Category Archives: BAKING

Overloaded Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

Overloaded Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake. That’s a mouthful.

Literally. It’s worth every single marshmallowy, chocolate-chipped, caramel and peanut butter-covered bite. It’s also worth every single jolt of stomach pain you suffer from eating a way-too-big slice after 9 o’clock at night.

cookie cake 1

cookie cake 4

cookie cake 2

I had a moment to sit down and read through some of my favourite blogs today. I fully intended on spending the day laying around on my couch and relaxing, but the moment I saw the post for this cake on Sprinkle Bakes, my baking fire ignited and I just had to try it! The base of the cake is essentially a giant chocolate-chip cookie baked in a springform pan. It is then topped with marshmallow fluff, peanut butter chips, chopped up peanut butter cups, marshmallows, chocolate chips, caramel sauce, and peanut butter buttercream. Could it get any sweeter?

No. No, it could not.

cookie cake 5

It feels so good to be baking again. Now that classes are winding down, the flowers are blooming, and the sun is shining a little bit longer with each passing day, I’ve got baking fever! I hope to be sharing more and more recipes over the coming months.

I hope you’re all having a blessed April and are embracing every possible opportunity to find a smile each day!

Tagged , , , ,

Soft, Sweet, and Cinnamon-y: French Toast Cupcakes

I am addicted to sugar. Yes, I like my fair share of white sugar, brown sugar, and certainly icing sugar. But one of my absolute favourite ways to enjoy the sweetness is through delicious maple syrup. Sometimes, I only make pancakes or french toast because I’m craving syrup (I don’t actually really like pancakes that much). I have been on a three day break from school, so I decided to spend my last full day off baking up a storm and experimenting with tasty flavours.

I whipped up a fairly classic cupcake recipe, but substituted maple extract for the vanilla extract. This gave a faint maple flavour. I also made some streusel to give the cupcakes a little bit of crunch. They baked quite nicely, coming out fairly light and very soft. They tasted so delicious on their own that I ended up snacking on a few before I even got around to adding the maple syrup buttercream. Beware: they are addictive.

When the cupcakes were cooled, I topped each with a swirl of maple syrup buttercream. I was unfortunately out of pure maple syrup, but I made do with a little maple extract and butter-flavoured table syrup. I then sprinkled each with a cinnamon-sugar mixture to add a special touch. The finished cupcakes were soft, sweet, and slightly crunchy–all the good things about french toast.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper cupcake liners. Begin by making the streusel. Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Using a fork, break up the cubes of butter until they resemble small crumbs. If needed, rub the butter between your fingers to break it up even smaller. Place the streusel in the fridge while you make the cupcakes.

Cream together the butter and the sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Mix in the maple extract. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk to the wet mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture (3 additions of flour mixture, 2 additions of milk). Mix only until incorporated. Divide evenly between the muffin cups. Sprinkle a generous amount of the streusel on top of each cupcake. Bake for 23-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely. It will make approximately 12 cupcakes.

For the maple buttercream, cream 1/2 cup of softened butter with 1 3/4 cups of icing sugar. Add a tablespoon of milk, two tablespoons of maple syrup and a sprinkle of salt. Beat until light and fluffy. Add additional milk or syrup to taste. Transfer buttercream to a piping bag fitted with your desired tip and top the cooled cupcakes. Combine sugar with cinnamon and sprinkle on top of each.

These cupcakes are so tasty that you will certainly want to eat them for breakfast. But that’s ok because french toast is a breakfast food, right? I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend. I hope you are finding every excuse to enjoy something tasty and sweet on these chilly autumn days!

Tagged , , , ,

Trick or Treat: Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Halloween night is finally here. As I scrambled to get my pumpkin carved before all the little ghouls and witches arrived, I realized that these opportunities don’t come around every day. Pumpkin season is almost over, so I’ve got to enjoy every last flavour of pumpkin while I can! I easily separated the seeds from the carving “guts” and set them aside.

For some reason, I have always had some pre-conceived idea that toasted pumpkin seeds were tricky to make. I’ve tried making them in the past and was never quite satisfied. But this time it was different. The seeds toasted really nicely and quickly and were crunching between my teeth before I could even say “Happy Halloween”.

TOASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS

As you “gut” your pumpkin, separate the seeds as best as you can. Place them in a bowl. Place them in a strainer and run them under water for a while, separating all the pumpkin bits and strings. Measure the pumpkin seeds. In a medium saucepan, for every 1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds, add 2 cups of water and 1/2 tablespoon of salt. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes. Strain.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush a baking pan with olive oil and lay the seeds out as evenly as possible. Place on the highest rack in the oven and toast for 10-15 minutes or until seeds are slightly browned. Remove from oven. Allow to cool. Transfer to a small serving dish or air tight container.

That’s it–so easy, right? They’re crunchy and can be adorned with any flavours that suit your taste. Perhaps cinnamon and sugar? Maybe some taco spice? The flavour possibilities are so versatile and endless.

I hope you all have a wonderfully Happy Halloween! Don’t do too much tricking, and certainly don’t eat too many treats (even though it’s so tempting).

Tagged , , , , ,

Weekday Round-Up: Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

Have you missed me? I’ve missed you. I’ve missed this. I’ve missed crafting, photographing, blogging, and posting. But as I mentioned earlier, my time has been invested in settling into my new virtual kitchen. And boy oh boy, is she ever cookin’! I have been baking up a storm these past few weeks. I don’t know if it is because I know that school is starting again soon so I want to get all of my “bucketlist” baking items checked off, or if it is simply because I am feeling flavourfully inspired. Regardless, my Kitchen Aid has been mixing, my oven has been baking, and I have certainly been eating!

I usually do Weekend Round-Ups, but this is a special occasion. I wanted to share a few (okay, so there are a lot of them) photos that give you a better idea of where the heck I’ve been these past few weeks.

From custom sugar cookies to experimental cupcake flavours, peanut butter brownie cups and classic chocolate chip cookies, the baking has failed to cease. I have two words for you: sugar coma. And that, my friends, is where Carmen Sandiego (or in this case, Amber Wideman) has been.

Today, I have aspirations to finally get my sewing machine set up! When that happens, the sewing will resume along with the crafting, knitting, card-making, and re-fashioning. I hope you are all appreciating these last few bursts of summer. Many blessings!

Looking to make some of these treats? You can access the recipes for White-Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes, Chocolate Chai Cupcakes, Chocolate Chip CookiesChunky Monkey Cupcakes, and sugar cookies.

Tagged , , , , ,

Diary of a Cookie Cutter

Have you ever moved? You spend hours upon hours packing up boxes, organizing all of your belongings into appropriate categories, and gathering friends and family to help with the heavy lifting. Eventually you reach your new home, only to find it completely empty with the huge task of settling in looming above your head. Where do you start? Will you ever feel settled again?  These are a few of the questions that you ask yourself as you prepare to unpack.

Although I have only moved houses once in my lifetime, I have recently asked myself these unsettling questions. As you may or may not know, I am an aspiring baker. Recently, I have been spending a lot of time creatively exploring my future in the art of baking. From brainstorm journals to e-courses, research to daydreaming, I have been striving to develop a business. I’ve been taking custom baking orders for a couple of years now, but now that my work is getting “out-there”, I am looking for new ways that I can create a brand for my products that is appealing to my future customers. One aspect of this is developing a social media experience that is simple and easily accessible.

The move I’ve made involved relocating from one virtual kitchen to another. I have been operating a blog through Tumblr called Diary of a Cookie Cutter that chronicles some of my adventures in baking. Tumblr worked really well for my needs in the past, but now that I am passing out the web address as my main form of contact for potential customers, I needed a system that was more organized and easy to navigate. Since I have been hosting this blog on WordPress for nearly eight months now, I decided that my other blog needed to make the move.

Needless to say, I have been spending oodles of time trying to settle into my new kitchen. It’s hard to transfer a couple of year’s worth of baking posts to a new place, so I have decided to leave the majority of them at their old home and have created a link to the new blog.

So I am starting to settle into my new blog. The essentials have been unpacked and the rest will come slowly but surely. I’ve developed a Gallery that features various albums of some of my baked goods. I’ve also created a very specific Contact page that contains all the information needed for customers to contact me. I have even created a Recipe Archive (similar to this site) and a more baking-specific About page.

I’ve already created three posts at my new home. “The Story of a Cookie-aholic” gives an overview of my purpose for re-locating as well as gives a little background information about my love for baking. “The Top Five Tastes of Summer” counts down my five favourite summer bakes so far. And finally, “Go Bananas: Chunky Monkey Cupcakes” is my very first recipe post and is littered with numerous photos of some tasty banana cupcakes. I’m excited to share even more and more as I explore flavour combinations and test lots of recipes.

If you are interested in the baking-aspect of A SMILE EACH DAY, I suggest that you hop on over to The Diary of a Cookie Cutter. It contains even more posts about delicious and tempting treats.

So once again, I just want to say thank you. I appreciate your patience as I get my belongings unpacked. I hope that you are all finding lots of smiles each and every day!

Tagged , , , , ,