Gingerbread Cookies

It’s almost that time of year again! For a while I’ve been craving a good, soft, homemade gingerbread cookie with that delicious icing and gumdrop buttons. The following is what happens when I have a day off, a great Pinterest find, and cool weather outside.

Gingerbread Cookies
Bake time: 8 minutes per batch
Bake temp: 350F
Yields: 2 dozen cookies

Cookies
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup brown sugar (golden, packed)
10 Tbsp soft butter or margarine
1 large egg yolk (save the egg white for the icing)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup molasses (fancy, not blackstrap)*
2 Tbsp milk (rice milk for dairy-free)

Preheat oven to 350F. Sift together dry ingredients, flour through salt, and set aside. In a mixer with paddle attachment, beat together brown sugar and butter (or margarine). Add egg yolk and vanilla extract. Add molasses and milk, mix until combined.

Set the mixer on low speed, and add dry ingredient mixture slowly until fully incorporated.

Divide dough into 2 equal portions, and roll each portion between sheets of parchment paper until 1/4″ thick (no thinner*!). Cut shapes with cookie cutter, but don’t move them yet – place dough on parchment paper onto a cookie sheet or other large flat surface, and chill in freezer for 15 minutes.

Remove excess dough and transfer cookies to cookie sheet (lined with parchment paper). Bake for 8 minutes at 350F. Cookies should be soft and stay indented when touched. Let cool 2 minutes on cookie sheet, then transfer to cooling rack. When cool, decorate with icing and gumdrops, sprinkles, etc.

Notes:
*Pour a small amount of canola oil into liquid measuring cup and swirl around to coat before pouring molasses – this is a great trick I’m sure many grandmothers have handed down. Doing this means your molasses won’t stick to the measuring cup.
**Seriously, I went too thin on one batch and burnt them at the same time and temperature as the others. If anything, go thicker and add 1-2 minutes to the bake time. And don’t skimp on the time cooling on the pan either. Or in the freezer.

————————————————————————-

Icing
1 egg white
1 cup icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
1/4 tsp lemon juice

Beat egg whites on high in mixer until frothy; add lemon juice and icing sugar, and beat until thick on high.

Transfer to piping bag or Ziploc bag with tip cut off for decorating. Add food colouring if desired.

Use to decorate fully cooled gingerbread cookies. Add gumdrops, sprinkles, etc. to decorate. (This is the icing that hardens and is great for gingerbread houses and such. Don’t make it until you’re ready to decorate.)

 

img_1184

 

Original cookie recipe here, and original Royal Icing recipe here.

Apple & Cinnamon Scones

I have discovered that scones, being so easy to make, are becoming a regular thing in my kitchen. I usually have some fruit and spices to add into the scones to make them flavorful, and they are very easy to take to the office. This week, I had some extra apples lying around, and the chai tea I was drinking reminded me how much I love cinnamon. I use the same basic recipe as my Pear & Cardamom Scones, and I just switch out the spices and the fruit. Delicious!

Apple & Cinnamon Scones
Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 20-25 minutes
Bake temp: 350F

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tbsp chilled butter or margarine
1/2 cup buttermilk or cream (150ml)*
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 gala apple, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 large egg white, lightly beaten

Combine dry ingredients (flour through cinnamon) in a large bowl. Add butter, and mix until crumbly with a pastry blender or your hands.

Combine buttermilk, vanilla extract, and egg. Stir in apple. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture, stirring until just moist (dough will be sticky).

Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead gently 4 or 5 times. Dust top of dough with 1-2 tbsp flour. Pat into 8-inch circle, and transfer to greased or lined baking sheet. Cut dough into 8 wedges and spread out on baking sheet. Brush egg white over top of dough. Bake at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes until golden and toothpick comes out clean.

Serve warm.

*This time I used rice milk (plain), and the scones turned out beautifully. And now they are dairy-free – yay!

Peach & Cinnamon Scones

I had too many ripe peaches, so to help use them up before they went bad I decided to mimic my Pear & Cardamom Scone recipe, only with peaches and cinnamon in place of pears and cardamom. They turned out pretty tasty if I do say so myself. Enjoy!

Peach & Cinnamon Scones
Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Bake time: 20-25 minutes
Bake temp: 350F
Makes 8 scones

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tbsp chilled butter or margarine
1 cup (about 2) ripe peaches, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup buttermilk or cream or rice milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Grease baking sheet or line with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine dry ingredients (flour through cinnamon) in a large mixing bowl. Cut in butter using pastry blender or mix in with hands until dough is crumbly. Stir in peaches.

Mix together milk, vanilla and egg; add to dry ingredients and stir until sticky dough is formed.

On a floured surface, pat dough into circle about 1/2-2″ thick. Cut into 8 wedges and place about 1-1 1/2″ apart on baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm with a nice cup of tea.

Cheese Scones

I have developed quite the love affair with scones, and a family friend decided that I needed to make cheese scones. Now at the time we only had mozzarella, which is a pretty mild cheese. I prefer a good sharp cheddar but you could really use your preferred cheese. I have included some I had tried below. These are a great easy grab-n-go breakfast or afternoon snack with a strong cup of tea.

Cheese Scones
Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Bake time: 20-25 minutes
Bake temp: 350F
Makes 8 scones

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp chilled butter or margarine
1/2 cup buttermilk or cream or rice milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup cheese, shredded (I like old sharp cheddar)

Grease a baking sheet,or line with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine flours, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter or margarine with pastry cutter or blend with hands until crumbly. Add in cheese and mix thoroughly. Add milk and beaten egg, and mix with wooden spoon until dough is formed.

On a floured surface, pat dough into a circle about 1 1/2″ thick. Cut into 8 wedges, and place on baking sheet about 1-2″ apart.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm, with butter.

Sweet & Spicy Fried Peach Pies

I made these with my Dad in the summer, and they were a smash hit! They are definitely best on the day you make them, so it is best made for a dinner party or summer gathering. That being said, if there are leftovers they are still pretty tasty! Enjoy!

Sweet & Spicy Fried Peach Pies
Prep & Cook time: 2 hrs 45 minutes
Yields: 12

Dough:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp white sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled
1/4 cup milk, plus 3 tbsp
1 tsp lemon juice

Filling:
2 large peaches, pitted, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 1/2 cups)
1/3 cups white sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp corn starch (mix with 1 tbsp cold water to make slurry prior to adding)
1 1/2 tbsp spicy pepper jelly
1/8 tsp cinnamon

Peanut or canola oil for frying

1 cup white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Make the dough.

Sift together flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter, and mix in with pastry cutter or hands until dough is crumbly. Add milk and lemon juice, and mix thoroughly. Do not over mix.

Turn dough onto clean work surface, shape into rectangle, and flatten slightly. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for minimum 2 hours, maximum 3 days.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the dough until it is 1/8 inch thick. Cut the dough with 4-inch round cookie cutter into 12 circles. Lay the dough on the prepared baking sheet (shingle it if necessary), and put back in fridge.

 

Meanwhile, make the filling.

Prepare an ice bath with cold water and ice in a large bowl. Place a slightly smaller bowl in the water (floating).

In a heavy duty saucepan, combine the peaches, sugar, lemon juice, and salt. Cook over medium-low heat until peaches have softened and released some of their juices, about 5 minutes.

Add cornstarch slurry to peach mixture, and cook until thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Add the hot pepper jelly and cinnamon. Remove from heat and stir to blend. Transfer the mixture into the smaller mixing bowl in your ice bath. Allow filling to cool.

 

Remove your dough from the fridge, and lay circles spaced out on a work space. Brush the perimeter of each circle with water. Put a heaping tbsp of filling in the center of each round. Fold the dough in half to form a half-moon shape, and pinch the edges together to seal. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 15 minutes (maximum 24 hrs) before frying.

Combine 1 cup sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon in a shallow bowl and set aside. Have ready cooling racks with paper towel underneath to catch drips.

Heat 1/2 inch of oil in a large skillet (preferably cast-iron) over medium heat to 365F. Fry the pies in batches, approx. 1 to 1 1/2 minutes per side until golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, remove pies from oil, drain on paper-towel-lined cooling rack, and dredge in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Serve warm.

Sweet & Spicy Fried Peach Pies, the inside view

Sweet & Spicy Fried Peach Pies, the inside view

 

Original found here.

Plum-Blueberry Cobbler with Coconut Dumplings

This recipe is late in coming, as I made it over a month ago, and so I apologize to those who ate some and have been patiently waiting for the recipe! This was hands down one of the best desserts I have had in a while, and was a definite crowd pleaser. I hope you enjoy as much as we all did!

Plum-Blueberry Cobbler with Coconut Dumplings
Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Bake time: 40-50 minutes
Bake temp: 375F
Serves: 6 to 8

Topping
1 14oz can coconut milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup unsalted butter or margarine
1/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut

Filling
5 to 6 ripe plums, pitted and cut into chunks
3/4 cup granulated sugar (brown could work as well)
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp water
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups fresh blueberries
2 tbsp rum

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a large saucepan, boil the coconut milk over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 3/4 cup (approx. 15 minutes). Set aside to cool completely.

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt until well blended.

In another bowl, combine coconut milk, egg, and egg yolk until well blended. Add the coconut mixture to the flour mixture and gently fold together with spatula. Set aside in fridge while you prepare the filling.

Toss the plums with the sugar and salt in a large bowl. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the plums, and cook, stirring until the fruit begins to give off some juice and the liquid is boiling. Combine the cornstarch and water to make slurry, and then slowly add to plum mixture in pot. Stir until liquid has thickened. Add the blueberries and rum, and stir until blueberries are hot. Remove from heat.

Spread the fruit mixture into an oven-safe casserole dish in an even layer. Using a large spoon, drop the coconut topping randomly onto the filling in lumps, until the fruit is covered.

Bake until the filling is bubbling and the coconut dumplings are golden-brown, about 40 to 50 minutes. Sprinkle with shredded coconut, and let sit at least 30 minutes to cool and to let the filling settle before serving. Serve alone or with vanilla ice cream.

Don’t sprinkle the shredded coconut until after it is done baking, otherwise it will burn!

The original recipe came from a magazine, Fine Cooking. Click here. Please note the original calls for pluots, a fruit that is half plum and half apricot. I opted for just plums. 

plum blueberry cobbler

 

Margarita Cake

For Mother’s Day, my sister-in-law made this delicious Mexican themed dinner, and for dessert she whipped up this delicious Margarita Cake. This is a perfect dessert for a warm summer evening, as it is so light and absolutely scrumptious. Enjoy!

Margarita Cake
Bake temp: 350 F
Bake time: 45-50 minutes
Yields 1 10″ bundt cake

Cake Batter
1 box (18.25oz) white cake mix
1 package (3.4oz) instant vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup tequila, plus
2 tbsp triple sec liquer

Glaze
2 cups icing sugar
2 tbsp tequila, plus 1 tbsp
4 tbsp triple sec liquer, plus 2 tbsp
4 tbsp lime juice

Grease a 10″ bundt pan, and pre-heat oven to 350F.

Using an electric mixer, combine cake batter ingredients, and pour into prepared bundt pan. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

Meanwhile combine glaze ingredients minus 1 tbsp tequila and 2 tbsp triple sec liquer. Set aside.

As soon as you remove the cake from the oven, poke holes into the cake and pour 1 tbsp tequila and 2 tbsp triple sec over the cake, and 1/4 of the glaze. After cake has cooled for 15-20 minutes, remove cake from pan and set right-side-up on a serving plate. Pour another 1/4 of the glaze over the cake, and continue to let cool. Shortly before serving, pour the remaining glaze over cake.

margarita cake

Original found here.