Thursday, November 27, 2014

Best Of Bridge Holiday Classics: Cookies

Best of Bridge Holiday Classics is a cookbook that will surely meet your needs for celebrating the holidays this year.This exceptional collection contains over 200 simples recipes originated by the Bridge Ladies, who have been developing along with writing recipes since 1975.There is a variety of delightful recipes to enjoy for appetizers,dinners,desserts as well as creating food gifts.As the Bridge Ladies say they want us to have "simple recipes with gourmet results"

So for someone like me that is an avid baker this cookbook has an extensive collection of unique recipes.This includes Holiday Cookies and Squares,Desserts And Other Sweet Treats along with Food Gifts.So since I love to bake I have specifically chosen these chapters to review and enjoy.

For starters,the cookies I chose to create were Fruit & Nut shortbread and Snowballs.Both recipes are simply written and easy to understand.As well as including ingredients that are very affordable and simple to find in any grocery store.These are cookies that both contain nuts as the main flavor and texture component;however I can see room for flexibility for any ones desire.Although that would of course adjust the overall treats.So be warned and get creative!

The Fruit And Nut Shortbread is one of those treats that are impressive as well as elegant in appearance that its bewildering how easy they are to actually make.This recipe follows the same basic steps to create traditional shortbread such as always using butter as well as chilling the dough before baking.Although for a new change of pace this shortbread is actually rolled into logs,wrapped and then chilled prior.This is so we can develop a thin round cookie that is very similar to a wafer.Therefore with this adjustment we have a crisp and soft cookie with a strong walnut flavor along with sweet glazed cherries.Overall,it is a very tasty cookie with unique flavor and texture that would be great to make for any holiday,especially this time of year.I can see it now with treating myself with a shortbread cookie along with a cup of hot cocoa.Delicious!.This is an efficient,family friendly and affordable treat for the holidays.Think food gift this year?

Now these Snowballs are certainly a cookie you want to make this Christmas season.They are very simple to construct as well as have a beautiful presentation for holiday party's.Snowballs are an incredibly fragile and soft cookies with the texture that is crumbly as well as melts in your mouth.It also has a sweet coating of icing sugar that suits excellently towards the buttery and pecan flavor.It almost remind me of a spice cookie although it includes absolutely no spices at all.It absolutely stands out from most of the traditional cookies of the Christmas season and I can highly recommend them.They also smell as well as taste precisely like fresh pecans along with a mild sweetness without the coating. Though the best part about these little morsels is they are awesome to use as decorative pieces and will impress your family and friends this season.Lastly,each one of these cookies hold there own unique appearance,flavor and texture,which I love to stumble upon in any recipe

So overall,each cookie is excellent and I highly recommend everyone of you to try the recipes.Just think how great they be for holiday parties,family and friends and even as gifts.So now that I got you thinking about making treats I will be moving on to new recipes.Holiday squares is coming up!

Fruit And Nut Shortbread

250g unsalted or salted butter

1 cup brown sugar
1 egg yolk
2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cups glace cherries,halved
1/2 walnuts,chopped finely

I chopped the walnuts,finely and cut the glace cherries in half.

In my kitchen aid stand mixer,I creamed the butter and sugar together,until fluffy.Then I added the egg yolk and flour,beating on low. Then I added the fruit and nuts,beating until fully combined.

Then I shaped the dough into two rolls that were 2 inches in diameter and rolled them each in wax paper,using elastic bands to tie the ends. Then I chilled them overnight in the refrigerator.

I took off the wax paper and took a knife and cut thin slices off the rolls about 1/8 inch thickness/33mm.You can also leave the wax paper on the cookie roll and cut through it using a very sharp knife to create the slices then discard the wax paper. I however found it easier without the paper.

Then I placed the slices on a well greased cookie sheet  and bake them for 5-6 minutes,until slightly brown edges.The recipes says 10 minutes,so it depends on your oven.Then twist cookies off sheet when cooled.


1/2 cup unsalted or salted butter
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 cup finely ground pecans,fresh
7/8 cup (210 mls) flour Tip: (1/2 cup (125ml) + 1/4 cup (80ml) + 1 tsp (5ml) = 7/8 cup or 210 ml)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 cup confectioner (icing) sugar

With my blender,I took 1 cup of whole pecans and chopped them into fine grounds,measuring to about over 1 cup of ground pecans,setting aside.

Then with the kitchen aid stand mixer,I creamed the butter and sugar together,until fluffy.Then I added the pecans,flour,vanilla extract and salt.I then mixed it at low speed,until just combined (Do Not Over Beat)

Then I formed small balls and baked them on an ungreased cookie sheet at 325 F at 12-15 minutes,until barely brown.This time will vary by oven. Cookies should not spread.

Then when all the cookies were fully cooled,I coated them with confectioner sugar to resemble snowballs.I made 4 dozen snowballs in total.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Dessert Mash-Ups: Breakfast!

Dessert Mash-Up is taking our beloved treats and collaborating them to create wonderful concoctions.Dorothy Kern, the author of the popular blog Crazy For Crust is the one behind this unique topic, generating recipes such as Lemon Meringue pie fudge,Scone doughnuts and even Cookies n Cream Cheesecake Ice cream.There is a variety of treats for everyone to enjoy along with plenty of room for your own imagination.Dorothy's desserts are inspirational and it's exciting to try her recipes.

So for starters,breakfast can only get better when you can have a Carrot Cake Coffee Cake and Chocolate Chip Monkey Bread Muffins to enjoy as a morning snack.These treats have their own simple combinations that enhance one another to produce a product that is exceptional.The carrot cake itself is of course the mix of two cakes to form a dessert that is fluffy and moist with a delightfully buttery and sweet carrot flavor. The streusal is however the addition to this carrot cake, creating a sweet caramel and nutty topping that is a great match towards the smooth and sweet cream cheese icing draped across.Therefore forming a beautiful cake with its vibrant orange,caramel topping and ribbon draped icing.

Now the recipe is straight to the point and easy to understand.It gives the reader the knowledge to follow through easily and great for any ones level of baking.It also fits for any occasion,especially breakfast and is a wonderful recipe for the holidays.It is a breeze to create this cake and can be easily adaptable for any ones liking.Just think about how the topping can be simply changed?  Overall,its a spice cake that is developed with simple,budget friendly ingredients along with delivering in flavor.So with that experience I will have to give this recipe a two thumbs up!

Now the chocolate chip monkey bread muffin has a few combinations of its own as you can notice from the title.Though the monkey bread itself is best described as a sweet pull apart bread that is built on sections of dough to create a whole treat.This is usually a dessert that is made as a bundt cake;however this one is transformed into miniature muffins.It is also sweetened topped to bottom with a sugar glaze that is very similar to a sticky bun.So as you can see there are many ideas put towards this recipe to create this muffin.

So putting those all together you obtain a chocolate chip,spiced bread that is buttery and soft thats melts in your mouth.Which creates something completely different to any ordinary muffin you have every tried.Its also a muffin that is unique in its own appearance,resembling a monkey tree puzzle that is beautifully golden brown and full of mini chocolate chips.Thus, creating a mash-up that is exceptional and will definitely impress.

 Overall,this recipe is simple and full of helpful tips.If you have mastered making bread and muffins then this recipe will be a breeze for you.If you have not then it will be a new exciting challenge and really if I can make it then anyone can.I will also say that when you choose this recipe it's important to have the time to make  them.If you need an instant treat then I really would not recommend this recipe at all and be sure to save this muffin for a special occasion.This treat really need the time to become its best in flavor and texture.So,overall I give this recipe a two thumbs up because I feel its very important to work hard and make time towards the things you love.So be sure to make the time this season to get creative and have fun!

Carrot Cake Coffee Cake


1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk,preferably whole milk
2 cups shredded carrots(about 4 carrots)


1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp unsalted butter,melted
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 ounces cream cheese
3/4 cup powder sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheated the oven to 350F.I greased and floured a 9 inch round pan.Then set it aside.

 I whisked together the flour,baking powder,salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.

Then in a large bowl I stirred the sugar,oil, and egg, until fully combined.Then I stirred in the milk.

 Then I stirred in the dry mix,until combined and lastly I stirred in the shredded carrots.

Then I poured the batter into the greased and floured 9 inch round pan.

To Make The Streusal: In a small bowl,I stirred together the brown sugar,flour,cinnamon and melted butter.Add walnuts,if using.

Then with the topping I sprinkled it over top of the cake batter.Baking it for 35 minutes,until the toothpick inserted came out clean from the center and edge.Then I let it cool completely before frosting.

Then in a medium bowl,I creamed the butter and cream cheese together with my hand mixer,until smooth.Then I mixed in the powder sugar, slowly and then lastly added the vanilla extract.

Then I filled a piping bag with the frosting along with a ribbon tip.I then began frosting the top of each individual cut cake,creating ribbons that drape in a zig zag design.

Then I stored the cake by wrapping plastic wrap over top the serving plate.It will keep for 2 to 3 days at room temperature;however spice cake is excellent when kept cold.

Chocolate Chip Monkey Bread Muffins


3/4 cup milk,preferably nonfat
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast or quick-rise
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp unsalted butter,softened
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
3 cups all purpose flour,plus more for dusting
1 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips


1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon
6 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup packed brown sugar

I placed the milk in a glass liquid measure and heated for 30-60 seconds, until it reached about 110F.I used a candy thermometer to test the temp.Then I added the yeast and stirred it in.Then I let it sit to let the yeast bloom.

With my kitchen aid stand mixer,I placed the sugar,butter,salt and egg with the paddle attachment.I mixed the butter, until distributed though out the liquid,will be chunky.Then I poured in the milk mixture and stirred for a few seconds.

Then I added the flour and stirred just until mixture began to stick to the paddle attachment.

Then I added the mini chocolate chips and replaced the attachment with the dough hook.I continued mixing on medium speed, until the dough formed a ball.

Then I sprayed a large bowl with cooking spray and placed the dough in.

Then I wrapped it with plastic wrap.This is where I placed the dough in the refrigerator overnight and the next day I let it sit out at room temperature for 15 minutes.

I preheated the oven at 350F and sprayed the 12 cup muffin pan with cooking spray.

I dusted my work area with flour and divided the dough into 48 pieces.

Then in a small bowl,I stirred together the white sugar and cinnamon.Then I rolled each piece of dough into the mixture to coat.Setting aside.

I melted the butter in a liquid measure in the microwave for 20 seconds.I whisked in the brown sugar and placed 1-2 tsp of this topping on the bottom of each muffin cup.

Then I placed 4 pieces of the coated dough into each muffin cup.Then with my remaining topping,I poured it over top of the muffins.

I placed the muffin pan on a cookie sheet to catch any overflow,then I baked it for 15-18 minutes until golden brown.Topping will cook over the muffin pan,but if sprayed with cooking spray or using a nonstick pan,it will be easy to clean off.I then let it cool slightly before serving and can be easily stored in a seal container at 2-3 days at room temp,longer if refrigerated.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Mason Jar Salads & More:Final Chapter Snacks and Dips

Mason jars are a nifty item to have around the house to store and transport just about anything.They are perfect to store your favorite dips or spreads,making it simple to enjoy a healthy snack on the go.This final chapter is all about making dips and spreads to store in jars and having the ability to adapt anyone of the recipes.To name a few included in this cookbook are mango salsa,guacamole, and spicy salsa.So think about the amazing dips you could enjoy this season along with giving them away as gifts.

So for my enjoyment I made the Italian bruschetta,which is a simple antipasto that is made with fresh tomatoes,garlic,basil,olive oil and seasoning.Bruschetta can be stored in these mason jars refrigerated for about 2 weeks and best served atop toasted baguette or ciabatta slices.The more this spread mingles with the seasonings the better the flavor will be and creates an excellent appetizer at holiday party's.It is extremely quick and easy to create along with having the ability to look fancy while being very budget friendly.It will impress any party guest and you can easily make it ahead of time for the best flavor.

The flavor is of course why bruschetta is such a popular antipasto.The vine tomatoes have such a beautiful vibrant red along with being so juicy and sweet.The tomatoes mingle so well with the fresh minced garlic and shredded basil while the olive oil brings everything together.Then to top it all off we add a sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste.Then lastly we let the mixture absorb together to create a extremely flavorful antipasto that is excellent even on its own.

So bruschetta is always a great choice for a dip or spread.Its delicious for an on the go snack for work,along with being a excellent choice as a Christmas gift or to enjoy at home.Its a recipe I will definitely give a two thumbs up too and will be an antipasto that will be gone in no time.

So overall, I feel Mason Jar Salads & More is a very unique and focused cookbook.It will teach you all you need to know about how to create healthy salads and meals that you can easily have for work,road trips, picnics , for home and even as a gift.Its also a book that will teach you all the excellent ways you can use a mason jar, along with having recipes that can be easily adaptable for your own creativity.Julia Mirabella has created a beautiful and creative cookbook that I highly recommend.
I loved reviewing Mason Jar Salads & More and given the opportunity to test out as many recipes as I desired.So I will say a big thank you to Julia and Ulysses Press for this great opportunity! Thank you!

Yield 4 servings (half pints)

5 vine-ripened tomatoes,diced
1 garlic clove,finely chopped
7-8 large basil leaves, julienne-cut into strips
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt And Pepper,to taste
Ciabatta or French baguette slices,lightly toasted
4 half pints Mason jars-(optional- 1 half pint and 1 pint jar)
I washed and diced the tomatoes,finely chopped the garlic and cut the basil leaves in strips.Then with a medium bowl,I mixed together the tomatoes,garlic,basil,olive oil and salt and pepper. 

Then I covered the bowl with saran wrap and refrigerated for 30 minutes to let the flavors mingle.

 Then I placed the mixture in  mason jars,sealed and refrigerated.Best served on lightly toasted sliced ciabatta or french baguette.