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Spring may have sprung but here on the East Coast there’s still plenty of snow and cold weather to be found. Once late May and June arrive taste buds turn to lighter, fresher and usually greener fare, so I like to take advantage of the early spring season to really enjoy some of my favourite winter treats for the last time before summer. Soon the days will become too nice to be spent inside baking and the kitchen will be too humid for cooking.

Nothing beats a hot fresh from the fryer home-made doughnut, but double or triple this batch and you can not only have them fresh but fill your freezer and enjoy doughnuts all summer long.


3 tbsp. Shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp. salt

Cream shortening and sugar together. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix, then add milk. Slowly add flour, baking powder and salt. For best results refrigerate the dough overnight. Heat grease (I use pure lard) drop test balls into hot grease to determine whether correct heat. Dough will float and brown when hot enough. Fry doughnuts. Serve plain or rolled in sugar.

Even as the days get warmer, the nights can still be quite chilly in the Maritimes. On those cool spring evenings as the sunset lingers, I like nothing more than to sit on the porch with a hot cup of tea and a thin slice of fruit cake. This cake is very rich and dense, comforting, so a thin slice is all you need.

Fruit Cake

2 cups brown sugar
1 cup shortening
1 lb. raisins
4 cups flour
2 eggs
2 cups hot water
1 1/2 tsp. cloves
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
4 tbsp. fancy molasses
2 tsp. soda in a little hot water
1 can crushed pineapple
1 Package glazed fruit
Red & green cherries
Walnut pieces

Boil brown sugar, hot water, shortening, cloves, cinnamon, and raisins for 3 minutes. Cool and add flour, eggs, molasses and soda. Mix. Add fruit, nuts and pineapple. Mix well. Bake in greased loaf pan at 350º for 1 hour.

It wouldn’t be comfort food without chocolate treats. These squares are very easy to make and the grandchildren love them.


1/4 cup parowax
1 cup peanut butter
1 package chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
3 cups dry cereal (Corn Flakes or Rice Krispies)

Melt parowax, peanut butter, chocolate chips and icing sugar. Add cereal. Mix well. Drop by the spoonful onto waxed paper or cookie sheet. Let stand until hardened.

Another treat that is really simple to make and doesn’t take hardly any time is Peanut Brittle.

Peanut Brittle

1 Cup sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 cup roasted salted peanuts
1 tsp. Butter
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
1 tsp. Baking soda

Mix sugar and corn syrup together in microwave safe mixing bowl. Microwave on high for 4 minutes. Add peanuts and microwave on high for four more minutes. Add butter and vanilla extract. Mix well and microwave on high for 2 more minutes. The syrup will be very hot. Add baking soda. Beat mixture until it changes colour; then pour it onto a greased cookie sheet to harden. Break into bite-sized pieces once hard. Makes about a pound of peanut brittle.

Grampy likes this bread pudding served as a side dish with baked beans, grilled sausages or pork chops. But it’s sweet enough that the grandkids like it alone after the main meal as a desert.

Molasses Bumbleques

1 cup Fancy Molasses
1 cup water
1 tbsp. shortening
Few shakes of salt
1 tsp. cloves or allspice (optional)

Mix ingredients together in a 9″x9″ glass baking dish.

Biscuit Dough
2 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

Cut in finely
1/3 cup shortening
Add: 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. milk

Stir with fork to make soft dough. Do not knead or over-handle. Drop dough from a spoon into molasses mixture in baking dish – nine drops. Bake for 15 or 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Serve right away.

I used to have a recipe for chicken and dumplings that was so good. Cannot find it. The dumplings were cooked in the oven and were so very good, and that’s what I have been looking for. Dumplings one can cook in the oven, but just plain with perhaps just parsley in the dumplings, as I believe the old recipe I had was for parsley dumplings. Thank you, hope you have something for me.

I do have something for you, Leonora. This recipe is quite delicious and I hope you enjoy it. Add some chopped parsley to the dumpling batter if you’d like, or try some paprika for a different variation.

Baked Chicken and Dumplings

1 stewing chicken
4 cups broth
1/2 cup fat from chicken, optional
1/2 cup flour
1 cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
3 eggs, beaten

Stew chicken in salted water until tender. Remove meat from bones. Measure 4 cups broth into saucepan. Add 1/2 cup chicken fat, which has been skimmed off the broth. (It is good to chill the broth until the fat rises to the top.) Make a smooth paste of 1/2 cup flour and 1 cup milk. Stir into broth with salt and pepper to taste. When slightly thickened, add chicken to gravy. Keep hot while dumplings are being made. Combine 1 cup milk, 1/4 cup butter in a saucepan. When this is hot, stir in 1 cup of flour that has been mixed with the 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add this all at once and continue cooking and stirring vigorously until mixture leaves sides of pan. Let it cool slightly and then beat in eggs, one at a time until smooth and satiny. Put hot chicken mixture into casserole dish and drop dumplings by the forkful over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Increase to 375 degrees for 20 more minutes, or until golden. Serve immediately.

Until next time remember, I made it especially for you!

Grammie is waiting for you in her kitchen, rocking in her favourite chair by the stove, knitting needles clicking away the seconds. Drop by and join her for a spot of tea, a warm molasses cookie and some wise advice. She’ll answer all your letters as only she can. So, if you have a kitchen-type question or comment for Grammie, send an email to and put Grammie in the subject line.