Tag Archives: diy

Here’s to a Low Stress Baking Adventure!

23 Sep

Sugar Cookies, Turtle Cookies and Caramel Apple Slices

Ok – so you all remember the stress and exhaustion that was last week’s baking adventure? No? Enlighten yourself… The Great Carrot Cake Meltdown of 2012

Now that we’re all caught up, I can tell you about this weekend and you will understand how, on Friday afternoon, I was telling John, “Maybe I need to take a break from the baking for a week, I am really tired out, and we only just finished doing the dishes from last week.”

But I persevered, ever onward, toward the delicious taste of Turtle Cookies and Sugar Cookies, and I am happy to report that this weekend’s experience was, overall, so much better! (less burnt cakes, no tears, no fighting, less freaking out my friends – you get the picture)

I had a new baking assistant, Erin, (since last week’s is still out on stress leave – get well soon Niki), and she was fabulous!

So here goes explaining how we successfully made three delicious desserts in less than 3 hours!

Sugar Cookie Squares

We started with the sugar cookie base because I knew it would be easy and need to cool off for a while, allowing us to move onto the new recipe. *I should note that this is the second time I’ve made these bars – you know they’re good when you go back for a second taste!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 egg white
1 1/2 Tbsp sour cream (I just do 1 heaping Tbsp)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 recipe vanilla frosting, recipe follows

Vanilla Frosting
Ingredients:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
2-3 Tbsp half and half
1/2 tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt
Several drop food coloring (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 13″ x 9″ baking dish, set aside. In a mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt, set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy about 3-4 minutes. Stir in egg and egg white. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix until blended. Slowly add dry mixture and stir until well combine. With buttered hands, gently press (so gently almost patting) mixture into buttered baking dish. Bake 17 – 20 minutes until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and edges are lightly golden. Cool completely, then frost and cut into squares.
Taken from Cooking Classy

A few notes on the recipe – it will tell you to mix the sugar and butter with a mixer – maybe it’s my mixer or the butter isn’t soft enough, but I usually end up doing this with my hands to get the right consistency.

When spreading dough  over bottom of pan –  you might think there is no way there is enough dough to spread and cover the whole pan – but it works, just keep pressing and patting it out.

 Turtle Cookies

These were a little more involved than the sugar cookies, because there were a few steps to them. Taken from Pixelated Crumb

Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg, separated, plus 1 egg white
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups pecans, chopped fine
14 soft caramel candies
3 tablespoons heavy cream

Directions:
  1. Combine flour, cocoa, and salt in bowl. With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 2 minutes. Add egg yolk, milk, and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture until just combined. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour.
  2. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk egg whites in bowl until frothy. Place pecans in another bowl. Roll dough into 1-inch balls, dip in egg whites, then roll in pecans. Place balls 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Using 1/2-teaspoon measure, make indentation in center of each ball. Bake until set, about 12 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking.
  3. Microwave caramels and cream in bowl, stirring occasionally, until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Once cookies are removed from oven, gently re-press existing indentations. Fill each with 1/2 teaspoon caramel mixture. Cool 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Try not to devour them all at once.

Caramel Apple Slices

If you are like me, and made a lot of extra caramel  – cut up an apple and drizzle the sauce over it – yum!

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Weekend Baking Adventures – Complete Success!

12 Sep

Sorry for the delay in posting my photos of this past weekend’s adventure in baking!

I should say that neither of the recipes I made required actual baking, but I’m going to call it that anyway!

First up …

Pecan Pie Bites

Overall Rating (from myself and a few invested partners) – a solid 8 out of 10!

Would I make them again? You bet! I plan to this Christmas!

These were great – the perfect pairing of salty and sweet. Great for a dessert tray, potluck, party or just to have around the house!

Quick Notes on the Recipe:

  • It was easy and quick
  • No–bake
  • 1 bowl needed – so easy clean up
  • Don’t forget to toast the pecans

So you mix all the dry ingredients, then add the wet and it kind of looks like this… (which had me worried at first)

It was so sticky it made rolling them pretty much impossible because it just all sticks to your hands and doesn’t really form a shape!
(Imagine the scene: Me: ”Oh god John, what is happening? Did I miss something? This does not seem right! Something has happened, I must have forgotten an ingredient! Murmur murmur…
John: “How could you miss something, there’s like 4 ingredients, reads recipe, nope you’ve got it all.” Takes spoon and starts scooping. Me: “Oh, that works well, what a great idea!”)

*Try This* Use a melon baller or rounded tablespoon measuring spoon to scoop the mixture onto the pan and don’t even bother to try to roll it right away.

Once you’ve got them placed on the pan (or as your helpful assistant is scooping them), run your hands under water (which you’ll need to do to get the goog off of them from all the hand mixing earlier) and go back to the dollops with wet hands – this will help with actually making the balls round!
I promise, wet hands is key (also helps to wet the sugar which was still a bit grainy at that point)

Put them in the freezer for minimum two hours.

After two hours set up a double boiler and melt chocolate – please note – I used semi-sweet chocolate chips and they worked just fine. Also don’t be afraid to melt a lot of chocolate because the first few I did, got a generous amount of chocolate and the last few dips were lighter on chocolate because I was running out.

Sprinkle coarse salt and return bites to fridge or freezer.

Official Recipe and Directions

Ingredients

2 1/2 c pecans, toasted and chopped
1 c graham crackers, crushed
1 c brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1/4 c bourbon, brandy or spiced rum
1 tsp vanilla
7 oz dark chocolate bark
1 tsp coarse sea salt (optional)

Directions

1

Combine first four ingredients in large bowl. Add maple syrup, bourbon, and vanilla. Use your hands to make sure all the ingredients are mixed thoroughly.

2

Form balls by scooping a tablespoon size amount of mixture and rolling in hands to form balls. Place balls on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Tip: After all balls are made, roll balls again with slightly water damped hands. This will make balls smooth before dipping in chocolate.
Place balls on cookie sheet in freezer for 2 hrs.

3

Melt chocolate bark in a double boiler or microwave per directions on package.
Dip frozen balls into chocolate, then place on the parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

4

Optional: Sprinkle a few grains of course sea salt on balls before the chocolate sets.

5

These freeze well. Take out of freezer and let sit for 15 minutes. They are also good frozen!

I’ll post part 2 tomorrow – Colourful Cake Bites
Enjoy! I hope you like them as much as I did!
Let me know if you’ve tried these and tell me what you think in the comments!

The Best ‘Keep Calm’ Meme…and Pinterest!

6 Sep

My new favourite motto!

I am so excited to be pinning on Pinterest as The Goodie Girl – check out my boards!

So… you know when you post the most delicious looking desserts that are so elaborate and secretly hope someone else will make it for you so you could just taste it without having to put in all the work? Be honest… Yea, me too!

To make things interesting though I’m going to try to actually make a few of the things I pin.

So… what should I make?  I’ll give it my best shot and post a photo review of the whole thing! (This is gonna be hilarious)

In case you don’t “pin” – take a look at my Tasty board for ideas.

Ever made anything from Pinterest? Was it a success or did you get a hilarious story out of it?

Suggest pins for me to make – tell me your Pinterest stories – leave a comment!