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.

Triple Chocolate Cookies

If you are looking for a gluten-free cookie to make this March break and you like a little chocolate then these Triple Chocolate Cookies should be a hit. They took very little experimentation to come up with a gluten-free version of the original recipe. I just switched my gluten-free all purpose flour mix for both the wheat flours and added 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum and 1 Tablespoon of sour cream.

I made a double batch so I could share but they were so good they disappeared before they could be delivered to the deserving parties!
IMG_9861

Triple Chocolate Cookies Triple Chocolate Cookies GF2014
These are a hit with the chocolate lovers and I have found they disappear quickly from a plate of assorted cookies. You can bring these to a party and not have to apologize for being gluten-free!

1 cup margarine or butter or a mixture
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp instant coffee granules (optional)
2 Tbsp sour cream, yogurt or milk
2 cups GF all purpose flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup white chocolate pieces
1 cup semi sweet chocolate pieces
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

• Beat margarine with both sugars until smooth, being careful not to over mix.
• Add egg, vanilla, coffee and sour cream, beating until incorporated.
• Sift flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder into sugar mixture and beat until smooth. .
• Add white and dark chocolate and pecans, stirring until evenly distributed.
• Drop by dessert spoon or 7/8 oz scoop onto an ungreased cookie sheet and flatten slightly with the palm of your hand.
• Bake for 10 -12 minutes at 365°F.
• They are done when the tops begin to crack and centres are somewhat set but still a little soft.
• Hide until needed!

Makes 3 1/2 dozen cookies
Anne’s Favourites, Food for the Heart and Soul

Turtle Squares

These are probably the most widespread “favourite” on the treat side of my cookbook. And why not with a combination of chocolate and caramel you appeal to twice as many people! I always make a bakery size pan at Christmas so I have some for home and enough to share at Cliff’s Plumbing & Heating during the last work days. How nice for me and other people with Celiac Disease they are easily changed up to leave out the gluten!

Turtle Square Recipe Page 185 Coming Soon to the blog

Turtle Square Recipe Page 185 Also see Holiday Date Balls posted last year!

Turtle Squares

These are just about the most delicious, crowd-pleasing squares you can make. Doreen concocted this recipe by combining a Nanaimo bar base and Wellington square filling – twice the enjoyment! I have included the recipe for the larger

Base: 
1/2  cup melted margarine
1/4  cup cocoa powder
1/4  cup white sugar
1  egg, beaten tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4  cups GF graham crumbs – I sometimes use part GF crisp rice cereal crushed
1  cup desiccated coconut
Filling: 
1  can (300 ml) sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2/3 cup melted margarine
2 Tbsp corn syrup
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

Topping:
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks
1/4 cup margarine

  • For base mix margarine, cocoa, sugar and egg in microwaveable bowl and cook about
  • 1 minute, stopping to stir half way through, until mixture is bubbling. Do not overcook or crumbs may not stick together.
  • Stir in vanilla, graham crumbs and coconut until evenly distributed. Crumbs should stick
  • together nicely or they will not cut properly later.
  • Press into a 9 x 13 inch pan and let cool.
  • For filling cook condensed milk, brown sugar, margarine and corn syrup in a heavy pot over medium low heat until mixture comes to a full boil, stirring frequently. If bits of brown start forming on the bottom, turn down the heat a notch and don’t worry since mostly they will mix in as the rest browns.
  • Reduce heat slightly and boil 5 minutes stirring constantly. It will take a little longer to cook the filling for the larger pan. Caramel is done if spoon is leaving a clean path on the bottom of the pot for a second and mixture is a nice golden brown
  • Let cool slightly then spread on base and sprinkle pecans evenly over the surface, pressing in slightly.
  • Refrigerate for an hour or more until set.
  • For topping microwave chocolate and margarine together on low power, about 1 minute, stopping often to stir and check the chocolate. Chocolate can burn easily. I usually take it out when there are still a few lumps remaining and stir until they melt, returning to microwave only if necessary.
  • Spread over cooled caramel layer with a spatula.
  • Cool and cut into 35 squares.
  • If the caramel is hard when refrigerated you may need to serve the squares at room temperature.

Beef Lentil Soup

Beef Lentil Soup

Beef Lentil Soup

When I was told my folate level was low I made a visit to the dietitian to see what advice she had and she printed me the list of Food Sources of Folate from the Dietitians of Canada http://www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/Nutrition-A-Z/B-Vitamins.aspx?categoryID=3n.  I looked it over to see where I could bump up my intake. I noticed spinach was a good source and assumed kale had a similar vitamin profile so thought I would keep hiding it anywhere I could (soups and stews and salads). She also mentioned that beans and lentils were a good source. It just happened I had put on a soup bone for some beef soup that morning and I was wondering what might be a good gluten-free substitute for the barley and now I had the perfect solution – lentils. The soup made a delicious vehicle to add some folate rich lentils and greens.

For me this is a two day process – the first day leaving the soup bone on in the slow cooker and the next day putting together the soup but you could finish the soup at night and still have it for dinner. It is definitely hearty enough for an evening meal but it is also a great boost at midday if you freeze it in lunch size containers. Soup is my solution to a gluten-free lunch since I often feel I need more than a salad to get me through the day.

Beef Stock
If you can find a source of nice meaty beef bones and you own a slow cooker you will never want to use dry bouillon mix again. The ingredients below are the basics, but feel free to use almost any vegetables or herb you like. Just a little advice that I learned the hard way. Avoid vegetables with really strong tastes like broccoli and cauliflower. At times I like to add cabbage, kale and turnip, but not so much that it overpowers the other flavours.

12 – 14 cups water
2 lb soup bone or pot roast with bone in or stewing beef
1 large onion or several small ones, peeled
1 rib celery with leaves
1 parsnip, cut in chunks
1 carrot, cut in chunks
1 – 2 tomatoes, cut in quarters
1 tsp salt
1 whole hot pepper or 5 whole peppercorns
1 clove garlic
2 bay leaves
a handful of kale ribs (use the leaves for salad) if you have them
Any other vegetable, avoid strongly flavoured ones

  • Put everything together in slow cooker and cook on high for 5 hours or let cook on low all day or overnight.
  • If simmering on top of stove brown beef before adding water and simmer 2 – 3 hours.
  • Strain stock and remove meat from soup bone when it cools enough.
  • Add meat back to stock and discard bones and cooked vegetables.
  • Refrigerate stock and discard fat from top of container before reheating.
  • You may save some of the fat for “sweating” the vegetables in your soups.

Beef Lentil Soup
On a stormy winter day this is a very welcoming smell to come home to. It definitely is a meal in itself but even better with some biscuits or toast..
Beef Stock with meat (recipe above)
1/2 – 1 cup lentils, I use green
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp olive oil
1 cup celery, chopped
2 cups carrots, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 potato, peeled and cubed
1 cup rutabaga, cubed
1 can (28 oz) tomatoes or 3 cups tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 cups corn kernels
1 tsp salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup kale leaves and stems, chopped
1 Tbsp parsley

  • Prepare beef stock as per recipe adding meat to stock.
  • Simmer lentils with beef stock while you prepare the remaining vegetables.
  • Cook onion with olive oil in large stock pot until soft, about 5 minutes.
  • Add celery, carrots and garlic and continue cooking on low for another 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Add potato, rutabaga, stock and meat and cook 20 minutes until lentils are soft.
  • Stir in tomatoes, corn, parsley, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
  • Simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings.

Pumpkin Chiffon Cake (gluten-free)

Cake with Brandy Cream

Halloween Week is always busy because both my Mother and Mother-in-Law have their birthdays a day apart. That means two cakes, a trip to Guelph to deliver my Mom’s and of course Maple fudge for Halloween trick or treaters. I was excited to share a blog on Maple fudge for the bazaar and Christmas giving season but it will have to wait because when I made the gluten-free version of the Pumpkin Chiffon Cake for Mom I just could not wait to show you how gorgeous it was! I wish I could give you a piece so you could taste it too!

This recipe came from Wilma Chisholm and I cannot say I have seen it anywhere else in print. This was one of Mom’s favourite cakes and without the need for a sugary icing she was able to indulge in a small piece for her birthday even after she developed diabetes. As the photos show she can still count it as a favourite when it is made with a simple substitution of my gluten-free all purpose flour.

Pumpkin Chiffon Cake

Pumpkin Chiffon – click here for pdf version of recipe

7 eggs, separated
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup water, apple cider or juice drained from pumpkin
when preparing purée (recipe pg 232)
1/2 – 3/4 cup pumpkin purée, fresh, frozen or canned
1/2 cup canola oil
2 cups GF all purpose flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp baking powder

  • Whip egg whites with cream of tartar in a clean bowl with clean beaters on high until foamy then slowly add 3/4 cup sugar while beating until stiff peaks form.
  • In another bowl beat egg yolks, remaining 3/4 cup sugar and water about 5 minutes until yolk mixture is thick, pale and beaters leave marks.
  • Fold pumpkin and oil into egg yolk mixture.
  • Sift flour, xanthan gum and baking powder and stir into yolk mixture until smooth.
  • Pour egg yolk mixture over the beaten egg whites and fold together quickly but thoroughly.
  • Immediately pour into an ungreased tube pan and bake at 350°F for about an hour until cake springs back when lightly touched and is golden brown.
  • If cake is getting too brown before it is completely cooked then turn oven down to 325°F for remaining time.
  • Invert pan on rack and cool completely.
  • Serve with brandied cream on the side.

Brandied Cream: I’m sure you will find somewhere to use any of this left over.

  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tsp brandy