Sunday, 16 August 2015

Lindsay's 5 Star Peach Pie

This is a family recipe courtesy of my dear friend Lindsay - she recently brought it to a weekend cottage getaway where it received rave reviews.  A lovely combination of a rich buttery shortbread crust and a creamy custard filling studded with slices of fresh ripe sweet Ontario peaches.  It's rich, but that won't stop you from wanting seconds.  I think this would be amazing served with a dollop of whipped cream on top.

Lindsay's 5 Star Peach Pie

2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup white sugar
3/4 cup butter

Blend ingredients together in order given.
Pat mixture into a buttered 9x13 inch pan.
Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees C.

2 beaten eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4-5 cups peaches, sliced (about 6 good sized peaches)

Beat eggs, add vanilla and dry ingredients.
Blend and add peaches.
Pour mixture over crust and bake 30-45 minutes at 350 degrees C.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

White Chocolate Vanilla Cake with Strawberries and Cream Frosting

How is it already the end of July?!  We celebrated my Mom's birthday last week so I naturally baked her a nice cake.  Happy Birthday, Mom!

This year's version is the birthday vanilla cake recipe from last year, with some updates.  I added white chocolate chunks throughout the cake, and replaced the chocolate ganache filling with sliced ripe strawberries, white chocolate bits and pieces, and whipped cream.

Instead of vanilla buttercream frosting, I used a sweet whipped cream to top the cake (and for filling).  All you need is whipping cream, vanilla, and a bit of icing sugar.  So easy!

Sprinkle the top of the cake with white chocolate and a couple of pretty strawberries - or do an artful design on top with sliced strawberries - whatever floats your boat.  As strawberry season has now come to an end here in Ontario, I think this cake would be equally (or possibly even more) delectable with ripe peaches.   Who has a birthday in August?!

White Chocolate Vanilla Cake with Strawberries and Cream Frosting

White Chocolate Vanilla Cake
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour                        
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
100g chopped white chocolate
2/3 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk

Strawberries and Cream Frosting
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 2 9-in. round cake pans* and line bottoms with parchment.
Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, cream softened butter together with granulated sugar using a hand mixer. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in 1 tsp vanilla.  Add one-third of flour mixture, then add half the milk. Repeat, ending with flour mixture.  Fold in about 2/3 of the chopped white chocolate.
Divide mixture evenly between the two cake pans.

Bake in centre of oven until a cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean, about 24 minutes.  Cool in pans on a rack for 10 min, then turn cakes out onto rack. Remove parchment. Cool completely, about 30 min.

Beat the cream, vanilla, and icing sugar using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment (or hand mixer) on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 2-3 minutes.  Carefully continue beating just past the soft-peak stage, about 1-2 more minutes.  The frosting should hold its shape, but still be smooth and spreadable.

Place one cake layer on a stand.  Cover generously with frosting, and place sliced strawberries and the rest of the white chocolate over top, pressing gently into the frosting.  Place the second layer on top and cover with frosting.  Sprinkle the top with white chocolate 'dust' and arrange any remaining strawberry slices on top if you like.

* makes 2 on the thin side layers of cake.  If you prefer thicker layers, try 8 inch pans.

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!


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.