Monday 12 December 2016

White Chocolate Gingersnaps #ChristmasCookies

Well, it's the final day of the 12 Days of #ChristmasCookies, and my final contribution to it for this year.  Today I'm sharing White Chocolate Gingersnaps with everyone.  I wish I could take full credit for this recipe, because it's amazing.  However, it is really just one of my favorite gingersnap recipes , jazzed up with some extra deliciousness.  This deliciousness that I speak of includes a variety of sparkly sprinkles and a little coating of white chocolate.

These gingersnaps are amazing, and I've spoken of them before.  You might remember my post about Gingersnap Maple Pecan Ice Cream.  Well, how can you forget it?  .....I ramble on and on and on about it on a regular basis.  Sorry.  Anyway, this is the recipe I use for that too.  Why?  This recipe produces the most delicious little tender, but still a bit chewy gingersnaps.  They are practically perfect in every way.  The recipe's source is from Taste of Home Magazine, and it is called Lara's Tender Gingersnaps.  I've rewritten the recipe below, and added my own few notes (in italics) to make them a little more festive.

1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (I cut mine back to 1/4 tsp, but that's purely a personal preference)
1/4 cup sugar (for rolling)

1. In a large bowl, beat brown sugar and butter until blended. Beat in egg and molasses. Combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves; gradually add to brown sugar mixture and mix well (dough will be stiff). Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (I have found 1 hour to be ample time without affecting my results).

2. Shape dough into 1 in. balls. Roll in sugar. (I rolled some of mine in coarse golden decorating sugar).  Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets.

3. Bake at 350° for 9-11 minutes or until set (Just set!  Don't overbake or you'll have crispy gingersnaps). Cool for 1 minute before removing from pans to wire racks. Yield: 3 dozen.

Now, to add some holiday touch to these:

-Microwave 1 cup of white chocolate chips + 2 tsp shortening in a 2 cup measuring cup.  I start with 30 seconds, stir, and then keep doing this at 15 second intervals until fully melted.  

-Dunk about half of each cooled cookie into the melted chocolate.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle with any sprinkles or coarse decorating sugar of your choice.  Cool completely before moving to allow chocolate to harden.  Or, pop in the fridge for a few minutes.  

These cookies freeze well too.  Enjoy!

      Welcome to the 12 Days of Cookies, hosted by Family Around the Table and Cooking With Carlee.  We will be filling the season with all kinds of delicious cookies.  Be sure to check out some of the recipes below or you can follow along on Facebook or Twitter by searching #ChristmasCookies.  We also have a 12 Days of Cookies Pinterest board where you can see all of the goodness!  May your holidays be sweet!

Day 12

Bullas (Caribbean Spice Cookie) from A Day in the Life on the Farm
Cinnamon Bun Cookies from Cooking With Carlee
Cranberry Bliss Cookies from Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks
Eggnog Snickerdoodles from Palatable Pastime
Gingerbread Crinkles from Jolene's Recipe Journal
Minty Dark Chocolate Delights from Family Around the Table
Norwegian Pecan Cookies from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
Pecan Balls from The Chef Next Door
White Chocolate Gingersnaps from Making the Most of Naptime

Saturday 10 December 2016

Chocolate Mallow Drops #ChristmasCookies

Welcome back to Day 10 of the 12 Day of Christmas Cookies, and my 5th contribution to them.  Be sure to check out all of the other delicious recipes featured today.  Check out all of the links following this post!

I first made these cookies a few years ago for a Christmas platter, and remember them being SO good.  I dug out this recipe again last weekend to bring along to a game day party we went to.  I ate SO much at that event that I'm surprised I even had room to indulge on these.  But I did.  I had many. Too many!  In my defense, we got there at noon and stayed until 8:00.  So that's eight solid hours to rebuild my appetite, and eat again.  Yikes!

The point is, these cookies are so full of chewy, chocolaty, marshmallowy (is that a word?) goodness, that anybody who reads this needs to add them to their list of cookies to try.   The base of it is basically a rich, brownie-like drop cookie.  In the last couple minutes of baking, you top it with a piece of marshmallow.  If that isn't already amazing, you finish it all off with a squiggle of chocolate icing.  Heaven in a cookie.

The original recipe can be found via Taste of Home, here.  I have re-written it below with a couple of my own tips.


1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup 2% milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans - I omitted these.
18 to 22 large marshmallows, halved

1/4 cup butter, cubed
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 ounce semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 to 6 tablespoons brewed coffee


Preheat oven to 375°. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, milk and vanilla. In another bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into creamed mixture. Stir in pecans (I omitted these).

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets. I always cover mine in parchment for easy and lazy cleanup.

Bake 6 minutes. Do NOT overbake here.  The will look slightly underdone.  That's OK!  If you overbake them they will be dry.  You want moist and fudgy!  

Press a marshmallow half onto each cookie, cut side down. Bake 2-3 minutes longer or until edges of cookies are set and marshmallows are softened.  Again, don't overbake here.  If your marshmallows start to spread, you have overbaked.  You just want them to puff up slightly.  Remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely.  Since these are JUST baked, I recommend allowing them to cool slightly and firm up on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes before allowing them to cool completely on a wire rack.

For icing, in a microwave, melt butter and chocolates; stir until smooth. Stir in confectioners' sugar and enough coffee to reach a drizzling consistency. Drizzle over cookies. (I used a piping bag here.  You can also cut a very small hole in the corner of a zipper lock bag).  Let stand until set. Yield:about 3 dozen.

      Welcome to the 12 Days of Cookies, hosted by Family Around the Table and Cooking With Carlee.  We will be filling the season with all kinds of delicious cookies.  Be sure to check out some of the recipes below or you can follow along on Facebook or Twitter by searching #ChristmasCookies.  We also have a 12 Days of Cookies Pinterest board where you can see all of the goodness!  May your holidays be sweet!

Day 10

Chocolate Mallow Drops from  Making the Most of Naptime
Cranberry Almond Oatmeal Cookeis from A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures
Double Chocolate Brownie Cookies from F amily Around the Table
Homemade Jingles from Jolene's Recipe Journal
Kolacky from Cooking With Carlee
Palmiers from A Day in the Life on the Farm
Peanut Butter Marshmallow Cookies from Cindy's Recipes and Writings 
Turtle Chocolate Chip Cookies from Palatable Pastime

Thursday 8 December 2016

Eggnog Hugs #ChristmasCookies

Eggnog is one of those flavors that just tastes exactly like Christmas to me.  I get really, really, really excited when I first see it in the stores each year.  I swear it's getting earlier every year....but that doesn't matter to me.  I bought my first carton in October this year, when my youngest son gleefully pointed to it and announced "Look mom, snowman milk!!"   He's three.  So I thought this was adorable.

When I signed up to be a part of the 12 Days of #ChristmasCookies, I knew I wanted to incorporate eggnog.  I managed to come up with two eggnog cookies this year.  I've already shared one, back on December 4th, my Eggnog Biscotti.   This one is equally delicious - and fun, because it has a yummy little Hershey's Hug on each chewy, sugar coated cookie.  The sugar makes them glisten a little. These were declared a winner in my household, and I hope they will be in yours, too.  Again, be sure to check out what everyone else has baking today, by visiting each of the links at the bottom of this post!


2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch salt
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar, + 3 tbsp for rolling
1/2 cup eggnog
1 tsp vanilla
30 Hershey's Hugs

Unwrap the Hugs and put them in the freezer while you make your cookies.  If they're cold, it helps them from melting into your cookies!

Beat softened butter until very creamy.  Add sugar, and continue beating until light and fluffy.  On low speed, gradually beat in eggnog, then vanilla.

Combine flour, baking soda, nutmeg, and pinch of salt in a small bowl.  Stir into the eggnog mixture until well combined.  Cover the dough and chill for approximately 1 hour.

Shape dough into 1.5 inch balls.  Roll in sugar and place about 2 inches apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Gently flatten (just slightly!) with a fork (or a glass if you don't like any marks).  Bake for about 11 minutes in a preheated 350F oven.  The should look just done.  Allow to cool on your baking sheet for about 2 minutes, and then place one of your frozen hugs in the center of each cookie, applying a little gentle pressure to "press" it into the middle.  Remove to fully cool on wire racks.


      Welcome to the 12 Days of Cookies, hosted by Family Around the Table and Cooking With Carlee.  We will be filling the season with all kinds of delicious cookies.  Be sure to check out some of the recipes below or you can follow along on Facebook or Twitter by searching #ChristmasCookies.  We also have a 12 Days of Cookies Pinterest board where you can see all of the goodness!  May your holidays be sweet!

Day 8

Almond Butter Cookies from Cindy's Recipes and Writings 
Eggnog Hugs from Making the Most of Naptime
Hungarian Poppyseed Pinwheel Cookies from Palatable Pastime
Kourambiedes from A Day in the Life on the Farm
Melting Moments from Cooking With Carlee
Muddy Snowballs from Family Around the Table
Raspberry Coconut Cookies from Jolene's Recipe Journal

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cookies #ChristmasCookies

We're half way through the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies!  This brings me to my 3rd contribution to this roundup:  Taste of Home's Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cookies.  I first made these a few years ago, and then I forgot about this gem.  I always have my standby baking that I don't tend to stray from over the holidays.  So, with all of the cookies I've been making for this blog roundup, added to my old standbys in the's going to be a very sugar infused holiday season.   I'm happy I dug this one out again as it really should be part of my regular rotation.

This cookie is best described as a chewy brownie with a sweet little maraschino cherry in the middle. How can one beat that?  Well, I guess the chocolate frosting added to the top helps.  These are pure magic. PURE MAGIC!  They come together quickly, and you don't even have to chill the dough, making them a very impressive treat that is super quick to prepare.  I followed the recipe exactly as published by Taste of Home, with the exception of adding 2 tbsp of milk to the dough, and halving the amount frosting as it just made too much.   I have copied the recipe, below, from Taste of Home.  I've noted my adaptations in italics.  Also note that this recipe is called Frosted-Chocolate Cherry Cookies on the Taste of Home Website, but was originally published as Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cookies many years ago, including the cookbook I found it in.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tbsp 2% milk
1 jar (10 ounces) maraschino cherries (I used 30 cherries)
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips (I halved the frosting to use 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk (I used 1/4 cup)


1. In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla; mix well. Combine the flour, cocoa, 1/4 teaspoon salt, baking powder and baking soda; gradually add to the creamed mixture.

2. Drain cherries, reserving 1-1/2 teaspoons juice. Pat cherries dry. Shape 1 tablespoon of dough around each cherry. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until set. Cool on wire racks.

3. For frosting, in a saucepan, heat chocolate chips and milk until chips are melted; stir until smooth. Remove from the heat. Add reserved cherry juice and remaining salt. Frost cookies. 

Yield: about 2-1/2 dozen (Mine made exactly this!)

Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cookies

     Welcome to 12 Days of Cookies, hosted by FamilyAroundTheTable and CookingwithCarlee. We'll be sharing delicious cookie recipes all week long in celebration of the holiday season. Perfect for your holiday cookie trays or party dessert table. Search #ChristmasCookies to see all the goodies these 12 days. Follow the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies Pinterest board for more cookie ideas. Please visit all the blogs sharing cookie recipes today:

Day 6

Cherry Kiss Cookies from Jolene's Recipe Journal
Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cookies from Making the Most of Naptime
Jewelled Fruitcake Bars from A Palatable Pastime
Oatmeal Raisin Almond Cookies from Feeding Big
Red Velvet White Chocolate Chip Cookies from Family Around the Table
Soft and Spicy Molasses Cookies from Cooking With Carlee
Spiced Pretzel Walnut Cookies with Chocolate Chips from Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks
Susensky from A Day in the Life on The Farm

Sunday 4 December 2016

Eggnog Biscotti #ChristmasCookies

It's officially Day 4 of the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies, and my second of six days that I'll be participating.  Be sure to scroll down to the end of this post to check out some additional (and amazing) cookies from some other bakers!

Here it is.... something I've wanted to create for ages!  Eggnog Biscotti.  Don't you love it when a recipe turns out exactly as you imagined?  Since last Christmas I've thought about tweaking my usual biscotti recipe to feature eggnog.  Turns out that all I really needed to do was switch up a couple of ingredients and boom, there it was.  Usually it takes a few tries to get things like this right, but I think I've achieved exactly what I was looking for.  Replacing some of the liquid with eggnog, changing up the extract, giving the dough a blast of nutmeg, and glazing with some simple icing made this exactly what I was hoping for.  Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy a little taste of Christmas with these!


1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup eggnog
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2  1/3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg

3/4 cup icing sugar
1 tbsp eggnog
1 tsp dark rum


Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs,  one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add eggnog and vanilla and beat until combined.

Combine flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg in a small bowl.  Stir into creamed mixture.  The dough should be fairly stiff.

Using lightly floured hands, divide dough in half.  Shape each half into a log/rectangle measuring approximately 12 inches x 3 inches.  I recommend placing them on a large parchment lined baking sheet for this process, so you can transfer them directly to the oven after shaping.

Shape into approx 12 x 3 inch rectangles

Bake in a preheated 375F oven for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and transfer biscotti (leave them on the parchment paper) to a wire rack.  Reduce oven temperature to 300F.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes.  DO NOT ALLOW TO FULLY COOL (or else you will be making a big, crumbly mess while cutting!).   Yes, I just shouted that at you.  It's very important that you cut these while still slightly warm, but not hot.  Using a serrated knife, cut each log into 1/2 inch slices on a slight diagonal.

Cut while slightly warm, to reduce crumbling

Place the cookies, cut side down, on the baking sheet.  Bake in the 300F oven for 10 minutes.  Flip cookies and bake for another 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to fully cool on the baking sheet.

To glaze:
Whisk together the icing sugar, eggnog and rum.  (You may substitute additional eggnog if rum isn't your thing).  Drizzle over-top of cooled biscotti (I like to drizzle mine on the top, rather than the cut side of the cookie, but it's up to you).   I use a plastic zipper bag with the corner cut out of it to get a more even drizzle, but a spoon will work too.


Welcome to 12 Days Christmas Cookies, hosted by FamilyAroundTheTable and CookingwithCarlee. We'll be sharing delicious cookie recipes all week long in celebration of the holiday season. Perfect for your holiday cookie trays or party dessert table. Search #ChristmasCookies to see all the goodies these 12 days. Follow the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies Pinterest board for more cookie ideas. Please visit all the blogs sharing cookie recipes today:

Day 4

German Gingerbread Cookies from Cooking With Carlee
Jumbo Brownie Cookies from Jolene's Recipe Journal
Lebkuchen from A Day in the Life on The Farm
Toasted Butter Pecan Cookies from Family Around the Table

Thursday 1 December 2016

Chocolate-Coconut Layer Bars #ChristmasCookies

Hello December!  This is the first day of the 12 Days of #ChristmasCookies that I'll be participating in.  What does this mean?  From today until December 12th, there will be several talented folks sharing some of their favorite #ChristmasCookies recipes on their blogs.  Some of these ambitious people will be taking part every day!  I've seen some sneak peaks of what they're making, and trust me, you won't want to miss out!  The participating blogs are a perfect place to get some new holiday baking ideas.   I am such a creature of habit and tend to make the same things year after year, so following along will be a great way to inspire new ideas.

For me though, I'll be participating in six of the twelve days.   I've been baking some new treats of my own creation, and have also thrown in a couple of stand-by recipes that aren't original to me, but are too good not to share.  Please stay tuned! 

So, what's kicking off Day 1 of the 12 Days of Cookies for me?  It's more of a bar than a cookie, but I just had to include it.   Today, I am shamelessly plugging my own recipe.  This recipe just happens to be published (yay!!) in the December 2016 Taste of Home magazine, which is available on newstands now.  I was so excited for this one to be shared in the magazine, as it is one of my absolute favorites! This Chocolate-Coconut Layer Bar is my twist on the classic Nanaimo Bar, which is another treat that you will almost always find on a holiday baking tray here in Western Canada.   I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!  

3/4 cup butter, cubed
3 cups Oreo cookie crumbs
2 cups flaked coconut
1/2 cup cream of coconut*

1/3 cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons cream of coconut*
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons 2% milk

1-1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
4 teaspoons canola oil
3 Mounds candy bars (1-3/4 ounces each), coarsely chopped, optional**

Microwave butter on high until melted; stir until smooth. Stir in cookie crumbs, coconut and cream of coconut until blended (mixture will be wet). Spread onto bottom of an ungreased 13x9-in. baking pan. Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes.

For filling, beat butter, cream of coconut and extract until smooth. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar and enough milk to reach a spreading consistency. Spread over crust.

For topping, microwave chocolate chips and oil until melted; stir until smooth. Cool slightly; spread over filling. If desired, sprinkle with chopped candy bars. Refrigerate. Yield: 3 dozen***.

Additional Notes:
* The cream of coconut used here is not the same as coconut cream.  Look for cream of coconut in the liquor mixers section of your supermarket.  I use Coco Real, which is apparently widely available in US supermarkets.  For you Canadians, this can be tricky to find.  I can only find it in one supermarket here in Calgary.  Save on Foods carries it.  

**Again, for us Canadians, a Mounds bar is similar to the coconut candy bar that we have, called Bounty.  I use Bounty Bars.

*** Cut these bars into very small pieces.  They are so, so, so wonderfully sweet.   These are amazing, but it's best to eat them in small doses if you want to save an appetite for other goodies!


oh, and pssssst:  The December 2016 Taste of Home Magazine is also featuring 12 Days of Christmas Cookies.  You can NEVER have too many Christmas treats.  First, check out the awesome blogs below, then run to the store and pick up more inspiration from December's Taste of Home!

      Welcome to the 12 Days of Cookies, hosted by Family Around the Table and Cooking With Carlee.  We will be filling the season with all kinds of delicious cookies.  Be sure to check out some of the recipes below or you can follow along on Facebook or Twitter by searching #ChristmasCookies.  We also have a 12 Days of Cookies Pinterest board where you can see all of the goodness!  May your holidays be sweet!

Day 1

Anginetti from A Day in the Life on the Farm
Candy Cane Cookies from The Freshman Cook
Christmas Sprinkle Cookies from Family Around the Table
Chocolate Coconut Layer Bars from Making the Most of Naptime
Chocolate Dipped Coffee Shortbread Cookies from Feeding Big
Cookie Butter Crisps from Palatable Pastime
Crispy and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies from A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures
Cuppa Cookies from Cooking With Carlee
Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies from Simple and Savory
Melting Snowmen from Cindy's Recipes and Writings 
Meyer Lemon Cookies from Caroline's Cooking
Pizelles from Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks
Red Velvet Snowballs from The Chef Next Door
Snowday Cookies from Jolene's Recipe Journal

Monday 21 November 2016

Tiger Ice-Cream

I love ice-cream.  LOVE it.  I received an ice-cream maker for my birthday this past summer, and it has gotten a lot of use since then.  Looking back, I also should have purchased shares in a dairy company.  The consumption of cream has risen in this house exponentially since receiving this gift.   As I noted in my post for Gingersnap Maple Pecan Ice Cream, I have to continue to implement my rule whereby I only consume ice-cream in the presence of other adults.  Otherwise I would sit in my basement watching daytime tv and eating ice-cream while my kids fend for themselves upstairs. 

I've been brainstorming since the summer about this ice-cream.  Tiger-ice cream has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid.  It's becoming more popular again, as I see it occasionally in the grocery store now.  I feel there was a period of time where it was extinct.   It was hard to find, and it made it even more of a treat.   In case this first-world problem rears its ugly head again, and there is a shortage of Tiger ice-cream throughout the land, I have discovered a solid solution....this recipe!

On a side-note, in case you don't know what Tiger ice-cream is, I'm sorry that you haven't experienced this.  Take a read here, and check out this little blurb about it.  It's basically orange ice cream with black licorice swirls throughout.  And it's mind-blowing.

I hesitated to try this for quite some time because I wasn't sure you could really duplicate the delicious syrupy licorice goodness at home.  I searched through different syrup and caramel recipes to see if I could adapt them to be licorice.  Then one day, while I was vacuuming (yup, some of my best ideas come when I'm sweating it up with housework), it came to me.  Why was I reinventing the wheel?  Why couldn't I just start with a white corn syrup base and add to it?  Why was I trying to be a hero and make my own syrup?

Throw this in your ice-cream maker and prepare to be amazed!  Also clear your schedule for additional gym time.  Sorry.

You will need:

2 cups whipping cream
2 cups half and half cream
1 cup sugar
1.5 tsp pure orange extract
wilton orange food paste

3 tbsp white corn syrup
1/4 tsp pure anise extract
wilton black food paste

Whisk together the creams, sugar, orange extract and food coloring (you will only use a very small amount on the end of a toothpick).  Use enough to achieve your desired color shade.  Pour into a 2 quart ice-cream maker and process according to manufacturer's directions.  

While your ice-cream is spinning away, stir together the corn syrup, anise extract and black food paste in a small bowl.  Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.  This will really thicken up your corn syrup and make it easier to handle when swirling. 

Once your ice-cream is finished (mine takes about 30 minutes), turn off your ice cream maker and get ready to swirl.  I think hand swirling is optimal because then you can really control how much and where it will be.  I thought about just dumping it in my machine in the last minute of processing, but I was worried it would "mix in" too much.

Start by putting one third of your finished ice-cream in an airtight container (you will need about a 1.5 quart container).  Drizzle 1/3 of the syrup over-top of this ice-cream layer.  Add the next third of the orange ice-cream to the container.  Repeat syrup drizzling.  Add the last layer of ice-cream and finish drizzling with the last of the syrup.  Now, take a butter knife and "cut" through the ice-cream in random swirling motions to swirl the syrup more through each layer.  Place the ice-cream in your freezer for four to six hours to fully firm up.  Scoop and enjoy!

Tiger Ice-Cream

Tuesday 8 November 2016

Morning Maple Muffins

My love of maple continues...

As I mentioned in a previous post, my fall flavor isn't pumpkin.  It's maple! So, if you have been following along, this is the third post in recent weeks that involves maple.  If you love maple as much as I do, you might want to check out Maple Pepper Glazed Wings, or Gingersnap Maple Pecan Ice Cream.   If you aren't a fan of all things maple, I'm sorry.  I promise I will be moving on soon.   I just hope everyone likes peppermint and eggnog, because I envision those types of goodies soon!

The things is though, this isn't MY recipe.  I wish I could take credit for it, but I can't.  This is another recipe from Taste of Home.  Red Cottage Chronicles has rounded up another week of Taste of Home recipes reviews for Taste of Home Tuesday.  Take a few minutes to check out the links at the bottom of this post to see what everyone else whipped up this week.

So, these muffins.  They are bursting with flavors that are hard to describe.  There's definitely maple. Check.  Cinnamon..check.  Nutty pecan goodness?  Check.  The thing is, all of these individual flavors combine to create a flavor that's hard to describe.  The recipe creator describes it as a pancake breakfast.  Yup....I can definitely taste that.  A reviewer on the website describes it as a doughnut. Yes, I can definitely taste that too.  I thought of it as almost a maple cinnamon coffee cake.   Whatever your tastebuds sense when you make these, there is one common word you can use to describe these muffins:  scrumptious.  Or, as my idol, Mrs. Poppins, would say, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! 

My take on Taste of Home's Morning Maple Muffins

Here is a link to the original recipe, Morning Maple Muffins.  I have copied it below, and added my own comments, in italics.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup sour cream
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons chopped nuts (I used pecans)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons cold butter


1. Preheat oven to 400°. In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, combine milk, butter, syrup, sour cream, egg and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.

2. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. For topping, combine flour, sugar, nuts and cinnamon; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter. (This is a great job for your kids if you have little ones helping. My little guy thought this was super fun!  Of course he did, because this is an opportunity to make a mess with tiny crumbs.)  

3. Bake 16-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Serve warm. (Or cold.  Trust me, these are fantastic at any temperature!) 

Freeze option: Freeze cooled muffins in resealable plastic freezer bags. To use, thaw at room temperature or, if desired, microwave each muffin on high for 20-30 seconds or until heated through.

Yield: 16 muffins. (12 for me, as I filled them slightly more than 2/3 full)

Nutritional Facts
1 each: 212 calories, 9g fat (5g saturated fat), 36mg cholesterol, 211mg sodium, 30g carbohydrate (16g sugars, 1g fiber), 3g protein.
© 2016 RDA Enthusiast Brands, LLC

My take on Taste of Home's Morning Maple Muffins

Taste of Home Tuesday Red Velvet Cheesecake

Herbed Tuna Sandwiches from Tammy Cook Blogs Book
Basil Garlic Bread from Jolene's Recipe Journal
Nutty Pumpkin Muffins from Family Around the Table
Banana Streusel Muffins from Red Cottage Chronicles

Wednesday 2 November 2016

Maple Pepper Glazed Chicken Wings

So, November is upon us.  Wow.  I don't get all jazzed up about pumpkin everything like the rest of the world, so I can't say I'm super pumped about this.  (Don't get me wrong, I actually love pumpkin, but I think the marketing of this product is getting beyond out-of-control).

The good news is that the onset of November means I can really start thinking about holiday entertaining.  After Remembrance Day, it's full-on holiday mode here.  This is where my love of all things maple, peppermint, or eggnog shine through.  That's right people.  Maple, peppermint and eggnog are my pumpkin.  Coconut too.  But coconut is more of a year-round love of mine.

One of our favorite things to do around the holidays is to have small groups of friends or family over and have appetizers and cocktails.  We have several of these type of evenings at the end of December. As much as I love my tried and true favorites, I try to create a few new things each year so it's not he same old same old every year.  The brainstorming usually starts right about now.....

This year, I came up with a new chicken wing.  It uses one of the ingredients that I wrote about earlier....MAPLE!  Oh maple, how I love you.  One of my most favorite and recent creations uses maple too.   Please check out my Gingersnap Maple Pecan Ice Cream if you haven't already!  You will not regret it.

Anyway, this chicken wing.... I tested it on two groups of unsuspecting testers this past week and both times they disappeared at a rapid pace.  One was at a Halloween potluck, and I whipped up a second batch for the Halloween appy night we had with some neighbours before going trick or treating.  The best feedback one can get on a new recipe is the number of servings eaten per person.  My heart explodes with happiness when I see an empty serving dish at an event!   Well maybe not explodes, but it feels so warm and happy :)

These wings are SO easy.  They use so few ingredients.  Ramp up the pepper if you really love it. Hold back if the kids complain.  Let me assure you though, with the amounts noted below, I witnessed both a 9 month old baby delightfully eat pieces of this wing, and grown-ups heap their plates with these little delights.  What's not to love here?!


For the wings:
5-ish lbs of split chicken wings (The big trays at Costco are roughly this size)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp freshly ground pepper (I set my pepper grinder to be at a really coarse grind)
2 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp garlic powder

2/3 cup maple syrup.  Real maple syrup people.  Not Aunt Jemima's (even though I love her dearly)
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp coarsely ground pepper

-Preheat your oven to 425F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Use parchment paper. It is so much easier for clean-up than simply greasing your pan.

-Mix together flour, ground pepper, salt and garlic powder in a small bowl.  Transfer to a large ziploc freezer bag.  Dump approximately half the wings into the flour mixture in the bag and toss to lightly coat.  Lay out in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining wings.  Both times I made these I had exactly enough flour mixture to evenly coat the wings.  I find that if you do this step quickly and don't dilly-dally, then the first set of wings don't soak up all the mixture before you get the next batch in the bag.  I hate when I run out of a coating for meat, so trust me when I say these amounts are enough!  If you have an extra large ziploc bag, just coat the wings in one big batch.

-Place wings in the preheated oven.  Set timer for 40 minutes.  Rotate the top and bottom rack pans at each 10 minute mark, and flip all the wings at the 20 minute mark.

-While babysitting your wings, make the glaze.  In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients.  Over medium heat, bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Reduce to low and allow to simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the mixture starts to thicken up just slightly.  Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.

-After your rotating and flipping adventure of the pans of wings is complete, you're ready to glaze.  Brush each wing with some glaze and return to the oven for 7 minutes.  Remove from the oven and flip each wing.  Re-glaze and return to the oven for an additional 7 minutes.  This time, watch carefully because that first layer of glaze is starting to get quite sticky.  At the 5 minute mark, check on them.  The glaze will start to scorch very quickly if you overcook them.  It's better to take them out a bit early and sacrifice a bit of caramelization than to wind up with burnt and crusty sugar!

Now eat them!  For additional maple goodness, drizzle a tiny bit of syrup over the finished wings before serving.

Here's a few tips for you:
- If you need to take these to an event (like the potluck I took them to), I recommend putting them in a lightly greased slow cooker right out of the oven.  I drizzled a tiny bit of plain maple syrup between the layers of wings just for that extra maple punch .  Place on the "warm" setting and enjoy!

-You can freeze these too!  Just cool slightly after removing them from the oven and place in an airtight container.  Fully thaw prior to reheating at 325F until warm.

Tuesday 25 October 2016

Scary Eyeballs

The kids and I took on another project from the 2016 Taste of Home Halloween magazine.  They are loving my continued willingness to make sugary treats in the spirit of Halloween!  I'm loving it too :) Giving these little treats a try also gave me the opportunity to test out another recipe for Taste of Home Tuesday, as hosted by Maureen on Red Cottage Chronicles.  Check out all of the links at the bottom of this post to see what everyone else tried this week!

This recipe definitely didn't disappoint.  Like the Spooky Brownie Haunted House, this would be another perfect treat to bring to a Halloween party.  The recipe made 42 spooky little eyeballs for us, and believe me when I say that a little bit goes a LONG way with this recipe.  They are super sweet, and very rich.  Don't worry though, this isn't a bad thing!  They are bursting with velvety peanut butter filling, but they definitely pack a punch of sugary goodness.

Another advantage to this recipe is that I found that these little treats froze extremely well.  I fully decorated half of the eyeballs with the red gel to take to a friend's house, and then froze the other half without drawing on the red details.   When ready to serve, I just took them out of the freezer, let thaw, and decorated with the red gel.

The kids loved dipping each little ball, and placing the candy. Be prepared for a bit of mess, but that's okay :)

You can find a link to the original recipe, here, or I have copied it, below:

1-1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
12 ounces white candy coating, chopped
1 tablespoon shortening
40 milk chocolate M&M's, assorted colors
Red decorating gel

1. In a small bowl, cream peanut butter and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar. Shape into 1-in. balls. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

2. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt candy coating and shortening; stir until smooth. Dip peanut butter balls into coating; allow excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper. Place M&M's, plain side up, on top. Let stand until set. Use red gel to create "bloodshot" eyes. 

Yield: 40 pieces.

© 2016 RDA Enthusiast Brands, LLC


Taste of Home Tuesday Red Velvet Cheesecake

In celebration of Halloween, Amy's Cooking Adventures is sharing Eyeball Cookies

Ellen from Family Around the Table is sharing Parmesan Chicken Sandwiches

Jolene from Jolene's Recipe Journal is sharing Mama Mia Meatball Taquitos

Maureen at Red Cottage Chronicles is sharing a Cheesecake Factory Inspired Red Velvet Cheesecake

Sunday 23 October 2016

Greek Quinoa Salad

This is hands down one of my favorite salads to whip up for any gathering.  I love every single ingredient that goes into it.  The leftovers are even better the next day....if you're lucky enough to have any!

1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 cups canned chickpeas (about one 540 ml can, drained and rinsed)
1/2 cup diced cucumber
1/2 cup diced green pepper
1/3 cup finely diced red onion
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
2 to 3 tbsp lemon juice (depending on how much you like lemon...I love it!)
1 tbsp olive oil
1.5 tsp souvlaki seasoning*
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
Fresh ground pepper, to taste

-In a medium sized saucepan, bring 2 cups vegetable broth to a boil. Add quinoa, cover and reduce to a low simmer. Cook until water is fully absorbed (about 20 minutes). Remove from heat and allow to fully cool.

-Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, feta, chickpeas, cucumbers, green peppers, onion and parsley. Add cooled quinoa and mix thoroughly.

-Prepare dressing by whisking together lemon juice, olive oil, souvlaki seasoning, garlic, and salt. Pour over prepared quinoa and vegetable mixture and thoroughly combine. Season to taste with freshly ground pepper. 

-This can be served immediately, or for even better flavor, allow to rest for about 2 hours in the refrigerator for the flavors to really combine. 

*I used Epicure souvlaki seasoning, but if you can't find this type of seasoning blend, using about 1 tsp dried oregano and 1 tsp finely chopped fresh mint will give you a similar flavor.

Tuesday 18 October 2016

Spooky Brownie Haunted House

Happy Tuesday!  I'm once again participating in Taste of Home Tuesday, as hosted by Maureen from Red Cottage Chronicles.  Take a moment to check out the links at the bottom of this post.  You will find several delicious recipes being made by some very talented cooks who also love all things Taste of Home.  This is a chocolate themed week. A couple of these ladies are also participating in #choctoberfest.  Check it out....I have been following along and there are some mouth-watering recipes being posted!

About a month ago I picked up a copy of Taste of Home's 2016 Halloween Bookazine.  I am such a sucker for these types of holiday magazines.  The pictures are so perfect and everything looks so fun and festive.  The trouble is, most times I just look in awe of it all and rarely actually take any of the projects on.  That, however, is starting to change!  My kids are the perfect age right now for some of this stuff!  They flip through the magazines and ask (and I actually mean beg) me to try these things. This magazine is no exception.  The list of spooky treats on my radar is out of control right now.  Here is our first project:  The Spooky Brownie Haunted House!

Here is a link to the original recipe.  I have copied it, below, with my own comments in italics. 

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons instant coffee granules, optional
1-3/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Vanilla frosting
Chocolate frosting
Paste food coloring
Assorted sprinkles
Assorted candies

-Preheat oven to 325°. Line a 13x9-in. baking pan with foil, letting ends extend up sides. I used parchment paper.  It is one of my fave baking items.

-In a large heavy saucepan, combine sugars, butter, water and, if desired, coffee granules (I used these, as I have found they really deepen the chocolate flavor in other recipes) ; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; add chocolate chips and stir until melted. Cool slightly.

-Whisk eggs until foamy, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla; gradually whisk in chocolate mixture. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking soda and salt; stir into chocolate mixture.

-Pour into prepared pan. Bake on a lower oven rack until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs (do not overbake), 30-40 minutes. (Mine were perfect at the 35 minute mark). Cool in pan on a wire rack.

-Lifting with foil (in my case, parchment), remove brownies from pan; let cool completely. Discard foil. Cut off corners of brownie to resemble a house. 

Blank canvas, ready to go.
These are the perfect texture to cut.

If desired, cut scraps into pumpkins and ghosts using cookie cutters. (We made a bat!) Tint frosting as desired with paste food coloring. Decorate brownie house with frosting and candies. Yield: 16 servings.

I must say, this brownie recipe may replace my tried and true.  I can't believe it!  They are exactly what I love in a brownie.  Fudgy, dense, and chewy.  They cook very evenly (I hate when the center is perfect but the edges are dry and crusty....what a waste!!)  Since they were the perfect texture, they were so easy to work with.  They carved very cleanly, and were heavy enough to easily transfer to a prepared board for decoration.  Best of all, they taste SO CHOCOLATY!  

What a perfect dessert for a Halloween gathering!  This would also be a perfect activity for kids to craft at a Halloween party.  Just pre-make a few brownie houses and let the kids decorate in groups.  


Hungry Enough to Eat Six - Chocolate Biscuit Puffs

Jolene's Recipe Journal  -  Double Chocolate Banana Muffins

Family Around The Table  -  Mini Peanut Butter Brownie Cupcakes

Amy's Cooking Adventures - Ogre Eyes Hot Chocolate

Red Cottage Chronicles - Chocolate Almond Tarts

Tuesday 11 October 2016

Penne Caulifredo

Every once and awhile I buy a cauliflower with the hopes that I'll do something new and exciting with it.  It sits the fridge.....looking sad and lonely.  Usually I end up making a cheesy cauliflower casserole.  It's actually delicious, but it's always the same.   A few nights ago I peered in my fridge and decided to make supper using some of the lonely looking foods.  The cauliflower. Some leftover chicken.  The last bit of a half and half carton.  The result was actually amazing!  This makes a deceivingly rich sauce, and it's actually fairly healthy compared to the alternative full fat cream sauce.

My daughter's review:  "It needs to have spaghetti".  (No shock here, she doesn't ever like penne)
My son's review: "More."  (We had to cut him off after his third bowl as we were pretty sure he was going to eat until he was sick!)

Penne Caulifredo (see what I did there?!  I know, I'm lame...)

4 cups well cooked cauliflower
1/4 cup 2% milk
1/4 cup half and half (10%) cream
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp finely minced garlic
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
250g dried penne, prepared as per package directions

-Cook penne according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.
-Place cauliflower in a medium sized stockpot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and allow to simmer, covered, until it is very soft (about 15 minutes).  Drain and rinse with cool water to bring the temperature down from hot to warm.   Place in blender with the 2% milk, and puree until smooth.
-Chop onion.  Saute in a large skillet with the olive oil until translucent.  Add minced garlic and cook just until fragrant.  Whisk in cauliflower mixture, half and half, salt, and pepper.  Stir in chicken and allow to cook at a low simmer until slightly thickened and chicken is heated through. (This only took me about 2 minutes).  Stir in pasta, parmesan, and fresh parsley.

*If you find the sauce too thick, you can thin out with more milk (to be healthier), OR additional half and half.  The proportions worked just right for me, but you may have different preferences.



Wednesday 5 October 2016

Chocolate Chip Biscotti

The weather is getting colder, and I'm drinking more coffee now throughout the day to warm up and feel cozy.  I'm also already thinking about Christmas cookies, which for some reason always make me think of biscotti.  Biscotti definitely isn't a Christmas cookie, but that seems to be the only time of year I make them.  I made these almond biscotti previously.  Sure enough, it was in December.  I'm already dreaming about an eggnog biscotti that I'd like to create for Christmas. Shockingly, I'm already seeing eggnog in the store!  My favorite brand isn't out yet though, so I'll hold off on testing any eggnog related recipes until I can get my hands on it!

Even though biscotti is a multi-step process, it's so easy.  It's such a nice snack with a warm drink, and I completely forgot how much I love it.  The kids really enjoyed making this batch, likely due to the mini-chocolate chip component.  My little guy even stirred them in this time, which was pretty impressive given how much thicker the batter is than your usual run-of-the-mill cookie.

Here is my super simple chocolate chip biscotti recipe.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Biscotti (yield: approximately 20 cookies):
1/4 cup softened butter
1/2 cup packed golden brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 large egg
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (regular sized chips are just too much for these cookies)

-Cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
-Add egg and vanilla, and beat until light in color and creamy.
-In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  Stir into the creamed mixture.  Stir in mini chocolate chips.
-Line a baking sheet with parchment, and shape the dough into a log approximately 30 cm long, with about a 2 to 2.5 cm thickness (this will result in about an 8 to 10 cm width)

-Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 18 to 20 minutes (until just golden). Reduce oven temperature to 325F
-Carefully transfer parchment to a wire rack and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
-Using a serrated knife, cut the log on a slight diagonal into slices about 1.5 cm thick.

-Place the slices on the cookie sheet, with the cut side down on the pan.  Bake for 20 minutes, turning biscotti at the 10 minute mark.  Cool on wire racks.

Tuesday 27 September 2016

Pear Preserves

It's Taste of Home Tuesday, as organized by Maureen from Red Cottage be sure to check out all of the other delicious recipes at the bottom of this post!

It's also that time of year when my local supermarket has their orchard-run sales.  In September there is always a bounty of pears.  I bought a 7 lb bag and then found myself in a race to eat close to 20 pears. Pears are not a favorite for my husband.  My kids eat pears like they're the greatest food on earth.... but....only at grandma's house....

They were starting to become overripe and I was in trouble!  Preserves always bail me out when the fruit flies are looming like little vultures.  This recipe, from Taste of Home, is a perfect way to use up pears.  It also has no pectin.  It had no reviews when I tried it, which is crazy, because it's a gem!

You can find a link to the recipe, here.  I copied it below, making slight alterations for the fact that I halved the recipe.

Pear Preserves
Ingredients (halved from the original recipe)
8 cups peeled and chopped pears (this was about 10 medium pears for me)
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1.5 tablespoons lemon juice

1. In a stockpot, combine pears, sugar, water and lemon juice; bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until mixture reaches a thick, spreadable consistency.

2. Remove from heat. Ladle hot mixture into three (original recipe says 7) hot half-pint jars, leaving 1/4-in. headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot mixture. Wipe rims. Center lids on jars; screw on bands until fingertip tight.

3. Place jars into canner, ensuring that they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil; process for 10 minutes. Remove jars and cool.
Yield: 3 half-pints. (original recipe says 7)

Editor's Note: The processing time listed is for altitudes of 1,000 feet or less. Add 1 minute to the processing time for each 1,000 feet of additional altitude.

Nutritional Facts
2 tablespoons: 79 calories, 0g fat (0g saturated fat), 0mg cholesterol, 1mg sodium, 21g carbohydrate (18g sugars, 1g fiber), 0g protein .
© 2016 RDA Enthusiast Brands, LLC

Taste of Home Tuesday

Sage Pork Chops with Apple Pan Gravy - Amy's Cooking Adventures
Bite Sized Apple Pie - Jolene's Recipe Journal
Best Ever Stuffed Mushrooms - LPHJ Kitchen
Scalloped Apple Casserole - Red Cottage Chronicles

Sunday 25 September 2016

Paw Patrol Birthday Cake

We were out at the farm this past weekend for harvest.  My husband took a couple weeks off of work to help get my dad's crops off the field for the winter and to work on his own wheat.  It's also our little guy's birthday this upcoming week, and based on the time of year he was born, it's likely he'll be spending a lot of future birthdays at grandma and grandpa's house.  Since we're crossing all our fingers for sunny skies for the next week or so and a busy harvest, we thought we'd celebrate a little bit early.

A request was made for a Paw Patrol themed cake.  Marshall is his favourite character, so I went to Pinterest and whipped up this little number.  This is far from perfect, and one side of it pretty much crumbled when I went to frost it, but it recovered fairly well.  Some evenings a person should just trust their gut and stay out of the kitchen.  Especially when you're rushing and not in your own kitchen.  In the end I was happy with the results, but it definitely wasn't a smooth road to get there....

Happy 3rd birthday little fella!  He enjoyed a hotdog roast, cake, and presents before the guys fired up the combine for the day! Happy harvesting!