Delicious Ways To Enjoy Homemade Yogurt

Homemade Yogurt via SweetRevelations

Remember a while back, I shared with you my recipe for DIY Homemade Yogurt?  I couldn’t believe then, how simple the process was, and how much I loved the idea of making this creamy, tangy staple for my family.  I’ve pretty much got the process down to a fine science now, making it faithfully every Sunday evening before bed, and waking up to the magic of fermentation each Monday morning.  If you’re making it too, you might find that you end up with more yogurt than you know what to do with, so I’m sharing with you some of the ways we enjoy this 2 ingredient gem.

1. For Breakfast

Use it in smoothies or smoothie bowls, with overnight oats, or on its own with nuts and honey or a swirl of jam.  Figs, honey and pistachios are my current morning favourite.   If you process your yogurt in small jars, breakfast to go is made even easier.

yogurt

2.  Frozen Yogurt

One of my most loved uses for extra yogurt.  There are endless options for Homemade Frozen Yogurt that don’t require an ice cream maker and you get the added pleasure of knowing exactly what ingredients are in there.  Here’s one of our summertime, or anytime, favourites.  Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Frozen Yogurt.  You’re welcome.

Peanut Butter Frozen Yogurt via SweetRevelations

3.  Cakes and Breads

If you’ve made and drained homemade yogurt, the remaining whey (the leftover liquid) can be used instead of water in bread making recipes.  Yogurt is also an easy substitution, cup for cup, for sour cream in most cake recipes.  This Blueberry Buckle Coffee Cake from King Arthur Flour, is one of our family favourites (I use 1/2 cup of yogurt and 1/4 cup milk in the batter).

Blueberry Coffee Cake made with Homemade Yogurt via SweetRevelations

4.  Yogurt Cheese {Labneh}

When you drain yogurt overnight or for several hours, the result is yogurt cheese.  It’s thick and tangy and has almost the consistency of cream cheese.  You can add fresh herbs and seasonings to flavor this easy spreadable cheese or eat it plain.  It’s delectable when spread on Rye Crisps with apple slices and pumpkin seeds (a drizzle of honey is super too!).

Homemade Yogurt via SweetRevelations

5.  Fast Dessert

Did dinner company arrive at the last minute?   You can throw together a super quick Eton Mess in no time flat.  Mix some thickened homemade yogurt with macerated strawberries (or strawberry sauce) and crushed meringue nests.  Layer in a dessert glass with fresh berries and cream.

Homemade Yogurt via SweetRevelations

Now that I’m using my own yogurt I don’t think I’ll ever go back to store-bought again.  I have the comfort of knowing exactly what’s in it and I can flavor it to my own liking.   I’m curious to know, do you make your own yogurt?  Is it something you might be willing to try?

Happy baking friends,

Renee

xo

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Filed under Breakfast, Cake, Extra Special, Ice Cream, Tutorial

Coffee Shop Worthy Date Squares

My girlfriend and I have a serious appreciation for good coffee.  We’ve visited some of the best coffee shops and cafes within our area, and talked with those who make a living roasting beans from around the world.   Undoubtedly, we settle in with a good cup of caffeinated bliss, share a pastry or two and get caught up about our busy lives.  I don’t know why, but often times I choose a date square with my coffee.  It’s something I rarely bake at home, but I love to enjoy a nice big serving when in a coffee shop.  You might say I’ve become a bit of a connoisseur about these dense, date filled, oat bars.

Date Squares via SweetRevelations

I have no idea where my love for these classic homemade bars came from.   Just thinking about them makes me think of old-school recipes that are hardly made at home anymore.  I mean, with all of the salted this and caramel that options we have these days, the date square is hardly at the top of the list for the newest generation of home bakers.  Even though they keep well, travel well, freeze well, and are fairly fuss-free, they’ve kind of disappeared from potluck menus and home kitchens.  Years ago, a sweet relative of mine used to bring them with her to pretty much every family function.  They were thick and sweet and had the best crumble on top.  She passed away a long time ago, and unfortunately her recipe was never passed on.  Since then, I’ve been on a quest to find the perfect one.  As a result, I’m often comparing the servings I’ve had from one coffee shop to the next.  Too dense, too crumbly, too thin, too sweet.

Date Square via SweetRevelations

This week-end, after another coffee shop visit, I decided to make my own.  I already knew what some of my requirements would be.  A thick bottom layer is a must, with a slightly sweet date filling, and a golden crumbly oat top.  Classic date square recipes require that you boil the chopped dates for a few minutes in water, to soften the dates and thicken the filling.  As I was pitting and chopping the dates, I had an epiphany!  Instead of adding water to my date filling, I brewed a cup of my favorite coffee and used that instead.   The results were just as I had hoped.  A thick filling, that was slightly sweet and only made richer tasting with the addition of coffee.  Don’t be alarmed, the coffee taste doesn’t exist at all, it just enhances the date flavor.  The buttery, crumbly topping was pretty simple, but the last-minute addition of pumpkin seeds has made these a little more, well, glamorous I’d say.

I’m voting for a date square comeback every one!

Date Squares via SweetRevelations

I must confess that these were pretty satisfying.  Coffee shop worthy in fact.  The filling to base ratio was spot on and they didn’t crumble in my hands.  And they made a hearty breakfast treat this morning (by the way, they qualify as a breakfast option on account of the fruit and oats in my books).   My friends can expect them to be making an appearance at our next pot luck!

Date Square via SweetRevelations

Have you got a family date square recipe?  I would love to hear about it!

Happy coffee shop lingering and baking friends,

Renee

xo

 

Date Squares

Preheat oven to 350°

Filling:

  • 2 1/2 cups Medjool dates, chopped and pitted
  • 1 cup hot black coffee
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

Base:

  • 1 1/2 cups large flake oats
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed and slightly soft but still cool
  1.  Line an 8 x 8 square pan with parchment paper and set aside.  Make the filling first by combining the coffee, dates, sugar and lemon juice in a pot.  Bring to a boil.  Add the baking soda and stir mixture continuously for approx. 4 minutes, until filling is thick and dates are soft.  Set aside to cool while you prepare the base.
  2. Combine the first 6 ingredients of the base recipe in a medium-sized bowl and mix to combine.   Add the butter and use your hands or a fork to coat the flour mixture with the butter until crumbly in texture.   Press 3 1/4 cups of oat mixture into the bottom of the pan.  Spread on the layer of date filling.  Top with remaining oat mixture and press down slightly.  Bake for 30-35 minutes until topping is golden.  Cool completely before cutting and serving.

 

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Filed under Bars, Breakfast

Salty Walnut Chocolate Pie

Guys, this pie.

So. Good.

Salty Walnut Chocolate Pie via SweetRevelations

I’m completely, utterly nuts over it.   The idea came to me last week-end while still tidying up from the holidays.  What on earth were we to do with all of those in-shell nuts I bought?  And why, for heaven’s sake, did I buy so many to begin with?!  I say this, but I know why.  It’s the same reason I buy those stuck together, hard as a rock, assorted Christmas candies.  When I was growing up, there was always a bowl of mixed nuts sitting out during the holidays.   It was tradition at our house, and at my grandparents.  With the same old-school nutcracker that my mom had for years, the bowl of nuts came out and stayed out for the duration of the winter.  As kids, we cracked them simply for entertainment purposes, nut pieces and shells flying across the room.  We were so convinced that if we just squeezed hard enough, we could crack them open with our bare hands (never happened I can assure you).  But growing up, I certainly began to appreciate the value of shelled whole nuts a little more.  My husband often cracks a few for a quick snack just before dinner.  Sometimes we are catching up about our day, and we’re both just absent mindedly cracking and eating amongst the chatter.  When the kitchen is busy with guests and family, someone is undoubtedly cracking open a meaty walnut or a crunchy filbert, while usually the brazil nuts are largely ignored.

So there I was, holidays over, company dwindling, and hoards of mixed nuts left.  I knew without a doubt that I would be using the walnuts for a pie.  A warm pie to me is the ultimate comfort food.  A sweet, nutty winter pie seemed just right.  And adding chocolate and sea salt was a logical step.  Crunchy walnuts, dark chocolate and sea salt amongst a tender, flaky pastry?  Count me in!

Salty Walnut Chocolate Pie via SweetRevelations

I knew I would be using a recipe similar to pecan pie for my base.  I took a few recipes I currently have, and adjusted them until I found something that I was happy with.  The sea salt just takes this pie over the top.  It’s only a subtle salt flavor, but one that pairs perfectly with the other ingredients.  So perfectly in fact, I’ve made it two more times since then.  So. Good.

Salty Walnut Chocolate Pie

I love baking pies in the winter.  I usually keep lots of local summer fruit frozen just for that reason.  However, a nutty, decadent Salty Walnut Chocolate Pie is not only an appropriate alternative to fruit, I guarantee you that it will warm up your house and chase those winter blues away!

So I think I’ve given that ages old tradition of whole nuts during the holidays a new twist.  And when my children are in their own houses, and questioning their own winter bowl of nuts, “why do I put these out?” and “why on earth did I buy so many?!”, they’ll think back to these days in our kitchen.  And they’ll do it just the same, after all, its tradition.

Happy baking friends,

Renee

xo

Salty Walnut Chocolate Pie

Preheat oven to 375°

Ingredients

  • 9″ unbaked pie shell
  • 1 cup Hershey’s dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 cup walnut pieces
  • 1 tsp sea salt (more to taste if desired)
  1. Scatter the cup of chocolate chips on the bottom of the unbaked shell, set the shell aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the melted butter with the sugar.  Add the flour, eggs and corn syrup. Mix well.  Mix in the walnut pieces.  Pour the mixture into the pie shell, on top of the chocolate chips, and bake for 45 mins to an hour.  The filling will be puffed up and set at the sides, but still slightly jiggly in the center.  Don’t hesitate to leave it in longer if need be, the filling should be slightly jiggly but not sloshing around or it won’t set.  Cool completely and sprinkle with sea salt just before serving.

Walnuts via SweetRevelations

 

 

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Raspberry Swiss Roll Layer Cake (No Bake!}

A few weeks ago, my husband and I had an amazing dinner with friends.  It was a gorgeous home cooked meal, with all of the fixings, great wine and even better company.  When dessert rolled around, my girlfriend brought out a simple trifle, layered with raspberry swiss rolls, fresh berries and pudding.  She kind of apologized for its simplicity and stated it was one of her husbands favourites.  It was so good!  Very simple, but light tasting, fresh and so moist.   I enjoyed it so much, and couldn’t quite put a finger on why it was such a familiar, and happy, taste to me.

Swiss Roll Cake via SweetRevelations

Driving home from errands a few days later it dawned on me.  It was the swiss rolls!   It was that spongy cake and sweet raspberry center that brought a flood of memories back.   I remember staying at my grandmothers, my Mémé’s, as a teenager.  My Pépé had passed, and I was staying with her to keep her company.  We discovered at that time, that we both had the terrible habit of waking in the night to eat something sweet.   I’m not sure that it’s hereditary, but what a coincidence to discover that we both would end up in the kitchen in the night to nibble on something sweet with a glass of tea or milk.   I remember our surprise, “you do this too?!” and our pleasure at sharing this naughty habit (something it took me years to break).   I can still hear her, as she giggled about it.  At Mémé’s, when I was there, the midnight offering was a slice or two of raspberry swiss rolls.  She always put the slices on little saucers, and often, we would snack without much talking, and then both of us would head straight back to bed.

It’s funny how some foods can trigger such amazing memories and feelings sometimes.  Just thinking about those sleepovers made me feel so happy and nostalgic for the time she was here.  My grandmother was a tiny woman, with a gigantic heart, who was immensely proud of her family.  When I was newly married, she moved back to her home town to live in a retirement home, over 2000 kilometers away.  I mourned her absence and visited and wrote to her often.  I was lucky enough to fly down and sit with her, many years later, as she drew her very last breath.  She was probably one of the most influential women in my life, and still is very much with me in spirit today, especially as I have recently become a Mémé myself.

Swiss Roll Layer Cake via SweetRevelations

Just a few days ago I decided to track down those swiss rolls and use them to make a simple and fresh dessert of my own.  I layered slices of them in a springform pan with vanilla pudding.  The cake was left in the fridge overnight, and just before serving I piled it high with whipped topping and fresh berries.   I was so pleased with the results.  It was super moist, slightly sweet from the swiss rolls and bursting with fresh fruit.  Kind of like trifle, but in cake form.  It was an ideal make ahead dessert too, and something easily prepped the night before.  The hardest part of the dessert was finding the swiss rolls.  Having never purchased them myself, I finally found them in the bakery department of my local grocery store.  And oh boy was I excited about those rolls!  I bought every package they had on the shelf!

I’m completely okay with using instant pudding and store-bought layers for this cake.  There’s a time for beautiful, scratch made layer cakes and there’s a time for easy, family style desserts with memories and stories behind them.  Even though Mémé never made this cake, it’s my twist on one of her favourite treats and it certainly reminds me of the love of sweets we shared.  Who knew a no bake layer cake could be so easy and so tasty!

Swiss Roll Cake via SweetRevelations

Have you got a food, smell or taste that triggers happy memories for you?  I would love to hear about it!

Happy baking friends,

Renee

xo

 

Raspberry Swiss Roll Layer Cake {No Bake}

  • 2 400 gram packages of Raspberry Swiss Roll, sliced in 1″ pieces
  • 3 packages of instant vanilla pudding
  • 5 cups of half and half cream
  • 2 cups whipped topping
  • fresh fruit for garnish

 

  1. Line an 8″ or 9″ springform pan with parchment, as best you can, by cutting a circle for the bottom and a long rectangle for the side.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the pudding mixes and half and half cream, for about 2 minutes, set aside.
  2. Layer the slices of Swiss Roll in the bottom of the pan, being sure to tuck pieces close together for a snug fit.  Spread 1 1/2 cups of pudding on top of the layer.  Repeat two more times.  Add a final layer of Swiss Roll on top ( I sliced the top layer about 1/2″ only).  Refrigerate overnight.   Keep any unused pudding for serving.
  3. Before serving, carefully remove from the springform pan and set the cake on a platter.  Use a spatula to spread any remaining pudding on the sides.  Top with whipped topping and fresh fruit.  The cake will keep, covered, for a few days in the refrigerator.

 

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Cranberry Swiss Zopf Bread

I hope that you enjoyed the holidays where ever you may have been, with the people most important to you.  We had a busy few weeks and I’m just settling back into a routine.  Although I have thoroughly enjoyed my daily naps, hockey games and endless hours reading, it looks like Christmas threw up in here!  It’s time to get things tidied up.

Swiss Loaf- SweetRevelations

Usually, on week-ends, when I set my mind to an afternoon of cleaning, I start off right away with making some bread dough.  I spend a few quiet minutes mixing and kneading, and when the bread is left to rise, I get straight to work.  Must be something happening in my subconscious about settling in for a few hours of work, to make the house in order again, with a sweet, yeasty, warm reward at the end.   I’ve been kneading homemade bread for years and the comfort it brings me is unmatched to any other item I bake.  There’s a swish and roll on the countertop while kneading, sometimes the only sound in the house, as I do my work.  Some of my best thinking happens in these moments.  I do think of my ancestors, living in a simpler time, doing the same thing for their family.  Perhaps my great-grandfather, a cook, baking fresh bread and biscuits for his children!  It’s more about the process for me, the kneading and then resting, allowing the ingredients to do their magic.   A simple task really, that takes a few hours from start to finish, that this whole house gets to enjoy.  This weekly, sometimes daily, mixing and kneading ritual for me, centers around spending time in our home, making it a home, and inviting my family to share in this good wholesome food with me. Not to mention the smell, that intoxicating, welcome home smell, that really is like no other.

swiss bread- SweetRevelations

I regularly use fresh or dried fruits in my breads and biscuits.  Often adding fresh berries, when I can.  For the most part, fresh fruits do very well in breads and biscuits as long as they aren’t overripe and super juicy.  Fruits actually help the leavening process, by adding some extra sugar for the yeast to feed on.  This time, I opted for a pretty Swiss Braided Zopf, a gorgeous recipe from King Arthur Flour, that I’ve made many times.  I didn’t actually mix the berries in the dough this go around, but quickly tucked them in all of the nooks and crannies just before the second rise.  The recipe uses sour cream and eggs and produces a rich tasting, not too sweet, moist loaf, with a tender crust.  Perfect for coffee break.   Or breakfast toast.  Or French Toast.  Or Bread Pudding.  You get the idea.

Swiss Braid- SweetRevelations

Don’t let working with yeast intimidate you.  It’s really pretty straight forward, and with fast acting yeast, it’s almost impossible to mess up.   Most bread dough does very well with an 8-10 minute kneading time.  It generally doesn’t need to be complicated or fussy.  Bread dough is usually pretty forgiving, and you can work on some of your errors the next time you bake a loaf.  As with all baking, it’s a learning process, but so worth it!  At the end of the day, you’ll end up with a stunning loaf that your family will drool over.   You won’t be able to butter it fast enough!

I’m curious to know from you, dear friends, what are some of your baking or food traditions?  Are you starting new ones, or continuing on with some of the kitchen love you grew up with?  This year I will really be more focused on sharing more of my food traditions and stories with you.  I’ve loved writing about my bake shop experiences, but really, the heart of this baker, started a long time ago in my childhood home with some great teachers.  It has only increased as I’ve become a homemaker, in this amazing community with access to outstanding farm to table foods and locally sourced ingredients.  I’m going to share with you more about my passion for using simple ingredients, and a no-fuss approach to creating new food traditions while still embracing the old.  Lets make homemaking the new food trend for 2016 every body!

Thank you, as always for a wonderful blogging year.  I do so appreciate you.  Happy New year!

Renee

xo

  Cranberry Swiss Zopf Bread

*from King Arthur Flour

  • 3/4 cup full fat sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 egg and 1 egg white, lightly beaten (reserve remaining yolk for glaze)
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (thawed)
  • 3 tablespoons slivered almonds

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, yeast and salt. Set aside.
  2. Warm the sour cream to lukewarm in a microwave, for approximately 15 seconds, stirring once removed. Add the melted butter and stir.  Add the flour mixture to the sour cream mixture, then stir in the egg and 1 egg white. Stir until the mixture comes together to form a shaggy mass, then set it aside for 15 minutes.
  3. Knead the dough, by hand, until it’s smooth and elastic, for approximately 8-10 minutes (or use a mixer and a dough hook too if you have it).  Place dough in a greased bowl, cover the bowl with a tea towel, and set the dough aside to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until it’s doubled in bulk.  I usually put mine out of the way, on top of the fridge.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased countertop and knead it gently a few times, to expel the excess carbon dioxide. Divide it into three equal pieces, and roll each piece into an 18-inch log. Braid the logs together, pinching them at both ends and tucking the pinched ends under.
  5. Place the braid on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and tuck fresh cranberries in all of the folds and crevices.  Cover it again, and allow it to rise for another hour.
  6. Whisk the remaining egg yolk with 1 tbsp. water, and brush the braid with this glaze. Sprinkle with almonds.  Bake the bread in a preheated 375°F oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until it’s golden brown and shiny. Remove it from the oven and let it cool on the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely. Zopf is traditionally served at breakfast, toasted or not, and makes an outstanding French toast too!

 

 

 

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Skillet Cranberry Orange Scones

Get your skillet out!  Spoil your family this week and make Skillet Cranberry Orange Scones for breakfast.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know about my weakness for this quick bread, because it’s so incredibly versatile.  I rolled thousands of scones when I owned a bake shop, and still regularly make them for home.  These buttery scones are bursting with cranberries and orange zest, and then glazed (twice for good measure) with a sweet orange glaze.   I’ve really come to love baking a small batch in the skillet, and the presentation is simple and beautiful.

Cranberry Scones SweetRevelations

Often people mistakenly think that scones are bland, dense, and dry.  I can assure you, these are not.  The trick with scones, is to handle the dough as little as possible, use good quality frozen butter, and fresh buttermilk.   A batch of scones is easily mixed in 20 minutes or less, is done by hand, and they can be prepared ahead of time, frozen and baked as needed.   I know right?  I can’t talk these things up any more, they sell themselves!

cranberry scones, sweetrevelations

With the holidays approaching, I always, and I mean always, have a batch ready in the freezer.  They are the perfect tea time treat when company arrives, make an excellent gift, and are a delicious addition to any holiday brunch table.  I can also bake up a few in the morning, right from the freezer, for the kids before they head off to school.

cranberry scones- sweetrevelations

I bet your kitchen is in full swing with holiday baking.  I hope you might take a few minutes to mix up a batch of scones and have a much deserved coffee break!

Happy baking friends,

Renee

Skillet Cranberry Orange Scones

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 1/2 cup butter, frozen
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp orange extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (full fat works best)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries

Orange Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp orange juice

 

Preheat oven to 415°

1.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, salt and zest.  Use a cheese grater to grate the frozen butter into the flour mixture.  Mix gently with a fork to coat the butter with the flour mixture.

2.  In a separate small bowl mix the buttermilk, extract, sour cream and egg.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour buttermilk mixture in.  Mix gently to incorporate.

3.  Knead dough on a floured surface, maximum 1o times.  The idea is to knead very little to keep that butter cold.  As best you can, fold in the cranberries with your hands.  Pat the dough into a circle about 6 inches in diameter.  Cut the dough into eight even wedges, but still keeping it in the circle shape.  Place the scones into a well seasoned skillet (a circle of parchment on the bottom works well too).  Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until dough is cooked and scones are golden.

4.  While scones are baking, mix the powdered sugar and orange juice into a smooth glaze.  Once scones are baked, drizzle with orange glaze while they are still warm.

Notes:

  1.  Don’t worry if you don’t have a skillet.  You can use a round cake pan, lightly sprayed with baking spray, or bake the scones on a cookie sheet lined with parchment.
  2. Scones do very well in the freezer.  Roll a batch and freeze on a cookie sheet (before baking).  Simply bake from frozen, adding additional time as needed.
  3. This recipe doubles nicely.  I usually make a double batch, baking one up and freezing the other for later.

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Easy Icebox Shortbread Cookies {Featured Post}

Happy holiday cookie baking everybody!

I recently shared a recipe post over at Hello Creative Family, all about Easy Icebox Shortbread Cookies.  This is a dream cookie dough mix for busy bakers during the holidays!  It’s a super versatile, delicious, buttery dough, that can mixed into 4 different cookie flavours, and the best part is, that the dough can be made well ahead of time.   Just follow this link to the recipe here:

http://hellocreativefamily.com/easy-icebox-shortbread-cookies-recipe/

Check out the recipe and start your holiday baking off right!

Happy cookie baking friends,

Renee

xo

 

Back-To-Basics-Easy-Icebox-Shortbread-Cookies-Recipe

 

 

 

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Better Ginger Cookies

This week I’ve decided to showcase one of my earlier recipes, with a kind of rewind.  Mom’s Ginger Cookies make their appearance at every family get together.  I had them at my wedding.  I sold them in the bake shop.  It’s hands down my most favourite cookie, the recipe that literally ignited my love for baking and all things sweet.  Just the smell takes me home instantly.  Perhaps it has to do with the hours spent with mom in the kitchen, rolling cookies in sugar.  My innocent seven year old self, standing on a chair beside her, taking in her love and kitchen knowledge like a sponge.  The music was always playing loudly while we worked, moms foot tapping away.  The same scene still holds true for my baking today.

 

ginger cookies- SweetRevelations

I originally posted the recipe using butter and dark brown sugar.  But I’ve got to admit, that this is one of those times that mom was right, and the recipe really tastes best as originally written, with shortening and white sugar.   The shortening produces a better cookie in this instance, that has a nice rise, a slightly crispy first bite, with a tender, chewy center.  I’ve kept the crystalized ginger in there too, not one of moms additions, but it adds just an extra zing that is drool worthy!

ginger cookie - SweetRevelations

 

This is one of my go to recipes around the holidays, because these cookies are easily made ahead and frozen, with absolutely no compromise to taste.  They are an excellent addition to dessert trays, and a sweet and spicy hostess gift, best delivered in a pretty holiday tin.  I almost always have a batch in my freezer.  Truth be told, I love to dip these frozen gems in hot tea.  Mom froze baked goods to keep us out of them, but I sneaked them just the same, and developed a love for frozen cookies and bars.  I’m guessing many of you did the same.

We’re heading full swing into holiday season every body.  This is one cookie tradition that is best left untouched.  Thanks mom.

Happy baking friends,

Renee

xo

Ginger Cookies

Pre-heat oven to 325°

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger

 

1.   In a small bowl sift together the flour, soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt, set aside.  In a large bowl, cream together the shortening, sugar and molasses until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and mix well.  Slowly add dry ingredients into creamed mixture. Mix just until flour is combined.  Stir in crystallized ginger.   Shape into 1″ balls and roll in sugar (no need to flatten).

2.   Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper, about 2″ apart.  Bake for 14 minutes (exactly!).  Cookies will still be soft when they come out of the oven.  Leave cookies on pan for 2 minutes then move them to a cooling rack.

Notes:

  1. For larger, bakery style cookies, roll into larger balls.  Simply increase your baking time by a few minutes.  I often make 2″ balls when baking for gifts.  I increase my baking time to approx. 18 minutes with the 2 minute rest on the cookie sheet.
  2. This recipe is easily doubled, even tripled.
  3. The cooled cookies freeze very well, for a few weeks.
  4. These cookies make the BEST s’mores!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Easy Pie Crust Recipe ~ For Perfect Pie Every Time! Featured Post

I am ecstatic that my Easy Pie Crust Recipe is being featured today at the fabulous online magazine Hello Creative Family!
 HCFfeature

 

If you haven’t checked them out, you must!  Crystal and Karen, from Hello Creative Family,  have created the go-to resource for parents looking to ignite their creative passion with simple, everyday and back-to-basics projects.   Their motto is all about living the handmade, homemade and heart-made lifestyle so parents can raise their children in a creative home. You’ll truly be inspired!

So follow this link (here), pay them a visit, and leave me some comment love over there too!

Happy pie making friends,

Renee

xo

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Filed under Pie

Mini Brownie Bottom Cherry Cheesecakes

It’s the week-end everybody!  And I can’t believe I’m saying this already, but we woke this morning to just a light dusting of snow on the deck.  Even though I find the first few snowfalls kind of exciting, I do feel that we seemed to have skipped fall entirely.  I’m hopeful that this was just a blip on Mother Natures part, and this week we will be back to crisp, windy, sunny fall days.

Yesterday I was sorting through my old bakery recipe book, looking for some inspiration, when I came across this recipe.  For those of you who might be new followers, I used to own a little bake shop and let that go so I could focus on my real love.  Which is you.  And blogging.  And creating.

And I’m so glad I did, because it’s given me so many new opportunities that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.  And not waking up at 3 am on Saturday mornings anymore is a major bonus.  I can tell you, your local baker is seriously sleep deprived friends.

mini cheesecakes, sweetrevelations

These Mini Brownie Bottom Cherry Cheesecakes were one of my most popular items in the fall and winter.  Still, when I run into some of my loyal customers, they bring up these cheesecakes and tell me how they miss them so.  They are a decadent treat that can easily be customized.  The brownie bottom is just the right amount of rich chocolate, paired with the creamy cheesecake topping and of course, the cherries on top.  This is also an amazing treat when you swap out the cherries for whole pecans and a good drizzle of homemade caramel sauce.

As you know, I love a dessert that can be made ahead and these are no exception.  Cheesecakes freeze very well, so can be prepared a week or two ahead of time if needed.   Just thaw, garnish with toppings and serve.

Reminiscing through my old book sure did make my heart skip a beat.  It was such a busy and exciting time in my life.  Even though I do miss the bake shop sometimes, I’m so happy that I get to share these recipes with you.  I’m exactly where I was meant to be.

Enjoy the fall weather friends,

Renee

xo

Mini Brownie Bottom Cherry Cheesecakes

Brownie Layer

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt

 

Cheesecake Layer

  • 2 pkg (250 gr each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • cherry pie filling for garnish

Preheat oven to 350° and line 16 muffin cups with liners

  1.  For the brownie layer, mix the flour and salt in a small bowl and set aside.  Place a small glass or stainless bowl over a pot of simmering water and melt the chocolate and butter.  In a medium mixing bowl, combine the sugar, eggs and vanilla and whisk until well incorporated.  Whisk in the chocolate mixture and mix well.  Fold in the flour mixture with a spatula, just until incorporated.
  2. Spoon the brownie mixture into the bottom of each cupcake liner.   Bake for 10 minutes and set aside.  Once baked, reduce the oven temperature to 300°.
  3. While the brownie layer is baking, prepare the cheesecake layer.  Beat the cream cheese and sugar in a medium bowl for at least 4 minutes, or until smooth and well combined.  Add salt and vanilla.  Add the eggs, one at a time, only mixing until the eggs are combined.  Be careful not to over mix and add too much air.
  4. Top each brownie layer with the cream cheese mixture.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Turn the oven off, prop the oven door open just slightly with a wooden spoon and leave the cheesecakes inside until the oven cools (I just found the texture was a little nicer this way and the cheesecakes were less prone to cracking).  Put room temperature cheesecakes in the fridge to chill for 3-4 hours before topping and serving.
  5. Top chilled cheesecakes with cherry pie filling and serve.

Notes:

  1. You can bake the cheesecakes without leaving them in the oven to cool.  Bake at 325° for approx. 25 minutes.  Cool to room temperature and chill.
  2. Once the cheesecakes have come to room temperature, they can be easily frozen for later use.  Place them in containers, in a single layer and wrap with plastic wrap.   Defrost and garnish with cherries just before serving.

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Filed under Cake, Cup Cakes