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Apple Kuchen

Apple Kuchen

Base and apple chunks ready for topping

It’s an old saying that pretty much everyone loves motherhood and apple pie, and I’d include myself in that list – particularly since there have been two back to back crop failures for the blueberry crop around our camp up north – otherwise as a good northern canadian lad I’d be endorsing motherhood and blueberry pie but definitely not turning down apple pie.

More realistically, in our home apple pie usually takes a back seat to apple crisp – which is so easy to throw together and is truly a great desert.  But, Apple Kuchen also figures prominently among our favorite deserts because it’s a great desert in its own right and is almost as quick to prepare as apple crisp.

Whole grain apple kuchen

Partly devoured pan of whole barley base apple kuchen

For those who haven’t had it before it is an cake base topped with apples and a sugar and cinnamon topping.  Since home ground whole grain flours are the principal ones that get used in our kitchen the base is usually whole barley or whole wheat – both of which work great and give more substance and flavour compared to white flours.

So next time you are looking for a great desert give Apple Kuchen a try.

Click on the post title to expand and see the recipe.


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Blueberry Corn Cake

With a sister in law and friends who are celiac I tend to keep my eyes open for recipes that are both gluten free and great and easy (the latter meaning in part no crazy exotic gums and pastes and binders);  That combination is fairly rare – certainly more rare than when one is not constrained to exclude gluten.

Blueberry Corn Cake – A great desert

There are winners though, and this is one of the nicest ones around – so much so that it graces our meals even when the table is filled with wheat eaters.  Frankly the latter simply allows me to do the grinding of the cornmeal on the homemade grain mill from the couple of big sacks of feed corn we always have on hand.  The mill does a great job and fresh meal can’t be beat, but since the mill often processes gluten containing grains I keep a bag of commercial meal for those occasions.

This corn cake makes a desert – moist (even if some lasts a couple of days), rich, flavorful and just the right amount of sweet to cap off a nice meal or accompany tea or coffee.


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Homemade Butter Toffee

Homemade butter toffee

Butter toffee has to be one of the best candies out there – growing up I had a mild addiction to Macintosh toffee – if I had the choice between a candy bar and one of the Mack tartan box I’d jump at the hard and chewy later option every time. Corporate consolidation saw the Canadian version I had in my childhood disappear a while ago, and while a modern version came back out after a few years it just doesn’t measure up in my view.  Fortunately homemade butter toffee has to be one of the easiest candies to produce in your own kitchen.  Simple ingredients, quick to produce and no pulling required.

So if you’ve missed that original tartan candy or never experienced it – give this recipe a try.


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Steamed Whole Wheat Chinese Buns

whole wheat buns in steamer

whole wheat buns in steamer

Sometimes it can be a challenge to get light and airy buns when baking with whole extraction whole wheat flour – but steaming makes it a breeze.  These buns are the perfect thing to stuff with slow cooked pulled pork or other meat filling.  Give them a try and you’ll be sure to add them to your baking repertoire on a regular basis.

Try to get the freshest whole wheat flour you can manage.  Home ground is best but otherwise look for a supplier that can ensure the flour hasn’t been sitting around for a while.  But, if you can pull off this recipe (and you can) you can build your own grain mill using these instructions.


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Sourdough Whole Wheat Waffles

Sourdough Whole Wheat Waffles - so incredibly light and good.

Sourdough Whole Wheat Waffles – so incredibly light and good.

These waffles are incredibly light and oh so tasty, even when compared to other homemade waffles they are by far the best!    You’ll love the full flavor that the whole wheat brings, and the acid in the not only adds a very mild tang to complement your sweet toppings but also provides the acidity to really foam the baking soda.

These are exceptionally simple to make – you just need to spend five minutes the night before making your sourdough levain.  Really from a time standpoint it doesn’t require any more prep time – just a bit of forethought on your part.

Give them a go and I am sure that “Sourdough waffles in the morning” idea will be floating around your head before you turn in on a regular basis prompting the making of the levain the night before and the sweet dreams realized the next morning.

Click on the post title for the full recipe.


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Boston Cream Filling

Boston Cream Filling

Boston Cream Filling

A friend who worked in a donut shop told me that Boston cream donuts were the fastest moving ones in the shop.  I can understand that, Boston cream filling is awesome. It’s also very easy to prepare.

In many cases I prefer Boston Cream filling to whipped cream where stability is required – in this case Éclairs.   Give making a batch a try.

Click on the post title for the full recipe.

 

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Quick ‘n Easy Whole Wheat Biscuits

Whole Wheat Biscuits hot out of the oven

Whole Wheat Biscuits hot out of the oven

There’s good reason why biscuits were an essential part of pioneer cooking fare – they are quick and easy to make, are incredibly versatile and especially when warm right from the oven – like most fresh baking – make any meal go from whatever to wow!  They were the perfect tool for the busy pioneer wife to pull together to make her meals special.  Not so surprisingly they fill that same role today just as well.  Between work and school and a myriad of other things that fill our modern lives the busyness while different is likely often just as much of an issue today as it was a hundred years ago – so any modern baker – male or female, hitched or not – should have a good basic biscuit recipe to turn to in times of need.   This happens to be a great and versatile one.

Click on post title for the full recipe.

 

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Spiced Peach Jam

A bowl full of peaches - try to resist snacking.

A bowl full of peaches – try to resist snacking.

There is just something special about this jam – capturing that rich summer flavor with the hint of spice that melds so nicely with the sweet peach.  It is the next best thing to biting into a perfectly ripe summer peach – with the advantage you can enjoy it year round.

I often find peaches come on sale for a crazy low price towards the end of the season.  They arrive in store as hard as baseballs but in a day or two they will have all softened up with some even skipped juicy and gone straight to rotting.  Toss those ones into the compost pile and get ready to work like crazy to process the remainder.

Homemade Pectin for jam

Homemade Pectin for jam making

As jam is able to be processed in a boiling water bath you aren’t going to need expensive kit to put this bounty away, a rack that can fit in the bottom of a pot deep enough to submerge your resealable jars and a canning jar gripper will suffice – but you won’t regret spending a few extra dollars to pick up a canning funnel at the same time.  The latter will cut down on mess and by helping to keep the rim of the jar clean will reduce the incidences of failure to seal.

Mason Jars of Peach Jam

Mason Jars of Peach Jam

The first step is to remove the skins of the peaches – I like to put the peach in a pot of boiling water, then using a slotted spoon remove it and put it in cold water for a few seconds to cool.  Get the timing right and with a slit from a paring knife the skin will be quickly removed, and you can cut the now skinless peach into slices.

Since I usually have a lot of peaches to peel, I tend to peel them into a diluted lemon juice solution before removing them to either start processing right away or if time is limiting for refrigeration to process the next day.

 

 

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Whole Grain Waffles – Barley Flour

Waffles are decidedly the high class alternative to the pedestrian pancakes.  Sure,  they are slower to produce but they are a great treat for a breakfast or brunch.

Breakfast fixings, barley flour waffles, strawberries, bacon and maple syrup

Breakfast fixings, barley flour waffles, strawberries, bacon and maple syrup

While a variety of whole grain flours can be used to pull these healthy waffles together my favorite is unquestionably barley.  There’s a sweetness to barley that plays perfectly in this recipe – and by that I mean you’ll be hard pressed to make enough to satisfy the crowd at your table.

You may be hard pressed to find barley flour in your local grocery store – it will probably take a trip to a specialty retailer if you don’t have your own grain mill.  If that’s the case why not consider building a grain mill  – it isn’t much more complex than the baking you are already doing,  just in a different domain.

That said,  like all whole grain products it will fill you up and keep you going – you won’t be getting hunger pangs mid-morning after a hearty breakfast where these are featured.

So oil up your waffle iron, get it heated up and get ready to wow with these whole barley flour waffles.

Click on the post title for the full recipe.


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Whole Wheat Potato Bread

I enjoy making this bread whenever I have leftover mashed potatoes that need to be used up.  BUT, I will make mashed potatoes specifically to be used in this bread when I’m going to be making toasted bacon and tomato sandwiches.

Toasted Bacon and Tomato Sandwich on Whole Wheat Potato Bread

Toasted Bacon and Tomato Sandwich on Whole Wheat Potato Bread

Fundamentally all we are doing is swapping a cup of whole wheat flour for a cup of mashed potatoes from our standard whole wheat bread recipe.

The mashed potatoes do a couple of things.  First off since they don’t contain gluten we get a somewhat denser bread.  I say somewhat because it is nowhere as dense as a rye, triticale, spelt or barley loaf.  The reduction in gluten is to some extent mitigated by the easily converted starches that give the yeast an extra boost.  At the same time we get a moister loaf.  The combination makes for a great toasting bread – and great toast is the foundation of a great bacon and tomato sandwich!

Originally potato bread was used to stretch more expensive wheat flour but today the bread merits being included in your baking rotation on its own merits alone.  That said,  it remains a great way to put that little bit of mashed potatoes remaining after some meals to good use in your daily bread!

Click on the post title for the full recipe.