Sunday, February 27, 2011

Hermit Cookies

I’ve seen a few recipes for Hermit Cookies, but I liked this one best.  Most seem to call for shortening, but this recipe contains butter.

They are soft and chewy and can be made with the sugar glaze or eaten without..(I prefer WITH).

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1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup (200 grams) light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup (130 grams) dark or golden raisins

1 cup (135 grams) dates, pitted and coarsely chopped

1 cup (100 grams) pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped

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Glaze: (optional)

1/2 cup (55 grams) confectioners sugar (icing or powdered sugar), sifted

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (clear)

1 - 3 teaspoons milk or light cream

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat  the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

In a separate bowl sift or whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Add to the butter and egg mixture and beat until combined. Fold in the raisins, chopped dates, and chopped pecans.

Drop the batter by teaspoons onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies about two inches (5 cm) apart. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the cookies or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack for about 5 minutes before removing from pan. Cool completely before frosting.

Glaze (optional): In a small bowl stir together the sugar, vanilla extract, and enough milk (cream) to make a smooth, thick, yet pourable glaze. Once the cookies are completely cool, use a small spoon to drizzle several thin lines of the glaze over each cookie. Let the cookies sit at room temperature until the glaze has completely dried.

The cookies can be stored at room temperature for about five days.

Makes about 36 cookies

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Truly comfort food ~

Enjoy !


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Valentine Cake Pops with Sara

A very special little girl (she’s really like a niece to me) asked if I would help her make something to take to school for Valentine’s Day.  After some emails back and forth, pictures, ideas and careful planning, she decided she would go with Cake Pops.  We actually made over 40 Cake Pops and most of them round and decorated with sprinkles, but don’t ask my WHY I don’t have any pictures of them!?

I did however take pictures of the very pretty heart shaped pops.

(To make the Cake Pops see instructions at the bottom of this post.)


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Some of the chocolate cake pops before and after being coated with melted candy coating.

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and my only picture of a round one

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Here’s my little helper Sara.

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and her mother Rosemary.

(I can safely say that we all looked a little fresher when the night began.)

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I heard the cake pops were a huge hit with her classmates and teacher.

Good job Sara!

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Basic Cake Pops

1 box of your favorite cake mix (1 cake should yield about 48 pops)

1 can of your favorite icing

8” lollipop sticks

Candy coating for melting

Sprinkles, candies, any candy decorations you like

Styrofoam brick or small box to hold sticks

Bake your cake according to directions in a single rectangle or oval pan, (no need to make two cakes)

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Let cake cool.  Crumble cake into crumbs in a large bowl.

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Add 3/4 of the container of frosting to the cake crumbs. I prefer not to use the whipped frosting as its just too soft.


Mix it all up then roll into balls about the diameter of a quarter. If you make them too big they’ll be too heavy and will fall off the stick when you try to dip them later.  Refrigerate for about an hour.  Take out a few at a time and work with them.  If the balls get too soft they’ll fall off the stick when you try to work with them.

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Melt your candy melts in a deep bowl. I like to use a mug. Fill the mug 3/4 full. Microwave first about 1 minute. Stir and then microwave for 20 seconds at a time until completely melted. Do NOT over heat the candy, it turns into something completely different!! lol

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Dip your lollipop sticks in the melted candy about 1/2 inch then stick into the cake ball.  Insert stick only about half way in.  Let it sit and dry, do all your cake pops the same.


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Dip the cold cake pops into the melted candy. Dip straight down until you hit the stick and then quickly pull out. Tap the stick lightly on the edge of the bowl to shake excess off.  Keep twirling the cake pop until all the candy either drips off into the bowl or spreads evenly. Turn upright when dripping stops and stick into the Styrofoam to dry.

There are oodles of shapes, characters, colors and themes to try.  If you’re interested in making these you might want to invest in Bakerella’s Cake Pop book.

She really is a creative genius.


We all had a great time making the cake pops for Sara’s class.  They all realized that they really aren’t as easy as they look. But what a fun night! Thanks Sara, Rosemary, Peter, Mario and of course Robert (who so selflessly consumed all our reject pops), thanks Robert, it was a dirty job, but somebody had to do it.

All the work was worth this smile!

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Roses Cake

There are many talented bakers out there, but I have to say I AM BAKER is one of my favorites. Amanda is sheer genius when it comes to putting cakes together.  When I saw her roses cake, I knew I just HAD to give it a try.
Three fabulous reasons to make this cake ~
1. Its incredibly beautiful on the outside
2. Its very different on the inside
3.  It makes two beautiful cakes

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The vertical layers on the inside make this gorgeous cake even more special.
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If you want the step by step instructions go on over to I Am Baker, the instructions are easy to follow.
In any case, I’ll nutshell it just so you can get the idea.  First you’ll start with 2 cakes, each cake 2 layers, I used 9 “ pans. These are basic white cake and red velvet cake.
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Make a template with each circle about 1” apart. Cut both cakes the same way.
Remember this is only an overview of the instructions, go to I AM BAKER for FULL instructions.
This is what they look like assembled.
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Once they’re together you’ll want to wrap them tightly to seal them and pop them back in the fridge for a while.
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Whip up a batch of homemade butter cream or use whatever frosting you like most.. just make sure its a stiff, crusting icing.  For the roses, use a 1M tip. Start at the centre and swirl out from there.
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The roses look beautiful in white, but I was dying to try another color.  I tinted the icing a deep rose color.
Spread a thin layer of icing all over the cake first then begin your roses.
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Enjoy !