Archive for November, 2011

Mud Hen Bars

Photo from Two Peas and their Pod

Has anyone found the pause button yet? Seriously where has the month gone. Wait, rephrase, where has this year gone!? I need to do some serious catch up here.

Fortunately things are slowing down a bit over here. Instead of helping coach 3 sports teams and playing on my own soccer team, I’m now down to 2 teams and by the end of the week it will be 1. I’m sad to see the seasons ending but am so thankful to be gaining back some of my own time. What is it that they call that again? Free time? I forget.

Last week our schools grade 10 girls volleyball team finished their season at the Vancouver and Districts. This team improved immensely over the past few months and it was a pleasure getting to see them place 4th in the city championships.

Clearly such a feat deserved something good to eat. Don’t get me wrong, nutrition is always key for competition so I made sure that these weren’t devoured until after the final match.

Mud Hen bars. Bizarre name. Delicious treat. So delicious that I didn’t even get a chance to snap a few photos of them before they disappeared. A cookie base is topped with mini marshmallows and chocolate chips before being covered in a tasty brown sugar meringue. Be warned though, these are definitely on the sweet side!

Mud Hen Bars

Adapted from Two Peas and their Pod

1/2 cup butter               1 cup sugar
3 large eggs, divided (1 egg, 2 yolks, and 2 egg whites)
1 tsp vanilla                   1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder       1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup mini marshmallows
1 cup light brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat together butter and sugar until creamy.

Beat in 1 whole egg and 2 egg yolks (put aside the whites for later). Beat in the vanilla extract.

Add the flour, salt, and baking powder, blending until just combined.

Spread mixture into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle with marshmallows and chocolate chips.

Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the brown sugar.

Spread mixture evenly over marshmallows and chocolate chips.

Bake for about 25 minutes or until bars are a deep golden brown.

Be sure to let the bars cool completely before cutting. They are extremely sticky, gooey and impossible to cut otherwise!


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Blonde Brownies

After 97 years on this earth my grandma, and last remaining grandparent, passed away a few months ago in June. She was a gem that will never be forgotten for so many reasons. A couple of weeks ago, part of the family gathered together in Portland, where Grandma spent her childhood growing up, to say the final goodbye. I’m so thankful for an amazing family and an incredible Grandma who taught me so much over the years.

Like many grandmother’s, mine was an avid cook and baker who can take a lot of the credit for starting and peaking my own interest in baking. There was never a time that Grandma didn’t have some sort of treat in her fridge, ready for the greedy hands of the grandkids and adults to consume.

Now comes the task of sorting through all of the recipes that she collected throughout the years and attempting to decipher hand written recipe cards from who knows what year. A challenge that any of us would gladly take up. The fact that all of the family wants her hand-written recipes for themselves is such a testament to her baking and, more importantly, the life she lived and the impact that she had on all of us.

We all have our favourite recipes that Grandma made, from the Tweetie, to her scones, to the epic pumpkin pie and the grape nut parfait. Oh my gosh, I almost forgot her mushroom tart appetizers that I used to double fist multiple times as a 5 year old. So so good.

These blonde brownies have always held a top place in my heart and belly and can commonly be found in our house. Obviously my favourite pieces would be the crustless centre ones, a tad bit under cooked, but really that means that they were cooked to perfection.

Grandma was a genius in the kitchen. If she made it, it was good. Bake a tray of these for her and be thankful for the loved ones both with us and those who have gone ahead of us.

Love you forever.

Blonde Brownies

1 cup shortening    2 1/2 cups brown sugar

4 eggs                    2 1/2 tsp baking powder

2 1/2 cups flour      1 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla            1 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F.

Melt shortening in a large pot, add brown sugar and blend well.

Remove from the heat and cool for 10 minutes.

Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add the dry ingredients gradually, being sure to mix well.

Mix in the chocolate chips.

Spread mixture into a well greased 15 x 19 pan.

Bake for 30-35 minutes.

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Refrigerator Rolls

I’m currently sitting here stuffed to the brim with baked potato soup. Hearty, chunky, comfort food. Today was my day to bring in a big batch of soup for a group of staff at work. I’m not a soup person. I’m not even a savoury person. I’m a sweets person.

Sometimes you have to branch out a bit, carve out a new path, push the boundaries and thus I decided to join the school soup group. It would be fun I told myself. Instead of constantly searching blogs for all things sugary, I could dive into unknown territory. Of course I would still end up going to my favourite food blog for advice and Smitten Kitchen’s baked potato soup was my lucky winner.

Image from Smitten Kitchen

As it turns out, soup isn’t that difficult to make. Cut a few things here, toss them in there, let them do their own thing and consume. Sort of like baking, minus the bowl licking bonus. I meant to take a photo of the finished product, had planned on setting everything up when I had a bowl for dinner, that was before I realized that my co-workers had finished off the entire pot of soup. Just check out Smitten Kitchen. She’s my hero. For real.

The real reason why I loved this soup? Hands down the toppings. Who in their right mind could turn down bacon bits, grated cheese, green onions and sour cream? So perfect.

Of course I still had to some how fit some baking into this so I decided that refrigerator rolls would be the perfect accompaniment to the soup. Still hot from the oven, I loaded the buns and soup into my car and took off for school. Unlike the soup, I managed to get a few pictures of these before they were demolished. Sure the soup was good, but the real winner was the buns, which received compliment after compliment.

Double this recipe. Trust me. I ended up with 28 buns and that wasn’t even near enough.

Nothing could be more depressing than getting into your car, which smells like fresh from the oven buns, and driving home empty-handed and bun less.




Refrigerator Rolls

2 packages of instant dry yeast

2 eggs                    2 1/2 cups warm water

2 tbsp shortening    8 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar         1 tbsp salt

Dissolve the yeast and 2 tsps sugar in 1 cup of warm water.

Beat the eggs, add the yeast mixture and 1 1/2 cups water.

Gradually add half of the flour and all of the sugar and salt. Mix.

Add the melted shortening and mix again.

Knead in the remaining flour. Turn out onto a floured board and knead until smooth.

Place the dough in a greased bowl. Brush the top of the dough with melted butter and cover closely.

Keep in the fridge until needed. (I kept mine in there over night for convenience purposes)

Shape into rolls. Cover with a dish towel.

Let rise in a warm place (or on the counter) for an hour.

Bake for 12 minutes at 375F.

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Soft Ginger Cookies

October 31st. Halloween. November 1st. Christmas preparations begin. Seriously, there’s no turn around time at all, especially here in Canada where we have already celebrated Thanksgiving.

November and I don’t really get along. The leaves have taken their final plunge, the winds are picking up and day light savings has robbed me of evening sunlight. The weather turns dingy, there aren’t any real holidays to celebrate, and all that I can think about is the coming of Christmas. To keep myself distracted I’m keeping my sights on Christmas, and a trip to see a good friend in Minnesota!

My mind has also been venturing to Christmas baking and these, albeit boring looking, ginger cookies have been right up there on my list. I made these last year, not thinking that they would have much to offer. I’ll be the first to admit that I was wrong. Deliciously spicy and everything that I want when I have to have something to dip into my warm egg nog.

Christmas cookie exchange anyone? Please!?

Soft Ginger Cookies

Adapted from Baked Perfection

2 1/4 cups flour         2 tsp ginger
1 tsp baking soda       3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves             1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup margarine      1 cup sugar
1 egg                          1 tbsp water
1/4 cup molasses        2 tbsp sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy.

Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and molasses.

Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the molasses mixture.

Shape dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar.

Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten slightly.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.

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