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lemonsugarcookies11_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

Anyone who’s been with this blog through the winter holidays knows that I have the same cookie lineup every year, but I continue to audition new prospects because never let it be said that I’m one to rest on my cookie laurels 😉

This is the first audition – a soft sugar cookie (which American readers will recognize as Lofthouse style). It has that same addictive cakey quality as the store-bought version, but with the twist of lemon poppyseed. It’s based on a compilation of recipes online with a few changes of my own. Sorry for the crappy picture, we’re really short on daylight at the moment!

I like the Scandinavian white-on-white coloring, but if you want to get crazy with frosting colors or sprinkles now would be the time!

Soft Lemon Poppyseed Sugar Cookies, Makes about 36 3″ cookies

  • 1/2 c. butter, at room temperature
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t. lemon extract or bakery emulsion
  • Zest from two lemons
  • 3 c. flour
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 T. poppyseeds

For the frosting:

  • 1/2 c. butter, at room temperature1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 t. almond extract
  • 4 c. powdered sugar
  • 6 T. heavy cream

Combine the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy.

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Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition. Then beat in the lemon flavoring and zest.

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Combine the remaining dry ingredients and half of them to the bowl. Beat well. Then beat in the yogurt.

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Add the second half of the dry ingredients and beat for another minute.

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Scoop the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, wrap it up as a ball and refrigerate it for at least an hour. When you’re ready to bake preheat the oven to 425. (I know, hot for a cookie recipe!)

Turn the dough out.

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Roll it out to about 1/3″ thick and cut. (I only worked with part of the dough at a time so I could make sure I kept the thickness consistent.)

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Put the cookies on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

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Bake for 6-7 minutes. I took them out right around the 7-minute mark.

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While the cookies are cooling make the frosting. (I didn’t do the step by step here to keep the post length down.)

Beat the sugar and butter together, drizzling in the flavoring and half the cream. Mixture will be thick. Continue beating, drizzling in the remaining cream as you go, until you reach your desired spreading consistency. I have a stand mixer so I just turn it to high and let it run for about five minutes at this point. The longer you beat the creamier your frosting will be.

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When the cookies are completely cool frost them.

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You can leave them out, uncovered for an hour or so, and the frosting will crust over just a bit. I froze mine on the sheet and then stacked them between sheets of waxed paper in a freezer container to freeze until the holidays.

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Four years ago: 12 Days of Cookies
Three years ago: Russian Braids
Two years ago: Apple Clafouti
One year ago: Holiday Biscotti


lemonricottacookies13_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

First off let me note that I have not fallen off the wagon and gone whole-hog on the food coloring – that bright fuschia icing is from freeze-dried raspberries! I know, right? Perfect for upcoming holiday cookies! But I digress.

This cookie story starts with a trip my little slice of heaven on Earth – Whole Foods. I could wander that store for hours. In the bakery of the Whole Foods in question is a display of international cookies, including a lemon ricotta coated in pale pink raspberry icing. They are delicious.

So the quest began. Finding a recipe for the cookie was easy enough, and while I tinkered with it a bit they are basically the same. But the icing was going to be the hard part. I finally hit paydirt when I read a piece on a pastry chef who uses pulverized freeze-dried fruit for macarons.

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I got this bag at Target for $3.99 and only used about a third of it for this recipe. The color is spectacular and I’m going to experiment with this idea more in the future. I touched up the flavor with a bit of raspberry bakery emulsion and voila! These cookies are delicate, cakey and while you could use a lemon glaze if you want I think the raspberry really sets them off.

Lemon Ricotta Cookies with Raspberry Glaze, Makes about 30 3″ cookies

  • 1 stick of salted butter
  • 1 container of part-skim ricotta (15 oz.)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/2 c. granulataed sugar
  • Zest of two lemons, finely grated
  • 2 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 t. lemon bakery emulsion
  • 2-1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • For the glaze:
  • 2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1/3 c. freeze-dried raspberries
  • 1-2 T. water
  • 1/2 t. raspberry bakery emulsion

Preheat the oven to 350. Cream the butter and sugar together well.

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Beat in the ricotta, then the eggs one at a time, beating well after addition.

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Beat in the flour and baking powder.

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Stir in the lemon zest, juice and flavor. You should have a thick, creamy batter.

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Drop by tablespoons until a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake about 12-15 minutes, until the edges are light golden brown.

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Cool the cookies while you make the glaze. The freeze-dried raspberries are an amazing color, and they taste like raspberry popcorn.

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Put the raspberries in a spice grinder and run until finely ground to a powder.

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Add the raspberry powder to the powdered sugar.

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Drizzle in water until you have the desired consistency.

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Spoon the glaze over the cookies. You can do the whole cookie, or just a lacy pattern if you don’t want as much raspberry flavor.

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Let the glaze air-dry for about two hours and then store the cookies in an airtight container.


Four years ago: Apple Pie
Three years ago: Peanut Butter Pie
Two years ago: Ginger-Chocolate Scones
One year ago: Quick Orange Cinnamon Rolls


lemoncakes15_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

This cake got its name from its strong clear lemon flavor, which reminds me of the lemonade you can buy from fair vendors – the kind they make to order with a whole lemon per glass. Because it’s been so hot I baked them in a small size to cut down on the oven time, but you could bake it as a traditional loaf – just adjust the baking time up.

I based this recipe on one for traditional pound cake from Carole Walter’s Great Cakes, another one of my favorite cookbooks.

Country Fair Lemon Pound Cakes, Makes about 24 mini bundt cakes or one loaf cake

  • 1 c. softened butter
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 Meyer lemon
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 t. vanilla extract
  • 2-1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 2 c. powdered sugar

Measure the sugar into a bowl and zest the lemon into it. Work the rind into the sugar with your fingers until it’s well combined. Preheat the oven to 325.

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Put the butter into a mixing bowl and beat until light. Gradually beat in the sugar.

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Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beating well after each addition. Stir in the extract.

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Add the flour and baking powder. Beat well.

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You should have a thick creamy batter.

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Grease your pan(s) and fill them.

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Bake small cakes about 20 minutes. Loaves may need 45 minutes or more.

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While the cakes are baking make the glaze. Measure the powdered sugar into a bowl. Juice the lemon into the sugar and stir it into a glaze. Depending on how much juice is in the lemon, you may need to adjust the thickness of the glaze with a little more powdered sugar.

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Turn the cakes out onto a rack.

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Drizzle them with the glaze while they are still warm.

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You can serve these at any temperature.

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They’re especially nice with fresh berries and coriander flowers.

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Store leftovers lightly covered at room temperature for up to two days. Freeze for longer storage.

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Three years ago: Strawberry Frozen Custard
Two years ago: Traverse Cherry Pie
One year ago: Strawberry Lemon Torte


 

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by Heather Harris Brady

Being a baker I don’t have a large inventory of no-bake recipes, but we had another hot day last week and knowing it wasn’t going to cool down much overnight I just couldn’t turn the oven on. So I turned to my cookbook collection and pulled out The Congressional Club Cookbook. It was published in 1961, when presumably good food still had the power to suspend partisanship – at least for a while.

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This recipe is based on one for Lemon Bisque by Mrs. Jamie Whitten, wife of the 1961 representative from Mississippi. I added some raspberries but you can mix it up – do a sauce or a white hot chocolate over the top. You could also go the other way, put it in a square pan and serve it in squares, topped with marshmallows, pineapple and cherries for an awesome retro dinner party dessert. Either way it’s refreshing, easy and healthy-ish –

Frozen Lemon Pie, Makes one 9″ pie

  • One graham cracker or vanilla wafer crust
  • 1 can evaporated milk, icy cold
  • 2/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/3 c. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 sm. can crushed pineapple
  • 2 c. IQF berries or other chopped fruit

Prechill your beaters before you start. Pour the milk into a bowl.

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Start to whip on high, drizzling in the sugar and lemon juice as you go. Whip to soft peaks, about four minutes.

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Fold in the pineapple and pour the mixture over your crust. Sprinkle your additional fruit, if you’re using it, over the top. (Note: A springform pan will help with neater slices.)

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Freeze until the pie is completely solid. This took about three hours in my deep freeze. In a regular freezer I’d leave it overnight. Take it out 15 minutes before serving. Run a knife around the edge and remove the rim. The pie should cut into neat slices.

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I think this would also be good with a coconut or meringue crust, which would also be gluten free!

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Three years ago: Sun Tea
Two years ago: Boston Cream Pie
One year ago: Raspberry Cream Cheese Danish

cheesecake1_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

Since it’s been absolutely sweltering for the past week, my oven’s been getting a rest, but I made an exception for this cheesecake because the kids picked blueberries with grandpa and the berries are gorgeous. So think of this as a summer cheesecake. It’s much lighter than most, bright with lemon on the inside and pineapple on the outside. It’s also easy. If you have a food processor you can have it ready for the oven in under 10 minutes.

This would be easy to adapt to gluten free by switching to GF crumbs.

Cheesecake with Caramelized Pineapple, Makes one 8″ cake

For the topping:

  • One fresh pineapple, peeled and cored
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar
  • 2 T. water
  • 2 T. butter

For the crust:

  • One box of ‘Nilla wafers, or other vanilla wafer cookies
  • 1/3 c. butter, melted
  • 2 T. sugar

For the filling:

  • 2 8-oz. pkgs. 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 1-3/4 c. lowfat cottage cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/3 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 T. lemon zest or 1 t. lemon extract or lemon bakery emulsion

Optional: Fresh blueberries

Fill a baking dish with water and put it in the oven. Preheat the oven to 325.

Make the crust: Pour four cups of the wafers into a food processor, along with the sugar. Grind to fine crumbs. Pour the crumbs into a mixing bowl and stir in the butter. Reserve one cup of crumbs, then press the rest into the bottom of a greased 8″ springform pan.

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Wash the food processor bowl and reassemble, and put all the filling ingredients in.

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Process until smooth, about one minute.

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It will be nice and thick.

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Spoon it into the pan and smooth the top.

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Put it into the oven to bake for about 40-50 minutes. While the cake is baking make the caramelized pineapple.

Combine the water, brown sugar and butter in a saucepan. Bring it to a boil over medium heat.

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Chop up the pineapple. When the syrup has boiled for about five minutes, add the pineapple.

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It might splatter a little bit. Cook for another 10 minutes. Apparently I forgot to take a picture of the cooked pineapple, but we’ll get to it in a minute. The pineapple will start to get a little transparent. Take it off the heat and set it aside.

When the cheesecake is only a tiny bit jiggly in the center, take it out of the oven.

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The top might crack a little bit but that’s okay. Run a knife around the outside, then take the reserve crumbs and put them around the outside edge and spoon the pineapple into the middle, like so:

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Reserve the pineapple syrup. Put the cake in the refrigerator until thoroughly chilled. To serve remove the ring from the pan and slice.

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Drizzle each plate with some of the pineapple syrup, add the cheesecake and fresh blueberries.

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Two years ago: Mustard Roasted Potatoes
One year ago: Gooseberry-Raspberry Pie


 

blueberrycheesepancakes1_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

The first of our in-state blueberries are here and they are awesome! To show them off I made these pancakes for brunch, accenting them with lemon and ricotta. You can make them with blueberries in or without, I’ll show you both. Either way they are light, fluffy and delicious, perfect to soak up syrup or a fresh lemon glaze like we used here.

Blueberry Lemon Pancakes, Makes about 20 4″ pancakes

  • 1-1/2 c. milk
  • 3/4 c. fresh ricotta or farmer’s cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • Grated zest of one lemon
  • 1 t. lemon extract
  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 qts. fresh blueberries, washed

Combine the milk and cheese, whisk well with the eggs and sugar.

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Add the lemon zest, oil, extract and baking powder.

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Then stir in the flour.

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Your batter should be the consistency of very heavy cream.

Heat one tablespoon of oil in a griddle. Cook on one side until bubbly, when the sides start to stand up by themselves they’re ready to turn.

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When they’re brown on both sides, and the center’s firm to the touch, they’re ready!

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If you want to make them with blueberries stir 1-1/2 c. of fresh blueberries into the batter. Make sure the berries are completely coated, then cook them as above.

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I usually check the middles in between the berries before I take them off the pan, to make sure they’re REALLY cooked all the way through.

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Top with the rest of fresh blueberries, butter and syrup.

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Two years ago: Candied Rose Petals
One year ago: Angel Dinner Rolls


 

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by Heather Harris Brady

Somehow I have found myself the mom of a high school senior, so we’ve been trying to cram some college visits in this summer – hence the lack of posts last week. I know, if I was prepared I could schedule some ahead of time. I aspire to that level of blogging someday 😉 But hey, I did get my new camera battery charger so yay! Better photos ahead.

To make it up to you here’s a pretty strawberry torte. The layers are lemony, soft yet firm enough to stand up to the weight of the berries. Despite it’s glamorous appearance, it goes together pretty quickly and you don’t have to have the oven on for long.

Strawberry Lemon Torte, Makes one 8″ torte

  • 1/2 c. soft butter
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • Two eggs, separated
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 2 t. fresh lemon zest
  • 2 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 c. almond flour
  • 2-1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 c. greek yogurt
  • 1-1/2 quarts fresh berries, washed and cleaned
  • 6 c. stabilized whipped cream

Preheat the oven to 350 and lightly grease two 8″ round pans. Cream the butter and sugar together.

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Add the egg yolks and flavorings. (I’m using farm fresh eggs here, which give you the amazing yellow color.)

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Beat in the dry ingredients.

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Then stir in the yogurt. Whip the egg whites to soft peaks, and fold those in.

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Spread the batter in the pans.

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Bake for about 15 minutes, until the centers are firm.

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I like to let them steam in the pans for a few minutes, before I turn them out on racks.

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Put the first layer on a cake plate and top it with a layer of berries. Fill gaps with smaller berries.

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Then top it with a layer of cream.

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Second layer, rest of the berries.

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Cover it all with the rest of the cream.

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Chill thoroughly before serving.

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Store any leftovers in the refrigerator, lightly covered.


Two years ago: Strawberry Cookie Cones
One year ago: Easy No-Bake Raspberry Pie

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by Heather Harris Brady

Although most of our snow is melted spring is taking its own sweet time getting here. I thought I’d encourage it along with these bright cookies from Maida Heatter’s Book of Cookies. They are the soft cakey old-fashioned kind. I added an easy lemon glaze to pump up the lemon flavor. These would make pretty Easter cookies if you coaxed them into an egg shape.

Soft Lemon Cookies, Makes about 36 3″ cookies.

  • One stick of butter at room temperature
  • 1-1/3 c. granulated sugar
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1/3 c. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 t. almond extract
  • One whole egg
  • Two egg yolks
  • 1-1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 t. baking powder

Lemon glaze:

  • 1 T. softened butter
  • 2 c. powdered sugar
  • 3-4 T. fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350. Cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest together well. Then beat in the eggs until the mixture is light and fluffy.

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Add the rest of the ingredients and cream well for two minutes.

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Drop by tablespoons onto a well-greased cookie sheet.

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Bake for about 12 minutes, until there is a pale golden edge around the bottom.

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Cool on the pan for a minute, then transfer the cookies to racks to cool completely. They will be barely crispy on the outside and cakey on the inside.

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Stir the butter, sugar and 2 T. of lemon juice together for the glaze. Add more lemon juice to thin it if need be. Top each cooled cookie with a bit of glaze.

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Store covered at room temperature between layers of waxed paper.

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Two years ago: Low Fat Chocolate Chip Cookies
One year ago: Oatcakes (Oatmeal Crackers)

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by Heather Harris Brady

Saskatoon berries are native to the north-northwestern part of the US and Canada, but they are starting to find their way across other temperate areas of the country. Our first u-pick farm opened about three years ago. Saskatoon berries are also called serviceberries, pigeon berries and western juneberries. A major ingredient in pemmican, they are somewhat blueberry-like but more substantial.

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A candidate for the next superfruit, they are high in fiber, manganese and riboflavin. They are also, coincidentally, quite tasty. In this cake I’ve paired them with lemon, fresh ginger and tart lemon glaze. If saskatoon berries are not available in your area, you could sub in any smallish tartish berry like raspberries, blackberries or even cranberries I suppose as long as you adjust the sugar accordingly. As you will see I stirred this all up in the saucepan because if I get a chance to not a wash a dish I take it.

Lemon Ginger Cake with Saskatoon Berries, Makes one 8″ square cake

  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 T. fresh ground ginger
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 2/3 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. quick-cooking oatmeal
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1/3 c. greek yogurt
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2 c. powdered sugar

Combine the butter, sugar, lemon zest and ginger. Preheat the oven to 350.

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Stir in the oatmeal and baking powder, then the eggs and vanilla.

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Combine the yogurt and milk, measure the flour and set it aside. Alternate adding the milk and the flour in 1 cup increments, stirring well after each addition. You should have a thick, creamy batter.

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Carefully fold in the saskatoon berries with a spatula.

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Spread the batter into a greased 8″ square baking pan.

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Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the center is firm and the top is golden brown.

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Stir together the lemon juice and powdered sugar, add more sugar if necessary to get a thick glaze. (Sorry about the spoon, I was chasing daylight.)

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Spread the glaze on the warm cake. It will spread out and make little pools along the edge. They’re a reward for people who take the corner pieces.

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This cake is moist, fluffy and delicious. If your house is warm this time of the year you may want to refrigerate it. It’s fine to leave it out at 70 or below.

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It also cuts into neat, pretty squares.

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One year ago: Mustard Roasted Potatoes and Strawberry Salad

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by Heather Harris Brady

So this is the view outside my kitchen window, complete with deer tracks leading from the compost pile to my garden:

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It can mean only one thing – holiday baking! Since I did my complete cookie list last year, I’ve been working on some new things this time around. But you have to take a break sometimes amirite? The holidays are a marathon not a sprint after all. I love these with a hot cup of tea. They would also be a great way to pamper any overnight guests.

Lemon Poppyseed Scones, Makes about 16

Zest from three lemons

2 T. sugar

4 T. butter

3 T. poppy seeds

1 t. almond extract

1 egg

2/3 c. heavy whipping cream

2-1/4 c. flour

1 T. baking powder

Combine the zest and sugar in a bowl. Work the zest into the sugar so the lemon oil really comes out. Preheat the oven to 375.

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Combine the sugar with the rest of the dry ingredients, then cut the butter in.

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Beat the liquid ingredients together and stir them in.

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When the flour is all incorporated, turn the dough out on a floured countertop and knead it about 8-10 turns. Then I like to roll it all out and cut cute little circles. Lay them out a greased cookie sheet.

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Bake them for 12-15 minutes, until they puff up and just barely brown.

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While they’re baking make the lemon glaze. Combine 2 T. softened butter and the juice from two lemons in a bowl. Stir in 2 c. powdered sugar until it’s smooth. Then spoon the glaze over the scones, hot from the oven.

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They’re smallish, so you can eat more than one. . .it’s okay.

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If you’re compelled to put something on them, lemon curd and a dab of raspberry jam would be fantastic.

One year ago: Finnish Teaspoon Cookies

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