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My friend Allison, who lives up the hill, has a few apple trees in her front yard that produce an astonishing number of apples. There are a few varieties – some larger eating apples, some medium – not quite crabapples, but not full-size either – and some tiny red crabapples that are perfect for jellies. She always lets me pick some, and they’re so great for baking with. I love a good apple cake, and thought I had made them all until I started noticing people make Ruthie’s apple cake, from the cookbook Friday Night Dinners by Bonnie Stern, during Rosh Hashanah. It’s a spectacular cake, loaded with chunks of apples and walnuts. I instantly adored it – not only the taste of it, but its rugged good looks.

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I’ve noticed lately that I have a glut of jam on my pantry shelves – I keep making it, and not eating it fast enough. We’re also getting into mincemeat season, and when I came across these in my archives, I remembered not only how delicious they were, but considered how amazing they’d be with mincemeat. I love a substantial cookie, and these are baked in muffin tins, which allows them to bake up nice and thick. They’re like crumble in cookie form – reminiscent of date squares, but with your choice of jam, and crispy edges.

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A chewy oatmeal-chocolate chunk cookie is a beautiful thing, and this has become the recipe I go to most often. They use boiling water and baking soda in place of the egg, and are based on a classic from the yellow Best of Bridge book, Enjoy! I like to push a chocolate chunk in the top of each one too, to make sure each cookie gets one, and to make them look extra chocolatey.

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Last weekend, I came across a recipe in the Guardian for a banana cake made with just the banana peels – an intriguing way to address food waste. I’ve made a *lot* of banana bread in my lifetime, and generally my strategy is to toss overripe bananas into the freezer whole, and then pull them out to thaw in a bowl when it’s time to bake. (If I’m in a hurry, I cover them with warm water to help them thaw more quickly.)

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This was the trickiest of the lot, but perhaps the most satisfying to crack. The cheddar Mmmuffins had a slightly sweet, cakey texture, and were brilliant orange. My initial tests were tasty but missing the mark… it wasn’t until a CBC listener messaged me with a tip: back in the eighties, working at a different chain eatery, she used powdered cheddar when making the muffins. I added about half a pack of the cheese mix from a box of KD and voilà—extra cheesiness, but also that intense orange colour that acts as a visual cue, making them taste even cheesier. You could, of course, use extra-old white cheddar here—and you could omit the powdered cheese… just expect them to look a bit different.

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Seeing as it’s the first week of July, and traditionally the air is filled with the deep-fried smells of Stampede, and half my calories are typically consumed in the form of mini doughnuts, I thought I’d post a recipe here. I did a virtual midway food class yesterday, and people were thrilled to have the ability to turn out actual cinnamon-sugar mini doughnuts in their own kitchens. This is the sort of thing you become known for – I want to be the aunt/grandma/friend who makes mini doughnuts to eat warm when you’re sitting in my kitchen or on my patio.

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I’m astounded I haven’t managed to post this recipe yet- it’s been part of my toolbox for years, called into service anytime I have cheese but no carrier, or need something quick and interesting for a snacky board or some such. Once you know how to make this one massive cracker, which is baked and then smashed into pieces, they’re easy to make by memory- 1 1/3 cups flour, 1/3 cup each oil and water. With salt, of course- and any seasonings you like, which makes them super easy to customize. I’ve been into using za’atar and everything bagel spice mix, but you could use finely chopped fresh or dried herbs, or ground nuts, seeds, sharp cheese… they’re a blank slate, really. You roll the dough out very thin on a baking sheet (or the underside of one, if it’s rimmed, so that the edges don’t get in the way), bake the whole thing until it’s golden, then bash into pieces, which is super satisfying,Continue reading

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I came across some doughnuts that resembled Edvard Munch’s The Scream recently on the internet-only they were made with that soft biscuit dough that comes in a tube. They looked so great though, and I’ll take any excuse to fry some dough, so I mixed up a batch of yeasted doughnut dough to do the same.

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