Friday, December 20, 2013

Chocolate Chip Shortbread

Shortbread is a type of cookie made from approximately one part icing sugar, two parts butter, and three parts flour and baked at a low temperature to avoid browning.

I make these cookies ALL YEAR ROUND but for some reason shortbread are often made and shared at Christmas.  I think these shortbread are make even better because they are chocolate chip.  Seriously isn’t everything better with chocolate chips?

Christmas is next week so I thought I would share one of my all time favorite recipes and here is how I make chocolate chip shortbread. 

1 3/4 c  pastry four (often this has salt but if not, add ¼ tsp.)
1 c mini chocolate chips
3/4 c unsalted butter
1/2 c icing sugar
2 tsp cold water
2 tsp vanilla

4 oz squares semi-sweet or bitter sweet chocolate (for dipping)

Preheat oven to 325.

Line 1 or 2 baking sheets with parchment paper (depending on the size of your cookie sheets – the recipe makes 30 cookies – they all fit on my 16x21”)

In a small bowl, stir flour with MINI chocolate chips (the cookies are only about 1 1/2 “ so normal size chips are too big).

In a large bowl, sing an electric mixer, beat butter until smooth, then gradually beat in icing sugar until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.

Beat in water, vanilla (and salt if your pastry flour does not include).

Using a wooden spoon, gradually stir in flour mixture.

Shape into 1" balls and place on baking sheets.

Bake 1 sheet a time, until edges are light golden, 15 to 20 minutes.

Cool completely on rack.

Meanwhile, melt 4 oz of baking chocolate in a double boiler or in a microwave bowl.  Remove and stir until smooth.

Dip half of cooled cookies into melted chocolate.

Place on parchment paper.

Refrigerate until chocolate is set.

If you make these let me know if they become one of your go to cookies.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Movie Camera ACTION!

I love going to the movies.  On most Saturday nights that is where you will find me and my husband at the movies.  And we are just as happy going to a drama or comedy or art film or documentary.  So when the Toronto International Film Festival comes to town we are so excited.  And then getting to make movie themed cookies … well you can just imagine...

TIFF is a big event in the city so I made these cookies and here is how I did it.

Materials Needed for Decorating:

- movie camera cookie cutter (I used the this one from Copper Gifts)
- gel paste to colour some of the royal icing (I used black & yellow)
- silver spray (I used PME Lustre Spray)
- royal icing – as always, I really like the Ateco meringue powder
- piping bags

Instructions and Tips:

Use your favorite sugar cookie recipe and cut out the movie camera cookies.

Outline each cookie.

Fill or flood the cookies.  I like using the squeeze bottles because it is so much cleaner then a piping bag when flooding cookies. 

Use a toothpick or bamboo skewer to pull the icing to fill the cookie.  If you just use the squeeze bottle there is a chance that you will overflood the cookie – it is always a fine line between the perfectly flooded cookie and a cookie that is over flowing with icing.  The toothpick “pull” really helps ensure an evenly flooded cookie.

Let the cookies dry overnight.

Spray the cookies silver.

Outline camera in black.  You can stop there or put a movie expression like “Action” or “Take One” in the middle of the cookie in yellow.  I always like the way the way yellow and silver look together but of course you can use whatever colour you like.

I was pleased with the way these cookies turned out and now its off to the movies (which of course includes popcorn)!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Sweet Challah

I make Challah almost every Friday but making Challah for the Jewish New Year is extra sweet.  Instead of sugar, I use honey and instead of a straight braid, I make a round challah.

This recipe makes 2 medium challahs – I make one with raisins and one with chocolate chips (which is always a big hit with the kids). 

This recipe (from my Cuisinart Bread Machine) is great all year round but extra sweet for a sweet new year.

And, here is how I make it.


1 cup water
1/3 + 2 TBSP canola oil
2 large eggs (room temperature)
1 ¼ tsp salt
4 TBSP honey (buckwheat is the most flavourful)
3 ¾ cups flour
2 ¼ tsp yeast, active dry, instant or bread machine


Place ingredients in order listed, in bread machine pan fitted with the kneading paddle.

Select the menu on your bread machine for dough.

Press start to mix, knead, rise your dough.

When cycle is complete, remove dough from machine and place on floured surface to rest – 10 minutes is good.

I usually make 2 loaves from the large recipe above.

Braid into loaves and let rise again if you have time – 30 to 60 minutes is good.

[NOTE:  If you wish you can braid the challah and freeze it unbaked for future use.  If you do this take the challah out of the freezer and let sit on a parchment covered cookie sheet for a few hours – they will rise again.  Then continue on the recipe as directed.  My sister taught me this trick and can be a real time saver depending on your week.]

Egg wash and cover with streusel topping.

Bake 30-40 minutes.

Mix Ins
Chocolate Chips
Sprinkles – for fun I put on top of chocolate chip challah

I put the mixins in before I braid.

Streusel Topping
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
½ cup margarine, cut into pieces

Mix sugar, flour, and margarine with fork or in food processor to form a crumble. Sprinkle on top of challah before baking. (You can double and just keep remainder in the freezer to use week after week).

Have a Happy New Year – full of health and peace and all sweet things!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Hello Dolly!

I made these doll cookies – thinking they would be very cute and look like an American Girl doll (even though I am a very Canadian girl;).

When they were done, I thought they looked like me and my friend S.  When my husband saw the cookies (knowing I made Us in Cookie) he said “Cute, You and S. in Cookie” – this is funny because hubby does not really notice stuff like this. 

S. and I have been friends for over 30 years – yes yes we met long before we were born;)

Today is S’s birthday so I thought I would send this out with a big huge “Happy Birthday My Friend My Friend!”

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

I had so many ideas for Valentine’s Day this year and I did not get to blog about all of them.  Sure I did the apple cinnamon dog bones and blondies with kisses, but I really had many many other ideas.  Some of them came to fruition and I did not get to write about them (like the ones below) but some just did not happen and will have to be saved for next year or morphed into another holiday.

And while hearts are still the number one cookie for Valentine’s Day I did make a few fun new ones that tuned out quite lovely for this day that is all about amore.

Love Is In the Air

Bee Mine

Loves Me, Loves Me Not Daisy
 Not sure if I will ever get though all the ideas in my head -- do you ever have that problem?  Well I guess that it is better to have too many ideas than to run dry.  

In the meantime I hope today is a day full of love and kisses and hugs (and if some of those are chocolate kisses and hugs -- then it is sure to be a great).

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Blondies With All Kinds of Kisses

Blondies are sorta like chocolate brownie, but are based on brown sugar instead of cocoa – which makes them really carmely.

I wanted to share a recipe for Valentines Day that included Kisses so I made blondies with all kinds of Kisses.  I was trying to base this entire blog around the idea of this blondie sending you lots of kisses … but I’m starting to run out of time to get this up in time for you to make for your Valentine’s Day.

So I made these and this is how I did it.


1 ½ cups cake flour (not self-rising)*
1 tsp baking powder
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups of Hershey Kisses (I used Hugs & Caramel Kisses)

* If you don’t have cake flour in your pantry , measure out 1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour, remove three tablespoons of flour and replace with three tablespoons of cornstarch. Sift flour and cornstarch. 

Preheat oven to 3500.

Grease and lightly flour a 13”x9” baking pan – I always use Bakers Joy.

Unwrap the Kisses – and set aside -- you might have to test a few -- unwrapping Kisses and not eating ANY is almost impossible -- if you can do it, let me know your secret.

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl, cream the butter with the sugars until smooth, about 2 minutes.  Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.

Add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Stir in the Kisses.  Spread the batter evenly in the pan – it will look sorts thin but don’t worry it will fill out and rise.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the pan comes out with moist crumbs.  Don’t over bake – like brownies a little under baked is better.

Allow to cool before cutting – I used this Wilton Brownie Combo Heart Cutter – which is great because if cuts a fun shape and does not waste much of the blondies (and by waste I mean corners that you can eat).

Sending you lots of Hugs and Kisses in the form of really yummy blondies.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Puppy Love Apple Cinnamon Dog Bones

Today is one of my dog’s 14th birthday so I made these apple cinnamon dog bones. 

I made them because I just love him so SO much and although he is 14 I still think of him as my puppy love.

Then I realized how very cinnamony these dog biscuits smell and thought of Valentine’s Day because you know how I associate Valentine’s with cinnamon.

The dogs are important members of the family.  I bake for all my loved ones and so it only makes sense that I would bake for the pooches as well.

The recipe is pretty easy and the dogs seem to like them... at least they come and grab them and run away with them gobble them down and come back for more – mind you they do that with any treat I give them so perhaps this crowd is not the most discerning…

But they seemed to enjoy these fresh baked, low fat treats which makes me happy. And, here is how I made them.


4 cups whole wheat flour – plus more for flouring work service
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 egg
1 teaspoon cinnamon (heaping)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large apple -- grated
1 1/3 cup water – more if needed to moisten mixture


Preheat oven to 350o.

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except for the apple and water.

Mix grated apple into mixture and add water.

Mix until it starts sticking together.

Roll out on a floured surface to about ¼”thick and cut into whatever shapes you like.  I used a dog bone and heart but other cute/fun shapes could be a gingerbread postman or a cat.

Place cut cookies on a parchment paper lined sheet and bake for 60 minutes.

Cool and share with your best friend.  I'm sure they will LOVE you for it because that is just the way dogs are and we are lucky to have them in our lives.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Us in Cookie

Last week (or maybe a bit longer than that) was our 7th wedding anniversary.  I could not think of what to make for my husband that expressed how much I love him, how cute I think he is and how happy I am to have him in my life.  Then I remembered our Stationary Studio stick figure stickers – which pretty much sums it up…

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much

So I made these cookies of us – I heart the heart mouth and my hair which is either blond with brown lowlights or brown with blond highlights – I don’t really remember anymore. 

What I like about these cookie cutters is that each can be personalized with different hair, eyes, glasses and accessories -- they are great cookies for your loves on Valentines Day, birthday favours or for a family reunion.

What I really like about my husband is his sense of humor and his ability to see through my kookiness!

XOXO Honey -- I LOVE you!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Healthier Granola

So in an effort to start the year on a healthy note, I made granola.  This granola is a pretty healthy version – it is full of whole grain oats, no salt nuts, a little healthy olive oil and does not have a ton of sugar.  What is great about this recipe is you can add whatever you want.  If you need a no-nut version – add more seeds, coconut and dried fruit.  If you love nuts chock it full o’ nuts.

This granola is super fantastic for breakfast with milk or yogurt (Greek yogurt is my favorite) or on it’s own for a little afternoon pick-me-up.

I’ve made it so many times since the new year began and here is how I made it.

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats – I used large flakes
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup light tasting olive oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon

Add In Ideas – use as many as you wish or others that you can think of

1/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup sliced almonds, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup pistachio nuts
1/4 cup shelled sunflower seeds
1/4 cup shelled pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes – I like the big flakes (in fact I put some in that toasted and then added more raw at the end – but I really love coconut)
1/4 cup dried apricots, cut into pieces
1/4 cup dried cranberries

Mix first five ingredients in a bowl with whatever add ins you choose.

Place on foil lined baking sheet.

Bake 3500 for 15 to 20 minutes.  Half way thought, stir up and turn the baking sheet to ensure even baking.

Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.  Don’t forget if you want to add more raw coconut now is the time to do so.

I think this recipe is a healthy alternative BUT I provide this cautionary note -- it is quite addictive so if you are someone who can’t control themselves and is trying to start the year on a weight loss foot – don’t make it!

But if you do make it, let me know what you added.

Monday, January 14, 2013

2013 - Healthy Start

Trying to start the new year off on a healthy foot?

Don’t forget to strap on your running shoes and eat your veggies.