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Mmm-mmm Maple

By March 5, 2017 Recipes


Subscribers to my buzz sheet will be getting this scone recipe today. I’d love you to join us. Sign up on right to join my circle and receive a monthly wrap of all posts and a special recipe just for you.

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Cookie love

By February 13, 2017 Recipes

Today marks the beginning of Random Act of Kindness Week. I hope all my readers find ways to drop wee gestures of kindness around their circles and workplaces.

Me? I’m sticking to the basics for my favourite Kindness Ambassador Stephanie Black, who asked if I could bake up some sweetness for her work in the field. These are the easiest cookie around. You’ll find all the ingredients in your pantry. Grab a rolling pin and your favourite sparkles (I’m partial to disco dust myself).

Valentine Hearts

What you need:

  • 3 sticks (¾ lb) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3½ cups all purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

What you do:

  1. Cream softened butter and sugar in mixer just until blended. Add in vanilla.
  2. Sift together flour and salt. Add to butter mix and blend gently until it begins to come together.
  3. Gather into two discs, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for 3o minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  5. Roll out dough to about ½ inch thick.  Cut out heart shapes and place on parchment lined baking sheets.
  6. Set trays in fridge for ten minutes.
  7. Bake each tray for approximately 15 minutes until edges begin to brown.
  8. Let cool and then decorate with royal icing. Or leave them plain and sprinkle some sugar only.

These cookies keep well if wrapped tightly in plastic. You can also have fun adding flavours like chocolate chips or ginger.

Get baking. Full hearts abound. If you need more prompts, you know where you can find them. My book, with love and sugar, is full of baking ideas. Order it here in the link above.

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Greens & bon mots

By February 3, 2017 Headlines, Recipes

So you can’t change the world. You can whip up a colourful winter menu and that, my friends, is where the love is. Right in your kitchens, in your alcoves, your hubs wherever you find them. Remember the threads that connect you (I’m still waiting for your stories!

And eat your greens. Some oranges on the side. It’s a good start.

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Shove a pie in his face*

By October 20, 2016 Recipes

Who is this Donald freak who speaks like the kids who once wandered into my kitchen and told me of some teacher they detested, or test coming up,

It’s really big league!

I’d suggest a drinking game for every time he said it, but drinking games won’t drown him out, however great the exertion. In times like these, those of us who live elsewhere without a vote—those of us cringing in horror— I suggest making up some pastry dough. Roll over that ugly mug. Imagination is free.

Here’s a simple and very big league pie, a recipe from my food memoir, with love and sugar (two words clearly unknown to The Donald).

*Kidding: This is too tasty a pie for wasting on acrimony.  A pie is peace on a plate.


Big League Apple Pie

What you need:

For pastry:

  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 1½ sticks cold unsalted butter, diced into small cubes

  • ½ cup vegetable shortening, cut into small cubes

  • 6-8 tablespoons ice water

for apple filling:

  • 8 cups tart apples, peeled, cored, cut into chunks

  • 3 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice

  • ½ cup granulated sugar

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

For pastry glaze:

  • 1 large egg yolk

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

What you do

To make pastry:
1.Put diced butter in freezer for 15 minutes.

2. Combine flour, salt, and sugar in food processor and pulse a few times to blend. Add frozen butter and pulse a few times

3. Sprinkle ice water over flour mixture and pulse a few times until dough begins to come together: pinch between your fingers to see if it holds. Don’t add too much water or your dough will be tough.

4. Dump dough out onto floured surface and gently bring it together into a disc. Divide into 2 and dust each lightly with flour before wrapping in plastic. Keep chilled for up to 2 days, or at least an hour before rolling. Let it sit out about 10 minutes before rolling if it has chilled overnight.
To make pie filling:
1. While crust is ready to be rolled, cut up apples into medium size chunks. Don’t slice too thinly or you will end up with applesauce. Toss apples with lemon juice in large bowl.
2. Sprinkle with flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Fold mixture together with spatula.

To assemble:


1.Preheat oven to 425 F. Remove one ball of dough from fridge and roll out with floured rolling pin onto clean surface. I like to use my silicone pastry mat for this. When it is a large enough circle to fit around 9-inch pie plate, gently fold it in half and place in the pie plate, gently opening it up to fit other half in place. Don’t stretch the dough but carefully press into place.

2. Dump in the apple mixture-it should make a nice mound in the centre. Remove other ball of dough and roll out as the first, making it a slightly larger circle. Carefully lift over apples and pinch together the sides with your fingers to lock in the juice sure to bubble over in one big excited mess. You can try different sealing methods for scalloped edges if you’re into fancy trimming. I just pinch it together.

3. Whisk together egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of water and brush sides and top of pastry with the egg wash. Sprinkle generously with sugar. Cut vents in the centre of top of pastry for steam to escape.

4. Bake for 15 minutes in bottom third of oven. Reduce heat to 350 F and bake for another 40 minutes until filling is bubbling up and pastry is golden. If you’re worried about crust burning, use a pie crust guard or wrap foil around edges.

Always let a fruit pie cool on a baking rack for at least 15 minutes before serving. This requires hiding it from pie thieves.

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Hump Day Chili bowl (GO JAYS GO)

By October 5, 2016 Recipes

There was a time in a writer’s life that called for some distraction. That’s all she wrote. Read More

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Tick tock tick tock

By July 31, 2016 Recipes





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A modest promposal

By May 25, 2016 Life, Recipes

Spring is prom season and abundant details must be attended to, some familiar to this writer. Others not so much. Read More

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Rhubarb Curd

By May 24, 2016 Recipes

Rhubarb thrills me when I see it (finally) in the grocery aisles.

Ok full confession: I stalk the fruit stocker. Find them wherever they are working in the store and ask, do you have rhubarb in yet? even if I’m really saying, look missy/buddy, my spring depends on it and my mood will darken considerably if you say no.  If they say yes, and point me in the direction, I’m whipping up concoctions already in my head. Clear the aisles. I’m coming for you, you gorgeous pink stalks.  Sometimes they say no in that way you know they’ve never heard of the fruit. Those days I slump and mumble away, just to confirm his crazy-lady-up-ahead theories.

I found some last week. What do you do with it?*

Try making an easy compote for meringue shells. Or a muffin that pops with fruity bites.

If you have strawberries in your freezer, and a worthy companion ready, you are picnic-primed! Make it rhubarb-themed.  Yes, you will be the most popular person in the park.


(yes, I’m cheating. That’s not me, but Kerry, our dog’s BFF—ssssh, don’t tell my girls— with her pooch posse. Yes, she deserves that adulation, as do the folks who make my life easier every week.)


If all else fails, make up a rhubarb curd. Think of it like applesauce, only pink and richer in flavour. Gorgeous on toast, tea cakes, or fluffy buttermilk pancakes. Don’t judge me for the wonky shapes. Their buttermilk fluffiness allows for misshapen forms. So there.


Rhubarb Curd

What you need:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 cups chopped rhubarb, ½-inch dice
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into chunks

What you do:

  1. Place rhubarb and ¼ cup sugar in medium pot and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Simmer until rhubarb is soft. This should take only about 8 minutes, but check it with a  fork. Remove from heat and whisk in lemon juice.IMG_7523
  2. Whisk eggs and remaining ¾ cup sugar together in a large bowl.
  3. Add cooked rhubarb mixture into the eggs, whisking slowly. Dump it all back into the pot and return to heat, cooking it until the mixture is thickened, about 5 to 8 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Remove from heat and add in the butter cubes one at a time. Stir until combined well. Chill in fridge for at least 2 hours before use.


We love it served over a double vanilla cake. Go crazy. Think of ways you can incorporate this awesome treat into your spring menus.






Speaking of cake, the kitchen here at Wit’s End was the scene last week for a promposal via a serious baking endeavour. Don’t know what that is?  I’ll catch you up tomorrow.


*Subscribers: Look for a silky rhubarb ice cream in your upcoming newsletter. Not signed up yet? What are you waiting for? See Anne’s Circle.


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Maple for Mom

By May 6, 2016 Life, Recipes

It’s hardly a secret. Gather a group of girlfriends for a weekend away and witness true chore chick equality. Each of us cooks a meal and the others clean-up. You’re on prep? I’ll set the table then. All present understand what should be universal: no one likes being stuck in a kitchen for the whole shebang. And there’s a sweet upside: sitting down at the table to enjoy a friend’s cooking is up there with foot massages by Idris Elba.


Among my recipe collection of treats are several from shindigs of this variety. This maple-drizzled Baked French Toast was on the menu earlier this year at an annual find sanity escape with cherished friends. Imagine the sighs of pleasure to have a coffee cup handed as you shuffle sleepily into a kitchen that smells of heaven.


Rules exist on these hedonistic hen parties. Carry it forward.  And so it came to be that this breakfast-for-the-gods was on my to-do list this month for a few birthday pals who are no slouches in whipping up treats themselves.


This recipe, from talented baker Joanna MacDougall, is big on the ease factor. I’m for that.  And yes, it’s on the decadent side for the maple lovers in the house.

Baked Maple French Toast

Serves 6

Do steps 1 through 3 the night before you plan to serve this for breakfast.

       What you need:

  • 1 challah bread, crust removed and cubed
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ½ cups milk
  • 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons good quality maple syrup

       What you do:

  1. Spray lasagna pan with baking spray. Spread cubed challah bread in bottom of a casserole dish.
  2. Mix eggs, milk and vanilla and pour evenly over bread cubes.
  3. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Mix melted butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup, and drizzle evenly over bread and egg mixture.
  5. Bake 350F for 40-45 minutes.

Serve warm with extra maple syrup on the side for maple addicts. Fruit and yogurt are good sidekicks. And don’t forget lessons from chore chick: share the labour.

For all those hunting around for weekend treats for Mom this weekend, here’s a tip: she doesn’t need fancy. A steaming coffee mug is a good start… and a side order of snuggles.


From one year ago: Kiss Your Mom

Other weekend reading:

“Oh yeah,” she said. “Oh my God, yeah. If Mother Teresa is propelled to do good works because she believes in God, I am propelled to do good works because of how bad I feel about myself. It’s the first place I go. ‘Oh, what did I do wrong?’”

In any relationship, patience and honest communication is the key. No one person holds the ability to be right. Humility and empathy are essential.

-Greg Taylor, Steam Whistle Brewing

Happy Weekend. Happy Mother’s Day to my mother who inspires me, my mother-in-law who spoils me, and all my mom peers who keep me afloat.


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In defense of vanilla

By April 14, 2016 Recipes

Chocoholics are fierce. I know several who would give up a limb for just one tiny bite, I promise.  This time of year, spring fever provokes a wandering eye over to the vanilla camp where sweet is not so showy. There find a cake so simple it’s ridiculous.
Unadorned, maybe this leans a bit boring. The testers in this house didn’t think so-they went at the cake before I could even try any embellishment, like one to use up some  frozen wild blueberries lurking around in the freezer. Heart of the smoothie, these berries cooked up in a sauce are all about kicking winter’s rear right on out the door.

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