Archive for ‘The Delicious’

April 6, 2011

Chocolate Covered Marshmallows

This is such a non-recipe that I am almost embarrassed to share it with you. I was desperate for something chocolate a few nights ago and after raiding my cupboards, this is what I came up with. Simple? Yes. Easy? Certainly. Delicious? Yes oh yes! My neighbor who I shared these with ever so nicely described them; “They look like the mushrooms in Super Mario Bros and taste FREAKIN’ DELICIOUS”.

Ingredients

Marshmallows (as many as you can eat)

Some chocolate chips or a few squares of bakers chocolate (I used both as thats what I had)

1 tablespoon of peanut butter (optional)

Any topping that sounds appealing to you – crushed nuts, candy, sprinkles, coconut, cookie crumbs mmmm

 

Method:

Melt the chocolate and peanut butter together in a double boiler (pot with water with a bowl on top with the chocolate in it)

Once melted, dip your marshmallows so they are half covered.

Dunk the the chocolate side into your topping.

Put them in the fridge until the chocolate hardens and then store them in an air tight container out of the fridge.

 

Mmmmm I’m thinking white chocolate and pistachio would be delish, or chocolate with graham cracker crumbs – like a smore. Or use butterscotch chips instead of chocolate? The possibilities are endless!

Enjoy!

 

April 5, 2011

Maple Nut Apple Chips

Mmmmm apple chips. Sweet and crunchy and chewy! And in this case, maple flavoured and covered with nuts. These are one of my favourite snacks and I don’t make them nearly enough. They are very easy to throw together and will fill your kitchen with the sweetest of smells. I would say they are the perfect (somewhat healthy) way to battle that sweet tooth.
Ingredients
3 Tbsp. icing sugar, divided
3 Tbsp. maple syrup, divided
1 Granny Smith apple
1/4 cup walnuts (or any other nut), finely chopped
dash ground cinnamon
Method
Mix together 1.5 Tbsp. icing sugar and 1.5 Tbsp. maple syrup in a small bowl. Set aside.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle with remaining 1.5 Tbsp. icing sugar.
Slice the apple crosswise as thinly as possible. Do not core or peel the apple. Just remove the seeds as you slice.
Place apple slices on the prepared baking sheet, making sure not to overlap. Brush with maple syrup/icing sugar mixture.
Bake in a 225ºF (105ºC) oven for 2 hours or until pale golden and starting to curl (it may be much faster in your oven so check on them every little while), making sure to rotate pan after the first 30 min.
Brush apple slices with remaining 1.5 Tbsp. maple syrup and sprinkle with walnuts and cinnamon.
Bake for an additional 20 min. Remove from parchment immediately after cooking and allow to cool.

* Make these healthier by decreasing the amount of sugar and/or maple syrup

*A mandolin would make this process very easy peasy. I used a knife and tried to make the slices as thin as possible without faling apart. Dont worry if some of your slices come out thicker, they will just be a little chewier.

*Store in an airtight container for up to a week. Keep them out of the fridge or they will go soft.

 

April 1, 2011

Pistachio Macarons

Macarons are a meringue based sandwich cookie that are native to France. Bakeries all around the world have followed suit with this sweet confection and offer flavours from the traditional (chocolate, raspberry) to the new (green tea, lavender, basil). They are traditionally filled with buttercream frosting, ganache or jam. These delightful treats are the perfect combination of chewy and melt-in-your-mouth goodness. The best ones are said to be made at Laduree in France, but until I can get there, this recipe certainly does the trick!

I must be honest with you about this one. This recipe, while it is the easiest macaron recipe I have ever seen, can still be somewhat temperamental. Working with meringue is always an interesting experience as humidity and weather plays a big factor. If your first batch isn’t perfect, just try again! Macarons are something that even experienced home cooks need practice on.

Ingredients:

1 cup icing sugar

1/2 ground almonds

2 egg whites

2 tbsp granulated sugar

1 1/2 tsp meringue powder (can be found at gourmet stores, like The Gourmet Warehouse)

Green paste food colouring (again, at gourmet stores, do not use liquid food colouring from the grocery store, it will ruin the recipe because of the moisture content, if you can’t find paste food colouring, just leave them natural).

 

Method:

In a food processor, pulse icing sugar with the ground almonds until fine. Sift through fine sieve into bowl, set aside.

In a large bowl, beat egg whites until foamy, beat in granulated sugar and meringue powder until soft peaks form. Tint green. Fold in almond mixture, one-third at a time. (Be extremely gentle and do not over handle, we want there to be as many air pockets and bubbles in there as possible. If you aren’t sure how to properly fold, ask me and I will gladly explain)

Using a piping bag fitted with 1/4 inch plain tip (or a plastic bag with the corner snipped off), pipe meringue into 1-inch rounds, 1 inch apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Let stand for at least 15 minutes. (I find this tricky to eye-ball. I usually take a shot glass or coin or anything round about an inch in size and trace it onto the back side of the paper to use as a guide.)

Bake in 325 degree oven until puffed, smooth on tops and cracked around bottoms, 12- 14 minutes. Let cool on pans on racks.

 

Pistachio Filling Ingredients:

2/3 cup icing sugar

1/3 cup shelled pistachios

Pinch of ground cardamom

2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

Green paste food colouring

 

Pistachio Filling Method:

In food processor, pulse sugar, pistachios and cardamom until fine; add butter. Pulse to form paste.

Spread about 1/2 tsp filling onto bottoms of the macarons. Sandwich with the remaining macarons, bottom side down.

March 29, 2011

Homemade Raincoast Crisps

There are some things out there that we all seem to be willing to pay quite the premium for. Is it the esthetics? The quality? The name? All of these may be true for that Porsche that you’ve been admiring or that Fendi bag that you are saving your pennies for. But what about crackers? I never thought I’d be willing to pay close to $10 for a box, but Raincoast Crisps are just that tasty. Ryan’s Gramsy (cook and baker extraordinaire) passed on this recipe for a homemade version of this healthy treat. You can play with the ingredients to suit your fave flavours and I promise they will come out just as crispy, just as chewy, just as salty and just as sweet as the boxed variety.

Mix together:

2 cups flour

2 tsp. Baking soda

2 tsp.  Salt

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup honey

2 cups buttermilk

Add to above mixture:

1 cup raisins or dried cranberries

1 cup chopped almonds or pecans

1 cup pumpkin seeds

1 cup sunflower seeds

¼ cup sesame seeds

Pour into 3 – 5 mini loaf pans. (I buy disposable aluminum ones for this because I find that they are the perfect size)

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Freeze.

When ready, slice thinly and bake at 275 degrees for 15 – 18 minutes.

Turn off oven and leave them in there until they are completely cool.

Feel free to try other flavour combos – Rosemary Pecan, Fig and Olive, Cinnamon Raisin, the possibilities are endless!

March 24, 2011

Banana and Cinnamon Bread Pudding with Vanilla and Bailey’s Sauces

My sincerest apologies that you may have noticed a somewhat empty Nest this week. I am wrapping up my semester and things have been a little busy. Who knew that procrastination didn’t pay off? However, I had a little bake date with a friend of mine who had been craving bread pudding and this is what we came up with! We couldn’t decide on a sauce so we made two – equally delish. This recipe is very forgiving so it a good one to play around with and make modifications to. Make sure you keep any leftovers as they are a great quick breakfast.

Bread Pudding Ingredients

4 cups of cinnamon raisin bread (I used more, maybe 5 cups)
1/3 cup butter, melted
3 eggs
2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 t. vanilla
1;2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
salt
1 cup sliced firm bananas (I think I used about 3 cups)

Method:

Place bread cubes in 2 qt casserole, greased.
pour butter over and toss.

In medium bowl, lightly beat eggs, milk, sugar and vanilla cinnamon, nutmeg and salt

Stir in bananas then pour over bread

Stir to coat.

Bake uncovered at 375 for 40 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean.

While it is baking, make the sauces:

Vanilla Sauce Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon vanilla

Method:

Combine all sauce ingredients except vanilla in 1-quart saucepan.

Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens and comes to a full boil (5 to 8 minutes).

Stir in vanilla.

Bailey’s Sauce Ingredients:

4 egg yolks
2 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup icing sugar
6 tablespoons Bailey’s (again, I used more)
2 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water

Method:

In a saucepan heat the whipping cream till scalding ( do not bring to a boil ) and be sure to continually stir so mot to burn the bottom. Remove from heat.

In a small bowl whisk the yolks, bailey’s and sugar together. Add a little of the scalded milk to the bowl to bring up the temperature of the egg yolks.

Now, add the yolk mixture to the whipping cream and whisk so the yolks won’t scramble.

Place the saucepan back onto the heat and continue to simmer for a few minutes; continue to stir.

Add in the cornstarch mixture and cook for a few more minutes till the sauce thickens.

Plate the bread pudding, pour a generous amount of sauce overtop and revel in warm, gooey comfort food.

March 21, 2011

Guinness Brownies

Left over Guinness from the weekend? Try this chocolately treat. Guinness has a very similar effect on chocolate as coffee does – it becomes richer, more flavourful, more robust! You will smell the beer as these babies bake in the oven, but they won’t taste like beer when they come out.

 

Ingredients

1 cup flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

8 ounces dark bittersweet chocolate (chopped or measured chips)

3/4 cup white chocolate chips

4 large eggs, room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 1/4 cups Guinness Extra Stout beer, room temperature, (let the foam settle)

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Method
1. Preheat oven to 375. Grease 9×13 pan.

2. In medium bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder and salt until evenly combined. Set aside.

3. In double boiler over low heat, melt butter, bittersweet chocolate and white chocolate chips. Stir constantly until melted. Remove from heat.

4. In large bowl, beat eggs and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy; about 3 minutes. Add spoonful of egg mixture to chocolate mixture to cool it off (you don’t want to cook your eggs.) Add chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat well.

5. Add flour mixture to egg mixture and beat until just combined. Whisk in beer. Pour in chocolate chips and stir to combine. Pour into prepared pan.

6. Bake 25 to 30 minutes (checking for doneness starting at 25 minutes). Brownies are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let brownies cool to room temperature before cutting.

March 18, 2011

Guinness Braised Sausages

Get up, have an Advil or two and put away your furry green hat until next year. What better way to get over your St Patty’s Day hangover than a big pot full of comfort. Swimming in Guinness, this braised sausage with pears, apples and cranberries will warm you up from the inside out with its sweet aroma and taste. Use any kind of sausage that you like and make sure you have a loaf of your favourite bread to soak up all the saucy goodness from your plate.

Ingredients:

4 large sausage links (I used Bell Pepper Chicken Sausage)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 medium or large yellow onions, sliced

2 ripe Bosc pears, peeled, cored and sliced

2 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and sliced

1/2 pint fresh cranberries

1 12 oz. bottle of Guinness

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350°. Set a large, heavy pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once it’s hot, add the onions and saute for 5 minutes, or until they begin to soften. Add the sausages and brown on each side, turning them continuously to prevent sticking, about 5 – 7 minutes.

Add the apples, pears, cranberries and Guinness. Mix it all up and place in the oven, uncovered, for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. When the hour and half is up, turn on the broiler and brown the top for about 5 minutes. This adds a nice color and makes for a prettier presentation.

Easy peasy.

March 17, 2011

Spicy Guinness Mustard

Happy St Patrick’s Day! For the last few days, a bowl full of this mustard concoction has been sitting on my counter, staring at me, longing to be eaten. Finally today I can run it through the food processor and finish it off. This mustard is the creme de la creme for mustard lovers and NOT for the faint at heart! It’s flavour is spicy and strong. Just like store bought mustard, you can keep this in the fridge for up to 6 months. During it’s refrigerated lifespan, the flavours will mellow out significantly. This would be great served on a pork roast, or with sausage (come back tomorrow for some Guinness stewed sausage), or even on a chewy soft pretzel.

Ingredients:

1  12-oz. bottle Guinness Stout

1 1⁄2 cups brown mustard seeds

1 cup red wine vinegar

1 tbsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1⁄4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1⁄4 tsp. ground cloves

1⁄4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1⁄4 tsp. ground allspice

Method:

Combine ingredients in a nonreactive mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 1–2 days so that the mustard seeds soften and the flavors meld.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a food processor and process, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, until the seeds are coarsely ground and the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a jar and cover.

Refrigerate overnight and use immediately or refrigerate for up to 6 months. (The flavor of the mustard will mellow as the condiment ages.)

March 16, 2011

Guinness Battered Fried Pickles

With St. Patty’s Day coming up this Thursday, it is only appropriate for me to celebrate in true Nest fashion – turning my kitchen into a Guinness factory and finding recipes that feature everyone’s favourite stout. Today I bring to you Guinness Battered Fried Pickles with Spicy Chipotle Dip.

Did you know: Guinness is the perfect diet drink. A pint of the good stuff contains only 198 calories. That’s less than most light beers, wine, orange juice or even low fat milk.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon seasoning salt

1 (12 oz.) bottle of Guinness

Panko Bread Crumbs/didn’t measure just enough to coat the pickles

Crinkle cut pickles

½ cup Mayonnaise

2 Tablespoons of chipotle salsa

Hot Sauce to taste

 

Method:

To make your dip: Combine about ½ cup of mayonnaise with chipotle salsa. Taste it for spiciness and add your desired amount of hot sauce.

Prepare 3 bowls. In the first, combine flour, seasoning salt and garlic powder. In the second, whisk together the beer and he buttermilk. Put the panko breadcrumbs in the third.

Remove the pickles from the jar and pat them dry with a paper towel. Place each slice individually in the flour…tapping off the excess. Then dunk it in the batter, letting the excess drip off. Then dredge it in the panko crumbs. Set the battered pickle on a cookie sheet covered with a sheet of wax paper. Do this for all of your pickles.

In a heavy bottomed pot, carefully heat about one inch of vegetable oil to 350 degrees. Using tongs, place each slice into the hot oil. Working in small batches, fry each pickle until golden brown, turning them halfway through the process. Remove them to a rack or to paper to drain a bit.

Remember to let your oil cool completely before disposing it by putting it in a sealed container like a jar and throwing it in the garbage. Do not pour your oil down the drain.

 

March 10, 2011

Tea Time with Cream Scones and Devonshire Cream

How wonderful is afternoon tea? Stuffing your face with teeny-tiny sandwiches and treats and washing it all down with a cup (or pot) of tea? This is a ritual that I could get used to. I didn’t really like scones until I had the cream variety this past fall at high tea. They were so light and fluffy and MOIST! Quite different from the ones we are all used to from the coffee shop on the corner. The best part? They are slathered with Devonshire Cream and yummy fruit preserves! I’d been craving them for days so it was inevitable that they would soon be coming out of my oven.

A wonderful way to unwind after work, baking scones is quick, simple & tremendously rewarding for your taste buds.  While in the oven, boil your tea, prepare all the fixings & breathe in the sweet aroma wafting out of your oven.

Recipe from The Joy of Baking

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated white sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup cold, unsalted butter

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup milk or heavy cream

More milk or cream for glaze

Method:

Preheat oven to 375 e F (190 degrees C) and place the rack in the middle of the oven. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or two knives. The mixture should look like coarse breadcrumbs. In a small measuring cup, combine the cream (or milk), beaten egg and vanilla. Add this mixture to the flour mixture. Stir until just combined. Do not over mix!

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it gently four or five times. Pat the dough into a circle that is about 7 inches in diameter. Use a 2 1/2 inch round cookie cutter to cut the dough into rounds (alternatively, you could just cut the large circle into wedges). Place your scones on the prepared cookie sheet. Brush the tops of your scones with a little milk or cream, this helps them to brown a little while baking.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into the center of a scones comes out clean. I suggest keeping an eye on them as they bake, they were ready in about 12 minutes in my oven!

Serve these beauties with Devonshire cream and your favourite jam or preserves!

Devon Cream can be purchased in most grocery stores but is even better when homemade:

Ingredients:

4 ounces mascarpone

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon granulated white sugar

Method:

Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and beat until the mixture holds its shape and looks like softly whipped cream. Use right away or refridgerate in an air tight container.