Thursday, December 9, 2010

Holiday Baking has begun....Recipe 1: Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

So the baking has begun and seeing as I have a few "gluten" free friends, I have decided to take a gluten free recipe and make it not only gluten free but also WLS friendly.

You will need:
1 Large Egg
3/4 Splenda (or Sugar)
1tsp Baking Soda
1 cup Creamy Peanut Butter - typically I use organic but all I had today was Jif

1/2 tsp Gluten free Vanilla (does not have to be gluten free if making WLS version)

1/3 cup Chocolate Chips (Nestle Brand is Gluten Free) WLS may want to omit for use Sugar Free Chocolate chips or cut up 2 small SF chocolate bars into small pieces

Preheat your oven to 350 and line a cookie sheet with wax paper. It makes for easier cleanup.

Mix together egg, vanilla, sugar, and baking soda with paddle attachment on your mixer or electric hand beater.  Add peanut butter and mix well, scraping down the sides at least once. Add chocolate chips if using.

Drop mix on cookie sheet by the teaspoon. Dip fork in hot water and lighting press down the top of each cookie before popping in the oven. 

I only cook mine for about 7 minutes. Bake until lightly set on top. Remove from oven. Let sit 2min and then move to a cooling rack. 

These little treats are pretty good for being both Gluten Free and WLS friendly.  
Tomorrow (hopefully) is my blog on Spritz cookies which are currently frozen in my freezer. Everyone says they are so easy and the dough is, so maybe my cookie press is faulty. Also coming soon are decorated sugar cookies, Peppermint Bark, and a few others...

If you need any holiday recipe ideas, I literally have hundreds of cookie and dessert recipes. Leave me a comment or your email and I can shoot you some of my favorites!

Happy Baking!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas Baking Begins!

Well the Christmas baking begins this weekend. I have almost all of my ingredients and just need a few last minute decor items to round off my list. Oh and about 6 cookie sheets!
Some of my 2009 Holiday Cookies

This year I am not only shipping cookies to loved ones but I am taking on the task of also provided my mum with baked goods for about 16 people at her work.

Here is the list on what I plan on making:
Sugar Cookies - cut and fully decorated in holiday shapes. This year I am thinking of sticking to 6 shapes only. Last year it got out of hand!

Peppermint Bark- mine is almost as good as the William Sonoma ( ) brand

Chocolate Chip Cookies- always a favorite and I have recipes for about 20 versions!

Gingerbread Boys and Girls

Peppermint Patty Holiday Cookies with crushed peppermint candies - so easy you won't believe it!

Spritz Cookies- a long time holiday classic

I might add one or two more types but I think the above should be a good enough variety. I also plan on trying my hand at my first ever Busch de Noel.

All that being said over the next 3 weeks there will be random posts of recipes of all of the above with photos and some step by step info.  I may also post some recipes that didn't make the chopping block this year but are favorites of mine, minus pictures.

Seeing as baking is starting either tomorrow or Sunday I shall return with some yummy treats!

In the meantime, if you are in need of any special recipes let me know! I have tons in my arsenal for all experience levels and I am always happy to make suggestions if you are stuck on what to make.

Happy Holiday Baking!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cakey Chocolate Chip Cookies for Lia Sophia

So recently I attended a Lia Sophia party, dead set on not buying anything. Well that didn't happen. But I was able to impress the other guests with a semi diet friendly version of my Cakey Chocolate Chip Cookies. The "SuperTaster" Jmac swears she could taste the Splenda...I think she is silly.
If you want to switch out splenda for sugar, the conversions are below.

You will need:
2-1/4" Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 sticks of room temp butter
1/2 cup Splenda (or sugar)
1/2 cup Splenda Brown Sugar( or 1 cup light brown sugar)
1 tsp Salt
2 tsp good vanilla
2 large eggs at room temp
A mixer- I love my Kitchen Aid

In your mixer cream the splendas (or sugars) with the butter until smooth and creamy.
Add eggs one at a time and mix well. Add Vanilla.

Add in baking soda, salt, and flour mixture slowly. Save a little of the flour mixture to coat the chocolate chips before dumping those in. I usually do about a 1/4 cup of the flour mixture mixed with my chocolate chips so they spread out well in the batter. Once everything is just combined you are ready to bake.

I measure mine with a very small ice cream scoop meant for cookies.

In a 350 pre heated oven bake the cookies for about 8-10 minutes. $5 bucks at Walmart. My oven is insane so sometimes it is 7 minutes sometimes it is 12. Go figure.

My Splenda cookies are delish and around these holidays when all we do is eat goodies, it's not a bad recipe to try...if you are dairy free, just buy dairy free chocolate chips. If you are gluten free, just switch out the flour and play with the recipe a little.  You can also add in nuts, dried fruit, etc. Go crazy! A recipe is just a starting go forth and make it your own.

Happy Baking!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Pies.....Recipes but no pics yet!

So today I will make my Thanksgiving Pies. Because it will be tomorrow or Friday before pics are up and that is too late for you to make your pies, I thought I would share my recipes just in case you are in need! I tend to make these same pies or variations of these at Christmas. I am also going to try a chocolate gingerbread bar from my girl Martha Stewart but I will blog about that after turkey day.

Today after work I will be making: Apple Pie with English Custard, and Apple Cozy, and a Pumpkin Pie.

For the pie crust I make it from scratch. It is so so easy and will taste better than any store bought pie crust. I am also of the firm belief that they actually cook better as well. I have tried these both ways and I love my homemade crust.

Pate Brisee:
For 2 single layer or 1 double crust pie (8-10")

2-1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1tsp Salt
1tsp Sugar or Splenda
2 sticks Unsalted butter cut up into small chunks
1/4 cup of Ice Water. The ice is important so add it.

Sift dry ingredients into your mixer or food processor. I use my mixer because I can't live without it.
Begin to add butter until it is in small chunks like peas.
Start to add your water about 1tablespoon at a time until the dough starts to come together. You may not use the whole 1/4 cup, you may use more. It all depends.

Turn out your dough and knead a few times. Split it into 2 and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for 1 hour before using.

Deep Dish Apple Pie:
3 lbs apples. I like a combo of Cortland, Gala, and Granny Smith
3TBS Four
2TB Lemon Juice
1/4 Cup Sugar or Splenda
1tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 salt
1TBS Butter
Sanding Sugar
1 Egg for eggwash

Core and Peel Apples and slice however you like them.
Mix ingredients (except for sanding sugar, butter, and egg) in large bowl until all apples are nicely coated.
I tend to make my mix and add apples last.

Dump apple mixture into above pie shell recipe. Dab top with butter. Cover with second crust and brush with eggwash. Sprinkle with sanding sugar. Sometimes I go at the top crust with festive cookies cutters as well. If you don't want to do that, make sure to put two small slits in the top for steam to escape.

Bake at 350 until crust is done and apples inside are bubbly.

Apple Cozy:
Same recipe as above but,
I roll out the dough onto a piece of wax paper into a 14-16" circle. I put all of my apple mixture in the middle and dab with butter. Then fold up the dough around the apples. Don't worry about covering the whole thing. You should have exposed apples. Brush with eggwash and sprinkle with sugar.
Put wax paper on a cookie sheet and bake until done at 350.

Pumpkin Pie:
I always do the recipe on the can of Libbys' Canned Pumpkin.
It's super simple and is always a hit.

I like to top my apple pie with English custard. All you need is some English Birds Custard powder, sugar and milk. You can find the powder in the international foods section of your grocery store. It is a yellow and blue can. If they have it pre-made, don't do it. It's not as tasty and it is so easy to make. Just follow the directions on the can.

You can also make homemade whip cream if that is more your speed.
All you need is Heavy Whipping cream and a few tablespoons of powdered sugar. Start the whipping cream on high in your mixer and mix still very soft peaks. Add in sugar and whip a few more times.  Just don't go too far or you will end up with butter!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving. Pictures of my pies to follow after the holiday!

Happy Baking!!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pumpkin Whoopie Pie Cookies

This recipe is great for the fall season. It is so easy since it starts with a bag of Sugar Cookie mix! The original recipe can be found on Betty it is just so yummy I had to share...

Here is what you will need:

1 Pouch Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix
1 tablespoon All Purpose Flour
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 butter
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 egg

2/3 cup marshmallow fluff
1/3 butter
2/3 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375f.

In mixer combine Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie mix and flour. Once combined, add other cookie ingredients.  Stir until soft dough comes together. Mine looked like a cross between actual dough and chocolate chip cookie mix.

Drop by the teaspoon full onto wax paper covered cookie sheet. Dip your fingers in flour and gently push down cookie tops to flatten out just a bit. 

I cooked mine for about 7 minutes just until the cookies set.  Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.

While the cookies are cooling make your filling.  Mix until the filling is white and shiny.

Spread about 1 teaspoon on one side of each cookie. Sandwich with one of a like size and shape.

I pooped mine each in a cupcake holder, onto a platter,  and wrapped up tightly with plastic wrap. You need to keep them in the fridge until ready to serve.

If you bake these let me know how they come out!

Happy Baking!


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Kitchen Essentials for Baking

I have been told that our kitchen is being taken over by baking supplies.  I don't agree. I have a handy little drawer thingy, approx 4' x 2' x 13" that fits in a small corner that holds all of my decorating supplies. My pans live in another cabinet.

There are some essentials ever baker must have or at least work towards getting.
Here is my list and I am always adding to it. 

Kitchen Aid Mixer- best wedding gift ever. I was so excited. I use it for everything. 
Measuring Cups and Spoons. - I have two sets of each in case I lose a measurement which happens when you are me!
Pyrex or any other glass measuring cups for 2 and 4 cup measures.
Wooden Spoons, Spoonula, Spatulas, etc.
Offset Spatulas in various sizes- mostly for frosting cakes
Cake Leveler- a new $4 purchase that I don't know how I lived without
Cupcake holders- I have tons...I think my collection might be a little out of control. Wilton ones are so cheap at the xmas tree shop.
Cupcake pans- small, standard, and I have one shaped like a giant cupcake
Extra Large Muffin Tin- who wants a tiny muffin?
4, 6, 8, 9, 12" cake rounds
Bundt Pans- I have a very small individual size, medium size and a large pan
Cookie Sheets
Cookie Cutters- I have over 100 at this point. If it is cute I buy it. After all they are pretty inexpensive
Half Sheet Pan- I love the Wilton one
8" square pans with square tall sides
Various shaped cake pans - Xmas Tree, fire engine, teddy bear, mini showmen, small hearts, etc. Some are silicone, which I am not a huge fan of.
William Sonoma Cake turntable for frosting, etc- another great gift I got. 
Decorating Supplies- Fondant(Wilton pre-made or you can make your own), Fondant Writers,  Icing Colors, paint brushes, etc
Packaging Supplies- ribbon, boxes, labels, etc

OK so maybe my supplies are a little excessive, but I love to bake and give treats to friends and family specially since I can't eat them anymore. Baking for me is a stress relief unless it's the holiday season and I am baking 20 dozen Sugar cookies and various other treats that I give away as gifts.

Does anything smell better than chocolate chip cookies in your oven? I think not.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's Pumpkin Whoopie Pie Cookies...they start with a store bought Sugar Cookie mix and are super simple to make and perfect for the season!

Happy Baking!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Shortbread Cookies- So many versions, so little time!

A Friend asked recently for a Shortbread recipe, so I am re-posting my favorite one!!

Here is one of my favorite shortbread recipes from Ina Garten. She is my cooking idol. 
This recipe is so versatile. See some ideas after the original recipe!

This is what you need to get started:

3 sticks unsalted butter at room temp
1 cup white sugar- I use splenda but both work!
1 tsp good Vanilla extract- I usually use Madagascar but am currently out
3.5 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

Measuring Spoons 
Measuring Cups
Mixer- I love my kitchen aid
Saran Wrap
Baking Sheet

Now the fun stuff:
Heat oven to 350f. 

Cream the butter and sugar. Add Vanilla

Sift the dry ingredients together..and yes it does make a difference. 
Add the dry to the wet in batches. Dough will be loose. 
Dump out onto floured surface and you can either roll into a log (for slice and bake) or shape into a disk for cutout cookies. 
I did mine in a roll for this batch. Roll up and cover tightly with saran warp and chill for 30 min. 
After chilling the dough, remove from plastic warp and slice into 1/4 slices. 
For this batch I rolled the edges in multi colored sanding sugar to add a little color. Place on a baking sheet and cook until edges are just slightly golden brown. In my oven about 15-18 min. 

One your cookies are cold to the touch, you can do one of two things...pack them up or dip them in melted chocolate! 

This batch I decided to dip half. Make sure if you do dip yours, you don't do one side. Once the chocolate hardens if you have dipped both sides, you may break them when lifting them off your sheet once the chocolate has set. Also if you are going to dip, use good quality chocolate. 

Now they are packed up and ready to be dropped off at my parents and Viv's mums!

You can also play with variations on this recipe. For Example:
Try different flavoring extracts
Add in dried fruit or chocolate chips. 
Remove 1/2 cup of white flour and sub for cocoa powder

When doing cutout cookies, cut shapes and chill for 10 min to keep edges crisp while baking. 
You can also make this dough 1 month ahead and slice and bake when you need them. 
You can also pre cut shapes for cutouts and freeze for a month and bake the day you need them. 

Let me know if you try this one out!
Happy Baking! 


Thursday, November 18, 2010

It's about time for a new blog...

So after a long last few months I have been inspired by a fellow baker to start back up my blog.
My plan is the usual rant and rave about my everyday life but I have also decided that since this is the crazy baking season and in the last 2 days I have emailed about 10 recipes to friends for their holiday baking I am going to do my best attempt to post one baking recipe a day. Now lets just hope they go to some good use!

First recipe post to come tomorrow!