Category Archives: cookies

Chocolate Mint Cookies

Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without little bowls of sugary temptation to nosh on around every corner. A particular favourite of mine are Misty Mints, the pastel coloured mint chips coated in white nonpareils. Sometimes mowing down on more than a few (cough handfuls cough) can be minty sweet overload, so I threw them into some chocolatey cookies to mix it up. When you bite in, you get a cheerful peek of colour and a delicious hint of mint.

I used a great chocolate cookie recipe that you can find here, but feel free to Misty Mintify your favourite batch. Before scooping out my dough, I added 1 cup of chips and stirred them in slowly. Be careful when you’re mixing because they are a bit more fragile that chocolate chips. If you want a pop of colour on the outside of your cookie, stick a few chips on top of the dough before baking.

These make a great holiday treat, but if you stock pile your mints (boxing day sales anyone?) you can enjoy them all year round. Is it just me, or are these colours screaming Easter? I’m glad I’ve jumped ahead a few holidays. Not to worry though, I still have a few ideas to share before Christmas, so don’t be a stranger. Happy baking!

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Filed under cookies, holidays, super simple

Citrus Almond Meringues

Holiday feasting can get to be a bit much by the time December 25th rolls around, so sometimes it’s nice to keep dessert a little lighter. These meringues incorporate seasonal citrus flavours, and make the perfect airy end to a heavy meal. Meringues are inexpensive, easy, and super low calorie. You might say they’re the new “super food”. This recipe  makes 12-16 meringues. You’ll need:

  • peel from 1 large grapefruit and 2 tangerines
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsps slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup egg whites (equal to about 4 lg eggs, but I buy them in the carton)
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup super fine sugar

Peel your fruit with a vegetable peeler so that you get just peel without the pith. Finely chop the peel, or pulse it in a food processor until you have tiny pieces. Scatter the chopped peel on a parchment lined baking sheet and dry it out in the oven for about 10 minutes at 250 degrees.

On low heat, toast your almonds in a small sauce pan tossing them frequently. Finding the perfect balance between deliciously toasted nuts and burnt garbage can be a challenge, so watch them carefully. When your almonds are slightly brown, and a nutty flavour is wafting from the pan, take them off the heat and put them in a bowl to cool. Don’t leave them in the pan or they will continue to cook (and will probably burn).

Preheat your oven to 225 degrees. In a metal mixing bowl, combine your egg whites and cream of tartar and whip on medium speed until soft peaks form. Add your vanilla, and whip on high, adding the sugar 1 tbsp at a time. Continue to whip until very stiff peaks form.

When your meringue is stiff, slowly fold in your dried citrus peel (reserve 1 tbsp) and 1/2 cup of your toasted almonds. Line two baking sheets with parchment, and drop 1/4 cup spoonfuls of your meringue mixture onto it. You can create oval shapes by filling a large spoon with meringue and scraping it off with another spoon, or just drop haphazard dollops. The great thing about meringue is that it will hold its shape perfectly without expanding, so you can be creative. Check out these Meringuebows for inspiration.

Sprinkle the rest of your toasted almonds and citrus peel on top and bake your meringues in the middle rack of the oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. You can vary the time depending on how crunchy or chewy you’d like them.

Feel free to indulge in 2 or 3 (or 10) of these without feeling guilty. They’re basically air, right? I mean, you’re probably burning calories just chewing them. I’ll be sharing another meringue recipe this week, so keep your eyes peeled. Happy baking!

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Filed under cookies, holidays, new flavours, relatively healthy

Spare Noses

It’s the 12 Days of Christmas here at Luvcrumbs!

After a major blogging hiatus during exam period, I am in full-on holiday mode. Leading up to Christmas, I will be posting a new gifting/baking/celebrating idea each day to make your season a little brighter.

While touring Dundurn Castle in Hamilton yesterday (one of my favourite Christmas activities), I learned that the 12 days of Christmas traditionally began on Christmas eve, and continued until the Epiphany on January 6th. Now, I’m all for tradition, but the idea of santa cookies after Christmas just seems ridiculous. Therefore, I will be bringing you a new project everyday from now until December 24th. Think of it as my gift to you.

First stop: Spare Noses. For Rudolph. From Santa. Get it?

These miniature cookies are perfect for the reindeer in your life who needs a little extra help guiding his/her sleigh. Be sure to make lots: we wouldn’t want Santa (and all of those glorious presents) to be held up by a red nose shortage.

This recipe will make about 6 small jars worth. You’ll need:

  • 6 smallish jars (recycled or new) mine are about 3″x3″ at the base, and about 5″ tall (thank you Dollarama!)
  • 6 labels to fit your jars
  • ribbon or raffia for adornment
  • about 3 tbsp red gel food colouring
  • 1 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • plastic wrap
  • 1 cup red sanding sugar
  • small round cookie cutter (roughly 1″ diameter)
Cream together your butter and sugar until fluffy. Add your food colouring, eggs, and vanilla extract. Add the salt, and stir in your flour cup by cup, kneading with your hands if necessary. If it doesn’t look red enough, throw in a little more colour. When it’s all combined, turn your dough out onto some plastic wrap, and flatten it out into a disc. Wrap it up and throw it into the fridge for about 1/2 an hour.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. When your dough is chilled, roll it out onto a lightly floured surface. You may have to work it out a little before it softens up. When your dough is about 1/4″ thick, cut out as many tiny red circles as you can with your cookie cutter. Keep re-rolling your dough until you can’t cut any more circles. (Here’s a tip: if you can’t find a small cookie cutter, use the large end of a medium sized piping tip. If the dough gets stuck in the tip, just blow on the other side and it will pop right out. This may not be the best choice if you’re a germaphobe…just saying’.)
Now you have a choice. If you have time on your hands, and want some wow factor, go with style 1. Otherwise, use style 2.
1. Fill a shallow plate with some water, and another with a few spoonfuls of sanding sugar. Dip one side of each cookie into the water, then into the sanding sugar before placing it on a non-stick baking sheet. Keep the cookies about 1/2″ apart from one another.
2. Place your cookies on a non-stick baking sheet spaced about 1/2″ apart. Take a pastry brush, dip it in water, and brush it over the cookies. Sprinkle copious amounts of sanding sugar onto the cookies until you are satisfied with the amount that has stuck. Warning: the sugar that ends up on the baking sheet will likely melt, and may burn in the oven.
Bake the cookies for 5-6 minutes. It is essential that the edges do not brown (it’s not “Rudolph the Brown-Nosed Reindeer” people). Let your cookies cool, and divide them evenly among your jars.
Now you can get creative. I am technologically challenged, so printing labels was a stretch for me. I ended up printing basic labels with the lettering typed on them, and then found some cute stickers to jazz them up. Feel free to draw your own labels, or design them with a program. I tied on a little bit of twine for rustic appeal, and may I suggest adding a gift tag that reads: To: Rudolph, From: Santa?
These cookies will keep for 3-4 days at optimal levels of freshness, so don’t bake them too far in advance. You can, however, freeze your dough and thaw it out when you’re ready to bake.
These festive treats make great gifts for kittens (I mean children), teachers, and anyone on your list who likes a little whimsy. And if you have people on your shopping list who aren’t into whimsy, let’s be real, you should probably just give them a lump of coal.
Happy baking everyone! Stay tuned for day 2 of The Twelve Days of Christmas here at Luvcrumbs. I’ll be making a dime store version of one of your favourite coffee shop beverages.

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Filed under adorability, cookies, holidays

Half Eaten Cookies

I ventured up to Kingston to reunite with my friends for Halloween this past weekend, and as usual, everyone pulled out all the stops with their culinary contributions. Here are a few photos of our fabulous tricks and treats.

To make these simple, spooky treats, just chop the end off of a store-bought cookie (or make your own if you’re a hero), and wrap a set of gummy teeth around the “bite”. For added drama, drip of few drops of red icing around the teeth for oozing blood.

My friend Lisa used Bakerella’s recipe for these creepy eyeball cake pops. She served them on forks and knives for a little added gore.

And check out this amazing cauldron cake that my friend Candace made! She recently started up her own baking business. Check out more of her stuff here.

I know our treats were adorable, but hey, we looked pretty cute too.

Hope everyone had an epic Halloween! Now to commence Christmas party planning…

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Filed under a party, cake, candy, cookies, food on a stick, holidays

Meringuebows

Now what is a meringuebow you ask? Why a  hybrid between a meringue and a rainbow of course. Umm, duh…

These fluffy little creations were inspired by the cloud-like appearance of meringues. And every cloud deserves a rainbow, so I created these airy little treats that are almost too cute to eat. This recipe will make 12-16 meringues. You’ll need:

  • 8 large egg whites
  • 2 cups superfine sugar
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • red, yellow and blue gel food colouring

Preheat your oven to 225 degrees.

Depending on the size of your mixing bowl, you may have to divide the recipe into two batches. Trust me, I have had meringue overflow in the past and it is a sticky, sticky mess. Beat your egg whites on high with the cream of tartar using a hand mixer or stand mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar as you continue to whisk the mixture. Keep beating until VERY stiff peaks form.

Divide the meringue into two bowls. Now divide one of those bowls into 3 smaller bowls. Add a small amount of gel food colouring (I suppose you could use whatever colours you like, but I think that red, blue and yellow are the cutest), to each bowl and fold it in with a spatula until the colour is evenly distributed. Be careful not to deflate your meringue with “aggressive” folding.

Fill 3 piping bags (or zipper seal bags) with your coloured meringue, and pipe out six rainbows onto a parchment lined baking sheet. You can use a tip if you like, or just go naked. Start by piping a 3-4 inch curve of pink, followed by blue, followed by yellow. Once you’ve piped your rainbows, add a meringue cloud to each by overlapping a large dollop of white meringue with the edge of your coloured meringue. Feel free to be messy with your clouds. Clouds are meant to look a little wild.

Bake your meringuebows for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The rainbow meringue will cook faster because it is not as thick, so wait until your clouds are nice and crisp before removing them from the oven. There will be a nice textural difference between the white and coloured meringue.

I was so impressed by how well the meringue held its colour! Can’t you picture yourself serving these at a fairy princess birthday party? Now I just have to kidnap a toddler so I have an excuse to make them again.

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Filed under a party, adorability, candy, cookies

Chocolate Drizzled Lavender Shortbread

As you may know, I love to cook with lavender. It is so aromatic, and adds sophistication to otherwise ordinary desserts. Lavender is also a favourite of my mom’s, and so, in honour of mother’s day, I made her these shortbread fingers infused with lavender and drizzled with bittersweet chocolate. The are buttery and subtly sweet, and the lavender flavour shines through, without being overpowering. Whether for mother’s day, or any day, these cookies are perfect for an elegant afternoon tea, a thoughtful hostess gift, or a reward at the end of a long day. Lavender is said to relax the mind, so why not whip up a batch for someone in your life who needs a break from all the hard work they do for you. This recipe will make about 30 1″x4″ fingers. You’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp lavender flowers
  • 3 cups white flour
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • pinch salt
  • 1 pound room temperature butter
  • 1 1/4 cups super fine sugar (fruit sugar, caster sugar etc.)
  • 1/4 cup high quality bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and line your baking pans with parchment paper so that it comes up the sides. I used one 9″x13″ pan, and one loaf pan, but you can use whatever you have around that will fit all of your dough. In a food processor, pulse lavender flowers until they begin to break down. Don’t worry if many of your flowers are still intact, the purpose of the pulsing is mainly to release their aroma.By now, your kitchen should smell like heaven.

In a medium bowl, combine your lavender with both flours and salt. Whisk the ingredients together until they are fully combined.

In a large bowl, beat butter until it is fluffy. Slowly add in sugar, and continue beating until you have a light, airy mixture. With your hands, slowly add the flour mixture, and toss it together with your fingers until you have a crumbly dough.

Spread the dough between your pans, and press it down until you have a flat, even surface. Your dough should be about 3/4″ thick. Prick holes in your dough with a fork, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove your pans from the oven, and score your dough into rectangles roughly 1″x4″. Scoring the dough while your cookies are still soft will make it easier to cut them when they are finished. Return your pans to the oven, and bake for another 10-15 minutes.

When the surface of your dough is firm to the touch, your cookies are ready. Remove them from the oven, and score them again. Once they have cooled completely, cut them into fingers.

here's my mom, observing the process (and taste testing)

Now it is time to temper your chocolate. Tempering is a process by which chocolate is heated, then cooled, and then reheated to ensure that it crystallizes in the ideal form. To melt your chocolate, place 2/3 of it in a zipper bag, and microwave it for 20 seconds. Remove the bag from the  microwave, and squish the chocolate around. Repeat this process until all of the chocolate has melted. Add the remainder of your chocolate to cool down the melted chocolate and squish it around in the bag. Once it has melted, microwave it for another 15 seconds.

Line up your shortbread fingers, cut a small hole in the corner of your zipper bag, and drizzle chocolate back and forth across your cookies. Don’t go overboard: you still want the lavender to be the star flavour. Let the chocolate cool fully at room temperature, and prepare your cookies to give or serve.

Happy mother’s day to all of the moms out there, particularly mine! I hope you take this day as an opportunity to relax, with or without the aid of lavender shortbread.

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Filed under cookies, holidays, new flavours

Mares eat oats, and does eat oats

And little lambs eat ivy. A kid’ll eat ivy too, wouldn’t you?

Perhaps, but you would probably rather eat these delicious sheep cookies that I made over Easter weekend. Their adorable fur is just a sprinkling of sweetened coconut. Yum! Precious, and tasty.

They were inspired by a trip to visit my friend’s sheep farm to see his 3 week old lambs. I was dying of cuteness overload.

I also made some tulip cookies. They were cute too…I guess.

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