wordless wednesday: daytime ottawa & cake in a jar

bakers note:  these photos are all thanks to my great friend Deb.  thank you Ms. Ransom for joining the entourage ;0)This is one of my favourite things.

I think I turned Derick and TL into fans too.

Cake in a jar. 

Yep.   That’s right… just look at it!

The best part about this… it’s nothing fancy – but it looks so fun and pretty.

And don’t we all look like we had a blast? (you should click on that and check out the segment)

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a little gong “show”

update:  thanks platonic jeff for joining me and taking pictures. and making us all laugh.  i think everyone @ daytime loves you too (platonicaly that is) ;0)

I have to apologize… I’ve been baking (lots). I’ve been taking pictures (lots).  I’ve been back on Ottawa Daytime… THREE TIMES!!!  And I haven’t blogged about any of those things.

I think it’s time to get started.Last week I tried to teach Derick, TL and all of their fans how to make powdered sugar-free buttercream

Seriously… the GREATEST buttercream EVER (and I say this knowing most people swoon over a really good cream cheese frosting… but this has it beat). 

The three of us sure had fun (but then again, we always have fun), but I kinda screwed up the recipe.  Just a little…  just enough that if you watched the episode live and decided to follow our (as in my) instructions… you probably would have finished and scratched your head wondering… “did I do something wrong?”

Nope.  Not you.  Me.  I completely forgot an important step in the whole process. 

More milk.

Now if you didn’t watch – I should warn you:  this recipe says NO to powdered sugar and says YES to milk, flour, regular sugar and butter.  No lies.  You basically start off with a béchamel (well not a traditional béchamel – only the flour and milk – no butter at this point), and add that to some whipped sugar and butter.

So I’m here to make it up to you … that way you can enjoy the wonderfulness of this buttercream.  Because it truly is wonderful… amazing… incredible… rich and creamy and fluffy.  In a word: DELISH.

If you want to giggle while you start on this recipe… check out Derick, TL and I as we muddle our way through the recipe (don’t they look like they’re having a blast!?).

And then if you feel up to trying this buttercream (which you should … because it’s that good)… put away that powdered sugar and pull out a small saucepan and whisk.  Let’s get started!

baker’s note:  the recipe I’m sharing is for a dark chocolate buttercream… however the recipe I made for Daytime Ottawa was a brown sugar-cinnamon buttercream.  Omit the melted chocolate and use brown sugar and 1 tbsp cinnamon rather than regular white sugar if you’d like to try my “tv” version (which is delicious when paired with a zucchini cake).  Otherwise, the rest of the recipe remains the same (you can also omit the melted chocolate to make a vanilla buttercream too).

(powdered sugar-free) whipped buttercream

ingredients:

4 oz (100 g) dark chocolate, melted and cooled

1/4 c. flour, sifted

1 1/2 tbsp vanilla

1 c. milk, divided

1 c. white sugar

1 c. butter, room temperature

Think of this recipe in stages…

First start with the warm part – melt your chocolate in a double boiler (or in the microwave).  Once melted, set aside and allow it to cool.

Then start on the  faux béchamel.

Grab a small saucepan (as mentioned to Derick and TL, a small saucepan works better than a medium one) and whisk together the flour, vanilla and 1/4 c. milk

Whisk until there are no lumps, then place the pan over medium heat – whisking continuously: slowly adding the rest of the milk (this is the part I left out on the show).   You’ll notice that the mixture thickens and starts to pull away from the sides of the saucepan – about 4 minutes.  Turn the heat down to low and continue whisking for another 3 minutes.  Now… remove the saucepan from heat and keep whisking the mixture for another 2 minutes.  This is important.  Otherwise it’ll keep cooking – and you don’t want that. That’s it.

Now – you can either wait for your faux béchamel to cool to room temperature – or do like me – and pass it through a strainer – this cools it down nice and quick and gets rid of any lumps you might get during the cooking process.While you are passing the faux béchamel through the strainer – start whipping your butter and sugar mixture together.  Using the paddle attachment of your stand mixer, whisk the butter and sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy – 7 minutes (that’s normally the amount of time I need to strain the faux béchamel). Turn your mixture down to slow and slowly add the melted chocolate – increase the speed to medium incorporating the chocolate into the whipped butter/sugar.

Once incorporated, return the speed to low and add in your faux béchamel.  Increase the speed to medium and whisk for another 5 minutes.

You end up with something so light and fluffy, so creamy… you end up with this… Frost your cake, or cupcakes… or heck – just dip your finger into the buttercream and enjoy.  Seriously … A-MAZ-INGMake this buttercream and I promise you that you’ll think twice about using powdered sugar again (unless you have some serious piping work to do).

holiday cookie 4.0 (and i was on tv)

authors note: no studio pics today … I didn’t have an entourage this time round  :0) good thing for the clip!

These are the best cookies.  Period. Seriously.


And the best part about it … was that it was a pleasant surprise.  I honestly thought that they would be o.k. – simply a twist from the ordinary ginger cookie.

Wrong.

These are good.

Each cookie was thin.  And chewy.  And then … in the centre – you could still see the dark moistness of the molasses.  Oh my.

So the cookies were good.

But then it was time to turn them into little sandwiches … a layer of lemon glaze holding two ginger-molasses cookies together.

That is when they became HOLY HECK I CAN’T BELIEVE HOW WONDERFUL A COOKIE CAN BE! kind of cookies.

A-MAZ-ING.

I think I heart these cookies so much because they combine the ginger cookie (we know I’ obsessed) with lemon – which we all know is my number one true love.  Sigh.  A combination made in my kind of heaven.  DEE-LISH!

I also got to talk up these wonderful little babies while on Daytime Ottawa – Erin and Derick – became huge fans.  It turns out that TL is allergic to ginger … but she promised me that if she weren’t – she would love these cookies :0) LOVES IT!

click here to watch

This time round TL proved that she’s more than just the finishing touches gal.

She’s got skills.  As in the best reflexes EVER.

Did you see her react to my misdirection with the butter?  Fast hands people.  She’s got fast hands.

Derick didn’t do too badly himself … he just needs to remember that the molasses should always be added as a heaping quarter cup.  Always.  I think he knows better now (right Derrick) :0)

Let me guess … you want to make a batch of these cookies too right?  I mean … I am emphatically declaring these as my favourite holiday cookies.  EVER.  Bar NONE.

Since this blog is all about sharing the love … here’s the recipe.  Make this love.  Share it.  You won’t regret it.  I promise (have I let you down yet?).

ginger-molasses lemon cookies

ingredients:

1 1/2 c. brown sugar

1/4 c. molasses (heaping please)

1 egg

3/4 c. melted butter

2 c. flour, sifted

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground cloves

3/4 tsp salt

zest of half a lemon

In a large bowl, combine the sugar, molasses, egg and melted butter together.  Use either a whisk or a wooden spoon – no stand-mixer or hand-held mixers required.

Once everything is well combined, add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt and lemon zest.

Stir until combined.  This dough will seem a little oily – just keep mixing.  Once everything is incorporated, cover the bowl in plastic wrap and allow it to chill in the fridge for about 1 hour.  This will make it easier to handle.  Believe me … much easier (the original dough is otherwise too sticky and tacky to roll into small balls).

When ready – preheat your oven to 375 F.  Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Set aside.

Spread 1/2 c. raw sugar in a pie plate.

Roll the dough into small balls – then cover them completely in the raw sugar.  Place on the cookie sheet.  You want to leave about 2-inches apart from one another on the cookie sheet – they spread while baking.  I was able to get a dozen on each baking sheet.

Bake for 8 minutes.  Rotating the sheets at the halfway mark – this will ensure even baking.  If you’re like me you’ll notice that they look barely baked at the 4 minute mark – don’t worry – by 8 minutes, the top of the cookies will look cracked.  BEAUTIFUL!

Remove from the oven.  Allow the cookies to sit on the baking sheet for 4 minutes.  This will allow them to firm up a bit.  Place them on the wire rack and allow to cool completely.

Now make the filling.  This is what makes these cookies extraordinary.  Sigh.

lemon glaze

ingredients:

3 tbsp butter, softened

2 c. powdered sugar, sifted

juice of 1 lemon

In a large bowl (the powdered sugar can go flying!), whisk together the ingredients until smooth.  That’s it.  Add the lemon juice bit by bit – this will permit you to (1) decide how much lemon flavour you want and (2) ensure that the glaze isn’t too thin.  It should be about as thick as a caramel sauce … not a thin broth.  Is that helpful?

Spread about a teaspoon on one of the cookie bases (stay more in the centre of the cookie – not the sides), topping it with another cookie – creating a little sandwich.  Don’t worry if the top cookie looks like it’s going to slide off … just reposition it on top of the other cookie and allow to sit for 30 minutes.  They should firm up … leaving you the most beautiful cookie.

Lemon glaze sandwiches between two sugar-coated ginger-molasses cookies.

Sigh.

I’m still thinking about these cookies.

Time to whip up another batch.  For reals.

Enjoy!

Robin – you should make these … hopefully you’ll enjoy them as much as your mother’s gingersnap recipe.