Monday, 29 June 2015

Mom's Granola Bars

This is an oldie but a goodie - the stuff of lunch-box treats and after-school snacks, and probably healthier than these ones... and it takes like less than 5 minutes to whip up.  The longest part is waiting for the oven to preheat!


Mom's Granola Bars

3 cups large flake oats
1 cup chopped unsalted peanuts
1 cup raisins
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk (300ml)
1/2 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper, allowing some to overlap the sides.
Melt butter.  Combine oats, peanuts, raisins, and chocolate chips in a large bowl.
Pour in condensed milk.  Add in slightly cooled melted butter and mix well.
Press evenly into prepared pan.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool slightly.  Remove from pan by using the overlapping edges of the parchment paper.
Cut into bars.

This recipe is easily halved and baked in a 8x8 inch square pan.



Monday, 15 June 2015

Fudgey Peanut Butter Chip Brownies

After a bit of a hiatus, I have returned to baking and blogging! What better way to jump back in than fudge brownies with peanut butter chips?


I have had a bag of peanut butter chips sitting in my cupboard for months.  You see, I have been trying to recreate a favourite dessert from one of our favourite coffee shops for a while now - I have attempted it twice, and was definitely closer the second time around.  Third time's a charm? Anyways, that recipe isn't ready to share with you yet, so instead, here are some brownies with peanut buttter chips in them, because, why not.  And also, because peanut butter and chocolate are the second best flavour combination in the world, after bread, cheese and tomato.

This are actually one of the easiest brownie recipes out there - you can throw these together in 5 minutes.  I love recipes where the butter is melted, so you don't have to plan ahead and remember to keep the butter out of the fridge in advance!


If you are a fudgey brownie fan, these are are for you.  These are incredibly fudgey and the peanut butter chip adds just the right hint of flavour to make it extra special.  Yum-my.

Fudgey Peanut Butter Chip Brownies
adapted slightly from Sally's Baking Addiction

2/3 cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup peanut butter chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch or 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on the sides to lift the finished brownies out.

Melt the butter, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in a saucepan. Transfer into a large bowl with a spatula.  Allow to cool slightly.

Stir in the vanilla extract. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring after each addition. The batter will be thick and look shiny. Add the flour, beating with a whisk until fully combined. Try not to overmix the batter at this point. Gently fold in the peanut butter chips, leaving a few to sprinkle on top. Pour into prepared baking pan and sprinkle with remaining peanut butter chips.

Bake for 25 minutes and check the brownies. Insert a toothpick or cake tester in the centre. If it comes out with only a few crumbs, the brownies are done. Bake for an additional 3-5 minutes if the middle is still too gooey. Be careful not to overbake. Allow the brownies to cool completely before cutting into squares.


Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Lemon Squares

Hello Spring! These lemon squares are so quick, simple and delicious, you will want to have a lemon or two on hand at all times in order to whip up a batch on a whim.  I picture these as the perfect dessert for a spring BBQ or for Mother's Day brunch.


This is my second foray into baking with citrus - this lemon cake was a beauty and a winner for Easter dinner.  I love working with my new little zester - a bit messy but doesn't the kitchen smell wonderful!

Lemon Squares

Butter Crust
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
pinch of salt

Lemon Filling
2 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice  (approximately 1 large lemon)
1/4 cup icing sugar  (for sprinkling on top)

Begin with the crust.  Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add 1 cup of flour and the pinch of salt.  Mix well until dough starts to come together.  It's OK if the dough is a little crumbly.

Grease an 8x8 inch pan and line with parchment paper, letting the paper hang over the sides a little. This step is important in order to create beautiful squares, as it helps to get the squares out easily.

Spoon the crust mixture into the pan.   Using a measuring cup or your fingers, lightly press the crust down into the bottom of the pan, ensuring it covers the bottom equally.   It's OK if a little more crust mixture gets into the corners or up the sides - these are the best pieces.  Bake for 15 to 18 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven until just browned around the edges.  The crust will go back in the oven to bake with the topping, so be sure not to overbake at this stage of the game.

While you are waiting for the crust to bake, prepare the lemon filling.  In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar until well combined.  Add in the flour, lemon juice, and zest and whisk until blended.

Once the crust is ready, remove from oven and let cool slightly. Pour the filling over the warm (but not hot) baked crust. Return to the oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes.  The squares should be just lightly browned on top and no longer jiggly in the centre. 

Sift icing sugar (about a 1/4 of a cup, or to your liking) over top as soon as you remove from the oven, so it will stick nicely.   Allow to cool completely in the pan.  (Yes. You have to wait. Don't ruin the beautiful squares). Run a knife around the edges of the pan. Slice lemon bars into nine large squares or 12 smaller squares. Use the over hanging parchment paper to lift the squares out. 

Squares store well for several days between layers of waxed paper, and freeze well for 1-2 weeks, wrapped tightly. 

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Maple Oatmeal Scones

These scones are the perfect on-the-go breakfast.  It's maple oatmeal without the bowl!  As an added bonus, these are 100% naturally sweetened with maple syrup.  Make a batch, freeze them individually, and then take out of the freezer the night before or a couple of hours before consuming.





Maple Oatmeal Scones
Recipe from Flour

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups oats
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup cream
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 egg (cold)


Combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium sized bowl.   Add the butter and using a pastry cutter or two forks, cut the butter into the flour until it is broken down into pea sized pieces. 

Mix together cream, maple syrup, and the egg until well combined.  Pour into the flour mixture and mix until the dough comes together.  

Using a measuring cup or large spoon, scoop dough and drop onto a baking sheet covered in parchment paper.  Makes enough for about 8 large scones.   Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until scones are nice and golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. 




Delicious served fresh out of the oven with a mug of coffee. 


Saturday, 4 April 2015

Lemon Bundt Cake

Nothing says spring like a fresh lemon cake - now, if only the weather would keep up with the calendar!

Happy Easter!

I hope your holiday is filled with all things sweet!

xo







Lemon Bundt Cake
from Amy Kay's Kitchen 


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups milk
2/3 cups unsalted butter
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp lemon zest

Lemon Glaze & Lemon Sugar garnish
1 to 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 -2 tbsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice
water as needed
1 tbsp lemon zest
2 to 3 tsp sugar 


Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and lightly flour a large bundt pan.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.  Set aside.

Add milk and butter to a small saucepan and heat just until butter is melted.

While waiting on the butter, beat eggs on high speed for 5 minutes or until thickened and lemon-colored. Gradually add sugar, continuing to beat until mixture is light and fluffy.  Beat in vanilla and lemon zest. 

Gradually add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until combined, scraping bowl as needed.
Once the butter is melted, gradually add the butter and milk mixture to batter; beating just until combined and scraping bowl as needed.  The batter will be thin. 

Pour into prepared bundt pan and bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until top springs back when pressed and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean (or with a few moist crumbs). As the baking time will vary widely between ovens, I recommend starting to check at 35 minutes, and monitoring every few minutes. 


Remove from oven, place on a wire rack and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes or until the cake starts to pull away from side of pan.  

Gently pass a knife around the sides of the pan to release the cake and carefully turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

Lemon Glaze
Whisk together the icing sugar and enough lemon juice until the right consistency is obtained.  Taste test for tartness (say that 5 times fast!). If needed, add a teensy bit of water to liquify to glaze consistency.  Pour over cake, letting it drip over the sides prettily.


Lemon sugar garnish
Mix lemon zest and sugar in a small bowl and sprinkle on top of freshly glazed cake while the glaze is still wet.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Cocoa Almond Brownies (gluten-free!)

Looking for something different to bake for a gluten and dairy-free friend? Look no further. These brownies have only, like, 4 ingredients.  Okay, 5: almonds, icing sugar, cocoa, eggs, and vanilla. 
At first, I was suspicious. And doubtful.  Then, I had a few bites and thought, maybe.  Let's put them in front of a group of people (of which the vast majority are gluten-gobblers and lactose-lovers) and see what happens. Success.  Unless they are really good liars... 



Cocoa Almond Brownies (gluten-free)
slightly adapted from Chatelaine

2 1/2 cups icing sugar
2 cups ground almonds
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/8 tsp salt
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla


Preheat oven to 350F.  Line the bottom and sides of an 8 × 8-in. pan with parchment, letting it hang over the edges of pan.

Combine icing sugar, almonds, cocoa and salt in a large bowl. Stir in eggs and vanilla.

The batter will be very thick. Soldier on.  Scrape into prepared pan with a spatula.

Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes until cake tester inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares.

I recommend waiting until they are fully cooled before trying a bite - and although the appearance is a little different (you can clearly see the almond bits), these are really fudgy and tasty.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Happy St. Paddy's - Chocolate Stout Cupcakes and Blarney Chips


Happy St. Pat's!  I did you a solid. I perfected this recipe for you - this is my fourth year running baking chocolate stout cake or cupcakes and St. Patrick's Day just wouldn't be right without them.

Our surname is about as Irish as it gets - my husband's family is from Co. Cork by way of Boston - and if we moved to Boston today we would fit right in (although the O' was dropped over a hundred years ago, like so many other Irish families).  I have been fortunate to visit Ireland twice and it is truly a lovely place and lovely people - make sure you stop in Cork City for some Murphy's.  We celebrate St. Patrick's Day every year - starting the evening off with Black Velvet's (half a pint of Guinness topped with half a pint of Irish Cider) and our homemade version of Blarney Chips (waffle fries topped with cheese, green onion, diced tomatoes, diced green pepper, and more cheese) and served with salsa and sour cream.

Sláinte!!

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup stout beer (preferably Irish - Guinness or Murphy's)
2 eggs

Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium sized bowl.  Set aside.

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at at time, beating in between with a hand mixer.  Add vanilla.  Continue to beat.

Add half the flour mixture and mix in gently, scraping down the sides of the bowl every so often.  Add about 1/3 of the stout and half of the remaining flour.  Repeat, alternating stout and flour until well combined.  Be careful not to overmix.

The batter will be thick.  Spoon into 15 greased or lined muffin cups and bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean.



Chocolate Stout Buttercream Frosting
1/4 unsalted butter, softened
1 - 2 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/3 cup stout
1/2 tsp vanilla

Cream butter with cocoa.   Add one cup of icing sugar and the stout.  Add vanilla and begin to add more icing sugar until you reach the right consistency.  If too thick, just add a little more stout!

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.