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Friday, May 30, 2014

Lemon Loaf

If you happen to have a fresh lemon available, the remaining ingredients needed to make this delightful Lemon Loaf are most likely waiting in your fridge and pantry.

Sometimes simple is best, lemon is the star ingredient in this recipe, all that is needed to make this light, tangy- sweet loaf.

Having never made this recipe before, I didn’t quite know what to expect but the lemony aroma coming from the oven was encouraging.  I was a little concerned at the small amount of baking powder called for in the recipe but the loaf rose well and even developed that classic crack down the center of the loaf as it baked.

The recipe suggested not omitting the lemon sugar glaze and after a taste I quickly found out why.  Hardly noticeable when brushed on, this glaze is absorbed by the loaf adding an extra tangy, sweet lemon taste!

Lemon Loaf
½ cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
½ cup milk
1½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
grated rind of 1 lemon

juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup granulated sugar
  1. In a large bowl cream butter and sugar.
  2. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition.
  3. Blend in milk.
  4. In another bowl sift flour, baking powder and salt.  Stir in lemon rind.
  5. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture and stir just to moisten.
  6. Pour into a greased 9x5x3 inch loaf pan
  7. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F. oven for 1 hour until golden and it tests done with a cake tester or wooden skewer.
  8. Combine sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan, heat and stir to dissolve sugar.
  9. Brush loaf with glaze.
  10. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Notes, Tips and Suggestions
  • Greasing pan then lining with parchment ensures easy removal of loaf.
  • For a different glaze combine 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar and enough lemon juice to make it of running consistency, pour over loaf when it has cooled.  This glaze will not be absorbed by the loaf but harden on the top.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Chewy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

While finally putting away a food magazine which I had gone through weeks ago a quick last flip through the pages took me to a picture of these bars which looked overwhelmingly appealing!

When a craving strikes for something sweet and satisfying, an easy no fuss recipe is good to have on hand. No shaping into cookies, rolling and cutting out or long baking times, just something quickly  stirred together, baked in a pan and enjoyed a few minutes later when barely cool enough to eat.

This recipe listed some basic pantry ingredients including chocolate, oats, peanut butter and brown sugar.  The dried cranberries left me a little puzzled but definitely curious.

I was pleasantly surprised at the soft, chewy texture but the burst of tart cranberries took these bars over the top! The basic ingredients work well in this recipe as well as the addition of cranberries however I wouldn’t stop there. 

Dried cherries or blueberries, a variety of nuts as well as my all- time favourite coconut can definitely turn this bar into something even more delicious.

Chewy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
1 cup flour
¾ cups quick cooking oats
½ teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened
¾ cups peanut butter
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
½ cup dried cranberries
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a 13x9 inch pan with parchment paper.
  3. Mix flour, oats and baking soda until blended.
  4. In a separate bowl beat together butter, peanut butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
  5. Add egg and vanilla and blend well.
  6. Gradually blend in flour mixture mixing well after each addition. Stir in chocolate and cranberries.
  7. Gently press mixture onto prepared pan.
  8. Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until center is set.
  9. Cool completely, cut into bars.

Notes, Tips and Suggestions
  • These bars taste even better a few days after baking.
  • Bars freeze well.
  • Original recipe suggested lining baking pan with foil then greasing the foil before placing in the batter, I used parchment paper instead and omitted greasing, worked out perfectly well.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Cinnamon Coconut Loaf

The aroma coming from the oven when making this Cinnamon Coconut Loaf  brought back memories of Cinnamon Rolls which sad to say I have not baked in a while.

This is not the usual Cinnamon Bread recipe I’ve used for many years but finding a recipe using both cinnamon and coconut appealed to my love of both ingredients.

Coconut wasn’t the only different ingredient in this Cinnamon Loaf, the addition of sour cream and  generous amount of cinnamon brown sugar filling promised good results  The coconut? Well one can understand only if a lover of everything coconut!

I particularly enjoyed the top crust of this loaf, the coconut and brown sugar toasted perfectly on the top giving a delicious taste and crisp texture while remaining moist and flavourful in the center of the loaf

When the craving strikes for some sweet, delicious Cinnamon Rolls and there's neither time nor inclination to wait a few hours, this Cinnamon Coconut Loaf may just be the next best thing!

Cinnamon Coconut Loaf
2 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup corn, vegetable or canola oil
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt

Cinnamon Coconut Filling
½ cup medium coconut
¼ cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
  1. In a small bowl stir together coconut, brown sugar and cinnamon, set aside
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, soda and salt.
  3. In a mixing bowl beat eggs until frothy, beat in sugar, oil and sour cream.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into flour mixture and stir until completely combined.
  5. Place half of the batter in a greased or parchment lined 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan.
  6. Sprinkle half the cinnamon mixture over top then spread the remaining batter.
  7. Sprinkle top of loaf with remaining cinnamon mixture then cut through batter with a knife to give a swirling marbled effect.
  8. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F. oven for about 1 hour or until wooden skewer tested in the middle of the loaf comes out clean.
  9. Allow the loaf to stand for 10 minutes then remove and cool on wire rack.

Notes Tips and Suggestions
  • If using a glass loaf pan place a sheet of foil wrap on bottom oven rack during the last 15 to 20 minutes of baking to prevent over browning.
  • Parchment lined loaf pan makes getting the loaf out super easy.
  • If you're not a fan of coconut try adding chopped nuts instead, a simple brown sugar and cinnamon is sure to work as well.
  • Next time I will place the batter in three layers instead of  two and add three layers of sugar, cinnamon mixture which will make it easier to swirl in the filling.

Coconut Almond Chocolate Chip Biscotti

These are the best biscotti ever…but then I can say the same for every biscotti recipe in my collection.  Although the classic shape and distinctive crunch of these cookies never changes, the variation of flavours never seem to end.

While searching for a coconut biscotti recipe I came across this one and just had a good feeling it was going to end up in my forever growing collection.

While the rest of my biscotti recipes call for granulated sugar I believe this is the first time using brown sugar. The addition of toasted almonds and chocolate chips worked well with the coconut, my inspiration ingredient.

Prato Italy is documented as the place of origin for biscotti and where the first biscotti recipe is preserved in a centuries old manuscript. The method of twice baking prolongs the “shelf life” using a more modern term without the addition of preservatives which have overtaken the food industry today. 

Twice baked goods are very dry and in times past very useful during long journeys and wars since they could be stored for long periods of time.  It was once boasted that such goods would be edible for centuries! 

We may never be able to put these biscotti to the test of lasting for centuries since I wouldn’t count on them lasting in the cookie jar for more than a day or two!

Coconut Almond Chocolate Chip Biscotti
2 ¼ cup flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup firmly packed sweetened shredded coconut
¾ cup chopped toasted almonds
¾ cup semisweet mini chocolate chips
  1. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add the eggs one at a time until well mixed.
  3. Blend in vanilla and coconut.
  4. Gradually add the flour mixture until well blended.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips and almonds.
  6. Divide dough in half, roll into 2 equal logs 12 to 14 inches long and place on greased or parchment lined cookie sheet. Gently flatten rolls a little.
  7. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until the tops are browned.
  8. Cool on sheet for about 5 minutes then slice with a serrated knife diagonally into ¾ inch slices.
  9. Place the slices cut side down on the cookie sheet and bake an additional 5 to 7 minutes then turn them over and continue baking for an additional 5 to 7 minutes or until edges lightly browned.
  10. Transfer biscotti on rack to cool.
  11. Makes about 2 ½ dozen biscotti.

Notes, Tips and Suggestions
  • The original recipe instructed to place the prepared biscotti dough into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to firm up before forming the roll since the dough would be soft and sticky. I did not find this to be the case and formed the rolls right after the dough was mixed. Keep the refrigerator option if necessary.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Arrowroot Cookies

Finally, a batch of homemade Arrowroot Cookies I had promised a sweet little lady weeks ago!

Don’t know why I kept putting off baking these cookies for so long. The recipe sat where I was constantly reminded of my promise but somehow I had developed a mental block about making them allowing the weeks to fly by.

Perhaps the memory of a recipe for Baby Teething Biscotti which had disappointed me a couple of months ago was still fresh on my mind.  I’m still working on some changes to that recipe but since then the sweet girl has sprouted a few teeth.

Thought I’d better get going on these Arrowroot cookies before she’s into a little fancier and more decadent type of cookie.

I literally forced myself to bake some this morning trying to get over whatever was holding me back, usually nothing keeps me from trying a new recipe. The ingredients came together easily, rolled out perfectly and I had some fun giving them a little visual appeal.

This recipe is a keeper.  I’m keeping it close at hand since I’ll soon be baking a batch for a handsome little man!

Arrowroot Cookies
¼ cup butter room temperature
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup arrowroot flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
  1. Blend butter and brown sugar together until creamy.
  2. Add vanilla and egg and beat well.
  3. Sift together flours, baking powder and salt.
  4. Add dry ingredients to egg mixture and mix until combined.
  5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into about ¼ inch thickness.  Rolling dough between two sheets of wax paper makes things a little easier.
  6. Place cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet, not too far apart as they don’t spread.
  7. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F. oven for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
  8. Cool on rack.
  9. Makes about 30 cookies.

Notes, Tips and Suggestions
  • These cookies are simply delicious and adult friendly as well.
  • Arrowroot can be purchased at your local bulk store.
  • I've since heard that the cookies made for a happy little girl, think I'll be making more soon!