Lemony Letdown: Pecan Lace Cookie Shards

Lemony Letdowns: Lace Pecan Cooke Shards - Candy Coated Culinista

Lemony Letdowns: Lace Pecan Cooke Shards – Candy Coated Culinista

Well this didn’t end like I expected at all. Such a simple recipe and yet … not the outcome I expected.

Yield/Serving: 24
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 8 – 10 min.
Difficulty level is: ???

From Chatelaine Magazine – An Anna Olsen recipe

Ingredients
• ¾ cup granulated sugar
• ½ cup butter
• 1/3 cup 35% cream
• 2 tbsp honey
• 1 cup rolled oats
• 1 cup chopped pecans, chopped until the size of oats
• ½ cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line baking trays with parchment paper.
2. In a saucepan bring sugar, butter and cream to a boil, stirring often.
3. Once the mixture has boiled stop stirring and using a candy thermometer until it reaches 239°F (softball stage).
4. Remove pot from the heat and add honey, oats, pecans and cranberries.
5. Dip teaspoons into water and drop teaspoons of the batter onto the parchment; leaving 4” between each cookie to allow for spreading.
6. Flatten cookies with a spatula and bake until golden brown 8 – 10 minutes.
7. Let cookies cool on tray before removing.

Tips
• To shape lace cookie, let them cool for 1 minute and then lift cookie with a spatula and form around a rolling pin or in a muffin tin cup; or roll them into cigarettes.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
Overly sweet and they didn’t form into anything but chards. I did like the chewiness of the cranberries and the crunch of the pecans though. I have always wanted to make lace cookies and had another Chatelaine recipe in mind to try. I was really hoping these would take shape of the form; but it never happened for me. I only managed to get one corner to bend properly and one cookie to stay intact. I will try this again down the road; but I think I lack the finesse for this recipe. The chards will be perfect in a parfait or added to the top of ice cream. I may even try to make it a topping on a cake or on my oatmeal for some added texture.

Lemony Letdowns: Lace Pecan Cooke Shards - Candy Coated Culinista

Lemony Letdowns: Lace Pecan Cooke Shards – Candy Coated Culinista

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Lemony Letdown: Thyme Lemon Shortbread

Lemony Letdown: Thyme Lemon Shortbread- Candy Coated Culinista

Lemony Letdown: Thyme Lemon Shortbread- Candy Coated Culinista

I gave this recipe too many chances already and then I called it a day when it just looked like a cookie and not a shortbread.

Ingredients
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• ¼ tsp fleur de sel
• Freshly grated lemon zest, from one lemon
• 2 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
• ½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
• 1 extra large egg, lightly beaten
• 2 extra large egg yolks
• 1 tbsp coarse sea salt (that special salt I have) Maldon

Assembly
1. In a medium size bowl, stir flour, sugar, salt, lemon zest and thyme.
2. Using your fingertips, massage the butter into the dry ingredients until a coarse crumbly mixture forms.
3. In a separate bowl, gently whisk in the egg and egg yolks and reserve 1 tablespoon of the egg mixture for brushing.
4. Make a well in the centre of the flour and add in the egg mixture and blend with your hands until the dough comes together. Don’t knead. The dough will look crumbly.
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and now knead just until everything sticks together.
6. Please dough into a square and wrap in plastic film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
7. Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
8. Spray the pan with non-stick spray.
9. Place dough in the pan and gently press down.
10. Bake in centre of oven for 20 minutes, or until top is golden brown.
11. Serve.

Tips
• Making shortbread by hand results in a much better shortbread than using a mixer.
• If you don’t have a shortbread pan – Form dough into a log and chill in fridge for one to two hours and slice into ¼” rounds.
• Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts

I still couldn’t get the shortbread to look right. I have made shortbread before and it turned out fine. I’m not sure if it’s the pan throwing off the recipe as it needs a longer time to crisp up or it this recipe. Also I have never seen eggs in a shortbread recipe before and maybe that’s what it was. I was expecting that crispy cookie while this was not.

Salt-Free Irish Brown Bread

Salt-Free Irish Brown Bread - Candy Coated Culinista

Salt-Free Irish Brown Bread – Candy Coated Culinista

This new recipe was intended to be for St. Patrick’s Day, but then the recipe didn’t turn out and I was left very disappointed…then I said a week later I am going to try this one more time and I’m happy to say my Lemony Letdown turned into a fairly decent whole wheat bread. See my picture here apart of the Cooking Club Gallery.

Attempt #1

Yield/Serving: 14 slices
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 1 hr. 50 min.
Difficulty level is: Should be easy, or rather looks easy

From Chatelaine

Ingredients
• 1 ½ cups warm water, divided (about 110°F)
• 1 tbsp molasses
• 8g pkg active dry yeast
• 3 ½ cups whole wheat flour
• 1 tsp salt

Assembly
1. Spray a metal loaf pan with oil.
2. Stir ½ cup water with molasses and yeast into a large bowl until combined.
3. Let stand for ten minutes.
4. Stir in flour, remaining water and salt using a wooden spoon until combined.
5. Lightly flour the clean counter and transfer the dough.
6. Knead once or twice and shape into a log.
7. Place in the prepared pan and cover with a damp towel and let rise until doubled in size, about forty-five minutes.
8. Pre-heat oven to 400°F.
9. Bake in the centre of the oven until golden brown, about forty-five to fifty minutes.
10. Let stand for five minutes and then turn out the loaf and let cool completely, about one hour.
11. Slice and serve.

Attempt #2

Yield/Serving: 8 slices
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 1 hr. 50 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium, for me

Altered from Chatelaine

Ingredients
• 2 ½ – 3 cups warm water, divided (about 110°F)
• 8g pkg active dry yeast
• 1 tbsp molasses
• 1 tbsp honey
• 3 ½ cups whole wheat flour
• 1 tsp salt

Assembly
12. Spray a metal loaf pan with oil.
13. Stir ½ cup water with molasses, honey and yeast into a large bowl until combined.
14. Let stand for ten minutes.
15. Stir in flour, and add in the remaining water using a wooden spoon until combined. You may not need it all, but I did.
16. Lightly flour the clean counter and transfer the dough.
17. Knead once or twice and shape into a log.
18. Place in the prepared pan and cover with a damp towel and let rise until doubled in size, about forty-five minutes.
19. Pre-heat oven to 400°F.
20. Bake in the centre of the oven until golden brown, about forty-five to fifty minutes.
21. Let stand for five minutes and then turn out the loaf and let cool completely, about one hour.
22. Slice and serve.

Tips
• If the bread looks too crumbly and is not coming together, like the picture below; the dough is too dry and for some reason more water is needed.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
Attempt #1
What a disaster! Who would think such a simple recipe would have such a disastrous outcome. When I was mixing in the flour the dough was crumbly and not coming together at all. I still kept going hoping it would still rise and turn out ok. Of course it did not and I really don’t know what went wrong as I followed the recipe precisely. Usually I try to redo a recipe again, but I’m not wasting more flour. The recipe is what it is and once it baked the crust was rock hard but the inside wasn’t absolutely terrible, but still it was bad, you’d think I didn’t put yeast in at all and I made sure the active yeast wasn’t expired and it did bloom properly.

Attempt #2
I decided to suck it up and waste more flour to give this another go. My second try turned out much better, but I added a lot more water than listed in the recipe and I really don’t know why it was needed. I just went with my instincts and it turned out better, the crust may have been a touch hard, but compared to my first try it was leaps and bounds better. I omitted the salt as I don’t see the point to adding salt to bread because I can never detect the salt in the bread I consume regularly; butter and other food going on the bread will always have salt in it. I added honey on a whim to add another layer of flavour and I was debating adding some whole oats, but then I thought that would be too much experimenting when I don’t know what the outcome would be. I’m so happy I didn’t give up; sure I was up till 11:30pm making and sampling a slice of buttered bread but it was worth it. Truth is I probably will never make homemade bread again, unless I make a gluten-free or another other type of bread as I have never liked whole wheat bread since my childhood.

Salt-Free Irish Brown Bread Attempt #2- Candy Coated Culinista

Salt-Free Irish Brown Bread Attempt #2- Candy Coated Culinista

Irish Brown Bread - Candy Coated Culinista

Irish Brown Bread – Candy Coated Culinista

Irish Brown Bread Dough - Candy Coated Culinista

Irish Brown Bread Dough – Candy Coated Culinista

Lemony Letdowns: Chocolate Covered Twinkies

Chocolate Covered Twinkies - Candy Coated Culinista

Chocolate Covered Twinkies – Candy Coated Culinista

If you’re in a rush but want to make something try these. I saw Twinkies in the store and I had some candy melts leftover at home and thought to cover them in chocolate and make them even richer.

Yield/Serving: 8
Prep Time: 10 min
Hands on Time: 30 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• Twinkies
• Candy Melts, white and a 2 or 3 other colours
• Cello Bags

Assembly
1. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper.
2. Un-wrap Twinkies.
3. Melt the white candy melts in a microwave safe bowl. (Stop the microwave at 30 second intervals and stir as to not burn the chocolate).
4. Coat the Twinkie into the white melted chocolate and place on the cookie sheet.
5. Place in the freezer for ten minutes to set the chocolate.
6. In the meantime melt the next colour of chocolate.
7. Once ten minutes have passed remove Twinkies from the freezer and decorate with another colour of Twinkies any way you like.
8. Drizzle using a fork, piping bag or a condiment squeeze container over the Twinkie.
9. Place back in the freezer for 10 more minutes.
10. Once chocolate has set wrap your decorated Twinkies in the cello bags.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This turned out just okay for me. They tasted great and they were eaten and liked by Mr. C’s co-workers. I just had envisioned these looking a certain way in my head and it never came to fruition sadly.

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.

Lemony Letdowns: Frosted Flakes Macarons

Lemony Letdowns: Frosted Flakes Macarons - Candy Coated Culinista

Lemony Letdowns: Frosted Flakes Macarons – Candy Coated Culinista

I had a 3 day weekend and decided I’m going to finally christen my Macaron making kit and make my most favourite confection. I had high hopes for this recipe, but as soon as I looked through the oven window I knew how this was going to turn out. I just have to remember that you can’t get good without some bad…I hope I just don’t have too many with my precious macarons.

From Picky Palate

Yield/Serving: 22-24
Difficulty level is: Very technical for a novice

Ingredients
• 95 grams egg whites (close to 3 large egg whites)
• 65 grams almond meal/flour
• 200 grams powdered sugar
• 25 grams granulated sugar
• 45 grams finely ground up Frosted Flakes Cereal
Honeyed Frosted Flakes Buttercream
• 1 stick softened unsalted butter
• 1 cup powdered sugar
• 1 tablespoon honey
• 1/4 cup Frosted Flakes Cereal

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 280°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Weigh your egg whites, almond flour, powdered sugar, granulated sugar and ground Frosted Flakes Cereal on your food scale.
2. In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment add your weighed out egg whites, and sugar beating on medium speed. Beat on medium-high until stiff peaks form. Takes close to 5 minutes. Set aside for a couple minutes.
3. Place the powdered sugar, almond flour and Frosted Flakes into a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine. Place in a sifter or fine sieve and sift until all dry ingredients have passed through. Gently fold in the egg whites to the dry ingredients, mixing only until just combined.
4. Place batter into a large pastry bag with a large round tip attached. Pipe rounds, about ½” apart onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Give a good tap or two of the pan to remove any bubbles.
5. Bake macarons for 22-25 minutes. You’ll see a shell on top with “feet” around the edges. Let cool completely before removing. Once cooled, take an offset spatula to loosen from parchment. Pair the macarons close in size to each other to prepare for filling.
6. To prepare buttercream, beat softened butter and powdered sugar until creamy and smooth. Add honey and 1/4 cup crushed Frosted Flakes to the frosting, beating until combined. Place buttercream into a medium pastry bag with a large round tip attached and pipe a dollop of frosting on the center of a macaron and top with a second macaron. Serve room temperature. Store any remaining macarons in the refrigerator.

Tips
• Please note that all ovens are very different. These tips and instructions are a reflection of the picky palates kitchen and her oven.
• I had to use close to 5 extra large egg yolks to get the 95g. So make sure you have enough eggs on hand.

Please Enjoy

Reviews
Mr. C. said “They tasted great. Sure they didn’t look like a perfect macaron put they tasted delicious.”

My thoughts
I had high hopes for my first attempt at macaron for some reason. I keep reading how hard these are to make, but then I come across recipes that seem so simple and have less ingredients, tricks and techniques. My macarons were flat lifeless circles and looked nothing like the photo. They tasted good; maybe a little too sweet for me but next time I will be trying another recipe until I get these right. I opted to not make the frosted flakes buttercream when I saw how my macarons looked. Why waste a stick of butter and more ingredients. I used jam instead to see what it should have looked like if it came out the way I hoped.

I used the macaron mat for my first batch and they stayed more circular but the bottoms didn’t finish cooking. However, when I free formed my second batch they didn’t stay in circles but the bottoms were cooked. I will need to work on this for sure. This is also a great time for me to start practicing my piping skills, since I haven’t used a piping bag before either. I obviously have some work to do.

I hope to have a perfect set of macarons made by Macaron Day on March 20th 2014. Wish me luck.

To be continued…

Lemony Letdown: Boozy Blueberry Margarita Ice Pops

Here is a lemony letdown from my 7 Days of Ice Pops…Not all my experiments go well.

I was starting batch #2 of my popsicles when Mr. C. said “Are you making Pina Colada’s over there?” I said no and he made the cutest puppy dog eyes. (He makes these eyes when he wants me to make something special). So I grabbed my ingredients and made him his treat, then I started on my task.

Yield/Serving: 6
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 24 hours in the freezer to set
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 2 cups blueberries
• 1/3 cup tequila
• 2 tbsp agave nectar

Assembly
1. Blend all ingredients until smooth.
2. Pour the mixture into moulds and leave a little space at the top for expansion.
3. Place the sticks in and freeze for 24 hours.
4. Once frozen run a little cold water over the mould to dislodged the pop.

Please Don’t Enjoy

My thoughts
This Popsicle was strong and it also didn’t set; it was more like a sorbet. Next time I will lessen the amount of alcohol and maybe it will set fully.

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