When cinnamon, sugar and butter are mixed together, the result is something many people all over the world find irresistible.
The first cinnamon roll was created in Sweden, around the 1920’s. After World War I, several goods such as sugar, eggs and butter, which had been heavily restricted, eventually returned to the grocery shelves. The spice trade from Southeast Asia also led to the invention of the roll. Cinnamon was not grown locally in the European countries, hence the spice trade from Sri Lanka led to the development of cinnamon use in the European countries. The influences of German baking techniques combine with Swedish and Danish ingredients can clearly be seen in the making of the cinnamon roll.
In Sweden, October 4th is ‘Kanelbulle’ day or national ‘Cinnamon Roll Day’. This holiday was originally created by the country’s Home Baking Council in 1999 to commemorate their 40th anniversary. Swedish cinnamon rolls are not as sweet and heavy as they are in North America. The dough contains a hint of cardamom spice and they are generally baked in muffin papers to make a more delicate treat.
Our family definitely enjoyed a lot of irresistible cinnamon rolls. As is everything that becomes the ‘norm’, you take it for granted until you no longer have it and it becomes a ‘taste of a memory’.
I recall my mother also making ‘potato’ doughnuts. The mashed potato seems to really add to the flavor of a yeast dough. In keeping with this Swedish ‘holiday’, I am making POTATO CINNAMON ROLLS or ‘Twists’.
In a large mixing bowl, combine lukewarm milk with yeast; whisk until yeast is dissolved. Allow to stand about 3 minutes or until foamy. Add warm mashed potato, melted butter, eggs, sugar, cardamom & salt; mix well. Stir in flour, one cup at a time. When dough is completely blended, turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for about 10 minutes, until smooth & elastic.
Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning dough to completely coat it with grease. Cover with plastic wrap; allow to rise in a draft-free place until doubled in size. Punch down, turn out on a lightly floured work surface & let rest for about 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine brown sugar & cinnamon; set aside.
Line a baking sheet or two with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out into a 14 x 14-inch square. Brush with melted butter & evenly sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar mixture. Fold dough into thirds like a business letter, then roll again into a 14 x 8-inch rectangle. Facing the long edge, cut dough into roughly 18 -8-inch strips. Twist each strip several times, slightly stretching it as you do so. Take one end of the twisted strip & coil the dough around your hand twice, then over the top. Coil dough again & tuck the loose end in at the bottom.
Arrange on baking sheets. Cover with plastic & allow to rise in a draft-free place, 45-60 minutes or until doubled in size. Place oven rack in middle position & preheat oven to 350 F.
If you prefer, you can brush rolls with egg wash & sprinkle with pearl sugar or chopped almonds instead of using cream cheese glaze. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. While cinnamon rolls are baking, make glaze (if you are using it). With a mixer, beat together cream cheese & butter until light & fluffy. Blend in powdered sugar & vanilla. Add enough milk to achieve a drizzle-like consistency. Drizzle on rolls while still warm.
Freezer Instructions: Form cinnamon rolls into twisted shape & place several inches apart on baking sheet to freeze rolls individually. Once frozen, transfer to a resealable plastic freezer bag. When ready to bake, place on a lightly greased baking sheet & allow to come to room temperature before baking.
There is definitely more to rhubarb than just dessert. While rhubarb is generally treated as a fruit, it has also made many popular appearances in recipes of the day as a savory ingredient.
Braised in chicken stock with a little brown sugar makes a nice side dish for pork, lamb or fish. In sauces, it teams well with onion, sugar and star anise and tarragon for salmon or trout. If your serving pork, onion, sugar, cinnamon, allspice and cloves all pair well with rhubarb.
In September, 2016, I posted a recipe for Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Rhubarb Chutney. It became real popular with my blog followers so I thought I would share another pork/rhubarb idea. This recipe was one of those newspaper clippings from yesteryear that is still in my ‘file’ today.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Trim excess fat from short ribs; cut into serving size pieces. Place some of the fat in a heavy skillet & heat until skillet is well greased. Discard any remaining pieces.
Combine flour, salt & pepper in a plastic bag. Place short ribs in bag & shake to coat evenly; reserve any extra flour. Place ribs in skillet & brown slowly on both sides. Transfer to a shallow baking dish, making a single layer.
Top ribs with slices of onion, orange & celery. Toss rhubarb, sugar, reserved flour mixture & cloves together & sprinkle over all. Add water to the baking pan. Cover tightly with foil. Bake 35 minutes or until ribs are tender. Uncover & continue baking 10 minutes longer.
The original recipe used pork chops but our preference is with pork country style ribs instead.
The thought of rhubarb is a nostalgic thing for me. I have memories of my mother’s neat row of rhubarb plants growing along the edge of her garden. Magically each spring they would reappear from what had been frozen ground only a few short weeks before. While other plants still lay dormant, the large fan shaped rhubarb leaves quickly gathered enough sunlight to produce some juicy stalks.
Tucked in behind the water fountain, in Brion and my flower garden, are three rhubarb plants. Originally we had put them there to show off that huge foliage as well as being used in my cooking. Time has passed and with our trees becoming more mature, they are getting more shade than they like. Nevertheless, last year they were still producing in late September.
I’m going to start off this season with some RHUBARB CHEESECAKE SQUARES, a favorite recipe that comes from tasteofhome.com
In a small bowl, combine flour, oats & brown sugar. Cut in butter until crumbly. Set aside 1 cup crumb mixture; press remaining mixture onto bottom of a greased 9-inch square baking dish. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a small bowl, beat cream cheese & sugar until smooth. Beat in salt, vanilla, cinnamon & nutmeg. Add egg; beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in walnuts & rhubarb. Pour over crust. Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting into squares.
If you are wanting to use frozen rhubarb, measure rhubarb while still frozen, then thaw completely. Drain in a sieve, but do not press liquid out.
Its true that a good scone is a delicate flavor balance of opposites: rich but light, tender but sturdy, satisfyingly sweet but not overly so.
As baking soda and baking powder came into use as rising agents in the mid 19th century, the familiar light, raised scones began to appear in recipe books.
Scones are closely related to biscuits in that they contain much of the same ingredients — flour, baking powder, salt, shortening or butter.
The making of tender scones lies in the technique itself. The ‘secret’ is to mix the dough as little yet as thoroughly as you can. The less you work at it, the more tender the scones will become.
Scones as well as muffins seem to fall in and out of ‘fashion’. For me, I love them both and never tire of making either one.
This particular recipe I developed some time back with a lot of room for variations. My sister, Loretta and I share a common addiction for scones and fully believe it should be a constant in one’s life. This one is for you, Loretta. Enjoy!
Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a food processor, pulse oatmeal for a few seconds; transfer to a large bowl. Whisk oatmeal, flour, baking soda, spices, salt, flax & pecans (sunflower seeds) together until combined. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk egg, brown sugar, syrup, oil, applesauce, orange zest, orange juice & vanilla together until combined.
Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients, stir a few times, then add raisins, carrots & apple. Fold together gently just until blended.
Scoop onto baking sheet & bake 3 minutes at 425 F. then reduce heat to 350 F. & bake for an additional 9 minutes or until they test done. Cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes; remove to wire rack.
In contrast to it’s name, coffeecake usually does not have any coffee in it but is most often served with coffee. This is a cake that was not invented by a pastry chef but rather evolved from a variety of different types of cakes. Said to have had it’s origin in Europe, coffeecake became famous in Germany, Scandinavia and Portugal. The Scandinavians were advocates of the coffee break and desired something sweet with their coffee, thus contributed to the evolution of this tasty cake.
By 1879, coffeecakes had become well known in America and became common place to most households. As time passed, the original recipe was being prepared with cheese, yogurt, sugared fruits, nuts and spices. The most preferred baking pan for this cake is the ‘bundt pan’. The hole in the center of the pan allows heavier batters to become cooked all the way through without any dough being left unbaked in the center.
Sour Cream Coffee Cake, sometimes called Russian Coffeecake, is one of the most delicious and poplar of all versions. Due to the fact that this dense cake is not overly sweet makes it ideal for breakfast, brunch, snacks as well as other informal occasions. The lactic acid in the sour cream results in a tender crumb as well as keeping the cake fresh longer while the fat contributes to the flavor and moistness. The slight tang of the sour cream underscores the velvety, buttery cake. With the batter being rather thick, it will support a heavy filling or streusel.
This is a cake with limitless possibilities. Personalize it to suit the occasion with fillings such as Apple Nut, Brown Sugar & Nuts, Cranberry Orange, Date or Fig. Of course, instead of a glaze you can always put some streusel in the bundt pan first, giving it a glorious look and taste when baked and inverted on a serving plate.
Today’s recipe combines the use of sour cream and cream cheese. The aroma when it comes out of the oven is heavenly not to mention the taste later.
In a small bowl, combine cream cheese with apricot preserve until smooth; set aside.
If using streusel on top or inside, combine streusel ingredients well; set aside.
Preheat oven to 325 F. Lightly butter & flour a 12-cup bundt cake pan.
In a large bowl, beat sugar, margarine, vanilla & eggs at medium speed for 2 minutes. In another bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda & salt; fold into creamed mixture alternately with sour cream. Beat on low speed for another minute.
Spread 1/3 of the batter in pan; spread with 1/2 of the filling. Repeat 2 times. Bake 45 minutes or until tests done with a wooden pick. Remove from oven to a wire rack; cool for 20 minutes. Combine glaze ingredients while cake is cooling. Invert bundt pan onto serving plate & drizzle with glaze.
If you choose to use streusel, after buttering & flouring the pan, sprinkle streusel in the bottom which will essentially become the top of cake.
Or place some streusel on the bottom of pan & sprinkle some over each layer of filling.
FILLED OATMEAL COOKIES – The only thing better than an oatmeal cookie is a filled oatmeal cookie, right! It seems they were one of those cookies traditionally baked at Christmas time, probably due to the cost of dates and the time consuming process to make them.
Whenever my mother was doing her Christmas baking, she gradually filled every cookie tin she owned and then started using empty ‘Rodger’s Golden Syrup’ pails to store them in. These pails were good for the purpose because they were airtight. To keep us ‘kids’ from nibbling on them before Christmas had actually arrived, the pails were discretely placed among her jars of canning downstairs. Somehow a pail got missed, so that year we enjoyed some very tasty cookies in about February.
I personally just love dates but Brion, not so much. As an alternative I decided to make half the recipe with Cranberry filling so it would work for both of us.
MINCE-APPLE TARTS – Mince(meat) pies, like Christmas puddings, were originally filled with meat, such as lamb, rather than dried mixed fruit as they are today. The shape was an oval to represent the manager that the baby Jesus slept in, with the tops representing his swaddling clothes.
A custom from the middle ages was that if you eat mince pie on everyday from Christmas until the 5th of January (12 days) you will have happiness for the next 12 months. At one time in the UK, mince pies were a status symbol at Christmas. Having pies like this, made in various shapes, meant you could afford to employ the best pastry cooks.
It seems mincemeat is one of those things that people either really like or they want nothing to do with it. Brion and I always enjoy to have a few (fruit) mincemeat tarts at Christmas time. Tossing in a bit of apple, walnuts and some extra rum or brandy doesn’t hurt either.
Date Filled Oatmeal Cookies / Mincemeat-Apple Tarts
In a large bowl, cream margarine & sugar; beat in milk & vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine oatmeal, flour, baking powder & salt; gradually stir into creamed mixture until blended. Cover with plastic wrap & refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or longer.
In a double boiler over medium heat, bring dates (cranberries), sugar, water, juice & zest to a boil; stirring often. Reduce heat to low, cover & simmer, stirring occasionally, until fruit is very soft. Uncover & cook, stirring constantly for 5 minutes or until mixture forms a thick paste. Let cool completely.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On a floured surface, roll out cookie dough to about 1/8 - 1/4" thickness & cut into 1 1/2 - 2" circles. Place on baking sheet & bake for 12 - 14 minutes or until golden edge is crispy & center is still soft. Transfer immediately to rack & allow to cool completely. Spread filling evenly over smooth side of half of the cookies; sandwich with remaining cookies.
Mince - Apple Tarts (24)
On a floured surface, roll out pastry. Using a 2 1/2" cookie cutter, cut 24 circles. With a canape cutter, cut out 24 various shapes such as stars, trees, bells etc. for the top of tarts. Preheat oven to 375 F. Place shapes on an ungreased baking sheet; sprinkle with sugar. Bake cutouts for a few minutes until light golden. remove from sheet & cool.
Press tart pastry sheels into bottom & up the sides of miniature muffin cups. In a small bowl, combine all filling ingredients. Spoon into tart shells. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until filling is bubbly & crust is light golden brown. Cool 2 minutes; remove from pans. Top each tart with a cutout.
Due to the fact that the filled cookies will get quite soft after a few days, I like to keep them in the freezer & eat them while they are still slightly frozen.
For the tarts, you can either buy frozen tart shells or I do have my favorite pastry recipe posted on the Thanksgiving blog in October 2016.
THUMBPRINT or THIMBLE COOKIES – are such a great little cookie with so many variations that they remain among the holiday favorites. Of course it’s not hard to figure out the meaning behind their name. Similar to filled cookies, you can either fill the divot you make in them either before or after you bake them.
Here is a good example of the phrase ‘the same only different’. Four varieties of thumbprint cookies you might want to add to your office cookie exchange list, if they are not already on it.
In a medium bowl, combine butter with brown & white sugar. Add egg, pumpkin, flour, spices & salt; mixing until a thick dough forms. Preheat oven to 300 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop balls (about 2 tsp size), 1-inch apart from each other. Using your thumb or a sewing thimble, make a divot in the center of each ball. Bake for 25 minutes or until slightly brown. Remove cookies from oven; while hot, deepen any of the divots if needed. Place on cooling rack.
In a small bow, combine cream cheese filling ingredients, mixing well. When cookies are completely cool, spoon a small amount of filling into each of the divots. Top each with a bit of crystallized ginger.
Lemon Blueberry or Raspberry Anise Thumbprint Cookies
In a medium bowl, cream butter & sugar well. Beat in egg yolks & extract. Stir in lemon zest, then fold in flour & salt until fully incorporated & a soft dough forms. Wrap in plastic wrap & chill about an hour. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form dough into 1-inch balls; roll in hazelnuts & place on baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Using your thumb or a sewing thimble, make a divot in the center of each ball. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until slightly golden. Remove cookies from oven; while hot, deepen any divots if needed. Place on cooling rack & cool completely before filling centers with preserves.
Fig & Flax Thumbprint Cookies
In a medium bowl, beat butter & 1/4 cup brown sugar with an electric mixer until creamy. Add egg yolk & vanilla; beat until combined. In another bowl, whisk together flour, 2 Tbsp ground flax seeds, cream of tartar, spices & salt. Slowly add flour mixture to the batter & beat on low until just combined, scraping down the sides as needed.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, place the egg white. In a small dish, combine 1/4 remaining brown sugar with 1/4 ground flax seeds. Roll slightly rounded teaspoons of dough into balls. Dip one ball at a time into the egg white & then roll in the sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheet; press divots in each ball. Bake about 15-17 minutes or until slightly golden. Remove from oven; check if divots need to be deepened. Place on cooling rack & cool completely.
With the Blueberry, Raspberry & Fig recipes, you can bake the cookies for about 15 minutes then add the preserves & bake another 3-4 minutes. I find it easier to store or freeze the cookies if I put the preserve in at serving time -- personal preference only.
I rolled my spiced pumpkin cookies in gingersnap crumbs just for a little added flavor.
Apricot preserves are another good choice for the flax thumbprints and probably easier to find depending where you live.
No doubt the biggest problem vegetable gardener’s have with the squash ‘family’, is it’s frightening productivity even when growing conditions are marginal. It’s growth is so rapid that when heat and moisture are ideal, you could be picking your zucchini daily. That being said, there’s no such thing as too much zucchini in my opinion. A member of the gourd family, its versatility is amazing! From appetizers to dessert, zucchini covers every recipe category.
This Zucchini-Apple Bundt Cake is a healthy veg/fruit combo topped with a refreshing Limoncello Glaze. Authentic limoncello is made from Italian lemons, which come from the Amalfi coast in Italy. Families have passed down recipes for limoncello for generations, as every Italian family has their own recipe. In the winter of 2013, Brion and I spent some time travelling Italy. It was in Sorrento where we tasted limoncello for the first time and loved it.
Zucchini / Apple Bundt Cake with Limoncello Drizzle.
Peel & chop apples. In a small bowl, combine apples with remaining filling ingredients & mix well. Set aside. If you prefer, you can cook everything except nuts for 3-4 minutes & then stir in nuts. Cool before adding to cake.
In a large bowl, beat zucchini, sour cream ( or yogurt), sugar, egg whites, oil, egg & vanilla until well blended. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda & salt; gradually beat into zucchini mixture until blended.
Preheat oven to 325 F. Spray & flour a bundt cake pan. Spread 1/3 of the batter in pan; spoon 1/2 of filling carefully over cake. Top with another 1/3 of cake batter then remaining filling, finishing with last 1/3 of cake batter.
Bake for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool for 5-10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
In a small dish, mix together powdered sugar & limoncello liqueur. When cake is cool, drizzle slowly over top.
As I mentioned before, pork tenderloin regularly pops up in my supper menus. Over time, I have prepared it in many different ways and hardly ever remember any that we didn’t care for.
Since my three rhubarb plants seem to still be producing those lovely stalks, why not use them! This blog recipe is easy, wonderful tasting and a great presentation all in one. Here’s my interpretation of Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Rhubarb Chutney. Enjoy!
In a large resealable plastic bag, combine spice rub ingredients. Butterfly pork tenderloin & flatten to uniform thickness. Place in plastic bag with spice rub & shake to distribute seasoning well. Close bag & allow to stand in refrigerator for several hours.
In a heavy saucepan, combine first 9 chutney ingredients. Bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add rhubarb, onion & dried cranberries; increase heat to medium & cook until rhubarb is tender & mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Cool completely. Can be made ahead of time & refrigerated until needed.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a piece of aluminum foil & place on a wire rack on a baking pan. Cut plastic bag open; lay tenderloin flat with cut side up. Spread chutney over tenderloin & carefully roll (using plastic bag), starting with the long side as you would with a cake 'jelly roll'. Place on greased foil on pan.
Lightly rub a small amount of olive oil or a 'fig balsamic dressing' over top of tenderloin. Bake for about 45 minutes or until tests done. DO NOT OVER BAKE! Remove from oven & allow stand for a few minutes before slicing.
Can you believe it, July 1 has rolled around already. Where does the time go? Anyway it’s Canada’s 149th birthday so let the celebrations begin. Summer entertaining is all about laid-back get-together’s with family and friends and of course, great food.
Along with the parades, concerts, carnivals, festivals and firework displays, food is always a big part of it all. I’m sure there will be a great number of succulent ribs being served. Brion and I don’t eat a ton of ribs but we do really enjoy them when we do. For my own little ‘rib fest’ today I decided to do some ‘Honey-Garlic Glazed Ribs’.
Of course, there are many trains of thought when it comes to what makes the best and most tender ribs. Some folks like to par boil or bake somewhat prior to barbecuing, others use a dry rub or marinate and some just choose to barbecue using their favorite sauce glaze. Whatever works for you is what counts.
In this recipe you can either simmer for 45 minutes on top the stove or bake slowly (at 250 F. for 2-3 hrs.) in the oven first. I find either way it gets rid of a lot of the fat content as well as helping to make them tender. After that the ribs are coated with the sauce (which contains baking soda as a tenderizer). At this point you can either bake the ribs at 350 F. or wrap them in foil and place on the barbecue. However you choose to make them, I think you will find them sticky but good!
Remove silver lining from the back of the slab of ribs. Cut across the bones to form 'riblets, then into 3-4 ribs per portion.
Place ribs in a large stockpot & cover with water. Bring to a rolling boil, cover & SIMMER for 45 minutes to an hour. Drain.
Meanwhile, in a LARGE bowl, combine honey, soy sauce, vinegar, minced garlic & brown sugar. Stir until honey & sugar are completely dissolved, then stir in baking soda. The mixture will begin to foam. Transfer ribs to the bowl & turn to coat.
Preheat oven to 350 F. On a large piece of foil, arrange the ribs meaty side up; pour excess sauce over all & sprinkle with garlic powder. Fold the sides of the foil over the ribs & seal tightly on all sides. Place ribs on a baking sheet & bake for 30 minutes or until ribs are very tender.
Ribs can be par boiled or baked the day before & refrigerated until ready to bake or barbecue.