Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Rustic Jam Tart

My grandma made the BEST pie dough. It was light, flaky, buttery, everything pie crust should be. And as good as her pies were, it was what she did with the scraps that I loved most.

She'd take all the little leftovers bits from trimming the edges and re-roll them into little shapes (she wasn't fussy enough to make sure they were round) and then she'd spoon on some butter, cinnamon and sugar, or some homemade jam, and pop them into the oven. In only a few minutes and we'd be eating warm jam filled tarts right from the oven.

I made strawberry freezer jam this week and remembered how good those little tarts were and so as an homage to my late grandma I threw together some pie crust dough (sadly, no where near as good as hers, but I have time to perfect it!) and loaded it up with jam and in no time I was tasting my childhood.

Now that's love from the oven.

Rustic Jam Tarts

Pie crust leftovers (however much you have will do), or store-bought dough sheets
1 cup Jam, any flavour
1 egg white
powdered sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350˚F
2. Roll out your dough. Cut into portion sizes and place 1-2tbps of jam in the centre depending on the size of your tarts.
3. Crimp edges up so that the jam is contained.
4. Brush pastry with egg white.
5. Place on cookie sheet in oven for 1o-20 minutes (again, depending o the size of your tarts) or until your crust is golden brown and cooked through.
6. Remove from oven and sprinkle with powdered sugar.



Monday, July 13, 2009

Hostess Inspired Cupcakes & a Great Cupcake Find!

In Canada, Hostess isn't as popular as Vachon and their deliciously addictive Jos. Louis cakes, but if you've ever had a Hostess Cupcake you'll know they're pretty much the same thing, minus the chocolate glaze.

After gobbling up all the S'mores Cookie Bars in less than 12 hours my nephew requested some cupcakes. It's a good thing the kid practically lives in the gym or else he'd be well on his way to needing to be cut out of the side of the house! I saw these Hostess inspired cupcakes on the My Baking Addiction blog and figured since he inhaled a box of Ah Caramel's last week (ooo, I'm gonna have to try to figure out how to make those from scratch sometime soon!) he would appreciate these.

I changed the recipe slightly using my Grandma's recipe for One Bowl Chocolate Cake as it's my favourite cake recipe although I'm sure any cake recipe would be fabulous including a box cake mix.

The cupcakes with the white frosting aren't filled, I was pressed for time so I filled half and then just piled on the frosting for the other half, equally tasty if you ask me!

Hostess Inspired Cupcakes adapted from mybakingaddiction

Gran's One Bowl Chocolate Cake
1 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. shortening (or butter)
1 1/4 c. milk
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Filling (Seven Minute Frosting):
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup cream
4 ounces
semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened


1. Combine ingredients for cake in the order they're written one ingredient at a time with a hand or stand mixer.
2. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake at 350˚ for 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely.
3. While the cupcakes are cooling, combine filling ingredients in a bowl set over a pot of simmering water and beat with a hand mixer at high speed until frosting is thick and fluffy, 6 to 7 minutes. Remove the bowl from the heat and continue to beat until slightly cooled. Reserve 1/2 cup of the filling to use for piping the swirls on top of the cupcakes at the end.
4. Once the cupcakes are cool, use the cone method to fill them with frosting. (click here for a description on this technique)
5. Once they are filled, make the ganache. In a small pot, heat cream until steaming. Remove from the heat, add chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes. Add the butter and stir until smooth. (This can also be done in the microwave by heating up the cream and then adding the chopped chocolate and butter and stirring until melted.) Transfer the frosting to a small bowl and dip the top of each cupcake to thoroughly coat. Spoon the reserved filling into a pastry bag fitted with a very small plain tip and pipe swirls across the center of each cupcake. Refrigerate the cupcakes for 10 minutes to set the frosting.

Now for the great Cupcake Find!

I was at my local Home Hardware picking out paint colours for my kitchen and family room and I happened to wander over to the kitchenware department on my way out and immediately spied these little gems.

Cupcake travelers called Cupcake-on-the-go containers. Made by FoxRun Craftsmen they have a lid that screws off and they securely hold a standard size cupcake or muffin without squishing it. The dome is high enough to accommodate even the most liberal application of frosting. I found them online at Golda's Kitchen for $4 a piece (couldn't find them on FoxRun's website) which is what I paid and seems pretty reasonable to me. I can't wait for my girls to go to school so I can send them in their lunches!

S'mores Cookie Bars

I have already professed my love for all things S'mores in my very first blog post so it should come as no surprise that I'm at it again. My mom, aunt and cousin were visiting last week and we had some chocolate fondue one night that turned into traditional S'mores (well, as traditional as they get out of the microwave). My nephew saw pictures and was quite peeved he missed out so I went on the hunt for a treat for him that would deliver all that s'mores deliciousness.

A quick google search led me to Baked Perfection and an amazing baked version of a S'more. Warm and chocolately and incredibly gooey, these are everything a S'more should be... minus the campfire songs and spooky stories.

Please excuse the poor presentation, I literally had to shoot these hot out of the oven as they were disappearing pretty fast, only 3 lasted the night and those were gone in the wee light of morning!

the pan about 10 minutes out of the oven!

S'more Cookie Bars taken from Baked Perfection

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (approximately 7 full graham crackers)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 super-sized (5 oz.) dark chocolate bars (e.g. Hershey’s)
1 1/2 cups Kraft marshmallow creme/fluff (not melted marshmallows)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg and vanilla.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt. Add to butter mixture and mix at a low speed until combined. Divide dough in half and press half of dough into an even layer on the bottom of the prepared pan. Place chocolate bars over dough. Two 5 oz. Hershey’s bars (or 4 regular sized ones) should fit perfectly side by side, but break the chocolate (if necessary) to get it to fit in a single layer no more than 1/4 inch thick. Spread marshmallow fluff evenly over the chocolate layer.

Place remaining dough in a single layer on top of the fluff. This is most easily done by putting the second half of the dough in a gallon size freezer bag. Use your palms to flatten it out, and then use scissors to cut down both long sides of the bag, so it will open up book-style. Open it up carefully, and the dough will stick on one side of the bag. Then place the bag, dough side down, on the other three layers. From there peel the bag up ad spread the dough where it is uneven.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting into bars

Makes 16 cookie bars.