Chai Cookies

By now, my faithful readers should know how much I love tea. Chai is a particular favourite of mine, as is Earl Grey. I guess I have a thing for black teas.

Either way, these cookies are great because they have the flavour of Chai without the tea part – just the spices. They are also extremely easy to whip together, and come out very soft.

I followed the recipe almost exactly, only changing a few things. First, because I really love the warm spices and flavour of Chai, I added a little bit of Chai spice that I have as well. Secondly, I did end up with the approximate amount of cookies, but they are small. I would not have made them as small as I did if I were to make them again. Don’t get me wrong, they are REALLY GOOD, but just seemed line teeny-tiny cookies. And really, if I’m having cookies, I want a COOKIE. Not a “cookie”. I’ll put the sizing that I should have used below.

Still, these cookies are amazing, and very easy. If you are a Chai lover like I am, you’ll love these!

Ingredients

Yield: 15-18 cookies, depending on size

½ c. butter, softened
¾ c. sugar

1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1½ c. flour
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda
1¼ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ginger
½ tsp. cardamom
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. allspice
1/8 tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. Chai spice (optional)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together. Beat in the egg and vanilla until just combined.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, and all the spices.

Add the flour to the butter mixture, and beat until a smooth cookie dough forms. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Roll mixture into balls, and bake on cookie sheets in the preheated oven for 8-9 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges.

Cool on a wire rack and serve.

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Cinnamon Roll Cookies

As mentioned last week, I made these cinnamon roll cookies during a baking day I had. These were so good, and really quite easy to make! The dough came together in no time, and it took longer for these cookies to sit in the refrigerator chilling than it did being made, rolled, assembled, and baked. The beautiful thing about these cookies was that they are slice-and-bake, so you can make the cookie dough ahead of time, freeze it, and slice a few cookies off when you need them.The original post where I found the recipe used them as holiday cookies (as in Christmas holiday), but I love cinnamon buns any time of the year. Why not in cookie form?Either way, I’m not going to keep prattling on, because you need to go make these cookies! They are a little more labour-intensive than your run of the mill drop and bake cookies, but totally worth it!

Ingredients

Yield: About 2-3 dozen cookies, depending on thickness

For the cookie:

2¼ c. flour
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
¾ c. butter, softened
¾ c. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

For the filling:

2 tbsp. butter, melted and cooled
¼ c. sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon

For the glaze:

1¼ c. icing sugar
2-3 tbsp. milk

½ tsp. vanilla

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla until well combined.Gradually add in the flour mixture, beating after each addition, until a smooth, cohesive dough forms.Place the dough between two layers of parchment paper or plastic wrap, and roll into a large rectangle, about a quarter-inch thick.Brush the melted butter in the filling over the dough. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle evenly over the melted butter. Roll the dough, with the long end toward you, into a tight log. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours.Preheat oven to 350° F. Take out chilled dough log, and with a sharp knife, cut into half-inch thick slices. Place slices on a cookie sheet, and bake for 10-12 minutes, until the edges just start to turn golden brown.Cool on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a wire rack sitting over parchment paper to cool completely.To make the glaze, whisk together the icing sugar, vanilla, and a little bit of milk at a time, until you get a smooth, pourable consistency. Drizzle the glaze over the baked cookies, and let cool and firm up.

Maple Rice Krispie Treats

The weather in Southern Alberta has been really up and down lately. It’s been extremely cold and rainy for July, but the hot days have been hot. So I decided that I wanted to have a bit of a baking day on one of the cooler days. I ended up making these rice krispies, I made chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies, and cinnamon roll cookies (coming next week)!I made everything partly because I wanted to, but also because our next-door neighbours are awesome and keep mowing our lawn (and shoveling the walks in the winter… we kind-of drop the neighbour ball… oops!). I wanted to give them a bit of a thank-you-for-being-awesome-neighbours-and-sorry-we-fail-at-life-sometimes gift, and I decided that I needed to give them snacks. Everyone likes cookies of some kind, right? (Plus, my baking has been used as a currency all its own before. No shame!)This post is not sponsored in any way, but I went to the store to pick up a few cookie-baking supplies, and saw President’s Choice Maple Marshmallows. I immediately had to try them, and my gut reaction to buying them was MAKE RICE KRISPIES, because it’s been probably about 5 or 6 years since I’ve had one.Honestly, I don’t know why it took so long, because I forgot how easy rice krispie treats are to make, and these maple marshmallows are phenomenal! Honestly, if you don’t like maple (leave Canada, please… kidding!!) you can totally use just regular marshmallows. If you can’t find maple marshmallows, my thoughts are with you, but also maple extract would be a great substitute.I got this recipe right off the box of rice cereal that I bought, but it’s a classic, straightforward recipe that is a snap to make.

Ingredients

Yield: 1 9×13 pan of rice krispie treats

4 tbsp. (¼ c.) butter
1 400g bag President’s Choice Maple Marshmallows (or 1 400g bag regular marshmallows)
1 tsp. vanilla (or maple extract)
6 c. crisy rice cereal

Spray a 9×13 pan generously with cooking spray. Set aside.In a large, heavy bottomed pot, melt the butter. Add the marshmallows and vanilla/maple, stirring constantly until all marshmallows are melted and liquidy. Remove from heat.Spray a spatula or spoon with cooking spray, and add the cereal to the marshmallow mixture, mixing to combine evenly. Pour into the prepared pan, and using the greased spatula, or your hands sprayed with more cooking spray (to prevent sticking), smooth out the mixture into an even layer.Set aside for 20-30 minutes to cool and firm up before cutting and serving.

Rhubarb Sweet Rolls

If you remember from my last rhubarb posts, I have a lot of it. My wonderful parents have a garden, and in the summertime they are overflowing with produce of all kinds: tomatoes, beans, peppers, lettuce, carrots, and especially rhubarb. They usually have so much rhubarb and it grows so fast that they can’t physically keep or use it all.Last summer, my parents gave me 8 freezer bags full of rhubarb, and I’ve been looking for ways to use it up, especially because my dad told me they have a ton more for me to take. Ah! Pretty soon, it will overrun my freezer.Well, I woke up yesterday, and it was cold and rainy – a perfect baking day! I scoured Pinterest, and soon came upon these rolls, and decided the time was ripe (hah!) for another rhubarb recipe. If you are anything like my parents, and you have an abundance of rhubarb and not many ideas (I can’t make pie, as Paul is allergic to strawberries), I’m here to help! These are sweet and a little tart, but they are basically cinnamon rolls, but instead of a cinnamon filling, a quick rhubarb “jam” situation. You can have them for breakfast, or dessert and (if you’re daring!), put a scoop of vanilla ice cream on a warmed roll.

Ingredients

Yield: 12 rolls

For the dough:

¾ c. milk
4 tbsp. (¼ c.) butter, cubed
2¼ tsp. (or 1 packet) instant or active dry yeast
2 tbsp. sugar
1 egg, beaten
¾ tsp. salt
3¼ c. flour

For the filling:

4 c. sliced rhubarb, divided (the recipe says 3 cups, but I’ll explain)
½ c. sugar
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. cornstarch

For the glaze:

Leftover filling
1-2 c. icing sugar (as needed)
1 tbsp. lemon juice (if needed)

To make the dough, in a large glass measuring cup, warm the milk and butter together in a microwave until the mixture reaches between 100-110°F. Be careful! Don’t go over. Too hot, and you run the risk of killing your yeast. Stir in the yeast and sugar. Wait 5 minutes for the mixture to start to bubble and foam. If it doesn’t, your yeast is dead and you need to start again with new, fresh yeast.In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine the beaten egg, the milk mixture, the flour, and the salt. Beat with the dough hook, on low at first, then on medium for about 5 minutes until the dough comes together and becomes smooth and elastic.Remove the dough from the bowl and form into a ball. Oil the mixer bowl, then place the dough into the bowl, rolling to cover with oil. Plastic wrap the bowl, and set in a warm spot for 1-2 hours, until doubled in size. Make the filling while the dough rises.For the filling, in a medium saucepan, combine 3 cups of the sliced rhubarb (reserving 1 cup for the filling when it’s done – I’m a fan of rhubarb chunks, not just puree), the sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch.Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, until rhubarb breaks down and the mixture turns thick, into a jam-like consistency. Set aside filling to cool while the dough finishes its rise.To assemble the rolls, spray a 9×13 pan with non-stick spray and set aside. Lightly flour your work surface, and turn out the risen dough, gently rolling into a large rectangle, approximately 18×12.Spread 1-1½ cups of the filling over the dough, leaving about 1 inch of room around the edges of the dough. Sprinkle the reserved rhubarb chunks over the filling. Now it gets messy – beware! Roll the dough log in, starting from the top long edge. Some of the filling might leak out, but that’s okay. Get the roll as tight as you can, and make sure the seam side is down to try and seal it as much as possible.With a sharp serrated knife (or unflavoured waxed dental floss – that’s what I use!) cut the log into 12 even pieces. I use dental floss for all of my cinnamon roll cutting – it’s a trick I learned years ago. Just wrap the floss around the roll, and pull. It will cut everything for you! Easy-peasy.Place the cut rolls into the prepared pan, with a little bit of space between them, not squished tight. They need room to rise again. If you had a bunch of filling come out of the rolls, you can drizzle some extra filling over the rolls. Cover with plastic wrap, and leave in a warm place for the second rise, about 30-45 minutes, until the rolls fill the pan and are touching.Preheat oven to 350°. Make a simple egg wash (if desired), and brush rolls to help browning. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-35 minutes, until golden brown and bubbling.While the rolls bake, make the glaze. My glaze is different from the original (I didn’t want any leftover puree). In a medium bowl, combine the leftover rhubarb filling with 1-2 cups of icing sugar, as needed. There is enough moisture in the filling that you shouldn’t need any lemon juice, but if you like a runnier glaze, then use more liquid. Drizzle or pour glaze over the rolls as soon as they come out of the oven.Cool in the pan, and serve warm.

Nanaimo Bars

Happy Canada Day!

I was feeling in the mood to celebrate Canada Day, and I figured what better way to celebrate than making a treasured national dessert.

I had no idea how easy Nanaimo bars are to make, and I’m kind of kicking myself for not making them sooner. I like Nanaimo bars, but I find that they can be a bit rich, so when I indulge, I usually only have a small piece. Paul loves them, though, and he doesn’t get them very often. These are also no-bake! How fantastic is that! There is a little bit of stove-top use, but really, that’s about it. For the recipe, I actually went to my mom, and to the plethora of cookbooks I have in my kitchen. I found a recipe in a Company’s Coming cookbook, and my mom (bless her heart!) actually sent me to the City of Nanaimo website, where they HAVE A RECIPE FOR THESE! Crazy, right?

The Company’s Coming cookbook was the 150 Delicious Squares book, (where these Marshmallow Squares originated from), and here is the link to the City of Nanaimo website. I compared them to see how different they are, and they are almost identical, so I took a few things from the cookbook, and a few things from the website to create (hopefully) a perfect version of a Canadian classic.

Happy Canada Day from me to you!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 9×9 inch pan (24-36 bars, depending on cut size)

For the bottom layer:

½ c. butter
1/3 c. cocoa powder, sifted
¼ c. sugar
1 egg, beaten
1¾ c. graham cracker crumbs
¾ c. shredded unsweetened coconut
½ c. finely chopped almonds

For the middle layer:

2 c. icing sugar
½ c. butter, softened
3 tbsp. milk or cream
2 tbsp. vanilla custard powder (I used Bird’s brand)

For the top layer:

2/3 c. (or 4 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp. butter

To make the bottom layer, melt the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add in the cocoa and sugar and stir until smooth. Add in the beaten egg. Stir until mixture thickens. Remove from heat.

Stir in the graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and almonds. Press into an ungreased 9×9 square pan. Set aside in the fridge to firm up.

To make the middle layer, beat the butter with the icing sugar and custard powder until smooth. Add in the milk or cream as needed. Spread evenly over bottom layer. Set aside in the fridge to firm up.

To make the top layer, in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate chips, stirring often. Remove from heat when chocolate is almost fully melted, and stir until smooth. Spread evenly over middle layer. Smooth out, and chill in the refrigerator until top layer is set.

Slice and serve.