Monthly Archives: October 2017

Three-Ingredient Chocolate Marzipan Croissants: 20 Minutes to Weekend Brunch!

 

Ooey gooey deliciousness!

Today’s recipe is one that is super-easy to pull together: Chocolate Marzipan Croissants. I don’t usually use pre-packaged foods but a few weeks ago croissant dough was on sale, and I was recovering from some health issues and was taking things a bit easier. I bought a package of croissant dough for 99 cents and stuck it in the fridge for midnight carb cravings. (What, you don’t have these cravings? It’s just me?)

Speaking of cravings, I always crave chocolate. Plus, chocolate & marzipan are childhood favourites, and almond croissants are a guilty pleasure. So, let’s combine all of those to make delicious Chocolate Marzipan Croissants, but…let’s make them SUUUUPER simple to make!

You use a short-cut — pre-made dough — then add in two ingredients and bake it briefly. That’s right, it’s a 3 ingredient recipe, and made (and baked!) in less than 20 minutes.

Let’s get baking!

Chocolate & Marzipan Croissants

  • 1 package croissant dough
  • 1/2 c. chocolate chips
  • 1/2 pkg. (100 g.) marzipan

Unroll dough into triangles. Roll out marzipan into similar sized triangles and place on top of dough triangles. sprinkle a few chocolate chips on each triangle and roll into a croissant shape (start rolling the thick end of the triangle to towards the thin end). Curve the ends of the rolled dough to make a traditional croissant shape.

Bake for 10-12 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Let cool slightly. Melt chocolate chips over a double-boiler (or in the microwave in 30 s. bursts) and drizzle over the still warm (but not hot) croissants. Serve and collect ooohs and ahhhs!

About to be nommed!

If you like, you can make the croissants fancier by dusting them with icing sugar or sprinkling on sliced almonds (or candied sliced almonds!). Or, decadently, topping with chocolate sprinkles! Mmm…now that would be delicious!

Wasn’t that an easy treat to bake up? Who says that delicious has to be time-consuming? Now, if you want to earn uber-baker cred, you could make your own croissant dough (this recipe is a nice one). If you do, definitely invite me over to help you sample your creations; there’s nothing quite like homemade croissants!

Next Post: Homemade Cranberry Sauce. Three ingredients. A few minutes. Pure Thanksgiving (or Christmas, or…anytime) deliciousness!

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday and Happiness is Homemade!

Broccoli Cheddar Soup and How to Live Forever

Soup-a-licious!

I love cooking, partially for the creative aspect of it, and partially because it’s delicious (actually, that IS most of the reason!), but also because I can control the nutritional profile.  I try to avoid preservatives, so I’m big on homemade food, and often, homemade food is more nutritious than any bought in a super-market or a restaurant. So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that I took a restaurant favourite, Broccoli Cheddar Soup, and found a way to amp up the nutrition, without losing any of the flavour. This hearty soup is great to serve on a cold evening, with some homemade bread, or to pack for lunch with a crunchy apple. Yummy AND healthy? Bring it on!

Oh, and the title? About how to live forever? Totes click bait. But kind of also true, because broccoli is suuuuuuuper-high in antioxidants, and anti-oxidants fight the free radicals that cause aging damage. Wait, is this a beauty blog? No. So enough with the anti-aging (although up with the healthy!) and let’s get on with the cooking!

This Broccoli Cheddar Soup is low fat, as we use milk instead of the usual cream. But, it’s still thick and creamy! How? The secret ingredient is dehydrated broccoli, which we use in addition to the usual fresh (or frozen) broccoli; that’s how we double the nutrition and increase the flavour, without losing any taste. I used my own dehydrated broccoli, but you could probably just replace it with greens powder if you aren’t able to find or make any; nobody will know, and you’ll all be healthier for it!

So, shall we get soup-ifying?

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

(adapted from the Food Network’s recipe for similar soup)

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 2 c. milk
  • 3 c. vegetable bouillon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 c. broccoli
  • 3/4 c. dehydrated broccoli (or greens powder)
  • 1 carrot, cut into chunks
  • 1 1/2 c. cheddar cheese, grated

First, we make the roux: melt the butter in a soup pot, and stir in the flour. Cook for two minutes. Whisk in milk. Fair warning, it will get lumpy, but just keep whisking and it will smooth out. Then stir in bouillon. Add bay leaves, nutmeg, salt and pepper (I leave out the salt, personally, but I prefer lower salt soups). Then add in broccoli, carrot, and dehydrated broccoli. Let it cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes, or until the broccoli can be easily pierced with a fork. Use an immersion blender to blend soup until it is the desired thickness that you like. Take soup off the burner and let it cool for 10 minutes. Then stir in cheddar cheese. (Letting the soup cool a bit before stirring in the cheese means the cheese won’t get all lumpy. Win!)

So. Cheese? In broccoli soup form? Yas! In other words, make this soup, and let me know what you think!

Next Post: Hmm. Good question. I’ve been craving carbs lately, so maybe something baked and carbalicious. Mmm…baked goods. So yum!

Vegan Coconut Apple Spice Cake

The perfect snack for a nice fall day!

Before I talk about how to make Vegan Coconut Apple Spice Cake, allow me a little blathering. I try to post a new recipe once a week, and usually on the weekend. However, this past week I’ve been recovering from some medical stuff and have been napping extra much to recover my strength. All of which is to explain why this week’s post is a few days (cough*week*cough) late! It’s also a particularly easy recipe, and vegan to boot! Whether you’re eating a plant-based diet because it’s healthy, or because it’s easy to make from pantry ingredients, I definitely recommend this recipe for some easy, healthy, and (very importantly) TASTY fall flavour!

I took my basic vegan spice cake recipe and added apples for some extra nutrients and because it’s apple season right now, here in Ontario, Canada. I also added in some coconut, just to change up the flavours a bit, and also because I had some in my pantry that I wanted to use up. And voila, Vegan Coconut Apple Spice Cake was born!

This snack cake is easy to bake, freeze, and pack for lunches. It’s also delicious sprinkled with icing sugar and served with tea, if that’s your jam. You can make it in a cake pan and serve it in wedges, bake it in a square pan and serve in square pieces, or even bake it in muffin cups for a grab and go breakfast that’s guilt-free. It’s super-versatile, in other words.

Let’s get to making this delicious snack cake!

Vegan Coconut Apple Spice Cake

  • 1/2 c. shredded coconut
  • 2 apples, peeled and chopped (I used Gala, but McIntosh would be fine too)
  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. each: cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. vinegar
  • 1 c. water
  • 1/4 c. oil

Mix together wet ingredients and in a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Then add wet to dry and mix until just moistened (you’ll see some foaming action as the vinegar hits the baking soda). Do not overbeat. There WILL be lumps, and that’s ok! Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes or until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.

It took me less than 15 minutes to mix up the batter for this cake and pop it in the oven, including the time to peel and chop the apples. Easy peasy apple squeezy, right? This means it’s easy to mix together on a weeknight. Or weekend. Or basically, anytime. Let there be cake!

Next Post: I’ve been making multiple batches of broccoli cheddar soup lately, so I think I’ll share my reduced fat recipe with you! It’s extra-full of vitamins and taste but lower on the fat. Guilt free yumminess, woohoo!

Easy Cacti Cupcakes, Because Succulents are Super-Trendy

Plant lady is the new cat lady. Intrigued? Read on!

I love cupcakes, I love buttercream, and I love a good challenge in the kitchen, so when I saw a picture of some Cacti Cupcakes recently, I thought “I can do that!” And decided to craft my own version. So yes, that’s this week’s recipe! Easy Cacti/Succulent Cupcakes! To be specific, spice cake cupcakes with coconut buttercream frosting. Yum, yum, YUM!!!

I read somewhere recently, that “Plant lady is the new cat lady”, and a) burst out laughing and b) was struck by the truth of it. What am I talking about? Well, lately it seems that succulents are all the rage with the younger (or youngish) crowd. If you are on Instagram (or Insta, as the young’uns say, IG for short), you can’t get away from all the photos of succulents, especially in geometric shaped planters. There’s  a ‘hens and chicks’ succulent pic here, a ‘mother of thousands’ succulent pic there…and then a ‘wandering dude’ plant in the corner, just to round things out.

I’m young enough that I follow trends in things like nail design (I just got my nails did, in a glamorous yet impractical almond-tipped shape), but old enough that I’m more of a cat lady than a plant lady, despite the many plants I have in my home (although to be honest, while succulents are trendy now, cats are kind of universal and will never fall out of fashion. Who doesn’t love a purring kitten?). Nevertheless, I jumped on the design trend, and decided that I wanted to try crafting some cacti in buttercream.

And you can too! It only takes three different icing tips (Wilton 104, 7, and 352) to make these designs.  Shall we? (Honestly, it’s easier than it seems. Don’t be intimidated by how much I’ve typed — I can be verbose at times — and try making these cupcakes yourself!)

My faves! Wilton tips 352 and 104.

Easy Cacti/Succulent Cupcakes

  • 1 batch spice cake batter
  • 1 c. graham cracker crumbs (I used chocolate because that’s what I had, but regular ones would likely imitate sand better)
  • 1 batch coconut buttercream frosting
  • green, pink, and yellow food colouring
  • Wilton tips: 104, 7, and 352
  • plastic piping bags
  • two ice cream cones (the wafer type, not sugar cones)

Bake the cupcakes and let cool. Frost the tops lightly with frosting, and press the iced tops into a bowl of the cookie crumbs, making sure all the buttercream is covered in crumbs. Congrats, you’ve just created the Mojave dessert in cupcake form!

Take two spoonfuls of buttercream and place them in a bowl with two drops of pink food colouring and mix to create the pink buttercream that you will be using for the pink flowered cacti. Then do the same with yellow food colouring to create yellow buttercream. With the remaining buttercream, add enough green food colouring to create the shade of green that you want.

Now, you can decide which cacti/succulents to make.

Wilton tips 7, 352, and 104.

For the spiky tipped cacti, take an ice cream cone, and cut it into two horizontally, where the cone widens. Place the bottom of the cone upside down on a cupcake, and place the top of the cone on top (it will drop down, forming a ring around the base). This gives you a shape to pipe onto, because if we tried to create the entire thing from buttercream, it would be too heavy to support itself (and also, that’s too much buttercream for anyone, even ME!). Using Wilton tip 7, pipe little spikes all over the ice cream cone shape, until the entire thing is covered in little spikes. BAM! You’ve just created a buttercream cacti, yo’! You be talented!

For the flower-topped cacti, use Wilton tip 352, and little spiky leaves in a large circle (not touching in the centre) and then build up layer after layer of leaves on top of each other, each layer in a slightly narrower circle than the previous one, until you’ve created a little plant.

To make little flowers, just google ‘how to pipe an icing rose’ on youtube, and you’ll see a million and three videos just like this one. Try making a flower yourself using tip 104 — they’re super-easy, and look super-fancy! The tutorials usually tell you to use a piping nail, but you could use a very small metal bowl turned upside down, or even just a small square of parchment paper. The piping nail makes it easier, but it’s not crucial.

Once you’ve made the flower, place it on top of your succulents, using a pair of scissors (what a weird, yet useful, technique, yes?). You can see this technique in the video that I’ve linked to, just above. Such a pretty cupcake, yes?

To make the long-lined cacti, take the bottom half of a ice cream cone (using the same cutting technique as before), and ice lightly in green buttercream. Stick on top of a cupcake. Using the same Wilton leaf tip (352) that you used before, angle the tip and pipe thick lines all the way up and down the cone. Then top with a flower. Now that’s a tasty cacti!

All packaged up and ready to be delivered! (This was actually a custom order.)

If you’ve never used piping tips before, they’re honestly not as intimidating as they might seem. I encourage you to pick up a few and play with them! You’ll find that they up your cupcake game, and garner you lots of compliments!

Kitchen Hack: If you don’t have piping bags, you can create a temporary one by reinforcing a Ziploc baggie with packing tape all over to reinforce the seams. (I tried it first without reinforcing the seams, and WHOOSH! Buttercream all over my hands. Learn from my mistake and reinforce the baggie.) Cut the tip off of a corner and place a tip inside the baggie, with the pointing end of the tip just coming out of the corner that you snipped. Et voila! You’ve successfully hacked yourself a piping bag!

Next Post: Hmm. How about a Coconut Apple Spice Cake recipe? Or should I save that for later, and do something hearty to balance out my buttercream posts? Let me know in the comments!

Linking up at Meal Plan Monday! And at Happiness is Homemade!