Traditional Iced Gingerbread Cookies

>> Saturday, 18 December 2010

I bake late at night.
In quiet.
Peace and quiet from my pretty busy household of people in a constant state of coming & going.
I like this quiet and it makes it somehow a bit more like 'me' time.
I listen to what I want (I actually listened to Christmas music as I baked these) and the lights on the tree are on and the rest of the house is dark, save for the kitchen. 
I 'think' I may hum or sing to whatever I have playing.I definitely know when I am singing, but it's the humming that I tend to not realise I do.
I often have a cup of tea or glass of wine, Baileys or some other beverage just to make it all a little bit nicer.
And then it happens...

I get kind of bored of the entire process about half way through.
And it's usually at about 2 or 3 am.

So, if I need to ice anything, I am happy to cover up the goodies until the next day and go from there.
That is perhaps the best myself that break and then finishing it all later.

These cookies are deliciously gingery and the texture is a cross between a hard cookie and a soft one, which makes them simply perfect for dipping!  I like mine a little on the thicker side, but it's all about how much you want to roll them out and how hard you want them.

I definitely need a hand in the 'decorating' part of which I also inevitably get bored about halfway through.*L*

Traditional Iced Gingerbread Cookies
 (unknown source) 

  • 1 cup of softened butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Frosting: 2 large egg whites & 3-4 cups of icing (confectioner's sugar)
  1. Cream butter, sugar, molasses and egg yolks together.
  2. Add rest of ingredients & mix well.
  3. Shape into ball, wrap in plastic and chill (for at least an hour)
  4. Remove from plastic wrap and roll out on a floured surface to a uniform thickness *keeping in mind that these cookies will not get any larger once placed in the oven*
  5. Cut into shapes.
  6. Bake at 350F (175C) for 10-15 minutes
  7. Remove from tray and let cool.
  8. Ice with frosting
TIP: When I lived in Scotland, I didn't have a rolling pin...and found that a wine bottle completely did the trick!

  1. Beat egg whites with spoon
  2. Add icing sugar as needed until it holds shape
  3. Add colouring, put it in a piping bag, etc.
  4. Cover with a damp tea towel is not using immediately

Eat! :)


The Taste of Christmas :: Uber-Peppermint Marshmallows

>> Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Everyone and their brother are making homemade marshmallows these days!
And really, why not? 
They are easy, fun, affordable and taste WAY better than anything out there!
Trust me on this...we were the type of family to have marshmallows in our cupboards for years.
Years...from events we couldn't even remember having marshmallows!  Last winter? A bonfire in the summer?
Who knew?
My mother would pull them out and we'd see if they were any good.
Ummmmm..yeah, they never were.  They were inevitably stale and rock hard and didn't melt at all in hot chocolate.
Sketchy and gross, mom...just throw them out!

That is the fantastic thing about these marshmallows too...they won't last long in the house and they are completely customizable to your taste by using any sort of liquid or extract you'd like.
Coffee, no problem. tropical! Lemon? Why the heck not? 
You know I am making Irish Cream ones next. :)
The possibilities really are endless.

I made super uber-pepperminty ones with swirly pink tops.
Think along the lines of Curiously Strong mints. 
My brother claims they'd be "borderline medicinal" without the icing sugar. Everyone's a critic.*rolls my eyes* 
True enough, they are really strong, but to make yours much less so, simply use less peppermint extract.  No harm, no foul! Making them really pepperminty only meant  I just need one *you know or 3* thick marshmallow to get that peppermint kick in my hot chocolate. 

I toasted one up for good measure too...pretty awesome.
I won't tell you that this toasting took place over a tealight...but it may have.
Minty, awesome with a crunchy burnt sugar exterior and melted goo inside.

Uber-Peppermint Marshmallows
(Adapted from

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 packages of gelatin (approx 3 tbsps of gelatin)
  • 2/3 cup light corn syrup (I used 1/3 cup golden corn syrup & 1/3 cup honey)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 3 tsps peppermint extract (reduce for a less pepperminty marshmallow..I love them, but my brother claimed them to be "borderline medicinal".)
  • equal mix of cornstarch & icing (confectioners) sugar for dredging cut marshmallows in.
  1.  Line 9x11 pan with plastic wrap & rub with oil. (I used olive oil, but you could also use a spray)
  2. Put 1/2 cup water into a mixing bowl (either for a stand mixer, or one to use with a hand mixer) and sprinkle all 3 packages of gelatin on top and let sit until gelatin thickens completely (approx. 30 mins)
  3.  In a saucepan add corn syrup, 1/4 cup water and white sugar. Bring to a boil and allow to hard boil for a minute. (To test without a candy themometer, drop some of the mixture into a glass of cold water...if it hardens as it hits the water, it's ready)
  4. Pour sugar mixture into the gelatin and beat on high speed with stand mixer (I used a hand mixer and it worked just fine) for about 15 minutes until the mixture forms soft peaks and appears fluffy.
  5. Add extracts (you can use any sort of combination you'd like....3 tsps of peppermint made these pretty strong) and beat until combined.
  6.  Pour into lined pan using an oiled spatula.
  7.  Lightly oil another piece of plastic wrap and press on top of the mixture (oil down)
  8.  Let cool for at least 4 hours or overnight
  9. When ready to cut, remove top layer of plastic wrap and flip onto parchment paper that has been sprinkled with the cornstarch & icing sugar mixture. Marshmallow slab should come right out.
  10. Use a pizza cutter or cookie cutters to cut the marshmallow and dredge each piece into starch/icing sugar mix to avoid stickiness.
  11. Store in an airtight container


  *to make the pink swirls, simply make lines in red food colouring on top and drag a knife back and through the lines before placing on the final piece of plastic wrap to set.


"Only the pure of heart can make good soup." ~ Beethoven

>> Wednesday, 1 December 2010

I don't think I've ever really made soup from scratch before. (Is that an embarrassing thing to admit?)
Don't get me wrong...I've eaten soup and reheated soup and added things to soup, but I've never quite "made" soup. (Quotes intentional)
It's also not like I don't like fact, it's pretty safe to say the opposite!
Although at one point in my childhood you'd be hard pressed to even get me near creamed soups of any sort.  

Looking back, I realise my dad (who often made us soup on weekends) never properly whisked those powdery packaged soups, so I would inevitably end up with little chunks that suspiciously looked like mushrooms, but were in fact globs of undissolved soup. Ummm...gross.

I am happy to report that I have perfected the creamed soup from a package technique (which likely was a result of my past employment at Tim Hortons for 6 years), but until today I had barely thought about making soup, from scratch and all.

All I knew this morning was that I had some cauliflower in the fridge that was starting to go off and needed to be used right away and the first thing that came to my mind was...awesome, soup.
Okay, that was more like the second thought that came to mind, right after the thought that if I didn't get on this, cauliflower will seriously start stinking things up in the fridge.

So I pulled out my Ken's Soup Krazy book by Ken Kostick (which I was given back in the days when I worked at an online book retailer) and set about making soup.

 Celery & Cauliflower Soup with White Wine
(adapted from Ken Kostick's 'Ken's Soup Krazy')
(serves 6)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 med. chopped onion
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1.5 cups of chopped celery
  • 0.5 cups dry white wine
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 0.5 tsp each of dried oregano, basil and chili powder
  • 0.5 tsp sea salt(I used merlot salt to go with the wine theme)
  • 0.5 tsp black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf (whole)
  • 6 cups vegetable stock (I used chicken stock with garlic)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  1. In a soup pot, heat oil and add onion, cauliflower and celery. Cook until cauliflower is tender. 
  2. Add wine and simmer for 10 minutes. 
  3. Add all herbs (minus parsley),vinegar, salt & pepper, stock and bring to a boil.
  4. Let simmer for 10 minutes and remove bay leaf.
  5. Garnish soup with fresh parsley
  6. Eat!

(I ended up putting this into the crock pot and mixing with a hand blender so it was more a pureed soup..including the parsley (which I enjoyed better than the unpureed version seen above))

Go forth mes amies and make soup!
I doubt I'm pure of heart, but it was a pretty darn good soup.


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