Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Chocolate Cupcakes with Cooked Frosting

Frosting Adapted from Yoyomax12

Chocolate Cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold water
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Frosting:
1 cup milk
4 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and place cupcake liners into muffin pan. In a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
2. In another bowl mix together water, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients and stir to combine. Divide batter and fill cupcake liners two-thirds full. Bake 18-22 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
3. While cupcakes cool completely prepare the frosting. In a saucepan whisk together the milk and flour. Stirring constantly, cook over medium heat until a thick paste forms. Transfer to a clean bowl and cool.
4. Once paste has cooled completely blend in vanilla and beat for 4 minutes until smooth. Set aside. In another bowl beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, again beating for 4 minutes.
5. Add the vanilla paste to the sugar butter mixture and beat for 3 minutes until light and fluffy. You can now frost your cooled cupcakes and decorate as desired. Serve & enjoy!

Makes 15 cupcakes. Happy New Year everyone!


Saturday, December 28, 2013

Peanut Florentine Slice

Lightly adapted from Use Real Butter

Base:
1/2 batch (550 grams) butter cookie dough
Filling:
1 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups toasted or roasted chopped peanuts
Topping:
3 tablespoons semi sweet chocolate, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a 9x13" baking pan with parchment paper, leaving over hang for easy removal. Roll out the butter cookie dough and fit into the pan, pressing dough 1" up the sides of the pan.
2. Bake cookie crust until golden about 10-12 minutes. Place pan on a wire rack to cool and prepare the filling. In a  saucepan over medium heat mix together corn syrup, brown sugar, butter, and vanilla, until melted and thickened.
3. Continue to stir mixture over medium heat until bubbles form around the edges. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Whisk in beaten eggs, stirring vigorously. Stir in peanuts.
4. Pour mixture over top of the cooled base. Bake at 325°F for 35-45 minutes or until the filling is lightly bubbling on the sides and is firm in the middle.
5. Cool completely before cutting to allow the mixture to firm up. Slice into squares or diamonds and then drizzle with the melted chocolate. Allow the chocolate to set and then serve & enjoy!

Makes 18 bars.


Friday, December 27, 2013

Blueberry Squares

Adapted from Taste of Home

1 cup butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 can (21 ounces) blueberry pie filling
Glaze:
1 1/4 cups icing sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line a swiss roll pan (10x15") with parchment paper leaving over hang for easy removal.
2. In a large bowl cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Blend in eggs, one at a time, until combined. Mix in vanilla.
3. In another bowl mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to wet ingredients and mix until combined. Spread half of the batter into the prepared pan. Spread over the blueberry pie filling.
4. Drop remaining batter by teaspoonfuls to cover the blueberry pie filling. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. In a small bowl mix together the icing sugar, lemon juice, and melted butter until smooth.
5. Transfer the glaze into a small bag and cut the corner off. Drizzle glaze over the warm squares and cool completely. Once squares have cooled and glaze is set, cut into squares then serve & enjoy!

These squares can be frozen and then simply defrosted and glazed whenever needed!








Thursday, December 26, 2013

Kugelhopf Muffins

Adapted from The Kitchen


Golden Syrup Steamed Pudding

Adapted from Taste.au


Vegan Chocolate Swiss Roll

Adapted from All Recipes

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1 cup water
Filling:
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 tablespoons water
2 cups icing sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a swiss roll pan (10x15”) with parchment paper, leaving some over hang from the edges for easy removal.
2. In a large bowl sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk in the vegetable oil, vanilla, vinegar, and water until smooth batter forms.
3. Spread batter into prepared pan and bake for 12-15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
4. While the cake is baking, dust a sheet of parchment paper, wax paper, or a tea towel with cocoa powder. Immediately after taking the cake out of the oven turn it out onto the prepared parchment paper.
5. Remove the parchment paper backing and roll up the hot cake in the cocoa dusted parchment paper. Place onto a wire rack to cool completely. While the cake is cooling prepare the filling.
6. For the filling, in a large bowl cream together the vegetable shortening, vanilla, 1 tablespoon water, and 1 cup icing sugar until smooth. Beat in remaining icing sugar until fluffy. Add more water to reach desired consistency.
7. Once cake has cooled completely, unroll cake (it will be ok if it cracks!), and spread on the filling. Roll up cake and dust with additional icing sugar if desired. Slice & serve!

Serves 8-10. This cake freezes very well!


Monday, December 23, 2013

Cranberry Meringue Tarts

Adapted from a couple recipes from bhg.com and babble.com

24 baked homemade or store-bought tart shells
Filling:
2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon butter
Meringue:
3 large egg whites (90 grams)
pinch salt
1 teaspoon clear vanilla
3/4 cup sugar

1. For the filling, in a saucepan over medium heat mix together cranberries, water, and orange juice. Bring to a boil and cook 2-3 minutes until cranberries start to pop. Mix together sugar and flour and add to mixture.
2. Continue to cook the cranberry mixture until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Transfer mixture to a clean bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap. Let cool completely.
3. For the meringue, a large bowl or mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites with salt and vanilla until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beating until the meringue holds stiff peaks.
4. Place baked tart shells onto a baking sheet. Place 1 tablespoon of cranberry filling into the bottom of each. Transfer the meringue to a piping bag fitted with a star or plain tip and pipe a mound to cover the filling.
5. Bake tarts at 400°F for 3 minutes or until meringue tips are golden brown. Serve right away at room temperature or let chill in the fridge until needed. Enjoy!

Makes 2 dozen.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Cookie Bark

Idea from Betty Crocker
Cookie Base Adapted from Hungry Peepor

Cookie Base:
150 grams butter, softened
100 grams icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 egg yolks
350 grams flour
pinch salt
Topping:
300 grams white chocolate buttons, melted
1/2 cup dried cranberries
100 grams milk chocolate nonpareils
sprinkles
other dried fruits and/or nuts

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. In a large bowl cream together butter and icing sugar until smooth. Blend in vanilla and egg yolks until combined.
2. Sift the flour and salt over the butter mixture and blend until crumbly. Turn out dough onto your work surface and bring together, dough will be very crumbly.
3. Using your hands press the dough out onto the prepared baking sheet, until about 1/2" thick. Bake until golden brown around the edges, about 12-15 minutes.
4. Let cookie cool completely before topping with chocolate, dried fruits, and candies. First spread the melted white chocolate over the surface of the cookie. Top with desired toppings and then let set.
5. Once the chocolate has set, break cookie into small pieces. Now you can serve your delicious creation on a plate or store in a tin or give as a gift! Enjoy!

This recipe is very easy to make and versatile. Make two or three different versions for a great looking cookie platter!


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Chai Tea & Gingerbread Checkerboard Cookies

Adapted from Cooking Channel TV

Chai Tea Dough:
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 bag (1/2 tablespoon) chai tea, finely ground (I used a mortor and pestle)

1. In a large bowl mix together butter and icing sugar until smooth and combined. Blend in egg and vanilla. In a small bowl mix together flour, salt, and finely ground chai tea.
2. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until combined. Use your hands to bring together the dough and form into a ball. Shape dough into a 9x9 square and wrap well in plastic wrap.
3. Place dough to chill in the fridge and prepare the gingerbread dough.

Gingerbread Dough:
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup molasses
1 egg
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1. In a large bowl mix together the butter, icing sugar, and brown sugar until combined. Blend in molasses and egg until smooth. In another bowl sift together flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
2. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix. Use your hands to bring together the dough and form into a ball. Shape dough into a 9x9 square and wrap well in plastic wrap.
3. Place dough in the fridge and chill along with the chai tea dough, until firm, about 2 hours.

Checkerboard Assembly:
1. Take the chai tea dough and slice into nine 1" thick strips. Take the gingerbread dough and slice into nine 1" thick strips.
2. Build your checkerboard, using some water to glue the pieces together. I built my first block starting with a gingerbread strip and the second block starting with a chai tea strip.
3. Once you have your 2 cookie dough blocks, wrap them well with plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 2 hours, to ensure clean slices. You could also freeze the cookie dough at this point to have at a later date.
4. Slice your cookies between 1/8" to 1/4" thick and place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350°F for 8-10 minutes or until just golden brown on the bottom. Let cool then serve & enjoy!

Makes about 4 dozen.





Monday, December 9, 2013

Cereal Clusters

8 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips
3 ounces butterscotch chips
4 ounces peanut butter
2 ounces almond pieces
5 ounces cookie pieces
3 cups rice cereal
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 icing sugar, for coating

1. In a large microwavable safe bowl place chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and peanut butter. Microwave on high, stirring every 30 seconds until mixture is smooth.
2. Add almond pieces, cookie pieces, rice cereal, and raisins to chocolate mixture and stir well until everything is evenly coated. Spread mixture out onto a baking sheet lined with wax or parchment paper.
3. Place sheet into the freezer and chill until mixture has hardened. Break into pieces and coat in icing sugar, shake off any excess. Serve & enjoy!

Store in an airtight container. These are great for gift-giving!






Friday, December 6, 2013

Coconut Ice Truffles

3 cups icing sugar
4 cups sweetened coconut
1 can (300ml) sweetened condensed milk
Coating:
1 bag (11 ounces) semi sweet chocolate chips
1-3 tablespoons vegetable shortening

1. Line a 9x9" pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl mix together icing sugar, sweetened coconut, and sweetened condensed milk. Press mixture into prepared pan. Cover and chill until firm, about 3 hours.
2. Once the coconut ice is firm, remove from pan and slice into pieces. I sliced mine into 8 rows and each row into 7 pieces. Place pieces onto a tray lined with wax paper or a silicone mat. Freeze until firm.
3. In a microwavable safe bowl microwave chocolate chips on high heat, stirring every 30 seconds, until completely melted. Add vegetable shortening and melt in until desired consistency is met.
4. Dip coconut ice pieces into the chocolate and place back onto wax paper. Before chocolate sets completely, sprinkle some coconut on top if desired. Let chocolate set then serve & enjoy!

Makes approximately 56 pieces.


These are the perfect addition to your holiday treat selection!



Savory Cheese Cookie Sticks

Adapted from Food.com

1 cup butter, softened
8 ounces grated cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne powder (optional)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups rice cereal

1. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl mix together butter and cheese. Stir in salt, garlic powder, cayenne powder, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir in flour and rice cereal until dough forms.
2. On a floured surface or between sheets of parchment paper roll out dough until about half an inch thick. Cut into desired pieces and place onto prepared pan.
3. Bake at 350°F for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom. Let cool completely on the pan and then serve & enjoy!

These are yummy, perfect for your afternoon high tea! This dough also freezes very well!



Sunday, December 1, 2013

Hamantaschen

Adapted from I Shot The Chef

Dough:
2 eggs
4 ounces sugar
pinch salt
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
Filling:
6 ounces ground nuts (I used almonds and pecans)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 ounces sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons honey
3 large egg whites
water or egg white, for sealing

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, whip together eggs, sugar, and salt until thick and frothy. On low speed, add the butter in a slow stream. Add vanilla and mix to combine.
2. Add the flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing just until combined. Do not over mix. Use a dough scraper and scrape the dough together into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and form into a disc. Chill for 1 hour, up to 2 days.
3. Next prepare the filling. In a bowl mix together the ground nuts, cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla, honey, and egg whites until well combined. Chill if required, mixture should be the texture of chunky peanut butter.
4. On a lightly floured surface, take half of the chilled dough and roll out until about 1/8" thick. Using a 2.5-3" cookie cutter, cut out rounds. Place 1 rounded teaspoon of the filling into the center of the round and brush the edges with either water or egg white. Bring up sides and pinch edges to form the triangle shape.
5. Preheat oven to 375°F. Place the cookies onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown on the bottom and just starting to brown around the edges. Let cool & enjoy!

Makes 30-50 cookies depending on cookie cutter used. 

This was my first time making these cookies! They are very good, the filling does taste a lot like a brownie. I used a 2.5" cookie cutter and made about 50 cookies. They cookies were small in size, about two-three bites. I will be making these again!


Monday, November 25, 2013

Cookie Dough Truffles

Adapted from Delicious Gifts

1/2 cup softened butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 can (300ml) sweetened condensed milk
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
Coating:
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips or candy melting wafers (I used the wafers)
1-2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
sprinkles, optional

1. In a small bowl mix together flour and baking soda. In a large bowl mix together softened butter and sugar until fluffy. Stir in vanilla and sweetened condensed milk until well combined. Add flour and mix well.
2. Stir in chocolate chips until well distributed. Cover bowl and chill dough until firm about 2 hours or longer if needed. Using a 1 tablespoon measuring spoon, scoop over level tablespoonfuls of dough and roll into a ball. Place onto a baking sheet lined with wax or parchment paper. Freeze balls until firm about 20 minutes.
3. In a microwavable safe bowl place the chocolate chips or candy melts. Microwave on high in 30 second intervals until smooth, add vegetable shortening to thin the chocolate if needed.
4. Dip the cookie dough balls into the melted chocolate. Use a fork to coat the ball in the chocolate and to tap off as much excess chocolate as possible. Place onto a wax or parchment paper lined baking sheet.
5. Decorate with sprinkles one by one as you work, the chocolate will set fast especially if using candy melts. Let the chocolate set at room temperature or in the fridge. Serve & enjoy!

These truffles are best stored in the fridge or freezer! Makes about 55.


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Gingerbread Cake

Adapted from All Recipes

2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup soft butter
1 egg
1 cup molasses
1 cup hot water

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line 9x9" baking dish with parchment paper.
In a bowl mix together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.
2. In a large bowl cream together sugar and butter. Blend in egg followed by molasses. Add dry ingredients and mix until stiff dough forms. Blend in hot water, mix well.
3. Pour batter into pan and bake 45-55 minutes until toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. To prevent over-browning, place tin foil over top of cake half way through baking time.
4. Let cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with icing sugar if desired and then slice & serve! Enjoy!

This cake is best stored in an airtight container. 


Also I used this cake to make Gingerbread Bites!



Saturday, November 16, 2013

Peanut Butter Cereal Treats

Adapted from the Rice Krispies Celebration Booklet

1 cup peanut butter chips
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 cups mini marshmallows
3 cups crisp rice cereal
Topping:
3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, melted
2 tablespoons peanut butter chips, melted

1. Grease 9" baking dish and set aside. In a saucepan over low heat melt together the peanut butter chips, peanut butter, and butter until smooth and creamy.
2. In a large bowl mix together marshmallows and crisp rice cereal. Add peanut butter mixture and stir well making sure everything is evenly coated. Press mixture into prepared pan. Let mixture cool for 10 minutes.
3. For the topping, spread melted semi sweet chocolate over the surface of the cereal mixture. Drizzle the melted peanut butter chips over top of the chocolate. Cover with plastic and chill until firm, about 2 hours.
4. Remove treats from the pan and cut into desired shapes. Serve & enjoy!

For best keeping, store the treats in an airtight container. 


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Rhubarb Empanadas

Adapted from Easy Cooking with Sandy & Food.com

Pastry:
3 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
pinch salt
3/4 cup vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
1/4 cup butter, cut into pieces
1 egg yolk
8-10 tablespoons ice water
Filling:
2 cups sliced rhubarb (fresh or frozen)
1 medium apple, peeled, cored, and finely chopped
3/4 cup sugar
dash cinnamon
3 tablespoons flour
Topping:
Egg Wash
Cinnamon Sugar

1. First prepare the filling. In a saucepan over medium heat mix together rhubarb, apple, sugar, cinnamon, and flour. Cook and stir until thickened and fruit is tender, about 5 minutes. Let cool while preparing the pastry.
2. In a bowl of a stand mixer combined the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the vegetable shortening and butter, mix on low speed until the mixture is the texture of breadcrumbs.
3. On low speed, add the egg yolk and ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, just until the dough pulls together. The dough should be soft but not sticky. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes to an hour.
4. Preheat oven to 375°F and line baking sheets with parchment paper. On a well floured surface, roll out dough until about 1/4" thick. Using a large cookie cutter or bowl, cut out rounds.
5. Brush edges of discs with egg wash and place a heaped tablespoon of filling in the center. Fold over and pinch together the edges and then press close with a fork. Place onto prepared baking sheets.
6. Brush empanadas with egg wash and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown on the top and bottom. Let cool and then serve & enjoy!

Makes 10-12 large empanadas.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Banana Nut Muffins

Adapted from Saffron Hut

1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup melted unsalted butter, cooled
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
3 ripe bananas, mashed
handful pitted dates, chopped (optional)
Topping:
handful walnuts, chopped
2 tablespoons sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375°F and line muffin pan with paper cases. In a bowl mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and chopped dates, if using.
2. In another bowl whisk together sugar and melted butter. Add egg and mashed bananas and mix until well combined. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
3. Divide batter among muffin cups filling 3/4 full. Top with chopped walnuts and a sprinkle of sugar. Bake muffins for 20 minutes until golden brown and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
4. Let muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Serve warm & enjoy!

Makes 1 dozen.


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Jam Cookie Cups

Adapted from Group Recipes

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
pinch salt
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
jam (I used seedless strawberry)
white chocolate buttons or Wilton candy melts
finely chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray mini muffin pan lightly with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl cream together butter and cream cheese. Add sugar and salt then blend until fluffy. Mix in egg yolk and vanilla. Add the flour and mix in on low speed until cookie dough forms.
3. Using a tablespoon measuring spoon, scoop out level tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball. Place dough ball into prepared muffin pan.
4. Using the handle of a rolling pin or other utensil, squish the dough ball into the muffin cup, about two-thirds up the side of each cavity.
5. Fill each cavity with 1/2 teaspoon of jam. Bake cookies for 15 minutes or until golden brown around the sides. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
6. To finish the cookies, roll the top edges into melted white chocolate and then dip into the finely chopped walnuts. Let chocolate set and then serve & enjoy!

Makes 57 cookies. If you need any Christmas cookie ideas, this is it!



Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Poppy Seed Pound Cake

Adapted from Southern Food

2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 can Love n Bake Poppy Seed Filling

1. Preheat oven to 325°F and grease and line 9x5" loaf pan with parchment paper. In bowl mix together flour, baking powder, and salt.
2. In a large bowl cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Blend in eggs, one at a time, until combined along with the vanilla. Add dry ingredients, alternating with the milk until a smooth batter forms.
3. Spread half of the batter into the prepared pan. Spread the poppy seed filling over and then top with the remaining batter. Swirl batter and filling with a knife or bamboo skewer.
4. Bake cake for 90 minutes until golden brown on top and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cake cool completely in the pan. Slice & serve!

Makes one loaf.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Vanilla Yogurt Bundt Cakes

Adapted from Cooks.com

2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups plain or vanilla yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease mini bundt pan cavities well and set aside. In a large bowl mix together flour, baking soda, and baking powder.
2. In a large bowl cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Blend in eggs, one a time, until well combined. Blend in yogurt and vanilla. Add dry ingredients, some at a time, mixing until smooth batter forms.
3. Divide batter among prepared cavities, filling about two-thirds full. Bake cakes for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Turn out cakes while hot onto cooling rack.
4. Cool cakes completely. Slice in half and fill with jam and whipped cream or fruit! Enjoy!

Makes 1 dozen mini bundt cakes.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Pecan Pie

Adapted from Epicurious

1 batch pie pastry (single crust)
Filling:
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup light corn syrup
3 eggs
2 cups pecan pieces

1. Line your 10" pie dish with the pie dough and prick the surface with a fork. Freeze the shell until firm, about 15 minutes. Use excess pastry pieces and cut out leaf shapes if desired, set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the brown sugar until mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the salt, orange zest, vanilla, and corn syrup.
3. In a bowl lightly beat the eggs and then slowly whisk in the syrup mixture. Place pecan pieces in the bottom of the pie shell. Pour the filling mixture over top. Place pie dish onto a baking sheet.
4. Bake pie for 30 minutes and then place leaf designs on top, brush with eggwash and continue baking for an additional 25-30 minutes until leaves are golden brown and filling is set.
5. Cool pie completely before serving or cool completely and refrigerate until needed. Bring pie to room temperature before serving. Enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!


Friday, October 4, 2013

Triple Chocolate Cookies

Adapted from Very Best Baking

2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 225 gram bag semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips, to press on top

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a bowl mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
2. In a large bowl cream together butter, brown sugar, and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until well combined. Add dry ingredients and blend on low until soft dough forms. Stir in chocolate chips.
3. Using a small cookie scoop or rounded tablespoonfuls, place cookie dough mounds onto baking sheets, placing 2" apart. Flatten each mound slightly and press white chocolate chips on top.
4. Bake cookies 8-10 minutes or until puffed up. Cool cookies on the pan for at least 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. These cookies are best served with a glass of milk!

Makes 30 cookies.


Friday, September 27, 2013

Jam Thumbprints

Adapted from the Food Network

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
jam (I used seedless raspberry and seedless strawberry)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl cream together butter and sugar. Add the vanilla and mix until combined.
2. In a bowl mix together flour and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until soft dough forms. Form dough into 1" balls and place onto prepared baking sheets, spacing 2" apart.
3. Using your thumb create a dent in the middle of each dough ball. Fill with desired jam, about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon in each. Bake cookies for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown.
4. Cool cookies for a couple minutes on the pan and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve & enjoy!

Makes about 30 cookies.


Rugelach

Adapted from the Food Network

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
Filling:
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup raisins
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup apricot preserves
Topping:
egg wash
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1. In large bowl cream together cream cheese and butter. Add sugar, salt, and vanilla and mix until fluffy. Add flour on low speed until soft dough forms. Turn out dough onto floured surface and form into a ball.
2. Cut dough ball into four pieces. Press each piece into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill dough for an hour or until firm. For the filling in a bowl mix together sugars, cinnamon, raisins, and chopped walnuts.
3. For each disc of dough, roll out on a lightly floured surface into a 9" circle. Spread 2 tablespoons of apricot preserves over the surface and lightly press 1/2 cup of the filling mixture over the preserves.
4. Cut the circle into 12 wedges, and for each wedge, starting at the long end, roll up like a crescent. Place on a wax paper lined tray. Freeze cookies until firm, about an hour. Preheat oven to 350°F.
5. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl mix together the sugar and cinnamon. Place frozen cookies on the prepared baking sheets. Brush tops with eggwash and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. 6. Bake cookies for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown on top. Cool cookies on the pan for a couple minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve & enjoy!

Makes 4 dozen.



Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Adapted from All Recipes

2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
1 1/3 cups pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons vanilla
Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons brown sugar
Crumb Topping:
4 1/2 tablespoons flour
5 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons cold butter
3 tablespoons chopped nuts (I used walnuts)

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 18 muffin cups with liners.
2. In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. In another bowl whisk together sugar, eggs, canola oil, pumpkin puree, and vanilla. Add to wet ingredients and stir to combined.
3. In another bowl mix together cream cheese, egg, vanilla, and brown sugar. Mixture will be lumpy. Set aside. For the topping, mix together flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Rub in butter until mixture is crumbly. Stir in nuts.
4. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling two-thirds full. Make indentations in the batter with your thumb and fill with a spoonful of the cream cheese filling. Cover filling with remaining batter. Sprinkle some crumb topping over each.
5. Bake muffins until golden brown on top and toothpick comes out clean, about 22-25 minutes. Let muffins cool for 15 minutes in the pan and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve & enjoy!

Makes 18 muffins.



Monday, September 16, 2013

Marbled Chai Tea & Pumpkin Loaf

Chai Tea Batter: 
2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup hot milk steeped with 3 sachets Chai Tea (I used this brand), cooled
Pumpkin Batter:
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 egg
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
Glaze:
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4-5 teaspoons chai tea, hot or cold

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line two 9x5" loaf pans with parchment paper. First prepare the chai tea batter. 
2. In a large bowl cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix well. In a small bowl mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, alternating with chai milk mixture. Divide batter into two bowls.
3. Next prepare the pumpkin batter. In a large bowl whisk together pumpkin puree, sugar, canola oil, and egg. In a bowl mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and ginger. Add to wet ingredients and stir until smooth. Divide batter into two bowls.
4. Spread a layer of chai batter into the bottom of each loaf pan. Next spread over the pumpkin batter and then cover the pumpkin batter with the remaining chai tea batter. Use a knife and lightly swirl the batters together.
5. Bake loaves for 50-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool loaves in pan for 15 minutes and then place onto wire rack to cool completely. 
6. For the glaze, mix together icing sugar and vanilla followed by enough chai tea to reach desired consistency. Spoon glaze over each cooled loaf and let set. Slice & serve!

Makes 2 loaves, approximately 20 slices.

The taste of Autumn!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Blueberry Muffins II

Adapted from Inspired Taste

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup canola oil
1 egg
1/3 - 1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries plus a handful for topping
sugar for topping (I used pearl sugar)

1. Preheat oven to 400°F and line 8 muffin cups with liners and fill the remaining four cups with some water, about 2 tablespoons in each.
2. In a large bowl mix together flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. In a measuring cup place canola oil and egg. Fill cup with enough milk to reach the 1 cup line. Mix together.
3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix only until combined. Do not over-mix. Fold in blueberries. Divide batter among muffin cups. Top batter with a few blueberries. Sprinkle some sugar over top.
4. Bake muffins 15-25 minutes or until golden brown on top and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool muffins for 10 minutes in the pan and then place on a wire rack to cool completely.
5. Serve muffins slightly warm or at room temperature! For storing, keep muffins in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Makes 8 muffins.


Friday, August 23, 2013

Royal Chocolate Marshmallow Bars

Adapted from Recipe Girl

1st Layer:
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2nd Layer:
4 cups mini marshmallows
Topping:
8 ounces milk or semi sweet chocolate
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup peanut butter
2 cups rice krispies

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease 15x10" pan. Line pan with parchment paper leaving some overhang for easy removal of the bars.
2. In a large bowl cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla. Mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture, mixing until well combined.
3. Spread batter into prepared pan and bake 18-20 minutes or until set. Sprinkle marshmallows evenly over top of the first layer and bake 2-3 minutes until puffed. Let cool while preparing topping.
4. For the topping, in a saucepan over low heat melt together chocolate, butter, and peanut butter. Remove from heat and stir in rice krispies. Spread over top of marshmallow layer.
5. Cover and chill bars until completely firm. Cut into bars and serve!

Store bars in the refrigerator.





Friday, August 9, 2013

Bakewell Slice



Adapted from Delicious Magazine

My Edits:
- I used a 10x15” pan and lined it with parchment paper for easy removal.
- I blind baked the pastry base at 350°F for 15 minutes with weights and 5 minutes without until lightly browned. 
- I let the base cool for 5 minutes and then brushed it with eggwhite to seal the crust.
- I used seedless raspberry jam.
- I used large eggs instead of medium so I removed 2 tablespoons of eggwhites.
- I used maraschino cherries.
This cake freezes very well before decorating! When making the icing, it will be a thick but spreadable paste, and will set if left to dry. These bakewell slices are delicious!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Croissants

I followed the recipe from Fine Cooking, I made 12 croissants and 7 Pain au Chocolat. This recipe is a keeper!


Monday, July 1, 2013

Individual Bakewell Tarts

1 batch sweet shortcrust pastry
Frangipane Filling:
175 grams butter, softened
175 grams sugar
175 grams ground almonds
3 eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
Filling:
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
Topping:
3 tablespoons slivered almonds

1. Line five 4" wide tart shells with shortcrust pastry, pricking the pastry with a fork. Chill shells until firm, about 30 minutes. Cover pastry with parchment paper and place weights. Dry rice or beans work well.
2. Bake shells at 350°F for 15 minutes, remove weights and continue baking for 5-8 minutes or until lightly golden.
3. In a large bowl cream together butter and sugar. Alternate blending in ground almonds and eggs, and then stir in the almond extract.
4. Spread jam in the bottom of each tart shell and then spread over the frangipane to cover the jam. Sprinkle slivered almonds over top and bake tarts for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean.
5. Let tarts cool completely on a wire rack. Serve with a cup of tea & enjoy!

Makes 5.



Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Iced Fingers

Idea from BBC Food

1 batch Polish Sweet Dough
eggwash
Icing:
2 cups icing sugar
cold water
Filling:
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin powder
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons icing sugar
1/2 cup seedless strawberry jam

1. After the dough has had it's first rise, turn it out onto a floured surface, punching down to release the gas. Divide the dough into 15 pieces, weighing about 70 grams each.
2. Form each piece of dough into a ball and then form into a 4 inch long log. Place logs onto parchment paper lined baking sheets, placing about 2 inches apart.
3. Let buns rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 40 minutes. Brush buns with eggwash and then bake at 375°F for 12 minutes or until browned on top and hollow sounding when gently tapped on the bottom.
4. Let buns cool completely on a wire rack. For the icing, in a shallow bowl mix together icing sugar and enough cold water to make a smooth thick paste. Dip tops of buns into icing and let icing set.
5. While icing is setting, prepare the whipped cream.  In a bowl or stand mixer with the whip attachment, beat cream until soft peaks form. Add gelatin powder and icing sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
6. Place whipped cream into a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Place jam into a piping bag with a small corner cut off. Sliced the iced fingers horizontally, leaving one long edge intact.
7. Pipe in whipped cream into the middle of each finger, followed by a piping of jam. Arrange your iced fingers on a tray and serve! Store any leftovers (yeah right), in the fridge!

Makes 15.


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Crumb-Inside Coffee Cake

1 box vanilla cake mix
1 box instant vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups water
1/2 cup canola oil
Crumb Topping:
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
Icing:
1 cup icing sugar
2-3 tablespoons milk or whipping cream

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease two 8x4" loaf pans or paper loaf molds. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, prepare the crumb topping. Mix together flour, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Cut and rub in butter until mixture is crumbly. Set aside.
3. In another large bowl blend together cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, water, and oil until smooth. Divide cake batter evenly between the two prepared pans. Sprinkle the crumb mixture on top of each.
4. Bake cakes 50-55 minutes or until browned on top and toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cakes cool before icing
5. Mix together the icing sugar and milk until smooth and place mixture into a piping bag. Drizzle the icing over each cooled loaf and then let the icing set. Slice & serve!

Makes 2 loaves. As the cake bakes, the crumb topping falls to the middle of the cake!


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Polish Sweet Dough

Adapted from About.com

1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) quick rise dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup warm water (110°F)
1 cup warm milk (110°F)
50 grams softened butter
40 grams sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
550 grams flour
eggwash

1. In a small bowl combine the yeast with 1 teaspoon sugar and warm water. Let stand until foamy, about 5-10 minutes.
2. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix warm milk, butter, sugar and pinch salt, until the sugar has dissolved. Add eggs and yeast mixture, combining well.
3. Add the flour and mix well. The dough will be very sticky. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30-40 minutes.
4. Deflate dough and turn out onto a floured surface. Knead a few minutes and add flour as needed. At this point you can divide the dough into pieces, weighing 2 ounces each. Form and fill dough as desired.
5. Place on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, space at least 2" apart. Cover with damp towels and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
6. Preheat oven to 375°F and brush tops of dough with eggwash. Bake until golden brown on top and browned on the bottom, about 12-14 minutes.

This recipe is very versatile and can be used to make many things including, cream buns, butterhorns, blueberry crumb buns, and crescents.


Monday, May 27, 2013

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie II

1 batch double crust pie dough (I used this recipe)
Filling:
3 cups chopped rhubarb (fresh or frozen)
1 cup chopped strawberries
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter
Topping:
1 tablespoon cream
custard, to serve

1. Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with tin foil. Line a 9" pie plate with bottom crust and set aside.
2. In a small bowl mix together cornstarch, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the sugar mixture on the bottom of the pie crust.
3. In a large bowl mix together rhubarb, strawberries, and remaining sugar mixture. Pour fruit into crust and sprinkle lemon juice over top and dot with butter. Brush the edges with cream and place over top crust.
4. Cut vent holes in the top crust and brush entire top of the pie with cream. Bake pie 45-50 minutes or until pie is golden brown and fruit is tender. If over-browning is occurring, cover with crust protector or tin foil.
5. Let pie cool completely or serve warm with hot custard! Store leftovers in the fridge. Enjoy!

Makes 1 pie.