Hot Cross Buns


Somehow in all the quarantine chaos, we managed to track down flour AND yeast!
Traditional but also comforting, these fruity, yeasty sweet rolls bring some happy to our stress baking.

It’s crazy to be “celebrating” anything really while in quarantine, but we’ve managed to do my birthday and it’ll be my daughter’s next week. These really are the times to make the best of it.

Happy Baking and good health to you all.

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HOT CROSS BUNS

1 1/2 Cups (Any non-dairy) Milk
1/2 Cup Warm Water
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Yeast
1/4 Cup Coconut Oil, melted (or vegetable oil)
4 1/4 Cups All Purpose Flour, plus more, if necessary, for kneading
1 Tablespoons Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Ground, Black Cardamom
1 Tablespoon Crystalized Ginger, crushed (or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger)
1 Cup Dried Blueberries
2/3 Cup Candied Orange Peel, chopped*

2 Tablespoons Apricot Jam, warmed

Orange Icing

1/4 Cup Icing Sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons Orange Juice*

 

Cover the dried blueberries with boiling water to soften. Set aside.
Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let sit until it bubbles, about 5-10 minutes.
Warm the milk, checking the temperature to just lukewarm and add the yeasted water to a bowl of a stand mixer. (or a large bowl to mix by hand). Combine with the sugar and salt to dissolve.
At a low speed, mix in the melted coconut oil.
One cup at a time, add the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom. The dough should be sticky but pliable.
Drain the blueberries and add them along with the peel.
Continue to knead, adding the remaining flour as necessary to have the dough come together and release from the sides of the bowl.
Lightly grease a large, clean bowl and transfer the dough to rest and rise until it has doubled in size, about 90 minutes.
After the first rise, cut the dough in half, and roll into an tube to cut it into 9 pieces. Repeat to get 18 total. Shape pieces into a ball and evenly place on a parchment lined baking sheet them in six rows of three. Slash a X on the top of each.
Cover and let double in size again.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Bake until golden; about 20-22 minutes.
Glaze with warmed apricot jam and once cool, line the tops with orange icing.

*Make your own candied orange peel or just use zest, keeping the juice for the icing.

CHOCOLATE ALMOND MEGABITES


OMG! Remember my 3:30 sweet craving? I got another one!

This time I needed

CHOCOLATE!

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Chocolate. You know, it fixes everything, right???
These certainly hit the chocolate craving spot.

CHOCOLATE ALMOND MEGABITES

1 Cup Almonds
12 Pitted Dates
3 Tablespoons Raw Cacao Powder
1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds
1/8 teaspoon Himalayan Salt

Grind the almonds in a food processor and add the dates to blend. Add the cacao powder, coconut oil and salt. Once everything is combined, mix in the chia seeds.
Squeeze and roll into balls and refrigerate. Alternately, you can flatten out in a 9×9 pan and cut into squares once chilled.

MACADAMIA NUT GREEN TEA MEGA BITES


Were you thinking of giving up sugar too? What happens when you give it up and the 3 o’clock crave still hits? Well, I was just asking myself that too…
Since, overconfidently, I thought that giving up sugar resolution would be relatively easy. The quick convenience of sweetened baked goods are so thoughtless and everywhere. Plus, I not the biggest sweet tooth anyhow, and my constitution for perseverance has always been pretty good – however I’ve never tested it for weeks on end.
I’m not sure if it’s the subtle sweetness or the little crunch of nuts, or even the fact that’s these are healthy. They are satisfying and go perfectly with an afternoon tea, or anytime.

Indulgent and decadent these don’t feel guilt-free, but they are.
The first trial batch was Matcha Macadamia with Maca — Mmm.
We all know how great green tea is. Filled with antioxidants, it can help detoxify and elevate your mood.
Maca is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids. It’s said to help balance hormones, and promotes energy.
Collagen is great for your joints, your skin and healing your gut.

See. Healthy treats!

If this wasn’t reason enough, we found a version of these pre-made in the local coffee shop. $1.25 a piece and these are just too easy to have someone else make them. img_0282

MACADAMIA NUT GREEN TEA MEGA BITES

1 Cup Macadamia Nuts
12 Dates
2 Tablespoons Matcha Powder, Green Tea
Scant 1/8 tsp Himalayan Salt
1 teaspoon Maca Powder
1 teaspoon Collagen Powder
1 teaspoon Coconut Oil
1/4 Cup Unsweetened, Flaked Coconut – for rolling

In a food processor or a powerful blender (vitamix), add the nuts and pulse to loosely grind. Add the dates and blend until finely ground, then add the coconut oil to combine.
Add and blend the matcha, salt, maca and collagen powder.
Roll by hand into 1″ balls, then roll to top in the flaked coconut.
Chill for about 30 minutes and store in the fridge.

Makes 12-15

 

 

Greatest Grampa’s Cookies


My Grampa is almost 85, so I guess you could say he’s the man who has just about everything.
…But there is one thing he never forgets to ask for; these cookies:

I’m so glad that I could find something that he really loves. I’m sure he’s tasted a few great things, so I’m pretty flattered. We have always made the trip up to see him and Greatest Nana after the holidays. Recently in addition to celebrating, the kids and I often pack along a few things to stock their freezer with into the New Year.
Even though I’m sure he knows what he’s getting. Along with the soups and staples, the care package wouldn’t be complete without these little surprises. Just to be festive, I’ve fancied them up a bit with hazelnut butter. I really hope he likes them.
Continue reading Greatest Grampa’s Cookies

Holiday Classic: Gingerbread Cookies


It’s surprising to admit, but I was never a kid who was overly impressed with getting a gingerbread man during the Holidays or any days for that matter.

Maybe it’s that those grocery store offerings were harder than sinking your teeth into a wooden plank? Or maybe it was the bitter, lip staining food colouring used to fill in Ginger-Santa’s suit? Even as a kid, artificial wasn’t my thing, but upon rediscovering the amazing, wafting aromas of spicy ginger cookies at my Grandparent’s house , I think I truly regained my love of molasses and the Gingerbread Man.

Packed with freshly grated ginger and that slow pouring dark molasses, these cookies are barely sweet, leaving room for plenty of adornment for the Holidays.

VEGAN GINGERBREAD COOKIES

1/2 cup Coconut Oil, room temperature
1/2 Cup Fancy Molasses
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 teaspoons Freshly Grated Ginger, include any juice
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
pinch, Freshly Grated Nutmeg
3/4 tsp Baking Soda
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Cream the coconut oil and sugar until fluffy.
While this goes, and you’ll need the time, use spray oil to coat the inside of your 1/2 cup measure.
Pour in your molasses, and don’t forget that s l o w  saying… it does take it’s time.
Add molasses into the fluffed sugar, along with the vanilla.
Using a spoon, peel your ginger, then grate into a bowl to catch any extra juice.
Add grated ginger along with its juice, discarding any really stringy bits, until evenly blended.
Follow by adding the cinnamon and nutmeg.
Next, add the soda right to the dough and, on the lowest setting, follow with the flour, a half cup at a time.
Mixing just until dough comes together.
Shape dough into 2 discs and chill for at least 2 hours before rolling.
Preheat oven to 375 °F.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 disc to just over 1/8-inch thick.
Cut your dough out into desired shapes and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake for 6 to 8 minutes until edges are firm to touch but centers are still soft.
Allow to cool completely before decorating.

For the icing, I’ve used this or I found that about 2 Cups of Icing Sugar (check your source), 1/4 Cup Corn Starch or Soy Flour, a drop of vanilla and a dribble of water mixed to a thick ribbon, will pipe really well.

Dandelion Jelly


Has it been a month already? Time to post!

All kidding aside, the spring weather has been pretty balmy and our world rapidly grew green again and dandelions dotting most of the nooks between each blade of grass it could find. Luckily, with most of my lawn converted to garden, there isn’t much space for them to grow. Besides, snapping up each golden specimen has been a relaxing hobby of mine for years, so they don’t stand much of a chance with me. My new neighbour to the south however, near blinded us with his yellow lawn and my family and I soon found our neighbourly side, down on our hands and knees. While pulling the dandelions from their roots, we shared stories, a glass of rosé and generally got better acquainted. It was quite a sight.
Our conversation turned to curiosity as our bucket bulged with weeds.

We’d each seen little old ladies with their protuberent bags, walking along dandelion dotted roadsides and parkettes. What do they do with all that weed?

Dandelions are good for you, I know that. Vitamin and potassium rich, the whole plant can be used. I’ve made salads myself.
I have the tea and heard the roots can provide a locavore their coffee fix. Plus, I know that wine can virtually be made from anything. But it wasn’t until I recently received my newsletter for this week from one of the city’s farmer’s markets did I read of one of the vendors selling, you guessed it, dandelion jelly this week.

Now, I wouldn’t be the so-called foodie I claim to be if I didn’t look a little deeper. Of course I was intrigued, as were others. There were the B&B’s and a few homestead posts, but it wasn’t until I’d come across the recent article in the New York Times, that I’d realized foraging is cool!

It’s easy and fun to make. The colour is like lemon drops and sunshine, which is a pretty nice thing to say about dandelions, I think. It tastes a bit floral and honey-esque. Certainly not what a I thought a bitter weed would taste like, spread over my morning toast.

DANDELION JELLY

2 1/2 Cups Dandelion Petals, packed
3 Cups Water
Juice and Zest of One Lemon
2 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar
1 Pouch Liquid Pectin

Find a trustworthy lawn, free of pesticides and doggies, or raid your neighbour’s like I did, and behead about 4 cups of dandelions.
Separate the petals from the green bud or “receptacle” and collect the petals in a measuring cup, pressing down gently until you have 2 1/2 cups.
Transfer the petals to a saucepan, add the lemon zest and cover with boiling water. Bring it to a rolling simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until the water in well infused and coloured.
Strain the liquid from the petals, pressing down if necessary, into a measuring cup and compost the petals when you’re done. There should be about 2 1/2 cups of liquid, if not add water to top it up.
Return the infused liquid to a saucepan, add the lemon juice, about an overflowing tablespoon, and the sugar, bringing everything to a hard boil.
Finally, add the pectin letting it return to a boil for two or so minutes, while you set up your jars, then remove it from the heat.
Pour the hot jelly into steralized jars with 1/4″ headspace. Screw on lids and process in a near boiling simmer for about 5-10 minutes.
This recipe will make four 125ml jars of jelly.
Enough to share with the neighbours you stole dandelions from.