Winter Duo: Betty C Meet George G! December 12, 2009

Wednesday, December 9:  news flash – Montreal receives 28 centimeters of snow!

After a long mild spell, the cold has finally settled in…with a vengeance.  Later that day, the traffic was bumper-to-bumper.  I looked out the window and thanked my lucky stars that I no longer have to commute to work.  Freelancing has its rewards and being able to work from home is a blessing.

My street was pristine and all-white.  At 5:00 pm, it didn’t look like the snow was going to stop any time soon.  Drivers were on their cell phones and I wondered if they were asking their significant other if there was any hot soup at home.

Many years ago, I used to work in Old Montreal where parking cost $10.00 a day forcing me to take public transportation.  I remember waiting in bus stops, my fingers and toes frozen.  I’d come home weary, teary and hungry. 

Back in those days, I would have given anything to have something like this waiting for me at home.

betty milk combo

That’s Betty Crocker’s southwest cheese soup on the left and on the right, George Greenstein’s milk bread which I worked into a “dunno what you call it” shape.  I was feeling inspired in spite of the frenetic snow outside and my fingers were itching to create – now that they no longer get frozen.

Betty Crocker’s soup has all the yummy goodness you’d expect from a southern kitchen in America.  It has black beans, tomatoes, corn, cheese and milk.  It’s easy and quick – the kind of soup that you can whip up for someone who’s coming home after a long commute home.  You can have this soup with your favorite crackers, but I think it would go better with George Greenstein’s milk bread.    

You can get the Betty Crocker recipe here:

As Betty C says, “All you need are five ingredients and 20 minutes!”

George Greenstein’s milk bread is on page 37 of his book Secrets of a Jewish Baker.  He uses the sponge method and the usual loaf pan for this.  But like I said, I felt like experimenting so I did not use a loaf pan and opted for a free standing loaf.  I also took a section off the dough to do the patches and twists.  My sister had given me some cookie cutters with serrated sides last summer and this was a good time to take them out of their box.  I cut out three pieces and put them on top of the loaf, and then did two twists to line each side of the bread.  Fancy schmancy, you’re saying.

If you want the recipe for Greenstein’s milk bread, e-mail me at  You’ll find plenty of milk bread recipes on the net, but I have  absolute and unwavering trust on this famous Jewish baker!

Instead of the egg wash, Greenstein said to brush this bread with water and bake it with steam (meaning put a pan of water inside the oven).  I chose not to do it this way.  There’s something about water inside the oven that unsettles me, have no idea why.

For the holidays, I’m thinking of coloring my breads to make them look more festive. Food coloring – once in awhile – does not worry me.  I know some people deliberately snub food coloring for health reasons.  I’m also thinking of doing other crazy shapes, and I’ll definitely share them with you and post them here…that is, if the shapes don’t collapse on me!


Chocolate Roll (with a hint of Tia Maria) June 8, 2009

Filed under: Desserts — sotsil @ 7:30 am
Tags: , ,

Before stumbling upon this recipe from Betty Crocker, I wasn’t fond of rolls.  I’d walk along the pastry aisle of the supermarket and snub them, not really enamoured with the thread of jelly swirling inside.  This recipe called for a few drops of  coffee liqueur. That was the only reason I decided to try it out.  Others would think of coffee liqueur as no big deal; if people add a slurp of wine or brandy into their food, coffee liqueur isn’t that radically different, is it?

Despite being a first timer in roll making, the recipe came together beautifully – no mishaps, no overruns, not even a tear when I rolled it up.  That’s because the instructions were well written; in fact so well-written that there was no need for pictures.  What can go wrong with a Betty Crocker recipe?  The advice of “sticking with the pros” was validated with this kitchen experiment.  When it comes to cakes and rolls, my confidence takes a nose dive. 

When the roll was baked, laid out and tasted, I decided, “this one’s a keeper.”  I was delighted that I took pictures.  I’ll insert them where appropriate…just for fun.  Let me assure you, though, that even without my pictures, you can’t ever go wrong with this one!

The recipe came from the Betty Crocker web site,, but I’ll reproduce it here for you (the comments in red are mine, and so are the pictures :):


3 eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup water

1 teaspoon coffee-flavored liqueur (I used Tia Maria, but you can use any liqueur you have)

3/4 cup Gold Medal® all-purpose flour (we don’t have Gold Medal in Montreal so I used the supermarket brand)

1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Unsweetened baking cocoa (no, this isn’t a typo.  The first unsweetened baking cocoa above is for the cake; this one’s for sprinkling on the kitchen towel)

2 tablespoons coffee-flavored liqueur

Cinnamon Whipped Cream (this is the filling)

1 cup whipping cream

3 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 tablespoon coffee-flavored liqueur

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


1. Heat oven to 375°F. Line 15x10x1-inch pan with foil; generously grease. In large bowl, beat eggs with electric mixer on high speed about 5 minutes until thick and lemon colored. Gradually beat in granulated sugar. Beat in water and 1 teaspoon liqueur on low speed. Gradually add flour, 1/4 cup cocoa, the baking powder and salt, beating just until batter is smooth. Pour into pan.

2. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Run knife around edge of pan to loosen cake; turn upside down onto towel sprinkled generously with cocoa.

choco roll1 Carefully remove foil. Trim off stiff edges of cake if necessary. choco_roll2

While hot, carefully roll cake and towel from narrow end. Cool on cooling rack at least 30 minutes.

choco roll3

3. Unroll cake carefully and remove towel. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons liqueur over cake.

4. In chilled small bowl, beat all whipped cream ingredients with electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Spread over cake; roll up. Sprinkle with cocoa if desired. Refrigerate until serving time. Store in refrigerator.

choco roll4                     choco roll5