Tag Archives: baking

Doug’s Cowgirl Cookies

Doug makes these cookies from an old recipe book; the authors of the recipe are Bev Almageur and Nancy Fry of Fargo, North Dakota.  Doug has tweaked the original recipe a little.

Makes 4 dozen

Preheat oven to 350F

  • 1 ¾ cups flour
  • 1 (to 2 tsp) baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • + anything else you want to add, eg, dried cranberries, nuts, raisins, sunflower seeds, chopped dried fruit, etc
  1. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and set aside.
  2. Combine the shortening and sugars, and cream well. Beat in the eggs until thoroughly blended.  Add vanilla.
  3. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet, and mix well.
  4. Add oats and chocolate chips.
  5. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet.
  6. Bake at 350F for about 12 minutes or until golden brown.

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Lyn’s Cheddar Honey-Mustard Muffins

Have been making these since the seventies, when my dear friend Lyn gave the recipe to me.  Sweet and savoury at the same time; delicious cut in half and toasted.

Picture of muffins

Lyn’s Cheddar Honey-mustard Muffins

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 3 Tablespoons honey mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup melted butter, cooled
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated (plus a few more shreds for on top)
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.  Butter a 12 muffin muffin tin.
  2. In a medium bowl, thoroughly combine dry ingredients with a whisk.  Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the wet ingredients together until smooth and uniform.
  4. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, adding the cheddar cheese about half way through mixing.  Do not over mix.
  5. Scoop batter into 12 muffin cups.
  6. Bake at 400F for 20 minutes.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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English Country Bread from Food 52

I was thrilled when I discovered this recipe at Food 52; it really is just like the “country bread” that I love so much in England.  It is dense, and substantial.  It’s unbelievably quick to make and bake (no kneading or second rising — just a 45 minute rise,  then into the oven).

    • 1 package dry yeast, or equivalent (I use 2 1/4 teaspoons of bread machine yeast)
    • 1 teaspoon white sugar
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 3 cups unsifted, unbleached all purpose flour OR 3 cups Canadian whole wheat bread flour (with 1 Tablespoon gluten flour, if desired)
    • 3/4 cups boiling water
    • 1/2 cup cold skim milk
  1. Stir dry ingredients together and set aside.
  2. Add boiling water to cold milk in a large bowl.
  3. To the milk & water, add half of the flour mixture and beat well by hand. Stir in the rest of the flour mixture, kneading in the last of the flour.  Knead a few times and shape into a “bread shape” 🙂
  4. Place the dough into a greased loaf pan.
  5. Cover with a clean towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 45 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  7. Bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes (I consistently need to bake the bread for 8 additional minutes).
  8. Remove from pan and allow to cool.

For original recipe, including the story behind it, go to Food 52 . Liz Schmitt, aka “Liz the Chef’s” blog is here.

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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.

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Mixed Grain Bread

  • 1 ¼ to 1 ⅜ cups water
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons liquid honey
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup white bread flour
  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat bread flour
  • 3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
  • ¼ cup old-fashioned oats (not instant)
  • ¼ cup wheat bran
  • ¼ cup bulgur
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • (a big handful of dried cranberries)
  • (extra sunflower or pumpkin seeds for the topping)

Add all ingredients to the bread machine, except for the cranberries and the extra seeds.  Set the machine on the dough setting and start.

At the end of the first kneading, add the dried cranberries.

When dough is ready, remove from pan and knead a few times on a floured surface.  Shape into a long, narrow roll, and place on a buttered (and sprinkled with cornmeal if you like) baking sheet.  Cover with plastic wrap or damp dish towel, and put in a warm place to rise again until doubled in bulk,about 25 minutes or so.  Poke the risen bread with a finger:  if the indent stays, the bread is ready to bake, if it bounces back out, give it another few minutes to rise.

Preheat the oven to 425F, and place a pan of water onto the bottom of the oven if you like crisp crust.

Brush the top of the bread with a wash (milk, water, beaten egg, butter), and gently put the seeds onto the loaf.  You can make a few shallow slashes with a very sharp knife, or a few snips with sharp kitchen scissors.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes.  Loaf is done when it reaches 200F inside.

 

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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

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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.)

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Pecan Bars (that are not too sweet)

I can’t even begin to express how good these are!   They freeze very well when wrapped in parchment paper, then sealed up in a heavy-duty ziplock freezer bag.

Crust:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup pecans, toasted and chopped coarsely
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 6 Tbsp cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Filling/top:

  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup corn syrup
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 Tbsp dark rum (don’t leave this out)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 ¾ cups pecans, toasted and chopped coarsely

For the crust:

  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350F.  Line an 8” square pan with foil, then butter the foil.
  2. Process the flour, brown sugar, pecans, salt, and baking powder in a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, about 5 pulses.  Sprinkle the butter pieces over the top and pulse until the mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse cornmeal, about 8 pulses.
  3. Sprinkle the mixture in the prepared pan and press firmly into an even crust using your fingers.  Bake until the crust starts to brown, 20 to 24 minutes.

For the filling:

  1. As soon as the crust finishes baking, whisk the brown sugar, corn syrup, melted butter, rum, vanilla, and salt together until just combined.  Whisk in the egg until incorporated, then pour over the hot crust.  Sprinkle the pecans over the top.  Bake until the top is brown and cracks start to form across the surface, 25 to 30 minutes.
  2. Let cool completely on a wire rack without removing from pan.  This will take about 2 hours.
  3. When completely cool, use the foil to lift out of the pan, and cut into squares or triangles.

 

 

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Yet Another Banana Muffin

This recipe is from a Healthy Eating booklet distributed by the Ontario government, and is very good!  I add about 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips to the recipe.  Without chocolate chips, each muffin has 8g fat, 3g fibre, and 4g protein.

  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (approximately 2 medium bananas)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed (we use a “split” flax seed that doesn’t need refrigeration — adds a wee bit of crunch)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350F, and line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the bananas, brown sugar, yogurt, oil, and egg.
  3. Add flour, ground flax seed, baking soda, baking powder, and nutmeg.  Using a wooden spoon, stir just until blended.  Do not over mix!
  4. Spoon batter into prepared muffin pan.  Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until tops are firm to the touch and a tester inserted in the centre of a muffin comes out clean.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Chewy, Crusty White Bread (bread machine)

French style bread

A recipe made with half whole wheat, and half white bread flour, divided into two baguette-sized loaves.

This recipe is for a bread machine; I always bake it in the oven with a tray of boiling water sitting on the bottom of the oven.  I’m not a fan of white bread — taste or nutrition-wise), but this bread is delicious!  I have recently been trying to add whole wheat bread flour to this recipe to make it more nutritious; 1 cup of whole wheat bread flour plus 2 cups of unbleached bread flour gives pretty much the same results.  This video, with chef Ciril Hitz, is excellent if you want to make better baguettes.

Makes a 1.5 lb loaf, or buns.

Place these ingredients in your bread machine in the order recommended by the machine’s manufacturer:

  • 1 ¼ cup water, plus up to 2 Tbsp extra, depending on how the dough is looking
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1½ teaspoons butter
  • 1½ teaspoons sugar
  • 3 cups bread flour, white or unbleached
  • 2 teaspoons bread machine yeast

Set machine on “dough” setting, and start.  Keep an eye on the dough as it is kneading; if, after 5 or 10 minutes it seems dry, or the machine is struggling, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough forms a smooth, soft, pliable ball that is slightly tacky to the touch.  Weather will affect the amount of water the dough will need.

When the dough cycle is finished, tip the dough out onto a well-floured counter or cutting board.  Let it rest for a couple of minutes.  Shape it into a 15″ log (or any other shape you like).

Sprinkle a cookie sheet with cornmeal, or grease; the cornmeal gives the crust a nice crunch.  Place the dough onto the cookie sheet and brush with oil.  Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in bulk.  A good way to test for whether its ready to go in the oven or not is to poke the side of the loaf gently; if the depression from your finger remains, then the bread is ready to be baked.

Preheat oven to 425F.  I like to place a shallow pan of boiling water on the bottom of the oven, as this gives a crustier bread.

You can slash the top, glaze it with egg wash or milk, or anything else you like to do with bread.

Bake at 425F for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown and 200F in the center.

Remove from oven, and cool on a rack.

FOR HOTDOG OR HAMBURGER BUNS:

  1. Cut the dough into 9 equal pieces.
  2. For hotdog buns, shape into ropes.  For hamburger buns, shape into balls.
  3. Place onto greased or “cornmealed” baking sheet, 3″ apart.
  4. For hotdog buns, flatten till they are ½” thick. For hamburger buns, flatten slightly.
  5. Bake at 375F or until golden brown, about 12-15 minutes.  Cool on rack before slicing.

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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?

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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.

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Matrimonial Squares

This recipe, adapted from  the Laura Secord Canadian Cook Book (1966) is the closest approximation to my Grandmother’s squares. My Grandmother was born in 1910.

Preheat oven to 350F

Grease an 8” square pan

Date Filling:

In a small saucepan combine:

  • 2 cups chopped dates
  • ¼ to ½ cup corn syrup
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Bring to a boil, and simmer until thickened and soft.  Set aside to cool.

Mix together in a bowl:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cups lightly packed brown sugar

Stir in:

  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/3 cups rolled oats

With a fork, blend in

  • 2/3 cup butter, melted

Stir until crumbly.

Press half of the crumb mixture into the prepated pan.  Spread with the cooled date mixture.  Cover with remaining crumbs and pat down until smooth.

Bake in a 350F oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until light golden brown.  Cool and cut into squares.

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