Saturday, November 23, 2013

Cinnamon Nutella Hot Chocolate

Life has been so up and down lately. So nuts. I haven't posted since August for some very good reasons; got a new job (yay!), had photography sessions every weekend...sometimes multiple, and then all of a sudden...emergency surgery to remove my appendix while working the night shift.

I've had no time to bake, cook, or photograph food. And for the reasons above, I've missed it. So, I was very pleased when I saw that SLR Lounge posted a contest/challenge on their Facebook page for the weekend.

As most/all of you know, food is how I began my journey into photography. So when I saw their challenge, and I even had the weekend off work and time to do this, I was pretty excited.

I've posted this recipe before, but here it is again, and my photos along with it for the challenge.

Cinnamon Nutella Hot Chocolate
1 mug full of milk
2 tbsp. nutella
1 small hand-full of chocolate chips (milk or semi-sweet)
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp. vanilla

1. Pour milk into small saucepan, add the cinnamon stick and chocolate chips. Simmer on low heat for about 5 minutes.

2. Whisk above ingredients until milk is heated nicely and starts to bubble slightly. Add the Nutella and continue to whisk until fully dissolved.

3. Once Nutella is fully dissolved, let simmer for about another 5 minutes (but keep whisking!), letting the cinnamon stick bring out it's flavour. Pour into your favourite mug, curl up on the couch, and enjoy!

The above image is my submission to the weekend challenge.

Nikon D5000 w/18-105, ISO 900, Photoshop Elements 11.

You can find more of my photographic work on Facebook as well as my website.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

and father turns 52

My dad celebrated (embraced, maybe?) his 52nd birthday yesterday! And since I've been making his cakes for the last 8 years, I decided on the Chocolate Ganache Cake that I recently posted two weeks ago. It was a hit then, and my mom really wanted me to make it again. My brother & sister came over and it was a lovely evening!

Love you dad!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Cheese Biscuits

When I was in grade two, my class got together all our favourite recipes to make a cookbook to give to our mom's for Mother's Day. Recipes varied from pizza to mac'n'cheese to 10 different chocolate chip cookie recipes (because you ask a grade two-er their favourite thing and they'll say "chocolate chip cookies). Looking back at the cookbook now that I gave to my mom, there's a recipe for cheese biscuits that my teacher submitted. It's literally the easiest, most delicious recipe for biscuits ever. So, if you find 30 minutes in your day with nothing to do, go ahead and make these delicious biscuits!

Cheese Biscuits
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
6 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 cups shredded cheese (I used marble)
1 1/2 cups water

1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
2. In large bowl, sift/mix together both flours, the baking powder and salt.
3. Add the water and cheese and knead dough until dough is slightly sticky, add a little extra flour if dough is too sticky.
4. Using a tablespoon, scoop dough and roll each tablespoonful into a ball. Place on baking sheet and press down slightly.
5. Bake biscuits for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with butter.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Cherry Cheesecake Bars

I received my very first cookbook for my 12 birthday from my grade 6 teacher. I've always loved that cookbook because she knew that I loved to help my mom in the kitchen (which later turned into me kicking her out because I needed my space, haha) and I enjoyed learning how to bake. Ever since I got that cookbook I've had my favourites; this being one of them.

Cherry Cheesecake Bars
Ingredients (base):
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter

Ingredients (filling):
2 packages cream cheese (8 ounce), softened
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2/3 cup sugar
1 can cherry pie filling (or other fruit filling, I used mixed berry today)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F; grease 13x9 inch pan.
2. In small bowl, combine first 4 ingredients for the base. Cut butter into flour until mixed well. Press half of the flour mixture onto the pan, spreading corner to corner. Bake in preheated oven for 12 minutes.
3. In medium sized bowl, blend the cream cheese, eggs, vanilla, and sugar. Spread batter over the baked crust. Bake for 15 minutes.
4. Pour cherry pie filling over baked cream cheese layer. Sprinkle remaining crumbs from the crust on top of the fruit. Bake for another 15 minutes. Top with ice cream and enjoy!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Chocolate Ganache Cake

For this recipe I decided to make the ganache frosting first, because it needed time to cool and become thick enough to spread. Because you need to boil the cream for the ganache, the heat takes a long time to cool. Since I was kind of in a hurry, I transferred the finished ganache into the freezer and stirred it every 20 minutes until thick. This works awesome, and would highly recommend this if making it in a time limit.

Chocolate Ganache Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
pinch of salt
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 1/3 cups milk
1 1/2 cups strong brewed coffee; not instant

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two 9 inch round cake pans with parchment paper, set aside.
2. In large bowl, mix together the melted butter, vanilla, coffee, and milk. Add the eggs and mix well.
2. In medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Be sure to sift to get rid of the chunks from the cocoa.
3. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture; scraping the sides, whisk slowly making sure to incorporate all ingredients. Mix until smooth and creamy.
4. Distribute the cake batter evenly between the two cake pans and bake for 25-35 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
5. Let cakes cool in pans for about 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
6. Once cakes are cool, cut each cake in half, to make four layers. Transfer layers to freezer for about 1 hour, until ready to frost the cake. This way, when frosting it, the crumbs won't come off and the frosting will stick easier to the cake.

Chocolate Ganache
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tsp. vanilla
1/8 cup honey
2 1/4 cups semi sweet or milk chocolate chips

1. Put the chocolate chips in a large heatproof bowl, set aside.
2. In medium saucepan, heat the cream, honey, and vanilla. Bring to a boil.
3. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate chips, let sit for one minute. Slowly stir the mixture so that the chocolate chips melt.
4. Set the bowl in the freezer and stir every 20 minutes until ganache becomes thick enough to spread.
5. Take the cake layers out of the freezer and decorate as desired.


Monday, July 22, 2013

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

So, last week I was laid off from my new job. I had been there one day under two weeks, and needless to say I was devastated. I like to keep busy, and I like to be creative. My job was working for a newspaper and doing some graphic design *heaven*. So when the next day came and I sat at home all day it was hard to be creative with this disappointment in my mind. But by day two I was on a mission to be positive. And with that enthusiasm came my desire to cook and bake again. I made Stir Fry, Pizza, Beer & Cheese Soup, Cheese Biscuits, and these fabulous cupcakes. So, be prepared for a delicious summer treat!

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 egg
1/2 cup lemon juice*
6 large strawberries, chopped up find
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup milk

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Place cupcake liners in cupcake tin; recipe should make 12.
2. In large bowl, mix together the butter and egg, then add the sugar, lemon juice and strawberries.

3. Add the milk, flour, and baking powder. Be sure to mix until all the dry ingredients are incorporated.

4. Using muffin scoop (or large spoon if muffin scoop is not available), distribute batter among cupcake liners. The recipe should yield 12 cupcakes.

5. Bake cupcakes in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes. Because of the moisture from the fresh fruit, it may need a minute or two more. Once they're done, let them cool on wire wrack for at least an hour until you frost them. P.S. these taste delicious without frosting too!

Strawberry Lemonade Buttercream Frosting
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup (or more) icing sugar
4 strawberries, finely chopped or pureed
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. heavy cream

1. Using an electric hand mixer, mix together the butter and icing sugar.
2. Add the strawberries and lemon juice, mix on low.
3. Add the cream and and any extra icing sugar needed to get the right consistency. Mix well.
4. If piping the frosting, I suggest using a larger star tip, this way the strawberries won't clog up your piping bag.
5. Frost your cupcakes and enjoy! 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Wedding Cake #2

Yesterday I had the opportunity to make my second wedding cake! I was super excited, and slightly nervous. I had never made a tiered cake in the past, so this was a new experience for me. It was nice and simple, vanilla for the first tier, and chocolate for the second, frosted in vanilla buttercream. And, it turned out! So here's the photos of the wedding cake.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

I love weddings!

So, today I got to bake my first ever wedding cake! I was so excited when I was asked to do this, but so nervous at the same time, my hands were literally shaking when I was putting the cupcakes onto the tower, because I didn't want anything to fall. But we made it! It's all standing, all decorated, and beautiful!

Thank you Stephen & Breanne for having me do this for you, and all the best in your new life together!

Please excuse the bad quality, all I had with my was my phone.

Lemon Cupcakes

So on Thursday night this week it was our last jr. youth small groups night. It's been such an awesome year with these beautiful ladies and getting to know them, and I had a great time at our last night together. Unfortunately, most girls couldn't make it due to baseball season.

But, the two girls that did come got to eat these cupcakes and we had a tea party in the park!

Lemon Cupcakes
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup milk
1 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. In large bowl, combine sugar and margarine. Whip until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time.
3. Gradually add the milk and lemon juice, mix well.
4. In small bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Add to wet ingredients, mix until fully blended.
5. Scoop batter into mini cupcake liners and bake 8-10 minutes. Top with frosting of choice!

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