Oh Sweet Day!

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

December 15, 2014 by Fanny | 5 Comments

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Another  idea for holiday treat or gift. This peanut butter fudge is peanut butter fans’ heaven! If you come across with anyone who loves peanut butter or Reese, make this for them! They will love you to death!

One of my clients called to request these fudge candies. Again I had never made these, so I looked it up on Internet, and I found this wonderful recipe (also website). I didn’t straightly follow the recipe as my client wanted smooth peanut butter instead of crunchy one. However I do believe crunchy peanut better will make this fudge even more heavenly!

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One must-have ingredient, I would say, is flaky sea salt. Fudge is immensely sweet, in a good way! But the balance of a little saltiness from the sea salt takes this fudge to a whole new level! And I recommend to use the flaky one, just because it looks more chic!

These fudge candies also make good gift during this holiday season. Wrap each candy with parchment paper, twist the ends, pack them in a gift box, tie it with a ribbon, and you have a perfectly sweet gift!

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Ingredients (about 36 pieces):

1 stick unsalted butter
1 pound dark brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
100 grams dark chocolate
1 tablespoons flaky sea salt
 

Directions:

Over medium heat, melt the butter in a large saucepan.

With a wooden spoon, stir in the brown sugar and milk, removing any lumps, and bring to a boil for 2 to 3 minutes without stirring.

Remove from the heat, and stir in the vanilla, then the peanut butter.

Add powdered sugar, and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth.

Pour into an 8-inch square baking pan, cover the top with parchment, and press down to smooth out the top. Set aside to cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Place in the fridge to cool completely.

Turn the fudge out of the tin onto the parchment. Melt the chocolate, pour it over the fudge, and use an offset spatula to smooth the top. Allow the chocolate to set, and sprinkle flaky sea salt over. 

Cut into 36 squares and serve. 

12 holiday cookie gifts sure to please the world

December 14, 2014 by Fanny | 4 Comments

Check out 12 holiday cookie gifts sure to please the world

by Oh Sweet Day! at Foodie.com

I have been making a lot of cookies lately because of the Christmas cookie gift box orders. Also it’s that time of the year when you should give out gifts. And like I’ve mentioned thousand times, I hate giving out useless gifts that people will secretly throw away. It’s heart-breaking, it’s sad, and it’s humiliating.

Sometimes maybe you are too busy, or you run out of ideas, or you want to play safe, something edible is always the winner. And nothing is the better winner than cookies. They easily win only because of the varieties. Crumbly sables, chewy chocolate chip cookies, chocolatey brownie cookies, buttery shortbread, nutty snowballs, gluten-free macarons, decorated sugar cookies with icing…

Here I’ve collected a bunch of  my cookie recipes that I’m sure you can easily pick one or two for your beloved ones. One more advice – do not pack your heart-and-soul homemade cookies in a Ziploc box. NO!!! Put them in a decorative box. Or another easier way is to put them in a plain white paper box lined with tissue paper, gift wrap the box and tie it with a satin ribbon.

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Black and White Cookies

Chocolate Brownie Cookies

Dark Chocolate Macarons with Dulce de Leche

Donut Macarons

Dried Cranberry Shortbread Cookies

Dried Cranberry White Chocolate Spice Cookies

My Beloved Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Spice Macarons

S’mores Macarons

Simple Shortbread Cookies

Snowball Cookies

Vanilla Sprinkle Macarons

This post is brought to you by Foodie.com.

 

Vanilla Sprinkle Macaron

December 10, 2014 by Fanny | 8 Comments

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Just because it’s December, the month that allows you to make cookies everyday. And you have a lot of cookies to pack as presents. Or you have a few jars of cookies on your kitchen counter to snack on when you are feeling homey!

So I’ve been making these shortbread cookies with icing and these dried cranberry white chocolate spice cookies, and a lot of other cookies for my beloved clients who have ordered my Christmas cookies gift box.

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These sprinkle macarons are tasty to eat without the sprinkles. But again, it’s December, I have to give these macarons a little festive touch!

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Ingredients (around 20 sandwich cookies):

1 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup almond flour
2 egg whites
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup vanilla buttercream or filling of your choice
 

Directions:

Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Put a master template under the parchment paper or draw about 12 1 1/2-inch circles in rows on the paper, about 1 inch apart.

Process powdered sugar and almond flour in a food processor until finely ground. Sift the mixture through a sieve. If there are more than 2 tablespoons of large chunks left in the sieve, grind them and sift again. Set the mixture aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitter with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites at medium speed until frothy. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Add vanilla. Increase the speed to high and beat until very stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes.

Sift the almond flour mixture over the egg whites. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the almond flour mixture into the egg whites until the ingredients are just combined. Continue to fold the mixture until it has loosened and falls in a ribbon from the spatula.

Fit a pastry bag with a 1/2-inch round tip and fill the bag with the batter. Using the template as a guide, pipe circles onto the parchment papers.

Tap the bottom of each sheet on the work surface to release trapped air bubbles. Top with sprinkles. Let the cookies stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. This allows the cookies to develop their crusts.

Preheat oven to 325F. Bake the macarons for 10 to 12 minutes, until set but not browned.

Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let the macarons to cool completely on the pans. Once cooled, gently lift half of the cookies from the parchment paper and turn them upside down.

Spoon or pipe a teaspoon of filling onto each of the upside-down cookies. Top with the remaining cookies.

Snowman Cake Pop

December 8, 2014 by Fanny | 8 Comments

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Not all the kids from my children’s school had known about cake pops before I “introduced” cake pops to them. I’ve made cake pops for their school parties and bake sale events. And now when they have parties, they kind of look forward to my kids to bring cake pops to school.

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Kids love cake pops. My son doesn’t like to eat cake. I know, such a geeky weird boy I am raising here. But he adores cake pops. And it’s quite understandable. Cake pops are cute, colourful, fun to eat and if you are creative, you can go really crazy to cheer up your kids.

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They were pretty excited about the easy-to-make monster cake pops I had made for their Halloween party. These snowman cake pops are more fancy and a bit more complicated to make. But you know it’s Christmas! Kids deserve to be spoiled and have something a little more special!

Ingredients (35 to 40 cake pops):

Vanilla Cake
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
Vanilla Buttercream
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Others
2 bags of white candy melts
half bag of red candy melts
few discs of black candy melts
few discs of orange candy melts  
 

Directions:

To prepare cake, preheat oven to 350F. Grease and line an 8-inch square cake pan.

In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix well.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix eggs and sugar until well combined. Gradually add oil and vanilla, mix until just blended.

With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the buttermilk, mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.

Pour batter into the prepared pan. Transfer pan to oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes. Let cake cool in pan for 15 minutes. Then invert it onto a greased rack. Let cool completely.

To prepare buttercream, beat butter for a few minutes in a standing mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Add powdered sugar and turn your mixer on low, beat until the sugar incorporates with the butter. Add vanilla and heavy cream, beat on medium speed for another 3 minutes, or until buttercream becomes light and fluffy.

To assemble cake pops, prepare two cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.

Break the cooled cake into a few big trunks by hand, place them into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on medium speed until the big pieces turn into crumbs.

Add frosting gradually into the cake crumbs and blend until the mixture becomes a dough, about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of frosting.

Scoop dough into 10 to 20 teaspoon-sized balls for the heads, and 10 to 20 tablespoon-sized balls for the bodies. Place them on the prepared cookie sheets. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Remove the small cake balls from the refrigerator. Melt white candy melts in the microwave gradually, 10 second intervals and stirring in-between. Dip one end of a lollipop stick in the candy melts and insert all the way through a small cake ball, leaving about one centimetre of the stick at the bottom. Repeat with all the small cake balls. Set aside for 30 seconds.

Remove the large cake balls from the refrigerator.

Dip each small cake ball in the white candy melts and gently tap off excess. Carefully but quickly insert the end of the stick into a large cake ball. Secure the head and body part and let it stand for 30 seconds. Repeat with the remaining cake balls.

Dip each snowman body in the white candy melts and gently tap off excess. Place cake pop onto a piece of parchment paper. Let it dry completely.

Place the red candy melts in a microwavable Ziploc bag. Microwave on high for 20 to 30 seconds to completely melt the candy melts. Push the melted candy toward one corner of the bag. With a pair of scissors, snip off a very small opening, and start piping the hat and scarf on each snowman cake pop.

Repeat with the black candy melts for the eyes, mouths, and bottons.

Repeat with the orange candy melts for noses.

Dried Cranberry White Chocolate Spice Cookie

December 5, 2014 by Fanny | 11 Comments

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I always pick dried cranberry over raisin. Because I love the unique tanginess. I make everything with cranberries. Cakes, these cookies, and even in savory dish.

And just because Christmas is around the corner. I decided to make these cookies with white chocolate and cinnamon. If you don’t know, dried cranberry and white chocolate are best friends.

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Ingredients (around 20 cookies):

1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup whole oats
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup white chocolate chunks
 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon and ginger.

In a separate bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla.  Combine well.

Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and stir until just combined.  Then add oats, cranberries, and white chocolate.

Form the dough into tablespoon-sized balls, place onto a cookie sheet. Leave 2 inches apart between cookies.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the edge is slightly brown. Transfer to wire rack and cool completely.

Black and White Cookie

December 1, 2014 by Fanny | 6 Comments

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It’s that time of the year – Christmas time! A lot of eating, drinking, gift-giving, chatting and fun-having. I.CANNOT.WAIT.

As a baker, I love taking food to parties. I also love giving home-made edible gifts because they are the gifts people won’t throw away. And cookies are always the best!

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These cookies are my simple shortbread cookies decorated with icing. You could just give your best friend a box of plain shortbread cookies. Trust me. They will love you just because of how melt-in-your-mouth these cookies are. If you are in the mood, fancy up the cookies with icing. Here I used vanilla and cocoa flavours. They would look pretty and chic if you color your vanilla icing with a drop or two coloring paste.

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Ingredients (about 40 cookies):

Shortbread Cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Icing
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
 

Directions:

In a large bowl, sift the flour and salt.

Cream butter and powdered sugar in a bowl of a standing mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla.

Reduce the speed to low and beat in the flour mixture until just incorporated.

Gather dough and form a dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to chill.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into rounds using a floured cookie cutter. Place on the prepared baking sheets and place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.

Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, or until cookies are lightly browned.

Remove from oven and let the cookies cool a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

To prepare icing, whisk powdered sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, vanilla and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl until smooth. Add more water if needed.

Transfer half the icing to another small bowl. Stir in cocoa powder. Thin with water if needed.

Spread white icing on half of each cookie’s flat side and cocoa icing on other half. Let stand until set, about 30 minutes.

To Ethan – Here it starts again

November 25, 2014 by Fanny | 4 Comments

Dear Ethan,

After a year, your relationship with hockey has immensely improved. Hockey is no longer the lover that you hate but you still enjoy the regular meet-ups. And you’ve started to come home and tell me how you score a goal, although it’s an empty-netter.

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Good thing is you are pretty helpful about putting on the gears by yourself. Not so good thing is you still need help to put on the gears.

Love,
Mommy

Categories: Son

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Pecan Crust

November 24, 2014 by Fanny | 12 Comments

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You see a lot of pumpkin this and that this time of the year. I know. I know. And I am joining the party here. I have to because this pumpkin cheesecake is insanely delicious! And I am not even a super fan of pumpkin.

So here is the story. My neighbour grew some Japanese pumpkins over the summer at their yard. And they nicely gave us one. Again, I am not a big fan of pumpkin, and that one was just left on our patio for weeks until I figured I had to deal with it. So the pumpkin was peeled, steamed and pureed. And OH MY GOSH! Have I ever loved pumpkin this much? Home-grown Japanese pumpkin is the sweetest creature on earth! I was literally eating it while baking with it. We had a lot of pumpkin bread and muffins. And then this! This perfect combination of ginger cookie and pecan and pumpkin and cheesecake and whipped cream. If you happen to decide to make this, make sure your first bite will include everything I have mentioned, especially the whipped cream! Please! Have to stir that batch of whipped cream to go with the cake! I AM NOT JOKING!

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Ingredients (8-inch cake):

Crust
1 1/2 cup gingersnap cookie crumbs
1/2 cup pecan, processed to crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
Filling
450g cream cheese, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Topping
1 1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
8 to 10 pecan halves
 

Directions:

Preheat oven at 350F. Grease an 8-inch spring form pan. 

Make the crust by mixing all the crust ingredients together with a fork.

Press the mixture onto the bottom of the spring form pan. Bake crust for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool completely. Turn down oven temperature to 275F.

Beat the cream cheese and brown sugar until smooth. Add egg, one at a time. Mix for 2 minutes. Pour in pumpkin puree, vanilla and spice. Blend for another 2 minutes until well combined.

Pour the filling over the cooled crust. Tap the pan on counter a few times to release all the air in the batter.

Position rack in the center of oven and place cheesecake on it. Place a shallow pan full of water on the lower rack in the oven.

Bake for an hour, or until the edge of the cheesecake is puffed but the center is still wobbly and wet looking.

Turn off the oven with the door slightly opened, let the cheesecake sit in the oven to cool completely, at least an hour.

Remove from the oven. Chill for overnight.

To prepare the whipped cream, whisk whipping cream and powdered sugar on low speed until frothy, about 30 seconds. Increase the mixer speed to medium high and continue to whisking until the mixture forms stiff peak, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the whipped cream to a piping bag with a large star tip. Pipe a decorative border with the whipped cream on the top edge of the cake. Place pecans on top.

Cover and refrigerate the cake before serving.

12 Holiday Pies/Tarts

November 19, 2014 by Fanny | 8 Comments

Check out 12 Holiday Pies/Tarts

by Oh Sweet Day! at Foodie.com

It’s pie season now. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year. All these celebrations come with lots of good food. Lots of it. Interestingly yet, no matter how much we eat and drink, we always have room for dessert, especially pies.

We all love pies. They are cozy, heart-warming, loving…they are for family celebrations. Buttery, flaky, crispy pie crust filled with scrumptious, flavourful, almost-you-can-do-whatever-you-want pie filling. And I am saying that because I’ve made a lot of pies – fruits, chocolate, nuts, mousse, cream, cool pies, warm pies… My family has been very happy!

And mostly I am the happiest one. The moment you are able to roll out and line a pie dough in the pie pan. The moment you see a beautiful pie freshly baked from the oven. The moment you successful release the pie from the pie pan without breaking the pie in half. Those are the moments that make you the proudest person on earth!

Pies are also great to bring to pot-luck parties. Pack a cute pie in an adorable paper or wooden box, and it becomes a very special gift that everyone loves. And how important it is to give a gift that no one will forget!

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First Row

Apple Shortbread Pie

Mini Cherry Shortbread Pie

Chocolate Strawberry Mousse Tartlet

Second Row

Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie

Strawberry and Chocolate Cream Pie

Chocolate Ganache Tart

Third Row

Easy Cherry Puff Pastry Tart

Espresso Cream Pie

Lemon  Shortbread Tartlet

Fourth Row

Strawberry and Rhubarb Lattice Pie

S’mores Tartlet

Coconut Cream Pie

This post is brought to you by Foodie.com.

Black Forest Cake

November 16, 2014 by Fanny | 12 Comments

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I’ve mentioned before that I am thankful for being able to do what I am doing now – be a mother and a baker and be able to write and share about it here. At this point I don’t know what else I want to do more than this. And that makes me so happy!

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Being said that, sometimes I still nag about the fact that I have to make the same cake three times in a week. Boring! I know. But it also means that my cakes are good. People love them. And I will go ahead and make them and be happy no matter what.

I am proud to say that this black forest cake is one of my best sellers. It’s relatively less sweet thanks to the less sugary whipped cream. And I highly recommend Ed. Smith Light and Fruity Cherry for the syrup and filling. The cherries really taste light and fruity, not the traditional maraschino cherries, which I refrain from using because they taste too sweet and cough-syrupy. Yuck!

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Ingredients (8-inch 3-layer cake):

Chocolate Devil’s Food Layer Cake
3 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup boiling water
3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Whipped Cream Frosting
3 cups heavy cream, chilled
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar
Others
1 can Ed. Smith cherries (light and fruity)
1 cup dark chocolate shavings
 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans, and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In another bowl, whisk the boiling water and cocoa powder until smooth.

Beat butter and sugar together on medium speed in a bowl of a standing mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in buttermilk and vanilla extract.

Reduce the speed to low and beat in 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by half of the chocolate mixture. Repeat with another 1/3 of the flour mixture and the remaining chocolate mixture. Beat in the remaining flour mixture until just incorporated.

Divide the batter and pour into the prepared pans, smoothing the surface with a spatula. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Place the cakes (in the pans) on a wire rack to cool. Then invert the cakes onto a greased rack.  Cool completely.

Strain the syrup from the cherries. Set aside.

Use a pastry brush to brush a light layer of syrup on top of each cake layer. Set aside.

To prepare whipped cream frosting, whisk all the ingredients on low speed until frothy, about 30 seconds. Increase the mixer speed to medium high and continue to whisking until the mixture forms stiff peak, 2 to 3 minutes.

To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on your serving plate and spread with about 1/2 cup of whipped cream. then cover with about 15 pieces of cherries. Place another cake layer on top, followed by 1/2 cup whipped cream and cherries. Place the remaining cake layer on top and press lightly to adhere. Frost the entire cake with the whipped cream.

Gently press the chocolate shavings into the sides of the cake.

Using a large star tip to pipe a decorative border with the frosting on the top edge of the cake. Place cherries on top, and sprinkle some more chocolate.

Cover and refrigerate the cake before serving.

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