Saturday, November 23, 2013

Alana's Coconut Cupcakes

My friend Alana recently got married and asked me to make cupcakes for her wedding. When I asked her what flavours she wanted her response was coconut!

So I scoured the internet for the perfect coconut cupcake recipe only to realize I already had the perfect recipe. With some slight modification my Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake became the ultimate coconut cupcake.


These cupcakes are definetly coconutty. 

Makes 2 dozen cupcakes

Ingredients

1 cup sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup coconut Greek yogurt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon coconut extract
2/3 cup coconut milk, thick layer from the top of the can

1 cup butter, room temperature
2 1/2 cups icing sugar
1/3 cup coconut milk, thick layer from the top of the can
2 teaspoons coconut extract

Coconut flakes, to garnish

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Prepare two cupcake pans with paper liners.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar and seeds from the vanilla bean. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the vanilla sugar mixture and mix until well combined. Add the butter and mix on medium speed until the very fine crumb texture, about three minutes. Add the eggs, sour cream, oil and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed until just combined. Slowly add the milk and mix on low speed until just combined.  

Fill prepared cupcake liners just over half full. Bake for 14 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Remove from the cupcake pan and allow to cool completely before frosting.



  Amy

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thai Pumpkin Curry

I have begun to try to stock our freezer with healthy meals for after the baby arrives. My first round of meals made use of the nearly perfect pumpkin I bought for Halloween.

This curry is fantastic. A hearty, flavourful curry packed with vegetables. I made three batches of the recipe and ended up with seven meals. Unfortunately I did not get a photo of my own version before it got packaged up for the freezer.

Adapted from Pinch of Yum, serves 6

Ingredients

3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons ginger, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon crushed chilies
1 medium onion, chopped
6 cups pumpkin or squash, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 796 mL can diced tomatoes
1 400 mL can coconut milk
2 or 3 tablespoons red curry paste, adjust to taste
3 tablespoons peanut butter
1 tablespoon fish sauce, optional

Directions

In a large pot over medium heat, sauté the garlic and ginger in the oil for 2 to 3 minutes, until soft and fragrant.

Add the curry powder, chili powder, turmeric and crushed chilis. Saute for another minute.

Add the onion, pumpkin, carrot and celery. Toss in the spices. Saute for an additional couple minutes.

Add the tomatoes, coconut milk, curry paste, peanut butter and fish sauce. Stir to combine. Cover and simmer for approximately 15 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender.

Remove from heat and allow to stand for 10 minutes.

Garnish with chopped cilantro or basil is desired.

  Amy

Monday, August 12, 2013

Reese's Peanut Butter Cupcakes

As I mentioned in my Triple Peanut Butter Monster Cookies recipe, Dave loves Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. So when I saw this recipe on Bakerella, I knew I had to make it for his birthday.


These are probably the richest cupcakes I have ever made. They are sinfully good.

I used the recipe to make 12 large cupcakes. It would probably make 18 to 24 regular sized cupcakes. I made half of the frosting from Bakerella's recipe and it was perfect for 12 cupcakes. If you were making more cupcakes or were making a cake you would want to double the quantities for the frosting below.



 
Adapted from Bakerella, makes 12 large cupcakes 

Ingredients

1 box Devil’s Food cake mix
3 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 bags (210 g each) Mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup peanut butter

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line muffin pans with paper liners.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cake mix, eggs, buttermilk and vegetable oil on low for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and beat for an additional 2 minutes. Scrape down sides as needed. Fold in one bag of the peanut butter cups.

Pour the batter into the prepared paper liners. Make sure each cupcake gets at least one peanut butter cup.

Bake for 18 to 23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Cool the cupcakes completely.

Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl.  In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream just to a boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Whisk until the chocolate melts. Add the peanut butter and whisk until smooth.

Allow the frosting to cool and set for a couple minutes. Using an offset spatula, spread the frosting over the tops of the cupcakes. Roughly chop the remaining peanut butter cups. Gently press the chopped peanut butter cup pieces all over the top of the cupcakes. Place in refrigerator for about an hour to set before serving.



  Amy

Friday, August 9, 2013

Nutella Filled Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are good. Whether they are stuffed with Nutella or not.


The original recipe used muffin tins to bake the cookies, follow the link for instructions if you prefer to try that method. I found that they worked just fine on a cookie sheet.

Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod, makes 12 to 18 cookies

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
12 to 18 tablespoons Nutella

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line cookie sheets with Silpat or parchment paper.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla extract, beating until combined.

Add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Take a large tablespoon of dough and flatten in the palm of your hand. Repeat with a second scoop of dough. Place a tablespoon of Nutella in the middle of one of the flattened dough. Place the second flattened dough over top and gently press together to seal in the Nutella. Don't stress about completely sealing in the Nutella, it does not leak excessively.

Bake cookies until lightly browned around the edges, about  12 to 14 minutes. Let the cookies cool for 10 minutes in the pan before transferring to cooling rack.

And then watch them disappear.

  Amy

Monday, August 5, 2013

Swiss Chard or Kale Pesto

When our garden and CSA baskets hit full swing we are always overwhelmed by kale and swiss chard.  Now that I have found this recipe, we will no longer have a problem using up our leafy greens! It even works well with the ones that have been forgotten in the back of the fridge and started to wilt.

The pesto tastes fantastic tossed over pasta with sun dried tomatoes or in a simple pasta salad with cherry tomatoes and feta. I find it tastes even better cold which makes it a staple for lunches in our house right now.

It could also be served over grilled chicken, shrimp or vegetables. 



Adapted from Kitchenaid, makes approximately 2 cups

Ingredients

1 medium bunch (about 8 stalks) swiss chard or kale
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt
Pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

Directions

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Remove the leaves from the stems of the kale or swiss chard. Discard the stems. Blanch the leaves in the boiling water for 15 seconds and then transfer immediately to a sieve. Rinse with cold water and allow to drain. Once the leaves have cooled, squeeze out as much water as possible. Don't be afraid to squeeze the leaves into a tight ball to do so.

Add the drained leaves, toasted pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, chopped garlic, lemon juice, basil, salt and pepper to a blender. Blend the ingredients for 10 to 15 seconds.With the blender still running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Continue blending until the mixture is well combined and even consistency.

Store in the fridge for up to a week.


  Amy

Friday, August 2, 2013

Kale Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

I have been trying to branch out and find new recipes for the vegetables we get in our CSA basket so we are not eating sautéed kale and swiss chard every night of the week. This recipe is one of the better ones we have found. Plus since it is made with raw kale it will hold up for a day or two in the fridge. I love recipes that make good leftovers for lunches.


Adapted from Just A Taste, serves 4

Ingredients

2 pounds kale, washed and dried
1/3 cup toasted nuts, such as walnuts, pecans or pine nuts
6 slices bacon
2 tablespoons onion, finely minced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
Salt
Pepper
Dried cranberries, optional
Blue cheese, crumbled, optional

Directions

Remove the stems of the kale. Roughly chop the leaves into bite size pieces. Place the kale in a large bowl and top with the toasted nuts.

Cook the bacon in a large pan over medium heat. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to cool. Reserve approximately 3 tablespoons of the bacon drippings in the pan.

Return the pan with the bacon drippings to stove. Add the onion and garlic, saute for about 1 minute, until soft. Whisk in the vinegar, mustard and brown sugar, make sure to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan.

Remove the vinaigrette from the heat and season with salt and pepper.

Chop up the bacon and add it to the bowl with the kale and nuts. Toss the kale with the warm dressing. Top with the cranberries and cheese, if desired. Serve immediately.

  Amy

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Basic Marinara Sauce

Another recipe from our Friday Night Pasta Parties... I really need to get better at taking photos at these events!

This time we got adventurous and made ravioli so we needed a good basic marinara to compliment it. I was surprised how the little bit of balsamic vinegar in this recipe seemed to provide the sweetness that is needed to over come the acidity in the tomatoes. No more adding sugar to tomato sauce for me!

Adapted from Style Me Pretty, serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
2 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
Salt
Pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Directions

In a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté the onion and garlic in the oil until the onions are soft, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the basil and oregano and sauté for another couple minutes until fragrant. Add the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for at least 20 minutes. Longer is better.

Finish the sauce by adding the balsamic vinegar and stirring to combine. Serve hot over fresh pasta.

  Amy

Grandma's Green Bean Casserole

This is one of my all time favourite foods. A family recipe passed down from my Grandma to my mom to me. Now it is also one of Dave's favourites as well.


Serves 6 to 10

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 small onion, finely diced
1 cup sour cream
1 16 ounce bag frozen green beans, defrosted, or fresh beans, cut and blanched
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup bread crumbs or panko
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

In a large bowl, stir the flour into the melted butter. Add in the salt, sugar and sour cream. Stir to combine.

Add the onion and green beans. Toss until well coated. Transfer to a casserole dish, a shallow rectangular dish works best.

Spread the cheese over top of the bean mixture.

In a small bowl, toss the bread crumbs in the remaining tablespoon of melted butter. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.

Serve hot.

  Amy

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Bloglovin

For those who follow my blog on the now extinct Google Reader, you can now follow my blog with Bloglovin.

  Amy

Tiramisu

Tiramisu is one of my favourite desserts - and so easy to make!


Adapted from Simple Food by Antonio Carluccio, serves four to six

Ingredients

2 egg yolks
100 grams sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
400 grams mascarpone cheese
80 ml heavy cream
400 ml espresso
4 tablespoons Kahlua
8 to 18 ladyfingers biscuits, depending on size
Cocoa powder, to dust

Directions

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, 80 grams of sugar and vanilla extract. Add the mascarpone and cream. Stir until combined.

In a second bowl, mix together the remaining sugar, espresso and liqueur. Dip the biscuits quickly into the liquid mixture and place them into individual bowls or glasses.

Spoon or pipe the cheese mixture over the biscuits. Dust with cocoa powder.

Keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.



  Amy

Friday, June 28, 2013

Panna Cotta with Berry Coulis

This is an amazingly easy dessert, perfect for entertaining because it can be prepared in advance.

It is fantastic with blackberries but any berry or a mixture or berries would work. Mango would also be a great option.

Adapted from Spoon Fork Bacon, serves four to six

Ingredients

3 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
2 vanilla beans or 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup sugar
6 sheets gelatin or 2 envelopes powdered gelatin or 4 1/2 teaspoons

2 cups berries of choice, blackberries, strawberries or blueberries

Directions

Place the gelatin in a small bowl with 5 1/2 tablespoons cold water. Set aside.

If using vanilla beans, split the pods and scrape out the contents.

In a medium pot over medium heat, stir together the cream, milk, sugar and vanilla, both bean pods and contents. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar dissolves fully, about 7 to 10 minutes, remove from heat. Remove the vanilla bean pods.

Transfer the mixture into a large bowl. Stir the softened gelatine into the mixture and stir to incorporate.
once gelatin has completely dissolved, ladle mixture into small jars or cups.

Chill in the refrigerator until set, about 4 to 6 hours.

For the berry coulis, place all ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Add sugar or honey as necessary if the berries are too tart.

Once the panna cottas have set, spoon the coulis over the top of each cup.

Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Garnish with berries, lemon rind or mint leaves.



  Amy

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Fresh Homemade Pasta

As I mentioned in my last post, a group of girlfriends from work have recently started a tradition of pasta nights. 

Despite owning the pasta attachments for my Kitchenaid mixer for several years, we have rarely used them. I never appreciated how easy and simple it really is to make fresh pasta. Or how fun it is to make with a group of friends.

Now there is no going back... 

Makes approximately 2 pounds of pasta, enough to serve 6 to 8

Ingredients

600 g flour
6 eggs

Directions

Add the flour and eggs to the bowl of a stand mixer and mix together with the paddle or dough hook attachment until well mixed. The dough will be very crumbly and dry.

With the dough hook, knead the dough for about three minutes, until the dough is very smooth. The dough should not feel sticky and should still be on the dry side. If the dough is too wet, it will tear apart when rolled. Add a little flour or water as required to get the right consistency.

Most recipes recommend wrapping the dough in plastic wrap and allowing it to rest in the refrigerator for one hour. I am too impatient (and typically too hungry) for this step.

Cut the dough into four pieces. One piece at a time, mould into a rough flat rectangle. Pass the piece through the pasta roller attachment on the widest setting, setting #1. Fold the dough in half or thirds and pass it through again. Fold and pass it through one more time.


Continue passing the dough through the machine, reducing the setting each time, until you have reached the desired thickness. On my roller attachment, setting #3 produces thick, chunky pasta and setting #4 is perfect for fettuccine and spaghetti.


The flat sheets can be used to make lasagne or manicotti-style stuffed rolls. If you wish to make fettuccine or spaghetti, use the pasta cutter attachment to cut the sheets into the desired shape.


Dust the pasta lightly with flour to keep it from sticking. Drape the pasta over a suspended rolling pin or pasta drying rack until ready to cook. If you do not have a drying rack, a coat hanger works really well!

Cook the pasta in salted, boiling water until el dente. Serve hot with your favourite pasta sauce and garnishes.



  Amy

Friday, June 21, 2013

Arrabiata Sauce

A group of girlfriends from work have recently started a tradition of pasta nights where we get together to make homemade pasta and sauce as an excuse to drink wine and gossip.
 
This is the sauce I made for the first of such events. Sorry no photos... we were too distracted...
Adapted from Una Mamma Italiana, serves six to eight

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup red wine
2 tablespoons brown sugar, optional but recommended!
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped, plus additional for garnish if desired
6 oz can tomato paste
2 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
Pepper
Salt
Directions

In a large sauce pan over medium heat, heat the oil. Saute the onion and garlic until soft, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the wine, sugar, basil, red pepper flakes, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Increase the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered.

Serve over homemade pasta with parmesan cheese and extra basil to garnish.

  Amy

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Southwestern Avocado Chili Lime Dressing

The other night I was trying to make a Southwestern Salad, when I realized our yogurt had gone bad. Unable to find a recipe for a southwestern style dressing without yogurt or sour cream or mayonnaise, I decided to throw what we did have, an avocado, into the blender and see what I could come up with.

The result was a light, tangy dressing that I will definitely be making again! As an added bonus, it is dairy-free and paleo-friendly!

Makes approximately 1 cup

Ingredients

1 avocado
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt
Pepper
Water, optional

Directions

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Add water as necessary to reach the desired consistency.

  Amy

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Mexican Chocolate Cookies

Ever since trying the Chocolate Diablo Cookie at Tacofino, I have been striving to recreate the spicy chocolate cookie. This recipe makes a darn good cookie, maybe not quite as good as Tacofino but I think anything out of a food truck just tastes better...


 
Adapted from Cooking Channel, makes 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter
4 ounces baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line cookie sheets with Silpat or parchment paper.

In a heatproof bowl set over simmering water, melt the butter and chocolate, whisking until smooth. Cool to room temperature.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the brown sugar, sugar, vanilla extract and eggs on low speed until well combined. Pour in the cooled chocolate mixture and continue to mix until well combined.

Add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix on low speed just until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Using a cookie scoop, scoop balls of dough onto the prepare cookie sheets. Bake the cookies, for 12 to 14 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. The cookies should still be fairly soft when removed from the oven.

Allow to cool slightly before serving. These cookies are best eaten warm.



  Amy

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Carrot Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

I made this carrot cake for Dave to take into work on Easter weekend - according to his coworkers, it was one of the best treats I have ever sent into the hospital. A pretty tall compliment!

The original recipe notes 25 minutes, my cake took over 60 minutes. It may work better to split the batter in to two cake pans and create a two layer cake with additional frosting in between. In that case, double the frosting recipe.


Adapted from Sophistimom, makes 1 large cake

Ingredients

1 cup coconut flakes
1 15 ounce can crushed pineapple, including juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 pound carrots, peeled and shredded
2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs

1 teaspoon orange extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice


8 ounces (1 package) cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cups icing sugar
1 teaspoon orange extract
1/2 cup heavy cream, cold


Orange zest, for garnish

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a large cake pan (12″ round springform pan) with parchment paper. Lightly butter the parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, place the coconut, pineapple, zest, carrots, sugar, eggs, extract, flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and allspice. Mix just until combined.

Pour into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 

Let cool on a wire rack for about 5 minutes, then use a knife to loosen the cake all around the edges. 

In the mean time, beat the heavy cream to nearly stiff peaks in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Remove to a separate bowl and set aside. In the stand mixer bowl, next beat the cheese, sugar and extract until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Fold in the whipped cream and briefly beat to combine. Do not over mix.

When cake has completely cooled, frost using a knife or piping bag with your favourite tip. Garnish with orange zest.




  Amy

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Whipped (Lemon) Frosting

Usually when I bake, everything is from scratch. However, one night when a miscalculation of butter, left me with out the ingredients for buttercream frosting, I was left searching the back of the pantry for anything, anything, that could be turned into frosting. I managed to find one package of Dream Whip and one package of lemon pudding, two ingredients I would never use and could not even remember why I had them in the first place...

Anyways, the end result was one of the lightest, fluffiest, perfectly lemony frostings I have ever made. It got rave reviews.

Compared to the agony that usually surrounds trying to get lemon juice to incorporate into buttercream, I think I might actually resort to this when I need a citrus frosting again in the future.



You could make this with any flavour of instant pudding. I added lemon extract to make my frosting extra lemony but you could also add any extract flavour. The combinations are endless.

Adapted from Kraft, makes 3 to 4 cups

Ingredients

1 1/3 cup milk, cold
1 package instant pudding, any flavour
1 envelope whipped dessert topping
1 teaspoon extract, any flavour, optional


Directions

Place the milk in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Add the pudding powder, whipped dessert powder and extract. Beat slowly until combined.

Increase the speed to high. Whisk until soft peaks form, about 6 minutes.

Use on your favourite cake or cupcakes.


  Amy

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Stout Barbecue Sauce

This is a savoury barbecue sauce - if you prefer a sweet barbecue sauce I would suggest adding more brown sugar, molasses or honey.



Adapted from Serious Eats, makes 2 cups

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bottle (341 mL) Guinness Beer
2 cans (398 mL) tomato sauce
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Salt
Pepper

Directions

In a medium saucepan, saute the onion and garlic in the oil until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer until reduced to a medium-thin thickness, about 30 to 45 minutes.

Transfer to a blender. Puree until smooth.

Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

  Amy

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Lemon Cake

This recipe makes a heavenly lemony cake.



Adapted from Martha Stewart, makes two dozen cupcakes or two 9" cakes

Ingredients

3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
Zest of 3 lemons
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup butter milk

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Grease and flour the cake pans or line a muffin tin with paper liners.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, beating until incorporated. Add in the zest and vanilla.

Add the flour mixture in three batches alternating with the butter milk and lemon juice. Beat until combined.

Divide the batter evenly amongst the prepared cups, filling each about three quarters full.

Bake 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Frost with your favourite frosting.



  Amy

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Triple Peanut Butter Monster Cookies

Dave LOVES peanut butter, especially Reese's Peanut Butter.

Cookies with three kinds of peanut butter, including two kinds of Reese's Peanut Butter, are pretty much his version of heaven.

Needless to say, we have been making a lot of these cookies.


Adapted from Lemon Sugar, makes 18 monster cookies 

Ingredients

2 cups flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter
I cup sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Reese's Pieces candy

Directions

Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract. Beat to combine.

Reduce the mixer speed to low.  Add the dry ingredients and beat just until combined. Add the oats, peanut butter chips and chocolate chips. Stir to incorporate. Do not over beat.

Refrigerate the dough for 15 minutes - if you are impatient (like we are) you can skip this step, you will just have stickier hands later on.

Preheat the oven to 350 F and prepare cookie sheets with Silpat or parchment paper.

Pour the Reese's Pieces onto a large plate.

Using a cookie scoop, drop about 3 tablespoons of dough onto the Reese's Pieces. Flatten slightly with your hand. Transfer to the prepared cookie sheets.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or just until the edges begin to brown.

Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 to 10 minutes before moving. If you are impatient (like we are), the cookies might break when moving them. Broken cookies still taste good!

Enjoy!



  Amy

Friday, March 15, 2013

Recipe Rewind: Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

An “Irish Car Bomb” is a drink which consists of a shot of Bailey's Irish Cream and Jamison's Irish Whiskey dropped into a pint of Guinness. I have never tried one myself and think I will stick to the cupcake version. 

By far one of my favourite cupcakes... the chocolate cake is so moist and rich!



Adapted from Smitten Kitchen, makes 2 dozen cupcakes

Ingredients


1 cup Guinness beer
1 cup butter
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
2 tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream or 1/2 tablespoon Jamison's Irish Whiskey

2 cups butter, at room temperature
5 cups icing sugar
6 tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream


Directions

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350 F.  Line a cupcake pan with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter and beer. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the cocoa powder and beat until combined. Mix in the eggs and sour cream. Add in the dry ingredients, beating on slow speed just until combined.

Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners, filling them about ¾ full.  Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely.

To make the ganache, place the chopped chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Add the cream to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let stand for about 1 minute. Gently stir the chocolate and cream together with a whisk. 


When the ganache has become smooth, whisk in the butter one piece at a time until incorporated. Whisk in the Bailey's or Jamison's.  Place the ganache in the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes to thicken.


To assemble the cupcakes, cut a cone out of the center of each cupcake with a small paring knife.



Place a spoonful of ganache into the hole and smooth the top.



To make the frosting, whip the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Reduce the speed to medium-low and gradually add the icing sugar, 1/4 cup at a time. Add the Bailey's and whip on medium-high for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy.

Place the frosting in a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and frost the cupcakes. Garnish with chocolate shavings or green sprinkles if desired.



  Amy

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Recipe Rewind: Mint Chocolate Cupcakes

The perfect green treat for St Patrick's Day!



Adapted from Annie's Eats, makes 3 dozen cupcakes

Ingredients

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ cup hot water
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1¼ teaspoon coarse salt
1½ cups butter
2¼ cups sugar
4 large eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
2 to 3 teaspoons mint extract
5 large egg whites
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 to 4 teaspoons mint extract
Directions

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350 F.  Line a cupcake pan with paper liners.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water until smooth.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter and the sugar. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium-low speed for 4 to 5 minutes, until the mixture is cooled. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla and cocoa mixture, beating until incorporated. Reduce to low speed. Add in half of the dry ingredients, then the sour cream, then the remaining dry ingredients, beating just until combined.

Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners, filling them about ¾ full.  Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely.


To make the ganache, place the chopped chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Add the cream to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let stand for about 1 minute. Gently stir the chocolate and cream together with a whisk. 


When the ganache has become smooth, whisk in the butter one piece at a time until incorporated.  Whisk in the mint extract.  Place the ganache in the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes to thicken.


To make the frosting, combine the egg whites, sugar and salt in a heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water.  Heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture reaches 160 F. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, about 10 minutes.


Reduce the speed to medium and gradually add the butter, about 2 tablespoons at a time, until combined.  If the frosting "curdles", continue to beat on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes and the icing will come together. Stir in the mint extract and tint with food colour if desired.
To assemble the cupcakes, cut a cone out of the center of each cupcake with a small paring knife.


Place a spoonful of ganache into the hole and smooth the top.



Place the frosting in a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and frost the cupcakes. Garnish with chocolate shavings or gold sprinkles.




  Amy
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