Strawberry Balsamic Compote with Basil Scones

Strawberry balsamic shortcake with basil honey scones and honey whipped cream

I sampled this delicious strawberry-balsamic compote at the farmer’s market a few weeks back and I knew I had to make it.  And because I like to bite off more than I can chew and over complicate things, I added it to strawberry shortcake.   I made scones for the shortcake part, which usually works out wonderfully.  The idea of using honey and basil in the scones got into my head this time and I couldn’t get it out, but I forgot the golden rule of substitutions in baking: keep the proportions of wet and dry ingredients the same.  Continue reading

Advertisements

Maple Walnut Pie

Finished Maple pieIt’s maple syrup season!  Maple syrup has been called the first agricultural crop of the year in maple producing areas.  It heralds the start of spring, and this felt particularly fitting today as we changed the clocks ahead and we gain an hour of daylight in the evening.  It was also fitting for the great weekend full of sun and warm weather we experienced.  What better way to celebrate than maple and walnut pie?  There may still be a few snowfalls and a week and a half on the calendar until the official start of spring, but in my mind it began this weekend. Continue reading

Easy Puff Pastry Apple Tart

Puff pastry Apple Tart CloseupI was craving something sweet and indulgent for breakfast this morning, so I came up with this Puff Pastry Apple Tart.  I cheated and used frozen puff pastry, and it was made even simpler since I had a bag of leftover crumb topping in my freezer from some baking I did over the holidays.  I’ve made savory tarts like this many times in the past, like this one with chard and leeks, but this is my first time attempting one with a sweet topping.  It was delicious and exactly what I was craving. Continue reading

Sunday Baking: Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever

I cheated a bit with this one.  Chocolate chip cookies aren’t an easy thing to make using local ingredients.  But I had such a craving for them, I had to give in.  Earlier in the day, we were discussing how there is nothing better than eating raw chocolate chip cookie dough… to which my dad replied, “Yes there is – chocolate chip cookies!” After that, I knew I would be thinking about them until I made them.

The only local ingredients here are the vanilla and the eggs.  But one could argue that making anything yourself is a kind of local eating because the processing is local!  I think any kind of DIY embodies the locavore spirit.  So today I presen the BEST chocolate chip cookies EVER.  Why are they the best ever?  I did everything wrong.  My butter and eggs weren’t room temperature.  I didn’t mix the dry ingredients first nor did I refrigerate the dough.  I probably over-mixed. I ran out of parchment paper.  But they still turned out amazing.

1 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp sea salt + more for sprinkling on top
2 cups (1 package) chocolate chips

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350.  In a stand mixer cream butter, white sugar and brown sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low and add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each egg. Add vanilla and mix to incorporate.

2. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt and mix just until the dry ingredients are fully incorporated. Add chocolate chips and mix until well distributed.

3. Line baking sheets with parchment paper (or not – I found the ones I did without parchment turned out crispier, which is my preference). Using two spoons, scoop balls of dough onto baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart. Sprinkle each dough ball with sea salt.

4. Bake for 15 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through to ensure even browning. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheets for about 2 minutes before transferring to a baking rack to cool completely. Store in a covered container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

[NOTE: Cook half the dough now and roll the rest up in plastic wrap like a log, then put it in a ziplock bag in the freezer for later.  To cook frozen dough, remove from freezer and slice into rounds and bake as usual (might need a few extra minutes.]

Recipe from Mom It Forward

Sunday Baking: Strawberry Apple Crisp

I’ve gotten into the habit of baking something each Sunday since the weather has started to turn cold, so I’m going to see how long I can keep it up for.  I’m not an overly accomplished baker, but I would really like to be!  I’m hoping this personal challenge will get me there.

Today’s baking was my first attempt at making apple crisp (or any sort of crisp) – and it was SO easy!  It’s like a pie, but without a bottom crust.  One less step!  It probably took me 20 minutes, max,  to put it all together while dinner was cooking, then I popped it in the oven and we had a warm, delicious dessert to savour fresh from the oven after dinner.  Amazing and so simple.

I wouldn’t have thought that strawberries were in season this time of year, but lo and behold I saw several stalls displaying them at the farmer’s market this past Saturday (and it’s a local farmers only market)!  Who knew?  I had been planning to make another apple dessert, but when I saw the strawberries, I knew I had to add them as well.  But… they were a little pricey.  So that’s why there are more apples than strawberries.

1/2 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup Red Fife flour (more on Red Fife here, but you can also use whole wheat flour)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup butter, cut into cubes
2 cups sliced strawberries
3 cups sliced apples
1 tsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice

Directions

1. Slice apples and strawberries and mix in a 9 x 9 baking dish. Sprinkle with lemon juice.

2. In a food processor, combine oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Pulse to combine.  Add vanilla and butter, process until a crumbly texture forms.  (If you don’t have a food processor, you can just mix them together.  Using softened butter will help.)

3. Sprinkle crumb topping over fruit.

4. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes. (I accidentally left mine in for an hour… it turned out fine, but the fruit was extra mushy.  I so I suggest reducing the cooking time if you want firmer fruit, and lengthening it if you prefer the fruit to cook down more.)