Monday, August 24, 2009

Taste and Create August

 I am late, yet again, with my Taste and Create post….

I apologize.  I really don’t know where this month went…there was so much going on.  School starting, daycare starting, new routines, Daddy being gone, Daddy coming home and not sure when…the list goes on.

But I had looked at my partner, Lysy, at Munchkin Mail’s blog weeks ago and already decided what I would make.  So I knew I could knock it out super quick and it seemed easy enough….but just kept putting it off.  I realized the date today as I was getting things all together for my first day of work tomorrow and that I had to get it done today.  I managed to whip it up in between cleaning house and making dinner.  And the boys ate a couple of slices each for dessert. 

I give you….my first attempt (and kind of failure) at a Jelly Roll!  And of course I filled it with Nutella – no wimpy strawberry jam here – we wanted the good stuff.  And everyone knows Nutella is THE good stuff!

jelly roll 001 

I think I might have baked it a minute or two too long as it wasn’t as flexible as I thought it should be…or maybe I waited too long to roll it.  But appearance doesn’t matter with this one!  It tastes great.  The cake is nice and spongy, and the chocolate in it is perfect.  Jakob was in love! He wanted more than two slices but I really wanted to save some for tomorrow too!

Here is the recipe:

Jammy Swiss roll (from Martha Day's Complete Baking)

Serves 6-8

3 eggs

115g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling

75g plain flour, sifted

1 tbsp boiling water

6 tbsps jam or HALF a jar of Nutella!

Icing sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to Gas 6/200 C. Grease a 12x8 Swiss roll tin and line with non stick baking paper. Combine the eggs and sugar in a bowl. Beat with an electric whisk until thick and mousse like (when the whisk is lifted, a trail should remain on the surface of the mixture for 15 seconds.)

Carefully fold in the flour with a large metal spoon, then add the boiling water in the same way.

Spoon into the prepared tin, spread evenly to the edges and bake for about 10-12 mins until the cake springs back when lightly pressed.

Spread a sheet of greaseproof paper on a flat surface, sprinkle it with caster sugar, then invert the cake on top. Peel off the paper.

Neatly trim the edges of the cake. Make a cut two-third of the way through the cake, about 1cm from the short edge nearest you [presumably this makes it easier to start rolling]

Spread the cake with the jam and roll up quickly from the partially cut edge. Hold in position for a minute, making sure the join is underneath. Cool on a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar before serving. – we didn’t quite get a chance to dust it – they wanted to eat it right away! 

jelly roll 007

I will be making this again and experimenting with fillings and hopefully be able to make it and roll it without cracks!

Check out Lysy’s blog – she has a ton of amazing stuff on there that I can’t wait to make!

Take care,
Love Big, Bake Often

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Chocolate Sundae Sunday

I cannot believe how amazing this ice cream is!  It is better than any chocolate ice cream I have ever had.  And I can’t believe that I made it by myself, and without a maker!  HA!  Freaking Awesome!

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I used David Lebovitz’s recipe for chocolate ice cream….which you can find here in Google Books…..

But what I think really made this ice cream as stellar as it is, is the Askinosie Chocolate and Cocoa that I used in it.  Months ago I mentioned Askinosie in my blog and was contacted by them and they sent me some of their awesome chocolate.  I had been hoarding it….using a little bit here, a little bit there….But I decided it was time to have the full on Askinosie experience, so I used up the last of my solid chocolate from them and more of the cocoa.  The last full bar I had was their “San Jose Del Tambo, Nibble Bar + Crunchy Cocoa Nibs”.  It added a little texture to the ice cream, and I have to say I really enjoyed it.  I hadn’t really had cocoa nibs before, so this was a wonderful first experience for me.  But I am now sad to say that I only have about 1/3 cup of cocoa left and NO chocolate bars.  Very sad. 

Back to the ice cream….for a minute….did I mention that I added some coconut extract in to the ice cream?  Just enough that there is a hint of it, but not overpowering that awesome Askinosie chocolate taste.   I am really trying to save some for Jason (who will be home some time this week) but I don’t quite see it happening!  LOL  I thought about topping this ice cream with something to make it a “true” Sundae, but I just couldn’t bring myself to put anything on top of it.  It is truly perfect just the way it is!

I urge you to check out D.L.’s Perfect Scoop – the recipes in there are so easy to make (with or without a maker) and the flavours are great.  I see myself making more and more ice cream and becoming more and more adventurous with my flavs….kinda like Anna is with hers….check out her blog Very Small Anna and her awesome creations – she is inspiring!

Take Care,
Love Big, Bake Often

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Remembering snickerdoodle

My friend CB recently lost her dear pet rabbit.  I am so sad for her….she loved that rabbit.  Her rabbit was named Snickerdoodle……I’m not sure why, but I loved the name.  CB hadn’t been around online recently and that is when Nancy told me to go and check her blog.  Snickerdoodle passed away several days ago, and since I have no way to give her a hug, I decided to do some baking in her honour.  So it seemed only proper to make some Snickerdoodle cookies. 

So Miss Clara, these are for you!

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And here is the recipe….they are awesome.  I am hoping to make some more (this batch is going to school with Jakob) and turn them into Ice Cream Sandwiches!!  YUM


Makes 3 dozen cookies

For the dough:

½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 ½ cups sugar

2 large eggs

2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons cream of tarter

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

For the cinnamon sugar:

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ cup sugar

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until smooth, 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs and mix until combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tarter, baking soda, and salt. Add to the butter mixture and mix on low speed until combined. The dough will be soft and too sticky to roll. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

Position a rack in the top and bottom thirds of your oven. Preheat the oven to 350f. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

For the cinnamon sugar: Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl.

Using a 1 ounce cookie scoop or a tablespoon, shape the dough into balls and then roll them in the cinnamon sugar.

Place the cookies 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Flatten them slightly with your fingertips so they stay put. Bake for about 12-13 minutes, or until the bottoms are slightly golden in color. These cookies are supposed to be chewy, so do not overbake. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Snickerdoodles keep in an airtight container at room temp for up to 4 days. For longer storage, freeze well wrapped in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil for up to 3 weeks. Do not uncover before defrosting.

I grabbed the recipe from Spike over at Spike Bakes.

Clara, I really wish I could be there to give you a hug.  And a cookie! Take care and hope to hear from you soon.

Take Care,
Love Big, Bake Often

Monday, August 17, 2009

Monkey monday - aiden

pancakes, Aiden and spiders 022 The past few weeks have been about Jakob and all his new adventures with school….so I thought maybe today would be an Aiden day.  pancakes, Aiden and spiders 019

This kid is going to eat me out of house and home…..strawberries and pancakes – the perfect lazy dinner.

Take Care,
Love Big, Bake Often

A Lemon Meringue Pie Retraction


Ok folks…..apparently my memories are distorted (and my Mother will say this isn’t the first time)…..I miss “spoke” when I said that my Mother used a mix for her lemon meringue pies.  I woke up to an email from her correcting me and telling me how she made her pies.

So….I’m sorry Mom. 

Take care,
Love Big, Bake Often

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Happy national lemon meringue pie day!


So apparently….today is National Lemon Meringue Pie Day! So to honour this day I made this…..

lemon 009

Pretty, Eh?

I can remember my mother making lemon meringue pie for us growing up, but I am pretty sure that hers were the ones that came out of a box.  I will say that she did always make her own pie crusts though…and it was good crust!  We use to eat them often up at the cottage – and when it was the six of us there was no cutting the pie into eighths….it was sixths baby!  A nice, oversized slice of lemon meringue pie!  Can you say comfort food?

Today I decided to do something a little different – a Lemon Meringue Tart. 

I started with a simple graham crust recipe – shrunk by thirds – to fit into two small 4 inch tart pans. My fav for making small desserts.  Then I made this Lemon Curd to fill the tart shells…..

Dorie's Lemon Curd
1 egg
6 egg yolks
1 1/4 c sugar
6 TBSP of unsalted butter - cut into 6 pieces
Juice of 4 lemons

Put all the ingredients in a medium heavy bottomed saucepan, and stir with a heatproof spatula to moisten the sugar. Put the pan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring without stopping, until the butter melts and the mixture thickens like custard, 4 to 6 minutes. Keep your eyes on the pan, because the curd can curdle quickly. It is cooked enough when you can run your finger along the spatula and the curd doesn't run into the track you've created. Don't worry if the curd looks thin at this point - it will thicken more as it cools. Remove the pan from the heat and scrape the curd into a heatproof jar or a bowl. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the curd to create an airtight seal and cool to room temperature before storing in the fridge.

Then I made a meringue to top them….I used Dorie’s recipe and halved it to make a rich thick meringue for my tarts!

Meringue Topping

2 egg whites – at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar

Preheat your broiler!

Working in a clean, dry mixer bowl with the clean whisk attachment whip the egg whites at medium speed until opaque.  With the mixer running, add the sugar in a slow stream and continue to beat until the whites are glossy and form firm peaks.

Spread the meringue over the lemon filling. Make sure the meringue covers all the way to the edges, because it will shrink when it bakes.

Run the pie under the broiler until the meringue is golden and the tips are dark brown.  Remove the tarts from the oven and let cool for about 15 minutes, then refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.

And then you end up with this……

lemon 001

I hope you all had a very happy National Lemon Meringue Pie Day.

Take Care,
Love Big, Bake Often

Friday, August 14, 2009

Fixation Friday

I have been converted.  Now before you wonder to what religion, let me tell you that I am not a religious person.  Wasn’t raised in a church, never attended church services.  I am a more of a karma girl – a firm believer of what goes around, comes around; be nice to others and they will be nice to you.  You know what I mean?

Back to my point…I have always been a regular chocolate chip cookie kind of gal.  Never really digging the “double chocolate chip cookie”. But this cookie has made me a believer.  It is a rich, chocolately cookie that is reminiscent of a brownie….with all the crispy, chewy edges a true brownie lover looks for!  They are fantastic.  I never new it was possible to have a cookie be just like those edges that I covet.

 what 025

Maria, of Two Peas and their Pod, had tweeted about these cookies a little while back.  And I waited for the recipe (not so patiently!!), and she posted them over two weeks ago….I can’t believe I waited so long to make them after bugging her for the recipe for so long!  But today was the day.  I needed something rich and chocolately, these were the perfect choice.

Maria found the recipe in the King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion….a book I guess I need to get if these are an indication of the kinds of cookies in there!

Chocolate Toffee Rounds

Recipe from The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion

8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 TBS unsalted butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup toffee bits
1 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease (or line with parchment paper) two baking sheets.

In the microwave or in a saucepan over very low heat melt the chocolate and butter together, stirring until smooth. Set the mixture aside to cool to lukewarm.

In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, baking powder, and salt. Beat in the melted chocolate, then stir in the flour, toffee bits, and chocolate chips.

Drop the dough by the tablespoonful onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes or until the tops are cracked and dry, but the cookies are still soft to the touch. Don’t overbake these; they’ll become firm as they cool.

Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a rack to cool completely.

They are gorgeous to look at too.!

what 023

Take care,
Love Big, Bake Often 

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

TWD – Brownie Button Letdown

oreo brownies 010

Thank you to Jayma of Two Scientists Experimenting in the Kitchen for selecting this weeks recipe, even though I found them to be dry, was disappointed that they were so short, and fought with white chocolate in order to dip them (but I think they look really cute!).

oreo brownies 012

Take Care,
Love Big, Bake Often

Monday, August 10, 2009

Monkey Monday

The boys are really missing Jason these days… I thought I would post some pictures of him and the boys and we can look at them together later today.

boys2 016

boys2 017boys2 024

Take Care,
Love Big, Bake Often

Sunday, August 9, 2009

It’s an oreo sundae sunday


oreo brownies 007

So while twittering the other day the lovely Tracy tweeted about her Cheesecake Ice Cream…and that peaked my interest! After checking the recipe she posted here, and the fridge for ingredients, I realized I had just enough to make a half batch of the ice cream.  I am really happy that I didn’t have enough to make a full batch – it is so yummy I almost can’t stop eating it!  I decided to add some crushed Oreos and make it Oreo Cheesecake Ice Cream.

oreo brownies 002

But it didn’t end there….I was also doing some searching for brownies thinking I would make it a brownie sundae kind of Sunday….and found these.  Laurie posted these a long time ago….but I had never seen them, which is probably a good thing!  Go check out her post for the recipe….I only did a half a recipe and baked it in a 9x13 pan….can’t imagine what a whole recipe would make! They are super rich (just like Laurie says) and you totally need a HUGE glass of milk with these.  Or a couple of big scoops of Oreo Cheesecake Ice Cream!! Yum, Yum!

Take care,
Love Big, Bake Often

Friday, August 7, 2009

fixation friday!


I am tired.  It has been a very very long day. I give you this…..

first day of school 009

Chocolate Pecan Pie.

It’s Dorie’s recipe.  Look it up. Make it. Eat it. Love it!

That is all.

Take care,

Love Big, Bake Often

Where did the time go…

I cannot believe that my Jakob is going to school!  At 4 1/2 he is still such little man, but such a BIG boy. I look at him and it seems like yesterday that he was just a baby.  I look at Aiden and I can remember Jakob at that age.  Where, oh where did the time go?  When did he become this independent little monster who barely looks back to see if I am leaving? Who says that I can go now, that he is fine?  On the other hand, do I really want to be the parent with the kid melting down on the floor, weeping and wailing for his mother?  No, thanks!  I’m good.  But I wouldn’t have minded if he’d hugged me a little longer, wanted me to stay another minute or two….

I know that he will have a wonderful day getting to know the routine, his teachers, and making all kinds of new friends.  And he was also very proud to be going with a blanket made by Mama, and his new Transformers lunch box!  Very cute.

Aiden and I are hanging out in a very quiet house….Aiden is walking around looking for him mumbling “where is he?”  as if they are playing hide n’ seek!  Going to be an adjustment for us all.

Here are some pics of the new School Boy!  He is so proud of himself!

first day of school 015

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At school having breakfast…

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Hope everyone else has a good first day of school…whenever that may be!

Take Care,


Love Big, Bake Often

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

TWD….Banana Bundt…I mean Loaf Cake


I am a bad baker.  I do not own a Bundt pan.  And to be honest when I hear the word Bundt, all I can think of is that HILARIOUS scene in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding".  You know the one where the mother cannot for the life of her pronounce "Bundt"...and then puts a plant in the middle of the Bundt to fill the hole!  LOL - I LOVE that movie!  Kills me every time.

Back the the Banana Cake!  Since I don’t have a Bundt pan I tweeted the question “can I do this in a couple of loaf pans?”  And luckily Nancy was on and advised me that the full recipe would fit into the three 8x3 smaller foil loaf pans that I had.  But to be careful that I didn’t fill them too full as hers had overflowed when she made hers!  It fit perfectly….rose just to the top of the pans, browned nicely and tasted fantastic!  The boys gobbled one loaf up, I gave one loaf to my amazing neighbours, and the other one got wrapped tightly and is waiting in the freezer…probably not for long!

banana bundt 005

As I have mentioned before, I always have bananas on hand.  I wont eat one if you paid me, but put it in a banana bread/cake and I am all over it.  Jakob and Aiden eat them daily….they are a staple in our house!  But sometimes we buy too many and they end up frozen waiting for enough frozen brown bananas to bake. 

Oh….wait.  I have to mention this.  My banana cake didn’t get made until late on Sunday night, so as the boys were winding down I had mixed up the batter and put it into the oven just before putting them to bed.  So since it needed to bake for 40 – 50 minutes I figured that they would both be asleep and could enjoy it for breakfast.  So at 9 pm when the timer went off telling me that it was done, you can imagine my surprise when Jakob came around the corner asking if he could have some.   But since he should have already been asleep  and the banana cake was going to be super hot and need to cool, I told him he would have to wait til the morning.  He shrugged his shoulders and toddled off back to bed!  Too cute!

I apologize for this post being late – blogger was giving me some grief.  But I think I have found a way to work it all out – thanks to Elle!

And be sure to check out all the other TWDr’s and their versions of this moist, dense, flavourful Banana Cake!

Also thank you to the Food Librarian for choosing this weeks recipe – we will be making this again!  For sure!

Take Care,

Love Big, Bake Often

Monday, August 3, 2009

Monkey Monday!!

We went to meet Jakob's First Ever teacher today! She is quite nice, seems to know what she is doing (LOL), and her accent wasn't as thick as I had remembered on the phone! Jakob was a little nervous at first, but he settles right in, started talking to the other children, and then didn't want to leave! He has his first real day on Friday and then goes full time next week! I cannot believe that my little boy is in school! Where did the time go?

Good luck to all those starting school this is a huge accomplishment...and wonderful experience.

Take Care,
Love Big, Bake Often

Sunday, August 2, 2009

August's Pre-Made Our Way...Soft Pretzels

I hopped on board for this month's Pre-Made Our Way hosted by the lovely Natalie of Oven Love. It is a great challenge....taking something you usually buy and make it yourself. I have made the PopTarts she had in one of her previous challenges so many times that I know the recipe by heart!! This month's challenge was Soft Pretzels. I have never made them before, and lately have been feeling like a Yeast Failure! But I rocked it! They turned out great! And the best part about making these......Jakob loved them! He has been a super picky monster these days so I was very happy to have made something that he would not only eat - but devour!
I could use some practice rolling the dough and braiding them into the perfect pretzel shape but I think for a first attempt that they are perfect!!

My different braiding techniques! LOL

The finished products....

Natalie has the recipe over on her blog Oven Love. Be sure to make these some time...they won't last long in your house!

Take Care,
Love Big, Bake Often