Saturday, December 19, 2015

Loaded Potato Skins

A couple of weeks ago my good friend Amanda and I went on a road-trip and had some of the best potato skins ever at one of Amanda's favourite restaurants, the Atlantic Trap and Gill in Edmonton.  They were so very tasty in fact, that I haven't been able to get them out of my mind ever since. 

A few weeks back I re-created them at home, and they were a huge hit.  I also had a couple of Christmas potlucks to go to and brought these along - not a single one remained! 

- 6 medium russet potatoes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 1 cup cheddar cheese
- 4 slices of cooked bacon
- 1 bunch chives
- 1/4 cup sour cream


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Scrub potatoes clean, being sure to dry thoroughly.  Lightly coat potatoes with olive oil and cook for 45 minutes or so, or until potatoes are soft enough for the next step. 

Allow potatoes to fully cool, then scoop out the insides leaving 1/4 of the potato surround the skin.  Reserve extra potato for another use. 

Coat potato skins (inside and out) with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cook face up in a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes to give the added crispiness essential to potato skins.  Be sure to use a heat resistant pan (I used a pizza pan).  A cookie sheet will warp at this temperature.

Allow potatoes to once again cool completely.  Sprinkle with cheese and bacon, then broil under high heat on the top rack for 1-2 minutes until cheese is bubbly and melted (watch carefully during this step, the potato skins will burn very easily at this temperature). 

Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of chives. 

Monday, December 7, 2015


This recipe appeared in the December 3rd edition of my local newspaper, The Hinton Voice.  

[My friend Sarah hosted a cookie exchange this past Sunday and for this particular cookie event, I decided to make one of my favourite nostalgic cookies  - the Snickerdoodle.  My friend’s mom used to always make us Snickerdoodles when we were little, and my Gramma’s all time favourite spice to bake with is cinnamon so needless to say, these cookies definitely carry a lot of feel good vibes whenever they’re around.

With a name like Snickerdoodles, you have to have to wonder about their history (I did anyway).  Word on the street is that Snickerdoodles are German in origin, and that the name is derived from the German word Schneckennudel ("snail noodles"), a rolled type of pastry also made with cinnamon (quite similar to cinnamon buns). There’s also another theory that the name is no more than a nonsense word without a particular meaning, originating from a New England tradition of whimsical cookie names (pass the Joe Froggers please).

What gives them their particular charm are their crackled tops coated with sparkles of cinnamon and sugar.  Cream of tartar combined with baking soda leavens the dough and with gives it the required lift to make the soft pillowy centres that make these cookies so unique.

As with most any cookie, it’s essential to start with a cold dough.  For best results make the dough the night before and refrigerate. I wouldn’t recommend baking these without at least an hour in the fridge, or my personal favourite method - outside on your deck on a cold winter’s day.]
Recipe makes 2 dozen large cookies

- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla bean extract
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp cream of tartar
- ¼ tsp salt

For Rolling:
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy.

Add vanilla bean extract and 2 large eggs, one at a time.

Combine dry ingredients and work into wet batter.

Refrigerate for a minimum of one hour but preferable overnight.

Measure the dough into 2 tbsp balls and roll in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. 

Refrigerate the dough once again for 15-20 minutes (trust me, this is an essential step for ultimate cookie pillowyness).

Bake in a pre-heated oven for 10-12 minutes until the edges are lightly browned.   The cookies will look slightly underdone on top, but as long as they have a slight crackle on top, they will cool to the perfect texture.

 Once you pull the cookie tray out of the oven, leave the cookies on the tray for 5 more minutes to firm up.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.  

Always start the next batch with a cold cookie sheet.

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