Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category

This pizza recipe brings back memories from my days living in Vancouver.  I made it quite a few times since it was easy and I like easy. Fresh seasonal fruit, with a tasty cream cheese icing on a shortbread base makes for a perfect summer dessert.

Little hands can easily help with this recipe.


Fruit Pizza

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 cup icing sugar
1 cup butter, softened

12 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1/3 cup Apricot Jam
1 tbsp water

Fresh fruit

Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix first 5 ingredients together in a bowl until it comes together and you can form a ball. Press onto bottom of pizza pan. If you lay parchment down first it will allow you to remove pizza easily to a cake platter.

Bake for approx 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely.

Tip: On a hot summer day you can cook the crust on your BBQ instead of turning your oven on.

To make icing beat together cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Spread evenly over pizza crust.

Arrange your fruit on top.

Mix together apricot jam & water. If you wish you can run it through a sieve to remove chunks of apricot. I left the apricot pieces in this time.

Pour glaze over fruit and serve.

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This is an easy and elegant dish to make. It needs to set up in the fridge for several hours so plan your time accordingly when making it.

If I am making this for just our family I half the recipe.  Based on what I have, the full recipe fills 3 x 4oz ramekins + 4 x 7oz ramekins.

We make this recipe so often we have a creme brulee torch. They do not cost very much and make darkening the sugar much easier.  If you do not have one bake in the oven as directed below.


Adapted from The Complete Canadian Living Cookbook

Raspberry Creme Brulee

3 cups whipping cream
8 egg yolks (whites can be frozen for later use)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1-2 cups fresh cleaned raspberries

1/2 cup granulated white sugar (for topping)

Preheat your oven to 350F.

In a pan over medium-high heat add your cream and heat until it is steaming (not boiling).

In a bowl whisk together your egg yolks with your sugar. Mix well. Now you need to temper your eggs. Pour in 1/4 cup of the hot cream and mix well. Then pour in another 1/2 cup of the hot cream, mixing well again. At this point your eggs should be tempered and you can slowly pour the rest of the hot cream in. Whisk and add vanilla. Skim off foam with a spoon.

Add a minimum 6 raspberries to each ramekin. Pour egg mixture into  ramekin with raspberries. Place in a large casserole pan. Pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of ramekins.

Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until edges set, centres still jiggle and toothpick inserted comes out creamy. Remove from water bath and let cool on racks. Once cooled relocate to the fridge, cover and leave for several hours until set.

Turn oven to Broil and move oven rack up. Place ramekins on rimmed baking sheet.  Sprinkle sugar evenly over entire top of ramekins.  Broil approx. 6 inches from heat for 2 – 5 minutes or until sugar bubbles and darkens.  Remove from oven and let cool down enough to place back in fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving.

To serve put single ramekin on a place and sprinkle fresh raspberries on top.

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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

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’ve had my eye on this recipe for a while (like years).  I specifically bought white chocolate wafers before Christmas so I could make this recipe.  However hosting my first ever Christmas Cookie Exchange and making the usual suspects (Christmas Baking) overloaded us with Christmas goodies and as such…it didn’t happen. 

With four days until Valentine’s Day, white chocolate wafers & leftover candy canes to use up, I decided today was the day to try out this recipe.  And what a great Valentine’s Day treat it turned out to be!  In fact next year I may crush cinnamon hearts instead of candy canes and make it as a class treat for Valentine’s Day!

Peppermint Popcorn Crunch

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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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I typically host several family dinners during December which makes for a very hectic month.  This year we have decided it is just too much for us and so we are taking a break.   During one of these dinners (yikes about 5 years ago) I made this eggnog delight for dessert.  It was light, fabulous and a recipe I must share.  It’s being put back into the rotation for this year.  No baking required!

Adapted from ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen

Eggnog Cranberry Dessert
1 frozen pound cake (298gr), thawed
2 tbsp orange liqueur
1 1/2 cups whole berry cranberry sauce
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 pkg (6 serving size) instant vanilla pudding mix
1 1/2 cups eggnog
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 cups whipping cream
2 tbsp icing sugar

Cut pound cake into 12 slices. Cover bottom of a 9×13 dish with cake slices, trimming to fit if necessary. Drizzle cake slices with orange liqueur. Spread cranberry sauce over cake layer. Sprinkle dried cranberries on top.

In a medium bowl combine pudding mix, eggnog, milk, vanilla and nutmeg. Using mixer beat for 2 minutes until thickened on low-speed. Spread pudding mixture over cranberry layer. Let stand 5 minutes to set. Whip cream with icing sugar until stiff. Spread whipped cream over pudding layer.

Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. Does not freeze. Serves 8-10.

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I was recently snacking on some caramel popcorn (well it was my daughters) and became inspired to find a quick and easy similar style recipe to make for the Annual Family Halloween Party we attend every year.   I came across a popcorn on a stick recipe that has marshmallows in it. Fantastic.

So I set out to make this recipe for the party. Tip: you can buy the lollipop sticks at Michael’s.

Adapted from Canadian Family

Popcorn Balls on a Stick

6 cups popped popcorn
2-3 cups marshmallows (I used a combo of big/small ones)
2 tbsp butter
3/4 cup Halloween sprinkles
softened butter

20-24 Lollipop sticks

Put popped popcorn in a bowl. Remove un-popped kernels and set bowl aside.

Put butter into a glass bowl and put in microwave. Heat 40-50 seconds or until butter is melted. Add your marshmallows and cook for another 40-60 seconds or until marshmallows are melted. Mix well and pour over popcorn stirring to combine. With buttered hands start forming your balls (approximately golf ball size).

NOTE: the original recipe called for chocolate chips to be stirred in. I tried this and the hot marshmallow mixture melted the chocolate chips and I ended up with a brown gooey mess. I also added in a couple teaspoons of the Halloween sprinkles which worked out well.

Next roll your popcorn balls in the sprinkles and place on cookie sheet. Note: you can also roll them in coconut. Once all your popcorn balls have been sprinklified, push your lollipop sticks into them. And BOO-YA they are ready to eat!

If not serving right away you can individually wrap them in baggies or plastic wrap until ready to eat. Or if giving out to the kids, keep them wrapped.

Not the greatest photo but it shows the finished product!

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I got my Martha on when I first made these cupcakes several years ago. It was Halloween and we made Creepcakes ….what fun!!  The cupcakes were easy and turned out fabulous!  The creepcake decorating…a little more tedious.   And so they became our stand by vanilla cupcake recipe that we make regularly throughout the year. I haven’t altered this recipe – it needed no changes (to suit our family).  

What works for me:
I tend to leave my eggs out and let them come to room temperature before using them in this recipe.  I also like to make the mini cupcakes as the kidlets love them!

Recipe Source: Martha Stewart

Vanilla Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
8 tbsp softened butter (room temperature)
1 cup sugar (white)
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk

Preheat your oven to 350F. Line cupcake pans with liners.

Next whisk (and/or sift) your flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In a seperate bowl (mixer bowl if using an electric mixer) cream your butter and sugar (with paddle attachment of electric mixer) OR a regular hand mixer; until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time (scraping down bowl) and beat in vanilla.

Add your flour mixture and milk alternatively to the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

Pour your batter into the liner filled muffin tins filling only until about 3/4 full (they will overflow if too much). Bake until golden, tops spring back to touch and/or a toothpick comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes for large cupcakes. My mini cupcakes take approx. 10 minutes to bake.  Once done transfer pan to wire rack cooling completely before icing.

For large cupcakes this recipe makes 1 dozen.  For mini cupcakes 2-4 dozen.

We always use buttercream icing to decorate these cupcakes!

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I admittedly have tried my hand at making pie crusts while in my 20’s…I’m er 30 now ;)…..and I had no luck. I was single back then…now I’m married and a Baker. Seems I should perhaps try my luck at pie crusts again! This recipe was submitted by Nicole and it has a twist – 7up! I have never heard of a pie crust recipe with 7up in it and I am very intrigued. I will be trying this recipe out in the near future and look forward to pie crust success! It seems so simple and we like simple. Thank you Nicole!

Submitted by Nicole

Basic Pie Dough Recipe
5 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 lb Tenderflake lard
1 can cold 7-up (not diet)

Here we go….
Mix flour and salt, cut in lard, stir in 7-up, divide into 5 equal portions. Wrap each of the 5 portions in plastic wrap and chill 30 minutes. Then roll out into 5 pie crusts. At this point follow the instructions of the pie you are making (ie: prebake or not). Have fun!

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