Blueberry Peach Pie

This past weekend we had a perfect Saturday on the bay- hot, sunny and just a light breeze (very rare amongst the wind swept pines). Earlier that morning in the cottage kitchen I was busy preparing dough to make a blueberry peach pie. The plump blueberries I picked the previous Saturday at Patch of Blue, when I was home in Pentang. When it comes to picking fruit, blueberries rank at the top of the easiness scale. One does not have to fight any prickly bushes, the berries can be gently pulled from their stems, and they come with little maintenance in the cleaning process. The only downside is that your hands may develop a bluish purple tinge. These fresh blueberries are an exceptional pairing to Niagara’s peaches (which me and Jeff have been overdosing on for the last couple weeks). Once you have master a pie crust, the filling is very easy, and when you combine sugar and butter with the fruit, it always comes out well with a taste bud pleasing bite. Enjoy!

The pie crust recipe is available on a previous blog post click here. For this pie I made two batches of dough, and cooked the first one as previously shown, before putting in the peach and blueberry filling. The second batch was later rolled out for the lattice top. Ps. I won’t judge if you use Pillsbury or Tenderflake, one step at a timeūüėČ

Blueberry Peach Pie

This¬†scrumdiddlyumptious pie is adapted from my favourite food blogger Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Ingredients

  • Pie crust dough, enough for a bottom layer, and top lattice layer
  • 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 cups sliced, peeled fresh peaches (about 5)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 egg, beaten

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375¬įF (190¬įC)
  2. Make the filling by whisking 3/4 cup granulated sugar, the flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon into a large bowl. Using a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula, fold in the peaches and blueberries. Set aside
  3. Spoon the filling into the baked pie crust.
  4. Remove the other disc of chilled pie dough from the refrigerator, and roll the dough into a large circle on a flour surface.
  5. Using a pastry wheel, sharp knife, or pizza cutter, cut strips 1 inch wide. Carefully thread the strips over and under one another, pulling back strips as necessary to weave. Press the edges of the strips into the bottom pie crust edges to seal. Use a small paring knife to trim off excess dough. Crimp the edges with a fork, if desired. (Alternatively, you can simply cover the filling with the 12-inch pie dough circle. Cut slits in the top to form steam vents. Trim and crimp the edges.
  6. Brush the lattice top with the beaten egg, in a very thin coating. Mix the remaining 1 Tablespoon of granulated sugar with the 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Sprinkle over crust.
  7. Place the pie onto a large baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.
  8. Allow the pie to cool for 4 full hours at room temperature before serving. This time allows the filling to thicken up.

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       First batch of pie dough rolled out, placed in pie plate, with air holes and              crimped edges

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Making the filling

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Beautiful fruit mixture

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Flour, sugar and cinnamon mixture

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Flour mixture with fruit mixture

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Filling in crust, complete with lattice top (its easier than it looks!)

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Just out of the oven! Yum!

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Fruit goodness loaded slice!

Sticky Pecan Cinnamon Buns

To celebrate the long weekend, I made my Grandma Ruth’s cinnamon buns, another favourite from my childhood. These take a lot of work, patience and butter, but when they come out of the oven they are well worth the effort. They are soft, moist and absolutely delicious. As they need a lot of rising time, and kneading, the long weekend was a perfect time to make them. Follow each step correctly, including kneading time and they will come out beautifully!
IMG_0850IMG_0851                                         The finished ooey gooey product

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From the beginning: Melt the butter, milk and sugar together

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The frothy yeast mixture

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Mixing the yeast and milk mixtures with the eggs

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Dough kneaded and placed in a covered greased bowl….the waiting time begins

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Combining the caramel filling

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Caramel filling in baking dish with pecans and cinnamon

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Rolled out dough-nice BIG rectangle

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Butter and then the sugar mixture

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Tightly rolled up

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Placed in baking dish (leave room for the dough to rise)

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Getting the buns nice and golden brown 
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(note: the use of a conventional oven for the two batches- if you use a convection oven they will bake more even)

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Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 1/4¬†cup¬†granulated sugar
  • 1/2¬†cup¬†warm water
  • 1¬†pkg¬†active dry yeast, (or 1 tbsp)
  • 1/2¬†cup¬†milk
  • 1/4¬†cup¬†butter
  • 1¬†tsp¬†salt
  • 2¬†eggs, beaten
  • 4¬†cups¬†all-purpose flour¬†(approx)

Filling:

  • 11/2¬†cups¬†packed¬†brown sugar
  • 1¬†cup¬†butter
  • 1¬†cup¬†¬†coarsely chopped¬†pecans
  • 1¬†tbsp¬†cinnamon

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, dissolve 1 tsp of the sugar in warm water. Sprinkle in yeast and let stand until frothy, about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat together remaining sugar, milk, butter and salt until combined. Let it cool to lukewarm.
  3. In a large bowl, combine eggs with milk mixture and yeast mixture.
  4. With electric mixer, gradually beat in 1 1/2 cups of the flour, beat for 2 minutes or until smooth.
  5. With wooden spoon, gradually stir in enough of the remaining flour to make soft, slightly sticky dough that comes away from side of bowl.
  6. On a lightly floured surface knead dough for 7 to 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
  7. Place in a large greased bowl, turning to grease all over. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm draft-free place for 1 to 1-1/2 hours (or in refrigerator for
    8 hours) until doubled in bulk and impression remains when fingertips are pressed into dough.
  8. Meanwhile make the filling, in a saucepan over medium heat, whisk 3/4 cup of the sugar with 3/4 cup of the butter until melted. Pour into greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with half of the pecans and cinnamon, and set aside.
  9. Melt remaining butter and set aside.
  10. Combine remaining sugar, pecans and cinnamon, and set aside.
  11. On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough into a 18- x 14-inch (45 x 35 cm) rectangle.
  12. Brush with all but 2 tbsp of the melted butter, leaving 1/2-inch (1 cm) border uncovered and sprinkle with sugar mixture.
  13. Starting at long side, tightly roll up, pinching seam to seal. Brush with remaining butter.
  14. With serrated knife, cut into 15 pieces, place cut side down in dish. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  15. Bake in 375¬įF (190¬įC) oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until crusts are golden brown.
  16. Let stand in dish for 3 minutes. Invert onto serving platter, scraping off remaining filling in dish to drizzle over buns.

Cookie Monster Worthy-Part 1

This past weekend we finally had a couple warm and full sun days, very happy to say that after a long cold winter and rainy spring, summer is here! Also got to do my first big hour long swim of the season around Pow Wow Island…the only downside is the not so lovely swimmers itch that ensued following.

To make the weekend that much sweeter along with the beautiful weather, I made a few different batches of cookies. First up- Oatmeal White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookies, followed by-Orange Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Cookies, and lastly- Double Chocolate Sea Salt Peanut Butter Chip Cookies. I love the combination of sweet and salty, and by adding the sea salt, it adds that extra yummy hit to the cookies!
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Oatmeal White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookies

These were the favourite of the weekend, probably because I loaded them with white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts. Warning: Macadamia nuts are not cheap, a couple cups worth is about $13…but do they ever taste delicious!!

This recipe comes from Sally’s Baking Addiction.¬†I doubled the recipe for some extra cookies.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon dark molasses
1 2/3 cups oatmeal
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325¬įF (163¬įC). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the softened butter and both sugars together on medium speed until smooth.
  3. Add the egg and mix on high until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  4. Add the vanilla and molasses and mix on high until combined. Set aside.
  5. In a separate bowl, toss the oats, flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt together.
  6. Add to the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix on low until combined.
  7. Fold in the white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts. Dough will be thick.
  8. Roll balls of dough (about 1.5 tablespoons of dough per cookie) and place 2 inches apart on the baking sheets.
  9. Bake for 10-11 minutes until very lightly browned on the sides. The centers will look very soft. Remove from the oven and let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Creamed butter and sugars

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Sifted oats and dry ingredients

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Combined wet and dry, chocolate chips and nuts

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All lined up and ready for the oven!

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Loaded with deliciousnessūüôā

Orange Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Cookies

These yummy cookies come from Cooking Classy. The fresh orange zest is an excellent combination with the dark and milk chocolate.

Directions:

2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon orange juice
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
sea salt

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl with an electric mixer whip butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and orange zest until creamy, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add in one egg and mix until combined, then add in second egg, vanilla extract and orange juice and mix until combined.
  4. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in flour mixture and mix just until combined.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips.
  6. Shape dough into large balls, about 2 Tbsp each.
  7. Transfer balls to plates, cover with plastic wrap and chill 1 hour.
  8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees during last 10 minutes of chilling.
  9. Transfer chilled cookie dough balls to  parchment paper lined baking sheets and sprinkle tops lightly with sea salt.
  10. Bake in preheated oven about 11 – 12 minutes. Allow to cool on baking sheet several minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

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Sifted dry ingredients

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Combined wet ingredients

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Combining the wet and dry ingredients

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The thick mixture

IMG_0743Chocolate chips add, rolled into balls for chilling

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Just out of the oven and coolingūüôā

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Double Chocolate Sea Salt Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

These awesome cookies come from Gimme Some Oven. They taste like a brownie in cookie form, and the peanut butter chips just add something a little more wonderful to the moist chocolate cookie.


Ingredients: 

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup dark chocolate

1 cup peanut butter chocolate chips

1/2 cup butter

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

sea salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. Melt chopped dark chocolate with the butter in a small heatproof bowl in a double-boiler stirring frequently.
  4. Once melted, remove from heat and add sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix on medium speed until combined.
  5. Reduce speed to low and gradually mix in flour mixture.
  6. Fold in peanut butter chips.
  7. Round batter into balls and place 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets.
  8. Sprinkle each ball of dough with a pinch of sea salt.
  9. Bake until cookies are flat and surfaces begin to crack, about 12-15 minutes.
  10. Transfer on parchment to wire racks and let cool.

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Sifted dry ingredients

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Double broiler- melting chocolate and butter

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IMG_0758 IMG_0759Added sugar, eggs, vanilla, dry ingredients and peanut butter chipsIMG_0760

All balled and ready for the oven

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Perfection!

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They taste as yummy as they look.

Strawberry Custard Pie

There is nothing quite like fresh local strawberries, especially when they are mixed with sugar and put into a pie crust. This past weekend at the cottage I whipped up a strawberry custard pie. The custard idea came from childhood memories of getting a strawberry tart from Tim Hortons on those lucky treat days. The flavour combination of strawberry and vanilla custard is heaven in your mouth. The pie takes a number of steps, but they are simple with an end result that tastes as yummy as it looks. Enjoy!

IMG_0710 Pie crust dough balled upIMG_0713

Pie crust dough ready to be chilled

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Custard making station

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Bubbling milk mixture

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Nice and thick custard

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Rolling out the dough station area-all floured up! (including the rolling pin)

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Dough ball rolled out evenly

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Dough in pie plate, with punctuated air holes around edge

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Baking sheet, double foiled, and improvised weight to cook the crust evenly

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Final 15 in the oven

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Strawberry filling – mushing berries with sugar

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Further mushing as it heats on the stove

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Things are a bubbling!!

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Assembly time…

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Pre-chilling

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After chilling (unfortunately bad photo finish)

Pie Crust

This crust recipe was adapted from All Recipes. The secret is to use chilled butter and water. The water I chill in the freezer before adding it to the dough.

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup cold water

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425’F
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and sugar.
  3. Grate (secret weapon-the cheese grater) the chilled butter into the flour mixture.
  4. Stir in the water, a tablespoon at a time, until the mixture forms a ball. Now you can play a bit with these measurements, adding a little more butter and water until the dough rolls into a nice ball. You want it to be chunky with butter pieces so that when the dough bakes it is flaky.
  5. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  6. Roll dough out to fit a 9 inch pie plate. Gently place the dough into the pie plate, pressing evenly into the bottom and sides of the pie plate.
  7. Pierce the bottom and sides of the crust with a fork to allow for air and butter bubbling movement. I did this around the inner edge of the crust-see photo above.
  8. Cover the dough with two layers of aluminum foil, making sure the foil is all the way to the edges of the bottom of the pan
  9. Fill the foil with pie weights or dried beans…or improvise like I did above with another heavy being dish. The weights ensure that the crust holds its shape while baking,
  10. Put the pie plate on a baking sheet, and reduce the oven temperature to 400’F
  11. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the weights and lift up the edges of the foil.
  12. Return to the oven for another 15 minutes or until it is golden brown.

Vanilla Custard

This recipe was taken from Food. 

Ingredients:

2 cups milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

  1. Have eggs ready in a bowl, lightly beaten.
  2. Using a whisk, combine the milk, sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan over medium heat on the stovetop.
  3. Scald the milk mixture to the point that bubbles form around the edges, while whisking occasionally to prevent the cornstarch from clumping.
  4. Remove milk mixture from heat, and mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk mixture into the eggs using a whisk. Then mix the egg mixture back into the milk mixture in the saucepan, whisking constantly.
  5. Return to heat and whisk slowly until custard thickens. Approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Do not allow to boil.
  6. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in the vanilla.

Strawberry Filling

This recipe was once again adapted from All Recipes. 

Ingredients:

1 quart fresh strawberries
1 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup water

Directions:

  1. Set aside half of the strawberries in a bowl, mash the remaining half in a medium saucepan with the sugar.
  2. Place saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water.
  4. Add the cornstarch mixture into the boiling strawberry mixture.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer until it thickens, about 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
  6. Remove from heat.

Pie Assembly

  1. Pour the custard evenly into the cooled pie crust.
  2. Place the strawberries from the bowl on top of the custard.
  3. Pour the strawberry filling over the strawberries and custard.
  4. Place in the refrigerator and chill for a few hours.

Final Step: Slice and enjoy…and well share with others.ūüôā

Baked Donuts Part 1

It was the great philosopher Homer Simpson who said, “mmm donuts.” Many would not disagree with this sentiment, especially when they are baked donuts, which in my eyes are a healthy version.

homer simpson donutsThis past weekend up in the cottage kitchen I made blueberry, chocolate and vanilla sprinkle donuts. Last summer I had purchased the ingenious donut pan from Amazon, and have since been in love. Made with Greek yogurt and a little bit of oil (or butter), these baked donuts have all the deliciousness of a fried Krispy Creme minus the million calories.

Blueberry Donuts with a Lemon Glaze

This recipe I got from the blog Buns in My Oven, but added the lemon flavour to the glaze. The key ingredient for these pretty donuts is the nutmeg.

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Sifted dry ingredients

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Mixed wet ingredients

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Mixed wet and dry ingredients- will be sticky!

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Spoon batter into baking pan

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They rise so lovely.

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Mixed ingredients for the glaze

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Glazing process

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Ingredients:

1 cup flour
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons oil (or butter)
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
For the glaze:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk or water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a donut pan.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the butter milk, egg, vanilla and oil.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir with a wooden spoon until fully incorporated.
  5. Fold in the blueberries, trying not to break them up too much.
  6. Fill the donut pan and bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
  7. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
  8. For the Glaze: Sift the powdered sugar and place in a small bowl.
  9. Stir in the milk, vanilla and lemon juice until fully combined.
  10. When the donuts are a little bit cool, dunk the donuts into the glaze.
  11. Return the donuts to the wire rack for 5 minutes to let the glaze set.

Chocolate Glazed Donuts

These were the favourite of the weekend! They were so moist that they melted in your mouth. Super easy and very chocolatey. Also from Buns in My Oven, loving all of her donut creations!

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Sifted dry ingredients

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Dry and wet ingredients in separate bowls….

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…now combined together

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Spoon batter into pan…

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Let the glazing process begin! IMG_0701

Ingredients:

1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
6 tablespoons sour cream (or greek yogurt)
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil (or butter)
For the glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons whole milk (or buttermilk)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder and baking soda.
  3. In a small bowl, beat together the vanilla, egg, sour cream, milk, and oil.
  4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined.
  5. Spoon into a greased donut pan.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes or until the tops spring back when you touch them.
  7. Let the donuts cool in the pan a few minutes before glazing.
  8. For the Glaze: Sift the powdered sugar and place in a small bowl.
  9. Stir in the milk, vanilla and lemon juice until fully combined.
  10. When the donuts are a little bit cool, dunk the tops of the donuts in the glaze.
  11. Return the donuts to the wire rack for 5 minutes to let the glaze set.

Vanilla Sprinkle Donuts 

These donuts similar to the blueberry ones feature the key of nutmeg. These are a fun donut as they come out rainbow coloured and you can decorate them with sprinkles, which my mini sweet tooth assistant greatly enjoyed! The recipe is taken from another fav blog Sally’s Baking Addiction.

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Sifted dry ingredients

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Wet ingredients combined with the dry- I made a well in the centre before adding the wet

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Add in the sprinkles!

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Colourful donuts- which remind of Flintstone’s Fruity Pebbles Cereal

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My decorating assistantūüôā

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Taa-daa!! (Notice that some went missing before I could actually take a photo of the finished product)

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup milk (or buttermilk)
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 large egg
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles

Glaze: 

1/4 cup milk
2 cups confectioners (powder) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Extra sprinkles for the top

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Grease the donut pan and set aside.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and granulated sugar in a medium bowl.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the milk, yogurt, and egg together until smooth. Add the melted butter and vanilla, whisking until fully combined.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Do not overmix. The batter will be very thick.
  5. Fold in the sprinkles gently to ensure they do not bleed their color.
  6. Spoon the batter into the donut pan.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Allow the donuts to slightly cool before glazing.
  8. For the Glaze: combine the glaze ingredients in a medium saucepan over  low heat. Whisk until the glaze is smooth.
  9. Remove from heat and immediately begin dunking the donuts, one by one, into the glaze.
  10. Transfer each donut to a wire rack over a baking sheet to catch the glaze drippings.
  11. Decorate with more sprinkles

Enjoy and have fun with these yummy creationsūüôā This is just part 1 of many different flavours to follow over the summer.

On a side note, Jeff told me yesterday, “Just keep baking, no need to ask me what to make, just keep baking…”ūüôā

Deep Dark Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Icing

Jeff and I met in October 2011 at his cottage on Georgian Bay, and the summers since then my contribution in thanking the Patchell’s for letting me lounge in the sun each weekend on their cottage deck has been baking something sweet for everyone to enjoy.¬†Prior to each weekend I search for recipes to try through various food blogs to find something new and interesting that will wow and delight. From cakes and pies to donuts and cinnamon buns. Then come early Saturday morning I set to work in the cottage kitchen looking out at the beautiful bay.

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I was taught how to bake and developed a love for creating delicious treats from my Grandma Ruth, who was an amazing baker/cook. Early memories at Grandma’s house revolve around her kitchen and helping her to make goodies for our family-who each have their own highly developed sweet tooth. Over the summer you will see and be able to make for yourself some of her excellent recipes.

                       IMG_0677                                                    (Me and Grandma-January 1993)

May 13th was Jeff’s Birthday, and each year I make him a chocolate layer cake with peanut butter frosting. The love for the flavour combination of chocolate and peanut butter and the comfort of childhood delight in a jar with cuddly bears, is something that many of us share. Jeff in particular is a big peanut butter nut, some nights I fall asleep to the smell of peanut butter as someone eats a late night sandwich next to me.

This chocolate cake recipe has been a staple in my family’s household for many years, and my Grandma Ruth made it for many birthday celebrations, complete with smarties. It was also the first recipe that I baked on my own, probably around the age of 9. It is very moist cake and has a wonderful dark chocolate flavour. Enjoy!

IMG_0626¬† Sifted dry ingredients- I like to use a whisk to mix, much easierūüôā

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Mixed wet ingredients

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Mixed dry and wet ingredients

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Addition of the cup of boiling water

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Prepared pans with batter

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Delicious perfectionūüôā

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Blended icing ingredients (only had chunky peanut butter-but still tasted awesome!)

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Icing on the first layer

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Finished product!

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Happy Birthday Boyūüôā

Deep Dark Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup boiling water

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350’F
  2. In a medium size bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a separate large bowl combine the eggs, vegetable oil and vanilla.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients in with the wet, and beat for 2 minutes.
  5. Stir in the cup of boiling water. This will make the batter very thin, but it is what makes the cake so moist.
  6. Pour the batter into greased and floured pans. If doing a layer cake you can use 8” or 9” pans, or for a single layer 9”x13”.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes, or until done.
  8. Cool before removing from pans, and cool completely before icing.

Peanut Butter Frosting

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten’s Peanut Butter Icing

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream or milk

Directions:

  1. In a medium size bowl beat the butter and peanut butter together.
  2. Sift in the icing sugar
  3. Mix in the vanilla and salt
  4. Add the cream and beat until smooth and creamy.
  5. Assemble the cake, putting 1/3 of the icing on the first layer, then the last 2/3 on the top

If you have any comments or questions about the recipe please respond below.

The Downton Abbey of London Ontario

A couple of weeks ago, I got to return to lovely London to visit the oldest house in the city, that of Eldon House, located at 481 Ridout Street North, overlooking the Thames River. Built in 1834, the two and half storey Georgian house with Regency details, retains an exquisite amount of heritage elements as it remained within the Harris family for 125 years.  The Harris family were highly influential to the early development of London, entertaining the elite of local and Upper Canada.

Eldon house

Just south of the house at the forks of the Thames River, Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe in 1793 chose the site for the new district of London. In 1821, John Harris (1782-1850) was made the treasurer for the new district of London. Harris of English descent, had previously been in the Royal Navy (1803), served in the British military in the War of 1812, and was part of the surveying of the Great Lakes in 1815. While surveying, he met Amelia Ryerse (1798-1882), the daughter of Samuel Ryerse, the founder of Port Ryerse. It was an instant connection for John and Amelia and the two were married on June 28, 1815.

John Amelia

John and Amelia Harris

With his significant position in London, Harris needed a house fit for an English gentlemen within the rising district. Eldon House was constructed in 1834, on an 11-acre property, just north from Harris’ office at the London Court House. John and Amelia moved into the house with their eight children, and had two more children while in Eldon; seven girls and three boys. A very full household, when servants also occupied the house, and a guest room was left open in case an unexpected well-to-do visitor came to call.

When the Harris girls were coming of age, the British Garrison happened to be stationed in London during the Rebellion of 1837. This was the point that my mind conjured up images in that of the romantic fleeting social lives of the characters of Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters and the later Downton Abbey. One could imagine the life of Amelia, with seven daughters that needed to be married to wealthy men, allowing for secure  futures within successful households.

  pride and prejudicedownton abbey

Eldon would have been a very busy household, with numerous visitors, planned parties and dinners, all in the hopes of maintaining an elite status for the current and future generations of Harris’. Luckily, some of the women of Eldon house kept diaries providing fantastic insight into nineteenth-century London life. This includes Amelia, her daughter Charlotte, Sophie (Edward’s wife), Lucy (George’s wife) and Amelia Ronalds. Some of the important visitors that visited Eldon included: Colonel Thomas Talbot, Sir John A. Macdonald, Edward Stanley (son of Lord Stanley), Egerton Ryerson and¬†Sir Charles Tupper.

Four of the Harris girls ended up marrying British officers. Sarah (1821-1916) married Captain Robert Dalzell, and moved to England. Mary (1825-1898) married Lieutenant G. Shuldham. Eliza (1825-1910) married Colonel Charles Crutchley. And Charlotte (1828-1854) married Captain Edward Knight. Very successful matches indeed!

When John died in 1850, Amelia was left in care of the large home and family. Left without an income to finance the estate, marriages that would bring security to Eldon were very important. John and Amelia’s son Edward (1823-1925) married Sophia H. Ryerson in 1860, daughter of Egerton Ryerson (a leader in Upper Canada education- Ryerson University was named for him). With Edward’s position as a lawyer in London, and Sophia’s inheritance Eldon House was able to be updated and expanded beginning in the 1870s. This included the large wrap around verandah on the south and west elevations, the addition of a large drawing room, kitchen, and servants quarters.

eldon 1875

 

Eldon House, c. 1875. Out front George, Teresa, Amelia and Sophia

Following Amelia’s death in 1882, and the move of Edward and Sophia to England, Eldon House passed to George Harris (1836-1923); John and Amelia’s son and the first born within the home. ¬†George similar to his brothers was also a lawyer in London. He married¬†Elizabeth Lucy Ronalds in 1867, and they had previously lived around the corner in Raleigh House. When Lucy came into a large inheritance in the 1890s Eldon House benefited again, and was updated to a style of the late nineteenth century. George and Lucy had four children Amelia, Charlotte, George and Edward. Amelia was the last to live at Eldon House, calling it home until 1959. Following her death in late 1959 the house was turned over to the City of London for its wonderful heritage to be preserved and shared. The House is still maintained as a heritage site, and provides visitors with a step back in time, within the modern downtown city of London. The house is also protected by an Ontario Heritage Trust Easement Agreement, that includes the exterior, portions of the interior and the scenic property.

       Hallway stairs

        Front Hallway, which contains numerous exotic treasures from the expedition of George Henry Ronalds Harris (Grandson)

                    Eldon house dining room

                                   The Dining Room at Eldon, featuring British Columbia fir ceiling

                      Library- looking south-west

             The library at Eldon, BC fir ceiling also seen

                          Library- fireplace

                      Library fireplace, with original tile surround; a wedding gift to Amelia from Dutch relatives

                            Drawing room

                        Drawing Room at Eldon, with marble fireplace moved from the Delphi Terraces in London, England (c. 1775)

                                     Red Room-looking east

 

                                The Red room, an example of the upstairs bedrooms, all named for their colour schemes

When I have some free time a potential Eldon House screenplay will be in the works, utilizing the Harris diaries and of course the wonderful house itself…in making of Eldon the Downton Abbey of London, Ontario!