Google+ That Flour Child: 2013

December 28, 2013

Gingerbread Trees

If you're like me and never really liked gingerbread growing up you need to give these cookies a try.  I know I used to associated gingerbread with the rock hard store bought houses you would build as a kid, but these are soft and chewy and delicious.

My roommate shared this recipe with us in second year and it's a tradition to make them every year now.  Seriously, everyone who says they do not like gingerbread ends up like these.

Here's what you'll need:
Wet Ingredients

  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup molases 
  • 1 egg
Dry Ingredients
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
Basically you want to mix up the dry ingredients in one bowl, and cream the wet ingredients together in another.  Then stir the two together to make a really stiff dough and let it chill in the fridge for at least an hour.

You want to roll out the dough to be pretty thick (like 1/2 inch)  and cut out your shapes.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes.  Just until they turn a bit darker around the edges, just until they are set so that they will stay soft.

Then I wanted to make some buttercream icing to ice the cookies in that pretty design.  I followed a recipe on YouTube.

  • 1 cup butter
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • optional: green food dye

I used a Wilton star tip #18 to pipe shells to look like needles on the tree.

Be warned, this recipe makes a TON of gingerbread (this picture probably shows less than half of the trees I made) so I have been taking a plate everywhere I go.

Do you guys like gingerbread?
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December 27, 2013

Candy Cane Bark

When it comes to christmas baking, there is one recipe that always makes the list and is the easiest to do.

All you need is white chocolate to melt and candy canes to crush up.  I melt my chocolate in a bowl in the microwave at 30 second intervals but you can do it however you like.

Pour it out on a sheet of parchment paper, and sprinkle your crushed candy canes on top while it is still wet.

You can get fancy with this but I like to keep it simple.  I've done a layer of milk or dark chocolate on the bottom with white on top, or coloured candy melts drizzled on top.

I don't know why, but I am super inspired to mix around with some bark recipes.  So keep your eyes out for those in the future!

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December 23, 2013

Chocolate Candy Cane Kiss Blossoms

Okay so a picture of these cookies last year on Instagram is one of my most popular pins on Pinterest and I've seen a lot of comments on those repins about how angry people are that there is no recipe... so here we go!

I adapted this recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod.

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • icing sugar (to roll the cookie dough balls in)
  • Hershey's Candy Cane Kisses (you could substitute any kisses you wanted though, mint, cookies and cream, caramel would be delicious too)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Combine flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa together and set aside.
In mixer bowl, cream butter and sugars together.
Add one egg at a time and the vanilla extract and beat until smooth.
Mix in the dry ingredients little by little.
Form balls with the cookie dough and roll then in icing sugar.

Bake them from 7-10 minutes and remove them from the oven, they will look like this:

Take your unwrapped Hershey kiss and press it into the center while they are still hot.

You can leave them like this to cool, and the kisses should keep their shape and harden back up.

Or to make packing them up a bit easier, this year I flattened the kisses out when they were hot.

This way they will stack in cookie tins or bags when I give them out.  I think it just makes my life easier, and they still look like cute little peppermints.

I hope all you lovely pinners found your way over to this recipe!

Happy Holidays everyone!

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November 12, 2013

Banana Cake

Typical me totally forgot I bought like six bananas last time I went grocery shopping (I should know better) with the intention to make smoothies but they just got super brown because I forgot about them. So naturally I dug into the banana bread archives of Pinterest but then had a flashback memory of banana CAKE.  I had the best banana cake of my life ever when I was studying overseas in Australia and have never attempted making it until now.  This recipe did not compare but it is still a roommates with the roomies.

I found the recipe on Martha Stewart, although she tops hers with a brown sugar crumble I wanted some very vanilla buttercream.
For the cake:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 1/2 ripe bananas, mashed

For the icing:
- 1/2 butter, softened
- 2 cups icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar.  Blend in melted butter and 1/4 cup of milk.
In a separate bowl, combine the other 1/4 cup of milk with eggs and mix into flour mixture.  Add in the vanilla and mashed bananas, bake in greased 9x13 pan.
Bake for 35-45 minutes, until knife in center comes out clean.
To make the icing, beat the butter until light and fluffy, add in sugar slowly (you may need more than 2 cups) and vanilla until you get the flavour you want.
When cake has cooled, ice it and enjoy!

Have you guys ever had banana cake?  Share your recipes below, I'd love to try some more!!

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November 2, 2013

Shark Week Halloween Group Costume

Okay here it is... my Halloween costume with me and 4 of my friends.

We only did Mon-Fri because we had a couple people back out at the last second and couldn't find any replacements.

First we put our days of the week on our shirts.  We printed off a font we liked and cut them out and traced them onto the shirt so that they all looked the same.  A little trick I do here is to put the size sticker across the shirt as a ruler and generally line up your word with the armpits of your shirt.

Fill in the traced letter with fabric paint.

It will look something like this.. leave this until it dries completely.

Once it has dried, you can cut it up as much as you want and later add fake blood to make it look like there was a shark attack!  We cut slits sideways and I made some fringe on the bottom on mine but everyone just kind of did what they wanted!  Use the blood (or red paint) to go around the holes of your shirt and then we found this crazy spray blood that we used for the splatters everywhere.

Next up is the hat.  We found these in the boy's section at Target for $10.
We bought some stiff foam from Michael's and cut out a dorsal fin, two side fins, a tail and some triangle teeth.

We attached the fins and tail with hot glue and waited for it to dry before painting grey.

We started with grey spray paint but it didn't cover well and ended up using some very thick wall paint.  The hats turned out ridiculously stiff but we were running out of time.  I would suggest applying multiple spray paint coats or buying some fabric paint next time.

This is it spray painted, you can see the difference in the rim and fins, and can also still see the logo very easily.

These are the hats after the house paint dried.  We painted the underside of the brim red and attached the teeth in two rows (to look more like a shark's mouth).  Next everyone cut out some eyes from white felt and we hot glued those on as well.

We picked up some grey tights at Target and wore black shorts and boots.  I think we looked great and saved a lot of money making our own costumes!

My roommate's boyfriend dressed up as our shark attack victim and this picture became the best one of the night!

What did you dress up as for Halloween?  Share your tutorials below!

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October 14, 2013

Fall Tree Cupcakes

I have been wanting to make these cupcakes for probably a year now.  First of all I needed to hunt down some appropriate autumn leaf sprinkles... I found these quins at Bulk Barn.  Next, I needed a suitable cupcake flavour, and I decided to go with a Vanilla Chai cupcake.

I just simply added a chai spice to my favourite vanilla cupcake recipe because I was pressed for time, with all of the Thanksgiving activities going on.  You could even add the spices to a vanilla box cake if you really wanted to cut time!!

The chai spice includes:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Take half of this spice mixture (2 teaspoons) and add it in to your cupcake batter.  And save the other half for your frosting.  Bake the cupcakes and allow them to cool completely.

Next, you need to make the chocolate trees to stand up on the cupcakes.  You can do with my melting chocolate, I do this in the microwave in a ziploc bag in 20 second intervals, cut the corner off the bag and use it just like a piping bag on wax paper.  I mostly free handed the trees, but you can draw one a piece of white paper and use it as a stencil.  While the chocolate is still wet, sprinkle some leaves in the branches.

Place the trees in the freezer to cool completely.  Ice the cupcakes however you wish, I went with a simple cupcake swirl, using a Wilton 2D tip.

Sprinkle with your leaves and then place your hardened chocolate trees in top.

Prepare for your family to devour after dinner, even though they are stuffed!

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October 8, 2013

"Butterfinger" Bites

These tasty little 3 ingredient Butterfinger knock-offs have become a little bit of a tradition around our house at this time of year.  Great study snack, and curbs all the chocolate-peanut-butter-halloween-candy cravings we have.  Plus... who really eats candy corn in large amounts anyway?
All you need is:

  • 3 cups of candy corn
  • 1 1/2 cup of smooth peanut butter (not organic)
  • 3 bars of dairy milk chocolate (or milk chocolate chips)

You need to line a 8x8 baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray so that these chewy little bars pop out easily.  Stick the candy corn into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute.  Stir after the minute is up and then continue at 30 second intervals until the candy corn is completely melted.

This is when you want to stir in the peanut butter, it will melt once it hits the hot candy corn.  But if it starts to cool down, pop it back in the microwave for 10-15 seconds at a time.  Pour this mixture into your prepared pan and score where you want to cut the squares/bars/hearts/whatever you're cutting.

Put this in the fridge/freezer until completely cooled.  When you take it out, finish cutting out your shapes and flip over onto a parchment covered cookie sheet.  Start melting your chocolate.  Use the same microwave method as the candy corn but start off at 30 second intervals.
Plop some melted chocolate on your squares and let it ooze over top, so spread it around so it covers it. Return to the fridge/freezer (if you're impatient like us) and wait until it cools.

Candy corn tastes much better this way in my opinion.

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