Monday, August 24, 2009

(Orgasmic) Caramilk Fudge

My favourite chocolate bar of all time, hands down, is Cadbury's Caramilk Bar. I've enjoyed other bars, even loved some of them, but I always come back to the amazing milk chocolate & caramel combination that is Caramilk. I used to get one everyday after school in middle school on my way home from the bus. I can honestly say the majority of my babysitting funds in seventh grade went to the corner store.

I have no recollection as to how I stumbled upon this recipe, but I know I found it in a chatroom for wedding planning. This super easy microwave fudge will blow your mind. I am not even a fudge fan but I really have to restrain myself from lapsing into a sugar-coma with this stuff.

Try it and tell me it doesn't live up to it's name.
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(Orgasmic) Caramilk Fudge

2 c. packed brown sugar
1 can condensed milk
3/4 c. butter
1 c. icing sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
6 caramilk bars

1. Microwave sugar, milk and butter for 8-9 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes
2. Add icing sugar and vanilla and mix with a hand mixer for 4 minutes
3. Be quick for next step, as mix hardens. Place 1/2 of the mixture into a well greased 8x8 pan
4. Lay the caramilk bars out to cover the fudge mixture
5. Pour the rest of the mixture on top and smooth with a spatula

Set aside 30 minutes.

I suggest you cut this in pretty small pieces, it's is very sweet but totally yummy!


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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Better than Timmy's Iced Coffee

As a stay-at-home-mom to 2 young children my trips out of the house have to well planned, prepared for, and necessary cause it's a lot of work wrangling my kiddos out the door. Because of these factors I rarely get to go out and buy myself a morning coffee, which used to be a daily luxury back in my former life as a career gal. I now make due with Starbuck's blend in my home coffee maker, which is a fairly reasonable facsimile.

So what makes this iced coffee better than Tim Horton's? The price! It's actually quite comparable in flavour but you can't beat the convenience and the fact that it's pennies a glass. This is great on those mornings you wake up and the thermometer is already reading 25˚C.

So pour yourself a glass and sit back and enjoy the last few days of summer.

Better than Timmy's Iced Coffee

4 c. brewed coffee (I do 1 standard scoop coffee grinds to 2 cups of water)
1/3 c. sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
5% light cream
garnishes of your choice


1. Brew your favourite blend of coffee to your desired strength
2. Pour hot coffee into a measuring cup and add sugar. Stir to dissolve.
3. Add vanilla and refrigerate until cold.
4. Pour desired amount of cream (or milk) into a glass filled with ice. Add coffee and stir to mix.
5. Top with whipped cream, chocolate covered espresso beans, cocoa powder, cinnamon or whatever else you like. (I used President's Choice Chocolate, Cinnamon and Sugar Blend grinder)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Good News and Bad News

So the bad news is our first winner failed to claim her prize. The good news is someone else got the chance to win!

Our new winner is comment #3
Jennifer said...

I can remember helping Nanny sugar the homemade doughnuts, the ones she fried in lard. I must have been close to 3 or 4 years old. She still makes those every Christmas and waits until me or my sister get there to help. She also makes a point of making doughnut holes and calls them Jennifer's doughnuts.

Thanks for making me remember that cherished moment. Makes me want to get Jake to help me back something tonight.

Congratulations Jennifer! And by the way, my grandma makes those same donuts at Christmas and we all get a dozen as part of our present. :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Homemade Caesar Dressing and the Giveaway Winner

First things first, the giveaway winner:

drumroll please.........

The winner of the silicone bakeware prize is:

Comment 1

Ohhhh I want to win!

The first thing I remember baking was a cookie when I was 4 at christmas. My gave me the leftover dough to make into cookies and I made it into one GIANT mess of a cookie. I covered it in obscene amounts of sprinkles etc. I actually still have a photo of this ridiculous cookie.
August 4, 2009 12:50 PM

Congratulations Shawna, I'll be contacting you via email.

And now the recipe.

I haven't bought Salad Dressing in a store in years... mostly cause it was a big ol' waste of money. I'd buy it with the best of intentions of having salads more often and I'd have 1 or 2 and then the bottle would languish in the fridge until the salad bug hit me again and I'd go to grab the bottle and it was waaaaaaaay past expiration, and then the cycle would start all over again. After about 10 bottle of basically full dressing went down the kitchen sink I gave up.

And then one weekend our friends Phil and PJ were visiting and my hubby asked Phil to make his famous Caesar dressing (famous to everyone but me I guess cause I had no idea Phil was a master dressing maker). So I watched intently (PJ actually made the dressing as she had been entrusted with the recipe) as I've never seen Caesar dressing made from scratch before, I thought it was just an urban legend! When we sat down for dinner I found salad nirvana. I had no idea dressing could be that fresh, that tasty, or that simple! I recently had a Caesar salad in a restaurant where they obviously used a bottled dressing and I could tell the difference with my eyes closed and my taste buds burnt off. There really is no comparison between bottled and homemade when it comes to dressing.

So thank you Phil. Thank you for sharing your fabulous recipe with me! Goodbye wasted bottles of chemically engineered dressing, and hello simple, natural ingredients.

Phil's Famous Caesar Dressing

1 egg
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced I use 2 cause I loves the garlic
1/2 c. oil, vegetable or canola olive oil really changes the taste
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/4 c. freshly grated parmesan please please please do NOT use that pre-grated stuff in the container, it's mostly flour and will not do this dressing justice
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


1. In a food processor or blender pulse egg and lemon juice until combined.
2. Lightly mince your garlic and add to the egg and lemon.
3. With blade spinning, slowly stream in the oil and allow to continue blending for 1-2 minutes.
4. While the mixture is blending add the vinegar and cheese and salt and pepper.
5. Transfer to a bowl or pitcher and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (1-2 hours is better) so the dressing has a chance to set and thicken.
6. Serve over crisp romaine lettuce, real bacon bits (trust me people), and croutons.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Giveaway and Some Useful Information

I'm away on a little vacation for a friend's wedding which has put a little hold on the cooking and baking (being pampered by my mom!) but I wanted to remind everyone to enter the silicone bakeware giveaway before it's too late!

I was skimming my twitter account today and saw a post tequila cupcake made with a link to a great blog called Culinary School Confidential that has a list of every culinary term you can think of with their explanations. What a great find for the beginner (or untrained) at home chef. Check it out!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Triple Vanilla Party Cupcakes with Smartie Frosting AND...My First Giveaway!

My 3 year old is OBSESSED with smarties. Well, all candy really, but chocolate holds a special place in her heart (that's my girl!). She's also been chattering for days about cupcakes so I thought I'd try to find a way to combine the two. I decided the easiest thing to do is crush some up and throw them into some Buttercream Frosting. I've been dying to try Dorie Greenspan's Perfect Party Cake, but with so little opportunity to bake actual cakes I thought it would make great cupcakes (Jamie did it too!). But to make it for a 3 year old I made some minor changes. For the original recipe head on over to mix, mix, stir, stir.

Perfect Triple Vanilla Party Cupcakes with Smartie Buttercream Frosting

For the cake:

2 ¼ cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups buttermilk
4 large egg whites
1 ½ cups vanilla sugar*
1 vanilla bean, seeded
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Frosting:

2 sticks softened unsalted butter
1 lb powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 c. heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup smarties


1. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

2. Beat together the milk and egg whites in a bowl.

3. Put the sugar into your mixer and add the butter, and beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are fluffy.

4. Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed.

5. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated.

6. Add the rest of the milk and eggs, beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients.

7. Scrape the seeds from a vanilla bean and add to the bowl and give the batter a good 2-minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and will aerated.

8. Spoon the batter into greased cupcake liners and bake at 350˚F until golden and cooked through.

9. Cool.

10. For the frosting, cream together the butter and sugar until thoroughly combined.

11. Add in the salt, vanilla and cream and whip until light and fluffy.

12. Place smarties in a plastic zipper bag and pound with a mallet (or rolling pin, or wine bottle, whatever is handy) until crushed.

13. Add to frosting and mix to distribute.

14. Pipe onto cupcakes and serve.

*How to make Vanilla Sugar: You know that vanilla pod you scraped the seeds out of? Don't throw those empty pods away! Place in a mason jar and add a few cups of sugar and seal. The longer it sits the more vanilla flavour will impart onto the sugar.

And now for the free stuff!

My First Giveaway!

I was out to pick up a bundt pan the other day as mine vanished into thin air and I spied these adorable silicone baking pans (you can click on the picture for a more detailed view). I grabbed a set for myself and then noticed they were 50% off so I grabbed another set for some lucky winner to snag. There's a heart, a star, a crescent moon and a teddy bear. They are all around 4" at their longest/widest part, perfect for single servings. I have already used my star and moon ones and they work great. The cakes cooked evenly and popped out so easily.

How do you win you ask?

Leave a comment on this post by midnight on Wednesday, August 12 2009 telling me about the first thing you can remember baking or cooking. If you Twitter, tweet about this contest using @caffeinated_mom adding a link to this post and you can enter a second time by submitting another comment here about the tweet!

1.) Open to continental USA & Canadian residents only.
2.) One winner will be chosen on 8/12/09 by using
3.) Make sure you tell me how to contact you when you leave a comment; either on your blog or an email.
4.) One comment per person, please. Plus one *tweet entry; totaling 2 possible entries per person.
5.) I will contact the winners via email or commenting on the winner's blog.
6.) You have until 8/14/09 to claim your prize, or I will choose another winner.

Good luck!


Monday, August 3, 2009

Tomato Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich

There's a little café where I live that is only open for lunch. I rarely get to get out for lunch, especially to a place that doesn't have golden arches, so when the opportunity arises I jump at the chance. On one fine afternoon I had the opportunity to step out for this little indulgence of "going out for lunch" and I decided I had to try out this little bistro that was so exclusive with their hours of operation. Mostly sandwiches and salads were on the menu and as soon as I read the description of their Grilled Cheese sandwich I knew I was in love.

Thick cut slices of sourdough stuffed with 3 kinds of cheese, fresh tomato and pesto and brushed with garlic butter and grilled to a crispy golden brown. It was more than a sandwich, it was a food experience of epic proportions. I've since re-created this little masterpiece in my own kitchen on numerous occasions and every time I bite into it I can pretend I'm sitting in that cute little bistro watching the world go by, it's a nice break in the day from the routine of a stay-at-home mom.

Tomato Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich

2 slices thick cut bread (I used regular old white here)
2 oz. shredded cheddar
1 oz. shredded mozzarella, you can use any light cheese you like, fontina is excellent
1 oz. shredded parmesan (not the grated stuff from the store, it's just not the same people)
4 slices tomato (I use heirloom)
1 tbsp. basil pesto
2 tbsp. garlic butter


1. Put a skillet on the stove over medium-low heat.
2. Spread one side of each of the pieces of bread with the garlic butter. Place 1 piece into the skillet butter side down.
3. Top the bread with the shredded cheddar and mozzarella.
4. Arrange tomato slices over the cheese and spread the pesto over top.
5. Sprinkle the tomato and pesto with shredded parmesan and top with the remaining slice of bread butter side up.
6. Grill until golden brown.


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Monkey Bread

I have NO idea why this is called Monkey Bread, maybe some mom somewhere invented and named it that cause her little monkeys loved it. It's also known as Pull-Apart Bread (loaf). Whatever you call it it's delish!

It tastes like a cinnamon bun without the guilt of having a big ol' honking bun on your plate. You can pick off a little bit and pop it into your mouth, and then repeat as often as your pants will allow you to.

I snagged the recipe from and made a few adjustments.

Monkey Bread adapted from

3 (12 ounce) packages refrigerated biscuit dough
1 c. white sugar
2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 c. butter
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 tbsp. cream


1. Preheat over to 350˚F and grease a 9 or 10" Bundt pan.
2. Remove the biscuit dough from the packages and cut each biscuit into quarters.
3. Put white sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves into a large plastic bag and shake to combine.
4. Drop biscuit pieces into bag a few at a time and shake to coat.
5. Remove from bag and drop coated pieces into the Bundt pan arranging as you go.
6. Repeat the coating and arranging until all the pieces are in the pan.
7. In a small sauce pan over medium heat melt the butter and add the brown sugar and bring to a boil. Allow to bubble for 1 minute and then remove from heat and add vanilla. Stir and pour mixture all over the biscuits.
8. Bake for 35 minutes. When done remove from the oven and then allow to cool for 10 minutes. Invert the pan onto a plate to remove the bread.
9. Sift the powdered sugar into a bowl and add the cream a bit at a time until mixed and spread over the top of the warm bread.
10. Serve and watch your little monkeys (or big ones!) pick this yummy bread apart.