Tag Archives: recipe

Cookies 12: Maple Bars

Maple BarsFor Day 12, we go North to Canada to sample their famous maple bars.

Here’s a recipe from Food.com.

Canadian Maple Bars


Coconut-Graham Layer

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs

1 1/4 cups finely ground pecans

1 1/4 cups sweetened coconut, shredded

1 1/4 cups chocolate, semisweet pieces

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature


Maple-Cream Layer

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/3 cup maple syrup (I use Amber Maple Syrup)


Chocolate Topping

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (Eight 1 oz squares)

1 cup heavy cream

2 ounces white chocolate, chopped


Combine crumbs, pecans, coconut, chocolate and butter in bowl. Press evenly over bottom of 13 x 9 x2 inch baking dish. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Maple-Cream Layer: Beat confectioners sugar, butter and maple syrup in bowl until smooth and creamy. Spread evenly over graham layer. Refrigerate until firm, for about 3 hours.

Topping: Melt Semisweet chocolate in cream in saucepan over low heat. Cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes. Pour evenly over maple layer. Refrigerate until firm, for 3 hours. Melt white chocolate in small saucepan over low heat. Cool Slightly. Pour into paper cone. Drizzle over chocolate topping. Refrigerate until set, about 10 minutes. Cut into 24 two inch squares. Cut each square into half for 48 bars. This can be frozen, or refrigerated

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Burkina Feast 3: Riz Gras

Riz gras was one of the first meals I learned to cook in Burkina. The principle is simple: it’s a one-pot dish that starts with a little oil and vegetables. You can add meat but I made a vegetarian version for my son to try. Once the vegetables cook down a bit, add water and bring it to a boil. Then add rice, lower it to a simmer, and allow the rice to absorb the water. It’s healthy and delicious.

Riz Gras (vegetarian)

1 medium onion, diced

1 green pepper, diced

2 tomatoes, diced

2 medium carrots, sliced thinly

1 1/2 c. rice

1/4 tsp. salt

3 cloves garlic

2 Tbsp. canola or vegetable oil

Heat oil in a medium-sized pot. Add garlic, onion, and green peppers. Saute 5 minutes. Add carrots and tomatoes. Saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add salt. Add 3 cups water and rice. Cover. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer. Heat for 20 minutes. Water should be absorbed.

* If you like spicy food, add one habanero pepper when you add the carrots and tomato. But be careful – it can be VERY spicy!

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Burkina Feast: Salade Concombre

Eleven years ago, I finished my service as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Burkina Faso. There are a lot of things I miss about living there: the friends I made, the little red brick house in the middle of a cornfield that was my home for two years, the music, language, and culture. But one of the things I miss the most is the food.

The food in Burkina Faso is pretty similar to other countries throughout West Africa. Hot peppers (habaneros), rice, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, fish, beef, goat, chicken – these are just some of the ingredients they use to make some amazing dishes.

Since I miss those foods so much, I thought it would be fun to prepare and share some of the foods I miss so much. I thought I’d start with salade concombre – cucumber salad. My friend Salimata made this for me not long after I moved to Bagassi, our village in Burkina Faso. She was a super cook and she introduced me to many of the dishes I later came to love. Here’s my take on salade concombre.

Salade Concombre

1 medium-sized cucumber, thinly sliced

1/2 medium onion, diced

1 tomato, thinly sliced

1/4 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. white vinegar

1 Tbsp. canola/vegetable oil

Mix together in one bowl. Serve immediately.

Sali also liked to serve salade concombre in a baguette, or loaf of French bread. Slice the baguette in half longways and fill with salade concombre. It’s like eating a salad sandwich!

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Golabki for Great-Grandmom

Unlike a lot of families in the United States, my family is lucky to have four generations thriving together.  One of the many benefits of having 80 year olds, 60 year olds, 30 year olds, and six year olds living in close proximity is sharing the stories that have shaped our family.  Among these is the search for the lost recipe of stuffed cabbage.

My grandmother’s parents were Hungarian and German.  They enjoyed traditional Eastern European 

cuisine.  However, when the Great Depression struck many of the recipes were altered to reflect the changed financial situation.  Ingredients were omitted or substituted.  One of these “lost” recipes was for stuffed cabbage.  Although we could piece together the recipe as it had been changed, it appeared that the original was no longer circulating in the family.  


Fortunately, a friend told me about golabki, the Polish version of stuffed cabbage.  As she described the process, it struck me that this sounded exactly like what my grandmother had been able to describe to me.  After gathering the ingredients, we breathlessly attempted to recreate my grandmother’s childhood memory.  When it all came together, she was thrilled enough with the results to telephone each of my great-aunts to brag about our recovery of the lost recipe.

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Cookie Day is Coming!


One of my favorite new traditions as a mom is the introduction of “Cookie Day.”  On this most calorie-laden of days, all the ladies in my family (usually including – but not limited to – my mother, grandmother, aunt, sister-in-law, and sister, as well as our children who range in age from 5 years to 1 month) get together to bake and exchange cookies.

Usually, our choices are pretty standard.  My mother is known for her chocolate chip cookies (Nestle’s Toll House recipe) and her pizzelles. 




Pizzelles are a traditional Italian cookie that originates from the Abruzzo region of Italy.  It is popular among Italian families at Christmas, Easter, and weddings.  According to Wikipedia, it is one of the oldest cookies.  

Even though we are not even a little Italian, these delicate, anise-flavored cookies are a huge hit in our house. 

This year, I will be baking a ginger cookie (ginger is my new obsession) and attempting for the second year in a row Peanut Butter Blossoms.  Last year, I made a critical error that led to much mockery of my baking skills.  This year, I’m determined to erase that memory with a perfect cookie.Peanut Butter Blossoms


What cookies do you enjoy making during the holidays?  Does it have a special cultural significance for you and your family?

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