Bourbon-Pecan Blondies with Maple Butter Glaze

Bourbon-Pecan Blondies with Maple Butter Glaze - Candy Coated Culinista

Bourbon-Pecan Blondies with Maple Butter Glaze – Candy Coated Culinista

I have been taking a break from the cooking club and baking for awhile. I have this policy when it comes to trying others recipes; show me something new or that I have never made before and I will always give it a go. This week there was something that fit the category and it’s blondies. Now I have a recipe for a white chocolate blondies that I use once and awhile, but this recipe caught my attention and I of course put a serious twist on the original recipe. I had the intention of actually sticking to this recipe from beginning to end, but then I got inspired. See my picture here in the Chateliane gallery.

Altered from Chatelaine

Yield/Serving: 12 squares
Prep Time: 30 min.
Cook Time: 30-35 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium

Ingredients
• ½ cup golden raisins
• ¼ cup bourbon
• ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
• 1 cup chopped toasted pecans
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• ¼ tsp baking powder
• 1/8 tsp salt
• ¼ cup granulated sugar
• ½ cup turbinado sugar
• 2 eggs
• 1 tbsp corn syrup
• ¾ cup shredded coconut
Maple Glaze
• ¼ cup unsalted butter
• ¼ cup pure maple syrup
• ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar

Assembly
1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
2. Spray an 8” x 8” baking dish with cooking spray.
3. Line the dish with parchment paper and let excess overhang the sides.
4. In a small microwave safe bowl place raisins in and pour bourbon over top and stir.
5. Microwave for 3 – 4 minutes, stirring every minute until all the bourbon is absorbed into the raisins.
6. In another small microwave safe bowl melt butter and set aside.
7. Using a frying pan on medium-high heat toast the pecans. Ensure you watch the pecans as they will toast up fast and move from toasted to burnt in a flash.
8. Using a medium sized bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt.
9. In a large bowl, whisk the sugars, eggs and corn syrup together and then slowly pour melted butter over the mixture and continue to whisk.
10. Fold flour into the egg mixture until no streaks remain using a spatula.
11. Stir in the raisins, coconut flakes and a half cup of pecans.
12. Pour the mixture into prepared pan evenly and sprinkle the top with the remaining pecans.
13. Pressed down the pecans on top with the spatula.
14. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean; and start preparing the maple glaze and set aside once boiled.
15. Move pan and let cool on a wire rack.
Maple Glaze
1. In a small saucepan melt butter and stir in maple syrup & brown sugar.
2. Bring to a boil over medium heat for two minutes and let cool slightly.
3. Drizzle the warm glaze over the blondies.
4. Remove from pan and cut into squares and serve, preferably with vanilla ice cream.

Tips
• Kid Friendly – Replace bourbon with a ¼ cup water and 1 tsp vanilla.
• If you have leftover glaze, it can be kept in the fridge for up to a week and can be also drizzled on ice cream if desired.

Please Enjoy

Review
Mr. C. said the moment a blondie hit his mouth. “Ooooo, Mmmmmm, Oh this is great hun”

The reviews at Mr. C’s office were glowing and everyone loved them, no leftovers.

“I just finished eating some cookies, so it brought my mind back to Wednesday. What lingers in my memory is the pecans, – the taste and the texture. they were toasted perfectly. They added a nice flavour to the blondie mixture which was already good.”

My thoughts
I haven’t really been in the mood to bake or cook for my blog recently; but I prepare for my blog in such a way that I always have a steady stream of recipes ready to post even when life gets in the way or I’m feeling unmotivated or in a rut. That being said this recipe rejuvenated me and I already have to make this recipe again for my co-workers. They asked how my baking turned out and saw the pictures and said, “Excuse me, but where’s our treats” and this makes me really happy and energized to start back again. I am gushing a little with this recipe to be honest. I loved how this recipe looked raw and if it looks appetizing raw it’s going to be a hit baked and drizzled with some glaze. This had the perfect amount sweetness and the shredded coconut added an extra note along with the drunken raisins. The raisins to me didn’t really taste to bourbon infused, but they tasted great just the same. I thought of adding a glaze of some sort to make sure this recipe had that extra something going on and it did. It was flavourful, sweet and not too heavy to feel like a typical dessert. My best recipes always come when I feel inspired and rejuvenated, and sometimes taking a step back is what’s needed to come back firing on all four cylinders.

Bourbon-Pecan Blondies with Maple Butter Glaze - Candy Coated Culinista

Bourbon-Pecan Blondies with Maple Butter Glaze – Candy Coated Culinista

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Macaron Diaries – Butter Avenue

Macaron Diaries: Butter Avenue - Candy Coated Culinista

Macaron Diaries: Butter Avenue – Candy Coated Culinista

Place: Butter Avenue Patisserie & Cafe
Location: 3467 Yonge Street, Toronto, Ontario, M4N 2N3
Hours: Monday: Closed, Tuesday- Thursday: 11am – 8pm,
Friday & Saturday: 11am – 10pm, Sunday: 11am – 7pm
Website: http://www.butteravenue.com
Prices: $2.25 each, 6 for $13.50, 20 for $45.00

I had a half day from work and had some errands to run. On my way home I found myself in Mid-Town Toronto, and for once I was nearby another Macaron Patisserie I have wanted to visit for a very long time. Believe me I’m glad I finally managed to get in there. After running around I was not in the mood to make dinner and I picked some food up and walked over to Butter Avenue to get dessert. The café is quite small, but the clean lines and minimalistic approach to the design helped to make the space seem bigger. I noticed immediately the Macarons and other desserts. There is also loose-leafed tea for sale by the cup or to enjoy at home. I saw a very cute onesie that had colourful Macarons on it; what a lucky kid that gets to wear that oh so cute onesie. That left me thinking I wish they had something in my size. When I finally made it to the case there were about 10 flavours and I chose: Lychee Raspberry, White chocolate Strawberry, Cream Cheese Passion fruit, Café Au Lait, Matcha Chocolate and Cassis.

Lychee Raspberry – I could taste the lychee filling (which is one of my favourite fruits). It was sweet and chewy and it was filled around the outer rim of the shell with lychee filling and the inside to my surprise was the raspberry jam. It tasted heavenly.

White chocolate Strawberry – 2 small dried strawberry pieces are added to both sides of the shell. The filling was strawberry jam in the centre and white chocolate around it. It was soft and sweet and after the initial sweetness of the first one, I didn’t notice it as much on this one.

Mr. C. had the Café Au Lait & Cream Cheese Passion fruit. He even commented when he had the second one. “Ooohh there’s jam inside this.” I like it now that his palette is getting better at noticing nuances and such, he can appreciate the subtleties more. He can thank me for that and yes I’m taking credit because where he came from to today is vast. I brought home six and he somehow managed to have 4 while I only got 2; the sneaky bugger. How in the world does that happen when I love all things macaron!

DIY Bath Bombs

Bath Bombs - Candy Coated Culinista

Bath Bombs – Candy Coated Culinista

Nothing beats a relaxing bath, and since I am on an “I can make this myself kick”. I decided to make some bath bombs.

Ingredients
• Sifter
• 1 cup baking soda
• 1/2 cup citric acid
• Mixing bowls
• Gloves
• Essential oil of your choice (see below for recommendations)
• Food coloring (optional for color)
• Water
• Ice cube tray, muffin tray or silicone mold
• Tissue paper

Assembly/Method
1. Sift baking soda and citric acid into a mixing bowl and, wearing gloves, mix well.
2. In a smaller bowl, combine essential oil, food coloring and 1 teaspoon water.
3. With gloves on, mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients until texture is crumbly and can just hold its shape when squeezed with your hands. Add more water, if needed. Work quickly so the mixture doesn’t have a chance to fizz.
4. Tightly pack mixture into molds. Let sit overnight (do not place in direct sunlight).
5. Tap molds to release bath bombs.
6. Wrap in tissue paper and store in an airtight container.
7. Use the bath bombs within two weeks, as they will lose their fizzing power if kept in storage too long.

Tips
• I found citric acid at the Bulk Barn; also most supermarkets carry citric acid. Look for it near the canning supplies.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
These turned out well and left my skin feeling great and made my bath feel that much more special. Compared to what it would cost to buy them in store this is a great idea, with less chemicals, which is always good. The shelf life suffers, but in the long run it is better for your skin. Try to finish them off within 2 weeks for optimal fizziness. I used the remainder of mine over a month later and they still fizzed; so if you don’t mind them not being as explosive then you don’t have to worry about that.

Lemon Meringue Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Scones with Lemon Glaze

Lemon Meringue Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Scones with Lemon Glaze - Candy Coated Culinista

Lemon Meringue Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Scones with Lemon Glaze – Candy Coated Culinista

Pinkies up. I think I may have a loose leaf tea addiction! I have one whole shelf dedicated to teas and I really think I need to start finding a way to incorporate teas into my baking and cooking even. My absolute favourite loose leaf teas come from Tealish Fine Teas on Queen St West in Toronto. I saw them at the One of a Kind show a few years back, and ever since a huge portion of my teas come from them. They have such tasty, interesting and inventive flavours – particularly the dessert line of teas, that whenever I am in the area I always make sure I stop in and try a flavour I don’t have a home. As I’m always up to trying something new and fun I tried to add tea into my scones.

Yield/Serving: 8
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 20 – 25 min
Difficulty level is: Medium

Ingredients
Scones
• ¾ cups 2% milk
• 2 tbsp lemon meringue rooibos tea, to steep in the milk
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• ½ cup granulated sugar
• 1 tbsp baking powder
• 1 tbsp lemon meringue rooibos tea, finely ground
• ½ tsp sea salt
• Lemon zest from one large lemon
• ½ cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
• 1 large egg
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 cup frozen cranberries
• 1/3 cup mini white chocolate chips
• 2% milk for brushing
Glaze
• 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
• ½ tsp tbsp lemon meringue rooibos tea, finely ground
• 4 tbsp lemon juice

Assembly
Scones
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
3. In a small saucepan boil milk and let the lemon meringue tea steep in milk until needed for the recipe.
4. In a large bowl sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon meringue rooibos tea and salt.
5. Whisk in lemon zest.
6. Add in cubed butter and mix by hand, or use a pastry blender or food processor if you have them.
7. In a separate medium sized bowl, whisk together tea infused milk, egg and vanilla extract together.
8. Add in the milk mixture into the flour slowly and bring the dough together.
9. Flour countertop and lightly and knead dough until a ball is formed.
10. By hand flatten the dough out and push in the cranberries and white chocolate chips.
11. Fold dough over again a few times and let all the ingredients incorporate.
12. Shape dough into a 9” circle and cut into 8 wedges and place on cookie sheet leaving a space between each piece.
13. Brush with milk and bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned on top.
14. Let cool completely before adding the glaze.
Glaze
15. In a bowl whisk confectioners’ sugar, tea and lemon juice together and drizzle over cooled scones with a fork.
16. Let glaze set and serve.

Tips
• Use a food processor to mix the dough or a pastry blender. I bought a pastry blender for this recipe and it is the best ten dollars I ever spent. Now when I have to mix by hand I will be using a pastry blender and save my hands.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I have never tasted or made a scone before, but if they taste like mine tasted I think I will have more. It was flavourful and complex with the sweet & tartness in the scone. This was a perfect treat with my afternoon tea.

Lemon Meringue Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Scones with Lemon Glaze - Candy Coated Culinista

Lemon Meringue Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Scones with Lemon Glaze – Candy Coated Culinista

Soap-Making Workshop

Soap Making Workshop - Candy Coated Culinista

Soap Making Workshop – Candy Coated Culinista

I’m the type of person who get super antsy, meaning I am constantly changing my hair highlights and style; or I get that feeling that I just need to try something new whether it’s revamping my wardrobe or switching up my go to meals. I love the one of a kind show and have been visiting twice a year for almost 10 years now. These artisans have so much creativity and every time I go to the show I think about how much I’d love to do this if I had the guts. I am addicted to handmade soaps from Demo Soap; so much so that when the owner, Thomas sees me coming he tells the associate to open a big bag as I’m stocking piling enough for a year. When I first started going to this show there was maybe two homemade soap artisans, but now everyone is doing it, soaps, body care, lotions and scrubs; and I have even tried it here at Candy Coated Culinista. Consumers are into natural and organic products so much more now than 10 years ago, and I thought I need to learn how to make my own soap. I will never stop buying soap from Thomas but making my own for presents and testing and satiating my crafty appetite is in need.

I went to a workshop by Mellemee Soap & Cosmetics Crafts and learned how to make soap. In the two hour workshop I made: Layered Hawaiian Plumeria, Mango Madness & Pineapple soap with shredded soap and soap nibs; Green apple Glycerin Jello moulds with shredded soap and soap nibs, a Green Tea & White Pear Glycerin fruit tarts and heart tarts and finally Chocolate Ice Cream Cone. I didn’t expect to leave with the amount I did, but I learned a new technique, and I had a chance to be creative. Homemade soaps are more organic than mass-produced soaps which I why I swear by Demo Soap. It’s gentle, doesn’t stripe away my skins natural moisture and my skin thanks me for that.

After this class I was bitten by the soap-making bug and have been amassing the supplies I need to make my own soap. My teacher said I was very good and creative which made me very happy.

I am saving my soaps I made in class even though my teacher said I must use them. To me they are too cute to use and I like to have the memories of my first attempt at a new skill. I don’t want my first works going down the drain quite literally as I worked hard and put al lot of creativity into it.

My thoughts Overall this was a lot of fun and well worth the money. I will definitely do this again. Even when I become proficient I will always go back to learn something new techniques.

Soap Making Workshop - Candy Coated Culinista

Soap Making Workshop – Candy Coated Culinista

Soap Making Workshop - Candy Coated Culinista

Soap Making Workshop – Candy Coated Culinista

Soap Making Workshop - Candy Coated Culinista

Soap Making Workshop – Candy Coated Culinista

A Summer Sangria Two Ways

Summer Sangria Two Ways - Candy Coated Culinista

Summer Sangria Two Ways – Candy Coated Culinista

A summer sangria … yes please.

Yield/Serving: about 2 litres
Prep Time: 10 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 2 kiwis, peeled & sliced
• 1 bosc pear, sliced
• 1 royal gala apple, sliced into wedges
• 1 royal golden delicious, sliced into wedges
• Handful of strawberries
• Handful of blueberries
• Handful of raspberries
• 1 ½ cup red wine
• ¼ cup dark rum
• ¼ cup tequila
• Juice from 1 orange
• 1 can (355 ml) of Limonata San Pellegrino
• 2 tbsp Grand Marnier, or any orange – liquor
• ¾ cup water
• ¼ cup granulated sugar

Assembly
Sangria1. Prepare and place all the fruits in a pitcher.
2. Pour in all the liquids.
3. Add sugar and stir and crush the fruits a little.
4. Let sit overnight in the fridge and serve in a glass over ice.

Sangria Slush
1. Add 6-8 ice cubes and pour one glass of sangria into the blender and blend.
Decorate with a lemon wheel and a lime wedge.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
A refreshing summer drink that goes perfectly sitting outside and enjoying those warm temperatures; served up with some Mexican food or anything barbecued.

Feta Hummus

Feta Hummus - Candy Coated Culinista

Feta Hummus – Candy Coated Culinista

I don’t like hummus at all … chick peas and I don’t get along; but I want to like hummus because it’s so healthy. I thought if I can pump up the flavour I may have a chance of liking hummus.

Yield/Serving: almost 2 cups
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 5 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 540ml chick peas
• ¼ cup tahini
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• Juice from 1 lemon
• ¼ tsp ground cumin
• ¼ tsp paprika
• ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
• ¼ tsp black pepper
• ¼ tsp kosher salt
• 1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
• 3 tbsp water
• 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• Extra virgin olive oil, to decorate
• Paprika, to decorate
• Green onion, chopped, to decorate

Assembly
1. Rinse off chick peas and pour into the food processor.
2. Add in tahini, garlic, lemon juice, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt, feta, water and olive oil and mix until a smooth consistency is achieved.
3. Pour into a bowl and drizzle some olive oil, sprinkle a little paprika and green onions on top.
4. Serve with veggies, bread or chips.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
The verdict is this definitely tastes better than the other hummus I have had. Do I like hummus now – well I’m still on the fence. The added feta and spices made me enjoy it more, but I still can’t get past the colourless texture or hummus. I am moving in the right direction though to one day enjoying it more.

Lemony Letdowns: Vanilla Cheesecake Fudge Attempt 1, 2, 3 (my “white whale”)

Have you ever seen a recipe you love? I mean everything about it, the idea, the name, the concept, the picture it drums up in your mind. Now as you may or may not know I’m not a fan of cheese cake, yet I make cheesecake for others. I really wanted this fudge recipe to work so badly, but for some reason it would not set. Mr. C. and I are suspecting it the cream cheese that won’t allow this to set, and that’s the main ingredient. So what is a Culinista to do? She keeps trying and trying to re-invent this recipe until it works, or until she goes crazy (“white whale”). Every time I do this recipe I get a little glimmer of hope, I say “I think this one’s going to work” only for it to be dashed away in the morning when I open the fridge to see an un-set mess before me. So I then say “maybe I can fast set it in the freezer.” To my chagrin this also doesn’t help and I am left stumped and sad.

I have read articles on “the chemistry of fudge” and yet I cannot get this to work. I sometimes want to give up, but then cream cheese goes on sale and its attempt # (fill in the appropriate number here.) The only good thing to come out of this is that on attempt 2, I learned the concept of re-purposing my disasters. Until then I was only re-purposing food sauces, and other ingredients.

Yield/Serving: 12 – 24 pieces (depending on size)
Difficulty level is: I’m going to say hard as this was a huge colossal fail or this type of fudge is not meant for me.

Attempt 1: From. Sweet Confections: Beautiful Candy to make at home by Nina Wanat
Ingredients
• 4 cups of sugar
• ½ cup corn syrup
• 6 ounces of milk
• 1 vanilla bean, scraped, seeds only
• 4 ounces (1/2 package) cream cheese
• ¼ tsp kosher salt
• 1/3 cup dried fruit, such as cherries or blueberries.

Assembly
1. Oil an 8” round cake pan.
2. Bring the sugar, corn syrup, milk, and vanilla seeds to a boil in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a heatproof spatula. Boil to 250°F, stirring frequently. The syrup will become a light brown colour.
3. Pour mixture into a 9” x 13” baking pan, and let cool to 120°F, about 20 minutes.
4. Scrape the syrup into the bowl of a stand mixer, and add the cream cheese and salt. Mix on medium speed with the paddle attachment for 15 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl, and then mix on high-speed until the mixture thickens slightly and begins to hold its shape, about 10 minutes.
5. Pour into prepared cake pan, and sprinkle with dried fruit. Let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate overnight.
6. Unmold from the pan and cut in wedge-shaped cake slices. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Review
This was a complete and utter failure. It never set and was runny in the pan in the freezer. The dried fruits sunk to the bottom of the pan so I ended up tossing it out.

Attempt 2
Ingredients
• 4 cups of sugar
• 1 vanilla bean, scraped, seeds only
• 4 ounces (1/2 package) cream cheese
• ¼ tsp kosher salt
• 1/3 cup dried fruit, such as cherries or blueberries.

Assembly
My variation
1. Put sugar, vanilla bean, cream cheese and salt together in mixer and mix until recipe thickens.
2. Pour into a pie dish or pan lined with plastic wrap and lightly oiled to set in fridge.
3. Add dried fruits and allow to set overnight.

Review
My second attempt was less wet as I wanted to see if I could get it to firm up with less liquid in the recipe; but it still wouldn’t set.

Attempt 3
A fudge recipe that has worked for me before.
• 1 package of cream cheese
• 1 ½ cup white chocolate chopped then melted in microwave in 30 sec intervals stirring every time
• 1 container of vanilla or cream cheese frosting (454g)
• 4 drops of vanilla extract

Assembly
1. Put all ingredients together in mixer and mix until recipe thickens.
2. Pour into a pie dish or pan lines with plastic wrap and lightly oiled to set in fridge. (Overnight to a day)
3. Depends on your altitude, humidity, fridge setting. Or try freezer. Like I said this is a temperamental foe.

Review
My result was the best yet, but still a little too soft. This recipe was a total experiment on my end, I tossed all caution to the wind and winged it with the very limited confection knowledge I have.

Please Don’t Enjoy

My thoughts
I’m not going to give up, I will keep trying every once and awhile. Check back here for more trials and errors.

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