Cheesy Zucchini Herb Loaf

I love the way the herbs stay fresh and green, and the cheesy tender dough is delicious.

Cheesy zucchini herb loaf 6

Cheesy, crispy on the crust and so tender inside.  You are going to want to try this one out!

  • 1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
  • 4 cups flour
  • 6 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 3/4 cup cubed cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup herbs, chopped finely (today I used parsley, chives, oregano and basil)
  • 1 tsp salt

Toss together, and set aside.

  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh herbs
  • 2 cups milk

Whisk together.

Pour wet ingredients into flour/zucchini mixture and mix together lightly.  DO NOT OVERMIX.  That leads to tougher dough.

Pour into parchment lined loaf pans.

Sprinkle a little flake salt over top.

Bake at 350 for 45 – 60 minutes.  Start testing at 45, and as soon as the tester comes out clean remove from the oven.

Cheesy zucchini herb loaf 1

The herbs are vibrant, the eggs are free run and the flavour is out of the park!

Cheesy zucchini herb loaf 2

Once you have everything ready, the final assembly is pretty quick!

Cheesy zucchini herb loaf 3

Using parchment means it is easy to lift out, and helps to get such a crispy exterior.                         This recipe makes two loaves.

Cheesy zucchini herb loaf 4

Cheesy zucchini herb loaf 5

Golden crust, with craggy cheesy bits and Maldon sea salt adding a bit of crunch on the top.

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

The first fresh fruit pie of the season … strawberries and rhubarb are ripe at about the same time and those two belong together!  The strawberries are sweet, and the rhubarb is tart …. its a perfect match.

Strawberr rhubarb pie 3

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 recipe unbaked double pie crust
  • 2 1/2 cup rhubarb, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 large stalks)
  • 2 1/2 cups hulled and sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • large egg yolk beaten to blend with 1 teaspoon water (for glaze)
Strawberry rhubarb pie

When the fruit looks this fresh, colourful and juicy you just know the pie will be perfect.

NSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. Prepare the bottom crust by rolling out one of the pastry disks to an 11-inch circle. Nestle the crust inside the pan so about an inch hangs over the sides. Press the pastry down. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
  3. Mix the fruit with the sugar, flour (or cornstarch) and lemon zest. Using the tines of a fork, poke the bottom of the pie crust evenly about five times. Pour the fruit mixture into the chilled pastry. Dot with the butter pieces.
  4. Moisten the edge of the bottom crust with a finger dipped in water. Put on the top pastry in one piece and slice in a few air vents, or in a lattice pattern, trim, and crimp the edges.
  5. Brush the egg glaze over the crust. Transfer the pie to a baking sheet.
  6. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350°F and bake another 30 minutes longer, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.
  7. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack before serving.
  8. Strawberry rhubarb pie 2

    I have a fancy little roller press that cuts this lattice pattern, but I can never get it onto the pie with it all looking smooth and even … I think I prefer just doing an old fashioned lattice … stay tuned for a photo next time I do that!

    Strawberry rhubarb pie 4

    Cut the pie while it is still warm, and you will end up with juices running … still delicious, but if you want it to be a firm slice, let it cool for at least a couple of hours.

    Strawberry rhubarb pie 5

     

     

Rosemary Focaccia Bread

 

Rosemary Focaccia 2

Crackly crust, soft and delicate inside, this focaccia is amazing, but even more so considering how quickly it comes together.

I love my own focaccia bread recipe …. but it takes a few hours to complete.  Tonight I was planning on making a sun dried tomato pasta with chicken and spinach, and had the brilliant idea of making a focaccia to go with it …. so I typed in quick focaccia, and this came up.  What a stroke of luck for us!  Thanks go directly to “flavour the moments” for this recipe.  Head’s up … it makes a very small loaf – just enough for two people.  Of course I looked at that, and thought it wasn’t enough for 2, so I did another one.  That’s just the way I roll.  So, now we have leftovers.  That’s perfect.

INGREDIENTS:

  • ¾ cup warm water (heat in the microwave for 10 seconds and stir — it should be just lukewarm)
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons yeast (1/4 ounce package such as Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise)
  • 5 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour, divided (plus more for sprinkling the dough)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried, divided
  • flaky sea salt for topping, optional

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place the warm water and sugar in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (you can use an electric handheld mixer as well). Stir well to combine.
  2. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and stir just a bit. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
  3. Turn the mixer on low speed, and add 1 cup of the flour and 3/4 teaspoon of the salt and mix just until combined.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and 1/2 tablespoon of the fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried and mix until combined.
  5. With the mixer on low, gradually add 1/2 cup of the remaining flour, then add just enough of the remaining 1/4 cup until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl (you may not need it all).
  6. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Grease a cast iron skillet or 8 – 9″ cake pan with 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil.
  7. Lightly flour a surface with flour. Remove the dough and place onto the floured surface and sprinkle the top lightly with flour as well.  Gently shape the dough into a flat disk and place in the prepared skillet.
  8. Gently press the dough evenly in the bottom of the skillet and 1″ up the sides, then cover with a clean towel.
  9. TURN OFF THE OVEN and place the skillet in the oven for 20 minutes to rise.
  10. Remove the skillet from the oven and remove the towel. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  11. In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt, garlic, and remaining rosemary.
  12. Brush the olive oil mixture over the focaccia bread dough, then make indents over the top of the dough with your thumb.
  13. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the oven, and brush with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with flaky sea salt if desired.
  14. Cool slightly on a wire rack and serve!
Rosemary focaccia 1

Naturally I looked at the dough, once it came together …. and thought it wasn’t enough.  So I quickly put another loaf together … of course the first one would have been enough so now we have leftovers, which is just perfect.

Raspberry Macaroons

Raspberry macaroons

So pretty, these raspberry macaroons are absolutely delicious.

  • 1 1/4 Cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 Package (6 ounces) Driscoll’s Raspberries
  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 4 packed cups unsweetened shredded or fine flake coconut (7 ½ ounces/212g)
  • 1 Tsp. salt
  • 1 Tsp. vanilla extract
  • 6 Ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 Tsp. coconut oil
  • PREHEAT oven to 325˚F.
  • LINE two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • PLACE 1/4 cup sugar to a medium bowl.
  • ADD 1 package raspberries.
  • MASH mixture with a fork or muddler until berries are broken down.
  • SET ASIDE raspberry mixture to macerate, about 2 minutes.
  • PLACE remaining 1 cup sugar into bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment.
  • ADD 4 eggs whites.
  • WHISK mixture on high speed until foamy.
  • ADD raspberry mixture, 4 cups coconut, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon vanilla.
  • WHISK until well combined.
  • ADD more coconut as needed to make sure all liquid is absorbed into mixture.

    Raspberry macaroons 4

    Depending on how juicy your raspberries are, it may take up to a cup of additional coconut in order to get the right texture.

  • SCOOP 2-tablespoon-sized macaroons onto prepared baking sheets.
  • PRESS and PAT surface of macaroons with fingertips to ensure they look tidy and don’t crack while baking.
    Raspberry Macaroons 5
  • BAKE for about 30 minutes or until the tops are dry and lightly golden brown and ROTATEsheets halfway through bake.
  • PLACE baking sheets onto cooling racks.

    Raspberry macaroons 2

    Bake until just lightly golden.

  • ALLOW macaroons to cool for about 10 minutes.
  • PLACE 6 ounces dark chocolate into a microwave safe bowl.
  • ADD 1 teaspoon coconut oil.
  • HEAT chocolate mixture in microwave for 15 seconds.
  • STIR chocolate mixture.
  • CONTINUE heating and stirring chocolate in microwave in brief intervals until completely melted.
  • DIP bottoms of macaroons into melted chocolate.
  • DRIZZLE tops of macaroons with remaining melted chocolate as desired.
    Raspberry Macaroons 1
  • CHILL macaroons in refrigerator until chocolate is set, about 20 minutes.
  • ALLOW macaroons to come to room temperature before serving.Raspberry macaroons 3

I watched a video on Instagram from feedfeed, and they made these macaroons with blackberries – they looked so delicious, and I had everything already in the house, as long as I worked with raspberries instead of blackberries – the recipe came from Driscoll’s Berry website.

Oatmeal Coconut Cookies

 

Oatmeal cookies 6

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1½ cups quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1/2  cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup cranberries
  • 1 cup coconut, shredded

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Oatmeal cookies 1

Make sure you beat the butter, sugar, egg & vanilla mixture until it is fluffy before stirring in the dry ingredients.  Only stir until everything is combined.

  1. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. In a bowl of a standup mixer, cream together the sugars and butter. Add in the eggs and vanilla and beat well. Slowly add the flour mixture and continue to mix in batches. Stir in the coconut, oats, cranberries and walnuts.

Oatmeal cookies 2

  1. Using a 1¼” cookie scoop (or small spoon) drop small balls on a ungreased cookie sheet spacing 2″ apart. Bake for 12-14 min. or until golden brown. Cool on cookie racks. Store in airtight containers. Will freeze well.

Oatmeal cookies 4

Oatmeal cookies 5

Crispy on the edges, chewy in the middle, these oatmeal coconut cookies are fantastic!

 

Chocolate Chip Crisp Cookies

Cookies 6

Cookies are such a treat!  You can convince yourself (quite easily) that you are eating a nutritious cookie with the addition of wheat germ and rolled oats ….. (insert eye roll).

  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar (granulated)
  • 2 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup large flake rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1 cup puffed rice cereal
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cups chopped pecans

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl, set aside.

Cookies 1

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using a hand held blender, beat the butter for 1 minute.  Beat in the sugars until the mixture is quite light and fluffy.  Scape down the sides and beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Blend well between the 1st and 2nd egg.  Beat in the vanilla and remove the bowl from the stand.

Cookies 2

You can see how fluffy the butter, sugars and eggs are – now is the time to work it by hand.

Using a wooden spoon, stir in the dry mixture just until combined.  Stir in the oats, cereal and wheat germ.  Stir in the chocolate chips and pecans.

Cookies 3

You don’t want to over mix cookie dough – stir just until combined.

Drop the batter in heaping tablespoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart.  You should be able to get about 12 cookies on a regular cookie sheet.

Cookies 4

What are those coloured bits you ask?  I had coloured rice crisps …..

One sheet at a time, bake in the centre of the oven until set and lightly browned around the edges.  My oven took 11 minutes, but check after 9 – ovens can be so different!  Cool the cookies on the sheet, set on a wire rack for about 5 minutes before removing to a separate wire rack to cool completely.

The results are best if you allow the cookie sheet to cool slightly before putting the next batch on to bake.

Cookies 5

So many schools have restrictions on nuts these days – you could always replace the pecans with raisins (but not in this house) or dried cranberries.

 

 

 

Soft Dinner Buns

Buns 9

Admit it, you wish your house smelled this good right now!

 

April 1 is tomorrow, and that’s our Auntie Elsie’s birthday, or it would have been if she was still with us.  We miss her every day, and while I was busy thinking of her I felt that need to make some soft white dinner buns, the kind she used to bring to every family dinner as a treat.  This dough is soft and tasty, and the texture is perfect.  Pretty sure she would have been proud of this effort!

Buns 7

Step 1:

  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 6 tsp. honey
  • 6 tsp. butter
  • 2 tsp. salt

Combine the above ingredients in a large bowl and cool.

Step 2:

  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water (not too warm, you’ll kill the yeast)
  • 3 tsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. fast rising yeast

Dissolve the water and sugar in a small bowl.  Sprinkle the yeast on top and let sit.

Step 3:

  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 6-7 cups unbleached white flour
Buns 1

Just waiting for this yeast to bloom a little more and I’ll be ready to start combining everything.

  • Mix the eggs into the first (Step 1) mixture once it has cooled to room temperature.
  • Add 1 cup of flour to this mixture and stir well.
  • Add the yeast mixture (Step 2) to the bowl and stir to incorporate.
  • Gradually add the remaining flour, cup by cup, until the dough gets too difficult to stir in the bowl.  At this point, on a floured surface (your counter), empty the dough and knead by hand until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.  You will need to keep the surface floured to prevent it from sticking.
  • Place the dough into a greased bowl, cover with a clean tea towel, and place in a draft-free warm area to rise.
buns 2

This dough is so soft, I can taste it already….

Buns 3

It’s true.  I’m that dork that has a re-usable cover for raising yeast dough.

  • Let the dough rise until doubled (about 40 minutes) and punch it down.  Repeat this process once.
Buns 4

Yes, the yeast and time has done it’s job.

Buns 5

Time to release the dough and form buns.

  • Preheat your oven to 350 F and grease two  9x 13 baking trays (the ones with the small sides).  You can use any shape of pan you want in actual fact.  Cut off pieces of dough that are approximately 1/2 cup in size (doesn’t have to be exact!) and form into buns.  I keep my fingers slightly floured and tuck the dough under as I stretch the dough to make it smooth on top, but you can use whatever technique you like!
  • Place the buns about a 1/2 inch apart on the greased pan, cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Buns 6

  • Bake for 15-20 minutes or until nicely browned.
Buns 8

Use this recipe for whatever you like!  Today I made mini pizza shells for the grandkids to make lunches with.  I call it the organic look when they aren’t all uniform in size and shape….

 

Buns 11

A tray of these is welcome at any dinner.

I thought I had Auntie Elsie’s original recipe, but couldn’t find it.  This recipe is from “Fraiche Nutrition” and if you haven’t been to her website, well – get on over there.  It is packed with delicious and nutritious recipes and tips.