Dark Chocolate Truffle Cookies

Dark Chocolate Truffle Cookies

Today’s offering is simple, sweet and superb.  Oh, and very chocolatey. 

Dark, decadent and delicious!

Chocolate Truffle Cookies

Chocolate Truffle Cookies

Need I say more….with just 1/4 cup of flour in the batter they are mostly dark, delicious chocolate, a little sugar, a couple of eggs, some vanilla and a little more chocolate.  Not much more in the way of ingredients.  The most time consuming portion of the recipe is chilling them for about 15-20 minutes before baking.  They are worth the wait!

Chocolate Truffle Cookies

Preheat oven to 350F.  Parchment line baking sheet and set aside.

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups good quality dark chocolate

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 eggs

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Melt butter and 1 1/2 cups of chocolate together in microwave and whisk together until smooth.

Mix flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside.  In another bowl stir together eggs and sugar and add in vanilla.

To the slightly cooled chocolate mixture add in the egg mixture and mix well.  Add in flour mixture and stir until combined.  Add in chocolate chips.

Chill dough for about 15-20 minutes.

Scoop dough onto prepared pan and bake for about 7-8 minutes until cookies look slightly cracked on the outside.  Remove from oven.

Options:  You could add in white chocolate chips or milk chocolate chips or even fold in a few nuts.

 

En Jamima, Anyone?  Sunday Morning Pancakes

En Jamima, Anyone? Sunday Morning Pancakes

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Pancakes with Pure Maple Syrup…Easy and Delicious

Pancake, by definition, a flat cake of thin batter fried on both sides on a griddle.

To me a pancake is much more, it is Sunday mornings when dad used to take over the kitchen and make a pot of coffee in the standard electric percolator (which you now pay about $100 for)  and fry up some streaky bacon and mix up a batch of fluffy pancakes which we topped with butter and syrup.  We would sit at our formica table and still be in our pj’s with the cartoons playing in the background in the living room. Mind you this was the time of black and white t.v., no cable and perhaps 2 stations with cartoons on a Sunday morning.  Saturday mornings had a better selection.

En Jamima was the mix of choice.  Not familiar with this brand?  Well I cannot even remember how old I was before realizing En Jamima was really Aunt Jemima, pretty much a staple in many Canadian homes when I was growing up.  I think the only other option for a boxed product was Bisquick.

Funny how easily different foods and their aromas bring these mostly buried memories flooding back and, if happy ones, make you want to recreate these with your own family.

While I think Aunt Jemima is great, making these tasty fluffy babies from scratch is simple, and oh, so cheap.  My 1980 Good Housekeeping Illustrated is where today’s recipe comes from and I think you will find you go back to it again and again.  So here is to flat cakes of thin batter fried on both sides on a griddle.  Oh, and preferably fried using butter….in my opinion anyway.  And why not a little dab of creamy butter on top of the finished product before add some warmed maple syrup.  Don’t forget the crisp streaky bacon, dad style.

PANCAKE BATTER

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 1/3 cup milk

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  In a small bowl beat egg slightly and add in the milk and oil and give a stir.

Add the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and stir just until flour is moistened.

Heat your fry pan or electric skillet over a medium-high heat.  Brush with oil or butter and pour batter by about 1/4 cupfuls onto hot surface.  Cook until bubble start to burst on surface and edges look dry.  Flip pancakes and cook until bottom is golden.

Serve with butter, whipped cream, syrup or whatever strikes your fancy.  Add in some chocolate chips like I did. Make your own morning memories.

Orange Angel Food Cake & Winnie the Pooh

Orange Angel Food Cake & Winnie the Pooh

It was recently brought to my attention that Winnie the Pooh, the lovable, simple, somewhat overweight bear and I share some similar qualities or quirks.  A friend of mine recently read an article by the Canadian Medical Association,  no lie, there is actually an article outlining the different disorders the Winnie-the-Pooh story book characters may suffer from now and in the future.  (Question: As they are fictional and never grow up how can they possibly develop additional disorders?)

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????The Poohster and I have a similar fixation.  We are both obsessed with sweets. His being honey and mine being sugar, brown sugar, icing sugar, super fine sugar….I see what my friend means.

And tonight because of that fixation I baked up this light and simple but tasty Angel Food Cake.

The recipe is from The Barefoot Contessa’s Family Style cookbook and her version is made with lemon.  I used orange zest instead of the lemon as that is what I had available.  This cake makes up light and moist and is great topped with a glaze, or whipped cream and a few berries.  

A couple of tips before going ahead and grabbing your bundt pan….you will need superfine or fruit sugar for this recipe.  Superfine sugar, fruit sugar and quick dissolving sugar are all exactly the same.  It is just granulated sugar processed finer.  It is more expensive and occasionally difficult to find so pull out your food processor, add in the required amount of sugar and process it for about 60 seconds.  You have now saved yourself about $3.00.  

The recipe calls for Cake flour (same as Cake & Pastry flour BUT different from Self-Rising flour) and says “1 1/3 cups sifted cake flour”, which means you sift your flour BEFORE measuring out the required amount.  And yes, it will make a difference.  If you measure out the 1 1/3 cups and sift it then measure out 1 1/3 cups there will be flour left over.  This step helps to keep you cake light and fluffy.

I used pasteurized eggs whites found in the dairy section as I just don’t know what to do with the dozen or so egg yolks I would have left over after separating all those eggs.  

Always make sure you have your ingredients ready to go and double-check you have everything. That way you will not find out once you have started you do not have or cannot find the Cream of Tartar.  I did make the recipe without the Cream of Tartar tonight but normally I use it. Cream of Tartar is a stabilizer and it helps to keep your whipped egg whites thick and stiff once whipped to that point.

So back to Winnie, Piglet, Owl, Tigger, Kanga, Rabbit, Christopher Robin and my issues.  Winnie suffers from Impulsivity with Obsessive Fixations on Honey.  Winnie_the_Pooh_and_a_Honey_PotHe will grab it whenever he can and is prepared to take risks to acquire it.  I can relate.  Whenever I see a vanilla cake with vanilla frosting my mouth actually salivates.  It is like I will never, ever, ever have another piece of cake so I must eat as much as possible when the opportunity strikes.  It doesn’t matter that I see it every day…I cannot help myself.  So obviously this obsessive behaviour is contributing to Winnie’s obesity and my widening back-end.  Do you remember when he was so fat he got stuck trying to get out of, I think it was, Piglet’s or Rabbit’s, door!  

IOrange Angel Food Cake 005‘m not sure I have reached the risk taking stage yet of searching out sugar but I would imagine if the last Smarties box on earth required me to risk a limb I might just go for it.  And Winnie also suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder which is displayed by his repetitive counting.  Is that like humming continually without realizing you’re doing it or ordering another cupcake book just because it is out there!

The character I found most interesting was Christopher Robin.  The CMA has diagnosed him with possible Schizophrenia as his imagination often manifests itself through auditory hallucinations-all of the characters are formed in his mind.  He may outgrow this as he is only a child.

My comment to them is….Christopher Robin is not real.  He is just as imaginary as Winnie, Tigger and the rest.  Enough said.

Orange Angel Food Cake- Especially delightful on a Blustery Day


Preheat oven to 350F.  Light spray a bundt pan with cooking spray and set aside.


2 cups superfine sugar, divided

1 1/3 cups sifted cake flour 

1 1/2 cups egg whites, room temperature (approx. 10-12 eggs)

3/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar

3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest


Combine 1/2 cup of sugar with flour and sift together (Ina says 4x but I did it 1x).


In the bowl of an electric mixer place egg whites, salt and cream of tartar.  Using whisk attachment beat on high until the eggs make medium-firm peaks.  With the mixer on medium speed add in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of sugar by sprinkling it over the beaten egg whites. Whisk with mixer for several minutes until mixture is thick and shiny.  Whisk in the vanilla and orange zest and continue to whisk until very thick, about 1 minute more.  Remove bowl from mixer.

Egg Whites - thick and shinyEgg Whites – Thick & Shiny 
Using a rubber spatula, fold in about 1/4 of the flour mixture.  Continue adding flour in fourths folding in with rubber spatula until it is all incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.  Bake for 35-40 minutes until the cake springs back when touched lightly.

Remove and let cool.  Use small rubber spatula to loosen cake from center and sides and invent onto cake plate or cooling rack.

Now sit down and enjoy a piece of this and celebrate whatever quirks make you the unique individual you are.

 

 

Ambrosial Raspberry Lemon Scones with Streusel Topping

Today’s post is about truly amazing, fabulously delightful, divine tasting scones and a bunch of 6 degrees of separation stuff, which is all after the recipe just in case you get bored before then!

Raspberry-Lemon Scones with Lemon Glaze 002First things first though.  I cannot take any credit for the above amazing scones.  These are like nothing I have had in ages or maybe ever.  If you have been purchasing scones at Starbucks or elsewhere STOP immediately!  Don’t waste your precious money on a substandard product….at least make these once.  Just once and you will see what I mean.

I did take the photo of my cousin Jan’s scones which she quickly (I mean you can make these beauties in 10 minutes-not counting baking time) baked up during my visit.  Our friend Mary sent us a link she found on Pinterest from BE BOOK BOUND, a blog that ran this recipe on February 15, 2012.

The original recipe is for Terri Bender’s Lemon Blueberry Scones, which Mary made with raspberries instead of the blueberries.  She sent us the link and raved about them.  Jan has made them several times using the raspberries.  I did not get around to baking them up myself but for sure they are on my list.

One of the great things is they are just so flavourful, tender and moist.  Even the next day they retain they moistness.  Struesel topping adds so much to them and then just a small bit of glaze truly sets them apart as a must bake again treat.

So go ahead and give them a try!  Just remember we have subbed in raspberries wherever blueberries are called for.

Preheat oven to 400F.  Parchment line a baking sheet.

My suggestions:  You don’t need a food processor.  Just use your fingertips to work in butter or a pastry cutter.  No buttermilk…no worries…add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup and fill with milk to 3/4 cup measure.  Let sit for about 5 minutes.  No need to cut out biscuits.  Just pat out into a circle or square and cut through with a knife into wedges or circles.  When finished baking go over cuts again.

Raspberry Lemon Scones with Streusel Topping

2 1/4 cups flour

2 tsp baking  powder

1/2 tsp each salt & baking soda

4 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup COLD butter, cut into small cubes

3/4 cup buttermilk

1 egg

3/4 cup raspberries

grated zest from 1 lemon

Streusel Topping-mix together in small bowl and set aside

1/4 cup oats

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1 tablespoon flour

Lemon Glaze-mix together while scones are baking

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 cups icing sugar

1 tablespoon butter, melted

Sift the dry ingredients of the scone into a food processor. Add the cold, cubed butter into bowl of food processor with the lemon zest.  Pulse the mixture until the butter is the size of peas.  Pour the mixture into a large bowl, add the raspberries and toss with the flour mixture.

Mix together the buttermilk and egg and add to the dry ingredients.  Fold together gently, being careful not to break the berries.  Press dough into a large circles on a floured surface.  Cut out dough with a biscuit cutter.  Sprinkle Streusel on top of biscuits and place them on prepared cookie sheet and bake for approximately 18-20 minutes.

Let scones cool slightly before glazing.

Now on to the 6-Degrees of Separation kinda thing.  You know the game where everyone in Hollywood is somehow connected to Kevin Bacon.  For example he starred in Foot Loose with Sean Penn’s brother so he is connected back to Sean Penn..ONLY this is with Bruce Jenner, The Kardashian’s and David Foster.  I’m not sure how this even began sometime during the whole baking and eating scones but it seems having access to an iPad allows you to google just way too much stuff.

So let’s begin…Bruce Jenner who most of us recognize as Kris Jenner’s (nee Kardashian) poorly face-lifted husband was a Gold Medal Decathlon winner in the 1976 Summer Olympics and appeared on boxes of Wheaties (this was before athletes commanded huge price tags for advertisements, etc.)  During this time he was married to his 1st wife and had 2 children.  He also was the replacement for Erik Estrada (if you remember him you are dating yourself big time) on the hit t.v. show CHiPs!  (Who knew he was so famous before the Kardashian’s!!)  Now it gets even more interesting.  His 2nd wife was Linda Thompson, who had a 5 year live-in relationship with the King, and yes, I do mean Elvis.  Really.  Linda then married Bruce and they had 2 boys, Brandon and Brody.  Yes, from the Princes of Bel-Air the short lived reality show that aired just before the divorce of Linda and her next husband David Foster.  Oh, but I am getting ahead of myself.

So Linda and Bruce have 2 boys.  Brody went on to act or reality act on The Hills.  Not sure what Brandon’s claim to fame is other then they have the spoiled rich good looking thing working for them.  O.K. are you following so far.

Bruce now is married to Kris the mother of the 4 Kardashian children and they procreate and add another 2 girls into the mix, Kendall and Kylie.  So Bruce has 6 kids.

How does all this tie in to the tabloid grabbing Kardashian’s with the 6 degrees of separation.

Brody and Brandon are step siblings.

Kendall and Kylie are half siblings.

Burt and Casey (from his 1st marriage) are half siblings to Brody and Brandon

What is even more interesting is David Foster who was married for, I believe, quite a long time to Linda Thompson, has 5 biological daughters.  Sara Foster who was on 90210 and Erin Foster who was on The O.C.

And you remember Clay Aiken, the guy who won a season of American Idol.  Well David Foster’s sister is the mother of his child.  Isn’t Clay gay?  How does that all work?

Remember I did state today was a lot about nothing.   If you can retain any of this silly information it might come in handy in a trivia game.  Goretti, are you there??

Go have a scone!

Banana Butterscotch Cupcakes

Banana Butterscotch Cupcakes

Today’s recipe is Fluffy Banana Cake baked into cupcake liners and topped with a basic buttery icing to which I added a few tablespoons of brown sugar and after icing topped with some toffee bits for a little more of the butterscotch/caramel flavour and to add a little pizzaz.

This wonderful recipe is delicious baked in 8-inch cake pans but works well and bakes up great as cupcakes.  Fold in toffee bits, chocolate chips, white chocolate, even walnuts to the batter to add a little crunch or flavour.  These treats are moist and definitely sweet even without icing.

In today’s recipe I used butter instead of the shortening called for in the original Sunbeam Mixmaster Recipe book from 1951/1952.  Seriously, we have been using this recipe forever and it was included in the recipe book accompanying my mom’s Sunbeam Mixmaster which she received as a wedding gift way back when.  The recipe is great and has never failed us.  I have taken the liberty to paraphrase some of the instructions!

Fluffy Banana Cake (or Cupcakes)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Prepare muffin tins or cake tins.

2 large or 3 small ripe bananas, peeled and mashed

Sift together:

2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

Into large bowl of mixer put:

1/2 cup shortening (room temperature)  I used butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

Beat on medium-high speed for 1 1/2 minutes.  Scrap down sides of bowl.

Now add 1/4 cup buttermilk or sour milk into bowl of mixer and mix in quickly.

Add the sifted flour mixture alternately with the mashed banana while beating on a low speed. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat in flour in 3 additions and banana in 2 additions.  Mix only until flour has blended in.

Fold in any optional ingredients you may be using such as nuts, chocolate chips, etc.

Divide evenly into prepared pans and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes in preheated oven. Cake is done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool completely before icing.