Sunday, 23 December 2012

Candied Citrus Peel

This Christmas I have been experimenting! With candy making. I love baking (duh) and have been doing it my whole life. However, the whole candy making thing is very foreign, slightly terrifying, and extensively exciting to me. I find it rather mysterious... if that is not weird  And something that I would like to get better at. So far my candy making adventures have come in the form of marshmallows, and chocolate truffles (coming soon)... and today's treat: Candied Citrus Peel!

There was a recipe for Christmas cookies (also coming soon) that I have been eager to make, and as part of the ingredient list it calls for candied lemon peel, and candied orange peel. Yes, you can indeed trot off to the store and buy some pre-maid... but where is the fun, I ask? I have always wanted to try making my own anyways, so it seemed like an appropriate time. 

You can use this recipe for any type of citrus fruit. I have tried it with lemon and orange so far, but I think it would be really interesting to try lime and/or grapefruit... Keep in mind that you should not mix the fruits, because the resulting flavour would be wack (but this is an assumption). Making candied peel is an excellent use for something that you would otherwise throw away! I am a fan of the idea of not letting anything go to waste.

Candied Citrus Peel
Recipe inspired by and adapted from Food Coma and Smitten Kitchen

You will need:
  • citrus fruit of your choosing (I found it easy to use about 3 at a time)
  • 1 1/2 cups water (plus more for blanching)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar

There is a reason why we do not eat the peels normally. They are gross and bitter! But by blanching the peels three times in boiling water, changing the water each time, the bitterness will happily boil away.

So, fill a small pot with water and bring to a boil. Whilst waiting for the water to boil, you can prep the peels for blanching. The easiest way to do this I found was to cut a small piece off of the top and bottom of the fruit. Then, cut long strips from the top to the bottom. Be careful to only cut the peel and not too far into the fruit, otherwise resulting in frustration when you try and separate the two. Not that I know what that feels like...
Peel away the peel from the flesh of the fruit.

Once the water has boiled, place the peel slices in the water and blanch for about 3 minutes. Drain and rinse, then repeat this process but with fresh boiling water. TIP! If you can, have two pots going at a time so you dont waste time waiting for the water to boil. It's Christmas. We are busy. We do not have time to watch water boil. Once the fruit has been blanched three times, it is time for the candy-ing part!

In a small saucepan over medium high heat, boil together equal parts water and sugar to make a simple syrup. I found for working with three fruits at a time, 1 1/2 cups of each worked well.

When the Sugar has completely dissolved and the syrup is bubbling and boiling, add the peels. Lower the heat, cover the pot, and leave the peels to simmer for about 1 hour. Stir the peels every so often.

After an hour, use a slotted spoon to remove the peels from the syrup and leave to cool on a wire rack.

At this stage, there are a few options for the future of your peels. As I was just going to use them inside cookie batter, I left them as is and kept them in an airtight container in my fridge. You could go the Food Coma route and roll them in sugar, or you could go the Smitten Kitchen route and dip them in dark chocolate (Oh yes, I think that is what will happen with the leftovers).

I think a cute little package of chocolate dipped homemade candied peel would make a darling gift for friends and neighbors this Christmas!

Happy Candying!

<3 Lari

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Dark Chocolate Candy Cane Cake

Chocolate and Mint. Arguably one of the best combinations of all time. And when it is in the form of a chocolate cake with a dark chocolate frosting spiked with peppermint and garnished with crushed candy canes... it is no exception! I first made this cake for somebody else, but I, along with the rest of my family, was slightly jealous that we did not get to indulge in the cake eating experience. So, at our next family dinner my mother requested demanded that I make one for us! It is now going to be a holiday staple around my house... it is simply divine. We served it with some festive peppermint ice cream alongside... ohhh baby! I just love the holidays!

Dark Chocolate Candy Cane Cake

Chocolate Cake:
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/3 cup buttermilk
1) Stir together the cocoa powder and the boiling water, set aside.
2)Cream together the butter and sugar. Add in the vanilla, then the eggs.
3) In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Alternate adding the dry ingredients to the butter mixture with the buttermilk, mixing until just combined after each addition. Blend in the cocoa powder/water mixture.
4)Pour the batter into two greased and floured 9" round cake pans. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool the cakes inside their pans for at least ten minutes, then let them cool completely before frosting.

When I bake cake, I usually bake it a few days of even weeks in advance. Once your cake is baked and cooled completely, you can wrap up the individual layers and pop it in the freezer. It can chill out there for up to 3 months! So that when it is time for cake, all you have to do is pull it out of the freezer and decorate it. By the time your guests have arrived and it's dessert time, your cake will be ready to be devoured, and you will have minimal "last-minute-cake" stress. :)

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Frosting:
  • 2 2/3 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 5 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp peppermint extract
Cream the butter, add the cocoa powder, milk and vanilla and peppermint. Gradually add the icing sugar until it is the consistency you dream of.

Assembly time!
Place one cake layer on a fancy platter which you are going to present your masterpiece on. Cover the top with about one third of the frosting. Place the other cake layer on top, and coat the top and the sides of the cake with the remaining frosting in an even layer. Use your knife or spatula to make pretty little swirls of frosting on the top of the cake.
For the sides of my cake, I took peppermint flavoured candy canes and crushed them using a rolling pin. Then I took the crushed candy in my hands and gracefully slap it on the sides of the cake, pressing gently to adhere it. Those little bits of candy cane that don't stick to the sides and just fall onto the platter need not go to waste! Just sweep them off the plate and continue adhering them to the rest of your cake.

TADAA! A chocolatey-minty-masterpiece :)

PS I decided last minute to decorate the top of my cake with two little candy canes making a cute little heart. Awe.

<3 Lari

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Tarte Tatin

Is this really happening? Am I really making another post after nearly two months? It's a miracle! Tomorrow morning I have my art history exam for school and I should most likely be studying right now. But guys, I have priorities! Pie Priorities, to be exact. And I miss talking about food. So I'm back.

So school is stressful. Yup that is a well known fact. A little too well known by me for my liking. I love the work that I do in school but sometimes (a lot of the time) I MISS BAKING!

There is not a lot of time for baking when you are a student unfortunately. But a miracle happened the other day AND I HAD TIME TO BAKE!

I also had a large bag of apples from our neighbor's backyard that needed to be dealt with. Little late on the fall baking... whateva.

I also have been dying to try my hand at making a classic Tarte Tatin.


Tarte Tatin (pronounced tart tatahn... with my sad attempt at a french accent) is a classic French dessert, that if I am correct, was invented by two sisters with the last name of Tatin. The making of this tart caused a lot of confusion in my house as to how exactly to pronounce the title. My advice is to just pretend you are an elegant french lady (or man when applicable) and say it quickly with confidence. (Note, this advice is applicable to nearly all life situations.)
The tart itself is similar to an apple pie, but you bake it upside-down, which is just whimsical!

The journey begins with a cast iron pan on the stove with lots of butter and sugar and arranged apple slices, we then take the party to the oven to slowly cook the apples, then we add a layer of puff pastry to the top, bake until it is, well, puffed, then out of the oven and FLOP it over (gracefully, please) onto a platter so the pastry is on the bottom and your apples are prettily displayed on top! How romantic, sigh. BON APPETITE!

Tarte Tatin
Recipe is from my dear Martha and her amazing Pies and Tarts book

  • 1/2 box of store bought frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3-4 pounds your neighbours apples (If your neighbours do not have apples to give you, you should use store bought and promptly find new neighbours)
  • Cast iron pan, 10 inches in diameter
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the thawed puff pastry dough to about a 10 inch square. Using your pan as a guide, cut out a 10 inch circle. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet and chill until firm, or about 30 minutes.
As your pastry is chilin' coat your pan GENEROUSLY with the butter. Seriously, use it all. It looks like a lot, and it is a lot. But what were you expecting? It's a dessert. Now sprinkle the sugar all over the bottom in an even layer. Peel, core and quarter (or thickly slice) your apples. Arrange the apple slices in pretty, overlapping circles in the pan. Keep in mind that we are flipping this whole thing over once it is done, so make that bottom layer beautiful!
Place the pan on the stove over medium high heat and cook it (Without stirring!) until the juices are a deep golden colour and it is happily bubbling away. This takes about 18-20 minutes. This stage is to turn your sugar and butter into a delicious caramel type of sauce.
Now, pop the whole pan straight into a 425F preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, and place your chilled pastry overtop of the apples. return the pan to the oven and bake for an additional 23-28 minutes to brown the pastry.
Take the pan out of the oven and invert the tart onto a large serving platter or plate and have a "tadaa!" moment. My "tadaa" moment was rather anti-climactic, I won't lie, as a few of my apples stuck to the bottom of the pan. Do not fear! Do not get mad. Do not let it ruin your Tarte Tatin experience. Just calmly and gently remove them with a fork or spatula and place them on the tart as if nobody saw.
Serve right away while the tart is still warm so your vanilla ice cream can melt into the apple-y goodness.

Happy French Baking!

<3 Lari

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Granola Bars

It is important to have things to look forward to in life. I find that more and more, these things that I look forward to are most often related to what I am going to eat. I am hoping that it is not because the rest of my life is not exciting enough... but because eating delicious food is LIKE THE BEST THING EVER. It may seem quite simple, but I actually get really excited about granola bars. Like a lot! Like small children get excited about candy, bikes, swingsets and petting zoos. Oh wait... I also get very excited about all of these things... but granola bars are right up there!

Naturally, with my profound love for the simple yet oh so satisfying granola bar, I have always wanted to try my hand at making my own. I saw a recipe for homemade granola bars from one of my favorite food blogs: Spoon Fork Bacon and knew I had to try! 
The result: delectably crunchy-chewy granola goodness that makes me even MORE excited for snack time! How can you not get excited when the words "snack time" are mentioned?!
Call me crazy, whateva. I'm the one with the granola bars.

Granola Bars
This recipe is super adaptable and you can add in or take away ingredients to make them the way you like. In this granola bar scenario, the star players are Almonds and Cranberries.
Recipe adapted from here
*NOTE* Along with making my own little changes here and there, I halved the original recipe. This made the putting-it-in-the-pan part a tad awkward, but it still worked out. I am giving the quantities for half the recipe, as this is what I have tried. But obviously you could easily double it, and fill the pan!

  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1 tbsp flax seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp chia seeds (optional)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 coconut oil, sunflower oil or olive oil
  • 1-2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
Mix Ins! (This is the (fun) part where you can choose the star of your granola show. You can put in whatever you like or have on hand, as long as it totals to be 1 cup. Here is what I did:)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped almonds

Okay! Let's make granola bars. Start by preheating your oven to 350 (325 for hot ovens) and line a rimmed baking tray device with parchment. Lightly grease the parchment so your granola does not stick.
In a bowl, combine the oats, wheat germ, flax and chia seeds if using.
In a small saucepan, stir to combine the syrup, oil, honey and brown sugar over medium low heat, just until everything comes together and the sugar dissolves. Add a small pinch of salt.
To the bowl with the oats, add the syrup along with your mix-ins.
Pour out your mixture into your prepared pan, spreading it out to your desired thickness. 
Because I was making a small batch, my granola did not spread to all the edges of the pan. This is okay, just firmly pack the granola together in the best bar shape you can make :)
Pop it in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until it is toasty golden brown on the top.
Let the granola bars cool before you cut into them, as they need time to set. Once cooled, cut into bars and enjoy!

PS a crumbled up granola bar on top of fresh fruit and yogurt is an excellent, excellent idea.

<3 Lari

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Pumpkin Mousse Tart

I am thankful for the fact that I get to make desserts.
I was extra thankful this year, because I not only got to have one thanksgiving dinner... but TWO! which also meant I got to make not one dessert... but TWO!
So much to be thankful for.
I shall post the other recipe in the near future, but for now I have a spiffed up variation on the classic dessert of pumpkin pie. Don't get me wrong, pumpkin pie is the cat's pajamas but I am always looking for unique and creative spins on the classics. So for my family dinner this year, I made a Pumpkin Mousse Tart!

This is it before it get suited up with whipped cream... looking very surface-of-strange-planet like. Hence, we cover it with whipped cream. But that is not the only reason... Thanksgiving without whipped cream is like the Mac without the Cheese.

Some notes: The crust is a chocolate spice graham cracker crust and is entirely addictive, and you may find yourself going back for seconds just because you want more crust. This was proven by my cousin and I.
This is a great dessert choice for a big family meal because the mousse part needs to chill for at least 4 hours. This way you can make it way ahead of time! Less stress.
Pumpkin Mousse Tart
Recipe from good old Martha

Chocolate Spice Graham Craker Crust:
  • 9 ounces graham crackers
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup melted butter
Place everything except the butter in a food processor and pulse until everything is finely ground. Stir the crumb mixture in a bowl with the melted butter until combined. Press into a 9" spring-form pan. (If I had a tart pan with a removable bottom, I would have used that instead! So feel free to do so if you do. And if you are wondering what to get me for my birthday coming up... well now you know.) Bake at 325 until set, 12-15 minutes. Let cool completely, do not remove from pan.

Now, time to prepare the Pumpkin Mousse!
You'll need:

  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 2 tbsp unflavoured powdered gelatin
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 3 eggs (preferably room temperature)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (canned or homemade)
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
In a small microwaveable bowl, pour in the brandy and 2 tbsp water, sprinkle over the gelatin and let stand for ten minutes or so to soften.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the eggs on medium-low speed until nice and fluffy, 2 minutes or so. Meanwhile, keeping your mixer going, combine the sugar with 1/4 cup water and cook stirring occasionally over medium high heat until it reaches 245F. (Use a candy thermometer). Turn your mixer to high speed and immediately  (but carefully!) pour in the hot syrup down the side of the bowl in a thin, steady stream. (This is to avoid splashing, and also to incorporate the hot syrup with the eggs without cooking them too fast.) Continue to beat on high speed for about 5 minutes until the mixture increases in volume and turns a pale yellow colour. Meanwhile, put the bowl with the gelatin in the microwave and heat for 10-15 seconds until gelatin is dissolved and melted.
Turn mixer to low and add gelatin mixture. Add the pumpkin puree, spices salt and sour cream and stir to combine.
Pour the mousse mixture into your cooled crust, and leave it to set in the fridge for at least 4 hours, or even up to overnight. 

Finishing Touches!
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp skim milk powder (optional, but it's there to keep your whipped cream peaks perfect for hours... works like a charm!)
Whisk together all ingredients until you get stiff peaks. Transfer whipped cream to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Run a knife or a offset spatula around the outside of your tart to release it from the spring-form pan, remove the sides of the pan and set your tart on a pretty platter or stand. Get fancy and pipe the cream however you like to cover the top of the tart. I piped little dollops all over, starting in the center and spiraling outwards, but get creative and do what you wish!

An awesome end to an awesome meal.
I <3 Thanksgiving.

XO Lari

Monday, 8 October 2012

Black Bean and Corn Quinoa

A few weeks ago I had the house to myself.
Dining Solo.
Do not think of it as a lonely thing...
More like: I get to cook WHATEVA I WANT!
I went with a Mexican fiesta of quinoa.
It was a good decision.
As noted from this previous post, I am currently borrowing my Aunt's Quinoa cook book, and this was the first recipe I tried from it! Unfortunately I was out of some ingredients like avocado and cilantro which would have made this even better. But even with just the beans, corn and tomatoes it was quite the delish dish.
So yes, I was cilantro-less... but when I was taking photos, the dish was lacking that pretty green finishing touch! So I put on parsley... I KNOW, how un-mexican of me :( but it just looks better this way. After all this, my dinner was a little cooler than usually preferred, but hey now I know this tastes good cold too. Ah, the life of a food blogger I suppose, hehehe

Black Bean and Corn Quinoa
Recipe adapted from this book.
Notes: I was eating this by myself... so if you are making this for a meal for more than just you, perhaps doubling it would be best!

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 1/8 tsp chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/8 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup diced tomato
  • 1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup cooked corn kernels (I used canned)
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh lime juice
  • grated cheddar cheese for topping
  1. Bring the water and quinoa to a boil in a small saucepan. Cover, reduce to a simmer and let cook for about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, keep the covered saucepan on the burner for 5-6 more minutes. Fluff quinoa with a fork
  2. In a medium bowl, stir to combine the salsa, chili powder, coriander, cumin, tomato, beans and corn.
  3. In a small bowl combine the greek yogurt and lime juice. Set aside.
  4. Stir the cooked quinoa in with the salsa-tomato-bean-corn situation.
  5. Serving time! In your desired eating dish, place some of the quinoa mix and top with the lime-yogurt and some grated cheese. Garnish with cilantro if you have some!
Fun note! This quinoa mixture is awesome for making new dishes with the leftovers. Add some lettuce and turn it into a lovely salad. Throw it into a tortilla with cheese for a Southwestern-Quinoa-Quesadilla. Or one of my favies: heat up a corn tortilla, top with quinoa mix, a fried egg, and grated cheese. YUM.
So many delish dishes.

Happy Quinoa-ing
<3 Lari

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Zucchini Orange Muffins with Chocolate Chips

My mom is the queen of muffins. She has her go-to recipes for muffins and loaves that she has been baking ever since I can remember. Muffins are her thing! Whenever I bake muffins I think fondly of Ma.

She also has a thing for zucchini loaf.

SO... one morning I was carrying through with my usually routine of watching Food Network whilst eating breakfast (yes I do get up earlier than necessary just so I can do this), I saw Anna Olson bake up a zucchini orange loaf. I see a lot of stuff that looks good on that show but when I saw this I KNEW I had to make it! My mother would be returning from a vacation soon and some zucchini baking would be the perfect welcome home treat.

Although, because muffins are such her thing, I often am reluctant to try a new banana bread, or zucchini loaf recipe... because around these parts her recipe is known as THE BEST. (At least in my opinion.)
But life is about taking risks or something like that so I gambled big time and made these! I like living on the edge. This recipe was different enough from her classic zucchini loaf however that I felt like I wasn't trying to fix something that was already perfect.

Also, I got to use zucchini that was fresh from our garden! Which just makes me giddy.
Zucchini Orange Muffins with Chocolate Chips
Original recipe from Anna Olson
Notes: The original recipe is for making a loaf... but I just love all things tiny and cute so I made individual muffins. You can easily turn muffin recipes into loaves and vice versa. Just be sure to change the cooking time accordingly! Muffins can take anywhere from 20-35 minutes to bake, while a large loaf can take up to an hour.

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp finely grated orange zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups loosely packed, coarsely grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (if you so desire, you can omit these, or replace with something else such as dried fruit or toasted nuts)
  1. In a large bowl, whisk to combine the oil, eggs, sugar, zest and vanilla
  2. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir the zucchini in with the flour mixture, using your hands to coat the zucchini strands with flour so that they don't clump together.
  3. Combine the dry with the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. Divide the batter into paper lined muffin tins, filling them about 2/3 full. Bake in a 350 (325 for hot ovens) oven, and check to see if they are done at 20 minutes. Mine took 20 minutes, but oven temperatures and times will vary. A toothpick inserted in the centre of a muffin that comes out clean will tell you your muffins are ready!
  5. Let cool a bit... then stuff your face.
Ps in case you were concerned, my mother absolutely loved these. A lot. Risks are worth taking.

Happy Baking with Zucchini this fall!
<3 Lari

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Applesuace Oatmeal Cookies with Maple Glaze

A little while ago I made a sort of "to-do" list of things I wanted to bake. GUESS WHAT I actually made one of them! (actually, so far I have made 3! Life is great. Here is the first)

I made Martha's Applesauce Oatmeal Cookies... and I only have the iPhone photo to prove it. This is usually the case when something is absolutely too delicious and gets gobbled up before I have time to set up a proper shot. I ain't complaining though, these babies are WORTH IT.

When I first saw this recipe I was intrigued by how Autumny it sounded (my new word). I knew they would be a perfect cookie for the fall season.

Fun Fact! Putting applesauce in cookies is no new trick, people often use it to replace some of the butter for a healthier cookie. This was the first time I have used applesauce in cookies, and I loved it! It makes your cookies super moist as well. Even though these cookies have no chocolate whatsoever in them, I found them to be amazingly delish. A definite addition to my cookie repertoire :)

Applesauce Oatmeal Cookies with Maple Glaze
Recipe adapted from Martha

*Notes* When I made these, I only glazed half of my cookies, as my mother says she prefers them un-glazed. They are certainly healthier this way... and totally acceptable for breakfast :)
I also added a lot more icing sugar to the glaze because it was too liquid at first. I noticed this worked well for a day or two but after that, the glaze became very firm... so perhaps a medium amount of icing sugar would be best next time.

To make the cookies you will need:
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  1. Mix the melted butter and both sugars in an electric mixer until combined. Add the egg and applesauce and mix until blended. Stir in the remaining ingredients.
  2. Use spoons to drop cookie dough onto parchment or silpat lined baking sheets. The cookies do spread in the oven, so keep that in mind.
  3. Bake in a 350 (325 for me!) oven for 13 ish minutes until cookies are set and slightly golden. Let cool for about 5 minutes on the sheet, then completely on wire racks
Maple Glaze: Warning... recipe may need to be adjusted! Depending on the climate, and your glazey-preferences. Don't take this all too seriously, if it's too watery, add more powdered sugar. If it is too thick, add a little milk or water. Tadaa! You're a chef now.
*Note* I halved the original glaze recipe and still ended up with lots left over

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tbsp milk or water
  1. Whisk together sugar, syrup and milk. Drizzle over your cooled cookies and let set!
  2. INDULGE! Ideally with a glass of milk.
Happy Baking!
<3 Lari

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Butterscotch Sauce

Oh baby... look at that action shot!

Ice cream is special. We all love it just the way it is, but sometimes, it deserves a little special treatment. Some pampering. Take your ice cream to the Sauce Spa. Let it bathe in butterscotch. This recipe for silky smooth butterscotch sauce is very quick to whip up, and can keep in a jar in your fridge for a few weeks!

Remember when I made Peach Shortcake? Yeah, this was the sidekick. I also used this when I served up a certain Peach and Berry Cobbler Cake. Dress up your dessert!

Butterscotch Sauce
Recipe from David Lebovitz

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup + 6 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
In a small saucepan, melt the butter and the brown sugar with 1/4 cup of the heavy cream, stirring until smooth.
Without stirring, let the mixture bubble and boil for about 3 minutes.
Turn off the heat and add the remaining 6 tbsp heavy cream. let it cool for a minute, then stir in the vanilla.


Your ice cream will thank you.
<3 Lari

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

You've Been on My Mind...

I have so many recipes floating around in my head that I have been wanting to make so badly lately ALL THE TIME.

Sometimes there are just so many that I feel overwhelmed. But I think that feeling overwhelmed about delicious recipes/food is probably the best type of overwhelmed  you can feel. For me at least. Perhaps letting a few of these ideas escape from my scattered brain and make an appearance out here will make me feel better. And hopefully soon I can make them!
If I ever get my homework done... BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY:

1) Lately I have been intrigued by cookies with icing/glazes, and these Applesauce Oatmeal Cookies from Martha with a maple glaze look like the perfect fall cookie

2)ANNA OLSON HAS A NEW BAKE OFF CHALLENGE! And it's my lucky day because the challenge is Pumpkin Muffins. I am in fact on the search for a good pumpkin muffin recipe... maybe this is it!

3) Speaking of Anna, I watched an episode of Bake with Anna Olson in which she made Zucchini Orange Loaf. My mother especially loves zucchini loaf (as do I!). I am thinking I will make one just for her.

4)We have some millet kicking around in our pantry, and I saw it the other day. I thought, I must find a recipe to use this in. As if by magic, I discovered this cracker recipe from "A Sweet Spoonful". I am totally making these and cutting them into funky shapes. Leaves for fall, maybe?

5) We are in need of more granola in the household. I am so trying out this Pumpkin Granola Recipe

I hope I can keep fitting baking into my routine even though school is busy as heck. It is important to me!
Happy Fall Cooking/Baking!
<3 Lari

Sunday, 23 September 2012

This Week Was: Packed.

WOAH. A lot happened this week. Kinda stressed, but whateva. Life is full, and full of fun right now.
September 17-23 2012

Rockin' out at Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Dining solo, mexican fiesta style. I <3 Fried Eggs

Happy Birthday to my Big Bro!

Oops... totally didn't go to Vendome on Thursday... but I have to post this picture... cuz guys, it's Vendome. Coffee and a Chocolate Chip Cookie

Carb-loading pre-race day at The Old Spaghetti Factory. I don't care if it's a cheap restaurant, I love it. Also, Mizithra cheese  is delicious.
Impromptu Dinner Dates with my one and only love! More pasta too... always welcome. (@ Chiante's)
Some light sunday morning reading. And a coffee. Life is good.

Here's to next week, and hoping it is a little more gentle! But still packed with goodness.
Have a good week!

<3 Lari

Vanilla Marshmallows

Many people in the food blogging world have been blogging about homemade marshmallows. I am so totally going to jump onto this bandwagon. What you need to know:
  • they are so much better than store bought!
  • they take s'mores and hot chocolates to the nest level... yes it is possible
  • make them, and people will think your some kind of magician.

Hello, new best friends...
GUYS! I am seriously in love with homemade marshmallows! First time I heard about this book, I knew I HAD TO HAVE IT. It was one of those books that I was just dying to get, and for some reason I could not bring myself to make homemade marshmallows until I had that book in my hands to call my own. So, with the arrival of my first full time summer job, I made the decision to celebrate my first paycheck by purchasing two cookbooks. One of which was Marshmallow Madness. What a magical day that was when I saw that the package had arrived in the mail. Getting packages is probably one of the most thrilling things in life. Also thrilling: toting your fresh homemade marshmallows in beautiful vintage tins to share with your friends. I'm making it my new "thing".
I won't lie, these were rather difficult for me to make. Don't get me wrong, the recipe is very clear and the instructions are super helpful... But I'm a baker at heart. Give me muffins, cakes and cookie recipes and I am at home. But this chucked me straight into the mystery land of candy-making. I want to become a better candy-maker, so one day it is not so scary. Before then, bubbling sugar and I have some "getting to know you" work to do. I made these marshmallows twice. The first time was a hot, solidified-sugary mess that left my kitchen in ruins. But, if you fall off the horse you gotta get right back on... or something like that. So I hopped back on the marshmallow horse (does this make any sense) and tried, tried again. And succeeded! And it was OH so worth it.
I could continue to ramble... but basically, do not be afraid! Try it out, be amazed. Some advice: I find it much less stressful to make marshmallows when:

  • my kitchen is clean (because you are going to soon turn it into a serious mess)
  • I have pre-measured all of my ingredients and set them out, ready to rock
  • it is not ridiculously late in the evening... although this seems to be the only time I have to make them.

Pillows of sugary love!! THEY'RE SO SQUISHY

Here are just a couple examples of methods to enjoy: in hot chocolate, or roasted for s'mores... DIVINE!

Homemade Vanilla Marshmallows
Recipe originally from this book

  • 4 1/2 tsp unflavoured powdered gelatin (I used Knox brand)
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup, divided
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup Classic Coating*
*Recipe for Classic Coating follows below marshmallows*

Lightly coat an 8X8 inch pan with cooking spray.

In a small, microwave-safe bowl, stir together the gelatine and cold water and let soften for 5 minutes

In a medium saucepan, stir together the sugar, 1/4 cup of the corn syrup, water and salt. Boil over high heat, stirring occasionally until the syrup reaches 240F. MEANWHILE: pour the remaining 1/4 cup corn syrup into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Microwave the gelatin until completely melted, about 20 to 30 seconds. Pour it into the mixer with the corn syrup and set the mixer to low speed. Just keep mixing this until your syrup is ready to rock. (aka when your syrup has reached 240F)

Once your syrup has reached 240F (no hotter!) slowly pour it into the running mixer, pouring the hot syrup down the side of the bowl so that it does not splash and burn you. Ouch. 
Increase your mixer speed to medium and beat for 5 minutes.
Increase the speed to medium high and beat for 5 more minutes.
Finally, beat on the highest setting for 1-2 minutes more. Slow the speed a bit to add in the vanilla. The marshmallow batter should be opaque, white and super fluffy, and about tripled in  volume. 

Pour into the prepared pan and use an offset spatula to smooth it into the corners of the pan. Sift the coating evenly and generously over the top. Leave your marshmallows to set in a cool and dry place for at least 6 hours.

Once the mallows have set, use a knife to loosen them from the edges of the pan. Plop out your marshmallow onto a coating dusted cutting board or work surface and dust with more coating.
Cut into desired shapes and dust exposed edges with coating.

TADAA! You totally just made homemade marshmallows. Be proud.

*Classic Coating Recipe:
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup corn starch
Sift the two ingredients together. This coating keeps forever in an air-tight container in your cupboard. Keep it for all your marshmallow making needs.

Happy Marshmallow Making!

<3 Larissa