There are lots of reasons why I think homemade food is the best. It’s fresh, the ingredients have names you recognize and, for ingredients like salt, I control the amount I put in.
But I’ve always thought the most important reason homemade food tastes best is that it’s made with love. And there was no better demonstration of that than the cookies that Catherine and Victoria baked for me two weekends ago when we visited their cottage.
We’ve been friends with their family since Garth and Andrew worked together over twenty years ago. Garth, Colleen, Andrew and I spent a weekend in New York when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter. Many years later our family visited theirs when they were living in China. And now that they’re in Switzerland and spend their summer and Christmas holidays in Canada, we visit them twice a year at their cottage on Lake Simcoe. We’ve shared many wonderful memories with them, like ongoing Bocce Ball tournaments, morning polar bear swims and pancake breakfasts – sometimes made over an open fire.
Our girls and theirs (including little sister Madeleine) have known each other since birth, and despite spending most of their lives in different countries, have tight-knit friendships that will last forever.
So I was completely flattered when Catherine and Victoria told me they’d baked something special in my honour. I was humbled when Garth told me they spent a couple of hours in the kitchen working on it – because they wanted it to live up to my blog. And I was blown away when I saw these amazing hamburger cookies, with individual layers depicting top and bottom buns (with toffee bit "sesame seeds" on top), cheese, burger, lettuce, ketchup and mustard. These cookies were one of the highlights of our visit. Catherine and Victoria – thank you for your amazing gift! And thanks to your whole family for the priceless gift of your friendship.
Although I don’t have that recipe to share, I’ll give you my recipe for Brown Butter Peach Crumble Bars. They may not have the visual impact of those gorgeous hamburger cookies but, made with love, they're pretty good too.
Brown Butter Peach Crumble Bars
(inspired by Brown-Eyed Baker)
For the base:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
For the filling:
3 large or 4 small peaches, peeled and chopped
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
Brown the butter by melting it in a saucepan over medium heat. Continue to cook, swirling pan occasionally, until the butter turns brown and smells nutty. Put in the fridge for an hour to solidify.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a 8” x 8” baking pan with parchment paper.
When the butter is firm, scrape it into a mixing bowl and add sugar. Beat for one minute. Add egg and beat one minute more. Remove the beaters and stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Pat two-thirds of the mixture into the baking pan and set aside.
To make the filling, place the peaches in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice. In a separate bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and ginger, then add to peaches and combine just to blend. Spread over the prepared base. Sprinkle the rest of the dough over the peaches and pat gently into place.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.