Tag Archives: food

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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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).

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Well Isn’t That Peachy: Peach-Streusel Bread

Since I’ve been home from camp, I’ve been on a baking kick. That’s right, I haven’t even touched my new sewing machine yet. Not once. Every morning, I lay in my bed and plan out my day. After making a logically organized goal list for the day in the notes on my phone, I pull myself out of bed and get myself ready for what’s ahead. However, the moment I set foot in my kitchen, my sister’s new Kitchen Aid Mixer stares me in the eyes, softly calls my name, and practically plugs itself in. And that’s that. I end up baking all day.

I can’t complain though. The summer months are full of fantastic flavours and tastes that deserve to be baked into delicious treats. The winter months are good for rich chocolate-y desserts, but summertime screams “fresh fruit”! I joined my sister on a trip to the local farmer’s market the other day. While we were there, we found a whole assortment of locally grown fresh fruits that we couldn’t resist. We picked up some blueberries, strawberries, and peaches. But with all that fresh fruit, we had no choice but to bake with it. Otherwise it would just go to waste, right? So we scratched our heads, pulled out some of our favourite recipe books, and got to work.

As we drove home from the farmer’s market, it dawned on me that I didn’t really know what flavours went nicely with peaches. A while back I came across a recipe for Apple Pie Bread. It looked fabulously delicious but needed to be saved for the autumn. However, after pondering the peach question for some time, I realized that peach would be a nice summer alternative to apples in the recipe. As it turns out, my leap of faith paid off because the adapted peach bread turned out delicious. I went back for seconds. And thirds. Okay, and maybe fourths.

In this recipe, peach is paired with cinnamon to create the perfect summery sweetness without being overwhelming. The loaf is topped with a delicious walnut streusel to add an extra crunch. It is crumbly, but every single crumb is worth eating (trust me, I watched my Dad eat every crumb off his shirt that was dropped in the process of eating a piece). The bread can be enjoyed as breakfast, with your afternoon tea, or as a late night snack. It also packs quite well in lunches.

Did I mention that it’s easier than (peach) pie to make?

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan with shortening. Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the buttermilk and baking powder and beat until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla. In a separate container, combine the cinnamon, flour, and salt. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and mix just until combined. Stir in the diced peaches. Pour the mixture into the greased loaf pan.

In a smaller bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour for the streusel topping. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until small crumbs form. Stir in the walnuts. Top the batter in the loaf pan with the streusel. Lightly press the streusel into the batter. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 20 minutes. When the loaf is finished, a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. Allow generous amounts of time to cool.

Once the bread is cooled completely, you can either slice it up piece-by-piece in the loaf pan or remove it from the pan and pre-slice it, storing the pieces in a tupperware container. The streusel can be quite crumbly so I personally find it more worthwhile to leave the bread in the loaf pan and slice it by need. That way, I can savour every bit of crumbly goodness!

What delicious fruits are in season around your neck of the woods? Do you have a local farmer’s market where you can get local fruits and veggies? What is your favourite summer fruit?

Have a peachy day, friends!

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Early Mornings, Late Nights, and London Fog Cupcakes

Let me tell you a little story.

Two years ago, a naive eighteen-year-old girl was preparing to begin a new chapter of her life at university. She wasn’t nervous or scared, but instead was excited to be more independent and self-reliant. Little did she know how much dedication, organization, and energy was required to be successful. When September hit, she was faced with the long and painful hours spent reading, the early mornings required to beat the traffic rush, and the chaotic atmosphere of students rushing here and there. Although stress quickly hit and a few breakdowns transpired, she found great comfort in the hours she spent in the coffee shop on campus, sipping away at her new found favourite hot drink. She made it through that year (and the next) with a little help from the pure sweetness that London Fogs brought to her study hours.

Okay, so London Fogs are not the only thing that got me through my first two years of school, but they definitely contributed. I have vivid memories of sipping the sweet drink while fighting my eyes to stay open as I read my astronomy textbook. And modern art history textbook. And arts and culture textbook. You get the point.

You may be reading this and thinking to yourself “What in the world is a London Fog?”. I don’t blame you for asking. It is essentially a sweetened earl grey tea latte. Put simply, vanilla syrup is added to earl grey tea and steamed milk. It is sweet and frothy and every sip is as good as the last. The only thing I can really say is: de-lish. If you haven’t tried one, you need to.

So that brings me here. The other night, I was tossing and turning into the late hours of the night. Millions of thoughts were running through my mind. From mental checklists to cupcake flavour combinations, my brain could not settle itself down. But I guess I can’t complain because I came up with some fabulous ideas for future baking projects, one of which being this one.

A couple weeks ago, I was scanning through one of my favourite blogs. I was introduced to the possibility of using tea in baked goods when I came across a recipe for Earl Grey and Poppy Seed Muffins. I wanted something sweeter than muffins though. I wanted cupcakes. So I adapted my favourite vanilla cupcake recipe to include earl grey, whipped up a batch, and swirled each with some delicious vanilla buttercream and chocolate sprinkles. Then I ate one. Or two.

So let’s make some, yeah?

Pour the milk into a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. Continuously whisk the milk to prevent it from burning on the bottom of the pot. When it begins to steam, add the tea bag and continue to whisk. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, whisking occasionally. Simmer it for two minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and cover, allowing the milk to sit for three minutes. Remove the lid and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the first three ingredients in a small bowl. Cream the butter and the sugar together. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla. Alternatively beat in the flour mixture and the milk mixture, starting and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly into paper-lined cupcake tins. Bake for 20 minutes. Cupcakes will be slightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. Remove from pans and allow to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting, cream together 3/4 cups of softened butter and 1 and 3/4 cups of icing sugar. Add a pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and 1 tablespoon of milk. Beat until light and fluffy. Transfer to a piping bag adorned with a preferred decorating tip. Cover the tops of cooled cupcakes and sprinkle with chocolate sprinkles.

That’s all there is to it. Whether you are an avid tea lover, an adventurous flavour seeker, or just simply willing to try something new, you will love these cupcakes! The earl grey flavour is not overpowering at all and combines perfectly with the vanilla. The buttercream is very sweet, so I suggest going easy on the swirls of frosting. Overall, the flavours combine together quite nicely and create a delicious (and in my case nostalgic) treat.

As I baked these up, I couldn’t help but wonder what other flavours besides vanilla would go nicely with earl grey. I also tried thinking of what other flavours of tea would bake nicely into a cupcake. What do you think? Green tea? Herbal teas? Something fruity?

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