Baileys Salted Caramel Brownies

                                                                                                                                                                  March 20, 2017
First of all I’d like to apologize for the 2nd chocolate recipe in a row.  I’ve had a bit of a one track, chocolate mind lately; I blame it on Easter and all the chocolate bunnies and eggs lining the aisles at the stores.  For those of you who are always up for more chocolate (like myself), I’ve got just the brownie for you!   Caramel lovers, this one is for you too- with runny, gooey caramel drizzling the top of the brownie.  Those that love a bit of boozey delight in their dessert you’ll enjoy this too–so really this brownie is for everyoneJ  Who doesn’t love an accommodating dessert for the masses?

 










Last week with St. Patrick ’s Day in the back of my mind, the Baileys Irish cream was staring at me asking to bake with it.  Brownies it was- as chocolate seemed to be the natural ingredient to pair with.  The brownie base contains your basic cast of characters: unsweetened chocolate, butter, cocoa, eggs, flour etc.  I added in the instant coffee to highlight the Baileys, and coffee is great against chocolate as well.  The brownie is soft and chewy, with a not too rich chocolate flavor.  Step 2- the Baileys Chocolate Ganache!  The ganache is the real star of the show and makes this brownie an impressive dessert.  Ganache is super easy with two simple steps, and it leaves your brownies with a beautiful shiny topping.  The amount of Baileys is perfect without being overwhelming.  I opted to finish by drizzling some caramel sauce on top of the cut brownies and then a sprinkling of sea salt.  They looked beautiful and helped bring out the caramel flavor.  I’m a big fan of sea salt in and on dessert-it helps cut the sweetness and sweet and salty is such a great contrast.

Make these today, you’ll be glad you did!

 








 

A Few Notes:
You can definitely substitute regular Baileys or another flavor instead (I happened to have the caramel one on hand).  I bet mint would be delicious, and you could add a ½ teaspoon of peppermint extract to the batter as well!

In the ganache you could substitute dark chocolate chips for a deeper flavor.  I caution you that it would be very rich, but if your chocolate barometer allows-go for it!

Make sure you allow your brownies to cool completely before pouring the ganache overtop.  If you pour your ganache on when they’re still hot it’ll melt right into the brownie.  Patience my friends- it pays off.

I can recommend from personal experience that if you throw Vanilla Ice Cream, Milk and Salted Caramel Baileys in the blender you’ll get the best milkshake!

The Recipe
Brownies
½ Teaspoon Salt
½ Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Instant Coffee
1 Cup Flour
2 Ounces of Unsweetened Chocolate Chopped Coarsely
½ Cup Unsalted Butter
1 Tablespoon Cocoa
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
2 Eggs
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1/3 Cup Salted Caramel Baileys
Ganache
1 Cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
1/3 Cup Salted Caramel Baileys
1/3 Cup Heavy Cream
1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
Optional: Caramel Sauce for drizzling

Brownies
Preheat oven to 325°.  Prepare a 8X8 baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine salt, baking soda, coffee and flour.  Set aside.
Over a double boiler melt unsweetened chocolate with butter until smooth.  Add in cocoa and whisk until combined, remove from heat.
Whisk in sugar to chocolate mixture.  Add in eggs one at a time.  Mix in vanilla and baileys.
Add chocolate batter into flour mixture.  Stir until just combined.  Pour into baking dish and bake for 25 minutes, or until tooth pick comes out clean.  Cool brownies completely.
Ganache
Place chocolate chips in a mixing bowl and set aside.
In sauce pan combine Baileys, cream and butter.  Over low heat bring until just before a boil and pour over chocolate chips.
Let cream sit over chocolate chips for 2 minutes.  Whisk together until mixture is silky and smooth.
Pour Ganache over brownies and let set for an hour before cutting.  Cut brownies into 16 squares and drizzle with caramel sauce.

                                                                                                                  Peanut Butter Jammers

                                                                                                                                   March 9, 2017 

These sandwich cookies are so fun to make!  They’re beautiful but a really simple concept with two timeless flavours.  First of all you can’t go wrong with the base; soft and chewy peanut butter cookies (these on their own are perfection).  They’re a perfect sandwich cookie base because they’re sturdy to hold up all of that delicious frosting, but still oh so soft when you take a big bite.














They look impressive but they’re super easy to put together and you’ll look like star for adding in some jam.  The recipe for peanut butter cookies yields a fair amount, so this is a great modification to use up some of those cookies (not that you need an excuse).  The peanut butter frosting is in one word- amazing!  The texture is super light and fluffy, it’s not too sweet and just the right amount of peanut butter.  This frosting would be amazing on top of a chocolate cup cake or a vanilla sheet cake!

Peanut Butter Jammers are fun cookie to make and just as delicious to eat, make them today!

 








 

A Few Notes:

The best way to store these cookies is in a Tupperware container in the refrigerator.  It helps them to keep their shape and also stay fresh.  I also stored half the batch in the freezer last time, and they thawed beautifully and tasted great.  Allow them to come to room temperature before serving them.


For the jam centres use whatever jams you like (strawberry, grape, raspberry).  I lucked out and had a jar of my sister’s homemade strawberry jam, but use your favourite.


I heated my jam in the microwave just for 30 seconds or so.  I didn’t want it hot but wanted it to be smooth and easier to get creative with the piping bag.  The jam solidifies as the cookie sets in the refrigerator.


I used pastry bags for both the peanut butter frosting and the jelly.  I highly recommend using some disposable bags or even a Ziploc with the corner snipped off.  This helps keep your sandwiches neat and they’re so much easier to work with.

The Recipe:
Peanut Butter Frosting:
½ Cup Unsalted Butter
½ Cup Smooth Peanut Butter
2 ½ Cup Sifted Icing Sugar
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Tablspoon Vanilla
2 Tablespoons Milk
Soft & Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies (see recipe in earlier blog post)
1 Cup Jam Strawberry Jam

Cream butter with a hand or stand mixer until light and fluffy.  Add in your peanut butter and continue to cream, mixture will be very smooth and creamy.  Sift in icing sugar and beat slowly.  Add in salt and vanilla.  Slowly add in milk until frosting is light and fluffy.  Prepare piping bag with large tip and fill with frosting.


Slightly warm your jam in the microwave (about 30 seconds) so it’s easily stirred and can be poured into a piping bag with a fine tip.  Set Aside


Line your cookies on the counter in pairs.  Take your peanut butter frosting and pipe the outer perimeter of the cookie (approximately twice around).  Then take your jelly and pipe in the bare circle in the middle.  If you like you can drizzle additional jelly over top of the frosting.  Take the top cookie and sandwich it gently on top.  Store in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow to set for best results.












                                                                                                                   Two Toned Buttercream Roses
                                                                                                                                  April 17, 2017


Hello Friends!  I’ve missed you, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted a new recipe.  I blame the beautiful weather we’ve been having- soaking up the sun and enjoying the warm temperatures have taken a front seat to baking this past week.  BUT I’m excited to be back and share with you my journey in buttercream frosting.  A few weeks ago I posted all about Sally’s Monthly Baking Challenge (you can read all about her monthly challenge à here) when I tried her Chocolate Mousse Pie.  This month’s challenge was not so much a recipe, but more so a decorating technique.  The challenge…2 toned buttercream roses.  Not only does it sound tricky, it looks like something you’d need a pastry degree in, but I assure you- it is SO simple and so much fun!!  Sit back, relax and let me walk you through my experience with 2 tone buttercream roses!











To start off I’m going to direct you to Sally’s post here where she does a full video tutorial on preparing your piping big and piping these beauties.  I strongly recommend reading her post and watching her video, she breaks it down and makes what looks like a challenging technique super easy and gives you the confidence to conquer it in your own kitchen.  For this challenge I opted for pink and white roses.  The outer sides of my pastry bag were lined with pink buttercream and the inside was filled with white (find the buttercream recipe here).  I piped one large pink rose on top of vanilla cupcakes (here) and over a dozen roses on the top of a simple white layer cake (here).  One thing is for sure, it made a fairly plain dessert immediately look quite fancy and glamorous.


Here are my notes from this challenge:
First of all I echo Sally’s point, to use gel food colouring.  A few months ago I splurged on a Wilton gel food colouring set, and it was money well spent!!!  It seems like a lot of money for food colouring, but it ensures that you never alter the consistency of your frosting, you get vibrant colours and use your weekly Michael’s coupon to lighten the load J

Use as large a pastry bag as you can!  At the moment I have small and medium sized pastry bags on hand, and the medium is definitely the way to go.  Every time I use my pastry bag I place it in a large tumbler style glass with the edges of the bag folded over the rim.  Then you’ve got a nice wide opening to fill with your frosting.  This works like a charm, and makes lining your bag with the feature colour super easy. 











Along with your 1M Wilton tip to pipe your roses I found the offset spatula to be a godsend.  I have a large offset spatula that I use for decorating layer cakes and large surfaces, but I also recently purchased a small offset spatula.  I used the small one to line my pastry bag with pink frosting and it worked like a charm!  It got all the nooks and crannies without making a mess of the bag (or my hands!).  If you don’t have one, not to worry a butter knife would work just fine as well.

In my experience with piping in general I prefer to fill my bag just less than half full.  If it’s less than half full, I feel I have a better grip on the bag and therefore more control when I’m pipping.  Also who has experienced frosting exploding out the top all over your hands?  That’s the worst!  Half full for the win!

Practice!  Of course practice will make perfect.  Before I even started icing a cupcake, I laid out some wax paper on the counter to practice.  I did about 5-8 roses just to get comfortable with the motion and pressure.

I would definitely recommend giving this technique a try the next time you’re making cupcakes!

Just for fun I wanted to share my most recent baking fail.  Yes, I’m inviting you behind the scenes into the food blogging world!!!  First of all baking mishaps happen to everyone (baking can be a finicky, challenging hobby!) and can be super frustrating; the time it takes to start over, waste of ingredients, and trying to figure out where you went wrong!  But if you stick with it, laugh it off and try again there is nothing more satisfying than mastering that recipe.

Back to my latest blunder- I had baked my 2- 9 inch round cakes for this challenge and was getting ready to remove them from the pans.  In my head I was already planning how I was going to decorate them, what I was going to do with the leftover cake and obviously how long till I could dig in.  The one cake came out beautifully on the first try, but the second was a different story.  Half the cake the cake stuck to the pan when I flipped it over!  I know it doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it had been a long week, I only had a short amount of time to get this done and I had just wasted 5 egg whites!  You could say I was a little frustrated…but all I could do was eat my ruined cake and wait for more butter to soften and start againJ  Fortunately the second batch came out with no problems (I greased and floured the pans extra well that second time!).  What’s your funniest baking blunder?

Thanks for stopping by and reading, I hope you give 2 toned buttercream roses a try! 






Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie

February 20, 2017


Since 1987

Candied Bacon
1 lb Bacon
1/3 Cup Maple Syrup
¼ Cup Brown Sugar

                                                                                                                  Skor Pretzel Cookie Bars
                                                                                                                         March 30, 2017


Hello easy recipe!  I love these cookie bars so much because they are super simple- a great weeknight baking project.  There is no waiting for your dough to chill, no fussing with a cookie scoop and no trying to get each cookie into a uniform shape.  I would call this as close to a fool proof recipe as you can get.  With a cookie bar you simply take your cookie dough and press it into a pan as opposed to rolling it in balls- the lazy girls guide to cookies!

 










Enough about how simple these are to make, how do they taste, you ask?  2 words....Freaking awesome!  The Pretzels and Skor Bites are the perfect salty and sweet combination.  I think the only combination that rivals salty and sweet are Peanut Butter and Chocolate!  The Skor Bites melt into the already chewy middle, a perfect contrast to the crunchy, salty pretzel.  Once again you cannot go wrong with browned butter.  I swear you could drizzle browned butter on plain old toast and it’s breakfast fit for a Queen.  The browned butter gives the cookie base a rich, nutty flavor.   The cookie base is actually the same browned butter recipe shown earlier on the blog (it’s that good, I had to use it again!).  Put away the cookie scoop and save yourself a step by making these Skor Pretzel Cookie Bars!

 









 

A Few Notes:
If you loved my brown butter chocolate chip cookies but don't feel like waiting for the dough to chill, bake them up like a cookie bar!  Just follow the baking time in this recipe and you'll have brown butter chocolate chip cookie bars in no time.

You can take liberty with how fine or course you chop up your pretzels.  I personally love a nice big piece of pretzel so I just gave them a very rough chop, and let my stand mixer do the rest. 

With any sort of bar or brownie I always fully line my baking dishes with Parchment paper before filling with batter.  I just find it saves me a great deal of headache in the end- there is no fear of your batter sticking to the bottom, easy removal and minimal clean up.  Become best friends with your parchment paper (words of wisdom!). 

For more tips and details on browning butter, scroll down to my ‘Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies’ for a detailed tutorial.

Recipe
Ingredients:
1 Cup Softened Unsalted Butter
2 ½ Cup Flour
1 ½ Teaspoon Instant Coffee
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Cornstarch
½ Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
½ Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
1 Egg + yolk
1 Cup Pretzels roughly chopped
½ Cup Skor Bits
Extra Pretzels and Skor Bits for topping

Pre-heat oven to 350° Prepare 9X13 baking dish with parchment paper.
Take a half cup of your butter and brown it; set aside to cool.
Whisk together flour, coffee, baking soda, cornstarch and salt and set aside.  Use either a stand or hand mixer to cream ½ Cup softened butter until light and fluffy.  Add in sugars and cream together.  Slowly pour in brown butter liquid and mix until incorporated.  Add vanilla and eggs and mix until combined.  Slowly add in dry ingredients and continue to mix until all combined.  Mix in pretzel’s and Skor bits.
Pour batter into baking sheet and spread evenly.  Press additional pretzels and Skor Bites onto the top.  Bake for 18-20 minutes and when edges are lightly brown. 

Inaugural Blog Post

February 7, 2017

                                                                                                     The Ultimate Chocolate Mousse Pie
                                                                                                                                                           March 14, 2017

Me oh my, let’s talk about Pie!!
Truth be told I’m not a huge pie lover…gasp…I know, I know, but it’s not my favourite.  Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t discriminate when it comes to desserts so I’ll always partake!  I also appreciate how much work homemade pies are.  My mom makes the best pie crust (according to many people, including my sister who is a pie connoisseur) but it’s a labour of love: making the pie dough, shaping it and then topping your pie (how pretty is a lattice topped pie!).  It’s on my bucket list to get a formal pie dough lesson from my mom.
In the interim this is a great beginner pie to try.  There’s a little bit of a challenge in making the meringue, but a challenge never hurt anyone (especially when combined with chocolate).  The crust is very simple with just two ingredients, and the topping is a classic whipped cream. 

 










This recipe is a part of Sally’s Baking Addiction, Monthly Baking Challenge.  If you haven’t checked out Sally’s blog, you need to!  She’s one of my favourites; her recipes never disappoint, she has the best tips and tricks and her food photography makes your mouth water!  She started sharing a monthly challenge recipe, which while stretching your baking muscles, is still easy enough to master.  Check out Sally’s original recipe here, she’s got some additional tips and tricks.  I had a lot of fun baking this Chocolate Mousse Pie and I know you will too.

This dessert is pure decadence…Since we used all unsweetened chocolate the Mousse has a very deep and rich chocolate flavor-nothing but the good stuff in this pie!  The whipped cream in the Mousse and then layered on top lightens everything up and the crunch from the Oreo crust is perfection.  I opted to layer extra chopped Oreos in the middle of my pie and I encourage you to do the same :)  Let’s get to it!

 







A Few Notes:
I was a little apprehensive making this recipe on (making homemade meringue is a little anxiety producing for me) but I swear this is totally doable!  The recipe and instructions are very easy to follow along and producing that beautiful, shiny, stiff peak of meringue is super satisfying.


Make sure you read the recipe in full at least once if not twice through before you start.  It sounds like a common sense instruction, but really take the time to familiarize yourself with the recipe and steps in order.

Lay out and prepare all of your ingredients.  Again this sounds like an obvious tip, but taking the time at the beginning to pre-chop your chocolate, and measure out your ingredients will make this a lot easier for you. 

If you have the option of using a stand mixer, this is the time to bust it out!  Whipping the meringue and whipped cream takes some time (5-6 minutes) so this is the perfect job to let your stand mixer do the hard work.  You can absolutely use a hand mixer if that’s all you have, you’ll just get a more effective arm work out (and an excuse for an extra piece of pie!).


The Recipe
Oreo Crust

18 Whole Oreos crushed up
¼ Cup Unsalted Butter Melted
Chocolate Mousse
8 Ounces of Unsweetened Chocolate Roughly Chopped
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
4 Large Egg Whites
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
¼ Cream of Tartar
2 Cups Heavy Cream
6 Whole Oreos Roughly Chopped
Whipped Cream
1 Cup Heavy Cream
1 Tablespoon Granulated Sugar
½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Optional: Extra Oreos for garnish

Oreo Crust
Pre-heat oven to 350°  Use your food processor to crush your Oreos and combine with melted butter.  Press mixture into the bottom and sides of an ungreased 9 inch pie dish.  Use the bottom of a measuring cup to press the mixture firmly in place.  Bake crust for 18 minutes and allow to cool completely.

Chocolate Mousse
Melt chocolate and butter together until smooth.  This can be done over a double boiler or in the microwave (just be sure to stir every 15 seconds or so, so that the chocolate does not burn).  Set aside.
Over a double boiler add your egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar and whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved.  This should take approximately 4-5 minutes (I had my double boiler on medium heat so the water was at a constant simmer).
Transfer your egg white mixture to a stand mixer (or use a hand mixer) with the whisk attachment in place.  Beat the egg whites on high until stiff, glossy peaks form.  This should take approximately 5-6 minutes.  Gently fold the meringue mixture into the chocolate.
Add your heavy cream to the stand mixer with whisk attachment (no need to wash in between) and beat until stiff peaks form (approximately 5 minutes).  Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture (be careful to not overmix, as it will deflate the mousse).  Layer the chocolate mousse in your cooled pie crust (add crushed Oreos in the middle if you’d like!).

Whipped Cream
In stand mixer with whisk attachment, whisk your heavy cream, sugar and vanilla on high until stiff peaks form.  This should take approximately 5 minutes.  Layer your whipped cream on top of the mousse.

Refrigerate for 3 hours until set.

                                                                                                        Maple Cupcakes with Candied Bacon
                                                                                                                                                                March 26, 2017

I’ll forewarn you this is a mushy (but delicious) blog post!  Tomorrow my hubby celebrates his birthday and these cupcakes (and post) are dedicated to himJ  My hubby is truly my best friend and absolute favourite person to spend time with!  He is the ying to my yang, my partner in crime, rock steady to my emotional roller coaster and always finds a way to make me laugh.  He not only puts up with, but enjoys my enthusiasm and tendency for the dramatics (or at least does a good job pretending), is the best doggy daddy, is a killer hockey player and fixes everything I break in the house.  He’s been the biggest cheerleader with my blogging journey and is fiercely loyal!  My love, wishing you the best Birthday,  year ahead, and I cannot wait to celebrate tonight!

 







On a side note the husband is not a dessert or sweet fan (insert gasp here)!  Needless to say it’s very difficult to find recipes he likes, which brings me to why you came here in the first place- Maple Cupcakes with Candied Bacon!  These babies are just as delicious and special as they sound and will make even the most opposed sweet fan, weak at the knees!  The hubby says they remind him of biting into a Maple Dip Donut covered in Bacon (and if that’s wrong, I do not want to be right!).

I don’t think I’ve met a man who doesn’t love bacon, so this was a natural star ingredient to incorporate.  Frankly, the candied bacon can be eaten all on its own and you will see no judgement from me!  Maple and Bacon are natural partners in crime (and it happens to be a flavor the husband likes, so win win).  And if this were not perfect enough, early Spring is Maple Syrup harvesting season in Canada- gotta love when the baking universe is on your side.  In case you needed one more reason to bake these, the bacon provides a nice salty contrast to the sweet cupcake.  Make these today, they’re very impressive and you’ll never need to stop at Tim Hortons for a Maple Dip ever again.

 









A Few Notes:
I’m not going to lie, this recipe fought me the whole way through testing it!  The cupcakes took multiple tries before I got the recipe right, the icing was a struggle to find the right amount of sugar and maple syrup and I kid you not- I burned an entire pound of bacon through this process.  That being said, fear not I bring you a thoroughly tested recipe so you won’t have to go through what I did.  Here’s some points to help you out.

For the cupcakes you can definitely substitute light brown sugar.  Brown sugar has molasses in it, which adds flavor but also HOLDS moisture.  I opted for the dark brown sugar for more flavor but also to ensure you have a deliciously moist cupcake.  Light brown sugar will still do the job, but stay away from granulated sugar in this recipe.  This is the softest and most moist cupcake ever, many thanks to the brown sugar.

What kind of Maple Syrup should you use?  The answer is 100% pure maple syrup!  Save the Aunt Jemima for your pancakes, we want the real deal in this recipe.  There is no imitation Maple, or Maple extract in this recipe, just pure maple syrup!  I find that extracts and imitation can sometimes have a harsh chemical taste, so let’s stick to the good old fashioned stuff!

To decorate the cupcakes with icing I kept it very simple.  I used the No 1 A Round Decorating tip by Wilton.  I held the piping bag in one spot and piped until I had a nice soft mound of Icing to garnish with bacon.  Use any large round tip to create this effect.

 

If there is one piece of advice you take from this blog, please let it be this: watch your bacon!!!!  Like I said I kept burning my bacon (my dog didn’t mind as he enjoyed the burnt mess) so keep a close watch on it.  In the recipe I’ve given you an approximate baking time, but every single oven is different so keep your eyes peeled.  I found that the sugar and maple syrup causes the bacon to cook faster.  The bacon does crisp up as it cools, so don’t worry if it looks like won’t be crispy enough- I assure you give it 5 minutes out of the oven and it will be nice and crispy to chop up for the topping

Recipe
Maple Cupcakes
1 2/3 Cup All Purpose Flour
¼ Teaspoon Baking Soda
½ Teaspoon Baking Powder
½ Teaspoon Salt
½ Cup Unsalted Butter Melted
1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
1 Egg
1 Teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon Pure Maple Syrup
¼ Cup Sour Cream
¾ Cup Homo Milk

Making the Cupcakes.

Pre-heat your oven to 350° and line muffin tins with paper liners (this recipe makes 15 cupcakes).  Whisk the first four dry ingredients together and set aside.  Using a whisk combine brown sugar to melted butter.  Add your egg, vanilla and maple syrup and combine.  Then add your sour cream and milk and mix those in.  Slowly add your dry ingredients to the butter/sugar mixture and mix together.  The batter will be thick.  Distribute amongst muffin tins and bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick is clear when tested.  Cool completely before frosting.

Making Your Frosting

Cream your butter until light and fluffy.  Add in your confectioners’ sugar and slowly begin to cream (increasing speed slowly as it’s combined).  Add in vanilla, salt and maple syrup.  Finally add in your milk and continue beating until mixture is smooth and a spreadable consistency.  Pour into a piping bag with large round tip.  Ice cupcakes in a simple mound style.

Making your Candied Bacon

Pre-heat oven to 400° and line baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.  Lay your strips of bacon across a wire rack on top of baking sheet.  Using a brush spread maple syrup over bacon and then sprinkle brown sugar on top.  Bake for 10 minutes and then flip bacon and repeat other side with maple syrup and brown sugar.  Bake for another 10 minutes or until desired level of crispiness.  Remove from wire rack right away and allow 5-10 minutes to cool.  Chop into bite sized pieces and garnish atop cupcakes.

                                                                                                  Soft and Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies
                                                                                                                      March 1, 2017

Peanut butter should almost be considered its own food group.  It’s great for breakfasts, snacks, savory dishes and of course baking!  Peanut butter is that staple that never lets you down when you’re in need of a quick snack or to ward off a late night hunger attack.  Now I should’ve mentioned that I was raised by the Peanut Butter King.  I know there are a lot of people out there who claim to love peanut butter, but I’m sorry my Dad has got you beat!  His love for peanut butter is decades long and considers it a legitimate condiment for almost every meal!  He grew up in a peanut free home, so maybe this is his form of retaliation or is just making up for lost time.  I’ll spare you the details of some of his more ‘unique’ recipes topped in peanut butter, but when it comes to dessert he’ll always choose the peanut flavoured option.











Needless to say my peanut love runs deep and wide and clearly it’s a staple in my pantry and baking. I’ve got lots of peanut buttery recipe ideas up my sleeve but wanted to start with a plain and simple, soft and chewy Peanut Butter Cookie!  Pure unaltered peanut taste! These cookies are super soft with chewy centres.  They’re sweet with a powerful peanut punch!  Make these today and serve with a big glass of milk!

A Few Notes
This is a very soft dough.  All of that smooth peanut and butter makes for a sticky and soft batter that must be chilled!  At a minimum chill your dough for 3 hours but I’ll usually leave it sit overnight.  When you start rolling your dough into balls the warmth of your hands will warm the dough and make it easy to handle.

I used smooth peanut butter in this recipe but go ahead and give crunchy peanut butter a try.  The texture won’t be completely smooth but you’ll have delicious little peanuts flecked in your batter.  If you want to up the peanut flavor in the recipe add in a cup of chopped salted peanuts. 

In this recipe the balls of dough are rolled in granulated sugar and then given the traditional criss cross fork pattern.  The granulated sugar is purely for show to give it that shimmery look, but you can absolutely go without.  I’ve also been known to excitedly throw mine in the oven without the fork pattern and they still taste just as great!

The Recipe
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Tsp Salt
½ Tsp Baking Soda
½ Tsp Baking Powder
½ Cup Unsalted Butter
½ Cup Granulated Sugar
¾ Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup Smooth Peanut Butter
2 Eggs
2 Tsp. Vanilla
1/3 Cup of Granulated Sugar for rolling.

Combine and whisk together your flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Set aside.  With stand or hand mixer cream your butter until smooth.  Add in sugars and continue to cream together.  Once mixed add in the peanut butter and continue to mix together.  Mixture will be very smooth and creamy.  Eggs and vanilla can be added to mixture and combined.  Slowly add in dry ingredients to the wet and mix together.  Chill your dough for at least 3 hours (can be chilled overnight).
Pre-heat oven to 350°.  Roll dough into tablespoon balls and dip in granulated sugar.  Using a fork indent your cookie in a criss cross pattern.  Bake your cookies for 10-12 minutes until the edges start to become light brown.  Transfer to cooling rack after 3 minutes. 

                                                                                                                Mini Egg Rice Krispie treats
                                                                                                                            April 9, 2017


Easter has got to be one of my favourite holidays for special candy and treats.  I love all the limited edition Easter only goodies like: Cadbury Cream eggs, Marshmallow peeps, jelly beans and giant chocolate bunnies.  My all-time favourite though is hands down, Mini Eggs!!  Milk chocolate eggs covered in a pastel candy coating, I can (and do) eat these by the fistful.  Despite devouring multiple bags throughout the Easter season I’m always sad to bid them Farwell till next year.  I wanted to incorporate them into some baking- I thought that was ‘healthier’ (I use that term loosely) than eating them by the bagful.  Enter your classic Rice Krispie square.  I married 2 favourite treats and got an amazing outcome!  These Rice Krispie treats are amped up as well, I added in some Funfetti mix to give a hint of cake batter flavor-yasss!!!

 











For my wedding favours, I did homemade Rice Krispie Squares drizzled with white chocolate and sprinkles and they were a huge hit!  On a side note, I LOVE edible wedding favours; they’re a great snack on the way home, a crowd pleaser and please who really needs another wine stopper!  Anyway I stand by my Rice Krispie Square decision.  I was one of those DIYer brides and did as much as I could myself (with the help of my trusty mom!).  My mom and I actually baked and decorated all of my wedding cupcakes with fondant and they turned out beautifully.  We spent one weekend baking nonstop and I remember coming over to pans and pans and pans of Rice Krispie squares.  She even managed to get my Dad in on the action, and he helped to press the Rice Krispies into the pans (probably the one time he got involved in any sort of baking activity).  It’s definitely a fun memory I’ll have forever
 

I would like to give a warning with these treats….they are addicting!!!  I think I’ve mentioned before that my husband does not really like sweets or desserts…except for these babies.  I kid you not, the night I made these he had 5 in one sitting (and they were very generous pieces!!).  If that’s not a good sales pitch, I’m not sure what is.   Grab a bag of mini eggs and make these today- you’ll be glad you did!

 







 




A Few Notes:

When you’re pressing your Rice Krispie’s into the pan it can be a sticky mess if you’re not prepared!  I would suggest either rubbing some butter on your fingers or using a piece of wax paper that has been sprayed with Pam to press the Krispie batter firmly into the pan. 

Which leads me to my next tip.  You want to pack the Rice Krispies as firmly as possible into the pan- this is what makes for a nice clean square when you cut and serve them.  Here is my little trick: I spray a sheet of wax paper with Pam and lay it over top of the Rice Krispie squares (Pam faced down).  I then take a juice glass and use the bottom of it to press down as firmly as I can.  This little trick is super easy and it makes my Rice Krispie squares neat, compact and they’re all the same level of thickness.  Give it a shot, it’ll save you some trouble.

Recipe:
3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
10 Oz Mini Marshmallows
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1/3 Cup Funfetti Cake Mix
6 Cups Rice Krispie Cereal
2 Tablespoons of Sprinkles
2 Cups of Mini Eggs (Roughly Chop 1 Cup)

Spray Pam into a 9X13 baking dish. 
Melt butter and marshmallows in a large sauce pan over medium heat.  Once melted and a soft consistency remove from heat and add in your vanilla and cake mix.  Once mixed, add in rice krispie’s and mix until combined.  Take your sprinkles, half of your mini eggs and half of your roughly chopped mini eggs and mix in.  Pour your Rice Krispie mix into baking sheet and press down firmly.  Press the remainder of mini eggs into the top of the Rice Krispie squares.  Let sit for an hour to firm up and cut into squares and enjoy. Mini Egg Rice Krispie treats



There’s a million different Chocolate Chip Cookie recipes out there: crispy, chewy, nutty, thin, thick, soft, crunchy and so on.  There are recipes that claim to be ‘the best’ or ‘the ultimate’ and even ‘the perfect’ chocolate chip cookie.  I have tried MANY of these recipes, and there are some really good ones out there (let’s also be honest I’ve never met a chocolate chip cookie that I didn’t like ☺ ).  But I also have high cookie standards; I wanted to create a chocolate chip cookie that combined all my favourite cookie features with a bold flavor!
This particular chocolate chip cookie combines nice crunchy edges, a soft chewy middle (with lots of chips) and…drum roll please…browned butter.  If you’ve ever tasted any brown butter recipe you’ll understand my (strange) excitement for this star ingredient.  If you’ve never tried butter this way, make these cookies stat!  Trust me you’ll, thank me later.
Browning the butter takes any recipe to another level!  When you mix the rich nutty, caramel flavor of the brown butter with more butter, brown sugar and chocolate chips how can you not have a winner?  This is definitely not your average ‘Chocolate Chip Cookie’.

A few notes

You’ll see me say this again and again but chilling your cookie dough is critical to a delicious well baked cookie that doesn’t spread too much.  This is especially true for this recipe.  Since we’re using brown butter in its melted form the dough will feel very soft and need at least 3-4 hours of chilling.  If you’re in a hurry to satisfy a craving, I might suggest munching on a snickers bar as this will take some time ☺  My preference is to make the dough on a Thursday night, bake on Friday night, demolish by Sunday night and intend to eat healthy Monday morning!

 







Dark brown sugar is a must for this recipe.  It helps to hold in moisture which is what results in a nice chewy cookie.  The extra molasses in the dark brown sugar also heightens the flavor.
This recipe calls for 1 ½ teaspoons of instant coffee.  If you’re strongly against coffee feel free to leave it out, but I promise you can’t taste it, and it acts as a nice highlight with the other flavours.

Browning the butter

Let’s walk through the process of browning your butter.  I like to use a light coloured sauce pan so you can better see the browning process and ensure you remove it at just the right time.  Take a ½ Cup of softened butter and melt over medium heat.  You want to use a heat resistant spatula to swirl it around so it cooks evenly. 

 










The butter is going to start to melt as it would normally.   You’ll start to hear and see some crackles and bubbles as it continues to heat and melt.  This is when the magic happens! The butter will start to foam on top and it will also begin to change colour from light/yellow to a rich gold/amber.  The nutty aroma alone should be filling your kitchen.  I cannot say enough about this smell- it is beyond heavenly.  So incredibly rich and nutty- it’s worth making these cookies for the aroma alone.  This is when you remove it.  It took 4 minutes from start to removal for me (it doesn’t take long).  Transfer your sauce pan to an ice bath to stop the cooking process, otherwise the butter will continue to cook.  After about 3 minutes transfer your butter to glass dish to continue cooling.  You’ll see dark speck collecting at the bottom of the liquid- those are milk solids that have cooked faster, they’re packed with flavor so make sure you get every last bit of those for the dough!

Ingredients:
1 Cup Softened Unsalted Butter
2 ½ Cup Flour
1 ½ Teaspoon Instant Coffee
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Cornstarch
½ Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
½ Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
1 Egg + yolk
1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Prepare your brown butter

Whisk together flour, coffee, baking soda, cornstarch and salt and set aside.  Use either a stand or hand mixer to cream ½ Cup softened butter until light and fluffy.  Add in sugars and cream together.  Slowly pour in brown butter liquid and mix until incorporated.  Add vanilla and eggs and mix until combined.  Slowly add in dry ingredients and continue to mix until all combined.  Mix in chocolate chips.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 3-4 hours (can be chilled overnight).

Preheat oven to 350°.  Form cookies into tablespoon balls and place evenly spaced apart on parchment lined cookie sheets.  Bake for 10-12 minutes and when edges are lightly brown.  After 3 minutes transfer to a cooling rack. 











                                                                                                                  Sunshine Citrus Loaf
                                                                                                                         April 4, 2017


Happy April!  It’s definitely starting to feel like spring around here (and I’m loving it!).  April is the first full month of spring, Easter weekend is right around the corner, the temperature is rising and the days are longer- it’s going to be a good month.  All of that calls for a bright and cheery dessert; I give you the Sunshine Citrus Loaf. 

 












The citrusy start of the show today is the Orange, and this loaf is packed full of it!  There is enough Vitamin C in this recipe I’d recommend having a slice if you’re feeling under the weather:)  We’re using freshly squeezed Orange juice along with the zest which gives the loaf it’s warm orange colour, punch of OJ flavor and a heavenly scent!  Your kitchen will smell like a Florida Orange Grove as it’s baking in the oven.  We’re topping the loaf with an orange glaze for even more citrus flavour. It’s the perfect treat to have alongside your morning coffee- I mean it’s essentially like having a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice:)  Make this today, it’ll be sure to bring some sunshine into your kitchen.












A Few Notes:
If you find lemon to be too tart and strong then this is the dessert for you.  You still get a strong dose of citrus, but it’s much more subtle.

I strongly recommend waiting overnight before cutting the loaf.  Giving the loaf ample time to cool and essentially set will make it easier to cut clean and precise slices.  I’d also recommend using a serrated knife for best results.
The Recipe:
Sunshine Citrus Loaf
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 ¼ Teaspoon Baking Powder
¼ Teaspoon Salt
½ Cup Unsalted Butter
1 ¼ Cup Granulated Sugar
2 Eggs
2 Teaspoons Vanilla
½ Cup Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
1 ½ Teaspoon Orange Zest
½ Cup Vanilla Greek Yogurt
Orange Glaze
1 Teaspoon Orange Zest
½ Tablespoon Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
2/3 Cup Confectioners’ Sugar
½ Tablespoon Milk
Sunshine Citrus Loaf
Pre-heat oven to 375°.  Prepare a 9X5 loaf pan with parchment paper to prevent loaf from sticking.  Wisk together your flour, baking powder and salt, then set aside.

Cream butter with hand mixer.  Cream in sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time followed by vanilla.  Mix in your orange juice, zest and yogurt.  Mix your dry ingredients into the wet until well combined.  Pour into prepared loaf pan.

Bake for 45-50 or until tooth pick comes out clean.  Cool completely in pan then transfer to plate


Orange Glaze
To make glaze whisk orange zest, orange juice and sugar together.  Add milk and whisk together until smooth.  Drizzle glaze over top of loaf.

                                                                                                              Lemon Streusel Muffins

                                                                                                                                                          March 6, 2017

Raise your hand if you’re ready for spring!  Winter has been so kind to us this year that it seems ridiculous to complain, but by March I think even those that love cold weather and everything chilly are ready for Sunshine and spring days.  A few weeks ago when we were having that tease of crazy above seasonal February days I wanted to whip something ‘springy’ up.  Let’s just take a brief moment to talk about how amazing that week was; over 15 sunny degrees in the middle of February?!?!  How did we get so lucky?  I definitely traded in my parka for my spring coat that week, and cracked the sunroof on the car.  On a side note is there anything better than the first time you crack open your sunroof of the season, and feel the breeze?  After years of commuting I relish sun roof weather. 












Back to baking…this unseasonable weather had me pining for fresh, fruity spring flavours, and a bright pop of colour.  I immediately thought of lemon and its citrus flavor, bright yellow colour and versatility were the ticket to bake my way into spring.
These muffins are perfection.  The Perfect amount of lemon (just enough tart, without crossing the line), moist soft centres and sweet but not too sweet flavours.  They’re perfect for a quick breakfast, snack as well as dessert.  These are so simple to bake and you’ll most likely have the ingredients on hand if you want to bake them on a whim.  Best of all they smell amazing, make them for the smell alone!

Check out the original recipe  from Baked by Rachelhere that I altered a little to suit my lemony needs. 

Countdown is on only 15 days till Spring!



A few Notes:
I was in the mood for a tart lemon bite in this muffin so I kicked up the flavor in both the muffin and streusel batter.  I like that from the moment you bit into the streusel you taste the bright lemon notes, and it does give the top of your muffin that nice ‘yellowy’ colour.  If you’re afraid it may be a little strong for your pallet visit the original recipe.

If you look to the original recipe there is a glaze included.  In my case I opted to go without and it’s still just as delicious.
 
In this recipe I used plain Greek yogurt as that is what I had on hand, but you could definitely substitute sour cream.  With muffins it’s important that whatever liquid is going into the batter is very thick (which is what differentiates a muffin batter from a cake bake batter), that’s what makes Greek Yogurt and sour cream the perfect additions to any muffin recipe.

When I made this recipe I stretched it to 10 muffins (as opposed to the original 7) but if you prefer larger muffins, feel free to pile the batter higher (they baking time might need to be adjusted then).

The Recipe:
Streusel
¼ Cup of Unsalted Butter Melted
¾ Cup Flour
2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
Lemon Zest
1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice


Mix all ingredients together and set aside.


Muffins
¼ Cup Unsalted Butter Softened
½ Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Egg
1 Teaspoon vanilla
2 ½ Tablespoons Lemon Juice
Zest of 1 Lemon
¼ Teaspoon Salt
1 ½ Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Cup Flour
½ Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
 
Pre-heat oven to 350°.  Prepare 10 muffin tins and set aside.
Using a hand held mixer cream the softened butter till light and fluffy and add in granulated sugar, cream until smooth.  Add in your egg, vanilla, lemon juice and zest and mix until all combined.  Next, to the mixture you can add your salt, baking powder and flour, mix until just incorporated.  Finally the sour cream can be mixed in (do not over mix).  Distribute evenly to 10 muffin tins.  Top each muffin generously with streusel topping.
Bake for 16-18 minutes, edges will be just starting to brown and tooth pick should come out clear.

Growing up in our house baking was an everyday occurrence; my Mom’s buttermilk biscuits were the only reason I ate soup, Christmas meant homemade cookies (and lots of them) and after years of practice I don’t think anyone can lick beaters cleaner than I.  I’ve been baking my entire life and some of my earliest memories revolve around butter and sugar. I remember standing on a chair next to my mom in the kitchen, eagerly awaiting the next instructions: ‘add the flour’, ‘mix those together’.  When I was coordinated enough to crack the eggs myself, I was secretly so proud.  Then when I was responsible enough to be trusted in the kitchen alone my sister and I would bake together. Whether it was for fun or to satisfy a craving or simply because we were bored, baking was our go-to activity.  Now that I have my own grown up kitchen the fun hasn’t stopped…if anything I’ve become more baking obsessed.  I bake as a stress reliever, I bake to calm my sweet tooth, I bake to challenge myself, and I bake because it’s fun.  In our circle of friends I’ve become known as the baker (and I take that role very seriously ☺) . Nothing brings me greater joy than seeing friends and family enjoy my baking. 








 

Which brings me to here, to my inaugural blog post. Obsessing over baking blogs has become a full-time hobby for me.  An hour can easily pass by as I scroll and read through posts on my phone.  If I’m stuck on an idea of what to bake, there are countless recipes right at my fingertips!  Some people might find it boring, but learning new facts, like the difference between baking soda and baking powder, is fascinating to me! Although nothing will ever replace a 3x5 recipe card that’s been passed down in the family, blogs are where I turn to.  There are so many recipes, techniques and styles from different blog writers.  And it’s not just the tasty outcomes from blogs that I enjoy; I respect and admire a well done post with beautiful photography, a little story of where the inspiration for a recipe came from and the step by step instructions.  It’s my go-to baking blogs that has turned my kitchen into my own personal retreat and my hobby into a full-time passion.











 

I’ve always thought it would be neat to be the author of my very own recipes; to try and recreate something delicious I’ve eaten at a restaurant, or to experiment how tweaking a few ingredients can take a recipe to a whole different level.  With a brand new year comes a brand new goal.  I’ll admit my goal is going to include a lot more butter and sugar than most people, but here it goes:  I’m going to try my hand at developing new recipes from scratch and putting a spin on some old classics.  I’ll also be upping my technical skills and trying recipes that most wouldn’t think about attempting in your home kitchen (French Macarons anyone?!?).  Finally, I’m going to photograph and blog my experiences and recipes as I go.   I’m excited to do something new and completely out of my comfort zone (I’d be lying if I said my heart wasn’t racing as I hit publish), but hopefully I’ll improve as a baker and as a photographer.  As a forewarning I am not a professional baker, my kitchen gets messy and the dishes pile up. I’ll always choose chocolate over vanilla and I do sing (badly!) while I bake, but I hope you’ll join me on this journey!  Let’s have some fun and eat a lot of dessert along the way☺

Maple Frosting
½ Cup Softened Unsalted Butter
2 ½ Cup Confectioners’ Sugar
½ Teaspoon Vanilla
½ Teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup
2 Tablespoons Milk

Twix Blondies

February 26, 2017










Blondies.  Ah the butterscotch-y, caramel-y cousin to the brownie.  Blondies are cinch to whip up, they appease those that aren’t a fan of chocolate (they exist?!?) and can have a million different ingredients that you mix and match in.  Like a brownie they’re baked in a dish (today we’re using an 8X8), requires no chilling, minimal prep- they’re as low maintenance as you can get!  Their taste is anything but low maintenance.  I feel that since the base of a Blondie is vanilla it allows the other ingredients to shine, whereas sometimes chocolate (although wonderful) can take over a recipe.

I’m not going to lie, this recipe started out as a mistake.  I flew blind when experimenting with these.  I knew I wanted to make a Blondie with chopped Twix candy bars mixed in, but initially was going for a denser and richer square.  I was imagining them with a darker more amber coloured batter and an almost fudge like density in the centre.  Sounds horrible right? :)  When I was mixing these up the batter was a light blonde, so I already knew I was in for a surprise.  After they had cooled and I cut into them, their centre had a looser crumb and almost cake like consistency.  The Twix pieces had melted so you could see swirls of caramel and chocolate pockets throughout the square.  Although I was a little disappointed my recipe took another direction, ever the optimist I tooth a big bite and remembered that you should never judge a blondie book by its cover (especially when Twix candy bars are involved)!  It was love at first bite.  Chocolate, caramel and a cookie crunch with vanilla in the background.  I was glad my recipe betrayed me.








 
The final test was Super Bowl Sunday.  I brought a huge platter of these (along with some Maple Bacon Crack!) to our annual Super Bowl party to see what the crowd thought.  They very quickly passed the crowd test and coming home with a near empty plate is always a good indication!


Make these today; it’s a mistake you won’t regret!


A Few Notes:
I am no quitter and although these are perfect in every way I am going to try again at creating another blondie recipe that does have that under baked, caramel centre.  I’ll keep you posted with how it goes and if you have any suggestions send them my way!
There are so many different things you can add in to blondies: Reese Peanut Butter Cups, Snickers, Chocolate Chips, Butterscotch Chips, Marshmallows, Pretzels…I don’t think you can go wrong with just about anything.

The Recipe:
½ Cup Unsalted Butter Melted
1 Cup Brown Sugar (light or dark)
1 Large Egg
2 Teaspoons Vanilla
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
½ Teaspoon Baking Powder
½ Teaspoon Salt
1 ¼ Cup Chopped Twix Candy Bars

Pre-heat oven to 350°
Prepare 8X8 baking pan with parchment paper for easy removal of blondies once cooled.
In mixing bowl whisk together melted butter and brown sugar.  Add in egg and vanilla.  Continue to mix in flour baking powder and salt.  Add in chopped Twix and mix together until just combined.  Pour into prepared baking pan.
Bake for 23-35 minutes or until lightly brown on top and tooth pick comes out clean.
Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares.

                                                                                                                       Raspberry Cake Roll

                                                                                                                                May 6, 2017

 











Hello and welcome to May!  2 things: where did April go?  And when will this rain stop?  I’m all for a cozy, curl up with a good book kind of rainy day, but some sunshine would be a welcome surprise!  Oh well this rain has certainly made the grass green, and when the sun does show up, we’ll be ready for it!  In the meantime my Hunter Rain Boots have never gotten so much wear and I’m finally able to justify to my husband spending so much money on one pair of boots! 

 

Today’s recipe is the May challenge from Sally’s Baking Addiction….a cake roll!  I’ve never tried baking a cake roll, I can’t remember the last time I ate a cake roll and it never really crossed my mind as a dessert to try for the blog….  I was super excited that this was the challenge, something completely out of my wheel house and most likely out of yours too.

 













I’ll be the first to admit I was nervous about giving this a try.  Let me clarify- I was nervous about rolling my cake into this perfect log.  I had visions of the cake ripping, tearing and sticking to the pan.  I’m happy to report that I didn’t encounter any of those challenges.  A few keys of success: a well-greased cake pan and rolling your cake while warm.  Let’s talk about greasing your cake pan.  I sprayed the pan with PAM, and then lined it with parchment only to finish with a final quick spray of PAM.  It probably seems excessive, but I wanted zero difficulties removing the cake.  The parchment on the bottom also ensures that it is nice and even and smooth.  The second tip is rolling your cake as soon as it comes out of the oven.  While your cake is baking prepare a tea towel by covering it in icing sugar, so you can immediately invert your cake and roll it between the towel.  This is a recipe that requires patience as you will allow your cake to cool completely while rolled in the tea towel.  The cake doesn’t stick to itself because of the towel and when you’re ready to fill with icing the cake automatically wants to roll back into a log shape.  See Sally’s post for more pictures of the rolling process here. 

 

This is a beautiful spring dessert that is much easier than it looks or sounds.  Read the recipe through a few times so that you feel comfortable but it’s definitely a cake you should try!

 

A Few Notes:

As Sally mentions, the size of cake pan is a nonnegotiable!  Be mindful that this size pan can be called a few different things: Jelly Roll Pan, Baking Sheet, Sheet Pan…the most important thing to note is the dimensions and that it has small sides or lips. 

 
See below my recipe for the frosting I used.  I went rogue and decided to create my own Raspberry filling.  It’s deliciously sweet and smooth with a hint of tang from the cream cheese.  If you’re not a fan of raspberry I would definitely give Sally’s strawberry cream cheese frosting a try.  Sally will never lead you astray :)


Now that I feel more comfortable with a cake roll I've got big plans to try variations of this with chocolate, red velvet and maybe in Pumpkin Spice in the fall.  Stay tuned!



The Recipe:

See here for Sally’s original post with recipe, pictures, tips and tricks.

Raspberry Buttercream Frosting:


½ Cup Softened Unsalted Butter
2 Cups Sifted Confectioners’ Sugar

1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/3 Cup Seedless Raspberry Jam
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
3 Tablespoons Cream Cheese





In mixer begin by creaming your butter so that it is nice and smooth.  Add in your Confectioner’s Sugar and salt, and mix in slowly.  Add in your jam and vanilla and continue mixing, icing should be nice and fluffy.  Finally add in cream cheese for a tangy finish.  Icing can be store in refrigerator until ready for use, allow icing come to room temperature before spreading onto cake.

                                                                                                                  Easy Homemade Pizza Dough
                                                                                                                                 April 24, 2017


 









Who doesn’t love pizza?  Pizza is the ultimate comfort food, party pleaser, cheat meal, Netflix snack…need I go one?  We are a big pizza household and are on a first named basis with our pizza delivery boy so I thought it was about time to master some easy homemade pizza dough.  There are lots of different ways to make dough: in the bread maker, kneading by hand, with a hook but I chose to use my stand mixer with the dough hook attachment.  With only 5 ingredients, this easy and delicious dough will have you questioning if you ever need to dial for delivery again!  This dough is split in half and can be stored in the freezer, so you can always have it on hand and at the ready.  Make easy, homemade pizza dough this week and give your local pizza place the night off J

 










A Few Notes

This dough is a great base for many other meals.  Once you’ve got this dough under your belt you can explore; calzones, flat breads, bread sticks with dipping sauce and so much more.  Stay tuned for more recipes and ideas that use this dough as a base.

 

I hope it goes without saying that your toppings are endless!  My personal favourite combo is chicken, hot pepper and feta cheese.  What are your favourite pizza toppings?  When my husband and I were in NYC with friends we of course had to try a New York Slice.  This little café we tried had no less than 50 different pizzas to choose from!!  My hubby chose meat lovers (typical boy!) and Chicken Shwarma which was delicious.  PS- I’m not even joking when I tell you I was so stuffed I couldn’t eat any pizza!  We had just finished visiting Carlo’s Bakery (The Cake Boss!) so I was full of Cannoli’s (typical Jessica!).  Clearly I’ve got my priorities straight!

 

This dough was rolled to regular or medium thickness (like a regular pan pizza).  If you’d like to try thin crust, simply rough your dough a little thinner.  You should be able to split your dough in three and get three pies.  Keep a close watch on your pizza in the oven and reduce cooking time.


I mention in the recipe that this dough is divided in half.  I like to divide and cook one pizza immediately and store the other half in the freezer for future use.  I found using clean, clear bags (like the bag your newspaper comes in) work great!!!  I slip the bag over a big tumbler and dump my dough in, tie a knot and throw it in the freezer!  Check out the pictures for reference:










 






The Recipe
Ingredients
2 Cups Warm Water
1 Package Active Dry Yeast
1 Tablespoon Sea Salt
5 Cups Flour divided in Half
*Additional flour for rolling out dough
Cornmeal

 
Combine warm water and yeast in your stand mixer and let sit for 5 minutes until yeast proofs.  Add half your flour to your yeast mixture and mix together using dough hook attachment.  Add remainder of flour and salt and continue to mix until smooth and ball starts to form (about 5 minutes).  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rest for 20 minutes. 

*You can roll your dough out immediately and bake, however I like to let mine sit in the fridge overnight so it is not so sticky and easier to work with* 

Divide dough in half, and roll out dough into desired shape (circle/rectangle).  Use additional flour to coat counter surface, rolling pin and your hands as dough can be sticky.  Transfer dough to pizza stone that is coated with cornmeal to prevent sticking.  Top with desired ingredients and bake for 20 minutes in preheated 400° oven.

                                                                                                             Pretzel Skor Rice Krispie Squares
                                                                                                                             May 9, 2017

 











Hey There!  I’ve got a quick blog post and super simple recipe for you tonight.  I’ve shared my love of Rice Krispie Squares before (they even made a debut at my wedding!) But this is my new favourite spin on the classic.  Buttery toffee Skor bits, crunchy salty pretzel pieces and marshmallowy goodness- this is sure to be your new favourite as well!  This is my second time pairing pretzel and Skor together, (I’ve previously thrown them into a cookie bar recipe).  I feel like pretzel and Skor are just a match made in heaven- the salty balances out the sweet and it’s a nice change from chocolate.

 

These quite honestly whip up in less than 15 minutes from the time you start pulling your ingredients out.  The hardest part is waiting for them to set before you can cut and dive in.  Next time you have a hankering for Rice Krispie Squares I challenge you to give these babies a whirl.

 













 

A Few Notes

When you’re pressing your Rice Krispie’s into the pan it can be a sticky mess if you’re not prepared!  I would suggest either rubbing some butter on your fingers or using a piece of wax paper that has been sprayed with Pam to press the Krispie batter firmly into the pan. 

This leads me to my next tip.  You want to pack the Rice Krispies as firmly as possible into the pan- this is what makes for a nice clean square when you cut and serve them.  Here is my little trick: I spray a sheet of wax paper with Pam and lay it over top of the Rice Krispie squares (Pam faced down).  I then take a juice glass and use the bottom of it to press down as firmly as I can.  This little trick is super easy and it makes my Rice Krispie squares neat, compact and they’re all the same level of thickness.  Give it a shot; it’ll save you some trouble.

 

Be sure that the Skor bits are the last ingredient you add to the mixture.  If you add them right away, they’ll melt right into the marshmallow and you want to see the little bits of Skor peaking through.

 

The Recipe

10 Oz Marshmallows

3 Tablespoons Butter

1 Teaspoon Vanilla

4 Cups Rice Krispie’s

2 Cups Coursely Chopped Pretzels

¾ Cup Skor Bits

 

Prepare a 9X13 pan with wax paper to prevent sticking.
In a large sauce pan over medium low heat melt marshmallows and butter. 

Once melted, remove from heat and stir in vanilla. 

Mix in your Rice Krispie’s and chopped pretzels. 

Finally stir in the Skor bits. 

Pour into your prepared pan (mixture will be sticky) and spread out evenly. 

Allow mixture to set completely (1-2 hours) before cutting and enjoying.