Category Archives: Desserts Not Otherwise Categorized

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!

Ridiculously Easy Strawberry FroYo: A Waistline Friendly Dessert (or Breakfast!)

Strawberry froyo: so easy to make that it’s ridic!

Picture this: it’s a super-hot summer day. The heat hits you like a wall as soon as you step outside. But wait, what’s that in your hand? It’s a scoopful (ok, let’s be realistic, it’s several scoopfuls) of freshly made Strawberry FroYo! And even better, it’s healthy, aka guilt-free! Living the dream, folks!

Recently, I got the ice cream maker attachment to my KitchenAid stand mixer. My husband likes to joke that I have a KitchenAid Kitchen as most of my appliances are KitchenAid (ooh, just had a thought — BHAG goal, a sponsored post with KitchenAid! Plus a giveaway. Now that would be a dream of a post to write! Any KitchenAid marketing staff out there who want to make my dream come true?) but given that I have limited kitchen space, getting an attachment as opposed to another appliance just made sense.

So, I had a new kitchen toy to play with, and it’s the dog days of August. Obviously, the only thing to do was…make ice cream! I’ve posted recipes for my super-yummy No Churn Rum Raisin Ice Cream (OH so good!) and my gluten-free Chunks ‘o Brownie No Churn Ice Cream (I’m drooling just typing that out), but I’ve been trying to develop a healthier ice cream that won’t add to my waistline, while still being yummy. What to do, what to do.

And then I was eating my favourite breakfast one day: homemade yoghurt with homemade strawberry jam. I looked at my breakfast bowl. I looked at my new ice cream maker attachment. And then I dumped my breakfast in the frozen bowl and turned on the paddle. BAM! Strawberry FroYo, yo!

In the time it took me to get dressed for work, my frozen yoghurt was ready. OH. SO. GOOD. Especially to eat happily while walking to work. Mmm…dessert for breakfast!

STRAWBERRY FROYO

  • 1 c. yoghurt (I make my own, using this recipe)
  • 1/4 c. strawberry jam (I make my own, but you do you, boo)

Place yoghurt and strawberry jam in frozen bowl, add paddle, and churn for 20 minutes; or follow instructions for your brand of ice cream maker. And…that’s it! (Told you it was easy!)

Doing its thang: churners gotta churn.

Scoop out, eat it up, and revel in the tartness of the froyo mingling with the sweetness of the strawberries. Ah, summer heaven!

No ice cream maker? You *could* make this without one. You’d just put the ingredients in the freezer in a freezer-safe container, and then stir after the first hour, and every half hour until frozen to your taste. But honestly, that’s a pain in the patootie. This is one of the few recipes that I say you need to have a specific kitchen tool for. If you don’t have an ice cream maker or attachment, I’d suggest making my No Churn Strawberry Ice Cream instead. Not as healthy, but [redacted], it’s tasty!

Next Post: Cake Decorating Basics! I’ve been working on my coursework for the Elite Blog Academy, and this is the result of an assignment a month ago. Learning is fun, but cake is the BEST THING EVER! No, wait that’s chocolate. Ok, I stand corrected: Chocolate Cake: BEST THING EVER!

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday! And at Full Plate Thursday!

Extra-Chocolatey Nanaimo Bars: A Recipe to Celebrate Canada’s 150th Birthday

Too delicious to share! (My waist recommended that I share these, but my taste buds said ‘mine, all mine!’)

Why are these Nanaimo bars extra-chocolatey? Because the bottom layer (that scrumptiousness made of cookies, coconut, and nuts) is made with CHOCOLATE graham crackers! And of course, I made my own (although you could buy store-bought) simply because I prefer to have as fresh ingredients as possible.Oh, and I made my chocolate graham crackers with whole wheat flour, to increase the fibre content. I’m sure that balances out all the butter and sugar, right? M’kay.

I did write in the post title, that this recipe was to celebrate Canada’s 150th Birthday (yes, Canada as a nation is only 150 years old!), but I would be remiss if I didn’t address the fact that Canada is built on someone else’s land: that of the First Nations people. I don’t know what the solution is. Obviously after 150 years, all non-native peoples are not going to go back to the lands of their genetic heritage, but at the same time, we cannot ignore the fact that there are problems with how the First Nations people have been treated, both historically (residential schools) and currently (the appalling state of some of the reserves in the Canadian north). There’s no easy answer, and I have no insights that others do not. Addressing social issues is also not the purpose of this blog, but I felt I couldn’t celebrate Canada (Multiculturalism! Delicious foods like Nanaimo bars!) without acknowledging the First Nations who were the original inhabitants of Kanata.

Now, let’s make us some Nanaimo bars!

Luscious ripply layers!

Extra Chocolatey Nanaimo Bars

Top Layer

  • 3/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 tsp. butter

Middle Layer

  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 drop yellow food colouring
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. corn starch
  • 2 tbsp. milk powder
  • 2 1/2 c. icing sugar
  • 1/2 c. butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp. milk

Bottom Layer

  • 1 c. chocolate graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 c. ground mixed salted nuts
  • 1 c. coconut (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 c. butter, softened
  • 1/2 c. icing sugar
  • 1/3 c. cocoa
  • 1 egg

Make the bottom layer: Mix all ingredients for the bottom layer together. Line a buttered 9×9 inch pan with parchment paper; leave enough parchment paper to overhang the sides (you’ll be using this later to lift the squares out of the tray easily). Press the ingredients into the tray. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Let cool in pan, and set aside (in pan).

Make the custardy middle layer: Blend all ingredients together. Spread smoothly over chilled bottom layer. Put in fridge until firm, or at least an hour.

Make the topping: mix the chocolate chips and butter together in a microwave safe bowl, and microwave in 30 s. bursts, stirring in between each, until thoroughly melted. Mix together and let cool slightly. Spread cooled mixture over the custard layer in the tray.

Chill the squares thoroughly before cutting. Lift entire tray of bars out of pan using parchment paper ends as handles. Place on a flat surface, and cut using a knife dipped in hot water (and then dried). Dip knife in hot water between each cut (and wipe dry after dipping).

And, enjoy a slice of Canadiana!

Can’t stop eating them! Even the chocolate-disliking DH ate them!

BONUS RECIPE: Chocolate Graham Crackers

Want to make your own chocolate graham crumbs? You totes can! I made my own chocolate graham crackers, by using this recipe (except halving it, and leaving out any toppings), and adding in 1/3 c. cocoa, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, and using only whole wheat flour. Once baked and cooled, and I then blitzed the cookies in the blender until they were finely crumbled. Voila, homemade chocolate graham cracker crumbs!

Next Post: How to Make Your Own Banoffee Frappe! That’s right, it’s a frappe with banana, caramel, and whipped cream — so delicious on a hot summer’s day!

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

Diet Cheesecake: Low-Fat, Healthy, & No-Bake (The Dream is Real, Folks!)

Diet cheesecake, for realz!

Now that I’ve (hopefully) got your attention with my ‘Diet Cheesecake’ title, I’ll come clean: it’s actually mock cheesecake, as there’s no cream cheese in the cheesecake. Say, what?!?

I’ve blogged before about how I make my own yoghurt. It’s sooo delicious, and so easy that I urge you to make your own! I made a batch of yoghurt last week, and got to thinking about how my dad used to make yoghurt cheese (‘labneh’ in Arabic) when I was a child. I thought, you know what, I bet I could use that to make a no-bake cheesecake pie. Welp, I was right! It IS possible to make cheesecake without cream cheese!

I used 1% milk to make my yoghurt, which means the resultant yoghurt cheese was very low-fat. Admittedly, it’s not low-sugar because it uses condensed milk as a sweetener, but hey, one can’t have everything in life, right? I did use my gingersnap cookie recipe as the base for the cheesecake, which means the cheesecake is low-gluten as well.

And did I mention that it’s no bake? Assuming one has gingersnap cookies lying around, that is. If you don’t make your own, just buy some. Eh. Life is too short to make everything from scratch all the time.

So. Let’s get to the good stuff — where’s that recipe?

DIET STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE

Makes 8 servings

  • 1 1/2 litres of Balkan-style yoghurt (or all the yoghurt that 3 l of milk will make)
  • 3/4 can of condensed milk
  • 4 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 8 medium-sized gingersnap cookies
  • 10 tbsp. strawberry jam (I used homemade pectin-free jam because I like the loose set)

Take a colander and line it with cheesecloth (or a very loose-weave cotton cloth); place that colander into a large bowl. Pour all your yoghurt into the lined colander, and place it in the fridge for 48 hours. This will drain the whey from the yoghurt. Twice a day, empty the bowl of the whey (drink it for extra protein, or use it in baking). After 48 hours, you will have a very thick, cream cheese-like yoghurt cheese.

Mix the yoghurt cheese with the condensed milk, lime juice, and vanilla extract.

Place the gingersnap cookies in glass custard cups. Spoon the cheesecake filling on top, and spoon some strawberry jam on top of that. Et voila, healthy diet cheesecake!

That creamy filling, tho!

In case you’re wondering if it was delicious, let me just say that I made this recipe last night. The DH and I ate 4 servings last night, and this morning I woke up to find that he had taken it upon himself to save my waistline, and eaten the remaining two servings for breakfast. (What he doesn’t know about is that I saved some cheesecake filling and hid it. Ha, ha! That’ll teach him to eat my dessert! Marriage; for better or worse but not dessert.)

Of course, you can play around with this recipe. Buy a pre-made crust or make your own more traditional graham-crumb crust; top with canned cherries, macerated strawberries, or blueberry jam; add chocolate chips to the filling and caramel on top…the list is endless! If you make this, let me know in the comments which variation you make! I’m wondering now if I could make an Oreo version; what do you think, should I develop that recipe?

Next Post: Hmm. Maybe that Apple Cinnamon Pancake recipe, maybe my Sausage & Roast Veggies Mini Meat Pies (veg version, ‘natch)!

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday! And Full Plate Thursday!

Dutch Chocolate Pudding (& How to Clean a Burnt Pot without Scrubbing)

Elegance, thy name is chocolate pudding. Now let’s chow down!

I’ve been craving dairy recently, and if you’re a returning reader of my blog, you’ll know I’m always up for some chocolate. So I decided to combine the two and make a batch of my grandmother’s chocolate pudding.

My Oma (Dutch for grandmother) gave this recipe for Chocolade Vla (chocolate pudding) to my mom and my mom made it for special occasions, often topping it with whipped cream and chocolate eggs to make chocolate pudding nests for Easter. I think any day is a great day to eat chocolate pudding, so I’ve made this dish three times in the past two weeks. And since the DH isn’t fond of chocolate, I’ve eaten it all! I have no regrets though. It’s quick to made, and I think it’s actually not that unhealthy. It’s basically thickened, sweetened, flavoured milk. You doubt me? Check out this recipe!

Dutch Chocolate Pudding (Chocolade Vla)

  • 2 1/3 c. milk
  • 3 tbsp. corn starch
  • 3 tbsp. cocoa
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Heat 2 c. milk to just-before-boiling in a double boiler (around 170 degrees). In a bowl, mix the corn starch, cocoa, sugar, and salt together, and add in the remaining milk and stir until blended. Whisk into the heated milk, and cook on medium heat until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Pour into bowls and let cool. Serve with whipped cream (if that’s your thang) and chocolate shavings (definitely my thang!).

Pourable pudding, poured into a glass custard cup, and topped with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles. And a Dutch (Delft!) teaspoon to boot!

FYI, “vla” is *slightly* different from traditional North American pudding (or even British-style custards), in that it’s slightly more liquidy. If you prefer a thicker pudding, add an additional tablespoon of corn starch. Oh, and definitely use a double-boiler to make this! It’s what my Oma recommended, and she was a smart cookie.

As for me, I have little patience for things like double boilers. I mean, they’re useful, I should use them, but…they take so long to boil! Ugh. Just like when I’m heating milk for yoghurt, I tend to turn up the burner to high to get to the cooking part more quickly. Should I? No. Do I? Yes. Does it burn on the bottom? Unfortunately it does, all too often.

Which is when I pull out my little kitchen trick. That’s right, it’s a…KITCHEN HACK!

HOW TO CLEAN A BURNT POT WITHOUT SCRUBBING

Boil a little water in the pot with a bunch of baking soda. The burnt bits will float right off, and the rest will wipe off with no scrubbing! That’s right, that’s all. It’s really just too simple!

So I do recommend using a double-boiler, or cooking the pudding low to medium heat. Yes, it takes a few minutes longer, but it saves you a burnt pot. As for me and my house…I suspect I will keep turning up the heat and cleaning those pots! Ah well. At least I have chocolate pudding!

Next Post: Maybe something healthy? Or should I post my Shortcut Cinnamon Buns recipe? Let me know in the comments!

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday!