Gingerbread Snowflakes

I have to admit that one of my guilty pleasures is MTV’s Catfish, not only is it entertaining but it’s where I learned about Google’s reverse image search! On the show they use it to see if people are misrepresenting themselves online, well I decided to give it a try on some of my photographs just to see if they were floating around anywhere. This was a shot I took quite a few years ago during one of my holiday baking sessions and posted on Flickr, much to my surprise I found that it is all over weheartit, Tumblr, Pinterest and other similar sites, so I thought I should give it a proper home here and include the recipe with it.

These cookies are one of my go to recipes for gingerbread cut-outs, they keep their shape very well, have a great spicy flavour and actually get better after a few days which makes them a great make ahead cookie for the holidays. Here I have used a set of snowflake cutters but you could use the traditional gingerbread man cutter or any shape you like!

What’s your go to holiday cookie?

Find the recipe here: Martha Stewart’s Gingerbread Snowflakes 

 

Refrigerator Dill Pickles

 

 

We love pickles in this house, and far too often we are finding ourselves buying new jars. One day at the supermarket we noticed mini pickling cucumbers on sale and it was a no brainer, it was time to make some homemade pickles! My personal favourite is a slightly spicy, very garlicky dill with just a touch of sweetness, so I decided to attempt to create my perfect pickle. Refrigerator pickles are exceptionally easy, all you have to do is create a quick brine and pour it over your cucumbers or whatever you would like to pickle, I’ve used a similar method on carrots and daikon for homemade bahn mi sandwiches before and they were perfect. The water, vinegar and salt are really all you need to make refrigerator pickles, but depending on the flavour you want, you can play around until you find something you love! I hope you enjoy. 

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Cannoli Cream Cake

Cannoli is something my guy and I both really love as a special treat and we often pick up a couple when we are out at our local Farmer’s Market. So when his birthday rolled around I thought that a Cannoli Cream Cake would be not only delicious and pretty, but also something a little different for a birthday cake for him. Now let me tell you, I have had some cake disasters in my day, but I really loved how this came together so easily! There are a few steps, but they are all so simple and the end result was completely worth it. Not only did he love it, but our dinner guests thought I had bought it from a nice bakery! I made the cakes one day before the event so they could cool completely, and prepared the filling and ganache, and assembled it all the morning of. Breaking up the steps like this made it totally stress free.

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Chocolate Macaroon Nests for Easter

Cadbury Mini Eggs are one of my all time favourite treats, and I know they are available all year, but there’s something special about saving them for Spring time! Most years I add them into chocolate chip cookie batter but I’ve always loved the idea of putting them into something that looks like a little nest and I’m a huge fan of anything coconut so I came up with these chocolatey macaroon nests that have a similar taste to a Samoa cookie and look absolutely adorable for Easter!
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Mini Victoria Sponge Cakes for Valentine’s Day

These adorable heart shaped miniature Victoria Sponge cakes were inspired by my favourite BBC series Call the Midwife, if you haven’t seen it, it’s a heart warming series about a group of nurses and nuns working as midwives in the East end of London in the 1950’s. You’ll also notice Victoria Sponge being a regular part of the storyline, as it is clearly a favourite in the Nonnatus house.

Being a Canadian girl myself and born in the 80’s no less, I had no clue what Victoria Sponge was but I was intrigued and had to look it up. As it turns it’s a wonderfully simple but delicious British classic dessert often served at tea time. A Victoria Sponge is traditionally two round sponge cakes with whipped cream and strawberry preserves sandwiched inside, which is why it’s also sometimes called a Victoria Sandwich. I love desserts with fruit flavours and I was caught up in the idea of being in 1950’s London and just knew I needed to re-create the dessert. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner I decided to make a miniature heart shaped version, for my sweetheart! 

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Fresh and Healthy Pineapple Upside Down Cake

In this cold gloomy weather I have been really craving warmth and sunshine and wishing I was somewhere tropical, so I thought a pineapple upside down cake would bring a little of that warmth and tropical feeling to our home. I’ve also made a commitment to focus on my health for 2015, which means watching what I eat, as well as getting more exercise. So I made this cake with health in mind, but it’s still extremely tasty and you don’t feel like you’re eating “diet food”, most of the sweetness comes from the natural sugar in the pineapple and I used 0% greek yogurt in place of some of the oil which gives it moistness.

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2014 Holiday Cookie Roundup + Peppermint Bark Troubleshooting

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DSC_6702Holiday baking is one of my fondest childhood memories, every year my Grandma and I would spend hours in the kitchen creating all kinds of amazing treats, and testing new and old recipes. Today I live about a 6 hour drive from my Grandma so while we don’t get to bake together too often anymore, it’s still something I absolutely have to do during the holiday season and it’s a tradition I can’t wait to pass on when I have a family of my own. One of my all time most requested recipes is Peppermint Bark, which is so easy you don’t need a recipe, but sometimes things can go wrong since chocolate is temperamental, below I will share a few of my Peppermint Bark disasters over the years and how to fix or avoid them!

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Hot Cocoa Bar + Homemade Marshmallow Recipe

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With the Holiday Season in full swing, so many of us have entertaining on our minds. A really fun, simple, and interactive way to add to your event is with a Hot Cocoa Bar! I set mine up this past weekend for a Holiday/Housewarming party!

We kept our Hot Cocoa Bar very simple but you can add as many elements as you like. Ours included hot cocoa kept warm in a carafe, Baileys to spike it with, homemade marshmallows (recipe below), white chocolate chips, crushed candy canes and chocolate wafer straws. We also found some to go cups with lids at our local grocery store which kept us from doing dishes (yay!).

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Mini Egg Cookies for Easter

In celebration of Easter this weekend I decided to whip up some festive cookies packed with one of my favourite chocolatey treats, Cadbury Mini Eggs!

I found a recipe for a cookie that stays soft, since I wanted them to still be chewy by the weekend. I used the Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookie recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction and substituted the chocolate chunks with Mini Eggs. 

I sent a bunch of them to my guy’s office today and he told me they were all demolished before lunch time, I think that’s a good sign. 

Happy Easter!

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Adventures in Making Macarons

Lemon Macarons

Lemon Macarons

I decided to attempt what is considered one of the most temperamental treats, the French Macaron. I studied many sources, read the common tips and tricks, and finally settled on a basic beginners recipe and went for it.

My results were not spectacular, unfortunately most of them cracked but I was able to put together a few decent looking finished macarons. I filled them with a beautiful homemade lemon curd, which thankfully came together perfectly.

After reading this super helpful Macaron Troubleshooting Guide I believe my batter was too airy, as I was a little worried about over mixing, also my oven temperature is notoriously inconsistent. While I do have an in oven thermometer, the temperature keeps jumping up and down which makes baking such a delicate cookie difficult.

I’m really determined to perfect this recipe since the cost of making them at home is quite low and they are something very special and impressive to serve or give as a gift.

Next time I’ll try deflating the batter a bit more and I’ll also keep a very close eye on the oven temperature, and start it off at a lower heat. 

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