Archive for the ‘Yummy for the Tummy’ Category

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!

Recipe to Die For: Harmony and Home’s Cowboy Cookies

November 4, 2008

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I've been exchanging some really stimulating emails recently with a fellow Bay Area blogger, the charming Becky from Harmony and Home. Not only does Becky know everything there is to know about design and design history (seriously, her blog is the ultimate repository of all things fascinating and beautiful!) she has a terrific arsenal of recipes to share. So when she sent me her trusty recipe for Cowboy Cookies, I had to give it a try. And I wasn't disappointed.

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These great, craggy beauties are just the ticket with a cup of tea on a cool autumn afternoon. They're jam-packed full of nutty, chocolaty goodness, all wrapped up in a terrific toasted oat base. The texture is fabulous; a crisp exterior provides satisfying crunch and then yields to a moist, chewy inside. The recipe calls for pecans but I had a surplus of pistachios on hand so I went with those. The result? Divine! But be careful about sharing these—I brought them to an election night party, and I kind of regret it because now they're all gone!

Cowboy Cookies
Recipe courtesy of Becky at Harmony and Home
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspooon baking soda
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups (3 sticks) butter
at room temperature

1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 ½ cups packed light-brown
sugar

3 eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla
3 cups semisweet chocolate
chips

3 cups old-fashioned rolled
oats

2 cups sweetened flake coconut

2 cups chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda and powder, salt and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside. Cream butter and sugars until fluffy, then mix in eggs and vanilla. Merge wet with dry ingredients, then stir in chips, oats, coconut and nuts. Measure in heaping tablespoonfuls (or bigger!) and bake for approximately 17-20 minutes.

To Die for Recipe: Sweet ‘n’ Salty Cashew Toffee

October 30, 2008

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What would Halloween Week be without a recipe for candy? Salty/sweet treats seem to be everywhere these days—from the unexceptional Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate at Starbucks to the out-of-this-world Vosges Peanut Butter Bonbons. This recipe is the homespun answer to the salty/sweet trend. It features salted cashews ensconced in a crunchy foundation of sweet, buttery toffee. I don't always eat my own baking—it's safer to send it to the office with the huz!—but I couldn't keep my sticky fingers away from this stuff!

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You'll need a candy thermometer for this recipe (I had to go out and buy one, and it was SO worth it!) but other than that it's totally brainless to make. It's also fun to see how simple ingredients like butter and sugar come together to make something totally different—a real lesson in the magic of chemistry. I think making this with kids (under adequate adult supervision of course) would be so educational for them.

Salty 'n' Sweet Cashew Toffee
Recipe courtesy of Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O'Connor

1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons water
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 heaping cups salted cashew halves

In a large saucepan, combine butter, water, sugar and lemon juice. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until butter is melted. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, stirring all the while. Once the mixture starts to boil, stop stirring and cook until it reaches the hard-crack stage (about 300 degrees) on your candy thermometer.

Immediately remove pan from heat and stir in baking soda, salt and cashews. It will fizz when you add the baking soda; this aerates the candy, making it lighter and easier to bite into. Pour the candy mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper an let it cool completely. When cool, it will be hard and shattery; break it into generously sized pieces and serve. This toffee would be terrific packaged up as party favours or even as gifts for the winter holiday season! If you can bear to give it away, that is 🙂

Oh, and just in case you needed it, here's proof that my love of Halloween has been many years in the making!

Halloween clown baby

To Die for Recipe: Frozen with Fright Cheesecake Pops

October 28, 2008

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In keeping with Halloween's age-old tradition of food on a stick (caramel apples and tootsie pops, anyone?) I present to you these sinfully delicious frozen cheesecake pops. Bite into one and the crackly candy shell shatters away to reveal a thick and creamy vanilla cheesecake. Aren't they so darn cute?

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Making these little fellows is very straightforward, if a bit time-consuming. Just be sure to leave yourself plenty of downtime for freezing. I cut the recipe in half because it made a gargantuan quantity, but you could easily double it back up for a crowd. And you don't have to decorate them, of course, but it adds to the fun! I picked up the lollipop sticks and ribbon yesterday at Michael's crafts—my Mecca!—along with a bunch of other fab stuff. Keep checking back for more Halloween insanity!

Frozen with Fright Cheesecake Pops

Recipe adapted from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O'Connor

2 1/2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cups sugar
1/8 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 large eggs (crack one of the eggs into a bowl, beat it, then measure it and use only half)
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 cup heavy cream
boiling water as needed
About twenty 8-inch lollipop sticks

For the candy coating:

1 cup dark chocolate chips


1 cup white chocolate chips


3 tablespoons vegetable shortening

icing pens such as these, or make your own colored icing using confectioners sugar, water, and coloring

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. With a mixer on low, combine cream cheese, sugar, flour and salt. Beat in eggs and egg yolks until smooth, then mix in vanilla and heavy cream. Pour the mixture into a 9 x 13 baking pan, then set that pan inside a larger lipped baking sheet or roasting pan. Place both pans on the middle rack of the oven then fill the outer pan to the top with boiling water; you've just created a water bath for your cheesecake. This will help it cook evenly and smoothly without burning. Bake until barely golden brown on top, about 35-45 minutes (though for some reason mine took a full hour).

Let the cheesecake cool to room temperature and then freeze, at least three hours or overnight. Scoop the cheesecake into rounds about the size of ping pong balls, shove the sticks into them, and freeze until firm again, about an hour. Meanwhile, in a double boiler or in the microwave, melt one cup of dark chips with 1 tablespoon shortening, and 1 cup white chips with two tablespoons shortening; the shortening helps make it runny enough to evenly coat the cheesecake. To create the coating, just hold a pop over the chocolate mixture and use a spoon to dribble the melted chocolate over the cheesecake ball. Shake off excess, return to freezer until hard, then decorate as desired.  You can keep them in the freezer or just in the fridge until ready to serve. They're devilish AND delicious!

Halloween Recipe: Pumpkin Scones

October 27, 2008

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Here's the first of several ghoulishly good recipes I have planned for Halloween Week! My mum shared this one with me, and it's definitely worth rising from the dead for. The subtle pumpkin flavour blends seamlessly with spices like cinnamon, ginger and cloves, and the crumbly, butter texture provides a tender foundation for gooey, drippy icing.

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The taste and appearance of these is a blatant rip-off on the Starbucks scones that I always long for but never eat because they're the size of a small child. The beautiful thing about baking your own is that you can create much more manageable portions…of course you'll probably eat two or three to make up for it…I would serve these at a Halloween-themed brunch or even take them to a school bake sale as a fresh alternative to all the cookies and cupcakes out there.

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Find the recipe here. When I make these again I will add an extra half cup of flour as I found the dough to be a bit moist. And I ALWAYS freeze scones overnight before baking them as it guarantees a flaky result. Of course you can omit the icing if you're feeling virtuous. Or if you're like me and believe that sugar calories don't count in the week before Halloween, go ahead and smear it on thick—and shamelessly tint the swirls with orange food colouring for an extra festive effect!

To Die for Recipe: Carrot Cake Cupcakes

October 22, 2008

 

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Carrot cake gets a bum rap. Too many spongy, soggy, greasy, fibrous concoctions have ruined the reputation of what should be a light, bright, and delicately wholesome dessert. Until now. Who knew that a single batch of cupcakes could restore my faith in such a tarnished treat?

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But seriously. These are awesome. There are no raisins to gum them up, no pineapple to muddy the waters. Just a fluffy spice cake flecked with sweet grated carrot and studded with walnuts. Lemon and orange zests add a subtle note of citrus, and of course a generous swirl of cream cheese frosting mellows the scene. Bake these cupcakes and join me in my crusade to raise carrot cake to the auspicious heights it so deserves!

Carrot Cupcakes
Recipe courtesy of How to Be a Domestic Goddess

1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
zest of 1/2 lemon
zest of 1/2 orange
2 medium carrots, finely grated (I used my indispensable Microplane)
1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 12-cup muffin tin with baking papers. With a hand or stand mixer blend brown sugar and oil, then whip in eggs until a smooth, emulsified liquid results. Stir in flour, baking soda, salt and zests. It will be dry at this point, but add the carrot and you will see how the liquid in the carrot moistens things up nicely. Mix in walnuts and distribute batter evenly into muffin tin. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Cream Cheese Frosting

4 ounces cream cheese
2/3 cup confectioner's sugar (I increased to 1 1/3 cup so that it would be stiff enough to pipe)
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Whip up ingredients until fluffy and lump-free. Ice by hand or with an icing bag—I find it easiest to shove the frosting into a Ziploc bag and then cut off the tip. And don't skimp! Carrot cake is depending on you!

To Die for Recipe: Carrot Cake Cupcakes

October 22, 2008

 

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Carrot cake gets a bum rap. Too many spongy, soggy, greasy, fibrous concoctions have ruined the reputation of what should be a light, bright, and delicately wholesome dessert. Until now. Who knew that a single batch of cupcakes could restore my faith in such a tarnished treat?

DSC_0030

But seriously. These are awesome. There are no raisins to gum them up, no pineapple to muddy the waters. Just a fluffy spice cake flecked with sweet grated carrot and studded with walnuts. Lemon and orange zests add a subtle note of citrus, and of course a generous swirl of cream cheese frosting mellows the scene. Bake these cupcakes and join me in my crusade to raise carrot cake to the auspicious heights it so deserves!

Carrot Cupcakes
Recipe courtesy of How to Be a Domestic Goddess

1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
zest of 1/2 lemon
zest of 1/2 orange
2 medium carrots, finely grated (I used my indispensable Microplane)
1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 12-cup muffin tin with baking papers. With a hand or stand mixer blend brown sugar and oil, then whip in eggs until a smooth, emulsified liquid results. Stir in flour, baking soda, salt and zests. It will be dry at this point, but add the carrot and you will see how the liquid in the carrot moistens things up nicely. Mix in walnuts and distribute batter evenly into muffin tin. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Cream Cheese Frosting

4 ounces cream cheese
2/3 cup confectioner's sugar (I increased to 1 1/3 cup so that it would be stiff enough to pipe)
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Whip up ingredients until fluffy and lump-free. Ice by hand or with an icing bag—I find it easiest to shove the frosting into a Ziploc bag and then cut off the tip. And don't skimp! Carrot cake is depending on you!

To Die for Recipe: S’Mores Brownies

October 20, 2008

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Disclaimer: The City Sage cannot be held responsible for sugar highs, ecstatic trances, and out-of-body experiences that result from consumption of these brownies. Bake at your own risk.

When Courtney at Under a Paper Moon posted these brownies last week, I knew I was in trouble. I waited to make the recipe until a day when I could pawn them off on the hubster's coworkers, thereby emptying my fridge of their quiet yet incessant siren's call.

These brownies are not difficult to make, but they do require time and
patience. I encountered near disaster during the marshmallow phase but
was able to recover. Find the original recipe here, and see my adjustments below.

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I learned the hard way that the best method for doing the
marshmallow part is to cut the brownies before putting the marshmallows on. I made all three layers as instructed. However, the marshmallow layer didn't adhere to the underlayer of chocolate, and when I tried to cut the bars the marshmallows peeled away and took shredded bits of brownie with them. Yikes!

That said, make the graham cracker and chocolate layers and let them cool completely. Remove them from the pan and cut your squares—the recipe says make 12, but I say make at least 16 or 20 because they're quite rich—then layer each square with two to four rounds of marshmallow (I cut large 'mallows in half). Place them on a baking sheet. The marshmallows expand, so make sure to leave plenty of clearance between each brownie.

Set the broiler on low and position the baking sheet as far from the heat source as you can. DON'T TAKE YOUR EYES OFF THEM! You may need to rotate them if some are browning faster than others. They'll be golden and puffy in about two minutes. Oh, and be sure to have a tall, cold glass of milk on hand. You're gonna need it!

To Die for Recipe: S’Mores Brownies

October 20, 2008

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Disclaimer: The City Sage cannot be held responsible for sugar highs, ecstatic trances, and out-of-body experiences that result from consumption of these brownies. Bake at your own risk.

When Courtney at Under a Paper Moon posted these brownies last week, I knew I was in trouble. I waited to make the recipe until a day when I could pawn them off on the hubster's coworkers, thereby emptying my fridge of their quiet yet incessant siren's call.

These brownies are not difficult to make, but they do require time and
patience. I encountered near disaster during the marshmallow phase but
was able to recover. Find the original recipe here, and see my adjustments below.

DSC_0013

I learned the hard way that the best method for doing the
marshmallow part is to cut the brownies before putting the marshmallows on. I made all three layers as instructed. However, the marshmallow layer didn't adhere to the underlayer of chocolate, and when I tried to cut the bars the marshmallows peeled away and took shredded bits of brownie with them. Yikes!

That said, make the graham cracker and chocolate layers and let them cool completely. Remove them from the pan and cut your squares—the recipe says make 12, but I say make at least 16 or 20 because they're quite rich—then layer each square with two to four rounds of marshmallow (I cut large 'mallows in half). Place them on a baking sheet. The marshmallows expand, so make sure to leave plenty of clearance between each brownie.

Set the broiler on low and position the baking sheet as far from the heat source as you can. DON'T TAKE YOUR EYES OFF THEM! You may need to rotate them if some are browning faster than others. They'll be golden and puffy in about two minutes. Oh, and be sure to have a tall, cold glass of milk on hand. You're gonna need it!

Epic Oatmeal Cookies

October 15, 2008

Yes

You have GOT to try these cookies. Last Friday the lovely and stylish Jorjah-B posted a recipe for Honey Oatmeal Cookies and they sounded so yummy that I made them ASAP. Wow are they awesome! They're not too sweet, and the honey adds a beautiful layer of wholesome, homespun flavour—but the buttery undertones still feel a little indulgent.

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The texture on these is also incredible. They're very moist and chewy yet somehow still manage to retain a rough, oaty crumb. I'm not a dunker, myself, but for those who are I can see these being great dipped into a cup of milky chai. Go here for the recipe..and then post haste to the kitchen!