Monday, March 30, 2015

Skor Chip & Chocolate Drizzle Cookies

This one for the cookie monsters in your house.  I have 3 1/2. I only count myself as a half monster because I can show self control, whereas the rest of the inhabitants of my abode cannot.

An alternative title for this post is "How to Smoke Your Mixer" because I forgot how dense this batter recipe is and my poor little hand mixer just wasn't up to the job :( .  So there's the smell of wonderful cookies wafting through the house mixed with a tinge of burnt electrical.  Heads up peeps, if you have a cheap under-powered hand mixer it's best to stir in at least the last bit of the flour mixture by hand & spoon.

Skor Chip Cookies


Ingredients:

2 1/4 cup All-purpose Flour
3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
3/4 cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
1 cup Butter, softened
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Large Eggs
1 cup Skor Bits
40 - 50 Chocolate Wilton Candy Melts wafers (optional)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 375*F. In a small bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

2. In your mixing bowl combine the butter, vanilla and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at time and mix well after each.  Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until well combined.  If your mixer is working too hard finish up with a spoon - a smoked mixer is a bad thing!

3. Stir in Skor bits. Once combined drop by the heaping spoonful onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 9 - 11 minutes or until lightly browned.  Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for a couple of minutes and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.




4.  To add the chocolate drizzle.  Heat up your double boiler, or if you don't have one they are simple to put together. All you just need a small sauce pan with an inch or two of water in the bottom and a metal mixing bowl that sits nicely on top of the pan without touching the water inside.



5. Bring the pot of water to a boil, without the bowl on top, then reduce the heat to low.  Place the bowl on top and add half of the chocolate wafers.  Gently stir until completely melted and transfer to a squirt bottle or a piping bag (remember if your using a piping bag it will be hot so use mitts to squeeze if your hands aren't heat immune).  Drizzle over the cookies and melt the second half of the wafers. Let completely harden before storing.  



NOTE:  You can melt the wafers in the microwave but you need to be extra careful; some colours will burn very quickly. Nook for small amounts of time, at a time and stir in between.



Stay Sweet!
Tammy
continue reading "Skor Chip & Chocolate Drizzle Cookies"

Music Monday


"You got that James Dean, daydream look in your eye.
I got the red lip, classic thing that you like."

Taylor Swift - Style




continue reading "Music Monday"

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Perfect Prime Rib

Do you want a fabulous hands off kind of meat? Well this baby's perfect for those of you who like the idea of set it and forget it kind of meal.  Prime rib is my favourite kind of beef, when it's prepared properly. It is an expensive cut so screwing it up scares some from trying to cook it at home.  Be scared no more my home chefs!  Here's the fool proof way to perfection..

Prime Rib Perfection




Ingredients:

1 Prime Rib
Garlic Powder
Parsley
Chives
(or you favourite blend of beef seasoning)
Salt
Pepper

Directions:

1. Bring your prime rib to room temperature - this is important! You'll need to weigh it on your kitchen scale to find the poundage (if your meat is pre - weighted in kilograms on the packaging from the grocery store.  If you don't have a home scale you can ask the butcher at the store to weigh it in pounds for you or go online and google a weight converter).

2. Preheat your oven to 500*F.  Lightly sprinkle all your seasonings on to the rib and rub them in, remember to do all sides. 

3. If you have a larger cut it's best to place the meat bone side down in your roasting pan.  Since mine was only 3 lbs, it wouldn't stand on the bone so I just laid it flat. 



4. Tent your pan in aluminium foil and place in the oven.  If you have curious critter's like older children/spouses that like to peek in the oven while things cooking, I suggest a sign like this to keep them out (you'll find out why in a minute).



5.  Cooking times go like this:
           
              Rare - 6 minutes/pound
        Medium - 7 minutes/pound
             Well - 8 minutes/pound

6. Half way through the cooking time remove the tented aluminium.  

7. When the desired cook time is finished turn off your oven completely and leave the prime rib in there for 2 hours. Under no circumstances open the door!  The residual heat will finish the meat to perfection.





Stay Sweet!
Tammy

continue reading "Perfect Prime Rib"

Friday, March 27, 2015

Orange Crush Cupcakes & Wilton Color Cups

Getting lost in the Pinterest world is nuts at times.  Your intention is to quickly log in for something specific and 8 hours later you're finding out that if a giraffe drinks hot coffee it will be cold by the time it reaches its stomach.


However, in those lost 8 hours you stumble upon some seriously AWESOME stuff!  Like the Orange Cream Cupcakes I found on I heart Nap Time.  Click the link and try the recipe!  For some reason I couldn't find orange extract in my local grocery store so I substituted it with a 1/2 tsp of orange crush, 1/8 tsp of vanilla, and a bit of Orange Gel colouring & they turned out just fine.  Actually better than fine - they are down right delish! Super cute too, right?



The one thing I hate about traditional patterned cupcake liners is that you'd find an amazing design to fit perfectly to your theme but by the time they were done baking you might have well used the plain white ones. The pattern was lost due to the cupcakes bleeding through the paper.  So, when I found the Wilton Color Cups I was overjoyed!  These baby's are foil lined and come in the most beautiful designs.  Check them out here .  As you can see in the pic's above the design is still bright & beautiful and as a bonus the foil lining makes them sturdier than traditional cups.



In my opinion keep the paper liners for your muffins. Beautify your cupcakes!

Stay Sweet!
Tammy

Disclaimer:  The opinions stated in this post are my own.  No compensation was received for this review.



continue reading "Orange Crush Cupcakes & Wilton Color Cups"

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Creamy Potato Salad

Well folks it's been a lovely spring and summer, the whole 7 days of it, but alas winter has returned on this fine March day to my Southwestern Ontario town. I'm sure we'll see temperatures returning to normal soon, right? All I can ask is, what happened to this global warning thing? I was all for it! Hopefully, in your part of the world you can think about picnic's or dinner on the deck while I watch softly falling snow cover my backyard. Again :( .

Anyone want to send a ticket south to me?  I'll make the potato salad, wink, wink :D

Creamy Potato Salad


Ingredients:

5 medium Potatoes
2 Green Onions
3 Eggs
1 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1/2 tsp Paprika
Salt & Pepper

Directions:

1. In a pot of salted water boil potatoes and eggs.  Yes, you can boil them together.  You want the eggs hard boiled and the potatoes fork tender.  Once done, strain the water, remove the eggs & transfer potatoes to a large bowl. Let cool.

2. Chop the green onions, peel and slice the eggs (once cool enough to handle) into small cubes.  I have an egg slicer that I picked up at the dollar store that does the trick quite nicely.  

3. Add all the ingredients to the potatoes and stir until well combined.

NOTE: This is a great salad to take to those large potlucks. Here's my ratio's to increase the amounts if you need it.  One potato per adult.  One egg for every two potatoes.  One green onion for every 2.5 potatoes.  Increase the spicing & mayo to taste.



Stay Sweet!
Tammy




continue reading "Creamy Potato Salad"

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bring on the Bagels!

Talk about tackling the breads lately, eh?  I feel for anyone that has gluten allergy,  I love my breads! There's just something about the warm, tasty, melt in mouth, goodness of a fresh made bread. These little circles of yummy aren't hard to create once you've got some practice in.



Ingredients:

4 cups Bread Flour
1 3/4 Cup warm water
1 tbsp Dry Active Yeast
1 tbsp Sugar
1 tbsp Salt
Corn Meal


Directions:

1. In a large bowl add the warm water (at about 110*F), sugar, and yeast.  Let sit for 5 - 10 minutes until frothy.

2. Add the flour & salt and beat with an electric mixer equipped with dough hooks.  Mix for 7 minutes or until dough is smooth and pulling away from the the sides.

3. Remove from the bowl and form into a ball. Lightly grease the bowl and return the dough.  Cover with a damp dish towel and keep in a warm spot to let rise until it's doubled in size (about an hour).

4.  On a lightly floured counter fold out the dough and cut into 12 equal pieces.  Form into balls and placed on a up side down cookie sheet lightly greased with vegetable oil. Let rise again for about 30- 45 minutes.

5. Put a large pot of water on to boil with about a tablespoon of sugar.  While you wait for the water to boil carefully poke a hole in the middle of the dough balls with your fingers and stretch slightly, just so the hole is a tad bigger than you'd like for the finish product.  Replace on the oiled sheet and let rest, uncovered, for about 10 minutes.  Preheat your oven to 400*F.

6. Once the water is boiled reduce to simmer and very carefully add bagels 2 - 4 at a time.  You need flipping room so don't crowd the pot.  Let simmer on the first side for 2 minutes, flip, and simmer the second side for 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon (the flatter & wider the better - I use my wok spoon) and let drain for a few seconds and place on a baking sheet that's been lightly buttered and sprinkled with corn meal.

7. Lightly beat the egg in a small bowl and brush the bagels with the egg wash. At this point you can add any toppings, like cheese, sesame seeds, etc.  Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until the tops are golden.  Transfer to cooling racks & let cool completely.




Stay Sweet!
Tammy


continue reading "Bring on the Bagels!"

Monday, March 23, 2015

Music Monday

Dierks Bentley - Say You Do


continue reading "Music Monday"

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Pictorial 2

I've been laid up on the couch or in bed all day, not feeling well.  At. All.  Stupid cold!

I have an awesome recipe to share but alas it will have to wait until I'm feeling better.  Until then have a look at a couple of cakes I've created.  The first is Daughter B's birthday cake.  We love Doctor Who and my first attempt at a TARDIS cake last year ended up being being a wreck. Thankfully this years attempt was a success!  The second is a cake for a co-worker.  A complete coffee & chocolate overload!  I will post that recipe in the future too.








Stay Sweet!
Tammy




continue reading "Pictorial 2"

Saturday, March 21, 2015

French Fried with a Greek twist!

We have an amaze-balls fry truck in our town.  While, it's open all year round serving up tasty goodness, it's in the summer the smell of deep fried potatoes & malt vinegar wafts throughout the entire downtown beckoning you to break any diet you're on just for a taste. I love fresh cut french fries.  It's my vice.  Add herbs to them and I'm completely done.  You will be too after you've tried these.

NOTE: I like to think that my recipes can reach the myriad of cooks, from beginner to advanced. However, this one should be left to those that are more comfortable and experienced in the kitchen (if you don't have a deep fryer). Working with open hot oil is NOT to be taken lightly!  Be prepared to be chained to the stove for awhile with this one.  It is worth, it just be careful.

Fries with Greek Seasoning



Ingredients:

1 Large Potato/ 2 persons
Club House One Step Seasoning Greek
3 Litres Vegetable Oil*

Directions:

1.  Wash potatoes and cut into even pieces.  I like mine on the shoe string size side or about 1/2' square.  Remember the bigger they are the longer it takes to cook.  Pat dry with a paper towel - oil & water aren't good bed fellows!!!!



2. Fill a large pot about 2/3 rds full of vegetable oil.  *You probably won't need all 3 litres of oil but you will need a lot, it all depends on the size of your pot.  Heat until temperature reaches 190*F (or if you're using a deep fryer, set it up on the fry setting.).  If you are using the pot method this is the point when you're committed - feed the animals & make sure the kids are occupied prior to this.  A watched pot of water may not boil but an un-watched pot of oil boils VERY quickly.

3.  This is a double fry method so for the first fry add the potatoes one or two pieces at a time until the bottom of your pot covered in a single layer (to avoid them sticking together).  Remove them from the oil when the float to the top about 5 min.











4. Remove from the oil and let drain.  They will be pale still.  The first fry is to cook the potato through (the second fry will crisp them up).











5. Continue with the first fry until all your potatoes have been done.  Making sure the temperature comes back up to 190*F in between batches.

6. You can increase the batch size for the second fry.  I usually put 2 batches of the first fry in at a time.  Just remember don't crowd the pot too much and keep that temperature up.  They're done when golden and crispy about 15 minutes.  If you're using fresh new oil it may take a little longer to brown.

7. Once done, drain or pat away excess oil.  Place in a large bowl and lightly sprinkle with the greek seasoning.

8.  Let the oil in the pot completely cool, and using a funnel, return the oil to the jug.  The more you use the oil the crispier and darker your fries will be.  My jug is labeled For Deep Frying Only so it doesn't get used for anything else.















9.  Re-introduce yourself to your children & pets.  Have a great dinner!

Pair these up with my Brioche Buns & Potabello, Cheddar, Bacon Burgers for a complete meal!



Stay Sweet!
Tammy
continue reading "French Fried with a Greek twist!"

Friday, March 20, 2015

Tasty Burgers

Has anyone else noticed the price of boxed burgers sky-rocketing over the last few months? I have. Fifteen dollars for 8 burgers is insane! And that's if you can even find them - there use to be an amazing selection of gourmet-style patties on the market.  Now, in my area at least, we're lucky to find the regular beef kind. And those, my friends, can get pretty boring after awhile.  Let's shake up your taste buds with these awesome burgers!

Portabello, Bacon & Cheddar Burgers


Ingredients:

2 kg Lean Ground Beef
3 Large Eggs
1 Large Portabello mushroom, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 Cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded (or use your favourite, mozzarella is another amazing option)
2 Cups Bread Crumbs
8 Strips Bacon (Cooked to very crispy, finely chopped)
1 Medium Onion, finely chopped
1/4 Cup Worcestershire Sauce
1 tbsp Dried Parsley
1 tbsp Fresh Garlic, minced




Directions:

1. It's imperative that all the ingredients are finely chopped, if they are too big you risk the burgers falling apart while cooking.

2. This part is easy!  Just mix everything together in a very large bowl.  I find working everything together with my hands is the most effective way to get this done - get in there and smush it, it's therapeutic :D . Please make sure you wash your hands before & after!

3. Scoop out about a baseball size portion (it works out to be about 1/4 lb) of the mixture, press into a  patty on 4' square of waxed paper and set aside.  Continue until all the patties are formed.




4. For convenience to freeze; I stack two patties together (with the waxed paper in between), wrap them in aluminium foil and place into freezer bags.  You should be able to get about 16 - 18 patties.



Pair these up with my Brioche Buns and add your fav toppings to make it all yummy.


Stay Sweet!
Tammy

continue reading "Tasty Burgers"

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Perfect Brioche Bun

See, I told you I'd keep experimenting with buns.  I didn't really expect it to do it again so soon. But when I came across this one from a bag of my mom's recipes (I really need to finish typing them out for her). I couldn't wait to give it a try. It didn't disappoint - the crust is chewy and the inside is so soft & moist.  You couldn't ask for better.  While my first bun recipe is great in a pinch since there isn't crazy rise times - if you have the time, you really need to do this version.

Brioche Burger Buns



Ingredients:

1 cup Warm Water
3 tbsp Warm Milk
2 1/2 tsp Active Dry Yeast
2½ tbsp Sugar
2 large Eggs
3 1/3 cups All-purpose Flour
1½ tsp Salt
2½ tbsp Unsalted Butter, softened.
Sesame Seeds, optional

Instructions:

1. In a two-cup glass measure; combine the water, milk, yeast and sugar. Let stand until frothy, about 5 - 10 minutes.

2. In  a large bowl, add the flour, salt and butter and with an electric mixer, mix together until the butter is combined - it'll look like crumbs.

3. In a small bowl beat one of the eggs and set aside.

4. Stir in yeast and beaten egg. The attach the dough hooks to your mixer and mix for about 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and well combined.  This could take as little as little as 7 or 8 minutes.  Just keep an eye on it and go by look - if it's nice & smooth it's ready.




5. Shape the dough into a ball, return  it to the bowl, and cover with a clean, damp dish towel and let it rise in a warm place until it's doubled is size.  This can take 1 - 2  hours or more depending on conditions and no two times will be exactly the same.  Just keep watch on the size of the dough.



6. Lightly grease your baking sheet.  Then divide the dough into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into balls and place 3 inches apart on the prepared sheet - seam side down. Cover again with the dish towel, re-dampened.  Let rise for a second time in a warm place for another 1 - 2 hours or until the balls almost double in size again.



7. Mix a small bit of water with the second egg to make the egg wash.  Once the second rise is finished, VERY lightly brush on the wash.  At this point you can sprinkle on the sesame seeds.

8. Preheat the oven to 400*F and put a small baking pan with water in it on the bottom rack prior to adding the buns. This creates steam & helps to keep the bread moist.

9. Bake on the middle rack for 15 - 20 minutes or until golden brown. Place on a wire rack to cool
completely.





Stay Sweet!
Tammy

continue reading "The Perfect Brioche Bun"

Music Monday

Today's pick I am un-apologetically in L.O.V.E. with <3 . I don't know why but this song absolutely speaks to my soul.  It's not about the lyrics but the combination of music & voice.

Listen! Share! Enjoy! and Crash........

Dave Matthews Band - Crash Into Me




Stay Sweet!
Tammy


continue reading "Music Monday"

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Small Town Photo Shoot

If you've ever asked why does this girl post mostly food pics, when she say's she loves photography? The answer is - It's Canada, it's winter, it's darn cold!  I don't like cold (see my cold weather rant ). To prove I do get unshackled from the kitchen and explore a bit of the environment around me from time to time. Here's my favourite pics from places around my town I took on a Mommy Strike Day last fall.  Enjoy & don't forget to leave comments - I love feedback!














Stay Sweet!
Tammy

continue reading "Small Town Photo Shoot"