Posts tagged under Baking. Show all posts.
We’re having a bake off and we’re proud. No, it’s not 1950, it’s 2009 (and retro is in). Actually all the moms at Savvy HQ are getting rather excited about this little competition. It’s not that any of us are competitive, or think that our cooking (or recipes) is better than any others; not at all. We just truly love to cook, bake and bring delectable treats into the office every week to share. And we like to win. (Did I mention that already?)
So we’re whipping up fabulous seasonal shortbreads, biscottis and brownies to share in the office and will be posting the delicious (but not necessarily nutritious) recipes on the EatSavvy Blog. Right here.
So stay tuned for some great holiday recipes that the Savvy moms are serving in their own homes this holiday season.
And please, send us your favourite holiday baking recipes to share with us.
Things are gearing up for our SavvyMom bake-off and last week I was first to submit my entry. Not having many traditional ‘make it every year’ recipes in the family (other than a VERY labour-intensive rolled sugar cookie recipe my husband’s family always makes), I decided on shortbread and went looking for a recipe. Somewhere along the way, a citrus craving ensued and lemon shortbread it was.
And when I found a simple recipe that could be made in a 10x15 jelly roll pan (also known as a cookie sheet, although a real cookie sheet does not have sides), I was very excited. Strips/squares beat rolling dough or dropping spoonfuls every time, especially at this very busy time of year. Plus the recipe makes a lot of cookies, and it uses only a few ingredients, all of which you probably have on hand already.
They seemed to be popular at the office—lots of comments on the nice combination of sweet and tart these cookies offer. And with that, I’m crossing holiday baking off the list!
Lemony Shortbread Strips
Makes about 40 – 50 cookies
Prep and Cook
Good to know: You can make in advance and freeze the entire pan. Glaze upon defrosting, and then cut into strips.
You might have noticed that we are sort of into baking at SavvyMom HQ these days and we know that many moms are too. It’s all part of the season—even if you’re not a baker (like me). If you plan to produce some gingerbread, sugar or shortbread cookies this season, we have just the gadget to make them even more special. You can find them at Williams-Sonoma and they are called Message-In-a-Cookie holiday cookie cutters. Imprint your child’s name, use them as place cards on your holiday table, make ornaments with them or deliver a special message to a friend. Just make sure you have fun using them.
I love to cook but I’ll admit that baking is not really my favourite activity in the kitchen. But I do enjoy making stuff with the kids and especially around this time of year, so I am always on the hunt for simple, but delicious holiday recipes that I can use for entertaining or as hostess gifts. Chocolate bark has always been a favourite, so this year, when I kept coming across a recipe from Chipits (no, this is not an ad. I just kept seeing the ads everywhere), I had to try it. I brought it into the office and it was a big hit and I served it at a dinner party with ice cream and fresh raspberries where it was also very well received.
Here is the recipe (courtesy of Hershey Canada Inc):
Toffee Bits Triangles
Makes 60 triangles
Prep and Cook
When I found out we were having the SavvyMom HQ bake-off, I immediately thought of a holiday treat my mom used to make when I was growing up. Her recipe for Confetti Bars is quick and super easy—both important criteria for the mom of 17 month-old twins. This recipe is all about peanut butter, so those with allergies, take note. It’s also a no-bake recipe (yet somehow still qualified for the bake-off), that would be lots of fun to make with kids—they could easily help measure and mix the ingredients. The cookie tasters at HQ said: “It’s the perfect church or bake sale cookie!” Enjoy!
Prep and Cook
Despite the fact she works from her home office, when Holly, our Production Manager and EatSavvy photographer, discovered that we were having the SavvyMom bake-off at the office she did not want to be left out. She chose to submit one of her children’s favourite holiday recipes—gingerbread. We thought about asking Holly to courier the cookies to the office for testing, but figured her own children would be the best judges. Both of her kids loved the cookies (and took some for their school snack). So did Alice (the kitten), who snuck away and was found snacking on a gingerbread Christmas tree.
Holly’s Gingerbread Cookies
Makes 3 dozen cookies
Smooth Vanilla Frosting
Prep and Cook
Good to know: For added nutrition, use half whole wheat and half of Robin Hood’s Nutri-Flour Blend instead of all purpose flour. If you want to use the cookies as ornaments, cut a small hole near the top with the end of a straw before baking. Once the cookies have cooled, thread a ribbon through the hole. To save time, Holly used Cake Mate cookie icing.
What is your favourite holiday cookie?
Photo copyright Holly Sisson Photography
I got something in my Christmas stocking this year that I never knew I needed, and now I am wondering how I ever lived without it. It’s called a Mini Measure but you may recognize as a modified shot glass. The thing that makes it different from a regular shot glass is that the measurements on the outside are for teaspoons, tablespoons and millilitres (maximum quantity is 2 Tbsp), making it ideal for measuring vanilla extract and other liquid ingredients, without the fear of spilling them out of the measuring spoon before you get them in the bowl. It’s certainly measured up to be perfect baking companion. ($3.99 from www.mileskimball.com)
Hi. My name is Denise and I am a carb-oholic. My addiction begins at breads and includes bagels, toast, English muffins, breakfast pita, and my strongest vice, muffins. I love muffins! My biggest challenge with this vice is avoiding temptation. Each morning on the way to work I walk by four bakeries and three coffee shops, all of which sell muffins. The muffins look delicious from the outside, but if you take a look at what’s on the inside, you will discover that most are made with white flour, void of whole grains, loaded with sugar, and very high in fat. Is it is a muffin or a cake?
In my previous life, I would have picked up a coffee and a muffin from my local coffee shop every day of the week, without considering the nutritional (or lack of) value. Today, I am more health conscious and therefore more selective when it comes to the muffins I eat. The most effective way to manage this is to make my own muffins.
I love to bake, and over the years I have compiled a collection of ‘family-favourite’ muffin recipes. Unfortunately, by the time the homework is completed, the bedtime routine is finished, and the dishes are done, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to make muffins from scratch. This is where Grainstorm baking mixes come in. SavvyMom was first introduced to Grainstorm products a couple of years ago and we loved them. Recently, they reconnected with us to let us know about some improvements they had made to their production facility, website and product line. We thought we should ask for some samples. I, of course, chose to try the muffin mix. Grainstorm muffin mixes come in two blends—Ancient Grain Muffin Base and Kamut Muffin Base. These freshly-ground, organic grain muffins are quick and simple to make, rich in wholesome ingredients, lower in sugar than other muffin mixes, and best of all—delicious.
My sons love them just as much as I do, and because they are nut and peanut-free, I can send them to school. I fill a combination of mini and regular-sized muffin tins—perfect wholesome snacks for recess and mid-morning coffee breaks. I am no longer tempted by the ones in the coffee shops. You can either make the muffins from the instructions on the packaging or create your own variation by adding dried fruit, chocolate chips, or ripe banana. These mixes are great to have on-hand in your pantry, too. Available at www.grainstorm.ca.
What is your favourite packaged mix?
One batch of cookies doesn’t seem to last very long in our house. On Thursday evening of last week I baked a whole batch, but since it’s difficult to resist freshly baked cookies, I lost a few that same night. And, after a full weekend of skiing and playing in the snow, everyone’s appetites were huge. By the time I went to pack lunches for school the next morning, there was only one cookie left in the cookie jar. So just in case there was time later, I removed the butter from the fridge to soften.
Fortunately for me, my kids enjoy baking (and I always have chocolate chips on hand). At age 10, Cameron can confirm the measurements and Spencer loves to crack the eggs and do the mixing, as most six year-olds do. After a snowball fight, snow soccer and tobogganing off the end of the neighbour’s deck, they were ready for a snack (and a break). In my experience, baking and cooking are both great activities for calming kids down after an active day. Store the cookies in the pantry, cookie jar, or freezer in an airtight container. Cut a round or square shaped piece of vanilla ice-cream and sandwich it in between two of the cookies for a quick and easy dessert idea. Or serve a cookie wedge with a scoop of ice-cream. I can’t promise that your cookies will last any longer in your house, but with a recipe as simple as this, you can always bake more.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 2 dozen cookies (or 1 cookie wedge)
Prep and Cook
What is your child’s favourite afterschool snack?
Thank you all for your wonderful comments, sharing your fave recipes to bake, and taking the time to enter. We have five lucky winners and hope you enjoy baking up a storm. Congratulations to Stephanie Hobbs, Karen Burka, Lori Van Soelen, Amanda Gouveia and Chris MacDonald.
Here’s our original blog below:
If you’re planning on baking a cake this weekend for Father’s Day and are in need of some assistance or inspiration, you wouldn’t need to look any further if you were the proud owner of In the Sweet Kitchen: The Definitive Baker’s Companion by Regan Daley (Random House), an esteemed pastry chef at a number of Toronto’s top restaurants.
The cookbook was awarded the Cookbook of the Year Award by the International Association of Culinary Professionals and not only provides 140 great recipes, but also an informative overview of baking, the importance of choosing the right ingredients, shopping guides, technique guides (how to sift, fold or cream) tips and the occasional chemistry lesson. The photos are stunning and the recipes delicious—it’s definitely a go-to guide for baking.
And the good news is that we have five copies to give away this month on EatSavvy—just leave a comment on the blog here about what you like to bake before July 15 and we will conduct a random draw from all of them. That’s sweet!
My twin daughters, Madeline and Riley, turned two last week and to celebrate we had a big party with family and friends at our home. There were almost 40 adults and 9 children to feed and keep entertained and like at most parties, the dessert was a centrepiece.
Originally I had this great, elaborate plan to bake a cake and decorate it with Cookie Pops made to look like Sesame Street characters. Well, that didn’t work out so I turned to my back-up plan—Cupcake Cones!
These fun little desserts are perfect for kids because there is very little mess, and they look super cute.
Here’s how to make them:
Prep and Cook
Both the kids and the adults loved them and wondered how I got the cupcake into the cone! This is a fun dessert that is perfect for a birthday party, or as a special treat.
Saturday, August 7, 2010 was the perfect day for my wedding. Gord and I were married at 4:30 pm at our island cottage on Lake St. Nora, in Haliburton, Ontario. It was a magical day for all in attendance.
As is the case with most cottage weddings, this summer wedding was anything but traditional—it is a second marriage for both of us, we were married beside the lake, our children stood up for us, our playlist included hits from The Black-Eyed Peas, our dance floor was a dock and we served chocolate wedding cake for dessert!
While planning the menu for the wedding, there was unanimous consent from our children for a chocolate wedding cake. Pastry chef, Leigh, from Farmer’s Daughter in Huntsville, Ontario, worked her magic and created a gorgeous dark chocolate cake with chocolate ganache frosting and fresh raspberry filling, iced with a vanilla buttercream icing. Vertical rows of beautiful, hand-piped flowers encircled both layers of the cake. It was rich, moist and absolutely delicious.
I know I could never reproduce my wedding cake, but I couldn’t help wanting to try. Besides, chocolate cake will never go to waste in our house. I have a number of different chocolate cake recipes I use, but one more than the others. With a few modifications to that recipe, I have come up with something pretty close. As much as I love chocolate, I think a chocolate frosting would be a bit too much chocolate, even for me.
Decadent Chocolate Cake with Chocolate and Raspberry Filling
Prep and Cook
More details (and photos) about the food to come in my next blog post.
What is your favourite cake recipe?
While I love to cook, I’m really not much of a baker. The rigidity of the recipes runs counter to my more free-form cooking style (I never follow a recipe to the letter). However, at this time of year, I always feel a need to do a batch or two of cookies to contribute to all the holiday baking trays and holiday bake sales that abound. This year I am experimenting with two new recipes, a chocolate crinkle cookie, and a variation on my favourite-to-make shortbread. Instead of lemon, this year I am going with a festive white-chocolate/cranberry version. Why do I like making shortbread? Check out how short the ingredient list is for the basic shortbread—you can mix in anything you like after you have the dough made.
Cranberry White Chocolate Shortbread
Prep and Cook
Good to Know: To avoid the effort of dropping the cookies by the spoonful, you can also press the dough flat into a sheet pan. Prick the dough all over with a fork after you have put it in the pan. Baking time will be increased. Bake until edges are lightly browned, probably 20 to 25 minutes, depending on the oven.
Watch this space for more holiday baking recipes straight from the SavvyMom staff’s kitchens. Enjoy!
It is with great remorse that I admit to not having started my holiday baking. My late start is certainly not due to a shortage of ideas. In fact I have a file overflowing with great holiday cookie and square recipes, both old and new. I just couldn’t seem to find a good time to start. But our annual SavvyHQ Bake-Off finally gave me the impetus I needed to get started.
Inspired by my children’s love for cheese and crackers, I thought I would begin my holiday baking with something savory. When my kids were little, I was actually crazy enough to make homemade goldfish crackers…needless to say, I only did it once. A month or so ago I came across this recipe while flipping through a magazine at the doctor’s office and, with a couple of modifications, I thought I would give it a try.
Despite having puff pastry in the list of ingredients, making homemade cheese sticks is actually very easy. They make a perfect hostess gift, either tied together in bunches with some ribbon or presented in a festive cookie tin.
Savoury Cheese Sticks
Makes about 25–30
Prep and Cook
Good to Know: Puff pastry isn’t nearly as intimidating to work with as one would think.
My contribution to the 2nd annual SavvyMom Holiday Bake-Off is not a tried-and-true family recipe, but rather a tasty treat I first had at Thanksgiving time when attending a birthday party for my cousin’s young son. After sampling these delicious squares, I had to get the recipe.
The best part, after the taste, is how simple they are to make. Four ingredients and 20 minutes is all you need.
Chocolatey Skor Bars
Prep and Cook