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Archive for the ‘Baking’ Category

I did not grow up eating apple pies. I like them, I do not love them and as such I can admit I do not make them….Sam I Am. Enter husband. He very much likes apple pie.

I love to search the web for recipes.  In doing so I came across a recipe to make an apple pie in a cast iron pan. Brilliant. Even more enticing was the caramelized goodness underneath the actual pie. This recipe entered the rotation and tonight it was created much to everyone’s delight.

Due to my son’s obsession with scrambled eggs every morning I ran out of eggs and was not able to make the egg white wash for the top.  Didn’t affect anything other than browning on top of pie.

Also the original recipe called for 4 lbs mixed apples. I used approximately 10 cups mixed apples (green, macintosh and a wrinkled gala thrown in for good luck). You could use a little more if you have them.

Another confession – I also cheated and purchased a double pie crust instead of making from scratch (shoot me now).

If you do not love apple pies, this recipe will have you reconsidering that thought. Simple Apple Goodness.

 

Adapted from Southern Living

 

Cast Iron Pan Apple Pie

10 cups cored, peeled & chopped apples (green, gala, macintosh)
1-2 tsp cinnamon
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tenderflake deep dish pie crusts (or your own homemade)
1-2 tbsp white sugar
2 egg whites

1 x 10-inch cast iron pan/skillet
Vanilla ice cream or whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350F.

Peel & core apples. Slice into thick wedges and place in a bowl. Toss with cinnamon & sugar, set aside.

Melt butter in cast iron pan over medium heat. Add brown sugar and cook, stirring until sugar mostly melted (a few minutes). Remove from heat and set aside.

Place one of your pie crusts in cast iron pan over brown sugar mixture. Pat down a little. Pour in your apple mixture. Top with second pie crust. Whip up your egg whites a little with a fork. Brush on top of pie. Sprinkle with 1-2 tbsp sugar. Cut slits on top of pie crust.

Bake in oven for 1 hour or until golden and bubbly. Cool a little before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream, whipping cream or a spoon.

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Pancakes really are that easy to make.  The next time you want some, instead of using a bisquick (or other) pancake mix…try this recipe. It’s so quick/easy you will wonder why you didn’t make them from scratch before.

This is my go to pancake recipe.  I typically double the batch and once they are on the skillet sprinkle on my add-ins (allowing everyone to get involved and make their own or have options).  Leftover pancakes get separated by parchment paper and frozen in ziplock bags. To reheat let them sit out for a few minutes and then drop them into the toaster.

Adapted from Canadian Living

Simple Pancakes

1 egg
1 1/2 cups milk
2-3 tbsp butter, melted in microwave
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp wheat germ
1 tsp cinnamon

Add-ins:
Chocolate Chips, Butterscotch chips or chopped white chocolate
Marshmallows, crushed graham crackers, chocolate chips (smores)
Fruit (chopped banana, mango, strawberries, blueberries, etc.)
Chopped toasted nuts

Let’s begin…

Grab 2 large bowls.

Heat your pan or griddle.  If using a pan add in some oil or butter.

In first bowl beat your egg, add in your milk and butter mixing well.

In second bowl whisk your flour, baking powder, sugar, wheat germ, cinnamon and salt together. Pour dry ingredients on wet mixture and stir until smooth and no lumps remain.

Using 1/4 cup measure scoop up some batter and pour onto griddle. Cook for about 1 minute or until underside is nicely browned and bubbles break on top. Flip pancake and cook for an additional minute until golden brown.

Serve with fruit preserves (jam), honey, butter, maple syrup, bacon…more chopped toasted nuts if you wish, whipped cream, creme fraiche, vanilla greek yogurt – whatever you like!

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I’m really pleased with how my photos turned out this time…there might be hope for me yet!  And so I got a little photo crazy in this post.

These cookies are easy to make.  Take your favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe, pick up some Cadbury Mini Eggs, a bottle of wine and you are ready to begin.

Here is my go to chewy chocolate chip recipe.

Adapted from Canadian Living

Chocolate Easter Egg Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
2 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 tsp cinnamon
1-2 cups Cadbury Mini Easter Eggs

Preheat oven to 350F (180C).

In a large bowl and using a hand mixer (or kitchenaid) beat butter until smooth. Slowly beat in sugar & brown sugar. Add your eggs & vanilla.

In a smaller bowl whisk together flour, baking soda & salt. Stir into wet ingredients. Drop in your chocolate chips and mix well.

Drop onto parchment lined cookie sheets about 1-2 inches apart. Once cookie sheet is full, gently press in 2 easter eggs.

Once all cookies have eggs; bake in oven for 8-9 minutes, turning/rotating half way through until edges lightly browned.

Let cool completely on racks. Can be frozen (2 wks). Makes about 2 dozen delicious, chewy chocolate chip cookies.

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Back when I was single and living on the coast (Vancouver) I used to follow the Greens Restaurant (in San Fransisco), even bought their cookbook “Field of Greens” by Annie Somerville. It’s a vegetarian cook book with fabulous recipes, tastes and flavours.  I tried out a few back in the day and loved every one of them.  I am ready to get back to some vegetarian cooking and happily still have the cook book for inspiration.  This is one recipe I have made many times and adore.

Adapted from Fields of Greens

Orange & Pecan Scones

1 orange, zested
4 tbsp orange juice, fresh squeezed
1/2 cup dried currants, stems removed
3 cups all-purpose flour
5 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold butter
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp milk
1/3 cup pecan pieces, toasted

Preheat your oven to 400F.

After scanning your currents for stems, plump them in a bowl in the orange juice.

Mix together your dry ingredients.  Cut the butter into small pieces and cut it into the dry mixture using a pastry blender. Do this until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add in your currant/orange juice. Add your orange zest to the buttermilk, give it a quick stir. Add to dry ingredients and mix until moistened. Do not over mix.  If you find batter slightly dry add another tbsp of buttermilk.

Put your dough on a lightly floured counter and form into a round, 1 inch high. Cut like a pizza into approximately 8 wedges.  Place on parchment lined baking sheet ensuring they are about 1 inch apart.  Stack another cookie sheet underneath to keep bottoms of scones from browning too quickly.

Whisk together egg & milk and brush onto the tops of the scones.  Sprinkle with toasted pecans. Bake until lightly browned on top, 15-20 minutes.

Serve warm with butter or jam. Makes 8 scones.

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Last year I hosted one of many mom/daughter playdates. The mom brought carrot cupcakes. Without a doubt these were the best carrot cupcakes I had ever tasted. So I asked for and received the recipe.  Finally 8 months later I am making these delectable cupcakes (but with some changes)!

I do not do well with veggie oils or any oils in general in muffins and baking. I can taste it and sometimes it just doesn’t agree with me.  I started using only canola oil and do what I can to cut back the oil content in recipes.

One surprise in this recipe is the carrot baby food. I’ve never bought carrot baby food and so this was a first. I can’t say exactly what it is that makes this cupcake taste so darn good, but if it’s the baby food then I’m sold. These cupcakes are not too sweet and melt in your mouth.

This recipe was hand written out for me so I do not know the original source for credit.

Best Ever Carrot Cupcakes & Cream Cheese Icing

3 cups all purpose flour
2 3/4 cups white sugar
1 tbsp baking soda
3 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp salt
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup canola oil
1 container snack size motts plain apple sauce (111gr)
2 tsp vanilla
1-2 cups grated carrot
2 jars (4.5oz each) carrot puree baby food
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut

Icing
3 1/2 cups icing sugar
12 oz cream cheese, room temperature (1 block is 8oz, so you need 1 and a half blocks)
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Get your muffin tins ready by spraying with pam or inserting liners.

In a bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix well. In separate bowl whisk your eggs, oil, apple sauce and vanilla. Add wet to dry ingredients beating well for about 1 minute. Add in your grated carrots, carrot puree and coconut mixing until just combined. If you find the batter dry add another dollop of apple sauce or tbsp of oil.

Pour batter into prepared muffin tins (only fill about 3/4 full) and bake in oven until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Take pans out of oven and let cupcakes cool in pans 5-10 minutes before transferring to wire rack. Let cool completely.

Mini muffins took about 15 minutes.
Regular size muffins took approximately 23 minutes.

Make the Icing
In a bowl sift icing sugar. In a larger bowl beat together your cream cheese, butter, vanilla and salt until smooth. Add your icing sugar in 1 cup increments beating well after each addition until all the icing sugar is used.

You are now ready to ice your cupcakes.  We made both normal & mini cupcakes for a total of 21 normal size cupcakes and 24 mini cupcakes.  My mini chefs had a great time icing them! You can also make this recipe into a cake using 2 x 8 or 9 inch cake pans and baking 45-50 minutes.

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Wow that is a mouthful.  My kids have been participating in the President’s Choice Cooking School (Superstore/Loblaws) since they were both 3 years old.  Inexpensive and fun with food.  Sometimes they find new foods they enjoy, other times not so much.  In the end it’s always about the FUN.  This recipe comes from one of those cooking classes (another paper recipe now officially recycled).

When it comes to muffins I like to make the mini muffin version…easier for little hands to hold and eat.  I found there was too much oil in the original version of the recipe so I’ve cut it back to 1/2 cup.  It’s still too much in my opinion and so next time I may substitute apple sauce for some of the oil.

The photo below is my “Leaning Tower of Muffins”! I chose the flat ones for this shot. Taking food photos is fun, let’s just hope I get better at it!

Adapted from PC Cooking School Recipes

Banana, Blueberry, Cinnamon & Strawberry Yogurt Muffins

1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups strawberry yogurt
1 egg
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large bananas, mashed
1 cup frozen (or fresh) blueberries
1-2 tsp cinnamon
Pam
Mini Muffin Tins

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Lightly spray mini muffin tins with pam. Combine Yogurt, egg, oil, mashed bananas and blueberries in a large bowl.

In another bowl mix together your baking powder, salt, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon stirring until combined. Add dry mixture into wet mixture stirring until just moistened.

Spoon batter into muffin tins. Bake 15 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Leave muffins in pan for 5 minutes. Take out of pan and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Serve warm or cold.

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These were the second batch of cookies we made on Sunday.  I’ve had my eye on a cranberry/chocolate combo cookie for a while.  After scouring the internet in search of the perfect cookie…I ended up utilizing a couple different recipes for the basics and adding/making changes to suit my needs.  So here it is, our version of an Oatmeal Cranberry Double Chocolate Cookie. Not too sweet, but enough chocolate to keep you happy!

Tip: You can use both kinds of chocolate as we did or use straight semi-sweet chocolate chips or just chopped white chocolate chunks. Choice is yours!

 

Oatmeal Cranberry Double Chocolate Cookies

2/3 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups dried cranberries
2/3 cups mixed chocolate (semi-sweet chocolate chips and white chocolate chunks, chopped).

Preheat oven to 375F (190C)

Using an electric mixer, in a large bowl cream together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add in your eggs mixing well to combine and your vanilla. Set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together oats, flour, salt, cinnamon and baking soda. Pour flour mixture into butter mixture one cup at a time, stirring well to combine.

Finally add in your dried cranberries and all the chocolate. Mix it up and drop by teaspoonfuls onto parchment lined baking sheets.

Bake in top and bottom thirds of oven for 8-10 minutes rotating pans half way through. Cool on wire racks.  Pour yourself a glass of milk and dig in!

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The kids and I made cookies today.  Two kinds actually.  It was a cold day in Calgary and so it seemed like a good day to stay inside and warm the house with the smell of baking cookies.

The first batch we did was thumbprint cookies but we turned it up a notch since the kids wanted to throw in some cinnamon.  Nice idea I thought.  They added the cinnamon and the cookies turned out super yummy.

Adapted from Everyday Food Magazine

Cinnamon Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter + 1/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg, large
1 tbsp vanilla extract
5 ounces semisweet bars (1 bar = 1 ounce)
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar, sanding sugar or crushed candy canes

Preheat oven to 350F, with racks in upper and lower thirds.

In a bowl mix together flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside. In a larger bowl, using an electric mixer, beat 1 cup each of butter and sugar on medium high until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla mixing well.  With mixer on low slowly add in flour mixture and beat to combine.

Place 1/2 cup sugar, sanding sugar or candy canes on a plate.  Roll your cookie dough into 1 inch balls and then roll them in sugar to coat.  Place balls 1 inch apart on parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake 4 minutes then remove sheets from oven and with a melon baller or under side of a round 1/2 teaspoon make an indentation in the centre of each cookie. 

Put cookies back in oven and bake until they are set but still look moist (another 4 minutes).  Let cool on wire racks.

In a microwaveable bowl microwave your chocolate and 1/4 cup butter in 10 second increments, stirring each time until melted.  Stir in peppermint extract.  Let cool until thickened.  At this point you can either spoon the chocolate into the cookie indentations or put the chocolate into a ziplock bag, snip hole in one corner and pipe chocolate into indentations.

Should last up to a week in an airtight container and makes approx. 4 dozen.

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Whipped Shortbread

This year for my Christmas Cookie Exchange I am doing a Trio of Shortbread.  Trying to find something to please everyone!   My mom would make Whipped Shortbread every year at Christmas time.  I always waited with eager anticipation to put the cherries on the cookies, because that was my job.  I’ve tweaked it along the way and here is the recipe I use.  The key to this recipe is turning it from dough into whipped dough.  Patience.

Whipped Shortbread

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup icing sugar

Candy canes, crushed
Small candied cherries, cut in half

Preheat oven to 300F (150C)

Using low-speed of an electric mixer beat butter until creamy. Mix in flour and icing sugar until dough comes together. At medium speed beat about 5-10 minutes. This step takes time. The dough needs time to turn from cookie dough into whipped dough. Once you’ve reached the whipped stage they are ready to bake. Drop from spoon onto parchment lined baking sheet roughly 3 across (1-2 inches apart).

Press either candied cherry piece or crushed candy canes into centre of each unbaked cookie. Bake for 8-10 minutes turning & rotating half way through for even cooking until lightly golden around edges. Let cookies sit for 2 minutes on sheets, then transfer to cookie racks to let cool. Store in airtight container between layers of parchment or wax paper.

Can be frozen. Makes 3-4 dozen.

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Can you tell I’m preparing for a Christmas Cookie Exchange?!!  This shortbread recipe has become another regular Christmas time favourite in our house.  It’s a little bit of a process having to constantly refrigerate these cookies (as per the original recipe) and admittedly I don’t do it as much as the recipes calls for because seriously who has all day to make cookies?!  And so I did it my way and they turn out just fine!  The orange & nutmeg lends a delicious flavour to these cookies.

Adapted from Canadian Living

Orange Nutmeg Shortbread Stars

1 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tsp finely grated orange rind (I typically use a whole orange)
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup icing sugar

Preheat oven to 300F (150C)

In large bowl beat butter with sugar until fluffy. Stir in cornstarch, orange rind, nutmeg and salt until blended. Add flour one-third at a time, stirring to make smooth dough.

Between waxed or parchment paper roll out dough on a cookie sheet or cutting board to 1/2 inch thickness. Refrigerate as is for approx. 30 minutes.

Using floured star cookie cutter (1 1/2 inch), cut out shapes, rerolling scraps and cutting out cookies as you go. Place about 1 inch apart on parchment lined baking sheets.

Put one baking sheet on top and one on the bottom thirds of oven baking for 6 minutes then switch and rotate pans. Bake for another 6 minutes. Switch & rotate pans again. Here is where you start baking 1-2 minutes at a time watching for the bottoms to brown slightly. In my oven my stars take approx. 13-15 minutes.

Let cookies cool in pans for about 5 minutes then transfer to racks. Using a sprinkler/shaker/colander shake/sprinkle the icing sugar all over the cookies while they are sitting on the rack and while they are still warm. I find this helps the icing sugar adhere to and stay on the cookie.

Lastly try not to eat them all at once ;).  Makes approximately 3 dozen.

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