When I am feeling particularly lazy but need Lunchbox treats for the week I like to whip up a batch of Brownies. They are so easy to make and are a sure hit…the challenge will be to make them last for the week!

1 1/3 cup Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Butter
1 cup Cocoa
2 cups Sugar
4 Eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla
Preheat oven to 350F.
Lightly spray a 9x13inch pan with vegetable oil spray or line a mini muffin tin with muffin liners.
In small mixing bowl, combine flour, salt and baking powder.
In medium size saucepan, melt butter over low to medium heat.
Add sugar to melted butter and stir for a minute.
Remove from heat and stir in cocoa. Mix well, until no lumps remain.
Add eggs, one at a time and stirring well after each addition.
Stir in Vanilla.
Pour in dry ingredients and carefully stir in until all the flour is incorporated then stir vigorously for 2 – 3 minutes.
Pour batter into prepared 9×13 or use a 2ounce Pampered Chef Scoop to portion into 24 mini muffin cups.
Bake in preheated 350F oven for 25 – 30 minutes, or until pick inserted in centre comes out clean. Two Bite Brownies for 16 – 20 minutes.
*As an alternative to Fudgy Cocoa Frosting, at this point you may break a family size Chocolate bar into bits, sprinkle on top of the warm brownies and return the pan to the turned off oven. Leave for a few minutes. Remove from oven and gently spread melty chocolate over the surface of the brownies. I like Fruit and Nut bar
Remove from oven and cool completely on wire rack.
Frost with:
 Fudgy Cocoa Frosting
3 Tablespoons melted Butter
1/4 cup Cocoa
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
splash of strong brewed Coffee
2 cups Icing Sugar
Add cocoa to melted butter and stir until no lumps remain. Stir in vanilla, coffee and 1 cup of icing sugar stirring well.
Add second cup of icing sugar, stirring until no lumps remain then beating for 2 minutes.
Spread on cooled Brownies.
Reduced Fat Brownies:
Substitute 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce for the cup of butter.
Substitute 1/3 cup of the flour with Whole Wheat Flour.
Chocolate Chunk and Fruit Brownies:
To Reduced Fat Brownies add:
1 cup Sultanas
1 cup Chocolate Chunks
Stir the Fruit and Chocolate in with the dry ingredients.

Date Squares

This recipe is passed along to me from O-Mommy. O-Mommy was the Grande Dame of the Kitchen. She wasn’t just a good cook she was a good Home Maker. She tended the garden, raised the chooks and turned the farms yields into scrumptious meals. O-Mommy, you are my Hero.

Date Filling:
Combine in Saucepan
1 cup chopped Dates
1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Water
Bring to boil and cook until dates are soft enough to be mashed with a fork (5 minutes) The mixture should be consistency of jam. Set aside to cool.
Crumb Mixture:
1 cup Flour
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/8 tsp. Salt
Cut in:
1 cup Butter
Then Blend in:
1 cup Brown Sugar
2 cups Rolled Oats
Preheat oven to 325F.
Lightly spray and 8″ square pan with vegetable oil spray
Follow directions for Crumb Mixture.
Press half over bottom of prepared pan.
Cover evenly with cooled date filling.
Cover with remaining crumbs and pat until smooth.
Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, or until golden brown in 325F oven.
Cool before cutting.

O-Mommy’s Raw Apple Cake

My German Grandmother passed along this recipe. Cinnamon and apples are always a great combination and this recipe is a fabulous blend of the two resulting in a moist, flavourful snack cake. You can dress it up by splitting it, adding a dollop of whipped cream, garnishing with another bit of whipped cream and a very light dusting of icing sugar and cinnamon.

2 cups Sugar
2 Eggs
3/4 cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 cup Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla
2 cups Flour + 1 Tablespoon
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Salt
1 cup chopped Dates
4 cups fresh Apples, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 cup chopped Walnuts
Preheat oven to 350F.
Lightly spray 9×13 baking pan with Vegetable Oil and line with wax paper. Set aside.
Prepare apples. Peel and  coarsely chop apples; place in medium size mixing bowl and toss with the 1 Tablespoon Flour. Set aside.
Combine flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon in small mixing bowl. Set aside.
In large mixing bowl, beat together eggs and sugar until foamy. Add vegetable oil, milk and vanilla.
Stir flour mixture into liquid mixture.
Stir chopped apples into batter, pour and smooth into prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for about 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in center comes out clean.
Remove from oven, place on wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes before turning cake out of pan.
Turn out and cool completely.
Dust lightly with powdered sugar and serve.

October 7, 2011

Just another sleepless night.

On the plus side, I got heaps of work done that I did not get done at the office yesterday and probably would not have got around to today.

The thing about sleepless nights is that you have to just accept it, not get angry and for heaven’s sake, get up and DO something! I used to read in order to try to go back to sleep but, meh, HAVING to wear glasses when I read has changed all that.  Forget about late night television;  we don’t have cable, just free to air, thereby making late-night selections even worse. I suppose I could watch some old faves on Netflix but that would entail creeping around the dark bedroom, trying not to wake my husband and  looking for the iPad. Why don’t I watch Netflix on my ‘puter, you ask? Because it is upstairs in the office and yes, I may have a comfy ‘puter chair but it is not THAT comfy that I can fall asleep in it. That is what I love about the iPad; I can lay on the sofa, rug up in heaps of blankies and be somewhat comfortable if I do happen to fall back to sleep.

A new thing that I find myself doing more often is cooking our dinner in the middle of the night! It makes sense, though, doesn’t it? Because heaven knows I will be completely out of steam by dinner time! There is something about the smell of something simmering on the stove that is just so calming. This morning it is a lovely rich spaghetti sauce bubbling away on the stove. Will it help me catch a few extra ZzZ’s? Not likely, but I will be content knowing I have made my late afternoon less hectic.

Last night when I couldn’t sleep I started researching Gittekuchen beacause Kristina is looking for a new base for her Pumpkin Cheesecake. I fondly remembered the Gittekuchens that O-Mommy used to make and thought that might be something she could investigate. But now I have a massive craving for Gittekuchen! O-Mommy always made hers with fresh Plums or Plum Jam and I just happen to have Plum Jam in the pantry. And since it happens to be Thanksgiving this weekend, perhaps I will make a Plum Gittekuchen to take with me to the family dinner.

While the rest of Canada celebrates Thanksgiving this weekend, I am also celebrating being home for one year! The time has flown by! It is so good to be home in Beautiful British Columbia and to be close to family and friends.  Do I miss Australia? I miss: Woodgate Beach, Brisbane, The City Square Library in Brisbane where I spent heaps of time! The Riverwalk along the Brisbane River where I used to run, friends and family, and I often think of the Grade Two class at St.Joseph’s.

Luke and I have had a fabulous year; we have a house we are currently calling home, a beautiful Chev Cruze, a cat (he came with the house), a dog, our children and grandchildren  are close by and we have spent many hours hiking in the BC mountains. I think hiking is one of the things we missed most while we were away. And the four definite seasons that we have here in Canada. Summer was pretty short this year though! We did luck out with a  glorious Indian Summer before the days started getting shorter and gloomier.

Luke and I drove all over BC during the summer. We both saw parts of BC we have never seen before. We loved the peace and tranquility of Northern BC but I am sure that comes with a price.

O-Mommy’s Gitterkuchen

My German Grandmother used to make this all the time! I think traditionally it is made with Apples but O-Mommy always used fresh Plums, in season or Plum Jam when they weren’t in season. She also used Apricots or Peaches when in season. Plum Gitterkuchen is my fave! Apple is a close second though!

Apple Gitterkuchen with Dusted with Powdered Sugar
Apple Gitterkuchen with Dusted with Powdered Sugar

2 cups Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup milk
1 large Egg
1 teaspoon Vanilla

Preheat oven to 375F (190C)
Lightly spray a  24cm Tart/Quiche pan with Vegetable Oil spray; set aside.

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together.
Make a well in the centre; into the centre add butter, milk, egg and vanilla.
Mix together using your hands.
Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead for a few minutes.
Roll dough out to 24 cm circle 1.25cm thickness, and place in prepared pan.

Spread a thin layer of jam , over the dough. Or layer with fresh fruit; Italian Plums, pitted and halved, Fresh Peaches, pitted, peeled and sliced, Apricots, pitted and halved.

Bake in preheated 190C oven for 25 – 30 minutes.
Remove from oven to cool.
Serve warm with a dusting of icing sugar or a drizzle lightly with a glaze.

Apple Gitterkuchen
Apple Gitterkuchen

Warm out of the oven with a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream? The best! Brings back memories of the summer I spent sitting in the kitchen of the big old farm house in the eastern Townships in Quebec!

Apple Gitterkuchen with Vanilla Glaze
Apple Gitterkuchen with Vanilla Glaze

*NOTE: I change things up on the spur of the moment sometimes. I had watched a youtube vid on gittekuchen because O-mommy’s recipe The vid was in German so I didn’t understand a word of it! But I did like the coconut (or it could have been ground almonds, which would also work nicely) and slivered almonds that the presenter sprinkled on top before adding the lattice.

**Secondly, I couldn’t find my flan pan (somethings just seem to disappear after years in boxes; maybe my flan pan decided it would move onto a better cupboard and actually get used more than once every 10 years!)  I used a 25cm springform pan which worked very well other than having to fuss with the “fluted” edge a bit.