicken nuggets too!   

 

Ingredients

 
2 1/2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 a cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons liquid smoke
2 teaspoons mustard
2 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
 

Method

 
Heat all ingredients together in a saucepan.  Simmer for 5 minutes until the sugar has dissolved.  Let cool.  Store in sealed container in the refrigerator.
 

Makes about 3 1/2 cups. 

 

Saturday, 4 May 2013

How Sweet Is That?'s Layered Taco Dip

A good friend of mine gave me this recipe 27 years ago.  I remember exactly when she gave it to me because she served it at my baby shower.  My baby is now 26 years old!  I adjusted it to suit my family's taste.  I have been serving it ever since.  I hope you enjoy it!


Ingredients


1/8 teaspoon of garlic salt
1 - 250g (8 oz.) brick of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1 large avocado, mashed
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tomato, finely chopped
1 - 127ml (4 oz.) can green chilies
5 slices bacon, cooked crisp and diced
3 - 4 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup ripe olives, sliced
1/4 cup stuffed green olives, sliced
1 - 215ml (8 oz.) bottle taco sauce, mild, medium or hot
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

 

Method


Combine first three ingredients and use as first layer in a 9" glass pie plate.  Combine the next four ingredients for the second layer.  Sprinkle on bacon, green onion and olives.  Spread taco sauce over all and sprinkle with cheddar cheese.  Serve cold with taco chips. 

Serves 8 to 10. 

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Better Than "Dad's" Cookies

I have made these cookies for 25 years.  They are a true family favorite.  They are slightly buttery, have wonderful spices and a great crunch.  One thing that I always do that my grandmother taught me when I was a child, is to flatten cookies with a wet fork.  She would get a small bowl of water and dip her fork into it, knock off the excess and use it to flatten her cookies.  Some people use a floured fork and there is nothing wrong with that, but I like to continue what my grandmother taught me.  She was a wonderful cook and baker, so I cherish the time I spent with her in the kitchen as a child. 


Ingredients


1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups rolled oats (any variety)
1 cup coconut
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice

Method


Cream butter and both sugars together.  Beat in the egg.  Add the molasses and vanilla.

Stir remaining ingredients together and add.  Mix well.  Drop by spoonfuls onto greased baking sheet.  Press with a floured or wet fork. Bake in a 300 degree F oven until golden, about 12 minutes. 

Makes 6 dozen.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Coconut Cream Cake

If you really like coconut cream pie, like I do, then you'll love this cake.  This recipe has seven-minute frosting on it, but you can always substitute any type that you might prefer.  The recipe can also easily be halved to make a smaller 6-inch layer cake. 


Ingredients


Cake:


1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 eggs plus 2 egg yolks (save the whites for the frosting)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup 2% milk

Filling & Frosting


1 1/4 cups lily white corn syrup
2 egg whites, unbeaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups cold 2% milk
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 cup instant vanilla pudding mix (you'll need 2 boxes)
3/4 cup flaked coconut, divided

Method


Grease two 9-inch round cake pans.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, cream the sugar, shortening and butter until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs and yolks.  Add vanilla.  Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with milk.  Beat until just combined. 

Pour into prepared cake pans.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks.  Cool completely. 

Bring corn syrup to a boil.  Beat egg whites until stiff, but moist peaks.  Gradually beat in hot syrup.  Continue beating until very stiff and shiny, about 5 to 7 minutes.  Beat in vanilla.

In a bowl, whisk the milk, extract and measured pudding mix for 2 minutes.  Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set.  Finely chop 1/2 cup coconut, fold into pudding mix. 

Split each cake into two horizontal layers.  Spread a third of the pudding over one cake layer; repeat with layers twice.  Top with remaining cake.  Frost the top and the sides.  Toast remaining 1/4 cup of coconut (6 minutes in 350 degree oven); sprinkle over the top.  Store in the refrigerator. 

Serves 10 to 12







Sunday, 14 April 2013

Chiffon Cake

Nothing beats a light and airy chiffon cake with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.  It is my go to recipe for a neighbourhood barbecue or a small family gathering.  There is one important tip in maintaining your cakes full height, and that is to cool it upside down. 


Chiffon cakes can be made plain or fancy in just about any flavor you can think of: lemon, orange, chocolate, peppermint, banana or with bits of chocolate or nuts.  It is often served with a dusting of confectioners' sugar; with whipped cream and fresh fruit; or frosted with fluffy seven minute (boiled or marshmallow) frosting.  Buttercream is much too heavy for this light textured cake.  The cake can also be hollowed out and filled with chiffon filling for a truly elegant dessert. 


This recipe makes a large tube pan cake, enough for 16 to 20 slices.  It freezes well and is a good base for Baked Alaska or filled cakes that need to be served cold, because unlike butter or shortening based cakes, it retains its soft texture in the refrigerator.



Ingredients

7 eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/2 cups sugar (divided)
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup milk (whole, 2% or skim, or buttermilk for chocolate cake)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract

Method


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until foamy.  Gradually add 1/2 cup of the sugar and continue bearing until stiff and glossy.  Set aside.

Whisk together the remaining 1 cup sugar with the flour, baking powder and salt.  In a separate bowl, beat the oil, milk, egg yolks and flavourings until pale yellow.  Add the dry ingredients and beat until well blended, about 2 minutes at medium speed using a stand mixer or longer with a hand mixer. 

Gently fold in the whipped egg whites, using a wire whisk.  Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl so the batter is well blended.  Pour the batter into a ungreased 10-inch tube pan.  Bake for 1 hour.  Don't open the door during the first 45 minutes of baking; the cake will rise above the pan, then settle back almost even.  It's done when a finger gently pressed in the center doesn't leave a print; you'll be able to hear a crackling sound if you listen carefully.

Remove the cake from the oven and cool it upside down for 30 minutes before removing it from the pan.  I use a thin necked bottle, like a wine bottle and thread the bottle neck through the hole of the tube.  When the cake is completely cool, run a knife around the outside edge and around the tub.  Turn the pan upside down and tap it to remove the cake.  Frost the cake and cut it just before serving.  Dip a serrated knife in hot water between each slice if you want smooth, even pieces.


Variations

Lemon or Orange: Replace the cream of tartar with 1 tablespoon lemon or orange juice; eliminate the almond extract and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla extract.  Fold in 1 tablespoon lemon or orange zest or add 1/2 teaspoon lemon or orange oil at the same time as the vanilla.

Chocolate:  Decrease the amount of flour to 1 1/2 cups and sift 1/2 cup natural cocoa into the flour-baking powder mixture.

Coconut: Substitute coconut flavor for the almond extract using 1 teaspoon if it's mild-strength or a few drops if it's a very strong flavouring oil.  Beat 1 cup of shredded sweetened coconut into the batter along with the flour. 

Vanilla:  Increase vanilla extract to 1 tablespoon and omit the almond extract.

Makes one cake; serves 16 to 20.






 


Sunday, 24 March 2013

Citrus Kiss Cheesecake

 

This is a lovely cheesecake to serve at a spring tea, a light lunch or to finish off your Easter dinner.  The balance of lemon and sweetness is just perfect.


Ingredients


1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons melted butter
3 packages (8 oz./250g) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon lime juice
whipped cream and lemon peel for garnish

Method


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Combine first 3 ingredients and press onto the bottom of a 9" springform pan.  Make 10 minutes.  Using an electric mixer on low, beat cream cheese and sugar together until smooth.  Add eggs, one at a time, just until blended.  Add remaining ingredients.  Pour over crust.  Bake at 350 degrees F. for 50 minutes or until center is almost set.  Remove from oven and run a knife around the rim of the pan.  Cool thoroughly at room temperature.  Refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.

Serves 8 to 10



Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Gingerbread Cheesecake

Cheesecake is definitely one of my favorites.  I also love gingerbread cookies.  So when I came across this recipe for Gingerbread Cheesecake, I just had to try it.  It was everything that I hoped it would be and more.  It's nice and gingery without being overpowering.  And smooth and creamy like a good cheesecake should be. 


Ingredients


1 1/4 cups gingersnap crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 packages (8 oz/250g) brick cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon gound ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3 eggs
4 squares semi-sweet chocolate baking squares
1/2 cup whipping cream
10 or 12 mini gingerbread cookies

Method


Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Mix crumbs and butter; press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan.  Beat cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until well blended.  Add molasses, vanilla and spices; mix well.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended.  Pour over crust.  Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until centre is almost set.  Run a knife around rim of the pan to loosen cake; cool completely before removing rim.  Refrigerate 4 hours.  Microwave chocolate and whipping cream in bowl on HIGH for 1 minute; stir.  Microwave 30 seconds to 1 minute or until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring every 30 seconds.  Pour over cheesecake.  Place gingerbread cookies evely around the perimeter of the cheesecake. 

Store leftovers in the refrigerator. 

Serves 10 to 12

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Bacon, Egg and Cheese Scones

A whole breakfast in a scone!  These are killer delicious, they freeze well and make a great grab and go breakfast.  Eat them by themselves or serve with a bowl of yogurt and fresh fruit.  They make a great weekend breakfast. 


Ingredients


2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cold butter, in chunks
2 eggs, lightly beaten and cooked as scrambled (I microwave mine)
4 slices bacon*, cookied until crisp and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup milk
1 egg (uncooked)
additional milk for brushing the tops

Method


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Lightly grease a cookie sheet.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  Stir to mix. Cut butter into flour mixture until it becomes crumbly like oatmeal.  Add the cooked scrambled eggs, cooked bacon and shredded cheese, toss to mix.

In a small bowl, beat together 3/4 cup milk and uncooked egg.  Add this liquid mixture to the flour mixture in the bowl and stir just until everything comes together as a sticky dough.  It will be lumpy -- it's supposed to be. 

Turn dought out onto a lightly floured surface and knead just 2 or 3 times, until workable.  Pat nto an 8 inch circle.  Using a sharp knife, or bench scraper, cut into 6 or 8 triangles (like a pie) and arrange on the prepared cookies sheet.  Brush lightly with milk and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned on top.

*I've also made these with cooked scrambled breakfast sausage or finely chopped cooked ham.

Makes 6 large or 8 smaller scones. 

Monday, 18 February 2013

Frosted Fudge Brownies

I have tried a lot of brownie recipes over the years.  I stopped searching when I found this one.  I like moist fudgie brownies and these are exactly what I was looking for.  You can add nuts if you desire or add seasonal sprinkles on top. 


Ingredients


Brownies


1 cup plus 3 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup cocoa
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Frosting


6 tablespoons butter
2 2/3 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 to 1/3 cup milk

Method


In a saucepan (or microwave), melt butter.  Remove from heat.  Stir in cocoa; let cool.  In a mixing bowl, beat eggs and sugar.  Combine flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to egg mixture.  Stir in vanilla, nuts (if using) and the cooled chocolate mixture; mix well.  Spread into a greased 9" x 13" baking pan.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 to 28 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean (do not overbake).  Cool on a wire rack.  For frosting, in a mixing bowl cream butter, confectioners sugar, cocoa and vanilla.  Add enough milk until the frosting is of spreading consistency.  Spread over brownies.  Cut into bars.

Makes 2 dozen brownies.





Saturday, 16 February 2013

Dream Bars

These aren't the prettiest bars you've ever seen, but you'll soon forget that when you bite into them.  The coconut, nuts and brown sugar bake together to make a gooey rich topping on top of a buttery cookie base. 


Ingredients


Cookie layer


1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Topping


2 cups dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs, well beaten
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup chopped nuts, walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts

Method


Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar until smooth.  Stir in the flour and salt; the mixture will be crumbly.  Pat the crumbs into a lightly greased 9" x 13" pan.  Bake the cookie layer for 10 minutes.  Once the base has been removed from the oven turn the oven up to 325 degrees F.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour and baking powder.  Stir in the eggs, mixing until smooth, then add the coconut and nuts, mxing until well combined.  Dollop the topping onto the crust in the pan, spreading it out as evenly as possible. 

Bake the bars for 30 minutes, until they're golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let them cool.  Sprinkle them with confectioners' sugar, if desired and cut into squares. 

Makes about 24 bars.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Banana Nut Bread

I have made this moist loaf with or without nuts.  I will sometimes substitute the nuts with mini chocolate chips, depending on who will be eating it.  It freezes wonderfully, so you could use up those over-ripe bananas and put the loaf in the freezer for unexpected guests. 


Ingredients


2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup mashed banana, 2 to 3 very ripe bananas
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup chopped nuts

Method


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, beat together eggs, sugar and oil.  Blend in the mashed banana and vanilla.  Whisk together and then sift (it's important that these be thoroughly combined) the soda, powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and flour.  Add all at once to the banana mixture.  Mix quickly but thoroughly, then stir in the buttermilk, mixing until just combined. 

Pour the batter into a greased 9" x 5" loaf pan.  Bake the bread for about 60 to 70 minutes.  Or until a cake tester inserted int the center comes out clean. 

Makes one large loaf.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Caramel Apple Mini Cakes

These cakes are even better when eaten the next day.  If they last that long!


Ingredients


Cake


2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons frozen apple juice concentrate
1/2 cup applesauce
3 cups peeled, chopped apples
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped

Frosting


5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
3 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 cups confectioners's sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease the wells of a square or regular 12 cup muffin tin.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and spices; set aside.  Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs, stopping once or twice to scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl, then mix in the dry ingredients, vanilla, boiled cider and applesauce, stirring until evenly moistened.  Fold in the apples and walnuts. 

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan.  Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until a cake tested inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool the cakes for 15 minutes before turning out of the pan; cool completely before frosting. 

For the frosting: 


Melt the butter, stir in the salt, brown sugar and corn syrup and cook, stirring until the sugar melts.  Add the milk, bring to a rolling boil and pour into a mixing bowl to cool for 10 minutes.  Stir in the sugar, vanilla and cinnamon.  Beat well; if the mixture appears too thin, add more confectioners' sugar.  Spread on the cakes while the frosting is still warm. 

Makes 12 servings

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Honey Bran Muffins

Ingredients


1 cup milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar
1 large egg
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup liquid honey
1 1/2 cups all-bran cereal
1 cup raisins or chopped dates
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour*
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Method


Grease 12 large muffin tins or line with paper baking cups.  Combine milk and lemon juice or vinegar; set aside.  Beat egg in medium mixing bowl with a fork.  Blend in oil, honey and soured milk.  Stir in cereal and raising or dates, stirring until just moisetened. 

Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl.  Stir liquid mixture into dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened.  Spoon batter into bups, generously filling each to the top. 

Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes or until done. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes then remove from tins to cool completely. They freeze well. 

* you can use half all-purpose flour and half whole wheat flour or all whole wheat flour if desired.

Makes 12 large muffins

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Sour Cream Coffeecake

This coffeecake is one of my favorites.  It freezes well, so it's nice to have one in the freezer for unexpected company. 


Ingredients


1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla

Method


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 10" tube pan with removeable bottom or a 9" x 13" pan.  In a small bowl, combine the walnuts, cinnamon and brown sugar.  Set aside.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter, oil and sugar until well mixed.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually beat in the flour mixture, the sour cream and the vanilla, being careful not to over-beat the mixture. 

Spoon half of the batter into the pan and sprinkle with half of the nut mixture.  Spoon the remaining batter into the pan and sprinkle with the rest of the nut mixture. 

Bake the cake 45 to 55 minutes or until it tests done (35 to 45 minutes if using a 9" x 13" pan).  Let cool 10 minutes on a rack and then remove to cool further.  Cut into wedges and serve warm. 

Serves 10 to 12

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Pineapple Mandarin Cake

Ingredients


2 3/4 cups cake & pastry flour*
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/3 cups milk
Lemon Butter Icing (below)
1 10 oz./284ml can mandarin oranges, drained
1 10 oz./284ml can crushed pineapple, drained

 

Method


Combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Stir well to blend. Cream shortening, sugar, eggs and vanilla together, beating until light and fluffy.  Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture alternately with milk, make 3 dry and 2 liquid additions, combining lightly after each. Spread batter evenly into 2 greased 8" (1.2L) round cake pans.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.  Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out on wire rack to cool completely.

*or subsitute 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Lemon Butter Icing

1/2 cup softened butter
4 cups icing sugar, sifted
1/3 cup light cream or evaporated milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest

Cream butter and half of the icing sugar until light.  Add cream, lemon juice and zest.  Beat in remaining icing sugar gradually.  Blend well.  

Assembly 


Put cake layers together filling with Lemon Butter Icing.  Cover top and sides of cake completely with icing.  Decorate top with ring of well-drained mandarin orange segments around outside.  Fill centre with well-drained crushed pineapple.  Decorate centre with a few additional orange segments if desired. 

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Coconut Chews




These chewy rich bars have been a family favorite for more than thirty years.  You can try them with or without the icing or top them with a scoop of ice cream. 

 

Ingredients

 
3/4 cup shortening (half butter or margarine)
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup flaked coconut
Orange Lemon Icing (below)

 

Method

 
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Cream shortening, butter and confectioners' sugar.  Blend in 1 1/2 cups flour.  Press mixture in bottom of ungreased 9" x 13" baking pan.  Bake 12 to 15 minutes.  Mix remaining ingredients; spread over hot baked layer.  Bake 20 minutes longer.  While warm, spread with Orange-Lemon Icing.  Cool; cut into bars, about 3" x 1". 
 

Orange-Lemon Icing

Mix 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted, 3 tablespoons orange juice and 1 teaspoon lemon juice until smooth.

 

 

Sunday, 6 January 2013

White Chocolate and Almond Caramel Bars


A chewy caramel bar filled with creamy white chocolate and crunchy almonds on an oatmeal crust.  They are delicious but rich.  Cut in small pieces.

 

Ingredients


2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups quick oats
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips (225g package)
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup toffee bits
1 1/3 cups caramel sundae sauce
1/3 cup all-purpose flour

Method


Combine first 4 dry ingredients in mixing bowl.  Add melted butter.  Mix well.  Reserve 1 cup of crumbly mixture.  Press remainder in greased 9" x 13" pan. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. 

Combine chips, almonds and toffee bits.  Sprinkle evenly over base. 

Mix sundae sauce and 1/3 cup flour until smooth.  Pour evenly over base.  Sprinkle reserved oat mixture on top.  Bake 20 to 25 minutes longer, or until golden.  Cool completely before cutting into bars.   Store in an airtight container.  They freeze well. 

Makes about 50 small bars.