Cake Redux: Gluten-Free LEMON COCONUT Snacking Cake

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Okay let’s try this again.  If you were visiting last week you’ll know I made a neat little gluten-free cake I found in Canadian Living but I wasn’t totally happy with how it came out.  So today I totally changed the two main ingredients (and two less main ingredients, and the cooking time) and we’re doing this for a second time.  If you notice that the text reads pretty much identically to what I wrote last week, well, it’s because it IS what I wrote last week.  I mostly copy-pasted that stuff, but I bolded all the differences.  Deal with it.

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Preheat your oven to 325°F and grease (with butter) a 9″ springform pan.  Line the bottom with parchment paper.  While you’re at it, separate 6 eggs and put the whites in a mixing bowl.

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In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat together 6 egg yolks1 cup granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons COCONUT EXTRACT2 teaspoons grated LEMON zest, and a pinch of NUTMEG.

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You are going to want to beat this stuff until it turns the colour of butter and when you lift the (stopped) beater away, you get a lovely long yellow ribbon coming out of the end, about 5 minutes.

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You need 2 cups COCONUT FLOUR for this, and 2 tablespoons LEMON juice, so you might want to get these ready ahead of time.  I just juiced the lemon I took the zest from. Fold the coconut flour and lemon juice into the yolk mixture.

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I totally forgot that coconut flour tends to suck up moisture.  If you do this, maybe just add 1 1/2 cups coconut flour.

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So I added in an additional 1/2 cup of MILK.

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Now take those 6 egg whites you set aside and start beating them until stiff peaks form.

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Take a scoop of the whites and stir it into the flour/yolk mix.  This will sort of thin out the mixture in order that it doesn’t crush the rest of your whites in the next step.

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Once that first scoop is combined, gently fold in the remainder of your egg whites into the flour/yolk mixture until fully combined.  Make sure to scrape up from the very bottom to make sure you got it all. Plop the batter into your prepared pan (or press it in this case) and bake it until the edges pull away from the sides of the pan and the centre is golden and firm to the touch, about 40 minutes.

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This cake did not fluff up like the previous one.  Let it cool on a rack before popping it out of the springform pan.

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Dust the cake with icing sugar right before you serve it (or the icing sugar will be absorbed into the moisture of the cake).  A nice lemon glaze (try the juice of one lemon heated to boiling with 4 tablespoons sugar) would also work I think.

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Hot Drinks for Cold Nights

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We’re entering that long, dark stretch of winter here in Eastern Canada where we just want it to END but we know there’s at least another three months of it waiting for us.  So we come up with ways to keep ourselves from getting suicidal.  In Ottawa we have our Winterlude festival, in which we pretend that we actually LOVE winter for the benefit of the tourists.  And after we’ve spent all day freezing our toes off while traversing the world’s longest skating rink, we appreciate a hot beverage or two to help us thaw out.  So here are two ideas for you.

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HOT DR. PEPPER

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Don’t freak out — this isn’t one of those newfangled sugar drinks that “kids these days” are coming up with to get themselves all wired up.  The recipe for this odd potation comes from the 1960s, when the makers of Dr. Pepper came up with it as a way to keep their sales strong in the winter months when a cold soda pop wasn’t as appealing.  I’m not even kidding.

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So first you want to slice up a lemon.  Really thin.  You’ll need one slice for every serving.  Stick a slice in the bottom of a heatproof mug.

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I used Navy tankards, complete with glass bottoms to prevent someone from slipping you the King’s shilling.

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Then take your Dr. Pepper (if you can get it in your country), and pour it into a saucepan.  I used 3 355mL/12oz cans of the stuff because Trav was over and we were all curious.

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Heat it to precisely 180°F.  I’m not sure why, but I think it has something to do with the stuff losing its carbonation.  It’ll fizz as the carbon dioxide escapes, so that will keep you entertained.

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Pour your hot Dr. Pepper over the lemon slice and add a shot of rum if you want to turn it into the adult version of the beverage (I personally think that it’s a little too sweet without the rum).  Enjoy!

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HOT APPLE CIDER

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While I’m not a fan of apple juice, I will always go for a refill of apple cider.  And not just in the fall — any time of year. Obviously there are a million ways to make hot spiced apple cider, but this one is what I felt like making today.

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In a medium sized saucepan, plop in 4 thin slices of lemon, 2 cinnamon sticks, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 2 tablespoons brown sugar (you could also use maple syrup, or leave out the sugar altogether).

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Pour in 4 cups fresh unsweetened apple cider and 1 tablespoon vanilla.

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Whisking occasionally, bring that to a boil and let it foam up for a minute or two before removing from the heat and serving.

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Garnish it with a slice of apple and your cinnamon sticks.  This amount serves two generously with room for a small refill, or four if you’re not as greedy as I am.

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If you’d like to make a grown-up version of this with alcohol, a nice dark rum, bourbon, brandy, or cognac would work well.  I’ll leave it to you to decide how much will work for you to keep away the chill.

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Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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I think this wee cake is the easiest and quickest way to enjoy this season of pumpkiny goodness, and is adapted from Disney’s Spoonful (Yeah.  Disney.  Who knew?).  Spray a 9″ x 13″ pan with cooking spray or line it with parchment paper (the spray actually works better in this particular case) and preheat your oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, mix together 4 eggs, 1 15oz can pumpkin purée (that’s half of one of those giant E.D. Smith cans, FYI), 1 1/3 cups sugar, and 1 cup vegetable oil.

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In a measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, and a teaspoon each ground cloves and allspice, if you’re feeling adventurous and SPICY.

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Add your floury ingredients to your pumpkiny ingredients and give that a good whisking.  TADA.  There’s your batter.  That was easy.

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Spread the batter into the baking dish and bake for 25-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.  Set that sucker on a wire rack to cool completely.  You can either tip it out onto another plate or leave it in there, your choice.

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While that’s on the go, get out another bowl and chuck in 4oz plain cream cheese (that’s half the 250g-ish blocks you get in the store), 1/4 cup softened butter, and 2 teaspoons vanilla and beat the crap out of it with an electric mixer.

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Sift in 2 cups icing sugar and beat more crap out of it until you get icing.  Such beauty from such violence.

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Spread that luscious cream cheesiness on your cooled cake and cut that baby into squares.

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So moist and fantastic.  If you don’t like your pumpkin cakes to be super sweet, then I’d cut the sugar to 1/2 or 3/4 of a cup.

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There was none left before long, so make sure you get a taste before they’re all gone!

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Wingin’ It Wednesday: Butternut Squash Soup

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I had a craving for a roasted vegetable soup, and my parents picked up a variety of squashes from the local farmer’s market, so I grabbed the nearest butternut and I got started.  I love any excuse to roast vegetables, so preheat your oven to 450°F and get some pans ready.

I sliced up a butternut squash and set it on a baking sheet.  Actually, it took two baking sheets (butternut squashes have a lot on them).  I also cut the tops off 4 heads garlic and chucked them on a sheet as well.

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I had about 4 or 5 parsnips that I scrubbed and cut up as well to be roasted. They’ll add sweetness to the mix. This is gonna be a sweet soup.

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Drizzle all yo’ roasty goodness with olive oil and salt and pepper and roast everything for about 45 minutes, or until they’re nice and crusty on the outside and you can jab a fork in them easily.

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The parsnips should be squishy in their innards as well.

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Told you there was a lot to a butternut squash.

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You’re going to want to wait until the garlic has cooled before you pop the sticky cloves out with your fingers.

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While that’s roasting or cooling or whatever, chop up about 2 large onions and plop them in a frying pan with some butter and some olive oil and cook them on medium low until they start to caramelize.  This will make them lovely and sweet.

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Peel the roasted squash (or use a big metal spoon to scoop it out of the skin, like I did) and plop it in a big mother of a pot, together with your caramelized onions, your roasted parsnips, and your roasted garlic.

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Top the pot up with some stock.  I ended up using 3 cartons (at 900mL each) of chicken stock.

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Bring that to a simmer, stirring to break up the squash a bit.  Season with salt and pepper while you’re waiting for it to bubble.

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Once it starts to bubble, leave it for a few minutes, then remove it from the heat and have a go at it with the immersion blender.  BRRRRRRRZZZZZZZZZHT! Season with a bit of nutmeg to taste.

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Serve with more sprinkled nutmeg, a dash of plain yogurt or sour cream, some chives, or just plain Jane like this!

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Coffee Raisin-Nut Bars

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We’re at that stage in the fall where we’re starting to get sick of pumpkin things, but the chocolate and peppermint of winter is still too far away.  At this point I like to rely on coffee and spice to bolster me through.  This quick plate of squares is adapted from The 250 Best Brownies, Bars & Squares, because Esther Brody has not disappointed me yet (well, except for that one time).

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Preheat your oven to 350°F and butter a 9″ x 13″ baking dish.  Make yourself a cup of coffee.

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In a small bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice, and 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg.

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In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together 1/4 cup room temperature butter with 1 cup packed brown sugar until it’s all turned into one big bowl.

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Add in 1 egg and 2 teaspoons vanilla and beat until combined.

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Pour in 1/2 cup hot coffee and mix (drink the rest of it — I know *I* need the caffeine).

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Blend in your flour mixture, a bit at a time.

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Then tip in 3/4 cup raisins and 3/4 cup chopped nuts (I like pecans) and give that a stir.

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Spread that into your prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, until you can stick a wooden skewer in it and it comes out clean.

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Set that on a wire rack to cool.

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While that’s on the go, make yourself up some frosting.

With an electric mixer, beat up 1 cup icing sugar with 1/2 cup softened butter until it’s all fluffy and frosty.

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In a measuring cup, mix together 3 tablespoons coffee liqueur, like Kahlua, with 2 tablespoons whipping cream (or milk) and 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder.

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Pour that into the frosting mixture, alternating with a further 1 cup icing sugar, and beat until fully combined.

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Spread the frosting on your cooled squares and cut them up.  Yum!

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I love me some Granola

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My morning meal usually consists of coffee, juice, yogurt, and granola.  Like I could eat that stuff every single day.

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Until now, I’ve been buying our granola, but it’s quite expensive for the amount you get and it’s full of all sorts of weird additives and the like that I don’t really want to put in my system.

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My mother used to make granola for us sometimes when we were kids, so I figured that I could probably do it myself if I tried.  And it’s easy.  And you can use what you’ve got in your cupboards, or what you can scoop up at the bulk food store.  Which means you can customize each batch.

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So preheat your oven to 350°F and get out a large rimmed baking sheet.  I took the precaution of lining mine with parchment paper, so stuff wouldn’t stick.

The majority of granolas start with a base of oats, about 4 cups.  I used four double handfuls, because I measured my tiny hands once and put together that’s about what they hold.  And thus ends my list of measurements for this recipe.  Because you can do whatever you want.  So what else have I got going on here?  In addition to the oats, I have bran, ground flax, shredded coconut, sliced almonds, nutmeg, cinnamon, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, lavender flowers (yes), and then a selection of dried fruits: apricots, mango, and raisins.

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Take all your happy dry ingredients (minus the fruits) and plop them in a bowl.

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Mix ’em up.

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In another bowl, add about 1/2 cup runny honey,

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about 1/2 cup maple syrup,

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and about 1/2 cup melted butter.

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*** EDIT: If you’d like granola that forms clumps (and that’s my favourite kind), whisk 1 or 2 egg whites into a froth and add them to the mixture as well.  The protein in the whites will stick everything together during the baking process.  Just use caution when stirring mid-bake, as the amount you stir will affect the size of the clumps you create. ***

Pour that golden loveliness into the dry mixture and stir until all the dry ingredients are coated.

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Spread that stuff out on your baking sheet and chuck that in the oven for about 40 minutes.

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Make sure to stir with a spatula every 10-15 minutes or so to keep the stuff on the bottom from burning.

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While that’s on the go, get your dried fruit ready. I chopped up the apricots and mango slices a little to make them easier to get on a spoon.

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Remove from the oven and let it cool in the pan, stirring it occasionally to break up the chunks.  The finer grained your ingredients are, and the more sticky wet ingredients you use, the chunkier your granola will be.

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While it’s still a little warm, stir in your dried fruit.

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Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks, and enjoy whenever you want!

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Turnip Puff

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There aren’t many vegetables that grow locally here in Newfoundland, and there are fewer still that you can easily obtain during the winter months.  One of the vegetables that you can get from a nearby source, however, is the turnip.  This is actually a rutabaga, but they call them turnips here so that’s what we’re gonna call it.  This was the smallest one I could find in the store, and it’s the size of my head (I don’t have a very large head, but I think a head-sized turnip is a pretty big turnip).

Turnip Puff 1

Normally we just boil them up and mash them (and then maybe bake them after that with some butter and sugar), but I’ve gotten kind of tired of that, so I searched online for a variation of that and found this nice little recipe.  You should give it a try, and give your lowly turnip/rutabaga a little boost.

Start with your turnip.  You’ll need about 3 cups peeled and cubed turnips for this recipe, but I just did my whole huge one, which I think ended up being about four cups.  Plop those in a big pot with enough water to cover.

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Boil those up until they’re tender when you stab them with a fork, drain them, and then mash them with about a tablespoon of butter.  Mmm, butter … I don’t think I could live without butter.  It’s my favourite thing.  Set those aside to cool slightly.

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While that’s cooling, preheat your oven to 375°F and spray a baking dish that will fit at least 3 cups turnip.  Mix together 5 teaspoons all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 2 teaspoons brown sugar, a dash of ground pepper and another dash of ground nutmeg.

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Take an egg and crack it in a little bowl and beat it up.

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Beat the egg into the slightly cooled turnip (that’s why you cool it, so it doesn’t cook the egg).

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Then stir in your flour mixture as well.

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Plop all that into your baking dish and smooth it out.  Melt about 2 tablespoons butter and mix it with 2 tablespoons bread crumbs and sprinkle that over top.

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Bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes until the top starts to brown and is heated through.

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Serve it up with anything you like.

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We used some of our leftovers as a thickener for a chicken hash we made later that week and it was delicious.

Pumpkin Pie

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I get a lot of questions from readers I meet about my husband.  The main one is, “why is he called the Pie?”  Well, I’ll tell you why.  And this goes back about nine or ten years, back when we had first met, and long before we started dating.  It’s really a great story.  I’ll tell it to you here:

One day, he told me that he really liked pie.

Yep.  That’s the whole story.  That’s why he’s called the Pie.  And now you know.  I hope you aren’t too disappointed.

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Sometimes, the Pie’s favourite pie is blueberry.  Sometimes it’s apple.  I can’t keep track.  But I know that pumpkin pie, even though it doesn’t qualify as a “true pie”, is at the top of my husband’s list of favourite pies.  And now that I have sort of mastered the art of vodka pie crust, and especially considering the amount of pumpkin purée I have in my possession, it is a logical choice, and this recipe looks lovely.  So here it is, a pumpkin pie that is so from scratch with its home-made pastry crust and fresh pure pumpkin that it’s almost like I made it entirely by hand-stitching individual atoms together (I can do that, you know).

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So, now.  It’s been a while since I made that vodka pie crust from Smitten Kitchen/Cooks Illustrated, so I think I’m going to lay it all out for you again, just so we both can get some practice.  If you like, you can take some more of Smitten Kitchen’s tips on better pastry from her second tutorial.  Like her, I’m not a fan of shortening, so I went with an all-butter version of the crust today.  And this dough recipe makes enough dough for two single crusts, so I guess that means I HAVE to make two pumpkin pies.  I will try to sneak one into the freezer so the Pie doesn’t eat it too fast.  That way later on when he grumbles about having no more pie I can dramatically reveal that he is wrong.  I like doing that.

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For the pastryyou need to make sure everything is cold.  If your kitchen is frigid, like mine, this is easy.  For everyone else, just keep chucking stuff in the refrigerator if need be.  Ingredients.  Tools.  Bowls.  You name it.

In a large bowl, whisk together 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour with 2 tablespoons sugar and a pinch of salt.

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Cut 1 1/4 cup cold butter into cubes and make sure it’s cold (re-chill it after you cut it before adding it to the mix).

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Dump that into the flour and use a pastry blender to chop it into tiny buttery-floury pieces.  You want to keep going and going and going, using a knife to clean off your pastry blender occasionally, until you end up with a mixture that closely resembles cornmeal.

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Put a dishtowel under the bowl to keep it from sliding around on you.

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Here’s the right consistency. You still need whole chunks of butter in there but you want them small.

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Drizzle 1/4 cup cold vodka (keep that baby in the freezer) and 1/4 cup ice water over the mixture.

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Use a big rubber spatula and a folding motion to bring everything together.

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You don’t want to stir so much as squish and squash everything into one big blob.  It will be pretty tacky, but that stickiness will disappear when the vodka burns off in baking.  You can use your hands to gently squish the remainder together, but don’t work it too much. If you feel you need to add more liquid, drizzle a bit more vodka onto it, but just a little.

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Divide your blob into two even pieces and flatten them into disks.  Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap for at least 15 minutes, and for up to 2 days.

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When your dough is sufficiently chilled, lay a piece of plastic wrap out on your work surface.  Unwrap one of the disks (keep the other in the fridge) and place it in the centre of the plastic wrap. Place another sheet of wrap over top.

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Working from the inside and moving out, use a rolling pin to flatten your disk into a nice round piece of pastry.  You’ll need a rough circle of about 12″ in diameter to fit in a 9″ pie pan.  Most plastic wrap is about 12″ wide, so you can use that as a guide.

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Notice how you can see gobs of butter in my dough?  That means I will have some lovely flaky pastry.  As the butter melts it will leave a little open space, which will fill with steam from the vodka and water, which will in turn expand the empty space, making the proper pastry flake.

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Chill your flattened pastry again for a bit.  If you put it on a baking sheet and chuck it in the fridge you should be good.  When you’re plopping it in your pie pan, make sure to remove the bottom layer of plastic wrap before rolling it over a rolling pin or folding it into quarters to place it in the pan.  I’ve done both methods here, so you can see what I mean.

Rolling pin:

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Folding:

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Gently lift the edges of the dough to make it easier to press into the bottom of the pan without tearing.

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Trim off the excess pastry from the edges of the pan.

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I used a fork to press the edges more firmly down onto the glass.  Chuck those back in the fridge when you’re done.

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I had some scraps left over from trimming, so I cut up a small apple, sprinkled it with cinnamon and sugar, and rolled out the scraps again to form a small circle.

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I put the fruit on one half, folded it over, and pinched the edges shut.  Then I put it in a sprayed pan and baked it with the pie.

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It looks a little demented, but we’re not going for high quality here, just a snack.

For the pie filling, you need some pumpkin purée.  You can be lazy and buy the stuff that already has the eggs and spices in it and whatever and just dump that in your pre-bought frozen pie shell but that’s just not cool here at Ali Does It.  Make sure if you’re using canned pumpkin that it’s pure pumpkin, without the sugar and salt and all things spicy.

Now, you American folks are likely working from the 14 oz can of Libby’s or whatever it is you have.  Fourteen ounces is about 1 3/4 cups of pumpkin goodness.  Here in the FAR NORTH of Canada we have E.D. Smith pumpkin, which comes in 28 oz cans (~3 1/2 cups), so we generally use half a can for one pie, a whole can for two.  And of course I’m working from a I-have-way-too-much-pumpkin-purée-in-my-fridge perspective.  So I will be using that instead of the canned stuff.

Preheat your oven now, to 425°F and position a rack in the centre of the oven.

Beat up 4 eggs in a large bowl.  Whisk in 3 1/2 cups pumpkin purée, 2 cans (300 mL) sweetened condensed milk (I believe some countries sell condensed milk in 400 mL cans — I would just use the whole can anyway for a slightly sweeter pie), 1 cup packed brown sugar, and 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice.

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Take your pie shells out of the fridge and divide the mixture between them.  You may end up with extra filling (lord knows I always do).  I emptied it into a smaller pie pan and baked it as-is, for a sort of pumpkin pudding.

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Chuck the pies (and whatever else you now have on the go) in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.  Then reduce the heat to 375°F and keep baking for about 35 more minutes, until the pastry is all golden and lovely and you can stick a knife in the centre of the pie and bring it out clean again (i.e. the filling has set).  You can see that our crustless pie and the turnover turned out equally well, though with them in the oven everything took an extra 15 minutes or so to cook. Let the pie cool completely on a rack and refrigerate until ready to serve.  You can heat it up again if you like.  We enjoy ours with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream.  Yum!

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Pumpkin Spice Cookies

HAPPY BIRTHDAY POPPA!

Photo by Ian and Jacky Parker
Badass in a tuxedo at my wedding, holding ice cream.  (Photo by Jackie.)

Today my dad turns SIXTY-FIVE. He’s very well preserved. And still my go-to guy for all information regarding everything. Ever. How to replace a toilet. The exact reasons behind the Red River Rebellion. How to put a motion through City Council.  Which tools are the best for the job at hand. How to use a sextant. The correct procedure for loading and firing a torpedo. Yup, he knows all that stuff.  And more.

Office Reno
Like how to install crown moulding, for instance.

In fact, it’s usually a shock to my brain when I find out that he doesn’t know the answer to something. It’s just too weird.  He’s like prehistoric Google or something.

Dad and Me
Enjoying box seats at the Sens game a few years ago. I actually know more about hockey than he does.  Shocker.  (Photo by Doodle.)

I’m not where he is and he’s not where I am and I have to bake some stuff for the Sweet Treats group at work, so I’m baking today with Dad in mind. He loves cookies pretty much more than anything, and I hope you do, too.  Enjoy!

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I have so much pumpkin puree.  SO VERY MUCH.  I hacked up our carved jobbies from our pumpkin-off, because we only had them out for the day and they were totally salvageable.

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And then I boiled the crap out of them and mashed and blended what came out of it.  I know that I should have roasted them instead but the way that my pumpkin bits worked, that just wasn’t possible.  So boiling it was.

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I ended up with a full 14 cups of puréed pumpkin.  So be warned: there will be several pumpkin-related recipes in the days that follow.

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With the first bit of it, I’m going to make these pumpkin oatmeal spice cookies (recipe from Love From the Oven) for the good folks at work.  So to start, preheat your oven to 350°F and line a couple baking sheets with parchment paper.

In one bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups puréed pumpkin (if you’re using canned pumpkin, make sure it’s pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling, which has its own sugar and spices already added), 2 eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla until well-blended.

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In another bowl, mix together 3 cups rolled oats, 1 1/2 cups flour (you could use gluten-free flour here, as you don’t have to worry about rising), 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and about 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice.

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I like to use the cinnamon/ginger/nutmeg/allspice/clove combination I found at My Baking Addiction. If you’re feeling adventurous, try grinding and grating your own spices for it.

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Cinnamon is harder to grate than nutmeg.

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Some day I will have a dedicated spice grinder, but until then I just carefully wipe out my coffee grinder and chuck in my allspice and cloves.

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Then you just chuck it in a jar for the next time you need it — which, with the way we’re going, is going to be soon.

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Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients.  Your dough is going to be very stiff, so make sure you get everything mixed in well.

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You can add in more spices, as well as raisins, chocolate chips, or nuts.  I decided to add some chocolate chips and pecans for a bit of extra sweetness and crunch.

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Use a spoon to drop the dough onto the baking sheets, and press them down a bit with your fingers (they won’t spread).  Bake them for about 12-15 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until they start to brown.

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Store in a sealed container for a few days or freeze for comfort food cravings some time in the winter!

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The Uber Cookie

Uber Cookie 9

When I experiment with recipes, I usually steer away from tampering with the essentials in baking: the exact proportions of flour and baking soda and all of that jazz.  The thing is, when you are working with gluten-free options, all those proportions go out the window anyway.  All you have to think about is general cohesion and texture.

So I invented a cookie recipe from scratch.  I know, it’s not that impressive, but I’m pretty pleased with myself.  Q picked me up from the airport last week and I promised I would bribe him with baked goods, so here they are.  I took input from my husband on what he believes the three main important ingredients in cookies are meant to be: he picked peanut butter, raisins, and oatmeal.

Uber Cookie 1

I can work with that.

Preheat your oven to 375°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

The best part about this is it turns out that I have some osmotically-absorbed or genetic knowledge about how to bake cookies from scratch, so there was no real trial and error here.  I just kept adding stuff in and it all seemed to work out.  I don’t want to get cocky, though; the next time I do this it’s likely I’ll end up blowing something up.  I think the real trick with stuff like this, when you’re not sure what’s going to happen, is to do it by hand, and avoid the labour-saving devices in  your kitchen.  That way you can see how the ingredients interact with each other while they’re being mixed, rather than shoving it all in the mixmaster, turning it to high, and hoping for the best.

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So with that in mind, I started with a bowl and a spoon.  Because I was going to use peanut butter in this recipe I halved the amount of butter I would normally use.  So in a bowl, cream together 1 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup softened butter.

Uber Cookie 2

Then add in 1 cup softened peanut butter.  If you use Jiffy or whatever then it’s probably soft enough as it is, but I used that stuff that you have to stir the oil into and then keep in the fridge, so it needed some time to come to room temperature.  Mix that in well.

Uber Cookie 3

Add to that 2 eggs, one at a time, mixing until each is well combined.  At this point you could add 1 teaspoon vanilla, but I forgot.  Still they turned out great.

Uber Cookie 4

Now for your dry ingredients.  Plop in 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, and 1 1/2 cups buckwheat flour (don’t let that name fool you, buckwheat is gluten-free and not related to wheat at all).  Mix that all together well.  Another bonus of doing this with a spoon instead of a mixer is you can make sure the sides are well-scraped down and that there are no ingredients hiding unmixed at the bottom.

Uber Cookie 5

To your cookie dough add 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats and 1 cup raisins.  You could probably add in some chocolate chips as well if the mood strikes you.  Mix until that’s well-combined.

Uber Cookie 6

Form your dough into balls measuring a bit more than a tablespoon and flatten them with your fingers onto the parchment-lined baking sheets.

Uber Cookie 8

Bake for 12 minutes, rotating your pans halfway through, until cookies are set (they will likely not brown much for you).  Leave them to firm up in the pan for about five minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.  Seal in an airtight container for up to a week.  I bet they would also freeze well.

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