Category Archives: Desserts Not Otherwise Categorized

5 Last-Minute Holiday Gifts You Can Make in Your Microwave! (WITH RECIPES!)

Last minute gifts from your kitchen? I’ve got you, boo!

Ok, so the holiday season is here and if you’re anything like me, there are still plenty of people for whom I need to get gifts. But I don’t have a lot of time, and don’t want to spend hours in the malls, spending, spending, spending. What to do? Give gifts from your kitchen! After all, who doesn’t love food?

Here are 5 Last Minute Holiday Gifs that YOU can make in the microwave! (just click on the title to be brought to the recipe post)

  1. Personalized Candy Bars – Who wouldn’t love a candy bar made out of their favourite chocolate, and stuffed full of all of the yummy candy that they love? Wrap it nicely, tuck it in a stocking, and be ready for oohs and ahhhs and mmmms!
  2. Chocolate Non-Pareils – So embarrassingly easy, but I’ll give you the recipe below.
  3. Healthier Peanut butter Cups – Got a relative or friend who is a bit more health conscious? Made these for them. They can eat them and feel virtuous, and totally show them off on Instagram!
  4. Choc-Dipped Potato Chips – Got a relative or friend who is a bit of a foodie? Or a couch potato? These hand-dipped chocolate-dipped potato chips will hit the spot. But, fair warning, you can’t eat just one! These are so easy, that you don’t even need a recipe. Just melt 1 c. chocolate chips in the microwave in a bowl, along with a tablespoon of veg oil. Stir til mixed, then dip individual chips in the mixture, and refrigerate dipped chips on parchment-covered cookie trays until set. Bam, done!
  5. Candy Cane Bark – This is a staple at my annual holiday party, and also a staple of the cookie tins that I give to friends each year. Easy, delicious, and a great way to use up last year’s candy canes!

Have I inspired you to made some gifts? I encourage to jump in and try them! They’re really, truly easy to make, they all taste FAN-TAS-TIC and just think how impressed everyone will be when you tell them that you made it yourself!

Oh, and here’s the recipe for 1-Minute Easy-Peasy Non-Pareils

Platter of pareils! Technically, these are non-pareils: little discs of chocolate covered in teeny tiny candy balls. Yummy!

1-MINUTE EASY-PEASY NON-PAREILS

  • 1/2 c. multi-coloured non-pareils (those teeny tiny multi-coloured little candy balls you often find on cakes or cookies)
  • 1/4 c. chocolate wafers (white chocolate, dark choc, milk choc — you do you!)

Take the chocolate wafers and place them on a piece of parchment paper in a small microwave safe glass tray, about an inch apart. Zap for 60 secs, or until the chocolate is slightly soft and melty, but not runny. Remove from microwave and pour the non-pareils over them. They’ll run everywhere, but that’s ok as they’re in a container; you just want to make sure that they stick to the softened wafers. Stick the tray into the fridge until the chocolate is set. Then pop the candy-ball covered chocolates off the parchment paper, and…you’re done! Seriously, they’re that easy. You can pour the leftover little candy balls back into their original container, and use them again for the next batch.  

Isn’t it fun making gifts from your kitchen? I’ve made a whole bunch so far this season, and packed some up in cellophane and fabric bags for gifting. If you make some, let me know in the comments how you package your gifts!

Next Post: Cappuccino Cupcakes! I thought I had previously posted a recipe for them, but can’t seem to find it on the blog, so…either you’re getting the same recipe twice, or it’s a new recipe! Eh, either way, it’s delicious!

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday!

Marshmallow Snowman Pops: An Easy Holiday Giftable

Easy, pretty, and waiting to be eaten!

The holidays are approaching, and I LOVE making and giving gifts from my kitchen! I’ve been working on a whole bunch of giftables, and will be posting lists (with recipes) of all those delicious things soon, so that you can also get your kitchen gifting on! This week’s recipe is one of those giftables: Marshmallow Snowman Pops!

Marshmallow Snowman Pops are a simple last-minute gift that you can pull together to hand out to children, or to tie on to a holiday gift. I made several of these last week and gave them to the children who were at a holiday party I was attended. They ate them right away, which flattered me no end!

Want to make some too? Let’s!

MARSHMALLOW SNOWMAN POPS

For each pop, you will need:

  • 3 regular-size marshmallows
  • 1 orange coloured candy-covered sunflower seed (or similar-sized orange candy)
  • 3 silver dragees
  • 1/4 of white chocolate candy wafers
  • 1 cake pop stick (or similar)
  • food colouring markers
  • 1 small candy cane

Take two marshmallows and stick them on the cake pop stick, pushing down, until about 1 cm of stick shows above the top of the top marshmallow. Then stick the third marshmallow on top and remove it (that’s right, take it back off again. We just want to make sure that there’s a hole in it.)

Take the white chocolate wafers and melt them in a bowl in the microwave. Dip the stick (with the two marshmallows on it) in the melted chocolate, turning to coat, until the marshmallows are all covered in chocolate. Then dip the top of the stick in the melted chocolate, and stick the third marshmallow on top. (The chocolate functions as a sort of glue to keep the top marshmallow on.) FYI, it’s easier to cover the marshmallows in chocolate when you’re melting the wafers for several marshmallows. Take another cake pop stick (or chopstick, which is what I used), and push it through the centre marshmallow where you want the snowman’s arms to be, then remove it.

Place the marshmallow and chocolate stick on a plate and stick it in the fridge until the chocolate is mostly set. Take the candy cane, and snap off the curved part, so that you’re only left with a straight stick of candy cane. Push this straight stick through the hole that you previously made for the arms. Place the silver dragees on the centre marshmallow where you want the buttons to be. Place snowman in fridge until chocolate is completely set.

Using another cake pop stick, pop a hole in the top marshmallow, where you want the nose to be. Stick the orange candy-covered sunflower seed (or other orange candy resembling a carrot) in the hole. Using your food colouring markers, draw on eyes and a mouth.

And voila! An adorable and easy gift! I wrapped mine up in cellophane bags and used curling ribbon to tie them shut. Gift them to others and wait for the oohs and aaahs!

Next Post: I know I promised last time to give you a recipe for Super-Easy Strawberry Cranberry Jam, but that’ll have to wait a bit, because the next post is Five Easy Holiday Gifts that You Can Make in the Kitchen!

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday and Happiness is Homemade!

Super-Easy Cream Cheese Icing When You Don’t Have Any Cream Cheese

Layers of cream cheese icing goodness! Except that there’s no cream cheese in it. Um, say what?

Cream Cheese Icing is a MUST when making carrot cake, and a HIGHLY RECOMMEND when making pumpkin cake. Last week I baked a pumpkin cake, and went to make the cream cheese icing; however, after looking in the fridge, I realized…there was no cream cheese! Egads! What to do? Well, this was a case for…THE QUEEN OF SUBSTITUTIONS!

The solution? Lebneh, also known as yoghurt cheese! I make my own yoghurt, and grew up eating homemade lebneh (drained yoghurt so thick it functions as cream cheese), so it was an easy thing to pull out some yoghurt cheese as a cream cheese substitute.

The verdict? Yum-city! I was trying to take a photo of the finished cake and the DH was hovering impatiently so that he could have a slice. I asked him just now for his opinion. He said, and this is a direct quote, “It’s very bad; don’t eat it, leave it all for me!” So yeah, it was a hit.

The tanginess of the yoghurt subs in perfectly for the tanginess of cream cheese, and the maple syrup adds a touch of sweetness without being cloying. The cinnamon is a perfect foil to carrot OR pumpkin cake, or frankly, anything you want to serve it with.

And since it’s the holidays, you can feel better about eating this icing, since you know it has the calcium-rich goodness of yoghurt in it!

Let’s get to making some!

SUPER-EASY CREAM CHEESE ICING without CREAM CHEESE

(adapted from The Novice Chef)

  • 8 oz. lebneh/yoghurt cheese (about the size of a standard cream cheese packet) (recipe in this post)
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 3 1/3 c. icing sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients together until fully blended. Spread on a cooled slab cake, or serve as a dip with cookies. Enjoy the compliments coming your way!

The only downside to this icing? This is more of a slab cake icing than a traditional round layer cake icing. This is due to the yoghurt cheese — if left for several days, some of the whey will continue to drain and cause the icing to be a bit weepy.  So bake your cake in a lasagna pan, and ice it once cool. Serve and enjoy!

Or, use it as a dip. I’m planning on bringing a bowl of this icing to a dinner party tonight, along with some homemade graham crackers. How’s that for an appetizer? Naturally, I’ve done some taste-testing with this combo. *can’t talk, mouth too full* *shouldn’t be typing, fingers too sticky*

Next Post: Five Holidays Gifts from the Kitchen and Four Ingredient Strawberry Cranberry Jam

Linking Up at Full Plate Thursday!

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!

Three Easy Ways to Bake Alice-in-Wonderland Themed Treats!

Pretty, painted meringue roses that melt in your mouth!

I generally don’t sell my baking, preferring to a) eat it (best part of baking, amirite?), b) bring it to work, or c) have the DH bring it to his work (our colleagues are most appreciative). Recently, however, when someone I didn’t know asked me to do some baking for a themed baby shower, I thought, why not? And baked up these yummy ‘Alice in Wonderland’ themed treats!

What treats did I make? Chessboard Nanaimo Bar Squares, Painted Rose Meringues, and Spotted Mushroom Cupcakes! And honestly, they were so easy to make. Want to make some yourself? Let’s!

Chessboard Nanaimo Bar Squares

  • 1 batch Nanaimo bar ingredients, plus
  • 1 c. white chocolate wafers
  • 1 tbsp. oil

Use my nanaimo bar recipe, but use a lasagna pan instead of a square pan. And, before you add the final chocolate layer, cut the giant block of nanaimo bar in half. Then ice one half in chocolate and ice the other half in white chocolate (that’s what the white chocolate wafers & oil is for). When set, cut into squares and arrange in a chessboard pattern. Et voila! Wasn’t that easy?

What a delicious Nanaimo bar chessboard!

As you all know, I like to use real ingredients to create delicious treats…and then consume them when they’re fresh, because why wait to eat yumminess? Which means that when I made the Spotted Mushroom Cupcakes, I didn’t use a cake mix or canned frosting, but mixed up the batter from scratch, along with some vanilla buttercream! I actually used coconut oil instead of shortening in my vanilla buttercream recipe, and that gave the buttercream a coconutty taste — extra yummy! The DH came by the kitchen as I was baking, and tasted the buttercream. His reaction? “MMMMMMMM!” I think that says it all.

Spotted Mushroom Cupcakes

  • 1 batch chocolate cupcake batter (I HIGHLY recommend this recipe)
  • 1 batch of my vanilla buttercream, but using (room temperature) coconut oil instead of shortening
  • green cupcake wrappers
  • 1 1/2 c. of red candy wafers
  • 1 tsp. vegetable oil

Using the green cupcake wrappers, bake the cupcakes according to the directions. Whip up the buttercream according to the recipe, except use coconut oil in place of the shortening. Using a butter knife, spread icing over the top of each cupcake to create a smooth dome. Place 2 or 3 red wafers on each iced cupcake. Then, place the remaining red wafers in a cup along with the oil and microwave in 30 s. bursts until melted, stirring every 30 s. Once melted, pour into a Ziploc bag, and cut a very small bit off of one corner. Pipe small red dots onto a sheet of waxed paper. Set the waxed paper in the fridge to set. Once the red dots are solid, place two or three red dots on each cupcake. Et voila, your Spotted Mushroom Cupcakes are done!

Coconutty buttercream goodness!

Do you remember the part in ‘Alice in Wonderland’, where the Queen orders her white roses to be painted red? Well, we can do the same, only with roses made out of meringue!

Painted Rose Meringues

  • 1 batch of meringue (I like this recipe, as it creates a very pipeable meringue)
  • 2 cups red candy wafers
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 Wilton 1M piping tip
  • a piping bag

Mix up the batch of meringue batter.  Cut the tip off the piping bag, and attach the piping tip. (If you don’t have a piping attachment, don’t worry, just place the piping tip inside the bag and it will work just fine.) Scoop the meringue batter into the piping bag and twist the top closed. Pipe roses onto a baking sheet. How to pipe a rose? Start in the centre, and pipe a swirl. The 1M piping tip makes the swirl look like a rose! Bake according to meringue batter instructions, or until the meringues are lightly golden on the bottom, and thoroughly dry throughout (I usually break one in half to check the done-ness. And then eat it. Hazard/benefit of the job, right?) When done, remove to a cooling rack and let cool thoroughly.

Mix wafers with vegetable oil, and melt in microwave, in 30 s. bursts, stirring in between each 30 s. When thoroughly melted, pour into a shallow bowl. Dip 1/3 of the roses top down, so that the tops become completely covered in red. Then set these back on the cooling tray (I suggest placing a piece of wax paper underneath to catch all the drips). Take 1/2 of the remaining meringues and dip half of the cookie in the melted red wafers, so that it looks as though someone half-painted a white rose. Set back on cooling tray. Let the candy coating set. If you’re in a hurry, you can place the cooling racks in the fridge to set faster. Once done, arrange the roses on a platter, with some red roses, some white roses, and some half-painted roses. Deliciousness, thy name is meringue!

Wasn’t it easy to make those ‘Alice in Wonderland’ themed desserts? They’re just basic recipes, but with the design slightly tweaked so that they fit with an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ theme. Do you have an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ themed party coming up? Why not try these out? Not only are they delicious, but they’re fun to look at too! If you do bake these treats, be sure to email me some photos! I’d love to post them on my social media channels!

Next Post: Baked Falafel Croutons! Say what? That’s right! An easy way to add vegetarian protein to your salad!  

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday! And Happiness is Homemade! And also at Full Plate Thursday!