Wednesday, December 21, 2016
I selected this week's #CTLCookieExchange, gingerbread people, because at the end of last week, I was off to a cookie exchange with some of my favourite people for our first annual cookie exchange. My original intention was to create gingerbread people that can hang off your mug and I thought I could just modify a regular gingerbread cutter for that. You can tell I'm not an engineer. After a few batches of trying to hook one arm of the dough, I realized (thanks Google) that there are cookie cutters for just the purpose. Oh well, there's always next year. But all was not lost! I continued on and made some of the cutest gingerbread people that sprinkles and icing could make.
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
For the fourth week of the #CTLCookieExchange we are shaking things up and baking bars instead of traditional cookies. Raspberry Oatmeal Bars to be precise! These bars are chewy, sweet and smell a-mazing coming out of the oven. They need to cool completely in the pan before cutting, which is actually the hardest part about baking these bars - waiting to eat them! The raspberry oatmeal bars are made with only six ingredients, all of which you probably have on hand. They take about 10 minutes to prepare, 35 to bake, and another 20 to cool so in about an hour you have a homey tasting bar ready to share...or eat all to yourself. No judgement here! They also freeze beautifully so you can save them for the holidays or leave one out to enjoy with a cuppa tea.
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Looking for a quick and easy weeknight dessert your family will love? Them look no further than this incredibly easy grilled peach dessert! The only tool you really need is a BBQ!
It's peach season here in Ontario and nothing beats a fresh from the tree Niagara peach. The kids and I stopped by a local farm stand to pick up a basket, or two, and have been enjoying this years crop with our lunches, as a snack, and now as a dessert!
There are so many complicated dessert recipes and while that usually won't prevent me from baking (although I still have not attempted making my own macarons!), on a weeknight I just want something easy. The kids are still on summer holidays but that doesn't mean our house is any less busy! The Oldest works a part-time job and volunteers and The Youngest has music lessons three nights a week! Add in both parents working full-time and two big dogs who constantly want a walk, there really isn't a lot of time to be fussing with a dessert (I'm lucky if we actually cook and don't end up with a pizza most nights ha!). This easy grilled peaches dessert only requires some of those fresh peaches, ice cream and a loaf of pound cake. You can make your own pound cake or pick up a store bought one like I did.
Make sure to wash the peach fuzz off your peaches and dry them well before starting. Using a paring knife, run the knife along the stone pit of your peach. Twist to separate and pop, or dig, the pit out of the other half of your peach. Brush the cut side of the peaches lightly with canola oil.
Place on a hot grill (ours was heated up from our dinner) and leave for 3-4 minutes. Turn to create a grill pattern and leave for another 3-4 minutes. The heat warms up the fruit and intensifies the sweetness.
So if this were a tv show the grill patterns would be perfect but this is real life and I have used a BBQ like twice in my whole life, so no fancy grill marks here. Doesn't matter, you are only putting ice cream on it anyways! :D
A slice of pound cake, a grilled peach and a scoop of ice cream. That's it! From the second you start this recipe until you plate, it takes about 10 minutes total. It took me longer to do all the dishes from dinner!
I like to make sure to have a little bit of each item in every fork full. The peaches were all warm and sweet, the pound cake gave you something to chew and the ice cream, well it's ice cream so it's already awesome. While peach season is still on I am going to try this a few more times (maybe I'll get those grills marks down!) and I'm thinking of ways to try and make it a little lighter on the calories. I'm going to try just a peach half on it's own, or add a few tablespoons of greek yogurt. The peach season is so short, I just want to enjoy it while it is here!
Labels: Home Bakery
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
I am not a chef. Let's just get that out of the way. I search new dinner recipes out of food boredom, both my own and my kids. I cook to feed myself and my family but it is not my passion. I am not a chef, but I am a baker. Welcome to my home bakery (which is what I call my kitchen :)
Today, I have set out to discover the best chocolate chip cookie. It's hard work but someone has to do it. Armed with my new Kate Spade apron, and the best chocolate chips, semi sweet Ghirardelli, I vow to find the best chocolate chip cookie in the world! To start I very scientifically (ahem, googled) chose the two top rated recipes on Delish.com - the copycat Levain Bakery cookies and Tate's Bake Shop.
Levain's Bakery has three locations throughout New York City, each equipped with a webcam so you can check out the lines (hint, the line is always long). These thick and cakey chocolate chip cookies seemed like the perfect cookie to start with. I followed the recipe and at step 3 when they call to "form into loose, baseball-sized mounds and place on cookie sheet" I was skeptical that it would properly cook all the way through. If you are going to try this recipe, stick to the instructions. They cook perfectly and have a gentle crunch on the outside with a soft, delicious interior.
The other contender for best chocolate chip cookie was this recipe for Tate's Bake Shop chocolate chip cookies. They are the exact opposite of the Levain cookies, thin and crisp. Tate's is this adorable bakery in Southhampton, NY that is a household name in the cookie connoisseur business. Luckily for those of us that do not live in the area, you can find their products on shelves in speciality food shops (Vincenzo's in Waterloo, Ont. stocks a wide variety of their cookies including the gluten free ones!)
To try and suit the different palettes in my family I made one batch with, and one without, sprinkled sea salt.
The sea salt sets in the cookie during baking and adds a subtle crunch and gentle spike of salty with your sweet chocolate chips.
Who will win the best chocolate chip cookie challenge? Will it be Tate's Bake Shop thin and crispy cookies on the left or Levain Bakery's thick and cakey cookies on the right?
After conducting some very scientific analysis that involved lots of taste testing by the family and milk palette cleansers, this is my conclusion:
- The Youngest loved the thin, crispy ones without seas salt
- The Oldest loved the thick, cakey ones
- I loved the thin, crispy with sea salt
...and the one person who could break the tie, the husband, didn't even have any!
It appears that everyone has their own preference when it comes to chocolate chip cookies. Either way, it was a fun day of baking in the Home Bakery and each recipe yielded wonderfully delicious cookies. It's all a matter of preference on which one is the best.
Grab a few bags of chocolate chips and try these recipes for yourself. Let me know which one is YOUR favourite!
Copycat Tate's Bake Shop Chocolate Chip Cookie on Delish.com
Copycat Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookie on Delish.com (I omitted the walnuts)