Celebrations, Parties, Sweet, Uncategorized

Diamond’s are a Birthday Boys Best Friend

Diamond Inspired Minecraft 6th Birthday Party

For my son’s 6th birthday party this year it was no surprise when he said he wanted a Minecraft theme.  Around the time he turned 5, he started to get interested in Minecraft from watching YouTube videos and began begging for months to get the Minecraft app for his ipad.  I was very hesitant to get it since he was younger then the recommended age and I assumed he would require a lot of help from me.  I finally let him download it in the Fall and since then have continued to be amazed by the things he builds and the knowledge he has gained from the game.  I still not sure I fully understand the whole concept, but I know it has been a lot of fun for him and was happy to use it as this year’s party theme. Continue reading “Diamond’s are a Birthday Boys Best Friend”

Recipes, Sweet

S’mores Sandwich Cookies

SONY DSC

In honor of National S’mores Day on August 10, I decided to bake up a sweet treat for my family.  I don’t make time to bake as often as I would like, so it is always nice to have a silly reason to make something new.  It also didn’t hurt that, by some miracle, I wound up with two napping children and a quiet house that afternoon.

I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to S’mores treats and deciding what to bake proved to be a bit of a challenge with all the different mouth-watering combinations of graham, chocolate and marshmallow out there.  I wasn’t in the mood for cupcakes, and although these beautiful S’mores Macarons jumped out at me right away, I didn’t feel up to attempting macarons for the first time.  I then came across these Whoopie Pies with the pretty same layers as the macarons, and it suddenly dawned on me that I had sandwich cookie pans that might make the perfect S’mores inspired treat.

SONY DSC

I found these Wilton sandwich cookie pans Dollarama several months ago and grabbed a couple thinking they would make a cute treat for one of my parties.  They have been sitting in my cupboard unused up until now and I was excited to pull them out to attempt my S’mores inspired goodies.   The pans were easy to use and I love the uniformity of the cookies provided by them.   If you don’t have the pans, however, you could easily just roll out this dough in equal sized balls and bake them up on a cookie sheet.

The graham cracker cookies turned out nice and soft, and work well in combination with the rich chocolate ganache and marshmallow cream frosting.  The cookies are as cute as they are tasty, and this recipe is a simple way to recreate the iconic camping treat at home away from the campfire.  Heck, I am even thinking of foregoing the traditional S’mores and just bringing along these yummy sandwich cookies on our next camping trip.

SONY DSC

S’mores Sandwich Cookies

Makes 24 filled cookies

Graham Cracker Cookies
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour  (I did 3/4 cup white flour and 3/4 whole wheat)
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 egg yolks

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 3 Teaspoons heavy cream

Marshmallow Cream Filling

  • 1 Jar Marshmallow Cream
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

SONY DSC

Bake the Graham Cracker Cookies
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Line cookie sheets with parchment.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar. Next, add the egg yolks and vanilla and blend.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine your dry ingredients; flour, graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Blend until combined – mixture may seem a bit crumbly, but it will come together after 2 minutes or so.
  5. Press dough into cavities of Wilton Sandwich Cookie pans or roll dough into 1-inch sized balls and space out on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 5-6 minutes, until bottoms of cookies are lightly browned. Cool 5 or so minutes on cookie sheet and transfer to wire to completely cool.

SONY DSC

Prepare the chocolate ganache

  1. Pour the chocolate chips and heavy cream into a microwave safe bowl.
  2. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between each until chocolate is melted and smooth.
  3. Place in fridge to cool and thicken as you prepare the marshmallow cream.

Make the Marshmallow Cream

  1. Blend marshmallow cream with shortening until mixture is smooth and fluffy – about 3 minutes on medium speed using the paddle attachment of your stand mixer.
  2. Add the confectioners’ sugar and the vanilla, and beat on low until incorporated. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes more.

SONY DSC

Assemble your Sandwich Cookies

  1. Spread a layer of chocolate ganache on one side of a cookie.
  2. Using a piping bag, put a swirl of the marsmallow cream on top of the chocolate ganache.
  3. Carefully press your second cookie half onto the top of the marshmallow cream, being carefully not to squish all the filling out.
  4. Set aside for the ganache to fully set.
  5. Repeat with the remaining cookies.

Enjoy!

SONY DSC

Do you have a favorite S’mores inspired treat or sandwich cookie recipe to share?  Please share in the comments below.  I definitely see more homemade sandwich cookies in my future now that I know how easy they can be!

Recipes, Sweet

Toffee Apple Cheesecake Dip

SONY DSC

Today I am sharing a quick and easy recipe I prepared as part of a Teddy Bear Picnic lunch & playdate we hosted.  I tried to serve kid friendly foods, but I will be honest and say that this was made mostly for the mom’s to enjoy.  The kids liked the apples, but I don’t think any of them appreciated the creamy, caramel goodness like us adults did!

Ingredients

  • 1 package of creamcheese (8 oz), room temperature
  • 1/3 cup icing sugar
  • 1.5 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Caramel ice cream topping/syrup
  • Toffee bit chips (Skor or Heath brand)
  • Mini chocolate or peanut butter chips
  • 6 apples

Directions

  1. Place softened cream cheese in stand mixer and blend until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add in icing sugar, cream and vanilla extract.  Mix again until smooth.
  3. Place 1/2 of cream cheese mixture in a small serving bowl.
  4. Pour a thin layer of the caramel syrup over the cream cheese and sprinkle generously with a combination of the toffee and peanut butter or chocolate chips.
  5. Carefully layer the other half of the creamcheese mixture into the bowl and spread to edges.
  6. Pour a second layer of caramel syrup over the creamcheese and finish with another sprinkling of the baking chips.
  7. Refrigerate for at least an hour for flavors to combine.
  8. Serve with sliced apples – I used granny smith.

SONY DSC

Enjoy!

Recipes, Savory, Sweet

Treats for the Beach

SONY DSC

This week we hosted another playdate at the private beach in our subdivision with a bunch of our friends from playgroup.  The kids and I spend so much time together that it is nice to plan dates that give them a chance to play with other kids and me a chance to actually get some adult interaction in.

I seem to be going into a little bit of party planning withdrawal because I felt the need to whip up a few last minute treats for the occasion.   I always find recipes I would like to try, so it is nice to make them when I have a crowd and won’t end up consuming the majority all on my own.

 

Summer Sand Pudding

Not long ago my sister posted this adorable Summer Sand Pudding from Ma Nouvelle Mode on my Facebook timeline and I have been wanting to put my own spin on it and make it into individual beach buckets.  What better place to serve it then on a beach playdate?

SONY DSC

Ingredients

  • 1 package Golden Oreo cookies
  • 2 or 3 regular Oreo cookies
  • 8 ounces cream cheese (1 block)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup icing (powdered) sugar
  • 2 boxes of white chocolate instant pudding (or vanilla)
  • 2 3/4 cups of milk
  • 1/2 of a large tub of Whipped topping (Cool Whip), thawed

Pudding Directions

  1. Cream together softened cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar in stand mixer.
  2. In another bowl, whish together the pudding powder and milk.
  3. Slowly add pudding to cream cheese mixture to combine.
  4. Fold in the whipped topping.

SONY DSC

To make the sand, use a food processor to finely crush the entire package of Golden Oreo’s with 2 or 3 of the regular chocolate Oreo’s.  The original recipe calls for Vanilla wafers so those can also be substituted for the Golden Oreo’s.

(I discovered Ariel tucked into my pantry when I went to take out the food processor and thought it was quite fitting for the task at hand!)

SONY DSC

To assemble the sand pails, I layered the pudding and cookie crumb mixture in Dixie cups – pudding, cookie crumbs, pudding, cookie crumbs.  I found some blue candy twists for the handle and simply inserted those in, forming an arch.  I was planning to finish them off with a candy fish but ended up going with some star shaped sprinkles instead.

If you can’t find Dixie cups, any small cup will work.  I have seen shot glass sized red solo cups that would be cute with a red licorice handle.

SONY DSC

Both the kids and adults really seemed to enjoy the pudding – the kids were happy because of the sprinkles and sour candy handles, and I think the addition of the cream cheese made it a rich, decadent dessert for us grown-ups.

 

Watermelon Salsa

I also got around to making The Scent of Orange’s Watermelon Salsa I included in my Refreshing Watermelon Ideas post a few weeks back and it did not disappoint!  There was some tedious chopping involved, but it came together fairly quick and was something you could easily make a day or two ahead of time.  I was a little skeptical of the ingredients, and even bought some tomatoes as backup, but the watermelon pairs so perfectly with the cilantro, onion, cucumber and lime juice that it is all you really need to create a refreshing salsa.  As a bonus, I also found the watermelon is far easier to dice up then a bunch of tomatoes would be and you still get the nice traditional red color of salsa from the watermelon.  For our playdate it was served with tortilla chips, but I think it would also be a good summer meal on top of grilled chicken.

SONY DSC

 

Fruit Skewers

Who doesn’t love a fruit skewer?  I believe I have a few different versions of these pinned on my various pinterest boards, but I have never actually made them for any of my parties.  I love the idea, but always get to thinking that sharp skewers and children would not be a good combination.  I had some Dollar store wooden coffee stir sticks in the pantry leftover from creating cupcake toppers, so I decided to try using those and they worked perfect!  No one stabbed themselves and the kids all seemed pretty excited to eat their fruit off a stick.

SONY DSC

My skewers included honeydew, watermelon, pineapple and strawberries but you could do just about any fruit you want.  To make it even easier, you could even buy the Costco fruit tray and just skewer the pre-cut fruit pieces!

 

Corndog Muffins

One other item I made were some corndog muffins.  They ended up sticking to the pan and weren’t really picture worthy, but they did taste good and I think they are worth attempting again with a different cornbread muffin recipe and some better non-stick spray.  I like that they are easily portable and can be served at any temperature, making them an easy picnic item.  I was short on time so I used a cornbread mix and simply inserted one inch pieces of hot dog into each mini muffin well, then baked as directed.

SONY DSC

All in all it was a great day.  I can’t say enough good things about our lake and I am so happy we are able to invite our friends to share in the fun on hot days.  There wasn’t much time for adult interaction with the young kids going in ever which direction, but they all enjoyed the beach so that is what really counts.  And it did lead to talk of planning a kid-free mommy’s night out so hopefully we can make that happen!

Everyday Life, Recipes, Savory, Sweet

Refreshing Watermelon Ideas

Although I am nearing the one year anniversary of my blog, I still feel pretty new to blogging and haven’t had much time to sit down and figure everything out.  I am trying to be a little more involved in the blog world so I was excited to join my first linky party last week.

Party TIme Linky

I am a huge fan of Spaceships and Laserbeams and was excited to read Stephanie’s post inviting others to join in to the Party Time Linky hosted by herself and some other fabulous bloggers.  There are a ton of great ideas on there, but because I seem to be drawn to all things watermelon right now, I have picked out these great posts from some of the other Party Time contributors.

Here are my favourite watermelon themed ideas from this past week’s Party Time Linky:

Watermelon Cake Pop

Watermelon Cake Pops from Moms&Munchkins.  These are adorable, but not something I will be attempting.  I have tried cake pops before and melted chocolate and I just don’t agree!

 

watermelon-granita-10

Watermelon Granita from YummyHealthyEasy.  This looks so refreshing and delicious for a hot day.  This recipe is extra appealing with just 3 ingredients!

 

Watermelon Margaritas

Fresh Watermelon Margaritas from Flying on Jess Fuel.  Watermelon + Booze!  Need I say more?

 

Watermelon RIce Krispie Treats

Watermelon Rice Krispie Treats from Gingerly Made.  These are cute and look way more my skill level then the cake pops.  I am always amazed how versatile Rice Krispie treats can be and have a whole pinterest board just dedicated to different Rice Krispie Treat Recipes.

 

watermelon-on-a-stick

Watermelon on a Stick from One Creative Mommy.  I have always thought this is such a great idea for serving watermelon at parties!

 

Watermelon Salsa

Watermelon Salsa from The Scent of Oranges.  I find this recipe most intriguing and can’t wait to give it a try.  I enjoy mango salsa so I am hoping this is just as tasty!

 

Still not enough watermelon ideas?  I posted these cute Watermelon Pops from Kraft on my Facebook page earlier this week.  They are on my to-do list since my kids are all about the ice cream and popsicles right now!

Watermelon Pops

 

Check out the Party Time Linky if you have a chance.  I will definitely be contributing again and checking in on all the other great ideas from my fellow party loving bloggers.

 

 

 

 

Celebrations, Parties, Recipes, Sweet

Giant Peanut Butter Cups and Birthday Banners

SONY DSC

We celebrated my husband’s birthday over the weekend.  He says he doesn’t really care whether or not I do anything for it, but I do like to try and make it special.  It is especially hard since I go all out for the kids birthdays and that leaves them expecting something spectacular every time there is a birthday in the house to celebrate.

I have tried planning parties/get togethers for him in the past and it has always been a big bust.  This year it was just our family of four and my brother and new sister in law who joined us for one final dinner before they head off across the country for school in Halifax.  My original plan was to try go-karting, but the weather wasn’t very cooperative and my silly husband preferred to spend the day hauling rock, raking out sand and laying the patio in our backyard.  We ended up just having a really nice barbeque dinner and I surprised him by making a giant cake version of his favorite chocolate bar:

SONY DSC

Inside the chocolate shell of his giant peanut butter cups were layers of chocolate cake, peanut butter buttercream frosting and chocolate ganache.  With that combo I knew it was going to be good, but I was still surprised how delicious the final result actually was!

SONY DSC

I didn’t really follow a recipe.

The cake layer was a boxed mix, baked in the bottom section of my giant cupcake pan to give me the right shape.

The peanut butter frosting was actually some leftover buttercream I had frozen from doing my brother’s wedding cake at the beginning of the month.  Once thawed, I whipped it in my stand mixer with a couple giant spoonfuls of peanut butter.

The outer shells were simply melted milk chocolate chips I spread with a spatula into the cupcake base section of the same giant cupcake tin.  I did it in two layers and once hardened in the fridge they were fairly easy to pop out of the pan in one solid piece.  This is a method I had done before for my daughters giant cupcake birthday cake so I was fairly confident it would work out.

The chocolate ganache layer on top was a basic ganache recipe made by melting the same milk chocolate chips with some whipping cream.  I did mine in the microwave to keep it easy.

I had the basic idea in my head and was very happy to discover this great instructional video on youtube.  I could post a recipe and directions, but MyCupcakeAddiction does such a great job that you might as well just check out her Make a GIANT Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup video!  Hers is prettier then mine, but in the end I was pretty happy with my results.

 

SONY DSC

I don’t decorate for my husband’s birthday as I would for the kids, but I do like to throw up a birthday banner to recognize the day and add a festive feel to the house for the kids.  I ended up finding some baseball themed paper plates and napkins at Michaels, so my 4 year old and I decided to go with a bit of a baseball theme since lately daddy has been really into watching the Toronto Blue Jays play.

SONY DSC

Do you recognize the letters in the birthday banner?  It is repurposed from Keira’s Snow White Picnic Party we had back in May.

SONY DSC

I loved the simplicity of this birch birthday banner I came across from scoutmob.com and was looking for an easy, inexpensive way to replicate it for her party.

SONY DSC

As with most of my projects, the solution was found within the aisles of Dollarama.  I came across these wooden letters in the craft section and grabbed a few bags to give me the letters I needed to spell out “Happy Birthday Keira”.  I needed a way to attach the letters to my twine, so I picked up a bag of mini clothespins at Michaels and decided to hot glue those to each of the letters.  As I was doing this I had a bit of an AHA! moment and realized that the clothespins would make the letters totally reuseable and reconfigurable.

SONY DSC

For the Snow White themed banner I picked up some apple wooden shapes at Micheals to fit in between the words.  I loved the little extra touch they added so I decided to add baseball’s to daddy’s birthday banner.  They have all kinds of great painted and unpainted wooden shapes at Michaels (pirate ships, puppies, lady bugs, cupcakes) so it wasn’t hard to find something that worked with my theme.  To attach them, I hot glued the same mini clothespins on that I had used for the letters.

And just to show how versatile this idea is, here are the same letters strung across the cake table I did at my brother’s wedding. (Which I still need to do a full post on!)

SONY DSC

The possibilities really are endless for spelling out everything from Happy Birthday to Merry Christmas or Happy Easter.  The ribbon or twine can easily be switched out to match your party theme and the inexpensive wooden shapes help add that little extra touch.  This is a great item to have in the party cupboard and mine has already gotten great use just in the two months since I made them.

 

Celebrations, Parties, Recipes, Savory, Sweet

Recipes for a Harry Potter Feast

SONY DSC

In my opinion, food is the most important element at a party. I love picking menu items that reflect my party theme and are something a little out of the ordinary for my guests to try.

For my Harry Potter party, I wanted foods that were reflective of the great feasts described in the books and shown in the movies. I kept it to finger foods, but chose items with a British twist.  My menu included mini chicken pub pies, mini beef wellington’s, barbequed chicken wings, individual spinach salads, a Kahlua baked brie with toasted baguette and grapes, warm crab dip with tortilla chips, stuffed mushroom caps, guacamole devilled eggs, a mashed potato bar and a variety of pastries and cake.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

 

French Onion Stuffed Mushroom Caps

These were a bit of a last minute addition and one of the biggest hits on the food table. I normally do mushroom caps stuffed with a breadcrumb mixture, but I was looking for a good option for my party guests with gluten issues.  The Pioneer Woman uses grated gruyere in her original recipe, but I kept it simple by using pre-sliced swiss cheese.

SONY DSC

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup beef broth
  • 7 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • Splash of red wine
  • 3 sandwich sized slices of swiss cheese
  • 24 whole white mushrooms
  • minced parsley (optional)

Directions

  1. In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.  Saute onions in the melted butter, 15-20 minutes until soft.  Add in the wine, beef broth and Worcestershire sauce and cook for another 5 minutes.  Once liquid is cooked down, set aside.
  2. Clean mushrooms and remve stems, then spread on a cookie sheet.  Fill each mushroom with some of the cooled onion mixture and top with a small piece of the swiss cheese.
  3. Bake 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees.  If desired, place under a broiler for the final minutes to brown the cheese slightly.
  4. Sprinkle with minced parsley and serve warm.

 

Kahlua & Pecan Baked Brie

Melty, gooey and oh so tasty! This was my favorite and is definitely a recipe I will be repeating. It is only 4 ingredients but the end result is both impressive and delicious.  The original recipe, with much prettier pictures then my lopsided mess, can be found at My Life as a Mrs.

SONY DSC

Ingredients

  • 1 large wheel of Brie (13.2 oz)
  • 2/3 cup toasted pecans, chopped
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons Kahlua
  • Choice of dippers – crackers, apple slices, toasted baguette

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Use a sharp knife to score around the top edge of the brie and remove the entire top circle of rind.  Place in brie baker or center of an oven safe platter.
  3. Mix the pecans, brown sugar and Kahlua in a bowl.  Spread mixture over the top of your prepared brie.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 8 – 15 minutes.  The brown sugar mixture should begin to bubble, but the cheese should still be holding its shape when done.
  5. Serve warm with your dippers.

 

Guacamole Devilled (Dragon) Eggs

This was my least favorite recipe to prepare due to the fact that I still haven’t found the perfect way to take the shells off a boiled egg.  The guacamole filling was a prettier green a couple hours before the party when I prepared them and put them in the fridge, so I would recommend making these up last minute to serve to guests.  They were a nice change from the traditional devilled egg and the color worked with the Dragon Eggs label I gave them.  The original recipe was found on Simply Recipes.

SONY DSC

Ingredients

  • 6 hard boiled eggs
  • 2 ripe avacados
  • 1 Tbsp lime (or lemon) juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp cilantro, plus several leaves for garnish
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced finely
  • 1 Tbsp green onion (or chives)

Directions

  1. Peel the hardboiled eggs and slice in half lengthwise.  Carefully coop out the cooked yolks and arrange the egg whites nicely on a platter.
  2. Cut the avocado in half, removing the pit and scooping out the flesh.  Place in a bowl and roughly mash with a fork.  Mash in 2-4 halves of cooked egg yolk into the avocado.
  3. Sprinkle with lime juice and salt.  Stir in the sour cream, chopped cilantro, jalapeno pepper and green onion.
  4. Fill the egg whites with the avocado mixture, using a spoon or piping bag.  Garnish each with a cilantro leaf.

 

Mini Spinach Salads with Strawberries, Candied Almonds and Homemade Poppyseed Dressing

In the past I have always just bought bottled poppyseed dressing for my spinach salad because it seemed like something that would be complicated to make.  Because of my guests with gluten issues, I opted to make my own this time just to ensure all ingredients were gluten friendly.  I was shocked how easily this dressing recipe from Dine & Dish came together and how delicious it was.  I don’t think I will be buying bottled poppyseed dressing again!

SONY DSC

Salad Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds
  • 1 bag of fresh baby spinach
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 carton of fresh strawberries, diced

Dressing Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 tsp poppy seeds

Directions

  1. For the candied almonds: On the stovetop, pour 1/4 cup sugar into a heavy skillet and slowly melt over low heat.  Once it has liquefied, add almonds and stir to coat.  Spread the coated almond mixture onto a foil sheet to cool and then break apart if necessary.
  2. To make the dressing: Whisk together the vinegar, sugar, finely chopped onion, dijon mustard, and salt.  Once thoroughly combined, gradually add in the canola oil and then stir in the poppyseeds.
  3. To make the salad: Layer the baby spinach, chopped strawberries and sliced onions in a large bowl or individual dishes.  Top with a small handful of candied almonds and pour on the poppyseed dressing to taste.

 

Mashed Potato Bar

This is not really a recipe, but I am sharing because it went over so well at the party. My co-host was kind enough to prepare a large batch of mashed potatoes and I provided a variety of toppings for guests to use to dress up their potatoes. We served the potatoes from a large plastic cauldron and small plastic bowls from Dollar Tree worked perfect for the individual servings of potatoes. Our toppings included gravy, sour cream, cheddar cheese, green onions and bacon bits but I have seen other more elaborate examples of potato bars that include items such as grilled shrimp and sautéed mushrooms.

SONY DSC

 

Desserts

Of course there were also plenty of desserts.  My co-host brought delicious pumpkin pasties and cauldron cakes, while I baked up Pumpkin Fudge and the Treacle Tarts.  We also had “Hogwarts Cookies” which were simply the Celebration brand cookies that come nicely imprinted with a castle image right in the chocolate!

SONY DSC

Treacle Tarts

My treacle tarts recipe comes from the Kitchen Magpie.   There are many different treacle tart recipes out there, but I knew I needed to try this one when I saw she was another local Edmonton blogger.  She also has some other great Harry Potter party ideas, so be sure to check her out.

I was expecting something close to a buttertart, but they have more of a creamy lemon flavor.  I didn’t make it to the British import store to buy the actual treacle and corn syrup recommended in the recipe, but I think they were still authentic enough to pass for my Harry Potter party.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of golden corn syrup (Lyle’s golden syrup is recommended)
  • 1/4 cup half and half cream
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp fancy molasses
  • 1 tbsp. melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
  • 24 mini tart shells (2 inch)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the corn syrup, half and half, lemon zest, lemon juice, molasses, melted butter,egg and bread crumbs.  Mix thoroughly.
  3. Place the tart shells on a cookie sheet and fill each to the brim with the syrup mixture.
  4. Bake in the oven for 13-15 minutes, until the tarts shells are lightly browned and the mixture is bubbling.
  5. Enjoy either warm or cold, with or without whipped cream on top.

 

These, and other Harry Potter food ideas, can all be found on my Pinterest planning board.

And if you haven’t already seen all the details of my Harry Potter Wedding shower, please click here.

 

 

Recipes, Sweet

Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Sugar Hearts

One of my sister’s good friends brought this fruit salsa with cinnamon sugar chips to the bridal shower I hosted for my sister.  It is a simple recipe and the end result is surprisingly delicious.  I had forgotten about it, but when scouring pinterest for Valentine’s treat ideas to bring to our playgroup party I came across Spend with Pennies recipe and decided to finally make it myself.

SONY DSC

Fruit Salsa

  • 2 Granny Smith Apples
  • 1 Lemon
  • 2 Kiwi Fruits
  • 1 pound Fresh Strawberries
  • 1/2 pound fresh Raspberries
  • 1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Raspberry (or other fruit) Jam

Directions

  1. Zest lemon and set aside.
  2. Peel the apples, and finely chop.  Squeeze lemon juice over the chopped apple and mix it in to prevent the apple from browning.
  3. Finely chop the kiwi’s and strawberry and add to apple mixture.
  4. Add in the brown sugar, raspberry jam and fresh raspberries.  Stir gently to combine all ingredients.  The raspberries will break down a bit,  but that is fine.
  5. Let ingredients sit at least 15 minutes for the flavors to meld, or refrigerate for up to 4 days.

SONY DSC

Cinnamon Sugar Chips

  • Heart shaped cookie cutters
  • 1 package of flour tortilla’s (10 tortilla’s)
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 1/3 cup of Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit.
  2. Begin by using a heart shaped  cookie cutter to cut your chips out of the tortilla’s.  I stacked my tortilla’s in piles of 2 or 3 to make the cutting going a little quicker.  You can also use a different shape or simply slice like a pizza to make triangular shaped chips.
  3. Arrange your tortilla shapes on a cookie sheet so they are not touching.
  4. Spray the tortilla shapes with non-stick cooking spray and sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture over the sprayed area.
  5. Bake 9-11 minutes or until crisp.

SONY DSC

This recipe is a little time consuming with all the chopping, but it is well worth the effort.  I like that it is a somewhat healthy treat, but still very tasty.  The tartness of the fruits balances nicely with the sweet chips and I love the crunch the granny smith apples give in the salsa.

The cinnamon sugar chips are very easy to make and can be enjoyed just on their own.  It is a very versatile method that can be used with any cookie cutter shape and adjusted to work with sweet or savory dips.  For our Valentine party at playgroup last year I made a roasted red pepper dip and made the chips out of sun dried tomato flavored tortilla’s  sprinkled with garlic salt instead of the cinnamon sugar:

SONY DSC

Recipes, Sweet

Christmas Baking: Chewy Ginger Snaps

There is a nine and a half year age gap between my little brother and myself. When he was still in elementary school, I was already out living on my own and attending university. While he was in grade four, his school put together a cookbook and he decided since I liked to bake and cook it would make the perfect gift for me for Christmas. It is one of the sweetest gifts I have ever received.

This Ginger Snap recipe comes from that cookbook. I used it for my first attempt making ginger snaps and they turned out so well I haven’t bothered trying a different recipe since.  They have become a family tradition and it now isn’t Christmas without a batch of these chewy, spice filled cookies.  Judging by how quickly my 3 year old made his disappear this afternoon, I don’t think it is a tradition that I will be breaking anytime soon.

SONY DSC

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 1/2 cups of flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream butter and sugar well.
  3. Beat in the egg and molasses.
  4. Stir in baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and salt.
  5. Gradually add flour and mix well until combined into a soft dough.
  6. Shape into approx. 1 tsp balls and roll in sugar.
  7. Place balls on parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes.

SONY DSC

I typically roll my ginger snaps in a mixture of red and green sugars for Christmas to add a festive touch.  This year, I decided to get a little fancier and dipped them in melted white chocolate and sprinkled them with some Wilton holly shaped sprinkles I found at Michaels.  Either way they are delicious!

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

These ginger snaps were also the final item for the tins of baking I was packaging up for my siblings.  Last year I had the bright idea to use coffee filters in the tins to separate each of the baking items and it worked so nicely I thought I would share.  They keep the flavours for mixing and add a nice white ruffle throughout the basic Dollar Store tins I used.

SONY DSC

Recipes, Sweet

Christmas Baking: Easy Maple Walnut Fudge

I have a whole pinterest board devoted just to fudge.  They all look delicious, but for my Christmas baking I resorted back to this recipe I made last year because I knew it was super tasty and easy.

SONY DSC

Ingredients

  • 1 can Eagle Brand Dulche de Leche sweetened condensed milk (You could substitute regular)
  • 3 cups butterscotch chips (you will need two bags to get enough)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons Maple extract

SONY DSC

Directions

  1. Prepare a 9×9″ pan by lining it with parchment paper.
  2. Pour butterscotch chips and sweetened condensed milk in a microwave proof bowl.
  3. Microwave on high for 1 and a half minutes.  Stir.
  4. Microwave for another minute and a half.  Stir well until condensed milk and melted chips are fully combined.
  5. Stir in Maple extract and chopped nuts.
  6. Pour mixture into pan and spread evenly.  Put in fridge to set.
  7. Cut into bite sized squares.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

Enjoy!