Archive | December, 2011

Sugar Cookies

26 Dec

These cookies were made by my sister, Bean, and they turned out really well. They weren’t overly crumbly or buttery, and had a more dense consistency. it took her probably 4 hours to decorate them all, and by the end there were some pretty ugly dudes being made (bulgy-eyed snowmen, etc.). I can emphasize enough how important it is for the dough to be cool when you are cookie-cutter-ing it. If it gets too warm and “wet”, the cookies wont be stiff enough to move onto your cookie sheet.

so colourful

Sugar Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups softened butter
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
Cream together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour , baking powder, and salt. Cover and chill dough for one hour (or 40 minutes in the freezer).Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out dough on floured surface, 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes. Place cookies on greased cookie sheet.

Bake 6-8 minutes. Cool completely before decorating!

xox

Mint Cream-Cheese Brownies

26 Dec

The second dessert I made for Christmas were these brownies. Oh myyyy these are addicting. A basic brownie batter, topped with a minty cream cheese filling layer, and finished with chocolate ganache and candy cane crumbs. I found this recipe on BeckyBakes a few weeks back and have made it a couple times because its so good. I’ve played around with different ingredients, but like this recipe the most. If I have any advice, make sure you really chill the brownie and the icing before spreading. Otherwise, everything will melt and just become a big mess.

Those are some biiigg brownies

Mint Cream Cheese Brownies

Brownie

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
  • 2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Cream Cheese Mint Filling

  • 1 8 oz. pkg cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tbsp. milk)
  • 1/2 tsp mint extract
  • 3 cups powdered sugar

Ganache

  • 5 oz semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Candy-canes

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan. Stir together butter, sugar and vanilla in bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each one. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Add to butter mixture, beating until well blended. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan and toothpick comes out not quite clean. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.

For mint cream cheese filling, beat together softened cream cheese, milk, and mint extract. Beat in powdered sugar until smooth. Spread over cooled brownies. Place brownies in fridge while making the ganache.

For the ganache, melt butter and chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl, stirring every 30 seconds, until smooth. This should only take 1-2 minutes. Pour evenly over brownies and spread carefully. Smash up candy canes into small fragments and sprinkle over brownies. Cool in refrigerator until set.

Keep brownies cool and well hidden to keep from eating them all.

Happy baking!
xox

 

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

26 Dec

Sooo Christmas was absolutely incredible. We had my dads family and his girlfriends family joined together at our house, with a duck-fat-and-truffle-oil deep-fried turkey and marmalade ham. There was plenty of stuffing, mashed potatoes, vegetables, booze, and of course desserts.

One of the pies I made was Sugarplums Chocolate bourbon pecan pie. The bourbon flavour is quite strong, but I liked that about it. It combined nicely with the gooey chocolate and crunchy pecans. I made the crust, but you can easily just buy a pre-made deep-dish pie shell.

gooey yumminess

Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie

Pie Dough 

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
4 tablespoons cold cream cheese

Pie Filling

2 cups pecan halves
1/2 cup unsalted butter
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate
3 large eggs
1 cup corn syrup
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup bourbon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

For the pie dough, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a food processor and pulse until combined.  Add butter and cream cheese, and pulse until just combined, and a dough ball forms. If it is still too crumbly, add a tsp of butter. Shape dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Thinly roll out dough on a lightly floured surface. Transfer dough to a pie dish, crimp edges, and press in any cracks.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Place pecans on a cookie sheet and bake 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; cook 2-3 minutes, whisking frequently, until butter foams and turns light golden brown.  Cool 5 minutes.  Whisk in chocolate chips until melted.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, corn syrup, brown sugar, bourbon, vanilla and salt until well combined, then whisk in chocolate butter mixture.  Mix in pecans until combined.  Pour filling into pie shell.  Bake 50 minutes, or until well risen, set, and golden brown.  Cool completely on a wire rack.

Makes 9 servings


 

Cranberry-Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

23 Dec

chewy oatmeal and coconut

The holidays definitely snuck up on me this year, and I am sort of panicking to get everything bought, wrapped, and under that damn Christmas tree. Considering the super luxurious and expensive student lifestyle I live (NOT) I had to be pretty creative with gift ideas. Home-made cards, home-made burned CD’s, home-made baked goods…ya, you get it.

Most people love cookies, cupcakes, brownies, and the like, but it seems that around Christmas, it’s the last thing you want to be getting. There is so much holiday food already around, it’s almost an overkill.

But not with these cranberry-coconut oatmeal cookies (what a mouthful). These cookies have protein. these cookies have fiber. They are made with half the fat and sugar as regular cookies, thanks to the applesauce, and are also pretty darn addictive!! I have quite the active family, and I’m sure these will be a hit because they are considered more as a healthy (gasp) snack, than a dessert.

perfect for presents, or just for yourself 😉

Cranberry-Coconut Oatmeal Cookies
by Me

Ingredients

  •  1 1/3 cups white flour
  • 1 cup wheat germ
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup room temperature butter
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup cranberries (or raisins, or dried blueberries)
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds (or pecans, or almonds)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a greased cookies sheet with parchments paper. This recipe makes almost 40 cookies, so use multiple cookies sheets or else this will make many batches.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, wheat germ, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and rolled oats. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat room temperature butter and apple sauce, and sugars. (Don’t worry if butter appears to separate). Then slowly beat in eggs, one at a time. Finally add vanilla.

Slowly add dry ingredients to wet, mixing in between. Add coconut, sunflower seeds, and cranberries until just combined. Scoop tablespoon size amounts of dough onto cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes for chewier cookies, and 12-14 minutes for a more crisp cookie. Both ways are delicious.

Makes 36-40 cookies.

Hope you’re all having fun with holiday baking!

xox


Spiced-Carrot Cake

21 Dec

Do you know know how tiring it is to grate a pound of carrots? My god, I thought I gave myself arthritis after! Thank goodness it all paid off in the end when it got incorporated into this fabulous Spiced-Carrot Cake!

I normally view carrot cake as an easter-type dessert. However, at the request of the boyfriend, I happily obliged and was so happy I did. This cake is moist and well balanced between sweet and spicy, and the icing is to die for! I adapted this recipe from Megabite, with changes to the icing and some to the cake.

Spiced-Carrot Cake

Cake

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t ginger
  • 1/2 t nutmeg
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 2 t baking soda
  • 1 cups sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups canola oil
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 1 lb or 3 cups finely grated carrots
Icing 
  • 12 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12T) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 6 cups sugar
  • Juice from 1/4 lemon

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray or grease a casserole dish, or the equivalent of 3 9-inch cake pans.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, spices, baking powder and baking soda.
  3. In a medium bowl, Beat together the sugars, eggs, oil and vanilla. Pour over dry ingredients and beat just until mixed. Fold in the carrots.
  4. Pour batter in baking dish and bake for 28-34 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Allow cake to cool on wire rack, or keep in deep dish.
Icing 
  1. Place butter in saucepan and brown, while stirring constantly. Slowly add in sugar and whisk until completely melted and looking slightly like caramel. Let cool for a minute, then slowly add caramel to a medium size bowl. Beat in cream cheese, vanilla, and lemon juice. Once thoroughly beaten, cool in fridge to harden. Spread evenly over cooled cake, and add cut-out carrot flowers if you desire!Buckle down with a solid grater and get to work. This cake is worth the effort!

Blog Post 1: Hola World

19 Dec

Hello! This is my first blog post, ever, and I just wanted to thank those who have encouraged me enough to actually get to this point! I am a little flustered at all the different aspects of blogging, but hopefully I’ll get it together and learn the ways of the food blogger.

To start it off, I guess I shall post one of my favourite goodies; Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns with Butterscotch Cream Cheese Icing. These were taken from Sugar Plum with a few changes to the glaze, and the spice ratios. They are heavenly, and quite easy to make once you have made them a couple times!

...get in ma belleh...

Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns with Butterscotch Cream Cheese Icing

Dough
1/3 cup warm milk (not too hot!)
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons oil
1 large egg
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Filling
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (or more if needed)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Glaze
3 tablespoons butterscotch chips
3 tablespoons cream cheese
1 tablespoon milk
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dough: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 1/3 cup milk, yeast and granulated sugar until well combined. Let sit for 10 minutes until yeast is activated and bubbly. Whisk in pumpkin, oil, egg, baking powder, salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon,  and 1/2 tsp ginger and nutmeg until well combined. Stir in flour until combined, and a dough ball forms. Lightly cover with saran wrap and let rise in a warm area for 1 hour and 30 minutes.  (A good place is in the oven: preheat it for a minute, the turn it off and place dough inside. You don’t want to cook it!)

On a floured surface, roll out dough to a 1/4-inch thickness, into a rectangle. In a medium bowl, stir together butter, brown sugar and 1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon until well combined; evenly spread on top of dough. Roll up dough. Slice into 10 equal pieces. Place in a greased 9-inch cake pan. Lightly cover and allow to rise in a warm area for 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake rolls for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool pan on a wire rack. To make the glaze, in a medium bowl, stir together butterscotch chips, cream cheese, and 1 tablespoon milk until combined. Microwave for 30-60 seconds, stirring frequently until melted (be careful: butterscotch chips tend to burn if heated for too long). Whisk in confectioners’ sugar and vanilla until well combined and smooth. Drizzle glaze over cinnamon rolls.

Makes 10 cinnamon rolls

These are really fantastic on a Saturday morning, especially if you wake up early. The surprise will go down well with your family, boyfriend, roomies, or whoever!