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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Lemon Berrycream Cookies

Lemon Berrycream Cookies
These are lightly sweet, buttery lemon cookies filled with a beautiful and rich butter cream, which is bursting with the tart and tangy flavours of raspberries and blackberries. These cookies look so pretty and feminine.  They would be the perfect cookie for a baby shower, or a little princess tea party!

Lovely Lemony Cookie

1/2 cup salted butter, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp light cream
1 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed

2 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
zest of 1 lemon
pinch of salt

Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add egg and mix well.  Add cream and mix well. Add lemon juice and mix well.
In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, lemon zest and salt. Mix well.
Slowly add to creamed butter mixture. Mixing well.  Dough is mixed enough when it comes together and forms a ball.
Remove cookie dough from mixer.  No need to flour the surface as the dough is the texture of a play dough and should not stick.

Divide into 4 equal pieces and roll each piece into a log approx 3cm in diameter.  Wrap each log tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour. 

Remove one log of dough from the refrigerator and use a sharp knife to slice into 24, 1 cm thick cookies.  Place on parchment lined baking sheet. Leaving a little space between each cookie (they don't spread much).

Bake @ 375° for approx 8 min, or until the bottom edge is just starting to turn a pale golden colour. Remove from oven cool for 1 min, then move cookies to a cooling rack. 
Repeat with each log of dough until all cookies are baked. Makes 8 dozen (96) cookies.  Allow cookies to cool completely.

Berrylicious Buttercream

1/3 cup butter, unsalted, softened
1 1/3 cup icing sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp Raspberry Blackberry Coulis

Cream butter and icing sugar. Add coulis. Beat until light and fluffy.

Pipe Berrylicious Buttercream on 1/2 (48) of the cookies, top with remaining cookies.  Refrigerate for 1 hour to allow butter cream to set.  Store cookies in refrigerator. Makes 48 sandwich cookies.

These cookies would be heavenly with a scoop of Lemonberry Gelato and a few fresh berries.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Lemonberry White Chocolate Scones

Lemonberry White Chocolate Scone

I hadn't really planned on making this recipe for this weeks challenge, but I had friends coming over this morning, and I can't have friends over and not bake.  So, no this is not the second recipe for the coulis- that is is still to come. 
I love scones, probably even more than muffins.  Again, the possibilities are endless.  The key to a nice scone is to not overwork the dough.  These scones have a light lemony flavor with lovely little berry pieces throughout.  You would think I'm nuts for white chocolate by this blog of mine, I'm really not. I prefer milk or even dark chocolate when I indulge.  I do find, however, that white chocolate has a nice light flavor that compliments fruit well and does not over power it.  These scones would make a nice addition to a brunch with some fresh fruit, and coffee of course.

Lemonberry White Chocolate Scones

3/4 cup milk
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 egg
2 3/4 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup frozen blackberries, coarsely chopped (chop when frozen, they won't turn to mush)
1/2 cup frozen raspberries, coarsely chopped (chop when frozen, they won't turn to mush)
1/2 white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°.  Add lemon juice to milk, let sit for a few minutes.  Beat in the egg until thoroughly combined.  Set aside.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Mix well.  Cut in cold butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. 
Add berries and white chocolate. Mix.
Add milk mixture and mix lightly with a fork until a soft dough begins to form. Do not over mix.
Turn out onto floured surface. Knead 5-6 times until dough hold together, again, don't over do it.
Cut into 8 equal chunks and gently form scones.
Place onto large lightly greased cookie sheet.
Bake 15 min, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Remove from pan onto a cooling rack.

Scones are best eaten the day they are made, but can be wrapped individually and enjoyed the next day as well.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Lemonberry Gelato

Lemonberry Gelato

Gelato is the Italian version of ice cream. I've created this gelato using a rich custard base to add a more complex flavour and velvety smooth texture.  Adding the lemon zest right at the beginning of this recipe allows it's essence to really infuse into the custard making a deeply rich lemon flavour.  The taste is absolutely homemade, you wouldn't be able to pick this up at the grocery store, or dare I say, not even the ice cream parlour. 

Lemonberry Gelato

1 cup milk
1 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup sugar (divided)
4 egg yolks
1 lemon, just the zest
fresh berries to garnish

In a heavy saucepan combine milk, cream, 1/2 cup sugar and lemon zest. Heat slowly, allowing the sugar to dissolve. Bring to a near boil (scald). Making sure not to allow the mixture to reach a boil. As soon as the smallest little bubbles appear immediately remove from the heat.  Allow to cool 6-7 min.

In a separate bowl whip egg yolks with 1/4 cup sugar  until smooth.

Return saucepan to burner. Over low heat slowly add egg yolk mixture stirring constantly.  Gently and slowly raise heat to medium, stirring the whole time until mixture begins to thicken. Don't rush this step, or you will cook your egg yolks too fast and they will curdle.  Cook on level 1 for 2-3min, then move to level 2 for 2-3 min, and so on and so on, until you reach level 6 or medium heat, stirring constantly.  This part is all about the feel and look of the mixture.  When it is done it will look like liquid silk. It will be shiny and smooth, not terribly thick just slightly thickened.  Remove from heat.  Allow mixture to cool, stirring from time to time to avoid a skin. It will thicken further as is cools. When the mixture is just warm add the coulis and mix well. You may strain through cheese cloth or an unused j-cloth at this point to remove the bits of lemon zest if you choose, although it is not necessary.  When mixture has cooled substantially, place in sealed container in the fridge until it is completely cold. 

Remove from fridge and pour into ice cream maker and follow manufacturers directions.  Mine is an  inexpensive, electric Cuisinart model that is extremely simple to use.  I simply pour the mixture in and turn it on.  An ice cream maker will generally make ice cream to a "soft serve" consistency.  For gelato extra freezing is required.  Pour mixture into a large freezer safe container with a tightly fitting lid and place in the freezer for an additional 2 hrs or so.  Gelato will keep nicely in a sealed container in the freezer for at least one week at optimum freshness.  This makes a great make ahead dessert. Makes a generous 2 cups.

If you don't have an ice cream maker, don't fret, you can still make delicious gelato.  Pour mixture into a large freezer safe container and freeze, stirring every 15 min or so,  until you reach the "soft serve" consistency. Cover and freeze and additional 2 hours or until set.

This gelato is smooth and tasty; it would be divine with a delicate cookie.

Blackberry Raspberry Coulis

Blackberry Raspberry Coulis
I love coulis!  It packs such a punch of flavor and is so quick and simple to make.  This coulis is "lick the spoon" delicious.  Fabulous over french toast, crepes, pancakes, ice cream, panna cotta or anything else you can dream up.
This recipe isn't a stand alone for the challenge (there is no lemon- I know), but it will be used in two recipes that I am working on (I'm crossing my fingers that they both turn out to be blogworthy). So if you want to make both new recipes this would be a great start.  Hint: the recipes to come are very different and would be delicious served together, but are absolute treats all on their own. 

Blackberry Raspberry Coulis
(makes approx 1/2 cup)

1/2 cup  frozen blackberries, thawed
1/2 cup frozen raspberries, thawed
3 tbsp sugar

I always heap my measurement when using frozen berries.  I find that by the time they defrost they reduce to the right amount.
Combine Blackberries, raspberries and sugar in a blender. Puree until smooth.   Strain through a fine sieve; line with cheesecloth or an unused j-cloth if you want to remove all of the seeds . Refrigerate until ready to use.

Store unused coulis in a sealed container in the fridge. Enjoy in your favorite recipes or as a delicious topping!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Food Flips Finds: Unleashing My Inner Critic

I just added a new page to the blog: Food Flips Finds.  I don't know about all of you, but "disposable income" doesn't exist in my house.  There is nothing worse than spending your hard earned money only to be disappointed, especially when there are some real treasures out there! I will check out products, foods, kitchen gadgets etc. and give my honest opinion, brutal or glowing it will all be there!
Check it out!

Week #6: Lemon, Blackberries, and Raspberries

The sun is shining, my son is playing in the backyard, the squirrels are running up and down the fence and the robins are hopping the lawn.  Life is beautiful!  I love the freshness of a new week, I guess I always have.  In our big, busy lives the mark of the new week is enough for me to take a breath, reflect on the past week and look forward to the week to come.  One of the things I am looking forward to this week is creating some tangy and tart new recipes.  The family choose well this week:

Daughter: Lemon
Son: Blackberries
Husband: Raspberries

mmmmmm....don't you think?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Apple Cinnamon Rolls

Apple Cinnamon Rolls
 These cinnamon rolls are flaky, fluffy, moist and so delicious!!!!  The apple is worked into the dough, and adds a depth of flavour that you wouldn't normally find in a pastry, and just a subtle hint of apple flavour. These are quick and easy to make, but taste like you've slaved in the kitchen.
My daughter absolutely loves cinnamon rolls and asks for them almost every morning (no, she doesn't get them).  She is also my toughest critic, her compliments always mean so much to me because she is so honest.  She was half way through her second cinnamon roll this morning when she said "Ohhh I'm full, but I don't ever want to stop eating this!"  She made me swear I would leave her cinnamon roll for her and not let anyone else eat it, so that she could finish it later.  She has also requested that this be the recipe I use from now on, as did my husband.  Success!!!!

Apple Cinnamon Rolls

2 cups flour
3 tbsp sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

1/4 cup cold butter, cubed

1 large granny smith apple, peeled and coarsely grated
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix well.  Cut in butter until mixture resembles small crumbs.  Add grated apple, vanilla and milk. Mix with a fork just until dough starts to form.  The key to nice pastry is not to over mix, or over knead the dough.
Turn dough out onto floured surface. Knead about 10 times, until dough holds together nicely.
Add more flour to the surface. Roll out into a rectangle about 15"x11". Prepare filling.

1/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tbsp cinnamon

Mix all ingredients until well combined

Spread filling evenly on rolled out dough.
Roll up dough from long side. Cut into 12 equal pieces.  Place in lightly grease muffin tins. Bake @400° for 15-17 min.  Turn out onto cookie sheet immediately. Allow to cool slightly and serve. 

This recipe is quick enough to make in the morning before guests arrive for coffee. Dust a little flour on your nose and they'll think you've been baking for hours :)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Week #5: Oops!

Alright, if you are one of my loyal followers, first of all thank you, and second of all you may have noticed I deleted my most recent recipe, something I have never done before and hope to never do again.  I posted the muffin recipe before all of my family members had tried it.  My son and I liked the muffins, however my daughter and husband did not.  My husband's vote weighs pretty heavily, as I can't remember the last time he hasn't liked something I've made.  I debated last night what to do: delete it, add a note to the post to say "hey you might not like this", or just leave it with the understanding that everyone has different tastes.  After much thought, I decided that in order to be true to my original intention the recipe just had to go.  I don't want to share "good" recipes; I want to share "great" recipes.  I want readers to know that the recipes I have created and shared are worth their time and effort in the kitchen.  I vow, only the best will do.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Chewy Blueberry Double Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookie Bars

Chewy Blueberry Double Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookie Bars
 This week I needed to bake some cookies for my daughter's school bake sale, which worked out perfectly for me. Creating two new recipes a week is fun, and I like it, but the treats are starting to pile up. I still have half a pie on the counter from last week, and my pants are tight!
This was the first time I have tried dried blueberries, and I must say I love them in these cookies. They are chewy, and really pack a lot of flavor.  My kids (the ultimate judges) both loved these, and I'm sure the cookie bars that are left in the house won't last long.  I like to make cookie bars more than cookies for one reason only: I'm lazy!  I can make six dozen cookie bars all at once, and to make that many cookies would take over an hour just to bake. 

Chewy Blueberry Double Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookie Bars

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar

2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

3 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups dried sweetened blueberries
100g good quality white chocolate (coarsely chopped)
100g good quality milk chocolate (coarsely chopped)

Preheat oven to 350°.  Cream butter and both types of sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing well. Add vanilla mix well.
In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Mix well and gradually add to creamed mixture. Mix well.
Combine oats, blueberries and both kinds of chocolate. Stir into the cookie dough.
Spray a large cookie sheet with non-stick spray.  Distribute the cookie dough evenly on the cookie sheet and pat down.  Bake 20-25 min, until lightly golden.  Cut into 72 bars.  If you prefer to make cookies, as opposed to bars, drop on sheets by teaspoons and flatten slightly. Makes 6 dozen cookies. 
Make these cookie bars, I promise you will love them, so much so that you really do need to share.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Week #5: Cinnamon, Vanilla and Butter

Starting a food blog is not a good way to manage your weight, just incase you were wondering.
Try as I might, I could not convince my children to pick vegetables this week, they are enjoying the treats way too much.
Here's what they came up with this week:
Daughter: cinnamon
Son: vanilla
Husband: butter

Should be another tasty week!

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Mango Strawberry Pie

Mango Strawberry Pie

At the beginning of the week when we came up with the ingredients,  my husband instantly said "pie".  I hate to admit, I groaned, out loud.  I also whined a little, "ughhh pie is so much work".  Pretty bad, I know. This is supposed to be a challenge right.  What can I say, I'm a cake girl.  I have made more cakes and cupcakes than I can count.  I make cakes for every occasion and just for the fun of it.  I am embarrassed to say, the number of pies I have attempted would easily fit on one hand.  I don't do lard, or margarine, they would never make it into my grocery cart and certainly not into my fridge.  But, everyone I know that makes great pies uses lard and their pies are amazing!  So what's a girl to do?....You guessed it, bring on the butter! This one's for you hubby, PIE!!!

Okay, this sounds terribly boastful, but here I go anyway...BEST PIE EVER!!!!!!!!! I was not expecting this pie to be tart, but it is, deliciously so....kind of like a nice tart strawberry rhubarb pie is.  I shall fear pie no longer. The butter pastry turned out beautifully, and did I mention that this pie is to die for. Seriously, you have to make this pie.

Buttery Rich Pie Pastry    (Make the pie pastry first, you will have time to prepare the fruit while the dough chills)
3 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter- cold, cut into cubes
2 egg yolks (save whites for brushing the top of the pie)
6-9 Tbsp cold water (use only as much as you need to form dough)

Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Add egg yolks and enough water to form dough.  Mix until dough just comes together. Turn out onto counter and knead until dough holds together nicely. Divide in two discs, wrap tightly in foil and refrigerate for at least 30 min or up to 2 days.

3 cups fresh mango, cut into 1cm x 1cm cubes.
3 cups fresh strawberries sliced
2 tbsp orange juice, freshly squeezed
2 tbsp cornstarch
3/4 cup sugar

Combine all ingredients and toss well.

Remove pastry from refrigerator and roll out each disc into a circle just a little bigger in circumference than your pie plate.  Press one circle of dough into pie plate. Pour fruit filling into pie shell.  Top with remaining pie dough. Trim edges and seal the edge. Brush with egg whites beaten with a little water.

 Bake on rack on lower 1/3 of oven for 15 min @ 425°; Reduce heat to 350° and bake until pastry is golden and filling is bubbly, about 40 min.

Allow to cool a bit. Serve with vanilla ice cream.  Seriously BEST PIE EVER!!!!!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Amazing Disappearing Muffins

Amazing Disappearing Muffins
 I love to bake, and one of my favorite things to bake is muffins.  I like adapting and changing muffin recipes into something different.  These muffins are full of healthy fruit, with just a little white chocolate to sweeten them up.  These muffins have a beautiful citrus aroma and the contrast of the red strawberries against the bright orange of the muffin is so pretty. Both of my kids loved them. I was pondering over what to call these delicious muffins, but when the dozen I had baked lasted less than a day, they kind of named themselves.

Amazing Disappearing Muffins
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
zest of one orange (some people like the whole orange peel- I am not one of them. I am careful to avoid grating the pith- the white part- it's bitter)

1 egg
1/4 c milk
1/4 c vegetable oil
1 cup mashed mango (I used frozen mango)
juice of one orange

1 cup strawberries diced
1/3 cup white chocolate coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 375°. Spray 12 muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and orange zest in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre.

In a separate bowl, beat egg. Add milk, oil, mango, and orange juice. Mix well. Add to flour mixture. Mix until just combined.

Fold in strawberries and white chocolate.
Distribute evenly in muffin tins.
Bake for 20-25min
Allow muffins to cool completely before removing from tins.  Watch how fast they disappear!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Strawberry Mango Coladas

Strawberry Mango Coladas
It has been a long, long, long cold Canadian winter and I am ready for some sun! Nothing goes better with sunshine than a cold slushy bevy!  This twist on the pina colada is bursting with strawberries, mango and orange.  Bring on the Sun!!!!

Strawberry Mango Coladas

2 cups fresh strawberries (the strawberries I found were huge and juicy and so sweet- if you can't find good fresh strawberries, use frozen unsweetened)
2 cups frozen unsweetened mango chunks (frozen mango is great for so many things. The quality is often far better than that of the fresh mango we get here in Canada)
Look at the size of those strawberries!
2 oranges-just the juice freshly squeezed
1 cup pina colada mix (I used Mott's)
1 cup crushed ice
1 cup Malibu Coconut Flavored Rum

Place all ingredients into blender and blend until smooth.  Divide equally into four glasses. Share (or not)

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Week #4: Strawberry, Orange, and Mango

I asked the family to lighten up the ingredients a bit this week.  This is by no means a low-fat blog, but we'll see, maybe one recipe will escape the butter and cream I so dearly love (maybe not).  Every one needs a little treat once in a while right?

Here's what the family choose:
Daughter: Strawberry
Son: Orange
Husband: Mango

I had better get thinking, this gets a little harder each week.