Archive for Author Rebecca Coleman

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

Ahhhhh brunch.

Remember when every weekend meant meeting up with friends for coffee and eggs? Boy I miss that. Since March, I think I’ve been out for brunch exactly twice, and I’m certainly not hosting any.

Brunch is a big part of my social life, and I miss it.

lemon ricotta pancakes


Once place I love to go for brunch (in the before times, anyway, I haven’t been there in a long time) is Lift Breakfast Bakery in Lower Lonsdale. They make a really great croissant, but they are also known for their lemon ricotta pancakes.

I know it seems weird to put cheese in pancakes. Like, in theory, it seems like a bad idea; wouldn’t it weigh them down, make them heavier? That’s never the goal with pancakes, you always want them to be light and fluffy.

Well, there’s something about this combination that just works. It gives the pancakes a rich, almost cheesecake-y texture. And that feels just right to this girl who has been watching The Golden Girls since it recently appeared on Prime.

Hey–we gotta steal these moments of joy and lightness and happiness wherever we can these days. There’s a lot of heaviness in the world right now. Eat some pancakes. Have brunch with your bubble. Celebrate the little things.

lemon ricotta pancakes

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

(note: this is a fairly small recipe, serves about 2)


  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 lemon, zested and then juiced
  • ¾ cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup ricotta, drained if watery
  • 2 tbsp oil or melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  1. Place the milk in a small bowl and add the lemon juice to it. Allow to sit for a few minutes while you put together the dry ingredients.
  2. In a large bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest and salt, and mix to combine.
  3. Separate the egg and toss the yolk in with the milk/lemon juice mixture. Place the white in a separate bowl and beat until stiff peaks form (I did this step in my stand mixer, but if you don’t have one, a hand mixer will do. Doing this manually with a whisk will take a long time, but it’s doable).
  4. Add the ricotta, vanilla and oil or butter to the wet ingredients and whisk to combine.
  5. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet to it, then mix to combine. Finally, gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
  6. Drop by ¼ cupfulls onto a hot, greased griddle, and allow to cook until the bottom is set and there are bubbles forming on the top. Flip and allow to cook on the other side.
  7. Serve with maple syrup, blueberries or blueberry syrup/compote/jam and lemon curd if you have it.

My Mom’s Date Squares

About a year ago, I came into possession of my mom’s recipe box. Now, I lost my mom to cancer 12 years ago, so this is somewhat of a treasure to me.

Not just because these are recipes I remember her making (and me loving), but also because many of them are in her handwriting. The cards are frayed and stained and obviously well-used.

I previously shared an accidentally vegan recipe I found in this box of my mom’s recipes called Wacky Cake, but today I want to share another one.

My mom had a few favourite desserts. She loved rice pudding, and classic cookies like peanut butter and chocolate chip. But she also made killer date squares.

Date Squares

She didn’t call them date squares, though, she called them Matrimony or Matrimono Bars.

Nobody seems to quite know the exact origins or history of this recipe, except that it probably originated in Canada, quite possibly Newfoundland, and is maybe Scottish in its heritage (because of the oats?). Today everyone just calls them Date Squares. But I’m curious about where the “matrimony” connection comes in? Were they served at weddings? Do the layers have some kind of symbolic significance of two people coming together to be one? No idea, though the name seems to be regional in its origin and my mom was born on, and grew up in, the Prairies.

But here is the card in my mom’s writing….errrr typing? One thing you’ll notice is there are no directions. This is pretty typical of most of her recipes. She made these so many times, she didn’t need to be reminded of how to make them, just the quantities of ingredients. I have included the directions below.

Mom's date squares recipe card

You’ll notice that this recipe is also accidentally vegan.

By the way, when I made these and distributed them amongst my neighbours for taste-testing, they were pronounced the best date squares they’d ever had, so… thanks, mom.

My Mom’s Date Squares


  • 1 cup margarine/vegan butter/regular butter (if you’re not vegan)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups pitted dates
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water


  1. Grease a square 8″ or 9″ cake pan well, or line with parchment, and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar and 1 teaspoon each of salt and baking soda.
  3. Melt the butter and pour it over the dry ingredients. Toss just until combined. Dump about half of the mixture into the pan and press it down to make an even layer.
  4. In a medium sized saucepan over medium high heat, place the dates, water, and remaining baking soda and salt and bring up to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the dates are softened. Mash them up a bunch with the back of a spoon to make them a bit smoother. Pour this date mixture overtop of your base layer in the pan.
  5. Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture over the date layer and press it down lightly.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, until golden brown on top.
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