Baking with love

Sunday, August 11, 2013

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 egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt

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.


Paula Montenegro said...

What a sweet gift to you! I do believe love and passion make food taste completely different. Brown butter add it´s own thing to, haha!

Gloria Baker said...

Im agree with you Beth, the best is make the food with love and I try this when I begin my blog, the love for the food, the passion for baking, all, and I love your peach crumble bars look awesome!!xo

Valerie Gamine said...

Beth, I thought that was an actual hamburger! Wow!! Your friend Garth has some raw talent! (I don't think I'd have the patience for that kind of detail.) :D

Your crumb bars look scrumptious too! *bookmarked*

Neesie said...

I totally agree with you on the cooking with love.
When I haven't put my heart into a meal I can certainly taste it.
That hamburger is clever ;D
Your crumble bars don't look so bad either... MMMmmmm Thanks for sharing Beth(♥)

Natalie Aguirre said...

So agree with you, Beth. Just reading your blog makes me want to cook more from scratch.

Cindy said...

I was looking or a peach recipe--this looks perfect. Thanks.
I love your, 'friends' story. Good friends at to be cherished. Looks like these friend cherish you. What a fun cookie--love it.

grace said...

what a sweet gesture! speaking of sweet, the bars you've featured sound amazing. i'm loving me some peaches right now, for sure.

lisa is cooking said...

The hamburger cookies are so cute! What a nice gift. And, peach crumble bars sound delicious right now. I'm rushing to use as many peaches as I can before they're gone for the year.

Daniela Grimburg said...

A lovely, truly sweet gift.
As I love anything with peaches in it, I'll try this out soon.

Julie said...

What a fun gift! Those bars look delicious. I love all things brown butter.

Sue said...

Awesome labor of love on the hamburger cookies! How sweet is that?!? Your crumb bars look delectable!

Anonymous said...

such a lovely gift, yes how true about the homemade can never be the same outside cause at home it is made with love and care...peach bars are a must try for us this weekend :-)

Belinda said...

That is so super sweet. No, nothing beats homemade!!

Lynne Daley said...

I haven't visited your blog in a very long time! It's still as brilliant as it was when I last visited. I have some beautiful peaches on my counter and have just found your bars will be a perfect fit for them. Thanks!

Joanne said...

The bits of love that go into homemade food are definitely what sets it apart from anything pre-made!! These bars sound amazing. Perfect use of summer peaches!

Katerina said...

Love is the most important ingredient in homemade food Beth! This is the one that makes food from home so special! You got such a lovely gift and your bars are delicious!

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

Those hamburger cookies are too darn cute...and definitely made with love! And your peach bars look amazing, too.

Unknown said...

There's nothing like life-long friends like this, how sweet of them to bake for you. Their hamburger cookies are darling!

Sarah said...

Wow! What a wonderful gift, those cookies are incredible. And these bars sound lovely too.

Roz | La Bella Vita Cucina said...

I am saving this recipe to make with all of the fresh peaches we're still enjoying! Love the brown butter in these! Thanks so much for sharing this treat!


Monet said...

Oh how sweet. This warmed my heart. Aren't friends like this the best? Such a creative (and surely delicious) idea!

Choc Chip Uru @ Go Bake Yourself said...

This is beautiful, both friends and recipe :D

Choc Chip Uru

Kathy said...

How lovely to have such thoughtful and life long friends! Those cookies are simply beautiful! I also love the Browned Butter Peach recipe…heavenly!!

Kitchen Riffs said...

I totally agree food is love - at least the preparing of it is. These cookies are amazing! Really good stuff - thanks.

Juliana said...

Oh Beth, the sounds of this peach crumble is to die the idea of brown butter, so much tasties...and yes, homemade food is made with love.
Hope you are having a fabulous week :D

Andrea_TheKitchenLioness said...

Beth, what a wonderful post about friendship and what a great and thoughtful gift you received - these cookies ceratinly look like they were baked with lots of love!

Angie's Recipes said...

I am with you about food is love. This is a sweet and warming post, Beth. These peach crumble bars are scrumptious.

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