Briercrest CBs at the SS

Posted on: April 19th, 2015 by Carla Johnson 12 Comments

“Cinnamon bites and kisses simultaneously” ~ Vanna Bonta

Anyone who ever had a CB and the SS (Cinnamon Bun at the Service Station) knows how utterly unforgettable they were. They were a very special treat found along the Trans-Canada Highway in Caronport, Saskatchewan, Canada. I don’t think they make them anymore, but in the “good old days” they were legendary. My friend’s Grandma used to work there and make them. She shared the recipe, so I hope it’s okay to¬†post it here too.

I am posting the recipe here a little in haste as I haven’t yet tried to make them – and of course I plan to inject some “sin” into them ūüėČ – but recently a few people have asked for the recipe so here it is, verbatim, just the way it was shared with me.

The CBs, as I remember them, were very tall and rolled in very thin layers. I would¬†lift each layer slowly and savour each soft, sweet bite. I found this image from Solly’s in Vancouver. It reminds me of how the SS made them “back in the day.” If anyone has tips on how to make them in thin layers like this, I’d love to know.

Thank you for sharing the recipe Marilyn!

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin

Solly’s cinnamon buns, Vancouver. Photo courtesy of Jenn Chic, WE Vancouver

Briercrest CB’s at the SS

Original Recipe (thanks to Donnie Aason – aka Donnie Eliason/Taylor and translated into a written recipe by her daughter Karlene Benallick!)

– 6 cups water
– ¬ľ cup sugar
– 2 tbsp yeast
Mix the first three ingredients and let stand until yeast activates (bubbles)


– one cup of milk
– ¬Ĺ cup lard
– ¬Ĺ cup margarine
– ¬Ĺ cup sugar
– 2 tsp salt
– 2 eggs
– 12 cups flour (16 cups most likely needed) (kneed until desired texture)
Let rise for approximately 1 hour before forming into buns or CBs.

For CB’s,
Mix 2 cups of brown sugar, 3 cups of margarine and 1 cup of pancake syrup and pour into the bottoms of about four 9 x 12 pans.

Divide the dough into management amounts (e.g. 4 equal parts). Roll each part into a rectangle. Melt margarine and spread in a thin layer on top of the dough. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon on top of the margarine until the entire rectangle of dough is covered. Roll up the rectangle with the margarine/sugar on the inside of the roll. Cut into 1-2‚ÄĚ individual rolls (dental floss works better than a knife for cutting the dough up into cinnamon rolls). Place each roll flat-side down on top of the syrup in the baking pans.

Let CBs rise in pan for at least an hour.

Bake @ 325 for 45 minutes (regular bake ‚Äď not convection setting).

Note: I sent Donnie a message and asked her about getting the bun layers so thin. It is clearly more about knowing what the dough should feel like Рwhich comes with experience. This is what she had to say. 

When I started working at the Pilgrim years ago there were no written recipes—-everything was done just out of the ladies heads that worked there!!! I sat down and wrote up what they were doing—- and that’s the “recipe” that keeps popping up!!! There is lots to say about proportions but there is also lots to say about how how the dough is supposed to feel, cooking procedure ( which can vary from oven to oven) etc.

Carla’s Cream Cheese Icing

Simply put, stir softened, spreadable cream cheese into your favourite vanilla icing. You can use store-bought icing/frosting, but I like to make my own from scratch. My recipe is rough as I add ingredients as I go, but here is my simple version:

1. In a small or medium sized mixing bowl add 1 good scoop icing sugar + 1 small chunk of softened butter + a couple drops of vanilla. Beat with mixer slowly adding drops of milk until it reaches the right consistency.

2. Stir in a small scoop of the cream cheese and mix until smooth.

3. Spread on top of each CB while they are still warm so the icing melts down the sides and between the layers. Just thinking about all the gooey sugary goodness makes me smile.

Looking for something more specific and helpful? I found this one for you. :)

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin

Photo Credit T. Bilodeau Photography:

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin


“We are Family” Occupy Your Front Lawn

Posted on: April 11th, 2015 by Carla Johnson No Comments

Earth teach me to forget myself as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me resignation as the leaves which die in the fall.
Earth teach me courage as the tree which stands all alone.
Earth teach me regeneration as the seed which rises in the spring.
~ William Alexander

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin #OccupyYourFrontLawn
One of Janice’s radishes! ¬†All photos & the title are credit of Janice D.¬†
Spoiler alert! This is the only “sin” in this post. ūüėē



Spring is in the air! City folk are hopeful for better weather ahead and country folk are hopeful for a good planting and growing season. Too often city and country have little to do with each other, but now and then they come together and when they do, they can create something very special.

Now, if you are like me, you know sometimes¬†water is thicker than blood because¬†you have a relative, a cousin, aunt or uncle you are very close to, but not by blood. Janice D. and I go way, way back. Her mom is my Aunt Avis. Her step-dad is Uncle Harvey. We are not related by blood, but our family connection is strong. If you’re curious, Janice’s sister Tracie shared our family story on the “We are Family¬†Rye Bread and Brie” post.

Janice lives just north of me in Guelph, Ontario and last spring she and her partner “Farmer Jamie” turned their front lawn into a delicious vegetable¬†garden. If you have your own vegetable garden, you know how produce can grow faster than you can consume. Janice and Jamie embrace their community¬†as family and happily shared their produce with family¬†and friends. Their neighbours are¬†thrilled¬†they are getting ready to do it all again this year.


Step 1 – Prepare the Soil

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin #OccupyYourFrontLawn

Step 2 – Plant the Seeds

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin #OccupyYourFrontLawn

Step 3 – Nurture the New Growth

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin #OccupyYourFrontLawn

Step 4 – Watch it Grow

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin

Step 5 – Enjoy & Share

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin

Step 6 – Be in Awe

Urban Farming at its best! #OccupyYourFrontLawn Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin

Note: If you are inspired to dig up your own front lawn and feed your “family”, you would be wise to check your local regulations. Some communities allow urban farming freely while others have some height restrictions and some, sadly, have an all-out ban on it.¬†

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin

Way to Grow Janice & Jamie!

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin



Anna-Marie on the cover of “The Nutritionist”

Posted on: February 15th, 2015 by Carla Johnson No Comments

Our task was to see if Ugandans and Mozambicans would accept an orange sweet potato to grow and eat – and if so, could we prove that the orange sweet potato was a good source of Vitamin A? We succeeded! Farmers started to grow the sweet potato and families began to eat it and the biggest winners were the children under the age of 5 who got a steady supply of Pro-Vitamin A. ~ Dr. Anna-Marie Ball

Warning! Oh my stars! This post doesn’t have any “sin” in it! ūüėģ

Instead I want to brag and share with you the cover and article from The Nutritionist an excellent magazine published in Kampala, Uganda. My dear friend Dr. Anna-Marie Ball was recently featured on the cover and an article was written about the orange-fleshed sweet potato project she has been running in the country. I previously¬†shared one of Anna’s recipes in the post Vitamin ‘Eh’ Sweet Potatoes.

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin

The cover of The Nutritionist, Dec-Feb. 2015 Issue

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin

Excerpt from The Nutritionist

Anna Nutritionist 2

Photo from The Nutritionist

 Here is a clip from the article.

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin

Excerpt and photo from The Nutritionist

Bravo Anna!

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin


A Bubbly Welcome to 2015

Posted on: December 30th, 2014 by Carla Johnson No Comments
‚ÄúWhat did Dom Perignon say to fellow monks after he invented champagne? … Come quickly, I am tasting the stars.‚ÄĚCooking With Sin Happy New Year 2015 champagne bottle¬†
‚Äē John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

While I appreciate all different kinds of wine, I have a special spot in my heart for bubbles. That’s what I call it. Bubbles. Mm…yes. Sparkling wine, champagne, prosecco, cava, espumante, asti, cuv√©e, sekt… even frizzante. Yum.

And there is not a better way to welcome in the new year than popping the cork on a bottle of your favourite.

Cooking With Sin Carla Johnson author sparkling wine champagne sekt cava prosecco cuvee asti spumante

Looking for tips¬†on buying¬†bubbles here in Ontario? Check out the sparkling wine reviews on Natalie MacLean’s site. I’ve been known to put some reviews on the site on occasion. You might find it helpful.

Cooking With Sin Carla Johnson Happy New Year 2015 champagne glasses

Be at war with your voices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better person.
-Benjamin Franklin

Wishing You and Yours Blessings for 2015!

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin


“Real Rum” Caramel Popcorn

Posted on: December 30th, 2014 by Carla Johnson No Comments

“Drinking rum before 10 a.m. makes you a pirate, not an alcoholic.” ~ Earl¬†Dibbles Jr.

When my sister-in-law arrived at work this week, someone had brought in post-Christmas (or more correctly¬†post-Carbmas) caramel popcorn to share with the office. ‘Tis the season, eh. She loved it and thought how brilliant that someone had added rum. Turns out it was only rum flavouring. Cue the communal “Boo!”

Knowing the real thing had to be out there, she found this great recipe, so I am sharing images of it here. If anyone tries this and wants to send me photos and recipe tweaks, I would love it. :)

Cooking With Sin author Carla Johnson

“Real Rum” Caramel Popcorn


Cooking With Sin author Carla Johnson rum caramel popcocrn

Photo Credit:

69 rum caramel popcorn recipe Cooking With Sin author Carla Johnson

Recipe & Photo Credit:

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin