Sunday, November 28, 2010

Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies

These delicious, chewy cookies are going to be part of AVery Martha Christmas.
I'm lucky to have some of the most amazing friends.  Not only did they not abandon me when I had a baby (thanks, guys!), but they share a lot of my nerdy loves.  One of the most important being Martha Stewart.  So when I suggested we have a Martha-themed Christmas party, they were on board.

A Very Martha Christmas involves all the things Martha recommends for the holidays.  Decorations, food, general attire, drinks.  (There will be lots of drinks).  An entire evening devoted to her entertainment empire.

But the best part is we can nom on all her amazing desserts.  With the party just a few weeks away, it is clearly time to start taste testing, and the first order of business were these cookies.
Flat, but still flavourful and chewy, they taste even better than they look.  I added some white chocolate for some more variety, but I'm sure they would be delicious as per the recipe.  They did turn out gigantic though, almost the size of my hand, although that is easily corrected if you want smaller cookies.  

Get ready for a lot more Martha Recipes as we get the menu ready for our party!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Best Cinnamon Buns

I think I've found my favourite cinnamon buns.

I was at a drug store the other day, waiting for a prescription for what will be the first of many winter sinus infections (still hungry?), killing time palming through food magazines when I spotted Cook's Illustrated Holiday Baking 2010.  "YES!," I exclaimed embarrassingly loud when I saw the recipe for what they deem the best cinnamon buns ever.  I had to purchase.

No, these cinnamon buns aren't healthy (like these ones), but they are huge, gooey, and delicious.  Because I like excess, I'd probably even add more filling the next time I make them-- and I will make them again very soon. I didn't even mind the cream cheese icing, and cream cheese fits into my condiment aversion.  

Make these.  You will thank me.  Your hips might not, but come on, they're not the boss of you.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ice Cream Bread and the Giveaway Winner

This bread is made with two ingredients, and one of them is ice cream.

Really.

(The other is flour).

A friend sent me this recipe yesterday morning, and I had to make it right away.  Partly because I had ice cream I wanted to use up so I could make new stuff, and partly because this recipe is a bit of a mindfuck.

I was pretty skeptical, but it turned out fluffy and sweet.  Everyone I made try it loved it too, and couldn't guess it was made with ice cream. (Guessing games are fun when it's not you that's guessing what the unknown ingredient you just ate is!)


 And the winner of the $35 giftcard to CSN stores, as generated by this little guy

is Elise!  Please email me at leannebakes@gmail.com so I can give you everything you need to claim your prize.  Congrats, Elise!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Chocolate Caramel Bars

These chocolate caramel bars contain all that is good and holy in the world: butter, condensed milk, sugar, more butter, and chocolate.

This dessert was part of a very bittersweet weekend. I had the opportunity to visit with some of my favourite family members, but it was unfortunately because we were attending my granddad's funeral in Kelowna. 


On Sunday night, a few of us gathered in the kitchen to cook dinner.  Of course, I stayed the hell away from cooking, and instead opted to make dessert.

I had been eyeing these bars for quite some time, but had been afraid to be alone in the house with them, for obvious diabetes-inducing reasons.


But if there's one thing I have in common with my paternal family, it is our undying love for all things chocolatey, caramely, buttery, and all-round terrible for our asses and arteries. There was no better crowd to make this dessert for.  (My grandma even had one for breakfast the next day!).
Incredibly rich, the salt adds the perfect touch to the sweetness of the caramel and chocolate. They'd be perfect to have around the house during the holidays, as the recipe yields a rather large batch, and can be cut into small squares. 




Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Owl Sugar Cookies and a Giveaway

How adorable is this little guy?
He comes from a recent order, where I was sent a similar design and asked to recreate it (the original design can also be found here!).  The cookies ended up so cute I almost felt bad giving them over to be eaten.  A few of these will be making an appearance at the Baker's Market this Saturday, as well as some other cute and delicious treats, so don't forget to pop by.


But wait!  That's not all...


When they're not busy creating websites solely devoted to finding you the perfect barstool, the good folks over CSN stores are handing out free stuff.  And this time, they want to give you, loyal (or otherwise) reader, a $35 giftcard to any one of their numerous online stores.


The contest will be open for one week, until Wednesday November 17th, to residents of Canada and the U.S.  You don't have to become a follower, join me on Facebook, or kiss my ass in any way (but you should).  Just leave a comment here telling me what your favourite dessert is, and a winner will be randomly selected (via random.org) after the contest closes.
Owl says, "Whooooo is going to win?"

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Malted Brownies

Last week I made the mistake of going to the culinary crackden that is Gourmet Warehouse unaccompanied.  Gourmet Warehouse is magic.  It has some of the best prices in Vancouver, and an endless selection of everything you didn't know you needed (but you do!).


Everytime I walk in the excitement gives me amnesia and I completely forget what I needed in the first place.  And the worst part is I don't even care because I'm so overtaken with delirium.  Take this recent trip for example: I'm not sure what I was pretending to go for in the first place, but it might have been meringue powder.  I left with, oh, 9 more items than that.  Including a bundt pan, english muffins rings, and purple food dye.  I already have purple food dye.  Once the high wore off (I'm totally kidding-- it never wears off) I was left with a bunch of useless wonderful, incredible items to use!  So here's the first order of business: chocolate malt brownies.
It's been a day since this army of delicious invaded my life, and they have basically been devoured by my family me.  These brownies ended up incredibly fudgy, dense, and chewy.  Practically perfect.  The malt added a neat kick.   I'd imagine they'd be extra good with some chopped up Maltesers.  If you try it (and I'll be ever so jealous if you do), please mail me some.


Malted Brownies
from your hero and mine, Martha


Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for pan
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
10 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup (about 4 1/2 ounces) malted-milk powder
1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups Maltesers (optional)

 
Directions: 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and lightly flour a 9-by-13-inch baking pan; set aside. Combine chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over simmering water; stir until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, malted-milk powder, and malt balls; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat sugar and eggs until thickened and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add melted chocolate mixture and vanilla; mix to combine, about 30 seconds more. Using a spatula, fold in flour mixture until just combined.
Pour batter into prepared pan, spreading it evenly with a rubber spatula. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs on it, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer brownies to a wire rack to cool.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Ginger Pear Muffins

These ginger pear muffins bring families together. 
Well, sort of.  This is the second time I have made these muffins.  The first I declared a flop-- almost a right-into-the-garbage flop. They were lifeless and dry, almost rubbery.  Instead of wasting them, or suffering through eating them myself, I disposed of them at my parents house, moved on, and hoped to just forget.  But two nights later when I was visiting, praying no one would mention the atrocity I had pawned off on them a few days earlier, my brother told me they were, and I quote, the best muffins he had ever had.  

After initially dismissing his opinion as that of a baked good rube, I considered the possibility that he was onto something.  Upon further inspection, I figured muffins were still a bit rubbery, but the flavour was on the right track.  So I attempted again, making a few more adjustments, and voila, brother and I could agree on supreme muffin awesomeness.
 Sometimes, you just have to keep trying.


And although not baking, this has been posted by a few friends on FB, and I think it's worthy of passing on to you all...





Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sweet Potato Rolls

The boy hates potatoes.  He loves fruit and vegetables, but their starchy companion can go eff itself for all he cares.  I even made him homemade tater tots for Thanksgiving this year, but he was having none of that. This is sad because it means I don't really get to eat potatoes, unless I want to cook them all for myself.  Back before I realized how futile my relentless potatoing would be, I bought two sweet potatoes, with hopes that the little one would maybe, possibly come around and give them a try.  He was unfazed by the bright colours; I was shot down.


Not wanting to waste them, I went on a hunt for something a little more interesting I could make.  I came across a lot of pie (with marshmallow-- seriously?!) recipes, cupcakes recipes, and some for potato chips, as well.  None were that exciting-- except maybe for the pie, but it had been a long week and I was not up to the mental gymnastics it would have taken to put that near my mouth (see previous post on my food insanity).  


But then there were rolls. 
These little guys were incredibly simple to make, and had a wonderfully subtle sweetness to them.  Everyone loved them-- even the boy.  My mom thought they would be good with ham; I thought they would be good with turkey; my dad thought they'd be good with jam.  Bless his heart.  


And, because Queen is amazing...

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