Monday, December 27, 2010

S'more Squares


I love s'mores, I think it is my favourite flavour combination.  I found this awesome recipe from The Happy Baker.  It's the best recipe for s'more squares out there, even better than Martha Stewart's.  I give these squares as presents as everyone loves them and they go great with hot chocolate.  Here is the recipe with a couple tweaks.


2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter softened
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg 
2 and1/3 cups graham crumbs
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt


1, 7 oz. container of fluff
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips 
1  1/2 cups mini marshmallows


Incorporate the first seven ingredients in a bowl with a whisk or with a hand held blender.  Reserve 1 cup of the mixture and press the rest into the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking pan.  Put the fluff into the microwave for about 30 seconds and spread the fluff over the graham mixture.  Sprinkle chocolate chips all over the fluff and then the marshmallows over the chocolate chips.  Sprinkle the remaining graham mixture on top and press into the marshmallows.  


Bake for 20 - 25 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  Let sit and cut into squares.




Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Post Christmas and Boxing Day

So many awesome Christmas treats: rum dripping Christmas cake, s'more squares, gingerbread, Baklava, and oreo truffles (plus many more).  After all of that baking I have no pictures :(.  I can't believe it, but I'm on vacation so I think it's ok.  

While in Florida, I plan on visiting a cupcakery in St. Petersburg which I will blog about when I get back to Canada so look forward to that.  

I wish everyone a happy holiday season, up next, New Year's!  My goal is to blog about everything to do with cupcakes (including my two new Hello Kitty/Johnny Cupcakes t-shirts).

From Parkdale Christmas Photo booth

Friday, December 3, 2010

Parkdale Bazaar TOMORROW!

Don't forget to come out to the Parkdale Bazaar at the Masaryk-Cowan Community Centre, 220 Cowan Avenue, from 11 am to 5 pm.

There is even a super cool Christmas card studio.




Check it out on Facebook

Be there before I sell out of all of my soaps. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pear and Blue Cheese Strudel


One of my favourite flavour combinations is blue cheese and pear.  I saw this recipe in the newest edition of the Food and Drink magazine from the LCBO.  The recipe wasn't actually a feature but an advertisement by Rosenborg cheese.  The recipe uses one of their new cheeses, Blue with Fruit.  They have ones with apricots, cranberries and pear.


The following is the recipe that I made with a few changes.  They also left out some essential information in their instructions so I added them here.

5 pears Medium pears, peeled and thinly sliced 
2 tbsp (30 mL) Brown sugar (I didn't use the brown sugar, I like my stuff more savoury) 
¼ tsp (1 mL) Allspice (I used cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg)
¼ cup (50 mL) Currents or seedless raisins 
¼ cup (50 mL) Rosenborg-Castello® Blue Cheese with Pear 
1 package of filo pastry 
½ cup (125 mL)Butter, melted 
Icing sugar for garnish


Place pears in a large bowl, add brown sugar, allspice, currants or raisins, hazelnuts and blue cheese; stir gently to combine. 


Remove filo pastry from package and cover with a damp cloth (prevent during while assembling the strudel). Place one sheet of filo pasty on a dry kitchen towel, brush sheet with melted butter; stack second sheet evenly over top and repeat process until all filo sheets are used. Brush last top sheet with melted butter and pour pear mixture onto pastry leaving a 2” (5 cm) edge on three sides and a 3” (7 cm) edge at one end. Using the kitchen towel as a guide, roll the pastry tightly into a log tucking in ends as you roll. 







Carefully place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Brush with remaining butter and score top of strudel lightly. Bake for 60 minutes in a 350 degree oven. 


Note: I found that my pastry was really done on the outside and not totally done on the inside.  Next time I would not use the whole packet maybe 1/2 - 3/4s.


Note 2: Just talked to my Mom, she said to use only 6-7 pieces.  Also you can put bread crumbs between each layer to make it more flakey.





Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mondo Bazaar - this Saturday


It's the time of the year for the awesome Mondo Bazaar!  Come check out the awesome vendors listed below from 10 am to 5 pm this Saturday November 27th at the Gladstone Hotel (corner of Dufferin St. and Queen St. W.) Toronto.

I'll be there selling all of my new products that I posted in the post below.  Please come out and support some awesome people and their products.


Vendor list:

NP= Non Profit Vendors 
Ballroom:
EMERGENCY Toboggan Co. Need to go tobogganing right now? Our EMERGENCY Toboggan fits in your jacket pocket! Plus Stockings to Blow Santa's Mind
 S'Up Cuz  We offer funky freshtastic t-shirts for men and women - www.supcuz.biz
 BitchCraft Cute dark and sexy designs hand printed on tops, underwear, dresses and more! www.bitchcraft.ca
 Kekki Bam  Vintage Pattern Pieces
 LaLaLand Factory We crafty cousins create one-of-a-kind, handmade eclectic fibre art dolls and toys, accessories and stuff for baby.  www.marciafroststudio.com  www.lalalandfactory.etsy.com
 RedHen Craft Beautiful, everyday objects that delight the senses without compromising on practical function. www.redhencraft.ca.
 Sparrow Avenue Comprised of various textile items(such as shoulder bags, wallets, tea towels, etc) and notecards all with my original silk  screen prints of mostly small birds. www.sparrowavenue.blogspot.comwww.SparrowAvenue.etsy.com
 1910 Collective  Pottery of varying eclectic styles; from whimsy to earthy and functional to sculptural. 
 JET.Designs  Handmade Jewellery and Accessories www.JetDesigns.ca
 Bead-by-Bead  Unique , handmade, one of a kind and all personal work. Using semi precious, stones, Swarovski crystals, sterling silver, freshwater pearls, shell, glass and resin beads.
 Talis A broad selection of sterling silver jewellery from the hill tribes of Northern Thailand, all made in a Fairly Traded Community. www.talis.ca
 Things aren't So Terrible A mixture of unique hand made and screen printed clothing, accessories and paper goods.www.teamterrible.com
 Deborah Lumsden One of a kind jewellery using silver, bronze, brass, copper, bone, semi precious stone and shell. Custom made gloves. 
 Truth & Beauty Organic skincare 
 Dreaming Tree Paper Company One of a king journals from old hardcover books. Since we believe that recycling is earth-friendly, all our journals are made from reused hardcover books and unlined recycled paper.  www.dreamingtreepaper.com
 ITMET  One of a kind handmade jewelry using sustainable materials and exotic beads.  itmet.tumbler.com
 SUNSUN Unique Silkscreen Hoodies, T-shirts, Hats, Kid Hoodies and cards.  Designs by Francesca Nocera AKA Lover SUN www.francescanocerasun.ca
 Importada   Colourful, wearable clothing and accessories from Nepal for adults and kids.
 Pass it on! Two savvy young entrepreneurs sell gently used books and clothing to raise money for the Sick Kids Foundation  NP

Showing in the Art Bar
Fehu  Hats that are sophisticated, whimsical, warm and "zazu". They lift your spirit. Boas made from recycled saris, and wrist warmers crocheted with copper wire. http://www.craft.on.ca/portfolio/BevCouse
 Goodies Gourmet Soaps Fun homemade soaps and bath bombs in food like shapes (cupcakes, icecream popsicles, etc.) with yummy dessert fragrances. www.goodiesgourmetsoaps.com
 Raven Works Unique jewellery consisting of refined semi precious stones integrated with silver to create the perfect gift for you and your loved ones. www.etsy.com/shop/RavenWorks.ca
 Knotted Nest   Handmade housewares and accessories inspired by vintage fabrics. www.knottednest.ca
 ├ętoile    adorable handknit and appliqued hats! 
 Superdraven- Jewellery and Fun Stuff with a wicked, funky, kitschy sensibility – pin-up girls, day of the dead, robots, matryoshkas, owls and other cool stuff. http://www.etsy.com/shop/superdraven
 Hello! Stuff by David Chiu
A Toronto-based graphic designer/crafter created a line of fun, cool, one of a kind stuff. Black and white illustrated characters are printed on t-shirts, ties, tote bags, buttons, magnets, greeting cards and note books.

Showing in the Melody Bar
Holistic  - Raw creams, incense and creative products with cause marketing to embellish surfaces of fabric -like miniature paintings that iron on clothing etc for inspiration and self-branding.www.thecosmictree.com
 Operation Sock Monkey  An initiative providing laughter, hope and healing to communities affected by disease, disaster and political turmoil around the world. Handmade Sock Monkeys can be purchased, donated or sponsored to be sent to children in need of a smile. Funds raised by OSM support the work of international humanitarian and aide organizations such as Clowns Without Borders.www.operationsockmonkey.com  NP
 Huband Cradle of Hope Children's Home  Fair trade, handcrafted items made by local craftspeople and members of the Massai in Kenya.Also, hand created jewelry pieces using Italian sterling silver and semi precious stones. 100% of sales goes directly to the care of 21 very special children in Kenya. www.cradlekenya.org  NP
 Brianne Rutter and Kelly Smith
Funky rings: one of a kind melted plastics, characters, buttons, scrabble tiles, computer keys, stones, etc.
 Hippies and Hoot - Friendly owl pillows and hand-dyed silk scarves
 Robin M – details tbc


Monday, November 22, 2010

New Soaps

I know this is suppose to be my baking blog but these soaps look like baked goods so it's ok, right?!

I must say I'm in the love with these new photos and my photographer Marc, over at mkphotographics.  Go check out his site, he's recently redone the site and has a section of all of my cupcake and soap photographs.

Here are my new releases for November/the holiday season.

Candy Cane Soapsicle

Christmas Cake Soap Loaf

Chocolate Mint Bath Bomb

Candy Cane Bath Bomb

Christmas Mint Jewels

Gingerbread Man Bubble Bar

Green Cupcake

Skull Soap

Snowflake Bubble Bar


Peppermint Bark


Candy Cane Bubble Bar


Candy


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Peanut Butter, Chocolate chip, Peanut Butter Chip and Reece's Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Cookieeeeees, I love cookies especially when they are gooey inside.  These cookies are the holy grail of peanut butter and chocolate.  They have everything a peanut butter lover needs to satisfy that need.  



Right now Reece's has a limited edition peanut butter cup bar out that is double the weight of the regular three cups.  I have grown to love this bar as I was hard as a die hard fan to wrap my head around not eating the chocolate cups.

I found this recipe from allrecipes.com and made a couple of adjustments to suit my needs.  By the way this recipe makes about three dozen cookies; I made two dozen then froze the rest of the batter.

Recipe:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup peanut butter chips
  • 6 chocolate covered peanut butter cups or two bars, cut into chunks

Cream the butter and sugars together.  Add eggs one at a time and add the vanilla. Combine the flour and baking soda and add to the butter mixture.  Add the chips and chunks to the mixture and incorporate with a spatula.

Bake at 350 for around eight minutes, the cookies will look underdone but will crisp up out of the oven.  Keep on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes before moving them to the cooling racks.

We ate them too fast for me to take pictures of the final product but here are some while I was making them.  Try them for yourself, they are worth every ounce of butter.  


All of the mix-ins

dough...mmm!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"Half Baked" Cupcakes

So, by half baked I don't mean stop baking them half the way through the baking time.  I mean Ben & Jerry's Half Baked Ice Cream.  Which just happens to be my favourite.


If you don't know what half baked ice cream is, it's premium vanilla ice cream mixed with raw cookie dough and brownie chunks.

I decided to make cupcakes based on this combination, and might I say while they are very rich and require a glass of milk, they are the best damn cupcakes ever.

The idea behind the cupcakes is a brownie base and a raw cookie dough frosting.  You can either make your favourite brownie recipe (it's fun to make with blondies and caramel brownies too) or use a packaged option.  All though I don't use a package too often, there is one that far surpasses the others. The Ghirardelli Triple Chocolate mix is amazing.


To make the cupcakes, prepare your recipe or mix to the instructions and fill cupcake liners to just over 1/2 full as they don't rise too much.  I usually put mine in the 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes or a little more.  It's hard to tell when the using the above mix is done because of all the chocolate chips in it (but no one got hurt from a little underdone brownie).  

Once your brownie cupcakes have cooled it's time for the frosting.  I found this recipe from Cupcake Project, I halved the recipe as you don't need a lot of this frosting, just enough for a nice taste.  What's awesome about this recipe and why you need to make it is because there is no eggs and saying that there is no cooking going on you need to shy away from using eggs.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough frosting

1 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup melted butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tbsp. vanilla extract
1/4 - 1/3 cup milk or cream
as many chocolate chips you want, remember the large ones have a hard time passing through the piping tip.  

Mix all together and add more milk or cream until the frosting reaches the correct consistency you prefer.

Pipe the frosting on the cupcake and add a cookie or chocolate chips on top for decoration.  These also make great mini-cupcakes, they seem to be just the perfect amount of sweet in a mini .  I found the larger ones were really hard for people to finish.  

Mini Half Baked Cupcakes



Monday, November 15, 2010

Craft Bazaars

Besides teaching and baking, I make soaps.  My new(ish) business venture is called Goodies Gourmet Soaps, which makes soaps in the shapes of cupcakes, popsicles, candy, donuts etc.  My goal was to have my site up for November but due to lack to time the site will not be up until 2011.   I only have facebook for now.  Therefore this holiday season I decided to sell my goods at a couple of craft shows in Toronto.

The first is the Mondo Craft Bazaar at the Gladstone Hotel on November 24, 2010 from 10 am - 5pm.  There will be tons of unique craft vendors and a couple not-for-profit sellers there too.  This one is going to be big!



The second is on December 4th is the Parkdale Bazaar.  This craft bazaar is a bit more "trendy" and also has a vintage component to it.  My cousin will also be at this craft show selling her greeting cards.


So please come visit me and check out all the other awesome crafters.

Oooey Gooey Cinnamon Rolls

Maybe not to oooey but definitely delicious.  These cinnamon buns will add to the muffin top but I think they were totally worth it!  my boyfriend said "if these were what I had for breakfast, I'd eat breakfast everyday!" (he never eats breakfast)


It took me all day to decide what to bake and finally at 6pm I had decided.  Luckily, I have a bread machine so the dough only took 50 minutes.  The amount of butter used was frightening so I used less in the goo and topping.

I think everyone should try these at home.  Recipe modified from two different recipes.

For the dough:

3/4 cup water
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups a/p flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. milk powder
2 1/2 tsp. dry yeast

Put all of the ingredients into your bread machine according to the instructions given by the manufacturer.

For the gooey part combine 1/2 cup of butter and 1/2 of brown sugar (I used dark) in a saucepan and melt until the sugar has dissolved.  Pour this mixture into the bottom of your lined baking pan.


Roll out your dough on a floured surface.


Brush your dough with melted butter and sprinkle topping (3/4 cup brown sugar and 2 tbsp. cinnamon) on top of the dough.


Roll the dough, using both hands.


Cut the rolled dough with a serrated knife and put the rolls into the baking pan.


Let the buns rest in the pan for 20 minutes while your oven is preheating (350 degrees fahrenheit).
Put the buns in the oven for 30 minutes.  


Let rest for three minutes then flip the buns so the gooey topping can run all over the buns.


These buns were awesome!  I actually liked them a bit better when they had cooled down and caramelized a bit.  You can make a cream cheese icing for these as well.  I just used a sugar icing (1 cup of icing sugar and 2 tbsp. of milk whisked together) as these already have enough butter in them.

Hope you enjoy, they are definitely worth the time and effort.