Category Archives: “Sweets”/Cakes/Etc

Butterscotch Sauce from Joy of Cooking

This is my never-fail sauce, that I always go back to; it’s from my 1979 copy of the Joy of Cooking, which is literally falling apart, but so wonderful that I can’t let it go!  

The use of corn syrup in this recipe prevents the sugar from crystalizing.

Boil to the consistency of heavy syrup:

  • 1/3 cup corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup PLUS 2 T brown sugar
  • 2 T butter
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Cool the ingredients and add:

  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

Serve the sauce hot or cold.

Comments Off on Butterscotch Sauce from Joy of Cooking

Filed under "Sweets"/Cakes/Etc, comfort food, Sauce

Chocolate Banana Zucchini Muffins

Muffins

Chocolate, banana, and zucchini muffins.

  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 2 cups zucchini, shredded and patted dry
  • 2 medium very ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, preferably mini dark chocolate
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease muffin tin with butter or spray; set aside.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together cocoa, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine oil, vanilla, and both sugars.  Stir in eggs, bananas, and shredded zucchini.
  4. Fold dry ingredient mixture into wet ingredient mixture, just until combined.  Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
  5. Scoop batter into prepared muffin tin and bake in the preheated oven for about 45 – 60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean with a few moist crumbs sticking to the toothpick.  Cool completely before storing.

Comments Off on Chocolate Banana Zucchini Muffins

Filed under "Sweets"/Cakes/Etc, baking, Breads/Muffins/Biscuits, whole food

Grandma Marg Robertson’s Shortbread

As written:

      • 1 lb butter
      • 5 cups flour
      • 1 cup brown sugar
      • pinch of salt

Method:

    • cream butter and sugar and salt
    • add flour 1 cup at a time using 4 cups
    • use last cup for roll out
    • dough should not be TOO stiff, but stiff enough to roll out
    • bake in 350F oven until slightly browned

My addition:  Roll out to a thickness of approximately 1/4″.  Cut out into shapes using cookie cutter.  Transfer onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Bake for approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

Comments Off on Grandma Marg Robertson’s Shortbread

Filed under "Sweets"/Cakes/Etc

Grandma Marg Robertson’s Melting Moments

I don’t like these, but others in the family do!  This is Grandma’s recipe, as it is written:

      • 1 cup butter (soft)
      • 2 cups flour
      • 3 Tbsp icing sugar 

 Mix like shortbread.  Roll and cut, top with coloured decorations and cook in oven.  When cool put together with butter icing (pink).

I beat together the butter and icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar), then gently mix in the flour until incorporated.  Gather up in a ball and roll out to about 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick. Cut out small shapes with cookie cutter; Grandma used a very small, fluted circle, about one inch in diameter.  Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and onto each cookie sprinkle on a few of those tiny little coloured balls used for cake decorating.  I bake in a 350F oven, for around 8 to 10 minutes; these should not brown, but do need to be baked through.

Cool completely.  Make little sandwiches by spreading one cookie with buttercream icing (pink, or not!), then sticking another one to it.

Comments Off on Grandma Marg Robertson’s Melting Moments

Filed under "Sweets"/Cakes/Etc

Shirlee’s Buttercream (for Grandma Robertson’s Melting Moments)

  • 4 Tbsp (1/4 cup) softened butter
  • 2 cups icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 Tbsp milk or cream

Beat together until fluffy.

1 Comment

Filed under "Sweets"/Cakes/Etc, food

Anne S’s Cranban Cake

Another lower-sugar recipe from my friend Anne S.

  • 1 mashed banana
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 tbsp. molasses
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 1 beaten egg
  • ½ cup yogurt
  • 1 ¾ cup flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup halved cranberries
  • ¼ cup chopped nuts (optional)
  1. Beat together egg, banana, molasses, oil, sugar, and yogurt.
  2. Sift in flour & baking powder
  3. Stir in cranberries & nuts
  4. Spoon into greased 8×8 pan or ring mold
  5. Bake at 375′ for 35-45 mins, depending on pan
  6. Cool on rack before removing.

Comments Off on Anne S’s Cranban Cake

Filed under "Sweets"/Cakes/Etc

Freda’s Soft Ginger Cookies

Freda brought these in to the Food Bank for our coffee break, and they are soft and delicious!

    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • ¾ cup butter
    • ¼ cup molasses (blackstrap preferred)
    • 1 egg
    • 2¼ cup flour
    • 2 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 1 tsp ginger
    • ½ tsp cloves
    • ¼ tsp salt
  1. Mix ingredients (my note:  just follow a basic cookie mixing method, ie, cream butter and sugar, mix in wet ingredients, then add the dry ingredients which have been sifted together)
  2. Roll into 1” balls
  3. Roll balls in granulated sugar
  4. Bake at 350° F on greased cookie sheet
  5. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes – watch carefully, they are easily over-baked

Comments Off on Freda’s Soft Ginger Cookies

Filed under "Sweets"/Cakes/Etc

Salted Toffee-chocolate Squares

From the PBS program “Everyday Food”, these really are yummy!

Ingredients

  • 13 graham crackers (or enough to line the sheet)
  • 1 1/2 cups toffee bits
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped toasted natural almonds
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup (4 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, chopped, or chocolate chips
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
  2. Place graham crackers in a single layer on sheet, edges touching. You want to cover the entire baking sheet with graham crackers.
  3. Sprinkle toffee bits and almonds over graham crackers.
  4. In a small saucepan, bring sugar and butter to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat and cook at a rapid simmer, swirling pan occasionally, until mixture is syrupy, 2 minutes. If desired, pour the hot mixture into a 2-cup glass measuring cup to make pouring easier.  Immediately pour evenly, and slowly over graham crackers.
  5. Bake until sugar topping is bubbling, 12 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle chocolate and salt over graham crackers.
  7. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut into 2-inch squares.
  8. Let cool completely on sheet on a wire rack.

(Store in an airtight container, up to 1 week.)

Comments Off on Salted Toffee-chocolate Squares

Filed under "Sweets"/Cakes/Etc

Low Fat Chocolate Cake

Not a cake lover — at all — but this is really delicious served with a scoop of ice-cream (which I also don’t like!).  This recipe produces a dense texture, rather than being a light and airy cake.

Preheat oven to 350F and grease an 8” springform pan.

  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup hot strong coffee (or use water or orange juice)
  • 1/3 cup low fat yogurt or buttermilk

In a large bowl, beat together brown and granulated sugars, butter, eggs, and vanilla until well blended.  Add cocoa and mix until well incorporated

Combine flour, baking soda, and baking powder; add to bowl along with coffee and yogurt.  Mix just until combined, being careful not to overmix.  Pour into pan, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until tester inserted into centre comes out dry.  Let cool completely.

Comments Off on Low Fat Chocolate Cake

Filed under "Sweets"/Cakes/Etc

Lemon Poppyseed Loaf

Preheat oven to 350F, and grease an 9”x5” loaf pan.  Alternatively, make muffins by pouring batter into 12 cups and baking at 375F for 15 to 20 minutes.

  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp grated lemon rind
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup yogurt or sour cream

Glaze

  • ¼ cup icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

In large bowl, beat together sugar, butter, egg, lemon rind and juice, mixing well.  Add milk and mix well.

Combine flour, poppy seeds, baking powder and baking soda; add to other bowl alternately with yogurt, mixing just until incorporated.  Do not overmix.  Pour into pan.  Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until tester inserted into centre comes out dry.

Glaze:   Prick holes in top of loaf with skewer.  Combine icing sugar with lemon juice; pour over loaf.

Comments Off on Lemon Poppyseed Loaf

Filed under "Sweets"/Cakes/Etc

Shirlee’s Easy, Plump Sugar Cookies

Easy Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies made with half whole-wheat flour, rolled in balls, and flattened.

This is Shirlee’s recipe for sugar cookies; they do not require chilling, rolling, and cutting.  She adapted the recipe from Land O Lakes’ recipe which uses only all purpose flour, instead of the combination.
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (icing sugar/confectioner’s sugar)
  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  •  Sugar (for dipping glass into and pressing cookies)
  •  Decorator sugars, if desired
  1. Heat oven to 375°F.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, and baking soda, and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a mixer, combine butter, powdered sugar and 1/2 cup sugar in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add egg and vanilla; continue beating until well mixed.
  4. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture. Beat until dough forms a ball.
  5. Shape dough into 1-inch balls.
  6. Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  7. Flatten to about 1 1/2 inches with bottom of glass dipped in sugar; sprinkle with decorator sugars, if desired.
  8. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.
  9. Let stand 1 minute on cookie sheet; remove to cooling rack.

Shirl ices hers.

Comments Off on Shirlee’s Easy, Plump Sugar Cookies

Filed under "Sweets"/Cakes/Etc

Grandma Ruth’s Banana Bread

Ruth's Banana Bread

The finished results of my Mom's recipe for banana bread.

I do love my whole-wheat-nutrition-packed recipe for banana bread, but sometimes I just crave my Mom’s!

  • 1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons double-acting baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup room temperature butter
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • ½ cup pecans or walnuts, chopped roughly
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange rind
  • 1 cup bananas, mashed
  1. Mix dry ingredients together with whisk.
  2. In a separate bowl, cream butter; add sugar gradually until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and beat well.  Stir in nuts and rind.
  3. Add flour alternately with the mashed bananas.  Do not over mix.
  4. Bake in a greased 8”x4”x3” loaf pan, at 350F for 55 minutes, or until done (toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean).
  5. Store for at least 6 hours before cutting/serving, preferably overnight.

Comments Off on Grandma Ruth’s Banana Bread

Filed under "Sweets"/Cakes/Etc, Breads/Muffins/Biscuits, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo)

1 Minute Peanut Butter “Fudge”

  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • Very generous pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Pre-measure all ingredients, and have them ready and waiting!

  1. Combine sugar, milk, and butter in a heavy pot, and bring to a full rolling boil.
  2. Boil for 1 minute only.
  3. Remove from heat, and then stir in peanut butter, salt, and vanilla.
  4. Smooth into a buttered 8”x8” pan, and cool, and cut.

Note:  You can melt some chocolate chips with a little butter, and smooth this over the set peanut butter layer.  Cool and cut.

Comments Off on 1 Minute Peanut Butter “Fudge”

Filed under "Sweets"/Cakes/Etc

My Mom’s Favourite Fruit Cake Recipe

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups dried fruit
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • lemon juice
  • nuts
  • 1 gallon whiskey
  1. Sample the whiskey to check for quality. Take a large bowl. Check the whiskey again to be sure it is of the highest quality. Pour one level cup and drink.
  2. Repeat.
  3. Turn on the electric mixer; beat 1 cup butter in a large, fluffy bowl.Add 1 teaspoon sugar and beat again.
  4. Make sure the whiskey is still OK. Cry another tup. Turn off mixer.
  5. Break 2 legs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit.Mix on the turner. If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers, pry it loose with a drewscriver. Sample the whiskey to check for tonsisticity.Next, sift 2 cups of salt. Or something. Who cares? Check the whiskey.
  6. Now sift the lemon juice and strain your nuts. Add one table. Spoon. Of sugar or something. Whatever you can find. Grease the oven. Turn the cake tin to 350 degrees. Don’t forget to beat off the turner. Throw the bowl out of the window. Check the whiskey again. Go to bed. Who the heck likes fruitcake anyway?

Comments Off on My Mom’s Favourite Fruit Cake Recipe

Filed under "Sweets"/Cakes/Etc, food

Rona’s Dutch Almond Boterkoek

Rona brought this to the food bank for our coffee break, and it is absolutely delicious!  I could easily eat half a cake by myself, and I’m not a cake person; it is like a cross between a shortbread and cake texture.

Base:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. almond flavouring
  • 1 and 2/3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  1. Cream butter and sugar. Add egg, and blend until well mixed.  Add the flavouring, and mix well.
  2. In a separate bowl, blend flour and baking powder together.
  3. Gently add the flour/baking powder mixture to the creamed mixture
  4. Spread into two 8″ cake pans.

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 lemon peel, grated.
  1. Mix the topping ingredients together.
  2. Spread topping over base, wetting spoon as necessary.
  3. Sprinkle on:
  • 1/2 pkg. of sliced almonds.
  1. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 25 to 30 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  2. Score while warm into slices.

Comments Off on Rona’s Dutch Almond Boterkoek

Filed under "Sweets"/Cakes/Etc

Almond Roca

  • 1 Tbsp corn syrup
  • 1 + 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1+1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1 x 6oz package of good chocolate chips (or 6oz good chocolate, chopped)
  1. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, gently boil syrup, sugar, butter and water until it reaches “hard crack”/300F on a candy thermometer.  This will take 10 to 20 minutes.  DO NOT STIR.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the almonds.  Spread out on an ungreased or parchment-lined cookie sheet.  Sprinkle the chocolate on top, and spread it out as it melts.  Cool in fridge or freezer, and break into pieces.

Comments Off on Almond Roca

Filed under "Sweets"/Cakes/Etc

“Sugar Free” Fruit and Nut Squares/Muffins (thanks again Anne S.!)

  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp oil or melted and cooled butter
  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened apple sauce (use 3 apples if you want to make your own)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup chopped dates or raisins
  • ¼ cup nuts
  1. Beat together oil/butter, apple sauce and egg.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and spices.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture, and stir gently.
  4. Add the fruit and nuts and stir to combine.  Don’t overmix!
  5. Sppon into a well greased muffin pan or an 8” x 8” square pan.
  6. Bake at 375F for 20 minutes for muffins, 25-30 minutes for squares, until firm to the touch.

Comments Off on “Sugar Free” Fruit and Nut Squares/Muffins (thanks again Anne S.!)

Filed under "Sweets"/Cakes/Etc, Breads/Muffins/Biscuits, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo)

Anne Seck’s Apricot Almond Tea Bread

Lightly sweetened, and very dense.

  • 1 cup chopped apricots
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp almond or vanilla extract
  • ½ cup chopped almonds (I like to use 3/4 cup slivered almonds)
  1. Soak apricots in the boiling water for 10 minutes, set aside, and cool.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and the baking powder.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat together the sugar and butter until fluffy.
  4. Into the sugar-butter mixture, add the egg, and the almond extract.  Beat well.
  5. Stir in the apricots and the water they’ve been soaking in.  Stir well to combine.
  6. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture, adding almonds at the same time, and stir gently.  Do not over mix!
  7. Smooth into a greased loaf pan, and bake for about 50 minutes at 350F.

NOTE:  this batter is extremely thick and does not “pour”, so don’t be alarmed when you are mixing it!

Comments Off on Anne Seck’s Apricot Almond Tea Bread

Filed under "Sweets"/Cakes/Etc, Breads/Muffins/Biscuits

Pie Crust

From America’s Test Kitchen:

“Vodka is essential to the texture of the crust and imparts no flavor—do not substitute. This dough will be moister and more supple than most standard pie doughs and will require more flour to roll out (up to 1/4 cup).”  Your vodka needs to be refrigerated for this recipe, and you’ll need a food processor.

For one 9-inch Double-Crust Pie

  • 2½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour (divided into 1½ cups and 1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch slices
  • ½ cup chilled solid vegetable shortening , cut into 4 pieces
  • ¼ cup vodka , cold
  • ¼cup cold water

1. In food processor, spin 1 ½ cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.

2. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

3 Comments

Filed under "Sweets"/Cakes/Etc

Fraser’s Birthday Brownies (for Fraser and Prasanth)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line an 8”x8” pan with 2 pieces of parchment paper, leaving overhangs on each side (one piece going each direction across the pan).  Have 3 eggs at room temperature.

NOTE:  Each layer needs to be completely cooled before the next layer is added!

Brownie Layer:

This is extremely fudgy, and great on its own.

  • 8 Tbsp butter ( ½ cup)
  • 8oz/227g bittersweet chocolate, chopped into pieces
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup white granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  1. In a large saucepan, melt the butter and cook it until it is fragrant and light brown.  Remove from the heat, and cool for 5 minutes or so.
  2. Add the chocolate and melt.  Stir until smooth.
  3. Add the sugars and mix well.  The mixture will have a grainy texture.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until the batter is glossy and thick.
  5. Add the vanilla, and then the salt and flour, mixing only long enough to incorporate the flour.
  6. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes; the edges should be firm, but the centre slightly soft, yet puffed.  Remove from oven and chill completely in pan (if you want to hurry it along, put it in the fridge or freezer until just firm).

Peanut Buttery Layer:

  • ¾ cup smooth peanut butter (the regular store-brand kind works well – save the organic for toast)
  • 8 Tbsp butter, room temperature ( ½ cup)
  • ½ cup icing/confectioner’s sugar
  • ½ tsp kosher salt

Place all ingredients into a food processor, then process until smooth.  Spread evenly onto cooled brownie bottom, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cold and set.

Ganache Layer:

I use about half of this recipe, and store the remainder in the fridge or freezer for a few weeks.  If it firms up before you get a chance to spread it, just pop it into the microwave for about 5 seconds, or warm it in a bowl over some hot water.

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 10 oz/280g bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp corn syrup (not usually part of ganache, but it works for these brownies)
  1. Place chopped chocolate into a medium mixing bowl.
  2. In a small heavy saucepan, heat cream until almost at a boil.  Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and add the corn syrup.
  3. Let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes.
  4. Gently whisk the mixture until completely smooth, trying not to add any air in the form of bubbles.
  5. Pour ganache into the brownie/peanut butter pan, making the layer as thick as you want it.  Let it set in the fridge.

Finishing:

Lift out the three-layer brownie by the parchment “handles”, and place on a cutting board.  Slice the slab into 16 squares, wiping the knife clean after every slice.  Wrap each piece very well, put into a container, and store in fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Comments Off on Fraser’s Birthday Brownies (for Fraser and Prasanth)

Filed under "Sweets"/Cakes/Etc, food