Archive | December, 2011

Holiday goodies galore!

29 Dec

Instead of buying gifts this year, I decided to bake for co-workers and friends! Besides, home-made is better than store-bought :) After reading through baking blogs and googling ideas.. I chose to make three goodies:

  1. Peppermint Bark
  2. Oreo Truffles
  3. Oatmeal Lace Cookies
The peppermint bark and oatmeal cookies turned out great. I didn’t like the oreo truffles too much – maybe because they were too soft. They are good when eaten chilled. I had a hard time keeping them cold so I opted not to make them anymore after the first batch.

peppermint bark & oreo truffles

They were surprisingly simple..  I think finding the packaging took me longer (finally found them at the Dollar Store near work and at Michael’s). Here are the recipes!

Peppermint Bark 

Ingredients:
5 squares of Baker’s white chocolate
5 squares of  Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate
2 drops of peppermint extract
5 candy canes, crushed

Steps

  1. Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Place the candy canes in a ziplock bag and crush to tiny pieces. Sieve the crushed pieces to separate the big candy cane chunks and the finer candy cane “powder” into two separate bowls. Set aside.
  3. Melt semi-sweet chocolate squares in a double-broiler (substitute: use a metal bowl placed on top of a pot of boiling water).
    ** The key to melting chocolate is to make sure there is no moisture or water that touches the chocolate).
  4. Once smooth and completely melted, add two drops of peppermint extract to the chocolate then pour onto the cold cookie sheet. Spread thinly using a spatula.
  5. Repeat steps 3 with the white chocolate squares.
  6. Once the white chocolate is melted, pour the candy cane powder and mix it with the chocolate.
  7. Pour the melted white chocolate and candy cane mixture onto the already-frozen/cold semi-sweet chocolate. Spread.
  8. Sprinkle the larger crushed candy cane pieces on top of the white chocolate.
  9. Put back in freezer for at least 30 mins (or in the refrigerator for at least an hour). Once chocolate has hardened, break the chocolate into pieces.

Oreo Truffles (from Easy Oreo Truffles on allrecipes.com)

Ingredients
1/2 package of 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 package of oreo cookies, crushed
4 squares of Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate

Steps

  1. Crush 4 oreo cookies using a food processor and set aside.
  2. Crush the rest of the cookies and mix with cream cheese. Use a hand mixer to thoroughly blend the two.
  3. Using two teaspoons, shape the mixture into round balls.
  4. Use a double broiler (substitute: metal bowl placed on top of a pot of boiling water) to melt the semi-sweet chocolate.
  5. Once melted, place the oreo balls on top of a fork and use a spoon to scoop melted chocolate on top of it. Keep doing this until the oreo ball is completely coated.
  6. Place chocolate-covered oreo truffle on parchment paper.
  7. When you’ve dipped all oreo truffles in chocolate, put in freezer to cool.

Oatmeal Lace Cookies (from Lacy Oatmeal Cookies on allrecipes.com)

Ingredients
1 cup quick oats
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 165 degrees C.
  2. In a small bowl, combine oats, flour, salt, and baking powder (this is your dry ingredients bowl).
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
  4. Beat in egg and add vanilla to the butter and sugar mixture (this is your wet ingredients bowl).
  5. Add all dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well.
  6. Place parchment paper on top of cookie sheet and drop teaspoon-sized dough on it. The cookies will spread quite a bit so make sure you don’t put them too close to each other.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until edges start to turn golden yellow or brown.
  8. Leave on cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

Voila.. the finished product :)

Christmas is in the air*

27 Dec

Christmas = No work = Plenty of down time = new blog posts!

What better time to start posting again than Christmas :) It’s been almost 19 months since I last posted. Bad me. What matters is that I’m back!

I am usually away from Vancouver during Christmas time so I never get to enjoy all the Christmas festivities around town. Last year before flying home, I was able to squeeze in seeing the Canyon Lights at the Capilano Suspension Bridge & Bright Nights at Stanley Park. Due to my passport being stuck in the East Coast, I didn’t get to fly home and enjoy a filipino Christmas with the fam :( This meant more time to enjoy all the Christmas fun in Vancouver. I managed to drag R with me to the Festival of Lights at Van Dusen & Gingerbread Lane at the Hyatt.

It was beautiful at Van Dusen! So much lights.. I think every tree and plant had lights on them. They also had a light show every 30 minutes where lights over the fountain were “dancing” to Christmas songs. We went early in the evening on Dec 24th so the lines weren’t so bad. By the time we left, the line quadrupled! We also enjoyed a chocolate waffle (R had a wiener waffle lol) while inside the park. Yum!

Festival of Lights at Van Dusen Botanical Garden

During one of the rainy days, we decided to go for a quick walk through the Hyatt. They had some amazing gingerbread houses.. one of them even had cookies and milk for Santa in the living room! My favorite had to be the one by the VCC Pastry Arts students (closely followed by the Quidditch field).

  

  

We also met up with some friends at the Christmas Market and saw the Santa Clause Parade. The weather was perfect on parade day.. a tad bit chilly but once we found our spot in the crowd, everyone blocked the wind :)

Rogers Santa Clause Parade 2011

Happy Holidays everyone!