Well 2015 has been a year of firsts for me…my first blog, my first posts, my first comments…the list goes on. I have learned a lot in this first year of blogging. The most important thing I have learned is that there is always something new to learn! Today writing this post I learned how to make a collage in Photo Shop! My son Matthew has been an invaluable resource for me- from teaching me how to navigate through Lightroom and Photo Shop to critiquing my photos! My daughter Elizabeth has been there to cheer me on long distance from law school and to share my posts on FaceBook and Twitter . Then of course there is my husband who has been the chief taste tester and dishwasher- the most valuable of all resources!
When I look back at the Winter of 2015 when I took the leap and started this blog I wasn’t sure if I would be able to come up with enough ideas to create one blog post per week, but in fact I ended up doing almost 2 every week. I still have some of my favourite recipes to share with you and hope to discover some new ones along the way. Perhaps even branch out from baking..who knows where 2016 will take this little blog of mine. But for now I hope you have had a fantastic holiday so far. Be safe and enjoy your time with friends and family.
Welcome 2016- Wishing you all a wonderful New Year and here’s to learning even more!
Maple Pecan Pie, a decadent ending to a wonderful meal or a indulgent afternoon treat. Anytime you choose to enjoy this pie, you will be very happy you tried this wonderfully rich recipe. Pecan Pie is my mother-in-law’s favourite pie, so after she was reminiscing about her mother baking Pecan Pies for Christmas dinner many decades ago, I decided to make one to share with her. After all if you are celebrating your 88th Christmas you deserve your favourite dessert. Now even though I never had the privilege of meeting Mrs. Wright, as she passed away years before I met my husband, all of the family has always raved about her pie making skills- so I knew this would be a challenge.
If you are in need of a great snack or a last minute home-made gift, I have the perfect thing for you. These Spicy Roasted Nuts are addictive and easy to make. You can use whatever type of nut strikes your fancy, they just have to be plain, not salted. This is the third batch we have made in the last 2 days and it was also our third combination. Our first was almonds and peanuts – no hot sauce, they were good but not enough pizzaz. The second was pecans, almonds, peanuts and sunflower seeds and a little hot sauce- they were very good. The third- we were back to just the almonds and peanuts with quite a bit of hot sauce – very very good. It would have been awesome if I had remembered to add in the sunflower seeds – but that will batch #4.
Well it is just over a week until Christmas Day! Do you have all of your baking done? Today I was doing baking for some of my friends and it really does smell fantastic in my kitchen right now.
I have just finished Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti, Shortbread, Chocolate Toffee Shortbread and Pecan Toffee Cookies! These are all cookies recipes that I have posted here on the blog and recipes that I have been making for Christmas for many years. Now after 6 hours of baking I am pooched and just sitting on the couch listening to Christmas carols as the last pan of cookies bakes in the oven. It is such a feeling of accomplishment to see all those packages of cookies waiting to go to their homes to be enjoyed over the holidays.
Yummy and decadent- 2 words that describe these Toffee Chocolate Bars. With a shortbread base layered with caramel then covered with melted chocolate then sprinkled with toffee bits – a match made in heaven. I prefer to use Belgian milk chocolate chips as those are my family’s preference, but you can use whatever type of chocolate makes you happy.
Shortbread is probably my favourite cookie dough to experiment with. You can add fruit, flavours, dried fruit, nuts, chocolate- pretty well anything that tickles your fancy. I have quite a few variations that I make for the holidays season but this Cranberry Shortbread is my newest! Cranberry Shortbread is the perfect Christmas cookie with the flecks of cranberry topped with the sparkle of sanding sugar. The lemon zest highlights the tartness of the berries. The result is a cookie that isn’t too sweet- just perfect with a cup of tea.
Gingerbread Biscotti the perfect combination of the flavour of gingerbread cookies and the crunch of biscotti. If you love the spices of gingerbread – ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg – you are in for a treat with these biscotti. The addition of molasses gives the traditional dark caramel colour of gingerbread and the white chocolate chips make little indents of melted goodness.
I made these cookies to get myself in the swing of the holiday baking season. I love gingerbread, but wasn’t quite in the mood for making gingerbread cookie dough,rolling out and cutting out the shapes for gingerbread. The smell of these cookies baking had me in the Christmas spirit in no time. Sitting down with a nice cup of coffee or hot chocolate for dunking and you have the perfect evening treat to enjoy after a hard day of shopping or decorating.