banana walnut muffins

Banana Walnut Muffins – moist and banana-y, with a lovely crunch from the nuts. Plus, of course, chocolate chips.

When I made the banana loaf a few weeks ago I mentioned that I still had some bananas left over in the freezer to make muffins with. Well, ta-da! This week we have banana muffins. I wasn’t particularly planning to make banana muffins this week, but I wanted to make something from the Williams-Sonoma Muffins cookbook, which I haven’t baked from for awhile. And after flipping through the pages, this is the one that I found myself craving.  (more…)

sour cherry white chocolate chunk cookies – cookie swap

Sour Cherry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies marry slivers of tart sour cherries with sweet white chocolate and crunchy toasted almonds.

This is it, y’all. The cookie I made for The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, this is my first year participating in this swap, but the 4th year they’ve done it. It’s kind’ve a big deal! This year they had 566 bloggers participating from 7 countries, baking and mailing over 20,000 cookies. Wow, right? It bears repeating that the organizers, Lindsay at Love & Olive Oil and Julie at The Little Kitchen, deserve serious kudos for coming up with the whole idea and also for all their hard work organizing everything. Seriously, thank you both!  (more…)

chai tea caramels

Sweet and soft Chai Tea Caramels, with the classic masala chai flavours of ginger, cardamom, star anise, cloves and cinnamon.

I love chai tea. Especially when it’s made properly, with the spices simmered in the milk to get maximum flavour, before adding the tea. Of course the only time I get it brewed properly like this is when I get it from a proper Indian restaurant – I never make it at home like this (lazy? moi?). Most chai tea blends you can buy in the store have the two combined. And when you don’t have the time (or inclination) to do the long method, that’s perfectly okay! In fact, that’s exactly what we’re using in these caramels. Because conveniently, it’s what I had on-hand.  (more…)

cheese scones

These Cheese Scones are slightly crusty on the outside, and flaky and tender and incredibly buttery on the inside.

I used to think I didn’t particularly care for scones. I’d had a few that were okay, but none that were very good. I didn’t get why I’d read and heard so much raving about how awesome they were. Mostly, they were dense and heavy and tasted overwhelmingly of baking powder. Not really pleasant. And then one day I stopped at a little out of the way coffee shop in a small town, and I was craving something savoury to go with my morning coffee, so I tried one of their cheese scones. It was a revelation. Slightly crusty on the outside, unbelievably tender and flaky and buttery on the inside. So this was what a scone was supposed to be like!  (more…)

chocolate chip cookies with nuts

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Nuts – chewy cookies full of dark chocolate chunks, plus both the flavour and crunch of pecans or walnuts.

Once again I’m falling back to a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe this week. Everybody loves chocolate chip cookies, right? But really, a chocolate chip cookie is anything but “basic”. There are so many variations – crunchy or chewy, thick or thin, with or without nuts – do I need to go on? It may be an old stand-by, but it never gets old. I’m turning yet again to my favourite baking book for this one. Dorie Greenspan calls it her “Best Chocolate Chip Cookie”, and I can believe it. This is one good cookie.  (more…)

apple cider caramels

Apple Cider Caramels – rich with the flavours of autumn – fresh, crisp apples, cinnamon and caramel.

In most parts of Canada (at least in my experience), if you ask for an apple cider in any bar or restaurant, you’re going to get a carbonated alcoholic beverage. Possibly in a bottle, possibly on tap, possibly with a wedge of lime (mmmm). That’s the default “cider” here (what does that say about us?). So imagine my surprise when I was in Minnesota years ago, went into a bar with some friends, and received a steaming hot mug of cider with a cinnamon stick. Um, what? I mean, it was delicious and all, but I was not expecting a “hot apple cider”. Especially since it wasn’t even winter at the time.  (more…)

chocolate oatmeal muffins with cranberries

Chocolate Oatmeal Muffins with Cranberries – they'll go great with your morning coffee or any time as a treat.

As part of my new “bake more muffins” initiative, this week I have yet another recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours. This is a recipe that I’ve made several times already, so it’s not new-to-me, but it is new to the blog. So it totally counts as “new”.

While I have tweaked the ingredients of this muffin over the years, the flavour is essentially the same. And oh-so-chocolatey. So, so chocolatey.  (more…)

cookie swaps

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2014

If you haven’t guessed from the logo I’ve had in my sidebar for a few weeks now, I’m doing the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap this year! And I’m ridiculously excited about it! I’m such a nerd when it comes to baking, I know. It’s their 4th year running, but my first participating. It’s only my second xmas season blogging, and I didn’t even know this exchange existed until it was too late for me to join last year. So I kept an eye on it, determined to not miss out again. And I think I was one of the first to sign up this year. They have 566 bloggers participating this time around, from 7 different countries. That’s a lot of cookies! Kudos to the organizers, Lindsay at Love & Olive Oil and Julie at The Little Kitchen, for all their hard work on this; and especially for coming up with the idea in the first place and opening it up to the whole community.   (more…)

coconut oatmeal cookies

Coconut Oatmeal Cookies – soft and chewy, full of the flavours of both oats and coconut.

It was a busy weekend for me, so my main criteria when picking a recipe this week was “quick & easy”. Of course “tasty” is always important, but time was a definite consideration. I had just recently made some oatmeal snickerdoodles (delicious) and that recipe book was still sitting on my coffee table, so I was flipping through it. And oatmeal was still on my mind (isn’t it always? between oatmeal cookies and a big steaming bowl of steel-cut oats on a weekend morning – mmmmm.). So when I saw this coconut oatmeal cookies recipe, I thought “yum!” And I knew my coworkers would agree.  (more…)

chocolate peanut butter cup cookies

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cookies – a rich, intensely chocolate peanut butter cookie, studded with mini peanut butter cups.

This week’s cookie is shamelessly stolen from SugarHero (go check her out – I can guarantee her cookies and photos are much prettier than mine). I’m not a huge peanut butter fan, but the minute I saw this cookie, I knew I had to have it. “Gooey” is absolutely the perfect descriptor.

I mean, don’t get me wrong – I enjoy a good peanut butter cookie as much as the next person, but I’m not one of those people who will eat peanut butter by the spoonful straight from the jar. The tag “peanut butter” is generally not enough to make me need to make a recipe (unlike “chocolate” or “lemon” – seriously, look how big those 2 words are in my tag cloud…).  (more…)

espresso shortbread rollout cookies

Espresso Shortbread Rollout Cookies – soft and tender, subtly sweet, with a lovely espresso flavour.

I’m making yet another roll-out cookie this week. Why? Will it surprise you to hear I got new cookie cutters again? Yeahhhh… I can’t help it! Just look at them – they’re so cute! These are actually not even cookie cutters, but fondant cutters, so the shapes are much smaller than a cookie would typically be – the triceratops is less than 2″ from nose to tip of tail. But I’m totally fine with that. I’m all about the tiny cookies here.  (more…)

chocolate marble banana bread

Chocolate Marble Banana Bread – dense and moist, swirled with deep rich chocolate, with just enough dark rum to make it interesting.

During the summer, I love having a fruit smoothie every day for breakfast. It’s so cool and refreshing, and to be honest it’s about the only time I get fruit in my diet (I’m not a big fan – sorry, I’d much rather have vegetables). I don’t always have the same combination of fruits and juices, but they all start with a base of frozen bananas – that’s how you get that great thick milkshake-y texture. But sometimes my kitchen gets a bit… messy. Cluttered. I usually have baking ingredients all over the place, and if I’m going to be using my cookie sheets again right away, I won’t bother putting them away. And sometimes the bananas get… misplaced. Forgotten. When this happens, I usually don’t find them until they’re ripened beyond belief. But that’s just fine. It just means that instead of being used in a smoothie, they’ll get used in some baking. Trust me, I’m never truly upset by this development. Not in the least.  (more…)

oatmeal snickerdoodles

Oatmeal Snickerdoodles – combining dense, chewy oatmeal cookies with all the cinnamon goodness of a snickerdoodle!

I’d never tried a snickerdoodle (or even heard of them, honestly) until I made them myself last year. Everyone loved them, including me, and I’ve been looking forward to trying more versions of the recipe ever since. What’s not to love about a cinnamon sugar cookie? When I found this oatmeal snickerdoodle recipe it sounded like the perfect combination – cinnamon oatmeal cookies. Yum!  (more…)

kitchen sink cookies

These dense, fudgy Kitchen Sink Cookies really have everything – chocolate, peanut butter, more chocolate, espresso, plus toasted coconut and pecans. My favourite cookie so far!

I was planning to do another cookie cutter recipe this weekend, but we’re getting a ton of rain today and I wanted to just curl up on the couch and enjoy it (I love a good rainstorm). So I opted to go for a drop cookie – something quick and easy. I’ve had this particular cookie bookmarked for quite awhile (along with a million other recipes). The combination of flavours caught my eye, but at the same time it was a bit scary. Kitchen sink indeed – there’s both melted chocolate and chocolate chips, peanut butter and peanut butter chips, and coconut and pecans and white chocolate chips too. And espresso. OMG. I had no idea whether these flavours would work together or not. It sounds crazy, right? Well I decided it was time to find out.  (more…)

chocolate chunk marble cookies

Chocolate Chunk Marble Cookies – a perfect marriage of chocolate and vanilla, made even better with added pecans and chocolate chunks. So pretty, but so simple to make!

I’ve been thinking about making whoopie pies for awhile now – that particular recipe book has been sitting on my coffee table for weeks, all ready to go. Don’t too excited, though. While I almost made them this weekend, at the last minute I was like “meh, that’s not really what I feel like”. I wanted a good old-fashioned cookie with chunks of chocolate and nuts. I have no shortage of such recipes and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of a good, basic chocolate chip cookie, but I also wanted to do something a liiiiitle bit different.  (more…)