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Archive for the ‘Heirloom’ Category

This is my great-grandmother’s recipe, which I obtained by watching my grandmother (who turned 90 this year!) make them. Her version is more quaint than my own, being baked in a wood-heated oven and full of measurements such as “a pinch“, “enough to keep if from being sticky, but not enough to make it dry”, and other such specifics. šŸ˜‰

It took a fair amount of experimentation to get the oven temp and timing right — my grandmother varied this based on her best guess at the wood oven’s temperature on any given baking day — but it’s well worth the effort. This makes a fairly large batch and they keep very well for a long period in an air-tight container.

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If you are like me, you like traditional cookie recipes that make a huge batch — the kind of cookies that only get better the longer they manage to stay in the cookie tin.

This recipe requires your largest bowl — something I love, as it’s the perfect excuse to get out the gigantic old stoneware mixing bowl that belonged to an elderly neighbour when I was a child. It makes up to 7 dozen cookies that only get moister and chewier the longer they last.

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One of my favorite childhood memories are the many Saturday nights at the family table with a big plate of sweet baked beans, fresh brown bread and hot dogs. Baked beans are one of my favorite foods and, since moving to Ontario, I haven’t made them as frequently as I would like.

Why not? Apparently the beans we always used for baking beans just aren’t available here in Ottawa — I can find obscure beans from far-flung parts of the world, but I just can’t get ahold of the Jacob’s Cattle, Soldier, Yellow Eye or French Horticultural beans that my mother used for her Saturday night feasts.

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Here is a family recipe — the version I share here is my slight variation on my Great-Aunt’s traditional cake. I can’t stress enough how important it is for the raisin mixture to be fully cooled before mixing the batter — the cake simply will not work if the liquid is warm.

The cake is dark and moist and reminiscent of a heavy gingerbread. It is wonderful warm with whipped cream and it only gets better as it ages. The exterior hardens slightly to create a sweet “crust”, while the inside becomes chewier and more moist. It’s typically baked in a bundt or tube pan, but I’ve also divided it between three loaf pans or baked it in muffin trays (adjusting the time accordingly).

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