Archive for the ‘Yummy for the Tummy’ Category

To Die for Recipe: Chocolate Dipped Macaroons from Domino Magazine

January 18, 2009

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Oh. My. Goodness. You have not lived until you have tasted a warm macaroon fresh from the oven. I know this because until Friday, I had not lived. Can you believe I had made it through over twenty years of cookie baking obsession and had never made coconut macaroons? I think this oversight was the result of 1) my mother’s hatred of the macaroon—the result of many a 1960’s bake sale disaster wreaked by her mother—and 2) my own childhood encounters with countless dull, dense hockey pucks masquerading as macaroons. But I know now that those impostors of snacktimes past were not macaroons. These are macaroons, and what’s more, they are absolute heaven; angels floating on clouds while fluttering their feathered wings are jealous of these cookies.

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I happened across this recipe when Domino posted it to their Twitter stream. These cookies are ridiculously easy to make—they require barely any ingredients and can be mixed, scooped, baked and dipped in under an hour. They’re also amazing without the chocolate coating—the little nuggets of coconutty goodness simply melt on your tongue. I even shared the batch with my husband’s colleagues after realizing how dangerous it would be to keep them in the house, and the cookies were declared ‘the best macaroons ever’. I won’t post the recipe because you can click through and get it here. But let me say one final word: if you only make one batch of cookies this year, let it be these.

P.S. Speaking of Twitter, come say hi to me!

Sinfully Delicious Brownies and Our Giveaway Winner!

January 8, 2009

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I’m very excited to announce that Teresa in Tennessee was randomly selected as the lucky winner of my New Year’s Day giveaway! She’ll be receiving a copy of ‘The New Cook’ by Donna Hay. Teresa commented that one of her goals this year is to increase her repertoire of healthy recipes for her family, which this book will be perfect for! Of course I can’t send this gorgeous cookbook away without first sharing another recipe. And sure I could have made a nice lemon and basil pilaf, or a roast beetroot salad. But aren’t brownies so much more fun? Especially these brownies…

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When a recipe has only a few ingredients, it’s either going to be really good or really bad. When one of those ingredients is chocolate, how could it go wrong? These brownies are just what a treat of that name should be: halfway between cake and fudge, a moist layer of rich cocoa-y chew studded with mellow nuts. I’ve adapted this recipe ever so slightly for my American readers—Donna calls for self-rising flour but very few cooks in this country keep that ingredient on hand. As well, Donna recommends serving these with a shot of espresso—so civilized! Me? I say bring on a big glass of milk and an even bigger appetite.

Chocolate Brownies
recipe courtesy of ‘The New Cook’ by Donna Hay

4 oz (1/2 cup) butter
4 oz good quality dark chocolate (I used bittersweet chocolate with 60% cocoa solids)
2 eggs
1 cup caster sugar (see note below)
1 cup plus two tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda (just a pinch, really)
3/4 cup chopped nuts of your choice (I used slivered almonds to good effect)

In the microwave or in a double boiler melt butter and chocolate and stir until smooth. Set aside. In a separate bowl using an electric mixer, beat together sugar and eggs until pale and thick (I just love the color the mixture turns with this step–I want to paint a room that color!). In another bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder and soda. Combine chocolate mixture with egg/sugar mixture, then fold in sifted dry ingredients and nuts until barely combined. Bake in a pre-greased square baking pan at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until a knife stuck in the center comes out clean. Cool, slice, devour!

Note: Caster sugar is a type of sugar that is finer than granulated sugar but not as fine as icing (confectioner’s) sugar. I just used a cup of granulated sugar that I spun through the blender for about 30 seconds.

Simple Apple Tart and a New Year’s Giveaway!

January 1, 2009

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One of my goals for 2009 is to try a new recipe at least once a week. And what better way to start the ball rolling than with a new cookbook? I just love Donna Hay‘s books—her recipes focus on fresh ingredients, bright flavours and vibrant colour—so I picked up a copy of ‘The New Cook‘ and made this apple tart for my dad on New Year’s Eve.

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As with most Donna Hay recipes, the tart comes together easily. The subtle warmth of apples meets a buttery pastry crust for a dessert that is simple, honest, and downright delicious! A dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream provides a cool contrast for melt-in-your-mouth perfection.

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Have you set goals for the new year, food-related or otherwise? Tell me in the comments section and I’ll randomly select one reader to receive a copy of ‘The New Cook‘ by Donna Hay. It’s full of fabulous recipes to make 2009 your tastiest year yet!

Simple Apple Tart
Recipe Courtesy of ‘The New Cook‘ by Donna Hay

3 green apples, peeled, cored and chopped (any crisp baking apple will do)
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
2 tablespoons sugar
8 oz ready made puff pastry
4 green apples, extra
1 tablespoon butter, melted
sugar for sprinkling

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine chopped apples, water, lemon rind and sugar. Cook until apples are very soft. Mash mixture with a fork until almost smooth, then let cool. Meanwhile, slice four remaining apples very thinly and evenly. Thaw pastry and open it out to create a flat surface. Spread smashed apple mixture evenly on pastry, then layer sliced apples in a pleasing arrangement. Brush the entire surface with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 350 degrees until pastry is puffed and golden, about 30 minutes. Yum!

To Die For Recipe: Chocolate Haystacks

December 4, 2008

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I’m very pleased to announce that the winner of last week’s cookbook giveaway is the lovely Liz from Violet Posy! Liz—who lives in England, writes a charming blog, and loves all things Cath Kidston—is the lucky winner of a copy of Nancy Baggett’s All-American Dessert Book. But before I mail this bad boy across the pond, I have to share this recipe with you. Simply put, these are the best cookies I’ve made in a long time. The fudgy, nutty bundles of perfection are super easy to make, and they taste even better after the flavours have melded for a couple of days…which makes them perfect for packing up and sending to loved ones for the holidays!

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I was intrigued by this recipe because it contains very little flour and butter, relying instead on a heady mix of chocolate, coconut, pecans, and sweetened condensed milk. I think it’s this last ingredient that makes them incredibly moist. And even if you don’t like coconut (hi, mom!) you’ll love these, because the coconut soaks up all the other flavours and becomes more of a textural element. The original recipe didn’t contain as much chocolate as my version, but I bumped it up because chocolate makes all good things better!

Chocolate Haystacks
Recipe adapted from The All-American Dessert Book by Nancy Baggett

3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans (I used the food processor so they were pretty finely chopped)
2 1/2 cups shredded or flaked sweetened coconut
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the microwave or in a double boiler on the stove, melt butter and chocolate chips. Stir until chips are melted and mixture is smooth. Put aside. In a large bowl combine coconut, pecans, condensed milk, sugar, egg, salt and vanilla. Stir until combined, then add in butter mixture and stir thoroughly. Add cocoa powder, flour and baking soda, mix well. Measure in generous blobs (I like to use a small ice cream scoop) onto a parchment lined baking sheet, and bake for 10-15 minutes depending on the size of your blobs. They should be just firm to the touch when you remove them. Let cool for five minutes on baking sheet then remove to cooling rack and enjoy!

To Die for Recipe: Cranberry Cherry Crisp

November 26, 2008

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Another day closer to Thanksgiving, another amazingly simple and delicious dessert recipe from The All-American Dessert Book! I’m of the firm opinion that a crumble topping makes everything better, and this lovely little number is proof. A sweet/tart filling of cherries and cranberries oozes from beneath a pebbled oat and cinnamon surface, providing the perfect bed for a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. It’s enough to make me renounce chocolate…well, almost.

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Just like yesterday’s pumpkin bread pudding, this dessert comes together so quickly and easily that you won’t know what hit you. Not only that, but it’s made with canned and frozen fruit so it’s budget friendly. Plus isn’t it a beauty? I just love how the bright red of the fruit contrasts with the warm golden clusters of topping. Anything that makes my tabletop prettier and my tastebuds happier is A-OK in my book! And speaking of books, don’t forget about The All-American Dessert Book giveaway! If you haven’t yet put your name in the running, just leave a comment with your favourite Thanksgiving or holiday dessert for a chance to win your own copy of this fabulous cookbook. I’ll randomly draw a winner to announce next week!

Sour Cherry Cranberry Crisp
Courtesy of The All-American Dessert Book by Nancy Baggett

1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 15-oz cans pitted unsweetened sour cherries, drained
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Lightly grease a 9 x 13 or similar baking dish. Combine sugar, flour, cherries and cranberries in a bowl, then pour into prepared baking dish. To make topping, combine flour, oats, sugar, nuts, cinnamon and salt, then stir in melted butter until well combined and mixture has a crumbly texture. Sprinkle over fruit and bake at 375 degrees for 40-50 minutes, or until fruit bubbles and topping is golden. Let cool on wire rack until cool enough to eat. Or you could just spoon some up right away and burn your mouth like I did. The choice is yours.

To Die for Recipe: Pumpkin Bread Pudding and a Giveaway!

November 24, 2008

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Let me preface this post by telling you a secret: I hate pumpkin pie. How can I detest a humble dessert, you ask? Well that's the problem: pumpkin pie is not dessert. Rather, it is a vegetal mess, a disgraceful pairing of bland crust and not-quite-wholesome filling. When I want dessert, I want unabashed indulgence, not a squash that can't get it's act together. This pumpkin bread pudding is therefore perfect for me. It's everything pumpkin pie wishes it could be!

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Honestly, this is SO good. Smooth, melt in your mouth custard goodness meets the tender give of crusted bread, and a subtle pumpkin flavour complements the gentle undertones of spice. Plus it's practically foolproof: no finicky pastry and weepy pie filling to contend with. Just stir, pour, and bake. Not only would I serve this at Thanksgiving with a dollop of whipped cream, I would also enjoy it at a winter brunch. Or maybe just by myself, with a really big spoon and no one to interrupt me.

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But wait, there's more! Leave me a comment with your favourite Thanksgiving dessert—or if you're not celebrating Thanksgiving this week, just share your favourite holiday dessert—and you'll be in the running to win the GORGEOUS cookbook that this recipe came from! The All-American Dessert Book is one of my favourite cookbooks of all time and boasts such fare as 'Vanilla Chocolate Trifle with Apricot Sauce' and 'Bourbon Pecan Fudge Cake'. Believe me, you WANT this cookbook, if only because the photos are so droolworthy. And don't worry, I'll remind you about the giveaway with another divine Thanksgiving recipe from this book, coming later in the week!

Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Courtesy of The All-American Dessert Book by Nancy Baggett

4 large eggs
1 cup packed brown sugar, plus 3 tablespoons for sprinkling on pudding
1 cup whole milk
1 cup whipping cream
1 15 oz. can pumpkin (not pie filling, just plain pumpkin)
2 3/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
5 1/2 cups cubed French bread (Brioche would be amazing too!)
3/4 cup dried cranberries (I used dried cherries for fun)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Beat eggs until pale yellow and fluffy. Beat in brown sugar until dissolved and add milk, cream, pumpkin and spices. Pour over the bread, stir to coat, and let sit for 10 minutes. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, then sprinkle the 3 tablespoons sugar on top. Bake another 15 or so minutes, or until the top is slightly firm when pressed. Cool and devour!

To Die for Recipe: Pumpkin Bread Pudding and a Giveaway!

November 24, 2008

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Let me preface this post by telling you a secret: I hate pumpkin pie. How can I detest a humble dessert, you ask? Well that's the problem: pumpkin pie is not dessert. Rather, it is a vegetal mess, a disgraceful pairing of bland crust and not-quite-wholesome filling. When I want dessert, I want unabashed indulgence, not a squash that can't get it's act together. This pumpkin bread pudding is therefore perfect for me. It's everything pumpkin pie wishes it could be!

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Honestly, this is SO good. Smooth, melt in your mouth custard goodness meets the tender give of crusted bread, and a subtle pumpkin flavour complements the gentle undertones of spice. Plus it's practically foolproof: no finicky pastry and weepy pie filling to contend with. Just stir, pour, and bake. Not only would I serve this at Thanksgiving with a dollop of whipped cream, I would also enjoy it at a winter brunch. Or maybe just by myself, with a really big spoon and no one to interrupt me.

0618240004 
But wait, there's more! Leave me a comment with your favourite Thanksgiving dessert—or if you're not celebrating Thanksgiving this week, just share your favourite holiday dessert—and you'll be in the running to win the GORGEOUS cookbook that this recipe came from! The All-American Dessert Book is one of my favourite cookbooks of all time and boasts such fare as 'Vanilla Chocolate Trifle with Apricot Sauce' and 'Bourbon Pecan Fudge Cake'. Believe me, you WANT this cookbook, if only because the photos are so droolworthy. And don't worry, I'll remind you about the giveaway with another divine Thanksgiving recipe from this book, coming later in the week!

Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Courtesy of The All-American Dessert Book by Nancy Baggett

4 large eggs
1 cup packed brown sugar, plus 3 tablespoons for sprinkling on pudding
1 cup whole milk
1 cup whipping cream
1 15 oz. can pumpkin (not pie filling, just plain pumpkin)
2 3/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
5 1/2 cups cubed French bread (Brioche would be amazing too!)
3/4 cup dried cranberries (I used dried cherries for fun)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Beat eggs until pale yellow and fluffy. Beat in brown sugar until dissolved and add milk, cream, pumpkin and spices. Pour over the bread, stir to coat, and let sit for 10 minutes. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, then sprinkle the 3 tablespoons sugar on top. Bake another 15 or so minutes, or until the top is slightly firm when pressed. Cool and devour!

To Die for Recipe: Oat Bars from One Girl Cookies

November 17, 2008

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I first heard of One Girl Cookies when I was planning my wedding; this Brooklyn bakery is the darling of every bride lusting after custom cookie favours and towering cookie buffets. In the end I made my own favours, but my fascination with One Girl remained. So imagine my delight to discover an interview with the bakery's owner in a baking mag. Better yet, she shared a recipe! And it's a doozy, with two layers of flaky, crumbly oats and coconut sandwiching a molten vein of fruit preserves. 

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Of course I can't leave well enough alone, so I swapped out the raspberry jam in the original recipe for marmalade, and I sprinkled chocolate chips on top. Tangy bits of orange rind contrast brilliantly with the rich chocolate. The result reminds me of a Christmas stocking favourite from my Canadian childhood: a Terry's Chocolate Orange. The good news is that it doesn't have to be Christmas to enjoy these babies! The bad news? I don't recommend putting them in your stocking…

Orange Chocolate Oat Bars
Adapted from a recipe by One Girl Cookies, as published in
Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Cookies 2008

3/4 cup flaked coconut
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold butter
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup orange marmalade (original recipe uses 1/2 cup raspberry preserves)
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (my own addition)
1/2 cup chocolate chips of your choice (I used mini semisweet chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread coconut evenly on a baking sheet and toast until barely golden, about 5-7 minutes. Coat a 9×13 inch pan with baking spray and line the bottom with parchment. In a bowl combine flour, sugars, and salt. Cut butter into flour mixture (I like to freeze the butter and then grate it in using a box grater) and using a pastry cutter or a fork work the mixture until pebbly. Lightly toss in coconut and oats. Press all but 1 1/4 cups of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for about 12-14 minutes, or until edges are barely browned.

Remove from the oven and let cool about 10 minutes. In the meantime, stir almond extract into the marmalade, then spread marmalade over the bottom layer of oats. Sprinkle the remaining 1 1/4 cups oat mixture on top of the marmalade, then bake until the marmalade is bubbling and the top is golden, about 16-20 minutes. Let cool and cut into squares.

To Die for Recipe: Oat Bars from One Girl Cookies

November 17, 2008

Orange chocolate oar bars 2

I first heard of One Girl Cookies when I was planning my wedding; this Brooklyn bakery is the darling of every bride lusting after custom cookie favours and towering cookie buffets. In the end I made my own favours, but my fascination with One Girl remained. So imagine my delight to discover an interview with the bakery's owner in a baking mag. Better yet, she shared a recipe! And it's a doozy, with two layers of flaky, crumbly oats and coconut sandwiching a molten vein of fruit preserves. 

Orange chocolate oat bars 1

Of course I can't leave well enough alone, so I swapped out the raspberry jam in the original recipe for marmalade, and I sprinkled chocolate chips on top. Tangy bits of orange rind contrast brilliantly with the rich chocolate. The result reminds me of a Christmas stocking favourite from my Canadian childhood: a Terry's Chocolate Orange. The good news is that it doesn't have to be Christmas to enjoy these babies! The bad news? I don't recommend putting them in your stocking…

Orange Chocolate Oat Bars
Adapted from a recipe by One Girl Cookies, as published in
Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Cookies 2008

3/4 cup flaked coconut
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold butter
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup orange marmalade (original recipe uses 1/2 cup raspberry preserves)
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (my own addition)
1/2 cup chocolate chips of your choice (I used mini semisweet chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread coconut evenly on a baking sheet and toast until barely golden, about 5-7 minutes. Coat a 9×13 inch pan with baking spray and line the bottom with parchment. In a bowl combine flour, sugars, and salt. Cut butter into flour mixture (I like to freeze the butter and then grate it in using a box grater) and using a pastry cutter or a fork work the mixture until pebbly. Lightly toss in coconut and oats. Press all but 1 1/4 cups of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for about 12-14 minutes, or until edges are barely browned.

Remove from the oven and let cool about 10 minutes. In the meantime, stir almond extract into the marmalade, then spread marmalade over the bottom layer of oats. Sprinkle the remaining 1 1/4 cups oat mixture on top of the marmalade, then bake until the marmalade is bubbling and the top is golden, about 16-20 minutes. Let cool and cut into squares.

To Die for Recipe: PB ‘n’ Honey Miniwiches

November 11, 2008

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I absolutely love the flavor combination of peanut butter and honey; I eat it in a sandwich almost every day for lunch. And I absolutely love cookies. So what could be better than a cookie that is also a peanut butter and honey sandwich? Nothing, that's what, and this recipe is the proof! Tender, cross-hatched cookies cradle a layer of peanut butter icing laced with honey. The cookies themselves are amazing—not too sweet and buttery smooth—but that creamy swirl of frosting takes the whole creation to another level. These little fellas will literally melt in your mouth.

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I created this recipe using ideas from one of those holiday baking mags that hit the newstands this time of year. Sometimes people get quite nervous about experimenting with baking, but I say go for it! How can anything comprised of butter, sugar and peanutty goodness turn out badly? Plus when you invent your own recipes you can make your own rules. For example, I made these cookies tinier than your standard fare—that way I can fit a couple in the palm of my hand for an on-the-go snack!

PB 'n' Honey Miniwiches
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Honey Frosting
3 tablespoons softened butter
3 tablespoons peanut butter
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup icing sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter, sugars, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Blend in peanut butter until combined, then beat in egg and vanilla. Stir in flour til no lumps remain. Measure cookies in small spoonfuls (I used one of those mini ice cream scoops) and bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper for about ten minutes. Meanwhile, with an electric mixer blend butter, peanut butter, honey, vanilla and icing sugar until smooth. You may need to play with the consistency, adding more wet or more dry as needed, to get a thick but spreadable icing. Once the cookies have cooled, create little sandwiches with a generous blob of icing and enjoy!