Have you heard of these?
Dangerously easy – shockingly good – only 3 ingredients.
1. One box RITZ CRACKERS
2. One bag of SKOR BITS
3. One can of SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK
Have you heard of these?
Dangerously easy – shockingly good – only 3 ingredients.
1. One box RITZ CRACKERS
2. One bag of SKOR BITS
3. One can of SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK
My friends gave me huge bottle of Mexican Vanilla last year – it’s almost gone which makes me a little sad.
The smell and taste of good vanilla is pretty hard to beat, unless, I’ve read, you make your own.
2 Vanilla Beans, cut and scraped + 1/2 C warm/hottish vodka + a jar/container with a lid. Let vanilla cool then screw lid on tightly.
Keep in a dark place until strong alcohol smell is gone – shake every few days.Read More
I don’t love chocolate. There. I said it. BUT – my friend Padde makes THE BEST chocolate chip cookies so I asked for his recipe (I’ll be honest – I wasn’t sure he would actually give it to me). You see, I believe, whether you love chocolate or not, you still need a wicked chocolate chip cookie recipe in your repertoire!! It turns out he uses the Magna Carta of chocolate chip cookie recipes – the almighty Nestle Tollhouse. He even stocks up on Tollhouse chocolate chips when he’s in the States because you can’t buy them here (that, my friends, is dedication). Now, if you’re new to my blog then you probably don’t know this about me but I LOVE a challenge, expecially when it involves taking a classic and much-loved recipe and messing with it to make something new.
Brown Butter and Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies
1.5 C all-purpose flour
3/4 C cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 C butter
0.5 C minus 2 Tbsp white sugar
1 C dark brown sugar, packed tight
3 tsp vanilla
1 package (225 g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 C nuts or Skor bits (optional)
Sea salt for sprinkling
Place the butter in a pan – melt on LOW until browned – will take about 10-15 minutes
I recommend using a silver coloured pan so you can see when the butter has turned brown. The butter will melt slowly – then it will get foamy, bubbly and loud – it will even spit at you – but it’s not quite ready yet!! Be patient because it will quiet down again. Soon after this it will start to develop golden patches of foam – swirl it around so you can see the golden brown transformation underneath – stick your nose over the pan and breathe in – is it a deep caramel brown colour? does it smell like toasted nutty goodness? If the answer to both of these questions is yes, then you’re good to go. Take the butter off the heat and cool 20 minutes.
While the butter is cooling –
Whisk all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking soda, baking powder and kosher salt in a large bowl to mix – set aside
Measure white sugar, dark brown sugar (pack as much as you can into your measuring cup!!), and vanilla into the bowl of your stand mixer – add cooled brown butter and beat on speed 6 for 2 minutes
add an egg – beat one minute – add the other egg – beat one minute
turn mixer to low speed or even speed 2 – add flour mixture gradually until mixed well – when all flour mixture is in, scrape down sides of bowl and beat on speed 4 or 6 for one minute
add your chips (I used 75% Tanzanian chocolate that I was given as a gift – I just weighed out 225g on my kitchen scale) and mix them inby hand
put your mixing bowl in the fridge for 45 minutes to an hour to firm up the dough
roll the dough into balls a little smaller than a golf ball – you should get about 36 balls (depends on how much dough you eat) – put the balls back in the fridge to chill for 2-4 hours
When the balls are chilled, preheat the oven to 375 – line a cookie sheet with parchment – when the oven is ready, take 12 chilled balls out of the fridge and space them out on the cookie sheet – sprinkle them liberally with sea salt and bake for 11-12 minutes – cool them on the sheet 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack (If you’re using the same cookie sheet to bake the second batch, make sure it is COOL before you put the new balls on)
eat one – eat another – then another – try to stop yourself – consider sharing (this may be impossible)
Chai-Spiced Rice Krispie Squares are a jazzed up version of a classic treat. A touch of homemade chai spice added to the melted marshmallows conjures images of falling leaves and cozy sweaters.
This post was first published on September 27, 2011 and was last updated August 30, 2019.
Along with sticker books, jelly shoes, and Cabbage Patch Kids, Pudding Pops were two of my favourite things about growing up in the 80s.
The texture of a Pudding Pop is something I will always remember – smooth and creamy without the crystallization of a Fudgsicle (although let’s get real – Fudgsicles are pretty friggin’ awesome too!!).
Also, I used gelatin for the first time… (don’t worry – it’s SUPPOSED to look like this)…
made a huge mess in my kitchen… (although that’s not new!!)…
and used these really cool popsicle molds I bought at the Superstore for $7.
The intro to the recipe suggests adding a couple of tablespoons of Scotch to the recipe to punch up the flavour. Sean and I don’t really drink, but we have a fully stocked liquor cabinet, including a barely touched bottle of Glenmorangie Single Malt Scotch so I said what the hell?
They were perfect.
No really – these Pudding Pops were one of the most flavourful things I have made in a LONG time. I mean we could REALLY taste the Scotch but it added such an amazing depth to the taste I would never make them without!!
**A funny side note – I doubled the recipe thinking I would freeze half of the batter as Pudding Pops and turn the other half into ice cream but here’s the thing. When you put homemade PUDDING batter into the fridge to chill, so you can turn it into ice cream, it actually turns into PUDDING. Man did I ever feel dumb when I peeled away the cling wrap and realized ice cream was NOT an option. It did make me laugh though!! (When I pulled the pudding out of the fridge it was delicious but at the same time, it was really lumpy, which I found visually unappealing. I did a little research as to WHY it was lumpy and so the recipe below is adjusted with the directions I will follow NEXT TIME to hopefully avoid those yucky lumps!!)
ButterScotch Pudding Pops
1 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
4 Tbsp Butter – cut up
2 Cups Cold Half and Half (this is labelled ‘Coffee Cream’ on the shelves here, however, I just used half milk, half heavy cream and they turned out great)
2 teaspoons Unflavoured Gelatin
3/4 teaspoon Vanilla
1/8 teaspoon Salt
2 Tbsp Scotch
~ Heat brown sugar and butter over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and bubbling – about 8 minutes – cool
~ Put 1/4 Cup of Half and Half into a small bowl – sprinkle gelatin over the surface of the cold cream – do not disturb 3 minutes – it will turn wrinkled and wavy right away
~ Add the gelatin-cream mixture, plus the remaining 1 3/4 Cups of cold cream to the cooled brown sugar mixture – turn heat to medium-low – as the cream heats, the brown sugar and butter will melt and the gelatin will dissolve – whisk until gelatin is no longer grainy (once heated through should take about 4 minutes) – do not heat above 170 degrees or the gelatin will not set
~ Remove from heat – strain through a fine mesh sieve – stir in vanilla, salt and Scotch – pour into popsicle molds and freeze OR for pudding, cover surface of batter with plastic cling and refrigerate 3 hours
After one hour in the freezer, I took my molds out and inserted large wooden popsicle sticks through the centre of each pop. Before I put the sticks in I wrote a message on each one with a Sharpie (U R SO Cool!! – Bite Me!! – Eat Me!! – Me Love You/Long Time – I Love Lamp – the last one is still in the freezer and I forget what I wrote on it!!). In my research I read that in order for Sharpie ink to be toxic to humans, you’d have to drink at LEAST an ounce. I’ve eaten three Pudding Pops in the last couple of days and I’m still alive.
These were easy to make and a truly nostalgic tribute to my amazing childhood. Sean and I agreed that the punch of liquor would make them a unique and interesting dessert to serve at a dinner party and so we’ll probably do that soon. With the recipe for Vanilla Pudding Pops on the CHOW website, the flavour options would really only be limited by your imagination!!Read More
I used to hate coconut.
Not the flavour mind you (I love coconut rum) but the texture. You see, I’m big on texture – especially when it comes to food. You could ask me to try the most amazing tasting thing on the planet but if the texture grosses me out, well, please look away while I spit it into my napkin.
Now I don’t know what’s changed – age, experience, hormones? – but for the last two years I have been friggin’ LOVING coconut!!
A girl I work with, Angela at Ciao Down, loves entering cooking contests. Her latest entries have been submitted to the Real Women of Philadelphia contest with Anna Olson. In order to enter, you have to submit an original recipe using Philly Cream Cheese as an ingredient. She knew she wanted to enter a dessert and she knew she wanted something that was a spin on cheesecake. She originally had planned on a chocolate crust topped with avocado and lime cheesecake and mango glaze, cut into bars. I suggested using a coconut macaroon recipe for the crust, instead of chocolate, because coconut and lime pair so beautifully together. She loved the idea and so did I. In fact, after we talked, I couldn’t stop thinking about coconut macaroons. And so here we are.
I found the recipe for the macaroons on AllRecipes. I always look for recipes with the highest ratings because they never disappoint. I also love to read user reviews to find out what’s worked and maybe what hasn’t worked in the recipe. The following recipe couldn’t possibly be any easier:
Coconut Macaroons (makes about 48 small macaroons)
2/3 C flour
5 1/2 C sweetened shredded coconut
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cans sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp vanilla (could use 1 vanilla, 1 almond if you want)
preheat 350 – line baking sheet with parchment
In large bowl, whisk condensed milk and extract
Add flour, coconut and salt – mix with hands – it’s very sticky!!
Roll into small balls (I had to rinse my hands every 5 or 6 balls because my palms were too sticky)
Bake about 15 minutes then broil until golden and toasted on top
Now the original recipe calls for a 14oz can of condensed milk but here in Canada, our cans are 10oz. SO if you use 1 1/2 cans of condensed milk, what do you do with the extra half a can? Well you make Dulce de Leche of course!!
Dulce de Leche
Crank your oven to 425 degrees. Pour the leftover half can of condensed milk into a small baking pan. Cover tightly with foil. Place the small pan into a slightly larger pan. Fill the larger pan with water until it reaches about halfway up the smaller pan. Bake for 1 hour – 1 hour 20 minutes until the condensed milk is the colour of peanut butter. Check a couple of times to see if you need to add more water. Cool.
The longer you bake the Dulce de Leche the thicker it will become. You can either use it as a dip for your macaroons OR if your Dulce is thick enough, you could sandwich two of them together into a little French Macaron-style cookie!!
WARNING – Don’t eat TOO many of these at once if you can help it!! Coconut Oil is known to be a natural laxative (if you catch my drift).
You can check out Angela’s video for her Farfalle al Salmone (Bowtie Pasta with Smoked Salmon) (and vote for her!!) here.Read More
I finally found the perfect vanilla frosting recipe for cupcakes and it’s all thanks to my friend’s Cape Breton grandmother. Nanny Burke’s Buttercream is now my go-to, classic American-style vanilla frosting recipe!
You may remember my attempt at making pink peppercorn cupcakes with vanilla frosting. They looked ok but the frosting had as much flavour as a of a jar of Vaseline (and the texture to match). Recently, I made bacon and baileys cupcakes – a play on my social media handle @baconandbaileys. I baked coffee-flavoured cupcakes and topped them with Baileys frosting and candied bacon. I used what I thought was a decent buttercream recipe but it turned out to be so sweet I couldn’t eat it!
When I told a friend about my frosting fiasco she said, “Oh – you need Nanny Burke’s Buttercream recipe!” She emailed her grandmother in Cape Breton and Nanny Burke graciously shared her recipe with me. Nanny Burke said that, over the last 50 years, she’s tried a TON of vanilla frosting recipes and this one is by far the best and easiest.
On a side note, here’s a weird and interesting cupcake baking tip that I discovered when I was making my cupcakes for Nanny Burke’s Buttercream. I used Ina Garten’s recipe for Coconut Cupcakes and baked the first dozen at 350ºF until golden, about 22 minutes. While they were in the oven I had another look at the recipe and realized that I was supposed to bake them at 325ºF. I reduced the temperature in a panic for the second batch and here’s what happened:
This cupcake baking tip was just a random fluke that happened to me, however, hundreds of people on Pinterest swear it works! Did it work for you? Let me know in the comments below!
This post was originally published on April 5, 2011 and was updated on June 19, 2019.Read More
One of the beauties of Twitter is the ability to hold conversation with people you would not normally meet. Last week, Tim Pratt of Real, Creative Eats tweeted about his weekend trip to the Earltown Maple Syrup Festival. I responded with a big ‘I LOVE MAPLE!!!’ tweet to which I then got a response from@AuthenticCoast with a link to the DesBarres Manor Inn recipe for Sweet Potato Soup with Nova Scotia Maple Syrup.
DesBarres Manor Inn is one of Nova Scotia’s stunningly beautiful historic properties that has been faithfully restored to the full splendour of it’s 1837 heritage. Located in the town of Guysborough, along the scenic Marine Drive of our Eastern Shore, DesBarres Manor has become a go to for lovers of local food and wine.
‘From our spectacular open kitchen, our culinary team uses fresh ingredients from the Manor’s organic garden along with seasonal gourmet treasures from local farmers and fishers to create contemporary Canadian cuisine with an East Coast flair. Seasonally inspired menus are complemented by the Proprietor’s extensive wine collection, offering you a personal selection of fine wines from around the world. Combined with our attentive service, the DesBarres Manor dining room creates a culinary experience as warm as our people.’
I followed DesBarres’ recipe to a T and the end result was pretty good but I was left wanting a little more of a flavour kick. Maybe it’s because I’ve been working for the Bertossis too long but my tastebuds have developed a serious need for intense flavour.
DesBarres Manor Inn Sweet Potato Soup with Nova Scotia Maple Syrup
1 Tbsp Olive Oil, 1 tsp chopped garlic, 1/2 C chopped celery, 1/2 C chopped onion
1 Litre Chicken Stock, 2 Lbs peeled and diced Sweet Potatoes
4 Tbsp Maple Syrup, 1/4 tsp Nutmeg, 1 C Whipping Cream, 4 Tbsp Brandy
Sour Cream and Garlic Chives to garnish
Kelly’s Modified Sweet Potato Soup with Acadian Maple Syrup
1 Tbsp Olive Oil, 1 clove chopped garlic, 1 stalk chopped celery, 1/2 med onion, chopped
1.5 Litre Chicken Stock, 2 Lbs peeled and diced Sweet Potatoes
8 Tbsp Acadian Maple Syrup, 1/2 tsp Nutmeg, 1/2 tsp Cardamom, 1.5 C Milk, 4 Tbsp Brandy, pinch of dried chili flakes
**Sautee garlic, celery and onion in olive oil 2 minutes
**Add chicken stock and sweet potato – bring to the boil – reduce heat – simmer one hour or until potatoes are soft
**Puree – add all other ingredients – simmer 15 minutes
**Garnish with sour cream and garlic chives
I simmered my sweet potatoes for one hour as the recipe calls for. I should have taken them from the heat when I checked them at 1/2 an hour because that’s when they were done. By the end of one hour, my sweet potatoes had reduced too much and were so thick that I had to add more liquid, hence the increased measurements of stock and milk in my version. Also, my whipping cream was expired so I had to substitute milk for cream.
The only real difference in my version is the seasoning. I doubled the Maple Syrup because I found the original amount got lost among the sweetness of the potatoes. I increased the amount of nutmeg and then added cardamom to bring forth another flavour dimension. The pinch of chili flakes, once pureed, rounded out the bottom end of the sweetness with a little fire. I ate my first bowl with a dollop of sour cream and some chopped baby chives (I couldn’t find garlic chives). The chives added a nice hint of oniony crunch but I think the soup could stand alone without the sour cream.
All in all, this was a really nice recipe from one of Nova Scotia’s best!!Read More
Yesterday was one of those days when it seemed like it was never going to stop raining, so I knew I wanted to make something that would be the exact opposite of a gloomy grey February day. Now, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but over the last year or so, I’ve developed a love for pink – and pink is DEFINITELY the opposite of grey and gloomy.
I searched through my pantry to see what I had on hand that could be turned into something special – and here’s what I came up with.
Pink Peppercorn Cupcakes topped with Pink Vanilla Bean Buttercream
I thought Pink Peppercorns would add a really interesting flavour to a basic vanilla cupcake recipe. You see, Pink Peppercorns aren’t peppercorns at all – they’re actually the dried berries of a bush called Baies Rose. They have a light peppery taste that borders on sweet with a hint of rose (sometimes, Sean will roll the edges of beef tenderloins in crushed Pink Peppercorns before grilling – this is a fantastic addition of flavour to a steak that you should try if you haven’t). I thought, ‘Why not try them with something sweet?’.
I’ve never actually baked cupcakes before (which a few of my friends found surprising) so of course I turned to the Queen of Baking, Ms. Martha Stewart for a basic Vanilla Cupcake Recipe:
Whisk 3 Cups Flour, 1.5 tsp Baking Powder and 3/4 tsp Salt together in a large bowl
Cream 12 Tbsp (1.5 sticks) room temp Butter with 1.5 Cups Sugar 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy
Add 4 eggs – one at a time until well mixed
Add 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
Need 1.25 Cup Milk
To Butter, Sugar, Egg mixture – Add flour, milk, flour, milk, slowly until both are gone – beginning and ending with flour
Add 2 Tbsp Pink Peppercorns (I smashed mine in a Ziploc Baggie with a rolling pin)
Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees or until tops spring back
The cupcakes were super easy and VERY tasty. I also used Martha’s Vanilla Bean Buttercream Recipe – I added 2 drops of red food colouring to give a warm pink glow:
Beat 2 Cups room temp Unsalted Butter until creamy
Slowly add 3.5 Cups Icing Sugar
Add pinch of Salt, 1 Vanilla Bean, scraped and 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Slowly add 0.25 Cups Milk then food colouring – continue on med/low speed until smooth and creamy
Ok so here’s the thing. Decorating cupcakes is harder than I thought it would be!! Here’s a pic of the rest of the batch so you can see more of my attempts. The Buttercream was light and subtle and tasted like it was fresh from a professional bakery however, I decided next time I bake cupcakes, I’m going to make Frosting a la Ms. Betty Crocker instead. I LOVE frosting!!
If you love cupcakes then DEFINITELY use the recipe I’ve posted – you could swap out the Pink Peppercorns – lemon, lime or orange zest would be wonderful – or, you could leave the recipe as is, straight-up Vanilla and then go for flavour with your icing.
Thank goodness for pretty pink cupcakes in the middle of February.Read More
As teenagers, my sister Cindy and I loved going to Mic Mac Mall – but not for the reasons you may think. Yes the mall was a haven of clothing, make-up and boys, but what we truly went for was Baskin Robbins’ Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream. Decadent chocolate ice cream laden with ribbons of smooth, creamy REAL peanut butter – it was SO DELICIOUS!! However, they say all good things must come to an end – the shop closed suddenly and our favourite ice cream was gone.
Over the last 15 years, if you were to ask Cindy or I what we thought was the best ice cream flavour of all time, I KNOW we both would have given the same answer even though it had been years since that pure bliss had passed our lips. Enter the glorious hunk of grey metal sitting next to our tree this past Christmas, otherwise known as the Kitchenaid 600 series Professional Mixer.
Somewhat intimidated by the Kitchenaid, Sean and I didn’t really start to use it until a couple of weeks ago. Our love affair began with the 3-pack of pasta roller attachments. Next came the food grinder, and finally, the crowning glory – the ice cream maker attachment!! When I brought it home last week and set it on the kitchen table Sean and I spent a few moments staring at it with quiet reverence.
The main jist of this recipe came from the Dinner and Dessert blog – they have credited David Lebovitz’s book ‘The Perfect Scoop’ for their version.
It begins so simply, as most good things do. Cream, sugar, cocoa and salt.
Baskin Robbin’s-Style Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream
2 Cups Heavy Cream
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Cocoa
pinch of Salt
1/2 Cup Smooth Peanut Butter
1-2 Tbsp Icing Sugar
~ Whisk cream, coca, sugar and salt in a saucepan to a full roiling boil (should be foamy) – chill
~ mix PB and icing sugar together (adjust amount of icing sugar to taste – I used 2 Tbsp)
~ Churn chocolate batter in an ice cream maker
~ In a container, layer churned batter with dollops of PB – freeze
Baskin Robbins has officially made a comeback – well, in MY house anyway. I think I had better tell my sister…Read More