Saturday, 24 December 2016

Seasons Greetings and Happy New Year!!

During the holidays, the staff at Annapolis Valley Regional Library will be taking time to spend with family and friends.
All locations will be closed on:  

Saturday, December 24th
Sunday, December 25th
Monday, December 26th
Tuesday, December 27th
Saturday , December 31st
Sunday, January 1st, 2017
Monday, January 2nd, 2017
There will be some exciting changes coming to AVRL in the new year. We are retiring the Feed Your Mind blog. Look for us at in January, 2017. We are excited about what we will have to offer you, so stay tuned!  
It has been our pleasure to serve you during the past year, and we are looking forward to seeing you all in 2017.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Cookies baked by our friends!


Our friends are in the 12 Days of Cookies spirit.
Those Duke boys are at it again!
Daniel and Thomas Duke sent in these pictures  of them baking Basic Chocolate Chip Cookies from the Better Homes and Gardens magazine Christmas Cookies.
The Pitt crew!
Katie, Evan and Ryan Pitt will be constructing their gingerbread house on Christmas Eve, made from Gingerbread Houses by Christa Currie. It looks like some of the gingerbread men may not survive the wait!
Wyatt gone solo!
Wyatt Boyd didn’t need any help, (maybe a little with the oven), making Creamy Christmas Butter Cookies from Christmas Cookies From The Whimsical Bake House by Kaye Hansen and Liv Hansen.


Leah in the zone
Sara and Leah Isnor borrowed Company's Coming - Christmas Gifts from the Kitchen by Jean Pare. “We made Basic Sugar Cookies. Admittedly, they don’t actually taste very good...but we had a great time making them and that is really all that matters, right?! Hehe!”
Kim's creation
Kim Boswell made Cranberry and White Chocolate Shortbread found on page 170 of Welcome to My Kitchen by Joan McElman


And the winner of the ‘Cookie Gift Bag’ is Kim Boswell!
Congratulations Kim, and thanks to everyone who entered the contest and for sending in the great pictures.
Look for us in 2017 at!!

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

12 Days of Cookies, 2016 - Day 12: Hamantaschen Cookies

“At our home we celebrate and give recognition to many traditions and holidays.  It is a wonderful way to learn about and appreciate other cultures.  A hamantash is a filled-pocket cookie or pastry recognizable for its triangular shape, usually associated with the Jewish holiday of Purim.  There are also recipes for these cookies using oil instead of butter, which would make them appropriate for Hanukah.”
Hamantaschen Cookies: made by Marian Fulton and available today, the 12th and last day of cookies, at the Windsor library. The recipe is from: Chatelaine Easy Holiday Treats magazine.
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons poppy seeds
1 Tablespoon lemon or orange zest
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup cold, unsalted butter, cubed
2 egg yolks
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup apricot or raspberry jam
1 Tablespoon milk
1.    Whirl flour, poppy seeds, lemon zest, baking powder and salt in a food processor.  Add butter and pulse until coarse crumbs form.  Whisk yolks, egg and vanilla in a small bowl and pour through feed tube, pulsing until dough starts to come together.  Gently knead into a ball and divide in half.  Wrap in plastic wrap and press into discs.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 3 days (bring to room temperature before rolling).
2.    Preheat oven to 350F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.  Roll dough on lightly floured surface to scant ¼ inch thickness.  Use a 3 inch round crinkle cookie cutter to cut out the dough, rerolling scraps.  Scoop a scant 1 teaspoon jam into centre of each round.  Lightly brush edges of rounds with milk.  Pinch in 3 corners to seal, forming a triangle, leaving jam centre open.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes.  Bake in top and bottom thirds of oven, rotating and switching sheets halfway, until pastry is golden, 17 to 18 minutes.  Let cool slightly.  Transfer to rack to cool completely.  Cookies will keep well in a covered container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Notes from Marian:
These cookies could be made with date filling, fig filling, or your favourite jam.
A food processor is not necessary, just use a hand or stand mixer.
A 3 inch cutter makes for a fairly large cookie; I used a much smaller cutter. 
When baking when during cold weather, I chill my baking sheets outside before placing the cookie dough on them and therefore skipped the 15 minutes of chilling time.  I also disregarded the instructions for doing two sheets of cookies at once and just placed one cookie sheet on the middle rack for baking.
Don't forget -- you can Enter to win a Cookie Gift Bag!! Submit your entry by midnight tonight!!

Monday, 19 December 2016

12 Days of Cookies, 2016 - Day 11: Mini Chocolate & Almond Waffles

Berwick branch Manager, Barbara Lipp has made these mini marvels for your tasting pleasure.The recipe is from:  Style at Home - Magazine  December 2016. Drop in today at the Berwick library for a sample.
“My variation will be to just drizzle them with semi-sweet chocolate and toasted almonds instead of all the fresh fruit, lavender crème-fraiche and raspberry coulis.”
Prep & cook time - 1 1/2 hours makes 32
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4   cup cocoa powder, sifted
2     tbsp granulated sugar
1     tbsp baking powder
3/4   tsp baking soda
1/2   tsp salt
3      eggs
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
1/2   cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2   tsp pure almond extract
100g      dark or semi-sweet chocolate, melted
1/4   cup sliced almonds, toasted
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, batter and almond extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until combined.
Using 3/4 cup for each waffle pour the batter onto a hot non-stick waffle iron; close lid and cook until the batter is crisp and golden and the steam stops , about 5 minutes. Cut each waffle into four pieces; drizzle with melted chocolate and sprinkle with the almonds.
Don't forget -- you can Enter to win a Cookie Gift Bag!!



Friday, 16 December 2016

12 Days of Cookies, 2016 - Day 10: Spiced Almond Cookies

Today, Connie Jodrey, Manager of the Bridgetown Library, will be handing out, Spiced Almond Cookies: from Taste of Home Cookies and More Magazine, December 2011. Drop in for a sample and to also wish Connie ‘all the best’ as she heads off into retirement. BEST WISHES CONNIE!!

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening (I used butter)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon allspice
1 cup slivered almonds

In a bowl, cream butter, shortening and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and beat well.  Combine dry ingredients; stir into creamed mixture along with nuts.  Shape into three 9-inch by 1 1/2 inch rolls; wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 2 to 3 days for spices to blend.
Unwrap and cut into 1/4 inch slices.  Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 14 minutes or until set.  Remove to wire racks.  (Makes 7 dozen).

Don't forget -- you can Enter to win a Cookie Gift Bag!!



Thursday, 15 December 2016

12 Days of Cookies, 2016 - Day 9: Caramel Cluster Bark

Made by Jaki Fraser, Manager of the Lawrencetown library, from Saltscapes Magazine Nov/Dec 2016 pg.25
18 Graham Crackers
1/2 cup (125 ml) butter
1/2 cup (125 ml) brown sugar
1 cup (250 ml) condensed milk
1 bag (250 g) mini marshmallows
12 (approx.) chocolate covered peanut caramel clusters
NOTE: The recipe called for Ganong Peanut Clusters, which I couldn’t find, so I substituted with OMG Graham Clusters with peanuts and toffee bits... easy to find.
Line a rimmed cookie sheet with foil, butter the foil and place the graham crackers evenly on the sheet.
In a medium sized heavy-bottomed pot, melt butter, add sugar, condensed milk and marshmallows and slowly melt, stirring continually.  Pour the mixture evenly over the graham crackers and sprinkle chopped peanut clusters on top.  Bake in a pre-heated 400 F oven for 5 – 6 minutes.  With a fork spread cluster mix around then allow to cool 10 minutes.  Refrigerate additional 30 min.  Break candy into chunks and store in covered airtight container.
Jaki says, “Although this isn’t really a cookie... I wanted to try as they seemed really yummy.... Come in on the 15th and see what you think !”
Don't forget -- you can Enter to win a Cookie Gift Bag!!



Wednesday, 14 December 2016

12 Days of Cookies, 2016 - Day 8: Skibo Castle Ginger Crunch

Today's cookies were made by Sandi Troop and can be sampled at the Annapolis Royal Library.
I have participated in the 12 Days of Cookies several times. Two or three times I resurrected recipes I used from library books when my kids were little or recipes that looked like ones I could make well in advance. This year I wanted one that just intrigued me to try...and I found it in The Gourmet Cookie Book: The Single Best Recipe from Each Year 1941 – 2009. Who doesn’t love ginger, a lot? Who doesn’t love shortbread, a lot? You know that shortbread cookie covered with toffee; are you drooling yet? This recipe responds to the above questions but takes them in a new direction.
The shortbread base is really thin and not very sweet but the ginger toffee-like topping is easy peasy to make and tastes a treat. With 1 cup icing sugar it is a sweet part to the cookie, making a perfect contrast to the thin, crisp shortbread base.
Initially I thought I could get Lyle’s Golden Syrup at the local grocery store but when I went in to get it they didn’t have it. A quick Google search recommended substituting 2 parts corn syrup with one part molasses. Since the recipe only calls for 1 Tbsp in the topping I thought this would work. As far as I can tell it did; Skibo Castle Ginger Crunch is delicious!
Shortbread base:
1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ginger
¼ tsp salt
½ cup cold butter
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp Lyle’s Golden Syrup
1 cup confection sugar
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 13x9 metal baking pan
Make Shortbread base:
Sift together dry ingredients and blend in butter with your fingers until mixture resembles coarse meal. Press evenly into bottom of pan (base will be thin). Bake in middle of oven until golden and crisp, 20 – 25 minutes.
Make topping just before shortbread is done:
Melt the butter in a small saucepan and whisk the remaining ingredients until smooth. Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring 30 seconds.
Pour Topping
Remove shortbread from oven and pour topping over, tilting pan to cover shortbread evenly.  Cool in pan on rack, then cut into small rectangles 8 by 8 or for larger cookies 4 by 9.
It breaks easily when cutting into pieces. I think the solution would be to use a very thin, very sharp knife.
I also intend to use extra ginger, maybe ½ tsp more, in the toffee topping next time I make it. (There will be a next time.)
Finally I have been on a low carb/ high protein diet the last 4 months. I cheat, with little remorse occasionally. It helps me stay in control and choose my treats more wisely. With the Skibo Castle Ginger Crunch I was absolutely NOT in control. I had to pack the remains up and put them in a tin out of the way quickly. Even that did not prevent me from sampling them again this morning. (Only 1 though and carbs in the morning are not as bad as carbs in the evening; plus I cut the cookies small).
Don't forget -- you can Enter to win a Cookie Gift Bag!!



Tuesday, 13 December 2016

12 Days of Cookies, 2016 - Day 7: Oatmeal Bears

Made by Sue Mosher, Bookmobile, from Almost Too Cute to Eat, one of the great children’s cookbooks in our collection. Come visit the Bookmobile today in Brooklyn and Summerville for a sample.
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup flour
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 ½ cups quick-cooking rolled oats
mini M&Ms (Sue used mini chocolate chips)
plain M&Ms (Sue used regular chocolate chips)
icing, sprinkles, fruit roll-ups, or liquorice laces, as desired
In a medium mixing bowl, beat butter and sugars on medium speed until well blended. Beat in egg; stir in vanilla. In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; add to butter mixture, blending until incorporated. Stir in oats until blended.
Preheat oven to 375° F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. For each bear, roll cookie dough into one 1 ¼” ball for head and three ½” balls for ears and snout. Place head on prepared cookie sheet; flatten slightly. Position snout ball on lower half of head. Set ears against top of head. Flatten ears and snout slightly. If using chocolate chips, press mini chocolate chips above snout, for eyes, and larger chocolate chip into snout for nose. Leave about and inch and a half between the cookies as they spread quite a bit when baking. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. If using M&Ms, immediately add mini M&Ms for eyes and plain M&Ms for nose, pressing gently to secure. Cool on cookie sheets. Use icing, sprinkles, fruit roll-ups, or liquorice laces for other decorations, as desired. (Sue cut out bows from fruit roll-ups and pressed them in place while the cookies were still warm.)
Makes approximately 18 cookies.
Don't forget -- you can Enter to win a Cookie Gift Bag!!

Monday, 12 December 2016

12 Days of Cookies, 2016 - Day 6: Bear's Own Honey-Ginger Cookies

Today's 'beary' tasty treats were made by  Community Engagement Coordinator, Angela Reynolds and can be sampled at the Port Williams branch on Wednesday (the snow is keeping our Cookie Delivery guy off the road today). From: Bear’s Winter Party by Deborah Hodge, pictures by Lisa Cinar

I love finding a recipe in a picture book! Here’s a story of a lonely bear who invites the forest animals for a party. He bakes cookies for them, but then thinks they won’t show up because they are afraid of him. But of course, they do show up, and they eat cookies together. There’s another great cookie book out this year, The Cookie Fiasco by Dan Santat, but it does not have a recipe in it. However, it is a great book to help teach fractions, so borrow both of these books, make some cookies, invite some friends over, and do some math.  You might as well add in The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins for the perfect cookie day.

And now, Bear’s Cookies:
In a mixing bowl, using a hand mixer, cream together:
1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Beat into the creamed mixture:
1 egg
 1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
1 1/2 tsp. vinegar

In another bowl, stir together:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt

 Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture, beating in as much as you can with the mixer, then stir until it is well combined. With your hands, form the dough into a ball.
 Roll the dough 1/4 in thick on a lightly floured surface. Use your cookie cutters to make cutouts, then place them about 1 inch apart on greased cookie sheets.
 If you like, decorate the cookies with candies, sprinkles, raisins, or chocolate chips.
Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until cookies are firm around the edges.

NOTES: I found the dough to be a little sticky, and had to use a heavily floured surface and re-flour the rolling pin several times. These are not very sweet; they are a good afternoon cookie with a cup of tea. I also found them to be less gingery than I prefer so would add a bit more ginger to the recipe, or perhaps some fresh grated ginger.
Don't forget -- you can Enter to win a Cookie Gift Bag!!


Friday, 9 December 2016

12 Days of Cookies, 2016 - Day 5: Melt-In-Your-Mouth Shortbread

Middleton branch manager Sue Aldred made these yummy shortbread cookies from a recipe found in the December 2014 issue of All-Recipes magazine. Drop in to the Rosa M. Harvey Middleton and Area Library today for some warm smiles and a cookie.
1 lb. salted butter
1 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
3 cups white flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla 
Whip butter until fluffy. Stir in icing sugar, cornstarch, salt, and flour. Beat on low for one minute. Add vanilla and beat on high for 3 to 4 minutes. Drop cookies by spoonsful 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
I find that I have better results if I bake them for 20 minutes at 300 degrees F. (The recipes calls for baking for a shorter time at 375 but this temperature is too hot.)
Ice with almond icing and decorate with sprinkles or chopped cherries.                  
These freeze very well.                                  
Yield: 4 dozen small cookies.
Don't forget -- you can Enter to win a Cookie Gift Bag!!

Thursday, 8 December 2016

12 Days of Cookies, 2016 - Day 4: Chocolate Shortbread Meltaways

Andrea Leeson, manager of the Kingston branch, donned her baker's cap to whip up these dainty treats from Back to Baking: 200 timeless recipes to bake, share, and enjoy.

These cookies have a chocolate intensity that balances with their buttery richness, and when piped onto a baking tray, they look like chocolate kisses. 
1 cup (250 mL) unsalted butter,
   at room temperature
1 cup (250 mL) icing sugar, sifted
1 Tbsp (15 mL) vanilla extract
11/2 cups (375 mL) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (80 mL) Dutch process cocoa powder, sifted
2 Tbsp (30 mL) cornstarch
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (160 degrees Celsius) and line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
Cream the butter and icing sugar together until smooth.  Beat in the vanilla extract.
Add the flour, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt, and beat until evenly incorporated.
Spoon the soft cookie dough into a piping bag fitted with a large plain tip, and pipe 1” (2.5 cm) “kisses” onto the baking trays, leaving a 2” space between the cookies.
Bake the cookies for 12 to 14 minutes, until they lift away from the parchment paper without sticking.
Let the cookies cool completely on the tray before removing. The cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
DON"T FORGET: You can ENTER to win a Cookie Gift Bag!!