Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Margarita Cupcakes - Booze Cupcakes 1

The only thing better than sitting on the beach in Mexico sipping a margarita is sitting in the hot tub at home, sipping a margarita!

These cupcakes are a really fun dessert to serve at a BBQ or theme party. I know that there are a ton of delicious versions out there, but these are the first ones I have ever tried and they were fantastic! 

I love lemon and lime desserts, so I think that contributed to how addicting I found these cupcakes. Sneaking a little tequila in with my breakfast cupcake didn't hurt either.

These have a fantastic lime flavour and would be great with or without the addition of tequila.

This recipe is originally from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, but I ran out of soy milk at 1 cup and so I used 1% milk as well and they turned out great!

This recipe makes 24 Margarita Cupcakes.

Margarita Cupcakes
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 3 tsp lime zest
  • 2 cups soy milk (or regular milk)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 3 tbsp tequila
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 2/3 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line your muffin tins with paper liners
  2. In a large bowl mix together the lime juice, lime zest, soy milk, canola oil, tequila, vanilla, and sugar
  3.  In a second bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt
  4. Pour the dry ingredients in with the wet and mix well
  5. Fill 24 muffing cups, and bake for 18 - 22 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted)
  6. Let cool completely before frosting
  7. Frost with Margarita Icing
  8. Enjoy!
Margarita Cupcakes
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp lime zest
  • 1 tbsp tequila
  • 4 - 5 cups icing sugar
  • pinch salt
  1. Beat together the butter, milk, lime juice, lime zest and tequila
  2. Mix in the icing sugar 1 cup at a time, beating on high
  3. Add the pinch of salt, and beat until smooth
  4. Ice cooled margarita cupcakes
  5. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Lemony Glazed Bundt Cake

You know how everyone has a recipe or two up their sleeve that seems to be requested more than any other? Lately this has been that dessert.

This bundt cake is so delicious! It is moist, absolutely full of lemon flavour (and we know how much I love lemony desserts!), and is easy to whip up too!  

Plus, aren't bundt cakes just so pretty in their simplicity?

I first made this a while ago after finding it on allrecipes.com.  I definitely recommend sticking with the suggested glaze, it adds an amazing level of moisture to the cake!

Lemony Glazed Bundt Cake

  • 1 cup butter or margarine, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon extract
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • Zest of two lemons
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Lemon Glaze
    • Zest of one lemon
    • Juice of two lemons
    • 1 tbsp water
    • 3/4 cup sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and spray your bundt pan with baking spray (or grease and flour the pan)
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy
  4. Add the eggs (one at a time) and mix well
  5. Add the extracts and mix well
  6. Add half of the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just incorporated
  7. Mix in the milk, lemon juice and lemon zest
  8. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix well
  9. Pour into the prepared bundt pan and bake for 60 - 70 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted
  10. Let cool for about 10 minutes, and then invert onto a cooling rack and let cool for another 10 minutes
  11. Mix together the glaze, and poke the cake all over with a toothpick
  12. Slowly drizzle the glaze all over the cake
  13. Enjoy!
Yum, I can still smell the lemon!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Dark Chocolate Walnut Brownies with Salted Caramel

I'm beginning to realize that the insane chocolate cravings hit at least once a week.  At least they provide me with an excuse to seek out new chocolate recipes, right?

I spotted these brownies (Dark Chocolate Brownies with Toasted Walnuts and Salted Caramel Glaze) over on Creative Culinary and figured it was time to give this salted caramel thing a try.  I believe Barbara originally found this recipe in a Food and Wine magazine, but then amped it up with the addition of Kahlua and salted caramel, and man am I glad she did!

I halved this recipe because I was afraid of having an entire pan of this in my house! It was definitely a good decision as I couldn't stop eating them.

Dark Chocolate Walnut Brownies with Salted Caramel

  • 1/2 lb butter (unsalted)
  • 3/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 50 mL Kahlua (I used one of those mini bottles)
  • 1 tbsp strong coffee
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped and toasted
  • Caramel Topping
    • 1/4 cu p whipping cream
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 2 tbsp butter, cubed
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • sea salt for sprinkling
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F and spray a 9" x 9" pan with baking spray
  2. In a small saucepan melt the butter and chocolate together over low heat, set aside
  3. In a bowl whisk the eggs and sugar together until very pale and thick
  4. In a second small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt
  5. Add the Kahlua, vanilla, and expresso to the sugar mixture and mix well
  6. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and again mix well
  7. Pour the chocolate into the rest of the ingredients and mix until well incorporated
  8. Fold in the chocolate chips and toasted walnuts
  9. Pour into the dish, and bake for 45 min to 1 hour (until the edges are set)
  10. While the brownies are cooling, prepare the caramel
  11. In a small microwave-safe dish heat the cream until warm (do not boil)
  12. In a small saucepan add the sugar and water and allow it to come to a boil (without stirring)
  13. Let the water and sugar boil until it turns a beautiful amber
  14. When the sugar has reached the desired colour, remove the saucepan from the burner and pour in the cream and salt
  15. Whisk until smooth and then pour over the cooled brownies
  16. Sprinkle with sea salt
  17. Enjoy!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Marquise on Meringue - Daring Baker's Challenge

The May 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Emma ofCookCraftGrow and Jenny of Purple House Dirt. They chose to challenge everyone to make a Chocolate Marquise. The inspiration for this recipe comes from a dessert they prepared at a restaurant in Seattle.

Here is my second Daring Baker's challenge! This dessert looked seriously intense when it was first posted, but after I sat down and worked out a game plan, it didn't seem too bad at all!  I have never heard of this type of dessert before, and I am happy to say that it is definitely a keeper.

The fact that it said that this would take approximately 8 hours from start to finish was a little daunting, but I had it complete (pictures and all!) in about four hours :) So this is definitely do-able for a dinner with friends or a special occasion! And trust me, I will definitely be making this again.

The Chocolate Marquise is such a neat dessert. It is served cold and has a wonderfully soft and creamy texture. When paired with the meringue and the delicious caramel it made a very decadent dessert.

Instead of using tequila in the marquise and the caramel, I decided to go with coconut rum. I thought the slight coconut taste would be a delicious alternative to the tequila, and I think it turned out really great!

The plan I set out for myself to make this dessert was:

1) Make the chocolate base so that it could cool while I prepared the rest of the chocolate marquise
2) Make the chocolate marquise and get it in the freezer as soon as possible
3) After the marquise had been in the freezer for 2.5 hours, I prepared the coconut rum caramel
4) When the caramel was complete, I prepared the meringue (made the meringue and broiled it)
5) Before removing the marquise from the freezer and cutting it into pieces, I prepared my plates with the caramel and meringue so all I had to do was add the marquise immediately before serving
6) After I removed the marquise, I used cookie cutters to obtain some fun shapes, quickly dropped them in a bowl of cocoa and set them on the prepared plates

This worked out great! I was able to optimize my time, and even have enough time to do my dishes in between :)

If you are looking for a unique dessert that will impress your guests, this is it!  

I have set out the ingredients and directions in the order that worked for me. If you feel that you have a better method, definitely do what works for you :)

This is the 'quarter' variation of the recipe. This makes enough for about 6 servings (the original recipe makes enough for 16 - 24 servings!)

Chocolate Base

  • 3 oz bittersweet chocolate (70% cocoa), chopped
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tsp whipping or heavy cream
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/16 cayenne
  • 1 tbsp coconut rum
  • 1 tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • dash of freshly ground pepper
  • 1/12 tbsp butter, room temperature
  1. Heat the cream in a small microwave-safe bowl in the microwave until very warm to the touch (but not boiling). I did this in 20 second intervals to make sure I didn't over-heat the cream
  2. Place the chopped chocolate in a small bowl, and pour the warm cream over it
  3. Let the chocolate and cream sit for a couple minutes, and then stir until smooth
  4. Add the salt, cayenne, coconut rum, corn syrup, vanilla, cocoa, pepper, and butter
  5. Whisk until smooth
  6. Set aside 
Chocolate Marquise
  • 3 egg yolks (room temperature)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp + 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp water
  • chocolate base (recipe above)
  • 1/2 cup heavy/whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder (for coating the marquise)
  • meringue, broiled or torched (recipe below)
  • coconut rum caramel (recipe below)
  1. Prepare your pan (I used a loaf pan) by lining it with parchment paper
  2. Separate the yolks from the egg whites and set aside the egg whites for the meringue
  3. Place the egg yolks and remaining egg in a large bowl and whip on high until thick and pale, approximately 10 - 15 minutes
  4. At about 8 minutes, place the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat
  5. Attach a candy thermometer to the pot, and bring the syrup to a boil
  6. Boil the syrup until it hits the 'soft-ball' stage (115 C or 235 F)
  7. When the sugar reaches 115 C, turn the mixer to low and pour in the syrup (be careful!)
  8. After all the syrup has been added, turn the mixer back onto high and whip until the base of the bowl is cool (this will take about 10 minutes)
  9. While the mixture is cooling, pour the cream into a second bowl and whip it until soft peaks form. Set the whipped cream aside
  10. When the syrup/egg mixture is cool, pour in the chocolate base and mix for about 1 minute
  11. Fold in 1/3 of the whipped cream, and then fold in the remaining whipped cream until mostly mixed together
  12. Pour the marquise into the prepared pan, and then cover the top with plastic wrap (make sure it is touching the surface)
  13. Place in the freezer for 2 - 4 hours (or overnight)
  14. When ready to serve, remove the marquise from the freezer and cut it into squares (or you can use cookie cutters)
  15. Roll the cubes in cocoa powder and set them on the plates with the caramel and the meringue. The marquise will start to melt as they warm up, so they should be prepared about 15 minutes before serving
  16. Enjoy!

Coconut Rum Caramel
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup heavy/whipping cream
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut rum
  1. In a saucepan add the sugar and water
  2. Boil the syrup until the water has evaporated and the sugar has caramelized (you want a rich mahogany colour)
  3. When the desired colour is reach, quickly remove the saucepan from the heat and add the whipping cream.
  4. Return the saucepan to low heat and whisk until the mixture is smooth
  5. If you wish, you can continue whisking over low heat until the caramel has darkened to the desired colour
  6. When it is as dark as you like, remove the caramel from the heat and stir in the salt and the coconut rum
  7. Serve with the marquise
  8. Or, just eat it as is. This caramel is delicious!

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup sugar (scant)
  • 1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla
  1. Place a metal bowl over a pot of simmering water
  2. Add the egg whites, sugar, and apple cider vinegar
  3. Whisk the mixture until the egg whites are smooth (until you can no longer feel the sugar granules when you rub it between your fingers)
  4. When smooth, remove the bowl from the stove and beat it on medium-high until soft peaks are formed
  5. Fill a piping bag and pipe your meringue onto a baking sheet lined with parchment
  6. Set the meringues under the broiler (watch carefully!) until browned
  7. Serve with the marquise
  8. Alternatively, you can spoon or pipe the meringue directly onto the plate if you have a kitchen torch on hand

Labour intensive? Yes. Completely delicious? Unbelievably so!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Creamy Chicken Pot Pie with Chive Biscuits

So in spite of my last post, the weather has decided to become cold, dreary, and wet these last few days. Definitely not prime BBQ weather!

But, I'm not complaining.  Everything is becoming so green and the flowers are starting to bloom!  I think it's finally time to plant my garden and flower beds and get some colour popping up around my house.  You have no idea how jealous I am of the people who have started their gardens a few weeks, or even months, ago! We usually wait until after May Long here because every time we plant before the May long weekend we get at least one night of freezing temperatures.  And yet, many of my friends insist on camping during the May long weekend every year! I guess we are a hardy bunch, us Canadians :)

With the momentary return of layers and light scarves, we were in need of some serious comfort food.  This particular recipe had been stuck in my head ever since I had seen it on joythebaker.com, and this weather was calling it's name!

To be perfectly honest with you, this dish is insanely delicious! I halved the recipe because there are only two of us and the leftovers did not last nearly long enough.

I substituted the vegetables for what I had in the refrigerator so I ended up using carrots, asparagus, onion, and red bell peppers. The flavours of these vegetables went perfectly with the rest of this dish! Also, for the milk and cream cheese I had 1% milk and light cream cheese on hand and they ended up working great.  It was thick and creamy and warm and comforting...

And the biscuits? Oh man, the biscuits are wonderful.  Her addition of chives and black pepper to these biscuits is pure genius.

For the chicken I discovered that at my grocery store you can buy half of a rotisserie chicken! How perfect is that?

But enough talk (type?), let's get to this recipe! This makes about 6 biscuits, so about 3 - 4 delicious servings.

Creamy Chicken Pot Pie with Chive Biscuits

  • Biscuits
    • 1 1/4 cups flour
    • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
    • 1/8 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp sugar
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper
    • 3 tbsp chopped chives
    • 2 tbsp cold butter
    • 2 ounces cold cream cheese (1/4 of a block of cream cheese)
    • 6 tbsp cold buttermilk
  • Creamy Chicken Pot Pie
    • 2 tbsp butter
    • 1/4 cup flour
    • 1 cup chicken broth
    • 3/4 cup milk
    • 2 ounces cream cheese
    • salt and pepper
    • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
    • dash ground nutmeg
    • 1 1/2 cups shredded chicken
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1/2 onion, diced
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 large carrot, thinly sliced
    • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
    • 6 spears asparagus, diced
  1. To make the biscuits whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, pepper, and chives
  2. Cut up the butter and cream cheese into cubes and then work it into the flour mixture with your hands until it resembles coarse crumbs
  3. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the cold buttermilk. Mix until the batter just comes together and then knead on a flat surface until the dough is about 1" to 1 1/2" thick
  4. Cut out biscuits and place them on a plate and stick them in the refrigerator until needed
  5. Preheat the oven to 400 F and make sure all of the vegetables are diced and the chicken is shredded
  6. Melt the butter over medium heat and then whisk in the flour for about a minute
  7. Turn the burner to low and then pour in the chicken broth, whisking until all of the flour is mixed in
  8. Add the milk and the cream cheese, turn the burner back up to medium, and whisk until smooth
  9. Continue whisking until the mixture is nice and thick
  10. Add the shredded chicken, lemon juice, and dash of nutmeg. 
  11. Season with salt and pepper
  12. Set aside while you cook your vegetables
  13. In a small frying pan or skillet heat the olive oil and then add the onions.
  14. Saute the onions for a few minutes and then add the garlic powder and the remaining vegetables
  15. Cook all of the vegetables for a few more minutes and then dump them in with the creamy chicken mixture
  16. Stir and pour into a 9" x 9" pan
  17. Place the biscuits on top of the chicken pot pie and place in the oven
  18. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes until the biscuits are a nice and golden colour
  19. Enjoy!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Hello Summer!

You know what's awesome? The tan-line I got from sitting outside yesterday morning, that is awesome! The sun is finally out and it is warm! Well, with the exception of today where it decided to rain all day, but we desperately needed some moisture so I'm not complaining about it as long as the sun comes back soon.

Since it is warm and sunny and just plain wonderful outside lately, we have been BBQ'ing up a storm. Here are some things that we will be making this summer, a lot.

Strawberry Shortcake Cake

One of the best things about summer is the delicious and fresh strawberries. And what better way to enjoy this healthy fruit then to cover them in sugar and layer them in a cake? This strawberry shortcake cake (courtesy of thepioneerwoman.com) is easily one of our all-time favourites! OK, I realize that this isn't made on the BBQ, but it is perfect for a dessert after a delicious steak!

BBQ'd Salmon

I love salmon on the BBQ.  I have couple recipes up on the blog already, but I haven't yet posted our two absolute favourites. I think it is because every time we make them, they get gobbled up before I can even remember that I own a camera. I promise that I will do my best to introduce you to the two best BBQ'd salmon recipes we have encountered so far. Until then, these are pretty darn delicious as well:

- Cedar Planked Salmon with Maple Glaze
- Spicy Broiled Salmon (also great on the BBQ!)

Grilled Veggies

So simple and yet so delicious. We love to grill up some veggies almost every time we BBQ. We keep the seasonings simple and grill them until they are soft with a little bit of crunch remaining. Yum! Lately we have just drizzled on some olive oil then sprinkled them with lemon pepper. Simplicity is often perfection. Our favourite vegetables to grill are red onions with bell peppers, mushrooms, and asparagus. Oh man, so good.

Fresh Easy Salads and Salsa's

These make the perfect side dish at any BBQ, and they are super quick and easy to whip up. These are some good starting points, feel free to use them as a guide and make a delicious side dish with whatever you have on hand!

- Avocado, Cucumber, and Black Bean Salad
- Chipotle Corn Salsa
- Fruit Salad
- Lemon Grass Beef Salad

I hope you get the chance to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather!  

I have so many new BBQ-friendly recipes that I can't wait to try, and a few that I already can't wait to share with you! This is going to be a fantastic summer :)