Top 10 of 2014!

It’s cliché, but it is hard to believe another year is over.  I’m happy to say I met my goal and did a lot more baking this year than last year.  This year I tried many new things.  There were some amazing results and some horrendous flops!  I like to post about them all, because not everything turns out and that’s ok, frustrating, but ok.

Here are what I think to be my best of 2014 as well as a few honorable mentions.

Honorable Mentions

I have 2 honorable mentions this year.  The first being, I was a judge at a Butter Tart Taste off!  It was an amazing day and I was so honored to be part of it.

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Second honorable mention is for my favourite cake this year.  I really liked how the Camera Cake turned out

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Here is a list of what I picked as my favourites of 2014

10.   S’mores Cups

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These little delights are so easy and very so tasty.  I first had S’mores Cups at the Relay for Life.  One of our team members brought them and I was hooked.  I searched the recipe and made them as soon as possible.  I am not a fan of real S’mores, but these are great!

9. Snickers Popcorn

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This is something I wasn’t entirely sure I would like.  Amy and I were having a baking day, cheesecake was our main delight of the day.  We needed something that didn’t need to be cooked for a family dessert.  Amy picked Snickers Popcorn. Unreal!  It was delicious, and so addicting!  I could not stop. 3 days later when the humidity had got to it I was still wolfing it into me. Excellent and will make again!  It always helps to have someone else to bring you out of your baking comfort zone.  I would have never tried this, but love it!  Thanks Amy!

8. Toffee Cheesecake

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This Toffee Cheesecake was made with the toffee candy I make, kinda like a Skor bar.  This was really good.  I’d definitely make this one again.

7.  Strawberry Pie

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I am starting to get the hang of this pie thing, my crust is improving.  This was my first Strawberry Pie.  It was good.  It got rave reviews from the pie fans of the family, and I admit, I liked it too.

6. OCC #6

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I have been slacking on my Oatmeal Cookie Challenge.  I have been searching for a very long time for ‘my favourite’ cookie. This Oatmeal Cookie is definitely in the running.  It has a great texture, holds its height and had great flavour. The best part? This recipe makes one cookie! Give it a try.

5. Cherry Pie

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This pie was amazing! Hard to believe 2 pies made the list this year.  I’d say this was the perfect Cherry Pie. Hope I can duplicated it next year.

4. Pumpkin Cake

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I am not normally a fan of pumpkin stuff but this Pumpkin Cake was good!  What made it was the cinnamon cream cheese icing. Amazing combination.  It was a huge hit at Thanksgiving.

3. Toffee Chocolate Bars

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These were amazing! I found these Toffee Chocolate Bars on Pinterest.  The picture caught my eye and I knew I had to make it.  They were a huge success.  I loved them.  The gooey middle layer was fantastic and I loved the sugary base.  Definitely worth a try.

2. Pecan Pie Cheesecake

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This Pecan Pie Cheesecake was by far the best Cheesecake I have ever made! The sweet pecan filling went perfect with the creamy cheesecake top.  This got rave reviews and topped everyone’s list as their favourite cheesecake.  You must try it!

1. Christmas Pudding with White Sauce

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Even though I just made this a few days ago, it was by far the best thing I made this year.  Not only was the Christmas Pudding absolutely delicious, but it brought back a family tradition that I can to carry on for many years to come.

I hope everyone had a great year and here’s to a wonderful 2015 filled with many delicious sweet treats!

 

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Celebration Baking

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I am always looking for an excuse to bake.  Today’s excuse? Erica’s Edibles has had over 100,000 views! What?!? I can’t believe it!

Back when I started blogging, honestly, I didn’t think anyone other than my parents and maybe a few friends would have read.  It is so exciting that people actually look at what I bake!

Now the big decision is to pick a recipe!  There are so many I have Pinned and saved that I want to make.  I tried to find one that would please everyone, no peanut butter and chocolate (crazy I know! My parents hate that combination) and no coconut!  This was hard as just about all of my favourite included chocolate peanut butter or coconut.  I had to start a new search.  The recipe I chose was from The Bitter Side of Sweet, Chocolate Pretzel Pecan Shortbread Bars.  The name pretty much says it all.

Chocolate Pretzel Pecan Shortbread Bars

Crust

2 cups flour
⅓ cup brown sugar
½ cup pecans, chopped
1 stick butter, cold

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Prepare a 9 x 13 pan by lining with a piece of parchment paper. Then spray the parchment paper.

3. Mix the flour and brown sugar together

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4. Cut into mixture the butter till it looks crumbly

 

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5. Stir in pecans. Spread into pan and bake for 10 minutes (I got a little worried at this point, seems a bit dry to bake)

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6. When done allow to cool while you prepare the filling (still looking kind of dry)

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Filling

1 cup sugar
1 cup white Karo syrup
½ cup butter, melted
4 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 cup pretzels chopped

Directions

1. In a large bowl combine sugar, syrup and butter

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2. In a separate bowl, lightly beat eggs

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3. Add to sugar mixture and stir.

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4. Pour over shortbread and spread evenly

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5. Evenly spread pecans

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6. Top with layer of chocolate chips

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7. Finish with layer of chopped pretzels *tip* When I tried to chop the pretzels they were bouncing everywhere! I found it much easier and less messy to put them in a baggy and break them up

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8. Press the pretzels down lightly into the batter

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9. Put back in oven and cook for 30 minutes or until middle no longer jiggles, *mine took nearly an hour

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10. Cool at room temperature.

11. Then chill bars for 4 hours or overnight. ENJOY!

The next day

They look fantastic!

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These were OK.  I found them to be a little on the dry side.  Between the pretzels and the shortbread crust, don’t plan on whistling a tune.  The centre was not bad, could have been sweeter and didn’t have a lot of flavour.  Everyone that had them said they were good, but I was unimpressed.  I wouldn’t make them again.

S’mores Cups

 

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These little fells are delicious!

I will confess, to most people disbelief, I have never had a s’more.  Perhaps because I want nothing to do with camping and that is where they would usually be made.

I was introduced to these last weekend at the Relay for Life, a 12 hour, over night walk for cancer.  Everyone usually brings something to share to keep us awake and energized.  This year we had a new member on our team and she brought these!  Having never had a s’more, I have nothing to compare them to but they were quite delicious!  They almost reminded me of the Chocolate Marshmallow Squares of my Nana’s, that Dad always requests.  When I asked about the recipe She said she got it on Pinterest.  So that is where I headed and found this recipe.

S’more Cups

Adapted from Texas Cottage

1 cup graham crackers crumbs
1/4 cup powdered sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
4 bars (1.55 oz each) milk chocolate candy, divided
12 large marshmallows

*I halved the recipe and it made 9

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Combine graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar, and butter in a small bowl.
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3. Place 1 tablespoon of crumb mixture in each cup of a mini muffin pan.
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4. Firmly press crumbs to form shallow cups.  I used a teaspoon to push and make the cup
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  5. Bake 4-5 minutes or until edges are bubbling.They seem to spread quite a bit and have a pool of butter.  I scooped out as much butter as I could and reshaped
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6. Break two of the candy bars into rectangles. ** I did not have any so I used chocolate chips
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7. Cut marshmallows in half crosswise using scissors.
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8. Place one marshmallow half, cut-side down, into each cup.
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9. Return to oven 1-2 minutes or until marshmallows are slightly softened. Remove pans from oven to cooling rack; cool 15 minutes.
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10. Carefully remove cups from pan. Cool completely. I set them on paper towel because they were ridiculously greasy, it soaked up a lot of the excess.  Next time I will use less butter
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Break remaining candy bars (or chocolate chips) and place in small microwavable bowl. Microwave on high 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring every 20 seconds. Dip the top of each marshmallow in melted chocolate. Turn top-side up and let stand 40 to 60 minutes or until set. Makes 24 cups.
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These were delicious and very easy to make.  Will definitely be making these again.
***sorry about the all jumbled together look of this post.  I can’t seem to get the spacing to work.

Toffee Chocolate Bars

Erica’s Edibles

Turns

5!

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It’s my blogaversary! Silly, I know, but I like to make something on the anniversary of the day I started my blog.  I honestly did not think I would be still blogging 5 years later.  I figured it would be something fun to do for a few months as I posted about my baking adventures with the Daring Bakers.  I have been slacking on my Daring Bakers participation, I need to get back to that!
This years blogaversary treat is Toffee Chocolate Bars.  I saw a picture of these bars on Pinterest a while ago and thought they looked sinful!  They had to be delicious!  This seemed like the perfect occasion 🙂

Toffee Chocolate Bars

Adapted from Robin Hood

3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar – packed
1 cup flour
1 can Eagle Brand Milk
2 T butter
1 pkg Chocolate Chips
1 pkg Toffee Chips

1. Preheat oven 350ºC

2. Combine butter, sugar and flour

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The original recipe said to ‘cream’ the ingredients.  Mine did not cream, this is as good as it got, more of a crumble…

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3. Press into a 9×13 inch pan and bake until golden, approx 20 min.  Set aside on a wire rack to cool

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4. Heat Eagle Brand Milk and 2 tbsp of butter on medium heat in a heavy sauce pan.  Heat until thick 5-10 min (mine did not thicken, but was starting to burn so I stopped after 8 min).  I panicked when it started to burn and forgot to get a picture haha

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5. Pour over crust

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6. Bake until golden, approx 15 minutes

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7. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and bake for 2 more minutes until chips are soft

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8. Spread chocolate

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9. Sprinkle with toffee bits – press down slightly

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10. Allow to cool – may need to chill

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These were delicious!

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Everyone loved these!  They were sinfully sweet and delicious!  I really liked the base layer – the brown sugar really brought a simple crust to a new level.  It was not crunchy but firm enough to hold up without breaking or crumbling.  The soft filling and the crunch of the toffee really complemented each other.

This is one of those treats that make your mouth water, literally!  With each bite it seemed to get better and better.  I simply could not stop!  After 4 squares I had to give them away in fear that I would eat the entire 9×13 pan.

I would definitely make these again, but next time I would use 2 cans of Eagle Brand milk to make the filling that much gooier!

Chocolate Marshmallow Squares

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There are 2 things my Dad asks for, lemon cake with lemon filling for his birthday and Chocolate Marshmallow Squares for Christmas.  This is a recipe that my Nana always made at Christmas time.  It was one of many! She would make several big desserts as well as squares, perhaps this is where I inherited my sweet tooth.  This is a very simple recipes that requires no baking, but to be honest, not many people outside my family like it.  It kind of reminds me of a s’more, I am fairly certain I could eat the entire tray!

Nana’s Chocolate Marshmallow Squares

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24 large marshmallows or equivalent in small
2 oz of semi sweet baking chocolate
1 tsp butter
2 1/2 cups Graham Crumbs
1 can Eagle Brand Milk

Directions:

1. In a double boiler melt chocolate with butter

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2. While chocolate is melting prepare an 8×8 pan.  Coat with butter or Pam and sprinkle with extra graham crumbs.  You must do this or it will stick like glue to the pan!

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3. Prepare marshmallows.  I have never used the large marshmallows, I just can’t see cutting them up, it just wouldn’t look right.  I generally take 24 small handfuls (6-8)

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4. When chocolate has melted add Eagle Brand milk and stir

Don’t skimp, get the good stuff!

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5.  Pour chocolate mixture over marshmallows and add Graham crumbs

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6. Stir! as it starts to set quickly

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7.  Pour into prepared pan, cover and refrigerate over night

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8. The next day it is firm and ready to cut

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I love these!!  They are hard to describe.  They are kind of dry compared to most sweets and squares, but deliciously sweet! I think it might be the texture that turns people away, because the taste is amazing!

Our family loves them and I will continue making them each Christmas, give them a try, you might love them!

Chocolate Marshmallow Squares

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This recipe is a family favourite, but it seems to be just a family favourite.  I have not come across many people outside the family who really enjoy this square as much as we do.  This is my Dad’s favourite treat! He has always loved it, it is one his Mother (my Nana) made.  Each year when I start making my Christmas baking list I ask Mom and Dad what they would like me to make, Dad always says “I’d be happy with just that chocolate marshmallow square, that would be great” and of course every year I make it.  It like so many other recipes only seems to get made at Christmas.  It’s quite simple and we think quite delicious.

Chocolate Marshmallow Square

24 marshmallows or equivalent in mini 2 oz semi sweet chocolate dark
2 1/2 cups graham crumbs, plus extra for dusting
1 can Eagle Brand Milk
1 tsp butter, plus extra to grease pan

Directions

1. In a large bowl measure out graham crumbs and marshmallows and set aside.  I usually count out approx. 120 mini marshmallows

2. Liberally butter a 8×8 baking dish and sprinkle with graham crumbs, just as you would if flouring a cake pan

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3. In a double boiler melt chocolate and butter

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4. Add Eagle Brand Milk and stir until combined

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5. Pour over marshmallows and graham crumbs – stir , you will need to move quickly as it hardens quickly as the mixture cools

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6. When mixture is combined pour into your prepared baking dish and press into corners.  Mixture will not flow you will need to press it in with a fork

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7. Sprinkle the top with more graham crumbs, just a light coating, this is optional, but we like it (forgot to take a picture of this)

8. Cover and refrigerate to cool

9. Once cool and set, cut and enjoy!

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It does not win any awards for best in show, its kinda ugly, but oh so delicious!

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I, like Dad, love this square.  I have heard it described as ‘kinda like a smore’ I guess because of having a lot of the same ingredients, but I disagree.  The chocolate that surrounds the marshmallows is firm, but not rock hard and kind of dry.  The soft marshmallows complement the texture of the chocolate.  This treat is not overly sweet but definitely satisfies a sweet craving.  My description and pictures do not do the square justice.  I don’t know, maybe it’s just a ‘family thing’ we like it, you might too!

I have a Confession…

As I have mentioned in many posts, growing up there was not much baking in our house.  Mom can cook a fantastic meal but does not like to bake.   Mom’s Rice Crispy Squares are one of my/our family favourites and Mom made them quite a lot.

Your probably thinking, Really? Rice Crispy Squares? How simple and boring! Someone who loves to bake and create and one of her favourites is Rice Krispies  Squares.  If you are thinking that, then you have not had my Mom’s Rice Krispies Squares.  They are to die for!!!  I don’t know how she does it, but NO ONE’S stand even close to her’s.  She uses the same ingredients that the “original recipe” on the box calls for, but in different proportions.  They are so ooey and goooy and heavenly delicious.

I will always remember the commercial they had in the early 90’s advertising that Rice Krispies Squares were so simple, but so good.  The woman would throw flour all over herself then emerge from the kitchen looking exhausted!

Confession time…

I have made many complicated, delicate, time-consuming and detailed desserts, BUT, to save my life, I can not make a good Rice Krispies Square! Sounds stupid right? Anyone can make Rice Krispies Squares! WRONG!!! I can’t!  I have followed the recipe, I have done my own version, I have even watched and taken notes from Mom and they still turn out horrible!  They always taste horribly stale, dry, old, you name it, yuck!  Four ingredients and I mess it up.

Today I had a request for some Rice Krispies Squares to use up the Giant Campfire marshmallows we had.  I packed up all 4 ingredients (marshmallows, butter, vanilla and Rice Crispies) and headed to Mom’s and asked her to make them for me.  Each time I ask her she laughs at me, But, I seriously cant make them taste right.

Here is Mom’s Rice Krispies Squares

This is my favourite part.

Cleaning out the pot and wooden spoon and eating the warm gooey left overs!

Perfect every time!

Anyone else have something that is so easy that you just can’t master???