"if you wish to be glamorous, become a cake baker" -The Joy of Cooking

Friday, December 2, 2016

Christmas Cookies : Vanilla Bean Shortbread Cookies

Yay!! It's December!! In my house the tree is trimmed, the Halls are decked and i've gotten started on my christmas cookie baking.

Here is one of my oldest & most festive cookie recipe to make this time of year.  I have sweet childhood memories of my mom making these at christmas time.  She always packed them away in a pretty 12 Days of Christmas tin.

The dough is a snap to make and can be doubled without a problem, it rolls out nicely on a lightly floured surface.  I decorate them with all kinds of fun christmassy sprinkles before baking, which takes about 8mins in a 350 oven.

Basic Shortbread 

1 Cup Unsalted Butter
1/2 Cup Icing Sugar
1 tsp Salt
2 Cups Flour

Cream the butter in a stand mixer just until smooth.  Add in the icing sugar a little at a time.  Stop and scrape down the bowl as necessary until all the sugar is incorporated.  With the mixer on the slowest speed stir in the flour a little at time until soft dough forms.  I like to add vanilla bean paste to these cookies but you could flavour this dough anyway you like.  You could add regular vanilla extract so you don't see the bean specks and if you really want your cookies to stay light in colour you could add in clear vanilla extract.

 This basic dough can be flavoured so many different ways which is great.  You could add lemon zest and poppy seeds or a little lavender instead.  Orange zest would be nice too. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Easy Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

 I love watching YouTube videos of 2 things: makeup tutorials (obsessed!) and cooking/baking/cake decorating videos.  It's so incredible how much you can learn just by watching YouTube.  Everyday Food is one really great channel that I subscribe to and really enjoy watching.

One day I happened upon this video here about an easy banana muffin recipe. It was perfect since I had bananas too ripe to eat but perfect for baking.  You can also click here for the recipe over at www.marthastewart.com .   As soon as I finished watching I went straight to the kitchen and made them.

This recipe makes 12 muffins

Brown sugar Love & mashed bananas

This is a typical muffin recipe where you want to mix all the wet ingredients and dry ingredients separately, then once they are both mixed well you add the dry to wet

And mix very gently until just combined 

Lastly, I added the chocolate chips...maybe a few more than called for and gently mixed them in. They bake in a 350 oven for 20mins

I totally forgot to take a pic of the finished product :(    
When I remembered that I hadn't they were all gone! My husband really likes banana recipes.  He can't resist having 1 or 3.  I must admit i'm exactly the same :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Kitchen Stuff That Makes me Happy :) - Measuring Bowls

These are so fun and pretty and seeing them on my kitchen counter makes me so happy!
They are measuring bowls from The Pioneer Woman collection at Walmart.  Her line of kitchenware is so beautiful, functional and fun and I want it all!
In my opinion you really can't have too many measuring cups and i've been reaching for these a lot.
They are great to have as prep bowls too.

You can check out more of The Pioneer Woman Line  here  and here

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Birthday Peanut Butter Pie

My Husband truly is one of the sweetest people I know,  although that could just be a result of the copious amounts of honey he consumes.  He loves his honey more than Pooh Bear, it's just his nature.

He's also extremely thoughtful, kind hearted and just an all around good guy.  I thank my lucky stars every night that I get to be married to him.

Along with his love for honey, i've never seen anyone appreciate peanut butter more than he does.  So in honour of him and his love for sticky stuff I started a tradition, going on for a few years now, and make a peanut butter pie for his birthday.  

This pie is ridiculously rich and delicious and could not be easier to make, no baking involved at all and it's the best thing to make for the peanut butter lover in your life.

Peanut Butter Pie

For the Crust

1 1/4 Cups Oreo Cookie Crumbs

1/4 Cup Butter, Melted & Cooled to room temp

- Combine the Oreo cookie crumbs and melted butter into a medium size bowl and mix until the crumbs are all coated with the butter

- Dump the buttery Oreo Crumbs into a 9in pie dish and press evenly to coat bottom and sides of the pan

- Set aside

For the Filling

1 1/2 Cups Heavy Cream

1/4 Cup Sugar

8 oz Cream Cheese, Softened

1 Cup Smooth or Crunchy Peanut Butter (I used Smooth)

1 Cup Icing Sugar

- Whip the cream & 1/4 of sugar until stiff - Set aside
- Add the cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer and whip until smooth and creamy
- Add the peanut butter to the cream cheese and mix until well incorporated
- Slowly add all the icing sugar to the peanut butter and cream cheese and mix until smooth
-Add in a quarter of the whip cream to the peanut butter mix and beat until smooth and the mixture is lightened, then fold in the rest of the whip cream by hand
-Pour the fluffy peanut filling into the pie shell and refrigerate for a couple hours

For the Topping

-Whip 1 Cup of heavy cream with 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract until just stiff peaks form
- Spread the cream over the top of the chilled and set pie filling and top with peanut halves or chopped peanuts

Then finally serve and eat!!!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Cupcake Game Strong

I must admit not only do I really enjoy baking cupcakes, I'm pretty good at it to.

A baker can produce delicious results by using the best of the best ingredient wise. I feel my cupcakes taste best when I use unsalted butter, real Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla and high quality cocoa powder.

I also swear by Five Roses Flour.  It's the only flour I find bakes the best.  I'm not sure if it's because my mother always used it or if there really is a difference but every time I stray away from it to try out another brand, i'm never as happy with the result.

Then there are the tools that I LOVE and make my baking life so much easier. I would be sad to bake without these:

An Ice-Cream Scoop! 

Makes really quick, neat & tidy work of scooping out batter & getting all the cupcakes uniform size so that they bake up evenly

I absolutely love using Wilton brand muffin tins - in my opinion they are perfect,light weight, bake nicely, are affordable!! And easy to store

In case you're curious Piazza is the brand of ice-cream scoop I prefer to use. Really sturdy, light weight and has a perfect release mechanism that easily dispenses the batter in the cups

Also these make a great cookie scoop.  This brand is available at Williams-Sonoma They have a Large, Medium & Small Size. I use the large for cupcakes and the medium size for cookies

Of course cooling racks are a must - I have no brand preference but I do like the racks to be fairly large so that I don't have to pull out a million small ones whenever I bake a large quantity

A cupcake is not a cupcake without a buttercream swirl. The Wilton 1M tip is my favourite for this

I like to use a fairly large piping bag (no coupler) that way I'm not constantly refilling as I ice the cakes.  I like this reusable one from Ateco

I do have a brand preference for icing sugar when making my buttercream, which might sound totally nuts but i'm dead serious. For some reason I find Redpath icing sugar is never clumpy, while other brands I've tried always have large, dry, hard clumps of sugar.  Instead of passing it through a sieve I dump my sugar into a big bowl like this and whisk it just to ensure that there are no lumps whatsoever! 

Ready to pipe! As I mentioned already I don't usually use a coupler for this.  I like to just place my 1M tip directly into the bag and start swirling

This is how I usually do my cupcake swirl: I'll first start by piping a rosette onto the cupcake 

Then i'll go over that first rosette again with a smaller one right on top

I like the end result of the doing the double rosettes a lot. It gives the cupcake swirl a lot of height and looks really pretty, plus more buttercream is always a bonus!

A cupcake has to have sprinkles!! Any will do, I usually get mine from Bulk Barn. I really love these confetti sprinkles for birthday cupcakes

Not sure if you can see the vanilla seed specks in this photo. When making vanilla cupcakes I like to use both vanilla bean paste & extract to not only get maximum vanilla flavour but the visual effect of vanilla bean throughout both the cake & buttercream in my opinion takes them to another level

When I bake cupcakes they tend to be for a special occasion and need to be delivered to a party location.  This Cupcake Courier   keeps them fresh, safe and easily transports up to 36 cupcakes

So that is just a few of the tools I NEED in my life that for me, make all the difference and makes baking smoother, quicker, neater and yummy!

Also Click HERE for this YouTube clip of one of my FAVOURITE bakers ever,  Gesine Bullock Prado's recipe for vanilla cake.  I bake this one ALL the time and everyone seems love it.

Happy baking & cupcaking ;) xo

Monday, May 23, 2016

Blackberry Cobbler

I'm not sure how, but up until this point I never made a cobbler before in my life.  I felt it was time.  A cobbler has everything going for it: ridiculously easy to make and the topping was perfect with the juicy fruit and softly whipped cream. It's homey and old fashioned goodness, yet it could also be impressive enough to serve when you've got company coming.  Ice-cream would be amazing with this too.

As the recipe suggests you don't have to stick with just blackberries you could mix in any kind you like or omit them totally if you don't like blackberries and use what ever fruit you like or in season. I used this recipe here if you're interested in making one too.

Pretty blackberries

a naked lemon! 

This is the sugar, flour, zest & salt added to the berries

Whisked dry ingredients - I just used a bowl & fork to whip up this recipe

Melted butter :)

Mix the dry & wet ingredients just until it forms a soft dough and gently spread the dough over the blackberries and bake

Friday, May 6, 2016

Easy Sticky Toffee Pudding

 A while back now on this blog I posted about a sticky toffee pudding mold that I had found one christmas season at Williams-Sonoma. ( Click here for that post)

It is one of my favourite desserts to make, although I wouldn't say that recipe is very hard, it is a little time consuming and you must make the toffee sauce that goes with it in order to get the full effect and unfortunately you also must have a special pudding mold and a food processor to make it.

So if you want to whip one up quickly, with no special equipment,  I LOVE this version from Nigella Bites.  It's one of those cakes where you pour boiling water over the batter and when you think the sloppy mess won't turn out into anything it creates a yummy moist cake layer on top with a yummy thick, fudgy, toffee sauce on the bottom.

Click here for the recipe.

 spread the batter on the bottom of baking dish

Evenly sprinkle the dark brown sugar over the batter and add the bits of butter on top of that

Boil water 

And pour over the top of everything - the hot water mixed with the butter & Sugar create the sauce on the bottom of the cake

Magically this sloppy mess turns into this:


So good and so easy to make