Archive for ‘Treats’

December 24, 2015

Eggnog Fudge

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Another Christmas treat here for you! Fudge is something I’d only make in the Winter months. Honestly, usually I buy it from a sweet shop on a special occasion, but I wanted to make it myself to give as gifts this year.

Even if you’re not a fan of drinking eggnog – *shudders – you might like this fudge. I definitely lean towards eggnog flavoured treats, rather than drinking it. This recipe is very simple – you can make it even if you don’t own a candy thermometer. There’s hundreds of recipes all over the internet for eggnog fudge and they’re pretty much the exact same thing with minor changes. I’ve combined a few and revised it to my liking. It’s consistently worked for me. ūüĎć

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup eggnog
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 1 container marshmallow cream
  • 1 tsp rum extract

Directions:

  1. Line a 9inch pan with parchment paper and lightly grease any part of the tray that the parchment doesn’t cover. ¬†**Its a good idea to have all the ingredients pre-measured and set aside… Take the protective cover off the marshmallow cream and have the chocolate chips ready, etc.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, eggnog, sugar and nutmeg. Turn heat to medium/high and bring to a boil, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon.
  3. Boil until the temperature on a candy thermometer reaches 235 degrees. ** If you don’t have a candy thermometer, set a small bowl of cold water nearby, set your timer for 10-12 minutes with the heat on medium (my burner is level 6/7) and stir the mixture constantly until it gets to a soft ball stage. Spoon a drop of the mixture into the cold water, if it forms a ball, you’re set to go.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and immediately add the rum extract, chocolate chips and marshmallow cream. Stir until it’s smooth and fluffy and there’s no chocolate lumps.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish. Set aside to cool for a minimum of 4 hours. DO NOT PLACE IN THE REFRIGERATOR TO RUSH THE PROCESS. It will firm up just fine sitting at room temperature.
  6. When the fudge is ready, grab the sides of the parchment paper and lift the entire slab out out of the dish.
  7. Use a large knife to slice into small squares, and serve.
  8. Keep in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
  9. You can also freeze it in an airtight container or ziplock bag. When you thaw it, leave it sealed until thawed to avoid drying out.

*Left pic: just reached boiling point. Right pic: boiled for 10 minutes.  Notice how it darkened a bit. Once you add the remaining ingredients, the fudge will lighten up again.

Eggnog Fudge_a

Stir in the chocolate chips , extract and marshmallow cream. It will thicken quickly. Pour into the prepared dish.

Eggnog Fudge_b

Enjoy!

~ Crystal

 

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September 15, 2015

French Macaron Recipe

Coconut french macaron

French Macaron

I thought it would be fun to share a recipe for something a little different than the usual bars, squares and cookies. Today I baked French Macaron’s, using an easy recipe from a youtube Channel, “Entertaining with Beth”. I’ve made this recipe 3 times now, using the exact instructions Beth provided and it worked great each time. Please note they are a bit finicky if you don’t follow the directions to a “T”. Beth provided a few great tips, which I’ve listed below.

These can be filled with anything you like. Some people use chocolate ganache, fruit filling, and various buttercreams. You can also add flavouring to the cookie but don’t add too much liquid or it will mess with the consistency.

Ingredients:

  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup almond flour, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • pinch of salt

Buttercream Filling:

  • 1/2 butter, softened (margarine works too)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract, (I used Marshmallow flavouring this time)
  • 1-2 tbsp milk
  • 3 ‚Äď 4 cups Icing Sugar, sifted (You may not need it all. Start with 3 cups and add more until it reaches a desired consistency.)

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 300 F degrees. Prepare your baking trays with parchment paper or silpat rolls.
2. Sift almond flour, and powdered sugar into a bowl and set aside until step 6. Discard any lumps that the sieve catches.
3. Use an electric mixer to beat egg whites until foamy, then add salt, cream of tartar and white sugar for 8-10 mins.
4. Whip until stiff peaks are formed.
5. At this point you can add your food colouring. Note, the colour will fade when baking, you may need to add a few extra drops of colour.
6. Fold flour/sugar mixture into the egg white mixture. 65-75 turns of your spatula when folding is about the right amount of time.
Note: This is where all your hard work can really go wrong. Under-mix and your macaroons will be lumpy and cracked. Over-mix and your macaroons will be flat and won’t have feet(height).
7. Transfer batter to a pastry bag.
8. Pipe out 1 inch rounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. If you’re wanting to add sprinkled to the tops, this is when you would do that.
TIPS: tap the pan hard at least 2-3 times to release the air bubbles. This will prevent the tops of your macaroons from cracking.
TIPS: Let them sit out for 3o minutes to allow them to dry out a bit before baking. They should be “tacky” to the touch, but not stick to your fingertips. This is another important step to assuring your macarons develop feet! When they dry out they can’t spread out in the oven, and are forced to rise up. That’s what creates the feet!
9. Bake for 20 mins. DO NOT UNDER BAKE, even if they look done! Otherwise they will stick to your tray.
10. In the meantime, make the buttercream filling. Beat the butter, extract, milk and icing sugar with an electric mixer. Add any food colouring, if you choose.
11. Transfer to a pastry bag, fitted with a small/med tip.
12. After the cookies have cooled completely, turn half of the cookie shells on their backs, and pipe a small mound of filling on them. Top with the other shell.

If not eating right away, keep refrigerated.
*Makes 24 completed sandwich cookies

Visual step-by-step below:

FM 1

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FM 6

Enjoy!
~  Crystal

 

August 16, 2015

Dessert Cookie II

For my daughters 10th birthday, she requested a giant dessert cookie instead of a cake. We did this last year and it was a huge hit with her friends and super easy to serve at her Claire’s party in the mall.

Here’s my original post with the recipe.¬†https://bakingmadesimple.wordpress.com/2014/07/10/dessert-pizza/image

As she’s still a picky eater, the toppings I could use on it were limited. We ended up with peanut butter cups, gummy penguins, and mini m&m’s.

We had a separate gathering for family ¬†and I baked a triple chocolate bundt cake. I’ll post the recipe for this another day. It’s incredibly moist and rich.

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I love this photo of her little cousin licking her lips!

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I can’t believe my baby is 10!

 

August 11, 2012

Rollkuchen

Rolkuchen was one of my favourite treats as a kid and I only had it once a year РChristmas time at my Grandparents. Back then, I had no idea what they were called but my grandma sent us home with ziplock bags full of them, and they never lasted long with my brother and I around. Just last year, I started researching what exactly they were and finally after typing so many different names into google, I came up with Rollkuchen Рa Mennonite Fritter.

Here’s my revised recipe from trying out a few different ones¬†and liking this version the best.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk,¬† I always use skim but you can use whatever kind you want
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3¬†tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Canola or Vegetable Oil – for frying them
  • and I suggest using a deep-frying thermometer as well.

Instructions:

  1. Start by combining the milk, sour cream and eggs and sugar together in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the wet ingredients and mix until a soft dough has formed. You may need to add a little extra flour if the dough is sticking to the bowl.
  3. Form 2 balls with the dough, wrap one in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator while you use the other.
  4. Roll out the dough onto a floured surface until it’s about 1/4 inch thick.
  5. Cut the dough into pieces about¬†3 x 3 or 2 x 3¬†inches. I like to make them in all different shapes, but generally the size of a business card works well. I like to place them on a tray and put them in the fridge, then grab a half dozen at a time. Remember, when you fry them, they puff up and get bigger, so don’t cut the pieces too large.
  6. Heat up the oil in a pot on the stove until it reaches approx 375 degrees. (Don’t go any higher or they’ll cook too fast and the inside will be raw).
  7. At this temperature, if the dough pieces are the cut the size I suggested, it takes about 1 minute per side to cook them until light golden brown.
  8. Place a couple dough pieces in the hot oil at a time, turn them over with tongs when each side browns.
  9. Use tongs or a slotted spoon to remove each piece and place them on paper towel to drain excess oil, and to cool.
  10. When finished one batch, remove the other dough ball from the fridge and repeat.
  11. After you’ve fried the whole batch, let them cool completely and store in sealed containers or ziplock bags.
  12. I throw out the leftover oil in the pot, because it is full of crumbs at the bottom and I don’t can’t see re-using it.

This recipe easily makes 4 dozen pieces.

Enjoy,

Crystal

February 27, 2011

Peanut Butter Eggs

The peanut butter egg idea popped into my head when I was wandering around a craft store and came across an adorable mini blue egg carton.  Originally, I was going to make oval petit-fours, but I figured an actual egg shape would definitely be easier to form if using peanut butter balls.  As for the bunny and the carrot, I had a carton of strawberries in my fridge so I dipped those in white and orange chocolate melts as well. For the bunny ears I used a chocolate mould that I had left over from an Easter Candy Kit I used with my daughter.

Looking back, I suppose I could have decorated the eggs with a colourful Easter theme because they look really plain to me right now. Oh well…they were still tasty!

Peanut Butter Balls – (half batch)

Ingredients: 

  • 3/4¬†cups peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2¬†cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 1¬†tsp vanilla extract

For Dipping:

Directions:

  1. Combine all 4 ingredients until smooth, with an electric mixer.
  2. Use a small cookie scoop to evenly portion the dough. Use your hands to roll smooth balls and then form them into egg shapes.
  3. Place the balls on a lined baking sheet and refrigerate for an hour.
  4. Melt the chocolate in the microwave in a deep cup.
  5. Take just a few balls out of the fridge at a time. Place them gently onto treat sticks and dip them in the white chocolate until coated.
  6. Gently tap off the excess chocolate and place them into a styrofoam block to dry.
  7. When the chocolate is firm, gently remove the sticks and place them into the tiny cutesy egg carton.
  8. I dipped a few strawberries in chocolate to make the bunny and carrot. For the bunny, I dipped the leaf part into the chocolate too so it looked like a bushy tail. I drew the face on with edible markers and placed a large pink heart sprinkle for the nose.
  9. For the ears, I used a plastic chocolate mould. Then I affixed them to the bunny while it was still wet.

Enjoy!

Crystal

February 17, 2011

Candy Kit For Little Helpers

I came across this Candy Kit at the craft store the other day and I knew that my 5 year old would LOVE to make these. It looked easy enough and there was plenty that she would be able to do without too much help.¬† The kit comes with everything except for the marshmallows. You don’t actually have to buy a kit in order to make these because the craft stores sell these chocolate moulds, melting chocolate and other items separately. If you don’t have marshmallows, you could use mini donut holes, or make your own cake pops or cheesecake pops…

The kit came with 3 colours of chocolate and 3 disposable piping bags. Start by placing the melting chocolates in their own liners. microwave them one at a time until the chocolate is melted. Cut a small tip off each bag and start piping the chocolate into the plastic candy moulds. These 2 trays also came with the kit. Tap the trays on the counter to get rid of air bubbles and level out the chocolate. 

Add a stick to each chocolate slot and place the trays in the fridge to harden for about 30 minutes. Turn the trays upside down and gently pop them out onto the counter. Grab a marshmallow and slide it up the stick. Re-heat the white and yellow chocolate bags and use them to cover the marshmallows in chocolate. Tap the excess chocolate off into a bowl.  Add the wings to the bird, and the facial features to the bunnies. Push them into a block of styrofoam to dry.

Lizzy and I enjoyed doing this together, and she REALLY enjoyed eating the white chocolate bunnies.

Enjoy!

Crystal

February 15, 2011

Chocolate Rum Ball Mice

These rum balls are great for seasonal treats –¬† I make them in the Winter.¬† But with the rum ball Mice, I find that they’re great for any season. Keep in mind, I’m using real rum – not extract, so they’re not treats for the kids…

Ingredients:

  • Half of a chocolate cake (boxed cake¬†‚Üí¬†baked, cooled, and crumbled)
  • 1 1/4 cups icing sugar
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup dark rum
  • plus 3 tbsp dark rum
  • 24 vanilla wafers, crushed into fine crumbs
  • 1 cup chocolate sprinkles (for balls – not needed if you’re only making mice)
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (for dipping mice)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable shortening

Directions:

  1. Bake the chocolate cake, as directed on the box. Let it cool. Cut in half and crumble the half that youwill be using. Wrap the remaining half cake and freeze it for possible future use.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the icing sugar, almonds, and cocoa powder.
  3. Add the vanilla extract and 1/3 cup rum to the large bowl; mix until combined.
  4. Slowly add the cake pieces, using an electric mixer. Scrape down the sides of the bowl often.
  5. Alternate adding another 2 to 3 tbsp rum and the vanilla cookie crumbs and mix well. The consistence should be thick and somewhat sticky.
  6. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes to help the dough become firm and easier to scoop.
  7. Use a cookie scoop and your hands to form round balls out of the dough, then place them on a lined cookie sheet or plate.
  8. Freeze or refrigerate the balls until they are firm.
  9. If making Rum Balls, roll them into a small dish with rum, then into the chocolate sprinkles.
  10. If making Mice, use your hands to gently pinch one end of the balls and form them into the shape of mice with your hands. This may take some practice to get them all looking uniform.
  11. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, for about 2-3 minutes. add the vegetable shortening and stir until smooth.
  12. Place a cold mouse into the chocolate and use a fork to gently scoop it out. Tap gently on the side of the bowl to knock off the excess chocolate. Then transfer the mouse to a wax lined parchment paper. Adhere the eyes and ears while the chocolate is wet.
  13. For the ears, I used slivers of almonds. For the eyes and nose I used small round sprinkles and drew black dots on the eyes with edible markers.
  14. For the tail, I scooped the leftover melted chocolate into a piping bag with a small tip and swirled a tail onto the [dry] chocolate mice.

Store in the refrigerator or freeze for a later use. By the way, these are great to munch on while frozen.

Serves: Approximately 40 balls.

Enjoy!

Crystal

February 9, 2011

Easy Chocolate Caramel Pretzels

Last Fall, I purchased a Chocolate Covered Pretzel at one of our local pumpkin patches. It was the best one I have ever tasted. These ones aren’t as good, because I didn’t make the caramel from scratch, but they are tasty, easy to make¬†and definately¬†satisfied my sweet tooth!

I didn’t want to fuss around with making caramel, so I purchased some caramel candies from the grocery store.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of pretzels rods
  • 1 bag of wrapped caramel candies (2 candies per pretzel)
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chunks
  • 1 tbsp vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup white melting chocolate & piping bag (optional)

Directions:

  1. Remove the caramels from the wrappers and microwave 2-4 caramels at a time in a small dish for 10 seconds. (Don’t melt them –just soften them up a bit.)
  2. Roll the caramels out into 4 inch lenghts and attach 2 lengths together.
  3. Twirl the caramels around the pretzels. If they’re not sticking, you can put a tiny drop of water on each end of the caramel and gently affix it to the pretzel end.
  4. Leave about 2 inches  plain at one end of the pretzel so you can hold onto it to dip it in the chocolate.
  5. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave. Add 1 tbsp of vegetable shortnening to help thin down the chocolate and make it easier to dip the pretzels.¬† (I didn’t have a deep dish, so I just used a bowl and scooped chocolate onto the pretzels using a spatula.)
  6. Gently tap off the excess chocolate and place them on wax parchment paper to dry. Place in the refrigerator to help them firm up.
  7. Optional РDrizzle with white chocolate for extra tasty goodness!  I just placed 1/2 cup white chocolate chunks into a plastic piping bag and microwaved it until the chocolate melted and was a nice consistency to drizzle over the pretzels.

This is a big bag of pretzels. I only used 9 pretzel rods, plus I broke a few in the process…but that’s okay because if sealed well the remainder will last a while and I can make another batch sometime soon! These pretzels melt in your mouth!¬† When my husband went to work tonight, I sent a small batch with him to bring¬†to the Firehall.

Enjoy!

Crystal

February 4, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 cups icing sugar, sifted (if you‚Äôre using crunchy peanut butter, don‚Äôt¬†bother sifting the sugar)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

For Dipping:

  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped peanuts, optional
  • 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut, optional

Directions:

  1. Combine the first 4 ingredients. Use a small melon baller to scoop dough. Use your hands to form smooth balls.
  2. Place the balls on a lined baking sheet and refrigerate for an hour.
  3. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, or microwave, but watch carefully that it doesn’t burn!   Stir in the shortening.
  4. Take just a few balls out of the fridge at a time.
  5. Dip each ball into a deep cup of melted chocolate using forks or a dipping set and place them back in the fridge , on a lined baking sheet until you have finished dipping all of the balls. Be sure to gently tap off the excess chocolate so they look neat.
  6. You may need to reheat the chocolate¬†halfway through because the coolness of the balls effects the chocolate’s consistency.

Optional: If you wish to use peanuts or coconut. After dipping the balls in chocolate, do your best to tap off all excess chocolate and then gently roll them into the treat of your choice.¬†¬† *Be sure to¬†dice the peanuts really small.¬† *Don’t put all of your coconut in a bowl at once…use a bit at a time so your chocolate doesn’t create a mess.

Store them in the fridge for a few weeks…but they never last more than a few days in my house!  These freeze well, but I suggest freezing the peanut butter balls plain, so that the chocolate doesn’t crack when you thaw them out.

Enjoy!

Crystal

October 17, 2010

Halloween Peanut Butter Balls

One of my family’s favourite treats is Peanut Butter Balls. Luckily they are EASY to make, involve¬†only a few ingredients, and there’s no need to preheat the oven!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 cups icing sugar, sifted (if you’re using crunchy peanut butter, don’t bother sifting the sugar)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

For Dipping:

Directions:

  1. Combine the first 4 ingredients. Use a small melon baller to scoop dough. Use your hands to form smooth balls.
  2. Place the balls on a lined baking sheet and refrigerate for an hour.
  3. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, or microwave, but watch carefully that it doesn’t burn!
  4. Take just a few balls out of the fridge at a time.
  5. Dip the end of the stick into the melted chocolate and then stick them gently into the peanut butter balls, place them back in the fridge until you have finished dipping all of the balls.
  6. You may need to reheat the chocolate now before you begin dipping the balls.
  7. Dip a ball into the chocolate holding firmly onto the stick and gently tap off the excess chocolate.
  8. Place them back onto the lined baking sheets and refrigerate.

Store them in the fridge for a few weeks…but they never last more than a few days in my house!¬† These freeze well, but I suggest freezing the peanut butter balls plain, so that the chocolate doesn’t crack.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†

  

Enjoy!

Crystal

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