Archive for June, 2011

In case you haven’t heard, Canada Post has been on strike for the past 3 weeks. The workers were at first doing rotating strikes so as not to disrupt the postal service too much, but as of 2 weeks ago, corporate has locked out all 48,000 employees. My husband has been an employee for 36 years, working his tail off and is now on the picket line every day for 8-10 hours. Since I have been baking 2-3 batches of cookies everyday for the past week for all of the people walking the line (in the pouring rain)at our local office, I keep trying to bake new things. This is one of them. It is really easy to put together but super moist and flavorful. Bake on!

2 C (240 g) all-purpose flour
3/4 C (96 g) dutch process cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 C (227 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (109 g) light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 (300 g) granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
1 Cup (80 g) shredded coconut (I prefer to use dessicated, or unsweetened)
3/4 C(83 g) cashews, coarsely chopped

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl between additions. Add the vanilla. Slowly add the dry ingredients and combine on low-speed. Stir in the coconut and the cashews. With a spoon, scoop up a walnut sized piece and gently roll it in your hands. Place about 1 1/2 inches apart on your prepared baking sheet. Bake for exactly 9 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

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It seems a lot of cookies have been getting baked here this past week. The freezer is starting to get very full…

Snickerdoodles are one of those cookies that everyone seems to remember from their childhood. I myself remember baking them in 4-H when I was in grade school. Recipes for snickerdoodles can be found in cookbooks dating as far back as 1902. Since cinnamon is a spice that goes back thousands of years it makes sense that this cookie has been around for so long as,too. In the days before baking powder was invented, cream of tartar and baking soda were the leavening agents of the day. That is what this recipe uses. It also has cinnamon chips in it, to heighten the cinnamon sensation. Hersheys make these as well as King Arthur flour. Here in Canada, you can get them at Bulk Barn. It has been years since I have made snickerdoodles,but now that my daughter has discovered them I have a feeling we will be baking these a lot more often…. Bake On!


1/2 cup (3 1/4 ounces) vegetable shortening
1/2 cup  (3 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cups (11 5/8 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2  cups (9 ounces) cinnamon chips

*cinnamon-sugar: 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line  two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Beat together the shortening, butter  and sugar till smooth, then add the eggs, again beating till smooth. Beat in the vanilla, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt, then add the flour, mixing slowly till combined. (If you beat the dough too much at this point, your cookies run the risk of being tough.) Add the chips once the flour is mixed in. Place about 1/2 cup cinnamon-sugar in a small bowl.

Using a small spoon, scoop up walnut sized amounts of cookie dough and gently roll them in your hands to form a ball. Drop  into the bowl with the sugar, about 6 to 8 balls at a time. Gently shake the bowl to coat the dough balls with sugar. Place them on the parchment-lined cookie sheet, leaving about 1 ½” between them. Using the bottom of a glass,  flatten each cookie till it’s about ¼” thick and 1 ½” in diameter. Repeat till you’ve used up all the dough.

Bake the cookies for 10 to 11 minutes, reversing the position of the pans (top to bottom, and back to front) midway through. They’ll be set and just starting to turn golden. Remove the cookies from the oven, and cool them on a rack. When they’re cool, top them with the merest dusting of ground cinnamon; a tea strainer or other very fine sieve works well here.

Recipe adapted from: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/superdoodles-recipe

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Chive Bread

Welcome spring! err… I mean,Welcome spring chives! Here in Calgary, Alberta, where I currently live, spring doesn’t really ever happen. Oh, we have had days already that it has hit 18C (which is about 69F) , which is actually beautiful weather, but living at the foot of the Canadian Rockies always brings interesting weather.  Yesterday I finally put into the ground my 5 basil plants (4 large leaf Genovese and 1 Thai), flatleaf parsley, lemon thyme, jalapeno and bell pepper plants that I purchased last weekend. I also planted some radish seeds (they only take about 25 days until pickin’).

Todays Weather? 5C (41F) ! How are my poor basil plants supposed to survive in that kind of weather? I can only hope for some stinking hot July weather to save the day.  Not that I profess to be any kind of gardener. I lived in Manhattan for 20 yrs and never planted a thing in my life, but now have been slowly trying to add a little bit more to the garden every year. One of the best confidence boosters is chives.  Other than sticking them in the ground, you do nothing. Seriously. My neighbor gave me a small patch from her garden about 5 years ago and now I get this huge patch every year. If all else fails in the garden I can count on my chives, so when I out planting yesterday I noticed how big it was getting and dug out a wedge to pass along to one of my friends. It’s all great, but what’s a girl to do with so much chives? Bake bread, of course. This bread is moist and fragrant and is excellent for sandwiches or toast. After having it with soup for dinner last night, it was great with scrambled eggs and tomato this morning, and my husband just enjoyed it in a tuna fish sandwich. Bake on!


Makes One Loaf, using a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan
1 cup (8 ounces) warm water
1/3 cup (3 ounces) whole or part-skim ricotta cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
3 cups (13 ounces) unbleached bread flour
1/2 cup (1 ounce) chopped chives (I  ended up adding a little more)
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

In the bowl of a standing mixer, place the warm water (90-100F) , the yeast, and the sugar; whisk to combine. Let this sit for 5 minutes to activate the yeast. Once foamy, add the remaining ingredients using the dough hook ( While many recipes say to start with the paddle attachment and then switch to the dough hook, I rarely ever do  this and start off directly with the dough hook with no difference that I can tell). Let the dough knead in the mixer for 10 minutes. The sides of the bowl should be completely clean, but the dough will still be slightly tacky – that’s okay- Don’t be tempted to add extra flour if you really don’t need to; it will toughen your bread. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap to double in size; this will take about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Lightly coat your loaf pan with butter and cooking spray

When the dough is double in size (if you stick a finger in the dough it will leave an impression), turn it out onto a clean work surface and roll the dough (you can even just pat it out with your hands) to a rectangle shape approximately 9 x 17 inches. Fold the dough into thirds, like a letter; pinch the seams firmly together and place into your loaf tin. Cover again with a clean towel or plastic film; let rise again for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350F.

When the dough has risen a second time, bake in the   preheated oven for approximately 35-40, or until a dark golden brown and it sounds hollow when tapped. Take it out of the pan and let cool completely on a cooling rack. Enjoy.Source: King Arthur Flour

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