Monday, November 29, 2010

Baked On Monday - Sugar Cookie Mittens and Snowballs

I'm back. After a week of major appliance break downs (washer, dryer and dishwasher), and 2 last minute shoots, I'm ready to bake.  Let's see how the rest of the week pans out.

I've had this recipe forever. It was from an old Martha Stewart magazine, and the recipe was from one of the editor's mothers. I wish I had her name, but I don't have the actual issue. I've chosen to make mittens and snowballs, but you can use any shape you like (I'm sure you already worked that out!) I use sanding sugar for sugar cookies as I just don't love the taste of royal icing. If I'm using them as decorations, then royal icing is the way to go. I plan to eat these ones ;)

Sugar Cookie Mittens and Snowballs - makes about 3 dozen

3 cups sifted all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 lb. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1/4 cup sour cream
Sanding sugar and food colouring.

Sift together flour, nutmeg, salt and baking soda. Set aside. Cream butter, then add sugar gradually; beat until fluffy. Stir in egg and sour cream, then stir in dry ingredients. I use my hands for that part!
Separate dough into two balls and flatten then wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for one hour.

Heat oven to 350f/180c. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to 1/4 inch. Cut out shapes using any cookie cutter you like, then sprinkle with sanding sugar* (if using). Place on parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned.
* add a tiny drop of colouring to sanding sugar to get the colour you want.

That's it for today! Back again soon.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Baked On Monday - Lemon Sandwich Baubles

Did you all have a good weekend? It snowed here in Vancouver, which it doesn't do often in November. Looks so pretty. Love it. It did make me realize that I do not have appropriate footwear for this weather. Must do something about that.

Time to get a bit more festive with the baking.  I've made Lemon Sandwich Baubles today, from a recipe I found in Canadian Living - a special Christmas cookie issue. They are addictive....and sparkly.  Bonus.

Lemon Sandwich Baubles - makes about 36 cookies

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind
2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons corn starch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup coarse sugar
Yellow food colouring

1 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
Yellow food colouring

In a large bowl, rub sugar with lemon rind; beat in butter until light and fluffy. Beat in cornstarch and salt. Stir in flour to make dough (I used my hands for this bit).

In a small bowl, tint coarse sugar with food colouring to desired yellow. Scoop dough by 1 teaspoon and roll into balls. Coat in coloured sugar.

Bake, 1 inch apart, on parchment paper lined baking sheets in 325f/160c oven. Bake for about 12 minutes, until firm and golden brown on bottoms. Let cool on pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks and let cool completely.

Filling: In bowl, beat together icing sugar, butter, lemon juice and lemon rind. Tint to desired yellow. Pipe about 1/2 teaspoon on bottom half of cookies, and sandwich with remaining cookies.

I think these would be great in a small jar with a vintage decoration attached as a gift for party guests. Yes? No?

Now as for the draw for the calender.....
The winner of my 2011 calendar and print give-away is......
Random Counter # 8 - My Flying Ducks
Kylie C said...What a lovely giveaway! I can't decide between 'Walk' and 'Shanghai alley' - if I win, I'll make a choice! :)

Congratulations Kylie! Looks like you have to make a choice now ;)

Thanks for everyone who took part! I loved it. If you need a calendar, and you are not the lucky winner, I do have a few here. ;)

Back soon! Have a great day.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Festive Friday

I'm happy to see so many of you taking part in my give away. Merci! I'll be making the draw sometime on Monday....once I finish my baking of course.

I shared some of Nancy Riesco's home with you last week, so I thought I'd show you some more from that Christmas shoot for Chatelaine magazine.

Do you decorate your kid's rooms? I used to love my tinsel tree, as a kid, so I was happy to see one Nancy's son's room. 

 Pink and peppy for Gemma's room. Her duvet set is pretty adorable.

The family room was so inviting. Maureen Willick created a simple and pretty garland for the window. Love all the orange!

More pinks in the living room. I would love to be sitting on that chair, whilst posting. 

Have a great weekend. Back on Monday for a little baking and I'll announce the winner of the give away!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Give Away to say Thanks!

I've been blogging for just over a year, and it boggles my mind that I seem to have just over 400 lovely followers. Without getting too mushy, I can't believe how supportive all of you are. I really do love reading all of your comments, and emails that you send. Perks my day right up. It's been great reading all of your blogs - I feel like I really know you!

I'm just about to add some calendars to my etsy shop, so I'd love to give one away, along with a small print of your choice from my shop. To enter check out my shop and let me know which print you like best. I'll make the draw November 22nd. That's it! Pretty simple. I'll send out the calendar and print soon after that.

One last note. A Dr., with a very modern and pretty office, ordered three large blossom prints from me.  I wish my Dr. had a happy office like this one. I have to get a shot of it for you. I've never seen the "fleeting" series in large format before.....I think I prefer them this size.

Good luck! I'll be back on Friday.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Baked On Monday - Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Squares

Hello everyone! How was your weekend? I've got a very early shoot this morning, so I have to admit....I baked on Sunday.

Today's recipe comes from a fantastic new cook book called "The Divvies Bakery Cookbook", by Lori Sandler, published by St. Martin's Press. I actually won this through a give away at The Zhush, a beautiful blog I love to read. The Divvies Bakery is a nut, eggs, and dairy free bakery located in South Salem, New York. Lori's son Benjamin has many food allergies, so The Divvies Bakery was born out of a labour of love. Read more here.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Squares - makes one 9"x9" or 13"x9" pan of outrageous deliciousness

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon ground pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup dairy free margarine
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350f. Prepare a 9"x9" or 13"x9" pan by lining it with long pieces of aluminum foil. Extra foil should hang over the sides for easy lifting after baking.
Whisk the flour, pumpkin or apple pie spice, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Cream the margarine and sugar together in a medium bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, until smooth.
Add the applesauce, vanilla, and pumpkin puree and continue mixing on medium speed. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl to incorporate all the ingredients, and continue mixing.
Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients and mix on medium speed until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue mixing.
Add the chocolate chips and mix on low speed to distribute evenly throughout the batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for approximately 50 minutes. Insert a toothpick in the middle, and if it comes out clean, the squares are done.
Cool the squares completely in the pan for at least one hour. Lift the the aluminum foil out of the pan and cut into squares. Enjoy! and you will.

 I've packaged some up to take on my shoot today. Must share, or I'll eat them all.


Have a great day! Back on Wednesday with a give away.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Is it too early for a little Noel?

Hope you're all having a good week so far! It's a beautiful sunny day here in Vancouver, but it all comes crashing to a rainy halt tomorrow, apparently. Oh well, it's only weather ;)

Thought I'd see if I can get you in a festive spirit, or maybe you'll just be irritated by seeing Christmas on November 10th. Hope not. Feel free to let me know.

I shot Nancy Riesco's house on a hot summer day, for this story. That's how it works sometimes - Christmas in August, "spring" vegetable garden in November. I worked with Maureen Willick (stylist), Kate Keeler (fabulous assisting) and, of course, Nancy Riesco (home owner and interior designer) on this story. You can read more in the December issue of Chatelaine, or on their website.

Pretty and sparkly pink details. 
Loved the chair with a stack of mandarin oranges.

 Those chairs. Adore them.

I love Nancy's mix of mid-century, new, and antique. The family dog, Ricky Bobby, is pretty great too. There are many more rooms to show you, but I'll leave that for another day....this could go on forever!

Back soon! Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Baked on Monday - Oat Spice Cake

I hope you all had a nice weekend. If you turned your clock back an hour, did it throw you off? I have to say I'm a fan of "falling back". Zzzz.

After a weekend of work, it's nice to start off the week with a little baking. I've made a delicious cake from the Rebar Modern Food cook book. Rebar is a great little restaurant in Victoria, BC. I've had this book for about a decade, and it's probably our most used cook book (hence the greasy marks all over it).

Oat Spice Cake - makes one 9" cake
(fyi, this isn't a typical cake, in texture. It's more oatmeal like. Make sense?)

2 cups rolled oats
2/3 cup softened unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup unbleached, all purpose, flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 whipping cream (you don't need to actually "whip" it ;) )
2 cups toasted coconut
1 1/2 cups roasted cashews

Preheat oven to 350F/180c. Lightly grease a 9" spring form pan. Combine the oats, butter, sugar, and boiling water and blend thoroughly and set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and spices. Add dry mix to the wet mix and fold together gently. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until a skewer, inserted in centre of cake, comes out clean.

To make the topping, toast the coconut in a pan until lightly golden and fragrant (so it smells like you're on a tropical beach). Keep your eyes on it, as it can burn, instead of "toast", rather quickly! Combine all of the topping ingredients in a saucepan and heat the mixture until the butter melts and all is well blended. Pour the mixture over top of the baked cake while it's still in the pan. Carefully place the cake under the broiler for about 2 minutes, until the topping turns golden brown. Keep a close watch on it, as it will (and does!) caramelize very quickly. Cool, serve and enjoy!

I'll be back soon. I've got a little give away coming up too. Keep you posted!

Have a good Monday (or Tuesday)!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Driftwood Crafts

Hi Everyone!
Jan, of Poppytalk, and I collected some pretty driftwood, on a sunny autumn day, then made a few festive decorations with it. Nothing quite like driftwood, yarn, pine cones and glitter! Check it out at Poppytalk.

Have any of you been getting festive yet? Would love to hear (and see!) what you've been creating.

Have a great day!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Baked On Monday - Short Black Cupcakes

Hope you all had a good weekend. Did you partake in Halloween festivities? Candy corn?

I've made Short Black Cupcakes today. A nice mix of chocolate with coffee icing. Even if you don't love coffee, I think you'll love this mocha combo. Mmmmm.

Short Black Cupcakes - makes about 48 mini cupcakes

4 1/2 oz/ 125g softened unsalted butter
3/4 cup berry (caster) sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk
3 1/2 oz/100g dark chocolate, melted

Coffee icing

1 cup berry (caster) sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons instant coffee
3 egg whites

Preheat oven to 320f/160c. Place the butter and sugar in a bowl and mix with an electric mixer until creamy.  Gradually add the eggs and beat well. Sift over the flour, baking powder, and cocoa and beat until combined. Fold through the milk and melted chocolate. Spoon the batter into two 24 hole cupcake tins either greased or lined with mini cupcake papers (I didn't have those on hand today!).  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until skewer, placed in centre of cupcake, comes out clean. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
For the icing, place the sugar, water, cream of tartar and coffee in a saucepan over high heat, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 3 minutes. Place the egg whites in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. While still beating, add the sugar mixture and beat until thick and glossy. Spread the icing over the cupcakes with a palette knife.
Serve with coffee and eat up!

That's it for today. Enjoy the day! Back soon.