Campfire Bars – Butter Baked Goods

My mom’s 60th birthday was yesterday, December 21st and we kicked it off (and her time in Vancouver) with a surprize visit from my sister, a trip to Cavalia’s Odysseo and dinner at Sula. It was an incredible day, and truly it was also a celebration of my mom’s retirement which began on Thursday! Odysseo was incredible, the horses were beautiful and so well trained. There were often 20 horses on the stage and as many people, moving around without problem. The acrobatics were incredible, as is to be expected from a Cirque du Soliel show. The set was incredible, with a hill climbing up the back, the set was like a real field. It’s hard to describe the vastness of the set, but trust me, it was amazing and I would recommend anyone to go.

Also, and probably most importantly, after my sister, mom, and I finished our dinner, Kellie went up to pay for her part while I went to the washroom. Kellie mentioned that I, her sister, would be paying the other half. The cashier said, “Oh nice, are you all sisters?” Well my mom was just tickled! She does look young for 60, and clearly they thought she was young enough to be a sister to us, her daughters in their 20’s! There mom, now EVERYONE knows!

CampfireBars

Continue reading

Dark Chocolate & Candied Ginger Cookies for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap!

It’s that time of year again, cookie swap time! I was so thrilled to participate in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap last year, so of course I hustled to sign up again this year. There is nothing I love more than seeing what other bloggers create and also hearing if they’ve enjoyed my creations!

It was my absolute pleasure to send a batch of these to Gastronomical Sovereignty (soon to be She Eats)Peanut Butter and Onion, and the Savour Sisters. Check out these lovely blogs and help support incredible Canadian Food Bloggers! Of course, food bloggers from around the world participated, and I will post a link to the full list when it is posted on Monday!

Sadly, I have only received two of my three swap batches, but that’s alright because those I did receive we FANTASTIC! Further to this sadness though is that I promptly lost both the cards from both the batches that I did receive so I am going to keep an eagle out for their recipes so I can properly link to them and thank them here. I figured one out!

First, from Sweet Twist of Baking, I received delicious espresso short bread with dried cherries and almonds, which I ate with tea and coffee. They were so buttery and just lightly sweet that they felt appropriate for first thing in the morning… and in the afternoon… and before I went to bed. The other batch were sugar cookies (I believe… I am terrible at naming cookie types). They were thin but sturdy with a good bite. The icing on top was PERFECT, with little silver dragees for sparkle and crunch. These also got promptly gobbled up with tea and coffee. So, thanks to those two wonderful bloggers who I promise I will name when I a) hear from you; b) hunt down your recipe; c)find your cards.

ChocolateGingerCookies

Continue reading

Surprize Tea Cookies

I still haven’t gotten around to correcting the issues with my site, so I am sorry about the smaller images crunched over to the side. I am looking at new style, and may do some testing with it tomorrow. We’ll see.

I can’t believe that we are half-way through November and well on our way to Christmas. I am really looking forward to visiting with my mom when she comes down to visit. It will be just a week but she is going to stay with us for another week in January, which will also be great. Holidays are wonderful and while I look forward to another year when our whole family can get together, having my mom stay with us will be special (sorry you have to sleep on the couch!).

SurprizeTeaCookies

Continue reading

Chocolate Kitchen Sink Cookies

One thing I love about coming home from trips is seeing what kind of organizational innovations Gen has achieved in my absence. This trip I came back to my knives standing on-end inside a pitcher, the cutlery mixed in the holder (rather than divided), and all the pots stacked on the stove, clean but not put away. He did buy a Costco pack of new tupperware, which I am thrilled about, so that’s good! And really, the kitchen took just a few minutes to straighten out, I really kind of like my kitchen roulette.

0310ec8d0e79404bba511d0590f51e0b

Continue reading

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Toasted Coconut Cookies, whew

Well we’ve had summery, lovely weather for the past few weeks. Yesterday afternoon the weather broke and we are slated for a rather drizzly week to come, but I am alright with that. The intermittent rain is just one thing I love about Vancouver; cool days to break up the hot ones is my favourite kind of summer!

Lots has happened in this last week. First, I found out that I’ve been chosen for a wonderful graduate award (that I am not sure if I am allowed to formally announce yet). They are flying myself and the other recipients to Toronto in the middle of June to attend a Board of Director’s dinner. I need to write a 5-minute speech to say at the dinner and a bio about myself in case my story is picked up by media, crazy! Anyway, I have been so fortunate to have such wonderful references for opportunities like this, as well as the job opportunities that have come about, so I definitely have to thank my wonderful former-boss and friend, Johanne, my internship supervisor, Lindsay, and my lovely and talented best friend, Caelin!

Also, I’ve been in straight-panic mode lately about our impending move from our amazing apartment. When I sent in our second year’s worth of cheques last year sometime, our landlord had told us that they’d like to retake the place in September of 2013. We were sad about the date but were so thankful to get to live in this wonderful spot for two whole years. Anyway, this whole week I’ve been determined to find us a great place so that we can move this summer instead of having to hustle out of here last minute in the fall. On a whim, a whim that my mother suggested, I emailed Marta (our wonderful landlady) to confirm that they were still needing the place for the fall. WELL, I’ll be damned if she didn’t email me back to say that we could stay for another year. HUZZAH! We are so love this location, the apartment, and now we are getting to know our neighbours. And, to make things better, she mentioned that they’d like to swap out the carpet for laminate (this carpet is terrible!). So, things are great. My husband said, when I called him about the apartment, “We are so lucky, well no(thinking of my dad), but this is one great thing.”

These are bribery cookies. No, donation-solicitation cookies. No, donation-encouraging cookies. Okay, so they are cookies that will sit beside a sign that tells the story of my dad, his battle, our loss, and the Spring Sprint that is yet to come. We are in the last leg of our fundraising campaign and I’d love to top out our fundraising at $5000 (we are at $3,500). So, I am bringing cookies into work and into trivia to encourage people to either donate-to or join our cause.

6015569dc52b8b9b16a5c76666325178

Continue reading

Chocolate Chipotle Cookies- kicky treats

I am knocking on wood while I type this, but it looks like summer has arrived in Vancouver! It has been gorgeous all week and is slated to be in the mid-twenties for the weekend and into next week. I will take all the doses of summer that I can! Gen and I have even planned a picnic for today at the beach and we are really looking forward to getting outside and getting some well-deserved sunshine.

I can’t believe it’s already been a week since my mom was here, actually it feels much longer, like her visit hadn’t even happened! I keep thinking how excited I am for her to get here, even though she just left. BUT she is coming back, hence my continued excitement. Kellie, the girls, and mom arrive on the 23rd of May. I am really looking forward to seeing everyone, including all of our other friends and family who are flying in/boating in for the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada’s Spring Sprint on the 26th. I can’t believe how quickly the event has come, and I am so looking forward to being part of this important event. Again, if you are interested in donating or knowing more you can click here now, or click the image to the right of my posts.

0bf3e98965c6747bf6b0ca875080d7c9

Continue reading

Hot Cross Buns! (Yes, I chocolated these, you can go the traditional route!)

One of my favourite things about Easter was searching for treats with my sister. We established our own rules: no looking for eggs when you came out of your bedroom, you bee-line for the kitchen;  when the hunt was underway, you stick together, entering rooms and searching areas at the same time; no sampling the winnings during the hunt; when we finally felt like everything was found (to the best of our hunting abilities… apparently we often missed ones, much to the joy of our parents) we counted every last egg, bunny, marshmallow figure, and split it evenly. We took this fairness in hunting very seriously. We were serious about splitsies.

Our awesome mom kept hiding chocolate for us every Easter, straight through our teens. When my sister (who is three years older than I) moved away for school at 18, I was worried that my hunting days were over. Fortunately, dad got on board for Easter egg hunting… fortunately may not be the best word. Dad was ruthless! He was not part of the very structured system that Kellie and I had established. He was a competitive, chocolate-crazed Easter monster! He snacked on the ones he spotted on his way out of bed in the morning, then we ran from room to room, dad shoved me out of the way, stole candy from my basket, and gorged himself throughout the hunt. I remember at the end of that first year of hunting with dad I was defeated and bewildered, and I came away with a very dismal haul. I tried to explain to dad the “proper” way to conduct yourself at Easter but it was clear, the rules had changed! The next year I was much more prepared. I scouted chocolates on the bookshelves in front of my bedroom, snagged a couple in the bathroom and was much more aggressive as we made our way around the house. We had a lot of fun.

HotcrossBuns

Continue reading

Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Well, things are exciting! I have been offered an absolutely wonderful position! I start next week and will officially tell you about where I am working after that first day (I need to actually be there, pinch myself, and confirm that it is real… yes it is that fantastic). The position is in Vancouver and easily accessible from our apartment! So, Gen and I are both gainfully and fantastically employed. We will finally be able to start saving again! I can finally resume stalking properties and puppies (on the BC SPCA site… not in the park… there too).

CranberryOatmealCookies

Continue reading

Double Dark Chocolate Guinness Cookies! A late St. Patrick’s Day offering

St. Patrick’s Day is always fun and is a really easy holiday to bake for: a generous dash of Irish Cream, a splash of Guinness, a finger of Jameson’s and you should be set. Unfortunately this St. Patrick’s Day I ruined that batch of fudge and failed to make successful repair cookies. To combat this failure I had a delicious pint of Jameson-infused beer and went about my day. Not that I was dwelling on the loss of that fudge or anything (maybe a little) but I still wanted to make an awesome treat with an Irish kick. Looking back at my first post, the Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes, and remembering that I had told my trivia team that I would bring cookies, I thought, “I bet I could make Guinness chocolate cookies!” And off I went to bake my heart away.

GuinnessCookies

Continue reading

Scotch Truffles for a Scottish birthday!

ScotchTruffles

Lindsay from Appetite had her birthday yesterday and I had wanted to make her something awesome. She is Scottish and after a little research into what constitutes a Scottish treat, I found that most of the treats sounded like something a grandma would make. They all sounded tasty, but nothing struck me as exciting birthday food. Then I racked my brain for another way to bring Scotland into a birthday treat. With haggis out of the question, only because Robert Burns Day had just passed, my mind went to one of my best friend’s favourite drinks, Scotch. Scotch! Of course!

I remember three years ago at my sister’s wedding my dad had set up a Scotch tasting for anyone willing to try. Jon’s brother and I were two of the few who stepped up to the plate. Brian went first, and trying his best to humour my dad’s enthusiasm tried them all, sputtered and admitted defeat. I was next, I maybe made it through two. And these were great Scotches, some of the best I’ve had since. This past year I got to know my wonderful friend Caelin who got me into Scotch. We did fancy tastings and learned how to appreciate the good stuff. While in the Yukon this fall, I proudly partook in the daily Scotch sipping sessions, again with some of the most delicious Scotches I’ve had. This fall we also learned that Scotch pairs well with Cheetos, who knew! (Though really, what doesn’t go well with Cheetos…)

One of the ways the Caelin eased me into Scotch was with this incredible flourless chocolate cake from Chewies in Kits. We’d sip a little Scotch, eat a bite of the rich dark chocolate cake, and float straight up to flavour heaven. It was this flavour combination that I wanted to recreate with these truffles. Had I been in the Yukon when creating these, I would’ve used one of my dad’s amazing and peat Scotches as the rich flavour is so beautiful with dark chocolate. Sadly, I am here and am looking for a job, so I had to use a much less fancy, but still tasty-enough blend that did the trick. If you do make these gorgeous treats, use a great Scotch. Also, I used a 72% Bittersweet chocolate, I would recommend using something slightly less dark, maybe 65%. These were delicious, but may not be really everyone’s cup of tea.

Scotch Truffles

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g dark chocolate wafers, or roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 4-5 tbsp Scotch
  • cocoa powder or icing sugar for rolling

DIRECTIONS

  1. Dump your chocolate into a medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a small pot, heat your whipping cream over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, making sure not to scald it.
  3. Pour the simmered cream over the chocolate, stir well until smooth. Add the scotch and stir into the ganache.
  4. Allow the ganache to sit on the counter for 1-2 hours, until hardened enough to scoop.
  5. Use a spoon to carve out quarter-sized balls, roll in your hands to smooth (or don’t… rustic!). Work quickly to avoid melting completely in your hands. Roll each ball in the cocoa powder and set on a plate.
  6. Refrigerate the truffles overnight. These will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for 1 week or well wrapped in the freezer for a month. Best eaten at room temperature, so the texture is smooth and luscious.
All the ingredients for delicious truffles.

All the ingredients for delicious truffles.

Simmered and pouring.

Simmered and pouring.

Work station at the ready.

Work station at the ready.

Don't feel bad if you make a mess. Navigating my other hand to work my camera was troublesome.

Don’t feel bad if you make a mess. Navigating my other hand to work my camera was troublesome.

Aftermath.

Aftermath.

I made some nicely rounded ones and some terribly "rustic" ones.

I made some nicely rounded ones and some terribly “rustic” ones.