Wednesday, January 27, 2010

BeaverTails & Winterlude

My husband and I spent a good portion of the weekend lounging around the house, talking about winter in Canada (In case you didn't know, my husband is Canadian).

My poor husband. I feel as though I'm constantly peppering him with questions about growing up there ("Where did you go tobogganing? Is that different than sledding?", "Does a hat have to have a pompom on the top to be considered a toque? How do you spell toque?", "What kind of cheese do they use to make poutine?", etc...)

He's patient (or pretends to be), and he tries to answer all of my thousands of stupid questions, but I can tell it gets annoying to him after a while. I can't help myself...I find his Canadianness adorable - it's very endearing

Of course I can't mention winter in Canada without talking about Winterlude in his hometown of Ottawa (we're going again this year - we can't wait!) 

I love Ottawa and especially during winter.  Winterlude runs for three weeks in February in Ottawa and features:

Ice sculpture contests...

Snow sculpture contests...

Ice slides...

 a playground made of snow, and of course ice skating on the world's longest outdoor skating rink, the Rideau Canal!  So much fun! 

And I can't talk about Winterlude and ice skating on the Canal without mentioning BeaverTails!

BeaverTails are Canadian pastries, basically flattened donuts (shaped like a beaver's tail) and dusted with cinnamon sugar, chocolate, or fruit toppings (great with hot chocolate!)

There's no question that my husband misses so many things Canada...and one of the things he misses most is the food!

I found the following recipe for BeaverTails online a few years ago that's really good. It's very close to the real deal!

"Beaver Tails" Recipe
Canadian Recipes

" If you ever visited Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, in the winter months on the Rideau Canal, which is the longest skating rink in the world, they serve a sweet pastry, that is essentially a flat doughnut with sugar on top."

  • 1/2 cup warm water

  • 5 teaspoons dry yeast

  • pinch of sugar

  • 1 cup warm milk

  • 1/3 cup sugar

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/3 cup oil

  • 4 1/4 - 5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

  • oil for frying

  • granulated sugar for dusting

  • cinnamon

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the yeast, warm water and pinch of sugar. Allow to stand a couple of minutes to allow yeast to swell or dissolve. 

Stir in remaining sugar, milk, vanilla, eggs, oil, salt and most of flour to make soft dough. Knead 5-8 minutes (by hand or with a dough hook), adding flour as needed to form a firm, smooth, elastic dough. Place in a greased bowl.

Place bowl in a plastic bag and seal. (If not using right away, you can refrigerate the dough at this point). Let rise in a covered, lightly greased bowl, about 30-40 minutes. Gently deflate dough, (if dough is coming out of the fridge, allow to warm up about 40 minutes before proceeding). 

Pinch off a golf ball sized piece of dough. Roll out into an oval and let rest, covered with a tea towel, while you are preparing the remaining dough. 

Heat about 4 inches of oil in fryer (a wok works best but you can use a Dutch oven or whatever you usually use for frying). Temperature of the oil should be about 385 F. Test by tossing in a tiny bit of dough and see if it sizzles and swells immediately. If it does, the oil temperature is where it should be. 

Stretch the ovals into a tail - thinning them out and enlarging them as you do. Add the beaver tails to the hot oil, about 1-2 at a time. 

Turn once to fry until the undersides are deep brown. Lift beaver tails out with tongs and drain on paper towels. 

Fill a large bowl with a few cups of white sugar . Toss beaver tails in sugar (with a little cinnamon if you wish) and shake off excess. 

You can also top off Beaver Tails with whatever preserves, pie fillings or even just powdered sugar.

Above: My husband and son waiting patiently in line.

A perfect tummy-warming treat on a cold day with a hot mug of hot chocolate!   


  1. What amazing photos! I love seeing the lunch boxes, too! Very cute! Brings back memories of my boys in school! ♥

  2. What great photos... so fun to look at.

    I just have to tell you what a beautiful blog you have. It's such an inviting and beautiful spot here. :)

  3. I am so wanting to do this some year! Maybe in my retirement!

  4. Gosh that looks like a fun place in winter! After you told me what 'beaver tails' actually were...well, then my mouth was watering!

  5. Oh my gosh!!! TAKE ME WITH YOU!! That looks like so much fun!! I LOVE that they have SO MUCH FUN during the winter!! We don;t have anything like that here, ugh, we are so boring!! I woudl love to tell my husband about this and go sometime in the future!! Have FUN!! Take lots of pics, fo us, okay?!

  6. Looks amazing. Those Beaver Tails look similar to something we had in Massachusetts called 'Elephant Ears'. Yuuuummm. Sorry I have never commented before. Didn't want you to think that some creepy stranger was reading your blog but obviously somehow you knew :)

  7. Judy, I think one winter you should come to Nova Scotia with your skates and skate on our backyard rink!!!! We have a Beavertails shop here too down on the waterfront. Come on!!!

  8. I have been to Ottawa in the winter is really cold!! And I missed Winterlude :( But the Beavertails sound a donut! And I just read somewhere that Canada has more donut shops per capita than anywhere on earth! I'm originally from Buffalo, NY and we have Canada's Tim Hortons.....looooooove them!!

  9. Holy cow for one split second I thought they were real beaver tails! AAAAAAHHHHH! Ok, I've got it back together now :)

  10. I know you must be so excited about your upcoming trip! Have fun!
    The beavertails look delish~

  11. Those sculptures are awesome! And I want to go down those slides - how fun!!!

  12. Judi oh my goodness the ice scuptures are amazing and so beautiful! ~WOW!

    I would find it all so fascinating as well. Too cute!

    Thank you for entering my giveaway sweet friend! ~Melissa :)

  13. This entire event sounds FUN to me! I would so love to do this someday....those slides look incredible.


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