Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Muffin anyone?

I have been going in to my internship for the past two weeks and it came to my attention that I have been lacking in the breakfast department. I have been told I am a champion sleeper, my roommates can confirm this title, I could quite happily sleep my days away but sadly I know that this just isn't the way the world works. Getting up at the crack of dawn to ensure that I get to my internship in a timely manner (I am always worried I'll be late so I end up arriving 15 minutes early) leaves me with little time to make a filling breakfast in the morning. If only I had something I could quickly grab on the way out of the house in the morning that I could munch on in the car...


I made banana muffins just over a week ago and they were gone in an instant. We are a big banana family so we often have some that are overly ripe and perfect for making banana muffins. So I whipped up another batch knowing they would make the perfect breakfast this week.

My mom has had this recipe in her recipe box for as long as I can remember. She got it from one of her friends and it has been our go to banana bread/muffin recipe. I have tried many different banana breads, both homemade and store bought, and none of them even come close to being as delicious as this recipe is.

You can easily turn this batter into muffins or delicious banana bread. You can add different extra ingredients to it, such as sprinkling in a few chocolate chips. This is my favourite thing to add and I have perfected how to properly add them.

If you mix the chocolate chips in with the batter they all end up sinking to the bottom which is not ideal in a muffin. If you sprinkle them on top before you put them in the oven you run into the same problem. So how can we solve this dilemma? If you take the muffins out of the oven 10 minutes before they are done and sprinkle the chocolate chips on top then, not only do they sink down just enough to stick into the batter so they do not roll off while eating, they do not all sink to the bottom of the muffin!

So I hope you try out the recipe and enjoy as much as I do!


Friday, 13 April 2012

Back to Baking

First I want to apologize for being absent for so long, you know how it is when you are in school and you have all your final assignments due and exams. You get busy and you never have time for anything you really like to do, such as baking. I know! I almost succumbed and bought store bought cookies, I was craving something sweet, but I refrained. I knew that things would die down and I would have time to make something really good on the long weekend.

So what did I make? Well first I made cinnamon buns, but I deemed that not good enough for you all yet. Then I made banana muffins so that my family and I would have something for breakfast this week... the muffins were gone in 2 days. Kind of defeats the purpose family, just saying that maybe you shouldn't eat them so fast. Although I made these delicious creation I still felt that you deserved something better, something more exciting, something more colourful!

In comes sugar cookies frosted with purple and yellow royal icing! Sweet and delicious without being overwhelmingly sweet. They were a lot of effort I am not going to lie, and really I could have spent wayyyyy more time icing them to perfection, but they were mainly for me and well I don't care how pretty the cookies look so long as they are yummy!!!
At the end you will be able to print the recipe but here are my tips for baking this recipe:

  1. Chill the cookies after you have rolled and cut out your shapes before baking. This short time in the fridge will prevent them from spreading so much while they bake that they lose their shape.
  2. When icing your cookies have some stiffer icing first to pipe along the borders of your cookie to provide a border. Then you can water down the icing so that it is runnier and spreads nicely and makes that nice shiny smooth cookie! Here is a video tutorial I found for all of you that explains and shows it a bit better! Plus it shows some more ideas on how to your ice cookies! 

To print the recipe click here.
For my written tips on how to ice cookies by flooding click here.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes

I decided to branch out again this week and bake you something other than a cookie. Guinness chocolate cupcakes anyone? I think that they were a hit by how fast my classmates gobbled them up, and by how my family was eyeing them all weekend.

I chose this recipe in honour of St. Patrick’s Day, as there is nothing more Irish than Guinness Beer.  I also knew that my brothers birthday was approaching (meaning that his birthday is today… Happy Birthday Mike!) and would therefore need some sort of cake to celebrate.

I love celebrating holidays, even if they are controversial ones in the sense that Valentine's Day is a marketing scam, and that St. Patrick’s Day is just an excuse to get drunk. I love these holidays and all the cute things that you can find at the dollar store or bulk barn to theme whatever you bake.

Shamrock sprinkles from Bulk Barn!
 Only $0.79 for a whole bag!
Bulk Barn had cute cupcake liners that were green and covered in shamrocks. Wilton makes them and they usually have many different things to make any occasion great! I baked some in these cups and found that they got all faded and lost their colourfulness once they were out of the oven. It is my goal to find a way to use these without losing their colour.

Other than that, these cupcakes are delicious! I frosted them with just a vanilla buttercream that I dyed green with food colouring, just to enhance the St. Patrick’s Day theme.

I found the recipe on My Baking Addiction, which is a food blog I constantly read because it has amazing recipes that you can be sure are going to turn out great every time! I adapted it a little bit so I have typed my version out for you here. Definitely look at their version and all the other great recipes they have to offer. I just changed the measurement's for you all so you wouldn't need to do any conversions! 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Baking with Brian!

My friend Brian has always had a love for all things citrus. It is safe to say that whenever I need to bribe him, like I did this weekend, a baked good involving citrus is just the right thing to sweeten the deal for him. Brian was on the fence about coming home for the weekend, but when I said he could help me make mini lime cheesecakes it helped him make the right decision.

We do what we usually do at our exciting hang outs; Brian 'helps' me bake, he is an excellent stirrer but he mostly watches, and we watch a movie while munching on whatever we made. I know you're all jealous of how awesome we are and the baked goods we make. He assisted in me making a delicious, incredibly simple no-bake lime cheesecake with raspberry coulis. Sounds fancy right?

You may consider a no-bake cheesecake cheating but... it means no one has to wait hours for it to bake, hours for it to come to room temperature and then hours for it to chill, which is what everyone needs to do to make the traditional style cheesecake. A no-bake cheesecake is great because you can whip one up in 20 minutes, and it only take half an hour to chill before it's ready to serve. It's a great dinner party recipe for sure if you want to show off a bit.

The key to making this cheesecake is folding. You will have one bowl with delicious fresh whipped cream, which needs to be folded into the cream cheese mixture. Here is a short video from yummly explaining the technique.

Now that you know the technique and have the recipe, your creation can look as good as mine.

You can also be this happy while you eat it!

Brian enjoying his cheesecake!

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Soft and Delicious Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

So it is day 5 after the removal of my wisdom teeth, and the first day that I have not been in a T3 induced haze. I knew that with this horrendous ordeal coming up I needed to plan ahead a little bit and ensure that I had a delicious treat ready for you all.
The Perfect Ratio

I whipped up a simple easy batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. I won't lie, I was nervous about going under and having my teeth wrenched from my jaw. I was in need of some comfort and nothing is more comforting to me than an oatmeal cookie. I really enjoy an oatmeal raisin cookie but Brad, a classmate, put in a bid for them to be chocolate chip. I obliged him and ensured that I obtained the best ratio of cookie to chocolate chip, it was apparently a huge concern of his that I got the ratio right. 
Getting ready for the oven.

I went to the bible of cookbooks for this recipe, Joy of Cooking. We have an incredibly old and decrepit copy of this cookbook and to save the poor book from travel I have a photo of the page the recipe is on. These are the best oatmeal cookies in my opinion, and I always like baking them when I feel the need for a bit of comfort. 

I also love how you can make this basic oatmeal cookie into a bunch of different cookies. Sometimes I like to add raisins, chocolate chips, or my favourite dried cranberries and white chocolate chips. Now I think it is time for me to curl back up on the couch and ice my cheeks.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Tips, Tricks and Tools

Do you want your baked good to be the best they can possibly be? Of course you do, who wouldn't? Well I am here to help you with this goal.

The majority of recipes will always call for eggs, whether it is egg whites for macaroons, egg yolks for cheesecake or eggs in general, you are going to want them to be at room temperature just like your butter. Things will bake better if everything is at the same temperature no matter what ingredient it is. So whenever you are planning on baking something, take a moment and plan ahead a little, take the number of eggs you will need and the butter out of the fridge at the same time.

Now just in case any questions arise from this tidbit of information, this does not mean you should store them on your counter for an extended amount of time. They can be kept on the counter for a day max, but it is best if you continue to store them in the fridge. 

Now if you are anything like me, you always forget to preheat the oven and you always forget to take the eggs out of the fridge. I have a terrible memory I know. So how do we quickly bring eggs to room temperature? Place the number of eggs you will need a bowl and fill it with luke warm water until the tops of the eggs are covered. Set aside on your counter and usually by the time you are done getting everything else ready the eggs have come to room temperature. Usually it takes about 10 minutes to get eggs to the perfect room temperature.

So remember always bake with ingredients that are at room temperature so that your sinfully delicious treats turn out their best!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

A February Trail Ride

Me on Zoro!
There is nothing better than a trail ride to put a smile on my face. What’s a trail ride? Getting on horseback and taking a leisurely ride through the Niagara escarpment, across the beach at Lake Erie, and back home along a stretch of the Trans Canada Trail. I braved the cold wind and the potential snowstorm and went anyway. I’ll brave the winter elements to spend time with new friends and horses. I’ve done crazier things to be on horseback, so braving the elements is nothing.
Steph riding Tiny!

I have been riding since I was 9-years-old and have loved horses for as long as I can remember. I was so excited when my roommate, Steph, organized a trail ride and potluck for the Brock Equestrian team. Living with her has some perks and I got invited along even though I’m not on the team. Saturday could not come fast enough for me.  

Potluck you say. Well what would a baking blogger bring to a potluck… I just had absolutely no idea that I would bring cookies, none at all. Friday night we enjoyed a drink in our kitchen and got baking. I have never met anyone that does not love a chocolate chip cookie and since I didn’t know all the girls that were coming I thought it was a safe choice. 

 I have been baking chocolate chip cookies for as long as I can remember. I have made them so many times I have the recipe memorized. I have no idea where I originally got it from or who first created it. All I know is that people get really impressed when you start measuring all your ingredients and have no recipe in front of you. 

In all it was a great day. I had a lot of fun and I have to credit Steph for most of it, because without her it would have been another Saturday filled with homework… Which I think we can all agree is never any fun. I had such a good time the fact that my entire body ached the next day didn’t even bother me. I got to spend an amazing day meeting some great new people, enjoy some delicious food, and of course horses. In my opinion, there is nothing better.

To print the recipe click here!        

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Valentine's Day Truffles

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! Now I know a lot of you are either smiling like a goof or rolling your eyes. You have either labeled today S.A.D. (Singles Awareness Day), calling it a marketing scam, or truly believe in the sappy holiday. However you feel about today I think we can all agree that it can be used as an excuse to show how much you love anyone, even if it is not a significant other.

So in the spirit of showing my love for people, I decided to use my blog for something good. I decided to make Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough truffles for all my classmates. I even took the time to make some of them red or pink to go along with the Valentine's Day theme. I got adorable zipper sealed bags from Dollarama to present them in. I interpreted today as an excuse to show how much I appreciate my classmates… especially when they help with my grammar homework.  

Claire enjoying a truffle
So I gave them all a couple of these delicious treats to show how much I care and was thrilled to see how well received they were.  Claire is happily enjoying her treat, and Sam posted a great tweet with a photo that I am borrowing (hope you don’t mind Sam). You should check out their blogs by clicking their names.

Sam's Photo

Her photo also shows Andrew’s Valentine's Day cards that he handed out. It’s really nice knowing that even though we are all in our twenties, we all appreciate a cartoon card with a cheesy phrase asking us to be their Valentine.

My valentine from Andrew
I got the recipe for the truffles from Recipe Girl, which is a blog that has a lot of great recipes that I hope to try in the future. For the truffles recipe click here.  

For my friends who I don't get to see today, Happy Valentine's Day and you know I love you all.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Superbowl Oreos

Buzz! Buzz! That is the sound my phone made at 2 a.m. this past Saturday night. I, being a natural night owl, had only just recently gone to bed, but still I was in bed attempting to sleep. I mistakenly looked at my phone to see that my brother Michael had messaged me. Great, what could he possibly want other than a ride home from whatever shenanigans he was up too. Being the world’s best sister, I answered and dutifully left the house at 2:30 a.m. to go pick him up at Yonge and York Mills. That is in Toronto if you all aren’t in the know.

I get a kiss on the shoulder and a five-dollar bill for this great sacrifice of going out in the middle of the night to get him, but he is my brother and I do it more often than I should. On the way home we start talking about the Superbowl and if I am going to watch it with him. Mike then goes on about how it is a man's day, and a man's day needs man's food; hence why I decided to make this week’s recipe into the shape of footballs. I thought we all deserved a little something special and I do love a theme. I chose to make homemade Oreos, and like I said, in the shape of footballs.

I found this week's recipe on Plain Gourmet, which is a blog that I frequently read for new ideas and recipes. Check it out for the recipe I used to make these cookies. The only thing this blog left out was how long to bake the cookies, I baked mine for about 8 minutes and they turned out great!

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Pam’s Forgotten Mocha Kisses

As I walk down the aisles of my local Shopper’s Drug Mart I notice an abundance of valentine items. I look around and see all the lovely chocolate treats that are out for the ‘holiday’ and think to myself “Damn you Valentine’s Day chocolates, how I want all of you”. I then ponder what I could turn any of these delicious treats into. I pick up a few bags of Hershey’s Kisses, Hugs, and Cookies’N’Cream knowing I can make a delicious treat out of them if I only put my mind to it.  

Looking at the Kisses reminded me of the Valentine's Day episode of The O.C. that features a cookie called Forgotten Kisses. And don't lie to me; we all remember the show. It inspired me for this post and I knew I could work with that idea. I tried to make my own version of the cookies, so this is an all around experimental recipe.

I settled in to watch Once Upon a Time (yes I am 21 and love a show about fairy tales) this past Sunday night and started baking. I made a batch of chocolate mocha cookies and as soon as I took them out of the oven pressed a Kiss on top of each cookie. I think they turned out pretty well, although I do not like my cookies that dense so I will need to keep playing with the recipe!

Pam’s Forgotten Mocha Kisses


8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon instant coffee, crushed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup All-Purpose Flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips, optional*

*I did not include the chocolate chips since I opted to put a kiss on top, which the recipe never called for.

1.     Melt the chocolate and butter together in a double boiler.
2.     In a separate bowl, mix together sugar and eggs until they are thoroughly combined. Add to the chocolate mixture and stir. Add in remaining ingredients, including the chocolate chips if you’re going to use them.
3.     Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour since it will be really runny.
4.     Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line your cookie sheets with a Silpat.
5.     Drop cookies by tablespoonful (size of a ping pong ball) and bake for 11 minutes. As soon as they come out of the oven put a Kiss on top. Be careful they melt and keep their shape so long as you don’t touch them. Enjoy!

Don't forget you can get a printable copy of the recipe here! 

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Tips, Tricks and Tools

I promised to share some of my best tips, tricks and tools with all of you; so let me fill you in on one of my favourite tools.  Instead of using mass amounts of parchment paper to protect my mother's pans, I have used a Silpat.  A Silpat is the must have non-stick mat for all bakers. Seriously, it will be one of the best investments you ever make.

My 9-year-old Silpat
This is one I have had since I was 12-years-old. It still works just as well as the day I got it. I know it looks battered and abused, but I prefer to think of it as well loved. I have invested in a couple of them so that I can bake on multiple pans.

My 1-year-old Silpat

I bought mine at Cayne's, but you can get them at a lot of different kitchen supply stores. They usually retail for $17.99
so you can all afford this investment. You are bettering the environment by cutting down on waste from parchment paper, and saving yourself a few dollars over the years by not having to buy it either.

I am currently working on my next sinfully delicious creation and I will be using my Silpat. Can anyone guess what it is? Hint: it involves Kisses

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Pam's Mini Molten Lava Cakes

Over the winter break, my mother had a few dinner parties and always asked me if I would be willing to bake a delicious dessert so that she could end the dinner on a sweet note. I was more than willing to oblige since I like to bake and I was going to be around.

Over these numerous dinner parties, I was able to perfect this recipe and make it my own by figuring out the best ratios for the different ingredients and the best selection of chocolate to use. Since I had spent so much time over the break perfecting my recipe, I knew it would be the perfect thing to bake for my first post.

Over the years my house has usually been the one that all my friends come to hang out at on a Saturday night. This was like other Saturdays with my good friends Brian and Nick coming over to be the guinea pigs for my Mini Molten Lava Cakes. I suppose I cannot really say they were guinea pigs since I had already worked out the kinks for this recipe.

Nevertheless they were more than willing to eat my delicious creation. As I baked and watched my little cakes rise in the oven, making sure their centres stayed gooey, they had a lively debate with my dear old Dad about politics. Can anyone say thrilling… Giving my Dad a cake was the only way to change the subject.

So here is the recipe for my Mini Molten Lava Cakes. If anyone tries them out I would love to hear how it goes!

Pam’s Mini Molten Lava Cakes

12 oz of Chopped Dark Chocolate*
¼ cup unsalted butter, cubed, room temperature
¼ cup White Sugar
¼ cup Brown Sugar, packed
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
1/3 cup Flour
Pinch of Salt

*I found the best combination of chocolate for this recipe was one 100g bar of Cadbury Dark Chocolate and 8 squares of Baker's Semi-Sweet Chocolate.

  1. Preheat oven to 400° Fahrenheit
  2. Place chopped chocolate, butter, white and brown sugar into a double boiler. For anyone that doesn't know, a double boiler is a pot of boiling water with another pot that sits directly on top so that the steam from the water melts the chocolate since direct heat tends to burn chocolate and we don't want that. If you don't have a double boiler just put a microwave safe bowl on top of a pot.
  3. Mix it slowly until all ingredients are melted and combined.
  4. Let it cool for a little while so that when you add the eggs in they don't get cooked. I usually wait about 10 minutes. 
  5. Add the eggs and vanilla and stir until combined. Then you can add in the flour and mix it slowly so that it doesn't go all over the place. We want as little clean up as possible. 
  6. Grease 8 ramekins, 3 oz. in size, with butter. I found that if you actually greased them with real butter instead of cooking spray the cakes slid out easier when plating. Fill the ramekins almost to the top leaving about a thumbs width of space at the top.
  7. Place them on a cooke tray equal distance apart and cook for about 8 minutes. I found this to be the best time to ensure they were cooked but that they still had their lava centres. Always make sure to watch them though as all ovens differ.
  8. Let cool a couple minutes before plating. Flip upside down on a plate and dust with icing sugar for a nice effect. Serve with raspberries (or any berry, I just happened to have raspberries) and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!
To print the recipe click here!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

My Sweet Idea

Having a giant sweet tooth has led me to learn many tips and tricks in baking my own sinfully delicious treats. It is my goal to help all of you learn the easiest ways to make a lovely dessert or a cookie to satiate that chocolate craving. I have always loved seeing the look on my friends’ faces when they bite into a delicious double brownie and ask, “How did you make this so good?”

Well my friends, I am finally going to share the secret behind that brown sugar icing that I have been hiding for all these years. I hope you all enjoy salivating over my delicious concoctions and decide to take the dive and make your own.

I’ll be sharing my current knowledge of baking, as well as what I learn along the way in this culinary adventure. If there is ever anything you have wondered about or want to see made, feel free to let me know and I’ll be sure to try and help you sin just as much as I do.