Ingredient: baking soda

Quick Fruit Surprise Muffins

Perfect for breakfast or tucked in a back-to-school lunch.

For me, September is all about keeping up with the ripening fruit from our garden. This year everything is ripening at once, so I’ve made peach jam, frozen figs to make leather later, pitted and frozen Italian prune plums and made Mostly Plum Jam from a mixture of other plums and the end of the blueberries.

It has even trickled into Starting Over, the story I’m almost finished writing, when Lily, trying to win over Marshall’s children, bakes them Fruit Surprise Muffins.

We’ve enjoyed these moist fruity muffins for years. I usually poke a frozen cherry in the center of each muffin, (that’s the surprise!) but since I’ve been working on plums this week, I made this batch with chopped plums. The original recipe calls for plums, but that has never stopped me from improvising!

Try them. I bet your family will love them.

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Fruit Surprise Muffins
A delicious healthy muffin that keeps well.
Cuisine Sweet Treats
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
large muffins
Ingredients
Wet Ingredients
Dry Ingredients
Fruit
  • 1 cup stone fruit drained, chopped, fresh or frozen. cherrie or plums are good.
Cuisine Sweet Treats
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
large muffins
Ingredients
Wet Ingredients
Dry Ingredients
Fruit
  • 1 cup stone fruit drained, chopped, fresh or frozen. cherrie or plums are good.
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Soak oats in yogurt
  3. Add oil, sugar and egg. Beat well
  4. Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add to moist ingredients all at once. Before stirring, pour fruit over dry ingredients. (Or add whole cherries at the end.) Stir to blend.
  5. Spoon into muffin cups. (I use paper liners.) (This is when I poke in the cherries.) Bake for 20 minutes.

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!


Print Recipe
Rhubarb Coffee Cake
Everyone loves this sweet coffee cake.
Cuisine Sweet Treats
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
13 x 9 pan
Ingredients
Cuisine Sweet Treats
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
13 x 9 pan
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. - cream butter and sugar
  2. - beat in eggs and vanilla
  3. - sift together flour, salt and soda and add to creamed mixture alternating with buttermilk
  4. - toss rhubarb with 1 tsp flour and mix in by hand.
  5. - pour into buttered 13 x 9 pan
  6. - Mix butter, cinnamon & brown sugar and sprinkle on top of cake
  7. - bake for 45 minutes.

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

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Best Christmas Fruitcake Ever
Guaranteed to turn skeptics into fans. The secret is the strawberry jam, kirsch brandy, pineapple step. It still tastes like fruit cake, just moist and fruity and good. Originally called "Willis Fruit Cake".
Prep Time 2 days
Cook Time 2 hr 20 min.
Passive Time 2 months
Servings
mini-loafs
Ingredients
Day 1, Group 2
Day 2, Group 3
Prep Time 2 days
Cook Time 2 hr 20 min.
Passive Time 2 months
Servings
mini-loafs
Ingredients
Day 1, Group 2
Day 2, Group 3
Instructions
Day 1, Group 1
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, cover with plastic and leave at room temperature overnight.
Day 1, Group 2
  1. Simmer pineapple and sugar for 45 minutes, stirring frequently. Cool and stir in brandy. Refrigerate overnight.
Day 2, Group 3
  1. Pre-heat oven to 275°.
  2. Mix dry ingredients.
  3. In a very large bowl, toss fruit and nuts in 1/2 cup of dry ingredients.
  4. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time.
  5. Stir in dry ingredients alternating with pineapple mixture. Combine lightly between additions.
  6. Pour over flour-coated fruit and nuts mixture. Mix well.
  7. Pour into prepared pans. (I line mine with parchment paper.) Put in preheated oven with a baking dish of water to keep loaves from drying out.
  8. Bake at 275° for 2 hr and 20 min.
  9. Cool. Wrap in brandy soaked cloths (or rum, Fireball or fruit juice). Wrap with foil and store at room temperature in a cool room.
  10. Douse periodically with brandy or juices as the cloth dries out.
  11. Enjoy at Christmas and beyond.

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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Santa's Dark Secret
Rich and delicious double chocolate cookies. Perfect for Santa.
Cuisine Sweet Treats
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Cuisine Sweet Treats
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Cream butter in an electric mixer.
  2. Add sugars, mix, add eggs, mix well.
  3. Put flour in a bowl. Take out a tablespoonfull or so and add to the dried cherries, separating them in the flour.
  4. Mix together dry ingredients in a separate bowl and add to creamed butter mixture.
  5. Add chocolate chips and cherries. Mix well with a wooden spoon.
  6. Drop from spoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
  7. Bake 7 minutes at 350°

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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Zucchini Nut Loaf
Sweet and moist with the (subtle) flavour of cloves and cinnamon, this is the perfect sweet bread to have in the freezer to whip out for unexpected company. Or when you just need some comfort food yourself.
Cuisine Sweet Treats
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings
loafs
Ingredients
Dry Ingredients
Cuisine Sweet Treats
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings
loafs
Ingredients
Dry Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Grate the zucchini. Lay in a towel and wring out some of the water. water will run out. Don't squeeze until totally dry or the bread will be dry.
  2. In a large bowl mix the sugar, oil and vanilla with a large spoon. Beat in the eggs and stir in the zucchini.
  3. Combine dry ingredients in another bowl. Add to zucchini mixture and stir.
  4. Spoon batter into 2 greased loaf pans, or five tiny ones so you can give some away.
  5. Bake at 350° F for 1 hour - until toothpick comes out clean. Turn out of pans onto wire rack and cool right side up. Wrap airtight when cool and keep in refrigerator up to 3 weeks or freezes well.