Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Bake and Trade 2014

I organized a Bake and Trade (aka cookie exchange) at the office again this year and I have to say, I took it up a notch. We had the Christmas music playing like last year, but we also voted for what we’d like to have for our first bite. The winner (the only savory treat – jalapeno cornbread muffins) got a box of really pretty cupcake wrappers. 

I also gave out the cutest party favors – mini holiday cookie cutters. Whenever I wondered if I was going overboard, I thought, what would my friend Gabbie do? Because Gabbie always goes the extra mile when throwing parties and basically everything in life. For example, for Halloween, she gives out Starbucks travel mugs to the parents!!! What parent wouldn’t love that??

So anyways, I asked myself, what would Gabbie do, and I’m pretty sure she’d do something even more extravagant, so I went ahead with my Bake and Trade party at work. And it was fun!

Thank you to everyone who participated! We had such a wonderful variety of treats!

And by popular demand, the recipe for Mock Skor Bars. Just some history on this treat: Every year we get super excited about this treat brought in by our colleague Allison. This year, it was brought in by Sophie and we are so happy she made it!

Mock Skor Bars
Recipe from here.

24 salted soda crackers
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place crackers evenly on pan.
2.  Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar and stir until melted and combined. Mixing constantly, bring mixture to a boil for 2 minutes. Pour mixture over crackers.
3.  Bake in the oven for 5 minutes.
4.  Sprinkles chocolate chips evenly over caramel and return to oven just until the chocolate melts. Spread with an offset spatula.
5.  Place pan in fridge or freezer until firm. Break into pieces and devour.

Note: I’ve made this with Ritz crackers and it is phenomenal.

I made the Mars Bar Blondies that I made for my wedding. Check out the recipe here

Check out these cute cookie cutter party favors! Love!

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Some Leftover Cakes and Bakes

Over the last few months, I’ve been baking but not necessarily sharing recipes because I wasn’t completely happy with the way the cakes turned out and I wasn’t going to go back to the kitchen and re-do it to perfect it. Or things go really busy with the wedding and I didn’t have the energy to do a post. Now that I have more time, I thought I’d share some of the pictures.

First off, a boozy cake that was just not boozy enough for father’s day. Next time, be heavy handed with the whisky!

Next, a Double Strawberry Cake whose drizzle glaze was too drizzly. Next time, don’t add so much liquid to the icing sugar! Plus, I never actually tasted the cake so I have no idea if it turned out.

Halloween Cake – there wasn’t anything wrong with this cake, just a simple vanilla cake with vanilla frosting. Pretty standard.

There was also chocolate bark with Oreos. And check out these ones that my friend made for Halloween!

Here are the caramel and chocolate covered pretzel rods that my sister and I made for the wedding. These were AMAZING! But those bags of pretzel rods have so many broken ones! Boo!

So, you know how at weddings, there’s a ton of desserts left over? Well turns out my guests were those people as they went crazy over the desserts. I guess that’s what happens when there’s a lot of selection? One of the desserts that they really liked, and that my sister and I had made, were the Mars Bar Blondies. Here’s the recipe:

Mars Bar Blondies

2 1/3 cup flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
2 Tablespoon milk powder*
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup + 2 Tablespoon butter, softened
1 ¾ cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoon vanilla
4 Mars Bars chopped into small bite sized pieces

*You could probably get away without milk powder, but apparently it’s the magic ingredient in the baking world (Milk Bar uses it a lot!), so I threw it in. And fyi, people went crazy over these blondies.

1.   Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
2.   Whisk flour, baking powder, milk powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
3.   Using a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until smooth.
4.   Add eggs and beat after each addition. Add vanilla and beat.
5.   Add flour mixture in 2 batched, beating until almost combined.
6.   Add half of the chopped Mars Bars and mix until just combined, 10 seconds.
7.   Press the thick dough into the baking pan with an offset spatula.
8.   Insert the remaining Mars Bar pieces throughout the surface. Feel free to add sprinkles.
9.   Bake for 23 minutes or just until toothpick comes out clean. Do not over bake or they will dry out and you will be sad.
10. Cool for 20 minutes before cutting.