Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Almond Bark

Almond Bark, Saltine Toffee or Christmas Crack… call it what you want but it is awesome!

This simple tasty treat was always on our Christmas goodie plate.
It is perfectly salty and sweet. I love it!

What you need,

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup shaved almonds
300 grams chocolate chips
24-30 salted crackers

Line a baking sheet with tin foil and spray it well with non-stick spray. DO NOT FORGET TO SPRAY THE PAN‼ Your lovely almond bark will stick, you will eventually be able to peel it free from the foil but it will take forever!

Place soda crackers salted side up on cookie sheet in a single layer. Melt the butter and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes. Pour mixture over crackers and spread evenly. Bake at 350 for 5 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top, place the pan back in oven until the chocolate is softened. Spread chocolate over the surface with knife and then sprinkle with almonds.

Place the whole pan in the freezer until frozen. Break the almond bark into small pieces and store in an airtight container in the freezer.

This is absolutely a perfect Christmas treat! Whip up a batch, you won’t be disappointed.



Monday, December 8, 2014

Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo Bars have always been one of my favourite holiday treats. This is my first time making them. I was always a little intimidated by all the layers‼ I searched and searched for what I felt was a classic recipe. I ended up settling on a Canadian Living recipe.

I have to say it was super simple and the bars turned out perfectly!
My in house taste tester said he couldn’t fine one single thing that would need to be changed, he said they taste just like a Nanaimo bar should! That made me very happy‼

Here is what you need,

For the crust,
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
½ cup sweetened flaked coconut
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans (you could use walnuts, I didn’t cause I am allergic!)
¼ cup cocoa powder
¼ cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten

For the filling,
¼ cup butter, softened
2 tbsp. custard powder
½ tsp. vanilla
2 cups icing sugar
2-3 tbsp. milk (approx.)

4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 tbsp. butter

Start by making the crust. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9inch metal baking pan with tin foil and spray well with non-stick spray.

In a bowl stir together the graham crackers, coconut, pecans, cocoa powder and sugar. Drizzle on the butter and egg. Stir until well combined.

Press the crust into the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes until set. Remove to a wire rack and let it cool completely.

Next prepare the filling. In a medium bowl, beat together the butter, custard powder and vanilla. Beat in the icing sugar and milk. Start with 2 tablespoons and see how it looks, if it looks a little dry ad a splash more milk.
The filling should be really thick.

Spread the filling over the cooled base and stash it in the fridge until it is completely set.

To prepare the topping, combine the chocolate and butter in a heatproof glass bowl. Place it over a pot of simmering water.
Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth.

Spread the chocolate over the cooled filling. Stash the bars back in the fridge for at least an hour until the chocolate is set.

Cut into bars and serve. They can be served at room temperature but I think they are better chilled or even better yet, frozen‼

I am so glad I finally decided to be brave and make my own Nanaimo Bars; there is no going back now! They are perfect, such a great addition to my holiday baking plate!


Recipe slightly adapted from Canadian Living

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

“Fake Out” Red Lobster Biscuits

I miss Red Lobster… I loved going there when I lived in a town that had one. The main reason, their cheesy garlicky biscuits!  I could eat 10 of those things.

When I decided to make my Broccoli Cheese Soup I felt like making biscuits to go with it was the right thing to do. The lovely Brown Eyed Baker also had a recipe for biscuits on her site so I whipped them up!

Fanfriggintastic! Seriously, they are so close to the originals. Perfectly light and fluffy, crisp on the bottom, full of cheese and smothered in garlic, herb butter, HELLO‼

I halved her recipe because I didn’t think I needed a dozen biscuits. I should have made the whole batch, we ate all 6‼

What you need,

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
½ cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
½ cup cold buttermilk
¼ cup butter, melted and cooled slightly

For the topping,
1 tbsp. butter, melted
¼ tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. fresh parsley, chopped

Heat your oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and give it a quick spray with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, garlic powder and cayenne pepper until well combined. Toss the cheese to coat in the flour mixture.

In a 2 cup measuring cup stir together the buttermilk and melted butter. Stir until it forms clumps.
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry the mixture just comes together.

Using a ¼ cup measure, drop the dough onto the prepared pan. I got exactly 6 biscuits!

Bake 10-12 minutes until the biscuits are brown and crisp on the bottom.

While the biscuits bake, stir together the topping ingredients. When the biscuits come out of the oven, brush them with the buttery topping.

Serve right away.

I really can’t say enough good things about these biscuits. I think they are my new go to recipe!

They went fabulously with the soup, and I am sure they would be great anytime!



Recipe from Brown Eyed Baker

Monday, December 1, 2014

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

I have always been a fan of the classic broccoli cheddar soup. When I order it in a restaurant it has a tendency to be really rich and thick and often gummy.

I decided to search the World Wide Web and find myself a really really good broccoli cheddar soup recipe.
After much searching I decided to try the Brown Eyed Bakers recipe, it just felt right.

WOW, just WOW‼ This recipe is awesome. The soup is hearty and creamy but not too rich and the best part is it isn’t thick and goopy!
There is a ton of fresh broccoli flavor and it is perfectly cheesy! 

Another Brown Eyed Baker winner‼

What you need,

½ cup butter (I used salted as always!)
1 small onion, finely diced
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk
2 cups half and half
4 large heads of broccoli, chopped into small bite sized pieces (this works out to be about 6 good cups of chopped broccoli)
Pinch of nutmeg
3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 cups low sodium chicken broth

In a large soup pot melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for 4-5 minutes until the onions begin to soften. Sprinkle the flour over the sautéed onion, stir for 1 minute.

Slowly whisk in the milk and half and half. Season the soup at this point with a pinch of nutmeg, salt and a good amount of freshly cracked black pepper.

Add the broccoli. Cover the pot and reduce to medium low. Cook for 20 minutes or until the broccoli is tender.

I used my immersion blender at this point to puree the soup just a little bit. I wanted some good pieces of broccoli left in the soup so I just did a few passes with the blender. You can puree it as much as you like!

Stir in the cheese a handful at a time until it is fully melted.
Add the broth and stir to fully combine. Heat the soup for another 10 minutes until totally warmed through.

Adjust the seasoning to your taste!

Serve piping hot.

This soup, I can’t even… it was so darned good. What a great comfort food dinner.
The left over soup re-warmed really well for lunch the next day.

I will for SURE be making this soup again and again and again!

Thank you Brown Eyed Baker for another totally amazing recipe.



Recipe from the fabulous Brown Eyed Baker