Browsing Tag

holiday baking

CAKES + desserts ENTERTAINING

Mini Sandwich Cake Ideas

victoria sponge cakes and mini sandwich cakes

For the hostess, serving individual cakes reduces the amount of work during a party. Plus, I feel that there is an elegance to miniature cakes that is hard to beat. Apparently, there is a tin that can help you with these creations. The key factor are the straight edges of a loose base mini sandwich cake tin. It is designed to create perfectly-formed miniature Victoria sponge cakes.

A baker shared a simple trick to avoid the mushroom effect. She suggests that you make a slight dent in the centre of each mixture with a teaspoon. I’m curious to see it in action.

miniature victoria sponge cakes

Whether it is for a tea party or for your holiday baking, you will find many miniature sandwich cake recipes at Lakeland.co.uk.

photo credits: Lakeland

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Holiday Baking: From Snowflake Donuts to Snowman Cake Pops

snowflake donuts

Holiday baking is as much as decorating than the actual baking. These three desserts have the look and taste to impress your guests or your kids this holiday season.

Let’s start with my favorite one. Turning the regular round donuts into a snowflake is not complicated at all. To create the pattern, make 6 shallow cuts from the edge to the center of each round with a sharp paring knife.

candy-cane marshmallows
photo credits: Lisa Hubbard for Martha Stewart

An old recipe from Martha Stewart won my heart. Her Candy-Cane Marshmallows are peppermint marshmallows that get their red swirl from a quick marbleizing technique. People who tried the recipes reported excellent results.

snowman cake pops
photo credits: Lucia Puiggros via Amy Atlas blog

Lastly, if you are still into cake pops, you may to bake these cute snowman cake pops made by Laura and Maia from All You Need is Cupcake.

+ photo credits: Chris Court for Living etc. December 2012

COOKBOOKS FOOD + DRINK

Free Printables: Holiday Recipe Cards

holiday recipe card printables with an handwritten recipe

holiday recipe card printables with an handwritten recipe

I am excited to share my first free printables of the holiday season. This year, I decided to design my own. I am starting with a printable project for foodies.

From cookie exchange parties to the office pot luck, the holiday season provides many occasions to share and exchange recipes. This is why it is a good idea to keep a fresh supply of ready-to-fill recipe cards. You will never be short on supply if you print your own. My holiday recipe cards are available in three patterns. Later this week, I will share the matching holiday gift tag printables.

capons and gremolata

I already found use for my batch. Last Saturday night, I attended a dinner at a friend’s home. She made a delicious squash and pear soup that she served in shooters with bacon chips. This was a hit! Several people asked her the soup recipe. She also made a delicious gremolata that she served with the capons. The next day, I wrote down her recipes into my recipe cards.

Instead of simply printing your menu for your holiday party, why not share all your recipes? The recipe cards can become a part of your tabletop. Tie them with a ribbon or a twine topped with a holiday ornament and display a pack on each guest plate. Your gourmet friends will appreciate this extra step.
holiday recipe card printables

Printing Considerations

If the recipe cards are for a gift, I recommend a cardboard paper because they look the best. You want a paper on which it will be easy to write. For that reason, it is better to select a matte paper.

On the other end, laminated recipe cards are easy to wipe off. Since I prefer to protect my own recipe cards with self-laminating sheets, I print the recipe cards that are for my own use on standard printing paper with a higher brillance level.

Feel free to print my holiday recipe cards. If you like them, share my link with your friends and family. The size of my recipe cards is 3×5 inches.

Click here to download my holiday recipe card printables.

If you are interested in the complete recipe, click here for the pineapple marmelade recipe.

 

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Pumpkin & Fennel Dukkah recipe

dukkah

Pumpkin & Fennel Dukkah recipe

I continue my series on easy holiday entertaining ideas with a Canadian twist on a popular Egyptian spice blend. This dukkah recipe replaces the traditional hazelnuts, pistachios and sesame seeds with pumpkin seeds and almonds or pine nuts.

When people asked me what they should keep in their pantry to be ready to entertain, dukkah naturally comes in mind. While your guests are enjoying a glass of wine or your welcome cocktail, cut a baguette, pour some olive oil in a large plate or an oil serving bowl, and serve dukkah in a low bowl. You dip bread into olive oil, then into the nut mixture. I have to warn you to make plenty since dukkah can become addictive. Leftovers can be stored into a airtight container for a month. Another easy to make appetizer is to cover goat cheese balls with dukkah.

Pumpkin & Fennel Dukkah recipe by Josee Robitaille

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) almonds or pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) sesame seeds
  • 4 teaspoons (20 ml) fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) sea salt

How to make it

dukkah preparation

  • Preheat your oven at 350 °F (180°C)
  • Grill the pumpkin seeds and almonds on a cookie sheet for 4 to 6 minutes (until they are lightly golden)
  • Deposit the sesame seeds into another cookie sheet and grill for 3 to 4 minutes (until they are lightly golden)
  • Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let cool completely
  • Deposit the fennel seeds into a pan and roast them 3 to 4 minutes at a medium heat. Then, remove from oven and let cool completely.
  • Pulse the pumpkin seeds and the pine nuts in the small bowl of a food processor to a coarse consistency. Be careful, it should not become a paste. Another option is to chop them with a knife.
  • Grind or place in a mortar and pestle the fennel seeds and pound until the mixture is crushed
  • Mix all the ingredients in a bowl

Voilà! Put another batch into a Mason jar, attach a gift tag and you will have a tasty hostess gift ready to bring during the holiday season.

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Make Your Own Skull Cookie Cutters

DIY skull cookie cutters

DIY skull cookie cutters
photos: DIY Skull Cookie Cutters from Hello! Lucky

That is a clever idea from Hello! Lucky. It is so simple that I wonder why I didn’t think of it before. They turned a round cookie cutter into a skull cookie cutter. Pliers will create a more defined bend. But don’t worry if you don’t have pliers, you can use your fingers to pinch the sides.

Use your favorite sugar cookie recipe to make your own Skull Cookie Pops. Hello! Lucky suggests to use the Perfect Sugar Cookie (and Cookie Pop) from Sweetapolita. Have fun baking!

While we are on the topic of skulls, you should check the  DIY Sidewalk Skulls that first inspired these cookies, this is another project from Hello! Lucky.

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Halloween Desserts and Milk Shakes

halloween desserts and milk shakes

I would be proud to serve these desserts for Halloween. They look awesome! As you might have guessed, they are all from Martha Stewart.

halloween desserts and milk shakes
photo credits: Almond Brownie Coffins | Orange Jack-o’-Lanterns with Sorbet | Witch cupcakes | Boo-nilla Shake recipe

On Halloween morning, I want to serve the Boo-nilla shake to my son.  To make your own, simply paint the ghost faces inside the glass with melted chocolate. You can decorate your glasses up to one day ahead. But wait until serving to make the milk shakes.

Any of these treats would make a great finale to the Spooky Forest Halloween Party Food I showcased three weeks ago.

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Spooky Forest Halloween Party Food

spooky forest halloween party theme for kids

spooky forest halloween party theme for kids

I started to think about how we will celebrate Halloween. Yesterday, I ordered online my son’s costume. You will notice the influence of my geek husband when I tell you that my son will dress up as an astronaut. He played Darth Vader last year.

Now that his costume is taken care of, I can concentrate on an Halloween party for young kids. I look for a fun twist on the eerie theme. Something that would be unusual but that will not scare the children. I also care about the ingredients. Too much sweet is not good for toddlers. And if I can put a touch of healthy that it is even better. I feel that I compiled a winner mix with this assortment of party food and drink.

For the signature drink, style your favorite kid-friendly sparkling lemonade with a gummy fish, eggs made of coloured tapioca pearls topped with a gummy worm. Get the entire Swamp juice recipe (No. 1) at Family Fun.

For the healthy part, make these cut cheese fingers (No. 3) with mozzarella string cheese. Make the fingertip by glueing a piece of green pepper, a piece of cucumber (skin up), half of a black olive or half a red grape with cream cheese .

The Apple bites (No. 5) are not more complicated to make. To create the mouth, quarter and core an apple. Then, cut a wedge from the skin side of each quarter. Slivered almonds make realistic teeth. Do not forget to sprinkle some lime juice or orange juice on the apples to keep them from browning.

For treats, you can make the awesome spooky forest sticks and orange candy apples (No. 2) from Stephen Brown of Glitterville. You will find the recipe in his book: Glitterville’s Handmade Halloween: A Glittered Guide for Whimsical Crafting!

These spider cupcakes (No. 4) are super cute! Decorating them is so easy that you can ask your kids to help out.

Add a few candy boxes, decorate the room, plan three or four fun activities and you are all set for a spooky forest Halloween party that the kids will remember.

CAKES + desserts ENTERTAINING

Duff Goldman and an Easter Cake

duff easter cake

duff easter cake

Time flies. Easter is one month away. Looking at this cute Easter Cake made by Tina, a baker at Mara-Mi Store + Cafe + Studio made me in the mood. I look forward to Spring and warmer weather.

duff easter cake details

The cake looks cheerful, juvenile and sophisticated at the same time. I like how it was decorated from the egg nest to the adorable chick, up to the interesting mix of rounds and flowers.

While I researched this story, I found out that there is a link between this cake and Duff Goldman of Charms City Cakes. I recalled the pleasures I had when I watched Duff and his baking team on Food Network’s Ace of Cakes. In fact, talking about Ace of Cakes was the third post I published in At Home with Kim Vallee.

wedding cake pops :: duff goldman for gartner studios

Duff partnered with Gartner Studios to bring to the consumer market awesome cake mixes and cake decorating products under the label Duff Goldman by Gartner Studios. It turned out that Gartner Studios acquired Mara Mi. Finally, another brand that I love, russell + hazel is part of the Gartner family of brands. I guess that Gartner Studios and I have similar taste.

SOURCING:
+  photos: Duff’s Easter Cake on Facebook

CAKES + desserts ENTERTAINING

Simple (and Not So Simple) Christmas Cookie Ideas

melting snowman cookies by the decorated cookie blog

melting snowman cookie by the decorated cookie blog

I love the tradition of making your own Christmas cookies and bring to as hostess gifts. With a little imagination, some practice and the right supplies, you could arrive with the best decorated cookies this Christmas. I visited The Decorated Cookie blog in search of tutorials and inspirations. What I found was several Wow! factors on the blog of Meaghan Mountford.

Melting Snowman cookies

melting snowman cookies by the decorated cookie blog

Look at her Melting Snowman cookies. Meaghan even depicted emotions when she drew the snowman’s faces. I love the various ways she decorated them.

If you are new to cookie decoration, you may wish to read Meaghan’s tutorial on how to write on food. Her preferred tools are edible markers, which are different from candy markers. The ones she uses the most are the Americolor Gourmet Writers. They deliver a fine line, which is what you would need most of the time. The FoodWriter collection by Wilton is a good option to write bold characters or to draw thicker lines.

Awesome, Yet Simple Christmas Cookies

christmas tree cookie by the decorated cookie blog

You can also find on her blog simpler cookie version. Have a look at her Christmas tree cookie pops or her simple Christmas wreath cookies. Both are super cute.

christmas wreath cookie by the decorated cookie blog

SOURCING:
+ Melting snowman cookies by The Decorated Cookies
+ More versions of the melting snowman cookies
+ Christmas tree cookie pops

 

CAKES + desserts ENTERTAINING

Cooking with Kids: Pear Galette

pear galette

pear galette

Galettes, which are freeform rustic pies, are not meant to look perfect. This makes galettes the ideal tarts to bake with your kids. I even prefer their rustic look to the more polished pies; this is probably due to the cozy warm feeling that I get at their sight.

The best thing about the Pear Galette of Lisa Homa is that you won’t need pie plates, just parchment paper. Once it is cooked, serve the galette on a wooden cutting. Depending on how it looks when it is out of oven, you may wish to replace the parchment paper with a fresher sheet. No one can refuse a stylish food presentation that cut on cleaning at a party.

Why not introduce your kids to the joy of baking while you are cooking for your Thanksgiving or Christmas party? They will be proud to share that they did the fruit or savory galettes themselves.

You will find Lisa Homa’s Pear Galette in the Fall 2011 issue of Sweet Paul magazine on pages 40 and 41.

SOURCING:
+  photos: Alexandra Grablewski – Fall 2011 issue of Sweet Paul magazine

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

New Uses for Old Things: Holidays Cookies Wrapped with Office Supplies

old cd envelopes cookie gift wrap

old cd envelopes cookie gift wrap

This post is about finding a use for your old office supplies. If you still have an box of CD envelopes lying around, I saw on Better Homes and Gardens a way to transform them into cute cookie packages. Instead of a printed ribbon and a Holidays adornment, you could decorate the envelopes with a beautiful string and affix a gift tag. I wish that I could insert a gold cake pad but at 6 inches, the smallest cake circles are two big for a CD envelope. This is why you need to use a scrapbook paper or gift wrap paper to add a festive backdrop. The only downside is that I would feel the need to cover the cookie with food-safe cellophane before inserting it into an old CD envelope.

christmas cookies wrapped in mailing tubes

If you plan to ship them, why not wrap your Christmas cookies in mailing tubes? I showed you three ways to add a Holiday touch to plain mailing tubes last year.

SOURCING:
Gingerbread People Cutouts
+ Three-Pepper Spice Cookies