Ingredient: all purpose flour

Children’s Delight – new and old

cookies
Peanut butter and chocolate – what could be better?

A story is woven from the threads of a writer’s life.

The recipe for Children’s Delight cookies has been in my recipe binder forever. Just looking at the old card, written in my mother’s scrawl, brings back a rush of memories.  The recipe card is stained and had comments written in after the fact (more butter!).  And up in the corner, in brackets it says “Raylene Ewing”

Raylene was my good friend in Toronto when I was in grades seven and eight.  Just seeing her name is an emotional blast from the past.

I didn’t plan to put the recipe in Summer of Fortune, but suddenly, there it was.

On the top shelf rested a wooden box.  Stretching to her full height Maddie carefully brought it down, wiping the dust from the top.  She held it in one hand, studying the scenes of the lake carved into the lid.  Inside, yellowing recipe cards were written in a spidery hand: Sunday Blackberry Cake, October Relish, Children’s Delight Cookies.

An old fashioned drop cookie, they make the kitchen Original Children's Delight Cookie recipesmell like cinnamon and cloves, an aroma that, in the story, comes to introduce the presence of Aunt Augusta the previous owner of the cabin who is, ahem, no longer with us.

The recipe also provides an introduction to Maddie’s backstory.

Maddie didn’t have any hand-me-down recipes.  Most of hers came from magazines.  These recipe names conjured up visions of a woman in an apron with streaks of flour on her face, like a character in an old movie.  Her own mother had never cooked and Maddie was sure she didn’t own an apron.  She had spent most of her time on the couch, watching her soaps with a beer in her hand.  

Maddie inhaled deeply the unfamiliar scent of cinnamon and cloves that lingered in the box, and then, closing the lid, she placed the box on the windowsill over the sink where she could admire the carving.

Maddie ended up making the cookies, again and again, a sensory lure her handsome landlord couldn’t resist and a symbol of her move to another kind of life.

Here’s the recipe.  Enjoy!  (Are you out there Raylene?)

Judy sig

Long Weekend Rhubarb Cake

It doesn’t feel like a summer long weekend to me without the rhubarb coffee cake my mother-in-law Betty always served at the cottage.

The Canadian and American July long weekends fall just a few days apart; July 1, Canada Day, the big 150 this year, and the Fourth of July. If your house is like ours, people are coming and going all weekend. We spent Canada Day at my sister-in-law’s lake house this year, and I brought the rhubarb cake as a tribute to Betty.

Sweet, not too rhubarb-y, it’s perfect anytime when you have a houseful.

Have a wonderful holiday!


Best Christmas Fruitcake Ever

First, I want to thank everyone who came to the facebook launch of Home for Christmas, the last of this first batch of Fortune Bay books. (Don’t worry, there should be another one coming out next summer, 2017. Join my mailing list for news of new books.)

It was great to hang out with some readers who are quickly becoming friends, and to meet so many new potential readers from as far away as  South Africa, Holland, New Zealand and Australia!

I promised to put up my recipe for fruit cake – guaranteed to turn skeptics into fans. So here it is.

The secret is the strawberry jam, kirsch brandy, pineapple step.
It still tastes like fruit cake, just moist and fruity and good.

I got this recipe from my mother-in-law, who originally found it in the Toronto Star many years ago. Apparently it was sent in by a reader from Winchester Ontario which, coincidentally is where my sister lives. I love when synchronicity happens!

There are quite a few steps, but worth the trouble. It doesn’t really take that long and you end up with fruitcake to eat and give away.

My recipe says “make in late October”, so I better get at it!

Judy

Santa’s Dark Secret

It’s never too early for chocolate!

It’s not Christmas yet – and I certainly don’t have my decorations up or my shopping done – but Santa’s Dark Secret cookies (the ones Louise makes for Blue in Home for Christmas – launching today! ) are good anytime, despite their name. 

HFC COVER MED outln

Home for Christmas is available today on

Amazon, B&N nook, kobo and the iTunes store

Judy

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When your Zucchini get out of hand.

To celebrate the launch of The Good Neighbor, Book Two in the Fortune Bay Series, I’m continuing my week of late summer recipes with

Zucchini Bread, or

“what to do when your garden becomes the Little Shop of Horrors.”

The other day, my mother tried a piece of my Zucchini Bread.

“What is that flavor?” she said. “Mine has never been this nice.”

“Cloves,” I told her.

“I don’t like cloves,” she said. “But I love that.”

I have to admit it was particularly good batch. I usually grind whole cloves and if you are not diligent with the mortar and pestle, the flavour of the chunks of clove can over power the loaf.

This time I hadn’t been able to find whole cloves at the store, so I used ground and found it was better for this bread.

20150901_5057 Also, I wrung out the grated zucchini just the right amount and the moisture level was perfect. Last time I was showing someone how to wring out the excess moisture in a tea towel, was over zealous and the bread was a touch dry. But do wring it out to prevent a soggy loaf.

Nobody likes a soggy loaf!

It’s a great way to use that excess zucchini at this time of year, or get a nice size one at the farmer’s market and knock yourself out!

In The Good Neighbor, (yes! out this week!) Stephanie goes out to her garden and finds:

The Good Neighbor

The stump end of a mammoth zucchini peeked out at her from under a leaf. Not good. Zucchini were the jesters of the garden, growing to ridiculous, bulbous proportions when your back was turned…

Hefting a giant zucchini in one hand, she measured its weight, reminded of a childhood summer day spent grating the big ones for zucchini bread, the smell of cloves and cinnamon filling the air. She put the offender under one arm, the basket over the other, and started down the shoreline path to the cabin.

Cloves and spice, Aunt Augusta’s trademark. Stephanie must have the same recipe I have.

Enjoy!

Judy sig

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