by Heather Harris Brady

This is going to be a short post today since here in America we’re heading into the big Thanksgiving holiday. If you are going out or visiting this coming holiday season these little bites would be a perfect hostess gift, especially tied up in a clear box with ribbon. Not only are they delicious, they are snowy-pretty and they check all the boxes – vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, raw, paleo, etc.

I had these at an ayurveda workshop, where they were said to boost immunity. Give these a try even if you don’t like dates – I’ve never been crazy about dates myself but I love these. You can substitute more ground almonds for coconut if you like. If you can grind your spices fresh, and make these ahead, as the flavors blend and improve over time.

If you wanted an interesting cheese course you could roll these in minced nuts instead and serve them with a goat cheese, gorgonzola or a seared halloumi.

Orange Bites, Makes about 24 1-1/2″ treats

  • 2 c. medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • Zest of two organic oranges
  • 1/2 c. raw almonds
  • 1 t. fresh ground gingerroot
  • 1 t. fresh ground cardamom
  • 1 t. cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 T. honey
  • 1 t. kosher salt
  • 2 T. olive oil or coconut oil
  • 2 T. coconut powder plus extra for coating

Put the dates in the food processor.


Add the spices, honey, nuts and oil. Roughly chop, then add the orange zest and 2 T. of the coconut powder.


Pulse until the mixture comes together into a dough.


Spread some coconut powder on a plate.


Scoop out heaping teaspoons of the date mixture and roll them in the coconut until they are well-coated.


Store finished treats in an airtight container at room temperature. These will keep nicely for up to two weeks. Safe travels and happy weekend everyone!


Three years ago: Cranberry Orange Bread Pudding
Two years ago: Parker House Dinner Rolls
One year ago: Vanilla Sauce


by Heather Harris Brady

This is the story of a cake, a gypsy and a badass Michigan heiress named Clara Ward. It was right around this time of year, in 1896, when Clara left her prince for the gypsy violinist Rigo Jancsi.

Clara, heiress to a lumber and mining fortune (with ties to Ludington, Leland and the Upper Peninsula), was a perfect example of Edith Wharton’s Ambassadors and an early adopter of the “being famous for being famous” approach (nothing is new). Born in Detroit on Fort Street, educated in London, and married at 15 to a middle-aged Belgian prince rich in title but poor in funds, Clara later acknowledged that she accepted the arrangement only to get out of further schooling. She became the toast of Europe, a favorite of King Leopold and a thorn in her proper mother-in-law’s side. During a ball she wore garters with the Chimay coronet and little gold bells, and put them on display. When the queen told her she was dragging down the family’s name she had said name and crest tattooed on her arm.


So, with things uncomfortable at the Chimay castle she and her prince traveled, enjoying the good life. Escoffier created two dishes in their honor, poulard Chimay and oeufs a la Chimay. In November 1896, while the prince and princess were enjoying a lovely meal in Paris a gypsy violinist caught Clara’s ear with the Rokoezy March. Rumor has it she slipped him her diamond ring and a few days later Clara skipped town with Rigo. I’ll including the rest of the story below the recipe for my fellow history buffs, but if you’re ready to get cooking yourself here we go!

Traditionally this cake is chocolate mousse between two layers of cake and it is cut into the neat, perfect squares. I’ve modified this recipe from Susan Derecskey’s Hungarian Cookbook. It’s light yet rich, chocolately without being super-sweet. Considering how non-traditional Clara was, I think she’d approve of me breaking the rules here and turning it into four layers – one layer, perhaps, for each of Clara’s husbands…

Rigo Jancsi, Makes one large 5” x 14” torte, about 14 servings

For the cake:

  • 6 eggs, separated
  • Salt
  • 6 T. granulated sugar (vanilla sugar if you have it)
  • 3 T. sifted dark cocoa
  • 4 T. sifted all-purpose flour

For the filling:

  • 4 T. sifted powdered sugar
  • 3 T. sifted dark cocoa
  • 1 pkt. unflavored gelatin softened in 2 T. cold water
  • 2 c. heavy cream

For the glaze:

  • 3 oz. dark chocolate
  • 1/3 c. heavy cream
  • 1 t. butter

Preheat the oven to 400. Whip the egg whites until stiff and set them aside.


Beat the egg yolks, gradually adding the sugar, until thick and lemony.


Fold in the cocoa powder. This got a little awkward, some of the cocoa stuck to the bowl but keep going!



Fold in 1/4 c. of the whipped egg white to lighten the batter, sift the flour over the top and fold that in.


Then fold in the rest of the egg whites.



Grease a jelly roll pan, line it with parchment (I was out so I used foil) and then grease the lining. Pour in the batter.


Bake it for about 15 minutes. While the cake is baking make the glaze. Combine the chocolate and cream in a bowl, melt together until smooth and then stir in the butter.


Peel the paper off while the cake is hot, then cool it completely while you make the whipped cream.

Mix the cocoa and sugar. Stir the gelatin to make sure it’s dissolved. If it’s not warm it slightly in the microwave. Start whipping the cream and add the cocoa mixture.


Drizzle in the gelatin and whip until stiff.


Cut the cooled cake in half (the short way) and then cut each half in half. I’m building my torte on a larger pan first. Once it’s cold and firm I’ll move it to a serving plate.

One of my layers tore a little bit so it’s going on the bottom.


Top the layer with 1/3 of the whipped cream.


Now keep going, two,




When you get to the top finish the last layer with glaze.



When the torte is firm (at least three hours in the fridge), move it to a serving plate and slice it at the table if you want to be dramatic. Serve it cold in 1″ slices.


Three years ago: Thanksgiving Cook-Along
Two years ago: Soft Pumpkin Cookies
One year ago: Pumpkin Gingerbread (GF)

The rest of Clara and Rigo’s story!

Clara spent Christmas 1896 in a mud hut visiting her future gypsy in-laws, where she promised to marry Rigo as soon as she could. Although her mother pretty much cut her off, she still bought Rigo an expensive violin, exotic pets, and baubles (including a bracelet made from a pair of garters King Leopold gave her). She added Jansci under the Chimay tattoo and he reciprocated by getting her portrait tattooed on his arm as well.

Clara, ever the saucy vixen, told the press that she didn’t know why she left her husband other than that while she liked him well enough she never loved him – and that she did say goodbye when she left! Since they needed to make money now the inheritance spigot was off Clara and Rigo took to the stage. Her photograph, tattoo on display, was also a popular and lucrative money-maker. But, their relationship was rocky and ended before two years were up. Clara took up with a porter and Rigo found other wealthy ladies susceptive to his charms. I’ll put some of my research up on my Pinterest board if you’d like more details – the gossip around this couple is almost as good as the cake!


by Heather Harris Brady

These rolls are something of a guilty pleasure from my childhood that I’ve passed on to my kids, I made them to mimic the ones that come in the can with the little plastic container of orange icing. This recipe is nearly as quick, and they’re delicious without all the extra “stuff” that allows those cans to live on the grocery store shelf for ages. If you put the butter out on the counter the night before you can have warm rolls in less than 40 minutes.

Quick Orange Cinnamon Breakfast Rolls, Makes nine servings

  • 4 T. soft butter
  • 2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 2/3 c. milk
  • 1/3 c. sugar mixed with 1-1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1 t. orange extract or orange bakery emulsion
  • 2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 t. milk
  • 1 t. orange extract or orange bakery emulsion

Preheat the oven to 400. Combine the flour, granulated sugar and baking powder in a mixing bowl.


Add the cubes of butter and cut it in.


Stir in the milk and extract in with a fork. Depending on your flour you may need another tablespoon or so, just enough so that all the flour is moistened.


Knead it six-seven times in the bowl.


Flour your counter and roll the dough out to an approximate 1/3″ thickness.


Sprinkle it with the cinnamon mixture and dot with butter.


Roll it up like a jelly roll and cut it into nine pieces. I scoop up any cinnamon that falls out and sprinkle it over the top.


Bake for about 15 minutes, until puffed and lightly browned.


While the rolls are baking stir the powdered sugar and milk together with the extract. Drizzle in another 1/2 t. of milk if you need it to achieve the right consistency. Spoon the icing over the hot rolls and serve.



Store any leftovers lightly covered at room temperature. These are best eaten the day they’re made.


Three years ago: Calzones
Two years ago: Marbled Peanut Butter Pie

One year ago: Ginger Chocolate Scones


by Heather Harris Brady

Panna cotta is quick, easy, delicious and hard to photograph. From all accounts it just appeared sometime in Italy in the 1960’s, first thickened with egg whites like a custard and baked in a water bath, until someone hit on the idea of adding gelatin. If you have a cold refrigerator you can start it about 90 minutes before a dinner party and it will be ready when you are. It would be a great choice for any friends on a gluten-free program.

In this version I’m using a combination of buttermilk and heavy cream. The finished dessert is a lovely balanced cream that doesn’t hint heavily at either main ingredient. I had the pears and caramel already, but you could use any fruit sauce you like – a combination of dried and fresh apricots would be especially good I think. I unmolded these, but you could stick with the ramekins if it makes things easier.

Panna Cotta, Serves four

  • 8 oz. heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 T. cold water
  • 2 T. sherry
  • 1 packet unflavored gelatin
  • 2 c. buttermilk
  • One small can dulce de leche (optional)
  • Kosher salt for sprinkling (optional)
  • Two ripe pears, washed, cored and sliced (optional)

Combine cold water and sherry, stir in the gelatin to soften and set aside.


Mix the heavy cream and sugar in a saucepan, heat over medium, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved.


Once the sugar is dissolved remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the gelatin well. Then whisk in the buttermilk. The mixture will start to thicken a bit.


Pour it into ramekins.


Put them in the refrigerator for an hour, until set. Cover them with plastic wrap if you are making this recipe ahead. If you’re unmolding the panna cotta to serve it, run a knife around the outside of each one. It should unmold easily, but if it doesn’t gently ease it out with a spoon, holding the ramekin just over the serving plate. Spread the caramel on the plate, sprinkle with salt and add 1/4 of the pear slices to each serving. If you’d like a mix of textures a tuile cookie would be nice on the side.


Three years ago: Chocolate Ganache
Two years ago: Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
One year ago: Chocolate Sheet Cake


by Heather Harris Brady

My Aunt Blanche (actually my grandmother’s cousin but that’s neither here nor there) was in her mid-90’s when she passed away earlier this year. She was a small bubbly woman who married a tall quiet man from North Carolina. Whenever they would come for summer visits she was like the Energizer bunny, no matter how hot it was, she would still make her banana pudding and other delicious and strange (to us) things.

So in memory of Aunt Blanche I decided to attempt this apple butter, something I have always loved but never got around to trying. She made it in the slow-cooker, which is genius because it can cook down slowly while you go about your business. If you start it at breakfast it should be done by dinner.

I knew we would be eating this up right away, so I made it sugarfree, sweetened with nothing but the apple cider. You can run it through a foodmill or processor at the very end if you want it super-smooth like the kind you can buy in jars. I’m sure this same method would work for other soft fruits as well, like plums, pears and peaches.

Apple Butter, Makes about four cups

  • 16 cups chopped apples, a mix of varieties is best
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh apple cider
  • 2 t. ground cinnamon

Put the chopped apples into the slow cooker and pour in the apple cider. Turn the slow cooker to high and put the lid on.


After two hours the house will smell amazing and you will have a lovely applesauce.


After four hours it will keep cooking down and getting darker. You can see how mine has reduced by over half, but that will depend on your slow cooker, they all seem to cook a little differently.


Stir in the cinnamon at six hours. After eight hours it should be really thick and dark. You should see very little liquid when you stir. I spooned it into a metal pan to cool it down quickly.


Store the apple butter in a covered container in the refrigerator and use within a week. A magical thing happens when apple butter meets homemade bread and butter, toasted or untoasted.



Three years ago: Basic Bread
Two years ago: Malakoff Torte
One year ago: Chocolate Oatmeal Caramel Bars



by Heather Harris Brady

Good news! The days of agonizing over whether to make brownies or cookies are over. Sometimes you CAN have the best of both worlds.

These cookies bake up thick and chocolately. If you like them fudgy, take them out when the center is still a little bit glossy. If you like them cakey, wait until the tops are matte. Either way these are perfect companions to a glass of cold milk.

Brownie Cookies, Makes about 40 3″ cookies

  • 1/2 c. butter, at room temperature
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 3/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 6 T. dark cocoa powder
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1-1/2 t. vanilla
  • 2 c. mini semisweet chocolate chips (or dark chips)

Preheat the oven to 375. Combine the butter, oil and sugars in a mixing bowl. Beat until creamy, about four minutes.


Beat the eggs in one at a time, beating for two minutes between each addition.


Add the dry ingredients.


Then beat in the chips, water, milk and vanilla.


You should have a thick, creamy batter. Drop by tablespoons-full onto greased baking sheets. Flatten slightly.


Bake about 10-12 minutes, see my note on baking time above.


Store in an airtight cookie jar.


Three years ago: Pan-Roasted Chicken with Soused Mushrooms
Two years ago: Chocolate Mint Cookies
One year ago: Salted Caramel Banana Cake



by Heather Harris Brady

There may be times in life when you want something fancier than pie, when you want to give your inner Martha Stewart free rein in all its place-card-and-individual-dessert glory. Apple dumplings are for those times – humble enough to seem homey yet, if you seek out antique apples and make your own caramel sauce, there is plenty of opportunity for pretension. I kid, I love Martha, without her lots of people probably would never have discovered their love of hand-rolled beeswax.

Regardless, apple dumplings are basically self-contained apple pies, and very cute to boot. They would make a great fall brunch/dinner party dessert or something to wow people with at Thanksgiving. You can serve them with a caramel sauce like I did, or a scoop of ice cream. Even with small apples they are rather large, so if you aren’t feeding a table of pie-lovers and teenage boys, you might want to slice them in half and serve them that way.

Apple Dumplings, Makes five large servings

  • 1/2 recipe pie crust (under Basics, above)
  • 1 c. 1-2-3-4 streusel (under Basics, above)
  • Five well-shaped baking apples
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • One egg
  • 2 T. water

Fill a mixing bowl with water and add the lemon juice. Peel your apples and cut them in half, remove the cores with a melon baller or metal measuring spoon.


Drop them into the acidulated water, core down. When they are all prepared set them aside.

Preheat the oven to 375. Divide your crust into five equal portions. Roll out the first portion.


Pick two matching apple halves out of the bowl and pack a tablespoon of streusel into one center, then fit the other apple half over it so the apple is back together again.



Set it on the pastry and fold the sides up over it.



You’ll have a little gob in the center of extra dough you need to trim off. You can roll it back out and cut out a couple leaves for decoration if you like.

When the apples are all wrapped up place them on a baking sheet.


Whip the egg and the water together to make an egg wash. Paint it over all the dumplings. It will help seal any cracks in the pastry as they bake.


Bake for about 30-35 minutes, until golden brown. My oven went psycho and switched itself to broil in the middle of baking, so I apologize for the scorching.


Serve the dumplings warm or at room temperature.




Three years ago: Weeknight Lasagne
Two years ago: Chocolate Almond Torte
One year ago: Brioche Coffeecake


by Heather Harris Brady

Hold on to your seats kids because we’re going to cover a lot of ground today! We’re talking about Pullman bread and the tangzhong method with a dash of history to spice things up. Let’s start with the Pullman pan first.

Pullman pans were not the first of their kind, the first lidded bread pan was probably an adapted steamed pudding mold. When the Pullman Railway Company adopted them for their kitchens they became “Pullman pans” and traveled far and wide in the railcar kitchens. These pans turned out neat, stackable, versatile loaves for toast, canapes, and tea sandwiches for the fancy dining cars. (For an excellent article in the Chicago Tribune on the history of Pullman bread click here.) The pans are readily available online and very sturdy.


I took this idea and applied the tangzhong concept. Tangzhong is basically a roux used the base in many Asian milk-bread recipes. The tangzhong keeps the bread moist and fluffy but still neat and sliceable. Tangzhong is a ratio of one part flour to five parts water, and can be scaled as needed. I tend to make too much, but you can refrigerate it for a short time for a second batch. Because you are gelatinizing the flour and locking in the moisture, this helps your bread stay moist over time.

Sandwich Bread, Makes one large loaf

  • 1 T. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 5 T. milk (or half water/half milk)
  • 1-1/2 c. milk (or half water/half milk)
  • 1 pkg. quick-rise yeast
  • 2 T. granulated sugar
  • 4 T. butter, softened
  • 4-1/4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 t. salt

Whisk the first two ingredients together over medium heat.


Cook to a soft roux, where the whisk makes lines in the mixture.


Combine the roux with the scalded milk, stir in the butter and sugar.


Cool to lukewarm. Stir in the yeast, flour and salt.


This will give you a shaggy dough. Set it aside to double in bulk.



Take it out of the pan and knead it to a smooth dough, about five minutes. Flatten it out then roll it up like a jelly roll and put into your greased Pullman pan.


Preheat the oven to 350 and let the dough rise 2/3 of the way up the pan.


Grease the underside of the lid and slide it on. Put the pan on a baking sheet (a little dough might escape the top) and slide it into the oven.

Remove the top at 45 minutes and check the loaf. If the center sounds hollow it’s done. If not, return it to the oven for another 10 minutes.


Let it sit in the pan for five minutes, then turn it out on a rack to cool. I rub each side with some butter for a soft crust.


Don’t try slicing it until it’s completely cool. If you can wrap it and let it sit a day so much the better. When you do slice it you can cut them thin, they will stay neat and pretty.


I dolled these up with some butter, soft cream cheese, cucumbers and a sprinkle of salt.



Three years ago: White Chicken Chili
Two years ago: Cheese Fondue
One year ago: Cinnamon Bread


by Heather Harris Brady

It is one of the great joys in life to come across people with whom you are immediately simpatico – as if you’d known each other your whole lives. That has been our good luck these past two weeks and even better, this new young friend of ours is someone who appreciates good cooking. He is, in fact, a “good eater” – which was always one of my grandparents’ highest compliments. In light of this I made this dish for Sunday brunch, when my table included four teenagers and one with her thirteenth birthday on the horizon.

This recipe comes by way of my mother-in-law. I’m not sure of it’s exact origin but it may have once been on the Bisquick packages. Regardless, it is makes a lovely large dish for a crowd and leftovers heat up perfectly. If Bisquick is not available in your area, here is an approximate substitution:

  • 2-1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 T. baking powder
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 c. butter

Mix the dry ingredients together, then cut in the butter with a pastry blender or process in a food processor to fine crumbs.

Maple Oven Pancake, Makes one 9 x 13 pan

  • 2-1/2 c. Bisquick (or substitute above)
  • 1-1/2 T. granulated sugar
  • 1-1/4 c. milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 c. maple syrup
  • 2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 12 slices of crispy bacon, crumbled

Preheat the oven to 400. Combine the Bisquick and sugar.


Whisk the milk, eggs and syrup together, stir into the Bisquick.



Then stir in half the cheese.


Pour it into a greased 9 x 13 pan.


Bake for about 20 minutes. When the center is nearly firm, top the dish with the rest of the cheese and the bacon.



Return to the oven until the cheese melts and the bacon is heated through, about five-six minutes. Serve warm with extra syrup to pour over the top.



Store any leftovers in the refrigerator, wrapped. This reheats nicely in either the oven or the microwave.

Three years ago: Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
Two years ago: Dobos Torte
One year ago: Peach Upside Down Cake


by Heather Harris Brady

Sorry for missing last week, we have had a houseguest and gorgeous weather so we’ve been out making the most of it. Speaking of houseguests, this is a great recipe to make when you have visitors and you’d like to wake them up with something warm and delicious. It makes the house smell great and it keeps well.

Almond Coffee Cake, Makes one 8″ cake


  • 1/3 c. butter, melted
  • 1/2 c. sliced almonds
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 T. agave syrup
  • 1 t. almond extract


  • 2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 pkg. quick-rise yeast
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t. almond extract
  • 1 t. vanilla

Combine the topping ingredients and pour them into a greased 8″ square baking dish.


Combine the butter and milk, microwave for one minute. Add the sugar and let cool to lukewarm.


Stir in everything but the flour. When it’s well combined, stir in the flour.


You’ll have a thick batter that’s quite heavy.


Spread it in the dish over the topping. Preheat the oven to 375.


When it’s doubled in bulk it’s ready for the oven.


Bake for about 25 minutes. I rub the top with butter when it comes out of the oven.


Immediately turn it out onto a plate.



Serve warm or at room temperature. You may store the leftovers at room temperature, well wrapped. If your house is warm you may want to refrigerate it if you’re going to keep it for several days.



Three years ago: French Toast, Diner Style
Two years ago: Peach Melba Pie, Lattice Crust
One year ago: Oatmeal Apple Cookie Slices


Follow Little House by the Dunes on WordPress.com

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Now We’re Cookin’

My kitchen Pinterest page
November 2015
« Oct    

Midwestern Farm Girl Baking & Such


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 276 other followers

%d bloggers like this: