Tag Archives: cookies

High Tea – The Recipes

I’m going to kick off this lovely list of recipes by leading an internet round of applause for Janice, who thwarted the curse of too-warm hands and went ahead and baked with pastry anyway. “I don’t do pies,” Janice once told me. She and pastry are not friends. After many failed attempts at pies and other treats, she informed the other women in her family of her frustration. There was much head shaking and several despairing “tsk tsks,” and Janice was informed that alas, she was born with warm hands and that pastry would forever mock her. But behold, she did it anyways! And I think we can all agree that her spiced nut palmiers were a rousing success. Perhaps the curse of the PASTRY OF DOOM has been broken!

Spiced Nut Palmiers

Janice’s Spiced Nut Palmiers (Recipe from The Perfect Afternoon Tea Book, published by Hermes House)
75g/3oz/ ½ cup chopped almonds, walnuts or hazelnuts
30ml/ 2 Tbsp caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
2.5ml/ ½ tsp ground cinnamon
225 g/ 8 oz puff pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten

Makes about 40

Lightly butter two large baking sheets, preferably non-stick. In a food processor, process the nuts, sugar and cinnamon until finely ground. Transfer half the mixture to a small bowl.

Sprinkle the work surface and pastry with caster sugar and roll out the pastry to a 50 x 20 cm / 20 x 8 inch rectangle about 3mm/1/8 inch thick, sprinkling with more sugar as necessary (Sophia’s note – of course I read that as “more sugar than necessary). Brush the pastry lightly with beaten egg, sprinkle evenly with the nut mixture in the bowl.

Fold in the long edges of the pastry to meet in the centre and flatten with the rolling pin. Brush with egg and sprinkle with most of the remaining nut mixture. Fold in the edges again to meet in the centre, brush with egg and sprinkle with the remaining nut mixture. Fold one side of the pastry over the other.

Using a sharp knife, cut the pastry crossways into 8mm/ 3/8 in thick slices and place the pieces cut-side down about 2.5 cm/ 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets.

Spread apart the pastry edges to form a wedge shape. Chill the palmiers in the fridge for at least 15-20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 220 C/425 F.

Bake the palmiers in the preheated oven for about 8-10 minutes until golden, carefully turning them over halfway through the cooking time. Watch the palmiers carefully as the sugar can easily scorch. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container.

Victoria Sandwiches Mrs BeetonKim’s Victoria Sandwich

I thought it would be fun just to post a picture of the recipe directly from the Mrs. Beeton book (click to make it bigger).

Something to note with older recipes – read them through a few times slowly before commencing. Kim discovered this the hard way: “Stir the sugar and the yolks of eggs together – done! Then add the butter – done! …melted. Dammit!”

Kim served the Victoria sandwich with rhubarb curd, which was positively dreamy. Who cares if it turns out a little runny, because then you have a perfect excuse to drown your cake in the extra. Nom!

Victoria Sandwich with rhubarb curd

Jennifer’s carrot cake roulade with pineapple cream cheese

I have never attempted a roulade. I somehow manage to use all of my kitchen and have been known to overlap into the living room when I’m baking. I imagine requiring an actual island instead of a kitchen island if I were to try to do this. But if someone else wants to go ahead and create this lightly spiced, moist and lovely cake, I fully support this endeavour.

Click here for the recipe.

carrot cake roulade

Jennifer’s advice is to follow the hints on how to roll a roulade:

While the cake is still hot, lay a clean, unscented, lint-free kitchen towel over it. If the towel is long, extend one end about 1-1/2 inches beyond a short side of the cake and don’t worry about the other end. Invert a large rack or cutting board over the towel. Holding both the baking sheet and the rack with protected hands, invert the cake. Remove the baking sheet and parchment.

Using both hands and starting from the short end with the shortest towel overhang, roll the cake and the towel up together. Let cool for 30 minutes.

Carefully unroll the cake; it should look wavy and both ends should curl. (It’s OK if there are some small cracks.) Let cool completely, 10 to 15 minutes.

Jean’s Tea Bag Cookies

These were adorable (and extremely tasty) and would make amazing gifts or place setting treats.

tea bag cookie

From Jean: The fiddely part of this cookie is making the string tag. The string is crochet cotton.

1/3 cup butter, softened
½ cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 ½ cup all purpose flour
100 gram dark chocolate

Mix first 5 ingredients. Shape into a disk and refrigerate 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375 C
Roll dough out about ½” thick. Cut shapes (make a template of a teabag). Poke a hole in the top using a straw.
Bake 5-10 minutes. Let cool.
Melt chocolate, dip bottom of eat “tea bag.” Lay on wax paper to set. Thread through the hole, attach the “tag” at other end of string.

eccles cakesJean’s Eccles Cakes

Because crafting tea bag cookies was not enough, Jean made Eccles Cakes as well. These are so perfect for tea time, and would be great for a picnic as well.

From Jean: Cut brown sugar down to ½ cup if you wish.

4 Tbsp butter
1 cup currants
¾ cup brown sugar
½ tsp allspice
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cinnamon
1 pkge puff pastry
¼ cup milk
1 large egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 400 C. Line baking sheet with wax paper.
In a small saucepan, melt butter. Stir in currants, allspice, nutmeg and cinnamon. Mix thoroughly. Remove from heat.
Roll pastry out about ¼” thickness. Cut out rounds, using about 3” circle.
Divide currant mixture between circles; moisten the edges with milk; fold over & pinch edges using a fork.
Turn pastries upside down, gently roll out to make a flatter/wider pasty. Do Not Break The Dough.
Brush each cake with beaten egg. Sprink with sugar (I used organic raw sugar).
Make 3 parallel cuts across the top of each cake.
Bake 15-20 minutes, remove and sprinkle with more sugar.

Jane’s Whipped Short Bread Cookies

To make these cookies, Jane used an electric food gun that she had picked up at a garage sale “many, many moons ago.” Check out the Proctor-Silex Electric Food Gun “Super Shooter” circa 1970. I love it – it makes me imagine Jane is some kind of culinary detective, out to solve kitchen mysteries like The Case of the Collapsed Soufflé, or The Dangerous Dame Tart Shell and the Crime of the Disappearing Custard.

Whipped shortbread cookies

From Jane: I am sure you could produce a nicely shaped cookie and achieve the same result using a pastry bag and large decorating tip; Wilton brand has a multitude of choices.

1 lb of butter
1 cup of icing sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch sifted with 3 cups of flour

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add flour and cornstarch, whip until fluffy.
Drop by teaspoon on cookie sheet or use an “electric food gun”.
Bake at 300 until golden brown, approx 10-13 minutes for 3″ cookie.
Makes 7 dozen plus cookies dependant on size.

Gerri’s Fluffy Scones

Gerri served these with homemade cherry jam and Devon Cream, which I have now learned that you can pick up at Nester’s here in Summerland. I’ve always preferred cream over butter on scones. Combine with jam and add a lovely cup of Earl Grey, and I’ll be in my happy place until all the crumbs are gone.

Scones with cherry jam and cream

3 1/2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter, chilled and diced
1 cup whipping cream (unwhipped)
½ cup – or a little more milk
2 tsp lemon juice
1 egg beaten

Preheat the oven to 360 C. Sift the flour & baking powder in a large bowl, stir in sugar and salt. Cut the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Mix together the milk and lemon juice – the mixture will curdle slightly. Add the beaten egg and pour into the flour mixture. Mix gently just until the dough forms. Do not keep mixing. Pick up dough the size you wish your scones to be and place on a parchment lined pan. The less fussing the lighter they will taste.

Bake approx 15 – 20 minutes depending on size.

Dorthea’s Sticky Ginger Lemon Drizzle Cake

This cake is rich and warming and very Moorish. Served with extra cream to compliment the hit of ginger, it’s very addictive. The recipe is from the UK.

Sticky Ginger Lemon Drizzle Cake

From Dorthea: The lemon curd was tricky because I had no idea what a stem ginger ball was. Instead I used candied ginger and found a jar of ginger marmalade to use instead of the stem ginger syrup. I think those worked well as substitutes.

So for the lemon curd mixture, I diced the candied ginger, about 2-3 tablespoons, and then combined it with the lemon curd in the blender again. Actually I have an old Braun coffee grinder that I use for spices, etc., and I used it to dice the candied ginger, and to mix as much of the lemon curd as would fit in the coffee grinder, and then I mixed the rest of the curd (about 1/2 – 2/3 cup altogether).

The cream icing filling was the main problem because I clearly didn’t use a firm enough cream. The recipe calls for cream cheese, heavy cream, ginger syrup, and icing sugar. I used whipped cream, cream cheese, ginger marmalade, and icing sugar. The whipped cream didn’t stay firm, which is why it was oozing out of the middle of the cake. While some is supposed to flow gracefully down the side of the cake, this just flowed. I should have used something firmer- perhaps all cream cheese, or even sour cream, or some of Gerri’s double cream!

Laura’s Cream Puffs

Choux pastry is another thing I haven’t yet tried, however Laura has convinced me that it is easier than I have imagined it to be, so I’m officially going to give it a go.

I love some of the images or notes I get from our bakers, with recipes dug up from obscure books or magazines. Here is the choux pastry recipe – notice the note “April 85.” (click to embiggen) Nearly 30 years and still churning out perfect Cream Puffs!

Cream puff recipe

Now you have two fillings to choose from:

Hazelnut Cream Filling
1 egg
1 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp instant coffee
1/8 cup finely chopped hazelnuts (filberts)
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 cup milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp hot water
2 Tbsp heavy cream, whipped

In a large bowl, beat egg with flour, sugar, instant coffee, hazelnuts and cornstarch until well blended.

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add milk and bring almost to a boil. Remove from heat and slowly whisky the hot milk into the egg mixture. Return all the ingredients to the saucepan, cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly until thickened and comes to a boil. Remove from the heat.

Add vanilla extract and hot water to the thickened mixture, stirring to combine. Set aside to cool until firm. Fold in the whipped cream. Refrigerate until thick.

When ready to serve, horizontally slice the top of the cream puff to create two pieces, a top and a bottom. Fill each cream puff bottom with a spoonful of the filling. Close with the top section.

Additions to this recipe may include flavoured extracts for liquors, cocoa, food colourings, or flavoured waters.

cream puffs with hazelnut cream

Maple Crème Filling
1 egg
1 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 cup milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp hot water
3 tsp pure maple surup
2 Tbsp heavy cream, whipped

In a large bowl, beat egg with flour, sugar and cornstarch until well blended.

In a large saucepan over medium high heat, add milk and bring almost to a boil. Remove from heat and slowly mix the hot milk into the egg mixture. Return all the ingredients to the saucepan, cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened and comes to a boil. Remove from heat.

Add vanilla extract, hot water and maple syrup to the thickened mixture, stirring to combine until dissolved. Set aside to cool until firm. Fold in the whipped cream. Refrigerate until thick.

When ready to serve, prepare cream puffs as with hazelnut filling.

Ming’s Lavender Lemon Shortbread

I forgot to take a photo of these very pretty cookies! These are the very same shortbread biscuits that Ming to which treats her B&B when they arrive. It’s important to remember to use culinary lavender. Ming’s trick to never overdoing the lavender flavour is to add lavender to her sugar and give the flavour time to mingle, guaranteeing a subtle and aromatic cookie experience.

Makes 1-1/2 dozen cookies

½ cup (113 grams) butter, room temperature
1/3 cup (45 grams) powdered sugar
Zest of 2 lemons, divided
1/2 teaspoon lavender buds, ground or chopped finely
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
In large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, powdered sugar, zest of 1 lemon, lavender, vanilla, and salt until the mixture looks like a coarse sand.
Mix in the flour until the dough comes together.
In a small bowl, mix together the remaining lemon zest and granulated sugar with your fingers until fragrant. Set aside.
Lightly flour surface, and roll out shortbread to ¼ inch thick.
Sprinkle on the lemon scented sugar and lightly press it into the shortbread with the rolling pin.
Cut out shapes and transfer to a baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Finger Sandwiches

With so many sweets on offer, we all dove in to the plates of finger sandwiches provided by Vanora and Sandra. Vanora carved out quaint cucumber and tomato sandwiches into little triangles. And because finger sandwiches can dry out quickly, you don’t have to feel bad about eating a lot of them really quickly. In between you can cover them with a London-inspired tea towel!

baked goodies London Underground tea towel

Notes from Sandra: When you’re ordering bread ask for the white sandwich loaves sliced lengthwise and order a few days in advance . Two loaves will make enough for a full serving plate of sandwiches…I usually order 3 loaves – any leftovers are great for bread stuffing. I usually make ham and egg ribbons, rolled egg with olives, rolled salmon with gherkins, and cream cheese and asparagus.

finger sandwichesSandra’s Finger Sandwich Fillings

Egg Salad
4 eggs, salt and pepper, chopped chives, dash of prepared mustard, mayonnaise
salt and pepper, dill, mayonnaise

Chopped gherkins or pickles, salt & pepper, and mayonnaise.
Mix cream cheese and butter until fluffy and easy to spread – usually 1/2 and 1/2

For ribbons – leave crusts on – and butter three long slices with Cream cheese and butter mixture – and then use egg filling between 2 slices and then ham filling. Makes a 3 layered sandwich – cover these with a damp linen tea towel as you make them, as the bread drys out quickly. I usually make the night before — leave the large sandwich whole and then slice the next day. To slice – first remove all crusts and then slice into equal size fingers. Put in a container – back in the fridge – and keep covered with damp tea towel until ready to serve.

For rolled (Pinwheel) sandwiches – take a slice on bread – cut off the crusts at the short end – spread with cream cheese mixture and top with filling. Line up olives or gherkins at one short end and then roll – keep in the roll – overnight – with damp tea towel covering. Cut the next day. Cut end crusts off first and then cut each roll into 4 or 5 pinwheels. I usually fiddle with the olives so that you get the pimento showing on each sandwich (like a bullseye).

Salmon with gherkins – do the same as above – when lining up gherkins – cut the end of both end of the pickles to give them a flat edge – it looks nicer when sandwiches are sliced.

Asparagus – Add a bit more cream cheese to butter/cream cheese mixture – take long slice of bread – cut off all crusts and then cut long slice into squares – usually will make 4 squares – spread with cream cheese mixture – then lay two asparagus spears diagonally (and top to tail) then fold corner to corner and fasten with a toothpick – keep in fridge with covered with tea towel – slice in two when ready to serve.

I usually make them the day before – slice them the next morning – and then they can keep all day in the fridge until ready to serve.

mini bakewell tartsSophia’s mini bakewell tarts

Another UK recipe from BBC Goodfood, and not surprisingly the photo on the website looks much more lovely than how mine turned out.

And finally we have Judith’s Mini Lemon Tarts! I don’t have the recipe but the secret is they are made with a shortbread case. Judith reported that these are were more than a little difficult when it came to trying to extract them from the tin when they were finished. Apparently greasing is still a requirement even when dealing with something that is made of almost pure butter!

Mini lemon tarts




Filed under cookies, Recipes, scones, Tarts, tea

Ancient Grain Recipes, Part 1

There were so many of us at our last meetup that I’m posting the recipes in the two parts.

Ming’s Pearl Barley and Berry Pudding with Spelt Flour

Pearl Barley Spelt Berry Pudding

I loved this pudding. I think it would a wonderful thing to make in the winter with summer berries hauled out of the freezer.

From Ming: You can cook the barley the night before, making it super easy to make! It’s delicious with a dollop with crème fraiche, and it looks pretty too!







150g unsalted butter, softened
180g icing sugar, plus extra to finish
2 medium eggs
150 g natural yoghurt
2 tsp vanilla extract
100g uncooked pearl barley, drained and dried slightly
(yields 300g cooked)
250g plain flour (substitute Spelt Flour)
2 tsp baking powder
300g mixed frozen berries
Preheat oven 180 degrees C / 350 degrees F

Cook the barley first, drain and let dry a bit by setting aside.
Grease a round 20 cm baking dish (or 6 to 8 ramekins for individual servings)
Beat butter and sugar until slightly fluffy. Add eggs and beat until smooth. Stir in the yoghurt and vanilla, then fold in the barley.
Mix the flour and baking powder together first, and add into batter. Mix with wooden spoon until evently mixed. flour and baking powder until evenly mixed. Pour batter into greased baking dish, and sprinkle the frozen berries over the batter. Fill the baking dish no more than three-quarters full and bake for about 45 minutes for large dishes (less for ramekins), just until a skewer comes out clean.

Double chocolate quinoa cookies

Chantelle’s Double Chocolate Quinoa Cookies
Taken from the recipe book: Quinoa 365: The Everyday Superfood. Yes! An entire cookbook based on Quinoa. No one can deny how fabulous it is now.

1 cup (250ml) butter, softened
1 ½ cups (375 ml) white or cane sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp (5ml) pure vanilla extract
2 cups (500ml) quinoa flour (or one cup (250ml) quinoa flour and one cup (250ml) all-purpose flour.
¾ cup (185ml) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp (5ml) baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup (250ml) semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F (250C)
Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Blend in the eggs and vanilla and stir until the mixture has a smooth consistency.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and blend well. Stir in the chocolate chips. Roll into 1 ¼ inch (3cm balls). If the dough is too soft to roll, put dough in the freezer for 20 minutes.

Place the balls 2 inches (5cm) apart on a large, ungreased baking sheet and flatten slightly with the palm of your hand. Bake on the centre rack for 8-10 minutes. The cookies will be puffy and soft when they are removed from the oven, but will flatten when cool. Allow the cookies to set for at least one minute on the baking sheet before removing to cool on a rack. Store in a sealed container for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1 month. You can also freeze rolled unbaked cookies in a sealed container or a plastic bag until needed: simply thaw before baking.


Dorthea’s Amaranth breakfast loaf, from Bob’s Red Mill.
It seemed all of use enjoyed the crunch of the grains in this bread. Dorthea served it with berries and cream but I was happy with it just on its own.

From Dorthea: I substituted 1/2 cup of Organic Spelt Flour in place of half of the white flour.
This recipe is available on the Bob’s Red Mill website.


Jean’s Amaranth Banana Walnut Bread
Before we begin, a note from Jean: All those ancient grains had a PROFOUND effect on my regularity-if you get my drift. Eat with caution!!!!!!!

Preheat oven 350′
5 x 9 in loaf pan-greased
1. Toast 1/2 c. amaranth seeds in non-stick sauté pan about 4-5 minutes over medium heat.
2. Add the seeds to 1 1/4 c. boiling water-stirring well. Return to boil, then reduce heat to low and cook, covered, 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Allow to cool about 30 minutes. I put it in a smaller bowl to cool faster. ( any left-overs can be refrigerated in a container with a tight fitting lid)
1 c. cooked amaranth
2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1 c. mashed bananas (about 3)
1/2 c. liquid honey
2 eggs
3 Tbsp. melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix together whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder and walnuts. Beat the bananas, honey, egg, butter and vanilla together in another bowl. Add cooked amaranth and mix well. Pour this mixture over the dry ingredients and mix just to combine. Pour into prepared pan. Bake about 1 hour or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pan. I always line my baking pans with a strip of parchment paper so it hangs over the end-using it to lift out the loaf.



Lisa’s Gluten-Free Pizza with Quinoa Crust

Lisa has dubbed this “the working mom’s pizza” because it took no time at all to whip up and was decidedly delicious.

From Lisa: Makes: 1 x 8-inch pizza. The recipe can easily be doubled to make 2. I made 3 small pizzas with the doubled recipe.

•¾ cup quinoa, soaked for at least 8 hours, rinsed and drained
•¼-1/2 cup water
•1-2 Tbs. olive oil
•½ tsp. salt
•1 clove garlic, sliced (optional)
•2 tsp. Italian seasoning (optional)


1.Soak the quinoa in filtered water for at least 8 hours. *This step is crucial as the recipe won’t work with dry quinoa. Rinse and drain the quinoa.

2.Add all of the ingredients except the olive oil to a food processor or a high-speed blender and combine until the dough resembles pancake batter. Adjust the water as needed.

3.There are 2 methods for cooking the dough (this is the method I used: lj). In the oven: Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and coat either a cast iron skillet or an 8-inch round cake pan with the olive oil.

Allow the skillet or cake pan to heat up in the oven for about 10 minutes (this is good to do while you’re preparing the dough and chopping the veggies). Remove skillet/cake pan from the oven and immediately add the quinoa “dough,” using a spatula to even it out as needed. Place the dough in the oven to bake for 15-20 minutes. Flip the dough and bake for another 5-10 minutes, or until brown and crispy.

4.OR, On the stove: Heat a non-stick pan with the olive oil over medium heat. Pour the dough into the pan and use a spatula to even the dough out as needed. Allow to cook for approx. 5-10 minutes or until the bottom is turning brown and crispy. Flip and cook for another 5 minutes, or until evenly cooked on both sides.

5.Now comes the fun part! Add whatever toppings you want and feel free to be creative.

6.I like to place the pizza in the oven under the broiler after adding the toppings just to heat everything up a bit, without really cooking the veggies (raw veggies are always better!).

7.Serve and enjoy!!


Mike’s Red Fife Flatbread Pizzas
These would be very versatile and I can’t wait to try them when I’ve got company over for dinner.

From Mike: The recipe for the flatbreads is absurdly simple (though I’m not sure mine turned out like the picture on the website). I used Red Fife Wholegrain flour.


500g plain flour
Half a tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
6 tbsp Filippo Berio Olive Oil
Approx 300ml lukewarm water
Extra olive oil for cooking

Put the flour into a large mixing bowl, add the bicarbonate of soda and the salt. Pour in 4 tbsp of the oil and mix a little then gradually add most of the water kneading the dough all the time you need to make a smooth but firm dough so do not be tempted to add all the water at once.
When the dough is silky looking, cover with cling film and let it rest for 30 minutes. If you are in a hurry you can use it straight away.
Divide the dough into 8 and knead each portion into a smooth ball. Roll each one out to a diameter of approx 13cm (5”). Heat a cast iron frying pan or griddle pan until hot. Lightly brush a round of dough with oil and place in the pan and cook over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Bubbles will start to form on the surface of the top, brush this side with oil then turn over and cook until the second side is golden brown. If you want a crisper pizza, use more oil in the pan.
Transfer the cooked piadine to a plate and cover to keep warm while cooking the rest. If you wrap them in a tea towel to keep warm, they will soften if you prefer then like that.

Cooks Tip

These pizzas can be used to scoop chopped salads, or can be topped with various ingredients. For all of these topping suggestions finish each Pizza with a drizzle of Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive oil.

Sophia’s Apple and Spelt Cake

Apple spelt cake

I would not recommend this cake. It calls for five apples, and I don’t know how long you would actually have to bake it in order to make it less dense and squishy. (or as Kim would say, “bouncy”). Somehow I managed to both overcook and undercook it at the same time. I am perplexed and disappointed, and will not make it again. If you want to give it a go, you can find the recipe here.

7 grain and spelt breadTina’s Seven Grain Spelt Bread
Here I admit I had a whole slice to myself. If anyone else noticed the mammoth dent in the tapenade, that was also me. I have no regrets.

1 ½ cup of water (or a bit more)
4 ¼ cups of flour in ratio:
2 cups Spelt flour from True Grain
1 ¼ cup white flour, unbleached
1 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 Seven-Grain Cereal
2 Tbsp sugar
1 ½ tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp bread machine yeast

serve with Mediterranean Olive Tapenade

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Filed under Recipes

October meetup -the recipes!

Whew, this took me too long to post. Too many long days last week and not enough pouring over recipes. Before we start, next month we’ll be gathering at Cherry Tree Quilts.

This time it will be on a Wednesday night, November 13. The “Free from” theme will give us all a chance to try out some healthy alternatives. Whether it’s wheat free (try baking with spelt or kamut, available at True Grain), gluten free, or sugar free, get creative! Hope to see you there!

And now, the recipes and more good memories from our evening at Grape Escape Guest House.

Dorthea’s Spider Web Florentines
These were so rich and delicate and absolutely lovely. Click here for the recipe from Martha Stewart.
Spider Web Florentines

Sophia’s Mahoosive Pumpkin Cake

First of all, glance at how it was supposed to look. Instead, mine resembled an upright orange brick with a brown lump on top. Cake designer I am not. Perhaps I made a mistake using the recipe for a chocolate orange marble cake, instead of a sponge cake. And perhaps something a little less sickly sweet that the over-the-top cream cheese icing.

Needless to say there were a lot of leftovers. However, I have learned that the crew at Big O Tire is more than happy to see a plate of cake on a Friday morning.

Pumpkin Cake

blue cheese crackersBlue Cheese Crackers
While my cake was somewhat of a disaster, the Halloween blue cheese crackers were scrummy. They are so rich but because they were tiny it made them easier to nibble. The recipe is also from Martha Stewart. Go, Martha!



Gerri’s Smoked Butternut Squash Soup

I never thought I would want a smoker, but after tasting this soup it is on my wish list of cookery gadgets. This soup was perfect with Gerri’s herbed scones (see below)

smokey butternut squash soup4 lbs. butternut squash (Pulp and seeds from squash)
3 strips bacon
1 onion, diced
2 firm apples, diced
1/2 c. apple juice
1/8 c. white wine vinegar – good quality (see Kim)
6 cups water stock with veggie stock flavouring Or 6 cups chicken or veggie stock
1 c. heavy cream
8 springs fresh thyme
1 cinnamon stick

Take pulp out of squash and reserve for rest of recipe and cut in half – smoke butternut squash in smoker until soft. Or if you don’t want too intense a smoked flavour, smoke and then finish cooking in an oven until soft.

Dice and sauté bacon, add apples and onions. Sauté until translucent. Add apple juice and white vinegar and reduce until almost dry. Add chicken stock, squash pulp, and cinnamon.

Simmer for 40 minutes. Add heavy cream and strain through a fine sieve. Add thyme and steep for 30 minutes. Strain again and serve.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Gerri’s Herbed Corn Scones
Recipe from “Brunch” by Marc Meyer and Peter Meehan
Makes twelve – three inch square scones – a sweet/savory scone
herbed sconeFinely chop 1.5 cups cold butter and pit in the freezer for up to ½ hour while you measure out the rest of the ingredients.
Preheat oven to 400 deg.
Combine in a large bowl and mix well together – chill for 15 minutes after mixing

  • 3 cups all – purpose flour
  • ¾ cup cake flour
  • 1 ¾ cups cornmeal
  • 1 tables.
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ cup fresh finely chopped FRESH herbs such as rosemary or sage or thyme (or all if you like)
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar

Combine in a small bowl:

  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tablesp. Honey
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ to ½ cup buttermilk

NOW: cut frozen butter pieces into flour mixture until it looks like pebbles in the flour
Add the egg, honey and milk mixture as quickly as possible – don’t overwork dough.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and very gently bring it together and roll our 1 inch thick with a lightly floured rolling pin or pat gently with hands.

Cut scones out with a cutter or into 3” inch squares with a knife and put on a baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper. Brush tops of scones with a bit of melted butter, dust with turbinado sugar and gently press some fresh chopped herbs (whatever you used) onto top of each one. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes – watch so they don’t get overdone.

Jan’s Candy Corn with Fennel

Okay so it wasn’t baked. I think we’re all finding that having some savoury treats is the only thing balancing out all the rest of the extravagance.
pumpkin popcorn1. Popcorn – ½ cup. Pop it!

2. Pumpkin seeds* – 1 cup (green, hull-less) Roasted

3. Salt – 1 ½ teaspoon
Baking soda – ½ teaspoon
Fennel seed** – 2 teaspoons

Grind together slightly with mortar and pestle.

4. Butter – ½ cup
White sugar – 1 cup
Golden sugar – ½ cup
Light corn syrup – ½ cup

Boil together, stirring gently, in large sauce pan til 300 degrees F ***

Add pumpkin seeds and spice mix to sugar solution in saucepan.
Using greased silicone spatula, add 1/3 of the popcorn. Mix well.
Add remaining popcorn. Avoid unpopped kernels. Stir. Coat.
Place on parchment to cool. Store in an airtight container.

*Kakai pumpkin produces hull-less, green seeds; try pistachios if you don’t have pumpkin seeds
**Fennel seed is similar to anise; try anise if you don’t have fennel

Lisa’s Wacky Cake
Let’s all take a moment to recognize the awesomeness that Lisa showed by spending all that time cutting liquorice individual legs for all those tiny spiders.

Makes 48 spiders (or halve the recipe for 24)
chocolate spidersUse a mini-muffin pan. Spray with non-stick coating. Preheat oven to 350

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup cold water

Preparation: 5 minutes!

In a large mixing bowl, mix flour, sugar, cocoa, soda and salt. Make three wells in the flour mixture. In one put vanilla; in another the vinegar, and in the third the oil. Pour the cold water over the mixture and stir until moistened. Pour into muffin tins. Bake at 350°F. oven for 15 minutes, or until it springs back when touched lightly.

Ice with your favourite icing! I used a chocolate and a vanilla icing, but you can use anything you like.
For the eyes, I used smarties. For the legs I used licorice (RJ’s Soft Raspberry licorice, which I bought at Summerland IGA) I cut the licorice into thin strips, and then pinched each “leg” in the middle to bend it. Please refer to the photo for finishing. Remember, each spider has 8 legs! But I couldn’t fit 8 eyes on the body 😉

Kim’s Pumpkin Pumpkin Bread (Valentine Farm October 2013)
This was so tasty and pretty, not to mention a great way to use up a glut of autumn squash.

Pumpkin Bread

  • 1 ½ cups cooked pumpkin or squash
  • 2 teaspoons dried active yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups unbleached white flour (more or less)
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 small egg beaten with
  • 2 teaspoons water

Preheat oven to 425°and grease a cookie sheet.
Place yeast and sugar in bowl of mixer, add warm water and stir. Leave to stand for 10 minutes or until froth has formed on top.

Stir in pumpkin.
Add two cups whole wheat flour and mix.
Add salt and start adding white flour half a cup at a time. Mix to a dough. If too sticky, add more flour. Depending on the type of flour you may not need all of it.

Knead by hand (or if using using dough hook) for 10 minutes. Place completed dough in an oiled bowl and cover with a towel until doubled in size (about one hour – depends on how cold your kitchen is –
mine is freezing.)

Uncover bowl and turn over leaving the dough resting underneath for a further 10 minutes.

Remove bowl and twist off a large walnut sized piece of dough to form the stem of the pumpkin, leaves and tendril. Form the remainder into a round ball pinching the seam together well on the under side.

Place dough ball on a greased cookie sheet. Flatten dough ball slightly and cut eight or nine slashes around the sides. This is tricky as you don’t want to cut too deeply as the dough will open too much; slash too shallow and the pumpkin effect is lost.

Take half of the small piece of dough to form the stem.

***This next step is not necessary but looks charming. Roll out the other half and free hand the shape of a leaf or leaves. Cut out. Take the remaining scraps and roll together then twist several times to make tendril. With your thumb make an indentation in the centre of the pumpkin and place the leaves, stem and tendril.***

Cover and let rise for about an hour until doubled.

Glaze pumpkin with egg and water mixture being careful not to glaze the exposed slashes.

Bake for 25 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when tapped.

chocolate tomb tiffinI’m missing some of recipes, including the peanut butter “dead man’s treats,” Janice’s rich orange cheesecake (which was delightfully decorated with mice for our Halloween theme), Cheryl’s ghoulish chocolate cake with meringue bones, Vanora’s chocolate tomb Tiffin, and Belinda’s beautiful brownies and also her gorgeous spider web sugar cookies which were so wonderfully decorated.

Thanks so much to everyone who attended and I hope you’ll be able to come along next month!

I leave you with this poem, “I like to bake,” sent to me by Gerri. When are those calories going to start dissolving?

chocolate graveyard cake

Orange cheesecake

spider web cookies

Dead mans treats


Filed under Recipes