Monday, November 26, 2012

Gifts from the Kitchen: Reindeer Chow

Crunchin and munchin – a pepperminty snack to give away
If you are looking for ideas for homemade gifts — look no further. Reindeer Chow is a delightful, crunchy snack mix that makes a perfect gift, made by you! Reindeer Chow is simple and quick to make — include the kids for a fun afternoon! This recipe will make about five 500 ml jars, loosely filled. I have included a downloadable sheet of labels for you to use — or customize your own.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Festive Christmas Rum Balls

Stop laughing. Stop it.
Did someone say balls? [Cue juvenile snickering]

When my holiday baking starts to ramp up to a satisfyingly frenetic level, I like to sneak in a few recipes that require a little "Christmas cheer". These rum balls are a grown-up version of the ever-popular cake pop. They are rich and fudgy, but I think I would add slightly more rum next time. I like them to be rich enough to satisfy with only one bite. I rolled the balls [giggle] in sparkle sugar, but you could also roll them in cocoa, or dip them in dark or white chocolate.

I know, I know — I have a warped sense of humour. I blame this. Enjoy!

Festive Christmas Rum Balls
Makes 4 dozen Ingredients
Non-stick cooking spray
3/4 cup butter, cut into pieces
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 large eggs
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup dark rum
Sparkle sugar, for rolling

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. 
  2. Melt butter & chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl for about 3 minutes on 75% power. Stir until smooth. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, light brown sugar & vanilla. Slowly whisk in the melted chocolate mixture. Fold in the flour, until just blended. 
  3. Spray a 12" x 17" rimmed baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray & pour in the batter. Use a spatula to spread it evenly to the edges of the pan. 
  4. Bake for 10 minutes. Transfer the pan to a rack & cool. 
  5. Break up the brownie pieces into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on low until the brownie is completely broken up. Slowly add in the rum, a bit at a time & beat until the mixture forms into a ball. You will know it’s the right texture if you can easily roll the dough & it holds its shape. 
  6. Scoop out the dough by the tablespoon & roll into a ball. Toss in sugar & chill until ready to serve.
This recipe first appeared in the first print edition of Stimuli magazine. Read the electronic version here.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Candy Bar Brownies

Gooey.... and ALL MINE
After Halloween, I was left with a giant bowl of leftover, fun-sized chocolate bars — a result of last-minute Halloween candy purchasing and my lack of willpower when faced with a bargain. I can’t resist a good deal! Usually, I end up snarfing them all up in a couple of sittings. Instead of eating them all at once, do I give them away, freeze them for later (haha no) or make them into something else? Luckily, I found this brownie recipe that I tweaked until it became something delicious. It uses about 10 fun-sized chocolate bars, or 2 full-sized bars. The brownies are rich and fudgy, and the chocolate bar centre stays soft and liquidy.