Dessert, Raw, Vegan

Raw Vegan Salted Turtles

December 23, 2015

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Christmas is almost here!!!

I’ve been slowly baking and getting some treats together for Christmas Eve and Christmas. Since I have a full time class now I felt like I was behind in the baking this year, but I’ve still managed to get some things baked just in time – including these Raw, Vegan Salted Turtles. 

Adam and I are hosting Christmas Eve for the second time this year, which means the feast of seven fishes for the Italian side. I’m definitely looking forward to the mussels, prawns, baccala, salmon, and pasta. I also stocked up on panettone, cheese and pellegrino. A must.

We’re having 18 people over – though I’m not sure where we will all fit! Luckily the main floor of our house is open concept, so the living room, kitchen and dining room are all open and there’s lots of space for us to spread out, while still being able to socialize. 

If you’re looking for a quick holiday treat to share this christmas, these turtles take no time, and little ingredients to prepare. 

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Today is also Adam and I’s six year anniversary – six years since our first date, and two years today since he proposed! I’ll do a full wedding re-cap in the new year, once all the christmas chaos is over.

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Raw Vegan, Gluten Free Salted Turtles
Yields 24
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Ingredients
  1. Dark Chocolate - 6-8 squares good quality dark chocolate
  2. 2 cups pitted Medjool Dates, fresh are best so they're nice and juicy
  3. 2 Tbs. Peanut butter - natural, creamy
  4. 3 Pecans per turtle - about 60
  5. sea salt
Instructions
  1. Process dates in a food processor until they become a sticky and very thick in consistency - you may want to add a splash of hot water to help make a paste.
  2. Add in the peanut butter and process again.
  3. Using a small ice-cream, cookie scoop, scoop the date mixture onto a silpat or parchment paper in small rounds.
  4. Press 3 pecan halves into the date balls - making a star.
  5. In microwavable dish, heat chocolate on medium power setting for two minutes, stir until fully melted.
  6. Pour a small amount of sauce over each date/pecan ball using a small spoon, or a icing bag with the end snipped.
  7. Place in the fridge to set for at least 10 minutes - the chocolate will harden and hold everything together. Sprinkle with sea salt just before it's set.
  8. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. These keep well in the fridge in container for a few days, or freeze. allow to come to room temperature before serving.
  2. Alternatively, you can put the pecans down first and press the date mixture on top, then drizzle with chocolate.
b a k e a h o l i c http://www.bakeaholic.ca/

 

Cupcakes

Gingerbread Cupcakes

December 8, 2015

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It’s the 8th of December and Adam and I haven’t put up a christmas tree yet. That’s not to say we haven’t made a valiant effort. The first weekend of December we had a neighbourhood get together and we couldn’t make it out to get a tree before then, however I did get out all the other decorations. Then this last weekend we were out of town saturday and sunday.

So, last night we ventured out after work to a u-cut tree farm we had seen a sign for up the road from us. By the time we got there it was dark, and the signs that lead us up the street and around the corner appeared to be misleading.

We couldn’t find the house or farm, and there were no signs of a christmas tree farm anywhere. We went to another garden centre and contemplated buying a living christmas tree to use outside afterwards, but the lady informed us that it needs a couple weeks to acclimatize before bringing it inside, or else the needles might all fall off. So that was a no.

We finally went to home depot for some wood and took a look at the trees, but they were all so sad looking, slumped up against the side all wrapped up. It didn’t feel like the christmas tree choosing atmosphere i had hoped for. So, we left empty handed without a tree.

I’m hoping this week or weekend we can make it out to a tree farm in the daylight to choose a tree.

In the meantime i’m trying to get some christmas baking done for our staff party this weekend. This year my favourite flavour has been gingerbread. Usually i don’t make any gingerbread men or houses, but the flavour combination definitely feels like christmas to me. I adapted this smitten kitchen recipe to make cupcakes. They were perfect. Deinitely a christmas recipe keeper. You can also make it in cake form.

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Gingerbread Cupcakes
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Ingredients
  1. 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  2. 1 cup water
  3. 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  4. 2/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  5. 1 cup unsulfured molasses
  6. 2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
  7. 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  8. 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  9. 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  10. 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  11. 1/2 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
  12. 2 teaspoons baking powder
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  2. Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan and add baking soda — it will foam up! Let stand for 5 minutes, then stir in butter until melted. Whisk in dark brown sugar, molasses. Mixture is usually just lukewarm by now, but if it still feels quite hot to the touch, set it aside to 10 to 15 minutes to cool further before using.
  3. Place flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and baking powder in a fine-mesh strainer or sifter.
  4. Transfer molasses mixture to a large mixing bowl. Whisk in eggs until just combined. Sift dry ingredients over wet, then stir the wet and dry ingredients together until just combined.
  5. Pour batter into prepared muffin tin, bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
Notes
  1. Frost with your favourite vanilla buttercream, or cinnamon buttercream!
Adapted from smitten kitchen - gingerbread snacking cake
b a k e a h o l i c http://www.bakeaholic.ca/
Cakes

Pumpkin Layer Cake with Goat Cheese Frosting

November 22, 2015

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Lots has happened in the past few weeks! Most importantly, I received a full time position in a grade 5 class! And I’m so excited to have my own class. At first I was a little nervous about teaching intermediate, since I did my practicum before in a grade 2 class. However, I’ve been substitute teaching in all grades over the last two years and so far I’m really enjoying grade 5. I find that the day goes by faster, since there’s always something happening and things to get done, students to help etc. In primary there is a lot more play time, ‘centre’ time, and down time with the little ones. I really enjoy teaching a lesson, being able to introduce new concepts and themes for each subject, and really interacting with the students. So far everything’s going well!

Also in the past week or two it’s gotten an awful lot more chilly. In the morning there is noticeable frost on the ground and windows, making the drive into work look like a frosty winter wonderland. As Adam tells me, I’m lucky to have a short commute to work – only a 15 minute drive! Which i’ll be even happier about when it starts snowing. 

sfAll the cold weather and frosty windows makes me want to start decorating for the holidays, so this weekend Adam brought out the boxes of christmas decor. I always love going through them and re-discovering old items or things I had purchased at the end of the holiday season last year. The only thing I’m having trouble with is that we don’t have a mantle or fireplace, and we don’t even really have a shelf/countertop in the living/dining room. So, when I took out the stockings and stocking holder I wasn’t sure where it was going to go. Last year we put it under the TV, on the shelf with the playstation/tv PVR etc. but since we always swivel our TV to face the kitchen etc, it knocks off the stocking holder or you constantly have to move it out of the way. I’m still not sure where they’ll go, but i’m trying to talk Adam into making a ‘credenza’ in the dining room… we’ll see how that goes 😉

For now, i’m gathering my holiday baking recipes together so I can start baking for get togethers. We already have our third annual neighbour get together at our place next Sunday with about 15 people, so I’m trying to get ready early. 

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I made this cake for a dinner with Adam’s sister and brother-in-law one night and it’s a dense cake, almost like a pumpkin pie meets cake – cake. Since I have a dairy allergy to cow’s milk, I wondered what it would taste like to use goat cheese in the frosting instead of cream cheese, and it was delicious. I would definitely use this frosting on other cakes or even brownies. 

Pumpkin Layer Cake
A dense spiced pumpkin layer cake with goat cheese frosting.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  2. 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  3. 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  4. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  5. 1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
  6. big dash of cinnamon, nutmeg
  7. 3 large eggs
  8. 1 1/2 cups pumpkin - not filling
  9. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  10. 1/2 cup almond milk or other milk alternative
for the frosting
  1. 1/2 cup soft goat cheese
  2. 3-4 cups sifted confectioners sugar
  3. 1/2 cup butter, softened
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line three 6 or 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper
  3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, in a medium bowl.
  4. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy
  5. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time.
  6. Beat in pumpkin; add vanilla
  7. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with 2 batches of almond milk; beat until just combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
  8. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans.
  9. Bake until cakes are golden brown, edges pull away from sides of pans, and a cake tester comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
  10. Transfer to rack to cool.
For the frosting
  1. beat butter and goat cheese until fluffy, add in icing sugar one cup at a time, beating until light and fluffy.
  2. Place bottom layer on a cake stand and spread evenly with half the frosting.
  3. Top with second layer, spread more frosting and top with last layer. finish the top with more frosting and sprinkle with walnuts.
b a k e a h o l i c http://www.bakeaholic.ca/