‘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

Light Pumpkin Spice Cake Bars

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Guess who’s back? Back again.
Pumpkin’s back. Tell a friend.
(Yes, I just used Eminem’s song lyrics & put the word pumpkin in it 😉 )

I just couldn’t stay away from baking with pumpkin for very long… After contemplating for a good 20 minutes on what to bake today, I decided to bake some Light Pumpkin Spice Cake Bars!

I wanted to make something a little healthier than I normally bake and thought bars are always easy, but tasty!

To skinny-tize these Pumpkin Bars, I used a half cup all-purpose flour, and a half cup of whole wheat flour. The whole wheat adds nutrients & goodness, and the all-purpose gives the bars a nice light texture. Whereas when we just use whole wheat flour in recipes, the baked goods tend to be pretty heavy & thick.
I think the combo of the two flours make it the perfect consistency.
We also reduce the amount of butter & eggs in this recipe which makes the bars healthier.

These pumpkin bars are super moist, and have a cake-like consistency.
Although these bars are delicious on their own, feel free to add some walnuts, white, milk or dark chocolate chips, or even some whipped cream to the top! NUM!

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Ingredients:
(makes 9 bars)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of allspice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch – 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup canned pure pumpkin
1/4 cup milk (plain, fat-free, soy, or almond)
1/4 cup butter (melted in the microwave)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 8 inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients until evenly combined. Set aside.
In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar & pumpkin until combined. Add in the milk, melted butter, and vanilla extract and stir until just combined. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients & mix until evenly combined. Do not over mix.
3. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cool completely, than cut into 9 squares.

Notes: Bars stay fresh for up to one week stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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Happy Baking!
Natasha xo

The One & Only Chocolate Chip Cookies

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After searching high & low for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe, I have finally found the one!
I have eaten many (far, far too many) chocolate chip cookies in my lifetime, and my mom and I have tried many different chocolate chip cookie recipes over the years so believe me when I say – this recipe is the best homemade chocolate chip cookie recipe out there right now. They are so, so good, it’s insane. And yeah, I ate over ten of these babies tonight. (I don’t curr, I’ll admit it.)

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You may be asking how this recipe is any different than the other billions of chocolate chip cookie recipes out there? Well let me tell ya – the main reason for their goodness, and the secret ingredient to making these cookies so thick, soft, gorgeous & chewy is….

CORNSTARCH! 

Cornstarch is the ingredient that makes these cookies so thick & chewy, and gives them that delicious soft-baked quality.
Funny how one ingredient can make all the difference! All of the chocolate chip cookie recipes I have made in the past did not use cornstarch. The difference in cookies using cornstarch was like night & day.
The other main component as to why these cookies are so chewy and moist is because of the higher ratio of brown sugar to white.

Not only is this recipe the BEST tasting, it is also super easy & straightforward. No crazy ingredients are used – you’ll probably already have all of the needed ingredients in your cupboard!

This is the recipe that I’ve been looking for, the classic chocolate chip cookie – the one that I’ll be making over and over again for years.

I thank the cookie heavens for creating a cookie so perfect –  the One & Only Chocolate Chip Cookie. 😉

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The One & Only Chocolate Chip Cookies
(This glorious chocolate chip recipe is from Anna Olson (Food Network), which can be found here. I have adapted the recipe slightly.)

Ingredients:
(yield: approx. 3 dozen cookies)

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar (the darker the sugar, the better)
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg, (preferably at room temperature)
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon cornstarch (the magical ingredient!)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl using a hand-held electric mixer or in the bowl of your stand mixer (fitted with the paddle attachment), cream together the butter and sugars on medium speed until light & fluffy. Mix in the egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking soda & salt. On low speed, slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until all ingredients are evenly combined. Do not overmix. Stir in the chocolate chips. Cover, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes – 1 hour.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an ungreased cookie sheet with parchment paper. (If you don’t have parchment paper, just leave the cookie sheet plain.) Using your hands to form the balls, roll dough into 1 Tbsp-sized balls and place onto cookie sheets. If you want extra chocolaty cookies, press a few chocolate chips onto the top of the dough balls.

3. Bake for 8-9 minutes, until barely golden brown around the edges. They will almost look uncooked. Do not leave cookies in oven over 10 minutes! Remove and let cool for 2-3 minutes on the cookie sheet. If the cookies are too puffy for your liking, gently press down on them with the back of a spoon.
Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.

Note: Cookies stay chewy and fresh for up to 10 days in an airtight container.

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Enjoy!
Natasha xo

West Coast Christmas Show

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Yesterday we went and checked out the West Coast Christmas Show in Abbotsford, BC.
The West Coast Christmas Show is a big holiday convention where you can find all kinds of goodies for the holidays like gifts, fancy foods from local vendors, decor ideas, live Christmas music & even culinary presentations, (just to name a few).

We’ve never been to the show before but when we heard that Food Network’s (Baker Extraordinaire) Anna Olson was going to be there, we had to go!

Anna performed a Holiday Baking presentation, and gave out lots of helpful baking tips & tricks.
She also baked a few things on stage – an apple crisp trifle, and shortbread bars. They looked amazing!

Here are a few of Anna’s Baking Tips that she shared:

– always use unsalted butter (for a number of reasons, but it is scientifically proven that unsalted butter has more butter in it than salted.)
– when making bars, line the pan with overhanging notched parchment paper so the bars don’t stick & are easy to get out of the pan after baking.
– when cutting a cheesecake or bars – to get a precise cut every time, dip knife in a glass of hot water for 30 seconds, & wipe dry.

Getting to meet Anna was definitely the highlight of the show for us but we also had fun walking around looking at all the Christmas goodies! There were lots of local vendors & artisans there which was great. We ended up buying  J.R. Watkins cinnamon (Anna used it during her set and recommended it!), and 100% natural bath body salts. (pictures below)

We had such a great time and getting to meet Anna was awesome – She’s a big inspiration to us.
If you’re in the area, definitely go check out the West Coast Christmas Show for some Holiday fun.

Happy Holidays!

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Body Saltz

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How cute are these cupcake soaps?! I am kicking myself for not buying one now.

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Monkey Toast – Delicious flavour-packed fruit crisps made from 100% organic whole wheat flour, which are nut free and dairy free.
 We tried a sample of the Banana Blueberry crackers & they are delish!

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Laura with her goodies.

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selfie’s in the car. obviously.

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(suppp!)

Our purchases:

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100% natural body salts by Body Saltz.
These vanilla bliss bath salts seriously smell amazing.. we can’t wait to try them out.

Body Saltz is a Canadian company based in the Fraser Valley of BC that makes homemade, 100% natural body products.

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Anna’s cinnamon recommendation: J.R. Watkins.

Natasha & Laura xo
(note: all photos were taken with an iphone as dslr camera’s aren’t allowed in the convention centre.)