Friday, July 30, 2010

Raspberry Preserves

With all of the rain we have been having lately, there is a serious abundance of raspberries right now.  We went and picked a ton a couple of days ago, but there were more ripe raspberries than we could possibly eat so we decided to try and make raspberry preserves.

If you have never had these, they are so good! The raspberry syrup it produces is amazing with vanilla ice cream, pancakes, whipped cream, on pie, by itself, really the uses are endless.

We have access to a very large number of raspberry bushes, half of which produce yellow raspberries.  They are so good, but I find the traditional red raspberries to be a bit sweeter.  I have never seen yellow raspberry preserves, but we figured why not give it a shot!

This is just what we picked the first night.  A couple of days later we doubled our raspberry harvest! And this Saturday, we will probably pick at least this much again. I think I need more jars.

This was also our first attempt at canning, and we managed to have 11 of our 12 cans produce the 'pop' that lets you know the jar is sealed. Pretty successful for a first attempt!  Since we have a ceramic stove top, we can't can in the traditional way, so we did our canning in the oven instead.  This method is amazing and so easy, I don't think I will ever stray!

There is only three ingredients in raspberry preserves: raspberries, sugar, and water!

Raspberry Preserves

  • 6 - 8 liters (about 1.5 to 2 ice cream pails) raspberries
  • 9 cups water
  • 4 1/2 cups sugar
  • 12 x 500 ml jars
  1. Sterilize your jars (we did so in the dishwasher) and your lids/sealers (we washed them and then put them in bowl of water we boiled in an electric kettle).  Preheat your oven to 350F.
  2. Make a simple syrup by combining the water and the sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil so all of the sugar dissolves. Set the simple syrup aside
  3. Wash all of the raspberries and fill up your jars with the raspberries, leaving about 1 inch of space at the top. We fit about 2 liters of raspberries in 3 to 3.5 jars (we gently pressed them into the jars)
  4. Pour the simple syrup into each jar, again leaving 1 inch of space at the top (we had a couple cups of simple syrup left over)
  5. Carefully place the lids and sealers on top the jars and close tightly
  6. Place your jars in a shallow pan or rectangular casserole dish that has about 1 inch of water in it
  7. Place the dish with the water and the jars in the oven for 30 minutes
  8. Remove the pans from the oven and set the jars on a cooling rack then wait for the 'pop'!
  9. If some of the jars do not seal (if the top moves when you press on it), just place these ones in the fridge to eat first!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Honey Oat Bread

Thats right! I finally did it.  I got over my fear and tackled the art of making bread.  And you know what? It wasn't that bad! In fact, it was a delicious adventure and I can not wait to try it out again.

I found this recipe on and the actual recipe from that site can be found here.  This recipe had a ton of awesome reviews, and they were all very well deserved! If you are looking for a tasty and healthy bread recipe, then I will definitely recommend this one.

Another bonus? Trying out this recipe also gave me a chance to use the dough hook attachment on my KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer (oh how I love that machine) for the first time, which I found very exciting!

This is a whole wheat bread, so it is a little bit heavier than if you are used to white bread.  It is fantastic for making sandwiches, or for toasting in the morning for breakfast (or for supper, like I may have done today).  I think this recipe can also be tweaked to add other fun elements, maybe something tasty like sunflower seeds!  This recipe produces two loaves, so you can easily freeze one for later.

Honey Oat Bread

  • 4 1/2 tsps Active Dry Yeast
  • 1/2 cups honey
  • 4 tbsps butter
  • 2 1/4 cups warm water
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats (the quick cooking variety)
  • 1 egg
  1. Heat the butter and the honey in a small saucepan over medium heat until the butter is completely melted.
  2. Remove from heat and add the warm water
  3. Test the mixture to make sure it is warm to the touch (but not hot), and then add the active dry yeast
  4. Stir in the yeast, and let it sit for about 10 minutes until it is really bubbly. Note: If your yeast is not producing bubbles at this point, the liquid may have been too hot, not warm enough, or your yeast may be expired. These things happen to the best of us! If your yeast expiry date has not passed, then try again and really monitor the temperature of the liquids before adding the yeast, the bubbles are key to fluffy bread.
  5. Pour the bubbly yeast mixture into a bowl, and then add the salt, 1 cup regular flour, and 2 cups whole wheat flour.  If you have a stand mixer, you can mix this up with the dough hook attachment
  6. After it is mixed, beat the mixture for 2 minutes
  7. Add the egg, and then 1 cup whole wheat flour, and beat for another 2 minutes
  8. Add the oats, the remaining whole wheat flour, and 1 cup regular flour
  9. Knead with your hands on a floured surface (or with the dough-hook attachment on your mixer) until it is nice and soft.  I had to add all of the remaining regular flour to get it to the correct consistency (it was originally really sticky)
  10. Grease a bowl with butter and place the ball of dough inside the bowl. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for 1 hour
  11. After the dough has risen and doubled in size, punch it down and then place it onto a floured surface. 
  12. Cover, and let rise for about 15 - 20 minutes
  13. Split the dough into two equal pieces, and place each piece into a loaf pan 
  14. Cover the loaf pans with a tea towel and let the loaves rise for another hour
  15. Bake the loaves at 350 for 35 - 40 minutes
Note: My oven seems to run quite hot, and my loaves were done at 30 minutes.  

Another Note: Do me a favor and try this when it is still warm with some butter, mmmmmm

Third Note: Or toast a couple slices and serve with peanut butter for breakfast the next day, so good!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Classic Buttercream Icing

This past weekend we went on a camping trip with a large group of family.  It is an annual camping and family golf tournament event that is always a blast.  We had a large potluck on Friday and I was in charge of dessert!

I made one batch of Devil's Food Chocolate, and one batch of Yellow Buttermilk cupcakes.  I baked each as half regular cupcakes, and half mini.  Next time, I think I will go with all mini, they seem to go over much better after a really large meal!

I also found a buttercream icing recipe that seemed to work really well. It was super easy to decorate with; it spread well and also held up to piping. And best of all, it held up great against the heat all weekend!  It is a Wilton recipe and can be found on the Wilton website here. It can also be found in the 2003 Wilton Yearbook: Cake Decorating!

I can already see some people cringing when they see what is actually in icing, but trust me, it is so worth it! 

Buttercream Icing

  • 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tbsps milk
  1. Cream together the butter and shortening until smooth
  2. Add the vanilla, and mix until fully mixed
  3. Add the icing sugar 1 cup at a time, making sure it is completely mixed in before adding the next cup
  4. After all the icing sugar is added, add in the milk and beat until it is nice and fluffy. At this point you can also add your food coloring if you wish to do so
  5. If you want to make this ahead of time, you can store it in an air-tight container for about two weeks in the fridge

Friday, July 23, 2010


As you may have figured out, I really enjoy making cupcakes.  To the point where my fiance jokes that I am a tad obsessed.  At least, I assume he is joking.  He is, right? 

While I do love trying out new recipes in both the baking and the cooking worlds, by far my favorite thing to produce is a cute and tasty cupcake!

I am going on a big family camping trip this weekend, so I volunteered to make a ton of cupcakes to feed everyone.  But when I opened my case where I keep all my cupcake cups yesterday to start making the cupcakes, my fiance looked over at my collection and all he did was shake his head. Why does he do that every time I open my cupcake cup suitcase?

Doesn't everyone keep this many cupcake cups on hand? Just in case? You never know what fun cupcake you will want to try next, and you need a solid variety of cupcake cups to choose from, right?


Just me?

Huh. But you know what?  I'm OK with that, because that means there are more people out there to give my cupcakes too. If we kept them all, I could probably kiss that 'fits like a glove! No alterations needed!' wedding dress good-bye!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tiramisu Cupcakes

Oh man, I don't even like coffee and I think that these are amazing! I was a little intimidated by the recipe at first, but they turned out to be pretty easy to make, and they turned out awesome.  I am especially a fan of the icing on top, it is so creamy.  If you enjoy traditional tiramisu,  I am completely confident that you will love this cupcake.

I am considering making these again but with a raspberry or a chocolate glaze instead of the Coffee-Marsala Glaze.  When I do, I will definitely let you know how they turn out!

To make the glaze, I had to pick up a few new ingredients.  The marsala wine is an Italian wine and it isn't very expensive at all, which was a pleasant surprise.  And of course, where else would I pick up a hot cup of coffee?

The batter is super light and fluffy, it was really neat to work with.  It produces a really great cupcake, one that is a bit airier than usual.  This helps the cupcake soak up the marsala glaze so the wonderful flavour works it's way into the entire cupcake.

After the glaze soaked in for about half an hour, I finished them off with a dollop of mascarpone frosting and some cocoa. Don't you love that word? dollop! Trust me, this frosting is absolutely delicious!

This recipe is from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes, and it makes 18 cupcakes.

Tiramisu Cupcakes
  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 vanilla bean (cut in half, lengthwise)
  • 4 tbsps butter, unsalted
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  1. Line your muffin tins with cupcake liners, and preheat your oven to 325F
  2. Whisk or sift your flour, baking powder, and salt together
  3. Place your milk into a saucepan.  Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean, and add both the seeds and the vanilla bean pod to the milk.  Heat until small bubbles appear on the edge the mixture
  4. Add the butter, and quickly mix until it is all melted
  5. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and let it cool for about 15 minutes
  6. Strain the mixture through a sieve into a bowl and throw away the vanilla bean pod. Note: I don't have a sieve, so I removed the pod and then carefully poured the mixture into a small bowl, removing the bits of vanilla bean pod that were left as I poured.
  7. Whisk the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar together in a heat-proof bowl. 
  8. Place the egg mixture over a pot of simmering water, and continue whisking until the mixture is warm and smooth to the touch
  9. Using an electric mixer or hand blender, whisk the egg mixture on high until it is really fluffy. You can check to see if it is fluffy enough by ensuring that it can keep the shape of the egg that falls off of the whisk on the mixture's surface for about 2 - 3 seconds (before it disappears into the fluffy egg mixture again)
  10. Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture carefully, adding about half of a cup of flour each time to the egg mixture
  11. When all of the flour is mixed in, mix some of the batter into the milk mixture to thicken, and then add the thickened milk mixture to the batter
  12. Carefully mix the batter until it is all combined.  The batter will be extremely light and fluffy.
  13. Fill 18 cupcake cups, and bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick that is inserted into the cupcake comes out clean
  14. Brush each cupcake with the coffee-marsala glaze.  Continue brushing each cupcake over and over until all of the glaze has been used up.  
  15. Let the freshly glazed cupcakes sit for about 30 minute to soak up the deliciousness
  16. Top each cupcake with a dollop (yay dollop!) of mascarpone frosting, and then sprinkle on come cocoa to make it beautiful.  Enjoy!
Coffee-Marsala Glaze
  • 1/3 cup and 1 tbsp of hot coffee (yay for Timmie's)
  • 1 ounce marsala wine
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  1. Combine all ingredients together and mix until the sugar is completely dissolved
Mascarpone Frosting
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  1. Mix together the mascarpone cheese and the icing sugar
  2. Beat the whipping cream until it is fluffy and can hold a peak
  3. Add the whipping cream to the cheese mixture, and mix carefully until completely blended
  4. Taste test every 30 - 45 seconds, just because you can

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Brownie Mint Cupcakes

I was drawn to these cupcakes not only because they are a similar texture to brownies (and I love brownies), but because they have an awesome minty surprise in them! The recipe is perfect because it makes 12 cupcakes, and so many recipes make two dozen or more, which is a lot for my household of two!

These are really great because they are good with or without the mint patty in them.  The addition of the mint patty makes them quite rich, so if you do not enjoy really rich desserts, you can definitely leave them out!

These cupcakes are from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes.  These cupcakes really are at their best when they are naked, they are so rich all on their own. This recipe makes 1 dozen brownie mint cupcakes.

Brownie Mint Cupcakes

  • 8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 12 small mint patties (ex: York Peppermint Patties)
  1. Line your muffin tin with cupcake liners and preheat your oven to 350F
  2. Put chocolate chips and butter in a metal bowl, and put the bowl on top of a pot of simmering water
  3. Stir the chocolate and butter until it is completely melted together
  4. Take the bowl off of the pot of boiling water and mix in the sugar and salt
  5. When the mixture is smooth, add the eggs and mix until completely combined
  6. Carefully mix in the flour and the cocoa until the batter is nice and smooth
  7. Place one teaspoon of batter into each cupcake liner
  8. Place the mint patty on top of the teaspoon of batter, and cover with remaining brownie batter
  9. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes, or until a toothpick can be inserted into the center and come out clean

Monday, July 19, 2010

Cinnamon Buns

This recipe is from, and they are easily the best cinnamon buns I have tasted in a very long time.  I usually make a half-batch because it produces such a large quantity of cinnamon buns, but lately I have been getting quite a lot of requests, so next time I will definitely be making a full batch! 

I, like most desserts, prefer my cinnamon buns without any topping, but most people love them with cream cheese frosting.  I can't deny that cream cheese frosting is amazing, but there is just something about these cinnamon buns that make them delectable all on their own. It probably has something to do with the mass amounts of butter, sugar, and cinnamon, yum!

First you have to scald your milk/vegetable oil/sugar mixture in a saucepan on the stove. Once the mixture starts to get really small bubbles on the edges (right before boiling point) you have to quickly remove the pan from the heat, and allow it to cool until it is warm to the touch (not hot, not room temperature).

After the milk has cooled enough to tough, sprinkle the active yeast on top and let it sit for a couple minutes. Then pour the milk mixture into a large mixing bowl, and mix it well with 8 cups of flour.  After it is all mixed, cover the bowl with a tea towel and let it sit for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours so it can rise. 

Right after adding the 8 cups of flour
After letting it rise for 1 1/2 hours

After the dough has risen (I always find the fact that my dough has risen to be very exciting!) mix in the remaining dry ingredients and separate the dough into 2 equal portions.

Generously (and I mean generously) flour your counter and place half of the dough on top. Mold the dough so that it resembles a rectangular shape, and then roll it out.  

I like the dough to be about this thick, but I also know some people who prefer it much thinner, so it is a personal preference.

When your dough is evenly rolled out, melt about 1/2 to 3/4 cups of butter, and pour it on top of the dough.  Spread it around so all of the dough is covered.  Then sprinkle on 1 cup of sugar, followed by a very generous sprinkling of cinnamon.  

Roll your dough up into a long cylinder.  I found it to be the easiest to roll when you start at the end farthest from yourself, and work your way inwards.  Press the edges of the dough together to help seal everything together.  Cut 1 inch sections all the way down your long cinnamon roll, and place them in tins that have been coated with yet more melted butter. 

I use the square tins that you can get at the grocery store, and fit about 9 to 10 cinnamon buns in each tin.

Place your filled tins off to the side, cover them with a tea towel and let them rise for about 30 minutes so that they become nice and fluffy.

Repeat with the second half of the dough.  When you are done the second half, the first half that are sitting and rising will be ready for the oven!

I cook mine at 375F for about 17 - 18 minutes, but my oven runs really hot.  When we made them at a friend's house, they weren't quite cooked enough so i would definitely try cooking them at 400F in a regular oven.

While my cinnamon buns are cooking, I make up my cream cheese icing! Again, my fiance and I prefer our cinnamon buns without any icing, but we are the only ones we know who prefer them that way.  So I need to make sure that I have cream cheese icing to go with my cinnamon buns when I deliver my trays to everyone!

These are so good, we always have so much trouble waiting for them to come out of the oven.  Try one when they are still warm, they practically melt in your mouth!

These are so good, you will want to make sure even the funny end pieces make it onto the pans!

The original post can be found here, and it includes a different icing for the cinnamon buns. I have never actually made the icing specified in the post, but I am sure it is amazing!

Cinnamon Buns
  • 1 liter of milk
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 packages of Active Dry Yeast
  • 9 cups flour 
  • 1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 scant teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of salt
  • Lots of melted butter for the cinnamon buns, and for the pans (about 2 cups)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • Lots and lots of cinnamon
  1. Pour the milk, sugar, and vegetable oil into a medium saucepan. Cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until milk mixture has some bubbles along the edges of the pan, right before it comes to a boil
  2. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and let stand until it is cool enough to touch, but is not hot. This takes about an hour.
  3. When warm, sprinkle both packages of yeast over the milk mixture and let set for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add 8 cups of flour to the milk mixture and mix thoroughly.  Cover with at tea towel and let stand for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours so that the dough can rise.
  5. After the dough has risen, add the last cup of flour,the baking soda, baking powder, and salt. 
  6. Very generously sprinkle flour on your counter and place half of the dough onto the counter top
  7. Roll out the dough.  Try to keep the dough in a shape that resembles a rectangle, it will make it easier to roll up later
  8. Cover the dough with 1/2 to 3/4 cups of melted butter. Spread the butter around to ensure all of the dough is covered.
  9. Sprinkle 1 cup of sugar over the dough, yes, one whole cup of sugar!
  10. Sprinkle cinnamon over top of the sugar and butter.  The more cinnamon the better!
  11. Roll the dough up into a long cinnamon roll.  I found it easiest if you start at the edge farthest from you and roll towards yourself.
  12. Spread melted butter in your pans so that the cinnamon rolls won't stick to the pans
  13. Cut your roll into 1 inch thick sections, and place each cinnamon bun into a pan.  I usually fit 9 to 10 rolls per square aluminum pan.
  14. Set the filled pans aside and let rise for 30 minutes before baking.
  15. Repeat steps 6 through 14 with the second half of the dough
  16. When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 400 and bake for 15 - 20 minutes.  They are done when the top of each cinnamon bun is golden brown.  Personally, my oven runs hot so I bake them at 375 for 17 minutes, and they come out perfect, but other people I know who have made them found that 375 was too low.
Cream Cheese Icing
  • 1 package cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 - 2 cups icing sugar (depending on how sweet you like your icing)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. Cream all four ingredients together until smooth
  2. You can adjust how sweet the icing is by adding the icing sugar 1/2 cup at a time, and tasting it after each addition. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Everyone has their own ideas about what makes the perfect chocolate chip cookie.  For me, these are pretty close to perfection! This recipe is from Martha Stewart's Cookies. Personally, I like to use whatever chocolate chips I have on hand.  These cookies in particular were half milk chocolate chips, and half white chocolate chips.  I think they would be really good with anything you have left in your cupboard: butterscotch chips, macadamia nuts, dark chocolate chips etc.  The dough is just a fantastic base for your favorite additions!
These cookies are really quick and easy to make, and are at their best when they are warm and gooey!

The original recipe can also be found on the Martha Stewart website here.  This recipe makes approximately 3 dozen cookies. 

Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (best at room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (or 1 cup milk chocolate & 1 cup white chocolate, or any combination that adds up to about 2 cups!)
  1. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper (or spray it with cooking spray) and preheat your oven to 350F
  2. Whisk together the flour and baking soda
  3. Mix butter and the two sugars together until light and fluffy in a stand mixer or by hand
  4. Add the eggs, vanilla, and salt to the sugar mixture and mix until completely incorporated
  5. Add the flour mixture, followed by the chocolate chips and mix until the chocolate chips are evenly distributed
  6. Using a tablespoon, drop the cookie dough onto the baking sheets.  Each baking sheet can hold about 1 dozen cookies 
  7. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes and remove when the edges are golden brown and the middle of the cookie is still soft.  The cookies will finish setting after they are removed from the oven
  8. Enjoy with a nice cold glass of milk!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Bacon Cheddar Perogies

If there is one thing that everyone loves, it is homemade perogies.  If there is another thing that everyone loves, it is bacon.  And from that was born the beautiful bacon cheddar perogies, pure perfection in dumpling form!

I obtained this recipe from my mother-in-law, according to my fiance they are the 'best ever!'.  The only modification we made was the addition of bacon, but you can really add anything you like to them.

First I boiled the potatoes, cooked the bacon, and shredded the sharp cheddar cheese.  The key is to use sharp cheddar so you really get that awesome cheese flavour!
Next, we made the dough. It is a really simple recipe, and makes about 30 perogies.  I strongly suggest you double or triple or quadruple, etc., this recipe because 30 will not last long at all! Also, they freeze amazingly well so you can always freeze a ton of them and just take them out when needed.

After the potatoes were done and the bacon was cooked and chopped up, I mashed it all together to make a tasty filling.
Be sure to taste test it! I know, cooking is rough.

Then I rolled the dough out on a lightly floured surface and cut out circles with a glass.  You can use a biscuit cutter, a glass, or whatever you have on hand.  
You will want to roll your dough a bit thinner than this. You live you learn!

Then I plopped about a tablespoon of filling onto the circle, and stretched the dough over to close.  If the dough doesn't want to stick together, you can wet the edges with your finger and then the dough will seal with some pressure.
After the perogy is sealed, we placed it on a dry tea-towel, and covered it with another tea towel.  

Then repeat, and repeat, and repeat.  The perogies can then be frozen in a single layer, and then thrown into a ziploc bag in the freezer for storage.

To cook, place the perogies (either fresh or frozen) in boiling water and when they float to the top they are done! Serve with butter, sour cream, sautéed onions, however you like them.

Bacon Cheddar Perogies
  • For the dough (makes approximately 30 perogies):
    • 2 cups flour
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 egg
    • 2/3 cups cool water
  • Bacon Cheese Filling:
    • 3 potatoes, cut into chunks
    • 1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
    • 6 slices bacon, cooked
  1. To make the dough, sift together the flour and salt.  Add the egg and water and knead until completely mixed.  Place in a bowl with a lid and set aside until you need it.
  2. For the filling, boil the potatoes until soft.  Mash the potatoes and mix in the cheese and bacon.  At this point you can adjust the amount of cheese and bacon until they are as flavorful as you wish!
  3. Roll out the dough on a floured surface, and cut out circles with a glass or biscuit cutter
  4. Place about 1 tbsp of filling in the middle of the circle, and stretch the dough over and seal the edge together
  5. If the dough isn't sealing well, wet the edge with a finger dipped in cool water, and then the dough will seal beautifully.
  6. Lay the finished perogy on a dry tea towel, and cover with a second tea towel.
  7. To freeze, freeze in a single layer on a cookie sheet. After perogies are frozen, they can be placed in a ziploc bag and put back into the freezer.
  8. To cook, place fresh or frozen perogies in a large pot of boiling water, and cook for about 4 minutes or until perogies rise to the top of the water.
  9. Remove and place in a bowl with some butter so that they don't stick together.
  10. Serve with sour cream, sauteed onions, kubasa, or whatever you like!