Red Flannel Sheet Set

Some women like shoes, not me. I’ve got two pairs of shoes and a pair of boots. I pretty much wear the same footwear all season long. I don’t love shoes. I do love new sheets, bedding and reading a great book in bed.

Today I found red flannel sheets at The Bay (a Canadian department store). I have another flannel set from The Bay and they are excellent. Not the pilly set which I bought (in a great masculine colour at another store). I bet this red set is just as wonderful, soft and thick. I’m really tempted to pull out my magic credit card, I even have a Bay store card which I haven’t used in awhile.

Would you love to fall asleep and wake up in these sheets?

redflannelsheetsSource: Home | Sheets & Pillowcases | Four-Piece Flannel Sheet Set | Hudson’s Bay

Then I found pink or green polka dotted sheets in a cotton blend. Great colours. Very Spring! I know Winter is on the way but… how could you wake up feeling blue if you’re surrounded by pink, lime green an polka dots?!

sheetsgreendots sheetspinkdots

Source: Hudson’s Bay store online.

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Squares

Dulce de Leche (Milk Caramel)I know that most of the world makes this by boiling the milk inside a closed can, but honestly, that scares the bejesus out of me and according to the Carnation can label I pulled this technique from, is not recommended by them (likely because they do not want to get sued, but still). This method works just as well.Pour one can (14 ounce) sweetened condensed milk into top of double-boiler pan; cover. Place over boiling water. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 40 to 50 minutes, or until thick and light caramel-colored.Remove from heat. Whisk until smooth.

Source: dulce de leche cheesecake squares | smitten kitchen

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Squares
Adapted from Gourmet, December 2003

If you’re looking for a strong dulce de leche flavor in a baked good, this unfortunately isn’t it. Oh, it’s there, but it’s not front and center. It has to share the spotlight with cream cheese, and, well, I’m not sure that it wants to. But, it lingers subtly in the background and, honestly, if there was ever a way to make cheesecake more heavenly, this would have to be it.

I’m sure you’ll notice that there is some gelatin in this recipe, and think it’s odd. Heck, even Alex did, which really just made me beam with pride that he knows so much about baking right now that he knows that gelatin is atypical in (baked) cheesecakes. But, if you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. The reason why most cheesecake recipes don’t fare well as squares is that they’re too soft to easily pick up; the gelatin fixes addresses this perfectly.

Makes 64 (1-inch) cheesecake squares

For crust
3 1/2 ounces (100 grams or 1 cup) graham crackers, crumbled
2 tablespoons (25 grams) sugar
3 tablespoons (45 grams) unsalted butter, melted

For filling
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (from a 1/4-ounce or 7-gram envelope, will be just about half an envelope)
1/4 cup (60 ml) whole milk
8 ounces (225 grams) cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
3/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup dulce de leche (12 1/2-ounce or 355-gram can) (recipe follows)

For glaze
3 ounces (85 grams) fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), coarsely chopped
1/2 stick (2 ounces or 55 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons light corn syrup

Make crust: Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 325°F. Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with 2 sheets of foil (crisscrossed), leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides.

Finely grind crackers with sugar and a pinch of salt in a food processor. With motor running, add butter, blending until combined. Press mixture evenly onto bottom of baking pan. Bake 10 minutes, then cool in pan on a rack 5 minutes.

Make filling: Sprinkle gelatin over milk in a small bowl and let stand 2 minutes to soften. Beat together cream cheese, eggs, salt, and gelatin mixture in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until well combined, about 2 minutes, then stir in dulce de leche gently but thoroughly. Pour filling over crust, smoothing top, then bake in a hot water bath (I was able to fit mine in a 9×13-inch baking pan) in oven until center is just set, about 45 minutes. Cool cheesecake completely in pan on rack, about 2 hours. Chill, covered, at least 6 hours.

Glaze cake within 2 hours of serving: Heat all glaze ingredients in a double boiler or a small metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring until smooth, then pour over cheesecake, tilting baking pan to coat top evenly. Chill, uncovered, 30 minutes.

Lift cheesecake from pan using foil overhang and cut into 1-inch squares with a thin knife, wiping off knife after each cut. (Don’t skip this step! A clean knife is essential for uber-neat squares.)

Note: Cheesecake (without glaze) can be chilled up to 3 days.

Prompt for December 6 | Project Reverb

Blowing Out the Candles: You’re another year older!  How did you celebrate the passage of another year?  Did it turn out the way you had hoped?

via Prompt for December 6 | Project Reverb.

As it happens, I’m not another year older yet. I’m not rushing to be 49 a day before I officially get there.

I’ve got a bottle of caramel whiskey which I found during a trip to Sudbury earlier this year. (My nephew, Zack, is attending university and living up there now). I’m going to enjoy a couple of shots of that and have a day of doing whatever comes along.

As it turns out, my birthday is also the day a friend of Zack’s is arriving here from the US. So I will have company at some point.

If things were different…. I would have loved to take off on the VIA Rail train for at least a month. It would be lovely to travel again. I’d even stay at a couple of hotels rather than skimping on pennies and staying at hostels all the way. There is something nice about waking up alone in a hotel on nice, crisp sheets. The day feels so fresh and untouched when you are in a different place, physically and mentally.

Cookies for a Smartie Party

Super Smarties® Cookies

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup each butter and shortening, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

2 cups rolled oats (not instant)

1 1/2 cups NESTLÉ® SMARTIES® candies (about six 56 g pkgs)

Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Stir together flour, salt and baking soda in small bowl. Beat together butter, shortening, sugars and vanilla in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in rolled oats and 1 cup (250 ml) SMARTIES® until well combined.

Drop dough by tablespoonfuls (15 ml) about 2-inches (5 cm) apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Flatten cookies slightly; press 2 or 3 remaining SMARTIES® into each. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on baking sheet 5 minutes; transfer to baking rack to cool completely.

Makes about 48 cookies.

The above recipe was one I cut and pasted several years ago. I think it was from the Nestle site at the time. Anyway, the recipe on their site now is a little different.

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups SMARTIES candies (about six 50g pkgs)

Tools required:
Electric mixer, baking sheets

Step 1:
Preheat oven to 375?F (190?C). In large bowl, beat softened butter and packed brown sugar with electric mixer until creamy. Beat in vanilla and eggs.

Step 2:
Beat in flour, baking powder, and salt.

Step 3:
Drop slightly rounded tablespoons about 2-inches (5 cm) apart onto greased baking sheets. Flatten cookies slightly and press 5 SMARTIES into top of each. Bake for 8 to 9 minutes.

Makes about 50 cookies

Smartie Cookies from Chatelaine Magazine
Preparation time 20 minutes
Baking Time 8 minutes
Makes 18 large cookies

Ingredients
2-1/4 cups ( 550 mL) all-purpose flour
3 tsp ( 15 mL) baking powder
1 tsp ( 5 mL) salt
1 cup ( 250 mL) butter, at room temperature
1 cup ( 250 mL) brown sugar
1 cup ( 250 mL) granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp ( 5 mL) vanilla
12 oz ( 360 g) Smarties or other coated chocolate candies, about 1-1/2 cups

  1. Arrange oven racks in centre of oven and preheat to 375 F (190 C). Grease 2 cookie sheets or coat with cooking spray. Measure flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Stir with a fork until well blended.

  2. Using a wooden spoon, stir butter in a large mixing bowl until creamy. Gradually stir in sugars until well mixed. Then, add eggs, 1 at a time, stirring after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Gradually stir in flour mixture until combined. Do not use an electric mixer and don’t over-mix. Stir in Smarties.

  3. Measure 1/4 cup (50 mL) batter onto a greased cookie sheet. Repeat, leaving about 4 inches (10 cm) between each cookie. Do not pat cookies down. Bake in centre of preheated oven until edges are light golden but centre is still soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove sheet from oven but leave cookies on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Then, using a wide spatula, carefully slide cookies onto a rack to finish cooling. Store in an airtight container or sealed plastic bag in a cool place for up to 1 week. We do not recommend freezing.

Pancake Breakfast Cookie

All the deliciousness of a big breakfast baked into a cookie! This snack by Donna Fier is simply unforgettable.

For more information visit Recipe to Riches!

Preparation time:

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Yield: 30

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 package bacon (500 g)

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons buttermilk

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 unit egg

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

In small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; cook, swirling pan often, until tan coloured and fragrant with a nutty aroma, about 2 to 5 minutes. Pour into large bowl and set aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, in batches cook bacon over medium heat until crisp, spooning off fat as necessary. Drain on paper towel-lined baking sheet. Chop bacon.

Using wooden spoon, stir sugars, buttermilk, maple syrup and vanilla into cooled butter. In small bowl, beat egg until frothy; beat into butter mixture. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Fold into butter mixture along with bacon, just until combined. Cover and chill dough for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375F (190C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Shape dough by forming heaping tablespoonfuls into balls; place 2 inches (5 cm) apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake one sheet at a time in centre of oven until puffed and set, about 10 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet; transfer to rack to cool completely.

via Pancake Breakfast Cookie.Pancake_Breakfast_Cookie_001

Chili Chocolate Cookies

I added pepper to my recipe for icebox cookies one year. It was surprisingly good. Not a lot of extra taste but they did have an extra something.

Makes About 20 Chili Chocolate Cookies
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 42 minutes
Ingredients:
1/3 cup dried currants
2 tablespoons Kahlua
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup dark chocolate chips
Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the currants and Kahlua in small saucepan and place over low heat. When the Kahlua begins to bubble, turn off the heat, stir and set aside.

Combine the chocolates and butter in a metal bowl. Place over a saucepan containing an inch of water. Place over low heat, stirring occasionally, until melted. Remove and set aside.

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, black pepper and cayenne in a medium mixing bowl. Stir and set aside.

Using a whisk or electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until thick and pale yellow in color, about 5 minutes. Add, vanilla and melted chocolate mixture, and stir until combined. Fold in the flour, and then fold in the currants/Kahlua and chocolate chips to form a very loose cookie dough.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto silicone-lined cookies sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes, until the tops are shiny and the cookies have risen very slightly. Allow to cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to racks to cool completely before serving.