Granny’s Soda Bread (Repost)

March 17, 2013

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

In honour of the day, I thought I’d repost my favourite Irish recipe, which I originally posted for St. Patrick’s Day back in 2009: my Granny’s Irish Soda Bread.

As a yeast-less bread, this comes together in less than an hour start to finish. Short of a pint of Guinness (with a bit of Ribena is my fave), this bread slathered with butter is the perfect way to celebrate your Irish roots!

Granny’s Soda Bread

From my Granny (Eileen Way)
Yield: 1 loaf


2 cups white flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (I use the 1% buttermilk)


Preheat oven to 375F.

Mix all of the dry ingredients together. Make a well in the centre, add the buttermilk and stir lightly until everything is combined.

Make into a flat loaf and cut an “X” in the top. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. (Note: If you are using an electric oven, place a pan of water on the lower rack to provide moist heat during cooking).


Chewy Gingersnaps

December 18, 2012

Every year my friend B and her mum host a mother-daughter Christmas cookie exchange. My favourite Christmas cookie is shortbread, but my mum has dibs on that recipe so I had to come up with something new.  I wanted something seasonal (somehow chocolate chip cookies just don’t seem Christmasy enough) and immediately thought of the chewy ginger cookies at Starbucks that I loved in law school.  I consulted my mum for a recipe and she sent me a clipping from the local paper that seemed to be exactly what I was looking for – chewy, gingery yumminess.  These turned out great and have now been my Christmas cookie exchange go to  for the past two years.

Chewy Gingersnaps || A Year in the Kitchen

Chewy Gingersnaps

From the Vancouver Sun
Makes approximately 36 cookies.

4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (or regular salt will work just fine)
4 teaspoons baking soda
4 teaspoons (heaping) ground ginger
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup baking molasses
additional sugar for rolling the cookies

Preheat oven to 325F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper (or silpats, which I use and they are fantastic).

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon.

Beat the oil, sugar and eggs until the mixture is smooth and light. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the molasses, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Mix in the dry ingredients to make a firm dough. Cover and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

Spread out additional sugar on a plate. Using lightly floured fingers, roll the dough into 3/4 inch balls then roll each ball in the granulated sugar, coating it evenly. Place on the baking sheets.

Bake until the cookies are puffed, cracked and lightly golden brown, about 12 – 15 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.

Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to a week. Freeze for longer storage.

Peppermint Bark

February 2, 2010

I just finished off the last piece of this peppermint bark tonight after finding a bag of it in the freezer. Yes!

I have wanted to attempt a peppermint bark recipe ever since reading the buzz about Williams Sonoma’s version in multiple magazines and blogs. However, at $30 a tin, buying it was not an option. Luckily recipes for a homemade version abound on the internet. I picked and choosed from a bunch to come up with this super easy and very delicious recipe. I included it in my baking packages for friends and served it on several Christmas treat platters. It was always one of the first to go (in part, I think, because it is so pretty on a plate).

So when next Christmas rolls around relieve some of your holiday stress, bash up some candy canes and make this peppermint bark.

Peppermint Bark

3 cups chocolate chips (your choice of milk, dark or semisweet)
4 cups white chocolate chips
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
3/4 cup peppermint candy or candy canes, crushed

Preheat oven to 250F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place the chocolate chips in an even layer on the foil and put in the oven for 5 minutes until almost melted. Remove from oven, smooth with a spatula. Put in refrigerator until firm, about 20 minutes.

Melt the white chocolate chips in a double boiler. Stir in the peppermint extract and let sit for two minutes.

Remove the chocolate from the fridge and pour the white chocolate on top, spreading to cover in an even layer.

Sprinkle the crushed candy over top.

Chill until hard and break into pieces.

Scottish Shortbread

February 1, 2010

There is only one treat that I absolutely must have at Christmastime: my mum’s shortbread. Forget rum balls, cookies, and fruitcakes. this shortbread is all I need (albeit, I do need a lot of it!).

My mum has made this for as long as I can remember. She says it tastes just like the kind her grandmother used to make. Every December, she pulls out her cast iron shortbread mold and makes batch after batch to deliver to all her friends and neighbours. And of course a few batches for us.

Last Christmas, I attempted the recipe in my own kitchen. Mum loaned me the mold and I started baking. Then I packaged up my own shortbread to deliver to all my friends. They loved it, just as everyone does. A precedent was set; when this December rolled around they were all waiting for their shortbread and when I delivered it at a party, very little of it actually made it out the door.

So here it is, the most delicious shortbread ever…

Scottish Shortbread

From my mum
Yield: approx 4 rounds

1 pound butter
1 cup sugar
4 cups flour

Place your shortbread mold in the freezer until ready to shape the shortbread. This helps to prevent the dough from sticking.

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Cream the butter until soft.

Add the sugar gradually, blending until very light and creamy.

Add the flour gradually, again blending carefully.

Remove the mold from the freezer and dust it lightly with flour. Press the dough into the mould and turn out onto a baking sheet before baking.

Dust lightly with sugar

Bake at 375 F (190 C) for about 5 minutes, then lower the oven to 300 F (150 C) and continue baking for about 45 – 60 minutes.

Shortbread should be golden but not brown when done.


January 31, 2010

This is the only brownie recipe you will ever need.

These brownies taste exactly like the two-bite brownies you buy in the brown paper packaging. Even better, in the time it would take you to run down to 7-Eleven to satisfy a chocolate craving, you can whip up a batch. I have made them quite a few times to take to parties. When I have nothing planned, these are quick and I usually have the ingredients on hand. They are the perfect brownies – dense and chewy with a crusty top. Mmmmm. In fact, I think I might just whip up a batch for a get together with my girlfriends on Friday…


Adapted from Inside a Black Apple
Yield: 16-20 brownies

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa
pinch salt

Preheat the oven to 390F. Grease a 9 x 9-inch baking dish.

Melt the butter in the microwave or over the stove.

In a large bowl, mix together the butter and white and brown sugar. Once combined, add the eggs and whisk well to combine. Continue whisking as you add the vanilla, salt, flour and cocoa.

Pour the batter into the baking dish (it will be quite thick). Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes before digging in.

Witch Finger Cookies

January 30, 2010

Better late than never…

This recipe is very seasonably inappropriate, so just remember it when October rolls around. I remember my mum making these cookies from Canadian Living when I was younger for Halloween. I think there may have also been punch with ice cubes made in rubber gloves to look like hands. So when our friends invited us over for a Halloween party, they seemed like the perfect snack to bring. Surprisingly, they are very tasty and were a big hit among the party goers – by the time The Shining was over so were the cookies.

Witch Finger Cookies

Adapted from Canadian Living
Yield: approx. 40 fingers

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup icing sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon  vanilla
2-3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup whole almonds
1 tablespoon jam

In bowl, beat together butter, sugar, egg, almond extract and vanilla; beat in flour, baking powder and salt. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Roll heaping teaspoonful of dough into finger shape for each cookie.

Dip one side of the almond in the jam. Press almond firmly into 1 end for nail, making sure that the jam oozes out from underneath. Squeeze in centre to create knuckle shape; using paring knife, make slashes in several places to form knuckle.

Place on lightly greased baking sheets; bake in 325°F (160°C) oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until pale golden. Let cool for 3 minutes.

Tomato Focaccia

September 6, 2009

My absolute favourite thing to buy at the Farmers Market is heirloom tomatoes. There are so many different varieties: green zebra, brandywine, pineapple, tigerella… Last weekend they were finally at the market in abundance and I stocked up! (I had a lot of caprese salad this week). My haul included a bag of multi-coloured cherry tomatoes which I decided would be perfect for tomato focaccia. This bread was delicious and very nice to look at. A definite showpiece to serve to guests. We had it the first night for dinner and then had the remainder two nights later cut into wedges and served with balsamic vinegar and olive oil for dipping. It was a hit!


Tomato Focaccia

Adapted from Eat Make Read
Yield: 1 loaf

1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup warm water

3 1/2 cup flour
4 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup warm water

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 to 2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon olive oil (for drizzling)

2 tablespoons olive oil (for greasing bowl)
2 tablespoons olive oil (for greasing pan)

In a small bowl, proof the yeast by combining it with 1 teaspoon sugar and 1/4 cup warm water Let mixture sit until foamy, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together flour, the 4 teaspoons of sugar, salt and rosemary in a large bowl. Form a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1 cup warm water. Mix into a stiff mass.

Transfer dough to a floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Form dough into a ball and transfer to a bowl greased with oil; cover with plastic wrap and let rise until dough has about doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Heat oven to 475F. Rub the bottom and sides of a round cake pan with oil. Transfer dough to the pan, flip to cover both sides in oil and flatten into the bottom of the pan with your fingertips. Cover the pan with a damp kitchen towel and set aside to let rise for 1 hour.

Gently press the tomatoes into dough and sprinkle with salt. Drizzle dough with olive oil. Bake until golden brown and cooked through, 30–35 minutes. Transfer to a rack to let cool slightly.