MINI REINDEER CUPCAKES

Who doesn’t love cute little mini reindeers? I wanted to make these cute little guys for Christmas last year but as always, Christmas came and left in a blink of an eye.

Late one night, I was scrolling through Pinterest and an imagine captured my eye! I saw these cute mini reindeers that I just knew I had to make! I found them on Bakerella and I just love all of her ideas! Many of the things I bake are ideas that I’ve gotten from her site.

They may look hard and complicated to make but overall they are actually quite easy. All you really need are mini cupcakes (I used vanilla), chocolate, black and white icing and black jellybeans. Of course make sure you have one red one for Rudolph 😀

Steps on how to make these cupcakes are located here.

Happy Baking! 🙂

IMG_3156

Advertisements

CHRISTMAS TREE SUGAR COOKIES

The countdown to Christmas is on! I’ve been wanting to make these Christmas Tree Sugar Cookies since summer! They were super easy to make and you can ice them with any sort of candy/ chocolate that you can find 🙂 For these cookies I used my favourite sugar cookie recipe. Just make sure the dough has been chilled to avoid your shapes from spreading…I had an absolute fail a couple years ago. I was using a very detailed cookie cutter and spent sooo much time perfectly cutting out the cookies. After a couple of minutes in the oven, the perfect snowman shape turned into a big round blob.

After your cookies have cooled, ice them however you prefer and top with your candy/chocolate. My boyfriend and I were in Langley on the weekend and if we’re in Langley, I absolutely NEED to stop at Scoop and Save. They have everything you can possibly imagine! I got some white sanding sugar, tri-coloured candy pearls and some white chocolate pearls. The only downside is that once you’ve made them they’re so hard to not eat. Trust me, I’ve had 4 already 😉

Christmas Tree Sugar Cookie

SKELETON GINGERBREAD COOKIES

Gingerbread and fall just go so nicely hand in hand:) And of course when hearing the word fall…HALLOWEEN comes to mind! I thought of this cute gingerbread spin off while grocery shopping at Costco a couple of weeks ago. I’m still tweaking the gingerbread recipe but hopefully it’ll be good to go by Christmas time 😀

These cookies are so easy to make that even your kids will want to help make them! Simply prepare your favourite gingerbread recipe and use cookie cutters to cut out your shapes. For these cookies, I used my gingerbread man cookie cutter that I found on Amazon. I love the cute little grips on the Wilton cutters. They definitely come in handy when you make over 100 cookies 🙂 Throughout the years, I’ve realized that after you cut our your cookies, refrigerate them for at least 30 minutes before putting them into the oven. This ALWAYS ensures the cookie shape is still intact. I learned this the hard way when I made Christmas tree cookies and ended up with a full sheet of just one melted cookie.

The fun part begins once the cookies are done baking in the oven 🙂 Usually, I would use Royal Icing but I didn’t have the time to prepare some. Well, actually I was just plain lazy 😉 Instead I sifted up some icing sugar and added some boiling hot water. Super easy and simple! Just ensure the icing sugar is sifted and the ratio used was 1 cup icing sugar with 1 tsp of hot water.

I ran out of piping bags at home so I just used a Ziploc bag and piped the design on 🙂 I then coloured some of the icing black and made some eyes! Again so simple and easy to make!

skeletons

HOT DOG MUMMIES

These hot dog mummies are the perfect snack to have on Halloween! And trust me, they are super super easy to make 🙂

To make these cute mummies, you will need a can of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and 8 hot dogs. I used chicken hot dogs as I do not eat pork or beef but any type of hot dog will do! Cut each hot dog lengthwise halfway up to form legs. Then make two more cuts for the arms. Repeat this for all of the hot dogs. Next, open up a can of the crescent rolls and cut each rectangle into 8-10 long strips. Start wrapping the dough around the hot dogs and make it look like bandages. Once all of the hot dogs are wrapped, place them on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 350°F for about 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Once the mummies have finished baking, you can use ketchup or mustard to give them the eyes!

Not only do these mummies look really cool, but they are seriously tasty. The dough gets super crispy around the edges and the hot dog stays nice and juicy on the inside 🙂

Hot Dog Mummies

CINNAMON SUGAR BAKED MINI DONUTS

If there’s one thing you HAVE to eat this weekend, it’ll be these warm, delicious BAKED mini cinnamon sugar donuts! And of course you won’t be able to stop with just one 😉 Donuts have always been my guilty pleasure. I remember going grocery shopping with my grandparents when I was younger and as a treat, they’d always let me have a donut. It was always be either a old fashioned glazed or a sugar donut and trust me, I was in heaven during that whole grocery trip!

There are many different variations of donuts all around the world. During our trip to the Dominican last year, I noticed our resort made these fresh Dominican donuts. And of course, I always had to go back for seconds 🙂 The donut looked much different than the ones sold here but surprisingly it tasted the same!

I’ve stayed away from making homemade donuts just because I hated the fact that I would be deep frying them. A couple of years ago, I noticed donut pans hitting the shelves. My first thought was ‘Do I really need yet another baking pan that I’m never going to use?’. I wanted to get the pan but I really wanted a MINI Donut pan! I went online and found whole bunch but I really wanted to see the pan in person to look at the material and durability of it. My boyfriend and I were at Winners one day and magically found a mini one that I just had to get!

Donut Pan

Wolfgang Puck’s 12 Count Mini Donut Pan

This recipe is super easy to make! I pretty much took a cookie recipe and turned it into a donut recipe. It consists of butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, baking powder, salt, flour and of course I added milk 🙂 I mixed these ingredients up in my stand mixer and then added them to a piping bag. I found the piping bag helps a lot with filing the pan evenly without creating a huge mess!

Donut Pan Filling

Mini Donut Pan Ready For The Batter!

You can choose to butter your pan before adding in the batter. Once the donuts are done baking in the oven, remove them and let them chill on a wire rack. To top the donuts, I simply dipped them in melted butter and then then dipped them in a cinnamon sugar mixture!

CINNAMON SUGAR BAKED MINI DONUTS

  • Servings: 12 Mini Donuts
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:


BATTER:
– ½ cup of unsalted butter (room temperature)
– ½ cup of sugar
– 1 egg
– 1 tbsp of vanilla
– ½ cup of whole milk
– 1½ cups of all purpose flour (sifted)
– 2 tsp of baking powder
– ¼ tsp of salt

TOPPING:
– ¼ cup butter (melted)
– ¼ cup sugar
– 1 tbsp of cinnamon

DIRECTIONS:


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF
  2. To prepare the batter, In a stand mixer cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add in the vanilla, egg and milk. Mix until combined.
  4. Add in the flour, baking powder and salt until just combined. Ensure the batter is not over mixed.
  5. Add the batter to a piping bag and fill each cavity halfway.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the baked donuts and allow to cool.
  7. To prepare the topping, melt the butter in a small bowl. In another bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar.
  8. Dip each donut lightly in the butter and then dip into the sugar mixture

Donuts

CRISPY BUTTERMILK CHICKEN STRIPS

FullSizeRender[2]

My boyfriend and I were walking through the frozen foods section at our local Costco and we saw some chicken strips on sale. I immediately went in and reached for a bag! As I looked more closely to the labels on the bag and noticed the word ‘18% meat protein’. My first thought was…’Shouldn’t this be 100%’? I then turned it around and started looking at the ingredients. To my surprise, I found a whole bunch of ingredients that I could not pronounce let alone even understand. I literally threw the bag back into its rightful spot and started looking around at other products that contained this certain ‘meat protein’. And sure enough, there were more! Of course after seeing this, my boyfriend started going off on a tangent about conspiracy theories. 😉

The whole drive home I kept thinking about the ingredients I saw listed. I then knew that I would never be buying these products ever again! It was time for some homemade chicken strips 😀

FullSizeRender (41)

The ingredients needed are pretty basic and can be found most households. Chicken (breast or thighs), buttermilk, sweet paprika, salt, pepper, sugar, Italian seasoning, basil, garlic powder and of course Corn Flakes to get the best crunch without having to deep fry the strip 🙂

FullSizeRender[3]

CRISPY BUTTERMILK CHICKEN STRIPS

  • Servings: 25 Strips
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:


Buttermilk Mixture:
– 4 chicken breasts (or 5 boneless chicken thighs) cut into ½ inch strips
– 1 cup of buttermilk
– 2 tbsp of sweet paprika
– 2 tbsp of sugar
– 1 tbsp of salt
– 2 tsp of pepper

Corn Flake Mixture:
– 4 cups of Corn Flakes (crushed to your desire)
– 1 tbsp of garlic powder
– 2 tbsp of Italian seasoning
– 2 tbsp of basil
– 1 tsp of salt
– ½ tsp of pepper

DIRECTIONS:


1) Place the chicken strips into a freezer bag. Add the buttermilk, sweet paprika, sugar, salt and pepper. Mix until well coated. Allow to marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour, or ideally overnight for the best flavour.
2) Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
3) Place the Corn Flake mixture in a dish. Remove the chicken strips from the buttermilk mixture and coat evenly in the Corn Flake mixture.
4) Arrange the strips on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.
5) Bake strips for 8 to 9 minutes then flip the strips. Continue baking the strips for another 8 minutes.
6) Serve with your favourite dipping sauce and ENJOY! 😀
FullSizeRender[4]

BAKED JALAPEÑO POPPERS

FullSizeRender (34)I absolutely LOVE jalapeño poppers! I started making these yummy peppers back when I started home ec in grade 6. I remember how I came home after making these in school and immediately I wanted to make them for my family. That night, my mom and I made these and wow! They were polished clean instantly! Since they are seeded, there isn’t as much heat as there would be if they were whole peppers. I’m constantly modifying this recipe as I’ve made it so many times. Sometimes I’ll add in more or less cheese. Sometimes I’ll use breadcrumbs instead of panko but I’ve finally narrowed it down this! A couple of years ago, my mom asked me to make this as a side for our Sunday family dinner. A part of me didn’t want to as filling the peppers always took me a long time. But then I thought to myself, why not just use a piping bag to fill them?! By doing this, the time it now took to fill these was less than a quarter of the original time! The other great thing I love about these is how they are baked! Now you can have more of these without feeling guilty 🙂

FullSizeRender (36)

 

BAKED JALAPEÑO POPPERS

  • Servings: 30 Servings
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:


– 15 jalapeño peppers (seeded and halved)
– 1 tbsp of olive oil
– 1 small red onion (chopped)
– 7-8 cloves of garlic (minced)
– 1 tsp of salt
– ½ tsp of pepper
– 1 package of cream cheese
– ½ cup of parmesan cheese
– 2 egg whites
– 1-1½ cups of panko
– 2 tbsp of dried oregano
– 2 tbsp of dried tarragon
– 2 tbsp of dried parsely

DIRECTIONS:


1) Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
2) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
3) In a small fry pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until translucent.
4) Transfer into a small bowl. Add the cream cheese, ¼ cup of parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Stir until the cream cheese has melted.
5) Fill the pepper halves with the cream cheese filling. (I found that a piping bag made this much more easier than using a spoon.)
6) In a large bowl, combine the panko, remaining parmesan cheese, oregano, tarragon and parsely.
7) Add the egg whites into a small bowl and whisk until frothy.
8) Dip the pepper halves 1 at a time into the egg whites and then coat with the panko mixture.
9) Place peppers cut side up on the prepared baking sheet.
10) Bake peppers for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
11) Enjoy!! 😀

FullSizeRender (38)

RED VELVET CUPCAKES

I never had red velvet cakes or cupcakes while growing up. Part of the reason probably was that I developed an allergic reaction to eggs at the age of 8. The weird part was that I would never be able to eat scrambled eggs or cakes. But I was completely fine with cookies! The allergy sort of just magically wore off when I turned 12. Ever since then, I’ve pretty much stuck to the basic chocolate or vanilla cupcakes. Since I’ve mastered both of those cupcakes, I decided to put together a red velvet cupcakes recipe

Even though my vanilla cupcakes are my favourite (recipe will be posted soon 🙂 ), these red velvet cupcakes may just be my second favourite! I absolutely love how light and moist they are. Even my grandma will have a couple of these without the cream cheese frosting. One of the key ingredients used in this recipe was oil. In almost every cupcake recipe that I’ve made, I’ve used butter. I realized that I always use oil when making muffins so why not use it when making cupcakes?! Like muffins, I also used buttermilk in this recipe to add even more moisture and to make them creamy!FullSizeRender (28)

Another great trick to do while baking is using cake flour. Cake flour is a finely ground flour used in many cake recipes. I’ve found that using cake flour provides a more structured cake. Why? Because cake flour has a lower protein content of around 8% compared to all purpose flour which has 11%. The lower the protein content, the more structure and soft light texture your cake will have! Now if you don’t have cake flour at home worry not! You can easily make cake flour at home 🙂 If a recipe calls for 1 cup of cake flour, simply measure out 1 cup of all purpose flour. Remove 2 tablespoons of the all purpose flour and add in 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Remember to sift the flour and cornstarch mixture at least 5-6 times. By doing this, it helps thoroughly combine the mixture and will help lighten the flour.

FullSizeRender (29)Getting the perfect colour was key in this recipe. Typically, the colour is either a dark/bright red or a red/brown colour. An interesting fact I found was that back during World War II, bakers used boiled beet juices to enhance the colour of their cakes. Thank god for food colouring!! For this recipe, you can use both liquid or gel food colouring. Liquid food colouring can be found in almost any grocery store. I do like how inexpensive it is and can be used for many different purposes. The only disadvantage I’ve found with liquid food colouring is that the colour is not very deep or pigmented. Therefore I’ve never really used it when baking. Gel food colouring on the other hand is my ultimate go to whenever I need it. It gives such a more vivid colour using a much smaller amount of colouring. For this recipe if you are using liquid food colouring, you will probably need to use the whole bottle to achieve the perfect red velvet colour. If you are using gel colouring, a couple of drops will be more than enough!

RED VELVET CUPCAKES

  • Servings: 85 mini cupcakes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:


RED VELVET CUPCAKES
– 2½ cups of cake flour
– 1 tsp of salt
– 2 tbsp of cocoa powder
– 1½ cups of sugar
– 1½ cups of vegetable oil
– 2 eggs
– 2 tsp of pure vanilla extract
– 1 tsp of red gel food colouring
– 1 cup of buttermilk
– 1½ tsp of baking soda
– 2 tsp of white vinegar

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
– ½ cup of butter (room temperature)
– 4 ounces of cream cheese (room temperature)
– 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract
– 2 cups of icing sugar (sifted)

DIRECTIONS:


1) Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Ensure the rack is placed in the middle position in the oven.
2) Line the mini muffin tins with paper liners.
3) Sift together the cake flour, salt and cocoa in a small bowl.
4) In a stand mixer, blend together sugar and oil until combined. Add in the eggs.
5) Blend in the vanilla and gel food colouring.
6) Reducing the speed to low, add a third of the flour mixture. Mix until just combined. Add in a half cup of the buttermilk. Repeat these steps again ending with the flour mixture.
7) In a small bowl, combine the baking soda and vinegar. The mixture will foam. Add this mixture to the batter and mix for 10 seconds.
8) Add the mixture into the mini muffin tins, filling each ¾ full.
9) Bake the cupcakes for about 10-12 minutes. To check if the cupcakes are cooked, insert a toothpick into the center cupcake. If it comes out clean, the cupcakes are done.
10) To prepare the cream cheese frosting, combine the butter and cream cheese with a mixer until well combined. Add in the vanilla and icing sugar and combine until light and fluffy.
10) Cool cupcakes completely before topping with the cream cheese frosting!FullSizeRender (27)

CRAB GUACAMOLE

Guacamole is a dip made from avocados and is originally from Mexico. All you need to make a standard guacamole are ripe avocados, onions, some spice such as chilies and of course some acidity such as a lemon or a lime.

FullSizeRender (25)

The trick to perfect guacamole is using good, ripe avocados. Check for ripeness by gently pressing the outside of the avocado. If there is no give, the avocado is not ripe yet and will not taste good. I bought a big bag of avocados from Costco. They were completely firm and were a raw green colour. I did manage to look online and find out how to quickly ripen an avocado. One tip that was listed was to put the avocado in a brown paper bag and to let it sit at room temperature. By placing the avocado in a brown paper bag, it traps the ethylene gas that they produce and helps them ripen quicker. Except unfortunately this did not work!! We keep our fruit basket on the counter top right by our stove. I found that the avocados ripened quicker in the fruit basket by the stove rather than in the paper bag!

I was originally going to make just regular guacamole but then I thought to myself…why not make Crab Guacamole???!! It sounded like a match made in heaven!!! 😀 I started brainstorming what to put into this amazing crab guacamole and boom an idea came! I decided to use the ripe avocados, red onions, jalapeno peppers, lime juice, cilantro, salt, sour cream and of course crab meat!!

CRAB GUACAMOLE

  • Servings: 6-7
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:


– 1 can (120g) of crabmeat (drained)
– 2 ripe avocados (diced) (with the seeds)
– 1 small red onions (diced)
– 1 jalapeno pepper (seeded and diced)
– 5 tsp of lime juice
– 5 tsp of salt
– 1 tbsp of sour cream
– handful of chopped cilantro

DIRECTIONS:


1) In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients including the seeds from the avocados. By adding the avocado seeds into your guacamole, it will keep it from going brown 🙂

 

CHEWY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Who doesn’t love some warm cookies with cold milk??! My siblings and I used to love making the Pillsbury Chocolate Chip Cookies for breakfast on Sunday mornings. We recently actually just made them a couple of days ago. I took a bite into them and found them full of a bunch of unnecessary ingredients. I then went onto the Pillsbury website and found it quite funny how they refused to disclose the ingredients! I absolutely hate buying pre-packaged mixes or ready made dough. Why not make a fresh batch of cookies using ingredients that you can control? I also love making food at home because I can absolutely know exactly what is going into the batch. Since I’m allergic to all nuts and coconuts I’m always very cautious of cross contamination. The last thing that I want is an allergic reaction to a pre-packaged cookie dough mix!

Here are a couple of neat tricks that I do while making cookies to have them come out perfectly every time! 🙂

– Never pack your flour when measuring it! While baking, people tend to use their measuring cup as a scoop and scoop out their flour. I always spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level it off with a spatula. This will eliminate that brick hard cookie that no one can ever bite into. I then sift this to ensure there are no lumps!

– Use an ice cream scoop to form your cookie dough balls! This will ensure every cookie will have the same amount of dough and will come out the same size.

– Refrigerate your cookie dough balls before baking them! By refrigerating your cookie dough it will not only harden the butter but it will also give the flour more time to absorb the liquid in the egg. It also lets the enzymes in the flour and egg yolk break down carbs into simple sugars. By doing so the cookies will taste sweet and will caramelize faster when baking!

– Always take your cookies out right when they start turning golden brown. Trust me, I’ve learnt the hard way. Growing up, I would always keep the cookies in the oven until they started getting brown. By the time I would take them out…they’d be burnt! If you remove the cookies just when they’ve turned golden brown they will continue cooking on your hot baking sheet until you set them on a cooling rack 🙂

Here is a link to my favourite Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe! Enjoy! 😀
FullSizeRender (23)