For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be
upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The
mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
You certainly wouldn't think today was the first day of winter with the mild weather we have had all month and continue to enjoy. Or should I say I have enjoyed. I'm not one for anything winter. I really was born into the wrong climate. No skiing, skating or snowman building. I'll take the beach and a green Christmas any day! (the photo above was taken last winter)
Speaking of Christmas, can you believe it's only 3 days away! I am still not finished my shopping or baking. Today's my last day at work, so all this will get done and 24 hours from now I'll be ready.
In case you need a quick recipe to add to your Christmas festivities, here's a one for eggnog fudge.
It's creamy and rich and oh so sweet. You'll love it.
Yield: 64 pieces 2 cups granulated sugar ½ cup unsalted butter ¾ cup eggnog Pinch of salt 10½ ounces white chocolate, chopped ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, plus a little more for dusting the top of the fudge One 7-ounce jar marshmallow creme 1 teaspoon rum extract
1. Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper and let it hang over the side; set aside.
2. In a heavy 3-quart saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, eggnog and salt over medium heat. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Continue boiling 8 to 10 minutes, until a candy thermometer reaches 234 degrees F, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat.
3. Using a wooden spoon, work quickly to stir in chopped white chocolate and nutmeg until chocolate is melted and smooth. Stir in marshmallow creme and rum extract. Beat until well blended and then pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle a little freshly ground nutmeg on top. Let stand at room temperature until cooled, then refrigerate overnight until firm.
4. When completely cool, cut into squares. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator.
I did not start my Christmas shopping as I had intended. Why is it that I start this later and later every year? I know there's only two weeks left, but for now, I'll just sit by my tree and enjoy one of these little gems.
Here's the recipe...
adapted from in the little red house
3/4 cup butter, room temp
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp water
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Cream butter, vanilla, water, sugar and salt. Add flour and mix well.
Stir in chocolate and nuts.
Form into 1" balls.
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
Cool for a few minutes.
Roll in powdered sugar or sprinkle on top while still warm.
1 cup (two 8 oz sticks) unsalted butter, room temp.
1/2 cup icing (confectioner's) sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
Preheat oven to 375° Line baking sheets with parchment or silpat. Whip butter on high speed for 10 minutes, until white and very fluffy. While the butter's whipping, sift together the sugar, cornstarch and flour. Beat them in on low speed for one minute. Then beat on high for 3-4 minutes until well combined.
You can either roll them into balls and flatten with your hand or transfer dough to a piping bag fit with a large star tip. I rolled and flattened them and dotted each with a dried cranberry. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until lightly golden around the edges. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Insignificant. Overlooked. Disregarded. It's a feeling that takes ahold of you and grips your tender heart, shredding it of any self-worth. It's a struggle I have at times, and it is during these times that I need to remind myself that regardless of how easily one is cast away in the world, I am His treasured possession. (Deuteronomy 26:18)
I need to quiet my heart and listen for Him. Listen to him whisper into the chambers of my heart that He loves me more fully than anyone ever could. That He loves me in spite of anything I have done or could ever do.
But now, thus says the LORD, who created you,...and he who formed you..."Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are mine. - Isaiah 43:1-2
It was mild autumn weekend considering some areas around here got their first snow on Friday. Thankfully, we were not one of them. Our house is to go on the market by the end of the week and it's been nothing but cleaning and purging. Purge...isn't that such a lovely word. Now I wouldn't consider myself a hoarder by any stretch, but a hoarder of paper, yes. Seriously? Please don't tell me I'm not the only one who keeps old cards, receipts, past workout programs, etc., etc...for like ever, only to throw them out years later after I've finally convinced myself they have served their purpose.
So in between all this cleaning, I came across the perfect recipe to take care of that leftover halloween candy. Reese peanut butter banana bread. I'll have a big old slice of banana bread any day, but add peanut butter and chocolate and we are taking it to a whole new level. Enjoy!
When I got an email at work the other day with the a not so subtle request from my beloved begging asking me to bake something for his charity staff potluck, I knew I had to deliver a baked good that was sure to wow not only him, but also his colleagues.
I stumbled upon these caramel crumb bars on a few blogs and they certainly did impress mes. Their rich sweet flavour is complete with a wonderful buttery shortbread crust, creamy caramel filling, and crumbly topping. This was my first time making caramel, and I think I could have cooked it a bit longer, but I didn't want to scorch it, so it came out a little paler than I had hoped. In the end though, they turned out great and were perfect for a work potluck.
2 sticks (1/2 lb) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
Preheat oven to 350 F with a rack in the bottom third of the oven. Spray a 13x9 pan with cooking spray, then line the pan with aluminum foil or parchment (leaving an overhang so you can lift the bars out) and spray again with cooking spray.
To make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar and salt on medium speed until soft and light, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla.
With the mixer on low, add 2 1/4 cups of the flour, beating just until the dough is smooth and the flour has been absorbed, and stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl and the paddle as necessary.
Transfer 3/4 of the dough into the prepared baking pan. Press the dough evenly into the pan to form the bottom layer. Transfer the pan to the refrigerator while you make the filling and top layer.
Add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour to the remaining dough in the mixer bowl and work it in with your fingertips until 1/8 - 1/4-inch crumbs form. Set aside.
To make the filling: In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, corn syrup, brown sugar and condensed milk. Bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally. When the mixture begins to boil, whisk frequently until it begins to thicken and darkens in color slightly, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for about 10 minutes.
Remove the pan from the refrigerator and pour the filling over the bottom crust. Use an offset spatula to spread it evenly then distribute the crumb topping over the filling.
Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the filling is gently bubbling and a dark caramel color. Cool the bars in the pan on a wire rack until lukewarm, about 15-20 minutes. Use the foil (or parchment) to lift the bars out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Once completely cool, cut into 2-inch squares.
My diet lately has been all over the place. One day I'll eat healthy, nutritious meals...blah blah blah, and then the next day I just crave food that isn't doing me or my waistline any good. But on a day like today where I had to pull out my heavier fall jacket, this chili meets the mark. It's super healthy until you add the sour cream and half and half, but it doesn't call for too much. You could probably do without the half and half and add extra low fat sour cream. But this time I followed the recipe.
The thing I also liked about this chili is that it's quick and easy to make and it won't last you a week, before you get tired of it like my typical crock pot chili. This recipe makes 4 servings which is perfect. Enough for a dinner and then lunch the next day for both Michael and I.
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
1 medium onion, small diced
1 T vegetable oil
2 cans white kidney beans
14.5 ounces chicken broth
2 4-ounce cans chopped green chilies
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup half & half
6-8 ounce reduced fat sour cream
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the chicken and chopped onion and saute for about six minutes, or until the chicken is seared and the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another three minutes.
Add the beans, spices, chicken broth and green chilies and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for thirty minutes.
Turn off the heat and add the sour cream and half & half. Serve with cheddar cheese and tortilla chips or bread.
I don't get people who say they don't eat breakfast. Seriously? I can't remember a time I didn't eat breakfast. From my memories as a child where my mom prepared breakfast for six little ones before ushering us off to school every morning, to today, where I make breakfast for Michael and I everyday before we both rush out the door to work.
Today when I got up for breakfast, there was no rushing off to anywhere so after my morning run, I felt this morning deserved pancakes. Not your average typical run of the mill pancake though. This cool fall morning deserved a spicy with the right amount of sweet kind of pancake. This recipe is definitely a keeper.
I have been wanting to make homemade baked donuts forever now, but I lack a few key pieces to make said donut. A donut cutter or donut pan for starters. So when I saw this recipe for teeny bite size donuts that don't require any extra tools except your hands, I whipped up a batch for breakfast. These are "healthier" than a fried donut and are so very easy to make. Needless to say, Mike and I polished them off. I think these may become a weekend favourite in my house.
And there you have it. With the flip of a calendar page and the passing of a few days, summer's heat has evaporated like dew in the morning sun.
I've noticed in the land of blogosphere there are many who are embracing this cooler autumn weather and joyfully baking all things pumpkin and apple. But not me. Nope, I'd rather bake a cake. Growing up I remember every Sunday my mom or dad would bake a banana walnut snackin cake. Remember these? So good!
I made this triple chocolate cake for a labour day get-together this past weekend. It was incrediby moist and not over the top sweet like so many cakes can be. It's layered with dark chocolate pudding and dark chocolate buttercream. So, no pumpkin or apple desserts for me. Not just yet. I'll pass for now and just eat cake.
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans and line them with parchment paper; butter the paper. Dust the pans with flour, tapping out any excess.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the flour with the sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt at low speed. In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the oil, eggs and vanilla. Slowly beat the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients until just incorporated, then slowly beat in the hot coffee until fully incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then invert the cakes onto a rack to cool completely. Peel off the parchment paper.
4 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp plus 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup water
2/3 cup heavy cream
3 oz bittersweet/semisweet or dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt at medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 1 minute.
In a medium saucepan, combine the water and cream and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove the pot from the heat and whisk the yolk mixture into the hot cream mixture in the saucepan.
Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. Continue to boil, whisking for 1 minute. Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate until completely melted.
Pass the filling through a fine mesh sieve into a small bowl. Stir in vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours.
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
4 oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
11 tbsp unsalted butter, room temp.
1 2/3 cups confectioners (icing) sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Place the chocolate in a double broiler. Heat, stirring often, until the chocolate is completely melted.
Remove the bowl from the pot and set the chocolate aside to cool until tepid.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy. Add confectioners sugar and beat at med-high speed for 2 minutes. Beat in vanilla and melted chocolate. Beat until well blended and creamy, about 1 minute.
Assemble the cake
Using a long serrated knife, cut each later in half horizontally, to make four layers.
Place one layer cut side up on a serving plate. Spread 1/3 of the filling over this layer. Repeat with two more layers. Top with fourth layer cake, smooth side up.
Using a flat spatula, frost the top and sides with a thin layer of frosting. This is the crumb coat. Refridgerate for about an hour. Frost cake with a final coat and top with grated chocolate.
This may all seem a tad labour intensive, but this cake is worth the effort. Enjoy!
Happy Labour Day to all who are celebrating this long weekend. Labour Day typically means an end to summer with family bbq get-togethers before the hectic back-to-school activies start for many.
But for me, I am simply not ready to usher in the crisp, chilly fall weather requiring one to wear layers of clothing, closed toe shoes and pack away the sundresses and flip flops. No, summer is not over. Not as long as there's blueberry pie.
Blueberry pie is a family favourite. And if blueberry pie means summer, then I'm baking pie daily until next June. I generally make my own crust, but this time I used the pie dough I picked up from a recent trip to St. Jacob's Farmer's Market.
2lbs blueberries (8 cups)
1/2 cups sugar, depending on the sweetness of your berries
1/4 cups cornstarch
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla
pinch of nutmeg
1 egg for egg wash
coarse sugar for sprinkling
Preheat your oven to 500º
1. On a lightly floured surface, roll one piece of the dough into a circle and place it in your pie pan.
2. Roll out your other piece of dough into a circle.
3. Pour the berries, sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch and vanilla into a medium bowl and stir to combine.
4. Pour the berries and their juices into the crust lined pie pan. Drape the second crust over top. Trim the edges so there is about 1/2'' of overhang. Tuck the rim of dough under itself and crimp it with your fingers or a fork. Then, brush the top with a beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Cut a few vents in the top before placing the pie in the oven.
5. Lower the oven temperature to 425º, place the pie on a baking sheet and place in the oven.
6. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the crust begins to brown. Then lower the oven temperature again to 375º and bake until the crust is a deep golden brown and the juices bubble, 25-30 min longer. Cool the pie for at least 2 hours before serving.
Look at what I discovered today! To my delight, Michael and I headed to Heeman's to pick up some blueberries after breakfast and the best espresso at Nova Era this morning Well, not only did I scoop up pints of blueberries, I found these tasty delights! Everbearing strawberries.
Who would have thought? Strawberries in Ontario at the end of July. Strawberries are by far one of my favourite fruits and their season here is far too short. So when I discovered these Everbearing strawberries, I swooned and scooped up a couple baskets. Apparently these berries will be blooming for the rest of summer and into early fall. I see some tasty strawberry desserts reappearing in my kitchen real soon.
It’s a rainy, hot, humid, muggy kind of day.It’s the kind of day where I just want to stay indoors. Preferably in the kitchen, where I can mix together some delicious dessert or scrumptious dinner to share with those I love.
But this isn’t the case, I work a 9-5 job and don't get to spend nearly as much time as I would like baking sweet delicious treats. But while on vacation a couple weeks ago, I finally had the chance to make a couple of recipes that were on my list (aka in the basket).
I don't quite know what to say about this bread. It was everything I had hoped it would be. It is heavenly.It is soft and warm oozing with sweet cinnamon sugar and brown butter. I have this love affair with anything cinnamon and when I saw this recipe, I knew the right opportunity would come for me to have dessert for breakfast and this was just the case on my vacation.
In a large mixing bowl whisk together 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Set aside.
Whisk together eggs and set aside.
In a small saucepan, melt together milk and butter until butter has just melted. Remove from the heat and add water and vanilla extract. Let mixture stand for a minute or two, or until the mixture registers 115 to 125 degrees F. (I didn't measure temp and mine turned out just fine).
Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula. Add the eggs and stir the mixture until the eggs are incorporated into the batter. Continue stirring. Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour and stir with the spatula for about 2 minutes. The mixture will be sticky. .
Place the dough is a large, greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel. Place in a warm space and allow to rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour. *The dough can be risen until doubled in size, then refrigerated overnight for use in the morning. If you’re using this method, just let the dough rest on the counter for 30 minutes before following the roll-out directions below.
While the dough rises, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg for the filling. Set aside. Melt 2 ounces of butter until browned. Set aside. Grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Set that aside too.
Deflate the risen dough and knead about 2 tablespoons of flour into the dough. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes. On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out.
The dough should be 12-inches tall and about 20-inches long, or as big as you can get it.
Use a pastry brush to spread melted butter across all of the dough. Sprinkle with all of the sugar and cinnamon mixture.
Slice the dough vertically, into six equal-sized strips. Stack the strips on top of one another and slice the stack into six equal slices once again. You’ll have six stacks of six squares. Layer the dough squares in the loaf pan like a flip-book. Place a kitchen towel over the loaf pan and allow in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes or until almost doubled in size.
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Place loaf in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is very golden brown. A nice, dark, golden brown will ensure that the center is cooked as well.
Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20 to 30 minutes. Run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the bread and invert onto a clean board. Place a cake stand or cake plate on top of the upside down loaf, and carefully invert so it’s right side up.
This bread is best served the day it’s made, but it can also we wrapped and kept at room temperature for up to 2 days, if it lasts that long. :)