Tag Archives: Baking

Coconut Macaroons – Simple & Impressive

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Coconut Macaroons – Simple & Impressive

  
Well, it’s official, Christmas baking has started! Here’s hoping some actually makes it into the freezer!!

Okay so this is a quick and simple recipe that looks impressive. 

Ingredients:

5 cups Unsweetened Coconut

2/3 cup White Sugar

6 Tablespoon White Flour

1/4 teaspoon Salt

4 Egg Whites

1 teaspoon Vanilla (or Almond) Extract

Method:

Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Mix eggs white, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Add flour and mix until smooth. Add coconut and stir until coconut in fully incorporated. 
Drop by 1 Tablespoon (I use a cookie scoop) onto a lined cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  

Chocolate:

Now you can leave it at that, but I like them dipped with chocolate. So, if you want to do this step, you will need 3/4 cup of chocolate chips. Melt 1/2 cup in microwave on defrost stirring every 30 seconds until totally melted. Then add 1/4 cup chocolate chips. Stir until totally melted do not heat again (this will temper it). Dip your macaroons in and shake off extra chocolate. Drizzle on top using a fork dipped in chocolate. 
  

Enjoy!

HOMEMADE GRANOLA – So Good and Addictive!

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So I started making my own granola this winter, and I have to say, why didn’t I do this before!  It really isn’t that hard, and it tastes great!  As I mentioned in previous posts, my son had a peanut/nut allergy, so things like granola, I cannot just buy at the store as they all contain or may contain nuts of a sort.  So for years I just went without granola, even though I really loved it.

Recently I found a great source for allergen free Raw Pumpkin and Sunflower Seeds that is a Canadian distributor.  Libre Naturals is a company from British Columbia and they specialize in allergen free products.  So I ordered a 10 pound box of both the pumpkin and sunflower seeds that were already shelled.  Being raw, I can roast them anyway I want, and they also last longer.

 

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Now that my world has been opened to more possibilities, I found myself looking for ways to use my seeds.  One way I thought of was to make my own granola!  I took out our family cookbook and found a recipe of my sisters’.

The recipe I am posting here is this same recipe with a few changes I have made.  It originally called for brown sugar and corn syrup, but I changed these out for more natural sweeteners.

 

RECIPE:

3 ½ cups Large Rolled Oats

½ cup Sunflower Seeds

½ cup Pumpkin Seeds

½ cup Coconut

½ teaspoon Salt

2 teaspoons Vanilla

1/3 cup Honey (if not using liquid, melt first)

¼ cup Maple Syrup

¼ cup Butter (melted)

1 cup Raisins

 

METHOD:

Heat oven to 325 °F.  On a cookie sheet, spread out the Oats.  If you are using raw seeds, add these now as well.  Bake in oven for 15 minutes to toast the oats and seeds.  Next add the coconut, and mix all ingredients together.

 

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In a glass measuring cup, melt the butter in the microwave.  Then add in the honey, maple syrup, vanilla and salt.  Mix. Pour this over the oats, seeds and coconut.  Mix well.

 

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Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes.  It should turn a golden brown when done.  Once done baking, add the raisins and stir everything together.  Let cool.  Once cooled, put in a jar or container.  This will make 7 cups of granola.

 

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Now you can change up this recipe and swap out the seeds for nuts, and the raisins out for any other dried fruit.  Mix and match to make your favorite combination.  It is very filling, and a great way to start your day.  You can eat as a cereal with milk, or I like to top off my Homemade Greek Yogurt with a little granola for a snack.

 

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Enjoy!!

GOLDEN CAKE – Even Good Enough for King Midas!

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A rich and surprisingly light cake that even royalty would approve of!

Remember the egg whites you used up the other day from making Angel Food Cake … well here is the follow up to use up the egg yolks I told you to keep!

This recipe is a keeper, and is very versatile.  Think of a birthday cake, cupcakes, or even layer it with fruit or cinnamon and sugar for a great Bundt cake!

I can’t say enough about this cake, except for to try it for yourself.

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RECIPE:

¾ cup Butter (softened)

1 ½ cup White Sugar

1 cup Egg Yolks (approx. 12 egg yolks)

1 teaspoon Vanilla

1 ¾ cup Flour

2 teaspoons Baking Powder

½ teaspoon Salt

¾ cup Milk

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METHOD:

Cream together butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla.  Sift together all dry ingredients.  Next slowly incorporate dry ingredient mixture and milk (alternating), a bit at a time until it is all incorporated.  ** Important step – mix batter in mixer on high for 5 minutes.  This is what will give the cake a light and airy texture!

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Pour the batter into buttered pan, I used a Bundt cake pan.  Bake at 350 ° F, for 35 – 40 minutes (or until tooth pick comes out clean).

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The result is a fantastic cake that can be eaten plain or iced with your favorite icing!

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ANGEL FOOD CAKE – Worth the Extra Effort!

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My whole life I have only eaten Angel Food Cake from a box mix … that is until now.  I had heard that you could make Angel Food Cake from egg whites, but it took a lot of eggs, and was really difficult to make.  WRONG!

Now that I have my own laying hens, I am getting a bit run over by eggs, so I started searching on ways to use them up.  One thing that came up was Angel Food Cake.  I looked at a few recipes, and thought it did not look too difficult, so gave it a go!  Low and behold it actually turned out pretty good, and my family ate it up and asked for more!

 

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A few differences I find between box mix and homemade (besides all the yucky chemicals and preservatives) is how rich it is, and the texture.  Homemade Angel Food Cake is very rich tasting, not like from a box mix where you could eat several pieces.  Also it is very easy to cut with your fork, not like the box mix where it is like you are trying to stab a piece of rubber!

The miss conception of cost … a box mix is around $3-4, a dozen eggs the same.  So no cost difference, but the taste 100% better!

How difficult is it?  The hardest part would be separating the egg whites from the yolks, which with a little practice is not very hard.  There are also several gadgets on the market that separates them for you (like a strainer of a sort).  Other than that, it is like making a regular cake.

I took a recipe I found from Food.com, and made a few modifications, and voila!

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RECIPE:

12 Egg Whites (room temperature)

1 ½ teaspoons Cream of Tartar

¼ teaspoon Salt

2 teaspoons Vanilla

1 ½ cups White Sugar (separated)

1 cup Flour

 

METHOD:

Take out your eggs from the fridge and set out on counter until they reach room temperature, this could take around 1 hour.  Or to speed up this process, place eggs in a bowl with hot tap water for 10 minutes.

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Next separate your egg whites and yolks.  The best way to do this is to separate each egg over a small bowl, then dump egg white into mixing bowl.  That way if you get any egg yolk mixed in you have only ruined one egg, not the whole bunch!  If you do get any yolk in, that will be no good and will affect the beating of the egg whites.  So maybe have a few extra eggs.  Farm fresh eggs are easy to separate as the yolk holds together so nicely!  So maybe check out a farmers market if you do not have your own eggs.

* Now don’t throw out those egg yolks, as they can be used in many other recipes!  I will actually be posting a great recipe of how to use those egg yolks up in my next post (more cake)!

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Add the salt and cream of tartar to the egg whites and beat until the whites form peaks.  Next add ¾ cup white sugar (add slowly), and the vanilla.

Next take the remaining white sugar and flour and sift together into a bowl.  At this point you can choose to continue to use your mixer or if you want to fold in the flour and sugar mixture by hand.  I used the mixer!  Add a bit at a time, and if using mixer, have on slowest setting.  If folding in by hand, use a spatula to fold in the remaining dry ingredients.  Do not speed this part up, as you want to maintain all those fluffy egg whites, as this is what makes your cake so light and airy!

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Do not grease pan.  Spoon batter into an Angel Food cake pan (I use a two piece pan, it is easiest to get the cake out).  Bake in oven at 375° F, for 25-30 minutes.  Should be browned on top.

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Once baked, take your cake pan, and turn upside down and place the funnel onto a water glass that is upside down (must be glass or metal).  This is what my mom always did to cool Angel Food Cakes!  Don’t worry, it will not fall out.  Once cooled, place on counter right side up, and take a knife and run around the outside of cake pan.  Push out from underneath to remove the inner part of pan.  Next cut along bottom of cake.  Then turn out onto plate.

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Serve plain or with whipped cream and berries!  I didn’t have any, so we ate it plain, and was still awesome!

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Enjoy!

BEST EVER BRAN MUFFINS – Sweet and Moist!

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I have tried many Bran Muffin recipes over the years, but this recipe has to be the “Best Ever” (good pun right)!

When one thinks of a Bran Muffin, you think of a beautiful moist muffin with just the right amount of sweetness, not too dry, and not to oily.  There is nothing worse than going to a bakery or the store, seeing the perfect (from the outside) muffin, anticipating the most amazing muffin … then biting into it to find the driest thing you have ever tasted, or the greasiest thing ever!  Yuk!

With this recipe, you won’t be disappointed!  So without further ado … here it is!

 

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RECIPE:

1 ½ cups Bran

2 cups Sour Milk (see note below)

1 cup Butter (softened)

2 cups Brown Sugar

2 Eggs (beaten)

2 Tablespoons Molasses

2 ¾ cups Flour

2 teaspoons Baking Soda

2 teaspoons Baking Powder

¼ teaspoon Salt

1 ½ cups Raisins (see note below)

 

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METHOD:

This makes 2 dozen large muffins, bake at 400 °F for 15 – 20 minutes.

For the sour milk, take two cups milk and add 2 Tablespoons white vinegar, stir and let sit 5 minutes (will thicken).  Then add the Bran, stir and let sit 5 minutes to allow bran to soak up milk.

In separate bowl, cream together brown sugar, butter and eggs.  Next add dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt), and mix.  Add the bran and milk mixture, and molasses, mix.

Now you can decide what you want to add to your bran muffin, I choose to add dried cranberries this time.  Other ideas are raisins, berries (dried, fresh or frozen), or even try figs or dates.

Spoon into lined muffin tin (I have a cookie scoop, and it works great for filling muffin tins without all the mess!).  I fill them 90% full.  I know most recipes recommend 2/3 full, but I find you end up with a small and flat muffin if you do this.  I also bake mine at    400 °F instead of the standard 350 °F.  This bakes the muffin faster from the outside – in, so that it sets the outside, so it does not spill over.

 

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I really enjoy these for breakfast, or a snack, and travel very well for school lunches!

Enjoy!

STAINED GLASS COOKIES – As Good As They Look!

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My son came home from school the other day and said they were having a Valentine’s Day Party on Friday, and that by the way, he was bringing cookies.  I like how sly and smooth he was at slipping in that information!

I thought I would like to make something both yummy and beautiful, so I turned to Pinterest to see if I could get inspired.  I came across Sweet Explorations blog, and thought to myself, this is it.

I used my own Sugar Cookie recipe (thanks to my big sister Wendy), but followed their instructions of making the sugar center, and it turned out perfect.  The only thing I would change in the future would be to add a flavor to it like strawberry or cherry, and then it would be just like a lollypop in the middle of the cookie.

 

Sugar Cookie Recipe:

4 cups Flour

½ teaspoon Salt

1 teaspoon Baking Powder

1 cup Butter

2 cups White Sugar

2 Eggs

2 teaspoon Vanilla

 

Mix all together, cover and put in fridge to chill for about 30 minutes.  Roll out dough 1/8” thick, cut out desired shape.  If dough seems dry at all, add a tablespoon of water and mix in.  Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake at 325 ° F for 10-12 minutes (adjust for your oven).  The edges of the cookie should just begin to brown.  This made 36 good sized cookies.  Cool on rack.

For the cookies I made, I used two different sized heart shaped cookie cutters.  You can use any shape, and make it relevant to the theme or holiday you are making them for.

After the cookies cooled I laid out a bunch of heavy tin foil on my counter, and lined up all the cookies.  I then filled with the sugar filling.  For the sugar filling please refer to Sweet Explorations blog.

 

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Be careful as this sugar is super-hot, and can cause a serious burn.  Use an oven mitten when taking in / out of microwave.

Once cooled you can remove from the foil and package as desired.  I was really impressed how they turned out, and you will be as well.

 

 

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Enjoy!

NO BAKE CHERRY CHEESECAKE

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Cheesecake can seem like a hard thing to make, but not this version.  This No Bake Cherry Cheesecake is super easy and quick to prepare!  Next time you are looking for a dessert to make that is delicious and will be a huge hit with family and friends, this is it!  You can easily change the topping, by using different pie fillings, or use fresh fruit in season.

 

CRUST:

2 ½ cups Graham Crumbs

½ cup melted Butter

Mix in bowl, then press in bottom of 9 x 13 pan.  Stick in freezer for 15 minutes to set it.

 

 

FILLING:

2 – 250 gram packages Cream Cheese

1 can Condensed Milk

¼ cup Lemon Juice

Soften cream cheese in microwave.  Whip cream cheese in mixer on high speed.  Add condensed milk and lemon juice.  Beat until smooth.

Pour over set crust, smooth out evenly.  Put in fridge for 1 hour or until set.

 

TOPPING:

1 can Cherry Pie Filling

Add Cherry Pie filling on top of set filling.  Refrigerate until time to serve.

 

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That’s it!  That easy, quick and yummy!

Enjoy!