HOLIDAY BAKING: It’s A Candy Cane Christmas!

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Christmas is in full swing and the countdown is on to complete our lengthy baking list. Every year we bake our ‘classic family favourites‘ that have been in our family forever. You know, the Scottish Shortbread, Gingerbread and Pecan Tarts to name a few. This year we decided to step outside of the tried and true baking list and try something new and exciting. We like to live on the edge like that. 😉 We came across two new Holiday recipes by Ricardo CuisineCandy Cane Cookies and Candy Cane Hot Chocolate!

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If ever there was a cookie that tastes like Christmas, these Candy Cane Cookies would be it! Made with crushed candy canes and white chocolate, these cookies are a perfect festive addition to any holiday dessert platter.

This was our first time making a baked good with candy canes so we weren’t sure what to expect. If you like candy canes, then you will for sure love these! Of course you can alter the measurements depending on your tastes. Add just a pinch of crushed candy canes for a hint of peppermint or more if you are a true candy cane lover. We decided to add a tiny amount of the candy cane pieces that weren’t crushed as much for a more intense peppermint flavour. 

At first bite, you immediately taste the unbelievable flavour of the cookie batter. This cookie batter is one of the best cookie dough recipes we’ve tried. The whole family agrees!  The batter mixed with the candy cane and white chocolate is truly the ultimate holiday treat. It is delicious! 
We’ll definitely be making another batch of these before Christmas Day.

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What goes with candy cane cookies? That’s right… Candy Cane Hot Chocolate! How perfect and festive! Nothing like a cozy crackling fire, watching Christmas Vacation the movie (again), sippin’ hot chocolate and snackin’ on delicious baked festive candy cane cookies. Delightful, don’t cha think?

We are big hot chocolate lovers especially during the cold winter months. There’s something about it that makes you feel happy. Probably because it reminds us of when we were carefree kids.

We are always game for a new recipe and wanted to jazz up the classic hot drink a little so we decided to make Ricardo Cuisine’s Candy Cane Hot Chocolate. Who can resist fine Lindt milk chocolate melted with milk and topped with real whipped cream and some crushed candy cane? Mmmmmm!

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For more delicious Holiday recipes and inspiration, be sure to visit Ricardo Cuisine!

What cookies will you be baking this year?! Let us know!

Happy Holiday Baking!
Laura & Natasha xo

Easter Coconut Cupcakes

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Easter is this weekend. It’s a holiday filled with family dinners, decorating eggs, baskets filled with goodies, lots of chocolate Easter bunnies and Coconut Cupcakes! Okay… Perhaps Coconut Cupcakes isn’t the first thing you may think of when you think Easter. But, these particular Coconut Cupcakes are a happy addition to our Easter baking. Just look at how perfectly festive these delectable cupcakes look. And the best thing is they taste AMAZING!

We’ve made these cupcakes numerous times and it has become one of our favourite recipes anytime of the year. Even though we both don’t particularly love coconut, these cupcakes are an exception. The coconut flavour isn’t strong and overpowering, it’s just right. Paired with the cream cheese frosting, it makes for the perfect combo.

Tip: Toast the coconut flakes in the oven to get a pretty golden colour. Or use green food colouring to get green coconut flakes to simulate grass. So cute! This time we decided not to colour the coconut and opted to add the coloured Cadbury Mini Eggs to the top. Kind of looks like fluffy clouds of delicious-ness!

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Easter Coconut Cupcakes
makes 20-24 cupcakes.
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For The Cupcakes
  1. 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  3. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  4. 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  5. 1 3/4 cups sugar
  6. 2 large eggs, room temperature
  7. 2 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  8. 1 1/4 cups whole milk, room temperature
  9. 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
For The Coconut Cream-Cheese Frosting
  1. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  2. 6 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  3. 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  4. 4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  5. 4 cups shredded sweetened coconut
  6. 72 Cadbury Mini Eggs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cupcake pans with baking cups and set aside.
  2. On a large sheet of parchment or wax paper, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar for 2-5 minutes, until mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing slowly after each addition.
  4. In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, add the vanilla to the milk.
  5. Add one third of the dry ingredients followed by one third of the milk, mix thoroughly. Repeat & scrape down the bowl as needed. Add in the last third of dry ingredients followed by the last third of milk. Mix well. Gently fold in the shredded coconut using a spatula.
  6. Scoop batter into the cupcake pan until each cup is two-thirds full. Bake for 16-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and allow to cool for a few minutes. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
For The Frosting
  1. Combine the butter, cream cheese, vanilla & icing sugar in a mixer and mix together at high speed for 3-5 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  2. Using a spoon, scoop a large dollop of cream cheese frosting on top of the cupcake and spread to the edges of the cupcake covering the top completely. Next sprinkle shredded coconut on top of the frosting so that it forms a puffy cloud of coconut on top. Pat down and apply as much coconut as you'd like. Complete the cupcakes by placing 2-3 mini eggs on top.
Notes
  1. If you prefer a less sweet cupcake - Use shredded 'Unsweetened Coconut' instead of 'Sweetened' coconut for the icing.
Adapted from The Cupcake Diaries (slightly)
Rose & Lea http://roseandlea.com/
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These cupcakes add that extra special Easter pizzazz on your dessert table. The kids (and adults) will absolutely LOVE them.

Happy Easter! 
Natasha & Laura xo

Rustic Pumpkin Biscotti

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I have never made biscotti before and I really wanted to give it a go.
I have heard from numerous people that it is ‘difficult‘ to make. I don’t think it’s actually difficult to make, more time consuming I’d say. I went through various recipes and came up with a version that I decided to try.
The biscotti was a huge success & turned out delicious! These pumpkin biscotti are nice and crunchy on the outside and are a tad softer and crumbier on the inside. Traditional biscotti is hard throughout but because I wanted them a bit softer I cut them into thicker slices. The combination of spices + pumpkin + drizzled white chocolate makes for a perfect Fall/Winter treat.
I will now add biscotti to our regular baking list. I’m excited to try a whole bunch of different versions!

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Rustic Pumpkin Biscotti
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Ingredients
  1. 3 1/2 c. Flour
  2. 1 1/2 c. Brown Sugar
  3. 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  4. 1/2 tsp. Salt
  5. 2 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice (or an alternative: 1tsp cinnamon, 1/2tsp ginger, 1/4tsp cloves, 1/4tsp nutmeg)
  6. 1/2 c. Pure Pumpkin
  7. 2 lg. eggs lightly beaten
  8. 1 tbsp. Vanilla
  9. 2 tsp. Butter
  10. 1 1/4 c. Pecans or walnuts coarsely chopped
  11. 1/4 c. Melted white chocolate for drizzling or dipping (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat, add nuts. Stir constantly until nuts are slightly browned. Remove from heat and cool completely.
  3. Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl, stir well. In another bowl combine pumpkin puree, eggs and vanilla mixing well.
  4. Slowly add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture, mixing until ingredients are moistened. Mixture will be very crumbly.
  5. Knead or gently roll nuts into the dough mixture on a lightly floured surface. Divide into 2 portions. Roll portions into 2 2×10″ portions then place onto a slightly greased pan.
  6. Bake logs whole for 24 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes then cut with a serrated knife diagonally into 1/2″ slices. (I made mine a little thicker)
  7. Reduce oven to 300 then bake slices for 8 minutes.
  8. Flip all of the pieces over and bake for another 7 minutes.
  9. Remove from pan and place cookies onto a wire rack to cool. Tip - be sure to have some space between the cookies as they can become soggy if touching.
  10. Optional: When biscotti is completely cooled, melt chocolate chips in microwave at 15 second intervals until melted. Use a spoon to drizzle on top.
Notes
  1. Store in airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
Rose & Lea http://roseandlea.com/

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Enjoy with a cup of hot coffee or tea. Oh my, they are so delicious!

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Happy Holidays!
Laura & Natasha xo

‘Secret’ Family Pecan Tarts Recipe

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I am so excited to share this recipe with you guys! Why? Because it is my all time favourite. This is my ex mother-in-law’s recipe and is a family favorite. I’ve been making it forever. The crust for these tarts is the key. It’s light and fluffy and delicious. Without a great crust the tart is, well… not worth making. And this crust is da bomb! You are going to love them. They are the ultimate holiday treat.

Natasha was playing around with the camera and ended up filming me while baking the pecan tarts last night..
Here’s a little behind the scenes of what went down; Check it out!

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'Secret' Family Pecan Tarts
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Ingredients
  1. Ingredients for the Pecan Tarts Crust
  2. (Yield: 3 dozen tarts or 2 pies (top & bottom crusts))
  3. 1 lb Crisco
  4. 4 c. Flour
  5. 2 tsp. brown sugar
  6. 2 tsp. white vinegar
  7. 1 tsp. baking powder
  8. 1 tsp. salt
  9. 1 egg (mixed in with a 1/2 cup of water)
Ingredients for Pecan Tarts Filling
  1. (yield: 1 dozen)
  2. 1 egg beaten
  3. 1/3 c. butter (melted and cooled)
  4. 1 c. brown sugar
  5. 2 tbsp. milk
  6. 1/2 c. chopped pecans (can substitute with walnuts or raisins)
  7. 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Pecan Tart Crust Directions
  1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Refrigerate covered for 1 hour.
  3. After chilling, roll out dough and cut into tart shapes.
Pecan Tart Filling Directions
  1. Mix all ingredients together. Fill tart shells 2/3 full.
  2. Bake at 450 degrees f. for 8 minutes then adjust oven to 350 and continue baking for 15-20 minutes.
Rose & Lea http://roseandlea.com/

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I hope you enjoy these amazing Pecan Tarts as much as my family does!

Happy baking!
Laura xo