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12 Days of Cookies – Chewy Chocolate Chip Snickers Cookies – Day 6

6 Dec

Snickers and chocolate chips in a cookie. Need I say more?These were sooooo good fresh from the oven; all warm and gooey inside. If you can’t serve them straight from the oven, a few seconds in the microwave will do the job to warm them up and get them all gooey again.

You can find the recipe for these bad boys on Bakers Royale blog. Go on, you know you want to.


12 Days of Cookies – ANZAC Biscuits – Day 5

5 Dec

For those new to this blog, I was born and raised in Australia and am very proud of my Australian heritage. I do consider myself truly lucky to have grown up in Australia, although I’m incredibly grateful that I now get to live in Canada. If you’ve not been to Australia, you are missing out! Yes, I’m aware that the majority of North American’s consider it a very long flight to get there but once you get there, you’ll forget all about the hours spent on the flight. Australia is incredibly unique in its geographical make-up, the fauna and flora, the people, the culture, and the history. As an added bonus, she is breathtakingly beautiful.

I was very proud to introduce this Aussie biscuit (cookie) to the Canadians that I work with. Understandably, all of the Canadians that tried one had never heard of an ANZAC biscuit, but I can guarantee you that if you asked any Australian they would know exactly what you were talking about because these biscuits are a big deal in Oz. ANZAC stands for Australia and New Zealand Army Corps and it is claimed that these biscuits were sent from families in Australia/New Zealand to their troops in World War 1 because they would keep for the long journey. See, your baking class comes with a touch of history. You’re welcome.

Like most cookies, these are best when they come straight out the oven, all warm and sticky. Sure, they aren’t the prettiest of cookies but, damn, do they taste good.

ANZAC Biscuits – Makes about 2 1/2 dozen

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
Pinch of salt
3/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons boiling water

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar, coconut, and salt.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter with syrup. Dissolve baking soda in boiling water, and add to butter mixture. Stir to combine (be careful, it will bubble up considerably).

Add butter mixture to dry ingredients and stir to combine. Using a 1 1/2 inch ice-cream scoop or rounded tablespoons, drop balls of dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Flatten with the heel of your hand.

Bake until golden brown and firm but not hard, about 15 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer to wire racks to cool. Cookies can be stored between layers of parchment in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

Recipe from Martha Stewart’s “Cookies” recipe book.

12 Days of Cookies – Auntie O’s Ginger Cookies – Day 4

4 Dec

The inspiration for this “12 Days of Cookies” post series came from the November issue of Canadian House & Home. In that issue they had the winners of the reader-submitted cookie contest and, as I was turning page after page of tempting cookie pictures, I scrambled to find a valid excuse to bake that many cookies for a good reason. And so the “12 Days of Cookies” series was born.

I love the simplicity of a good ol’ ginger cookie, although these aren’t just any regular old ginger cookie; the feisty combination of fresh ginger, dry ginger, and candied ginger help make this ginger cookie stand out from the pack.

Out of four cookie types that I’ve baked so far, these were some of the first cookies to be snapped up by my colleagues. The consensus was in favour of these, however, I was skeptical and asked anyone who tried them “But can you taste the vegetable oil?” because I got the distinct taste of vegetable oil in the cookie that I sampled. After some querying, I was reassured that others didn’t seem to taste it as strongly as I could.  Most people commented that they liked the texture as they were crunchy on the outside, but chewy inside. Even though I thoroughly enjoy ginger cookies, the vegetable oil taste does scare me off attempting these again.

Auntie O’s Ginger Crackles (Makes 35)

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup fancy-grade molasses
1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
1/3 cup chopped candied ginger
Coarse turbinado sugar, for rolling

In a medium bowl, sift flour and baking powder and soda. Stir in spices and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk egg, sugar, oil, molasses and fresh ginger until smooth. Using rubber spatula, stir in dry ingredients until combined. Fold in candied ginger.

Preheat oven to 350F. Form heaping teaspoons of dough into balls. Roll in turbinado sugar. Place 3″ apart on parchment-lined baking trays. Flatten with bottom of a glass. Bake until lightly browned and crackled, about 12 minutes. Cool completely. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.

Recipe in Canadian House & Home, recipe by Olga Petrik.

12 Days of Cookies – Gooey Butter Cake Cookies – Day 3

3 Dec

Day 3 of the “12 Days of Cookies” challenge and I hope that you don’t think that I’m eating all of these cookies myself?! I’m sorry to inform you that I’m not, in fact, inhaling a dozen or so cookies a day. I am actually currently making an effort to reduce my sugar intake (so why do a cookie challenge then? I have no good response to that question), so I’ve been taking them into work and they have been gobbled up every day. What is great about this (besides my waistline not expanding) is that I’m getting real-time feedback. 

What surprised me was that these gooey butter cake cookies, from the Dessert for Two blog, got some pretty good reviews from my colleagues. They loved the “gooey” factor. I felt that they were a little plain for me. They just weren’t memorable enough for me to attempt to bake them again, however, feedback tells me that these were actually quite successful. So, if you have some cream cheese left over in the fridge (maybe from baking the yummy Raspberry Cream Cheese Pastries from yesterday) perhaps give them a try.

Like Day 2’s cookie, these need to rest in the fridge before baking so keep that in mind if you do attempt them. These cookies are quite forgiving in that the icing sugar covered up what would have been some very plain looking cookies. You gotta love that.

12 Days of Cookies – Raspberry Cream Cheese Pastries – Day 2

2 Dec

You know when you think that you might be good at something…let’s say baking. You think you are good at baking. And then you decide to do a baking challenge and you realize, “Hey girl, you actually aren’t that good at baking. This shit is difficult and you kinda suck at it”. Well, that exact thing has happened to me over the past few days. It’s a hard pill to swallow.

But I’m going to keep on keeping on and continue baking cookies. Day 2 – these cookies looked so pretty in the November issue of Canadian “House and Home” magazine, where they had landed a runner-up prize in H&H’s recent cookie contest, that I had to give them a try.

It was a fairly basic recipe and the dough was simple to make (yes, I followed the instructions on this one), but things fell apart for me when it came to shaping the dough. The dough just didn’t want to bind and so they ended up looking nothing like the picture in the magazine. Even though they weren’t picture perfect, they were super tasty. The buttery pastry and the sweetness of the jam worked well together and the end result wasn’t overly sweet. I would absolutely make these again and think these would be best served warm, with a strong cup of coffee.

With the dough having to be refrigerated on two separate occasions in the recipe (once for 2 hours), these do take a bit of time to prepare so do keep that in mind if you are wanting to try them.

Raspberry Cream Cheese Pastries (Makes 60)

2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 250g bar Philadelphia-style cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
3/4 cup raspberry jam
1 egg, lightly beaten

In a small bowl, combine flour and salt.

In an electric mixer, beat butter, cream cheese and sugar until smooth, 1 minute. Reduce speed to low. Gradually add dry mix until combined. Divide dough into 3. Wrap each portion in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375F. On lightly floured surface (I had to more than lightly flour as the dough was sticky), roll each dough portion to 12″ square about 1/8″ thick. Using a pizza cutter, cut dough into 2″ squares. (Gather, chill and reroll scrap). Place squares on parchment-lined baking trays. Place 1/2 tsp of jam in centres. Fold one corner to centre. Dab folded corner with egg. Fold opposite corner on top, pressing down lightly. Cover tray with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Bake until lightly golden at edges, about 12 minutes. Cool completely. Store in airtight container for up to 5 days.

Recipe by Joyce Stempkowsky, found in Canadian “House & Home”, November 2014

12 Days of Cookies – Swirled Sugar Cookies – Day 1

1 Dec

‘Tis the season for cookies! I need some motivation to get back into the kitchen and so I am dedicating the first 12 days of December to cookies! I will make a new cookie each day until the 12th and I will post my successes and failures here. Day 1 doesn’t exactly give me a lot of confidence going into this challenge.

I have been using the same sugar cookie recipe for years and I still love it. Every Christmas, I bake sugar cookies but this is the first time that I’ve tried to make “Swirled Sugar Cookies”. I found this method of making them look “swirled” on Pinterest (Oh Pinterest, you are full of good ideas). What I realize now – after baking them – is that I should have followed the very detailed instructions from the blog Salt Tree.

As I was struggling to make them, I cursed Pinterest for making difficult things look so easy. Take a look at these Pinterest fails and you’ll see that I’m not alone! I now realize that it was completely my fault for not reading the instructions (who knew that water helped the sprinkles stick to the dough?!) so I would actually like another attempt at these. Maybe Day 13?

Cheese and Onion Salad with Creamy Herb Dressing

5 Nov

Perhaps it is just me, but I find that I am always looking for new salad recipes because, well, salad can get dull extremely fast. It’s not me, salad – it’s you – I’m just not committed to you because at times you are boring. There I said it, now let’s move on.

Returning to the kitchen after a long summer hiatus, I am now back into the swing of things and have been searching for new dressings and new sauces to spruce up veggies and proteins. Any salad recipe that has the words “cheese” and “creamy herb dressing” in the title is the kind of salad that I want to make, which is why I tried this recipe from Jamie Oliver’s “Jamie at Home” cookbook. I was also lured in with the home-made pickled shallots as I’d never pickled anything before. They were surprisingly simple to make, whilst also being delicious, so I am now trying to work out how I can use the pickled shallots in other recipes. I recommend serving this salad for brunch or lunch, alongside a quiche or tart, or a light protein dish, such as chicken.

Jamie Oliver’s Cheese and Onion Salad with Creamy Herb Dressing (Serves 4)

8 small shallots, peeled and very finely sliced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
White wine vinegar
1 romaine or cos lettuce, washed and spun dry, leaves separated
1 Boston or bibb lettuce, outer leaves removed, washed and spun dry, leaves separated
4 large handfuls of mixed salad leaves, such as arugula, washed and spun dry, leaves separated
4 ounces Roquefort (or any blue) cheese, crumbled
A good handful of walnuts, toasted and crumbled
Optional: a small handful of chive or allium flowers

For the creamy herb dressing:
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons  crème fraîche
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Placed the thinly sliced shallots in a small bowl with a generous pinch of salt and pour over just enough white wine vinegar to cover. You’ll pour away the excess salt and vinegar once the onions are pickled, so don’t worry if you think it’s a bit much. Scrunch everything together with your hands and leave to marinate for at least 10 minutes.

Whilst waiting for the onions to pickle, get a start on your dressing. To make the dressing, mix 4 tablespoons of olive oil with the crème fraîche and the red wine vinegar. Whisk everything together and season to taste.

Squeeze the shallots hard with your hands and drain. Place the salad leaves on a serving plate. From a height, sprinkle over the shallots and the crumbled Roquefort. Scatter over the crumbled walnuts – it’s really nice if they are still a bit warm from being toasted. Drizzle the dressing over the salad at the table. Finish by throwing some torn-up chive or allium flowers, if you have them.

Recipe from Jamie Oliver’s “Jamie at Home” cookbook.