Thursday, May 13, 2010

Finding THE recipe...

for Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Tonight, my friend is coming over for dinner and I was super excited to bake these chocolate chip cookies for her to take home.  She'll be leaving on a trip to Australia in a few weeks so tonight's our night for catching up and pigging out!

To say I have found my favourite cookie recipe is a bold statement, but I think I am ready to make it.  I've been looking around for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe and my search is over!  At least, until I have reason to believe there's another recipe out there that can top the one I tried today.

This cookie has the perfect ratio of chocolate chips to toffee bits and I'd be surprised if you could stop after just one.  And, it never hurts to add just a little bit more semi-sweet chocolate.  Next time, I'll try making them with milk chocolate chips, although I think the cookie will be way too sweet.  But when has a super sweet cookie ever been a bad thing?

These cookies are packed with chocolate and after tasting them, I knew without a doubt that baking cookies at home from scratch makes them taste that much better. Hopefully my friend will enjoy them as much as I did... am.  I've certainly had more than my share of these cookies today.   

Here's the Recipe: (I don't recall where I found it as it was jotted down on a recipe card a while ago... but just for the record, I didn't create it myself!)

Chocolate Chip & Toffee Cookies

1 Cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
1 1/2 Cups Light Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
1 large egg, room temperature
2 Cups AP Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
12 Ounces Semi-Sweet Chocolate
1/2 Bag of Skor Toffee Bits

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Combine butter, and both sugars and beat until light and fluffy.  Add Vanilla, and mix to combine.  Add egg, and continue beating until combined.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.  Slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture.  Mix on low speed until combined.  Stir in chocolate chips and toffee bits.
4. Scoop out 2 tablespoons of dough and place onto the baking sheet, leaving them 3 inches apart.  Bake for 15 minutes.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

An update!

My my my... I can't believe it's already May!  I've been post-less for 2 weeks but it feels like it's only been a few days.  Since my last post, I've been slowly working on building... a portfolio.  Of what, you ask?  Cupcakes!  I've always loved baking cupcakes and whenever I have an excuse to bake (even when there isn't one) I do so.  However, because I've never had people 'order' cupcakes from me, I usually show up unannounced with a box of the little yummies, I don't have any nicely displayed cupcakes to show people.

So, with the encouragement from my girl friends, I started talking to different people: friends, friends of friends, church friends, etc. and in less than a week I have orders for cupcakes!  My mom's church is holding a fundraiser and she's asked me to bake 100 mini cupcakes to sell.  Even though there's no profit in it for me, there's much to gain!  I'll be able to perfect my recipes and play around with new flavours and ideas!

Another friend has asked me to bake cupcakes for her fiance's birthday at the end of May.  I know he's a fan of the Mango-Banana drink at Starbucks so I'm definitely going to attempt something fun with that.  Also, one of my high school friends wants to meet up to discuss my possibly making cupcakes for her 400 guest wedding!  Is that not crazy or what?! I will be meeting up with the bride & groom this Thursday evening to discuss their ideas and set up a taste testing.

As excited as I am to discuss all this, it's truly humbling.  I've never had to do a taste testing before, but the hubby has been super supportive and so have all the girls who have prayed and nudged me along with this dream of mine.

So... there it is.  Believe me, I'll be updating more often and posting pics of my new adventures!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Oatmeal Cookies & Bow Ties

In the time it takes to make and bake Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (super healthy by the way, as I only put in a little bit of chocolate chip!) one can learn how to tie a bow tie.  Really, just ask the Hubby.

He'll be part of a wedding this coming Saturday and part of his attire as a groomsman is to wear a bow tie.  Very cool if you ask me!  Anyway, just as I began my baking, he started watching youtube videos on 'how to tie a bow tie'.

When the smell of freshly baked cookies filled our house, he was standing in front of our full length mirror with a wide grin on his face and a pretty looking bow tie to show off.

Not bad... and neither are Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Chocolate Banana Cake!

A friend of mine, whose birthday was last week, loves the banana and chocolate combo, so I immediately knew what type of cake I wanted to make him for his birthday.  

There were many recipes claiming to be 'the best' but I chose this one because it looked... pretty.  (Yes, I am a sucker for pretty things!)  I especially liked the inside of the cake with all the many banana and chocolate layers!

The only thing I didn't really like was the banana chocolate cake layers.  When we ate the cake, I found the cakey part to be dense (which banana bread is supposed to be like) but as a cake, it didn't really hit the spot for me.  

If ever I attempt the recipe again, which I most probably will, I'll make it with a vanilla chocolate chip recipe instead.

Friday, April 9, 2010


Yep, that's ME!  I have so many pictures to post but lazy me doesn't like uploading... but I will very soon!

My blog has been sorely neglected, so it's time for me to update - tomorrow.  I will be making cupcakes in the morning so when I wait for them to bake, that's what I'll do - blog!  Oh, and I think I might give our convection oven a whirl.  I've been afraid to use the convection setting in fear that my cupcakes will blow-up (okok, so I know they won't) but we'll see how risky I feel in the morning.

Until then... happy eatings!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Red Velvet & Cinnamon Cream Cheese Cake


The last time I attempted to make Red Velvet cupcakes, they turned out PINK - not that it was much of an issue considering pink is my favourite colour.  This time, however, I made sure to double the amount of food colouring and thankfully, it turned out a nice deep shade of red.

And the cinnamon cream cheese.  Oh boy, it turn out delightful!  I didn't think 1 tsp of cinnamon would make much of a difference but it did.  You could taste a hint of cinnamon with the cream cheese and the little speckles throughout the frosting certainly looked pleasing.

Sadly, you can't see the frosting in the middle of the layers because of the red cake bits.  Next, I'm going to attempt working with an ingredient I've never used before.  We'll see how that turns out!

Happy Birthday Jared!

The recipes can both be found here: Red Velvet Cake & Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Go BIG...

or go home!

I'm a fan of trying new things.  I believe mixing random combinations of foods is... genius.  Really.  Honey goes with just about anything, and so does brown sugar.  Ok ok, so maybe it's my sweet tooth talking, but nevertheless, mixing and matching flavours is awesome in my books.  

When I first heard about the 'Compost Cookie' on Regis & Kelly, I knew I had to try it.  I especially liked the ingredient "your favourite snack food".  It caught my attention immediately so off I ran to the store to pick up some hickory sticks, pretzels and ringolos!

What I ended up with was a super ginormous cookie stuffed with the perfect amount (I really did pack the thing!) of chocolatey and salty goodness.  Did I ever mention I have a sweet tooth?  The hubby didn't particularly like it *gasp* but the recipe is a keeper!  Kettle corn, watch out!

Compost Cookie 
By Christina Tosi

  • 1 cup Butter
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 3/4 cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Corn Syrup
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups AP Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 1/2 cups Your favorite baking ingredients! (Kelly used mini chocolate chips, Raisinettes, Rollos & Cocoa Krispies)
  • 1 1/2 cups Your favorite snack foods (chips, pretzels, etc. - Kelly used Goldfish, Ritz, & Fritos)

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter, sugars and corn syrup on medium high for 2-3 minutes until fluffy and pale yellow in color. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula.

On a lower speed, add eggs and vanilla to incorporate. Increase mixing speed to medium-high and start a timer for 10 minutes. During this time the sugar granules will fully dissolve, the mixture will become an almost pale white color and your creamed mixture will double in size.

When time is up, on a lower speed, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix 45-60 sec just until your dough comes together and all remnants of dry ingredients have incorporated. Do not walk away from your mixer during this time or you will risk over mixing the dough. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula.

Scoop cookies onto a baking sheet and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Bake at 400 degrees for 9-11 minutes.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Short Hiatus & Lovely Linzer Cookies

Wow, time flies... and sadly, I don't have any valid excuse for not posting so I won't even try to make one up.  I've been home pretty much all this week and doing lots of fun baking!

A friend recently had a baby a couple of weeks ago and I wanted to make something sweet and yummy for her to enjoy.  Of course, cookies quickly came to mind, but I didn't want just any o'l cookie.  I wanted something... pretty.  So my search began for a lovely pretty cookie, fit for a new mommy - and boy did I find the perfect one.  The Linzer Cookie.

First off, it's C-U-T-E!!  Who wouldn't want to bite into something so adorable with a little jam peeking out of the center?  And Secondly, no body can resist a butter cookie. It's pure fact. Or maybe it's just my experience.  (I didn't make it the real linzer cookie way, with crushed up hazelnuts and almonds - I just made it a simple butter cookie). 

It was fun putting the cookie together, and I'll definitely make it again very soon.  The cookie batter itself was a little moist so keeping it in the fridge (and using lots of flour) before rolling made it easier to work with.  Either way, the cookies were yummy and looked great.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

There's always a first...

for everything and today, my first was FISH!

I don't like fish.  Unless it's fried in a thick (and I mean thick!) layer of batter and can be smothered in tartar sauce, I won't eat it.

As much as my parents told me fish was brain food, I never liked it, brain benefits and all.  I don't like the fishy taste - it's like biting into a hunk of sea water, but because the hubby enjoys it, I put aside my protest sign and attempted my first baked trout.  

I didn't know if the fish already came cleaned and washed, so that's the first thing I did. I washed it and it was... slimy.  Ick.  After quickly washing it, I cut up my limes and was thankful for the clean-like smell!

On the whole, the trout was (and I am surprised I'm saying this) good.  It didn't have a fishy taste to it and I loved the lime!  Maybe I put a little bit too much but thankfully, the hubby liked it! I think I might even give fish another chance... or not.

Baked Lime & Garlic Trout

1 lb Trout
1 clove Garlic
1 Lime (juice & zest)
Salt and Pepper
1 can Corn

Pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius.

Mince one clove of garlic and mix it together in a small bowl with a little bit of melted butter (depends on how much you like butter!).  Add the zest and juice of 1/4 a lime.  Season the trout with salt and pepper, on both sides, and place on top of a piece of foil.  Cut a couple of slits on the top of the trout and rub the garlic & butter mixture all over.  Place some lime slices on top of the trout, squeeze more lime juice in and using the foil, package the trout well so that no juices leak out.

Bake the trout for 15-20 minutes.  While the trout is baking, open a can of kernel corn and fry in a pan with a little bit of butter until brown.  Season a few sprigs of asparagus with a little oil and salt and fry in a pan for about 5 minutes until brown.

Happy Eating!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Better Together...

When my husband and I first met as teenagers, little did I know we'd become the best of friends. Being 3 years apart in age (which is a huge difference when you're in high school) I didn't think our friendship stood a chance.  But it did.

We did everything together.  Talked on the phone for hours, helped one another with homework, learned how to drive stick together... and the list continues.  As I entered into university, however, I realized that we had both changed; matured.  We didn't spend as much time together, and even had our moments of "I totally don't understand why you are the way you are" but still, we always knew we could count on one another despite the circumstance.  

We had been through life's ups and downs together, spent years apart with different groups of friends, yet we managed to keep our friendship intact, even though we no longer talked. Years later, when we started talking again, it felt like we had never stopped being best friends and I couldn't help but think that we were two people who were simply, better together.

With that said, might I introduce you to two foods I believe are better together: Peanut Butter + Nutella.  I love love love this combination, and your taste buds will too!  Just be careful not to overbake the cookies or they will be extra crunchy by the next day. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter & Nutella Cookies

1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, softened
3/4 Cup Peanut Butter
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Egg
1/2 Tsp Vanilla
1 3/4 Cups Flour

3/4 Tsp Baking Soda
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/4 Cup Nutella

Combine butter, peanut butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla. Mix together.  Add flour, baking soda and salt.  Mix together.   Swirl in Nutella (as much or as little as you desire). Chill dough 10 minutes. Roll into balls by hand.  Place on greased cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated  oven 350F degrees for 8-10 minutes until edges are light brown. Be careful not to overbake the cookies.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My Little Secret...

Pssst.  May I let you in on a little secret?? You've gotta come in closer. 

I am in love with cupcakes!!!

Yes, I am.  But don't tell the hubby - he thinks I'm sugar crazed already.  But who wouldn't fall head over heels with the little guy there in the middle?  Like really, I've gotta keep my head on straight to avoid eating my computer screen it looks so yummy!

Dinner parties are the best, especially when somebody brings cupcakes (and I get to keep the leftovers!) 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Lemon Love!

Dinner on Friday was great!  Despite my lack of luster for super spicy foods, I enjoyed the girls night out, but more so because of the amazing company. Being surrounded with such a great group of girls is always a blessing!

So what I ended up bringing for dessert was mini lemon cheesecakes with lemon sauce.  I didn't know if the taste would be too much like the typical bagel spread (rather than sweet chesecake), but it turned out quite delish.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Dessert Dilemma...

Tonight I am meeting up with a bunch of my girl friends for some Indian food, fellowship and fun!  Afterwards, we're heading over to my friends new apartment for dessert.  That I'm making.  Sadly, not having a stove put me in a bit of a pinch.

I've never had to make a dessert without using the oven but I'm sure I can come up with something, but what?  Microwave brownies?  Fudge?  No-bake cheese cake?  Pudding?  It's time to squeeze my creativity muscles and find a recipe that does not call for baking temperatures but tastes sweet and yummy!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Mini Vanilla Minute Cake!

I love desserts.  Sweets are my weakness.  But because I live with just my husband, going out and purchasing a whole decadent cake, simply because I had a craving, wouldn't go over well.  So, I was in search for a quick and decent individual sized microwavable cake recipe!  

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Pork Rib Tips in a Black Bean Sauce

As a newlywed, one of my must-haves of any recipe is simplicity.  I have often been overwhelmed by the sheer number of ingredients (some even carrying onto the next page!) necessary in attempting a so-called easy meal.

Since moving out with my husband, I've gained a new sense of appreciation for both my mum and mom ('mum' being my mom and 'mom' being my husband's).  I never understood how much love, and time, goes into cooking meals seven days a week, not to mention packing lunches everyday and having snacks ready right after school.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

This is New...

right along with my moving into a new house (with my very own kitchen!), finding my long forgotten DSLR camera, learning to cook for 2, celebrating 1 year of being married to the most wonderful husband and the fact that I am trying to get into better shape this year.  Yes, it's the perfect time for my baking blog beginning.