Monday 25 March 2013

Easter Special: Resurrection Rolls

When I was a caker kid growing up in the United Church, there was nothing I liked better than Holy Communion. It meant you got a free cube of Wonder Bread and a thimble-full of grape juice. Heck, that was more than we had most days for lunch, especially if Mother lost at Bingo that morning.

Resurrection Rolls represent the miraculous story of Jesus rising from the dead using – what else? – marshmallows and Pilsbury crescent roll dough. Look, I’m not saying it’s holiest of representations, but it sure is the tastiest!

In this recipe, Jesus is a marshmallow. You dunk him in melted margarine and sprinkle him with cinnamon sugar. Then you wrap him up in Pilsbury dough, pop him into the oven and when you open the “tomb” – poof! – he’s gone! Just make sure the seams of your tomb are sealed tight. Otherwise, it’ll look like Jesus is seeping out. And that can be a confusing message for kids.

From my ruffled curtain kitchen to yours, all the best for Easter. May Peter Cottontail leave you plenty of eggs – just not the crappy kind with the white stuff in the middle.

1 or 2 cans of crescent dinner rolls
Marshmallows (large size)
Margarine (melted)
Cinnamon sugar

Separate the dough into triangles (representing the linen cloth used for burial – Luke 23:53). Dip marshmallows (representing the body) “in soil and spices” – Luke 23:56. Wrap the “body” in the “linen cloth” (lightly pinch seams) and lay on cookie sheet. Place in the “tomb” and bake according to directions on the can of the rolls. Remove from “tomb” to discover the body is gone! HE IS RISEN!!!

1) Dip the body.

2) Wrap it up.

3) Pray he doesn't leak.

UPDATE: I just clued in that the "tomb" is the oven and not the crescent roll, which is the linen. Sometimes, it takes me a while.

Source: Canadian Bible Society Celebration Cookbook

Monday 18 March 2013


Some of you may remember my sister Sue and her Sue’s Tuna Burgers™. My sister is a gold mine for caker recipes, including one of my favourites, Taco Salad, which combines ground beef, iceberg lettuce and crushed Doritos. I haven’t posted that one yet because you need to make it for a crowd and I don’t have many friends.

These Carmelitas grace Sue’s Christmas Eve platter every year, alongside wedges of cookie pizza, macaroons and butter tart squares. But they’re too good to save only for Christmas. And since they have oats, they’re healthy enough to enjoy all year long.

Remember that pretty cousin who used to visit every summer? The tanned one in short shorts who'd toss her long, shiny hair around? I think that’s how a Hello Dolly square must feel next to a Carmelita. They both come from the same gene pool, but Carmelita has a gooey, sophisticated glamour that leaves Dolly feeling like a chunky, zit-splattered wallflower in gauchos and a neck brace.

Anyways, enough about me. Just make sure you make these because they’re ridiculously delicious. Speaking of delicious – I’ve got an extra special caker Easter treat lined up for next week. Be sure to check back. I promise you won't believe your eyes.

1 cup plus 3 tablespoons unsifted flour
1 cup quick oats uncooked
3/4 cup firmly-packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 jar caramel topping or 1 cup
1 package chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350°. In large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup flour and next 5 ingredients and beat at low speed until mixed. Put into ungreased baking pan. Bake 10 minutes. Meanwhile, stir caramel topping and 3 tablespoons flour until well mixed. Remove pan from oven. Sprinkle choc pieces and nuts. Drizzle on caramel mixture. Return pan to oven and continue baking 20 to 25 minutes or more.

Source: handwritten recipe card
As far as the time frame for the card, all I have to say is, "Zig-a-zig-ah!"

Monday 11 March 2013

Battle of the Banana Breads: Caker vs. Hoity Toity

Caker on the left, hoity toity on the right.

I recently came across two recipes for chocolate marble banana bread. One was a caker recipe from Kraft and used Miracle Whip. The other was a hoity toity recipe with more words than the latest issue of Reader's Digest. I made both and hosted a blind taste test among some co-workers to see which loaf would reign supreme. 

I’m happy (but not surprised) to report that the caker version was the hands-down winner, getting ten votes compared to the hoity toity loaf’s two votes. People found the caker banana bread moister with more flavour. (Uh, it has Miracle Whip. Hel-lo!?) A few Grey Poupon types preferred the gourmet one, claiming the “crumb” was better. (I don’t even know what that means.)

Suffice to say, the folks at Kraft will be over the moon when they catch wind of this. The Thurston Howells of the world? Not so much.

A word of warning to my fellow cakers: Do NOT attempt the hoity toity recipe. It took 40 minutes to make (as opposed to 20 minutes for the caker version), I had to use more than one bowl and there are words I didn't understand, like “fine-mesh strainer” and “Dutch process” and “food processor.” By the time I finished, I had a real bad headache and lost a chunk of my life I'll never get back. Just do yourself a favour and stick to the caker version. 

Winner: Chocolate-Marbled Banana Bread (caker)
1 egg
½ cup Miracle Whip Original Spread
1 1/3 cups mashed fully ripe bananas (about 3)
1 ½ cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
4 squares Baker’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted

Heat oven to 350˚. Beat egg, Miracle Whip and bananas in large bowl with whisk until blended. Mix all remaining ingredients except chocolate in medium bowl, Add to banana mixture; stir until just moistened. Pour half the batter into medium bowl; stir in chocolate. Spoon batters alternately into 8x4-inch loaf pan sprayed with cooking spray; swirl gently with knife. Bake 1 hour to 1 hour 5 min. or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool bread in pan 10 min.; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely.

Source: What's Cooking, Kraft

Thanks for passing it along, Morag!

Chocolate-Banana Marble Bread (hoity toity)
2 large or 3 medium very ripe bananas, at room temperature
¼ cup buttermilk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ cup unsifted unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3 tablespoons boiling water, plus more if needed
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, softened (65˚ to 68˚F)
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 350˚ and position an oven rack in the center. Lightly coat a (9x5) loaf pan with melted butter or high-heat canola-oil spray and line it with a piece of parchment paper that extends 1 inch beyond the long edge of both sides of the pan. Peel the bananas and place them in the bowl of a food processor. Process to a smooth puree. (Alternately, mash them in a bowl using a fork.) Measure out 1 cup of the puree and transfer to a medium bowl, discarding the rest of the puree or saving it for another use. Add the buttermilk and vanilla and whisk until just blended. Set aside.

Use a fine-mesh strainer to sift the cake flour, baking soda and baking powder together in a medium bowl. Whisk to blend well. Set aside. Place the cocoa powder in a small bowl. Pour the boiling water over the cocoa and stir until it forms a smooth paste—it should run thickly off the spoon. If it is too thick, add another tablespoon of boiling water and stir again. Set aside.

Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until the butter is very light, almost white in colour, 4 to 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula. Turn the mixer to medium speed and add the eggs, 1 tablespoon at a time, completely blending in each addition before adding the next. About halfway through the eggs, turn off the mixer and scrape down the bowl with the spatula, then continue adding the rest of the eggs. Scrape down the bowl again.

With the mixer running on the lowest speed, add one-third of the flour mixture. Just as it is barely blended and you can still see a few patches of flour, add half the banana mixture. Repeat with the remaining flour and banana mixtures ending with the flour. Scrape down the bowl and finish blending the batter by hand.

[Editor's note: You still with me or have you dozed off by this point?]

Transfer half of the batter to the second medium bowl. Add the cocoa paste and, using a rubber spatula, gently but thoroughly blend it into the batter.

Drop alternating spoonfuls of dark and light batters into the prepared pan, then marbleize by using a spoon to gently turn the batter over in 3 places down the length of the pan.

Bake the banana bread for 55 to 65 minutes, until firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the centre of the loaf comes out clean. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. When cool, remove from the pan, peel off the parchment paper, and cut slices by sawing gently with a serrated knife.

Source: The Art and Soul of Baking

Monday 4 March 2013

Spinach Dip

I’m kind of blue that Caker Cooking reader month has come its end. I learned so many things – that stale donuts taste better with ice cream, that wieners rolled in corn flakes taste like pogo dogs and that Tootsie Rolls make great cat turds. I'm a better caker, thanks to all of you.

Speaking of cakers, if there's one thing we hate more than nutrition, it's doing dishes. How else can you explain the pride we take in our one-dish recipes? This Spinach Dip is the ultimate caker fantasy – not only are there no dishes to wash, you actually EAT the dish! Cakers haven’t been this revved up since Taco Bell introduced Taco Salad.

Made with pumpernickel loaf, Spinach Dip is a staple of caker cocktail parties, baby showers and pretty much any lonely weeknight. It’s one of the rare instances where cakers allow themselves to venture beyond white bread. Just make sure you buy the chopped frozen spinach and not whole frozen spinach. A friend of mine made that mistake once and everyone had pieces of spinach dangling down the back of their throats for the rest of the evening. Ever been around a cat trying to get rid of a hairball?

It wasn't pretty.

1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
1 small cooking onion, diced
1 package Knorr vegetable soup mix
1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
Pumpernickel bread
Squeeze out all water from spinach. Mix all ingredients. Serve in hollowed pumpernickel bread. Alternative: Add ½ cup grated cheese.

Source: What’s Cooking at St. Joseph