Monday, September 23, 2019

Cherry Pinwheel Cookies

These Cherry Pinwheel Cookies are given a hint of tang from cream cheese and lemon juice while super concentrated cherry flavour brings a hit of fruit to the pink swirl! It will be a hit in any lunchbox or snack table!

Sigh - where did the Summer go? It seems so crazy that September is almost over, we're almost a whole month into school and the Thanksgiving sales are on. That said, since school is back in session (even for me!), a sweet pick me up in the lunchbox is always appreciated. I came across the original recipe for these cookies on Simply Recipes and fell in love with their adaptability and relative simplicity.

Being me (and wanting to use up the random stuff in my pantry and fridge!) I tweaked the recipe to my tastes. I love a hint of tang in my sweets, and by adding lemon juice to the cherry stripe and using cream cheese for some of the butter I got the slight cheesecakey tartness I looked for. The cream cheese also helped these cookies keep their shape in the oven - no crazy spread like I always have with all butter cookies. To get a slight crisp on the outside, I used egg whites in the dough as well. Finally, I was tired of eyeing the bag of white whole wheat flour in my pantry (which I was using for brownies for my sister) and tossed it in for the all purpose.

The one thing I will say about these cookies is that they do take time - at minimum 24 hours - so you need to plan ahead. However, they also freeze beautifully and I can't wait to make a few more batches for Christmas giving! I can't imagine a prettier platter than one with a variety of colourful swirls... I'm thinking chocolate and orange perhaps, or a vanilla-mint, maybe even a coconut and rum? The possibilities are endless!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Amaranth and Honey Bread #BreadBakers

Amaranth and Honey Bread is sweet with a hint of orange zest with a delicate texture from cooked amaranth. Spread with marmalade its a great addition to the weekend morning lineup!

I adore my pantry of many strange and wonderful grains and flours. While most of them I found either at the Bulk Barn or local Asian grocery, I also saved up for when Mom and I would go to the St. Lawrence Market in the summer to buy one of my favourite specialty flours: amaranth. In retrospect, it's actually funny for me to wax poetic about this grain, as Nightwish (one of my new favourite Spotify finds) has a song called Amaranth that N loved long before I knew they existed. It's become somewhat of an anthem for us, and I couldn't think of a better celebratory bread to bake up for Bread With Seeds this month!

While amaranth is looked on as a grain by most people, like quinoa it's actually a seed that can be treated as a grain (i.e. boiled, puffed, or ground). As I've been staying gluten free personally due to skin and digestive issues, I've been enjoying amaranth as cereal and pressed with rice into rice cake / crackers all summer as it has a lightly nutty, buttery taste. When I stumbled across a recipe pairing the flavourful seed with honey on Melangery, I couldn't wait to try it out as Mom (the resident breadaholic) loves that flavour combination as well.

I did make a few changes to the loaf as I went along, and was pleased overall with the results. I soaked the grains rather than boiled them since I had time to spare and didn't want mushy grains in my bread. Butter became a mixture of sesame oil (for flavour) and canola oil for balance, and I used soy milk due to it's beneficial effect on the yeast activity. The rising took longer than a standard loaf as it is a heavy dough, but the flavour was worth every minute spent hovering over the bowl. Lastly, I upped the amount of honey because we love it's flavour and browning capacity.

The loaf came out of the oven crusty and smelling amazing from all the various seeds toasting. Visually, it's a stunning loaf with the sun-like design sliced into the top, and after it cooled (an agonizing wait!) each slice was dense but moist and perfect for smearing honey or jam on in the morning. It's a shame that amaranth flour is still a bit on the pricey side or I'd be making this every week!


#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Garlicky Spaghetti Sauce

Homemade spaghetti sauce is really easy to make, and while you won't get a lot from a garden's worth of tomatoes the flavour of each drop is well worth the labour!

Well, the tomatoes have finally come in - well, most of them anyway. I actually really lucked out this year and had almost all my garden produce ripen on cue - I suddenly had the makings of a classic spaghetti sauce on my hands! With my copy of The Canning Kitchen by Amy Bronee on hand, I gathered up all the ingredients I needed from the garden and pantry and set to work! Five hours after making the first slice into a tomato, I was rewarded with this jar - four cups - of deeply flavourful, thick and rich tomato sauce. Does it seem like a bit of a rip off (when I started with 6 lbs of tomatoes)? Kind of, but at the same time I know that every last speck of effort that went into it - from the planting of the seedlings for the tomatoes, herbs, onions and garlic to the chopping and measuring to the final can - will be appreciated and can be tasted. This is no canned or jarred sauce, although they have their place. Nope, this jar is being saved for a spaghetti and meatball dinner or a homemade lasagna shared with loved ones. I owe the garden that much at least!

Also, don't freak out at the amount of garlic in this recipe. Yes, there are 6 cloves in that one jar. But they cook for so long at such a low temperature that they mellow and add a nuanced flavour to the recipe, without the sharp bite of the bulb. Egyptian onions are best equated to a cross between shallots and green onions, and you can certainly use shallots or even a white onion in this recipe instead. I left the tomato seeds in (we aren't picky) but you can mill your sauce if that's a no-go for you! No pressure canner? Freeze it! The options are endless, truly.