Archive for the ‘Desserts’ category

A Shower for My Sister

June 6th, 2012

Strawberry cheesecakes

Later this summer, my little sister is getting married.  I started planning her shower back in the early spring, playing around with Pinterest, reading dessert cookbooks, and flipping through magazines.

Macarons

The theme came together quickly – lipstick & lingerie – with the guests contributing to the bride’s visit to MAC and a pile of frothy underthings.  We spent the day before the shower getting primped and pampered, just like a bridal party should.

Sugar cookie wedding cakes

The food was where I had the most fun.  My grandma, an amazing baker, pulled off the shortbread wedding cakes seen above.  I ordered macarons from the lovely Bake Lethbridge, and everything else played into the fresh spring feel of the shower.  My favourite treat was also the easiest to put together – a tray full of bruschetta and goat cheese on baguette slices.  Half were a traditional tomato bruschetta; half were a summery strawberry bruschetta.

Desserts Garter from mom Party snacks

It was a wonderful afternoon, and I can’t wait for the big weekend.

Rice Krispie S’more Squares

February 6th, 2012

S'more Rice Krispie Squares

Okay, okay.  So they’re just Rice Krispie squares with chocolate chips.  But they still taste quite s’morey, what with their chocolate, marshmallowy crunch.  Plus they’re much easier to pack for a mid-afternoon snack.

1/4 cup butter or margarine
40 big fat marshmallows
2 tsp vanilla
6 cups Rice Krispies
1 cup mini dark chocolate chips

Grease a 9×13 glass pan; set aside.
In a large, microwaveable bowl, nuke the butter until it is completely liquified.
Drop the marshmallows into the butter, tossing gently to coat.
Add the vanilla and zap until the marshmallows have blown up and gotten nice and soft.
Add the cereal to the melted marshmallows, stirring to distribute evenly.
Pour in the chocolate chips and work them through with as little stirring as possible – you don’t want them to melt and blend completely.
Wet your hands and press the cereal mixture into the prepared pan. Once it is all pressed smooth, put it in the fridge to set for at least an hour before serving.
To serve, cut into squares with a wet knife.

The Cookiepedia

September 7th, 2011

Everything-But-The-Kitchen-Sink Cookies

Who doesn’t like cookies?  They’re the perfect snack – compact, sweet and just the thing with a cold glass of milk.  We all have our favourites – chocolate chip, coconut macaroons, sugar cookies with pink icing…  The possibilities are really only as endless as your imagination.

A few weeks ago, I received a review copy of Stacy Adimando‘s new cookbook, The Cookiepedia.  Inside are 50 recipes for classic cookies, divided into six easy-to-navigate categories: buttery, chocolaty, fancy, fruity, spicy and nutty.  The book has a funky, retro vibe, with bright, cheerful graphics and big colour pictures of each of the cookies.  The recipes are easy to follow, perfect for the beginner baker, but adaptable enough for the creative cook.

Everything-But-The-Kitchen-Sink Cookies

In the interest of giving the book a proper review, I shared the cookbook with my mom and we set to baking on the weekend.  First up were the “Everything-but-the-Kitchen-Sink” cookies, picture above.  They’re basically a chocolate chip cookie, but with the addition of extra sweet and salty add-ins.  Mom’s version featured corn chips, pretzel chunks, chocolate chips, unsalted peanuts and a super special ingredient – chunk of leftover Christmas toffee-almond squares, discovered in the bottom of the deep freeze.  These cookies were amazing – chewy and cruncy, salty and sweet, all in each mouthful.  The recipe is on page 23 of the cookbook – buy a copy or visit your library to check it out.

Green tea cookies

The weekend’s second batch of cookies were something a little different – buttery green tea cookies made with matcha powder.  The recipe suggests dipping each cookie in a sugar/ginger mix before baking.  I decided to go with a gingery drizzled glaze, instead.  These are a great cookie for a mid-afternoon break from work.  They give you a little boost that gets you through the rest of the work day, and you can’t help but smile when you see the brilliant emerald green colour of the biscuits.

Green Tea Cookies (adapted from Stacy Adimando’s The Cookiepedia)

3/4 cup icing sugar
4 teaspoons matcha powder (medium grind)
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp softened butter
3 egg yolks
1 3/4 cups flour
pinch of salt

3/4 cup icing sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp cold water

With an electric mixer, cream together the icing sugar, matcha powder and butter until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula to ensure even blending.
Add the egg yolks and blend again.
Add the flour and salt 1/2 a cup at a time at low speed.  Depending on the heat of the day, the dough may be crumbly, or come together in a nice ball.
Remove the dough from the bowl.  With the heat from your hands, shape it into a round, flat disc.  Wrap the disc in plastic wrap and refridgerate for 30 minutes.
Once the dough has chilled, roll it out  to 1/2 an inch thick.  Cut it into shapes using cookie or biscuit cutters and place on a cookie sheet.
Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, or until the bottoms are just starting to turn golden.  Cool on wire racks.

For the glaze, mix together the icing sugar, ginger and water with a whisk until smooth.  It should be thick enough to drizzle slowly – if it’s too thin, it won’t set solidly on the cookies.  To thicken, add a bit more sugar; to thin, add a few drops of water.
Once the glaze is the right consistency, drizzle with the whisk over the cooled cookies and allow to set.

Raspberry Panzanella

August 1st, 2011

Raspberry panzanella

I am in love with Heidi Swanson‘s new cookbook.  I want to make everything in it – bean dishes, salads, soups – everything.  Because of the bumper crop of raspberries in my back yard, I started with her recipe for a dessert panzanella.  Along with the recommended bread and raspberries, I also cooked up an apple.  Because it was sitting on the counter, staring me in the face, I also poured in about a tablespoon of red wine to further liquify the dressing.  This version makes enough for two servings.

2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 thick slices of day-old grainy bread, cut into cubes
1 apple, cut into small chunks
1 tbsp red wine
1 cup fresh raspberries

In a large frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter and 2 tbsp sugar together until smooth.
Toss in the bread, stirring to coat in the sugar.  Toast until crispy.
Remove the bread cubes from the pan and dump in the apples.  Stir around gently until soft.
In a big bowl, mash up half of the raspberries with the remaining 1 tbsp of sugar and the red wine.
Add the bread, apples and second half of the raspberries to the dressing in the big bowl.  Toss gently so as not to crush the whole raspberries.
Serve warm with big glasses of milk.

Blueberry Brownies

July 16th, 2011

Blueberry brownies

I had one of those “duh” moments the other day, and it turned into something fabulous.  I took my standard, do-it-with-my-eyes-closed brownie recipe and tossed in a handful of frozen wild blueberries.  I wish this had occurred to me years sooner, as the addition of the blueberries tips these fudgy brownies over the edge.  They’re chewy, chocolatey, and now have hidden explosions of berry awesomeness.  Wonderful.

 

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