Friday, October 28, 2016

Spider peanut butter blossoms

We had a halloween bake sale at work this week, which inspired me to create a spider version of the classic hershey's peanut blossom cookies.  Taste is usually one of my biggest focuses when baking, however with halloween this weekend, I wanted something to fit the theme as well.  When I first googled for halloween baked goods, I found that many of the recipes didn't look very tasty, and seemed like they took way too much effort decoration wise (like complicated iced sugar cookies!).  Then luckily I stumbled upon some pictures of similar peanut butter spider cookies, and knew I had found a winner.

The base recipe for these - the classic hershey's peanut blossom - is delicious, and should be a staple in your recipe book.  I used nerds for eyes (I do not have the time to fashion my own candy eyes!), and just piped on melted chocolate for legs.  The decorating aspect of it only added about 10 minutes to the whole process.  So if you have a halloween party coming up this weekend, get baking!  Happy Halloween!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Italian Plum Cake, aka summer fruit cake

The last day of official summer has sadly come and gone this week, but here in Vancouver we are still clinging to it.  The sun is fighting valiantly to stay out for another few days (or weeks??), and I am still baking with late summer fruits, trying stave off winter.  Growing up we spent most of our long summer days outside at the barn, which had two large Italian plum trees heavy with fruit at the end of the summer.  I would bring home giant brown paper bags of plums, and once I'd eaten my fill, I of course needed to bake with the rest.  I remember using a classic simple delicious cake recipe, that I have lost over the years.  However when I saw italian plums popping up this summer it made me want to recreate that cake.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Funfetti cookies (nutella stuffed!)

I did not have (or want) a lot of sprinkles in my life growing up, but every once in a while a colorful sprinkle coated sugar cookie will tempt me in a bakery.  Most of the time I get sucked into buying one, I find them disappointingly crunchy, bland, and dissapointing.   Then recently Smitten Kitchen shared a new recipe for these, describing the home made version as tender and buttery, (and so colorful!), and I was sucked into trying them once again.  Fortunately these homemade cookies taste just as fun and delicious as they look.  Especially if you are like me, and go one step further by stuffing half of them with Nutella.   (Oops!)

The smitten kitchen version is delicious, but I ended up finding another version that I loved even more and was a little easier to make.   These cookies are super soft and buttery in the center, and the sprinkles give a delightful crunch.  And the color makes them seem so festive!  If you are feeling indulgent (and patient) you can stuff the cookie with balls of nutella, then roll each one in the spinkles.  If you are in more of a rush to get cookies into your mouth, just mix the sprinkles into the batter, and bake away.

Note: I recommend buying and using vanilla bean paste in these cookies if you have it.  It is not too hard or expensive to find these days, and makes it taste like you used fresh vanilla beans!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Chocolate covered oreo surprises

My mom sent me a link to this recipe a few months ago. At first peek it looks like the classic american thing to do - oh, lets just take a few things that are all bad for you, and combine them together!  (Fried twinkles??).  But luckily I was lured in by my love of chocolate, peanut butter, Oreos, and simple recipes (4 ingredients!).  I’m happy to report these are not just another gimmicky recipe, they are delicious, and were devoured rapidly at work.  They taste basically like a crunchy, chocolatey-er Reeses - and who doesn’t want that??

We’ve been struggling to come up with a suitable name for them.  The best suggestion so far is the “Whor-e-o” - as I think of this cookie as a cousin to the slutty brownie. While I think this name is pretty perfect, it may possibly not be appropriate for all situations… So if you have any ideas please comment below!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Coconut Chocolate Chip Biscotti

The last few months I have actually been baking pretty frequently, but two things have been holding me back from updating the blog.  First - It has been dark as I arrive at and leave work each day, making it hard to capture good photos of anything new I do bake.  Second - I've been making a lot of old classics that are already on here, or that don't seem exciting enough to post (my cravings for chocolate +/- peanut butter seem ever present...).   I also actually started worrying for a short period that maybe I had run out of new recipes/ideas - how many variations on chocolate and cookies and brownies can there be??  (Luckily I then convinced myself I am not there yet!).  So I opened of a new cookbook I'd recently received as a gift to look for some inspiration, and stumbled upon this recipe.  Plus I'm currently working nights, which means I can take food photos in sunlight!

The name "biscotti" is an italian word that means twice-cooked, and that is why these delightful cookies are so crunchy.  They are best served with a hot drink to dunk them into - they go especially well with hot chocolate.  The dried out nature means they keep well, so they are a great cookie to make in advance of having company.  The addition of coconut is subtle in flavor, but adds well to the texture, making them a little more moist.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Berry muffins (blueberry or raspberry)

I don't have any story to go along with this recipe, its just a great reliable muffin recipe to have in the binder.  These make a great dense crumbly berry packed muffin, that is fairly fast to whip up, and reliably looks pretty.  The cinnamon crumb topping and the hint of lemon make this muffin rise above others I have tried.  I tend to buy frozen berries (mainly raspberries and blueberries) whenever I see them on sale at the store and stock up on them.  The recipe tastes just as good with frozen berries straight out of the freezer, so there is no need to waste your money on fresh berries, and no need to wait patiently for summer.  The only downside to this recipe is that these really taste best in the first 24-36 hours after baking them.  If you are looking for a berry muffin recipe to last you through the week, then I'd resort to the old faithful banana raspberry muffin (here).

Spiced apple cake

I have this dream that someday I will post recipes in a timely fashion for various holidays.  In fact I had made this apple cake recipe...