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Caravan cookies

By November 7, 2018 Recipes

Making sweet things is a deliberate act in a time of sour headlines. Because most of us hail from somewhere else, I’m sharing this Mexican cookie recipe for all who require distraction. Adapted from Mary Ann Dwyer’s delicious collection, these chocolate sandwiches with a hint of spice are filled with dulce de leche.

What you need:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • ½ cup unsweetened good quality cocoa powder: I use Ghiradelli

  • ½ tsp. kosher salt

  • ½ tsp. baking soda

  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon

  •  tsp. cayenne powder: don’t skip this, it’s crucial

  • ½ cup one stick unsalted butter at room temperature

  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar plus additional for sprinkling

  • 2 extra large eggs at room temperature

  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

  • 1 300ml can dulce de Leche*

What you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and cayenne. Set aside.

  3. In mixer, cream together softened butter and sugar on medium speed. Add eggs, one at a time, then vanilla and mix until well blended.

  4. Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour mixture.

  5. Using a small ice cream scoop (1 1/2 inch) drop dough 2 inches apart onto prepared sheet. Sprinkle tops with additional granulated sugar.

  6. Bake for 13-15 minutes. Cookies should be on the soft side. Don’t overcook. Repeat with each sheet. This recipe makes enough for 14 sandwiches.

  7. Remove from oven and cool on wire racks.

  8. To assemble cookies: Spread a heaping tablespoon of dulce de leche filling on the bottom of one cookie and top with another cookie, sandwiching together.

* You can find this in baking section of most supermarkets, but it’s easy enough to make your own with one can of sweetened condensed milk. Set the can on its side in a large pot (I used my Dutch oven) and cover with water. Bring the water to simmer and let it simmer for 2 hours. Keep an eye on it as you don’t want the water to boil as the can may explode. After two hours, remove the can with tongs and let it cool down on a wire rack. The fun part comes next: pour out the delicious dulce de leche into a bowl and spread a generous tablespoon or so on one half of the cookies and then smush them together.

 

More cookies:

from three years ago:
Looks good but does it schmeck?

from four years ago:

The Sweetest kiss

Cranberry Caramel Shortbread

from five years ago:

Prep the Elves!

Need more? Look for more yummy cookie recipes in my food memoir, with love and sugar, available here for a limited time only. 

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Chocolate pavlova

By April 2, 2018 Recipes

Readers asked and I like to deliver. Here is one of two desserts* I made for our family Easter (the first of two family feasts: I will be celebrating again next weekend with my Greek in-laws as the Orthodox calendar delivered Easter a week later this year).

CHOCOLATE PAVLOVA

What you need:

  • 6 large egg whites

  • 1½ cups granulated sugar

  • Pinch of sea salt

  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

  • 2 ounces (55 grams) good quality dark chocolate, chopped

  • 1 ½ cups whipping cream

  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 4 cups mixed fresh berries

  • 1 ounce dark chocolate, optional-for garnish

What you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ⓕ.Draw a 9-inch circle on piece of parchment paper with pencil. Flip paper over and lay on large baking sheet.

  2. Beat egg whites in mixer until soft peaks form. Begin to add the sugar a little at a time, and continue beating until stiff and shiny.3. Carefully fold in, with a spatula, the cocoa, sea salt, vinegar, and chopped chocolate.

    4.  Spoon the meringue mixture onto the parchment circle and use a knife to help smooth it into soft waves. Here you can design it however you wish. Pavlova’s aren’t meant to be perfect forms here unless you are doing individual nests, as I do for other desserts like my rhubarb kisses.

    5.  Place meringue in oven and immediately turn temperature down to 300ⓕ.  Bake for one hour then turn the temperature off and open the door slightly (I use a wooden spoon to keep my door open). Leave meringue there with temperature off until it is dry for approximately another hour.

    6.  Leave the assembly until right before you serve as it takes only minutes to put together. Remove parchment from bottom of cooled meringue and place on a large serving plate. Whip cream with the vanilla and sugar until soft peaks form. Dollop it over the centre of circle and spread it out. Dump all the berries in the middle and dust with the remaining chopped chocolate (if desired-I forgot to bring mine when I carted this pavlova to my sister’s house. It doesn’t really need it but don’t tell that to the chocolate lovers in the family).

    7. Cut in wedges. This can be a sloppy serve, but nobody cares. It should serve ten easily. Leftovers (IF you have any) can be stored for a day or two in the fridge.

    *The second dessert, equally beloved by family, is a rhubarb buckle I like to call the S0-Malicious Cake, so named as one of young taste testers couldn’t pronounce delicious and left a voicemail “Auntie Anne, that cake was so malishush.” Yes, indeed. So devishly delicious it will kill any resolve you may have had to do away with treats this Easter. Malicious indeed. For the recipe, see my food memoir 

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Pie and sun= heaven

By March 27, 2018 Life, Recipes, Travel

By the time March arrives, the Canadian landscape out my writing window offers little inspiration. Bleak skies begone! Behold a bevy of bougainvillea!

Wrap me in it and set me alight on a frisky wave. A strawberry daiquiri to go? Surely you jest? I like your style, and yes, I’ll have another.

Sun, sand, salt: how I love thee! Friendly winds whipping up waves for those unfazed by losing a bathing suit in the fray…this is the stuff of winter daydreams. An invitation to join my sister on vacation in Captiva, Florida, was an easy yes for this writer.

While in this charming corner of the planet, I had occasion to taste two delicious desserts. You know already what the next part is, don’t you? Read More

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Weather bomb baking

By January 6, 2018 Recipes

When there’s a cinnamon bun cyclone heading your way, govern yourself accordingly: make your own tasty warm version; easy enough to whip up for friends dropping in with New Year’s wishes. They won’t want to leave if you give them one of these delicious easy-peasy buns. Leave the treats to cool while you corral these hungry pals to help you shovel. Seems like a good bargain to me. Our twenty-year old door butler agrees.

Read More

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Who we are

By January 2, 2018 Life, Recipes, Rituals

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Sweater Season is here!

By November 9, 2017 Life, Recipes

Read More

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They’re here!!!!

By July 28, 2017 Recipes

Ontario peaches and other stone fruits have found their way into grocery aisles. For any of you muttering meh, you can stop reading right now and go have another Twinky. The rest of you can join the happy dance at Peachy Headquarters.

Peach & Burrata Salad

What you need:

  • 2 large ripe peaches, thinly sliced

  • ¼ medium red onion, thinly sliced

  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • salt, pepper to taste

  • 4 cups mixed bitter greens

  • ¾ cup fresh mint leaves

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 8 ounces burrata

What you do:

  1. Toss peach slices, onion, vinegar, and sugar in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Allow to rest for ten minutes.

  2. Strain mixture, reserving liquid. Add greens and mint leaves and toss gently together. Drizzle in oil and 2 tablespoons of reserved pickling liquid.

  3. To serve: spoon salad onto plates and top each serving with pieces of burrata. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with a little more oil if desired.

This is filling enough for lunch, or as a tasty appetizer for your patio dinners. I like it with buttermilk eggplant(recipe coming next week, along with a book that caused me to ignore my family for 24 hours. Yes, it was that good. More next week).

More from peachy headquarters here:

The last of the peaches

Picnic imperatives always involves a peach

Nature’s perfect couple

Not a fan of peaches? Dropped on your head as a baby, I see.  Here’s some other juice for your weekend reading:

HAVE A PEACHY WEEKEND. Got some tasty peach recipes to share? Have your say below!!!

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Daisy Cake for Lazy Days

By June 9, 2017 Recipes

Daisy Tea Cake

This is a winner for everyone who favours their cakes with a hint of lemon and a heap of fluffy. It’s my favourite warm weather special occasion cake, served up with some seasonal berries and a dollop of Chantilly cream. I usually make it in a rectangular pan with daisy imprints on the bottom, one given to me as a gift that I love, but I’ve also made it in a regular 9 by 13 pan and cut out flower-shaped pieces for special occasions.

 serves 8

What you need:

For cake:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (one stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • finelygrated lemon zest from 2 lemons
  • 4 eggs plus 2 extra yolks
  • 1 cup buttermilk

For glaze:

  • ¼ cup water
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rum
  • finely grated lemon zest of ½ lemon

What you do:
1. Position a rack in middle of oven. Preheat oven to 325 Ⓕ.
2. Grease and flour a 9 by 13 inch baking pan.
3. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt in bowl.
4. Beat butter in mixer on medium speed until smooth. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.
5. Add the vanilla and lemon zest and continue to beat.
6. Add the eggs and yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition.
7. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
8. Fold in flour mixture in 3 stages, alternating with buttermilk. Begin and end with flour.
9. Spoon batter into prepared cake pan. Bake approximately 50 minutes until toothpick in centre comes out clean.
10. Transfer to rack and let cook in pan for 10 min then invert onto serving plate.

12. Prepare glaze. In bowl, stir together water, lemon zest, sugar and rum until the sugar dissolves. Brush the warm cake with glaze and let it cool completely before serving.

WANT MORE CAKE?

from two years ago: Rhubarb Buckle with Ginger Crumb or  Maple Oatmeal Coffee Cake

from three years ago: Strawberry Shortcake

Or pick up a copy of my food memoir where cake is in very good company.

HAPPY FRIDAY!

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You want easy?

By May 18, 2017 Recipes

Slippers and my grandmother’s afghan saved me this week while I recuperated from an unfriendly spring chest cold. Hacking doesn’t work for a spring jam, but the birds were tolerant enough. Great reading material works well too. I’ll tell you who kept my company this week in this space tomorrow.

Sooner or later, you’re better enough.  Your kid makes dinner and there’s a spirit about, calling for action.

Two words: ice cream…with three ingredients. Read More

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Your mom deserves this

By May 11, 2017 Recipes

A cake. Made with love.

Not many things have as much impact in the gift department.

Come Sunday, I promise smiles with this heavenly number. This is a once-in-a-year cake due to the amounts of white chocolate, but so is Mother’s Day.

The Apricot Queen

You can switch up the fruit in this cake. Use berries and matching preserves if you want. Key to this recipe is a good quality white chocolate. And time. This one is for the special people who deserve the extra flourishes.

What you need:

for cake:
• 8 ounces good white chocolate, chopped
• 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
• 2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
• 1 ⅓ cups granulated sugar
• 4 large eggs
• 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
• 1 ¼ cups whole milk

for buttercream:
• 16 ounces ( 1 lb) good white chocolate, chopped
• 1 ¾ cups plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 2 cups sifted icing sugar

for assembly:
• ½ cup water
• ¼ cup sugar
• 1 ½ lbs apricots, pitted and thinly sliced
• 1 cup walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
• 1/4 cup apricot jam, melted

What you do:

To make cake:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans. Butter two 9-inch parchment paper rounds and place in pans, buttered side up.
2. Stir white chocolate in top of double boiler set over barely simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove from heat.
3. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl.
4. Beat butter and sugar with mixer until well blended.
5. Add eggs, one a time, blending well after each, then beat in vanilla.
6. Add dry ingredients and milk in 3 additions, alternating and blending well after each.
7. Add the melted white chocolate and beat just until blended.
8. Divide batter between pans and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes. A tester inserted into the middle should come out clean. Cool in pan on racks for 2o minutes then flip over and remove from pans to fully cool on racks.

To make buttercream: 

Stir white chocolate in top of double boiler over barely simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove and let cool for 15 minutes.Beat soft butter in mixer with melted white chocolate and vanilla. Beat in icing sugar.
Cover and refrigerate until thick enough to spread about 45 minutes.

To assemble cake:

1. Boil water and sugar in small pot over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Cool syrup.
2. Cut each cake layer in half with a serrated knife. Place 1 layer on cake platter. Brush with 2 tablespoons of syrup.

3. Spread 6 tablespoons of buttercream over cake. Then cover buttercream with a single layer of sliced apricots.

4. Spread another 3 tablespoons of buttercream over apricots and top with a second cake layer. Repeat layers of syrup, buttercream, sliced apricots, more buttercream, cake.

5.  On the top, spread thinly 1 cup buttercream over top and sides for a crumb coating. Chill for an hour then spread remaining buttercream over for another coat.

6. Press chopped walnuts onto sides of cake. Cover top with remaining sliced apricots. Brush with apricot preserves. Chill cake 1 hour to set.
To serve:
Remove cake from fridge at few hours before serving to allow icing to soften before cutting.

Notes:  This cake should be made as close to the day of serving as possible. If you do make it ahead, keep it chilled while remembering to bring it to room temperature before serving. And don’t skimp on the fruit or the walnuts. They help keep the flavours balanced and smooth out the sweetness of the buttercream.

 

My food memoir, with love and sugar, comes out tomorrow with a special seasonal cover. This most decadent offering is included in the spring recipes inside my book, along with a bunch of other yummy cakes you might consider for Mom’s Day and any other celebration. Order your copy soon as this is very limited release for spring. Those in the Toronto area looking for a gift for Sunday, email me promptly:

 annehome1@rogers.com

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