Category Archives: Baking

Thanksgiving Live (ish) Blogging

6:45am: Wake up early because you didn’t prep anything the night before. Make some coffee.
7:00am: Begin making scalloped potatoes. Take out all ingredients needed for scalloped potatoes. Frantically look around kitchen for slow cooker. Double check cupboards, den, secret hiding places.
7:03am: Wake up husband to ask if he knows where slow cooker is. Husband is first panicked to be woken up, then visibly annoyed.
7:04am: Husband points to slow cooker hidden in deep recesses of cupboard beside sink. Husband goes back to bed muttering un-Thanksgiving appropriate curses under his breath.
7:05am: Actually begin making scalloped potatoes.

Scalloped Potatoes Recipe*

  • 9 medium potatoes, peeled & sliced very thin
  • 2.5 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups grated cheddar
  • 3 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 2-1/2 cups milk
Grease slow cooker and spread about 1/3 of the potato slices in the bottom as evenly as possible. Sprinkle with about half of each of the flour, salt, pepper, and cheese. Cover this with another 1/3 of the potato slices, then sprinkle with the rest of the flour, salt, pepper, and cheese. Finally, cover with the rest of the potato slices, dot the top with butter & pour milk over everything. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 7-8 hours.
Makes approx 8-10 servings

7:14am: Remember that there’s coffee in the pot! Pour a cup and relax, reading up on latest Kim Kardashian gossip. Realize that her dress ain’t all that bad. Check out Revolve Clothing to see if there’s anything similar to it for sale.
7:18am: Finish coffee and have to tear self away from computer to go back to scalloped potatoes.
8:15am: Turn on slow cooker and relax knowing that the most time-sensitive dish is cooking. Begin cleaning up kitchen.

Only 6 hours and 59 minutes more to go!

Only 6 hours and 59 minutes more to go!

8:22am: Fill up dishwasher, proud of how awesome the timing has been this morning. Suddenly realize that husband may not appreciate the noisy dishwasher sounds this early in the morning.
8:23am: Close bedroom door of your 1 bedroom & den 700 sq ft condo, hoping to drown out as much noise as possible.

8:30am: After washing the rest of not-dishwasher-safe stuff, settle down to computer and relax.
9:04am: Begrudgingly start on Chocolate Truffle Torte dessert.

Chocolate Truffle Torte*
Cake:
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Filling:

  • 1/2 cup raspberry jam
  • 5 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate melted and cooled
  • 1-1/2 cups whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

First, make the cake part. With al electric mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar on high speed until thick and light in colour, about 5 minutes.

Gradually add the flour, cornstarch, and cocoa powder. Pour into a greased and floured 9-inch springform pan, and bake at 350 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool, run a knife around the sides of the pan to loosen, and remove cake from the pan. Slice a thin layer from the top of the cake to flatten the surface. Chop the slice up into crumbs and set it aside. (Try not to eat it.) Put the rest of the cake back into the pan.

Spread the raspberry jam over the naked top of the cake layer in the pan. Pour the cold whipping cream into a large-ish bowl, and beat with al electric mixer until thick. Don’t keep beating it after it’s already whipped because you will end up with butter, which is very nice, but not what you want. Very carefully, fold the melted and cooled chocolate with the whipped cream, mixing gently but thoroughly. A few streaky parts are OK. Spread this over the raspberry layer. Sprinkle the crumbled cake bits over top of the chocolate whipped cream. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours.

Just before serving, remove the sides of the springform pan and place the cake on a plate. You can sprinkle the top with icing sugar if you feel like it. But you don’t have to.

Makes 8 to 10 spectacular servings.

*Taken from Evelyn Raab’s Basic Cooking (see above for link)

9:05am: Looking up how to flour a cake pan. Thank God for google and wikiHow.

9:12am: Beat the eggs and sugar with an electric beater for 5 mins.
9:13am Realize exactly how long 5 minutes of holding an electric beater really is. Arm is getting sore.
9:14am: Still beating. Good God! Arm feels like it is going to fall off.
9:15am: Only 2 more mins to go. No longer have feeling in left arm.
9:16am: 1 more minute and have no resorted to holding beater with both hands.
9:17am: Done! Proceed with recipe.

9:25am: Put cake into oven and set timer. Sit back and relax while looking up best way to melt chocolate squares.

9:52am: Oven timer goes off waking you up from your cloudy state of mind. Where did the time go? Realize you’ve spent 27 mins clicking around on Facebook rather than being productive. So what else is new?

10:14am: Spread jam on to cake.
10:15am: Only manage to spread jam onto half the cake before jam runs out. Uses a different jam. Different flavour, different texture. Wonder if anyone will notice. Convince self that even if family members do notice, it is (practically) illegal for family members to point it out. Instead, family must smile and pretend it tastes good. Please see following instructional video.

10:30am: Finish making filling for torte. Feel like culinary master. Neglect to mention use of Cool Whip rather than real whipping cream on blog.

10:31am: ‘Fess up to Cool Whip on blog. Rationalize that Cool Whip is lactose free and therefore the smarter choice. Smooth out filling on torte.

10:40am: Plastic wrap torte and place in fridge. Reminder to self: remember to bring to Thanksgiving Dinner at Brother’s place tonight. Clean up.

10:52am: Relax because next dish should take approximately 30 mins to finish… maybe?

10:53am: Runs to check recipe for yams.

11:10am: Take off old chipped nail polish. Remind self to try out new Wicked nail polish from Sephora.

11:15am: Take shower.
11:17am: Lather shampoo. Remember that you haven’t exercised since Friday. Briefly consider going for quick run later.
11:18am: Decide that quick run is a sucky idea as who wants to shower again? Keep lathering shampoo. Rinse. Repeat.
11:21am: Finish shower and towel off. Feel pang of guilt about exercise. Lie to self about exercising tomorrow.

12:00pm: Husband offers to make lunch.

12:30pm: Make smoothie to hold off hunger pangs while waiting for lunch.
12:35pm: Finish smoothie. Contemplate chips.
12:36pm: Start painting nails to keep from digging into chips.

12:50pm: Wait for polish to dry.
12:55pm: Still waiting for polish to dry. Still waiting for lunch. Put on “Wizard of Oz” movie to distract self.

1:14pm: Husband finishes making lunch. Am famished and lunch smells good. Husband suggests you wait until nail polish is fully dry before eating. Laugh off suggestion since you’ve been painting nails for how long? You can certainly handle holding a sandwich.

1:20pm: Smudge three nails on left hand. Husband refrains from saying, “I told you so”.

1:35pm: Finish lunch. Remove smudged polish. Remind self to apply quick drying top coat before continuing.

Nail polish accident

Nail polish accident. Gangster pose.

2:11pm: Finish manicure fix up. Finish procrastinating. Begin Holiday Spiced Sweet Potatoes  (Yams).

Holiday Spiced Sweet Potatoes (Yams)*

  • 3 pounds (about 6 medium sized) red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams)
  • 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange peel
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Peel & cube sweet potatoes.  Bring to a boil, approximately 20 mins. Once potatoes are cooked (easily pierced with a fork), drain and place into large bowl.

Add brown sugar, butter, lemon juice, grated orange peel, ground cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg to sweet potato pulp. Using a potatoe masher, mash until mixture is smooth; season with salt and pepper.

Can be made a day ahead.

*Modified from Elise Bauer’s Simply Recipes.

2:15pm: Realize you’ve bought white sweet potatoes instead of orange. Go with it. Theme of day: “Oh Well”.

2:59pm: Potatoes not fully cooked. Add 5 more minutes. Hope to be done soon.

3:15pm: Made world’s ugliest potatoes. See evidence below:

 

World's Ugliest Potatoes. Note to self: Buy orange sweet potatoes next time.

World’s Ugliest Potatoes. Note to self: Buy orange sweet potatoes next time.

 

3:46pm: Must. Nap.

4:15pm: Wake up from awesome nap. Considering skipping dinner altogether to continue awesome nap. Reconsider.

4:45pm: Frantically organize food and face. Leave home for Surrey.

5:20pm: Make it to Surrey in one piece. Own father cuts you off in traffic and proceeds to drive like an old man. Because he is an old man.
5:21pm: Mom begins lecture you about your life and what you could do better. Realize you were better off staying in bed.

5:45pm: Start dinner.

5:55pm: Finish dinner.
5:59pm: Go back for 2nds.
6:00pm: Slip into food coma.

7:00pm: Eat dessert. Realize it’s too sweet and all of that effort was for naught.

7:33pm: Attempt to start a round of karaoke. Thwarted by Wheel of Fortune. Night is still young.

7:45pm: Play Hungry Hungry Hippos while waiting for software updates.

7:54pm: End up doing Karaoke! Night is starting to look up.

9:27pm: Heading back home. Have a good night everyone!

 

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Food coma

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Cookie Crisis

This weekend I wanted to do something nice for my husband who has been having a fairly stressful few weeks. So I decided to bake him a quick batch of chocolate and peanut butter chip cookies. Who could have known that this small task would turn into such a epic disaster?

As I was in the middle of combining the butter, sugar and eggs, my hand slipped while holding the electric mixer and it promptly broke (the mixer, not my hand). So I left having to try and mix everything by hand which would have been okay if I hadn’t already thrown the eggs in. Ugh. Not wanting to waste the butter and eggs, I mixed away using arm muscles I previously thought non-existant. A sludgy mess of ten minutes later, I remembered I had a hand blender given to us as a wedding present when we first got married (thanks again Jeff) and that I generally use to liquify soups. In a pinch it worked! Yay!

After that moment of triumph and relief, I chose to finally answer a text message. But my aforementioned arm muscles betrayed me and my phone slipped right outta my hands and into the gooey batter. Ack! Another ten minutes of cleaning up my phone later, I resumed the cookie baking.

After having formed and arranged the balls of dough on the baking sheets, I opened up the fridge to put away the rest of the dough for the time being. And that’s when I saw the ribs I had intended for dinner that night, innocently defrosting in the fridge. I was seriously vexed. This meant I had to stop the baking and get the ribs cooking asap since they needed at least 6 hours in the slow cooker (another wedding present, thanks Vicky!).

So two hours later I was finally done my “quick” batch of cookies and I was frazzled. All I gotta say is, these better have been worth it.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

I meant to add some whipped cream on top for extra flair but forgot.

You can tell that my husband’s favourite flavours are chocolate and peanut butter. Ever since being bitten by the baking bug, I’m constantly looking up new recipes that combine these two flavours. This pie that I tried recently was such a hit, hubby immediately went back for seconds which he never does.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie*

Ingredients
2 graham cracker crust (I went with a chocolate flavoured one but regular is ok)**
1 8oz package of cream cheese
1 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tub Cool Whip, divided
12 Reese Peanut Butter Cups, frozen and chopped
1 110g package of instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup milk
1/2 cup of confectioners sugar
2 chocolate squares

1) In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, 1 cup confectioners and peanut butter until fully combined. With a spatula, gradually fold in 1/2 the Cool Whip. Spread onto graham cracker crusts.

2) Spread the chopped Reese Peanut Butter cups on top.

3) In another bowl, lightly whisk together the pudding mix & milk for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes until thickened. With a spatula, gradually fold in 1/2 the Cool Whip. Spread over the peanut butter cups.

4) Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (or overnight).

5) Microwave on high 2 chocolate squares for 1 minute. Stir chocolate squares. Microwave another minute and stir. If chocolate is not fully melted, microwave for another 15 seconds. With a fork, drizzle chocolate on top of pies.

Yields: 2 pies (or 16 servings)

*adapted from Let’s Dish Recipes: Chocolate Peanut Butter No Bake Dessert

**I haven’t figured out how to divide this recipe in half without leaving me with, essentially, half the ingredients (eg: half a package of cream cheese) so I just made this for two pies.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is currently my favourite cookie recipe. Mainly because it’s so simple that I can whip up a batch in no time. Also because it always generates satisfying “yums” from my family, friends and coworkers who bite into one. Especially my husband who’s two favourite flavours are peanut butter & chocolate chip. Also because it makes people believe I know what I’m doing in the kitchen when in reality, I’m just flailing about.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies*

1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup peanut butter (smooth, not chunky and definitely NOT natural)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1-1/4 cup flour (I use white but you can also use whole wheat)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 pkg chocolate chips (I use milk chocolate but semi-sweet is traditional)

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a couple of cookie sheets with aluminum foil or, if you have it, parchment paper.

2) In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat together the butter, peanut butter, white sugar, brown sugar & egg until smooth and creamy. Basically, so until the ingredients not longer look like separate ingredients but a creamy light brown goo. Like 2-3 minutes with the electric beater. Don’t bother doing it by hand because you can’t get it smooth enough. I like to scrape the sides with a rubber spatula.

3) In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder & baking soda. Do it for like a minute so all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed and there are no lumps in the flour.

4) Add the dry ingredients into the large bowl with the wet ingredients and again, mix it together. I use my electric beater a bit here til I can’t see the flour anymore. At this point, throw in the package of chocolate chips and use a spatula to mix it together with the cookie dough.

5) Using your hands, roll the dough into 1 inch balls and place them on the cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.

6) Bake at 375 degrees F for 10-12 minutes until very slightly brown around the edges. Let cool on sheets for 3-5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack for 10 more minutes.

Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies.

Yum!

*adapted from Evelyn Rabb’s Basic Cooking (also known as Clueless in the Kitchen).

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