Chewy Sugar Cookies

Wow, these cookies were awesome! So simple to make, and they were gone in about a day and a half. (Granted, I did give some away, but that’s a story for later in the post!)

I loved how simple this recipe was, and how it yielded some great results. All the ingredients are basic, pantry staples, and I couldn’t have been happier. It was the perfect recipe for a “Wake-up-and-randomly-decide-to-make-cookies” kind of day. I had everything I needed, and as I said before, the result was a soft, chewy cookie, so simple, and so tasty.

I found the original recipe here, and followed it to a tee. There were no changes that I made, because the recipe is so simple and straightforward. If you’re really being nitpicky, I did use a clear vanilla extract instead of the brown vanilla extract, but that was because I wanted the cookies to stay a beautiful pure white colour.

The reason that these cookies went so fast, was because I gave some away. The weekend I made these, I was taking care of a friend’s dogs. I went over to her house to walk the dogs before bed, and as I was leaving, it was very dark out, and I turned a little too sharply while backing out of her driveway. I ended up bottoming out the left side of my car in a massive snowdrift! I had to dig out my car, and I was wrestling with the snowdrift for probably half an hour, or more. My friend had some guests staying with her, and they got back to the house and helped me push my car free. Huzzah! So these cookies were “I-want-cookies” cookies, but also “Thank-you-for-pushing-my-car-out-of-a-huge-snowdrift-because-reversing-in-the-dark-is-much-more-difficult-in-unfamiliar-driveways” cookies. Yeah, you got tired reading that? Imagine how I felt. It was a hot mess! (Also, I promise I’m a good driver. The driveway is just unfamiliar, curved, and there were obstacles to avoid, hence the sharp turn.)

Either way, these cookies are absolutely wonderful. They will definitely become something I make more often, with how simple and easy they are, with such high results!


Yield: Approx. 3½ dozen cookies

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

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper, or Silpat sheets.

In the bowl of a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in the egg and mix until well-combined.

Stir in the flour, baking powder, salt, and vanilla until well-mixed and cohesive.

Scoop cookie dough by the teaspoonful and roll into a ball. Roll in the garnishing sugar.

Place cookie balls on a baking sheet, and flatten slightly with your hand.

Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool on wire racks, and store in an airtight container.


Vanilla Biscotti

Oh my gosh! These vanilla biscotti are amazing! So simple, and such a classic flavour. Paul was extremely happy about these, and so was I. I added a little extra vanilla, just to amp up the flavour, and when Paul took his first bite, his reaction made me a little scared that I put too much vanilla in. Nope! He said it was just the right amount, and I agree.

Biscotti are definitely this year’s Sugar and Spice addiction. You know how it is. These things come and go, and right now, my favourite thing to experiment with is biscotti!

I got the original recipe here, and as I said, I just added extra vanilla. I also changed the second bake time instructions slightly. I didn’t lower the oven heat, and I flipped the cut biscotti after about 12 minutes. Other than that, I did learn a new trick for slicing the biscotti and making it easier, instead of crumbly ends.

When you take the biscotti out of the oven after the first bake, spritz it lightly with water, making sure to get the tops and sides. It softens the outer crust just enough to make a nicer cut. Who knew?! Well, now I do, and you do as well!

Go make these. They are such a lovely, classic flavour that they will go with any warm drink!


Yield: Approx. 20-22 biscotti, depending on cut size

6 tbsp. butter
2/3 c. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
1-2 tsp. vanilla extract (I used 2 tsp.)
1½ tsp. baking powder
2 eggs
2 c. flour

Preheat the oven to 350°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a mixer, or a medium bowl, combine the butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, and baking powder until mixture is smooth and creamy. Beat in the eggs. The batter may look slightly curdled, but it isn’t. Add in the flour, and stir until smooth.

Scoop out the dough, and shape it into a rough log about 12 inches long. Flatten slightly, but keep the middle slightly mounded.

Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until the biscotti is light golden brown all over. Remove from oven, spritz all over with room temperature water, and let sit for five minutes.

Transfer to a cutting board, and use a serrated knife to slice biscotti. Place cut side down on the baking sheet, and return to the oven for 12 minutes, or until bottoms are just starting to turn golden brown.

Remove from the oven, flip the biscotti to the other cut side, and bake for 10-12 minutes until outsides are dry, and they are starting to turn golden brown, then remove from the oven.

Cool on a wire rack, and serve with a warm drink, like tea, coffee, or hot chocolate!

Red Wine Chocolate Cake

Okay. I haven’t made a cake in a long time, and I did so because two of my beautiful friends celebrated their birthdays and they are both a big fan of red wine!

I’m not the biggest wine fan myself, so I had a little help in choosing the wine to bake with, but if that is deterring anyone who is like me, and not a huge fan of wine, you can still make this cake! I found that the wine did not overpower the cake at all, and it added a nice flavour.

I found the recipe here, and I am quite pleased with it. I made my own vanilla buttercream instead of the icing suggested (because mascarpone is ridiculously expensive), and I’ve included that in the recipe below. It still worked very well together, but if you like mascarpone, go for it!

Enough chatter. On to cake!


Yield: 1 8-inch cake

For the cake:

¾ c. cocoa powder
1¾ c. flour
1 tsp. espresso powder
1 tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1½ tsp. baking soda
2 eggs
½ c. vegetable oil
1¾ c. sugar
1 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. red wine – I used Yellow Tail Cabernet Sauvignon

For the frosting:

2 c. butter, at room temperature
3¾c. icing sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt

For the red wine reduction:

1 c. sweet red wine
4 tbsp. sugar

For the cake, preheat oven to 350° F. Brush 3 8-inch cake pans with miracle cake release or line with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa, flour, espresso powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer, combine eggs and oil. Add in sugar, beating to combine, until mixture turns pale. Reduce speed to low, then add in vanilla and milk.

Add in dry ingredients, mix until just combined, then add in wine and combine until smooth.

Divide batter into pans evenly, then bake in preheated oven 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on wire racks completely before icing.

For the red wine reduction, in a small saucepan combine the wine and sugar. Bring to a boil, then continue to simmer on medium-low heat until wine reduces to about ¼ c. It may take about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature before using on cake.

For the vanilla buttercream frosting, in a mixer bowl fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed to low, and add the sugar 1 cup at a time. Add vanilla and salt, and beat until smooth and combined.

To assemble cake, place cooled cake layer on a cake stand or board. Top with a generous layer of icing (doesn’t have to be too thick, but should still be there). Place second cake layer, repeat layer of icing, and finish with top layer of cake.

Ice the top and sides of the cake, getting the sides as smooth as possible. The original recipe had a “naked cake” look (meaning scant icing around the sides), and I decided not to do that. Drizzle the red wine reduction over the top of the cake. Slice and serve.



Homemade Vanilla Marshmallows


Sorry for the silence around the blog for the past few weeks. It’s been a madhouse! Shortly after my last post about those Chai Chocolate Sables, it was my birthday. I was going to actually make my own birthday cake, a Chocolate Raspberry Truffle concoction of Annie’s creation. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten that cake. It is sitting in the back of my mind, just waiting for me to crave a cake.

The weekend after my birthday, we were whisked away to a friend’s beautiful wedding, and I didn’t want to bake anything when we were going to be out of the house for three days. Finally, after all the travelling and revelry was done, I wanted to settle down and do some baking.

Now, these marshmallows are not strictly baking. But, they are candy and dessert-like, so I decided to post them. At my beautiful friend’s wedding, she had a S’more bar (so clever!) and this gave me the initial idea of making homemade marshmallows. I have been tossing around the idea for a long, long time, but going to the wedding gave me the jump I needed.  I also made myself a sourdough starter, so in the next few weeks, there will be a post about homemade sourdough bread. As of right now, though, I made homemade marshmallows!

Thank goodness for Annie and her recipes.The only tool that you need for this recipe that may not be in your kitchen is a candy thermometer. Other than that, enjoy these babies. I’m going to try them next time with a flavouring other than vanilla.

One side note at well. The recipe calls for light corn syrup, which means clear corn syrup. I have almost two full bottles of corn syrup, the Golden kind, in my kitchen, and wasn’t about to go buy a third bottle, so I just used the Golden corn syrup. It turned out perfectly fine, but that was why I added a bit of food colouring so that these marshmallows weren’t a brownish gold colour.

Next time I want to make vanilla marshmallows though, I will buy the clear syrup, because the white colour of pure vanilla marshmallows is gorgeous. However, with a little bit of colour, and double the vanilla because I still don’t have vanilla beans, homemade vanilla marshmallows are within reach. Nor going to lie, I also made a quick little S’more to try, and wow. Amazing.



Yield: 8-9 dozen marshmallows

1 c. cold water, divided
2½ tbsp. (3 packets) unflavoured gelatin
1½ c. sugar
1 c. light corn syrup (golden works as well)
¼ tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. vanilla (double this if using golden corn syrup)
¼ c. icing sugar
¼ c. cornstarch

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add ½ c. of cold water and sprinkle the gelatin over the water to soften it. In a medium saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer, mix the other ½ c. of cold water, sugar, corn syrup, and salt. If using a vanilla bean, scrape the seeds from the bean and add to the mixture. If using golden corn syrup, add 2 tsp. vanilla.

Heat the mixture in the saucepan over medium heat, until mixture reaches 240°F. Immediately take off the heat. Turn mixer to low, and slowly drizzle the sugar syrup into the mixer bowl. When all of the sugar syrup has been added, turn mixer to high, and mix for 12-15 minutes, or until the mixture becomes thick and the bowl is lukewarm.

While the marshmallows are mixing, in a small bowl whisk together the icing sugar and cornstarch. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 pan, and sprinkle some of the icing sugar mixture into the pan, coating the bottom and sides. Once the marshmallow mixture is ready, spread into the greased and sugared pan with a lightly greased spatula. Sprinkle some (but not all) of the sugar mixture over the top of the marshmallows. Leave at room temperature for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Once ready to cut, tip out the marshmallow slab onto a cutting board. Using a knife or pizza cutter, rub blade in the icing sugar mixture and slice marshmallows into squares. If desired, use cookie cutters for fun shapes. Place marshmallows and the rest of the icing sugar mixture into an airtight plastic container. Shake to cover marshmallows and prevent them from sticking together. Store in the airtight container.

Neapolitan Cupcakes


Oh, you read that right. Neapolitan cupcakes. Just like the classic ice cream, with a perfect blend of strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate, but in cupcake form! I saw these on Pinterest, and immediately wanted to make them. When I proposed the idea of a cupcake to Paul on Monday, he was enthused. I had him look through the various desserts I have pinned, and as soon as he saw the picture, he was of a one track mind. I found the original recipe here, and it was worth the work of a layered cupcake and a free afternoon spent baking. I actually timed everything out so I would have an uninterrupted afternoon of baking. I made the dough for the vanilla sables, then while it was firming up in the freezer, made and baked the batter for the cupcakes, sliced and baked the sables, and finished off the buttercream icing while everything was cooling. All in all, it was a productive day that I timed out (if I do say so myself) almost perfectly.


I was also quite intrigued at the concept of a layered cupcake, and I have always been a fan of Neapolitan ice cream. Granted, my brother used to always eat all the chocolate, but I love the combination of flavours that always seem to marry together perfectly.

The cupcake starts off with a chocolate batter, then a vanilla batter is layered on top of that, and after baking, the entire cupcake is frosted with a fantastic strawberry buttercream icing. I will let you know right now, if you are a fan of strawberries, this icing is for you. Oh. My. Gosh. It’s so good. Like sooo good. I kept having to restrain myself from licking the spoons, the beater, the spatula… well, you get the point. This strawberry icing is amazing. It uses a reduced strawberry puree to give it that punch of strawberry flavour, and it tasted EXACTLY like strawberry ice cream to me. So delish.

If you are like me, and just dreaming of when the temperature outside hits more than plus 10, these Neapolitan cupcakes are definitely reminiscent of warm summer days and cool summer treats.


Yield: 22 cupcakes

For the chocolate batter:

1/3 c. cocoa powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ c. boiling water
¼ c. butter, melted
2½ tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
¾ c. plus 2 tbsp. sugar
¾ tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. salt
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk (reserve egg white for white cake batter)
¼ c. heavy cream
1 c. flour

For the white batter:

1½ c. flour (the recipe says cake flour, but I used all-purpose and it was fine)
1½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
7 tbsp. butter, softened
¾ c. sugar
Seeds of ½ large vanilla bean, or 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
3 large egg whites
½ c. milk (anything but skim – I used 1%)
½ tsp. vanilla extract

For the strawberry buttercream:

1 c. plus 4 tbsp strawberry puree*
1½ c. butter, at room temperature
5 c. icing sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract
4-6 drops red food colouring (optional)

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350°F.

For the chocolate batter, in a medium heatproof bowl, whisk together the cocoa and baking soda until incorporated. Pour in the boiling water, and whisk until the bubbling stops and the mixture is combined. Set aside to cool.

In the bowl of a mixer, blend the melted butter, oil, sugar, vanilla and salt until combined, about 30 seconds. Stir in egg and egg yolk. Blend in the cocoa mixture and then the heavy cream. Slowly add in the flour and mix until incorporated, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed.

Line a muffin/cupcake tin with liners of your choice, and add about 1/8 c. of batter to each liner. I used a ¼ cup measure, and used the full measure to fill two liners with batter. Repeat until all batter is used. Set aside.

For the white cake batter, in a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt for at least 20 seconds. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter, sugar and vanilla bean seeds together until pale and fluffy. In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, egg whites, and vanilla extract until well blended.

Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, and mix until combined. Add half of the milk mixture to the butter/flour mixture, and mix until combined. Mix for 1 minute, until light and fluffy, and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the second third of the flour mixture and the last half of the milk mixture, beating after each addition, then mix for 1 minute longer, again, until light and fluffy. Add the last third of the flour mixture, and mix until well combined.

Gently layer 1/8 c. of the white batter over the chocolate batter in the liners, and carefully spread batter to edges.

Bake in the preheated oven for 16-19 minutes, rotating pans halfway through, and making sure that a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Cool in the pans for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the strawberry buttercream icing, put the strawberry puree into a small saucepan over medium heat, and reduce by 2/3, until you have about 6 tbsp of liquid. (6 tbsp. is slightly less than half a cup.) You must reduce the puree to the right amount, or the frosting will become too runny. The reduction will take about 14-15 minutes. Transfer the reduced puree to a bowl, and place in the freezer to chill, stirring every few minutes to evenly chill the reduced puree.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter until it is fluffy and pale. Occasionally scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix in 2 c. of icing sugar, followed by the puree, vanilla extract, and food colouring. (Mine took 4 drops to get that fantastic pink colour.) Blend until combined. Add in the last 3 cups of icing sugar, mixing after each addition. If the frosting is too runny, add in more icing sugar, ¼ c. at a time, until you reach the desired consistency. (My icing took the 5 cups, no more.)

Spread or pipe the finished frosting over the cupcakes, and store in an airtight container.

* To make the strawberry puree, simply dice up some washed strawberries and blend them in a food processor or blender. Voila! Fresh strawberry puree!