Sunday, February 22, 2015

Caramel-Almond Latte Ricotta Cookies - Red Carpet #SundaySupper

Thinking about today's #SundaySupper theme (Red Carpet Recipes), I immediately had visions of a rolled or coiled treat as a perfect dessert. To me, the "unrolling of the carpet" imagery is the perfect basis for a fancy dish, not to mention that cookies are infinitely easier to grab (and munch on) during the broadcast than a fancy, multi-tiered dessert!

That said, just like those layered upon layered gowns and updos that fill Hollywood on gala nights like tonight, these cookies are deceivingly complex - the dough itself (essentially a copycat of this one) gets hints of tang and tenderness from homemade ricotta, plus a crunchy, bittersweet note from powdered Coffee Bean Brittle. The filling is homemade caramel sauce, smooth almond butter and toasted almonds, making for a decadently rich experience that's a hit with any fancy coffee drinker, or simply any cookie aficionado!

Caramel-Almond Latte Ricotta Cookies

Nominees for Best Supporting Appetizers:

Nominees for Best Course in a Leading Role:

Nominees for Best Supporting Sips:

Nominees for Best Delectable Desserts:

Nominees for Best Dressed Table:

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Teff Brownies with Grand Marnier Bonbons #RecipeRedux

I'll let you in on a little secret - I hate the combination of fruit with pretty much any other flavour out there. With the exception of lemon juice (which I adore in almost everything) and pineapple on pizza (and only pizza, with requisite hot pepper flakes and crushed garlic), fruit belongs on it's own, unadulterated plane of existence in my eyes.

My mom, on the other hand, can't get enough of fruit in things. She's not a fan of fruit on it's own, but add it to anything from a roast to a stir fry to a cookie and she's in like a dirty shirt. In particular, orange and chocolate desserts are her personal addiction, which explains treats like Chocolate - Orange Sesame Truffles, Terry's Chocolate Marmalade and "Terry's Chocolate" Brownies popping up on this blog.

So, is there a more decadent way of marrying chocolate and orange than with a boozy liqueur? Maybe - it you do what I did and top the batch with liquor-filled chocolates! Even with the extra sweetness, though, one of these rich little bars isn't simply empty calories - teff and sorghum flours add a punch of gluten free, whole grain goodness, while the cocoa powder has a burst of antioxidants too. Health food? No... but healthier treat? You bet!

Teff Brownies with Grand Marnier Bonbons

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Cinnamon Raisin Blondies #CreativeCookieExchange

I've been a longtime fan of blondies - after all, who can hate the rich taste of a brown-sugar, essentially chocolate chip cookie dough in a neat little square? While the "original" plain-Jane base is a work of art in itself, it's also ripe for customization depending on your tastes. Two of my all-time favourite recipes, for example, contain marshmallowy goodness that creates dense and fudgy bars, while Gluten-Free Quinoa Blondies appeal to the "health food" lovers amongst my friends and family and Genius Chocolate-Chip Blondies are a sleeper hit with the kids. Combining two types of cookie in a blondie-esque bar never occurred to me, though - until I spotted recipes like these floating around the blog-o-sphere. 

Cinnamon Raisin Blondies

Ironically, I've never been one to crave snickerdoodles, but somehow fell in love with the idea of cinnamon bars. However, for me if there's cinnamon there needs to be raisins, and a richly flavoured base as well to enhance it's natural sweet and spiciness. Taking a cue from my previous blonde goodies and a basic recipe from Inspired Taste, I dialed up the batter with nutty, almost butterscotchy maca powder and chickpea flour, then packed in some raisins along with a glug of Goldschläger for good measure. They are definitely my preferred version of the classic cookie!

The theme for this month's #CreativeCookieExchange is Drunken Cookies! Cookies made with booze and/or inspired by booze, we have them all! If you are a blogger and want to join in the fun, contact Laura at thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com and she will get you added to our Facebook group, where we discuss our cookies and share links. You can also just use us as a great resource for cookie recipes--be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! Also, if you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made:

Monday, February 16, 2015

Healthy Hearty Granola Bites

I'm always honoured when friends of mine in the health and fitness industry ask me to ply my cooking talents for a cause. I love helping out in any way I can, especially when the beneficiaries are children (it's the teacher in me). For years, I made cakes for Autism Ontario's annual dessert auction, and loved that my few hours in the kitchen contributed to the furthering of their research and support. Now, I am super excited to be a part of another fundraiser, this time for Plan Canada's Because I Am A Girl initiative, whose mission is to "help give girls in developing countries around the world, a chance at a brighter future."

This time around, the event is a Zumba- and Socasize-athon hosted by two of my friends (and Zumba instructors) Dawna Mensah and Sharon Service called Rise Up and Shine. Now, I'm a Zumba freak (friends and family will attest to that) and of course, I love to cook, so not only am I donating the yumminess you'll see below (along with another treat!), but I'm throwing one of my cookbooks on CD and a voucher for a free nutritional consultation into their raffle prize list too! (Side note - if you can't attend RUaS, you can still donate here or by contacting Dawna).

Obviously, since this is a fitness event, I knew whatever treats I made would have to be healthy, as well as a good source of energy, good fats and whole grains to keep the dancers groovin'! Granola bars were an obvious choice, but they can be messy - and often too much to eat for a between-song pick me up. My solution was to turn the "bars" into "bites" - dense, chewy squares of fruit, cereal and seeds perfect for on-the-go. With an arsenal of organic and granola at my disposal, I took inspiration from Oh She Glows and ran with it, creating something truly unique and perfect for my purposes. These bars are vegan and nut free, but because of the granola I used I can't claim its wheat or gluten free due to risk of cross contamination (obviously a changeable factor!). I found the combination of figs, banana and sunflower seed butter to be a perfect flavour pairing for the pumpkin and flax seeds, adding light but present sweetness and nutty notes that would otherwise be missing in a nut-free bar. I can't wait for the event to give them (another) taste!

Healthy Hearty Granola Bites

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Stovetop Fruit & Honey Granola #SundaySupper

I love granola. Not only is it one of the most versatile cereals to use - finding homes in cookies, cakes, crumbles and ice cream (amongst other things), but it's one of the easiest to make and modify breakfast and snack foods around. I regularly whip up batches of granola in my oven - never the same flavour twice, but always slowly baked till crisp, chunky and decadently healthy. Generally, I keep the amount of added fat and sugar low, in contrast to most store-bought blends which can be swimming in white granules and oil in place of flavour-packed, whole food ingredients.

So, when the time came to introduce my grade 1-3 classes to the wonderful treat that is homemade granola, I kept the premise the same. Together, we concocted a hearty, healthy and crunchy breakfast cereal that was delicious enough to eat straight from the bowl with a spoon while being full of good-for-you ingredients, from thick rolled oats and oat bran to blood-sugar controlling cinnamon, calcium-rich tahini and sesame seed, B-vitamin stacked sunflower seeds and home-dried apple rings. Without an oven (or the time to slow-bake our mixture), I turned the recipe into a stovetop creation - making it not only a lickety split move from mixing bowl to cereal bowl, but one you can enjoy warm over ice cream (granted, it won't be as crunchy right out of the pan). Leftovers (if there are any) last a good long while in the freezer too - and I won't judge if they "fall into" a pint of vanilla fro-yo while they're in there.

Stovetop Fruit & Honey Granola

For #SundaySupper this week, we're compiling all the healthiest recipes we can concoct in celebration of Heart Health Month. From healthy cereals like this one to nutritious and hearty mains, and even a few sweet treats, there's something for everyone!

Better for you breakfasts:

Jump start your health with these appetizers and snacks:

Soups that’ll win your heart:

Veggies, Sides, & Salads your heart will thank you for:

Healthy is the centre of attention in these main courses:

Staying healthy doesn’t mean giving up desserts!

We heart wine.

Sunday Supper Movement

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.