wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Cinnamon Rolls

I used to make sticky buns (cinnamon rolls with a syrupy topping) but I’ve found that without the stickiness, these cinnamon rolls are much more fun to eat (unfortunately).

The easiest way is to use the dough setting on a bread machine. If you don’t have a bread machine you can still make up the dough the old-fashioned way (recipe at the end of the post).

Once the dough is rising, either in the machine or in your old-fashioned bread bowl, there is plenty of time to get the ingredients lined up.

I chopped pecans (which you can leave out if you have a nut allergy), and mixed up the brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Currants are ready in a jar, but you can use raisins if you prefer them. Butter is waiting to be melted in the microwave just before I roll out the dough.

I like to make two smaller batches from the one dough recipe, so I cut the dough in half and then do the following procedures twice, once for each baking dish.

Roll out the dough in a rectangular shape, until it is a little less than half an inch thick. Spread melted butter over the rolled out dough.

Sprinkle the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture on the dough. You can make it quite heavy without hurting the outcome of the rolls. Add the nuts and currants. My rectangle didn’t turn out so well, but it didn’t matter that much.

Roll up the dough and cut into 12 pieces. I cut the roll in half and then cut the halves in half again, and finally I cut each of those four pieces into three. That allows me to make four rows of three in the baking dish, which I have already buttered very well.

Place the rolls into the baking dishes and then brush butter on the sides of each roll so it’s easier to take them out once they are baked. I press the rolls down so they are almost touching before letting them rise in a barely warm oven for about half an hour.

Below, you can see that I have pressed them down before letting them rise.

I set them in the barely warmed oven to rise for half an hour, and then turn them on to 375 degrees to bake for about 35 minutes. Watch them near the end of the baking time so they don’t burn.

The brown sugar in the rolls may have dripped through and baked into a bit of syrup, but this shouldn’t be a problem. The rolls should be easy to remove from the dish if you’ve remembered to be generous with the brushing on of butter between the rolls. Remove the rolls immediately after they come out of the oven.

The dough:

2 cups milk heated for 2 minutes in the microwave

2 T. butter

2 T. honey or sugar

1 1/4 tsp. salt

5 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp. fast rising yeast

*Optional: add a beaten egg to the liquid before adding the flour

The filling for the rolls:

3 T. melted butter (some of it to be used for brushing the sides of the rolls)

2/3 cup of brown sugar

1 T. ground cinnamon

3/4 cup (or more) chopped pecans (or other nuts)

1 cup currants or raisins

When the cinnamon rolls are in the oven, go put your feet up for about 35 minutes until they finish baking. The rolls, that is, NOT your feet!

This is a good time check out Anneli’s website at www.anneli-purchase.com


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Comfort Food

Yesterday I felt the need for comfort food. I took out a bag of frozen apples and a bag of frozen pears, but the pear bag was bigger than the apple bag, so rather than have one pie too big and the other too skimpy, I combined the fruit and made pearapple pies.

While I had a messy kitchen and a hot oven, I thought I might as well make some almond pie squares using half the sugar and adding a cup of coconut.

I won’t do the recipe thing here, because I’ve done posts on them both before. I’ll put the links to the posts with the recipes at the bottom of the page.

 

Almond Bars:

https://wordsfromanneli.com/2018/06/13/almond-bars/

Apple Pie:

https://wordsfromanneli.com/2016/08/11/apple-pie/

Anneli’s books to read while you eat your comfort food:

http://www.anneli-purchase.com/


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Almond Bars

This is a very easy recipe (ingredients listed at the end), but I have to warn you, it is really sweet. I cut back on some of the sugar and it is still sweet.

*** You can easily use half the sugar or less and it will still be good. I’ve tried it.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

First, put into your food processor, 2 cups of white flour, 1/2 cup of icing sugar, and a cup of butter. Pulse it a few times to cut the butter into the flour mixture so it is evenly mixed and is the texture of soft sand.

Put the mixture into a 9 by 13 baking dish (I like my glass one), and gently but firmly press the mixture down to flatten it. This will be the crust which will resemble shortbread. No need to grease the pan.

While the crust is in the oven baking for 10 to 15 minutes (until it is just turning a pale golden brown), chop one cup of almonds (or you can use already sliced almonds).

Break four eggs into a measuring cup and whisk them around with a fork. Add 2 cups of sugar (I put much less and I had to substitute some brown sugar because I ran out of white), the cup of chopped almonds, 1/3 cup of corn syrup (you could probably use honey), 1/2 cup of melted butter, 2 tablespoons flour, and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (or vanilla or lemon or whatever you want).

Pour into the food processor and give it a couple of pulses. Then check on your crust to see if it is golden brown yet.

Take the baking pan out of the oven and be ready to pour the egg and almond mixture onto the hot crust.

As soon as you have the liquid mixture poured onto the crust, put the baking dish back in the oven, still on 350, and bake for another 25 to 28 minutes.

When the time is up, the topping should be a rich golden brown and be slightly puffy. This will collapse in a few minutes as it cools, and that’s fine. It’s what you want it to do.

As soon as you can no longer stand to wait, pour yourself a cup of coffee (or tea), and cut some squares from the pan of almond bars.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Crust –

2 cups flour

1/2 cup powdered sugar (icing sugar)

1 cup butter

Topping –

2 cups sugar (I think it’s way too much…)

1 cup chopped almonds

4 eggs, slightly beaten

1/2 cup melted butter

1/3 cup corn syrup (or honey?)

2 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

 

The finished squares freeze well on a paper plate inside a ziploc freezer bag. Funny thing is though, they disappear quickly no matter where you store them.

 

 

 


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More Market Goodies

This is the last of three Farmers’ Market posts.

We’d all like to have our vegetables grown without chemical poisons to kill unwanted insects and weeds, but we can’t all have our own vegetable garden. The next best thing is to buy your vegetables at the Farmers’ Market. You’ll get organically grown vegetables with flavour that you have probably all but forgotten existed in a vegetable.

How about some novelty carrots?  Maybe you had a special dinner for Easter? Maybe the Easter bunny got carried away and painted these carrots. I’m told they taste just like the orange carrots but they add a great splash of colour and more nutrients to your meal.

Researchers in Wisconsin are working to develop and promote these colour phases in carrots. Here is what the various coloured carrots are said to provide:

  • Orange: Beta and alpha carotene pigment. Vitamin A for healthy eyes.
  • Purple: Anthocyanin, beta and alpha carotene pigment. Additional vitamin A, and said to help prevent heart disease.
  • Red: Lycopene and beta-carotene pigment. Lycopene is the same red pigment that gives tomatoes their deep color and is linked to a lower risk of certain cancers, such as prostate cancer.
  • Yellow: Xanthophykks and lutein. Both are linked to cancer prevention and better eye health.
  • White: The nutrients don’t come from the pigment but from the fiber, which promotes healthy digestion.

Need a good bowl, door stop, or rolling pin? Choose from these beautiful handmade products.

Or maybe you’d like to have a handmade wooden box to keep special things in? Each box is a work of art, lovingly polished by the artist.

Perhaps you have a special place in your house or garden that needs a piece of metal sculpture to highlight it. Not only are choices available on the table, but also on the post to the right where the man is standing.

So many things to choose from. If you need some time to think, why not take a load off your feet and sit down to listen to the band playing right by the market stands.

If you’re feeling too chilly, the Espresso and Deli shop is right next to the band’s stage. Pop over and grab a  quick bite and a cup of coffee to bring over to the band area. Bundle up your coat, sip your hot coffee and enjoy the music.

Who knew that a chilly spring day could be so much fun?


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Easy Sponge Cake

Sponge Cake

 

1 c. cake flour (sifted 3 times?) – all purpose will do too.

4 eggs, separated

1 c. sugar

1 Tbsp. lemon juice + water to make 1/4 cup            

lemon rind

* You can substitute 1/4 c. of coffee and flavouring or other liquid (for the lemon juice and rind) to change the flavour.

 

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt      

 

 

  • Preheat oven to 350 *
  • Beat egg yolks until thick and lemon colour.
  • Add sugar a bit at a time while continuing to beat.
  • Add lemon water (with rind) alternately with flour, ending with flour.
  • Mix well.

 

  • Beat egg whites until almost stiff
  • Have baking powder and salt ready to add to egg whites.
  • Add them and continue to beat until very stiff.

       

  • Fold egg whites into egg yolk mixture.
  • Pour into ungreased tube pan.

       

  • Bake at 350* for 40 – 45 minutes.
  • Check after 40 minutes and possibly turn off oven for last 5 minutes.
  • Invert cake pan to cool.

       

       *****

I usually get the flour sifted and ready to use, the lemons (or limes or oranges) pressed so I have my 1/4 cup of liquid ready, and I have the 4 eggs separated (yolks into the mixing bowl and whites into a measuring cup – any cup or bowl will do).

I also set aside the baking powder and salt in a small bowl, ready to add to the egg whites later on.

So first I mix the egg yolks and add the cup of sugar very gradually while the mixer is whipping up the yolks and making them paler and creamy.

Into the egg yolk and sugar mixture, add the lemon juice and the flour, alternating and mixing between additions. Then pour the mixture into a fairly large bowl.

Wash out the mixing bowl and the beater and make sure the bowl is cold so the egg whites get stiff easier. When the egg whites are nearly stiff, add the baking powder and salt and finish beating to make sure the whites are stiff.

Put the egg white mixture onto the batter you made earlier and carefully fold the whites into the batter. Do not stir or you’ll ruin the air bubbles and the cake will not stay high and fluffy.Using a spatula, cut down the side (or the middle) of the batter and fold it over itself repeatedly until the batter is foamy and there are no clumps of egg white showing anymore.

Spoon or pour it into the tube pan (don’t grease the pan) and bake at 350 for 40 to 45 minutes.

When the cake is done, turn it upside down on something that the top of the tube will rest on (I use a tin from my canister set) so the cake can cool quickly and to stop it from collapsing onto itself.

DSCN8543

When the cake is cool, run a knife along the outside edge of the cake and around the center tube to loosen the cake. Holding the pan upside down give it a sharp rap on a cutting board and it should come out of the pan.

Now you can cut it into slices to eat with berries and ice cream or whipped cream, or you can cut it horizontally to fill it with your favourite filling and add some of the filling on top. I like a pineapple/lemon filling sprinkled with coconut.

After you’ve made a few of these, you’ll be able to get a cake into the oven in 15 minutes. Easy and guaranteed to be good!


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Currant Affairs

No, that’s not a spelling mistake. I do mean “currant” with an “a.”

Here’s what happened.

First thing in the morning I go into the kitchen to put the coffee on.

Hmph! No coffee ground.

Get the beans and pour them into the grinder. I have dark roast and medium roast. These look like … can’t really tell …should have labeled the jar.

Oh well,  here goes. Put the cap on the grinder and … wait a minute! These look like awfully small beans ….

WHAAAAT? That’s not coffee! I taste a “bean” to be sure. They’re currants!

I’m struggling to wake up. My eyes are only half open. And as you can see in the photo below, one of the pot lights has a burned out bulb. They are connected three to a switch and only two of this set are on.

I made scones the other day and put currants in them. I always put away the ingredients when I finish baking, but I hadn’t put away the jar with currants in them. As you can see below, they look very much like the coffee beans that I keep on the counter because I’m always needing to grind more coffee.

With the poor lighting from the burnt out bulb, I couldn’t see that one jar had something other than coffee beans in it.  So maybe there are two dimbulbs around here.

Of course, I can forgive myself for almost making pureed currants.

I hadn’t had my first cup of coffee yet.


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Gingerbread Man

At Christmastime, I bake gingersnaps. The Captain’s mother, the Admiral, always made gingersnaps for Christmas. It was my job to take up the flag, as it were, and carry on the tradition. I’m getting better, but they’re never as good as the Admiral’s. One thing she always did was to make a gingerbread man from the last bit of leftover dough.  As I made the gingersnaps today, the last bit of dough looked to me like the shape of a deer’s head, so I cut out the rest of its shape. Then I still had enough to make a gingerbread man. This year my man has a broken leg so I gave the gingerbread man an aircast boot and two crutches. He looks a bit ghoulish but I’m sure he felt that way in his first days of hobbling around, so maybe it’s appropriate.dscn7600

If you’re feeling inspired to make gingersnaps (and why wouldn’t you feel inspired after seeing these? – If I can do it, anyone can) the recipe follows:

Gingersnaps

Put in pot and let come to boil:

1 c. butter

1 c. molasses (I like fancy molasses but the other kinds work too.)

½ c. brown sugar

I let it boil for about a minute, stirring all the time. Remove from heat. Put in bowl. Be careful. The boiled syrup is VERY hot.

Add:

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. ground ginger

3 – 3 ½ c. flour

*Candied ginger pieces can be added to the dough.  Also grated fresh ginger root may be added.

Cool in fridge for a few hours or overnight. I divide the dough into four pieces and then cool it. Otherwise it becomes a challenge to roll out as one big piece. The dough will be quite hard but don’t give up when you roll it out. Slice or cut with cookie cutter.

No need to butter the cookie sheet as the dough is buttery enough.

Bake at 350* for 8 minutes.

The cookies freeze well so it’s easy to haul out a few when friends drop in.