Blueberry Pie

We live in one of the best locations in the world for blueberries and wild ones in Nova Scotia are a rare find. We found some wild ones in the middle of our province and picked enough for a pie! Blueberries are full of antioxidants and are delicious off the bush or baked up in a yummy pie! This pie recipe has an all butter crust to add to the flavour of this homemade pie.

Pie Crust:

In a food processor mix together:

  • 2 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt

Add in and pulse until the butter is broken into small bits:

  • 1 cup cold butter

Pulse the flour and butter mixture with:

  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 6-8 tbsp ice water

Pulse only until a soft dough is formed. Separate into 2 discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Filling:

  • 5 cups blueberries
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • juice of half a lemon

Combine together in a bowl. Roll out bottom crust, fit into a pie plate, fill with the blueberry mixture, and roll out the top crust and place on top. Crimp the edges (discarding the excess), brush some cream on top and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 425 degrees F for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake for another 25-30 minutes or until well browned and bubbly. If crust gets too browned, cover with foil part way through baking. Cool and then serve.

 

Lemon Cheesecake Squares

I was looking for a lemon bar recipe that doesn’t take too many eggs for a large pan so it would be easy to replicate. I found a recipe online that has cream cheese in it that only takes 4 eggs for a large pan. Cream cheese is your friend if you are egg allergic or do not eat eggs! This is the modified recipe using yogurt as egg replacement along with a couple more tweaks to the original recipe to make it stable.

Lemon Cream Cheese Bars

Base:

Mix together:

  • 2 cups graham crumbs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

The cut in until crumbly:

  • 1/2 cup cold butter

Press into a tin foil lined 9 by 13 pan and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees F .

Top:

In a large bowl, mix together until creamy:

  • 2 pkgs softened cream cheese (250g each)
  • 1 and 3/4 cups white sugar

The add in and mix well:

  • 1 cup plain unsweetened yogurt (equal to 4 eggs)
  • zest of 4 lemons
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 6 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Pour over top of baked crust and bake another 30 minutes at 350 degrees F until the top is set. Cool completely and refrigerate for a few hours before cutting.

 

 

Chocolate Twist Bread

This really isn’t the bread making time of year but since I am a teacher and off in the summers, I make bread. This is my version of a chocolate twist bread. I haven’t quite perfected the shape yet but the taste is a-maz-ing! I have filled the bread with chocolate, almonds and cinnamon. The almonds are completely optional. My son is not allergic to almonds, just peanuts so when I can source peanut free almonds, I like baking with them. If you don’t bake with any nuts, then add more chocolate. Yes, more chocolate! Nothing wrong with that! You can also jazz it up with different flavours like orange, coconut, cardamon, cherries, etc.

Chocolate Twist Bread

In a small bowl, mix together and let the yeast activate:

  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 and 1/2 tsp yeast

In a small saucepan, combine and warm until the butter is just melted:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (equal to 2 eggs)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar

After the yeast is activated and the milk mixture is at room temperature, combine in a stand mixer and add in flour, starting with 3 cups first:

  • 5 1/2 to 6 cups all purpose flour

Once you have added in and mixed the 3 cups, slowly add in the remaining flour until a soft and slightly sticky dough is formed. When it is throughly kneaded, dust with flour and let raise for 1 hour or until double in size.

After the first raise, roll out until 15 by 15 inch square. Cut in half so you have two 15 by 7.5 inch pieces to fill, cut and roll separately.

In food processor, combine and pulse until a few chunks remain:

  • 3/4 cup chopped semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup almonds (optional)

Divide filling between the two pieces of rolled out dough and then roll up each separately. Cut each roll down the middle and twist the 2 pieces together. Some of the filling will fall out but you can just sprinkle it on top after you get it on the pan. I recommend rolling and twisting on the parchment paper you will bake on to make the transfer easier. You will end up with 2 double twisted loaves.

Let raise for another 30 minutes until proofed. At this point, it will look like this:

Brush with cream before baking. Bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 45 minutes on a large parchment lined cookie sheet.

Classic Oatmeal Cookies

These classic oatmeal cookies are made with large flake oats, for lots of texture and greek yogurt for extra protein. They are crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. If you are a purist you bake them as is, but if you are Team Raisin, you can add raisins; Team Chocolate Chip, you can add chocolate chips!

Classic Oatmeal Cookies

In a large bowl, cream together:

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup shortening

When the fats are creamy, beat in:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar

Then mix in:

  • 1/2 cup plain unsweetened greek yogurt (equal to 2 eggs)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Then add in dry ingredients:

  • 3 cups large flake oats
  • 1 and 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Mix until combined. Scoop out into large balls onto a parchment lined cookie pan and flatten with a fork. I use a large cookie scoop, equal to 2 and 1/2 tablespoons. These large cookies take 13-15 minutes at 350 degrees F until the bottoms are lightly golden brown. Makes 20 large cookies. If you make smaller cookies, reduce the baking time.

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

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This is a delicious sweet bread that usually contains eggs. In this bread I use flaxseed and plain yogurt as the egg replacement to help keep the dough nice and soft. I also use honey in the bread itself. This was my first attempt at a swirl bread but I have made other types of bread before. There is a bit of extra work involved but you are rewarded with a pretty design when you slice the loaf.

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

In a small pot, heat together until the butter is just melted:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup butter

Let the milk mixture cool until lukewarm.

In a large mixing bowl combine:

  • 2 tbsp yeast and 1/2 cup warm water

Let the yeast activate for 15 minutes until nice and foamy.

When the milk mixture is cooled down and the yeast and water are activated, pour the milk mixture into the large mixing bowl with the yeast and water.

Add in:

  • 1/2 cup plain unsweetened yogurt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 tbsp flax seed meal
  • 1 tsp salt

Mix with a dough hook in a stand mixer or by hand with a wooden spoon. Slowly add in up to:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups flour

You want to dough to be soft and slightly sticky but not so sticky you cannot handle it. Mix for several minutes to activate the gluten or knead by hand for several minutes. Once you have a nice dough, coat in vegetable oil or dust lightly with flour and return to the large mixing bowl to rise. Cover the bowl.

Leave the dough to rise for 1 to 2 hours depending on the humidity, until twice the size.

On a clean surface, sprinkle some flour and roll out half of the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Try to keep the width only as long as the loaf pan you are going to bake the loaf in. You will end up with a fairly long, narrow rectangle. Mine ended up a bit too wide but you can always trim it to fit your pan.

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Sprinkle the dough with:

  • cinnamon (approximately 1 and 1/2 tsp)
  • brown sugar (approximately 1/3 cup packed)

Roll tightly and place in a greased loaf pan. Repeat with the other half of the dough. Let the loaves rise for another hour.

Bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 40-45 minutes until golden brown and baked through. Take out of pans to cool. Enjoy!

 

Strawberry Cake

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My daughter decided she wanted a strawberry cake filled with vanilla ice cream for her birthday and decorated with meringue cookies. A tall order but I am always up for a birthday cake challenge! The recipe for the meringue cookies is here: https://myegglessworld.com/2016/11/21/meringue-cookies/ I added food colouring before the final whipping to make them pink. You should make these the day before.

Strawberry Cake

Cream together butter, sugar and then add the oil and mix well:

  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 and 3/4 cups sugar

Then mix in:

  • 1/2 cup plain unsweetened yogurt (equal to 2 eggs)
  • 1 and 1/4 cups pureed strawberries
  • 1 tsp vanilla

In a separate bowl, sift dry ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Alternate dry ingredients into the batter with the milk mixture:

  • 1/2 cup milk mixed with 1 tsp vinegar

Bake at 350 degrees F in 2 parchment-lined 9 inch cake pans for 30 -35 minutes. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool.

Once cool, take the bottom layer of cake, use slightly soft 1 and 1/2 litres of vanilla ice cream sliced or scooped and smooth it out to cover the bottom layer. It is easier if you set the cake layer back in the pan and then put the ice cream on top. Then top with the second layer of cake. Wrap well with plastic wrap and stick it in the freezer for 2-3 hours.

Frosting:

  • 1/3 cup softened butter
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 4 cups icing sugar (more if needed)

Beat the ingredients together until light and fluffy.

Crumb coat the frozen cake with the icing. You may need to do this a couple of times. Sometimes the ice cream and the frosting do not want to stick together the first time, so once you get a layer of frosting on wrap it again and freeze. Whipped cream is much easier to work with than the icing, so if you want you can just frost the cake with whip cream before you want to eat it.

After the icing has a chance to set in the freezer, take it out again and do another layer. I had to do this 3 times before it smoothed and stopped leaking ice cream.

Decorate the cake with meringues and strawberries.

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Honey Cake

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I received a cook book this Christmas by Ina Garten, called Cooking for Jeffrey. There are lots of yummy recipes in the book and one caught my eye. It is a Bourbon Honey Cake. I don’t have any bourbon in the house so the one I made today is a Honey Cake. This is my version of the cake in her cookbook. I did make a couple of changes including replacing the 3 eggs with yogurt, substituting some of the spices I didn’t have on hand and I also had reduced some of the sugar and honey. I eliminated the sliced almonds but added a glaze. If you have bourbon, you can substitute the water for bourbon.

Honey Cake

In a large mixing bowl, combine:

  • 1 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup plain unsweetened yogurt (equal to 3 eggs)
  • Zest of 2 oranges
  • 1 tsp vanilla

In a separate bowl, sift together:

  • 3 and 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

Alternate the dry ingredients into the oil and sugar mixture with:

  • 1 cup hot coffee
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup water

Optional: Top with sliced almonds

Bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 45-50 minutes in a greased and floured tube pan. Let cool.

Glaze:

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla

Drizzle glaze over cooled cake.

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