Saturday, October 29, 2011

Coconut Chocolate Halloween Squares

As I was whipping up the sweet sauce on Wednesday for a batch of home-made Donairs (which were followed by Donair pizzas the next night, yum!), I accidentally opened a can of 'sweetened condensed milk' instead of 'evaporated milk'.  Oops. Luckily, I noticed before I had added the garlic powder!

Ew, garlic powder and sweetened condensed milk? I just grossed myself out.

So I set aside the sweetened condensed milk, determined to find a use for it so that it didn't go to waste.  After dinner was done I searched around online and saw that there were a ton of super simple bar recipes that involved it.

I realized that many of the recipes involved simply pouring the sweetened condensed milk over a base or crust and then baking it all together. I took a quick inventory of my pantry, and these were born!  I am sure that there are very similar recipes out there, but I managed to create this as I went so I'm pretty proud of them.  I decided to dye the condensed milk with some orange gel food colouring for Halloween, and the colour came out great!

This makes enough to fill a 9 x 13" pan.  These are quite sweet, so you can get a lot of tasty little squares out of this recipe!

Coconut Chocolate Halloween Squares

  • 1 1/2 cups oreo crumbs
  • 1/2 cup melted margarine
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded coconut
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • orange gel food colouring (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup white chocolate chips
  • sprinkles 
  1. Spray a 9 x 13" pan with cooking spray and pre-heat the oven to 350 F
  2. Mix together the oreo crumbs and the melted butter. Press the oreo crumb base firmly into the prepared pan
  3. Sprinkle the coconut evenly over the oreo layer
  4. Add some orange food colouring to the condensed milk and mix well
  5. Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the coconut, and carefully spread it out evenly
  6. Place the pan in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the edges are browned
  7. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack
  8. Once the pan has been removed from the oven, melt the chocolate chips by microwaving at 30 second intervals, stirring between each, until smooth
  9. Pour the melted semi-sweet chocolate over the still-warm coconut layer, and spread evenly
  10. Place the white chocolate chips in a sandwich bag, and microwave at 30 second intervals, mixing the chocolate together in the bag between each interval
  11. When the white chocolate is melted, snip off a corner of the bag and drizzle it randomly all over the chocolate
  12. If you wish, you can drag a toothpick through the chocolate to give it more of a 'swirly' effect. (yes, that's a technical term. swirly)
  13. Sprinkle on your favourite Halloween sprinkles
  14. Let sit for 20 minutes, and then place in the refrigerator until chocolate has hardened
  15. Cut into squares, and Enjoy!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Halloween Cupcakes

Halloween is almost here! And that means it is time for some cute cupcakes.

The idea for these cupcakes came from my mom! I love how simple and yet effective these are.

The cute mummies were made with a flat basket-weave tip for the 'bandages'.  I just piped some random strips all over the cupcakes and finished them off with some eerie red eyes. Spooky, no?

The monsters were made using a Wilton #233 tip (often called a 'grass tip') and I used both purple and green buttercream.  These were given some googly eyes to add some fun character.

The rest of the cupcakes were swirled with a 1M tip and topped with various seasonal sprinkles. I'm particularly partial to the bone sprinkles right now!

I hope everyone has a very happy Halloween!

Some other fun things that I had for our Halloween party were these neat bottles.  The labels are from Martha Stewart Crafts and I placed them on various bottles that I filled up with some bright green punch.

I also saw a really neat candy corn centrepiece while browsing pinterest one day, so I did my best to come up with my own version:

And what would a Halloween party be without costumes for the pups? These pumpkin outfits were courtesy of my sister:

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

Here they are! Now this, this is one tasty cupcake.  Pumpkin chocolate chip cupcakes topped with some rich and creamy cream cheese icing, dusted with cinnamon sugar and finished off with some fun fall sprinkles. Cute and delicious!

For the cupcakes I used the vegan pumpkin chocolate chip cupcakes that I had made last year, except that I used milk chocolate chips (which negated the 'vegan' aspect. Well, that and the cream cheese icing!).

For the icing I made a classic cream cheese icing by mixing 1/2 cup cream cheese with 1/4 cup butter. After they where whipped together I added 1 tsp of vanilla and about 2 cups of icing sugar. If you want thicker or thinner cream cheese frosting you can just add the icing sugar 1/4 cup at a time until the desired consistency is reached.

After the cupcakes were topped with the icing using a Wilton 1M tip, I sprinkled on some cinnamon sugar (1 tsp cinnamon with 1/2 cup sugar) using a fine-mesh sieve, and then sprinkled on some fall themed sprinkles.  And done!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sun-dried Tomato Hummus

While I am excited to post the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing, I figured that some people might need a bit of a break from this pumpkin madness.

I absolutely love hummus. It is so easy to whip up, perfect for a snack or to bring as an appetizer, and it is incredibly versatile when it comes to what flavours you can add to it.  I have made the Chipotle Hummus a few times now so I wanted to try some other variations. Sun-dried tomatoes are a wonderful way to add some variety to your hummus!

I based this recipe off of this one that I found at That site has not disappointed me yet!

Sun-dried Tomato Hummus
  • 1 large clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas) drained
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 jar sun-dried tomatoes (210 mL jar, drained)
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 - 3 tbsp olive oil
  1. In your food processor add the garlic, chickpeas, tahini, and lemon juice
  2. Pulse the mixture until it is fairly smooth
  3. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and the dried basil and pulse until the tomatoes are coarsely chopped
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper
  5. Add olive oil until your desired consistency is reached (I usually add about 1 - 2 tbsps)
  6. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve
  7. Enjoy!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins with Streusel Topping

The pumpkin affair continues, and there is no end in sight! So far this Fall I have whipped up Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Streusel Topping, Pumpkin Spice Latte's, Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake, and now these Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins with Streusel Topping.  I also have Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting coming this week, and so many more recipes bookmarked to try. I hope you aren't pumpkin'd out yet, because I'm sure not :)

If you are as pro-pumpkin as I am, I have also made Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with a cinnamon glaze, Pumpkin Bread, Chocolate and Pumpkin Whoopie Pies, and Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins. Whew!

This is another amazing pumpkin recipe from the beautiful Tracy of, I think she understand the pumpkin love!

This recipe makes 12 muffins.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins with Streusel Topping
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • Streusel Topping
    • 1/2 cup flour
    • 1/2 cup oats
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/3 cup cold butter
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 F and line a muffin pan with liners
  2. Whisk together the whole wheat flour, salt, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and rolled oats in a large bowl
  3. In a second large bowl, whisk together the egg, pureed pumpkin, milk, and sour cream until smooth
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well
  5. Divide the batter between the 12 prepared muffin cups
  6. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, oats, brown sugar, and cinnamon
  7. Add the cold butter and cut it into the streusel mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs (you can use a pastry cutter, two knives, or even your fingers to do this!)
  8. Sprinkle the streusel topping on top of the filled muffin cups
  9. Bake for 18 - 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the centre of a muffin
  10. Enjoy!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake {No Bake}

Yup, I went there. One of my favourite fall drinks crossed with one of my favourite desserts!  Since I made a double batch of the Pumpkin Spice Syrup from for the Pumpkin Spice Latte's, I decided to see what else I could whip up with it.  I saw a recipe on the Philadelphia website for a no bake pumpkin cheesecake and realized that it could only get better with the addition of the syrup and some expresso!

I added the syrup and the expresso to taste, so feel free to add more or less of each as you mix it up, it's all about what you like!

I decided to portion the cheesecake into some small jars because, well, desserts just look cute in these jars!  If you want to make a whole cheesecake, you can make the filling and pour it into a graham pie crust and it should fit perfectly.

This recipe was adapted from the Philadelphia No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe, and makes enough for 6 jars.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake (No Bake)
  • 1 package (250 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 tbsp Pumpkin Spice Latte Syrup
  • 4 - 6 tbsps strong coffee or expresso, cooled
  • 1 tub (500 mL) cool whip whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • whipped cream for topping, if desired
  1. Combine the melted butter, graham cracker crumbs, and 1/2 tbsp sugar in a bowl (if not using a pre-made graham pie crust)
  2. Press the graham cracker mixture into the bottom of 6 jars or small serving dishes and place them in the refrigerator until the cheesecake is ready
  3. In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, sugar, pureed pumpkin, syrup, and expresso until smooth
  4. Carefully fold in the whipped topping until well mixed
  5. Divide the cheesecake evenly between the 6 jars
  6. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving
  7. Top with whipped cream if you are feeling snazzy
  8. Enjoy!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Classic Cake Donuts

Do you ever have those days where you are determined to be cranky and impossible to please? Really? No? Me neither.


But really, we all have these days, right? I feel that we know each other well enough now that I can admit it, that was me last Sunday. I was bound and determined to be cranky and sullen for a part of the afternoon. Why? I have no clue, but I am going to blame it on the fact that the entire weekend was cold and cloudy and borderline depressing because winter is coming. No really, I have no excuses, but what came out of that day was pure deliciousness!

If there is anything that can perk up a day, it's some quality time in the kitchen with sugar and sprinkles. Am I right?

These donuts definitely did the trick! They are a delicious donut that is reminiscent of the old-fashioned cake donuts.  They do not involve yeast so they are actually pretty easy to whip up, and can put a smile on even the crankiest of faces. (Exhibit A: me)

So if you are feeling like you are stuck in a sulk, or know someone who is, whip up a batch of these! Then hand them a bag of sugar and tell them to get over it and get shakin'!

This recipe is from Joy the Baker, and I'm already dreaming of when I can make them next (I may have eaten most of them myself that night, oops). We placed half of the donuts (and donut holes) in a bag with sugar and shook them like crazy until they were coated. The other half we dunked in a chocolate glaze and added some happy and bright sprinkles.

This recipe makes about 8 donuts and donut holes.  I used a donut cookie cutter that my mom gave to me, but you can use two different sized round cookie cutters to get the job done.

Classic Cake Donuts

  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar (plus extra for dusting the donuts)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp melted butter
  • vegetable oil (for frying)
  1. In a small bowl whisk together the sour cream, egg, and melted butter
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, nutmeg, salt, and sugar
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well
  4. Form the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap
  5. Place the dough in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes
  6. When ready to finish the donuts, place a candy/oil thermometer in a pot with about 2 inches of vegetable oil
  7. While the oil heats to 360 F, roll out the dough until it is about 1 cm thick and then cut out your donuts
  8. When the oil reaches 360 F, carefully drop a couple donuts and donut holes into the oil
  9. Fry for about 1 minute per side or until they are golden brown
  10. Carefully remove the donuts and place on a plate lined with paper towel
  11. Repeat until all donuts are cooked to perfection
  12. Place still-warm donuts in a bag of sugar or icing sugar and shake to coat, or dip them in a delicious glaze
  13. Enjoy!
Chocolate Glaze
  • 3/4 cup icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl
  2. Dunk the top of the donuts and the donut holes in the glaze, and let set slightly
  3. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Streusel Topping

Since I won't be around to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving this upcoming weekend, I decided to whip up my own pumpkin pie so I didn't have to miss out!

Why am I going to miss Thanksgiving you ask? Because right now ('now' being this Wednesday morning!) my Aunt and I are landing in London, England for a full week of sight-seeing bliss!  That's right, over the next week we will be staying at different Bed and Breakfasts all over England and Scotland.  We will be visiting castles, golfing at St. Andrews, having tea at Harrod's, enjoying the occasional pint of beer with some delicious fish 'n' chips, and who knows what else!

I cannot wait for this trip, we have been looking forward to it since the minute we booked it in August! I also cannot wait to share some of our favourite moments with you when we get back next week.

In the meantime, here is the delicious pumpkin pie! This was my first attempt at making a pumpkin pie from scratch and I am now hooked. This was so light and tasty, and the pecan streusel topping was such a nice touch.  This recipe is adapted from a recipe I found on

This makes one 9" pie. It puffs up a lot while baking, but then settles back into the perfect amount for a regular 9" pie plate.

Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Streusel Topping

  • 1 x 398 mL (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 x 300 mL can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 x 9" unbaked pie shell
  • For the streusel topping
    • 2 tbsp flour
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 2 tbsp cold butter
    • 1 cup chopped pecans
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F 
  2. In a large bowl, mix the pumpkin puree, condensed milk, egg yolks, and spices until well mixed
  3. In a small bowl, whip the egg whites until they hold soft peaks
  4. Gently fold the egg whites into the pumpkin mixture until well distributed, and then pour into the pie shell
  5. Bake for 15 minutes at 425 F
  6. While the pie is baking mix together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and cold butter with your fingers (or a pastry cutter) until crumbly
  7. Mix the pecans in with the streusel mixture
  8. When the pie has baked for 15 minutes, remove from oven and sprinkle on the pecan streusel topping
  9. Reduce the oven to 350 F and continue baking the pie for 40 - 45 minutes, or until set
  10. Let cool before serving
  11. Enjoy!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Halloween Pumpkin Cakes

Only four more weeks until Halloween! So it’s definitely not too soon to post Halloween-related treats, right?

I was in a decorating kind of mood the other day, so I whipped up some small 6” cakes to decorate for the sheer fun of it. 

I wanted to practice working with fondant and give ganache a try. I have seen a few cakes with the ‘drippy’ ganache look and it seemed perfect for Halloween.

The tall cake is alternating layers of vanilla bean cake (dyed orange) and chocolate cake.  The short cake is all chocolate cake. 

Each cake was dirty iced in classic buttercream and then covered with fondant.  While the cakes were baking and chilling, I made these cute little pumpkins out of fondant. I love these little pumpkins!

I then slowly poured and spread out the ganache on each cake, mine was so thick! I was so afraid that it would be a runny mess, and it turned out quite the opposite and I had to work at it to get it to ‘drip’ down the sides.

The tall cake was finished off with the little pumpkins, and the short cake received a sprinkling of Halloween sprinkles.

And all done! These looked so festive and fun on my kitchen table :)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Latte

You know how Summer is always so super busy, and so we look forward to Fall for a bit of a break? A chance to enjoy the crisp weather, the beautiful colours of the falling leaves, warm spiced drinks (hello pumpkin spice lattes!), and tasty home-made dinners and desserts.

That hasn’t happened yet.

Somehow Fall seems to have taken this as a challenge, and upped the ante on 'busy'.

This is two batches worth of syrup :)

Oh man! I cant keep up! I just realized yesterday that this poor little blog of mine has been suffering from a bit of neglect. But never fear, I have been cooking and baking up a storm in my kitchen!  

While Fall is speeding by, I am hoping to get a chance to try some of these amazing pumpkin recipes that I keep finding online and in my inbox.  There is sweet, savoury, and everything in between.  I think we can safely proclaim Fall 2011 the season of pumpkin!

So here is my first pumpkin recipe of the season.  It is a simple and tasty latte.  Oh how I love my latte’s.
The recipes for the syrup and latte are from and it is completely addicting.  Not only can I have a pumpkin spice latte whenever the mood strikes (ie all the time), but it doesn’t cost me $5 a fix!

I have some fun ideas to incorporate this delicious spiced pumpkin syrup into other desserts, so hopefully I will have time to whip some up before the snow flies. Even if I don’t, as far as I’m concerned it is always an appropriate time for baking with pumpkin!

Pumpkin Spice Syrup
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp pumpkin puree
  • 1 - 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  1. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine all ingredients
  2. Lightly simmer while stirring often (note: do not bring it to a boil)
  3. Remove from heat after 10 minutes and let cool
  4. When lukewarm, pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove the solids
  5. To store, place in an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator
Pumpkin Spice Latte
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tsp instant expresso powder
  • 100 mL hot water
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin spice syrup
  1. In a small saucepan heat the milk until hot (but not to a rolling boil)
  2. While the milk is heating, mix together the instant expresso powder with the hot water in your cup. If you want a stronger coffee flavour feel free to add more of the instant expresso powder
  3. Add the pumpkin spice syrup to the expresso and give it a quick stir
  4. Pour the hot milk into the cup
  5. Froth any remaining milk in your milk frother (is there another name for this contraption?) and pour it on top
  6. Sprinkle with some cinnamon, and enjoy!