A Cookie Bonanza with Butter Celebrates! (plus a giveaway)

Butter Celebrates (1 of 1)

As you may well remember this time last year I was wrapping up my 52 Cookies-A New Cookie a Week for a Year feature and you may also remember how I felt about doing such a laborious task. Yet the one thing that stood out the most after this endeavour? I sure know how to throw down batch of cookies when I need to! (I also seem to need to make many dozens of multiple kinds in one afternoon. Cookie me crazy.)

Butter Celebrates (6 of 6)

This is why when I was asked to be apart of a blogger review of the new Butter Celebrates! by Rosie Daykin (Random House) and time became of the essence I knew where my success would lie. Plus my co workers, who reaped the benefits from last year, have been hinting lately they missed my treats.

Butter Celebrates (4 of 6)

You might remember a group review we also this time last year for Rosie’s first fabulous book Butter Baked.  This time around Butter Celebrates! is pages and pages of beautiful classically design sweet treats perfect for every occasions.

Butter Celebrates (3 of 6)

Whether you want ideas for Mother’s Day, baby showers or holiday celebrations Butter has you covered. Cakes, pies, sweet treats and of course cookies burst off the pages making your mouth water. And the furry friends are included too with a whole chapter about Zelda, the Daykin family rescue dog and treats perfect for their sensitive little fur-tummies. Butter Celebrates! is table top worthy with stunning photography however you won’t resist dusting it in flour as you bake up many of these wonderful treats.

Butter Celebrates (1 of 6)

In classic blogger tradition we have banded together again and want to bring you the most amazing of prizes. Enter the contest below and you may be the lucky winner of a Butter Celebrates! cookbook signed by Rosie so you can try these recipes at home. She will also send you a box of goodies from the Butter store in Vancouver B.C. Perfect in time for the holidays.

Butter Celebrates (5 of 6)

Visit each participating blog and check out their review of Butter Celebrates! and get more chances to win. And if you haven’t visited my friends before you really need to check out their blogs. Such a super talented group of ladies.

The Brunette Baker baked a gorgeous Guiness Cake with Pretzels.

Strawberries for Supper made “Hostess” Cupcakes.

Planet Byn tried out the Orange Gingerbread Cake.

Devour & Conquer gets ready for the holiday season with the Christmas Panettone.

Sweet Twist of Blogging gets citrusy with the Lemon Loaf.

Libby Roach gets cute with Gingerbread Guys.

Family Bites follows the cute with Animal Cookies.

Sweet Style CA tried a decadent Chocolate Gingerbread Genoise.

eat.live.travel.write celebrate with Champagne Cupcakes.

Kelly Neil goes classic with Peppermint Nanaimo Bars.

I Sugar Coat It baked the Eggnog-less Bars.

Once Upon a Recipe dazzles with a Banana Pecan Caramel Cake.

Make sure you visit all and enter below for your chance at this amazing prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is open to all legal residents of Canada who have reached the age of majority at the time of the contest in the province or territory in which they reside. Void in Quebec. 

 

Winner must answer a skill-testing question. 

 

No purchase necessary to enter. 

 

Giveaway will run from Wednesday, November 25, 2015 at 12:01am to Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at 11:59pm. Winner will be contacted via email and name will be displayed on Rafflecopter widget. Email address will never be given out to any third party or anyone for that matter. 

 

Prize value is approximately $125. 

 

* I have generously received a copy of this book free of charge from the publisher Random House. As always, all opinions are one hundered percent my own.

Ciabatta Bread

Ciabatta Bread

Sometimes I`ll just eat bread and butter for dinner.  Partly out of laziness or lack of imagination but mainly because it tastes so good.  I don`t mean bread that comes in a bag presliced.  I`m talking freshly baked, crunchy crust, and doughy butter melting insides.  Ciabatta bread happens to my favorite.  So making this fresh at home one day certainly decided on my dinner options. It and butter.  I may have had a fruit smoothie for breakfast so I don`t feel quite so bad.

Ciabatta Bread

Yields 1 large or 2 small loaves

Ciabatta Bread
Save Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp warm water
  • 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil

Instructions

  1. Add all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix gently with spatula until combined. Kneading the dough 8-10 minutes by hand (or if using a mixer using the dough hook) until dough is smooth.
  2. [img src="http://www.tastygardener.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Ciabatta-Bread-1-of-10-300x199.jpg?x45499" alt="Ciabatta Bread" width="300" height="199" class="aligncenter size-medium wp-image-20130"]
  3. Place dough in a grease bowl, cover and let rise 2 hours.
  4. If making two small loaves cut into two.
  5. Shape the dough into logs and place on lightly floured baking sheet. Cover and let rise another 40 minutes.
  6. [img src="http://www.tastygardener.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Ciabatta-Bread-2-of-10-300x199.jpg?x45499" alt="Ciabatta Bread" width="300" height="199" class="aligncenter size-medium wp-image-20131"]
  7. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake bread until browned and when bottom is tapped sounds hollow 35-40 minutes.
  8. [img src="http://www.tastygardener.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Ciabatta-Bread-4-of-10-300x199.jpg?x45499" alt="Ciabatta Bread" width="300" height="199" class="aligncenter size-medium wp-image-20132"]
Cuisine: Bread |

 

 

The Baker’s Chain Letter

amish-friendship-bread-2The other day I was handed two pages of instructions and a baggie of goop. It was Amish Friendship Bread. A long, long time ago when I was in high school I had received a similar gift but like most chain letters I did what I normally do, delete. However being older and wiser and a lover of loaf bread I relished the idea of continuing this tradition. Amish friendship bread is a type of sweet bread or cake that begins from a sour dough starter (the goop) and over the course of ten days more ingredients are added until you are left with enough starter for you own loaf, to start a new cycle and 2 more to pass on to friends with instructions. Hence the comparison to a chain letter.

There is little known history to how, when and why Amish Bread began except that despite it’s name has no connections to the Amish people. But what I find the most interesting is that any starter you receive could in fact be many generations old.

Amish Friendship Bread Recipe

Tips for making bread

You can freeze the mixture at certain intervals to slow down the process

Do not refrigerate.

Do not use metal bowls or utensils.

Let out any air in the bag.

It is normal for the batter to thicken, bubble and ferment.

The Great Cookie Capade Part Three: Fresh vs. Frozen

Cookies in hand I headed to work for yet another taste test. This time I learned my lesson and planned on babysitting the cookies to make sure it wasn’t a free-for-all. My goal this time around was to see how the two different dough, the Scottish Shortbread and the Sugar cookie held up to being frozen for a couple of weeks.

So I baked 3 dozen cookies from each of the frozen dough then made a fresh batch of each and baked 3 dozen of each of those. I wanted to see if people could taste a difference and if they did what they preferred. I got some interesting results.

gccMostly everyone tasted a difference whether it was flavour of the ingredients or texture of the cookie. Hands down people preferred the shortbread made with fresh dough. However it was a draw when it came to the sugar cookies.

So the bottom line is that fresh is ultimately better when it comes to the best tasting cookie. While I would have preferred the convenience of pre-made frozen dough, I definitely don’t want to sacrifice quality.

Now that the cookie part has been decided it’s time to venture into frightening territory. Decorating!

Intro: The Great Cookie Capade

Part 1: The Perfect Cookie

Part 2: The Results are In

The Great Cookie Capade Part One: The Perfect Cookie

I decided to pick cookies because they are on the smaller scale and since I’m learning trial by error the smaller the better. Besides it’s better to have two-dozen cookies to practice on than one or two cakes.

Finding the perfect cookie is, I think, the most important part of my endeavour. Not only does it need to taste great but it also has to hold up in the decorating department. And what better way to find out what tastes the best is to go to the consumer. My friends and co-workers are going to love me. In a blind taste test I’m going to ask people to pick between two recipes of each kind as well as their overall favourite. You can never have enough options.

I’ve picked a choice between sugar cookies and shortbread. Both cookies have a hard crunchy texture that will hold up to decorating without sacrificing flavour.

Now the million-dollar question is how will they taste? I’ll keep you posted. The following four recipes?áare my choices for test cookies.

gcc-3

Basic Sugar Cookie Recipe #1

Basic Sugar Cookie Recipe #2

Mom’s shortbread Recipe

Scottish Shortbread Recipe

Intro: Great Cookie Capade

Part 2: The Results Are In

Part 3: Fresh Vs. Frozen

The Great Cookie Capade

I’ve always been artsy. In high school it was one of my best subjects. As an adult I would say it’s transitioned into being more crafty now. I paint, quilt and love to cross-stitch. But one of things about being my craftiness is that I prefer to teach myself as oppose to taking classes. This has resulted in some disastrous experiences. (I’ll never knit again!).

So as my brain starts mulling over the idea of cookie decorating and my entrepreneurial spirit joined in there is no turning back. In my fantasy world I will make beautiful creations that I’ll sell and become hugely successful. In reality I’ve never taken a decorating class before and I’d have to do it on the side of all the other things I do on the side.

Those things said I won’t know until I try and the best thing to do is start with the basics. That being the perfect cookie.

So as I venture into unknown territory I will continue to chronicle my adventures on my blog. Will I be successful? Only time will tell. But one thing is a guarantee, it’ll sure be a blast trying. A tasty one at that.

Part 1: The Perfect Cookie

Part 2: The Results Are In

Part 3: Fresh Vs. Frozen

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie
Save Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 to 6 tbsp ice cold water
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. Ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. Cloves
  • 1 pinch allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 can (15 oz.) canned pumpkin
  • 1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk

Instructions

  1. Blend the flour and salt in medium mixing bowl.
  2. Cut butter into flour mixture using pastry blender, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Sprinkle half the water over flour mixture.Using fork, stir and draw flour from bottom of bowl to top.Press chunks to bottom of bowl with fork.Add more water by tablespoonfuls until dough no longer crumbles.
  4. Shape dough into ball and flatten into 1/2" round disk.Chill up to 2 days.
  5. Roll out dough into circle 2' wider than your pie plate.
  6. Transfer to pie plat and trim edges leaving 3/4" overhang.Fold edges under.Flute edges.
  7. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  8. Mix together all dry ingredients.Stir in Egg.Beat in pumpkin and milk until smooth.Pour into piecrust.
  9. Bake 50-55 minutes or until knife comes out clean.
Recipe Type: Dessert

 

Childhood Banana Shortage

Growing up it was always a treat when my mom would make banana bread. A loaf never lasted a day in our house between everyone trying a slice straight out of the oven then another to satisfy a late night craving. If my dad was lucky he might have been able to take a slice to work the next day. My dad wasn’t a very lucky guy.

Warm out of the oven.

Warm out of the oven.

The only problem was that there was hardly ever bananas available to make multiple loaves let alone just one. And I don’t mean a local grocery store storage. You see my dad preferred his bananas on the green side, my mom likes them ripe and I loved them as close to black as possible. Bunches in our household never made it to the bread stage.

Now that I’m living on my own I have the exact opposite problem. By the time bananas are how I like them there is only a small window of a couple days to eat them before they are too far-gone. Therefore my freezer is fill of blacken, overripe bananas.

Lucky for me I still love banana bread.

Banana bread Recipe

*Here a tip for freezing bananas. Instead of freezing them whole, remove their peel then mash the banana in a plastic container which makes for easier storage. You can add more or remove some from the container as the bananas are needed for baking.