I’m a big fan of food hacks. I don’t have a lot of time and mental bandwidth to think of these myself, so when I come across them, I take a screencap for the future when I know I’ll be looking to cut corners. But, a food hack has to be a clever hack. The hack can’t ruin the final product. And it has to make my life easier. Like this one.
Ricotta cheese pies are a favourite pastime of mine to make. If you’re like me, and you can’t stand the chalky taste of cream cheese based cheesecakes, ricotta cheese pie recipes are for you. I made this recipe a few months back and forgot to add the cream cheese. I didn’t realise my mistake till it was done baking, so I was nervous when I served it up at the in-laws. Much to my surprise, not only did it turn out really well, the texture was silky smooth and no one missed the taste of cream cheese!
The secret to this particular presentation is a chocolate readymade pie crust and adding two small handfuls of chocolate chips on top just before you slip it in the oven. The middle is the plain vanilla ricotta filling. It’s based off of the original Danone Cheesecake recipe I found online years ago.
I really love a great cookie that isn’t too heavy or too sweet. Bonus points if it doesn’t take too much work in the process. I have started to gravitate towards recipes that don’t use butter, flour, leavening agents, or sugars. This is a cookie I baked last year for Secret Santa at work. I gave it to Lucia, a lovely older Italian lady at my workplace. She loved these! They were right up her alley, too. Give it a try if you’re struggling to find a nice Christmas gift for neighbours, bosses, or co-workers.
2-Ingredient Shortbread Cookies:
1 C Almond Flour/Meal, superfine powder consistency
2 1/2 tbsp Maple Syrup (the good stuff, not that table crap)
Add the syrup to the almond flour 1 tbsp at a time until the dough becomes clumpy but doesn’t form a ball. Adjustments: If it forms a ball, add a teaspoon more almond flour. If the dough isn’t clumping enough, add a teaspoon more syrup.
Roll the dough out between two sheets of wax paper to 1/8″ – 1/4″ thickness. Cut into shapes from here. Lay on parchment paper on sheet trays for baking.
Bake at 250 degrees for 25-30 minutes. The cookie tops should not feel soft when fully baked up.
Alt: I used Amaretto liquor in Lucia’s batch. I simply subbed out 1 tbsp of syrup for the booze. It was just a lovely little kiss for her, and it wasn’t overpowering. She could taste it easily without it being overpowering.
I like making café muffins with big, fat dome tops. The secret to achieve this effect is a 3-prong attack:
1. Overfill the muffin tin wells. Trust me!
2. Resist, at all costs, the urge to drop the muffin pan on the counter to burp the batter because you are conditioned to stop filling 2/3rds of the way up. Trust me!
3. Bake the muffins at 425 degrees for the first 5-8 mins, and them drop the temp to 350 degrees for the next 22-25 mins. Trust me!
Bring them out when the tops are no longer soft and gooey to the touch. Let them cool for at least 30 mins before diving in, lest you burn your mouth off. Ask my husband why I put this disclaimer in. He will tell you allllll about the singed skin in his mouth. 🙂
Easy Café Pumpkin Muffins:
1/2 Bag of Oatmeal Muffin mix (of choice, measuring at least 450 grams)
2 tbsp Veg Oil
1 tbsp Maple Syrup (the good kind, not the table version)
1/3 C each: Water / Pumpkin Puree
1 tea Pumpkin Spices, heaping
Mix the batter until all the ingredients are happy with each other. Using a 4oz disher (cookie or ice cream scoop with trigger), place two portions on top of each other per muffin tin well.
Top each muffin batter with a big pinch of pepita seeds in the middle of each top (fear not, the seeds will spread out as the muffin grows in size to distribute them nicely).
Bake at 425 for the first 8 minutes, and at 350 for the next 20-22 minutes. Yield: 6-7.
About a month ago, I saw this product come across me at work. Yesterday it happened again, but unlike a month ago, yesterday I remembered to hunt it down in the store to buy. This is a frozen product that gets rested on the countertop for 4-6 hour as it proofs. I whisked up a egg and brushed that on before topping the loaf with sesame seeds.
Thirty fast minutes later, this bread was done. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. It costs $3.49. I haven’t cracked into it yet, but I’m sure it will taste delicious. I’m thinking of cutting it up into thick slices to toast and top with loads of butter. *drooling*
This recipe has been around longer than my late mother-in-law was alive, but her family loved making it. BTW, Newfie (what it’s called on the recipe card) Buns are what they call scones in Newfoundland.
3 C AP Flour
3 tea Baking Powder
1/3 C Sugar
1/2 tea Salt
1/4 lbs Butter*, cold
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Whisk the dry ingredients together before cutting the cold butter into it to form a coarse crumble.
6 oz Milk
Beat the egg in a small measuring cup. Fill with milk to the 8oz mark. Stir together. Add to the dry butter mix with a fork just to combine. Shape the dough into a ball and then flatten into a disk before cutting up in 6 or 8 scones. Bake 15 mins.
OPT: 1 C Raisins or Currants. (Add at the end along with the egg-milk mixture.)
The typed out recipe card states you can use butter or margarine, but I believe my mother-in-law used both off and on in the 1980s, but preferred using butter.
My husband’s mother died yesterday. She was 93. She would want me to share this recipe above all of the ones she left behind. Enjoy.
TILLEY BUTTER TARTS:
5 C AP Flour
2 tea Salt
1 lbs Tenderflake Lard
1 tbsp Vinegar
1 Egg, slightly beaten
Combine flour + salt. Cut in lard to coarse meal crumbles.
Combine vinegar + beaten egg in a measuring cup. Add cold icy water to this mix. Stop added water when egg/vinegar/water measures out to 1 cup.
Gradually add this wet mix to the dry mix with a fork. Gather combined batch up a ball. Wrap with plastic film and chill or freeze until needed, or roll out immediately into circles to make pastry shells to be placed in muffin tins.
Yield: 3 double 9″ pie crusts or 12 tart shells
1/3 C Butter
2 tbsp Whole Milk or Cream
1 C Br Sugar
1 Egg, LG, beaten
1 tea Vanilla
Cream butter well before adding the cream. Add sugar; mix well. Add egg and vanilla. Mix to combine only.
If using raisins, drop a few into bottom of each tart shell placed inside large muffin tin wells, with sides of tart walls crimped to flatten out before being filled.
Dump filling into each pastry shell to about 2/3 full mark. Bake at 425 oven for 8 mins, drop the heat to 350 and bake tarts another 12 mins.