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Saturday, October 4, 2014

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars & a Virtual Baby Shower

It was only three months ago that I woke up and became a teary mess to my own virtual baby shower from my fabulous group of blogging.  It was such a special sweet moment for me that when the chance came to repeat that for Christina from Strawberries for Supper I couldn't wait to do the same.  Christina is a sweetheart and if you have ever read her posts has a brilliant sense of humor.
friends. We all can't wait for her little bundle to arrive.  My little girl is anxious to meet her new boyfriend.


In the spring the group of us took a trip to Elora, to walk around, have lunch but mainly to buy bread from the Elora Bread Company.   We all pretty much walked out of there with a minimum three loaves.  They were all delicious.   My bread became even better thanks to a jar of honey plum jam from Christina.  YUM! Since I know she has mad skills and likes to make her own jams, I thought what better dessert for the shower than one that involves jam.    What goes good with jam, Peanut butter of course.   Let's consider this the sandwich aspect of the shower.

Happy Virtual Baby Shower!!  Hope you had the same reaction as me.

Check out what her other incredible bloggy friends are bringing to this party:

Planet Byn - Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Caramel Squares
The Brunette Baker - Apple Custard Pie
Living Lou - Baklava
The Tasty Gardener - Apple Bread Pudding
My Daily Randomness - Grilled Peach Pavlova 

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

(Adapted from Ina Garten)
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups peanut butter
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups jam of your choosing
  • 1/2 cups peanuts

1.  Preheat your oven to 350F.  Grease or spray with non stick a 10 x 10 pan. Line it with parchment paper or tin foil, then grease or spray and flour the pan.
2 In a large bowl or your mixer bowl cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, a couple minutes.
Add the vanilla, eggs, and peanut butter and mix on low until all ingredients are combined.
3. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture. Mix just until combined.

Spread 2/3 of the dough into the prepared cake pan and spread over the bottom with a knife or offset spatula. Spread the jam evenly over the dough. Drop small globs of the remaining dough evenly over the jam. Don't worry if all the jam isn't covered; it will spread in the oven. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and cut into squares.

If you also happen to miss all the scrumptious posts from my shower as I failed to give them a proper post of shout outs... Please check them out now as well.

Robyn from Whats Cooking on Planet Byn : Strawberry Sprinkle Ice Cream Sandwiches
Christina from Strawberries for Supper: Fudgey Teff Brownies
Heather from The Tasty Gardener: Banana Bundt Cake with Pecan, Banana, Caramel Sauce
Jenny from The Brunette Baker: Bananas Foster Banana Bread
Lou from Living Lou: Easy Banana Cupcakes

Monday, September 29, 2014

Rhubarb and Raspberry Galette - Messy Baker Monday

Have you heard of The Messy Baker?    She is a fellow Canadian food blogger,  who cooks and bakes delicious and beautiful dishes and treats.   She also happens to have an amazing cookbook coming out that will tempt you even further.   Her book is full of appetizers, mouth watering baked goods and showstopping desserts.   This is honestly one of those books where you scroll through and if you were to mark the pages of things you really wanted to make with paper, there would paper flaps hanging out of almost every page.

Several bloggers and I have all gotten together to tease you with some of the wonderful dishes from her book.   If you like what you see I highly suggest you put The Messy Baker on list of cookbooks to purchase you will not be sorry.

This recipe for Rhubarb & Raspberry Galette with Fragipane was delightful.  The recipe uses one of her versions of No Fail pastry crusts.  I did the one with butter and it was so easy and perfectly flaky.   Next on my list to make from this cookbook is the Mushroom, Leek and Gruyere Tart or the Cherry and Lemon Macaroon Meringues,  which you can see below.

Check out the links from my fabulous blogging friends to see more Messy Baker delights.  If you want to see all the recipes though you are going to have to pick up a copy of this book for yourself.  Buy Now!

Whiskey Kissed Pecan Pie
Blueberry Lime Cornmeal Muffins
Chili Cheese Twists
Cherry & Lemon Macaroon Meringues
Ginger and Vanilla Scones
Piglet Muffins with Caramelized Bacon
Double Stuff Uber Oreos
Basil & Aged Cheddar Scones // Deep Dark Cherry and Chipotle Brownies
Pecan Cheddar Bites
Tomato/Arugula Stuffed Focaccia
Smoked Paprika Corn Fritters
Welsh Griddle Cakes

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Experimenting with Oats plus a Reveal Dessert

This guy I work with is obsessed with Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies.   He has had some woes in trying to make his own but he has been content with the President's Choice tube pack.   He can cut off two slices, only make two and be happy.  Through our lengthy conversations about baking and cookies I have discovered he has no "real" oven.  He has a stove top and a counter top toaster oven.  It is a fancy one so he can cook a lot of things but I still think this hinders his quest for a perfect cookie.   He also has been baking cookies in a cake pan and making giant bars instead of round cookies. I also had to school him on the importance of bringing ingredients to room temperature and was (in my opinion) over baking them.

His quest to make a good cookie,  put me on a quest.   We got on a discussion about using rolled oats or quick oats. This made me wonder what I preferred and what would make the best oatmeal chocolate chip cookie.   Before testing the oats I figured I needed to go to a recipe I knew would be fairly fool proof.   I looked at my cookbooks and the big Bouchon Bakery book was standing out over all the others.   This recipe will be my starting point.

I took the recipe, made some minor tweaks and made three batches of oatmeal cookies.
  • one with all rolled oats
  • one with half rolled/half quick
  • one with all quick
Over the course of several days I brought these into work for the guys to taste test.  In general the Bouchon Bakery Oatmeal Cookie recipe is solid.  One of the best I have tried so far.  Every batch came out delicious. The one thing I love about this book is that is has weights along with cups for measurements. I always love to use my scale if I can to be more precise, something that has been rooted in me since pastry school.   By the end of our testing, he was dying for the recipe.  You think after 3 batches of cookies we all would have been sick of oatmeal cookies but NO.  I could have made 3 more batches and eaten them all.  After days of him asking for me to post the recipe or take a picture of it, I finally got him the recipe.  He then proceeded to ask me if I have seen the big baking book with the cookie sandwich and glass of milk on the cover.   I honestly started laughing.  "This is where the recipe is from!"   All this time he had the recipe sitting on his kitchen counter.  Of course it took him several batches for him to still make the cookie as well as I did, but last Tuesday he brought me in some cookies and I was seriously impressed.   

So what was our favorite?   The guys preferred the all rolled oats cookie while I actually preferred the mixed cookie.  The cookie with only quick oats were good but lacked enough texture and well a strong oat flavour. I liked the mixed because it seemed to give a good balance without being to hearty.  I will also say that the kosher salt in this recipe is key,  it makes such a difference in bringing out the flavour and adds a little hint of salty to the sweet.

I turned some of these cookies into a reveal dessert for some friends and family when we were announcing baby number #2 was a girl.   So easy, so cute and who doesn't love cookie sandwiches.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

(Adapted from Bouchon Bakery)

  • 144 grams (1 cup) unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 120 grams light brown sugar
  • 50 grams granulated sugar
  • 5.5 oz unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup chocolate chunks

Note : For my experiment I subbed 1 3/4 cups quick oats in the second batch and 3/4 cup rolled oats / 1 cup quick oats in the 3rd batch.

To make Gender Reveal Sandwiches
  • 1-2 cups your favorite buttercream
  • Pink or blue food dye
  • sprinkles

  1. In a small bowl combine, flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and whisk together.
  2. In a large bowl or mixer bowl beat butter until smooth and whipped. Add sugars and beat together until light, fluffy and well combined.
  3. Scrape down the bowl, (unless you have a beater blade with I highly recommend), add egg and vanilla mixing until just combined.
  4. Add flour mixture in two parts, mixing both on low until almost combined.
  5. Add oats and chocolate chunks and mix on low to just combine.
  6. Refrigerate the dough for a minimum 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 325F. Using a medium scoop place a round on to a parchment/silpat lined baking sheet.
  8. Bake the cookies for 14-16 minutes, until golden brown. This will get a soft chewy cookie, if you like a harder cookie, cook a few minutes more.
  9. Let cool on a pan a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  10. Store in an airtight container.
To Make Gender Reveal Sandwiches : 
  1. Separate out about a 1/4 of the buttercream and colour it to pink or blue.  
  2. Place the coloured and plain buttercream into to separate piping bags.  
  3. On the bottom center of one cookie, add the coloured buttercream, then circle it with the plain buttercream. 
  4. Place another cookie on top , then roll in sprinkles.  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Banana Recipe Round up

Did you get any pregnancy cravings while you were pregnant?    I don't remember too many with my first.   I did enjoy a few more things that I would have normally ate, like a few more poutines and nachos but otherwise I still ate quite healthy.

For baby #2 it is pretty much the same, I am having a few indulgences but still aiming to stay on track.    My craving this time around though is banana baked goods.  I could literally eat banana bread every day.  Oddly,  I am not actually craving real bananas, just banana baked goods.  I have never been a pure banana lover.  Even now I really only eat the excess of what my little one doesn't it to give baby #2 some potassium.
There is a cafeteria in a building across the street from my work and I swear they make the best banana bread I have EVER had!  I can guarantee it is not healthy and potentially soaked in melted butter after it is baked but honestly BEST EVER! It is dangerous really.   I tend to treat myself maybe once a week with it and for the rest of my cravings I go to recipes that are a bit more figure friendly like my Gluten Free Almond Banana Bread.

Since I need to mix up my banana baking and try some new recipes I have asked some blogging friends and scoured the web for some delicious banana baked goods and created this round up for you.  Some healthy, some not, but all 30 Banana recipes will satisfy any banana craving.


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