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!