Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Exam time again

It's exam and finals time again hence the lack of posts. 

Posts will be sparse, if they happen at all, for the next month. 

Don't worry, we're sad too. 

Happy eating, 
Caitlin and Riley

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Animal S'Mores with Homemade Vegan Peanut Butter Graham Crackers

Hey, it's been a while!

For those of you dreaming of summer, here's a snack that will be perfect for nights around the fire. You'd have to make the crackers ahead of time but they are perfect for s'mores!!

We made our crackers in fun animal shapes. For the s'mores we used nutella and mini-marshmallows - improvising with what we had on hand. They were delicious and we would definitely make them again.

Peanut Butter Graham Crackers
Recipe from Oh She Glows

  • 1.5 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp Sucanat (brown sugar might work)
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8th tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp almond milk
  • 3 tbsp smooth Peanut Butter
  • 2 tbsp Maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • modified flax egg (1/2 tbsp ground flax + 1 tbsp warm water, mixed)
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick mat.In a small bowl or cup mix together the modified flax egg: 1/2 tbsp ground flax and 1 tbsp warm water. Set aside for 5 minutes so it can gel up.
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients and make sure everything is combined very well. In a small bowl, whisk together all the wet ingredients, including the flax egg, but give the flax egg a good stir before mixing it in. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir well with a spoon and then set the spoon aside and get in there with your hands and squeeze the dough together with your fingers. Try to just mix it until combined and avoid over mixing it.
Form the dough into a ball and place it on a very lightly floured counter. Be sure not to use too much flour or it will dry out the dough. Separate the dough into two equal balls and roll out each separately. Lightly flour a rolling pin and begin rolling out the dough until you have a rectangle that is about 1/8 inch thick. The dough cracks quite a bit (this was true for all trials that I did), so try not to roll it too thin or it will fall apart. I also find that the more I work with the dough, the less it cracks. Once your dough is rolled out you can use cookie cutters, a pizza slicer/pastry slicer, or even a knife to cut the shapes you want.
Now pull away the scrap dough around the edges and set aside. Using a flat spatula/pancake flipper, carefully slide it underneath each cracker and place the cracker onto the baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Grab your scrap dough and roll it out and repeat the cookie cutting process. Place onto baking sheet. Grab a fork and pierce each cracker a few times so it has air holes.
Sprinkle with turbinado sugar (or coarse sugar/white sugar) and bake for 15-18 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees half way through the baking time. There is no need to flip the crackers during baking. The amount of time you have to bake will depend on how thick they are. The crackers should be slightly firm when coming out of the oven. They are much better crisp than chewy, so err on the side of cooking longer, but keep a watchful eye on them.
Allow the crackers to cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes. They will firm up quite a bit as they cool. Enjoy plain, with nut butter and jam, or make s’mores! They are highly versatile and absolutely addicting.
Makes about 18-24 medium sized crackers."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pretzels! All sorts of pretzels!

Caitlin and I have been wanting to try our hands at pretzels for a long time. We made the dough and about 5 different variations on the traditional pretzel.

Some were big and salty. Others big and cinnamon-sugary. Then we made some cinnamon sugar pretzel bites... and a jam filled pretzel "pie".

We can't forget the delicious salted ham-and-cheese filled pretzels!!! Those were amazing.

Obviously there's a lot you can do with this basic dough recipe so create away and hopefully you'll have as much success as we did!

Soft Pretzels (Makes 12)
Recipe by A.J.'s Cooking Secrets


1 1/2 cup warm water
1 1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup bread flour
3 cups regular flour
2 cups Warm water
2 tablespoons baking soda
to taste coarse salt
4 tablespoons butter (melted)

Sprinkle yeast on lukewarm water in mixing bowl; stir to dissolve. Add sugar, salt and stir to dissolve; add flour and knead dough until smooth and elastic. Let rise at least 1/2 hour.

While dough is rising, prepare a baking soda water bath with 2 cups warm water and 2 Tbsp baking soda. Be certain to stir often. After dough has risen, pinch off bits of dough and roll into a long rope* (about 1/2 inch or less thick) and shape. Dip pretzel in soda solution and place on greased baking sheet. Allow pretzels to rise again. Bake in 450 oven for about 10 minutes or until golden. Brush with melted butter and enjoy!

Toppings: after you brush with butter try sprinkling with coarse salt. or for Auntie Anne's famous Cinnamon Sugar, try melting a stick of butter in a shallow bowl (big enough to fit the entire pretzel) and in another shallow bowl make a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Dip the pretzel into the butter, coating both sides generously. Then dip again into the cinnamon mixture. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Experimental Peanut Butter Chocolate Muffins

I unleashed my inner mad scientist with this recipe. By substituting my favorite cookie for the chocolate chips and adding a marshmallow centre. In all of my excitement, I accidentally made these a little less calorific by forgetting the other 1/3 cup of brown sugar. The muffins still tasted good but I would advise using all of the called-for sugar.

I am also sick right now and being able to experiment made me feel a little better but crazy at the same time.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Muffins
Adapted from Eat Good 4 Life
1 cup chunky peanut butter
1 cup dark chocolate chips (Instead I used
1.5 Snack Packages of Mini Oreos)
1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/3 brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup milk plus 4 tablespoons
1 egg
Optional: Marshmallows
Preheat oven to 375F. Grease and flour the mini muffin pan or line with muffin liners.

In a bowl mix egg, milk (minus 4 tablespoons), peanut butter and sugar. Add flour, baking powder and chocolate chips. Pour 1 teaspoon onto each muffin hole.

When you have come to half the batter add the cocoa powder an extra 4 tablespoons of milk. Pour the remaining chocolate batter into the muffin pan.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Immediately remove mini muffins from pan and cool on a wire rack.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

It's fun to make cupcakes for birthdays but sometimes it's fun to make them for no reason at all. Riley and I just felt like making and decorating cupcakes for the fun of it.

This recipe makes fluffy, chocolate-y but not overly sweet cupcakes. It's a wonderful recipe and rather low in fat.

So, go ahead and make some cupcakes, decorate them and share them with your family and friends... or just for yourself!

Chocolate Cupcakes
adapted from Martha Stewart Kids Magazine
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cups dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pre-heat oven to 350. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners for a total of 24 cupcakes. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl whisk together cocoa, flour, sugars, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Mix until smooth.
Fill cupcake pans about 1/3 full. Bake until the tops of the cupcake spring back when gently pressed. This should take about 20 minutes.

Cream Cheese Frosting
12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, and beat at low speed until sugar is incorporated.
Increase speed to medium high and beat until frosting is light and whipped, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Dark Chocolate Brownies

BROWNIES!! This recipe is our quintessential brownie recipe. It's absolutely perfect in every way.
While the added chocolate chips are optional, they are a must for us.
You will not be disappointed.

Dark Chocolate Brownies
● 1 cup 70% dark chocolate, chopped
● 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into several pieces
● 3 large eggs
● 1 cup white sugar
● 1/4 teaspoon salt
● 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
● 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
(optional - 1/4 cup chocolate chips for extra texture and chocolate-yness)
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350˚F. Grease 8x8 inch glass pan.
Place chocolate and butter in heatproof bowl and set in skillet of simmering water. Stir frequently until mixture is melted, smooth and warm. Remove from the pan and set aside.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla with a hand-held mixer on high speed until the eggs are thick and light coloured, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the warm chocolate. Fold in the flour.
Scrape the batter into the lined pan and spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack.
Cut brownies into sixteen 2-inch squares.
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