Posts tagged ‘dessert’

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!

 

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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 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.

February 18, 2011

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Covered Cherries

I first tasted these absolutely delish little pieces of happiness this Christmas when Ryan’s mama made them. I couldn’t believe how good they were when I had my first bite. Chocolate covered cherries are my dad’s favourite thing. His kryptonite I would even say so naturally these were his birthday gift (I’ll get him that Corvette one day). He LOVED them and I knew it when I saw his face as he ate.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup peanut butter

1 teaspoon real vanilla extract

2 cups icing sugar

24 to 26 maraschino cherries with stems

Additional icing sugar

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate (chips or bakers)

1 teaspoon oil

Directions

Take your cherries out of the jar and pat them dry. Let them air dry (the drier the better).

In a small bowl, beat the butter and peanut butter until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Gradually add icing sugar and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Dust hands with additional icing sugar. Wrap each cherry with a rounded tablespoon full of peanut butter mixture. I find the easiest way to do this is to roll the peanut butter mixture into a ball, flatten it out in your hands and wrapping it around. Peanut butter mixture may need to be refrigerated occasionally while rolling cherries. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Melt chocolate  and oil in a double boiler (pot of boiling water with another pot or metal bowl on top if it for those who aren’t sure).

Dip peanut butter balls in chocolate; allow excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper. Place in the freezer to set.

They can be stored in the fridge or the freezer – I suggest freezer.

February 17, 2011

Coconut Hot Chocolate

Well I have never patted my self on the back for my hot chocolate making abilities until last night  – coconut hot chocolate. It tastes just like a rich, creamy, smooth, velvety little macaroon. To die for!

 

1 cup coconut milk (low fat or regular)

1/2 cup milk

1/2 semi sweet chocolate chips

whipped cream

flaked coconut

 

Heat coconut milk and milk over low/medium heat in a sauce pan until hot but not boiling.

Add chocolate chips and heat while stirring until they are melted and incorporated.

Serve with whipped cream and flaked coconut sprinkles on top.

I must warn you, this is almost obnoxiously rich. Start with a small serving – like an espresso cup to start.

February 15, 2011

Lime Margarita Cupcakes

Lime margaritas happen to be my favourite summer drink. Tequila, lime and salt together seem to be the perfect balance of sweet and tart, salty and sour. I thought I would try to make this delish summer cocktail into a cupcake – equally delish results! Try these lime cupcakes with tequila icing next time you have a margarita craving outside of happy hour.

Lime Cupcakes:

1/2 cup of unsalted butter at room temperature

2/3 cup granulated white sugar

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Zest of 3 limes (outer green skin)

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line or grease 12 muffin cups.

With a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and lime zest.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the bowl as needed.

Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 18 – 20 minutes or until set and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean.

Remove from oven and place on cooling rack.

Tequila Buttercream Frosting:

2 cups confectioners sugar (icing or powdered sugar), sifted

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

2 tablespoons tequila

2 tablespoons milk or light cream

Beat the butter with a hand mixer until fluffy.

Add tequila. Add in icing sugar slowly while continuing to beat.

Once incorporated, add milk or cream until frosting it is light and fluffy.

Taste… Add more tequila if desired!

Candied Lime:

1 lime

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup water

Thinly slice the lime. Thinner is better but make sure that they don’t fall apart.

Place the lime slices into boiling water to blanche for 1 minute. Immediately move limes to ice water for 1 minute. Drain.

Over low heat, dissolve the sugar in the water. Do not stir the mix, but shake the pan a little if the sugar is not dissolving evenly.

Once the sugar has been dissolved, put the limes in the pan. Simmer for 1 hour.

Remove from the pan with tongs/a fork and place on a cooling rack to dry overnight.

February 7, 2011

Orange Slice Jello Shooters

This year for my birthday, I had a little kids themed birthday party. It was probably the best birthday that I have had – there was a magician and a clown; we had a pinata that I got to pummel; we gave out goodie bags; there were amazing balloon animals, everyone dressed in their finest little kid party attire; we served cotton candy, rice crispie treats, mac and cheese balls, homemade oreos, and MY personal favourite – Orange Slice Jello Shooters.

Method:

Cut oranges in halves. Hollow out the fruit using a paring knife and small spoon. I suggest squeezing out all of the juice and pulp to make juice. Be quite careful when you do this, you don’t want to pierce the skin of the fruit. Try to clean the pith of the fruit as much as you can or it will show in your wedges.

Make the Jell-O according to the package instructions but reduce the cold water portion by 1/4 cup and replace with your chilled drink of choice (my birthday party called for vodka). I also put in a little bit of the orange juice that I squeezed from the oranges.

Chill your little orange bowls overnight (mine did a balancing act in the fridge on shot glasses, espresso cups, and muffin tins).

Use a SHARP straight edge knife to cut into wedges (serrated knife will leave tracks, dull knife will leave your wedges somewhat mangled)

You could try this with other citrus fruits as well. Maybe some Lemon Drops, or Lime with Tequilla?

February 3, 2011

Oreo Truffles

In my experience, these rich little balls of goodness have been appreciated more by my female friends that possess a sweet tooth versus any of my male friends. These Oreo Truffles are seriously easy and seriously impressive.

This recipe is adapted from KRAFT Canada:

1 package oreo cookies (use whole cookie including the cream center)
1 8oz. package cream cheese (softened)
8 oz. semi sweet bakers chocolate or chocolate chips (I like using white chocolate too but it can get REALLY sweet)

1. Finely crush 7 cookies in a food processor and crush into a fine consistency. Reserve for later.

2. Crush remaining cookies in food processor and stir in softened cream cheese. Use the back of a large spoon to help mash the two together.

3. Roll the mixture into 1″ balls and place on wax paper covered cookie sheet. Put in the freezer for 30 minutes.

4. Melt chocolate in double boiler or in the microwave and dip your balls in it to cover. (I find the easiest way is to use 2 toothpicks).

5. When the chocolate is still wet, sprinkle the reserved crushed Oreo cookie crumbs on top.

5. Refrigerate and enjoy!