Tag Archives: Chocolate

Chocolate Cherry Shortbread Cookies

Happy December Everyone!  I still cannot believe it is December 10th already, which means it is only 15 days away from Christmas. I cannot wait to spend quality time with my family and friends and truly enjoy the magic of the season, but I guess I better work on finishing my shopping.

CH and I have been busy this week getting ready for Christmas: we bought our tree from the St. Lawrence Market (the same man has been selling trees at the farmers market for 26 years!) and CH got to carry our tree home (yes, he felt like a lumberjack – see below!); we went to the 2nd Annual Outdoor Christmas Market in the Distillery District (which was absolutely incredible and immediately put us in the mood for Christmas); we decorated our apartment, our tree and had our first Cranberry Ginger Ale of the season, spiked with vodka of course, all the while watching Miracle on 34th Street; and the weekend was completed with an exhausting, but absolutely rewarding day in the kitchen with a good friend, baking Christmas treats until we couldn’t stand anymore.

Many of the recipes Kate and I baked together will be shared in the coming weeks, but today’s recipe is definitely going against the saying “Save the Best for Last” because these Chocolate Cherry Shortbread Cookies, were definitely the BEST thing we baked the entire day.  These are Kate’s family cookies, her Mom made them for years, and then Kate started making them, and then she made them Vegan friendly.  Either way, Vegan or not, these are delicious and the perfect cookie for company, a gift or to eat all alone while no one is watching.

These are definitely going on my annual Christmas baking list, and I know if you give them a try, it will be on your list too. The recipe below is the non-Vegan recipe, with notes in brackets for the Vegan adaptations.

Merry Merry everyone (and thank you Kate for sharing your delicious recipe with my readers – they are in for a “treat” and readers, I’ve requested Kate to share many more of her Vegan recipes with us soon!)

Enjoy.

Chocolate Cherry Shortbread Cookies

Yield:  About 7 Dozen
Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time: 18-20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups butter, softened to room temperature (equal amount of Earth Balance Buttery Sticks for vegan recipe)
  • 1 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips (‘Enjoy Life’ mini chips are Kate’s favourite vegan ones and PC “The Decadent” semi-sweet chips/chunks are also veg-friendly but require chopping smaller)
  • 1 cup glaceed cherries, chopped to the size of the chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300F.

Using your stand-mixer with your beater blade (or in a large bowl) beat together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine flour and cornstarch. Add the flour mixture into the butter mixture until smooth (KSC note: I add the flour one cup at a time to the butter mixture, especially if using stand mixer. Otherwise, POOF!, flour explosion. Oh, it’s happened!)

Stir in chocolate chips and cherries to the cookie batter.

Drop the mixture by spoonful (about a generous tablespoon each cookie) onto ungreased or parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake 25-30 minutes (adjust to about 18-20 minutes if baking in convection oven).

Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on a wire-rack.

STORAGE/FREEZING:  These cookies keep very well in an airtight container once baked.  However, feel free to freeze these cookies, as they last longer and taste really good directly from the freezer (not that I know from experience!)

Recipe From Kate SC – originally from Hershey’s.

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Chocolate (Nutella) Mug Cake

This month, I decided to participate in a new recipe swap group – Secret Recipe Club.  Basically, you are given a new cooking blog to explore, you choose any recipe that they have posted and you try it.  Such a great idea, and a great way to find new blogs and new recipes.

I was given The Newlyweds Blog – and there were definitely plenty of recipes to choose from, it was quite hard to decide.  So, I gave the decision to CH.  He explored the blog, browsed recipes and then, he got really excited when he saw this recipe.  Instant cakes? Under 5 minutes, he was sold.

I was too.  You see, we already know that I don’t have an overly sweet tooth, so I get kinda lazy baking things for CH.  Yet, I like to be a good wife and make him treats from time to time.  He absolutely LOVES my Mom’s chocolate cake, but it’s time consuming (okay, not really!) and it makes a lot of cake for just one guy.  So this mug cake definitely solved a lot of problems.

I’ve already made these numerous times, even for our “Thanksgiving” dinner where I topped them with pumpkin pie whipped cream, and another time with caramel sauce.  But, the overall winner, is the Nutella version I came-up with.  1 (heaping) tablespoon of Nutella, and you have a deliciously moist cake, in under 5 minutes.  How can  you complain?!

I really fell in love with this idea…and it will become a standby recipe for years to come.  I can see it showing up at dinner parties, with a customizable toppings bar, or as a last minute dessert for those unexpected guests.  It is a delicious, warm, gooey, chocolate cake….from the microwave!

One quick tip – be sure to use a LARGE coffee mug – you need the room as it cooks, and to top it with ice cream, or whatever you choose.

So, thanks Newlywed Blog, for a great recipe.

Enjoy!

Chocolate Mug Cake

Serving:  1 individual sized cake
Prep Time:  2 minutes
Cook Time: 3 – 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 TBSP flour
  • 4 TBSP sugar
  • 2 TBSP cocoa powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 TBSP milk
  • 3 TBSP vegetable oil
  • 1 TBSP Nutella (or substitute chocoalte chips, Hershey’s Bliss, toffee bits….whatever you please!)
  • splash of vanilla (optional)

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a large coffee mug.  Whisk well to incorporate all ingredients.

Place the mug in the microwave and cook for 2 1/2 – 3 minutes, until the top is nice and firm.

Remove the mug from the microwave (be careful – it’s HOT!) and serve immediately.  I like to serve it directly in the mug, with ice cream on-top, but feel free to remove it from the mug and serve in a bowl.  Whatever you prefer.

Enjoy!

As one final tip – I’ve made multiple mugs at once (4!) and just increased the microwave time by 2 minutes – worked perfectly!

Recipe from The Newlywed Blog



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Family Favourite: Nanaimo Bars

This month’s theme for What’s Baking was “family favourite”.  I already shared my family favourite Chocolate Cake recipe, CH’s favourite Banana Bread, and my personal favourite the Strawberry Tarts, so I had to think a little about what I wanted to bake this month.

It didn’t take long as I started thinking about my family, particularly my Mom and remembered one dessert that she loves and totally reminds me of her – Nanaimo Bars!

Now, the other thing about Nanaimo Bars, is that they apparently originate from Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada – my home province (and hence their name)!  I grew up just across the water from Naniamo, and visited there often for hockey tournaments etc.  So, not only are these bars a family favourite, they originate close to home.  It was meant to be!  As another random fact, they are actually called “Canadian Bars” in Australia, too cute!

I have never made them from scratch before, and was surprised at how easy they were.  Three layers, no oven-baking required, no crazy ingredients, sounds like a perfect recipe to me!  The recipe below made quite a few, so they are now safely in the freezer, ready to be enjoyed whenever we are in need of a treat, or whenever guests’ pop over for a last minute visit/dessert.

Enjoy!

Nanaimo Bars

Yield:  totally depends on how big/small you cut them…
Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time:  no oven time required, melting chocolate etc. about 40 minutes

Ingredients & Directions:

Bottom Layer

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (salted or unsalted)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 5 TBSP cocoa
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1.25 cups graham wafer crumbs
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped almonds (you can also use walnuts)
  • 1 cup coconut

In a small saucepan, over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the sugar and cocoa powder to the saucepan and whisk thoroughly until smooth and well incorporated.  Remove the saucepan from the heat, and then gradually whisk in the beaten egg. Return the saucepan to low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens (1 – 2 minutes).

Remove from the saucepan from heat. Stir in crumbs, coconut, and almonds. Press firmly and evenly into an ungreased 8″ x 8″ pan.

Second Layer

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (salted or unsalted)
  • 2 Tbsp. and 2 Tsp. cream
  • 2 Tbsp. vanilla custard powder
  • 2 cups icing sugar

Place the butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar in a large bowl and using a hand-mixer, beat the mixture until light and fluffy (it will take a few minutes, and will appear to form balls of mush, but keep going!). Spread the mixture over bottom crust layer.

Third Layer

  • 6 oz semi-sweet chocolate (or dark if you prefer)
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

In a small saucepan, over low heat, melt the chocolate and butter until smooth and glossy. Allow the mixture to cool slightly (room temperature). Once cool, but still liquid, pour over second layer, spread out into an even layer.

Cover the pan with seran wrap, and place in the fridge to cool & set.  It will take a few hours.  Alternatively, you can cover it with seran wrap and place them immediately into the freezer.  Once they are frozen, remove, slice into individual squares, and then place back in the freezer (this makes quick treats easier!)

Enjoy!

Recipe from The City of Nanaimo

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