Gingerbread House

A short while ago I was asked to help out in my Aunt's grade 1 classroom to help the students make gingerbread houses. We had a fun time mixing icing and sticking on candies. My Aunt showed them a picture of the gingerbread house I made for the GBC contest in first year and the kids were all in awe asking me, "how do you do that?"; I replied with the truth, "with patience and practice!" Before I left the class that day I told them I would send a picture of the gingerbread house I made this year. It might not be as fancy as the contest gingerbread house but I had fun making it. So here are the pictures just for them!

Chocolate butter cookies

Yesterday I found myself intoxicated by the wonderful smell of butter, sugar, and vanilla creaming in my mixer. There really is nothing like it! That was the beginning of the delicious chocolate butter cookies. These are a great Christmas cookie because they are easy to make and can pair with many different garnishes. They are buttery and not overly sweet, perfect with a coffee or tea break in the morning or entertaining guests in the evening. ENJOY!

Chocolate butter cookies

250g unsalted butter, softened
100g sugar
100g icing sugar
3g vanilla

250g All-purpose flour
50g dutch processed cocoa
3g baking powder
pinch of salt

Desired garnishes such as glacé cherries, nuts, chocolate disks, marzipan, crushed candy cane, etc...

1. Cream butter, sugars, and vanilla until light and fluffy, scraping down occasionally
2. Sift together dry ingredients
3. Add dry ingredients to butter sugar mixture, blending well
4. With a piping bag fitted with an 809 (or large round) tip, pipe into 1.5 inch circles, 1 inch apart
5. top with desired garnish
6. Bake in a preheated oven at 300f for 16 minutes
7. cool and enjoy!

Banana Buttermilk Muffins

MMMMMMMMM Muffins! Today, to my delight, my mother asked me to make some banana muffins to use up some buttermilk and frozen bananas we had. I flipped through a baking book and found a few recipes, none of which were quite what I needed, so in my true form I decided to do freestyle muffin making (freestyle is often what I love to do but the results are not always what I desire!). I thought of what I wanted to put in the muffins and went from there, adapting the measurements and temperature from the recipe book. I also used my own mixing method because I used oil instead of butter. The result was great! The muffins baked well, were tasty, and best of all were tunnel free! woooo! So because I was so happy with them I did a little muffin photo shoot and wrote out the recipe to use again (and to share with you).

p.s. I thought I would let you know that I made these muffins in my newest addition to the apron collection; multi-coloured owl print.....with pockets! I LOVE IT! (pictures below recipe)

Banana Buttermilk Muffins

Makes 24 muffins

3 large eggs
225g brown sugar
170g honey
100g canola oil

5g vanilla
1 1/2 C. buttermilk

450g All-purpose flour
20g wheat bran
8g baking powder
8g baking soda
3g salt
3g cinnamon

3 bananas (I used thawed frozen bananas), mashed

(optional) topping of choice eg. streusel, nuts, seeds, coarse sugar, etc...

Line two twelve cup muffin tins with liners and spray top with nonstick spray.
Preheat oven to 375f

In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment combine eggs, brown sugar, honey, and oil. Mix on medium speed for 8 min. While it's mixing, combine buttermilk and vanilla. Sift together flour, wheat bran, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. With the mixer running, add 1/3 buttermilk/vanilla. Stop mixer and add 1/3 dry ingredients, mix on low until just combined. Scrape down and give one or two stirs of batter with a spatula. Repeat with second 1/3 and final 1/3. Fold in mashed bananas with spatula. Fill muffin cups just below the top with batter, sprinkle with topping if desired. Bake 16 minutes (rotating after 8 min if necessary). Let cool and ENJOY!