Maple Walnut Muffins

This is how it looked outside today – two inches of snow on the ground and four to six more inches due by suppertime.

This is how it looked inside.

Yesterday,  my daughter had brought home these daffodils, bright with the promise of spring.

Meanwhile, we need something warm and comforting.  How about some Maple Walnut Muffins?

I copied this recipe from a muffin cookbook that I sent my daughter-in-law as a birthday gift in the early 1980s.  We have enjoyed this muffin ever since.  It has a good maple flavor and the crunch of toasted walnuts.


  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. maple extract/flavoring
  • 1/3 cup margarine, melted and cooled
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 Tblsp. dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup toasted, coarsely chopped walnuts*

*To toast walnuts:  Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 6-7 minutes, stirring once or twice.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Grease 12 muffins cups or use paper or silicone liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, maple syrup, buttermilk, vanilla and maple extracts and cooled melted margarine.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar and salt.  Add to the egg mixture and stir just until blended.  Stir in the chopped walnuts.

Spoon batter into 12 prepared muffin cups.  Bake at 400 degrees F for 15-20 minutes until a tester inserted in one of the muffins comes out clean.  Place muffin pan on rack and cool for 5 minutes…

…then remove the muffins from the cups/silicone liners and continue cooling on a wire rack.

Serve warm from the oven or wrap and store for 2-3 days.  These muffins also freeze well.  To warm stored or thawed muffins, place on a pan in a cold oven.  Turn heat to 350 degrees F and after 10 minutes or so when it has reached 350, turn off heat and remove from oven.  They will be just right to eat.

Christmas Cherry Mince Tarts

In 1987, my oldest daughter came up with an idea to add tart cherries to a dried fruit mincemeat that I made.  We enjoyed it so much that it ended up replacing the regular mince pie on our holiday menu.  This is a small English-style Christmas tart version.  It was our dessert today on a snowy December afternoon.


  • Pastry for single-crust 9-inch pie
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots, finely chop0ped
  • 1/4 cup prunes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup frozen tart cherries
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tblsp. toasted walnuts, chopped
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 Tblsp. quick cooking tapioca
  • 1 tsp. milk
  • 1/2 tsp granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Divide pastry dough into five portions.  Use four portions to line small tart/pie pans (mine measure 4 inches diameter across the top).  Set aside.

In a small pan, combine finely chopped apricots, chopped prunes and raisins along with the 1/4 cup of water.  Bring to a boil and then simmer until liquid is absorbed – about 4 minutes – stirring occasionally and keeping a close watch so the mixture doesn’t burn.

Remove from heat and stir in frozen cherries (no need to defrost).  Stir in cinnamon, 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, chopped walnuts, salt and tapioca.  Mix well and divide among the four unbaked tart shells.

Roll the remaining portion of pastry dough and with a 3-inch cutter, cut out a design and place one on each of the tarts.  Brush with milk and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Place tarts on a large sheet to catch spills and bake @ 400 degrees F

for approximately 25 minutes until the crust is brown and the filling is bubbling.

Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Makes four 4-inch tarts 

A nice treat when it’s cold, windy and snowy outside.

Carrot Bars with Orange Cream Frosting

We got our first major snowfall of the season and my oldest daughter came to spend the day with me and do a little shoveling.  For supper, I made our go-to meal on a cold winter day – potato soup with homemade yeast rolls.

Here are my previously posted recipes for Potato Soup and Yeast Rolls.

For dessert, I went back to a recipe I had first made in 1989 from a cookbook called Blue Ribbon Cookies.   It was a nice finish to a hearty, body-and-soul warming meal.


Carrot Bars:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Grease and flour a 9×9″ baking pan

  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tblsp. water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tblsp. sour cream
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. ground ginger
  • 3 Tblsp. chopped nuts
  • 3 Tblsp. raisins
  • 1/2 cup grated carrots

In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, egg, water, sugar, sour cream and vanilla.

In a separate small bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt and ginger.  Add the dry ingredients to the oil mixture and blend well.  Stir in the nuts, raisins and grated carrots.

Spoon mixture into a 9×9 greased and floured baking pan.  Bake @ 375 degrees F for 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown.  Cool in pan placed on a rack.

When the bars are cool, frost with:


  • 1 Tblsp. softened butter
  • 1-1/2 oz. softened cream cheese
  • 3/4 Tblsp. orange juice concentrate
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Place above items in a small bowl and whisk until smooth.  Frost top of bars.

Cut into squares to serve. 

I’m not a big fan of snow, but being able to share a meal with my daughter in front of the fireplace makes it a lot more pleasant.

A Snowy Saturday Lunch


Normally on Saturdays, my two daughters, grandchildren and I go to a nice restaurant for lunch and then on to shopping or some kid-friendly event.  This Saturday morning, though, it was snowing heavily with the promise/threat of rain, sleet, and more snow.  So, the older daughter and I are here alone today and I made my traditional snowy-day potato soup for lunch.  This soup is quite thick – more like a chowder.   I tend to make it when I’m snowed in for its comfort food quality and because the recipe calls for ingredients that I normally have on hand.


Snowy-Day Potato Soup

  • 3 cups of diced potatoes
  • 1 cup of chopped onion
  • 1 cup grated cheese (I’ve used cheddar, colby and swiss – whatever you have on hand)
  • 1 cup of milk
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • A dash of nutmeg

Cover the potatoes and onions with water and cook until tender.  Drain off the water, leaving the vegetables in the pan.  Mash, leaving some of the potatoes in chunks.  Add grated cheese, milk, salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste).  Heat until hot but not boiling.  Pour into bowls and grate a little fresh nutmeg on top of the soup.

Serve with a nice homemade roll.


For dessert I made Nutty Nutmeg Bars (see recipe here).


Everything tasted good and almost made up for not getting to go out for lunch.