Monthly Archives: May 2012

Gran’s Cheese Sticks

When it comes to Gran’s recipes, often what I have to go on is a memory of what she used to make. Often they come up in the strangest times.

I was talking to Mom about some meat pies that I had made for Mr. Ginge, when she recalled these sticks that her mom used to make.

Gran was well known for her pies. Come the holidays she would always make a huge assortment; lemon meringue, raisin, blueberry, apple, peach, cherry, you name it it was probably there. One of my fondest memories was that as long as you ate your supper, you basically could go back indefinitely for pieces of pie. I’d wolf down my supper then rush back into the kitchen and then into the laundry  room ( she had acres of counter space in there. She made LOTS of pies) and choose my slice of pie. Usually blueberry or lemon, sometimes chocolate or raisin ( I was a weird kid).

Mom remembers her cheese sticks more than the pie. It was a treat that her whole family would look forward to. Since Gran would make so many pies at once, she was often left with some pastry.  She would gather it all up and roll it up with some cheddar cheese then bake it for a bit.  When the kitchen smelled of baking cheese, they would be pulled out. Grandpa would take his share, and Mom and her brothers would be allowed two sticks each.  Mom also remembers fighting over them, particularly if someone ended up with an end piece versus a middle piece.

Since I had some left over crust from making meat pies, I decided to make them for her. Her reaction?

“It feels weird to be able to eat more than just two!”

Gran’s Cheese Sticks

  • 1 9″ unbaked pie crust
  • 1 c sharp cheddar cheese ( like old or extra old)
  • pinch of salt.
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly dust a sheet pan with flour. 
  2. On a floured surface, roll out your dough to about 1/8″/3mm thick.
  3. Sprinkle the top with the shredded cheese, then fold the dough in half, then half again.
  4. Roll the dough out again to an 1/8″/ 3mm, then transfer to a baking sheet. Sprinkle the top with salt then cut into strips. 
  5. Bake for about 10 minutes. The dough will only be very lightly brown and slightly puffy.
  6. Let cool a little bit on the pan, then enjoy!
Sashi cats think they look tasty too!
Categories: Appetizers | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Apple Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Outside of my mom’s house, there are bushes that line the walkway.

They are beautiful and shade the area during the day, but come night their serene nature becomes far more vicious. You see, they harbour great evil. Spiders. Spiders that like to spin webs between the bushes in order to catch unsuspecting bugs and Mels.

I do not think there is a worse feeling in the world than spiders webs clinging to your neck and face. I’m giving myself the shivers just thinking about it.

During the day, spider webs don’t pause so much of a threat. Usually the light catches the web before you walk through it and the crisis is averted. At night though, there is no such luxury. It becomes a one-on-one battle between me and the web.

Sometimes, I am smart enough to send someone out right ahead of me and let them deal with the sticky strands. More often than not, I have not thought that far ahead or I am alone and am faced with the task myself.

Either I am flailing my arms in front of me trying to bring down the invisible strands, or the web has managed to make their attack and I am furiously brushing away the webs from my face, neck, and arms. All while carrying any assortment of things; my laptop bag, purse, stack of books, laundry or even groceries. A hilarious sight I must make.

And really, all I am trying to do is get to my car.

Apple Butter Oatmeal Cookies

makes about 24 cookies

  • 1 c butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup apple butter ( I used homemade)
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1 c cinnamon chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line your cookie sheet with some parchment or a silicone mat.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the apple butter until smooth and combined. Add the brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the eggs once at a time, mixing well after each. Add in the vanilla.
  4. In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Slowly add it to the wet. Fold in the cinnamon chips.
  5. For each cookie, scoop about 2 tablespoons of batter on to the prepared sheet, a couple inches apart. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Let cool a couple minutes on the sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool, or, you know, scarf down.

Stupid spiders.



I linked this post up to The Weekend Potluck! Check it out!

Categories: Cookies | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Vanilla Buttermilk Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Buttercream

Sometimes, Mr. Ginge calls me on the way home from work and asks me what I am making for dessert. Not dinner. Dessert.

There are times when his sweet tooth rules. Even though I do run a dessert focused blog, there are times when I don’t have anything made. We then go through a mental list he keeps of all the treats he really enjoys, hoping that he’ll say something that I have both the time and ingredients to make.  Bread pudding? Rice pudding? Flan? Cake.

Cupcakes. White ones. With white frosting. With little sprinkles on top.

Or you know. Whatever.

Vanilla Buttermilk Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Buttercream

makes 18 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 c sugar
  • 1/2 c butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk ( or 1 tbsp lemon juice with enough milk to make one cup and stirred)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease or line your muffin pan with liners.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each. Add in the vanilla extract
  4. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add one third of the flour, alternating with half the buttermilk, until all combined and you have a smooth batter.
  5. Fill you cups about 2/3 full with batter, and bake for about 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Move to a wire rack and let them cool completely.

For the frosting:

  • 3/4 c butter, softened
  • 3 c icing sugar
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 3 tbsp milk or cream
  • sprinkles for decorating ( optional)
  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter until creamy. 
  2. Slit open the vanilla bean with the tip of a sharp knife, and carefully scrape the seeds from the pod and add to the bowl. ( Save the pod though! Use it to make vanilla sugar or vanilla extract)
  3. Mix in the vanilla extract, and gradually add the sugar. Add the milk , a tablespoon at a time. Mix until light and fluffy. 
  4. Scoop the icing into a piping bag fitted with the tip of your choice, then pipe on to your cooled cupcakes. Alternatively, you can just spread your icing on top of the cupcakes. 
  5. Top with your sprinkles if desired ( I used white non-pareils)
Categories: Cake and Cupcakes | Tags: , | 10 Comments

Apple Blueberry Turnovers

The Farmer’s Market opened last weekend in our town.  For us that means one thing: Pierogies.

Pierogies that get us out of bed every Saturday from May until October. Pierogies that we have been waiting for since the Christmas Market in December. Pierogies that we dragged our neighbor out of bed for ( she’s just as addicted as we are).

As it turns out, we weren’t the only people in town who felt that way. While the market is usually busy on a nice morning, there was a distinct crowd around one particular blue tent. And while we go for the pierogies, he does offer a variety of other treats.

Spinach and feta triangles, plachintas ( vegan ones too!), dinner strudels, cabbage rolls, borscht, as well as a few seasonal treats that you only see a couple times in the season.  Another one of our favourites is an apple and blueberry triangle. It’s sweet and tart and flaky all at the same time, and if you get talking to Igor ( he’s not as busy first thing in the morning or right at 1 when the market is closing) he’ll point out where he bought all his produce. Apples from the next stall  over, blueberries from that farmer down there and so on.

Since they seemed pretty straight forward, I meant to make them sometime during the winter to help tide us over until we made it to spring. I didn’t get around to it until I had some leftover phyllo and the inspiration struck. These would be great for a quick Mother’s Day breakfast treat. Or an afternoon snack with tea. Whatever.

Apple Blueberry Turnovers:

makes 10 turnovers

  • 10 sheets of phyllo
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 granny smith apples ( or any tart apple), peel and thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 c blueberries, fresh or frozen and thawed. ( I used wild blueberries)
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • Icing sugar for dusting.
  1. Preheat the oven to 
  2. In a bowl, toss together the apples, blueberries and the sugar. Set aside. 
  3. Working with one sheet of phyllo at a time, cut in half horizontally along the long side, so that you end up with two long strips. Brush one half with butter, then top with the other half, lightly pressing down.
  4. In the top corner, pile about a quarter cup of the fruit mix. Fold over on the diagonal making an triangle, continuing to fold over until you reach the end of the strip. This page is helpful. Brush the top with some butter to seal and place on a baking sheet. Repeat this with the rest of the sheets.
  5. Once they are a1l folded, baked for 10-12 minutes or until the pastry is nice and golden. Some of the juices may have laked out a bit and that is ok. Let them cool for 5 or 10 minutes on the sheet, then dust with some icing sugar and dig in. 
I did find that they got a bit soggy when they were left over night, but popping them back in the oven or the toaster oven for 5 minute or so crisps up the pastry and heat the filling back up. 
– Mel
P.S.  No stealing my pierogies.
P.P.S Kitty feeties!
Categories: Dessert | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

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