This is a guest post from my cousins Liesel and Rachel. We most often live across the world from each other but our passion for cooking and baking unites us. It”s in the genes! I trust these girls taste buds and know that whatever comes out of their kitchen is going to be GOOD. I hope you”ll give them a warm welcome!
I (Liesel) just returned to college in Canada after a good few years being away. During this time I”ll be spending one night a week at Rachel”s place to cut down on the commute to college. Instead of hitting the books, we”ll be hitting the flour and sugar!
We got into a bit of cooking and baking mischief together last year and would now like to involve Cheri in our shenanigans. This is a flavour combination that we came up with a couple of years ago when Rachel was visiting me in Ireland. Welcome to Cooking Cousins…
Rachel: So, we made some muffins.
Liesel: What was left of summer seems to have dropped below the horizon as quickly as the sun does these days. Although the leaves are turning colour we are grasping on to reminders of warmer weather.
Rachel:They got mangos and cloves in them.
Liesel: Mango and cloves are not regular companions in baking but are the perfect autumn flavour. The mango reminds us of tropical fruit salads enjoyed on a warm day and the cloves of the coming winter nights.
Rachel: I ate mine with butter and cheese.
Liesel: These healthy, sweat, spicy muffins are perfect to enjoy on their own or with your favourite muffin topping at any time of day. I will be enjoying mine for breakfast!
Mango Clove Muffins a.k.a. Autumn Sunrise Muffins
In one bowl mix together:
1/3 cup canola oil
1 mashed banana (I defrost mine from the freezer, cut one end and then squeeze the banana out)
1/4 cup milk
1.5 teaspoons vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
In a second bowl combine:
1/2 cup brown sugar, not packed
1 cup flour
1/2 cup oats
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 small mango, diced (use 1/2 a large mango)
Mix wet and dry ingredients until just moistened. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake at 400 for 18-20 min.
Yesterday I stood staring at the abundance of gorgeous purple plums sitting on my counter. I knew I needed to use them up soon but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to make with them. I love plum jelly but since I don’t have any canning equipment that wasn’t really a possibility. That’s why this recipe immediately caught my eye when I went on my Internet search for recipes.
I’ve never made fruit butter before but it seemed so easy I had to give it a try. It will now be my go to when a little bit of fruit needs using up. It’s really so simple to throw together and makes the house smell amazing while it bubbles away.
Fall spices with the sweetness of plums and crisp tart apples make this a perfect fall spread and a wonderful hostess gift. I mean, just look at that gorgeous purple color! It has me swooning.
Have you made any fruit butters before? What are your favourite combinations?
This cake has Christmas written all over it. I know there will be people rolling their eyes since it’s only the beginning of November, but I love Christmas, so I’m not afraid to start sharing early. To be totally honest I started listening to Christmas music at the end of September. Not every day, mind you, but when it’s a gloomy day that needs perking up I pop in some Bing Crosby and my day gets a whole lot brighter.
I wasn’t planning on sharing any Christmas recipes quite yet but this cake would be so perfect for a Christmas gathering. The sticky, bright red cranberry topping with the scent of cinnamon and cloves wafting in the air. If you can make this and not turn on the Christmas music, I commend you.
For those of you who are still gearing up for Thanksgiving, Mandi from life… your way has partnered with 15 different bloggers (including myself) to bring you a Free Thanksgiving E-book that is completely dedicated to helping you get your Thanksgiving plans in order. This e-book has everything from How to Thaw a Turkey to Table Setting Inspiration. If you’re hosting Thanksgiving and feel like you could use some help with the planning then I recommend you check it out.
P.S. I think this cake would make a wonderful addition to the Thanksgiving table as well. It really is perfect for the entire holiday season, and it’s just too good to be limited to Christmas.
Prepare an 8 inch round cake pan by rubbing the sides and bottom with 2 tablespoons butter (Don’t skimp on the butter! I thought it was a little excessive so I only used 1 tablespoon, but I had trouble with my topping getting stuck to the pan, so use the whole 2 tablespoons).
Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, cinnamon and cloves. Sprinkle evenly over bottom of pan. Top with cranberries, making sure they are in a single layer.
Cream together remaining 6 tablespoons of butter and 1/2 cup sugar. Mix in egg and vanilla.
In a separate bowl mix together flour, baking powder and salt. Alternating with milk, mix the flour mixture into butter mixture in three additions, starting and ending with flour.
Spread cake mixture over cranberries, smooth top.
Bake at 350ºF for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let cool for 20 minutes in pan, run a knife around the edges to loosen the sides. Flip onto serving platter.
Makes: 8 servings
*This cake is best served fresh, although the leftovers are still tasty, the sticky topping is so much better when it’s still a bit warm (in my opinion).
It has been a dreary, rainy week. I have actually quite enjoyed it. It gave me the perfect excuse to drag out the Christmas music. Max spun around in circles and did his little hoppy dance, while I baked, with a little shimmy and shake once in a while to receive some giggles from my fan club. I used to start listening to Christmas music at this time every year, but stopped after learning that I had ruined Christmas music forever for one of my brothers. Last year I made myself wait until November 25th and realized that now that I am getting “older”, time flies by way too fast and Christmas is here before you know it. So, I figure if I am in the mood and it feels like Christmas, I am not going to limit myself.
That is where these cookies came in. A Christmassy feeling spreading through the house. A need to get something baking in the oven to bring some warmth back in our bones. And, a want for that spicy cinnamon and clove scent that is so often associated with this time of year. These cookies helped to fulfill them all.
This recipe came from my mother. It has been a favourite of my Dad’s for years. Mine too. You can easily scarf them down for breakfast as they are not overly sweet and have a wholesome quality to them. The texture is actually similar to muffins, just in bite size form. A perfect grab and go snack that you don’t have to feel quite so bad about eating. :)
You are probably wondering why this Raisin Cookie has no raisins. Let me tell you. It’s because I wasn’t thinking and picked the cookie with the least amount of visible raisins to photograph and didn’t realize it until I was editing. There are raisins in these cookies I promise!
Oatmeal Raisin Spice Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
3 cups brown sugar, packed
2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups oatmeal
3/4 cup milk
1 cup raisins
3.5 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
Place raisins in a small bowl. Cover with warm water and let sit for 10 min.
Cream together butter and brown sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well.
Stir in oatmeal, milk, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
Strain raisins and fold in.
Drop by heaping teaspoons onto a greased or parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake at 350ºF for 10-15 min. until lightly browned. Cool on wire wrack or paper towel.