Friday, December 16, 2011

Whipped Shortbread

Before I lose this recipe yet again, I'm going to post it. Whipped Shortbread are a Christmas staple and yet they are such a pain to make. Delicate and easily burnt, I find I need to make a double batch so I end up with enough.

The secret is to whip the dough until it looks white, not yellow. And don't overbake. 7 minutes in my oven seems to be enough. You don't want to see brown edges - if you do, you've overbaked them.

Whipped Shortbread
Makes 36

1c. salted butter, softened
1/2c. powdered sugar
1/2c. cornstarch
1c. flour
candied cherries, quartered

1. Whip the butter for 5 minutes on very high speed until light and fluffy.
2. Add the powdered sugar and beat on high until combined.
3. Add the cornstarch and flour and beat the mixture on high for 8-10 minutes or until it has turned white.
4. Scoop teaspoon size balls onto parchment paper and top with a quartered cherry.
5. Bake for 7 minutes at 350. Let cool completely before removing from the pan.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Toffee Chip Bars

I made these for the first time this Christmas. They are very similar to Magic Bars only much much better. So good, in fact, that I think I will make a double batch next year!

Toffee Chip Bars
Makes a 9x13 pan
2 1/3 cup flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
¾ cup butter
1 egg slightly beaten
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips divided
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 ¾ cup skor toffee bits

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2.Grease 9x13 inch pan

3. Stir together flour & brown sugar. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add eggs and mix well.

4. Stir in 1 ½ cups chocolate chips and nuts and reserve 1 ½ cups crumb mixture. Press remaining crumb mixture into bottom of greased pan. Bake for 10 minutes.

5. Pour condensed milk evenly over hot crust. Top with remaining crumb misture, 1 1/2 cups chips and the skor bits.

6. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Eggnog Cheesecake

I made this for Christmas again this year and made the cardinal mistake of opening the pan too early. Huge crack right down the middle, yep! And the sides fell, too. Nonetheless, this is probably one of the best cheesecakes I have ever made. Just don't open the springform pan until it is completely cool.

I have adjusted the spices a bit from the original and upped the cooking time so that it is not a soggy mess. Other than that, squirt on some whipped cream and enjoy!

Eggnog Cheesecake

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons white sugar
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/2t. nutmeg
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup eggnog
2 eggs
2 tablespoons rum (I used Captain Morgan spiced rum or you can use 2t. rum flavoring)
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

2. In a medium bowl combine graham cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons sugar, nutmeg and butter. Press into the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan.

3. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool.

4. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

5. In a food processor or mixer combine cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, flour and eggnog; process until smooth. Blend in eggs, rum and nutmeg. Pour mixture into cooled crust.

6. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.

7. Reduce heat to 250 and bake for 55 minutes, or until center of cake is barely firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and immediately loosen cake from rim with a knife (DO NOT open the pan up). Let cake cool completely before removing the rim.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Irish Cream Brownies

I have not blogged in a very very long time. Working full time with a toddler does not allow for kitchen experiments on a regular basis. Now that Christmas is almost here (3 weeks!) I am in full on baking mode and had to post what I have made.

These brownies are from the lovely Paula Deen in her usual rich, buttery, fudgy style. I might have overbaked them a bit but once I partially froze them, they were very easy to cut into 36 small squares. I have added more cocoa and will definitely up the irish cream amount next time as well.

Irish Cream Brownies
Cooking with Paula Deen, Christmas 2006
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
4 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate (I used 2/3c. chocolate chips)
2 1/3 cups sugar, divided
5 large eggs, divided
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream liqueur
2 T. cocoa

In a medium saucepan, combine butter and chocolate. Cook over low heat until melted, stirring frequently. Set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with aluminum foil and coat lightly with Pam no-stick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, beat 2 cups sugar and 4 eggs with an electric mixer until fluffy (about 4 minutes). Gradually add flour and salt. Stir in melted chocolate mixture. Add cocoa.
In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese and 1/3 cup sugar. Beat with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in 1 egg and liqueur.
Pour half of chocolate mixture into prepared pan. Spread cream cheese mixture over chocolate mixture. Spread remaining chocolate mixture over cream cheese layer. Run a knife through layers to swirl cream cheese, if desired. Bake for 45 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting. (Or partially freeze).

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Pumpkin Muffins

I think I finally got them right this time. This recipe is from Ellie Krieger who specializes in healthy, but yummy, baking. She uses a lot of spices and more pumpkin (though I ran out and had to use applesauce to make up the difference). Her recipe calls more a mix of whole wheat and white flours but I used all spelt and the texture is fantastic - I can't even tell the difference.

Pumpkin Muffins
Makes 1 dozen
Recipe from Ellie Krieger

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-grain flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsulphered molasses
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup lowfat buttermilk
1/4 cup raw, unsalted pumpkin seeds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose and whole-wheat flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg.

In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, molasses, oil and 1 egg until combined. Add the other egg and whisk well. Whisk in the pumpkin and vanilla. Whisk in the flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the buttermilk. Whisk just until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared muffin pan and sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center of 1 of the muffins comes out clean.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Quinoa Coconut Cookies

If you have not tried quinoa, you really should. It reminds me of couscous but the percentage of protein in this tiny grain is astonishing. The easiest way to cook it is 2 to 1 liquid to quinoa. Cook it in water if you want to bake with it or eat it for breakast, cook it with broth if you want it as a side dish - or even coconut milk works!

Now that I have discovered quinoa, I want to use it in everything - even baking! This recipe really surprised me. I thought the cookies would be dry, or else have a pasty texture. Instead, they could easily be my favorite cookies ever. The recipe calls for 3/4c. of sugar but I reduced it to 1/2c. because I think they are a little sweet. I also use dark chocolate chips but you could use semi-sweet or sub in raisins.

Quinoa Coconut Cookies

⅓ cups Butter, Softened
⅓ cups Peanut Butter
2 whole Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla
¾ cups Brown Sugar
1-½ cup Whole Wheat Flour
½ cup Shredded Unsweetened Coconut
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
¼ teaspoons Baking Soda
1-½ cup Cooked Quinoa, Cooled
1 cup Chocolate Chips

Beat together the butter, peanut butter, eggs, vanilla and sugar until smooth.
In another bowl, combine the flour, coconut, baking powder, and baking soda.
Add the dry ingredients to the peanut butter mixture and mix until smooth.
Stir in the quinoa and chocolate chips.
Drop spoonfuls of cookie dough onto a greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 375 degrees for 11 minutes or until edges are golden.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cinnamon Buns with Vanilla Icing

This recipe comes from Michael Smith of 'Chef at Home' on the FoodNetwork. I really like how simple it was, considering they look like they came from a gourmet bakery. You won't be able to stop at one!
One note I would make is that the filling was not quite enough for me. I would like more cinnamon goo in the middle. So the only thing I would change is to make 1.5x the filling.
Also, if you have traditional yeast and not instant, warm 1/3c. of the milk seperately and sprinkle the yeast on top with 1t. sugar. Use the remaining 2/3c. milk to make the milk mixture.

Cinnamon Rolls
Michael Smith - Chef At Home

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 package instant yeast - 2 1/4t.
  • 4 eggs


  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon


  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons cream
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

  1. In a small pot gently warm the milk along with 1 stick of butter, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, the vanilla and the salt. Don't bring to a simmer, warm just enough to melt the butter. Meanwhile measure half the flour into the bowl of a stand mixer along with the yeast. Add the warm melted milk butter mixture to the flour, beat with a paddle attachment until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until smooth before proceeding. Switch to a dough hook and add the remaining flour. Knead until a soft dough forms that is no longer sticky to the touch, about five minutes. Rest the dough in a warm place, covered in a lightly oiled bowl until it doubles in size, about one to two hours.
  2. Knock the dough down and let rest for a few minutes. Meanwhile thoroughly mix together the room temperature butter with 1 cup of brown sugar and the cinnamon. Flour your work surface, the dough, your hands and a rolling pin. Roll out the dough into a long rectangle shape, about 18x12-inches. Evenly spread the cinnamon butter over the top of the dough leaving an inch or two uncovered along one long edge. This will help a seal form. Roll tightly into a long cigar shape from the covered long edge to the uncovered long edge.
  3. Slice the dough log into 12 or 16 sections (I ended up with 16 - 1" sections). Turn each on its side and position evenly in an appropriately sized lightly oiled baking pan. Rest, uncovered, until the dough doubles in size again and the rolls swell into each other.
  4. Meanwhile preheat your oven to 350. When the dough is ready, bake for 40 to 45 minutes (they took me 30min.).
  5. When the cinnamon rolls have cooled enough to handle stir together the glaze ingredients and drizzle all over them.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Lemon Poppyseed Bread

Ok so this is not a whole wheat recipe and I didn't try to make it one. It sounded too delicious on its own and there was oat bran in the recipe so it is a little bit healthy. This gem is out of Eat, Shrink and Be Merry because this book just can't steer me wrong. I love everything I have tried!

As with the banana bread, carefully folding in the dry ingredients and not overmixing is the key. The bread was moist and lemony and didn't need a glaze at all which surprised me because I find most lemon breads do. It made a sticky glazed top all on its own. I almost sliced the top off the loaf and just ate that.


Poppy Love
Eat Shrink and Be Merry

1 1/4c. flour
3/4c. sugar
1/2c. oat bran
1T. poppy seeds - I added 2T.
2t. baking powder
1/2t. salt
1c. milk
1/4c. melted butter or oil - I used oil
1 egg
2T. fresh lemon juice
2t. grated lemon zest - it was the zest of one lemon

Preheat oven to 350. Spray an 8x4" loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, oat bran, poppy seeds, baking powder and salt.

In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, butter, egg, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix just until dry ingredients are moistened. Spread batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 40 - 45 minutes (mine took the full 45) or until loaf is light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in centre of loaf comes out clean.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Banana Bread

Not much to say. This one was super easy and delicious. You must fold in the dry ingredients and don't overmix or it will be tough and won't rise. I used whole wheat flour and skipped the pecans but will definitely add them next time.

Sweet Home Alabanana
Eat, Shrink & Be Merry

1 3/4c. flour - I used whole wheat
1/2c. oatbran
2t. baking powder
1t. baking soda
1t. cinnamon
1/2t. salt
2 eggs
1/2c. packed brown sugar
1 1/2c. mashed bananas - I used 3 large
3/4c. buttermilk
2T. vegetable oil
2t. vanilla
1/2c. chopped pecans
1/3c. mini choc. chips

Preheat oven to 350. Spray two 8x4" loaf pans with cooking spray and set aside.

In large bowl, combine flour, oatbran, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix well and set aside.

In a medium bowl, beat together eggs and brown sugar on medium speed of an electric mixer for two minutes. Add bananas, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Beat again until well blended.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix just until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not use an electric mixer for this step. Fold in nuts and chocolate chips. Do not overmix batter.

Divide batter evenly among the loaf pans. Bake for 30 to 35 min., or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

8 slices per loaf - 173 calories each

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Chickpea Curry & Butter Chicken

Of all the take-out food in all the world, Indian is by far my favorite. It also seems to be rather hard on our maternity leave budget. Not one to let money stop me from enjoying things, I have started sourcing out recipes for Indian dishes that I can easily make at home.

My dear friend gave me this gem and I had to make it for our weekly dinner with the girls. I served it as a side dish to butter chicken - recipe also included - but it would serve two people perfectly with a big salad and naan bread on the side. You must use arborio rice (the same as used in risotto) because I made it with regular white rice and it was just not as creamy.

We had store bought naan bread, sauteed on the stove and I made quinoa using 1c. coconut milk, 1t. ginger paste and 1c. chicken stock as steaming liquid.
Delicious dinner enjoyed with good friends...

Chickpea Curry
recipe from Heather

1 Can of Chickpeas (190z) rinsed and drained
Arborio Rice 1/2 cup
Cooking Oil 1 tsp
Chopped Onion 1/2 cup
Hot Curry Paste 1 tbsp
Small Garlic clove, minced
Coconut milk 1 cup
Prepared Vegetable broth (I use chicken) 1/2 cup
Liquid Honey 1 tsp
Salt 1/4 tsp
Chopped fresh parsley

Combina chickpeas and rice in grease 2 quart casserole. Set aside.

Heat cooking oil in small saucepan on medium. Add next 3 ingredients. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until onion is softened.

Add next 4 ingredients. Stir, bring to a boil.
Pour over chickpea mixture. Stir.
Bake, covered in 400F oven for about 35 minutes until rice is tender and liquid is almost absorbed.
Let stand, covered, for about 5 minutes until liquid is absorbed.

The Better Butter Chicken
adapted from 'Eat Shrink & Be Merry'

2T. olive oil
1c. chopped onions
2t. minced garlic
1T. grated gingerroot
1 1/2t. chili powder
1/2t. turmeric
1/4t. cinnamon
1 can (19oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
2T. tomato paste
1T. brown sugar
1/2t. salt
1/4t. pepper
2-3 chicken breasts cut into 1" pieces - I used two b/c I like more sauce than chicken
1/3c. light cream
1/4c. light sour cream or yogurt - I always use yogurt

In a deep 10" skillet, over medium high heat, cook the garlic and onion in the olive oil until onions are tender, about 5 min.

Add gingerroot, chili powder, turmeric and cinnamon. Cook one more minute.

Add undrained tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low.

Add chicken and simmer, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through.

Add cream and sour cream, then simmer, uncovered, for 5 more minutes. If you want the sauce smooth and creamy, remove the chicken and blend the sauce using a hand blender. Add the chicken and simmer 5 more minutes.

I usually leave the sauce chunky, only because it is faster!

Beef Stew with Dumplings

I made this stew yesterday for dinner at my parents because my dad was craving real beef stew with all the yummy veggies.
Well I did bring real stew but I got the recipe from 'Eat, Shrink & Be Merry' so it definitely was trying to up the fibre content and lower the fat. I will admit that I changed the recipe a fair bit, mainly so that it went into the crockpot because I did not have time to sit and stir stew all afternoon.
In the end, the result was incredibly delicious and the boys had double helpings. I don't have a single scoop of leftovers - which is both good and bad.
Make this stew in a crockpot if you can, or else brown the meat first in a little olive oil before cooking the whole thing in a big pot.

Beef Stew with Dumplings
Adapted from 'Eat, Shrink & Be Merry'

2lbs. stewing beef - I used skirt steak cut against the grain into 1" cubes
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 white onion, chopped
3 parsnips, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
6 small yellow potatoes, chopped
2t. chopped garlic or 2 cloves
2T. tomato paste
2T. balsamic vinegar
1/2t. marjoram
1/2t. basil
1/2t. thyme
1/2t. rosemary
4c. beef stock - 1/4c. reserved for the end
1T. cornstarch
1 1/2c. Bisquick
1/3c. milk
1/2t. rosemary

Combine everything but the last 4 ingredients in the crockpot and cook on low for 8hrs, high for 4 hrs. Combine the remaining 1/4c. broth and cornstarch and stir into the pot.
In a small bowl, combine the Bisquick, milk and rosemary. Using a large spoon, scoop the mix into small portions and place on top of the stew - it should make 10 dumplings. Place the lid securely on the pot and turn on high for 20 minutes. The dumplings will steam through and double in size.
Serve and enjoy

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Whole Wheat Waffles

My aunt has always made delicious healthy food so it was really no surprise that her waffles are my go-to breakfast choice. They are golden and fluffy and freeze so well. If you are in a hurry, whisk in the eggs whole. If you have the time, beat the egg whites separately. It does make a difference in the texture.

Whole Wheat Waffles
My Aunts Recipe
2c. whole wheat flour
1/3c. wheat germ - I added this, optional
1/3c. brown sugar
1 1/2t. baking powder
1t. baking soda
1/2t. cinnamon
2c. buttermilk
1/3c. butter, melted
1t. vanilla
4 eggs, separated

Beat the egg whites on high speed until fluffy.
Mix the dry ingredients in large bowl and set aside.
Combine the wet ingredients and pour into the dry ingredients. Stir. Fold in the eggwhites carefully.
Spoon 1/4c. batter onto each square of the wafflemaker and bake 3 minutes.
Serve hot or cool completely and freeze for up to one month.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Crockpot Chili

Now that the snow has returned, I felt like a warm and comforting dinner. Chili isn't high on my list of favorite foods but Paula Deen makes such yummy recipes that I thought I would try this one. The big difference between this chili and the standard fare is that the beef is stewing meat, not ground beef. Unfortunately, that makes it harder to scoop onto Doritos which is really the only way Josh eats chili, but he didn't seem to mind.
I whipped it up in no time, basically just opening a few cans. Paula suggests serving it with corn bread but my mom bought a cheddar loaf from our local bakery so we served that instead. This is a fantastic dinner idea especially when you are short on time.

Update - This chili was a huge success!!! So delicious and devoured by Josh and my dad who are not the biggest chili lovers. If you eliminate the meat, it would be amazing over nachos.

Easy Crockpot Chili
Paula Deen's Christmas Magazine 2008
2 lbs. beef stew meat, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 package taco seasoning mix
1 - 14oz. can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 - 4oz. can chopped green chilies
1 cube beef bouillon
1t. dried minced onion - I used 1/2 a small onion, chopped
1/4t. garlic salt
1 - 16oz. can ranch-style beans - I didn't know what this meant so I used Pinto beans
1 - 15oz. can black beans, rinsed
1 - 11oz. can niblet corn, drained
Garnish - shredded cheese, sour cream

Place all ingredients except the beans and corn into the slow cooker and cook on low for 4hrs, then add the beans and corn and cook for 30min. longer on low.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Cornmeal Whole Wheat Waffles

This recipe has been retooled from it's original form as I found it on the internet. I reduced the sugar, used whole wheat flour and used cracked cornmeal from Bob's Red Mill. The lemon zest could easily be omitted but I can't believe how fresh it made them taste! We ate them with butter and maple syrup but a compote of blueberries, cinnamon and nutmeg is in the fridge ready to be used this week for quick breakfasts. Two dozen golden delicious waffles are in my freezer. Well worth the work.

Cornmeal Whole Wheat Waffles

1 1/2c. whole wheat flour
1 1/2c. cornmeal
5 t. baking powder - yes this is correct, you need this much to give them the fluffy texture
2c. buttermilk
4 eggs
4 T. brown sugar
1/4c. melted butter
zest of one lemon

Whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, brown sugar, butter and lemon zest. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal and baking powder. Fold in the wet ingredients. Let sit for 5 minutes while the waffle iron heats up. The more the batter rises, the fluffier the final waffles will be. Cook for 3 min or until golden brown.
Makes 12

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Double Fudge Brownies or I Love Paula Deen

Paula Deen needs to be related to me. I don't think any television cook has ever made me as happy as she has. The recipes in her magazines never fail to delight my guests and are so easy! Even her layer cakes are, well, a piece of cake.

Anyway, before I drool all over the keyboard, here is the recipe for my 'go to' brownie. I made a little icing for them - the recipe included below. But honestly, if you let the brownies cool and sit overnight, they really don't need icing. The flavors will have deepened and the fudgy texture develops. Or, like Josh, you just might need your brownies to have icing.

Double Fudge Brownies
Paula Deen Holiday Baking 2007

1c. sugar
3/4c. firmly packed brown sugar
3/4c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4c. Swiss Mocha flavored instant coffee mix
1 1/4c. all purpose flour
3/4c. chocolate chips
1 c. butter, softened
4 large eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 13x9" baking pan.

2. In a large bowl, beat all ingredients except chocolate chipson medium speed until smooth. Fold in chocolate chips.

3. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Bake for 30 min.

Combine 1c. powdered sugar, 1/4c. cocoa, 1 t. vanilla and 1/4c. milk. Add extra powdered sugar until spreadable consistency.