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!

The 12 Treats of Chirstmas: Peppermint Patties

by , on
Dec 2, 2013

Ok, one cookie down. Now for something that takes a little more commitment. Homemade Peppermint Patties. I know I posted about these a few months ago, but when looking to the Top 12, you can’t leave these out. They always get tons of compliments – I mean really, who knew you could make your own peppermint patties? So, so good.

MommyDo Peppermint Patties

I usually let the innards sit overnight so they have a little snap. And, I find they take more chocolate than you think. The dipping is a real pain. You’ll want to quit about 10 times. But later, once you’re polishing off the last one, you’ll wish you hadn’t given up and tossed a bunch of undipped middles out. Trust me. Keep on dipping.

Remember to use bakers chocolate or candy coating so the chocolate hardens nicely. And, (like I really need to say this) be sure to save some for guests. I know it’s hard, but you’re not supposed to eat them all yourself. You can find this recipe online here on the Eagle Brand website.

Ingredients:

1 can (300ml) Regular Eagle Brand Sweetened condensed Milk

1tbsp (15ml) peppermint extract (I add a little more to make them extra minty)

6 cups (1.5L) confectioners’ sugar (that’s icing sugar)

1 1/2lbs chocolate candy coating or dark or semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted.

1. Combine Eagle Brand and peppermint extract. Add sugar, beating on low speed until smooth and well blended. Turn mixture onto surface sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar.

2. Knead lightly to form a smooth ball. Shape into 1 inch (2.54cm)  balls. Place 2cm paart o n parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Flatten each ball into a 1 1/2 inch (4cm) patty. (I used the flat bottom of a drinking glass lightly dusted with sugar.)

3. Let dry 1 hour or longer; turn over and let dry at least 1 hour. With fork, dip each patty into warm candy coating (draw fork lightly across rim of pan to remove excess coating). Invert onto wax-paper-lined baking sheets; let stand until firm. Store covered at room temperature or in refrigerator.

4. Try very hard not to eat them all as soon as they’ve hardened.

MommyDo 3 Peppermint Patties

Enjoy!

Tomorrow, we’ll tackle cookies that you can make to use up the leftover chocolate after you dip the patties.

The 12 Treats of Christmas: Whipped Shortbread

by , on
Dec 1, 2013

Are you ready to get baking? I’m digging deep into my legendary Christmas Baking Binder to bring you my top 12 Treats. Cookies, bars, brownies, bark, fudge and candy. We’re gonna make a little of everything.

Mommydo Whipped Shortbread

In my younger days I would make 30 types of treats and give goodie baskets to a rather long list of hungry and happy recipients. Sweet! Now that time is short, I’ve cut it down to my top 12, and bake mostly for family. After all this baking, I’ve learned a thing or two.

Before we begin, here are 10 things you should keep in mind when you set out to do a big bake.

1. If you’re baking on a budget, remember chocolate goodies are spendy. Fill baskets with cookies and just a few chocolate treats to keep the cost down.

2. Read through the recipes you’re planning to make and make a master shopping list. Spots like Bulk Barn have many of the things you’ll need, and if you’ve done your homework you can get your shopping done in no time at all and for much less than multiple late night trips to the grocery store.

3. Read the recipes all the way through before you start. There’s nothing worst than setting out to make a quick batch of cookies and realizing you need to chill the dough overnight.

4. Wear a short sleeved shirt. Trying to take off a sweater when covered in chocolate and flour is the worst.

5. Tie your hair back at the start. Same reason. Pushing your hair back with messy hands is a pain.

6. Parchment paper really is the best to line trays, and can be used more than once.

7. Pay attention to the part in the recipe that talks about cooling and when to transfer the treats. Your cookies will be better looking if you follow the rules.

8. Baking is not a ‘wing it’ sport. Precision delivers the best results. Measure carefully and you’ll find things bake as expected and taste better than if you guesstimate.

9. Sometimes experiments turn out well. Go ahead and try some new things. (You’ll hear about my cookie invention later this week.)

10. Having a few cookie trays on hand makes quick work of big batches of cookies. Borrow some if you only need once a year. Preferably from someone who’ll give you a nice glass of wine when you return them. You can enjoy it with some delicious fresh baked goodies!

MOMMYDO TREAT 1: Whipped Shortbread

This is an easy recipe from The Harrowsmith Cookbook, and credit is given to Shirley Hill of Picton Ontario. It’s quick to make and is always a big hit. I’ve been making it since I was in grade school. It doesn’t go that far, so I often double it. The key to these is to really beat them between ingredients. Don’t stop when the ingredients are mixed, give them a minute or more to beat at each step.

I finish the cookies 2 ways, with a little candied cherry or with a little silver ball.

12days

Recipe:

1/2 lb. Butter

1/2 cup cornstarch

1/2 cup icing sugar

1 cup flour

Beat butter until light and add remaining ingredients one at a time, beating well after each addition. Roll into small balls and flatten with a fork (I JUST DROPPED MINE).

Bake at 300F for 30 min.

Makes 3 dozen

Police Themed Birthday Party

by , on
Nov 26, 2013

A few weekends ago we hosted the boy’s Fourth Birthday Party. Given his current obsession with Lego and Police, choosing a theme wasn’t an issue… As I posted a few days ago, the theme started to come to life with these great wanted posters from 733blog.

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Even the littlest Crook got in the spirit!

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But what’s a party without snacks? I created these great Lego head Marshmallow pops that I found the tutorial for here. I used a half mini marshmallow for the head and cake decorator gel for the face.

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Now you can’t have a party without cake. And I stole the show by putting actual working lights from the boy’s Playmobil Police car onto the Police Car cake I baked.

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I used the Wilton car pan, and took some inspiration from here. I used the Durable Chocolate cake recipe found here and it worked very well.

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As I can’t seem to decorate a cookie to save my life, I ordered some Lego Cops and Crooks cookies from the amazing Dolce. So cute and so, so delicious.

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Then we made these super cute loot bag tags.

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A huge shout out to Oaks n’ Acorns for being a super swell venue and to my brother-in-law who really helped out a ton. All in all, the party was a great success, despite the boy saying he only wanted to have grown up parties from now on. We’ll see if that’s the case when next year’s party time rolls around.

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There’s nothing like…

by , on
Nov 3, 2013

the first whiff of the holiday season to make you miss the ones you’ve lost

Today is Starbucks Red Cup day – for me, that’s when the countdown to the holiday season starts in earnest. And, of course, there’s no time I miss my Dad more. This will be the 14th Christmas without him.

It’s true what they say, times does heal all wounds. At the same time, it makes the memories richer. Like my memory of a pot of hot soup on the first day there’s a chill in the air.

My dad wasn’t an excellent cook, but he wasn’t bad. And he could turn a few simple things into meals that still find a way to warm my heart.

Tonight I made his Tomato Macaroni Soup. I added a few little touches (garlic and broth) but it’s pretty much the same as he used to make back when I was too small to peek into the pot.

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Ray’s Simple Tomato soup

2 stalks celery

1 medium onion

1Tbsp butter

1 lg can diced tomatos

1 can water or broth (use the can from the tomatoes to measure)

1 can tomato sauce (or 1/2 jar)

A sprinkle of basil, oregano, fresh ground pepper or whatever vaguely italian seasoning you have on hand

1 crush clove of garlic

1 cup dry pasta (give or take – I eyeball it)

Chop the onion and celery. Place in microwave safe bowl with the butter and ‘nuke’ on high for 2 min 30 sec.

Meanwhile put the tomatoes and water or broth in a large pot. Throw in whatever spice you have on hand. Crush the garlic into the mixture. Add some tomato sauce from a tin or a jar.

Add the onion, celery, butter mixture to the pot.

Cook on medium-high heat until the soup begins to bubble.

Reduce the head and simmer for about 20 min.

After 20 min, add the pasta to the soup. Turn up the heat to achieve a gentle boil. You may need to add more water to maintain the ‘soup’ consistency once the pasta starts to cook.

Stir frequently to ensure the pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.

Let the pasta cook a little longer than al dente to get a nice squishy soup noodle.

Variations include adding salsa instead of sauce, adding tomato juice instead of water or broth, adding browned ground beef (making it ‘hamburger soup’), adding cooked  chicken and garnishing with cheese and avacado…the possibilities are endless.

Serve hot.

If you keep leftovers, be prepared to have the noodles suck up all the juice. You can make the pasta separately and combine the soup and the noodles in each bowl – which does improve the state of the dish on the second day if you like a soupy soup. I usually just add water or broth the second day to rejuvenate the soup factor.

To me this is the ultimate comfort food. I hope you find some comfort here too.

Thanksgiving – the one where we stabbed the turkey.

by , on
Oct 15, 2013

Well, stabbed it with a rotisserie stick. I’m gonna call it Dizzy Turkey. And I’m also going to call it delicious.

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I’m thankful that we had the brilliant idea to stick the bird on the grill. I’m also thankful that there wasn’t much fanfare this year.

There was food…lots of food…Dizzy Turkey, my Dad’s Secret Stuffing (oven style as many sources recommend not stuffing a rotisserie turkey), mashed potatoes, candied yams, squash, ginger-maple roasted parsnips and carrots, broccoli, homemade bread machine bread, gravy and even homeade cranberry sauce. Oh, and pumpkin pie, fresh baked by my  mom.

A right feast. Which may seem like overkill to some, considering Husband and I shared this bountiful meal side by side at our kitchen island while the boy flitted around and the girl slept. But it was just fine with me.

I have a great deal to be thankful for. This year especially…as things could have turned out so differently. And yet, it’s a complicated thanks. Very personal. Still a little raw. Filled with hope for the future, but mindful of the past and how easily this could have been a very different kind of post. I’m still in awe of the miracle of my little girl. That she was possible. That she survived to be born. That she continues to surprise. Thankful for my little man. Our home – despite it’s challenges. Husband – who is up feeding baby as I type this.

There’s just so much. Too much. It makes me feel a little dizzy.

Kind of like this guy…

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Dizzy Turkey

(The uncomplicated way – made up by us)

Bring the bird up to room temp.

Prep it for cooking – rinse, pat dry, remove anything that may be lurking inside.

Stuff 3-5 unpeeled cloves of garlic into the cavity.

Place it on the spit as directed by your instructions.

Generously rub it with olive oil and ground sea salt and pepper.

Place it on the BBQ and fiddle around with the weight until you get it balanced right (which for us took about 30 min).

Place a drip tray under the bird. We cut a whole onion and placed it in the tray along with 1/2 a bottle of beer.

Cook using the back burner on med-high (around 350).

Baste every 30 min. (We added beer to the pan as it evaporated then added chicken stock when the beer bottle started to run low)

Cook to an internal temperature of 165. (about 2.5  hours for an 12 lb bird)

Sometimes I dream about these at night. Homemade Peppermint Patties

by , on
Oct 11, 2013

Like last night for instance.

Why does Christmas baking only happen once a year (and not at freakin’ Thanksgiving)? And yes, I could just make them now, but then I’d eat them all and they would lose some of their magic. Holiday treat magic…

Anyway, now you can dream about them too. Or make them…so, so good.

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Here’s the recipe! Good old Eagle Brand. For reasons I can’t explain I can eat these despite my lactose intolerance. Many, many of them. All in one sitting.

Peppermint Patties

  • Servings: about 8 dozen
  • Serving Size:
  • Nutrition: See Below
  • Prep Time: 20 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 tablespoon peppermint extract
  • Green or red food coloring (optional)
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 pounds chocolate-flavored candy coating*, melted

Instructions

  • LINE baking sheets with wax paper.
  • COMBINE sweetened condensed milk, peppermint extract and food coloring, if desired, in large bowl. Add 6 cups powdered sugar; beat on low speed until smooth and well blended. Turn mixture onto surface sprinkled with powdered sugar.
  • KNEAD lightly to form smooth ball. Shape into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Flatten each ball into a 1 1/2-inch patty.
  • LET dry 1 hour or longer; turn over and let dry at least 1 hour. With fork, dip each patty into warm candy coating (draw fork lightly across rim of pan to remove excess coating). Invert onto wax-paper-lined baking sheets; let stand until firm. Store covered at room temperature or in refrigerator.
  • *Also called confectioners’ or summer coating.

Close Print

30 Garlic Brisket

by , on
Sep 30, 2013

I was planning on making my bestie’s Roast Beef Dip sandwiches and called to ask for the 100th time what cut of beef she uses. She told me (eye of round) but then mentioned I should forget about beef dip and make brisket. 30 garlic cloves in one slow cooker brisket. As she is a far better cook than I, rarely do I not heed her advice.

So off to get brisket I went. Of course, I used the trusty interweb to find a recipe. And it was DELICIOUS!

mommydo.ca_30 garlic brisket

I found this Better Homes and Gardens recipe on google and went for it.

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I hope you can read that, as I pulled it from Google books here and have no desire to type it out again.

I have to admit I didn’t make the Gremolata though is sounds nice too.

The meat was tender and flavourful. There was definitely a garlic flavour but it was mild garlic – not that crazy, overpowering garlic taste you’d expect from 30 cloves!

Two thumbs way up al the way around here. I think this one will be entering regular rotation!

PS: Hopefully this photo is more appetizing. I’m working on the pictures for all our sakes. I can only do so much until the cavalry arrives with help for when good food photos go bad.

Quick Eats

by , on
Sep 24, 2013

A big theme in our kitchen these days is fast food. Not like ‘can I have some fries with that’ fast food. More ‘I want to cook good eats without spending my day in the kitchen’ fast.

So I found a recipe on Pinterest that inspired this creation:

Lasagna Veloce

lasagna rapido_post

This one pan Lasagna is made on the stove top in a skillet in about 30 min if you have some sauce handy.

So easy. Take some thin meat sauce and spread it in the bottom of a skillet.

(I made from scratch but you can always add some browned ground beef to jar sauce to save time.)

Add a layer of lasagna noodles. Then a layer sauce and some fresh spinach. Then noodles. Then put lots of little small bits of noodles around the edges so you get lots of tasty noodles…then cover with a little more sauce.

Add about 3/4 of a cup of water, cover and simmer for about 20 min.

I opened the lid and double checked the noodles a few times. I added more water to one skillet and turned the other up a little to make sure the liquid was bubbling around the noodles.

After the noodles are cooked, dob some cottage cheese or ricotta onto the noodles and cover with mozzarella cheese.

Put the lid back on and cook for another 5 min.

I also added a little parmesan cheese at this point.

To finish, I put the skillet in the over and broiled the Lasagna Veloce for a few minutes to get that crusty “baked in the oven lasagna taste”.

For a lactose free option:

As you read I made 2 skillets. In the second I used lactose-free cottage cheese and goat cheese mozzarella. As parmesan is lactose free, I added that too.

It’s really, really as good as the real thing. It’s currently my favourite food.

I have some photos of the steps, but once again, my food photos aren’t fab. Honestly, it tastes better than it looks in my pics.

lasagnarapidocollage_post

Bribery? Don’t mind if I do…

by , on
Sep 10, 2013

In addition to Obi, we also have Bubble, the 3.75 year old energizer boy (he never stops going). He was taking this definition very seriously as he WOULD NOT STOP WETTING HIS PANTS. Now this isn’t a woeful tale of potty training that just wouldn’t happen. It’s a tale (a wet tale) of ‘I was just to busy to go’, long after the little boy potty had left the building and he became fully capable of going to the bathroom with us or sometimes even on his own (at home of course, I wasn’t sending out into public bathrooms – but when I re-read that it sounded to me like my parenting had reached a brand new low).

All this to the tune of 2, 3, 4 pairs of wet pants every day. Seriously.

So I resorted to bribery. Everyday you have dry pants, you get a sticker. When the page is full, you get to pick out a toy. We called it ‘A big Surprise’ and he def dreamed big. (Think $100 police station play set.)

At first it was slow going. The reward was too far away for his 3 year old self to relate to, so we added a few circles and called them small surprise days. There were still wet pants. There are still wet pants. But those days are now few and far between and I deem the experiment to be a success!

The chart was NOT fancy – but it totally did the trick. DSC_0758

And, what’s more exciting to me is we’ve just put up our new chart – TRY NEW FOODS. Sir picky pants it taking this new chart very seriously and ACTUALLY TRIED THE  MACARONI AND CHEESE at school lunch yesterday. Awesome! I’ve been trying to get him to eat it for years! He proudly put his sticker up this morning and is one day closer to the next Big Surprise. (A playmobil fire truck).

Hopefully at the end of this one, we’ll have expanded his possible dinner menu. Right now, there are only about 10 things he’ll eat.

Cross your fingers.

 

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