Valentine’s Mini Cakes!

We hosted a Valentine’s Day Mini Cake Workshop this past Sunday. The cakes were pretty easy to make and you could easily host this at home for your friends or little ones. Keep it really simple and buy one of those infamous cakes in a box, 3 eggs and vegetable oil. Or make it harder on yourself and bake the cake from scratch. Here’s a great recipe for a simple traditional white cake. Next, make buttercream icing, I always use the Wilton recipe, I find it quick and easy. For step by step instructions on how to make your very own mini cake visit one of our previous posts. Once your mini cake is complete all that is left is decorating it, which is really the very best part!

 

 

guilt free fudgy, chocolate blondies

IMG_5674New year, new diet, or really ancient caveman diet. Depending on which version of the Paleo diet you follow, this little treat may fit into your dessert menu perfectly. I got the recipe for the fudgy pumpkin blondies, from here and not only were they easy to make, they were delicious! Even my husband got into them and if it passes his sweet tooth test, we a have winner folks.

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DIY birthday (for big, grown-up people)

For starters, I apologize for the delay in posting. I got a little lost over the holidays and have only recently found my way back to the keyborad. I find December to be all consuming and it takes a bit of time to recover, but I’m ready to completely return to routine. I was even able to host a private dinner party recently. Putting that little extra effort into creating a special birthday for a friend is well worth it.

FullSizeRenderIf you’re feeling crafty for your next party, try making a couple of these tassels to hang. Lots of websites list different ways you can create the tassel look. I was really drawn to the shiny tassel, after all which girl doesn’t like a little sparkle. Check out this DIY tassels for instructions. For mine, I used three different types of paper, wouldn’t recommend using the kraft paper, found it was a bit hard to fold. The crepe paper and the tissue paper were the easiest to manipulate and hung nicely.

IMG_5698For the cake, I wanted to try out the half-iced look. First step, do not google naked cake, some people have pretty interesting ideas of what could constitute a naked cake. The best part about this cake is that you don’t have to be a professional baker. If you’re not feeling like spending the entire day in the kitchen, you can always go the route of cake in a box. Otherwise there are a plethora of white cake recipes out there. I used this white cake recipe – and then swapped vanilla essence with lemon oil. The oil is much stronger in flavor and you only need a couple drops. Otherwise, you can also use lemon essence and then just replace 1:1 with vanilla. I also put a couple drops of the lemon oil in my buttercream icing, used Wilton’s famous buttercream icing. I doubled the recipe because I had 3 layers of cake. I picked up the edible flowers from St.Lawrence market, they do sell them in other parts of the city but not for the same price.IMG_5697

Pumpkin Seed Cranberry Biscotti

IMG_4955 (1)Our teen cooking class made these in their class and they were just delicious, they were moist and not too hard and didn’t even need to be dipped in coffee, they were just perfect on their own!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup salted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a small bowl, beat sugar, eggs, oil and extracts. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to sugar mixture and mix well. Stir in pumpkin seeds and cranberries (dough will be sticky).
  2. Divide dough in half; place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. With lightly floured hands, shape each portion into a 12×2-in. rectangle. Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
  3. Carefully remove to wire racks; cool 10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board; cut diagonally with a serrated knife into 3/4-in. slices. Place cut side down on ungreased baking sheets.
  4. Bake 5 minutes or until firm. Turn and bake 5-10 minutes longer or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool. Store in an airtight container.

Easter Egg Cookies

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If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll remember these cookies from Valentines Day, they were quite the hit. I decided to do them again for Easter, since they’re so easy and fun to make! Here’s the recap on how to make them:

1 batch of Sugar Cookies

1 batch of Royal Icing

Icing Gels – colours of your choice – I used purple, sky blue, kelly green and yellow.

An off-set spatula

5 squeeze bottles

Lots of toothpicks

Egg Shape Cookie Cutter

<img src="easter--egg-cookies-.jpg" alt="easter-egg-cookies" />

I used Ms.Field’s Sugar Cookie recipe. I made the Royal Icing with 4 cups of icing sugar, 3 tablespoons of Meringue Powder, 9 tbsp of water and 1 tsp of vanilla. I separated the icing into 4 bowls and coloured them with the icing gels. I used squeeze bottles as I find they are the best for flooding cookies. I flooded each cookie with white and then made   little dots or lines in a contrasting colour. To get the different designs I simply dragged a toothpick through the icing. I’ll be honest the first couple ones weren’t nearly as good as the later ones, but once I got the hang of it, it was really easy and fun.

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Paleo Chocolate Muffins (aka sugar/dairy free muffins)

<img src="paleo-chocolate-muffins.jpg" alt="paleo-chocolate-muffins" />My husband has decided to try the paleo diet, which is all great, minus the fact that I’m 8 months pregnant and all I want is carbs, carbs and more of them! In all honesty though I am enjoying trying out the recipes and came across this little gem the other day.

Paleo Chocolate Muffins

INGREDIENTS
2 ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup coconut oil – melted
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup dark chocolate, finely chopped (85% cacao and higher)

Combine wet ingredients then add the dry ingredients. Place heaping spoonfuls in muffins cups and bake for 20 mins at 350.

Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies

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I really wanted to try something new this year for Valentine’s Day. I came across these cookies on Seeded at the Table’s blog and decided I had to try them out. They are actually much easier to make than they look and they are sure to impress anyone! You’ll need the following materials:<img src="valentines-day-cookies.jpg" alt="valentines-day-cookies" />

1 batch of Sugar Cookies

1 batch of Royal Icing

Red Icing Gel

An off-set spatula

3 squeeze bottles

Lots of toothpicks

Heart Shape Cookie Cutter

I used Ms.Field’s Sugar Cookie recipe. I made the Royal Icing with 4 cups of icing sugar, 3 tablespoons of Meringue Powder, 9 tbsp of water and 1 tsp of vanilla. I separated the icing into 3 bowls and tinted two of them with different shades of pink and left one white. I used squeeze bottles as I find they are the best for flooding cookies. I flooded each cookie with a different base colour and then made simple little dots or lines in a contrasting colour. To get the different designs I simply dragged a toothpick through the icing. I’ll be honest the first couple ones weren’t nearly as good as the later ones, but once I got the hang of it, it was really easy and fun. <img src="valentines-day-cookies.jpg" alt="valentines-day-cookies" />

Pumpkin Recipes

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Pumpkin Recipes

We had a ton of leftover pumpkins from our Haunted House and we just couldn’t bear to throw them all out, so we cooked them up and made as many pumpkin things we could think of, seeds, bread, muffins, soup and of course pie! Click on the titles to see the recipes we found.

Pumpkin Muffins

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Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin Pie

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Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Soup

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Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin Bread

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Pumpkin Bread

Mini Fall Pies and Tarts!

This past weekend we took advantage of the fabulous weather and drove to Andrew Scenic Farms, this farm is a family run business and definitely doesn’t have the long line ups and wait times that other apple picking farms have. We spent about 2 hours there, had a pony ride, picked raspberries and apples and then enjoyed some lunch. On Sunday, my son and I spent the afternoon in the kitchen making these delicious mini tarts.

First you’ll need some custard, this recipe is scaled down as you don’t need that much, my son (who is 2 years old) really enjoyed making this, lots of mixing and whisking!

Buttermilk Custard

3/4 cup of sugar
2 tbsp of. flour
1/4 cup of butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup buttermilk

Mix sugar and flour; cream with butter. Add eggs, vanilla, salt and buttermilk.

Raspberry Mini Tarts (recipe makes 6)

Preheat oven to 350 F

Pastry Recipe (I used Martha Stewart’s – I find it’s better to add a little more water than she suggests. I wrapped the pastry dough into two separate discs and used one disc for the apple pie tarts).

2 cups of raspberries

1 egg beaten

Use muffin pan and lined each cup with parchment muffin cups. Roll out the pastry dough and cut into squares, press each square into the muffin cup and cut away any excess. Brush the top of each pastry cup with some egg. Spoon custard into each pastry cup and then bake for about 20-25 minutes until pastry turns brown and custard sets.

Mini Apple Pie Tarts (makes 6 pies) IMG_1866

Preheat oven to 350 F

Pastry Recipe (see above)

3 apples, peeled and diced

1 tbsp of cinnamon

6 tsp of brown sugar

1/4 cup of butter cut into cubes

Use muffin pan and line each cup with parchment muffin cups. Roll out the pastry dough and cut into squares, press each square into the muffin cup and cut away any excess. In each cup add your apples, sprinkle with cinnamon, a tsp of brown sugar and a couple cubes of butter. To do the lattice top, simply take the remaining pastry dough, roll it out and use a knife to cut strips. Weave the strips over and under each other and use a fork to decorate the edges. Brush with a beaten egg before putting in the oven for approximately 20-25 minutes.

 

Gluten-Free Coconut Buttermilk Biscuits

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We’re going camping this weekend and I’m responsible for breakfast on one of the mornings. The tricky thing is that we all have a variety of dietary restrictions. I found a recipe for gluten-Free biscuits and adapted it slightly so that it met everyone’s needs. They were easy to make and are very tasty. Once I had made the dough I divided it into two parts, added blueberries to one batch and carob nibs to the other (you could really add just about anything to the dough, peaches, raisins, walnuts, the list is endless). I also doubled the recipe as I needed more than 9 biscuits, I did this by simply doubling the measurements, it worked out well.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetIngredients

    • 1/2 cup Buttermilk
    • 1/4 cup Unsalted Butter
    • 1 Tbsp of Baking Powder
    • 2 tbsp of Starch (potato or cornstarch)
    • 1 tsp Sugar
    • 3/4 cups of Brown/White Rice Flour
    • 1/4 cup Coconut Flour

Your choice of fruit or chocolate chips (about two handfuls)

Directions
Preheat oven to 450°F. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray, set aside.
Sift dry ingredients together in medium bowl. Cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles small peas. Stir in enough buttermilk to form soft dough that holds its shape when pressed together. You may not need to use all the buttermilk. Add in your choice of filling.Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset
Place the mixture on prepared baking sheet. Lay sheet of waxed paper over biscuit mixture and press to 1” thickness and about 6” x 6” square or circle. Remove sheet of waxed paper and cut into 8 or 9 round biscuit shapes using a 2” biscuit cutter or open end of glass. I just used a circle cookie cutter and made the dough really thick. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes 9 biscuits.