Cooking with Kids – Cupcakes & Quesadillas

Making Cupcakes

I was thrilled to hear from one friend that over the March break they had challenged their children to select a recipe from my cookbook, Anne’s Favourite’s, then make a shopping list and finally prepare it for the family. I try to organize the ingredients and instructions carefully so they can be followed by novice cooks and following a recipe together provides numerous opportunities for learning, reading, fractions and food science. Talk about where ingredients come from and how they work together to create something completely new.

For my February article in the Rural Voice I wrote about fun in the kitchen for Family Day and as families are spending time isolated in their homes I thought I would share some of those ideas for baking with you here (updated slightly for the occasion).

Family Day Fun in the Kitchen

When Social distancing keeps you inside, at home with your family, use the opportunity to share some fun in the kitchen. I am always surprised at how much young people like to participate in the magic of food preparation. Introduce them to a variety of foods in their original form and let them help to transform them into meals and snacks to enjoy together. Cracking eggs for breakfast, peeling cucumber or carrots for lunch gives them new interest in that food. Something as simple as peeling and deconstructing a pomegranate can be an activity for little hands resulting in a wealth of delicious and nutritious seeds to eat alone or add to salad or whatever you please.

Applesauce

Homemade applesauce is a simple way to get even the youngest children involved in the kitchen. I put a bowl of water on a low table and a container of apples to be washed with a cloth to soak up the water underneath and let the little ones wash the apples before I cut them into the bowl to microwave. We leave the skins on and later help them to turn the handle on the food mill to make applesauce. If you do not have a food mill get them to peel the apples with a vegetable peeler before you cut them into the bowl to cook. When they are soft your helpers can do some mashing. Enjoy this delicious treat on its own  or take a cup and make a batch of applesauce muffins.

George Mixing

Applesauce Cranberry Muffins

Apples and cranberries are always good together. Sometimes I use a little leftover cranberry sauce in place of some of the applesauce. These muffins are a little sweeter and more like cupcakes so kids enjoy them.

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour *
  • 1/2  cup all purpose flour *
  • 2 Tbsp hemp seed or ground flax seed (optional)
  • 2/3  cup white sugar
  • 1  tsp baking powder
  • 1  tsp baking soda
  • 1/2  tsp salt
  • 1 1/2  tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped or 1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries
  • 2  eggs
  • 1/3  cup canola oil
  • 1/3  cup yogurt  or sour cream
  • 2/3  cup applesauce

*You may replace both flours with 1 ½ cups of gluten-free all purpose flour and 1 tsp of xanthan gum

  1. Mix both flours, flax or hemp, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and xanthan gum if using.
  2. Stir in eggs, oil, yogurt and applesauce until blended.
  3. Add cranberries and mix until incorporated.
  4. These muffins are a little runnier than most so do not be alarmed.
  5. Fill paper-lined muffin pans using a 1/4 cup measure or a 2 1/4 ounce scoop or use a 1 ounce scoop and fill mini muffin pans. Makes 3- 4 dozen small ones.
  6. Bake at 365°F for about 20 minutes for the minis and 28 – 30 minutes for the regular ones. Muffins are done when springs back when lightly touched.

Makes 11 -12  muffins

 Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

Every occasion becomes special when you add some pretty cupcakes. These are probably my most requested contribution to family parties and group activities. I always have a package of grated and measured zucchini in the freezer from the summer abundance but if you do not there is usually fresh zucchini at the store throughout the winter. This popular cake adapts without much trouble to a gluten-free version. Most people would not realize there was anything different.

  • 1/2  cup canola oil
  • 1/2  cup margarine
  • 1 3/4  cups white sugar
  • 3  eggs
  • 2  tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2  cups GF all purpose flour  (can substitute regular flour and omit the xanthan gum)*
  • 1 1/2  tsp xanthan gum *
  • 1/2  tsp GF baking powder
  • 2  tsp baking soda
  • 1/2  cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2  cup sour milk, buttermilk or yogurt
  • 2  cups grated zucchini, unpeeled (may use frozen)
  • 1/4  cup chocolate chips

*you may substitute regular all purpose flour for the gluten-free and omit the xanthan gum

  1. Sift flour with xanthan gum, GF baking powder, baking soda and cocoa powder.
  2. Beat oil, margarine, sugar, eggs and vanilla until light.
  3. Mix in sifted flour mixture alternately with the sour milk, beating after each addition.
  4. Stir in zucchini and chocolate chips until evenly distributed.
  5. Fill paper lined muffin pans ¾ full using a scoop or ¼ cup measuring cup. You may also use a greased and floured 9 x 13 inch pan or two 8 inch round layers.
  6. Bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes for cupcakes and 35 – 45 minutes for cakes.
  7. Cake is done when it springs back when lightly touched and is beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Easter Cupcakes

The internet has hundreds of ideas for decorating cupcakes so have a look at the incredible creativity shared there. You can simply pipe or spread a nest of icing on top and fill it with a few mini eggs or you can use some marshmallows to make bunnies  or sheep. Have fun! If you do not have piping bags for detail use a ziplock sandwich bag and cut the corner to make your own piping bag. Use raisins and nuts if you do not have the candy decorations. Ask your children for ideas, you might be amazed by how creative they are. We had some fun frosting cupcakes with rainbow colours mixing 3 pastels colours in the same piping bag and letting them come out in a swirl.

Butter Frosting

This butter frosting is based on the bakery fluffy white frosting we used for our slab cakes except I have substituted butter for most of the shortening. It has a lovely flavour and is very stable at room temperature. It can be easily tinted to your favourite colour for special occasions.

  • 1/2  cup butter, softened
  • 1/8  cup non-hydrogenated shortening or more butter
  • 4  cups icing sugar
  • 2  Tbsp corn syrup
  • 2  tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup water or milk, as needed to desired consistency
  1.  Beat butter and shortening with half the icing sugar until light.
  2.  Add corn syrup and vanilla and beat until incorporated.
  3. Slowly beat in remaining icing sugar, adding a little of the water if it becomes too stiff for the mixer.
  4. Add remaining water a little at a time as needed and continue to beat for at least 5 minutes until light and fluffy.
  5. At the bakery we beat this frosting for a full 10 minutes.

Quesadillas

Quesadillas

 For lunch or snack or dinner these are quick and versatile and kids of all ages love them. This was a favourite item for cooking lessons with Cubs. They were amazed that they could make something like this with just the help of an adult to put it in the oven. It used to be difficult to find nice fresh, soft corn tortillas that did not contain any wheat but they are becoming  more readily available in the grocery store so these are making a comeback at our house!

  • 4 – 8 inch soft tortillas (corn tortillas for gluten-free)
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar, mozzarella or other cheese
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked
  • Garnish with chopped green onions if you have them
  • Accompaniments: sour cream, salsa and guacamole
  1. Cover 2 tortillas with cheese.
  2. Crumble bacon over top.
  3. Place remaining tortillas on top and press lightly.
  4. Bake in 375°F oven for about 5 minutes until the cheese is melted and tortillas are starting to brown.
  5. Cut in quarters and serve with sour cream, salsa and guacamole.

Serves 2 – 3

 Variation: Chicken Quesadillas

Substitute about 1 cup cooked, shredded chicken for the bacon. Toss chicken with 1 Tbsp BBQ sauce before adding to quesadilla.

Guacamole

Let your kids help you make some homemade guacamole. This is a pretty basic, but balanced, guacamole recipe that I got from my sister. When we make a little guacamole to go with nachos or quesadillas for the kids we will omit the jalapeno pepper. Since we also have some that are not fond of tomatoes we even make it without the tomato ….  so sometimes we just have mashed avocado with a little lime and salt and pepper to accompany our Mexican inspired meals and this is just fine!

If you have leftover cooked peas you can mash them right in to use them up and boost the protein value.

  • 1  ripe avocado, flesh removed and diced
  • 2  tsp fresh lime juice (lemon will also work)
  • 1  clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 – 2  Tbsp red onion or 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 Jalapeño pepper, finely chopped without seeds
  • 1/3 cup fresh tomato, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh coriander, chopped or 1/2 tsp dry (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
  1. Mash pulp from avocado with lime juice immediately because avocado turns brown quickly.
  2.  Add garlic, onion, pepper, tomatoes, coriander and salt.
  3.  Adjust salt if needed.
  4. Serve with quesadillas or raw vegetables or tortilla chips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gluten-free Pastry

IMG_0270

Gluten-Free Pastry

I was so thrilled when I realized I could enjoy my favourite pies without wheat flour! I never thought about adapting my regular pastry recipe until I saw Jenn Croft, from Creative Choices in Owen Sound, demonstrate pie dough using her recipe. When I tried it at home with the all purpose flour mix I developed and the basic recipe from Anne’s Favourites I was delighted with the results and have made dozens of pies since then and maybe tweaked the recipe just a little. I have also found out what works and what does not work as well. Double crust pies are not always successful so I found I have just used pastry cutouts on top of the pie instead of a full crust. I am not sure why since I have not bothered trying to hard to correct this. I can live with Dutch apple instead of a two crust apple pie. Custard pies in a baked pie shell are fantastic. I would serve a piece of coconut cream pie in a GF crust to a regular crowd and not apologize. It is still great! Pumpkin and pecan pie also. For pies that traditionally are made with a lattice top I cut out heart or star shapes with the pastry, put them around the edges of the pie and sprinkle with some sugar and bake.

Best GF Pastry
3 cups GF all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
3/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup non-hydrogenated shortening, 2 oz or you may just use 1 cup of butter
3/4 cup butter or margarine, 6 oz
2 egg plus……
…….enough water to make 5/8 cup
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
1/4 cup almond or other nut flour (optional)

Sift flour, xanthan gum, sugar and salt into a bowl.
With a pastry blender or your clean hands mix shortening and butter into dry ingredients until the lumps are the size of peas or until there are no large chunks of fat.
Whisk together egg, water and vinegar and pour over dry mixture.
Blend in with a fork until all the flour is moistened and dough is forming.
I use my clean hands to finish gathering the dough together. This dough is very moist so you should not need to add more liquid.
Divide into 3 balls and flatten into discs. Dough may be refrigerated or frozen at this point.
Roll dough on a lightly floured piece of plastic wrap in a circle larger than the pie plate.
Place inverted pie plate over the dough and carefully lift plastic wrap, dough and pie plate, flipping quickly, and gently ease dough into plate. Remove plastic backing and finish pressing pastry into pie plate.
Seal any cracks or holes in crust and trim extra dough at edge of pie plate and flute as
desired.

Makes 2 – 10 inch or 3 – 8 inch pie shells or 22 tart shells
Anne’s Favourites

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Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Today is oatmeal cookie day so I thought what a great excuse for making a batch of cookies to take to work. Oatmeal Raisin Cookies 006

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe came from the Canadian Kinette Cookbook which was an excellent collection of favourites from across Canada. I wish it were still in print. I feel less guilty about making cookies when there are a couple of cups of rolled oats to balance all the fat and sugar. We like these with both raisins and chocolate chips together.  If you do not need to make these gluten-free just substitute your regular flour and use half whole wheat if you have it and omit the xanthan gum.

1 cup margarine or butter

2 cups brown sugar, packed

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/4  cups all purpose GF flour

2  cups GF rolled oats, quick cooking

1 tsp xanthan gum

1  tsp baking soda

1/2  tsp baking powder

1  tsp cinnamon (optional)

2  cups raisins, chocolate chips, nuts or a mixture

  • Beat margarine with brown sugar until smooth.
  • Beat in eggs, one at a time, then vanilla.
  • Stir in both flours, rolled oats, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.
  • Stir in raisins, chips and/or nuts until evenly distributed.
  • Drop by dessert spoon or 7/8 oz scoop onto a greased cookie sheet and flatten slightly with the palm of your hand.
  • Bake at 350°F until lightly browned, about 10 – 12 minutes.

Makes 4 dozen cookies

http://www.annesfavourites.ca

 

Sweet and Sour Sausages

This is a great way to cook sausage for a crowd and kids love it! The recipe can be adapted to as many sausages as you need. I substituted the jam for half of the sugar because I found it too sweet and often I have a jar of jam that has been open long enough and I want to use up. You can still reduce the sugar in this recipe to suit your taste.

 

sweet & sour sausage

Sweet and Sour Sausage Click here for pdf file

In the slow cooker at lunch and ready to serve for dinner. Even better if you have a rice cooker to just turn on when you get home or program to start when you want!

8 garlic sausage, gluten-free
1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp oil                                                                                                                                                      1 large cooking onion or 1 large Spanish or sweet onion
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup peach jam or other sweet chutney or preserve of choice (optional)
1 1/2 cups ketchup
3 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 Tbsp GF Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp hot pepper sauce
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard or yellow mustard
Boil sausage for 5 minutes to remove some of the fat then cut into 1 or 2 inch pieces depending on the way you plan to serve the sausage. If you want to do these in the oven place them in an ovenproof dish now and heat, uncovered at 400°F. while you make the sauce.

Meanwhile cook onion in butter and oil until soft and yellow.
Stir brown sugar, ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, pepper sauce and mustard into onions and simmer for 15 minutes. Pour sauce over sausages in the oven and continue to cook for 40 – 50 minutes until bubbling and thick or place sausage in slow cooker with sauce and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours .
Serves 6 -8

Tourtiere with Potato Pastry

The potato crust for tourtiere was one of the delightfully, successful gluten-free adaptations of my Christmas favourites. This crust adapted from Kingston’s Chez Piggy cookbook written by restaurant and bakery owners Rose Richardson and Zal Yanovsky is amazing. We used it for the tourtiere topper at the bakery and cannot believe I have not come across something similar elsewhere. It is a bit more work having the potatoes cooked and cooled but not if you think about it with your dinner prep the night before. Since it translated so well with gluten-free flour I now use it for all my savoury crusts. It is a delight to roll and work with.

Getting everything together for the tortiere takes time and even more of it now that I move more slowly – haha – but seems well worth it when you can sit and enjoy time with family while it bakes by itself in the oven. I make a double batch and have enough for 2 dozen small tarts, a large pie and a small pie for just the two of us to try. The tarts are great for any potluck gathering because they can be served to both the allergic and non-allergic crowd without apology.

getting-ready

tortiere-with-potato-pastry – Click here for pdf version

Tortiere

  • 2 cups carrots, sliced tsp butter or olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped, about 1 1/4 cups
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp savoury
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped or 1 tsp dry
  • 1 1/2 cup mashed potatoes

Potato Pastry:

  • 1 cups GF all purpose flour*
  • 1/2 cup GF bread flour
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 1 cup cold mashed potatoes
  • 3 – 4 Tbsp milk
  1. For the filling cook carrots in a little water until they are tender crisp, set aside, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid to add to the meat mixture later.
  2. Brown ground pork with bay leaf until it is no longer pink, then remove from pan and drain on paper towel.
  3. Cook onion in butter in same pan for about 5 minutes then add celery and garlic and continue cooking until soft.
  4. Add back pork then stir in salt, savoury and cloves with 1/2 cup of water from the carrots and continue simmering for about 20 minutes until most of the liquid is evaporated.
  5. Add cooked carrots, potatoes and fresh parsley, stirring until mixed.
  6. Cool to lukewarm while making pastry.
  7. For the pastry mix butter, flour, baking powder and salt with a pastry blender or your clean hands until lumps are the size of peas.
  8. Mix in cooled potatoes and milk to form a dough. This dough is lovely to work with.
    Divide dough into 2 pieces, roll into circles on plastic wrap to keep from sticking and line a 9 or 10 inch pie plate or 2 dozen mini tarts reserving enough for tops..
  9. Pour in cooled meat filling, wet edge of bottom crust, cover with top and seal and flute edges.
  10. Bake at 375°F about 1 hour, until crust is browned and filling is bubbling.

Making Butter Tarts with Classic Rock 94.5

Classic Rock 94.5 hosts Nathan Marshall and Chris Fudali made the best butter tarts using my Aunt Marj’s recipe in “Anne’s Favourites” and just a little extra direction from me.

These guys are good! They say they have never made pastry before but they made it look easy. Either they are naturals or the recipe is practically fool proof or maybe a little of both!

The filling was perfect sweet and custardy even if the walnuts were whole (I neglected to suggest that the nuts be chopped). Whatever the reason my Aunt Marj would have been proud of the tarts made with her recipe.

There is still time to enter the draw to win one of my cookbooks so put in your name and pass along the information to someone else that might want to have a chance!

http://classicrock945.ca/contests/2016/11/classic-rock-94-5-bakes-butter-tarts-with-pastry-pro-anne-mann/

jason-chris-kelly

annes-classic-rock-tarts Click here for the recipe. Note this pastry is the original from my cookbook but I have a gluten-free adaptation on another post if you need it.

Absolutely Awesome Drop Biscuits (Gluten-free)

 

I have missed a nice biscuit or scone since being diagnosed Celiac so I was thrilled when a friend brought the Garlic cheese biscuits made with Betty Crocker’s Biscuit Mix https://annesfavourites.ca/2014/10/22/almost-famous-cheddar-biscuits-gluten-free/ .These are so good you do not have to make a wheat version for company! I immediately tried a homemade version of the same with my regular all purpose flour mix but they were very disappointing. Also tried my own recipe for biscuits with a gluten-free mix and they also fell short of my expectations and of course I searched the internet for other people’s ideas for biscuits and none was up to scratch but these…….ARE!!

Biscuits

I revamped my Bread flour mix based on the past year’s experiences and used it with a little extra potato starch but I think the real trick is using the eggs in place of some of the milk. The buttermilk definitely adds an extra element of flavour but I plan to try them with soured milk when I use up all my buttermilk. I’m thinking if it makes a difference I will freeze the buttermilk in correct quantities for this mix.
I am giving you the recipe for the plain drop biscuits and the garlic cheese biscuits. Either is a great complement to a hearty soup meal.
Enjoy 🙂
I have successfully adapted this recipe to Grace Gammie’s Scones and will try to get that posted tomorrow so you can treat your Valentine this week-end to an afternoon tea or use them as a delicious addition to brunch.

Plain Drop Biscuits Click here for PDF version https://www.dropbox.com/s/xmqps5zrmxb61at/Drop%20Biscuits.pdf?dl=0

2 cups GF bread flour*
1/4 cup potato starch
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 Tbsp GF baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter or margarine
2/3 cup buttermilk
3 eggs
1/2 cup raisins, shredded Cheddar or mixed peel (optional)

  • Sift flour, potato starch, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt in a bowl.
  • Cut in butter with a pastry blender or your clean hands until crumbs are between the size of peas and lentils.
  • Whisk buttermilk with eggs and pour over dry ingredients and mix with a fork until batter is combined.
  • Add cheese or fruit, if desired, and continue to stir until dry ingredients are incorporated and raisins are evenly distributed.
  • Drop by tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheet or parchment paper. Bake in a 425°F oven for about 12 – 15 minutes until the biscuits are lightly browned and barely give when pressed on top.

Makes 13 – 15 two inch biscuits

*Bread Flour Mix

2 cups sweet rice flour
1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup white rice flour
1 cup tapioca starch
1/2 cup potato starch
1/2 cup millet flour

ALWAYS whisk or shake together before measuring.

Garlic Cheese Biscuits

Biscuits:Click here for PDF version https://www.dropbox.com/s/ebivagb6jzfj8tv/Garlic%20Cheese%20Biscuits.pdf?dl=0
2 cups GF bread flour*
1/4 cup potato starch
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 Tbsp GF baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup butter or margarine
2/3 cup buttermilk
3 eggs
2/3 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
Topping:
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 clove garlic, crushed or 1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp fresh or frozen chopped parsley or 1 tsp dried
1/3 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

  • Sift flour, potato starch, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt in a bowl.
  • Cut in butter with a pastry blender or your clean hands until crumbs are between the size of peas and lentils.
  • Whisk buttermilk with eggs and pour over dry ingredients and mix with a fork until batter is combined.
  • Add cheese or fruit, if desired, and continue to stir until dry ingredients are incorporated and raisins are evenly distributed.
  • Drop by tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheet or parchment paper.
  • Bake in a 425°F oven for about 12 minutes until the biscuits are lightly browned and barely give when pressed on top.
  • Mix melted butter, garlic and parsley and brush on hot biscuits.
    Sprinkle with remaining cheese and return to oven for 2 – 3 more minutes until cheese is melted.
    Makes 13 – 15 two inch biscuits

Anne’s Favourites

Grandma’s Favourites

I wish to extend my apologies for letting my blog registration expire for a week at the end of November and hope nobody was looking for a recipe during that time.

Quality Control

Today I am so excited to share with you a very special baking experience, making cookies with our first grandchild! Sporting an apron purchased at the Lucknow United Church bazaar, Davis helped Grandma make peanut butter cookies and decided that it was good and Grandma was thrilled!
If you are able to eat peanut butter, try these cookies, and if you are not, try the “Six-in-one” Recipe that follows and is always a hit with children. I was having difficulty deciding which to make when I was visiting in Calgary!

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I adapted this recipe from one I found in a Gourmet magazine in 1986 and they are the best.

  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups GF all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum (omit if using wheat flour)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate, chopped, about 5 oz
  • 2/3 cup salted peanuts, chopped
  1. Beat butter, peanut butter and both sugars until smooth, being careful not to over mix.
  2. Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla, beating until incorporated.
  3. Sift in flour, xanthan gum, baking soda and salt until combined.
  4. Stir in chocolate and peanuts until evenly distributed.
  5. Roll into 1 inch balls (or 1/2 inch for toddler size cookies) and place on lightly greased cookie sheet. Flatten lightly with fork in a crisscross pattern.
  6. Bake at 375°F for 8 to 10 minutes (less for smaller cookies).
    Makes 4 1/2 dozen cookies

1st Baking with Grandma

Six-in-one Cookies

Brandied Peaches

Don’t miss the opportunity to try this super simple, yet elegant dessert! So easy to do for one or two or a crowd! Just cut one peach for every person and adjust the sugar, butter and brandy quantities accordingly. You will still be thinking about how delicious they were the next day!

Brandied Peaches

  • 2 peaches, peeled and sliced*
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp brandy (I think you could use 1/2 tsp vanilla if you do not have brandy)

Melt butter in a frying pan over medium heat and add sliced peaches and cook for several minutes until warm.

Add brown sugar and continue cooking until most of the liquid is evaporated and sugar syrup is thick.

Remove from heat, stir in brandy and serve over vanilla ice cream. ENJOY! There are not many things I do not think are improved by a dollop of whipped cream but this stands alone and the only reason I would top with cream would be for appearance or to use some leftover.

*fresh are delightful but do not be afraid to try frozen or canned in the off season!

Best Banana Muffins – Vegan style

These banana muffins never disappoint! I adapted this lower sugar version of the Muffin Mania Banana Muffins in the 80’s and have been making them probably every month since in one version or another. When I had to switch to gluten-free flour they made the transition almost seamlessly. With my flour mix and a teaspoon of xanthan gum I am not afraid to take them to the shop for coffee break (especially if I make the chocolate chunk version). So when my niece was coming for a visit and I had some nice ripe bananas (the secret ingredient) I thought I would try them with a flax egg substitute to suit her vegan diet. I was not disappointed – they were great with fresh and dried cranberries for added flavour. I would make these if I were out of eggs anytime!

Vegan Banana Cranberry Muffins – for pdf version click here Vegan Banana Muffins

1 Tbsp ground flax seed*
2 1/2 Tbsp water *
1 1/2 cups all purpose gluten-free flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp GF baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 very ripe bananas, mashed, about 1 1/4 cups
1/3 cup margarine or butter, melted
3/4 cup fresh, frozen or dried cranberries or combination

* the flax and water replaces one egg – if you are not vegan you may use an egg instead

  • Whisk water into flax seed in a small bowl and let sit while preparing rest of ingredients (at least 5 minutes) until thickened.
  • Sift flour, xanthan gum, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
  • Stir flax mixture and margarine into bananas until blended then pour over sifted dry ingredients.
  • Add cranberries and mix until evenly distributed.
  • Fill paper-lined muffin pans using a 1/4 cup measure or a 2 1/4 ounce scoop for 9 large muffins or a 7/8 oz scoop for 30 mini-muffins.
  • Bake at 365°F for 25 minutes (less for mini-muffins)until muffin springs back when lightly touched.