Saturday, 13 September 2014

Laura Secord

The Google Doodle tells us today is the 239th birthday for Laura Secord. I know she is a famous historical figure from Canadian history but I’m not familiar with the reason why.

I googled it and found that Laura Secord was born in 1775 and died in 1868. She was a heroine of the War of 1812, known for walking 20 miles through American-occupied territory to warn the British of an impending American attack.

It was many years before she gained any recognition, and has since had books written of her walk in 1813, had schools named after her and other such accolades of remembrance.

I don’t remember her name for anything but chocolate. In the mall close to my home growing up there was a Laura Secord Chocolate store, an eye catcher for any kid. There were glass cases filled with chocolates, and shelves of their famous black boxes with the name and a cameo representation of Laura Secord. I know I purchased many a birthday or Mother’s Day gift in that store. As of February 2010, there were more than 120 stores across the country and Laura Secord is still known as Canada’s largest and best known chocolatier.

The other reason I remember Laura Secord is my cookbook, The Laura Secord Canadian Cook Book. I’ve had this book for more than thirty years, I think, but there is no publication date in the actual book to verify. Some of my most favourite recipes come from this book.

The book was interesting to read as each recipe gives some of the history for when and where the recipe was introduced. I’m going to share the recipe for Fredericton Walnut Toffee, as it was a traditional Christmas treat in our house and a favourite of the kids.

Here’s the history blurb: This brittle toffee was traced to a cook book printed in London, England, in 1735. The book, or at least the recipe, must have been brought to this country by the English settlers; for it has become a Christmas Day favourite in the area around Fredericton, New Brunswick.

Butter a 9-inch pan thoroughly.
Spread in pan ½ cup walnut pieces
Mix together in heavy fry pan 1 1/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar
                                                1 cup butter
Cook over medium heat (keep mixture bubbling), stirring constantly for 12 minutes.
Pour toffee mixture quickly over nuts.
Sprinkle over hot toffee 3 squares semi-sweet chocolate, grated (or one chocolate bar broken in pieces)
As chocolate melts, spread until smooth. Sprinkle with chopped nuts.
Chill, and break into pieces.

Happy birthday Laura.

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