Butter Tarts

Known as one of the ultimate True North desserts, nothing says Canadian like the flaky pastry filled with a sticky-sweet centre of a butter tart. Butter tarts are really a cross between a pecan pie and sugar pie in a small tart form. I enjoy making these ewwy gooey treats of goodness during the holidays when everyone expects to eat more calories then normal.  IMG_E2788
Recipes for the butter tart vary depending on where you are in Canada and the recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation. Given this, the appearance, firmness of the pastry and consistency of the filling can also vary. Often raisins, currents, pecans or walnuts are added to the filling for crunch or texture but now home and professional chiefs are getting creative by adding chocolate, coconut or even bacon to the filling.

Whatever your preference for the filling is, I promise you that these little ewwy gooey treats of goodness are worth every calorie.

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Here is what you will need:

For the tart:

  • 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp of sugar
  • 1/45 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup of cold unsalted butter cut into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 3 tbsp of ice cold water

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup or maple syrup (whatever your flavour preference is)
  • 1/4 cup butter melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • ½ cup raisins, pecans or walnuts (whatever your preference, I used walnuts)

Here is how to make it:

  • Pre heat the oven to 425°.
  • Lightly grease 12 regular sized muffin cups.
  • To make the dough in a standing mixer or food processor, stir together flour, sugar and salt.
  • Add the butter and toss to coat with the flour.
  • Mix on low until the texture resembles course cornmeal.
  • Add the ice water and mix until the ingredients pull together to form the dough.
  • Transfer the dough to a work surface, pat into a ball and flatten into a disk. (although most dough recipes call for chilling the dough, the great thing about this recipe is you can roll out the dough first before chilling).
  • Lightly flour the work surface and roll out the dough and cut into 4 inch rounds.
  • Fit into muffin cups and set aside.
  • For the filling, combine all the ingredients except for the walnuts.
  • Sprinkle the walnuts in a single layer in the bottom of the tart lined muffin cups.
  • Fill 2/3 full with syrup mixture.
  • Bake on bottom shelf of oven at 425 for 12 to 15 minutes.
  • Cool completely on a wire rack and remove tarts from from pans.

I hope this recipe inspires you to be creative in your kitchen – enjoy!

Baked Doughnuts – Just as good as fried

Whether you grew up with the “doughnuts” or the more modern “donuts,  it’s hard to resist these fresh baked treats. A classic snack that is prepared in various ways with various toppings or fillings to chose from – glazed, jelly or cream filled, dusted with powdered sugar or sprinkles, doughnuts are a delicious treat many people like to indulge in.
My Emma loves doughnuts, when she was really young and we would go grocery shopping, her favorite and last stop was at the doughnut counter.  I don’t think we ever went grocery shopping without stopping for one. Her order was always the same, vanilla dipped with coloured sprinkles. Today, she is more willing to venture out to include cinnamon sugar and powdered to her list of favourites.

With National Doughnut day around the corner (June 1), I thought I would make doughnuts as a treat for Emma. Now, there are two types of doughnut batters you can make –  yeast or cake. Yeast doughnuts are more the traditional doughnut that uses yeast and tends to be soft, fluffy but relies on the doughnut toppings or fillings for its sweetness. Cake doughnuts are made with what would resemble more of a cake batter, it tends to be more crumbly and a bit sweeter just like cake. I prefer yeast doughnuts, the struggle I always have is with the frying part of making doughnuts. I know there are people who believe if you are going to indulge than indulge big. I understand the mindset but I still feel that if there is a bit of a healthier way to enjoy something, then you should try. Doesn’t make you feel so guilty when indulging and when was the last time you ate just one doughnut.
Most doughnut recipes I have come across that bake the doughnuts vs fry, tend to be the cake batter ones. The recipe I am going to share with you, is a yeast dough that is baked. It was really hard to tell that they were baked and just like regular doughnuts that are amazing the day you bake them but can be heated in the microwave the next day to get that soft chewy texture back.

Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts

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Here is what you will need:

For the dough:

  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup  sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dried yeast
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup milk (I used 2%)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract

For the cinnamon sugar

  • Melt 4 Tblsp  butter in a bowl
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of cinnamon

How to make the cinnamon sugar doughnuts:

For the dough

  • Mix the flour, yeast, sugar and salt together in a standing mixer fitted with dough hook.
  • In a saucepan, melt butter. Add milk, water and vanilla extract until just warm.
  •  With the standing mixer on speed 2, add the milk mixture and mix until everything is combined and the dough is smooth (about 5 minutes).
  •  Grease a large bowl and place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat lightly. Cover  with plastic wrap  and let the dough rise until doubled, 1 -2 hours.
  • Heat the oven at 350
  • Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface.
  • Roll out to ½ “ thick.
  • Using a doughnut cut of your donuts. If you do not have a doughnut cuter circles.
  • Cover your donuts and let them rise at room temp for 30 minutes.
  • Unwrap the donuts. Brush the very top with melted butter.
  • Bake for 13 minutes.

For the cinnamon sugar

  • Melt  butter.
  • Mix sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.
  • Take you donuts out the oven and while warm dip the doughnuts in melted butter and then toss into the cinnamon sugar.
  • Place on a wire rack to cool completely.

I hope this recipe inspires you to be creative in your kitchen – enjoy!

 

To view the original doughnut recipe go to Gemma Stafford’s website at http://www.biggerbolderbaking.com/homemade-donuts/

The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie

Did you know that the very first chocolate chip cookie ever made was by Ruth Wakefield in 1938? She invented the recipe when she owned a popular restaurant called the Toll House Inn, that pride itself on serving homemade food to its customers. Over the years the story has been twisted slightly to state that she accidentally invented the cookie but Ruth had always insisted that she invented the cookie on purpose. She had been serving a thin butterscotch nut cookie with ice cream for some time and thought it was time to try something different. So, she added chopped up bits from a Nestlé semi-sweet chocolate bar into a cookie and voila – the Toll House Cookie was invented.
Haven’t all us home chefs been there? Wanting to try something different and experiment in the kitchen? Updating old recipes and making them new again? We are no different than Ruth wanting to update something as simple as a cookie. I bet Ruth never thought in a million years her cookie would become a staple in every household or be the ultimate cookie in the hearts of every child.
There are so many different recipes out there and debates on what is the ultimate chocolate chip cookie recipe. I know I have made tons of different recipes over the years, just to try and find the ultimate cookie that my family loves. Does your family like the crunchy kind or the soft and chewy? How about loaded with chocolate chips or a sprinkle of nuts? The truth is, the ultimate chocolate chip cookie recipe is really what your family loves when biting into it.
So here is the ultimate chocolate chip cookie recipe that my family loves!

The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie

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Here is what you will need:

  • 2 1/4 cups of flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp  salt
  • 1 cup  margarine
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1 cup of milk chocolate chips)

How to make the chocolate chip cookies:

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Combine flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl and set aside.
  • Beat margarine with sugars in large bowl. Beat in the eggs one at a time and then add the vanilla until blended. Gradually add in flour mixture and beat until blended.
  • Stir in chips.
  • Drop a tablespoon amount of dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper 2-inches apart. It is important to use an ungreased cookie sheet for these cookies otherwise they will melt because of the margarine.
  • Bake 8- 10 minutes or until edges are golden.
  • Cool on wire rack

In the spirit of Ruth Wakefield, I hope this recipe inspires you to be creative in your kitchen – enjoy!

Anginetti Italian Easter Cookies

I love these yummy Italian lemon cookies. My mom use to always make them at Easter but they are great for any holiday or special occasion. I use to always look forward to these cookies and beg my mom to make them throughout the year but sadly it was only at Easter. I guess that is why I love them so much because we only had them once a year. They have a nice fresh taste that reminds me of spring. You can find many versions of this recipe that vary slightly, regardless of the different variations, I know you will enjoy them!

Italian East Cookies

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Here is what you will need:

  • For the cookie dough:1/2 cup of sugar
    • 6 tbs of of soft butter (you can use vegetable shortening)
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
    • 2 cups of flour
    • 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder
    • 1/8 tsp of salt
  • For the icing
    • 3 cups of icing sugar
    • 1/4 cup of water
    • tsp of lemon extract or lemon juice
    • Coloured sprinkles for decoration

How to make the Italian Easter Cookies:

  • How to make the cookie dough:
    • Preheat oven to 350°and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
    • In the bowl of an electric mixer beat sugar, vanilla, butter until well blended. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
    • Stir in flour and baking powder (dough should be soft and sticky).
    • There are many ways to shaped the cookies:
      • Drop dough on to a cookie sheet with a spoon.
      • Cover with plastic wrap and chill the dough (cold dough is easier to work with)  then break off pieces and roll with floured hands to form into a ring shape (I like this way the best).
      • Spoon dough into a pastry bag fitted with a round tip and pipe 2-inch diameter rings onto the cookie sheet lined with parchment. Press the ends of the rings together with your fingers.
    • Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until the cookies are golden.
    • Remove cookies from the oven and allow to cool.
  • How to make the icing:
    • Whisk together sugar, water, lemon extract (or juice if using) until well blended. Thin with more water if icing is too thick.
    • Brush icing on cookies and decorate with coloured sprinkles.

 

I hope this recipe inspires you to be creative in your kitchen – enjoy!

Tis The Season For Strawberries – Almost!

I love strawberries! If you have been followed my blog this week you would know that this weeks posts are all about the wonderful world of strawberries. They are a romantic fruit, a sweet sensation and very versatile. I love dropping a plump juicy strawberry into a glass of procesecco on a hot afternoon in the summer.  This week I have shared with you a recipe for strawberry sauce that I have been know to eat right out of the jar with just a spoon, a strawberry crisp recipe that is so simple and easy yet divine, to this coffee cake recipe that you can enjoy any time of day because it is not too sweet for breakfast or afternoon coffee and can also hold its own as a dessert. whatever your desire, if you love strawberries, you will love this recipe.

Strawberry Coffee Cake

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Here is what you will need:

  • For the topping
    • 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
    • 2 tbsp of granulated sugar
  • For the cake
    • 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
    • 3/4 of a cup of Miracle Whip
    • 1/4 cup of milk
    • 3 cups of all purpose flour
    • 2 tsp of baking soda
    • 1 tsp of baking powder
    • 2 tsp of ground cinnamon
    • 1 tsp of ground nutmeg
    • 1 tsp of salt
    • 1 pint of fresh strawberries hulled and coarsely chopped

How to Make the Strawberry Coffee Cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9×13 rectangle pan.
  • To make the topping stir together cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and set aside.
  • To make the cake, in a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium- high speed, beat the eggs and sugar for 1 minute. Add the Miracle Whip and milk and beat on high speed for about 2 minutes. The batter will be think and pale (thick like banana bread batter).
  • In another bowl stir together, the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nut meg and salt.
  • Turn the mixer to low and add the egg mixture. Beat until thoroughly blended.
  • Add the strawberries and any of their juices and using a large rubber spatula fold in the strawberries, just until evenly distributed. Do not over mix.
  • Spoon batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Sprinkling topping evenly over the cake batter.
  • Bake for 60 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes our clean.
  • Let cook for about 5 minutes, run a knife around the sides of the pan. Cut into squares and serve with homemade whip cream or sprinkle a dusting of icing sugar if desired before serving.

I hope this recipe inspires you to be creative in your kitchen – enjoy!

My Strawberry Is Your Strawberry

If you are following my blog, you will know this week I am focusing on my 3 favorite strawberry recipes. Monday I posted a recipe for a strawberry sauce (Strawberry Fields Forever )- so yummy! Today is a recipe for a strawberry crisp. Most strawberry recipes pair strawberries with rhubarb and not that I am not a fan but sometimes I want to enjoy the taste of just the strawberries. This recipe does just that.

The Strawberry Crisp

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Here is what you will need:

  • For the filling
    • 2 quarts of strawberries hulled and quartered
    • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
    • 2 tbs of corn starch
    • 1 cup of all purpose flour
  • For the crisp topping
    • 1/2 – 1 cup of old fashion rolled oats
    • 1/3 cup of white sugar
    • 1/3 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp of salt
    • 1/2 cup of melted butter

How to make the strawberry crisp:

  • Preheat the oven to 350° and spray a pie plate with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Toss the strawberries in a 1/4 cup of granulated sugar and 2 tbsp of corn starch, place in the pie plate.
  • In a separate bowl, mix oats, flour, 1/3 cup of granulated sugar, 1/3 cup brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
  • In a sauce pan melt butter and add to the oat mixture and mix well.
  • Pour the oat mixture over the strawberry mixture and bake in the oven for 30 – 35 minutes.
  • Serve with strawberry sauce or vanilla ice cream.

I hope this recipe inspires you to be creative in your kitchen – enjoy!

The love of a warm cinnamon bun

Everyone has something they crave from time to time. For some people it’s sweets.  The enjoyment you feel from eating something sweet is…amazing.  The taste of a warm cinnamon bun can be so comforting because you can eat it either for breakfast or dessert – how amazing is that!

Cinnamon Buns

Cinnamon Bun

Here is what you will need:

For the dough:

  • 1 cup of warm milk
  • 2 1/4 tsp of yeast
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup of margarine
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups of flour
  • Mix together warm milk, yeast and sugar in a bowl of an electric mixer and let rest for 5 minutes until yeast mixture begins to foam. Add remaining ingredients and mix until a dough forms. Place dough on a very lightly floured surface and kneed until a smooth dough forms. Place in a butter greased bowl and let rise until it doubles in bulk (1 1/2 – 2 hours). Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 16×12 rectangle.

For the filling:

  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp of cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup margarine
  • Heat the oven to 350 and grease a 9×13 pan. Spread the margarine over the dough and sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon to cover the dough. Roll the dough up starting at the short end to form a log. The cut the log into 1/2 inch pieces. Place in the prepared baking pan and bake for 20 minutes or until the buds begin to turn a golden brown.

For the icing:

  • 6 tbsp of margarine
  • 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup of soft cream cheese
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 2-3 tbsp of cream (optional)
  • While the buns are baking, add the icing ingredients in a bowl and beat until smooth. If you prefer a thinner icing, add the 3 tbsp of cream to thin it out. When the rolls are done, generously spread or pour the icing on top and serve warm.

Hope this recipe inspires you in the kitchen – enjoy!