Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake

IMG_7016Even though today felt like spring, I know that winter is not yet half over… warm rich desserts still work this time of year. We may get a snowfall yet, but my cup is half full knowing that spring is almost here, or at least just around the corner. But, while the calendar still says winter, make a yummy mid-winter treat for your guests or family.

For a wedding between a British guy and an Indian girl last year, his request was to finish the meal with Sticky Toffee Pudding. We made a couple of changes to the traditional pudding after reading about the use of coffee for steeping the dates in BBC’s Good Food, and garnished it with gold leaf, bringing a little Bollywood to the dish (as remarked by a chef in the wedding party). For that event we topped it with a bit of whipped cream, but as shown here, a scoop of vanilla ice cream works beautifully as well. Continue reading

Basic Freezer Cookies (Blueberry & Pumpkin Seed Version)

IMG_5367These are excellent cookies to have on hand in your freezer.  They are easy to make, and quick to bake.  We used to make them every Christmas with nuts and cherries, and there is something so wonderful about their simplicity.  So often during the holidays we work to create little masterpieces, so it is lovely to be able to whip up something so good, so easily!  Actually, you could make them today, and bake them Christmas Eve! No muss, no fuss.

For this version, I’ve used dried blueberries, raw pumpkin seeds, and ground flax.  Five other versions follow the recipe.  But this is the type of cookie that does well with experitmentation, so let your creative juices flow! Continue reading

Cumberland Rum Nickies

IMG_4960Dried fruit is usually tucked to the back of the pantry through the summer months, while we make use of the fresh fruits available.  As the leaves change colour, they slowly they sneak their way forward to the front of the shelf, to be tucked into salads, cookies and loaves.  These little pastries, Cumberland Rum Nickies, are filled with dates and ginger and are one of our favourite treats to greet fall with.

Friends brought the original recipe home to me after travelling in Cumberland on the northwest coast of England years ago.  I must admit, I was intrigued by the name, and once a batch was made, they firmly seated themselves into my favourites.  Perhaps they appealed to my heritage.

Very simple to make, they last well in a sealed container (unless they all get eaten in the first day).   Also, they make a good addition to any holiday baking, as they don’t really have a comparable cookie or tart.  Continue reading

Chocolate Date Cake

IMG_5149While our girls were growing up, we always had extra children in the house.  It helped that we were the closest home to the island’s one room schoolhouse.  Consequently I tried to have quick snacks that would refuel them before they’d head out to play on our farm.  Sometimes it was just a snack to eat while curled up on the couch watching a movie on a rainy Saturday.  This recipe was used many times over the years, and was a favourite of the builders who built our house.  The dates give it an honest sweetness, and the simple topping of nuts and chocolate give a crunch and richness to make the cake even better.

I’ve made this cake with regular all-purpose flour and with gluten free flour (I use Cup 4 Cup), and it is light and fluffy whichever you choose to use.  The nuts can be any type you want, or even a combination.  Do use semi-sweet chocolate chips though, as milk chocolate will be too sweet. Continue reading