Halloween Celebration Cakes

Halloween Celebration Cakes – Candy Coated Culinista

Last Halloween I made was expected to make another Halloween inspired cake for my work pot luck. So I took this as an opportunity to try some new cake molds.

Yield/Serving: 24
Prep Time: 1 hr.
Cook Time: 1 hr.
Difficulty level is: Medium

Chocolate Cake (4 skulls & fluted pan)

• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 cups granulated sugar
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 1½ tsp baking soda
• 1 tsp kosher salt
• 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
• 2 large free-range eggs
• 2 cups whole milk
• ½ cup olive oil
• 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
• 2 tbsp milk
• ½ cup boiling water
• ½ cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
• 1 cups confectioners’ sugar
• ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
• 3 tbsp heavy cream
• ¾ cups white candy melts
• Halloween themed candies for skulls & hole in cake

Chocolate Cake

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Grease chiffon pan cake pan with non-stick spray.
3. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
4. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the butter, eggs, milk, olive oil, vanilla and milk.
5. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and beat on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the batter is smooth. Scape down the sides if needed.
6. Slowly add the boiling water and then increase the mixer speed to high and beat for one minute.
7. Separate out ¾ cups of batter and add a few drops of black food colouring and combine.
8. Pour black batter into four skull cavities coated in non-stick spray.
8. Pour the remaining chocolate batter into fluted pans and bake cakes for 35-45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean.
9.Allow the cake to cool for 60 minutes in the pans and then invert out the cakes and let cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes or more.
1. Using the stand mixer with the fitted paddle attachment beat butter until creamy for about 1 minute.
2. Continue and add the confectioners’ sugar and beat on low speed and add in vanilla and cream.
3. Decorate and place in fridge to firm up.
Candy Melt Coating
1. Melt white candy melts in a heat proof bowl in the microwave at 30 second intervals until melts have melted.
2. Pour over skulls and place in fridge to firm up.
3. Decorate eyes and face as desired and set aside
4. Place candies in the hole of the cake and place 3 skulls on top. Adhere with some frosting to ensure they stay in place.

• If you don’t have a mixer with a bigger bowl than traditional size this mixture will spill out. Mix a medium speed at all times.

Mini Halloween Cake, Coffins & Skeletons

Yield/Serving: 12
Prep Time: 1 hr.
Cook Time: 1 hr.
Difficulty level is: Medium

Almond Cake & Coffins & Skeletons

• 4 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1/3 cup granulated sugar
• 1 large egg
• 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• ¼ tsp sea salt
• 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp 2% milk
• 1 tsp almond extract
• few drop of orange gel food colouring
• few drops of black gel food colouring

Almond Cake & Coffins & Skeletons

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Trace out the pan using parchment paper and place in the bottom of one 6” pan.
3. Spray pans with non-stick spray and set aside.
4. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment beat butter and sugar until fluffy.
5. Add in egg and almond extract and continue to beat until incorporated.
6. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
7. Pour into butter mixture until just combined and then add milk and mix.
8.Split batter into half and colour half orange and the other black.
9. Pour orange batter into the 6” pan, and black into two min coffins pans & two skeleton mini pans and bake for 30 to 45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean.
10. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes and turn out onto cooling rack and remove parchment paper.
11. Let cool completely.

Tombstone Salted Caramel Brownies

Yield/Serving: 8 – 10 tombstones
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 25 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

• 10 tbsp unsalted butter
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• ¾ cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
• ½ cup sea salt
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 2 large eggs
• ½ cup all-purpose flour
• 1 tsp black gel food colouring
• 2 tbsp salted caramel, homemade or store bought
• White icing, to decorate

1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
2. Spray pan with non-stick spray.
3. Melt butter over medium heat in a small saucepan and let cool slightly.
4. Whisk sugar, cocoa, salt in a medium bowl and combine.
5. Pour the butter in slowly and whisk, then add the vanilla extract.
6. Add eggs one at a time and then add flour until incorporated.
7. Finally add black food colouring gel and don’t overmix.
8. Pour batter in pan cavities and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until a cake tester inserted comes out clean.
9. Leave in pans for five minutes and then turn out.
10. Repeat again if you have batter still left over.
11. Decorate with white icing and serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This was a two day bake for me and I was working on this any free moment in between work. This turned out quite well considering there were a lot of aspects going on and the compliments kept coming in. Now I gave myself an ‘A’ for effort; but the perfectionist in me see’s the mistakes; but I’m still learning so I’ll cut myself some slack. The cakes tasted great I just have to work on coating the skulls evenly and having a steadier hand when decorating. This was still a fun bake and it was appreciated … what else can a girl ask for.

Semolina Almond and Blood Orange Syrup Cakes

Semolina Almond and Blood Orange Syrup Cakes – Candy Coated Culinista

A chance to use blood oranges in my baking … yes please.

Yield/Serving: 12
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: 18 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

From: Modern baking

• 3 eggs
• ½ cup caster (superfine) sugar
• 1 cup natural Greek-style (thick) yoghurt
• ¼ cup light-flavoured extra virgin olive oil
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 tsp finely grated blood orange rind
• 1 cup fine semolina
• ¼ cup all-purpose flour, sifted
• 1 tsp baking powder, sifted
• 1/3 cup almond meal
• 2 blood oranges, thinly sliced
• 2 tbsp caster (superfine) sugar, extra
• Confectioners’ sugar, to serve
Blood orange syrup
• ½ cup blood orange juice
• ¼ cup water
• 1/3 cup caster (superfine) sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Grease 12 x ½ cup capacity muffin tin.
3. Using an electric mixer place eggs and caster sugar in bowl and whisk on high for 3-4 minutes or until pale and thick.
4. Add yoghurt, oil, vanilla, orange rind, semolina, flour, baking powder and almond meal and fold to combine.
5. Spoon mixture into tins and top each with an orange slice and sprinkle with extra sugar.
6. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden or a cake tester inserted comes out clean.
7. Allow cakes to cool slightly in tins before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely.
8. To make blood orange syrup, place juice, water and sugar in a small saucepan over high heat.
9. Bring to a boil and cook for 4-5 minutes or until reduced and syrupy.
10. Spoon the blood orange syrup over the cakes and dust with icing sugar to serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I am really enjoying cakes with semolina and almond flour. I adds a more sophisticated element to the cake and the vibrancy of the blood orange syrup made these cakes outstanding. Still a little too much sugar; but that seems to be a theme in this book. I made some mini cakes of varying sizes to test out the cake as I knew this was one I’d want to make again and again and the mini cakes turned out great.

Cherry Almond Yoghurt Bundt Cake

Cherry Yoghurt Bundt Almond Crumble Cake - Candy Coated Culinista

Cherry Yoghurt Bundt Almond Crumble Cake – Candy Coated Culinista

I just love a quick and tasty last minute recipe in a quirky Bundt pan.

Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: 60 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

• 1 cup all purpose flour
• ¼ tsp baking soda
• ¼ tsp sea salt
• 1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
• ½ cup granulated sugar
• 1 egg
• 1/3 tsp vanilla paste
• Cherry Greek yoghurt (3 oz)
Almond Crumble
• ¼ cup sliced almonds
• ¾ tsp granulated sugar
• 1/3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
• 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
• ¼ tsp vanilla paste
• ¾ tbsp milk

1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
2. Grease a Bundt pan.
3. In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.
4. Using an electric mixer on medium speed with the paddle attachment beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
5. Add egg and vanilla paste.
6. Toss cherries in the flour mixture and set aside.
7. Slowly add in the flour mixture along with the yoghurt and mix until just blended.
8. Stir cherries into the batter slowly.
Almond Crumble
1. Using a small bowl, stir together the sliced almonds, sugar and butter.
2. Pour and spread into the bottom of the Bundt pan.
3. Pour batter into pan and bake for 60 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean.
4. Let cool for 15-20 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
1. Mix the confectioner’s sugar, vanilla paste and milk together until smooth.
2. Drizzle over top of the cooled cake.
3. Cut into slices and serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I can now add another recipe to my last minute recipe list. It looks like it took more time than it really did, which is great. Friends and family will think you went that extra mile when in actuality it took you no time at all.

F is for … Raw Fig Almond Balls

F is for ... Raw Fig Almond Balls  - Candy Coated Culinista

F is for … Raw Fig Almond Balls – Candy Coated Culinista

Yield/Serving: 12-16 balls, depending on your size

• 2 cups raw almonds, or almond meal
• 250g soft dried figs, chopped and de-stemmed
• ½ cup dried cherries, chopped
• 1/3 cup shredded coconut, plus extra for coating the fig balls
• 1/8 cup sesame seeds, plus extra for coating the fig balls
• 1/8 cup black sesame seeds, plus extra for coating the fig balls
• 4-6 tbsp pure Canadian maple syrup

1. In a food processor grind almonds into a coarse meal. Ensure you don’t over grind to the point of almond butter. If you have leftover almond meal from making almond milk like I do then use that instead of grinding up raw almonds.
2. Add the figs and cherries and process until well combined.
3. Pour almond mixture into a large bowl and fold in the coconut, sesame seeds and maple syrup.
4. Form mixture into 1” size balls with your hands.

• If all you can’t find soft dried figs, then soak dehydrated figs for a few hours and de-stem them. They should plum back up some.
• I used my leftover almond meal from making my homemade almond milk.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I loved the idea of making a raw dish, but I think my palette is not used to this. I love that I found a way to use my leftover almond meal; but for me it just comes down to texture and it’s a little too soft. I loved all the flavours and the coating of coconut and sesame seeds did help me like it more.

Gluten-Free Pistachio Almond Coconut Cream Pie

Gluten-Free Pistachio Almond Coconut Cream Pie - Candy Coated Culinista

Gluten-Free Pistachio Almond Coconut Cream Pie – Candy Coated Culinista

Pie crust and I just don’t get along, but a pie made from nuts or cookie crumbs and I’m all in. This gluten-free pie is a great idea for those who can’t have gluten and for people like me who have trouble with making pie dough.

Slightly Altered From: The four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book

Yield/Serving: 8
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cook Time: 45 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium

For the crust
• ¼ cup shelled raw pistachios, salted
• ¼ cup almonds,
• ½ cup shredded coconut
• 3 tbsp granulated sugar
For the filling
• 2/3 cups shelled raw pistachios, salted
• 1 ½ cup 2% milk
• 1 cup coconut milk
• 5 egg yolks
• 6 tbsp cornstarch
• ¾ cup granulated sugar
• 1 ¼ cups coconut milk
• Zest from one lime
• 3 tbsp, unsalted butter, at room temperature
• Juice from 1 lime
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 1 tbsp confectioners’ sugar
• Pistachio chopped, to decorate (optional)
• Almond slivers, to decorate (optional)
• Cinnamon, decorate (optional)

For the crust
1. Over medium-high heat toast pistachios and almond in a frying pan, about 5 minutes. Ensure to shake pan frequently so the nuts don’t burn. Pour into a small prep bowl to cool.
2. Meanwhile toast shredded coconut in the same frying pan until slightly brown in colour and pour into a small prep bowl to cool.
3. Transfer pistachios, almonds, coconut and sugar into the food processor bowl and process until finely chopped.
4. Pour the crumbs into a non-greased metal pie pan.
5. Spread the crumbs evenly over the bottom of the pan and use a glass to firmly press down the nut crust, working it up the sides.
6. Freeze the crust for about ten minutes.
For the filling
1. Place the pistachios into the food processor bowl and process until chopped into medium and fine pieces.
2. Using a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat, pour nuts in along with the coconut and 2% milk and bring to a boil.
3. Remove from the heat and let steep for 15 to 20 minutes.
4. In a large bowl whisk the eggs together and set aside.
5. Using a large saucepan whisk together the cornstarch and sugar.
6. Add in the coconut milk and lime zest and whisk further.
7. Using a sieve strain the milk mixture into the coconut milk mixture over medium-high heat.
8. Stir constantly for about 5 minutes until it begins to thicken and continue to cook for 2 more minutes and then remove from the heat.
9. Slowly pour one-third of the custard into the eggs yolks whisking constantly, as to temper the eggs.
10. Add the tempered eggs to the saucepan and return to the heat at medium-high, stirring constantly until it boils about 1 to 2 minutes.
11. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and then stir in the butter, one tablespoon at a time along with the lime juice.
12. Pour custard into prepared pan and cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate overnight until firm.
13. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream along with the confectioners’ sugar until medium-stiff peak form.
14. Using a spatula spread the whipped cream over top of the pie and decorate if desired.
15. Slice and enjoy.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This recipe took me a little while to complete as I had to shell my pistachios. Overall I am on the fence with this one as I like the idea of this recipe, but I find it terribly sweet and if I ever made it again I would reduce the sugar by half or more. The texture of the pistachio cream was silky and smooth I just think I’d prefer more contrast in textures even though there was a nut crust.

Vanilla Almond Milk

Vanilla Almond Milk - Candy Coated Culinista

Vanilla Almond Milk – Candy Coated Culinista

I have a theory that I can make Mr. C. a vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian or a flexitarian and he wouldn’t even notice. When I met Mr. C. vegetables barely touched his lips and I slowly started adding vegetables to his diet and even hid them in sauces; like my homemade tomato sauce. Now here we are 4 years later and we both are many pounds lighter and have alot more muscle on us, because we both are eating so much healthier and it make me so proud of us. This is a great feeling because when we do choose to eat something a little unhealthier we aren’t breaking the bank, and there is no guilt. I have never been a dieter as I am a firm believer in moderation since I was a child and I have never had any issues with my weight. Since I’m a huge foodie I am always reading, researching, purchasing new cookbooks and looking into new things to try and eat. I have been trying to add almond milk to my diet, which wasn’t the problem. The problem was sneaking it into Mr. C.’s food unbeknownst to him. For about a week I put vanilla almond milk into our smoothies (I hid the almond milk carton behind the Orange Juice in the very back of the fridge) and I finally asked him “how do you like the smoothies with almond milk” He proceeded to say “I knew some different was going on with the smoothies.” I realized he was a fan and he even emailed me a homemade recipe for almond milk. This made me proud and he even found a recipe from one of my favourite food sites I research from; the kitchen – http://www.thekitchn.com. With this new knowledge I went on my merry way to retrieve the components to make fresh almond milk at home, and purchased my first weck jar I have been pining to buy but had no real use for until today.

Yield/Serving: almost 1 litre
Prep Time: 24 soaking over night
Cook Time: 5 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

• 1 cup raw almonds
• 2 cups water, for soaking
• 4 cups filtered water
• 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
• 2 tbsp agave nectar

1. Soak almond in 1 cup of water covered for 24 hours.
2. After 24 hours, drain the water through a strainer from the almonds and pour almonds into a blender.
3. Add 4 cups of filtered water and blend for 2 minutes.
4. Line a strainer with a cheesecloth and pour the almond meal through and allow almond milk to pass through strainer.
5. Twist and squeeze the cheesecloth to extract the remaining amounts of almond milk.
6. Add the sweetener and extract if so desired.
7. Pour in a container with a cap and use within 3 days.

• Sweeteners used can be: sugar, honey, agave nectar, maple syrup all to taste or optional.
• There is only a 3 days shelf life on homemade almond milk so be aware of that.
• Leftover meal, can be used in smoothies, oatmeal, baked goods like cookies or muffins, hummus, granola, crackers, butter and you can freeze it.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
The almond milk was very good. I didn’t taste like the vanilla almond milk from the carton though. That may be attributed to their process and whatever else goes into to it to extend the shelf life. I added too much vanilla, because I never thought to let the vanilla sit overnight and taste it in the morning. I adjusted the recipe above as I added way too much and didn’t give the vanilla a chance to marry with the almond milk. Next time I think I will soak the almonds longer to get a creamier consistency and filter it more as I still got some almond chunks. I think I need to invest in a proper nut milk bag since I plan on making more almond milk at home.

Valentine’s Day Nutella & Almond Croissants

Nutella & Almond Croissants - Candy Coated Culinista

Nutella & Almond Croissants – Candy Coated Culinista

Valentine’s Day is coming up and I have my home prepared menus all ready to go. Mr. C. and I are going out for Valentine’s Day but I still wanted to make us a homemade meal, even if I was a week early. This is a simple recipe to start off the day with a little more of a romantic feel than the usual fruit and cereal. My picture was included in the Valentine’s Day Food Newtork Canada Cooking Club Challenge gallery.

Yield/Serving: 6
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 5 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

• 6 croissants
• ¼ cup toasted sliced almonds
• ¼ cup nutella

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Slice into croissant but not all the way through. (like a hot dog bun)
3. Spread nutella and sprinkle almonds inside.
4. Close up the croissant and place on a baking sheet.
5. Bake for 5 minutes.

Please Enjoy

Flourless Almond Butter Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Flourless Almond Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies - Candy Coated Culinista

Flourless Almond Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies – Candy Coated Culinista

I made these Monday night on a whim. I left work feeling energized and wanting to bake even though on Sunday I had done 3 recipes during my hectic day: Cupcake Decorating #1, Gluten-Free Brownies and Garlic Dill Butter– (the last two to be posted very soon). I got great reviews from this recipe by Mr. C’s co-workers so this baby is being fast-tracked to post. So his colleagues can enjoy this recipe.

Yield/Serving: 12 cookies
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 8-12 min
Difficulty level is: Easy

• 1 egg
• 1 ¼ cup almond butter (100% almonds)
• ¼ cup golden brown sugar
• ¼ cup Demerara sugar
• 1 tsp baking soda
• ¼ cup bittersweet chocolate chips
• ¼ cup milk chocolate chips
• ½ cup swirl milk chocolate chips (white & milk chocolate)
• 1 tsp coconut extract

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Line two cookie sheets with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
3. Whisk egg in a large bowl.
4. Add almond butter, sugars and baking soda and combine until well incorporated.
5. Add the chocolate chips and fold until combined.
6. Using a tablespoon, scoop out about one to one and one half tablespoons onto the baking mat or baking sheet.
7. Brush coconut extract onto the top of the cookies and bake in 2 batches of 6 cookies.
8. Bake for 8-12 minutes for a softer cookie. If you would like a crispier cookie increase the cook time by 2 minutes, but keep an eye on the oven.
9. Let cookies cool on the baking mat/parchment paper for 15 minutes, as they will seem too soft. They will require this time to firm up.
10. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

• 3 days later the cookie the almond cookies is still soft. This probably can last 5-7 days in a sealed container at room temperature.

Please Enjoy

I had intended to make almond cookies with flour awhile back along with my PB & JJ Thumbprint & Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies, but I felt I was making too many cookies. Mr. C. and I attempted to consume the almond butter but he in particular found it to be “too grainy for (his) taste and was a little dry on its own”. However, in the form of these cookies, this almond butter tasted much better. Mr. C. emailed me at work and said “Your cookies are a hit”. I even got one comment from one of my email subscribers that is also Mr. C’s co-worker: “I love your wife”. With a response like that I can’t help but want to make more treats. I got a big smile from that comment.

My thoughts
Soft, sweet and gooey. This tasted much better than I expected. I am used to making cookies with flour and I also expect when recipes are changed at the base ingredient level they will taste funny. My hopes weren’t high at all, but this time I was really pleasantly surprised. They looked and tasted like cookies and I didn’t miss the flour. The cookies were quite crumbly so maybe the flour is what binds all the ingredients into one cohesive mass. In any event I enjoyed this thoroughly and could taste the lightness to this recipe.

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