Gluten-Free Blondies

10 Jul

Hello hello! I am in the best of moods lately, as Vancouver has decided to let the sun shine! Days at the beach are becoming routine, and I’m loving it. BBQ’s with friends, cold beers in the sand, and my long-awaited tan. I also went and saw Toots and the Maytals last night and they blew me away. I grew up listening to them, thanks to Papa Kendall, so seeing them live was incredible. I definitely think that reggae concerts are my favourite because everyone is there for the music, there are a ton of good vibes, and everyone is super relaxed stoned.

I also have felt like baking lately! Yay! These blondies are the lightened up, good for you kind, so that you can eat a million and not hurt that bikini bod. Or whatever.

But really, these are very tasty, and they are gluten free. The base consists of dates, banana, ground flax seed, and peanut butter. After that, you can throw whatever you want into them, like shredded coconut flakes or chocolate chips. And they are healthy enough to eat (a few) as a quick breakfast. You are welcome.

Gluten-Free Blondies

  • 14 pitted dried dates
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup (heaping) peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup chocolate soy milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup  + 2 tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • (Optional) 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 15×12 baking pan.

In a food processor, process dates for a few minutes until a paste forms. Add banana and pulse, then add peanut butter and flax and pulse. Add remaining ingredients and keep processing, while scraping down sides periodically, until a smooth, creamy batter forms. Stir in coconut or chocolate or whatever you want for mixins and pour batter into baking pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until tooth pick comes out clean and top is golden.

Remove bars from oven and cool for ten minutes. Either slice into bars and eat warm and gooey, or refrigerate for a couple hours before eating.

Happy baking! xxxx

Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins

27 Jun

There is nothing more fantastic than waking up to the warm aroma of freshly baked goodies. Whether it be banana bread, muffins, or (my fave) cinnamon buns, the sweet smell of dough paired with a hot cup of coffee is hard to beat. Today I present to you the best combination of morning goodies, donuts and muffins (!). These muffins are super light and airy, reminiscent of those timbits from Tim Hortons that you used to eat way too many of. Except these are better, and don’t leave you feeling like your arteries are going to explode. Each donut/muffin is coated in a cinnamon-sugar topping, just like the real deal.

Get up early tomorrow morning to make these for everyone in your house. They will love you, trust me. I adapted the recipe from Sweet Pea.

Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins

Muffin

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1-2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup milk

Topping

  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin.

In a medium sized bowl, mix together all dry ingredients. (I like to sift them to make sure there are no chunks). In a small bowl, whisk the wet ingredients. Slowly beat in the wet ingredients to the dry. Pour batter into muffin tin, filling up 10-12 of the cups, depending on how small you want your muffins.

Bake for 22-24 minutes, until tops are slightly brown and a tooth pick comes out clean. Mix together the sugars and cinnamon in a small bowl, and put melted butter in another small bowl. With each muffin, gently dip the top first into the butter, and then into the cinnamon sugar mixture. Now grab the newspaper and your cup of coffee and enjoy your delicious morning!

Happy Baking! xxx

Cake Batter Milkshakes

19 Jun

I know for a fact that whenever I’m baking, most of what I eat is the batter and not so much the final cookie/cake/brownie. WHo doesn’t love cookie dough? Get me a straw and I’ll slurp up that banana bread batter. I’m sure most of you feel the same!

Thus the inspiration for this shake. A healthy, non-scary-salmonella-raw-eggs-in-my-drank smoothie that tastes every bit as delicious as the real deal! The variations that can be had with this recipe are mind boggling! Carrot cake shake? Apple pie shake? !!!????!!!??

 

Cake Batter Milkshake

Serves 2

  • 1 frozen banana, cut into pieces (or 1 scoop ice cream)
  • 1 cup milk (or use cream for a more decadent dessert)
  • 1 tbsp nut butter or coconut butter (don’t skip! It provides the buttery taste!)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • dash salt
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp chocolate chips (or cocoa powder, depending on wether you want chocolate chip cookie or chocolate cake flavour)
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp sprinkles + 1 tsp to garnish

Directions:

Throw all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. If you want a thicker shake, use less milk. If you want a runnier “batter” like shake, add more milk. Top shakes with sprinkles and enjoy!


xxxxxx

Fishies, Cupcakes, and Shoes, Oh My!

7 Jun

Hello! What terrible weather we’ve been having. Rain, rain, and more rain, with a chance of rain. C’mon summer, where you at? With such crap weather, I have trying to keep myself busy with fun trips around Vancouver (that sadly don’t involve the beach!). This means a trip to the aquarium to see the cute monkeys and otters, and a tour of the Art Gallery’s Matisse exhibit.

It means online shopping for cheap knock-offs of the most beautiful shoes.

It means buying boxed-cake mixes for a DOLLLAR each at no-frills and turning then into cinnamon buttercream covered cupcakes.

Oh yes, Duncan-Hines does the trick!

 

German Peanut-Butter-Stuffed Chocolate Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream Icing

Cupcakes

  • 1 box of German Chocolate cake mix
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

Icing

  • 3/4 cup softened butter
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a cupcake pan.

In a large bowl, beat together the cake mix, oil, water, and eggs until a smooth batter forms. Beat in the peanut butter. Fill the cupcake tins with batter, and cook for 20 minutes. Recipe makes 24 cupcakes, or 12 huge cupcakes and a small cake if you have an 8×8 cake pan to use as well.

When cupcakes are cool, beat softened butter until fluffy in a medium bowl. Add 1 cup of sugar, beat, then add the milk. Add the rest of the sugar, then add the vanilla and cinnamon. Beat until a thick yet workable frosting is produced. Put frosting in a piping bag and decorate cooled cupcakes.

Tess is too cute! Topping her cake with strawberries.

Happy Rainy Day Adventures!!

 

xxx

Mini Lemon Poppy Seed Scones

4 Jun

Anyone fancy some hot tea and buttery scones? Would you like some jam with that?

For rainy Vancouver, afternoon tea sounds perfect right about now. And it is perfectly suitable considering this past weekend celebrated the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, or for my fellow Canadians, marked her Majesty’s 60 years of reign. I hope everyone across the pond had a wonderful time celebrating!

These scones are above and beyond cute. They are fluffy, tiny, and bursting with lemon. The poppy seeds add a nice crunch and the drizzle of honey provides just enough sweetness. I Adapted the recipe from Once Upon a Cutting Board.

Mini Lemon Poppy Seed Scones

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup powder sugar (or granulated if you prefer)
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut sap (or brown or granulated sugar)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 3 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp cold butter
  • 1 egg
  • juice of 2 large lemons
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • honey to drizzle after

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a couple of cookie sheets.

In a food processor, mix flour, baking powder, salt, lemon zest, poppy seeds, and powder sugar. Cut cold butter into small cubes and pulse a couple times into flour mixture. In a separate bowl, whisk together lemon, egg, milk, and coconut sap. Pour wet mix into food processor and pulse until a rough dough forms. Be sure to scrape down the sides if necessary.

Pour dough onto a floured surface and work into a flat disc, about an inch or two thick. Cut disc into 4 or 5 rows, then 4 or 5 columns. Cut each square diagonally. Depending on how small you want your scones, you’ll end up with 18-30 little guys! Place on baking sheets and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until tops are just slightly golden. Let cool for 5 minutes, then drizzle honey on each scone.

Happy afternoon tea! xxx

 

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

30 May

These muffins were incredible. I don’t know what happened, but they turned out super moist, fluffy, and just plain tasty. The blueberries were sweet, rich, and full of flavour. The tart lemon complemented the rich, sweet flavours well. All I gotta say is this recipe is a keeper.

Not gonna lie, I totally got melted-blueberry stains all down my shirt when I ate one of these. That stuff does not come out! Such a grubby pup! Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart.

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

  • 6 tbsp softened, unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup liquid honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 heaping cups flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups blueberries

Directions:

Grease a standard muffin tin and pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Beat softened butter until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by brown sugar, honey, and vanilla. Stir in lemon juice and milk. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add wet ingredients to dry, and mix vigorously. The batter will be too thick to beat, so this must be hand mixed, old-fashioned like!

When batter is smooth and fully incorporated, mix in blueberries, careful not to squish them and bleed your muffins blue. Scoop 1/3 cup amounts of batter into each muffin tin compartment. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until tops are slightly golden and a toothpick comes out clean.

Happy Baking! xx

Quick Twix Stuffed Cinnamon Rolls

28 May

Good afternoon, ladies and gents! What fantastic weather we have been having! I have honestly been spending every evening at the Jericho docks drinking beers, soaking in the sun, and crab fishing. That’s right, I have bought a crab fishing license. They are so cheep if you are Canadian! You can go online to the Canada Gov’t Fishing website, download the “license”, pay 20 bucks with your credit card, and print it off. You can only catch 4 crabs a day, and each crab has to be 6.5 inches are larger, so as to help keep the crab populations up.

Fresh caught crabs!

We go to the butcher and buy the bait, which is usually left over scraps of meet like duck necks or even a chicken breast here and there. It only costs a couple bucks, and then we are off on our way to the docks with our traps and backpacks full of sweaters, water, snacks, books, and beer. We tie in the bait, attach the traps to the dock, and throw them in to the ocean. We wait for about 15 minutes after each toss, before reeling in the traps to see if we have caught anything. It is always exciting to see if we have caught any big ones! Once we have caught a big one, we wrap him up in newspaper, and keep him in the shade. You don’t want to keep the females, for reproduction purposes.

Dan, ready to throw in a trap

So it is safe to say that summer 2012 will be the official summer of crab fishing. I can’t believe I get to eat such a delicious dinner mot nights of the week, for free! Crabs usually cost a lot at the market and are ridiculously expensive at restaurants. We have to be careful not to eat too much, just because seafood contains so many toxins nowadays.

Best sunsets I’ve ever seen

But don’t worry about this blog turning into a fishing blog, I have some yummy baked goodies for you today! Behold, the quickest, yummiest cinnamon rolls ever!

Layers of the good stuff

Usually cinnamon buns take a good couple of hours in order to let them rise the right amount and to create the fluffiest buns ever. But these guys are still super good, and require minimal waiting time. Plus they are full of chopped up pieces of candy bars. And smothered in cream cheese icing. Ya, I know.

The recipe was adapted from Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy.

Quick Twix Stuffed Cinnamon Rolls

Dough

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp yeast
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 3/4 cup flour
  • 1-2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 6-7 fun-sized twix bars (or any favourite candy bar)

Icing

  • 3 oz room temperature cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Directions:

Mix together the milk, water, sugar, oil, and yeast and let rise for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together salt and flour in a medium sized bowl. Preheat oven to 250 degrees and let heat for 5 minutes then turn off.

When yeast mixture is ready, mix into flour mixture, and beat in the egg. Mix the ingredients together with your hand until a soft, thoroughly mixed doughball forms. Place dough ball in a small bowl, cover loosely with saran wrap, and place in the oven to let rise for 15 minutes.

While dough rises in the warmed oven, chopped up candy bars. Flour a cleaned table surface, and grease a 9×11 baking tin. When doughball has risen, remove from oven and punch it down a couple times. If the oven is cool, reheat at 225 degrees for 5 more minutes while you work with the dough. Roll out dough ball on floured surface into an even rectangle. Spread melted butter evenly over dough, then layer cinnamon and brown sugar over. Sprinkle candy bar chunks over sugar. Roll up the dough length-wise, and cut in 8 even pieces (or less or more pieces depending on how big you want your rolls). Place rolls in dish. It is ok if they aren’t all touching, as they will expand in size once in the oven. Place in the once again warmed oven, and let rise for 15 minutes.

While you wait, make icing. Beat the butter and cream cheese together until fluffy. Beat in sugar, vanilla, and then milk. If icing is too thick for your icing, slowly beat in more and more milk. Set icing aside.

Heat oven to 400 degrees, while buns are still inside, and cook for 15-20 minutes, depending on how gooey you want your rolls. When done, remove golden buns from oven and let cool for a couple minutes. Cover buns with icing.

Dish out rolls and eat with a fork cuz these things are messy!

Happy Baking! xxx

 

 

Cookie Bars

22 May

Hiii!!!! Is my absence no surprise to anyone? I am so so sorry, but I truly am lacking in all inspiration! I don’t know what is going on! Help me out people! Tell me what I should bake for you all! Bahhhh.

I am super low on cash- like- seriously broke, and thus it seems silly to go and buy baking supplies when I could instead use the money on, say, real groceries. Real food is nice. A meal here and there is helpful to surviving I hear…

ALSO! Has anyone else fallen into a crazy, absurd obsession with superheroes yet? I saw the Avengers, then saw them again, and now am anticipating the arrival of the new Batman, Spiderman, AND the sequels to Captain America and Thor. I kid you not, I have spent many an evening just researching all the plots and characters of the old comics, and feel a comic-nerd trait coming on. Why don’t kids read that stuff anymore? Some graphic novels are so beautifully illustrated that I want to collect them. Collecting graphic novels=breaking the bank hobby. Awww welll. Back to the baking….

I made these babies last night with Jess because we were craving sugar and chocolate and butter and all the good stuff. They started as a half brownie, half cookie type bar, but the layers mixed together somehow, and the texture came out as all cookie. They were great! You only need a couple bites to satisfy to cravings, but I still managed to eat two bars.

 

Cookie Bars

Cookie Layer

  • 1 cup butter, melted until browned then refrigerated and softened again (trust me it’s worth it)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1-2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Brownie Layer

  • 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or 4 oz)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil or canola oil or any other oil
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 baking pan.

For cookie layer, beat together butter and sugars, then add in eggs and vanilla and beat thoroughly. Mix flour, salt, and baking soda together and slowly beat into wet ingredients. Mix in chocolate chips at the end. Spread an even layer into bottom of pan.

For brownie layer, melt chocolate chips and stir in oil. Beat in sugar and eggs and vanilla. Slowly beat in flour and salt until a smooth batter is formed. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour brownies batter over cookie layer, and drag a knife through to mix the batters up a bit.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, depending on how gooey you want your bars. We cooked ours for 45 min for a more cookie-like bar. For a more brownie like result, cook for 35 minutes. Just keep an eye on the oven and test done-ness by poking a knife into it and observe if crumbs stick to it when you pull it out.

Happy baking!! xxxx

 

 

Peanut Butter Banana Coconut Cookies

3 May

Holy moly I haven’t blogged in ages! Super sorry guys! I haven’t felt very inspired for the last couple weeks, and thought that I mine as well take a break until I felt like I could write a genuine post with a worthy recipe. Life is much different these days, with most of my roomies gone and a few new subletters moving in. No school work means that I have no real desire to bake- weird? Perhaps it was the stress from school that drove me release it in the kitchen.

Anyhow, today I finally felt like baking again, and was inspired by the flavour combination in How Sweet Eats banana and peanut butter cookies. I was lacking a lot of the necessary ingredients, but I think my substitutions worked out well! I had to use ground flax seed to replace the egg, a few tbsp of olive oil to replace the butter, and decided to throw in some left over coconut flakes and coconut sap to really enhance the flavours. Considering there is hardly any oil and sugar, these cookies are super healthy! The added flax adds omegas and the peanut butter provides protein. The coconut sap is low on the Glycemic index and the banana adds other nutrients like potassium. Woohoo!

If you want banana bread in a moist, cookie form, these are for you. They aren’t overly sweet, but very tasty. My new favourite comfort food!

toasted coconut!

Peanut Butter Banana Coconut Cookies

  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil or coconut butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coconut sap (or substitute brown sugar or honey)
  • 2 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1/3 cup chopped peanut butter cups (or chocolate chips)

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a cookie sheet.

In a medium sized bowl, mix together the banana, peanut butter, olive oil, vanilla, coconut sap, and ground flax seed. In a separate bowl, mix together the baking powder, flour, and salt. Mix in flour mixture into wet mixture. Finally, mix in peanut butter cups and coconut flakes.

Scoop out 1/4 cup amounts of dough onto greased cookie sheet, spaced about 2 inches apart, and bake for 15-18 minutes, depending on how gooey you like them. Let cool for 10 minutes, then serve.

Happy baking! xxx

 

White Chocolate Coconut Cake with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

28 Apr

Hello, and long time no see! I am loving my break between school and work, and haven’t been blogging much lately! Paintball, skiing, drinks on the beach, froyo (you must go to Menchies if you never have!), and lots of time with friends. It feels great to be able to do whatever I want, and not worry about any commitments, even if it only lasts for a few days.

On Wednesday my friend Rachel celebrated her 20th birthday, and I made her this cake for her BBQ. I had no idea that about 5 other people were baking cakes, cookies, brownies and the such as well! W had so much food leftover that we decided to bring it to paintball the next day. I loved all the goodies, but I couldn’t help liking my cake as well. It is a denser cake, with a rich vanilla flavour that is enhanced by the white chocolate. The icing is white chocolate and cream cheese and super rich, and coated in sugared, shredded coconut. I thought it was quite cute and girly and perfect for a birthday celebration.

White Chocolate Coconut Cake with White Choco Cream Cheese Frosting

Cake

  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • half cup salted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3 oz white chocolate, melted

Frosting

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioners sugar
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 oz white chocolate, melted
  • 1-2 tbsp milk
  • 3-4 drops red food colouring
  • 1-2 cups shredded, sweetened coconut

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 10 inch springfoam pan (or two cake pans).

For cake, mix together all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix in butter, then slowly beat in eggs. Slowly beat in the rest of the ingredients until a thoroughly mixed batter is formed. Pour batter into greased pan(s) and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and the top of the cake in golden.

Let cake cool for 20 minutes, then cool further in the fridge for a couple hours. While cake finishes cooling, make frosting. Beat the butter and cream cheese until fluffy, then slowly beat in the sugar. As you require more liquid, add in vanilla and white chocolate. If still to thick, add in milk, 1 tbsp at a time until desired consistently is reached. Finally, mix in red food colouring until a light shade of pink is made.

Frost cake with a spatula, covering all sides in an even coating. Top with coconut. Cool cake for at least half an hour to set, then serve.

Happy Baking!! xxxx