Archive for the ‘Baking’ Category

Peanut, peanut butter. Jelly!

What is your favourite kind of peanut butter cookie?

I always figured I was a peanut butter cookie purist.  No chocolate chips or anything else added.  And I *do* love them.  However, I am starting to come around to those with chocolate chips in them.  So, today I decided to experiment with different additions.


I made regular.

Then I added dollops of strawberry jam to the tops of some of those a la thumb-print cookie style.  (I have a beautiful jar of home-made strawberry jam in the fridge made by one of my lovely friends.  It’s disappearing at an alarming rate!)

Half-way through forming the cookies I added some chocolate chips to the batter and formed some of those.

Then I dolloped some strawberry jam on top of the chocolate chip peanut butter cookies.  Is that going to far?

I don’t think so.  Peter didn’t think so.  When offered the choice, he went straight to the chocolate chip jam cookies.  And he says it is “Mmmmmmmmrmrmrmmm.”

What else do you think would be good in or on peanut butter cookies?

p.s. When did this turn into a cooking blog?  That’s all I seem to be doing lately…  not so much gardening.


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A couple of weeks in a row now, two of my friends have come over to my place and we’ve started cooking together.  One hasn’t had very much experience with cooking and she asked if I could help her learn how to make some things.  That’s how it started.  It’s always a good time of drinking coffee and tea and sharing our unemployed stories (neither of them are currently working either).

Creaming the Sugar, Butter and Eggs

We started off with blueberry muffins and chocolate zucchini pineapple muffins.  The blueberry muffins were amazing and jam-packed with blueberries.  The chocolate zucchini muffins were good, but not as amazing as the blueberry muffins.

Chopping the Nuts

This week, we made chocolate chip cookies.  For a long time I had been looking for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe.  Something crispy on the edges, and soft in the middle.  I found it a while back somewhere on the internet (not entirely sure where) and now I will share it with you.

Spooning Out the Batter

As this is a weekly thing that we’re doing, I’m hoping to get my fellow bakers to do some guest posts about learning to cook with me!  I might also teach them to knit.  But that’s a project for another week.

The cookies were perfect.  We didn’t stir in the nuts until we had already cooked a dozen so that we could have some nut-free cookies.  We accidentally made them GIANT and they turned into a giant pan cookie.  Or, as we called them, Cakies.  Still, they were delicious.  But we learned from that and made the cookies smaller in the next batches.


The Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies


1 cup butter, softened

1 cup white sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons hot water

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup walnuts


1. preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.  Dissolve baking soda in hot water.  Add to the batter along with the salt and stir.  Stir in flour, chocolate chips and nuts.  Drop by not-too-large spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.

3.  Bake for about 10 minutes or until edges are nicely browned.  Let them cool on the pan for a minute or two, otherwise they break when you try to lift them off.

4. Don’t eat them all at once.

Bon apetit!


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There are a few farmers markets in our neighbourhood that I like to frequent.  One is on Wednesday nights and the other is on Sunday mornings.  I usually make it to the Wednesday one, but rarely to the Sunday morning market.  Sunday mornings are made for sleeping in and drinking coffee in bed.

The other day at the market, there was a plethora of stone fruit and blueberries.  The blueberries are coming to an end here, so some of the vendors had some good prices on them.  I bought a bunch with the intention of freezing them so I can make blueberry pancakes, smoothies and pies all year long.  First thing I did when I got home was spread some out on a cookie sheet and pop them in the freezer.  One of the things I learned growing up in the boonies was that if you want to freeze berries and not have them come out as a solid lump, first freeze them on a cookie sheet, them put them into bags.  That way you can break up any lumps, and they are loose in the bag!  Thanks, Mom, for this wonderful tip.

The next day I wanted to make a nice diner.  I donned my new apron and set to work with the produce I had picked up from the market.

I roasted some beets, steamed their greens, cooked some corn on the cob and cooked up some pork chops.  And for desert: this galette.  I didn’t feel like making a full out pie, mostly ’cause I still don’t have a pie plate down here, and the galette seemed like the next best option.

Taking inspiration from my friend Jenn‘s rustic rhubarb galette, I peeled and sliced some peaches and put them in a mixing bowl with some blueberries, flour, sugar, cinnamon and ginger.

I whipped together some pastry, rolled it out and folded it around the fruit

I popped it in the oven alongside the beets and let it bake until it was delicious and the pastry was golden brown.

We ate the leftovers for breakfast in the morning.  The ginger made this desert incredible.  I need to go get some more peaches so I can make it again!

Gingery farmer’s market Galette

2 or 3 peaches

1 or 2 cups of blueberries

1 Tbsp of ginger

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/3 cup flour

1/3 cup sugar (plus some to sprinkle over the top

1 batch of pastry (see bellow for my pastry recipe)

Toss ingredients in a bowl.  Roll out pastry and put onto a cookie sheet.  Pile fruit in the middle and fold the edges of the pastry up and around the fruit.  No need to get fancy.  This isn’t a fancy kind of desert.  Put into 425 F oven for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 375 F and continue baking until the crust is browned and the fruit tender, about 20 – 25 minutes.  Remove and let cool until lukewarm before serving.  Try not to eat the whole thing at once, it’s just as good cold.

Alyson’s Pastry recipe for one smallish galette.

1 cup of all purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

6 Tbsp of cold butter, cut into pieces

1/4 ice water as needed.

Mix the flour, salt and sugar together in a bowl.  Cut in the butter.  Sprinkle the ice water and toss together with a fork until something tells you it’s just right and you can press it into a ball.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes while you cobble together your filling.  Roll dough out between two pieces of wax paper.  Gently peel of the top layer.  Flip onto your cookie sheet.  Gently peel off the other layer of wax paper.  It should overhang the pan edges.  When piling the fruit on, leave a 2 – 4 inch border.

Bon appetit!


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July 4th

It’s Independence Day here in the states.

My plans involve baking these buns* (they’ve been rolled and are currently on their second rise), putting them in my bicycle basket and toodling on over to a friend’s barbecue.  I hope to see some fireworks later.

Hope you are all enjoying the holiday weekend (Happy Canada day weekend too!)


*I only had one muffin tin and the recipe makes 24 buns, and since I’m hoping they’ll be delicious I didn’t want to cut the recipe in half.  Instead of waiting (I hate waiting), I’m making 12 in the muffin tin and 12 in a 9×9 pan.  I figure they’ll sort of be like pull apart buns then.  So that they didn’t morph into just one big bun, I manhandled them a bit more and squeezed the bases together and fanned out the cut ends.  Hopefully it’ll work.  I’m sure, no matter what, they’ll still be delicious.

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Do you remember way back when I said I wanted to make more bread instead of buying it?  Well, today’s the day!

Bread attempt number one: so far so good.  I just took it out of the oven to see if it was done yet and snapped this photo.  It’s not quite so it’s baking a bit longer while I tell you about it.

I used this recipe for a basic white loaf, but cut it in half because I only have this pan*.  I decided I wanted to try one just the way the recipe had written it** (the left loaf) and the other with some Pecorino Truffle cheese rolled into it with rosemary and salt on top***.

Well, so far it looks perfect.  I hope it tastes as good as it smells.  It is putting me into a dreamy state as the fog has rolled into my neighbourhood and there are clouds blowing past the window.

As soon as it comes out of the oven, I’m putting on my jacket and a scarf and heading down to the grocery store to get the ingredients for supper: Enchiladas with Mole sauce (from my all time favourite cook book “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone” by Deborah Maddison) and chocolate tahini cakes for dessert.  Peter’s not home until 8, so I should have enough time to get it mostly done.  As long as I don’t sit around eating freshly baked bread and drinking tea.  Okay.  Dinner might be late.


*note to self: buy a bread pan or two.

** So, not entirely as written.  I basted it with butter on the top ’cause I like it that way and oiled the counter I rolled the bread on because that’s how my Mom always did it.

***  You know me.  I can’t leave well enough alone.

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For a hot day.

I made Pulled Pork Sandwiches for 10 people yesterday and there were still leftovers!
(note:  Make sure your slow-cooker is big enough…  Mine wasn’t and it overflowed at one point.  Oops.)

I would like to recommend this pulled pork recipe from Canadian Living.I made it for 10 people yesterday and there were still leftovers!

Pair it with my Mom’s Recipe for Colourful Coleslaw and you’re set for a picnic!


1 small head of green cabbage (or 1/2 a head of green and 1/2 a head of red, which is what I used)

3 carrots

2 apples

a squirt of lemon juice

1 cup of walnuts

1 cup or raisins

approx. 1/2 cup of Miracle Whip

Shred the cabbage and the carrots.  Put into a big bowl.  Chop the apple.  Put into a small bowl with some water and a squirt of lemon juice (this helps keep the apples from being brown and icky looking), drain and toss in with cabbage and the carrots.  Add the walnuts and the raisins.  The amounts in the recipe are never really measured, I just add what looks like enough 🙂

Once all the ingredients are in the bowl, gradually add the miracle whip, stirring and blending it all together as you go.  Some people like more dressing than others.  I like to add it until it just starts to hold together.

Cover and put it in the fridge until you’re ready to go!

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I’m thinking that hot cranberry lemon scones are the perfect way to start a sunny Friday.


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