Easter Egg Brownie Bars

Easter Egg Brownie Bars – Candy Coated Culinista

Yield/Serving: 12
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cook Time: 25 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients

• 2 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour
• 1 ½ tsp baking powder
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 ½ stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1 ¾ cup golden brown sugar, packed
• 2 eggs
• 2 tsp vanilla extract
• ¾ cup whoppers, coarsely chopped
• ½ cup whoppers, to place on top

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Spray 9” x 9” pan with non-stick cooking spray.
3. In a medium bowl, add flour, baking powder and salt and mix together.
4. Cream butter and sugar using an electric mixer at medium speed until well combined.
5. Add eggs and vanilla and incorporate.
6. On low speed at the flour mixture until combined.
7. Fold in whoppers and then pour batter into baking pan.
8. Bake for 25-30 min. or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean.
9. Let cool, cut and serve.

Tips
• If you prefer your cookies more chewy then under bake them by 2-5 minutes.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
As usual too sweet for me; but enjoyed by others. I like that bars give off that Easter feel. This was a mix of a brownie and a cookie and great for children and adults alike.

Good Friday Shrimp Scampi

Good Friday Shrimp Scampi – Candy Coated Culinista

A beautiful dishes that is perfect for Good Friday if you are off meat for the day like myself.

Yield/Serving: 4-5
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 30 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• ¼ small white onion, diced
• ½ bulb of garlic, finely chopped
• Shrimp, 40 pieces of smaller sized shrimp
• sea salt, to taste
• black pepper, to taste
• paprika, to taste
• spaghetti, 2” circumference of pasta
• pasta sauce with basil
• 2 handfuls of spinach, stems cut
• ¼ green pepper, diced
• ½ small red inion, diced
• Tomato, cut into chunks
• Dried oregano, to taste
• Dried basil, to taste
• Crushed red pepper, to taste

Assembly
1. In a large frying pan over medium heat, sauté white onion and garlic along with 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil for a few minutes.
2. Boil a large pot of water with a little oil and salt over high heat.
3. Using the same frying pan add the shrimp and season with sea salt, pepper and paprika and cook.
4. Once water is boiling add spaghetti and cook until al dente.
5. Drain pasta and coat with pasta sauce.
6. Add spinach, green pepper, red onion, tomato, dried oregano, dried basil and crushed red pepper flakes; along with shrimp and garlic mixture and incorporate.
7. Serve

Tips
• Add 2 pieces of bacon cut into pieces if this isn’t for Good Friday and you eat meat.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This recipe was made with everything on hand in my fridge with no pre-planning or for-thought and it turned out wonderfully. This it will be perfect for Good Friday and I can’t wait to make it again next week.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies - Candy Coated Culinista

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies – Candy Coated Culinista

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow and this is a recipe I have made many a time and for many different occasions and this is always a favourite.

Yield/Serving: 12 servings
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: 30 – 35 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium

Ingredients
Red Velvet Brownies

• ¾ cups unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing pan
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2 tbsp red food coloring
• ¼ tsp sea salt
• 1 tsp white vinegar
• 3 eggs
• 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
Cheesecake Filling
• 340g container cream cheese, softened
• 3 tbsp sugar
• ½ tsp vanilla extract
• 1 large egg yolk

Assembly/Method
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
2. Spray the pan with non-stick cooking spray.
3. In a large bowl, combine the melted butter with the sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, food coloring and salt, stirring to combine. Then stir in the white vinegar.
4. Whisk together the eggs in a small bowl, and then stir them into the brownie batter.
5. Fold in the flour until just combined, then pour the batter into the prepared pan, reserving 1/3 of the batter for the topping.
6. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a handheld electric mixer), blend together the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and egg yolk until well combined.
7. Spread the cream cheese mixture in an even layer over the brownie batter then top the cream cheese with dollops of the remaining brownie batter. Using a sharp knife, swirl the cream cheese together with the dollops of brownie batter.
8. Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes.
9. Remove them from the oven and let them cool completely before lifting the parchment out of the pan then slicing and serving.

Tips
• Serve with a scoop of French Vanilla Ice cream.
• Add more food colouring if you want the brownies to be redder. I don’t like to add to much dye to my baking so I held back here.
• I made these twice in a couple of weeks and found that the ones I baked in a glass Pyrex 9” x 9” dish came out more fudgey and moist than the ones I baked in a steel pan made for brownies specifically. (The ones with the grid make, so each slice is the perfect size). I prefer the Pyrex and suggest saving your money unless you got them on clearance like I did. This pan seemed to work much better for my blondies than brownies. Unless you prefer your brownies to be more dense.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I not a fan of cheesecake, but this is the first cheesecake like recipe I could eat and say I enjoyed every bite. The mix of brownie and cream cheese lessened the “cheesecakey” taste. The brownie was dense and rich and decadent. All the taste testers loved it. I got told I’m running their diet; this is sooooo delicious; I’m taking one home for my BF; but he’ll be lucky if he actually get this and so one. Brownies to me is very subjective as to how you like to enjoy your brownie on the brownie spectrum.

Caribbean Christmas Sorrel

Caribbean Christmas Sorrel - Candy Coated Culinista

Caribbean Christmas Sorrel – Candy Coated Culinista

This is my absolute favourite Christmas drink. Once the Christmas season is upon us I know I’m getting Sorrel and I’m elated. Sorrel is made from sorrel leaves; which are from the hibiscus family and with its deep, rich red colour it just screams Christmas to me. Not to mention all of those other Christmas spices.

Yield/Serving: 9 cups
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 20 to 25 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 1 cup sorrel leaves
• 9 cups water
• 1 hand of peeled ginger, cut into pieces
• 1 cinnamon stick
• A few cloves
• 2 star anise
• 1 cup cane sugar, to taste
• Lemon to taste

Assembly
1. Place all the ingredients except the sugar and lemon into a large pot and bring to a boil covered.
2. Reduce to low heat and let simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.
3. Remove from heat to allow to steep for a few hours.
4. Strain away the solids and add sugar and lemon to taste.
5. Chill and serve with ice.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I have tasted two types of Sorrel: the Bajan (Barbados) way; which I am accustomed to and more recently the Jamaican way which a lot of the time has Rum added to it; but I have only enjoyed the rum-free version to date. Both islands ways taste great in their own right; the Bajan having more of that Christmas smell and so dark and dense when the drink is put up to the light, no light is getting through. On the other hand the Jamaican way has a lot more ginger and the addition of orange peel and the drink is not as dense. So when I made my first attempt at this I did a combination of both recipes. This tasted alright to me I was really hoping for it to taste like the originals; but it tasted like a Caribbean Canadian version if you will. I think I watered it down too much. I did get my Bajan & Jamaican recipe originators to taste it and they said it tasted good. I will say it tasted better over the next few days as the ingredients blended more and I will definitely add less water next time.

Savoury Holiday Sweet Potato Casserole

Savoury Holiday Sweet Potato Casserole - Candy Coated Culinista

Savoury Holiday Sweet Potato Casserole – Candy Coated Culinista

Is there such a thing as too savoury…I sure think so. I made this recipe well before Thanksgiving thinking this sounds like an amazing unique dish too bad you can really only stomach it around the holidays or at least only I can.

Yield/Serving: 8-10
Prep Time: 30 min.
Cook Time: 30 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium

Ingredients
• 4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces
• 6 slices bacon
• ½ cup golden brown sugar
• 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 cup walnuts, chopped
• ½ cup butter, melted
• ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
• 1/8 tsp black pepper
• 1/8 tsp nutmeg
• 1/8 tsp cloves
• 1/8 tsp ginger
• 1/8 tsp cinnamon
• 2 tsp sea salt
• 1 spring rosemary, diced
• 1 stem of basil, diced
• ¼ cup 2% milk
• 2 eggs, lightly beaten
• Pecans, to decorate
• Bacon, to decorate
• Rosemary, to decorate

Assembly
1. Fill a large pot with water and boil sweet potatoes until tender.
2. Using a large frying pan, fry bacon slices and place on a paper towel and let absorb.
3. Chop bacon (leave some bacon behind to decorate if desired) and place in a large bowl along with brown sugar, flour, walnuts, butter, cayenne pepper, black pepper, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, sea salt, rosemary, basil and combine with a whisk.
4. Preheat oven to 350°F.
5. Mash the sweet potatoes and add in the milk, eggs and sugar and spice mixture and stir until well incorporated.
6. Pour sweet potato into a casserole dish and decorate with pecans along the sides and add bacon bits along with more rosemary in the centre.
7. Bake for 30 minutes and serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
Like eating a very savoury sweet potato pie; the crunch from the nuts and the touch of saltiness from the bacon had me wanting more, the spices though probably a tad too much had me running away and I have altered the recipe accordingly for next time. I’m more of a hint of spices not an overwhelming amount. For awhile I didn’t even remember there was cayenne pepper in it until the slow burn crept up and then that was it I’m was done. This recipe smelt amazing from beginning to end, yet after 5 or so bites I just thought I think this is too savoury. Much like Pumpkin Spice Lattes in autumn and fruit cake or eggnog at Christmas some things are better only eaten at certain times of the year; because you well just don’t enjoy it as much any other time of the year. There is this novelty factor in a way and this is why I’ll be making this for either one of these holidays for dinner and no other time in the year ever.

Christmas Pavlova Wreath

Christmas Pavlova Wreath - Candy Coated Culinista

Christmas Pavlova Wreath – Candy Coated Culinista

A festive spin on my favourite dessert; with the flavours of Christmas in a perfectly light and airy dessert that will put anyone in the Christmas spirit.

Yield/Serving: 4 – 6
Prep Time: 20 min.
Bake Time: 1 hour 30 min
Cook Time: 20 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium, time consuming

Inspired by Epicurious

Ingredients
For Pavlova
• 3 egg whites
• 9 tsp granulated sugar
• 1 tsp raspberry balsamic vinegar
• 1 tsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
Sugared Cranberries
• ½ cup cranberries
• ½ cup granulated sugar
• ½ cup water
Cranberry Pomegranate Maple Syrup
• ½ cup cranberries
• ½ cup pomegranate seeds
• 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• Remaining sugar syrup
Whipped Cream
• 1 cup whipping cream
Garnish
• Sugared cranberries
• Pomegranate seeds
• Kiwi, cut into thin pieces

Assembly
For Pavlova
1. Preheat oven to 250°F.
2. Using a piece of parchment paper trace one large plate and one small plate inside the large plate into a ring shape and place on a baking sheet.
3. Using an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form.
4. Gradually add sugar 1 tsp at a time until the meringue forms into stiff shiny peaks. (bowl can be held upside down and nothing falls out)
5. Add balsamic vinegar, vanilla extract and lemon juice until incorporated.
6. Spread meringue within the ring shape and then bake for one and a half hours. When it is ready it will be crisp around the sides and dry on top. Let cool with the oven door slightly open and let remain in the oven overnight.
Sugared Cranberries
7. While the meringue is cooking; using a small saucepan boil water and sugar together until sugar is dissolved.
8. Let the sugar mixture cool down until lukewarm.
9. Put cranberries in a jar and pour the sugar mixture over top and cover.
10. Let the cranberries soak for 2 hours and drain and reserve the syrup for later for the cranberry pomegranate syrup.
11. Using a small bowl pour the cranberries in and mix the sugar until covered and let dry for 30 minutes and set aside.
Cranberry Pomegranate Maple Syrup
12. Combine cranberries, pomegranate seeds, maple syrup, vanilla extract and the remaining sugar syrup in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce temperature down to low and continue to stir until mixture thickens up a bit and then turn off once most of the cranberries have burst.
13. Using a sieve pour the syrup into a bowl and press out any remaining juices from the cranberries and pomegranates through the sieve.
14. Let cool down completely.
Whipped Cream
15. Using an electric mixer, whisk the whipping cream until cream thickens.
Garnish
16. Place meringue on a cake pedestal.
17. Top with whipped cream and then start placing sugared cranberries, pomegranate seeds and kiwi.
18. Drizzle with syrup and serve.

Tips
• You can prepare the meringue the night before, like I did.
• If you need to get the syrup mixture to cool faster, place in the freezer for a few minutes.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
Pavlova is probably my most favourite dessert to make, even though I don’t make it much because it is time-consuming. The meringue was light and crisp on the outside and chewy and soft on the inside. The sugared cranberries added a tartness and sweetness along with the pomegranate seeds and fresh kiwi all topped on the light and creamy whipped cream. This is a festive and beautiful dessert to look at. I was elated at how this turned out exactly how I envisioned it and once again my dessert was a pre-dessert as my taste testers couldn’t wait to try it including myself. I even had a piece for lunch yesterday.

Christmas Pavlova Wreath - Candy Coated Culinista

Christmas Pavlova Wreath – Candy Coated Culinista

Christmas Pavlova Wreath - Candy Coated Culinista

Christmas Pavlova Wreath – Candy Coated Culinista

Acorn & Butternut Squash Soup

Acorn Butternut Squash Soup - Candy Coated Culinista

Acorn Butternut Squash Soup – Candy Coated Culinista

It’s that time of year again when I start making soups on the regular.

Yield/Serving: 1 litre
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 1 hr to 1 hr. 15 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 1 butternut squash, cut in pieces
• 1 acorn squash, cut in pieces
• Canola oil
• 4 tbs vegetarian margarine
• 1 medium size yellow onion, chopped
• 5 cloves garlic, diced
• 1 litre vegetable stock
• Sea salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• Cayenne pepper, generous pinch
• Sunflower seeds, to decorate
• Pumpkin seeds, to decorate
• Parsley, to decorate

Assembly
1. Pre-heat oven to 450°F
2. Wash squash and de-seed and cut into pieces and place in a large bowl.
3. Coat squash with canola oil and place in roasting pan and roast for 30 to 45 minutes.
4. When squash is finished roasting immediately place in a bowl and cover with saran wrap. (Letting the squash remain warm in the bowl, so it will be easier to remove the skin)
5. Meanwhile over medium heat, in a large pot cook onion and garlic until brown.
6. Pour in the vegetable stock and let cook.
7. Start peeling away the skin from the squash and add to pot.
8. Add salt, pepper and cayenne pepper and continue to cook for 30 minutes over medium-low heat. At the 15 minute mark use an immersion blender to blend and let simmer.
9. Serve with sunflower, pumpkin and parsley on top.

Tips
• Freeze a portion if desired.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
The colour of this soup was amazing and the crunch of the pumpkin and sunflower seeds added a lovely texture to the soup.

Oktoberfest Tray Bake

Oktoberfest Tray Bake - Candy Coated Culinista

Oktoberfest Tray Bake – Candy Coated Culinista

This hearty dish is my ode to Oktoberfest.

Yield/Serving: about 5
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cook Time: 45 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy; but time- consuming

Ingredients
• 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 4 purple chard leaves
• 4 swiss chard leaves
• 7 uncooked pork bratwurst sausage
• 3 small red skinned potatoes, washed and cut into slices
• 5 small red beets, peeled and sliced
• 2 tsp kosher salt
• 1 tsp black pepper
• Basil, to taste
• Oregano, to taste
• Paprika, to taste
• Cayenne Pepper, to taste

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Pour olive oil on two rimmed baking sheets.
3. Trim chard and cut away stem with a knife.
4. Wrap bratwurst with chard.
5. Lay potatoes overlapping each other followed by the beets.
6. Sprinkle the potato with salt, pepper, basil, oregano, paprika and cayenne pepper.
7. Sprinkle pepper over beets.
8. Bake for 45 min.
9. Serve

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
Once everything is on the tray this is a pretty simple dish; just a little time consuming. I did find it hard to wrap the bratwurst with the swiss chard; but this is most likely a technique I would have to practice again. The overall taste of the dish was super savoury; perhaps to savoury for me.

Oktoberfest Tray Bake - Candy Coated Culinista

Oktoberfest Tray Bake – Candy Coated Culinista

Coconut Pepita Pumpkin Pie

Coconut Pepita Pumpkin Pie - Candy Coated Culinista

Coconut Pepita Pumpkin Pie – Candy Coated Culinista

It is funny how a recipe just evolves. This recipe started out as a recipe from a magazine and every year I would deduct and add and let’s face it this recipe probably hasn’t stopped evolving; but for right now it is a beautiful complex dessert that is attention grabbing for the eyes and with ever bit.

Ginger Syrup

Prepping for Thanksgiving dinner with this ginger syrup recipe. Make this ahead of time and refrigerate.

Yield/Serving: 2 cups
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 1 cup of ginger, peeled and half sliced and half grated
• 1 ½ cups sugar
• 2 cups water

Assembly
1. Peel ginger and grate half and slice the other half.
2. In a medium sized pot bring ginger, sugar and water to a simmer over medium-low heat.
3. Stir frequently until sugar has dissolved and then lower to low heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
4. Using a sieve strain out the ginger pieces and pour into a container and let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate.

Tips
• Use ginger for something else if you desire. Candied ginger perhaps
• Use the remaining ginger syrup, for cocktails, tea or anything else you like.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This was a very simple recipe and I haven’t made too many types of syrup before; but this one turned out well. The syrup was spicy and tasted very much like ginger. I can’t wait to incorporate this into my Thanksgiving recipe.

Coconut Pepita Pumpkin Pie

Yield/Serving: 1 pie
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 90 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium

Ingredients
For Ginger Syrup
• Prepare ginger syrup recipe ahead of time. See recipe above.
For Crust
• 2 cups chocolate crumbs
• ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
For Filing
• 5 egg yolks
• 2 cups pure pumpkin puree
• ¾ cup coconut milk
• ½ cup brown sugar
• 2 tbsp ginger syrup
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• 1/8 tsp ground cloves
• 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
• ¼ tsp salt
Toppings
• 1/8 cup desiccated coconut, toasted
• spicy pepitas
• Coconut flakes
For Meringue
• ¾ cup granulated sugar
• ¼ tsp cream of tartar
• 5 eggs whites
Garnish
• Drizzle ginger syrup over top of pie

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Have a 9” pie plate at the ready.
2. Stir chocolate crumbs with butter in a medium bowl until moist. Press crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of pie plate. Bake in centre of oven, covered with foil, for 10 min.
3. Whisk egg yolks in a large bowl. Add pumpkin, coconut milk, brown sugar, ginger syrup and spices. Whisk until mixture is smooth. Pour filling over warm crust. Smooth top.
4. Bake in centre of oven, covered with foil for 30 min. Remove foil and continue baking until filling slightly jiggly in the centre, about 20 more min. Transfer to rack to completely.
5. Toast desiccated coconut in a small non-stick frying pan until just browned and set aside.
6. Place pepitas around the outside of the pie followed by the coconut flakes.
6. Using a medium sized bowl and a hand held mixer. Combine ¾ cup granulated sugar and egg white along with ¼ tsp cream of tartar and mix on medium gradually increasing to high speed. Meringue is complete when it becomes stiff peaks.
7. Spread meringue on pumpkin pie in the middle leaving a little bit of the pumpkin pie to show and using your kitchen torch; torch the meringue.
8. Garnish pie with toasted desiccated coconut and ginger syrup and serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I just loved cutting into a pie and seeing all the layers and the giggle and nothing spilling over. It means I’ve done good and at Thanksgiving this is when your recipes need to be top notch. The flavours came together superbly and I think I won’t be changing my recipe anytime soon.

Ginger Syrup - Candy Coated Culinista

Ginger Syrup – Candy Coated Culinista

Coconut Pepita Pumpkin Pie - Candy Coated Culinista

Coconut Pepita Pumpkin Pie – Candy Coated Culinista

Spiced Apple and Blackberry Compote

Spiced Apple and Blackberry Compote - Candy Coated Culinista

Spiced Apple and Blackberry Compote – Candy Coated Culinista

Nothing beats a multi-purpose recipe. I made this recipe thinking it would help me to enjoy plain Greek yoghurt and I ended up finding many other uses for this recipe.

Slightly altered from: Simply Nigella

Yield/Serving: approx 235ml
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 20 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped into small pieces
• 1/3 cup blackberries, chopped
• 1 stick cinnamon
• ¼ cup water
• 1 tbsp pure maple syrup

Assembly
1. Peel and chop apples into small pieces and place in a medium sized saucepan with a tight-fitting lid on top.
2. Add blackberries, cinnamon and water and place the lid on over medium-low heat.
3. Check mixture at the 2-3 minute mark and see if the water has come to a boil.
4. Replace lid and let cook for another 10-15 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes with a wooden spoon. (to ensure nothing stick to the bottom of the pot)
5. When the fruit has broken down into a puree, remove pot and cinnamon stick from the heat and add maple syrup and stir.
6. If the mixture hasn’t broken down, give it a quick pulse in a blender until smooth.

Tips
• Compote will keep in the fridge for up to five days
• Can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
The smell of this compote was delicious and reminds me of those colder winter months. Serve on top of Greek yoghurt if you like; but I still couldn’t tolerate the yoghurt even with this delicious compote. I fell back to my usual go to of adding this to my smoothies and to accompany my pork loin.

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