Saturday, December 19, 2009

Minty Mocha Latte

I love a little "Christmas cheer" in my mug around the holidays. The warmth spreading through me helps take the edge off, and warms me up as I'm perpetually cold from November until May! A friend of mine, the always delightful Jennifer Pershick, or as she's more commonly known on twitter, @Artsy_Jenny, has been raving for at least a week now about Bailey's new Mint flavoured liqueur, so when I stopped in at the LCBO today I grabbed a wee bottle to see what all the fuss was about. At the cash they had a bucket filled with bottles of a new flavour of Kalhua... Mocha! I had to have one of those too.

I raced home and started mixing and pouring and stirring and brewing. What I am now sipping on is divine! I had to share. I'm kind of guessing at the quantities of each element cause I don't measure booze... ever... I just pour until something inside says "that's probably enough". :)

Minty Mocha Latte

1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. brewed coffee, your fave will do
2 tbsp hot chocolate powder, I use Tim Horton's cause I love it!
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 oz. Mocha Kahlua
1 oz Mint Chocolate Bailey's
Whipped Cream
Chocolate Syrup


1. Brew your coffee to your desired strength.
2. Scald the milk in a pan over medium heat and add the vanilla and hot chocolate powder.
3. Pour the liqueurs into a mug and add the hot chocolate mixture and coffee.
4. Garnish with whipped cream and chocolate syrup.
5. Sit down, put your feet up, admire the lights on your Christmas tree and enjoy!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Gingerbread Buttercream

I was at the bulk barn and stumbled upon these adorable little gingerbread man sprinkles. I had no idea what I was going to do with them but I had to have them. Fast forward 3 weeks and there I was baking for my 3 year old's pre-school Christmas party. I was digging through my baking cupboard for chocolate and found the sprinkles, and knew exactly what I needed to make... cupcakes!

I had already baked 4 different kinds of cookies and fudge and whoppie pies (blog post to come!) and so I was pretty tired but I thought the kids would love some little cupcakes and the sprinkles would put them over the top, so I grabbed a cake mix from the cupboard. *gasp* I KNOW, you're all disappointed with me and wagging your fingers, but I was tiiiiiired (said like a whiny teenager), besides, they're a total time-saver, they're just pre-measured dry ingredients, and they're yummy, thank you Betty Crocker!

The sprinkles are little bits of gingerbread cookie so I wondered if I could create some gingerbread buttercream to go on the cupcakes. Success! Total yumminess that turns a boxed cake mix into heaven!

Gingerbread Buttercream

1 stick (1/2 c) butter, softened
1/2 lb powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp heavy cream
2 tbsp cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg


1. Cream butter and sugar together until thoroughly incorporated.
2. Add cream and vanilla and mix until fluffy.
3. Add spices and mix.
4. Pipe or spread onto anything, cupcakes, cookies, bars, your finger...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Great Recipe Exchange: Caramel Almond Dream Bars & Toblerone Shortbread

Caramel Almond Dream Bars

A few weeks ago @maggiesavage sent me a message asking me if we'd like to do a recipe exchange and then blog about our results. I thought about it for about 2 seconds and said "sure!". Then I found out that Maggie cooks and bakes gluten free and vegan on her blog She let them eat Cake! What I know about vegan and gluten-free baking could fit in a shot glass, but I like a challenge. Maggie suggested that I would re-glutenize her recipe and she would de-glutenize mine. Easy enough right?

I had no idea what some of her ingredients were! After asking Maggie a bunch of questions and hitting Google pretty hard I figured out what all the ingredients did in the recipe and proceeded to replace them with their gluten-laden counterparts.

What I got was a wonderful, delicate shortbread topped with ooey gooey caramel and toasted almonds. Deeee-lish!

Caramel Almond Dream Bars original recipe by Maggie Savage

For the base:
1 c. butter, softened
½ c. sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 c. all purpose flour
2/3 c. ground almonds
¼ tsp sea salt
½ tsp cinnamon

For the Caramel:
¾ c. milk
¾ c. sugar
1/3 c. clear corn syrup
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp hot water
2 tbsp butter


1. Preheat the oven to 335˚F and grease an 8x8 pan.
2. Toast the sliced almonds on a cookie sheet.
3. In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar until whipped. Add the vanilla and mix well.
4. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, ground almonds, sea salt, and cinnamon until combined.
5. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined.
6. Spread into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes until edges start to get golden brown.
7. While your base is baking, prepare your caramel.
8. Place milk, sugar, and corn syrup in a saucepan and whisk to combine.
9. Cook on medium heat, whisking regularly, for 3 minutes.
10. In a small bowl, dissolve cornstarch into the hot water water and add to the saucepan.
11. Cook this mixture until it thickens (stirring constantly) for approximately 20 minutes. You want your caramel to be a little bit runny.
12. Remove from heat and add butter.
13. Pour slightly cooled caramel on top of your base.
14. Sprinkle with toasted almonds.

I sent Maggie my Toblerone Shortbread recipe. I will be posting the original recipe below and Maggie will be posting her gluten-free version on her blog, be sure to head on over and check out what she came up with!

This shortbread is light and buttery with chunks of my favourite holiday treat, Toblerone bar, running through it. What's not to love?

Tolerone Shortbread

Toberlone Shortbread original version

3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c. icing (powdered) sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 c. all purpose flour
3/4 c. coarsely chopped Toblerone bar

1. Preheat oven to 300˚F.
2. In a medium sized bowl using an electric mixer, beat butter until smooth.
3. Gradually beat in sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Add vanilla and salt until combined.
5. Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour just until mixed.
6. Stir in 1/4 c. of the chopped Toblerone.
7. Scrape dough into an ungreased 8"x8" pan.
8. Lightly flour your fingers and pat mixture to an even thickness.
9. Using a fork, lightly prick dough every inch.
10. Bake in lower third of the oven until edges are deep golden and centre is lightly golden, 30-40 minutes.
11. Using a serrated knife, cut into fingers, squares or diamonds.
12. Melt the remaining Toblerone and dip 1/2 of each cookie into the melted chocolate and place on a rack to cool.
13. Store in an airtight container, in a cool place or the refrigerator, for up to 2 weeks.

Print this Recipe



Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread - Cookie Blog Carnival Offering

I am pleased to bring you this recipe as part of chic crafty chick's Cookie Blog Carnival!

I am cer-razy for Christmas! It is my absolute favourite holiday. I love the traditions, the songs, the colours, the decorating, the family gatherings and especially the FOOD! Most notably, Christmas cookies. Linzer, shortbread, drop, icebox, gingerbread... ahhh gingerbread!

The sweetly intoxicating flavours of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves baked into a chewy little cookie. Paired with a nice hot cup of (spiked) coffee or a steaming Chai Latte (Tassimo makes an INCREDIBLE Chai Latte, and the machine itself is a dream come true for the sleep deprived moms and dads out there! Christmas gift idea people!) and you've got a great treat to have sitting by the fire or after a fun afternoon out building snowmen!

So, give this chocolate verison (you know I had to add chocolate!) a try this holiday season and let me know what you think!

Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread adapted from Martha Stewart

1 c. semi sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 c. + 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tbsp. cocoa powder
8 tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 tbsp. freshly grated ginger, there really is no substitute, fresh is a must
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. unsulphured molasses
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. granulated sugar


1. Sift together the flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and cocoa and set aside.
2. With a paddle attachment, beat butter and freshly grated ginger until whitened.
3. Add brown sugar to butter mixture and beat until combined.
4. Add the molasses and beat until combined.
5. In a small bowl dissolve baking soda in 1 1/2 tsp. boiling water.
6. Beat 1/2 the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Add the baking soda mixture and mix until combined. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat until combined.
7. Add chocolate chips and mix.
8. Turn dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Pat dough out to 1" thickness and seal the wrap and refrigerate the dough for 2 hours or more.
9. Heat oven to 325˚F.
10. Roll dough into 1 1/2" balls ad place on cookie sheet. Return to the fridge for 20 minutes.
11. Roll balls in sugar and  return to cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until tops are slightly cracked. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Be sure to head on over to chic crafty chick's site to see the other cookie recipes submitted by some other great bakers I've had the pleasure of tweeting!



Monday, December 7, 2009

And the winner is....

Loukia of loulousviews fame! Congratulations Loukia! Hope you and your boys have a great time baking this Christmas.

To everyone who entered, thanks and I'll be having more giveaways in the future so keep checking back and good luck in the future!

Have a wonderful holiday season!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Apple Pie Pancakes

I love dessert more than any other food. Shocking, I know. But dessert for breakfast is absolutely heavenly! I'll add just about anything to breakfast to make it more dessert-like, fruit, spices, vanilla, powdered sugar, whipped cream and, of course, chocolate.

Pancakes are a great foundation for dessert for breakfast. You can flavour them to taste like almost anything. Today, I was craving apple pie. So out came the apples, cinnamon and my favourite pancake recipe.

On a cool fall morning, or a nippy winter's day, these will warm up those little tummies before you send them skipping off to school bragging about how they had dessert for breakfast.

Apple Pie Pancakes

pancake batter:
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tbsp. white sugar
1 1/2 c.milk
1 egg
3 tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg or 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
whipped cream

apple topping:
1 apple, peeled, cored and sliced thinly
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp water, apple juice or cider


1. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar making sure they're well incorporated.
2. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg and the cooled melted butter. Fold in the dry ingredients just until they're well mixed and smooth but be sure not to over-work the batter.
3. Put apples, butter, cinnamon, sugar and water into a small saucepan and simmer on low until apples are tender and water has evaporated creating a syrup.
4. Heat griddle or frying pan over medium high heat and grease well. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides.
5. Top with the cooked apples, whipped cream and maple syrup.