Orange Thyme Icebox Butter Cookies

December 21st, 2015

Orange Thyme Icebox Cookies

One of my favourite sweet cookbooks is the Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook.  This book has a wide range of recipes including cookies, quickbreads, cakes, and pastries, lots to satisfy most home bakers.  The instructions are clear, and every recipe I have made from it has been scrumptious.  As well as many common favourites, there are also a few gems that are not in other books of this type such as sfogliatelle, Spanish olive oil wafers, and Breton biscuits to name a few.  This is my favourite cookbook to give to new enthusiastic bakers.

The recipe for icebox cookies is one I return to again and again.  The cookies are a combination of crisp and buttery.  Many different flavourings work, as well as the addition of nuts and spices.  My most recent take on these cookies was to add thyme and orange rind for the spicings.  The resulting cookies are semi sweet and go well with afternoon tea or also with cheese for an appertif.

One of my favourite recipes in the book

After shaping the dough into logs, refrigerate and slice, easy peasy!

Use a really sharp knife.  I used a ceramic knife and it worked perfectly.

The texture is the best, like shortbread but with a crunch.

The recipe?  In the book.  The flavouring is 1 1/2 tsp of thyme,  grated orange rind from one orange, and about a 1/2 cup chopped pecans.

Raspberry Sour Cream Pie

August 4th, 2013

Raspberry Pie.....mmmmmm

In April while at my parents house on PEI we had a delicious meal at the Sidewalk Cafe on Main Street in Alberton.  The whole meal was delicious PEI style fare, scallops, mashed potatoes, and canned peas, a PEI holdover from before freezers.  The hostess, who said she was from Ontario, said they learned quickly that the canned peas were a local favourite.  Anyway, my mother told me the raspberry pie was wonderful, so we started sharing a piece.  It was so good I ordered a piece of my own right away.   It was just heavenly, creamy, and just a little sweetness so that the flavour of the raspberries reigned supreme.

I liked the pie so much that I ended up back there two more times in just the week I was there, wanting to savour the raspberry pie while it was available.  I tried a few recipes after returning home to Ontario, but none seemed quite right.

Well this week my patch of raspberries was the best ever, so I looked again and found the perfect recipe, in fact I think it is the recipe of the restaurant.  It is on the Canadian Living website, and is called “Crosswinds Raspberry Pie”.

Although I loved the pie, I don’t really like regular pie crust that much, so I adapted the recipe for a shortbread type crust.  I also didnt have breadcrumbs, so I made an almond topping that turned out to be a great compliment.  Here is my recipe.  It is divine.  The only tricky part is to get the crust cooked, so pay attention when it is in the oven.

Raspberry Sour Cream Cake

By Shelley at

This recipe is adapted from “Crosswinds Raspberry Pie” at Canadian




1 ½ cups flour

¼ cup sugar

½ cup unsalted butter

½ tsp salt

  • Mix dry ingredients.  Add butter and whirl in food processor until small crumbs evolve.  If no processor, then mix as for shortbread with a pastry cutter until small grains occur.
  • Pat into 9” spring form pan.  You can try to bring it up the edges a little, or just make it the bottom, depending on the size of your pan.
  • Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, but stop baking as soon as it browns very slightly

3 cups raspberries

¾ cup sugar

1/3 cup flour

2 cups sour cream

½ tsp vanilla

½ tsp almond flavouring

  • Spread raspberries over the partially baked crust
  • Mix remaining ingredients and pour / spread over berries

½ cup almonds

2 or 3 TBL brown sugar

1 TBL melted butter

Pinch of salt

  • Combine and spread over the sour cream mixture
  • Bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until cooked.
  • (The original recipe bakes the pie at 400, but this just results in burning for me)
Cool pie and then refrigerate as soon as possible.  The pie is best after the filling has cooled and set firmly.  If you leave it out too long after baking the bottom can get soggy, so try to time this well.

Pumpkin Brownies

May 3rd, 2013

These brownies evolved because I’ve been trying recipes with hemp hearts.  I found a starting recipe on the site Mum’s Best.  Ive tweaked their recipe to use pumpkin instead of applesauce and changes some of the flours.  These are delicious. They are a more cakelike brownie rather than chewy. Make sure you use pure canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling.

Pumpkin Brownies

Gluten Free and Vegan

Can brownies really be nutritious?  You bet. These have a cakelike texture.  They keep and freeze well.

Makes an 8×8 square pan of brownies.

Ingredients Directions
Dry Ingredients:

½ cup (65g) No Rice Gluten Free  Flour Mix*

¼ cup (25g) finely ground sunflower seeds

¼ cup (35g) hemp hearts

1/3 cup (26g) raw cacao powder

3/4 cup coconut sugar or brown sugar

2 tsp psyllium husks

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

Heat oven to 350 and grease an 8×8 pan.

Combine all dry ingredients and mix thoroughly

Wet ingredients:

1 cup(200 g) canned pure pumpkin (this is ½ of 398ml can)( NOT pumpkin pie filling)

2 TBL coconut oil melted until liquid (or use butter)

2 TBL water

Add wet ingredients to dry and quickly mix together.  The batter will be dense, and you have to work fast because the soda activates right away.

Pour / scoop into prepared pan and level the batter mixture with a spoon or offset spatula.

Bake about 20 minutes until just done.  Like regular brownies they are best not overbaked.

*No Rice Gluten Free Flour Mix

This makes about 4 ½ cups,  more than needed for the recipe. I have found this to be a good general GF flour mix.  It works very well in pastry recipes.

1 cup garfava flour

½ cup amaranth flour

1 cup cornstarch

½ cup buckwheat flour

1 ½ cup arrowroot flour

Carrot Cake, Not too sweet and also gluten free!

December 22nd, 2012

Carrot cakes are ubiquitous, and I find many of them to be cloyingly sweet and too full of stuff like raisins and pineapple.  I especially hate it with cocoanut for some reason.  This carrot cake was supposed to keep the overall feel and spicing, but to be pure carrot cake and only a little sweet.

Picture to come after I bake this again and before it gets eaten!

I have been experimenting with adding nut and seed mixtures to baked goods after reading Peter Reinhart’s latest gluten free cookbook.  He uses all artificial sweeteners, which I generally avoid, so I am sticking with mostly sugar on the premise that you shouldn’t eat too much cake anyway.  I have found his cakes a little too fragile, so I have used his approach of the nut / seed mixtures and modified my flour to incorporate more nuts and seeds.  Because nuts and seed are higher in fats than other flour ingredients, I have found that reducing fat makes a better outcome.  I have made this cake several times now to rave reviews and requests for the recipe, so here it is.  I am also trying a few more modifications so I may update this later.  Also, don’t be alarmed that after a few hours the carrots oxidize and they look like little green specks.  I have usually added buttercream icing on just the top, but the cake is delicious without this as a less sweet nibble with coffee or tea.

Carrot Cake – Gluten Free

Developed by Shelley at

Ingredients Method
1 ¼ cup Family Mix gluten Free Flour

¼ cup sunflower meal

2 Tbl ground flax seeds

6 TBL sesame meal

¼ cup ground almonds

1 ½  tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg

1 ½ tsp soda

1 ½ tsp baking powder

1 tsp guar gum

Note:  all the meal ingredients were ground in my little spice blender.

Mix all dry ingredients and set aside.

1/3 cup butter

½  cup brown sugar

½ cup white sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

½ cup buttermilk

2 cups grated carrots

Cream eggs and sugar  until fluffy as you would for any cake.  Add eggs and blend until incorporated.  Add buttermilk and flour mixture in stages.

Add carrots to batter.  The batter will be firm and sticky.

Place in cake pan, 9” springform or medium rectangular (one size smaller than 9 x 13).  If needed wet fingers and press the batter down in the pan.

Bake at 350 until it looks well done.  The nut mixtures tend to need a little more baking time or they can end up undercooked and soggy.

Ice with any buttercream frosting just on the top.  I used 1 cup icing sugar to ½ cup butter. The overall effect of this cake should be just slightly sweet.

Family Mix Flour

1cup garfava flour (i use Bob’s Red Mill)

1 1/2 cup arrowroot flour

1 1/2 cup cornstarch (or sometimes I use  1 cup cornstarch and 1/2 cup buckwheat)

1/4 cup amaranth flour

1/4 cup quinoa flour

(you can use just quinoa or just amaranth and then use a 1/2 cup)

Chewy Ginger Cookies – Gluten Free

December 22nd, 2012

These cookies are adapted from a recipe in the  LCBO Food and Drink magazine. As usual in
gluten free baking, I found that reducing the fat content was important. I also reduced
the sugar slightly, and they are still very sweet.  These are chewy if baked until just slightly turning brown, and crispier
if cooked a little longer. They freeze very well.

A note on ingredients, I have been experimenting with using psyllium husk as a binder.  What I have found so far is that it really does seem to help with liquid absorbtion and texture.  I have been using small quantities so far.  I did try a bread recipe with more, and it turned out well.

Chewy Ginger Cookies Recipe

Developed by Shelley at

Ingredients Method
2 cups family mix flour

1 Tbl psyllium husk

1 tsp guar gum

1/2 tsp xanthum gum

1 tsp cinnamon

1 Tbl dried ginger powder

1/2 tsp grounf cardamom

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 or slightly less chopped crystallized ginger

Mix dry indredients.
3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup oil

1/4 cup molasses fancy type like Grandma’s

1 egg

Mix wet ingredients, then add to dry.

The dough should

be soft but hold it’s shape. Make small balls a little larger than walnuts. The larger

cookies will be chewier.

Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes depending on your oven.

The cookies will puff up very high at the beginning, then collapse into a crackled

looking flat cookie just before they are done. Let sit a few minutes before removing

from pan, they are very delicate when hot but firm up when cooled.

Family Mix Flour

1cup garfava flour (i use Bob’s Red Mill)

1 1/2 cup arrowroot flour

1 1/2 cup cornstarch

1/4 cup amaranth flour

1/4 cup quinoa flour

(you can use just quinoa or just amaranth and then use a 1/2 cup)

Peanut Butter Chocolate Tower – Gluten Free Version

September 5th, 2011

I have had a recipe for chocolate towers marked for a long time in Emily Luchetti’s cookbook, and finally decided I would make it.  After looking over the components, it looked like a recipe that could easily be made gluten free.  I also thought the coffee flavouring sounded ok, but since I didn’t have any instant coffee I looked in the cupboard for inspiration and found some peanut butter.  Alas the inspiration of a chef sometimes comes from sheer practicality.

I made the cake in a rectangular pan and cut out the chocolate rounds. To make the mousse the right size I looked through my dishes and found some souffle dishes that were about the same size.

The chocolate topping is sort of like a really thick sauce, so it slithers over the edge just enough before the frigid mouse stops it in its tracks.  The chocolate recipe ended up making enough for another batch, so I made this dessert twice in one week.  Greg is tired of it now, but it was a big hit until we ate too much of it.  This is a really good company dessert because it can all be made even a day before you need it, and even freezes well.

Emily Luchetti has written several cookbooks, and I have found them all great.  A Passion for Desserts is an excellent cookbook, and has the original  Chocolate Tower recipe (non gluten-free).

So, with thanks to Emily Luchetti for the inspiration, but the final recipe has been tweaked a fair bit and I am naming it Choco-peanut  Tower.

Read on for the recipe… Read the rest of this entry »

Appam, Daring Cooks Challenge

August 14th, 2011

Mary, who writes the delicious blog, Mary Mary Culinary was our August Daring Cooks’ host.
Mary chose to show us how delicious South Indian cuisine is! She challenged us to make Appam and another South
Indian/Sri Lankan dish to go with the warm flat bread.

In the challenge, we could make any of several curries, so I decided to choose the recipe for shrimp curry included in the challenge.  I had all the ingredients on hand because I make Indian food frequently.  I even had some curry leaves salted away in the freezer, thank heavens for my Toronto shopping trips to Albion and Kipling.   I followed the recipe, but added dark chick peas, zucchini, and cauliflour to the pot.  The resulting curry was very good, so try this recipe (the full recipes are here: ).  I also used my new copper saute pan, and you wont belive it, copper rocks.  It heats really evenly and things brown and carmelize, just what you need for a good sauce.  Thanks to my son for convincing me of the merits of French copper pots.

I have made dosas, a similar batter before.  The addition of yeast made the fermentation go faster, so I will try this technique the next time I make dosas as well.  The appams are really nice, the fermentation gives them a subtle complexity of flavour. I used my electric crepe maker and used the wooden gizmo to spread the dough around.  I love making crepes!!

Read the rest of this entry »

Daring Bakers Challenge: Framboisiers

July 31st, 2011

Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes was our July Daring Bakers’ host and she challenges us to make Fresh Frasiers inspired by recipes written by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson in the beautiful cookbook Tartine.

This was a great challenge, and something I had never made before.  I really like the Tartine cookbook, and have made several other recipes in it, so I thought the recipe would be tasty.   I used the recipes with a gluten free adaptation (explanation below) that worked out well.  I have a lovely raspberry patch in fruit right now, so the “Frasier”  turned into a “Framboisier”  with a few ripe blueberries thrown in.  See a very thorough recipe and explanation of the steps here:  Daring Bakers Frasier Challenge and Recipes.  I used a chocolate ganache for the topping, and pansies for decoration.  The final cake tasted great, and looked ok.  I would try to have a more dramatic side next time, and strawberries seem to be better for that precise pastry look.  I made 4 small cakes just so I could have leftovers that still looked decent.

There are pictures on the Daring Bakers site of amazing creativity with this challenge.  One of the best parts of participating in these challenges is seeing what others have done with the recipes and concepts.

I usually use many flours in gluten free baking, but recently saw a gluten free mix in a magazine called Canadian Family that did not have rice, so I tried it and substituted it for the flour amount called for in the recipe.  The resulting sponge cake was delicious, and I will definitely make it again.

Changes to the Daring Bakers recipe (link above)

  • gluten free flour mix instead of wheat flour
  • added 1/4 tsp guar gum to the flour
  • used 5 egg yolks and 5 egg whites (instead of three and 5)

Gluten Free Flour Mix from Canadian Family:

  • 1/2 cup garfava flour
  • 1/4 cup amaranth flour
  • 3/4 cup corn starch
  • 3/4 cup arrowroot flour

This makes more than you need, so use it in something else too!

The resulting cake was delicious, you really could not tell it was gluten free.

Edible Containers-Daring Cooks Challenge – Part 1

April 14th, 2011

Renata of Testado, Provado & Aprovado! was our Daring Cooks’ April 2011 hostess. Renata challenged us to think “outside the plate” and create our own edible containers! Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 17th to May 16th at!

This is part one of this post.  I remembered a really interesting basket made out of orange peels that my friend Dominique in France showed me in one of her cookbooks.  I had never tried it, so I thought this challenge would be a good time to tackle an orange peel basket.

I had a kitchen gadget for garnishing that I thought would be just the implement to make the basket strips.  The process is that you cut off a small piece from the end of the orange for the platform, then you cut a long spiral strip.  I had to make strips because I was not too skilled with the tool, and it slipped off the peel periodically.  So, voila, after a short basketweaving session it worked.  I filled the container with a chick pea and red pepper salad.  So, here it is:

Well then I looked back at the challenge, and the container is supposed to be edible.  Realistically, although you could eat orange peels, a basket this size might be a challenge.  So, my next step was to find the recipe for the salmon tartare cornets in The French Laundry Cookbook that I had always intended to make.  My first batch was a little overdone, so they did not roll.   My error was to cook them too long, so I took the second batch out when they were just congealed but not browned, and they rolled up great.  You bake them again after that.

Part 2 will show the filling in them.  I am thinking sun dried tomato chevre would be good.  Thomas Keller uses salmon tartare, but raw fish never really excites me, in fact it makes me squeamish!!  So, look in a couple days for part 2.

Here is a little peak at the cornets:

Panna Cotta with Florentines

February 28th, 2011

The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.

I have made florentines before and they are very yummy – far better than the ones you find in bakeries, although they are really not too common anymore.  Because I needed a gluten free version, I looked through a few cookbooks and found an interesting recipe which used no flour in Chocolate Ephipany by Francois Payard.  The result was sort of a butter brickle flavour with crunchy almonds and candied orange.  They are absolutely delicious!! The dark side is that you cant stop eating them so between the florentines and the cream in the panna cotta I gained 2 pounds this week!! I am having nightmares about barbells.

For the panna cotta, I used a slightly different recipe than Gina’s because I didn’t have 3 cups of whip cream.  I found a similar recipe in Dolce Italiano by Gina De Palma and used it with ricotta for some of the cream.  But I didnt have ricotta either so I used sour cream, and the result was delicious.  This is my first attempt at panna cotta, and it is very easy.  The taste is really similar to creme brulee, but less work and no baking, so I will make this again.  I am freezing some to see how it fares, and since I have recently frozen bavarian I think it will work!!.  I have to freeze some so I dont gain even more weight!!! so it is really a self preservation technique.

Both of the above are excellent cookbooks.  I have seen Chocolate Epiphany remaindered at Chapters recently, and it has an amazing recipe for chocolate cookies that have no butter but are wonderful.

Thanks to Mallory for a great combination of flavours in this challenge.

I am posting the recipe for the florentines because it is gluten free and devinely delicious.  If you want the panna cotta recipe there are dozens on the internet, or email me.


Recipe Adapted from Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard.

My attempt at these resulted in a wonderful taste, but the cooked sheets  were not easy to handle and I ended up just breaking them up into pieces instead of having nicely shaped cookies from a cookie cutter.  I found them really buttery, so next time I will try a little less butter to see if that works.  But, these are divinely  delicious, so consider making them!

Ingredients Method
13 TB (195 grams) unsalted butter

1 1/8 cup sugar

1/3 cup milk

¼ cup honey or corn syrup

Combine all of these and cook in a saucepan until a candy thermometer reaches 230F

Remove from heat and add the next ingredients.

2 ¼ cups sliced almonds

1/3 cup candied orange peel

Add to the cooked mixture above.

Note: This batter can be kept for about 3 days in the fridge if you want to bake later.

Baking Step:

I found the baking quite variable, so you really need to watch this step rather than rely on timing.

Spread the batter very thinly (cover the area completely, but not too think, about 1/8 inch) on a silpat or parchment paper (silpat is better) and bake at 350 for about 8 minutes.  The batter should be a golden brown, so you need to watch it and it will depend on how think etc.
Cutting Step:

The batter will be very runny even when cooked, but as it cools it becomes malleable.  The process is really like nougat.

In the recipe it says to cool slightly and then cut with a cookie cutter.  I found this did not work too well, so  after trying individual cookies and other experiments I just gave up and treated it like a big sheet of candy bark that I cut with kitchen scissors into pieces.  This worked well but they are not too uniform.
Tempered dark chocolate layer:

About 5 oz dark chocolate (I used  house brand candy bars from Metro that is 72% chocolate)

Melt the chocolate, then spread in a thin layer on the back of each cookie piece.  The recipe says to spread with a fork to get the characteristic wavy lines, but my cookies were so thin that I gave up and just spread a think layer.
Serve or Freeze These are best straight out of the freezer.  They are very delicate, so freezing is the best way to keep them intact and also my freezer is down stairs so I get exercise before devouring them.

Related Posts with Thumbnails