Thursday, November 26, 2015

Peppermint Pretties


This is one of those recipes that 'happened by mistake'...and has become an annual favorite.  We were served these tasty little peppermint morsels at a Christmas open-house many years ago.  The hostess kindly gave out the recipe. I thought I had copied it out wrong since the butter was missing...so I added half a cup of butter. The cookies were delightful and I have made them every Christmas since.  I later discovered that there really was no butter in the original version...but I'm sticking to my updated recipe.  Everything tastes better with butter.  Right?  These freeze well and taste great straight from the freezer.

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream (whipping cream)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Cream softened butter and sugar.
  2. Add cream, egg and peppermint extract; beat until smooth.
  3. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. Chill dough for at least one hour.
  5. Roll out to about 1/4" thick and cut with tiny cookie cutters.
  6. Bake at 350°F for 5-6 or until bottoms begin to brown.
  7. Drizzle with peppermint frosting. (For pale green icing add food colouring.)
  8. Sprinkle with crushed candy canes, if desired.
 Peppermint Frosting:
  • 1/4 cup soft butter
  • 2 cups icing sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  1. Beat softened butter until smooth and creamy. 
  2. Add powdered sugar, milk and peppermint extract. Beat until smooth.
  3. Add a little more milk if necessary in order to drizzle the icing.
Yield: 10 dozen 1 1/2" cookies.


*Tip ~ Put icing into a Ziploc bag, snip the corner and drizzle over the cookies.

Have you done any Christmas baking yet? 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Ice-cream Blizzard cake

We celebrated birthdays over here on the weekend...with an ice-cream cake for each of the grands that had a birthday last week. A chocolate ice-cream pizza for Micah...a mud-pie for Emme and a 'cookies-and-cream' ice-cream cake for Spencer.  The thing about ice-cream cakes is that they are easy to make ahead...and store in the freezer until party-time. 
Today's recipe is an ice-cream cake that I made for the grands 'yesteryear'.  It combines chocolate cake and ice-cream blizzard...and is wrapped in whipped topping.

  • 1 chocolate cake mix
  • 1 liter / quart premium vanilla ice-cream, slightly softened
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Skor bits (1 cup, or to taste)
  • Cool Whip topping
  1. Mix cake mix according to instructions on package and bake in two 9-inch round pans.  Cool completely. (This is enough for two ice-cream cakes.)
  2. Line a 9-inch cake pan with plastic wrap. 
  3. In heavy-duty blender, combine the ice-cream and milk.  This works best doing 1/2 at a time. *
  4. Pulse to blend until thick and uniform.
  5. Add Skor bits and pulse just until combined.
  6. Pack into prepared cake pan, leveling the surface.
  7. Freeze until firm.
To Assemble:
  1. Cut chocolate cake in half horizontally and place bottom on a round base.
  2. Place frozen ice-cream layer on top of cake base.
  3. Center top piece of cake on ice-cream layer.
  4. Pop into the freezer and freeze until firm.
Decorate:
  1. Frost entire cake with a layer of cool whip.
  2. Use additional whipped topping in a pastry bag to decorate as you wish.
  3. Write message on cake with melted chocolate or chocolate icing.
  4. Store in freezer for up to a few weeks.
  5. Let sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving. 
That is the general method for making a yummy ice-cream cake at home.  I made two blizzard cakes at the same time...one with Skor bits and the other with crushed oreo cookies.  Who said ice-cream was only good in the summer?

 

Monday, November 2, 2015

PEI Potato Pie



While vacationing on the east coast this summer...we were told that we must try the P.E.I. potato pie while we were there.  We ate at a lovely place called Prince Edward Island Preserve Co. and enjoyed their potato pie.  The server also brought us a copy of the recipe...and we have enjoyed the British Columbia version of it at home since then.  It takes a little while to assemble and several hours to bake but is a delightful dish. 

Ingredients:
  • 3-4 lb peeled potatoes, thinly sliced  (Yukon Gold are great)
  • 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese (or more)
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives (fresh or dry)
  • 1 lb (500 g) bacon
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions:
  1. Line a pie plate or casserole dish with bacon, leaving half of the slices of bacon hanging over the edge of dish.
  2. Thinly slice potatoes.
  3. Arrange a layer of potatoes on top of the bacon in pie plate. Sprinkle with all the chopped  thyme, chives, salt and pepper and a generous amount of grated cheese. Thyme is only used on the first layer. (photo #1)
  4. Repeat until you have four layers (photo #2)...ending with a layer of cheese sprinkled with chopped chives. (photo #3)
  5. Pull bacon up over top of pie. (photo #4)
  6. Pie should be about 4 inches high in the center .
  7. Trim a small piece of parchment paper and place it on top of the bacon. Then wrap entire pie in heavy duty foil, place on baking sheet and bake at 375° F for 2 hours.
  8. Remove foil and parchment paper and continue to bake for another 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender and bacon is cooked.
  9. Pour off as much of the fat around the edges as possible. Let stand for about 15 minutes and then slide onto a cutting surface.
  10. Slice into wedges and serve immediately. 
  11. Top with Maple Bacon Sauce (photo #6)  Recipe Below


Maple Bacon Sauce:
  • 1 cup  mayonnaise
  • ½ cup  sour cream
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • bacon bits (as desired)

  1. Combine mayo, sour cream and maple syrup. Blend until smooth.
  2. Stir in bacon bits.