Holiday Baking Hang Overs

by , on
Jan 14, 2014

Have a few things hanging around after your holiday baking? Chocolate wafers?  Maybe a few sprinkles? Some Skor bits, mini chocolate toppings? Nuts?

No need to let them go to waste! These dipped Mommydo Holiday Hang Over Pretzel Sticks are a fabulous way to use up some of the odds and ends left over from the holiday baking frenzy.

MommyDo "Holiday Hang Over" Pretzels

They take practically no time. And, your friends and co-workers have had just about enough of their New Years resolutions at this point and will be only too happy to take a few off your hands.

Mommydo’s Holiday Hang Overs Dipped Pretzels

Pretzel Sticks

Chocolate melting wafers, chocolate chips or baking chocolate

White chocolate candy coating or bakers chocolate

Whatever little bits you have hanging around that you can use for toppings.

Instructions:

Prepare a baking sheet or two with parchment paper.

Melt chocolate in the micro at 30sec intervals, stirring between until all the chocolate is melted.

Dip 3/4 of the stick into the chocolate and slowly spin the stick to allow as much chocolate as possible to adhere to the stick.

Place the stick on the parchment.

If you are adding a second kind of chocolate, now’s the time to melt that.

To drizzle the chocolate, use a fork. Gently swing the fork back and forth over the area you want to cover.

I did 2 or three sticks then topped them with extra chocolate and toppings. Then dipped two or three more and topped those.

Be sure to place them about an inch or more apart on the parchment as the chocolate will spread.

You might want to put then into the fridge to allow them to harden.

You can do nuts, but as I was feeding these to the boy, I kept them nut free.

Store in an airtight container to keep the pretzels fresh.

Delish.

The things we do for love + Random Act

by , on
Jan 5, 2014

I puréed meat.

Enough said.

Puréed Chicken with Apple and Carrot

Last go round, I, like most baby food makers I know, waited to introduce meat until the boy could eat little chunks on his own. This time around, she needs the iron and she can’t handle the little chunks yet so I had two choices, buy jarred baby meat or make my own. And as grossed out as I was by making meat mush, for reasons I can’t explain, the jars grossed me out more.

I commented on the gross-out factor at Obi’s developmental play group before the holidays and got some tips from a mom with an older child with global delays. Her son can’t eat anything that isn’t puréed and she talked about all the things she blends up without batting an eye. This woman is a role model for anyone who is caring for a special needs child. Her positivity and ability to take everything in stride is quite inspiring to me – who still has quite a few why-oh-why days.

Anyway, with her encouragement in my head I set about making my first meat based baby food. I loosely followed a recipe by Annabel Karmel found here. I def got a little queasy in the process – I’m no supermom and I find blender meat to be one of the grossest things around, but I got it done, portioned and into the freezer.

Though she’s slow to take to it on it’s own, she’ll eat it mixed in with other things. I’ve now also done a beef with carrots and celery and that one wasn’t so bad.

I’m chalk this one up to you-gotta-do-what-you-gotta-do.

You’ll find the recipe I based it on below but before you go, I just wanted see if you’re interested in joining me in a random act of kindness. I stumbled upon a blog post this morning from mom of a former micro-preemie with delays who’s entered a photo in a contest and needs votes. I don’t know her at all but felt compelled to not only vote, but encourage others to vote too. It’s a small contest, with a rather tasty prize and she has a chance of winning with a little support from afar. You can read the post here and vote for her photo here. It’s entitled Woodland Creature. I’m sure she’s wondering where the sudden surge in votes has come from – she’s probably not expecting them from a random reader spreading the word from 1000km away but hell, if the internet wasn’t made for random acts of kindness, just what was it made for. You can vote from all your devices and I’m pretty sure she’ll be super grateful if you do.

Chicken with Carrots and Apple Purée

Ingredients

  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 350g/12oz carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 250ml/8 fl oz unsalted chicken stock or use water with a bay leaf
  • 1 chicken breast (approx. 125g/4oz)
  • 1 small apple, cored, peeled and chopped

Conversion chart

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and sauté the onion until softened.
  2. Add the sliced carrots, pour over the chicken stock or water and bay leaf and bring to the boil.
  3. Reduce the heat, then cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Cut the chicken into pieces and add to the carrots together with the chopped apple, and continue to cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the bay leaf if necessary.
  6. Puree in a blender and then spoon some of the puree into your baby’s bowl and serve lukewarm.
  7. Freeze the remainder in individual portions.

The 12 Treats of Christmas: #11 Classic Sugar Cookies

by , on
Dec 19, 2013

I’ve got my binder open, and this recipe comes from a photocopy of a page from Chatelaine Magazine circa 1998. 15 years later, this is still my go-to sugar cookie recipe. As I said yesterday, I don’t have a photo yet, as we’re going to bake these over the weekend. But I find I like it when the dough chills for a good long while (overnight if possible), so I thought I’d post now so you too can get the batter together tomorrow and have a good old-fashioned cookie bake with the kids this weekend now that school is out.

You can find this recipe here on the Chatelaine site.

Roberto Caruso  Photo: Roberto Caruso

Classic Sugar Cookies

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Refrigeration Time: 60 minutes
Baking Time: 8 minutes
Makes: 96 cookies

Ingredients

  • 5 – 5½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1¼ cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2½ cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, using a fork, stir 5 cups flour with baking powder and salt. In another large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter with sugar on medium-high for 2 min. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down side of bowl as necessary. Then beat in vanilla. Using a wooden spoon, gradually stir in flour mixture just until evenly blended. (Over-mixing toughens cookies.)
  • If dough is too sticky to form into a ball, stir in remaining ½ cup flour, 2 tbsp at a time, until dough is no longer sticky and easy to roll. (You may not need all the flour.) Divide dough into 4 portions. Shape each into a ball, then flatten slightly into a disc . Wrap separately with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or up to 1 week. Or overwrap with heavy foil and freeze up to 1 month.
  • When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375F. Lightly spray or oil 2 baking sheets or line with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough no thicker than ¼ in. (0.5 cm). Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter. Place on baking sheets, about 2 in. apart. Bake in centre of preheated oven until cookies are pale golden, 8 to 10 min, depending on thickness. Place cookie sheet on a rack for 5 min. Then remove cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 1 week or freeze up to 1 month.

The 12 Treats of Christmas: #10 Gingerbread

by , on
Dec 18, 2013

I realize I totally left you hanging but I had good reason. My father-in-law has been ill, which meant husband was out of town for a few days. And I had a First Birthday Party to execute. Husband did return in time for the party. Thankfully, I had premade the dough for this delightful gingerbread recipe. So I was able to quickly make a batch for kids to decorate at the party. It is a ‘fancy’ gingerbread recipe – in that there are a number of ingredients. But it also a delicious, and I mean REALLY delicious one, so it’s worth the trouble to track everything down. Credit goes to Canadian Living magazine – (circa 1999). I found a link to the recipe, but it’s for their house, so the baking is slightly different that the one I have.

MommyDo Gingerbread decorating

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (250 mL) butter, softened
  • 1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) fancy molasses
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) cooking molasses
  • 6 cups (1.5 L) all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) ground ginger
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) salt
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) ground cloves
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) cinnamon

In large bowl and using electric mixer, beat shortening with sugar until light; beat in eggs and fancy and blackstrap molasses.

Stir together flour, ginger, baking soda, salt, cloves and cinnamon; using wooden spoon, gradually stir into molasses mixture. Mix well, working with hands if necessary.

Divide dough into four discs; wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until firm, or for up to 1 week.

Roll out one disc a time to 1/4 inch thickness.

Cut with cutters and transfer to cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 min (depending on the size of the cookies you’re making. If you use tiny cutters, thee cookies will be done sooner.

If you’re using candies that need to bake into the cookie to be secure – little silver balls for eyes for instance. If you’re using frosting, make sure the cookies are cool.

Of course, you can get a merry bunch of elves to decorate your cookies at your babies 1st Birthday Party like I did. I’ll post more about the party later, but for now, here’s a sneak peek of the cookie decorating station at the party.

MommyDo Gingerbread decorating 5MommyDo Gingerbread decorating 7 MommyDo Gingerbread decorating 1

There are only 2 treats to go!

Christmas is nearly here! Tomorrow’s treat is just going to be the recipe. I’ll post pics on the weekend. We’re gonna make sugar cookies and you need to refrigerate the dough at least overnight. I want to bake these with the boy on the weekend but I want you to have the recipe so you can do the same!

Happy baking!

The 12 Treats of Christmas: #8 Peanut Butter Marshmallow Butterscotch Squares

by , on
Dec 10, 2013

These things need a shorter name. They’re quick to make and don’t hang around long at all. The length of their name is kind of misleading. Though, it does spell out pretty clearly what these guys are. They could also simply call them ‘delicious squares’ and have the same end result.

They remind me of my friend Marilyn’s mom, who used to bake these and keep them in the downstairs freezer… the perfect spot for sneaking from.

Image

Recipe

1 Cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 Cup butter

2 (6 oz) packages butterscotch chips

1 large package miniature coloured marshmallows

Put the peanut butter, butter and butterscotch chips in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and cook over low heat until melted and well combined.

Let cool.

Add marshmallows and press into buttered 8-inch square pan.Store in refrigerator.

The 12 Treats of Christmas: #7 Candy Bar Brownies

by , on
Dec 8, 2013

Chocolate. Peanut butter. These are my favourite brownies in the world. They don’t have any candy bars in them, but taste very much like a frosted candy bar filling. I had other photos, but this one pretty much sums up my feeling on these.

MommyDo Candy Bar Brownies

Recipe – I’d love to give credit for these, but my recipe photocopy has been hanging around since about 1999 and has no indication of where it’s from.

1 1/4 Cups finely crushed graham crackers (about 18 crackers)

1/4 Cup sugar

1/4 Cup finely chopped dry-roasted peanuts

1/2 Cup butter (no substitutes) melted

1/4 Cup butter or margarine

2 Oz unsweetened chocolate (cut up)

1 Cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

2/3 Cup all-purpose flour

1/2 Cup chopped peanuts

Peanut Butter Frosting

1/4 Cup butter

2 Tbsp peanut butter

2 Cups sifted powdered sugar

1 Tbsp milk

1/2 Tsp Vanilla

For Crust:

Combine graham crackers, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 finely chopped peanuts in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in the 1/2 Cup melted butter. Press mixture evenly into the bottom of an ungreased 11x7x1 and 1/2 inch baking pan. Bake in 350 degree oven for 5 minutes. Cool.

For Filling:

Melt the 1/2 Cup butter or margarine and the chocolate in a heavy large saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally remove from heat; stir in the 1 Cup sugar, eggs and vanilla. Stir until just combined. Stir in flour and the 1.2 cup chopped peanuts. Spread evenly over crust.

Bake: 20 minutes more. cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Spread with Peanut butter frosting. Cut brownie into small squares. (Or cut into 24 larger bars). Place a few honey roasted peanuts on each square. IF desired, pace each brownie in a small candy cup. Makes 50 to 70 small squares.

Peanut butter Frosting:

Beat 1/4 Cup butter and 2 tbsp peanut butter in a bowl with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 sec. Gradually add 1 Cup sifted powdered sugar, beating well. Beat in 1 Tbsp milk and 1/2 Tsp vanilla. Gradually beat in 1 Cup additional sifted powdered sugar and enough milt to make a frosting of spreading consistency. Carefully spread over the brownies. Refrigerate before cutting.

 

The 12 Treats of Christmas: #6 – Easy Holiday Festive Fudge

by , on
Dec 8, 2013

Shhh, this is ‘my’ secret fudge recipe. The biggest secret is how little time it takes to make something this delicious. Confession: Though I usually make this with walnuts as per the directions, this year, in an effort to make more ‘nut-free’ goodies, I swapped the walnuts for Chippits Holiday Chips. Pretty good! And very festive.

MommyDo Easy Holiday Celebration Fudge

Recipe: (This is a Kraft recipe – One-Bowl Festive Fudge – from the 90’s, but I can’t find it exactly online. There are others that are close…)
10 squares Baker’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate
1 can (330 ml) sweetened condensed milk
1 chopped pecans or walnuts (optional) (Or 1 cup festive chips)
4 squares Baker’s White Chocolate

LINE 8-inch square pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides; grease foil.

Microwave semi-sweet chocolate and 2/3 can condensed milk in medium microwaveable bowl on MEDIUM for 2 min., stirring after 1 min. Stir until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is well blended. Add nuts (or festive chips); mix well. Pour into prepared pan. Refrigerate while preparing the top layer.

PLACE white chocolate and remaining milk in medium microwaveable bowl. Microwave on MEDIUM for 1 min 30 sec., stirring after 1 min. Stir until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is well blended. Pour over fudge layer in pan. (I added extra chips to the top)

REFRIGERATE 1 hour or until firm. Cut into squares to serve.

The 12 Treats of Christmas: #5 Chocolate Bark 4 Ways

by , on
Dec 7, 2013

I’m really seeing a lot of chocolate bark this year – everyone from Starbucks to the corner grocer seems to be selling it for Christmas. It warms my heart a little to see it. For as long as I can remember, I’ve received bark in my stocking. As a little girl, the Laura Secord Almond bark was there, year after year. Maybe Santa will remember this and drop some in this Christmas for old times sake.

Even if he doesn’t, the bark tradition continues around here. I find it to be an easy way to add a little something ‘extra’ to holiday treat plates. I make mine very thin, but you can use more chocolate in a smaller pan to create a thicker bark.

MommyDo Chocolate Bark 4 Ways 1 (1)

First is Candy Cane Marble Bark.

MommyDo Chocolate Bark 4 Ways 40

In a microwave save bowl, melt 8 oz roughly chopped semisweet bakers chocolate in microwave at 50% for a min. Stir and continue to heat at 50% for 30 sec more (repeat as necessary) stirring to thoroughly mix and melt the chocolate.

Repeat with 8oz of white chocolate.

Meanwhile, crush candy canes to make about 3/4 c.

When white and dark chocolate are melted, spread in touching stripes on a parchment paper lined baking tray.

MommyDo Chocolate Bark 4 Ways 23

I bang the tray on the counter a few times to try to evenly distribute and thin out the chocolate. Sprinkle candy cane all over.

MommyDo Chocolate Bark 4 Ways 15

Then, drag a butter knife in straight lines across the stripes to ‘pull’ the white chocolate down into the dark.

MommyDo Chocolate Bark 4 Ways 1

Let set in the fridge or on the counter overnight and snap into pieces once the chocolate is well set.

Here are a few variations. The chocolate is melted the same way for each.

MommyDo Chocolate Bark 4 Ways 36

S’mores Bark – with mini-marshmallows and teddy grahams.

For this one, melt 8 oz dark chocolate as above. Stir in 1 Cup mini marshmallows. Completely coating the marshmallows makes this bark WAY better. Then stir in 1/2 Cup teddy grahams and spread onto parchment lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle another 1/4 Teddy Grahams onto the top and let set.

MommyDo Chocolate Bark 4 Ways 13

Ok – next is Oreo Cookie Bark

MommyDo Chocolate Bark 4 Ways 38

This one is extra easy and kids love it.

Melt 8 oz chocolate as described above. Stir in 1 Cup roughly chopped Oreo cookies. Spread onto parchment paper prepared cookie sheet. Let set.

MommyDo Chocolate Bark 4 Ways 10

Lastly, we have White Chocolate Almond Cranberry Bark

MommyDo Chocolate Bark 4 Ways 35

Melt 8 oz white chocolate as directed above. Stir in 1/2 Cup almonds and 1/2 Cup dried cranberries (in the photos I used 1 Cup and I feel that’s too much. Feel free to find your own perfect amount).

Spread onto parchment paper lined pan and let set.

MommyDo Chocolate Bark 4 Ways 6

And that’s it. Chocolate bark 4 ways. You can easily make all 4 in about 45 min if you need some instant gratification. Of course, you can’t really enjoy them till they set, but the fridge is your friend to make quick work of that!

MommyDo Chocolate Bark 4 Ways 2 (1)

The 12 Treats of Christmas: Santa Magic Bars

by , on
Dec 5, 2013

Magic Bars are an oldie but a goodie. These combine tart cranberries, sweet coconut, gooey marshmallows and crunchy nuts. Delicious and so easy, Magic Bars are a great choice for baking with kids.

MommyDo Santa Magic Bars

You can find the recipe online here.

Prep Time: 10 minutes plus baking time
Preheat To: 350ºF (180ºC)*
Serving: 24 bars

Ingredients:

2 cups (500 mL) graham wafer crumbs
3/4 cup (175 mL) butter, melted
1 can (300 mL) Regular or Low Fat Eagle Brand® sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped pecans
3/4 cup (175 mL) white, semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips
1 cup (250 mL) dried cranberries
1 cup (250 mL) flaked coconut
1 cup (250 mL) mini-marshmallows

Preparation:

1.  Combine graham crumbs with butter; press evenly onto parchment-lined 13×9″ (3.5 L) baking pan.
2.  Pour 2/3 Eagle Brand over crumbs.
3.  Sprinkle with pecans, chips, cranberries, coconut and marshmallows; press down firmly. Pour remaining Eagle Brand overtop.
4.  Bake in preheated 350ºF (180ºC) oven* 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool thoroughly and cut into bars. (Store loosely covered at room temperature.)

Notes:

*325ºF (160ºC) for glass dish

The 12 Treats of Christmas: Chocolate-Caramel Thumbprints

by , on
Dec 4, 2013

Ok – now we’re really cookin’. Or baking, or whatever. Yesterday I said I’d give you a little something that would help use up any extra melty chocolate. These little fellas are the #1 cookie in my arsenal. Gooey, chocolatey. And they really look impressive. Again, not a huge batch – about 36 cookies, but so rich and decadent, that seems to be just enough. These also need a little fridge time for the dough so the delayed gratification only serves to make them sweeter.MommyDo Chocolate-Caramel Thumbprints (1)

 

Chocolate-Caramel Thumbprints

Yield: 36 Cookies

Prep 30 mins Chill 2 hrs Bake 350°F 10 mins  per batch

Ingredients

  • 1  egg
  • 1/2  cup  butter, softened
  • 2/3  cup  sugar
  • 2  tablespoons  milk
  • 1  teaspoon  vanilla
  • 1  cup  all-purpose flour
  • 1/3  cup  unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 16  vanilla caramels, unwrapped
  • 3  tablespoons  whipping cream
  • 1 1/4  cups  finely chopped pecans
  • 1/2  cup  (3 ounces) semisweet chocolate pieces
  • 1  teaspoon  shortening

Directions

1. Separate egg; place yolk and white in separate bowls. Cover and chill egg white until needed. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add sugar and beat well. Beat in egg yolk, milk, and vanilla.

2. In another bowl stir together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and beat until well combined. Wrap the cookie dough in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours or until easy to handle.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. In a small saucepan heat and stir caramels and whipping cream over low heat until mixture is smooth. Set aside.

4. Slightly beat reserved egg white. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls. Roll the balls in egg white, then in pecans to coat. Place balls 1 inch apart on prepared cookie sheet. Using your thumb, make an indentation in the center of each cookie.

5. Bake for 10 minutes or until edges are firm. If cookie centers puff during baking, repress with your thumb. Spoon melted caramel mixture into indentations of cookies. Transfer cookies to wire racks; cool. (If necessary, reheat caramel mixture to keep it spoonable.)

6. In another saucepan heat and stir chocolate pieces and shortening over low heat until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Let cool slightly. Drizzle chocolate mixture over tops of cookies.* Let stand until chocolate is set.

I decided I’d take this delicious dough and invent a cookie of my own. This is one case where the idea was better than the end result. Don’t get me wrong, they are delicious. But the candycane melted and made the cookie part very squishy and sticky. Letting them cool on the parchment greatly improved the outcome.

I give you Chocolate-Peppermint Mushies

MommyDo Chocolate-Peppermint Mushies

I made the dough as above, rolled in crushed candy cane instead of nuts, put a junior mint in the thumbprint and drizzled with white chocolate. Follow my lead at your own risk on these little fellers.

Happy Baking!

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