Monday, September 27, 2010

Orange Spice Macaron

Today a rather large storm passed over my place of work. It was amazing! The best part was the smell after the storm, the whole area (which is located in the country) smelled of wet leaves. It's that fall colour you come to associate with love! True, pure love! There were many times in my life when I would go hiking in the fall and that smell would greet me in the morning. Cool and crisp, it's not the smell of decay (even though literally, that is what it is), but rather, the smell of warmth.

I imagine that if orange had a smell, it would smell of the fall leaves.

So, keeping with the theme of fall, I made Orange Spice Macarons!

The idea was a basic orange macaron (colored orange with orange-zest and a little orange extract) filled with a maple-cream cheese buttercream (spiced with a little extra cloves, ginger and cinnamon). To top off the look, I sprinkled a little cocoa powder on top.

I'm still working on the dome top. The problem with this batch is that I added a little too much almond flour, so they were heavy, and did not settle the way I would have liked. But they still remind me of fall, and are still quite delicious! I am my own worst critic!

So, here's the question I pose, what do you know of macarons.

Last April, the Times Online posted an interesting article on the Macaron: Macaroons (edit: STUPID! They even have a picture of a macaron): what that fashionista is eating. Claiming that a rise in popularity for the little cookie has caused it to begin bumping the beloved cupcake.

So, the questions I pose is this: Is the macaon the new cupcake?

Tell me what you think! I'm curious to know!

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Recipe Post: Pumpkin Cupcakes and Maple Cream-Cheese Frosting

I got featured on Cupcake Takes the Cake... SQUEE! How exciting!

Had some people ask for the recipe, so, here it is! It's honestly so delicious!

Pumpkin Cupcakes

From Martha Stuart Online

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and eggs. Add dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth. Whisk in pumpkin puree.
  3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely. (Makes 18-20 cupcakes)

Maple Cream Cheese Buttercream:

1/2 c cream cheese
1 1/2 c shortening
3 oz real maple syrup
4 oz heavy cream
8 cups sifted powdered sugar

1. Cream cheese and shortening.
2. Alternate adding cream/maple/sugar
3. Whip until smooth.

To make the Pie look like Pie, I simply used an orange icing, smoothed with a knife, then using a piping bag of lightened icing (about the colour of pie crust), I piped on a trellis cross-cut, then using a rounded tip, piped on the border. Finally, using white icing, I piped a dollop of 'whipped cream' in the center. PIE! YAY!

Happy Baking!

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

♪♪ ♥ YAY ♥ ♪♪

Every year I friends give me pumpkins from their gardens. I always spend hours cooking them up, masking them, then bagging them for future use. Rather than make a pumpkin pie (which is awesome), I decided to make, well, pumpkin pies -- that means plural. No, they are not pumpkin pies with flaky crusts and creamy insides, these pumpkin pies come in cupcake form:


The Pumpkin Pie Cupcake with Maple Cream Cheese Icing

I love the look of these cupcakes. I got the recipe from Martha, it's tried and true. But instead of the canned pumpkin, I used fresh mashed. This recipe does not rise very tall or puffy, but instead, is a moist, soft cuppy. With two designs to use, you don't have to decorate them elaborately, they are beautiful simple too!

To decorate, I used my Maple Cream Cheese Buttercream:

1/2 c cream cheese
1 1/2 c shortening
3 oz real maple syrup
4 oz heavy cream
8 cups sifted powdered sugar

1. Cream cheese and shortening.
2. Alternate adding cream/maple/sugar
3. Whip until smooth.

LOVE LOVE LOVE these cupcakes! They look super-sweet on the dinner table, and are equally delicious! I very rarely use cookbooks, but Martha truly is a good source for yummy ideas! Spicy, pumpkin-y, and all around perfect for the season!

It may not be close to Thanksgiving in the U.S.A, but here in Canada, we're gearing up for the big food fest (and of course counting our blessings). What am I thankful for this year? Many things, but mostly my family. That may sound like a cliché, but they are my greatest source of support, and my greatest source of frustration. I'm very happy to have them! Who else would cheer me on as I run myself into the ground Marathon-ing.

What are you thankful for?

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Been' Running! - 26.2 mi in Thunder Bay, On.

Hello everyone!

This past week I had the opportunity to run in Thunder Bay, my home town. The Thunder Bay "Miles with the Giant" marathon ran this week, and so did I. This was my 5th marathon... and it was tough!

I was super excited at the start! I got to stand right at the front ( I wanted to see the elite athletes - the two Kenyans at the front who finished in under 3 hours!) You can see short ol' me in the front looking dreamily at the elites.

The course itself was tough; half the course was uphill, the rest was down and flat. It was a circuit of 13.1 miles, which I had to repeat twice. I hate that type of run because crossing the 13.1 finish makes you want to give up (that was when I hit the runner's wall - a time of despair). Luckily, I didn't and kept going. In the end I made it, not without a little pain in my hip, foot and knees. Today I have a sore back too!

My time for my 5th full Marathon: 4 hours 29 minutes!

I was thrilled. It was such a bad year for training with injuries and the humidity, so finishing at my 2nd best time was thrilling!

My mother-in-law at the finish line. My parent's could not reach the end through the crowd. They met me along the way and ran with me a little though! Prior to the marathon, she gave me a butterfly cookie cutter set telling me to "Fly like a butterfly straight to the end of the course." It was very touching .

Flowers for my finish, and today, a day of rest! Time to relax.

Soon to come: Cupcakes!


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Friday, September 10, 2010

EURIKA! Finally, REAL Maple Tarts

After 8 years of search, I have finally cracked the secret of Hubbie's dream Maple Tart. It comes at a sad time, it's maker, his aunt, passed away. At her funeral, the tart recipe was discussed, but no one had the recipe, she had kept it a secret for all her life, and no one would ever receive it. Yet the discussion was fruitful, those who discussed the memory of the tart slowly unwrapped it's secret. And I was able to figure out it's secrets.

The tart is the size of a two-bite brownie, or a mini cupcake. Those around here describe them as a "Sally-Anne," a small cake, like a Petit Four, but larger. Cake, crust, icing, a secret for so long.

The secret was in the description. I doubt that anyone expected it to be such an easy discovery, but after speaking with Hubbie's family, I got the just of how to make it, much to Hubbie's chagrin. What is in a Maple Tart?

The actual recipe is a secret, but the description is there, and is forever a reminder of H's Aunt, who for years would bake these treats for family gatherings, making them lovingly for others. Now, I shall make them lovingly, remembering the lady whose secrecy passed this recipe to me, not on purpose, but whose secrecy made them legend.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

I think at this point it is obvious that I love coffee cake. I can remember my first encounter with it back in grade 7, when my friend Jeff bought a piece that his mother made. I recall my reaction being something along the lines of "YUCK! COFFEE." But, as we all know, coffee cake does NOT taste like coffee... something to which I found myself pleasantly surprised!

Coffee Cake: A cake which pairs with coffee (when you have a coffee-party, not to be confused with a tea party).

Ever since that time, and yes, Jeff told me the secret of the taste of Coffee Cake, I've been wracked by Coffee Cake Cravings! So, this is yet another recipe for coffee cake. I think I have about 4 of them which I cycle through. Hubbie asked for a super moist cake, so I pulled out the Sour Cream (and hid it from him because he hates it), and baked this baby!

(Throughout the photo shoot, I drank the coffee (add a tbsp hot chocolate powder to it...YUM).

It certainly looks like I was eating the slice of cake in font of the whole cake. What does that mean?

Light cinnamon/sugar swirls! SEE THEM! SEE THEM! I don't like a lot of sugar, so I try not to fill the cake through.
Would you like the recipe?

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

1 c sour cream
3/4 c butter
1 1/2 c sugar
2 1/2 flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
1/2 c walnuts (optional)

1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/4 c white sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease bunt pan

1. Cream sugar and butter. Add eggs, sour cream and vanilla.
2. Slowly incorporate baking soda, baking powder, and flour (and nuts too I guess).
3. mix the swirl (sugar and cinnamon). Pour half the batter into bunt pan. Sprinkle the swirl in the middle all the way around the pan. Add the remaining batter to cover the swirl.
4. Bake at 400 for 8 min, then lower to 350 degrees for 30-40 min or until cooked through.


Now, I've got to go do some baking for school... Have a great weekend!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Happy Birthday Abby!

This weekend, my niece, Abby, turned 3. She's the one who likes cupcakes and cakepops... Silly little elfish smile!

Since I'm stuck in Fort Frances, and could not make it to her party, I sent a little care package her way. Inside, BIRTHDAY COOKIES!

COOKIES OF COURSE! I made little birthday cake cookie (actually, it's a 5" cutter, so they were rather large for a 3 year old). I was so excited to get these done. I've honestly not used this cutter before, and was happy with the results. Most people see the same sort of lopsidedness that I got. Hard to get them perfectly straight.

Again, another blurry image, but I send the cookies before I had a chance to take too many. I actually placed purple sanding sugar between the tiers. The effect was nice. I left the bows and numbers un-sanded. I found that the sugar would stick to the cookie.


In the end, I shipped them off, and they arrived just in time for the party. Here's hoping they send some pictures my way.

Now... On an unrelated note:

I added a new little button on the side (It says "Keep Calm and eat a Cookie"). It all started when I got a present from a friend. It was a bookmark that said "Keep calm and have a Cupcake." Which is Brilliant! I loved it so much I framed it! The problem, of course, is that I also love cookies and bake them more often. I thought it would be best for this blog to have some kind of image to reflect that... but when I did a search, I found nothing... nothing about eating cookies!

Google searches revealed little quotes like Keep Calm and:

- Carry On (Original Line)
- Snap On (Camera)
- Rock On
- Blog On (works for me♥)
- Pump On (shoes that is)
- Drink (with a coffee cup)
- Drink a Latte (better than the one above)



Only one site boasted the tag line I was looking for: Gumdrop Cookie Shop had a cookie with a little printed image on it that said "Keep Calm and Eat a Cookie".

So, I did a little work of my own, and created the image:

I've created a new page to link those people who wish to use this image. The image code and link information can be found here:

Keep Calm and Have a Cookie Group

Feel free to stop by and adopt the banner or a cookie!

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