Monthly Archives: July 2012

Coffee Cake Muffins

So calling this a muffin might be a stretch.

But if you can have donut muffins, then I think that coffee cake muffins are reasonable.  Really, it’s just an excuse to eat cake for breakfast. ( as if you need an excuse to eat cake for breakfast, pfft.)

I have long loved coffee cake and love to make them. However it was not until I moved in with Mr Ginge that I realized that maybe not everyone shared my opinion. Mr Ginge is not a picky eater by any stretch of the imagination, but does not like to be surprised with his food. One day, I tried out a recipe for a blueberry coffee cake that looked absolutely delicious, and had told him that there was coffee cake for dessert.

Now this was all fine and dandy, until I placed a slice in front of him, in all it’s blueberry glory. Turns out he was expecting coffee cake. As in coffee flavoured cake. You could feel his disappointment a mile away.

So, as an ode to his dessert dissatisfaction, I made coffee flavoured coffee cake, and because everything is better in smaller, I made them into muffins.

Now despite what seems like a lot of sugar, they aren’t super sweet which makes them great for a breakfast treat or if you don’t want something super sweet after dinner.

Coffee Cake Muffins

makes 12 muffins/ cupcakes

For the cake:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sour cream

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp instant espresso powder

For the streusel topping:

  • 2 tbsp cold butter
  • 4 tsbp flour
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line your muffin pan with 12 liners.
  2. For the filling: In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar and the espresso powder. Set aside.
  3. For the topping: In another bowl, cut the butter into the flour and sugar, mixing into your get coarse crumbs.
  4. For the cake: In a large bowl, cream together your butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each. Mix in the vanilla.
  5. In a another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix it gradually into the wet mixture, alternating with the sour cream.
  6. Fill each liner about 1/3 of thee way with batter. Evenly sprinkle the brown sugar filling over the batter. Top with the remaining batter. Sprinkle the topping evenly over all of the cupcakes.
  7. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes. I mine after 15, and went from there.
  8. Let cool for a couple minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

Even the kitties wanted to get in on these!

-Mel

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I linked this recipe up to the Weekend Potluck and Strut Your Stuff Saturdays! Click the link to check out more great recipes!

Categories: Cake and Cupcakes | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Improv Challenge: Cornmeal Thumbprints with Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling

Corn and butter.

Those were the ingredients assigned for this month’s Improv Cooking Challenge hosted by Kristen from Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker

My first thought was fresh corn on the cob slathered in butter, but corn isn’t quite in season here yet, and let’s face it, it’s not much of a recipe; Boil corn, slather in butter, eat.  Also, I’m a baker, and I really wanted to bake something for my first challenge.

My next thought was corn bread.  Very yummy, but I couldn’t help but feel that it was a cop out.

So instead, I decided to go with my favourite thing to bake, and came up with these cookies.

Cornmeal Thumbprints with Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling

makes about 36 cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 pkg ( 4 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tbsp strawberry jam
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal and salt and set aside.
  3. In a  large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar, until fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla.
  4. Slowly mix in the flour mix until combine.
  5. Roll about a tablespoon of dough in to a ball then place on the cookie sheet. Gently press the middle with your (clean!) thumb to make a slight indentation. Repeat with the remaining dough, placing about 2 inches/ 5 cm apart.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes. They should be slightly golden brown on the bottom.  As soon as you pull them out, gently press you indentation again with the end of a wooden spoon. Move to a wire rack and cool completely
  7. Meanwhile, beat together the jam and the cream cheese until smooth. Slowly beat in the sugar.
  8. Once the cookies have cooled completely, fill the indentations with the cream cheese mixture, about a teaspoon for each cookies. Store any leftovers in the fridge.

Don’t forget to check out the other great recipes from the rest of the participants!

-Mel



Categories: Cookies | Tags: , , , , | 19 Comments

Nanaimo Bars

Enter Exhibit A: The Nanaimo Bar.

The elusive no-bake confection that appears almost universally on dessert trays around the community. Known by it’s distinct brown and yellow striping, it’s easily spotted among the assorted brownies, wafers and marshmallow squares.

That is, until you go to choose your dessert selection, where they appear to have done a vanishing act. Nary a square to be seen among the other treats.  The outlook is even worse for those who go for a second helping of the lunch fare. Only crumbs remain beside the date squares and store bought chocolate chip cookies.

For those clever enough to have raided the dessert table before sitting down to your triangle of tuna salad, beware. Guard your nanaimo bar well. One wayward glance or untimely trip to refill your styrofoam  cup, and yours too will have disappeared as swiftly as the others, leaving only an errant crumb and a subtle smudge of yellow icing.  Trust no one in protection of this rare treat, even those closest to you, as few can resist  it’s seductive allure.

And if you, the host, have pre-emptively reserved a few to indulge in later, hide them well in the depths of your refrigerator, as no place is safe from the threat of Nanaimo bar kidnapping.

Nanaimo Bars

makes on 8×8 pan, adapted from Mom’s old photocopy, yellowed from age, with a grocery list on the back and no directions.

For the base:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
For the filling
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp custard powder ( like Birds) or instant vanilla pudding powder
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp milk

For the top

  • 3 oz semi sweet chocolate ( or a scant 1/4 cup of chocolate chips if you prefer)
  • 1 tsp butter
  1. Make the base: Line an 8×8 square pan wit wax or parchment paper, making sure to let some hang over the edge. In a large stainless steel or heat proof glass bowl ( or in the top of a double boiler), combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, vanilla and egg.  Set over some barely simmering water, stirring constantly until the butter has melted and the mixture is thick – about 2 or 3 minutes. 
  2. In another bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, coconut and walnuts. Pour the chocolate mixture over top and mix well. Press evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan, and set into the fridge to chill for about 30 minutes. 
  3. Make the filling: In another bowl, cream together the butter and the custard powder. Gradually add the icing sugar, adding milk as needed until it’s smooth and spreadable. Spread over the bottom layer and return to the fridge for another 30 minutes or until firm.
  4. Make the topping: In a small saucepan melt together the butter and the chocolate, stirring until completely melted and smooth. Pour the chocolate mixture evenly over the filling, spreading gently with an offset spatula to fill in any gaps or corners. Chill until the chocolate is set but not hard, lift out of the pan and slice into squares. If the chocolate hardens too much, then just let it sit for a few minutes on the counter until it softened then slice. Store any leftovers (well hidden) in the fridge.
Guard them well.
-Mel
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I linked this recipe up to The Weekend Potluck and Strut your Stuff SaturdaysClick the link for more great recipes!

Categories: Bars | Tags: , , , | 19 Comments

Raspberry Lemonade Pops

Recently, a big name coffee shop launched frozen lemonades for their summer.

And let’s face it, I’ve been hooked. I love lemonade. Especially since they offered a raspberry version of it.  Which made it a lovely shade of pink. I love pink. And if it wasn’t bad enough, they offered it for a dollar, far cheaper than the regular iced treat I would indulge in there. It was a sticky marketing web that I was caught in easily.

After I had indulged in a few (ok,  LOTS), I saw through the marketing haze, I realized that they weren’t really “cheap” ( hey dollars add up) and that I could probably make a better version at home that wasn’t strictly sugar water and food dye. That was actually made from actual raspberries and lemons.  And I don’t think they turned out half bad, if I do say so myself.

So I admit a popsicle certainly isn’t a slushy drink ( although you could always pop them in the blender). But don’t throw them away as a lost cause. They are still good. Tart and refreshing, especially on the days the temperature soars, when you are craving something cold.

Mom says they would be better with gin. ;)

Raspberry Lemonade Pops

makes four in my moulds

  • 1/2 c raspberries
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • zest and juice of two lemons
  • 1/4 cup sugar ( more if you don’t want it tart)
  • 1/2 cup water
  1. In a food processor or blender, purée the raspberries, 2 tbsp sugar and 2 tbsp water. Pass the mixture to a fine meshed sieve to remove the seeds. Spoon it into the bottom of your mould ( is should go about 1/3 the way up) then pop it into the freezer for about an hour or until it has set.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan, combine zest, juice, sugar and water over medium heat until dissolved. I would give it a taste here and decide whether or not you want to add more sugar. Let cool. 
  3. When the raspberry layer has set,  spoon the lemonade mixture over top to fill your mould. Insert your sticks, and let freeze for another 4 hours.
  4. To unmould,  place the pops in some warm water for about 30 seconds. Gently pull the pops from the moulds and enjoy!
If you are more patient than I am you should get two more distinct layers of colour. Unless you like the “ombre” look. Then I did it on purpose. ;)
-Mel
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I linked this recipe to The Weekend Potluck and Strut Your Stuff Saturdays. Click the link for more great recipes!

Categories: Dessert | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Canada Day Cranberry Almond Bark

Happy Canada day!

Hope you are having an awesome day!

Just a quick “recipe” for you today, which really was a result of  a failure. I had intended on sharing some cute ( in my head ) cake pops, but let’s just say they didn’t turn out ( a.k.a fell apart as I was dipping them). Not one to waste perfectly good melted chocolate, I threw in some cranberries and almonds, topped it off with sprinkles and made a bark.

Canada Day Cranberry Almond Bark.

  • 1/2 cup white melting chocolate (I used Merckens from the Bulk Barn)
  • 1 cup red melting chocolate
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped natural almonds
  • sprinkles ( optional)
  1. Line a 9×9 pan with wax paper. Over a pot with gently simmering water, melt the white chocolate in a heat proof glass or metal bowl, making sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. 
  2. When the chocolate is melted, stir in the cranberries, then pour down the middle of the prepared pan.
  3. In another bowl, melt the red chocolate over the gently simmering water. When it has melted, stir in the chopped almonds.
  4. Pour half of the chocolate along one side of the pan beside the white chocolate. Pour the other half along the other. Swirl the white chocolate into the red with a knife if desired. Top with sprinkles if desired ( I used some cute Maple leaf quins)
  5. Gently drop the pan on the counter a couple times to smooth out the chocolate then pop in the fridge or freezer to set. Once it has set, whack it on the counter or tap it with a rolling pin to break it up.

Don’t forget to check out some fireworks!
-Mel
Categories: Candies | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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