Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘winter’

I’m slowly getting back into a writing routine after the holidays. Writing is hard work, and of course glucose is critical to brain function. That means I have an excuse to bake:)

I worked up this cookie recipe for a friend who is gluten-averse. It’s based on a recipe from MasterChef Australia contestant Harry Foster and produces rich chocolate cookies with a satisfying cake-like texture.

Brownie + Cookie = Brookies

  • 350g [12 oz.] 70% dark chocolate
  • 45g [3.17 T.] butter
  • 80g [8.5 T.] cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 50g [~¼ C.] chocolate chips (more or less as you like; I use three chips per cookie)
  • 225g [1 C.] superfine sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 t. vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C).
2. Melt dark chocolate and butter in the microwave on low (30% works for me). Stir and set aside until lukewarm.
3. In a medium-size bowl, combine remaining ingredients and beat until light and fluffy. Add cooled butter mixture and mix until combined.
4. Scoop ~1-inch balls onto cookie sheets.* Gently press chocolate chips into the tops of each ball.
5. Bake for 12-13 minutes. Let cool two minutes before transferring to rack.

Makes ~33 cookies.

* If your butter-chocolate mixture is too warm, it may look and act more like batter. Pop the bowl into the fridge for a few minutes to chill and you should be able to scoop as needed.

I’d show you a photo of the cookies but, well, I ate them all. Instead, here are some pretty examples of other lights in the darkness.

Enjoy!

Read Full Post »

Winter Has Arrived

So, this is what my Saturday looked like…saturday

…and this was Sunday:

sunday

That optimistic little violet is now located under several centimeters of snow. Winter has arrived!

What good is warmth without cold to give it sweetness?
― John Steinbeck

Read Full Post »

For today’s installment of #ThingsILike, I give you maple syrup. (Honestly, is there anyone out there who does not enjoy this delicious treat from the northern woods?) Lucky me, it looks like this year’s wacky weather patterns have resulted in a veritable tsunami of syrup!

For those of you not intimately familiar with the process of maple syrup production, it goes like this:

[Maple] trees store starch in their trunks and roots before the winter; the starch is then converted to sugar that rises in the sap in late winter and early spring. Maple trees can be tapped by drilling holes into their trunks and collecting the exuded sap, which is processed by heating to evaporate much of the water, leaving the concentrated syrup.

Here’s a video to showing a basic tap and bucket assembly, but I’ve seen outfits with setups running what look like miles of bright blue tubing directly from the trees to the sugar shack.

Even with modern improvements, this isn’t the sort of agricultural process that can be exported to alternate climes. The trees require cold winters and sap production levels depend on spring temperatures finely balanced between colder nights and warmer days.

It turns out that the weather this March has been pretty near perfect, at least if you are a sugar maple. Waking trees drink up groundwater during the day, convert the stored starches in their roots to sugar, and pump the resulting sap up their trunks and into waiting sap buckets.

Collect, boil, repeat, at least until the sap stops running.

Making syrup requires a lot of work and patience. The old fashioned way involves big black kettles and a steady supply of wood to keep the fire going. Even with new, more efficient boilers, reducing sap to syrup takes hours.

My mother took us to a friend’s sugaring party when I was a child. My brother and I ran from tree to tree, hauling half-full buckets through the snowy woods to the kettle and back. The fresh sap tasted like the Entish draughts of my imagination, its clear cool taste instantly refreshing. We also poured hot syrup onto plates of snow to make maple taffy. Freaking amazing.

As luck (or clever planning?) would have it, I am located in the heart of maple syrup country. Quebec and Ontario are the largest maple syrup producers in Canada.

If you happen to be in Ontario this weekend and you love maple syrup as much as I do, you’re in luck. It’s Maple Weekend and I plan to stock up for the year. Because delicious!

Read Full Post »

My father and his partner have been off on a delightful trip to Florida and other parts South, and I just received this postcard (bright red circles added for annoyed emphasis):

Srsly

 

This would be amusing if my front yard did not currently look like this:

Spring

Welcome to Spring, Canadian style. I’ll admit, the card’s not funny, it’s hilarious. Because it’s so true!

Now, where’s my shovel?

Read Full Post »

Angels

Well, kids, I’ve officially got nothing today. Sure, I wrote and got my exercise in and worked on a couple of projects, but deep thoughtful thoughts? Sorry, nada.

I do have wonderful memories of childhood snow storms, though, so in honor of the fact that is snowing here, I give you a snow angel.

 

Read Full Post »

Here’s a cat’s eye view of the snow from yesterday’s storm.

FebStorm
We’ve had record-breaking amounts of snow (50cm, or almost 20 inches!), stuck buses, cars in the ditch and people snowshoeing in the streets. The aforementioned kitties decided to sleep through it by the fire.

Smart kitties:)

Read Full Post »

Hey, we’ve got freezing rain today, that’s super fun. We also have glitter, the Newfoundland and Labrador term for “freezing rain that accretes as ice on branches and wires.” It’s chilly and wet and grey, reminding me a lot of Boston, actually. My east-facing windows have glazed over and the cats are curled up by the fire. I’m wishing for a cup of hot chocolate and a good book, but work must win out. For now.

This weather is terrible for driving (or walking, or power grids) but it has given me a faux Rothko, painted by nature:)

IMG_0027

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »