Pina Colada Bars

We are knee-deep into summer. I was invited to a Hawaiian luau, pig roast and everything, and I decided to make a dessert to contribute to the dessert table. This was a few weeks ago, and I just got around to write the post for this recipe now.

These Pina Colada bars are really easy. Think lemon squares, with the addition of pineapple and coconut. If you like Pina Coladas, you will definitely like these. They are light, tropical, fruity, and delicious.

I found the recipe here, and they were extremely easy to make. Low risk, high reward. The recipe is easy to follow, and it yields delicious, tropical results.

They have a bit of a shortbread crust, and a creamy, almost custard-y filling. Take the plunge headfirst into seasonal treats, and make these ASAP!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 9×9 pan, approx. 2 dozen squares

For the crust:

½ c. butter, softened
1 c. flour
1/3 c. icing sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. vanilla

For the filling:

2 eggs
1 c. sugar
½ c. lemon juice
2 tbsp. heavy whipping cream
¼ tsp. rum extract or spiced rum
2 tbsp. flour
1 8oz. can crushed pineapple, drained
¾ c. sweetened flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9×9 square pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.

To make the crust, combine all crust ingredients in a medium bowl, cutting in the butter with a pastry cutter. Press the dough into the prepared pan. The mixture will be crumbly. Pierce the dough a few times and place in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes until barely golden brown.

Remove from oven and cool slightly.

While the filling cooks, in a large bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, lemon juice, cream and rum extract, and whisk until smooth. Add in the flour, and whisk again until smooth. Stir in the drained pineapple and coconut until combined.

Pour mixture over warm crust, and bake in the oven for 18-25 minutes, or until center does not jiggle and the edges begin to slightly brown. Allow bars to cool in the pan until room temperature. Transfer to the fridge, cool completely, then slice and serve.

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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.

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.

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.