skor chocolate chip cookies


#throwbackthursday Check out my favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe “Skor chocolate chip cookies”

herdayzherknightz

These cookies have made the rounds! I have taken them to pot-luck dinners, given them as hostess gifts at parties and they make killer ice cream sandwiches. They are chewy and chocolatey, and are always a crowd favourite….when they make it out of the house! I am always asked for the recipe, so here it is…enjoy!!

adapted from Mrs. Field’s Blue Ribbon Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar, firmly packed

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 large eggs

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 cups skor toffee pieces

Preheat oven to 350°F

In medium bowl combine flour, soda and salt. Mix well with wire whisk. Set aside.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer blend sugar and butter at medium speed. Mix to form a grainy paste, scraping down the sides…

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Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Custard Cake with Warm Maple Caramel Sauce


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My husband always offers up my baking for ANY event. I think it’s for purely selfish reasons. Perhaps he thinks he will get to take home the leftovers…

We were invited to a dinner party recently, so just days before he begged me to make something yummy. I always make it seem like it’s a big deal, but secretly excited to try a new recipe. The ultimate grown up gooey, boozy cake with pecans and maple caramel sauce…the perfect dessert.

Usually I make dessert for 10-15 people, and this means multiple desserts or cupcakes  for the kids. Since this dessert was for 4 adults, I was able to get creative and  bonus….leftovers!! My husband would surely appreciate this one.

I altered this recipe slightly from the original, mostly with the baking time. I also made it more decadent by drizzling it with warm maple caramel sauce. Don’t let the bourbon scare you…it is just the right amount without over powering the cake.

This sweet, gooey, boozy, warm cake, can also be served with vanilla ice-cream. It even gets better the second and third day, if you are lucky enough to have it for that long. Enjoy!

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Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Custard Cake with Warm Maple Caramel Sauce

adapted from – halfbakedharvest.com

prep time: 20 MINUTES  cook time: 30 MINUTES  total time:  50 MINUTES

Ingredients

6 egg yolks, at room temperature
4 whole eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
6 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons molasses
4 tablespoons bourbon
1 vanilla bean, seeds scrapped
9 tablespoons cake flour
4-5 ounces dark or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/4 cups roughly chopped pecans

yields: 1 (8-INCH) CAKE

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Directions 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line with parchment paper an 8-inch springform pan.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks, whole eggs and powdered sugar until just combined and frothy.

In a small sauce pan, add the room temperature maple syrup and molasses over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 3 minutes.

Turn the heat off and allow it to cool slightly, then slowly add the bourbon. With the mixer on medium-high speed, slowly add the hot mixture. Continue whisking the eggs during this time. Do not stop.

When the maple syrup, molasses and bourbon mixture has been added, whisk the mixture on high-speed for approximately 5 minutes, then turn off the mixer. Tap the bowl to remove any air bubbles.

Sift the cake flour over the batter and add the vanilla bean seeds that you scraped off.

Continue to whisk on low until the flour is completely mixed.

Add in the chocolate chips and pecans and stir, making sure they are well mixed in.

Pour and spread into the springform pan.

Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes. Check the cake at 25 minutes, every oven is different. Be sure to remove the cake from the oven while the middle is still giggly. The original recipe called for 17-19 minutes, but I found I had to leave mine in quite a bit longer and it wasn’t overcooked. Use your best judgement.

Remove from the oven and let cool. It will fall as it cools, and this is supposed to happen. For once a cake that you actually want to fall!!

I served it at room temperature with a warm maple caramel sauce and fresh blackberries.

Warm Maple Caramel Sauce

1 cup pure maple syrup
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a heavy sauce pan on high heat, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Stir continuously until thick and coats the back of the spoon.

Remove from heat. Can be stored in sealed container in the fridge for one week. Give this a try on vanilla ice-cream.

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Creamy Three Mushroom Soup


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So it’s been really really cold this winter. All I want to do is curl up inside with my dog and watch the world go by from inside my warm and toasty house. I’m not going to lie…I have had enough winter.

These are the days I crave homemade soup, and thick warm crusty bread with a glass of wine. Lately I have been obsessed with mushrooms, so why not make soup? This creamy, and chunky version hits the spot every time and with the Vitamix it is so quick and easy.

You can choose to keep it smooth and creamy or instead the way I prefer with loads of chunky mushroom slices. Next time you are hiding away inside, far from this never-ending cold and snowy winter give this recipe a try. This one is a guaranteed favourite for the mushroom lover in your life!

3 packages (each 8 oz) organic sliced white, cremini and shiitake mushrooms

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

1 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon salt

more salt to taste

pepper to taste

2 cups water

1/2 cup white wine

1.5 cups half and half

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1.  In a large saucepan, on medium heat add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter. Add sliced mushrooms and cook for about 10 minutes or until mushrooms soften. Remove half of cooked mushrooms, and set aside.

2. Add chopped onion, carrots, thyme, 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper to taste to the saucepan with half of the mushrooms.  Continue cooking these mushrooms with the vegetables for 10 more minutes, until onions and carrots soften.

3. Add 2 cups of water, and 1/2 cup white wine to a stock pot, and add vegetables (mushrooms, carrots, onions) from the saucepan. Bring to a boil on medium to high heat for about 20 minutes. Some liquid should visibly evaporate, leaving reduced stock, but don’t let all water evaporate. If this happens, add more water.

4. Remove from heat and add the stock you just made (water with mushrooms, carrots, onions) into the Vitamix. Process the mixture until it achieves purée consistency.

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5. Put this purée back into the stock pot, add reserved cooked mushrooms that you set aside earlier. Add 1.5 cups of half and half. Bring to boil, reduce heat to simmer (low heat) and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add more salt and pepper if desired.

Spoon this velvety, creamy soup into a bowl and enjoy!! Serve with a piece of crusty bread.

Creamy Avocado Green Smoothie


After spending our holidays skiing in Quebec and consuming way too much cheese fondue, it’s back to clean eating!!
I’m officially loading up on fruits and veggies, getting back to a regular workout routine and preparing my body for my fifth marathon. It’s a new year!!
Lunch today was a yummy green smoothie. Give this one a try, the avocado makes it so smooth and creamy.

I used my Vitamix to blend all the ingredients together.

1 banana
1 cucumber
1 1/2 handfuls of spinach
2 cups of water
One cup fresh or frozen blueberries
One ripe avocado
2 tbsp chia seeds (go easy on the chia if you are new to them, start out slowly)
1 handful of ice

Blend and enjoy!
Cheers.

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made by me…dawn💗

Peach Cupcakes with Champagne Buttercream Frosting


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Peaches are so sweet and juicy right now! I had a large bowl sitting on my kitchen counter and I had the task of making dessert for Sunday dinner. It was also a holiday, so I had to use what I had on hand.

I searched peach dessert recipes online and found this amazing one for peach cupcakes, adapted from smitten kitchen. I had never made peach cupcakes before, and I was a little worried the peaches would be too wet and make mushy cupcakes. I took a chance and so glad I did! Now I have a wonderful new cupcake to add to my rotation.

What goes better with peaches than champagne? So I may have had a champagne cocktail while making these…😁! Check out this champagne buttercream frosting. Hands down the best buttercream I have ever tasted!!!

Peach Cupcakes

3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of cinnamon
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks or 6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup dark or light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) buttermilk
3 large peaches, peeled, cored, and chopped into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Line 28 muffin cups with paper liners.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Set aside.
Cream the butter and sugars together, beating until fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time.
Add the vanilla.
Mix in the buttermilk.
Stir in the dry ingredients and gently fold in the peach chunks.

Divide the batter among the prepared cupcake liners.
Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of cupcakes comes out clean.
Allow the cupcakes to cool in the tins. Remove after 5 minutes and place on a wire rack.
Allow to completely cool before icing.

Champagne Buttercream Frosting

6 tbsp butter (unsalted, at room temperature)
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
5 tbsp champagne

Add 1 cup of sugar, and beat until completely combined.
Add the vanilla and 5 tbsp champagne.
Add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, scraping sides of mixer until everything is evenly combined.
Scrape buttercream into an icing bag fitted with a tip.
Frost cupcakes.

made by me….dawn ❤️

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FOCACCIA with Fresh Rosemary


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When the weather begins to feel like fall, my mind wanders to warm wool scarves, cozy sweaters and comfort food. Since this summer has been very fall like, it’s been messing with our meals.
It was 23 degrees and sunny yesterday, but it’s almost September and I was craving warm bread.
While using up our basil to make our favourite simple basil pesto, I decided to keep with the herb garden theme and make this tasty focaccia bread.
Who doesn’t love the smell of fresh bread?
We have a bread machine, which we do not use enough. I always want to be that wife that makes everything instead of buying it…but who has that kind of time. So when I do make bread, it makes me feel good about myself and what I’m serving. This recipe is very simple and quick. Give it a try.

Prep time is about 30 minutes. Baking time is 25 minutes. This recipe makes 8-10 servings.

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups warm (110-115°F) water
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
5 sprigs fresh rosemary leaves, chopped and divided
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
5 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus coarse sea salt for sprinkling
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Directions:

In the bowl combine the water, yeast, 2 teaspoons of the chopped rosemary, sugar, and half the flour.
Stir to combine.
Using a stand mixer with the dough hook on low speed, add in the remaining flour, salt, and 1/2 cup olive oil.
Once the dough comes together, remove from the mixer and knead for about 5 minutes, or until smooth and soft. If the dough is really sticky, add in another tablespoon or two of flour.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size, at least 1 hour.
Coat a jelly roll pan with the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil. Put the dough into the pan and press it out with your fingertips to fit the size of the pan. Coax and stretch the dough to fit the pan. Spread your fingers to make little holes all the way through the dough.
Cover the dough, I used a clean tea towel, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Brush the top of the focaccia with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with coarse sea salt and the remaining rosemary leaves.
Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before cutting and serving.

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Meatless Monday-Zucchini Noodles with Basil Pesto


Happy Meatless Monday.
Actually every day is a meatless Monday for me, but I have been wanting to make this recipe for months, and it was Monday. My husband wasn’t impressed with the idea of a raw dinner, but he tried it.
My coworker has this fancy spiral vegetable peeler that she makes zucchini noodles with, but it’s pricey and takes up too much space. I was researching online and discovered that a simple julienne peeler can do almost the same thing. I’m not cheap, I am however a sceptic, so I bought one for under $5. It’s AMAZING! Easy to use, easy to clean and fits in my cutlery drawer…BONUS!

I used our favorite basil pesto recipe from Vitamix and in less than 15 minutes I was enjoying a fresh, healthy alternative to pasta. I am already searching for other vegetables to attack with my trusty new kitchen gadget.

Basil Pesto

Recipe adapted from Vitamix

Ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 small organic garlic clove, peeled
2 cups (80 g) fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

Place all ingredients, except salt and pepper, into the Vitamix container in the order listed and secure lid.
Select Variable 1.
Turn machine on and slowly increase speed to Variable 7.
Blend for 1 minute, using the tamper to press the ingredients into the blades.

Zucchini Noodles

Ingredients

2-3 large zucchini, washed with ends cut off
Pint of cherry or grape tomatoes, washed and diced
Salt and Pepper as desired

Directions

Use spiral peeler, mandolin or a julienne peeler to make noodles.

Combine the zucchini noodles, tomatoes and pesto. Toss until well coated.
Serve at room temperature or chilled.

NOTE-
If you want to cook the zucchini noodles, I have read that you can. Just add the zucchini pesto noodles and tomatoes to a skillet and sauté them up over medium heat. It only takes a few minutes. I have also heard steaming the zucchini works too.

I prefer this recipe served at room temperature. My husband prefers the pesto with whole wheat pasta, bread, cheese and fine wine…shocker!

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Chocolate Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting


Jessie’s Chocolate Cake
(aka my mom)

Every year on my birthday I could always count on this being my birthday cake. It’s moist, very chocolatey and super delicious. It also reminds me of home, my childhood and of course my mom.

I’m not sure where this recipe came from originally, it was just always around. After all these years, it is still kept in a very old maroon coloured photo album that contains her most beloved recipes. Handwritten gems from both my mother and grandmother, that I cherish and will someday be mine.

One day I decided to make this cake recipe into cupcakes. This doesn’t always work, but this one thankfully did.

This recipes does use mayonnaise….yes I said mayo. It’s strange, but trust me it’s amazing. I’m not a big fan of mayonnaise in my diet, but since cupcakes contain sugar and icing, I say everything in moderation. If you want you could substitute the mayo with sour cream.

For the cake

2 cups all purpose flour
4 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup warm water
1 cup mayonnaise

STEP ONE
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners, plus 6 more. I usually make 18 with this recipe.

STEP TWO
Dissolve sugar in warm water. Add vanilla.

STEP THREE
Sift flour, baking power, baking soda, and salt together with cocoa powder.

STEP FOUR
With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with mayonnaise and beginning and ending with flour.
Do not over mix.

STEP FIVE
Pour batter into cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.

STEP SIX
Cool in pan 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Decorate with frosting and sprinkles, as desired.

For the Nutella Frosting

13 ounce jar Nutella (equals about 1¼ cups)
2 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

STEP ONE
Beat room temperature butter in a mixing bowl on low speed until smooth.

STEP TWO
Add Nutella and one cup of powdered sugar, beat until the sugar is mixed in, then beat in the other cup of sugar and the cream until smooth.

STEP THREE
Keep refrigerated if not frosting the cupcakes immediately. Bring out of the fridge ½ hour before using.

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made by me…dawn ❤️

Bake off/Cook off. Competing for the kitchen space. Husband vs wife!


BBQ season is now in full swing. Being a vegetarian this love affair is lost on me. My husband LOVES his smoker….sometimes more than me.
The smoking of the ribs turns into a weekend long event. I hate when he even suggests he’s going to make his ‘famous’ ribs. It always means fights with the butcher, BBQ sauce all over the place and tweets from the smoker at every temperance increase. Yes, it really tweets!
I was attempting to make chocolate cupcakes with Nutella frosting and he was messing up my kitchen. Check out the pics. Recipe to follow. I have to clean up my kitchen first.

This is how I roll…

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This is how he rolls…

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Beer, quality control and drips galore. Gotta love BBQ season!!!