Moustache Frenzy.

November 3, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I know I haven’t written on my blog for a long time. I still bake all the time and pawn my goodies off on the unexpecting.

The reason I haven’t blogged in a while is because I have the worst lighting in my house. I live right by the woods and have very few windows in the house so natural lighting is hard to come by. Thus, bad photos result and don’t help to motivate me to post.

But this month is a special month. My husband is participating in Movember.

When my husband decided to do this I made it clear that it couldn’t be just about the moustache.

So often I find that there is this new trend of passive activism. You see it on Facebook when people post “faux-activism” statuses. An example is ones about bra colours for breast cancer, which is great to promote awareness but more needs to be done.

That’s why I want my husband to not only participate in Movember to raise awareness but to also raise money.

This month everything I bake will be sold by donation at my husbands work.

The first baked good I made was moustache spice cookies topped with chocolate.

I made a moustache template with a piece of paper and cut out each cookie.

At the end of all the work moustache cookies were made…

and eaten.

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Autumn Spice Cookies (adapted from Bake at 350)

  • 3 c unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ginger
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c light brown sugar (packed)
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350.

Whisk the flour, baking powder,spices and salt; set aside.

Cream the sugar and butter. Add the egg and extracts and mix until well-blended.

Gradually add the flour mixture and beat just until combined, scraping down the bowl, especially the bottom. (The dough will be quite thick…you may need to knead in stray bits of flour from the bottom of the bowl by hand.)

Roll dough out in between two sheets of parchment paper and cut into shapes. Place on parchment lined baking sheets and place them in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Bake in a preheated oven for 9-12 minutes, depending on the size of your cutter. Let sit a few minutes on the sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack.

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Compromise on the pies

December 22, 2010 at 7:45 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I guess I should admit something.  I am a really picky eater.  I have a list of foods in which I won’t eat and another list of foods I won’t even try.  A fan of mushrooms I am not.  Tomatoes? No way!  And don’t get me started on any kind of red meat other than beef.

But the worse of all is pumpkin.  Every autumn and winter pumpkin is seen everywhere creeping its orange goopey-ness into everything from soup to muffins to pies!  I love pie but for at least a decade now I have been deprived from them during the winter holidays because of that menacing squash!

No longer will I stand for a lack of pie consumption during Christmas!  I do, however, understand peoples affinity for a staple (in this case the dreaded pumpkin pie) so I decided on a comprise–sweet potato pie.

When I told my husband I was making sweet potato pie he thought it was a savoury dish and not dessert.  It seems not many people here in this part of Canada have tried sweet potato pie. I believe, that it isn’t that common a dessert in American save the south.  Since I love southern food I thought why not.  Sweet potato pie it was.

Sweet potato pie is similar to pumpkin pie as it uses a lot of the same spices that you will find in pumpkin pie.  Sweet potato pie, however, is a bit lighter, less dense and more importantly not pumpkin.

I chose this recipe because I liked the ingredients the most and I had everything on hand.  What are you waiting for, give sweet potato pie a try!

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Sweet Potato Pie

from Ruth Reichl’s Comfort me with Apples

2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup whole milk
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dark rum (I omitted this)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (I omitted this)
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell (I used my favourite pie dough recipe)

Method

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Prick the sweet potatoes with a fork and roast them on a shallow baking pan in the middle of the oven until very tender, about 1 1/4 hours. Cool to room temperature. (If preparing the night before, transfer sweet potatoes in airtight container and refrigerate).

Raise the oven temperature to 400°F, and place a shallow baking pan on the bottom rack.

Scoop the flesh from potatoes into a bowl and discard the skins. Mash the sweet potatoes with a fork until smooth. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and stir in the sugar. Add the melted butter mixture to the sweet potatoes with the milk and the eggs and beat with a whisk until smooth. Whisk in the remaining ingredients (the filling will be quite liquid).

Pour the filling into the pie shell.

Carefully transfer the pie to the heated shallow baking pan on the bottom rack of the oven and bake until the filling is just set, about 40 minutes.

Transfer the pie to a rack to cool.

Trouble Makers.

November 26, 2010 at 6:04 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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My kids are great. I love them. That being said, they are also little monsters (my three-year-old even insisted on being a monster for Hallowe’en and her favourite movie is Monsters Inc). I think my kids are such trouble-makers so that I can experience what my parents went through.

When I was only a toddler, my brother and I would hatch plans and get into a terrible amount of trouble. Soon after I learned how to walk, I used the drawers in the kitchen to create steps up to counter. There I was able to get the bottle of Flintstones vitamins and hand them to my brother who proceeded to open said bottle–we ate them all.

Another time, we decided that we wanted all the Fudgesicles and Popsicles for ourselves. So, when my mom and dad went to bed we snuck downstairs to the big chest freezer in the basement. My brother lifted me up while I opened the freezer and took the icy treats. We thought we would be smart and save them so we hid them under our pillow. We awoke to my mother’s screams as she saw a melted brown mess spreading from underneath my pillow.

Now, it is my turn.

It seems like every day my daughters stir up trouble. One incident happened just yesterday. I went to the bathroom and I was gone for under 2 minutes only to return to a gigantic mess of cracked eggs and butter smeared over the kitchen floor and on my little angels. Mind you, this was just after then had been given a bath.

Today, they decided to top themselves. My daughter asked me to peel her an orange. My first mistake was turning my back to them. They grabbed one of their chairs from the craft table and placed it near the cabinets. My eldest daughter climbed up and removed the vaseline from the a basket. All the time I was doing this I was thinking “wow, my children are so great. They can play so nicely and quietly together.” That was my second mistake–my girls never play quietly.

Let’s just say that vaseline is a lot harder to clean up than butter and eggs.

Despite the lack of butter and eggs, I knew I had to make some cupcakes today. It was someone’s birthday weekend and I had to deliver some birthday spirit in the form of baked goodies. It was a bit hard to figure out what to make because this person doesn’t really like sweet stuff. So I racked my brain and decided on Gourmet’s dessert of the month, Spiced Applesauce Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting.

Again, this recipe is perfect to satisfy a desire for autumn flavours (and a cinnamon fanatic like myself). Instead of a cake I made cupcakes so that it would be easier to serve and eat.

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SPICED APPLESAUCE CAKE WITH CINNAMON CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
From Gourmet Magazine
Makes 14 cupcakes

FOR CAKE

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce

FOR FROSTING

  • 5 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Method

For the Cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Line muffin tin with paper cups or grease.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.

Beat butter, brown sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in applesauce. At low speed, mix in flour mixture until just combined.

Scoop batter out into muffin tin filling it 3/4 full.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into centre comes out clean.

Cool in muffin tins for 10 minutes then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.

For the Frosting:

Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until fluffy.

Sift confectioners sugar and cinnamon over cream cheese mixture, then beat at medium speed until incorporated.

Spread frosting over top of cooled cupcakes.

Sometimes Downers can be a good thing.

November 23, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Wow, my last post was probably one of the most dull posts that ever was. All I can say is that I am very sorry. I don’t know what is wrong with me but I have been feeling extremely drained for the past two weeks.

This exhaustion that I am experiencing is odd because I have always been someone who needs very little sleep. Oh well, such is life I suppose so I shall trek on.

The weather in Whistler has been getting colder and colder. Last night, while I wasn’t sleeping, I heard the constant howling of the wind and rattling of the trees outside. Just the sounds alone sent chills throughout my body. Today, however, didn’t feel so cold so my daughters and I wrapped ourselves up in layers of clothing and ventured out to the market.

At the grocery store we scored some great deals, which included fresh organic cranberries. In light of the upcoming American Thanksgiving I decided to bake a recipe I saw a few months back. To my surprise many other food blogs posted the same recipe today–collective food conscience perhaps? Whatever the case this would be a great dessert alternative for the standard pumpkin pie.

The recipe was featured as a Tuesday’s with Dorie choice in september. I won’t retype the recipe here but, rather, direct you where you can find it (Superfluous: TWD- Cranberry Upside-Downer).

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Whether you are in America celebrating the holidays or in Canada give this recipe a try. It is sure to be a hit and proves that sometimes Downers can be a good thing.

For the love of Autumn.

October 18, 2010 at 11:12 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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I absolutely love autumn. I think it is my favourite season. I love the smell of the sweet decay of leaves, the vivid colours of rust and gold that hang from tree branches and the crisp fall air.

Autumn is also my favourite season to run in because of the reasons mentioned above. However, since I live in British Columbia this time of the year means rain. I don’t have a problem running in the rain (it actually makes me feel tough and reminds me of action movie montages where the heroes are training for the next battle). I can’t run in the rain anymore though because I am a nice mother and would rather my kids not soaking wet.

So, when it’s a rainy October day and running is not an option the next best thing to do is bake cookies to warm-up the house and our stomachs.

Fall baking, to me and probably most people, means a treat that is made with spices and brings comfort upon the first bite.

I decided to make these snickerdoodles because they encompass what I believe is a good autumn treat, and my husband told me he wanted me to make them. A win-win situation for all!

I found the recipe from this great blog called Liv Life, which always features delicious goodies.

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Best Ever Snickerdoodles
Nancy Baggett, The All-American Cookie Book p. 14

Flavorful cookies with a texture that ranges from slightly crispy around the edges to slightly chewy as you reach the center. Sure to be a hit anywhere you take them!

Ingredients

  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp cream of tarter
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbs light corn syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sugar combined with 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon for topping

Method

Preheat oven to 375º and prepare baking sheets with a silicone mat or cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tarter, baking soda, salt and nutmeg, set aside. In another large bowl, beat the butter, sugar and corn syrup together until well blended and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla, beating until well blended and smooth. Beat in half of the flour mixture until evenly incorporated. Stir in the remaining flour mixture just until combined. Let the dough stand for 5-10 minutes. Mix together the additional sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.

Roll portions of the dough into generous 1 1/2 inch balls with lightly greased hands (dough will be soft). Roll each ball in the cinnamon sugar. Place on the baking sheets, spacing about 2 3/4 inches apart.

Bake the cookies 8-11 minutes, or just until light golden brown at the edges. Reverse the sheet from front to back half way through the cooking time to ensure even browning. Transfer the baking sheets to a wire rack and let stand until the cookies firm up slightly, about 2 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool. Enjoy!

Thanksgiving, Hallowe’en, Pumpkins… Oh My!

October 9, 2008 at 9:51 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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I am Canadian and being Canadian I will be celebrating Thanksgiving this Monday. With Thanksgiving and Hallowe’en both coming very soon I decided that I needed to make a festive cupcake.

Now, I am addicted to baking blogs. One of my absolute favourites is I heart Cuppycakes –who by the way just won September’s Cupcake Hero . She is a cupcake genius. In a recent post she did an amazing caramel apple cuppycake . My problem (which my hubby ALWAYS mentions) is that I am a very poor cupcake decorator. Well when I saw CB’s caramel cuppycake I thought you could make that a pumpkin. Then at the store I saw some candy and a light bulb went on.

Thus, I present to you A Patch of Pumpkin’s cupcake.
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I created the recipe by basically adding more flour to my standard pumpkin pie recipe. Hubs thinks it is awesome and in his words “it is a cakey version of pumpkin pie!” I know, he is kind of nerdy…

Ingredients for Pumpkin Cupcakes

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup golden sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup shortening

Ingredients for Chai Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 packages (8 oz) of cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp chai spice mix
  • Yellow and Red food colouring

Ingredients for Assembly

  • Orange sprinkles
  • Green bytes candy or thick green licorice

Prepare Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a bowl mix together flour, cinnamon, ground ginger, cloves, salt, baking powder and baking soda. In another bowl, blend together shortening and sugars. Once a creamy texture is reached add the pumpkin puree and mix.
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Who needs a KitchenAid when you have a real Kitchen Aid (he is SUCH a goof)

Take the bowl of dry ingredients and slowly add to the wet mixture making sure everything is blended well.

Fill cupcake liners and place in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or till cake tester comes out clean.
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sooo gooey

Remove from oven and let cool.

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yay!!! They came out looking scrumptious

Prepare Chai Cream Cheese Frosting

Blend together softened butter and cream cheese together. Once blended, slowly add confectioner’s sugar so that frosting is stiff. Add vanilla and chai. Blend again. Add food colouring till you achieve desired orange colour.

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Assembling Cupcakes

Take cooled cupcakes and put big dollop of frosting on top. Shape so that frosting resembles a sphere.
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Roll frosted cupcake in sprinkles fully covering the surface of the sphere.
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oh so prettttttyyyy

Insert green livewire byte or green licorice that has been cut to an inch. Run knife vertically down the sphere starting from the green candy — doing this will create the ridges of the pumpkin. Continue to make ridges on the cupcake till you have six ridges. However, it is important to make sure you wipe off the knife before you proceed to do more ridges.

Place in fridge over night so that frosting sets and there you have it, a nice festive patch of pumpkins.
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Also, I would like to thank Fiesta Products for my Iron Cupcake prize. I received the whole Head Chefs set in the mail yesterday and my daughter, E, loves them. She uses them as dolls right now but I think they are great in the kitchen.
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