In an attempt to make as many in-house baked goods as possible, I can now cross graham cracker cookies off the list. With the sweetness of local honey and toastiness of whole wheat flour, these cookies are a necessity when assembling s'mores- the gooey, sweet treat usually enjoyed by the campfire on hot summer nights. Filled with a thick layer of squishy marshmallow (yes, homemade) and milk chocolate ganache, Valentine's Day just got a little bit more lovable. Keep reading to see how they are put together.
Edit: February 8, 2013
Due to the large demand for a how-to on the rainbow cookies, I've created a new blog post outlining the recipe and instructions for creating sugar cookies and the Jell-O icing. You can link to the post by clicking here.
Did you know you can colour AND flavour your cookie icing with Jell-O crystals? It's a quick, economical, and fun way to dress up your cookies if you don't have a cupboard full of food-dyes or extracts. What started out as a substitution (I didn't have any food colouring in the kitchen) became a rainbow of possibilities.
First, let me clarify I have no affiliation with KRAFT or Jell-O. In all honesty, I try to avoid as many as the company's products as possible. An exception to that rule is the wobbly, jewel-toned, quick & easy dessert in-a-box. It's a textural thing and believe it or not sometimes I crave that purple flavour (also found in popsicles). I know it's full of sugar, artificial colours and flavours, but I figure that since I don't drink soda pop, I can afford this little guilty pleasure every once in a while. It's a treat. And it's fun.
Edit: February 6, 2013: I'm adding instructions to my blog post for all the peeps who have been coming back to this page for info and for those who are downloading the image to share (my website is at the bottom of the pic).
See this blog post for detailed instructions.
It's a sandwich. It's a grilled cheese. It's a grilled-cheese sandwich deserving of so much respect you call it, "Mister" or "Missus". I'd like you to meet Croque-Monsieur and Croque-Madame.
What's in a name?
The literal translation of Croque-Monsier and Croque-Madame from French to English means 'Mr. Crunch' and 'Mrs. Crunch', from the verb 'croquer'- to crunch. Other fantastic 'croque' foods include Croquembouche and Croquettes. Croquembouche are cream puffs filled with pastry cream and dipped in caramel- usually presented as a spectacular large cone-shape at weddings where the caramel hardens to a crunchy garnish (Crunch-in-mouth). Croquettes are savoury cakes of minced food- usually potato- breaded and fried until the exterior is crispy.
So what is a Croque-Monsieur? It's a fried sandwich prepared with ham & Gruyere cheese, topped with Béchamel sauce and broiled in the oven until the sauce is browned & crunchy. Add a fried egg once it comes out from the broiler and it becomes a Croque-Madame. It really is wonderful. Of course many variations exist of the recipe- keep reading for my version.
If you're a big fan of infographics and food, check out these prints from Pop Chart Lab in Brooklyn, New York.
Pop Chart Lab was founded in August 2010 by a book editor and a graphic designer who joined forces with one modest goal in mind: to render all of human experience in chart form. Each Pop Chart Lab product represents hundreds of hours of research and design work. Since the launch, Pop Chart Lab has tackled everything from beer to culinary devices to the story of a boy's migration to a town called Bel Air.
The short-range weather forecast is: c-c-c-cold. The days of thermal socks, wool sweaters, and snow pants are finally here. It's the perfect time to fire-up the oven and bake some cheddar garlic biscuits to warm the kitchen and warm your bones. Keep reading to get the recipe.
We're going through one the coldest spells of the year right now in Canada. I do admit those of us in Elgin County don't have it as bad as Manitoban's, but it's still cold enough that the dogs are not wasting any time running outside to take care of their business. When Old Man Winter rears his fierce force in the month of January, comfort food is what I crave. Big, steaming bowls of butternut squash soup or a pot of five-bean chili is much appreciated to get rid of the chills. I like bread with my soups, and a quick & easy fix to that need is tender, crumbly corn muffins- fresh baked from the oven. They take minutes to prepare, and only twenty minutes to bake. Read more to get the recipe.
Cooking Doesn't Have to be a Chore.
If you're like me, you tend to avoid as many mass-manufactured processed products as you can. Those convenience foods often consist of artificial colours, flavours, emulsifiers, stabilizers, thickeners, sugars, salt, palm oil, GMO's, and shelf extenders. What we get for convenience doesn't make up for the loss of nutrition, taste, or quality. Making something from scratch more often than not tastes better than any box you can find on the grocery shelf.
Cooking doesn't have to be a chore. With a few basic recipes and techniques, you can create a variety of different dishes with just a little bit of advanced planning. The next time you are craving macaroni and cheese, try this recipe for a homemade version (with plenty of options to change the flavours) instead of that little blue box of KD. To get the recipe, continue reading.
Inspiration for making Banana Chocolate Cream Pie
It started off so innocently. Cruisin' the intertubes for inspiration and I stumbled upon what I knew was the food-enthusiast's equivalent of a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow: a website full of beautiful photographs of prepared food and the recipes to create them with. Several hours and several hundreds of photos later, I found my first target- a stunningly beautiful banana cream pie recipe that looked decadent & sophisticated (as opposed to hearty & unrefined).
I chose this recipe for many reasons. First, it's something I don't really like. Most banana cream pies I've ever looked at or thought of eating are clearly made with boxed pie filling and topped with oxidized bananas. Second, I had bananas I needed to use up (those blackened ones in the freezer taking up space), and third, it looked absolutely delicious. I'm always hesitant about using recipes from the internet though, especially from a source I haven't used before. That's because more often than not, these recipes are doomed to fail through no fault of the cook. As a person who loves just about anything that encourages people to take an interest in what they are eating, a bad recipe (and there are PLENTY of them around) can sour even the most experienced of chefs.
It sounds so simple - two shortbread cookies sandwiched with caramel sauce. But they are oh, so much more.
Alfajores, a South American treat, are well known in many countries including Argentina, Paraguay and Peru. From the Arabic word for "luxury", alfajores aren't just sandwich cookies- they are a celebration of indulgence. A more accurate description would be: two soft, tender, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth cookies joined together with luscious & creamy, sticky dulce de leche. Some variations include dipping the cookie in chocolate (white or dark) or rolling the edges in coconut.
Eating. Drinking. Sharing.