Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Butterscotch Confetti Squares

The last couple of years I've sold my holiday baking at a few different Christmas Craft markets, which requires a heck of allot of time, and ingredients, and passion!  I think I got a little baked out.  As a result, I didn't sign up for any markets this year, and have done very little baking, even just for personal.  Very little for me anyways!
I actually didn't think that I'd manage to post prior to Christmas.   We've been plagued by one virus after another, and frankly, I'm pooped.  Chatting with some of the girls at work, this is a commonality.  We're all just like, totally tuckered out!  So my Christmas wish for you all is to get time to enjoy the little things, and make time for what gives you joy! 

Do you do a big dessert for your Christmas dinner?  I opt not for cake or pie, but put out a big ol' platter that my fam can nosh on all day and night if they so desire.  One treat that I absolutely must make for my Christmas platter, are these Butterscotch Confetti Squares.  No Christmas grinchy mood could stop me from making these squares,  they are my sister's favourite, and I hope that I bring her tummy joy with each bite, and now yours too!

Butterscotch Confetti Squares

2 cups (1 300g bag) butterscotch chips
1 cup smooth peanut butter (crunchy would work in a pinch)
1/2 cup butter
1 bag (400g) mini multi-coloured marshmallows

Have ready a large baking pan (9 x 9 or 9 x 13), lined with parchment paper or foil.  Using a large, heavy saucpan, heat the first 3 ingredients on lowest heat, stirring often, until chips are almost melted. Remove from heat, and continue to stir until smooth.  Add marshmallows, stirring until just coated. Pour into the prepared pan, and push down gently, use wet fingers if needed.  Chill until firm, and cut into squares.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Pumpkin Streusal Muffins (or Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins)

 Well, the snow has fallen before I managed to share a pumpkin recipe with you...but it's not too late is it?  I personally, enjoy pumpkin spice flavours all year long.  Certainly, more in the winter months though.  On our trip to Las Vegas last month we stopped in at a Trader Joe's, holy moly does that place go crazy on the pumpkin spice theme!  We only got on the plane with carry-on luggage, so I couldn't purchase any pumpkin spice cookie butter, but I did manage to smuggle some yummy chocolate & Cherries trail mix, pumpkin spiced pumpkin seeds, Pumpkin Bars; Oh, and some really beety Root Juice which I enjoyed while Cory had breakfast a Jack in the Box.  Cory's vacation goals include eating at every possible state-side fast food place...he has his goals, I have mine;)

I had an epiphany of a pumpkin breakfast cookie, inspired and filled with the pumpkin spiced pumpkin seeds acquired from Trader Joe's, along with oats, and cranberries; while being both sugar and gluten-free, and vegan to boot.  ...they turned out like hockey pucks!  I still ate them, 'cuz food waste makes me crazy, but the recipe was not at the calibre to share, I'll keep working on it.

I don't believe I've ever shared this Pumpkin Streusal Muffin recipe, and it's one that is a family favourite.  Sunday mornings are for baking muffins while listening to the CBC, it's my happy place.  I also love knowing that of the muffins I bake, whatever is not eaten for breakfast that day, will fill their lunch boxes throughout the week.
So in catering to their specific tastes, I usually make these 2-ways: Large muffins covered with streusal for Cory, and mini-muffins filled with chocolate chips for the kids.  The mini-muffins are easier for the kids to grab and go if they just want to snack on them at home, and they fit perfectly in the little containers I use for their school lunch, making it a litter-less lunch box! Bonus!  One batch can be stretched to accommodate one regular size, and one mini size muffin tray...that's two total.  I've also made it into one large loaf for sharing at a staff meeting, this recipe is just so versatile.  It's also a little lower in fat than traditional muffin recipes, with only one-quarter cup in the mix (minus the streusal). I hope your family enjoys this as much as mine does!

Pumpkin Streusal Muffins (or Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins)

2 cups white whole wheat or all-purpose flour (I use a cup of each)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 (398ml) can pumpkin puree
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup(ish) chocolate chips - optional

2 Tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin tins or loaf pan by greasing and set aside.
Make the streusal by using a fork to mash together all of the ingredients until they are evenly combined and crumbly.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt.
In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin, butter, eggs, and vanilla, until well combined. Add this dry ingredients to the wet, and stir until just combined.

Fill the prepared muffin tins or loaf pan with the batter until they are each 2/3 full. Top with a tablespoon or so of the crumbled streusel topping.
If making chocolate chip muffins, fill regular size tin first, then add chocolate chips to remaining batter, and fill the mini tins, skipping the struesal step.  Or, skip the streusal all together for pumpkin chocolate chip muffins!
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean.  Allow to cool slightly before removing muffins from tins, and transferring to wire rack to cool completely.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Fudgey layered Cookies n' Cream Ice Cream Cake

At this point I have written and re-written this recipe 4 times!!  Stoopid computer, and kinda stoopid me, for not thinking of Copying the whole text when it wouldn't save!  Ughhhhh.  I started writing this shortly after Sloane's Birthday back in the middle of September.  Since then we have taken a totally spontaneous trip to Las Vegas(!), hung out with artists at the Tattoo convention, and nursed hangovers from the after party!  All this crazy memory making plus all of our normal hectic schedules, hasn't left much time inbetween for being IT professionals, so please for give my tardiness;)
I'm kinda over this cake after writing about it repeatedly, but I also want to get past this recipe and onto pumpkin before I miss fall food altogether, so I'm going to post this fantastic Ice Cream Cake before it snows!

How many of you ask your child, what kind of cake they would like for their birthday, and they respond: "Ice Cream Cake".  For both of my kids, and most of my friend's children as well, this is the response.  I can make any cake they should desire (probably), and they want me to go to DQ, and spend an astronomical amount.  For Sloane's 11th birthday, we created a Build your own Sundae Buffet, kinda thing, in lieu of buying an ice cream cake.  This past September Sloane turned 13!!  still blows my mind that I have a teenager now.  Wild.  Of course, her response for birthday cake ideas, was the same: Ice Cream Cake. Granted DQ does a yummy I copied it.

It cost a fraction of what DQ charges for their cakes, plus I could customize it a bit.  Our favourite part of an ice cream cake is that fudgey layer, so I made 2 fudgey layers!  I still need to save on time, so I didn't make the brownies from scratch, and the cookies that I crumbled were store bought, as was the fudge sauce.  Even still, I think it came together really quick, and would be easily to swap ingredients to play with different flavours. Ummmm peanut butter cups, anyone?! 

I did all my shopping at No Frills, for the most part I always will opt for the no name product, unless the brand names are on sale, luckily for me their were lot's of good deals on ice cream that week! Breyers Ice Cream was on sale, I believe it was $2.96 for the Chocolate, the Oreo Birthday Cake Ice Cream was also on sale, $3.96, the PC old fashioned dark chocolate fudge sauce was about $2.50, cream filled cookies were $2.26, and no name brownies were $2.19, no name frozen dessert topping $2.50.  I already had eggs and oil to make the brownies, and sprinkles in the pantry, but still this fancy schmancy, and delicious ice cream cake, came together for about $20.00! Not too shabby!

Fudgey layered Cookies n' Cream Ice Cream Cake

1 box brownie mix (plus ingredients required)
1 container chocolate ice cream
1 container Cookies n' cream ice cream
1 jar fudge sauce
1 sleeve(ish) cream filled cookies, smashed
1 container Frozen whipped topping (Cool Whip)
canned whipped Cream, optional garnish
sprinkles, optional garnish
extra smashes cookies, optional garnish

I used a 6-inch round springform pan, greased and lined it with parchment, and baked the brownies the day prior - leave at least enough time for the brownies to cool completely.  When I was ready to assemble, I removed the ice cream(s) from the freezer so they could soften slightly, then removed the brownie from the pan, and cut it through the middle horizontally.  I placed one half back in the bottom of the same springform pan (no need to wash!), then covered it with a layer of the fudge sauce, spreading it as evenly as possible, followed by a generous amount of smashed cookies.  Next I emptied the container of chocolate ice cream, and pushed/spread it out to the edges, careful not to disturb the brownie-cookie layer.  Add another brownie-fudge-cookie layer, followed by the cookies n' cream ice cream, and then place the whole thing in the freezer to harden for at least 4 hours, if not overnight. 

Remove from the freezer, and release the tension ring from the springform pan, I left my cake right on the bottom of the pan, but you could also transfer it to the serving plate/platter of your choosing.

Cover the whole top and bottom of cake with a layer of the whipped topping (Cool Whip), I happened to also have a can of Whipped cream in the fridge, so I added a decorative ring around the top, and filled the middle-top with more crushed cookies and sprinkles.  **My fancy addition of whipped cream melted/slid off in the freezer, so this step could always wait until ready to serve.**
Place the cake in in the freezer until ready to serve.  **this would be a good time to make it fancier with canned whipped cream!**

Fancy trick for ease of slicing - Place a knife in a pint glass filled with hot water, or run it under the tap to heat the knife up to make your slicing smoother.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Chinese 5-Spice Pork with Nectarines

Happy Autumnal Equinox, Pals!  Today I wore a scarf and tall boots, even though the sun was shining, and there is a definite nip in the air.  Bring on cozy meals, and night time cuddles under quilts.  I'm ready!
This Chinese 5-Spice Pork with Nectarines recipe is from a recently published cookbook I came across at the library, titled: Sheet Pan Suppers.  This cookbook has a great collection of  120 quick and easy week night meals, and also includes brunches, lunches and snacks!  Most of the recipes are fast enough to throw together on the fly, say... if it's gymnastics night?  Aaaand I think a sheet pan meal, counts almost as a one dish meal? Right?!  Gotta love a one dish meal!

I was immediately drawn this this recipe in particular, as I still have an abundance of late summer stone fruit, and pork in the freezer.  Plus, Chinese 5-Spice is Cory's fave!
I have also made this dish with apples, which was delish, so when nectarines disappear from the markets you have an alternate fruit.

Chinese 5-Spice Pork with Nectarines
Recipe adapted from: Sheet Pan Suppers Cookbook; By Molly Gilbert, pg 123

1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
1 piece (2 inches) fresh ginger,finely grated
1 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 large Pork tenderloin, chopped into chunks or approx 6 Pork Chops (preferably boneless)

3-5 nectarines pitted and sliced (wait until ready to cook) apples, peaches, or pears would also work in a pinch
1/4 cup chopped green onion (just the white & light green part of the bulb)

Whisk together the oil, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, five spice powder, and sesame oil in a medium-size bowl until combined. Place the pork in a large zip-top bag or good sealing container, add the marinade. Turn the pork chops over in the marinade to coat fully. Place the bag or container in the refrigerator and let the chops marinate. In a pinch I've put this straight in the oven and it's still yummy, ideally you should marinate for at least 4 hours, and up to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 425°F.  Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
Transfer the marinated pork to the prepared sheet pan, spacing them evenly apart. Using the leftover marinade, place the nectarine slices into the marinade and toss to coat. Arrange the nectarines around and in between the pork.
Bake until the pork is cooked through and the nectarines have softened and browned, 20 to 30 minutes, flipping pieces at the half mark.


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Dairy-Free Thai Corn Chowder & Fried Coconut Chicken

For as long as we've been living together (like, 14 years or something crazy?!), Cory has been asking to get a deep fryer.  I'm not even joking.  As much as I post recipes for cookies and bars and sweet treats, I am truly a naturalist at heart.  I am on the ever-quest for a lean body and good health.  I may not have a lean body, but I would consider my health pretty good.  So that being said, the idea of purchasing a deep fryer was not going to happen, ever. ever. ever...not by me any ways.
Cory decided to skip over my vote, and go out and buy one! GAH!!!
The hard part for me is that I LOVE to experiment with new foods, and recipies, and equipemnt.  Soooo the menu over the last couple weeks has been  mid-way esque!  Deep fried oreos, pop tarts, mushrooms, vegetables, pickles, etc etc.  we even have chcolate bars in the freezer waiting for their turn.  Le sigh - I admit itIt's been kinda fun!  And of Course Cory and the kids have been over the moon!

Stay tuned, maybe I'll share some more of our sweet experiments.  Here's one of the savoury ones:
Thai Corn Chowder with Deep Fried Coconut Chicken!  Because corn is in season in Alberta, and why the heck not take a Corn Chowder to the Thai side?!  It's deeeelsih, super satisfying while being light with just a little bit of heat to it.  And for the man in my life, DEEEEP-Fried!

Inspired by these two amazing recipes for corn chowder: one from Half Baked Harvest, and the other from Shutterbean.  If you need a tutorial on how to shi=uck your corn like a pro, The Kitchn has you covered!

Dairy-Free Thai Corn Chowder

2 Tablespoons olive or coconut oil
1 medium onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 lemongrass stalk, chopped
1 Tablespoon red Thai curry paste
1 jalepeno or red thai chile, seeds removed + chopped
4 cups chicken broth
1 potato, peeled + cubed into small pieces
4 cups fresh or frozen corn, I used 3 Cobbs from Taber, Alberta
1 can full fat coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper... or S&P to taste

fresh chopped cilantro, basil, lime, fish sauce, sweet Thai chili sauce, for serving

Fried Coconut Chicken
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt + pepper
2 eggs
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 1/3 cups shredded coconut, unsweetened or sweetened
3 or 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced into strips
coconut or canola oil, for frying

Shuck your corn, and run a sharp knife down the cobb, to release the kernels, set aside the kernels, and reserve a cobb or two.
Heat a large soup pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the onion, garlic, ginger, lemongrass and chile or jalepeno, and thai chili paste. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant and soft. Slowly pour in the chicken broth and add the potato. Simmer, uncovered for about 15 minutes or until the potato is fork tender (this is when I start making the chicken), and my special trick is to leave one or two of the stripped corn cobbs in the broth to add flavour.
Add the corn kernels, coconut milk, and salt & pepper, cooking until the corn kernels are tender and bright yellow, about 5 minutes.  If you don't dig a "chunky" soup, use a hand held blender and puree away!
Remove the soup from the heat and top with your fave garnishes: basil, cilantro, fish sauce, lime, and/or sweet thai chili sauce, and of course your Fried Coconut Chicken!  Divide the soup among bowls and serve immediately. Recipe below!

Coconut chicken:  Use boneless, skinless chicken breasts sliced into strips.  Get ready your dredging stations - Add the flour, salt + pepper to a shallow bowl. Add the eggs to another bowl and gently beat together. Add the Panko and coconut to a third bowl, mixing them to combine.  Working in an assembly line, first dip the chicken through the flour, then take it for a dip in the egg and then dredge it through the coconut crumbs. Place on a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken.  Heat a heavy bottomed, high-sided skillet over medium heat and add enough oil to cover the bottom and 1-2 inches up the sides. Once the oil is hot (BUT NOT SMOKING), add the chicken in batches, frying each about 2-3 minutes per side or until the chicken are light golden. Place the fried coconut chicken pieces on a plate lined witha papertowel and until all chcien is fried up. Serve the fried coconut chicken warm atop the soup along with your fave garnishes.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Peanut Butter Caramel Chocolate Chip Toffee Bars AKA Husband Stealer Squares

As you can see by my lack of posts, this summer has been super duper busy!  I hope to have more time to share more recipes soon, but I'm gonna keep this short and sweet(!) today, and just get straight to the goods!

The original name of these bars is a liiiitttle lengthy, "Peanut Butter Caramel Chocolate Chip Toffee Bars" whew!  This past weekend these amazing, absolutely decadent squares were renamed" Husband Stealer Squares".  We might've been drinking when this name came to be, I'll never tell, but the name shall live on!

Peanut Butter Caramel Chocolate Chip Toffee Bars AKA Husband Stealer Squares
Recipe adapted from:Mom On Timeout

Caramel Filling
1 bag (11 oz/300 grams ish) caramels
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
4 Tablespoons butter

Cookie Dough
3/4 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter, creamy or smooth - your choice
2 eggs
1 Tablespoons vanilla
2 cups flour
1 c old fashioned oats
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cup chocolate chips
1 cup Reese's peanut butter chips (optional - I didn't have any and skipped it - they would just be extra peanut buttery)
1 cup Scor toffee bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9x13 inch baking dish with parchment paper.
Unwrap caramels and place in a small saucepan with butter and sweetened condensed milk.
Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until caramels have fully melted and the mixture is nice and smooth.  Set aside to cool slightly.
For the cookie dough:  Combine flour, oats, baking powder, and salt in a small mixing bowl, and set aside.  Cream butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Add peanut butter and continue mixing.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Add the flour mixture slowly stirring until well combined.
Stir in the chocolate chips, peanut butter chips (optional), and toffee bits.
Spread approximately 2/3 of the dough on the bottom of the prepared baking dish, using wet hands/fingertips to get it evenly spread out.
Slowly pour caramel mixture evenly over the dough.  Drop the remaining cookie dough on top by the teaspoon. It doesn't have to be perfect!
Bake for about 35-40 minutes,until lightly browned around the edges and over the top.  Let cool completely and then cut into bars.


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Cake Batter Snacks n' Stuff Popsicles

This week I was inspired by all the amazing Popsicles as part of #popsicleweek, and my brain created this: Cake Batter Snacks n' Stuff Popsicle! The creator of this fantastical week of sweet and chilly treats is the voice behind the blog wit and vinegar, Billy.  Billy's totally adorable and infectious enthusiasm for his creations comes out through the writing of his blog, as well, he is working on his first cookbook!  So excited to get my mits on it!  Check out all these other amazing #popsicleweek creations HERE.

'Murica, we love your snacks!  Nobody believes us when we say that we go to the states just to load up on snacks.  But it's the honest truth, and this recent trip to Montana did not disappoint.  I found some craaaazay kinds of cereal, like Cap'n Crunch Sprinkled Donut Crunch?!  and Cap'n Crunch's Caramel Popcorn Crunch?!...the Cap'n's crazy, man.
We also came across this new Chex Mix variety Popped sweet and salty, I thought the popcorn in this mix might go soggy?  So I ate it all out of the mix a precautionary measure.
'Murica also has like a gazillion different kids of Gold Fish crackers than we do, both the sweet and savoury variety.  For this recipe I used the strawberry shortcake, and cinnamon flavoured Gold Fish, the cupcake and brownie ones we have in Canada would also work deliciously. Snack time!

Cake Batter Snacks n' Stuff Popsicles

1 can full-fat coconut milk
1/2 cup vanilla flavoured almond milk (or your fave nut milk)
1/4 cup dry cake mix (I used Betty Crocker Rainbow Bit)
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 cup (approx.) snacks! (pretzels, candy coated chocolate pieces, sweet n' salty chex mix; cinnamon & strawberry shortcake Gold Fish, Cap'n Crunch Sprinkled doughnut cereal, Sprinkles, etc!)

In a medium bowl, or large measuring cup (the spout is handy!) mix together the coconut milk, and almond milk, along with the vanilla bean paste.  Stir in the dry cake mix, until combined, then add all the snacks.  Pour the mixture into the popsicle molds, you might have the push down bits of snack with the popsicle stick, to ensure you leave room for enough liquid (milk mixture), finish with additional sprinkles, if desired.  Place popsicle mold carefully in your freezer, and freeze for at least 4-6 hours, if not overnight.  To release the popsicles from the mold run under hot water, or place mold in a warm water bath for 30-60 sec, and gently pull out your creations!


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Fried Chicken Sandwiches "Store Chicken"

Oh man, time flies, no posts since April?!  I totally didn't intend to take that much of a break, life just kinda got busy, you know?  It's been a year since the passing of my Father-in-law, Ike, and we're finally at the final stages for settling his estate.  Which means allot of driving back and forth to Red Deer, and allot of work!  But we're almost there, and then we have the rest of the summer to chill out, and maybe do some work and organization at our own home.

 After a really intensive weekend of cleaning/organizing/sorting etc, myself and Cory were both totally burnt out by the end of our work day on Monday. Instead of ordering out, like a normal person might do, I made a delicious complicated meal! ha ha.  Not that this chicken is too too much work, but not doing it would be allot easier.  Does that make sense, even?
I was so tired, but this chicken is THE BOMB, and we were all making yum yum noises while enjoying our sandwiches, and my smartypants description, was to declare  "This tastes like store chicken"!  Meaning this chicken is so good, it tastes like it came from a store, but we were all in fits of giggles, with our tired sillies.  And so, that is how this chicken came to be called "Store Chicken". The End.

Fried Chicken Sandwiches
Recipe Adapted from: Date Night In, Page 174

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts (I’ve used bone-in as well, just allow for more baking time.)
Approx. 4 cups Vegetable, canola or peanut oil, for frying

Spice mix

1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons salt

Flour dredge
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Buttermilk dredge
1 cup buttermilk (1 Tbsp lemon to 1 cup milk =tada!)
1 egg

** The day before you plan on frying the chicken, whisk together the paprika, oregano, thyme, marjoram, garlic powder, pepper and salt to form the spice mix. Set aside 1 tablespoon of the spice mix and sprinkle the rest over the chicken. Cover the chicken with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. ** I’ve managed to make this recipe on the fly, by just seasoning as my chicken breasts defrost in the microwave, and I get all my other ingredients organized, and they were still delish.

Set up a wire rack over a baking sheet, and set aside. Fill a large, heavy skillet (I use a cast-iron pan) with about 3/4 inch of oil, and bring to a medium high heat.

To fry the chicken, mix together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and reserved 1 Tbsp spice mix in a bowl or shallow dish. And in a separate bowl or disk, whisk together the buttermilk and egg

Dredge the chicken in the buttermilk mixture, then the flour mixture, then the buttermilk mixture again and finally back into the flour. I fry 2 pieces at a time, so the oil doesn’t cool off too much. Fry the chicken for 3 minutes per side until deep golden brown, then place on the rack over the baking sheet.

Once all the chicken is fried, place the pan , wire rack and all, and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until just done inside. If you use bone-in chicken, increase time to 15-20 minutes.

We served these with bacon, lettuce, and tomato, on fresh yummy buns. They are great as an entrée with your fave sides too. Kid approved!


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Cake Batter Cookies

Holy crap, I forgot about Food Swoon's second blogiversary!  It was was back at the end of February, so I'm only two months behind.  Happy Belated 2nd Blog Birthday to me!  Last year I was more on the ball, apparently, and went all out making a Flourless Chocolate Cake that was just for me, and oh so delicious. 

This year, I didn't even have a celebration on my radar, but I did have a recipe for these festive and fun Cake Batter Cookies, that I've been meaning to share forever.  These cookies are SO yummy!  They totally killed my diet, and I kinda don't even give a care - they were worth it!  
I now have a few Cake Batter recipes in my repertoire, my kids and their friends love Cake Batter Rice Krispies Treats, and one of my faves is Cake Batter Popcorn... Oi, those old pictures;)

This recipe came from another recently published cookbook: Sallys Baking Addiction, There's been SO many great cookbooks coming out lately, that I really haven't been creating my own recipes.   I want to try all these great recipes from the blogger's I've been following all these years.  Sally actually features these cookies on her blog of the same name, and can be counted on to be a constant source for super delicious treats, usually loaded with sprinkles too!

Cake Batter Cookies
Recipe adapted from: Sallys Baking Addiction Cookbook

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup boxed cake mix (I use Rainbow Bit Cake mix, but vanilla cake mix would work in a pinch - you just need the DRY mix)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup sprinkles 

***this dough requires chilling - plan ahead***
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cake mix, and baking soda. Set aside.
Using a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or a 
hand-held mixer, cream the softened butter and both sugars until smooth.  Add the egg and vanilla, and mix on medium-high for about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix on low-medium speed until just combined. Finally, add the chocolate chips and sprinkles, and pulse once or twice to distribute.
Wrap the dough tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours, or up to 3-4 days.

Once dough has been chilled, preheat oven to 350F degrees.
Using your hands, grab about 1.5 -2 Tbsp of the chilled dough, shaping the cookie dough balls to be taller than they are wide.  For extra pretty cookies, press a few chocolate chips and sprinkles into the tops of the cookie dough balls.
Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes until edges are slightly browned. The centers will still appear very soft, but the cookies will set as they cool.
Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring  to a wire rack to cool completely. 


Friday, April 10, 2015

Sour Cream and Onion Popcorn

Oh dear, I'm posting super late in the day/week, I actually wasn't even planning on posting today, but I know your probably perusing the interwebs making dinner plans, so I figured I should share mine.  

Okay, Confession.  I want this popcorn right now, I don't think I can even wait for dinner!  It's that witching hour of about 3:00, when the snackies really hit me.  I think it's long formed habit, from back in the Oprah days.  Keep in mind those were pre-PVR days, so when it was on, if you hadn't set your VCR, that was when you parked yourself in front of the TV box for OprAHHHHH.  Oh, and don't forget the Popcorn and the Kleenex.  Essentials. 
I'm going to hold of on popcorn right now, and wait until dinner time.  Cuz post-Oprah life, Friday night's are my new popcorn time.

Sour Cream and Onion Popcorn

Recipe adapted from Seriously Delish, pg. 88

1/3 cup popcorn kernels
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or melted butter
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons powdered buttermilk
1 1/2 tablespoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

I use a air-popper for my popcorn, you can do your preferred methodweather that be stove-top or Whirly-pop, making sure to do your best to remove any unpopped kernels. My technique is to use two bowls, shake the the first bowl so the seeds fall to the bottom, and then transfer popcorn to the second bowl by hand, leaving all the kernels behind.
In small lidded container or jar, add together the dill, cheese, buttermilk powder, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Put on the lid, and shake to combine.

Drizzle the popcorn with olive oil or butter, and toss it well to coat. Pour a healthy amount of the Sour Cream and Onion Seasoning over the popcorn and toss the popcorn evenly to coat it in the mixture. Taste the popcorn and season it additionally if needed.  Place any remaining Sour Cream and Onion seasoning in the fridge until your next popcorn fix!


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Butter's Chocolate Cake

You guys!  This chocolate cake is INSANE!  I'm pretty sure my last post was all hormones talking, and then I made this chocolate cake, and all my problems faded into the background.  Now my problem is that I can't stop eating this cake!  There's one last piece in the fridge screaming at me right now, I'm wearing skinny jeans this weekend, so I'm wearing earplugs:)
Last weekend we threw a surprise birthday party for my Mother-in-Law's 70th, which went off without a hitch!  We managed to get our regular Elvis impersonator, we always book him on milestone birthdays, it's family tradition.

My contribution was 3 cakes.  Yup, 3.  Mostly because I couldn't decide on one flavour/type that would please all tastes, but also because when your turning 70, you should eat ALL the cake!
So, we had carrot cake, a Crystal standard, which I didn't even get a piece of, and there were no leftovers. I also made that Glazed Lemon Cake that I shared the recipe for last week, and then this Chocolate Cake!

Similar to what I was saying about a lemon cake recipe, everyone should have a go-to chocolate cake recipe, and I think this will now be mine.  I found it in the cookbook: "Butter Baked Goods", which is from a little bakery in Vancouver, BC.  I haven't had the opportunity to visit Butter Baked Goods, as I haven't been to the coast since 2002, and they opened in 2007, but I drool over every Instagram post, and envy their creativity on a daily basis.
Butter's Chocolate cake is moist, dark and oh so decadent, all the calling cards of a to-die-for recipe.  You absolutely must make the Deep Dark Butter Cream to accompany the cake, they go hand and hand, and take the chocolate cake up a notch, to a death by chocolate status. So deadly!

Butter's Chocolate Cake
Recipe adapted from:  Butter Baked Goods, pg 150

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sale
2 cups hot coffee
1 cup dark cocoa
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil, vegetable or canola
4 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk (add and tablespoon of lemon to milk & voila = buttermilk)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Prepare cake pans (I used 3 8 inch rounds) by greasing with butter and dust with flour or cocoa, set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the hot coffee with the cocoa, until you have a smooth consistency with no lumps.  Set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.
Using a stand or hand held mixer, whisk together the sugar, oil, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla.  Add the cocoa/coffee mixture, and whisk to incorporate.  Add the dry ingredients, and whisk until just combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans, and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10-15 minutes, then invert on wire racks to cool completely.
Prepare the frosting!

Deep Dark Butter Cream
recipe adapted from: Butter Baked Goods, pg 133

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup dark chocolate, melted
3 cups icing sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup coffee, cold
1/4 cup whole milk (I used half and half)

Using a stand or handheld mixer, beat the butter of high, until pale in colour, scraping down the bowl as needed.  Melt the chocolate in a microwave or double boiler, and set aside to cool.
Sift together the icing sugar and cocoa, and then slowly add about half to the creamed butter.  Add the milk, coffee, and melted chocolate, followed by the remainder of the the cocoa icing sugar.  Turn the mixer to high and run for about 10 minutes, until the butter cream is light and fluffy

Transfer the cooled cakes to a nice plate or cake stand, and use a large-long serrated knife to cut each cake round in half horizontally.  Since I used 3 rounds, I had 6-layers.  A crumb coat is essential for this moist chocolate cake!  Carefully spread (or pipe) butter cream between each layer, and then a thin coat over the whole thing: top and sides, as smoothly as you're able.  Refrigerate the cake in the crumb-coat stage for about 10-15 minutes, which allows the icing to firm-up.  Apply the final coat, starting with the sides, and finishing with the top using an offset spatula for a super smooth finish.  And then use the tool of your choice to finish it in your fave way, this butter cream pipes amazingly!


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Glazed Lemon Cake

I've got itchy feet, y'all!  Not like, itchy-scratchy, but just, so super restless.  I want a new job, a new house, a new routine!  We tend to move house every 3 years or so, so the timing of our nomadic habits isn't all that shocking.  But I thought this was going to be our forever home, so I'm surprised that I am wanting to give up on all the conveniences that this location gives us, just for some country air.  I don't dig commuting, but I want a big ol' garden.  I like that my kids and I can walk to school & work, but I'm sick of car thefts and break-ins, not to mention all the big city violence.

Should I consider a career change?  I've been working for Calgary Public Library for almost 18 years...18 years!  How is that possible?!  It's possible, I suppose, because I truly do love working for the Library, how it allows me to help people in simple ways everyday.  But even that is on a mega shift right now, with all sorts of re-branding, and job description changes at all levels of employment.  If I'm gonna be honest, I love my job, but there's some people I just cant stand working with.  That is something I think everyone can relate to.  My rants have become a nightly routine, and perhaps its just hormones, or even spring fever, but somethings gotta give!  I feel worn out!
Maybe I should just take a chill pill, and paint a wall in my house, move some furniture, or do some baking, that usually helps me de-stress.  

Everyone should have a go-to lemon loaf cake recipe in their repertoire, it's like, an unwritten rule. This "Lemon Loaf cake with glaze" if from local foodie and author Gwendolyn Richards.  Gwendolyn is the voice behind the blog: Patent and the Pantry, numerous Calgary Herald articles, as well as the recently published cookbook: Pucker.  This lemon loaf is the bees knees because of the layers of lemon-y goodness.  Lemon in the cake, lemon in the syrup which also lends yummy moisture, and topped with yet more lemon in the glaze. Pucker-up!

Glazed Lemon Cake
1/1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 lemons, zested
2 eggs
1/3 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
1 Tablespoon lemon juice

3 Tablespoons sugar
3 Tablespoons lemon juice

1 cup icing sugar
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
pinch salt

Preheat the oven to 350F and prepare a loaf, or bundt, or your fave pan (I used a cute gem shaped one from Ikea!) by buttering it and lining with parchment if you desire.  
Using a medium sized bowl, add together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda, stir slightly with a fork, and then set aside.
Using a small bowl, mix together the yogurt (or sour cream), and the lemon juice, set aside.
Using a stand or hand held mixer, cream the butter and the sugar, until pale and fluffy.  Add the lemon zest and mix until well distributed. Add the eggs and mix again.  
Add the flour mixture, and the yogurt mixture, in alternating additions, staring with the flour.  Mix until it just comes together, do not over mix.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan of your choosing, and bake until toothpick or cake tester comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
While the cake bakes, prepare your lemon-y syrup!  Using a small saucepan, over medium -high heat, combine the sugar and the lemon juice, and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved.  Remove from the heat, and set aside.
Remove the baked cake/loaf/gem from the oven, and allow it to cool in it's pan for about 10-15 minutes.  Using a toothpick, poke the cake all over, and then spoon or pour the syrup over the top.  Allow the cake to cool completely, and then remove from pan.  
Mix together the glaze ingredients of icing sugar and lemon juice, and drizzle or pour over top of the cooled cake.  Allow it to set before serving.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Lucky Charms Ice Cream

I like to skip all the boozy revelry of St Patricks Day, and just make it a fun day for the kids.  Last year they made one of those Leprechaun traps, which I failed to take pics of:(  Never heard of a leprechaun trap?!  Check out Pinterest!  But I did get a pic of my cuties enjoying their Shamrock adorable, and look at Presley's long hair!  It's hard to believe that was a year ago!

Fast forward to this year's St. Patrick's Day, and my current mid-winter crisis, where I am constantly craving frozen treats for some crazy reason.  Pair that with my latest obsession for all things cereal milk, and you get the drift.  I showed up at home last Friday, with a big ol' box of Lucky Charms cereal, and all sorts of ideas, from cupcakes to sweet squares.

When I told Presley (#1 cereal fan, as well as my #1 recipe taste tester), my idea of making  Lucky Charms into ice cream...he was practically shaking with excitement!
They're magically delicious, who could blame him!

Lucky Charms Ice Cream

3 cups whole milk
1/2 cups whipping cream
1 1/2 cups Lucky Charms cereal (marshmallows removed)
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
teaspoon green food colouring (optional)
1 cup Lucky Charms reserved marshmallows

Using a food processor, blender, or mallet, pulse or crush the cereal until it becomes a loose sand-like texture.
In a medium pot, pour in the milk, cream, and then whisk in the crushed cereal.  Bring to a simmer, not a boil, stirring constantly so the bottom does not burn.
Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. Once the milk mixture is heated through, add about a 1/2 cup of the hot milk to the egg mixture in a slow but steady stream, whisking constantly to temper the eggs.  This will make the eggs warm enough to add back into the saucepan without scrambling.
Slowly pour the tempered egg mixture into the pot, along with the the vanilla extract, whisking constantly.  Keep over a low heat until the mixture is thickened, it should coat the back of your spoon or spatula, so that when you run a finger through the custard, it leaves a path.
Remove from the heat, and place into the fridge, covered, for 2-4 hours, or overnight until chilled completely.
To make the ice cream, add the chilled mixture to your ice cream maker and churn according to the directions. In the last minute of churning, add in the reserved marshmallows. Place into an airtight container and put into the fridge for about 4 hours to firm before serving.

Happy St. Patrick's Day