Monday, 31 December 2012

Double Feature

Sometimes flattery gets you everywhere, and flattery won this round of the guessing game for Lesley this month. Lesley guessed my fruitcakes would cost a whopping $74 to make and while she guessed a tremendously high amount, I appreciated her kind words and I realized that if I had used a different brand of brandy, my fruitcake would have cost more to make. Maybe not quite $74, but still...

For Lesley I have two holiday appetizers, an easy Asian meatball dipping sauce and a holiday bruschetta. I think they're both unique and pretty special, just like Lesley. Here are the recipes!

Holiday Bruschetta and Easy Asian Meatball Dipping Sauce

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Confetti Sprouts

I think that my Christmas brussel sprout dish is so reminiscent of confetti that it could be served on New Year's Eve. It's just that pretty with little strips of sprouts fluttering all over your plate, just waiting to be gobbled up. 

I loved the lightness brought on by slicing my sprouts thinly, I think it was a great change in pace for one of my favourite veggies. But Luke actually preferred having a big chunk of brussel sprout to stick his fork in, he missed the brussel sprout texture and flavour. For these reasons I think that this dish could be especially good to serve to non-brussel sprout lovers, plus there's bacon in them. Who doesn't like bacon?

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Will the Real Turkey Please Rise?

Not all meals go smoothly. But while this year's Christmas dinner didn't turn out exactly as I planned, it did turn out completely delicious. Out of all my tried and true recipes I planned on making for Christmas dinner, only two ended up on the plates - simple mashed potatoes and my Apple Carrot and Parsley Dressing. All the rest of my recipes were new!

I know that you might be turkey-ed out now, but incase anyone out there plans for their next turkey as early as I do, here is the recipe that made my Christmas turkey the juiciest, crispiest, best Christmas turkey I have ever made.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

God Bless Us, Everyone

Merry Christmas everyone!

Instead of sharing a new recipe today, I'm sharing what my holiday dinner with you. These are tried and true recipes I've shared with you before, with the exception of one, and now you get a taste of what my holiday meal is going to be like. 

I hope all of yours taste as good as mine hopefully will!

Crispy Potatoes for Luke and simple mashed potatoes for me

And what's new? A Roasted Beet Salad with hazelnuts and cambozola cheese. I know this will be a great salad to make all winter and I'll share it with you soon!

Monday, 24 December 2012

Play With Your Food

It's Christmas Eve and I'm baking gingerbread cookies to hang on my Christmas tree this morning, but this year Santa might be getting something a little different to eat as he fills my stocking. This year I made Eggnog Fudge and it was as easy to make as it is delicious.

Let me start off by saying that I've never made fudge before and that I was a little apprehensive of making it with white chocolate, but this fudge is like no other fudge. It has marshmallows in it and set almost immediately.

Then, because it's Christmas Eve and everyone always feels a little childlike on Christmas Eve, I decided to get crafty and play with my food. I turned my Eggnog Fudge into snowmen! Read on for the recipe.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Gifts for Friends

I am a huge fan of gifting homemade goodies to friends year after year. I love that someone will be enjoying something I made and I feel like my gift is special because you could never buy exactly what I made at a store.

This year I have been busy making peanut brittle to share and I made it extra special by dipping it into chocolate and sprinkling red and green decorating sugar or sea salt on each piece. I hope my friends like my treats as much as I liked making them for them, but if not, it's always the thought that counts!

And if your friends or little ones have a nut allergy, Life Made Delicious has lots of great giftable treat ideas too. Their Top 10 Cookie Exchange / Homemade Gift includes Holiday Cake Bon Bons, and Russian Tea Cakes that I'll be trying soon!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Boiled Green Tomatoes

Maybe boiled green tomatoes doesn't sound as appealed as their fried cousins, but they certainly taste good in this Christmasy Green Tomato Chutney! 

You may or may not know that it's a tradition in my family to enjoy a succulent tourtiere every Christmas Eve and I love to serve mine with a chutney. This year's chutney is a little extra special because it's made with green tomatoes and ruby red dried cranberries. 

I am almost drooling at the thought of a piece of tourtiere smothered in chutney, so let's not waste anymore time. Read on for the recipe!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Delight or Fright?

Alright friends, I'm not going to ask you to guess what's in the foil wrapped package below because that's too easy. It's a little too obvious given the title of my post and the shape of my gift. The package contains a moist, dried fruit and nut filled fruitcake - completely drenched in brandy. 

So instead of what's in the package, I'm asking you to guess what making a loaf pan sized fruitcake would cost. I was certainly surprised by the cost, but since I know a few fruitcake fans and I love baking, I'd whip up a dozen more of them!

The person to who guesses closest to the dollar amount will get a New Year's treat named especially after them! Just include your guesses in the comments below or on my Facebook page and thanks for playing!

And don't be scared, there are no gross red and green cherries in this cake. It's just chock full of delicious-ness!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

What Came First, The Egg or the Nog?

I am not eggnog's biggest fan, but even the smell of eggnog makes me feel warm and Christmasy. My favourite eggnog recipe has got to be Eggnog Sponge because I love the way this easy to make cake separates into a creamy, eggy pudding on the bottom and a light, fluffy sponge on the top while it bakes. 
Also, the cake goes really well with a brandy laced whipped cream. But trying this comes with a warning - this Eggnog Sponge may make you really love eggnog!

Friday, 14 December 2012

Veggie Wreath

After the last twelve days of cookies I think I need a break from desserts. Wait, let me rephrase that. I will never need a break from desserts! 

After the last twelve days of baking cookies, I am glad my freezer is full of them, and now I need a break from baking desserts. I can now just pull out cookies and eat them to my heart's content. 

Today's post is still Christmasy, but it doesn't have even a speck of sugar in it. Instead it's full of red and green veggies and baked to look a bit like a wreath. Ready to make a new Christmas side dish favourite? Read on for the recipe! 

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Twelfth Night

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

Eleven Peppermint Meringues, ten Yuletide Toffee Squares, nine Date Turnover Cookies, eight Werther's Caramel Peanut Butter Thumbprints, seven Swan Cream Puffs, six Orange Toffee Cookies, five Shortbread Wreaths, four Sesame Seed Shortbreads, three Snow Covered Chocolate Torte Cookies, two Turtle Cookies, and a Partridge in a Pear Tree Thumbprint!

And they're all stored in my freezer in a few big drums!

Ok, I know this is a bit of a cop out. What I wanted to share on the twelfth day of Christmas was my favourite recipe for Gingerbread Cookies again, I wanted to ice some drums on some of the gingerbread man cookies to create 12 drummers drumming. But I'm not quite ready to bake gingerbreads yet. I always bake them on Christmas Eve! So until Christmas Eve I'm going to leave you with a great photo of one of my favourite pups in the world, Olli!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Piped Happiness

I thought long and hard about what kind of cookie to make for the ninth day of Christmas and all that came to mind when I thought about eleven pipers piping was cookies decorated with beautiful piped icing. 

But Christmas should be about creating good memories, not painful memories and I hate piping icing onto cookies - it's just too much work! So I decided that piped icing cookies were definitely out. 

When I sent myself back to the drawing board I thought of a great recipe to share, piped meringues! And these meringues are as easy to make as they are delicious to eat too, so I know you'll want to try them. Read on for the recipe!

Monday, 10 December 2012

Lord's a Leaping

When you think of a lord, which country do you think of? I think of Scotland where there are tons of gorgeous old castles and lords living in them.

And when you think of Scotland, what food do you think of? I think of oatmeal, hearty and strong oatmeal. 

When you see the cookie that that the tenth day of Christmas has brought, along with ten lord's a leaping, you may think that I took a leap in the dark when I selected it. But I think that these cookie bars will more likely leap into your mouth. They aren't my mom and Luke's favourite Christmas treats for nothing. :)

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Sweet on Dates

I love dates. They provide a natural sweetness and stickiness to baking and who doesn't love something sweet?

I am not sure how dates got their name, but I do know that when I am invited out dancing by my Sweetheart it's called a date. And that's why the ninth day of Christmas is bringing nine ladies dancing and a few dozen Date Turnover Cookies!

These are not the type of cookie I would suggest making with kids because they're fiddly, but they're the perfect size for a kid to bite into at dessert.

Keep reading for the recipe!

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Cream of the Crop

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me... Eight maids a milking and a prize from Werther's Original! 

Werther's recently had a great contest where everyone was asked to come up with an original recipe for Werther's Caramel Season. I love snacking on Werther's caramels but I haven't baked with them a lot, so I racked my brain for something delicious to enter. 

I finally decided to revamp one of my favourite cookie recipes to use Werther's Soft Caramels and I won! I thought that since these cookies involve whipping cream, it would only be fitting to share on the eighth day of Christmas :)

Friday, 7 December 2012

Bella Swan

To avoid any confusion, let me start by saying this - the seventh day of Christmas did not bring us a glittery vampire. The seventh day of Christmas brings us seven swans a swimming and some delightfully beautiful Swan Cream Puffs.

I did take a few liberties with my cookie of the day for the seventh day of Christmas as today's recipe isn't technically a cookie, but I think you will thank me for it. They're cute, yummy, and creative desserts.

I have seen similar desserts to my Swan Cream Puffs on the Internet for a while and I've been wanting to make them since the first day I saw them. But since they were intricate looking I expected them to be a lot of work and wanted to wait for a special occasion. And what better day to make Swan Cream Puffs than the for the seventh day of Christmas?

Keep reading to find out how I make my version of Swan Cream Puffs. They're pastry bag free and even have a candy topping like a Croquembouche! In fact, this recipe is very similar to my Croquembouche recipe. I just make the pastry balls larger, spoon them onto my tray instead of piping them, and serve them differently.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Golden Goose

A Golden Goose is something that will continue to make someone rich or successful for a long period of time. And a Golden Goose is what I always think of when I hear the the line about the sixth day of Christmas, six geese a-laying. I always think about six geese lining up and laying six beautiful golden eggs.

Anna Olson's cookie, Salted Orange Toffee Slices, are a Golden Goose of a cookie. They're perfect with tea, have golden flecks of orange zest and toffee throughout, and they're perfect for sharing - all points to keep someone happy, rich, and successful for a long period of time. 

I changed a few things from Anna's recipe, mostly because I couldn't get the perfect square shapes she called for, because I didn't like the sound of salt on the tops of my cookies, and because I am too impatient to wait two hours for my cookie dough to cool in the fridge. Keep reading for my version of the recipe. 

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Buttery Bites

Life can't get much better than when the fifth day of Christmas brings us five golden rings and at least five delicious golden shortbread wreath bites. I love using my cookie press and I love the memories using it brings me even more than than the treats I create with it. 

My Nana had a cookie press and I will always remember that tins of cookies she'd pull from the freezer during the holidays. Her tins were full of homemade cookies in all shapes and sizes, and she always made Shortbread Wreaths with her cookie press. 

Nana's wreaths were circled with light pink and green dots of icing, but when I tried to recreate her decorations, I fell a little short. I don't use a piping bag of icing very often and I don't have a very steady hand with one. So most of Shortbread Wreaths are dipped in semi-sweet chocolate instead. All I did was melt one cup of semi sweet chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon of shortening in my microwave and dipped away. 

I shared my Nana's cookie press Shortbread recipe last Christmas. For my Shortbread Wreaths, I just use a wreath attachment and savour the time I spend making my cookies. It's almost like baking with my Nana again. :)

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Shortbread Season

Every year I make a few family-tradition Christmas cookie recipes, but I always like to try a few new recipes too. Today's recipe is one of the new cookies, but it's so delicious that it might find it's way onto my keep list for future holidays too!

I love shortbread cookies, but these aren't just any shortbread. Yes, the cookies have the standard shortbread blend of flour, butter, and sugar. But, they're so much more than that; there's also a ton of sesame seeds in them! And the sesame seeds made me think they were perfect for sharing on the fourth day of Christmas, the day that brings four calling birds :)

You'll be surprised at how easy these cookies come together and at how unique they taste. I think they're great with tea, but they'd also be great served along side a cheese plate because they aren't too sweet. 

Read on for the recipe! 

Monday, 3 December 2012

Snow Covered Treat

Today is the third day of my 12 Days of Christmas Cookies and the third day of Christmas brings three French Hens. French Hens is a tough concept to work with when coming up with a cookie to bake, so I  used a little creativity and looked at only the word French to come up with today's treat. 

I bet you think I came up with a French pastry or a macaron, but actually the snowy French Alps came to mind and I am sharing a Snow Covered Chocolate Torte Cookie today. 

These cookies are really decadent, but surprisingly easy to make. And for my gluten free friends, they don't even contain any flour. 

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Turtle Loves

Christmas always brings more chocolates than I can eat. But I'd complain about that! Especially when the chocolates come in Turtles form! 

This year, at my house, the second day of Christmas is bringing us nothing less than one of the world's best chocolates transformed into one of the world's best cookies! These cookies incorporate the very best of Turtles candies. There's a chocolatey cookie as the base, then it's rolled in small pieces of pecans, baked until perfect, a small spoon of caramel is poured in the centre, and finally melted chocolate is drizzled over top. Could life taste any better? 

Thank you to the second day of Christmas that brings us two turtle doves and many more than two Turtle Cookies!

Saturday, 1 December 2012

12 Days of Christmas (Cookies!)

You all know how much I love Christmas, so I am going to try and get everyone of you in the Christmas mood by sharing a cookie recipe every day for the next 12 days.

My hopes are that you see at least one you like and get out your mixing bowls and measuring spoons to bake away. I know that's what coming up with these recipes has done to me!

Today's recipe is one I've shared before, but it's the one that made me come up with the idea to share a cookie a day for the next 12 days, so it's only fitting that we revisit the cookie today. Plus, the recipe is for the first day of Christmas, they're Partridge in a Pear Tree Cookies!

Does anyone have a type of cookie that they're raring to try? I'd love to help you out and share tips and tricks so you can bake up a batch to share with your friends and family. Just let me know what kind of cookie you're interested in and I will do my best to help you out!