It was a rainy, blustery day here in the PNW. For me, it was the perfect storm for baking. There is nothing like a buttery, caramel shortbread to go with an afternoon cup of coffee or tea. I LOVE Lyle's Golden Syrup for baking. This stuff is even fantastic on pancakes in place of syrup.
I think our family first learned of it from my sister who lived in Ireland for a few years. It's a bit pricy, but it will last if you ONLY use it for cookies once in awhile. A little goes along way. Tom and I used to hide it from the kids, as they were addicted to the flavor. In fact, they used to ask for it for CHRISTMAS as a gift! It gives baked goods a crispy, caramel "snap".
Lyle's Golden syrup is vegetarian, gluten free, and free from artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. It's a great alternative to corn syrup (especially the high fructose variety) and sugar. If you want to make these RIGHT NOW, you could use honey. But I say wait until you find the Lyle's.
Lyle’s Golden Syrup Shortbread Cookies
1 cup room temperature butter
1 cup powdered sugar (I've been using Trader Joes Organic)
4 tablespoons Lyle’s Golden Syrup
2 teaspoons Vanilla Bean Paste
2 cup all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees, and line a 9x12 cookie sheet with parchment paper. You may also spray the pan with nonstick instead of parchment.
Cut the butter into chunks and add it to the stand mixer. Add the powdered sugar, Lyle’s Golden Syrup, and vanilla bean paste. Beat on medium speed until homogeneous, about 1 minute.
Add the flour and beat until just combined. Do not over mix.
Transfer the dough to the lined cookie sheet. Dip your fingers in flour, and use them to push the dough out into an even circle. It should be about 1/4” thick; making sure it’s an even height across the pan.
Prick the dough all over with a fork, which is more of a tradition for shortbread more than a must for quality.
Place the cake pan in the preheated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. Bake until the shortbread is a nice golden caramel color.
Let the shortbread cool for a few minutes. Lifting the parchment out of the pan, Use a large knife, cutting the dough into 1 1/2 inch slices or however big you like your shortbread cookies.
Once the shortbread has cooled completely, you can dip or drizzle melted chocolate on the ends of the cookies. Let dry before putting away.
Greek Yogurt Pancakes with ELKI Wild Blueberry Scandinavian Delights
1 cup Vanilla Zoi Nonfat Greek Yogurt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 whole large eggs
2 Tablespoons melted butter
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and set aside.
In a separate small bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
In a medium bowl, stir together the Zoi yogurt and the melted butter with the dry ingredients until just barely combined being careful to not overmix. Whisk in the egg mixture until just combined.
Heat a griddle over medium-low heat about 400 degrees, melting some butter on the griddle. Drop batter by 1/4 cup servings onto the griddle, gently spread out just a touch with spoon. Cook undisturbed on the first side until bubbles start to form on the surface and edges are starting to brown.
Flip to the other side and cook for about another minute.
Top the hot-off-the-griddle pancake with a generous spoonful of ELKI Wild Blueberry Scandinavian Delights and butter.
I've been thinking about pancakes for a few weeks now and boy-oh-boy did these hit the spot for dinner! I LOVE breakfast for dinner and it's been awhile since we've had it. The beauty in these stack-O-panny-cakes is they are made with nonfat greek yogurt and very little flour. I'll bet you could even use this recipe with gluten free flour.
Make a big batch of this mexi quinoa and have it for lunch or dinner. I like to eat the leftovers cold, on a bed of lettuce or wrapped in a romaine leaf.
My kids love to eat meat but they think this taco is just as delicious. I do love the crunch of the fresh sweet corn- keep it fresh if you like.
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water or broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves minced garlic
1 jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed, diced
1 red pepper, seeds removed, diced
1 orange pepper, seeds removed, diced
1 cup fresh corn kernels or 1 can drained corn
1 can of your favorite beans, pinto, black, chili, navy
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
Toppings; sour cream, salsa, cheese, fresh cilantro, diced tomato, Tapatio, olives, green onions, diced radishes, lettuce.
Add quinoa and water or broth to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Cover quinoa and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, orange & red peppers and jalapeño. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in the corn, beans., lime juice, cumin, chili powder, and cilantro. Stirring to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until heated through, about 3-4 minutes. In a large bowl, add the cooked quinoa to the vegetable mixture thoroughly mixing.
Grill or heat the tortillas, Pile the quinoa on warmed tortilla and serve with assorted toppings.
Nothing like a pan of homemade lasagna to warm up the kitchen with it's wonderful smell of cheesy, garlic goodness.
I love to make a light homemade alfredo for this lasagna, but it tastes great with whatever sauce you choose to use.
It's fun for the kids to help assemble as well. No need to stress out if they don't get the rolls just perfect because in the end it's all about the taste and that they helped make dinner.
One box lasagna noodles
2 eggs lightly beaten
2 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
2 1/2 cups mozzarella
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
15 fresh basil leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
3 gloves minced garlic
1/2 medium diced onion
One jar ELKI Sundried tomato bruschetta
Homemade Alfredo sauce, meat sauce or favorite Marinara sauce
2-3 thinly sliced tomatoes that have been oven roasted for the garnish
Cook noodles according to package, drain and set aside tossing the cooked noodles with a little olive oil to prevent sticking.
In a separate pan, saute onion until soft and translucent, adding the garlic to release the fragrance. Chop basil and add to a large bowl, combined with the eggs, cheese, basil, salt, pepper, nutmeg.
Spay a 9x13 pan with nonstick spray, adding about 1 cup of sauce of choice on the bottom the pan.
To assemble the roll-ups, scoop heaping spoonful’s (about 1/4-1/3 cup) of cheese mixture onto lasagna noodles with a few table spoons of ELKI Bruschetta dotted along the cheese and roll. Place rolled up noodles seam side down on top of the sauce and repeat until all the cheese mixture is used up. Smother with sauce and more cheese.
run for the border and find the bakeries, but use a different reason for crossing other then eating at bakeries like we did...
Our bakery visit to Canada was almost hijacked when the uptight hipster lumberjack border officer handed our passports back, along with a yellow slip. “Pull in to Row 3.” We pulled in and waited. No officer arrived, so we asked two nuns getting in their minivan if we needed to go inside. Yes, nuns in a minivan. Probably had the same guy we did.
Once inside another officer sternly asked what our plans were? Really, we are just going to visit bakeries. On a Friday. We proved it by showing a Facebook post and GPS history. We also mentioned cooking classes and blog. The officer scolded us for being vague at the booth and cleared us of international criminal intent.
At last we were off to our first stop, Duft & Co. Bakehouse, located just minutes beyond the Sumas border crossing. Started a little over a year ago by Tyler and Cassandra and located in historic downtown Abbotsford, this bakehouse fills a void in Fraser Valley - the need for a good, friendly artisanal bakery.
Walking in we were immediately greeted with the yummy smell that only a bakery can create: yeast, flour, coffee, sugar, and a very slight smokiness from grilling sandwiches. It was lunchtime and very busy.
Their daily menu of breads, pastries, gluten-free items were neatly displayed along the L-shaped counter and shelves on the back wall. All their baked goods are created in their kitchen downstairs, where a steady stream of staff, like worker bees going into a hive, disappeared to retrieve more.
After chatting with the counter staff and introducing ourselves as Flour Pot, we ordered Lemon Sugar Buns, Lemon Danish, Almond Butter Cake, and a cappuccino. The cappuccino was perfect and each item had just the right amount of sweet, glaze, and chewiness. Cassandra chatted with us at the table and mentioned they do not sell day old, preferring to give to local food banks instead, LOVE that.
Tyler and Cassandra’s experience in restaurants runs deep, and their passion for what they do is evident in their enthusiasm, smiles, and the warm atmosphere they have created, even taking time in the middle of the rush to pose for a picture. Their creations seem to be a natural extension of themselves.
Visit their web site here: http://duftandco.com/index.html,
Our next destination was in Fort Langley, BC, which was a suggestion from a local we met camping years ago at Lake Chelan and became Facebook friends with.
Located in new Reid Block built on the historic site of the Reid Building, with its blacksmith shop and garage, Chef Stephan Chigas decided to connect to that history by naming his shop the Blacksmith Bakery.
The daily soup special was mushroom, which is one food I'm not fond of. I ordered a bowl anyways, I figured Tom would like it. It was fantastic, it was smooth and creamy without any cream. I almost wanted to get a second bowl because I enjoyed it so much! Stephan said the soup starts the day before with a mirepoix. I already have a few ideas on how I'm going to try and recreate it.
A spinach and feta roll and a chorizo roll encased in a light, flaky croissant dough was the perfect thing to dip in the soup.
The attention to detail at Blacksmith was really impressive and a reflection of Chef Stephan's years in top-notch, Michelin-rated establishments in the UK and France. The roll-up doors, open kitchen, wall art, product presentation were all world class while maintaining a welcoming, efficient atmosphere. Stephan was happy to share what was going on in the kitchen, letting us snap shots while talking about the fact that he has more ideas than time - what he has created so far is fantastic.
After a bit of shopping, and a lovely visit with Shirley Kemple, the owner of Country Lane Antiques (we wanted to buy so many things there) we were ready for some dinner and a beer.
We found ourselves sitting at the bar at Fort Pub. www.fortpub.com Tom ordered something I snubbed, but ended up eating half the plate of them. Dry Garlic Pork Bites, which are the house marinated boneless pork with soy, brown sugar and garlic, fried crisp and tossed in sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. YUM.
The Thai Cashew Prawn bowl that we subbed chicken for the prawns packed a spicy punch, with great flavors. The highlight of our time here was our very friendly bar tender Kevin, who spent so much time sharing fun facts, local info, and a love of food with us that he kept getting in trouble with the servers wanting drink orders.
It was a great day- after the crossing. The memories, new friends made and tasty treats that were eaten made for yet another wonderful, random, tasty road trip.
I made this loaf on Saturday. It's super, amazing-ly delicious toasted for breakfast, with a bit of butter, or drizzle a glaze over the top, or caramel sauce. It reminded Tom of the apple fritters that he'd get from the bakery growing up.
makes one loaf.
2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 package active dry yeast, about 2 1/4 teaspoons
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup whole milk
4 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 tablespoon butter
1 crisp apple
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Place the milk and butter in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan or microwaveable bowl, heat milk until warm. Add the butter, swirling until melted.
Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture, and then add the eggs and vanilla. Mix until the flour mixture is moistened and the dough is smooth. Scrape the dough down in the bowl to loosen it, then cover with plastic wrap and a dishtowel.
Set the bowl in a warm place and let the dough rise until it doubles in size, about 45 minutes.
While the dough is rising, line a 4 1/2- by 8 1/2-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving a 3-inch overhang on the long sides. Butter the parchment and the sides of the pan. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter.
Punch the dough down, then transfer to a lightly floured work surface and roll into a 12- by 18-inch rectangle. If the dough is sticking, sprinkle the underside with a bit more flour.
Arrange the dough so the long side is in front of you. Brush the melted butter over the dough, then sprinkle with the brown sugar mixture.
Core and cut the apple into 1/4-inch pieces. Cut the dough crosswise into 6 even strips. Sprinkle 1 strip with some of the apples, gently pressing them into the dough.
Top with another strip of dough and more apples; repeat with the remaining strips of dough and apples. Cut the stack into 6 equal portions. Stand the prepared loaf pan on one of its short sides, and arrange the stacks with cut sides facing out, tucking in any fallen apples. Cover and let rise for 20 minutes while the oven is preheating.
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the loaf until deep golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes more. Drizzle with caramel sauce and sprinkle with coarse salt, if desired.
adapted from womens day magazine.
Trader Joe's is our new favorite chocolate chunks for cookies. I've been using them for awhile now. They are smooth, not bitter and just the right flavor with it is 58.9% cacao, it has a nice balance of bittersweet cocoa and sweetness, as well as a touch of vanilla.
The chunks melt smoothly on your tongue and also in baked goods. We think they're delicious at about $2.30 for a 12 ounce bag.
Inspired by the loves of my life. the hunger in my stomach and my SPONTANEOUS nature.