Friday, December 31, 2010

Eggnog-Cranberry Bran Muffins

I'm still full from Christmas dinner, how about you?

This recipe may help you use up two of your Christmas dinner leftovers...cranberry sauce and eggnog! And in an effort to put a healthy twist on it, I wrapped it all up in a bran muffin :)

Based on a classic recipe, I replaced the original buttermilk with light eggnog and added a small spoonful of sauce in the middle of each muffin.

  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 2 cups bran
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 3/4 cup light eggnog
  • 1/2 cup cranberry sauce

What to do
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Line 12 muffin cups with liners.
  3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
  4. Stir in bran.
  5. In another nowl, cream shortening for 2 minutes.
  6. Add sugar and beat till light and fluffy.
  7. Add egg and beat to combine.
  8. Add molasses and beat to combine.
  9. Add dry ingredients to wet altenately with eggnog.
  10. Stir until just combined after each addition.
  11. Fill muffin cups 1/2 way with batter.
  12. Add 1 teaspoon of cranberry sauce to centre of each of muffin.
  13. Cover with additional bran mixture.
  14. Cups will be at least 3/4 full.
  15. Bake for 15-18 minutes.
  16. Makes 12 muffins.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Smokin' Turkey Chili

Those of us with left over turkey, please raise your hand!!!

We roasted a 19lb gobbler and I was worried it might not be enough for our table of 12. In the end, there was no need to worry as there was enough for  2nds and a few 3rds. There was also more than enough for leftovers.

To make sure none of the turkey went to waste, I decided to make turkey chili and freeze it for lunches in the New Year. And although gluttony is a definite Christmas tradition, the New Year will bring renewed thoughts of a healthy eating so little added fat and lots of added fibre make this a delicious and healthy left over dish!

This recipe also reminds me of the thanksgiving back in university that I made a big pot of turkey chili for a group of wasn't until we were almost done eating that I realized I forgot to put turkey in it!!!! Lol.

  • 2-3 cups of diced, cooked turkey
  • 2 large cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (14 oz) white beans, rinsed
  • 1-2 cans (14oz) black beans, rinsed
  • 1 jalepeno, diced (keep seeds in if you like it on the hot side)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (I like chipotle sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1 large red sweet pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 teaspoon liquid hickory smoke

What to do:
  1. Until transparent, saute over medium heat onions, red pepper, and jalepeno in pan lightly coated with cooking spray. (about 5 minutes).
  2. In large pot, add all ingredients including sauteed vegetables.
  3. Simmer over medium heat until heated through and bubbling.
  4. Serve or place into smaller containers and freeze for future use.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Tree Cake Pops

Cake Pops have certainly been one of 2010's trendy sweets! And why not! They are sweet, delicious, super easy to make and most of all fun to look at and make! Check out Bakerella's site for great ideas and different versions of cake pops.

As part of my 6 year old's school Christmas Market,  I made Christmas Tree Cake Pops. I made about 40 of them and I'm pretty sure they were gone in 60 seconds once the Market opened.

I think Tree Pops are the best cake pops to start with because you don't have to get a smooth coating of candy on the tree - the bumpier it is the more it looks like a real tree!

  • 1 cake mix
  • 1 tub of frosting
  • lots of sprinkles
  • 1 package of green candy melts
  • 40 lollipop sticks - 6 inch

What to do:
  1. Bake and cool a 9 x 13 cake mix - any flavour.
  2. Break up in food processor and pulse until only small crumbs remain.
  3. Pour into large bowl.
  4. Add one regular size container of cream cheese frosting (less sweet than other flavours).
  5. Using fork, wooden spoon etc, mix with crumbs until well combined.
  6. Using your hands (gloves are good option for this), mould into cone shapes approximately 2 inches tall and 1 or 1-1/2 inch wide at base.
  7. Freeze for 15 minutes.
  8. Melt a package of green candy melties as per package directions.
  9. Pour sprinkles into another small bowl.
  10. Using lollipop sticks, dip one end into candy and insert into base of cake pop.
  11. Dip cake into melted candy. I found it easier to use a small offset spatula to help evenly coat the trees.
  12. Quickly dip into sprinkles (candy dries quite qucikly and then sprinkles wont stick!).
  13. Place completed cake pop into styrofoam or florist base.
  14. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Mom's Christmas Shortbread!

I think there are as many recipes for shortbread as there are Moms. This is my Mom's recipe. Christmas is not Christmas without these cookies. My Mom sent them 4,000 miles each year while I was in university. Many would end up in crumbs, but trust me, they tasted just as good that way as they did whole! They are amazing, simple and forever THE Christmas cookie in my house.

3 cups flour
2 cups butter
1 cup icing sugar
1 cup corn starch

What to do
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and corn starch.
  3. Beat butter until fluffy.
  4. In three additions, add flour mixture to butter and mix after each addition.
  5. Using small cookie scoop, drop cookies on to cookie sheet and press lightly with a fork.
  6. If desired, dust with sanding sugar or other sprinkles.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes until slightly golden at edges.
  8. Cool for 5 minutes and remove to cooling rack.

  • These cookies can be frozen and, in fact, taste great straight from the freezer.
  • Crumbs also taste great sprinkled over ice cream!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

3D Decorated Christmas House Cake

I made this cake for my daughter's cake walk at her school. A cake walk, in case you are not familiar, is a musical chairs type game. There are numbers written on paper that are placed on the floor, then the same number of kids as numbers walk around the paper as music plays. When the music stops the kids step on a number. All the numbers are then put in a hat and one is pulled out. The child that stood on that number wins the cake. There were over 30 great cakes this year and the kids had a great time.

This cake is a double layer 13x9 double layer cake on the bottom and the house (looks like a smurf house, doesn't it?!) is made from a giant cupcake pan with the bottom of the cupcake inverted.

The decorations including the door, window, and fence are made from candy moulds and the 2 trees are stickless cake pops.

It was such fun to make, hopefully the boy who won it thought it was just as much fun to eat it!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

2010 Canadian Weblogs Awards - A good week!

2010 Canadian Weblog Awards
This week has been pretty dang good! I had a good hair day on Monday, Tuesday I found out "Within the Kitchen" has been been named the one of the top five finalists in the 2010 Canadian Weblogs Awards (Food & Drink),  and Wednesday I spent making fabulous cake pops for my daughter's school bake sale (pics later this week... of the cake pops, not the good hair).

Oh wait, did I mention I was named a TOP 5 FINALIST in the 2010 Canadian Weblogs Awards!!!!!!!!!!! Woohoo!

"The Canadian Weblog Awards are intended to promote good weblogs of all genres from across Canada year round through regular interviews, articles, and the nomination, judging, and award process that culminates with the announcement of the top three weblogs in each category on January 1st...1st, 2nd, and 3rd places in each category will be determined by a (fabulous) jury.

I am honoured to be in such good company! I started this blog just over a year ago to share my recipes and love of life in my kitchen but it has turned into much more. I have come to know so many great bloggers and food lovers, received positive feedback on my efforts and have absolutely loved every minute of this blogging journey.

This nomination is simply icing on the cake.... a 10-layer, double fudge chocolate cake with decadent, dreamy cream cheese icing!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Orange Cranberry Loaf

Before this recipe, I thought I didn't like cranberry loaf. The cranberries were always too tart and often bakers would try to cover up this tartness with glazes that were too sweet. Then I tried this recipe! It was a eureka moment in my cranberry loaf life. You see, the cranberries are put into the blender (or processor) before you add them to the batter. The little pieces mean no big cranberries to make my taste buds cringe. There is also no need to add a glaze. The orange juice in the batter adds a layer of subtle sweetness. Try this recipe if you like cranberry loaf and especially if you don't. Enjoy!

1 cup cranberries
1-3/4 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
3/4 orange juice
1/4 cup vegetable oil

What to do
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease 8-1/2x4-1/2x3-inch loaf pan.
  3. In a blender coarsely chop cranberries.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. In another bowl, beat together egg, orange juice and oil.
  6. Add the oil mixture to the dry ingredients and beat for 30 seconds.
  7. Stir in berries.
  8. Pour into prepared pan.
  9. Bake for 60-65 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Creamy Caramel Dip with Fruit Skewers

I have been making this fruit dip for quite a few years and it always gets rave reviews from adults and kids alike. It's quick and easy to prepare and when you're in a rush, just buy a Costco size fruit platter to go along with the dip and you're ready for your holiday potluck!

1 8oz package of cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 cup milk
1 package (3.4 oz) vanilla (or butterscotch  or chocolate) pudding

What to do:
In large bowl, beat together cream cheese and sugar until smooth.
Beating well after each addition, add sour creadding. m, vanilla, lemon juice, milk and pudding.
Cover dip and refrigerate for at least 60 minutes.

Makes about 3.5 cups.

Great with fruit salad or skewers of fruit...or for older kids offer tooth picks to dip larger chunks of fruit and pound cake.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Orange Juice Cake with Pecan Caramel Glaze

I know using shortening isn't really popular in baking anymore but I recommend trying this lovely orange juice cake. I found the recipe the first cookbook my mother gave me - it was 1st published in the 70s by a flour company.

The cake itself has a faint orange taste but the glaze has the intense orange flavour that makes this dessert. My family says it tastes even better on the 2nd and 3rd day.

Notes: When broiling the topping don't take your eyes off of it! It burns quickly and I think 90 seconds was perfect - caramelly but still gooey. Also, I would wait at least 30 minutes until you remove it from the pan as the cake is quite delicate. In fact, I would leave it in the pan next time.

1.5 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2/3 cup milk
3 tbsp frozen orange concentrate, thawed
2 eggs

1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
2 tbsp flour
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tbsp frozen orange concentrate, thawed
1/2 cup chopped nuts (whatever you like), optional

What to do:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour a 8x8 cake pan.
Sift flour, baking powder, salt and sugar into medium mixing bowl.
Add shortening and milk.
Beat for 1 minute at low speed.
Add 3 tbsp OJ concentrate and eggs.
Beat for 2 minutes at low speed.
Pour batter into pan and bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden.
Just before cake is done, mix all of topping ingredients together.
Spread on top of cake.
Broil cake for 2 or 3 minutes till topping is golden.
Cool about 15 minutes.
Invert cake on wax paper, then turn again so topping side is "up" on serving plate.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Prime Rib Hash

Prime Rib or Standing Rib Roast was on sale last week at my local grocery store. To be honest, I find Prime Rib too fatty for my taste but I thought it might be good in hash. I was right! This is an easy and delicious recipe for left over prime rib!

3 cups cooked and cubed prime rib
3 cups cubed baked or boiled potatoes (preferably ones baked with the roast!)
1 large onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 small turnip, diced and steamed or boiled
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch piece of ginger, minced
1 sweet potato, cooked and diced
1 tbsp butter
smoked paprika
1 tbsp savory, chopped

What to do

In large nonstick skillet, melt 1 tbsp of the butter over medium heat; cook onion and pepper until softened, about 3 minutes. Add potatoes, beef, garlic, ginger, turnip, smoked paprika, salt and pepper; heat, stirring, until heated through, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat; mix in savory. Enjoy!
Makes 4-6 servings.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Drivin' Me Nuts Granola

This is my second granola recipe. I've adapted this one from one of Chef Michael Smith's. I think homemade granola is infinitely better than anything we can buy. Even more important? It's waaaaay cheaper to make it at home. In fact, if you have oats then you can probably whip  up a batch today with ingredients already in your cupboard. Nuts, dried fruit, a little oil, some form of sweetener - honey, maple syrup, or aguave syrup all work.

This version has maple and aguave syrups as well as pecans, almonds, bran and milled flax. The aroma while it baked was heavenly! Granola also makes a great hostess gift over the holidays and a little bit more healthy than a batch of cookies or box of chocolates (not that there is anything wrong with either of those!)

4 cups large flake oats
1/2 cup milled flax
1/2 cup wheat bran
1 cup pecan bits
1/2  chopped almonds
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup aguave syrup
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1 cup dried cranberries

What to do
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix in large bowl, oats, flax, bran, salt, pecans and almonds.
  3. Heat the oil, both syrups, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in a small sauce pan until quite warm/hot - NOT BOILING OR EVEN SIMMERING - just hot in order to bring out flavours.
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. Add oil mixture to dry ingredients and mix until well distributed.
  6. Spread granola on large pan lined with a silpat.
  7. Bake for 40 minutes but every 10 minutes remove from oven and stir granola to ensure even cooking and browning.
  8. Cool completely after baking is complete.
  9. Add cranberries.
  10. Store in airtight container.
  11. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Orzo "Risotto"

As promised here is "orzo" risotto. When I first considered this recipe, I was worried the orzo pasta would be too mushy but it comes out perfectly in this recipe, adapted from Mark Bittman's Kitchen Express.

This recipe goes well with Spicy Grilled Shrimp Kabobs.

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp oil
1/2 cup of your favorite herb - cilantro, basil, chives etc
1 lb orzo
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup grated Parmesan
2 tbsp butter

What to do
  1. Heat stock until simmering.
  2. Heat oil and 2 tbsp butter in large saute pan or pot until foamy (medium heat).
  3. Add herbs and saute for one minute.
  4. Add orzo and cook and stir until orzo is translucent (3-5 minutes).
  5. Stir in stock, one ladleful at a time, waiting for liquid to be absorbed by pasta before adding another ladle of stock.
  6. Repeat until the pasta is al dente and liquid is mostly absorbed (8 minutes).
  7. Add cheese and remaining butter. Stir until creamy. If needed add a little bit of extra stock. Enjoy!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Spicy Grilled Shrimp Kabobs

This recipe is based on Mark Bittman's "Famous Spicy Shrimp". It's quick and easy. Even better than quick and easy, it's delicious. I used prawns, not shrimp - which in Canada are the bigger version of little shrimps.

1 lb prawns
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp cayenne

What to do
  • Using a mortar and pestle or a small food processor, make a paste of paprika, oil, cayenne, oil, lemon juice, and pinch of salt.
  • Rub the paste over the prawns.
  • Using wooden skewers that have been soaked for about 1/2 hour in water, spear 3-4 prawns per skewer.
  • Grill for 2 minutes per side over medium heat.
  • Enjoy!
Delicious with orzo risotto...recipe to come this week.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Blueberry Maple Scones

Scones are sweet biscuits that originated in Scotland. Even though I am half Scottish, I don't have any family scone recipes but what I do have is a great recipe from "Nova Scotia Cooking" by Charles Lief and Heather Mackenzie. I made these this morning and using very cold butter. The scones came out nice and flaky because of that. I also made them on the small side so they are perfect for kid snacks (and mine!). Enjoy!

1/4 cup castor sugar
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, cold
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup half and half
1 cup blueberries

What to do:
Yield is between 18-24 scones depending on size.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in large bowl. Whisk together.
2. Add butter to flour bowl and using a pastry blender (or two knives) mix together until it resembles course crumbs.
3. In another bowl, add egg, syrup, and half and half.
4. Add blueberries to DRY ingredients, gently.
5. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add liquid bowl in one go.
6. Combine gently with a fork until dough starts to come together.
7. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead 8 times.
8. Roll or pat dough into a square that is approximately 1 cm thick.
9. Cut into squares about 3 cm or so wide. Cut these squares in half to form triangles. (A pizza cutter works well.)
10. Place triangles on an ungreased baking sheet.
11. Bake for 10-14 minutes, until golden.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Marbled Chocolate Banana Bread

This is my "go to" recipe for chocolate swirl banana bread. It is from one of my Cooking Light magazines. That issue has many variations of banana bread. This is my favorite and is dog-earred and splattered with ingredients to prove it!

Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine

Yield: 1 loaf, 16 slices (serving size: 1 slice)
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
1/2 cup egg substitute or 2 large eggs
1/3 cup low-fat yogurt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Cooking spray

What to Do

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt with a whisk.

Place sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 2 minute). Add banana, vanilla, eggs or egg substitute, and yogurt; beat until blended. Add flour mixture; mix until just moist.

Place chocolate chips in a medium microwave-safe bowl, and microwave at HIGH 1 minute or until almost melted, stirring until smooth. Cool slightly. Add 1 cup batter to chocolate, stirring until well combined. Spoon chocolate batter alternately with plain batter into an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Swirl batters together using a knife. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

Nutritional Information (using egg substitute)
Calories:183 (23% from fat)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

No Bake Halloween Marshmallow Pops

Aren't these Halloween treats just the cutest things EVER?? I found the original recipe on the Decorated Cookie blog and her amazing photos here. Her zombies are fantastic, as are her amazing cookies! If you haven't visited her site please do just for pure cookie enjoyment!

My versions are less zombie-like and certainly not as professional looking but my son's preschool buddies (and their parents) loved them! Not one was left by the end of the party :)

Go to the Decorated Cookie site for the recipe. The only thing I added was the "Hair". To do that, I dipped the heads into corn syrup and used a tooth pick to scrape off all but a thin film of syrup. I then dipped the head top into a bowl of back and orange sprinkles. I also found it easier to insert the lollipop sticks before I did any other work.

Easy Hoisin Chicken Lettuce Wraps

How many of us are trying to reduce our carb intake?? One easy way is to replace tortillas with lettuce! The lettuce provides great crunch and a freshness factor to any dish you might use with a tortilla especially tacos and fajitas. Last night I whipped up this chicken dish and thought I'd share it with you. It's quick and easy and very adaptable. I used left over chicken but pork, beef, shrimp or even fish could be used ...or go vegetarian and leave meat out all together. You can also add in any veggies or sauce you like. Serve with a little sour cream or extra chilli sauce and you are ready to go.

2 cups cooked diced chicken, or pork or beef
1 can black beans
1 red bell pepper, thinnly sliced
1 red onion, thinnly sliced
1 can water chestnuts, chopped
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
3 tbsp hoisin sauce
1/2 cup salsa or corn and chile salsa (TJs)
1 cup shredded carrots
1 head lettuce
1 tsp cumin
few dashes hot sauce

What to do
Cut lettuce head in half. Wash and remove top layer or two of leaves. Remove core. Set aside.

Spray large wok or saute pan with cooking spray. Heat pan over medium high heat. Once hot, add onions and saute for 3 minutes. Add carrots, water chestnuts and peppers and saute 2 more minutes. Add cooked chicken, beans, tomatoes and cumin and saute 3 minutes more. Add salsa, hoisin sauce and hot sauce. Stir together ensuring mixture is heated through.

Place mixture in serving large bowl or platter and serve with lettuce so everyone can make their own wraps. You could also make the wraps yourself and serve to guests but sometimes the leaves wilt because the mixture is so hot.

I serve them with sour cream but you could serve with a side of extra hoisin sauce.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Alien Donuts - A Daring Baker Challenge!

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

Well, ok, the "alien" wasn't part of the challenge but it is almost Halloween so they seemed fitting! Aren't they cute?!? My 4 and 6 yr olds loved helping dip the donuts (or doughnuts, as we write in Canada).

Sadly, I had some rather aggrevating camera problems during this challenge so I don't have any pics of the actual making of the dough process :( Also, if you don't have time to make the actual donuts at home, you could always buy some at Timmy's or Dunkin' and decorate yourself to save some time and effort.

The icing is good 'ol Betty Crocker Vanilla that I coloured with some food colouring gels. Then I microwaved the icing until it was quite thin and melted (maybe 15-20 seconds per cup of icing). Acting quickly, I dipped the donuts and donut holes and then placed them on a cooling rack on a pan. To help them set I then put them in the freezer for 20 minutes. Once set, I carefully placed the holes on top of the donuts and decorated with licorice and m&m's.

The whole process made for quite an afternoon! Messy and fun!

Here is Alton Brown's recipe for yeast donuts in case you decide to try these for yourself!
Yeast Doughnuts
Equipment required
  • A Dutch oven or very deep skillet
  • Deep fry thermometer, candy thermometer or any thermometer that will withstand and measure temperatures of up to 380 degrees
  • Metal slotted spoon, metal slotted spatula or tongs
  • Cookie sheets or a wire rack lined with paper towels to allow doughnuts to drain
  • Electric hand mixer or stand mixer, or a bowl and a spoon if you are able to utilize a lot of elbow grease
  • Doughnut or biscuit cutters or you can use a glass and a piping tip for the center

Preparation time

Hands on prep time - 25 minutes
Rising time - 1.5 hours total
Cooking time - 12 minutes

Yield: 20 to 25 doughnuts & 20 to 25 doughnut holes, depending on size

  • Milk 1.5 cup / 360 ml
  • Vegetable Shortening 1/3 cup / 80 ml / 70 gm / 2.5 oz (can substitute butter, margarine or lard)
  • Active Dry Yeast 4.5 teaspoon (2 pkgs.) / 22.5 ml / 14 gm / ½ oz
  • Warm Water 1/3 cup / 80 ml (95°F to 105°F / 35°C to 41°C)
  • Eggs, Large, beaten 2
  • White Granulated Sugar ¼ cup / 60 ml / 55 gm / 2 oz
  • Table Salt 1.5 teaspoon / 7.5 ml / 9 gm / 1/3 oz
  • Nutmeg, grated 1 tsp. / 5 ml / 6 gm / ¼ oz
  • All Purpose Flour 4 2/3 cup / 1,120 ml / 650 gm / 23 oz + extra for dusting surface

Canola Oil DEPENDS on size of vessel you are frying in – you want THREE (3) inches of oil (can substitute any flavorless oil used for frying)

What to do:
  1. Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the shortening. (Make sure the shortening is melted so that it incorporates well into the batter.)
  2. Place the shortening in a bowl and pour warmed milk over. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes. It should get foamy. After 5 minutes, pour the yeast mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk and shortening mixture, first making sure the milk and shortening mixture has cooled to lukewarm.
  4. Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment of your mixer (if you have one), combine the ingredients on low speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined.
  5. Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well.
  6. Change to the dough hook attachment of the mixer and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, approximately 3 to 4 minutes (for me this only took about two minutes). If you do not have a dough hook/stand mixer – knead until the dough is smooth and not sticky.
  7. Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  8. On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8-inch (9 mm)thick. (Make sure the surface really is well-floured otherwise your doughnuts will stick to the counter).
  9. Cut out dough using a 2 1/2-inch (65 mm) doughnut cutter or pastry ring or drinking glass and using a 7/8-inch (22 mm) ring for the center whole. Set on floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.
  10. Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 °F/185°C.
  11. Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side or until golden brown (doughnuts only took about 30 seconds on each side at this temperature).
  12. Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan.
  13. Decorate as you wish once cooled.
  14. Enjoy!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Apple Crumble with Berries

If you are ever in Vancouver, British Columbia during UBC Apple Fest you MUST go! This year visitors could buy more than 60 varieties of apples and learn about another 140 types! They expected to sell almost 30,000 lbs over two days to approximately 14,000 visitors.

My kids loved the Johnny Apple Seed Kids Area where they had their faces painted, made apple blossom rings our of tissue paper and learned more about apples than I thought possible.

We bought 2 types of apples that we had never tried before. The first was a bag of Winter Banana apples. Winter Banana apples are an heirloom variety. Winter Banana Apples are pale yellow with faint pink blush. The flavor is a nice combination of sweet and mild, with a definite banana aroma and a crisp texture.

The second was a bag of Topaz apples. The Topaz is a sharper-tasting apple and is medium-large in size. The skin colour is yellow, almost completely overlaid with red and crimson flush. The flesh is crisp. I preferred the Topaz to the Winter Banana but both taste wonderful.

Although both varieties were great straight out of the bag, I also used them in this apple crumble. This is a quick dessert using apples, frozen berries, and instant oatmeal (I ran out of my usual long cooking oats). Quick. Simple. Delicious.

4-5 large apples, peeled and sliced  (1/4 inch)
1 cup mixed berries - frozen or fresh
juice of one lemon
2 tbsp rum
1 tbsp flour
1/4 - 1/3 cup brown sugar (depending on how tart apples and berries are)
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg

3 packs instant brown sugar oatmeal
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup cold butter cut into small pieces

What to do
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix the first 8 ingredients in a 1.5 quart baking.
3. In another small bowl place topping ingredients together. With hands, quickly rub butter into oatmeal and cinnamon until crumbly.
4. Sprinkle over top of apple mixture.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes until juices bubbles and top browns.
6. Enjoy!