Maine Roots

A blog about all things Maine


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Weekly Recipe: Chocolate Krinkles

Last weekend, we spent a laughter-filled Saturday evening with friends, and I was charged with bringing dessert (practicing those baking skills!).  This was both challenging and enjoyable for me.  Now that I’ve become more comfortable with baking, I see more recipes I want to try, and the challenge in this case was narrowing it down.  After much debate (raspberry brownies, lemon squares, pie?  Decisions, decisions!), I selected the Chocolate Krinkles from Recipes from the Maine Kitchen because the recipe met what you all likely now recognize as crucial criteria for me: a (relatively) brief ingredient list which includes primarily items I already have, the use of ingredients that are nearing their expiration dates, and (at least for baked goods) a pretty straightforward process.

Prepping!

Prepping!

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Powdered sugar

Mix oil, chocolate, and sugar.  This was my first time melting chocolate, so I did a bit of googling and found instructions online.  They recommended cutting the chocolate into small pieces (a step I actually forgot in my haste, oops!) and heating in a pan over very low heat, stirring almost constantly.  I was intimidated initially, but it turned out to be much simpler than I anticipated.

Mmm, melting chocolate.

Mmm, melting chocolate.

Add eggs and vanilla.  Mix dry ingredients and add to batter.  Chill several hours or overnight.  Roll a heaping teaspoonful of batter into a ball, then roll in powdered sugar.

Sugared and ready to bake!

Sugared and ready to bake!

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes, being careful not to overbake.

Pretty, nicely shaped cookies were the result!  I will be adding this recipe to my holiday baked goods list.

Pretty, nicely shaped cookies were the result! I will be adding this recipe to my holiday baked goods list.

These cookies, or Krinkles, earned rave reviews from our friends and from Nick, who kept snagging them off the cookie sheet when I wasn’t looking.  They were simple and speedy, with the exception of the time needed for chilling the batter, and they were delicious – just the right balance of sweetness and chocolate flavor.

On an upcoming recipe note, one of my good friends from college now eats a gluten-free diet – and checks out my blog from time to time – so I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for gluten-free recipes for both meals and baked goods.  It seems that Mainers must have an affinity for gluten, as so many recipes contain flour.  My patience has paid off, however, as I recently came across a blog post on The Gluten Exchange that is all about a gluten-free recipe for doughnuts that uses none other than Stonewall Kitchen’s gluten-free Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Mix.  Talk about a match made in gluten-free heaven – Stonewall Kitchen is based in York, Maine.  So stay tuned for a series of upcoming posts – a weekly recipe featuring gluten-free doughnuts (and using my pretty new doughnut pan, pictured below) and one highlighting Stonewall Kitchen and their exceptional products.

Cooking goodies from Sur la Table!

Cooking goodies from Sur la Table!


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Weekly Recipe: Blueberry Molasses Cake

I’d been looking forward to making this blueberry molasses cake recipe, so rather than cave to my post-work exhaustion and sit on the couch, I decided to push through and give it a try.  Others gave this cake rave reviews – I admit, up front, that I was less enamored with it, but I think it would be delicious as a muffin or blueberry bread – it just wasn’t what I expected from a “cake.”

This recipe interested me for a couple of reasons.  Maine Home Cooking frequently includes a brief editorial about the history of each recipe and the significance of its ingredients, and in this case, the cookbook included a description of how molasses has been used by Maine cooks as a sweetener for all sorts of baked goods as a result of “necessary frugality.”  I liked this factoid because thrifty common sense is one of the first things that comes to mind when I think of the Maine people.  Another reason for my particular interest in this recipe, as described in an earlier blog post, is because the wild blueberry is such a significant role player in Maine’s economy, history, and identity.

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For this cake, you’ll need:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour (since beginning my ‘Weekly Recipe’ posts, I have used more flour than I had in the last several years combined)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon each of your choice of spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger – I went with cinnamon and nutmeg)
  • 2/3 cup molasses
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup lightly floured blueberries

Remove two tablespoons of flour (for flouring the blueberries).  Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease a 9″ x 13″ pan.  Sift the flour, baking soda, and spices together.  Mix together the molasses, sugar, oil, and egg, and combine with the flour and spices, then mix in the boiling water (this batter becomes markedly easier to mix once the boiling water works its magic!).

Wet ingredients... and dry ingredients...

Wet ingredients… and dry ingredients…

Add the blueberries last, and pour into pan.  Bake for 30 minutes or until a tester inserted comes out clean.  Serve with whipped cream.

This recipe, like some of the other baked goods I’ve made, is pretty quick and easy.  When we took it to my cousin’s for a family gathering, people dug in and all said it was delicious.  It’s pretty, too:

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Enjoy!


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Weekly Recipe: whoopie for Whoopie Pies!

You all may note that this is my second weekly recipe that requires baking – and yes, I am feeling more courageous about venturing into the dark and frightening world of baked goods.  I felt it would be very appropriate for my next baking attempt to feature a classic Maine treat – the whoopie pie.

This recipe comes from Maine Home Cooking by Sandra Oliver, and can be found on pages 70-71 under ‘Classic Downeast Dishes.’  According to her inclusion, ‘Whoopie Pie Memories,’ the whoopie pie may be descended from a Pennsylvania Amish confection called “gob,” and they were developed as the Berwick Baking Company’s answer to Drake Cake’s Devil Dogs.

You’ll need:

For the cookies / cakes:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup milk

For the filling:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening or butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
The ingredients - all ready to go!

The ingredients – all ready to go!

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.  Cream together the shortening and sugr, beat in the egg and vanilla, then add the dry ingredients and milk alternately.  You will have a fairly stiff cake batter.  Drop by large spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet, leaving room for them to spread somewhat.  Bake for 10 to 15 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly before removing them to a rack.  (One great tip she included was to remove them from the oven just before the cookies are fully baked – you don’t want them to be overdone).

Very stiff batter!

Very stiff batter!

For the filling, beat the egg whites until they are fluffy, gradually adding one cup of confectioners’ sugar.  Then, spoonful by spoonful, add the shortening and the rest of the sugar to the egg white mixture until it is smooth and fluffy, and then beat in the vanilla.

Yum - the filling!

Yum – the filling!

When the cookies are cool enough to handle, make pairs of similarly sized ones and spread the filling on one half, top with the other half.  Wrap in plastic wrap or put into an airtight container.  (and enjoy!)

The end result - as I am about to devour it.

The end result – as I am about to devour it.

I enjoyed trying this recipe – it was a pleasant surprise to be competent when baking a more challenging treat (the whoopie pies were really good – verified not only by my taste buds, but my husband’s and those of some friends who joined us for dinner and dessert).  In addition, it was certainly an arm workout (when she says the batter is stiff… it is stiff), and it provided really delicious leftover batter and filling that made my Saturday afternoon delightful.

Next time, I would make my ‘large spoonfuls’ of the batter slightly smaller – I found these to be a little too big to be easily manageable.  I also ran just a little short of vanilla, so the filling wasn’t exactly right.  Regardless, it was a fun way to spend a weekend afternoon with a really rewarding ending!

Happy Friday!


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Weekly Recipe: Raspberry Slump

I must preface this post by expressing that I am not a pastry chef (no wonder I chose a dessert recipe defined as a ‘slump’ – it sounded like a perfect match!).  However, my dear friends, Emily and Elisabeth, who are in fact pastry chefs at their bakery in northern California (as well as organic farmers, artists, dog whisperers, and raging beauties), requested a dessert be featured in an upcoming Weekly Recipe post.  Being the gracious blogger I am, I chose to grant their request.

This was an eye-opening experience for me.  I really enjoyed the process of baking, which I didn’t expect, as well as the end results (which I did expect).  As mentioned, the raspberry slump seemed to be the most appropriate recipe for me to attempt as a novice baker.  It was very simple, with a total of three sentences of instructions.  First, I’ll provide the recipe as it is listed in Good Maine Food, and second, I’ll elaborate on my personal journey through it.

You’ll need:

  • 1 quart raspberries
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 cup milk

Serves 6

Wash berries and put in a buttered baking dish; sprinkle with sugar.

Sugared raspberries and batter

Sugared raspberries and batter

Make a smooth batter of remaining ingredients and pour it over the berries.

Batter, drizzled over the berries

Batter, drizzled over the berries

Bake in a moderately hot oven, 375 degrees, 45 minutes.

As I was typing the above, I realized I went very, very wrong with one step in the instructions.  Rather than sprinkling the 1 1/2 cups of sugar on the berries, I sprinkled the 1/4 cup on the berries and mixed the 1 1/2 cups into the batter.  As a result, ‘pouring’ the batter over the berries was not possible.  I spooned it over them, at times violently shaking and banging the spoon to get it to fall onto the berries.  At the time, I was thinking, ‘anyone who thinks you can pour this batter has never made this recipe!’  Now, I realize, the error was all mine.  I will say, though, the batter was DELICIOUS.

Other than that mishap, the recipe was all I anticipated – quick, easy, and in the end, very tasty.  The crust was really crunchy due to the large amount of sugar I mistakenly included, but the flavor was excellent – both tart and sweet.  It also isn’t as pretty as some pastries or desserts, but then, I didn’t expect that of a ‘slump.’  Looks aside, I certainly recommend it to others!

Fresh out of the oven!

Fresh out of the oven!