Lavender Butterscotch Blondies

Dried lavender — the kind that can be added to baked goods to give it a distinctive flowery taste — is becoming more and more readily available across the country. But once you’ve got your hands on a jar of these little purple buds, what do you do with it? A little bit of lavender goes a long way; the flavour is strong and you have to make sure it complements your other ingredients. That said, if the flavour appeals to you, a pinch of lavender can take an otherwise ordinary dessert from plain to special occasion-worthy.

We’re big fans of blondies. Like brownies, they’re chewy and delicious, but without the fudgey-ness there’s more room to play with different flavours and add-ins. These blondies combine lavender with good ol’ butterscotch chips for an easy, but slightly fancier treat. Read More

Chocolate Beet Cake

Like zucchini, many of us see an abundance of beets over the summer, and no family can live on borscht alone. We love boiling and then pureeing beets and tucking them into a cake for extra moistness, colour, and flavour. If you go for a non-chocolate cake the beets will turn it a nice pink flavour, but beets and chocolate go together so well, we couldn’t resist melting some chocolate chips for this bundt cake, which can easily be carted along on a picnic. Read More

Olie Bollen

This seems like a classic Best of Bridge recipe – homemade doughnuts made from a recipe handed down over generations. After all, you only make doughnuts when you have friends and family around to eat them. Olie Bollen are traditional Dutch apple and raisin fritters – the easiest kind of doughnut to make.

There’s no need to roll and cut them, you can simply drop spoonfuls of dough into the hot oil and fry until golden and crisp. Experiment with other fruit in season, too – ripe peaches are delicious, just pat them dry if they’re overly juicy. This recipe comes from a friend of a friend of a friend, who says it was her grandmother’s specialty. Serve them as an after school snack if you have extra hungry kids in the house, or for brunch when you’ll have more people around the table. They’re best warm, doused in powdered sugar.

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Chewy Date + Walnut Bars

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I love a good chewy bar, like a brownie only without the chocolate – these are essentially blondies, rich with butter and brown sugar, which acts as a blank canvas you could add anything to. These are made with crunchy nuts and chewy dates, which are a winning combination.

Soft Medjool dates are most often found in the produce department of the grocery store, and have pits that are easy to remove, but mean they stay soft, unlike the hard bricks of dates you so often find in the baking section.

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I’ve made these with soft brown sugar, but one time when I was out I used turbinado – the result was still sweet and caramelly, with a slightly crunchy texture I loved. They’re so fast to mix together, they may become your new go-to when you need a quick dessert or comforting after school snack. (After all, there’s nothing like coming home to the smell of something baking.)

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Apple-berry Pie for Pie Day

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Happy 3.14 – Pi Day! We can still get local apples at this time of year, and a handful of fresh or frozen berries make such a delicious accompaniment, adding a hit of tartness and colour to the usual apple filling. Virtually any kind of berry works, from blackberries to blueberries to raspberries – if you use strawberries, slice them first to more evenly distribute their juices. And get your kids in the kitchen to help! Since it’s Pi Day, you can even cut the Pi symbol into the top crust to allow steam to escape.

If it’s your first time working with pastry, just remember to handle it as little as possible, and don’t worry about it looking perfect – the best kind of pie is the kind that’s on your table. (And when it comes to pie, rough = rustic!)Read More

Gail’s Cantuccini

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Gail Hall has been a positive force on the Alberta culinary scene for decades – she was an award-winning caterer, broadcaster, food writer, educator and international culinary tour guide who knew everyone and shared everything from her cooking school and loft on 104th Street in Edmonton. We’ve known her for years, and like most others who knew her, have been inspired by not only her work, but her infectious energy and enthusiasm. She has done so much to build our culinary community, to teach home cooks and support new (and established) chefs.

Sadly, Gail passed away in November, but this past weekend her husband Jon along with her many friends and family members held a celebration of her life – a potluck, of course, and we baked a batch of her almond biscotti to bring along. Thanks Gail, for all the delicious things you’ve shared, and for bringing so many people together around the table.

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