Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Cinnamon Swirl Loaf

If you are looking for a simple loaf that works perfectly for coffee break or afternoon tea, look no further.  This recipe came from my friend Mary many decades ago, and has been tweaked a little over the years.  The beauty of this particular recipe is that you get 'two-for-one'!  One to share with your family and friends today...and another one for the freezer for another day!

Cinnamon Loaf
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 4 rounded tablespoons sugar
  • 4 teaspoons cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.  Spray two 9 x 5 loaf pans with oil (line bottom with parchment paper if desired).
  2. For topping, mix sugar and cinnamon and set aside.
  3. In mixing bowl, combine sugar and oil with mixer on low speed. Beat in eggs.
  4. Sift together dry ingredients; add alternately with milk. 
  5. Pour about 1/4 of batter into each of the prepared pans.
  6. Sprinkle about 1/4 of cinnamon topping evenly over each pan.
  7. Repeat with remaining batter and cinnamon/sugar mixture.
  8. Draw knife through batter to marble.
  9. Bake in pre-heated oven for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.
  10. Let cool in pan on cooling rack for about 15 minutes.  Loosen edges with knife and remove from pan carefully.
  11. Cool completely before slicing.  


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Pina Colada Pie

If you can't join your friends who are vacationing in Hawaii, how about enjoying the flavours of Hawaii at home? This creamy pineapple coconut macadamia pie is a tropical delight.
  • pastry for a 9-inch pie (homemade or store-bought)
  • 3 cups fresh pineapple, cut into 1/2" pieces
  • 3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut, divided
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup whole milk (or light cream) 
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted 
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Line a 9" pie plate with pastry.  Trim and crimp edges.
  2. Place pineapple pieces evenly over pastry-lined pie plate.
  3. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of coconut.
  4. Put remaining ingredients in a blender; blend until smooth and creamy. 
  5. Pour the mixture carefully over the pineapple and coconut in pie plate. 
  6. Sprinkle macadamia nuts and 1/4 cup coconut on top.
  7. Bake in a 350°F degree oven for 50-55 minutes or until firm in centre and golden.
  8. Cool.  Refrigerate.
  9. Serve with whipped cream.
Serves 8

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Mashed Potato Waffles

Not sure what to do with leftover mashed potatoes?  Here's something you may not have thought of.  Pull out your waffle iron and cook up some savory waffles for a brunch treat.

  • 2 cups cold leftover mashed potatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped chives (or green onions)
  • 6-8 slices bacon, fried to a crisp and crumbled or cut into pieces
  • sour cream
  1. Preheat waffle iron on medium heat and spray with cooking oil.
  2. Combine potatoes, eggs, flour and salt in mixing bowl. 
  3. Stir in cheese and chives.
  4. Place a small scoop of mixture onto each section of the Belgian waffle iron and close lid.
  5. Cook until waffles are golden and crispy (about 5 minutes).
  6. Remove waffles and repeat with remaining potato mixture. 
  7. Serve waffles topped with sour cream, chopped green onion, and bacon pieces.
Yield: 8 small potato waffles

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Cinnamon Swirl Pancakes

With Valentine's Day right around the corner, here's an idea for a special brunch.  Combine cinnamon pancakes with a maple cream cheese drizzle and you have a winner. Add fresh fruit and bacon and call it brunch.

Buttermilk Pancakes:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Cinnamon Filling:
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  1. Stir melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon together until combined.  
  2. Put filling into a small Ziploc bag and set aside.
  1. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in mixing bowl.
  2. Whisk in buttermilk, oil and egg until somewhat smooth (do not overmix). 
  3. Heat large skillet or griddle over medium heat.Spray with cooking oil.
  4. Drop mounds of batter (about 1/2 cup each) onto the griddle.
  5. Snip a corner off the baggie of cinnamon filling and squeeze a spiral of filling onto each pancake.
  6. Once top begins to bubble, flip carefully and cook until golden on the other side.
  7. Transfer to baking sheet and keep warm in oven, until ready to serve.
  8. Serve with warmed cream cheese drizzle (instructions to follow).
  Maple Cream Cheese Drizzle:
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  1. Place cream cheese and  syrup in a medium glass bowl and heat in microwave for 30 seconds. 
  2. Beat with mixer or wire whip, adding 2 tablespoons milk for consistency.
  3. If lumpy, heat for another 20-30 seconds.
  4. Beat until smooth.
 *If you don't care for the cream cheese topping, serve with your favorite pancake syrup.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Fig and Caramelized Onion Flatbread

Whether you serve it as an appetizer or call it a meal, you are bound to enjoy the pairing of sweet fig preserves with  melted cheese and onions.  How did I happen upon this recipe? While Christmas shopping at Winners just before Christmas, I met a friend in the kitchen section of the store who had her arms full of miscellaneous stocking stuffers, including several jars of fig jam.  She told me they couldn't get enough of fig jam and cheese flatbreads, and that I had to try it. I came home with the Christmas gifts I had gone in search of...and a jar of fig jam. After tiring of big meals and Christmas feasts, I decided to make a simple lunch of fig and onion flatbreads one day.  We quite enjoyed them!  Cut into small wedges to serve as a party appetizer, or into larger meal-sized pieces.
  •  2 - 7" store bought naan flatbreads 
  • 3 tablespoons fig jam 
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 ounces / 60 grams brie cheese, thinly sliced (or fresh goat cheese, crumbled) 
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Spread each flatbread with a thin layer of fig jam (about 1 1/2 tablespoons on each).
  3. Top with brie slices and caramelized onion (as specified below).
  4. Place flatbreads on baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake for about 7 or 8 minutes, until bread is slightly crisp and cheese is melted. 
  5. Drizzle with additional balsamic vinegar or balsamic reduction, if desired.
  6. Slice and enjoy!
Caramelized Onions:
  1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. 
  2. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes, until slightly caramelized. 
  3. Add the 1 tablespoon balsamic and cook for another 1 minute, until fragrant. 
  4. Season with salt and pepper.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Caramel Pecan Shortbread Bars

'Tis the season to indulge in holiday sweets.  Today I pulled out a recipe which was sent to me by my sister-in-law during the Christmas season many years ago, and has always been a hit!  How can you go wrong?  They are rather like having homemade turtles on a shortbread base.

  • 1/2 cup icing sugar (confectioner's sugar)
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon whipping cream
  • 1 cup flour
  • 30 vanilla caramels, wrappers removed  (1 small package Kraft caramels 269 gr) 
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 2 cups pecan halves

  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (either milk chocolate or semi-sweet)
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons whipping cream
  • sea salt (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 325 F.
  2. Prepare 9-inch square pan by lining with parchment paper. (Form a sling with the parchment to allow for easy removal of the bars later, by having paper overhang the pan on two sides.)
  3. For shortbread base, combine sugar, butter and cream.  Beat until well blended. Gradually add flour until incorporated. Press evenly into bottom of prepared pan. Bake 15-20 minutes or until firm to touch.
  4. In a glass bowl, add caramels and whipping cream and heat for 1 minute in the microwave oven. Remove and stir. Return to microwave oven for 30 seconds at 50% power. Repeat process until caramel and cream mixture is completely smooth. Pour in pecans and stir to coat. Spoon on top of shortbread and spread evenly.
  5. Combine chocolate chips, butter and cream in small bowl and heat in microwave on medium-high for 1 minute. Repeat heating at 15 second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Drizzle over bars.
  6. While cooling, sprinkle with coarse sea salt (optional). 
  7. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  8. Remove from pan to cutting board and slice into bars.
  Yield: 24 bars

Is it not special to have handwritten recipes on the original cards from decades ago? Wishing you all wonderful memories and moments as you prepare for Christmas this year.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Roasted Brrussles Sprouts and Cranberries

Brussels sprouts, cranberries and pecans combine to make a tasty and colourful side-dish for the holiday feast. Add a drizzle of balsamic reduction to kick it up a notch. 

  • 1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecan halves
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic reduction to drizzle over, optional *
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Prepare rimmed baking sheet by lining with parchment paper.
  3. Toast pecan halves in a dry skillet over medium heat until golden; set aside.
  4. Trim brussels sprouts and cut in half. 
  5. In a medium bowl, toss brussels sprouts with olive oil.
  6. Spread on prepared baking sheet and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Roast for 20-30 minutes (until tender inside), stirring about halfway through cooking.
  8. Transfer roasted brussels sprouts to serving platter; sprinkle with cranberries and pecan halves.
  9. Drizzle with balsamic reduction.
  10. Serve immediately
*Use bottled balsamic reduction or make your own. In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup balsamic vinegar with 1/2 cup sugar and bring to a boil, while stirring. Reduce heat; then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until quite thick, stirring occasionally.

Serves six.