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Candy, Christmas

Caramel Peanut Butter Cups

December 5, 2014

‘Tis the season for holiday get togethers! And this weekend we have three – three – all of which we’re hosting (or co-hosting). I secretly love having holiday parities. I think it’s because neither Adam or I have a ‘staff party’ of sorts to go to, so I feel like we miss out. Since I’m a teacher on call, though I work everyday, I’m at different schools all the time. I don’t have my ‘own’ school that I belong to, which if fine by me because I love being a substitute right now. With Adam working out of town, there isn’t a staff party for his crew (although I’m not sure they could if they wanted, seeing as how there are a few hundred of them there). 

And hosting a party means I get to bake up a storm – oh, and decorate. The house is wrapped up in decorations.

Tonight we have a neighbourhood party that we’re co-hosting with friends, tomorrow we have another party at our house with friends, and sunday we are having an early Christmas get together with our  family because we will be in BALI for Christmas! I can’t even believe we’re actually going! T-17 days!!!!

These Caramel Peanut Butter Cups are little bites of heaven – a dark chocolate shell, sprinkled with sea salt or crushed peanuts, and filled with a creamy, caramel-y silky peanut butter centre. It’s the grown up version of the beloved peanut butter cup. It’s almost as if a Rolo and a Peanut Butter Cup had a baby – this is what it would be. Only healthier, made with dark chocolate, natural peanut butter and dates as a sweetener. 

I made about 4 dozen of these for a holiday bake exchange last weekend. They’re great because they require no baking, and very little prep. I use a mini muffin tin, which can hold 24 liners at a time. This makes for a fast production line. 

You can also make the other version from last year,  Salted Almond Butter & Pretzel Cups.

 

Caramel Peanut Butter Cups
Yields 24
A decadent grown up version of the peanut butter cup - naturally sweetened with dates, sprinkled with sea salt.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup of dark chocolate chunks/chocolate chips
  2. 1 tsp coconut oil
  3. 1/2 cup natural smooth peanut butter
  4. 4-5 Medjool dates
  5. sea salt (optional)
  6. crushed peanuts (optional)
Instructions
  1. 1. Line a mini muffin tin with mini cupcake liners, set aside.
  2. 2. Melt dark chocolate and coconut oil in doubler boiler, or place in small bowl on top of shallow pot of simmering water, until completely melted, stir.
  3. 3. Drop a teaspoon full of melted chocolate into bottom of mini cupcake liner. Repeat for all liners, tap pan slightly to evenly spread out chocolate. Place in fridge to chill for a few minutes until hardened.
  4. 4. In a food processor add medjool dates along with a Tbs. of water. Pulse until the dates make a paste. Add in the peanut butter and pulse again to mix.
  5. 5. Remove muffin tin from fridge and, using pastry bag, fill the peanut butter mixture into the centre of the chocolate disk. Alternatively you can spoon it in.
  6. 6. Spoon enough of remaining melted chocolate on top of peanut butter centre until completely covered. Sprinkle tops with coarse sea salt. Return finished tray to the fridge to chill completely.
  7. These can be stored in the fridge for up to a week, or frozen for late night cravings. They are even better cold.
Notes
  1. Note: if not using medjool dates, soften your dates in hot water for 5 minutes, drain.
b a k e a h o l i c http://www.bakeaholic.ca/
 

Christmas

Holiday Baking Roundup 2014

November 30, 2014

There is something so magical about the first snowfall of the season. 

Friday night while watching a movie with one of my friends, and snacking on our charcuterie board (the best), the soft white flakes began falling down. We took a peak outside and were happily surprised to see how much had accumulated over the past couple hours. 

As a kid it was always so exciting when the first snow fell – waking up to a winter wonderland was everything.  And, if you knew it was supposed to snow, you would leap out of bed and tear open the blinds to see if it really had snowed. You’d race to get your snow gear on and bound out to the fresh mounds of snow to make snowmen and snow angels.

Now, as an adult, I get equally as excited about the first snowfall. However, for much different reasons. First, I’m happy it was on a Friday night so I didn’t have to get up and drive to work the next day because, lets face it, people freak out at the tiniest bit of snow. And second, instead of running out to enjoy the snow, I am happier to stay indoors, cozy up with a warm cup of tea, a good book or show and watch the snow fall around outside. 

What better way to spend a snowy day inside than by baking. I’ve rounded up a few of this past years favourite holiday recipes. Some new, some old and some gluten free and/or vegan! Something to please everyones taste buds :)

1. Italian Pizzelle Cookies – crisp, light and delicately sweet.

2. Vegan Brownies - bake them in a larger pan, cut into smaller squares to please a crowd. 

3. Personalized Gingerbread Cookies - monogrammed cookies means everyone gets one :)

4. Flourless Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars – fluffy and light, gluten free. 

5. Fudgey Raspberry Brownies – dense, and deliciously decadent. 

6. Christmas Toffee Crack(le) – addictive, salty and sweet – amazing 

7. Flourless Almond Brownies – made with almond meal, dense and fudge-like

8.  Almond Butter Blossom Cookies – an almond-butter take on the traditional thumbprint classic

9. Nanaimo Bar Bites – one of my favourite holiday treats, just dressed up a little different

10. Salted Almond Butter & Pretzel Cups – just like their peanut-y partner, these almond butter cups are a bite of heaven.

11. Pumpkin Biscotti – a seasonal twist on another italian classic – drizzle in chocolate for an extra treat.

Apples, Bundt, Cakes, Pumpkin, Thanksgiving

Spiced Apple Pumpkin Bundt

November 11, 2014

Hey! look at that – my first GIF. 

I felt I should come back with something interesting, seeing as how I haven’t blogged in a while. I blame work (teachers strike over = working everyday) and Adam’s work schedule. 

When Adam isn’t home, I haven’t been baking as much, and when he is home we’re fiercely busy with wedding plans, visiting friends and family and trying to make the most of the 6 days he’s home. I’m ashamed to say we eat out more often now than ever, whereas before we would seldom go to a restaurant. But when he’s home, we’d both rather not be in the kitchen cooking and cleaning. Plus, he has to satisfy his wicked sushi craving. The food at his work is not great, however, so I do like to make him a few good homemade meals to satiate his appetite before he returns. 

You don’t realize how much your schedule and routine changes when your significant other (fiancé) is out of town. You also realize how heavily you rely on that person when you find yourself in the shower with no one to grab that towel you left on bed, or when the dog wakes up in the middle of the night and you have to drag yourself out of bed, shrug on some clothes and take them outside in the new autumn chill. It’s cold here now, by the way. Although I’m reminded of how much colder it is up north when I’m complaining to Adam about our 2 degree weather, and he’s working in -20. Sorry bout that. 

While I try to bake and carry on with cooking like I do when Adam is home, I regrettably find myself eating oatmeal, veggies, fruit, salads, tuna and other no prep meals for lunch and dinner. I was however proud of myself for cooking an actual meal this week (chicken enchiladas) for dinner and lunch leftovers. It was quite delicious, and just what I needed. I baked two chicken breasts with chili seasoning and sweet potato. Then I spread some pureed black beans on a tortilla, added the shredded chicken, sweet potato, goat cheese and rolled them up and topped with salsa, baking them again in the oven. They were so delicious – as I told Adam “i made real food!” While I haven’t been baking much, except for some delicious banana bars I’ll share later this week, I thought I had better upload some recipes I made last month. With ourthanksgiving over, I think I’ve exhausted my pumpkin recipes. 

Pumpkin Apple Bundt Cake // bakeaholic.ca

This weekend we are hosting our second annual Friendsgiving – it was such a success last year. We make the turkey and stuffing, and our friends bring over the side dishes and dessert. The amount of food last year was crazy, and everything was absolutely devoured. It’s such a fun tradition and we love getting together with our friends. This year we have a whopping 16 people coming for dinner! We’ll have to bring in some extra tables. 

I made this cake for our thanksgiving in October. It’s the perfect combination of apple spice and pumpkin spice – something a little different than the traditional pumpkin pie. The two flavours go well together, and the cake is perfectly moist. 

Pumpkin Apple Bundt Cake // bakeaholic.ca

Pumpkin Apple Bundt Cake // bakeaholic.ca

Pumpkin Apple Bundt Cake
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  3. ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  4. ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  5. 2 eggs
  6. ½ cup granulated sugar
  7. ¼ cup canola oil
  8. 1 cup pumpkin puree
  9. ½ cup almond milk
  10. 1 large apple, peeled and grated
  11. Optional: confectioners' sugar
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and oil until thick and creamy, about one to two minutes.
  3. Next, whisk in the pumpkin until well incorporated.
  4. Now add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined.
  5. Stir in the almond milk, and then fold in the apples.
  6. Pour the batter into a greased bundt pan.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes until the top is golden and a skewer inserted into the center come out clean.
  8. If desired, dust with powdered sugar.
Adapted from Homemade with Love
Adapted from Homemade with Love
b a k e a h o l i c http://www.bakeaholic.ca/