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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The value of a virtue

October 27, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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My husband often tells me that I am too intense, which can result in my being impatient.  I have always admitted that I am a Type-A personality.  When I need something done it needs to be accomplished right away.  This philosophy translates into most faucets of my life–exercising, work and even baking.

(Side note: rushing and impatiences are also how I cut off half my finger last week but that is a story no one wants to hear).

The opportunities I have to bake are fleeting.  I usually need to get things done fast or I will be left with half-baked goodies and two weeping children tugging at my limbs. The only problem with my quick forging baking technique is that I get muddle headed and I won’t mix something enough or even worse–I’ll forget an ingredient (sugarless treats are not a pleasant surprise).

Today, however, was a day of change. The girls were content with playing in my pantry and “baking.” So I thought that I would make some macarons. I carefully weighed out all the ingredients ahead of time. I took time to whip the eggs at a slow speed and for them to become glossy and stiff.

Somedays taking time and really relishing in an activity is the most calming and satisfying moment (well, aside from taking that first bite of a delicious macaron).

I made a cinnamon macaron with cream cheese filling for my husband who has been requesting them for the past month.

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Cinnamon Macarons with Cream Cheese filling
adapted from Not So Humble Pie and Baked

yields 50 macarons

Ingredients

  • 60g almond meal
  • 100g powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 50g egg whites
  • 15g granulated sugar
  • food coloring gel
  • Cream Cheese filling (recipe below)

Method

Line 1 heavy gauge aluminum baking sheets with parchment. Prep a piping bag with a round tip.

Sift almond meal, powdered sugar and cinnamon to remove any clumps. (If you own a food processor, I highly recommend blending the almonds and powdered sugar and then sifting.)

Weigh out the egg whites into a large mixing bowl (stainless steel or copper), if you’re using stainless feel free to add a pinch of salt, 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar or couple drops of lemon juice to help strengthen the whites. If you’re using copper you need not and should not add any additional acid.

Weigh out the granulated sugar.

Begin beating the eggs on low speed. What you’re doing here is unraveling the egg white’s proteins (these are what will capture the air bubbles you whisk in), they’re bundled up and you need to gently unwind them. A light touch does this far better than scrambling them on high speed. Once the egg whites are very foamy, begin sprinkling in the sugar as you beat. Increase the speed to medium, if necessary, and beat the meringue to stiff glossy peaks. (If they start looking grainy, clumpy or dry you’ve gone too far.)

Add the food coloring (for the full recipe it usually takes 2-4 drops of gel, for a half batch 1-2 drops does the trick) and mix.

Add about 1/4 of the almond/sugar mixture and fold in until no streaks remain. Continue to add the almond mixture in quarters, folding until you reach the proper batter (the consistency of molten lava).

Pour the batter into your prepared piping bag and pipe rows of batter (dollops a little bigger than a quarter) onto the baking sheets, giving them space to spread.

Tap the pan on the counter to bring up any air bubbles and quickly pop them with a toothpick.

Allow the cookies to rest on a level surface for 30-60 minutes. Until they are no longer tacky to a light touch.

While they rest, place an oven rack in the lower 3rd of your oven and preheat to 280°F.

Bake the cookies for 16-20 minutes.

Remove the cookies from the sheet soon after removing from the oven. If they’re very sticky you may need to allow them to cool a little but ideally they’ll have good bottoms and you can lift them right off the paper immediately.

Once cool fill with prepared filling.

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Cream Cheese Filling
Ingredients
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

Sift sugar into medium bowl and saet aside.

In a bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment, beat butter until completely smooth. Add cream cheese and beat until combined.

Add sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. Be careful not to overbeat the filling, or it will lose structure. (Filling can be made 1 day ahead. Cover the bowl tightly and put it in the refrigerator. Let the filling soften at the room temperature before using.)

Assembling the macarons

Match the shells according to size. Place macarons on their back (feet up) and pipe a dollop of filling in the centre and put other shell on top pressing down slightly. Repeat until all shells are used.

Store in an air tight container and let mature for 24-hours to achieve best macarons.
 

Fashion faux-pas and hat shaped cookies.

February 28, 2010 at 7:14 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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First off, when it comes to fashion I am a mess.  My favourite colour to wear is black and I wear the plainest of plain clothes.  The basic t-shirt is a friend of mine and sweatpants are something I hold close and dear to my heart.

I have been a loss to fashion since forever.  When I was a little girl, probably around the ages of 6  to 8 -years-old, my father was very influential in the way I dressed.  He kept his eye on the world of fashion and would tell me what was fashionable and then proceed to buy me outfits that would reflect said fashion.

There was only one problem: when you are 6-years-old, it is kind of hard to help set the trends and young children just don’t understand.

My father would tell me about wearing men’s clothing, like his shirts, to school as dresses.  Now this was, in fact, the trend.  It was the early 90’s and women wearing baggy men’s clothing was starting to get popular.  However, like I said before, 6-year-olds don’t understand that it was cool to be on the fringe of a fashion movement and I was constantly asked why I was wearing men’s dress shirts.

Another thing my father liked was hats.  He always wanted me to wear hats and would buy me baseball caps, sailor hats, berets and all sorts of odd and interesting hats.  Every time my father would come home with a different hat I would just sigh and grudgingly try it on for him.  To get me to wear it outside the house he said that he would offer me 5 cents every time I wore a hat he bought.

He never did end up paying me.  I think since he was such a great dad, I’ll have to call it even because there is no price you can put on being a good father.

So to honour my father and coincidentally Purim I made Hamantashen.

Hamantashen are Jewish cookies that are made for Purim.  They are shaped as little hats, the hat of Haman.  I decided to do hamantashen with an apple poppy seed filling that is quite different from many traditional Hamantashen recipes.

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Not your Grandmother’s Hamantashen

Apple Poppy seed Filling
Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup poppy seeds
  • 1/4 cup butter, unsalted
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup golden sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 green apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped

Method:
In a saucepan over high-heat, whisk together sour cream, milk and poppy seeds. Continue to whisk mixture until it comes to a boil. Turn down to medium-heat.

Add honey and sugar and cook until mixture thickens, about 15-20 minutes, while whisking ever-so-often. You can tell when it is thick when you take run the whisk through the mixture and a light trail is left.

Once thick remove from heat and whisk in cinnamon and salt. Let cool.

Add chopped apple when mixture has cooled; stir. Set aside to use as filling.

Hamantashen cookie dough
Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp milk

Method:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In the bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar on medium-speed. Beat in egg.

In a medium bowl, sift together flours, baking powder and salt.

With the mixer on low-speed, slowly add half of the flour mixture. Then add the milk. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix until just combined.

Form dough into a ball and turn over on to a floured surface.

Roll out dough to 1/8 inch thick. Use a 3 inch round cookie cutter or a glass and cut out circles.

In the middle of the circles place a bit over a tablespoon of apple poppy seed filling.

Two sides of the upper half of the circle and pinch the top together. Lift up the bottom half of the circle and pinch sides in the same manner so that a triangle is formed making sure to leave the centre un-pinched so some filling is exposed.

Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
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How peanut butter cookies saved my daughter from being a weapon of mass destruction.

February 22, 2010 at 4:48 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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My baby is teething. She started teething at two months and at five months she already has two full grown teeth.

Now, I love my baby and think she is just so adorable but she is drooly. Actually, she is extremely drooly thanks to her teething. Her teething has also made her want to put everything in her mouth.

Sometimes she will even try to put my face in her mouth. When I see that look in her eyes I feel the fear. Her hands move towards my neck and then she uses her death grip on me and pulls my face to her mouth.

These actions have proved to be beneficial to Tonija. She has found a weapon in my baby’s teething and no one is safe.

Tonija will lift my baby in the air (which she loves) and fly her over people so drool bombs can drop on them. If someone slights Tonija bad enough she will make the baby face the person and slowly move the baby towards them, which then triggers the death-grip-face-eat.

Since I don’t want my baby to be a weapon of torture I made double chocolate peanut butter cookies.

Hopefully, Tonija can use these cookies as a weapon of kindness or she can eat them all, be happy and be oblivious to any of her tormentors because she will be in peanut butter bliss.

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Tori’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup golden sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 package peanut butter chips (300g)
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Method:
Preheat 325 degrees.

Put shortening and butter in a microwavable proof bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, take out and stir. Put back in the microwave for 30 seconds and stir. Repeat for 10 second intervals until melted.

In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream together sugars, shortening and butter on medium speed. Then add peanut butter and mix.

Remaining on medium speed and one egg at a time making sure each egg is mixed until just combined. Add vanilla and mix until combined.

In a medium bowl sift together flour, salt and baking soda.

On low speed slowly pour in flour mixture and mix until just combined.

Remaining on low add chocolate chips and peanut butter chips.

Using a tablespoon scoop cookies on to the cookie sheet spacing an inch apart.

Bake in a preheated oven for 12-17 minutes.

Makes 60 cookies.

Let the Christmas festivities begin!!

December 3, 2008 at 6:44 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I love the feeling the spirit of Christmas. Hearing carolers in the mall, smelling fresh baked cookies and seeing bright lights always bring a big smile to my face.

For me Christmas always starts on December 1st, not before and not after. I like to have the tree up on the first and start my Christmas baking on the first. But this year I started late!! My in-laws came to visit and I was busy doing family activities. As much fun as that was I now get to bake some Christmas yummies and start relishing in the beauty of this season.

Of course, nothing says Christmas to me like shortbread cookies. My sister came over and she absolutely adores shortbread so I decided then and there that shortbread was to be made.

Winning Iron Cupcake got me the super Taste of Home Cookbook. I already had a copy of it but it was last years copy. This years Taste of Home Cookbook is even more fantastic than last years (I know hard to believe). So I took out the trusty cookbook and looked up a recipe for shortbread cookies. I chose the Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies. My hubby and sister really liked them. Hubs said that usually shortbread can be dry but these were top notch.

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Ingredients for Shortbread

  • 2 cups butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • green and red sprinkles

Prepare Shortbread

In a big bowl, cream butter until fluffy.  Add brown sugar and cream together.  Add vanilla and mix well.  Slowly add the flour slowly and mix it until a ball forms.

Knead the dough for three minutes. Then roll dough out into a rectangle shape and cut out into triangles, rectangles or squares. Prick with a fork. Place cookies on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or a silicon mat and bake for 22-28 minutes or until bottom begin to brown.

Remove from oven. Sprinkle some green and red sprinkles on cookies. Wait 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Chocolate chip cookie … d’oh cupcakes?!

September 6, 2008 at 7:03 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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For the longest time I have been trying to create original cupcakes that I couldn’t find on the web.  However,  I couldn’t think of anything.  Then I had an idea — a really great idea if I could pull it off.  That idea was chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes.  The only problem was the whole raw eggs issue.  So I looked on the web and to my surprise and delight I found a recipe for edible cookie dough (who knew! I didn’t).

Alas, the chocolate chip cookie d’oh cupcake was born.
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I wish I had more time to decorate them but again I am a mommy and when you have a baby tugging at your pant legs its hard spend time on the decoration.

Oh and I would like to thank my lovely sister Tonija for helping me prepare this delicious cuppycakes even though she kept on eating all the ingredients.


Ingredients

Vanilla Cupcake

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbs Vanilla extract

Edible Cookie Dough

(recipe taken from Lynettee’s Kitchen)

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter — softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • cookie3

Chocolate Icing

  • 8 oz semi sweet chocolate
  • 1 1/2 cup whipping cream

Prepare Vanilla Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine flour, baking powder and salt together. In another bowl blend together softened butter and sugar. Then beat in milk, eggs and vanilla. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture slowly while using an electric mixer on low.

Fill cupcake liners two thirds of the way full. Cook for about 15 minutes or until cake tester insert comes out clean.

Prepare edible cookie dough

In a bowl mix together flour, baking soda and salt. In another bowl blend together the butter and sugars. Once fully blended, add the milk and vanilla. Then, gradually add the flour mixture to the wet mixture — stir well. Complete by folding in chocolate chips.

Prepare Chocolate Whip

Place a metal bowl over a pot of boiling chocolate. Add the chocolate to the bowl and stir until melted. Remove bowl from pot and mix in cream with a hand mixer for 10 minutes or until desired consistency.

Prepare Cupcakes

Take the cool cupcake and use a paring knife to remove the center.
cookie2
Take the center piece and cut off the rest of the cupcake so that top is flat. Fill the center with a scoop of chocolate chip cookie dough.
cookie4
Place the center piece back on. Ice the cupcake and top with a mini chocolate chip cookie.
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