Pumpkin Donuts with Browned Butter Maple Frosting

Claudia's Cookbook - Pumpkin Donuts with Browned Butter Maple Frosting Cover

There are two things my hockey team is passionate about: playing hockey (obvs) and donuts. When I mention that I am bringing donuts to the game, I become somewhat of a hero. Our message board gets extremely animated. I’ve made these donuts for them a few times now and they are always gobbled up in mere minutes. And for good reason. They are seriously one of the most delicious baked donuts I have ever had. They are extremely soft. The flavour combination of pumpkin and maple is decadent. Not to mention, these donuts incorporate my favourite obsession: browned butter! 

A lot of people have asked me where to buy donut pans. I bought mine on Amazon. They are Wilton brand and are wonderful and extremely inexpensive. I enjoy baked donuts way more than fried. So these pans have come in handy for all my sweet cravings. 

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Browned Butter Skillet Candy Cookie Bars

Claudia's Cookbook - Browned Butter Candy Cookie Skillet Bars

Remember that time I dressed up as Hulk Hogan for Halloween and had to wear a bleach blonde moustache that drove me crazy for an entire evening? Yeah, that was my night yesterday. I have new appreciation for all men who have to eat vegetable dip while sporting a moustache. I had dip everywhere. It was not attractive. 

This Halloween was a cold one here in Winnipeg. We didn’t have nearly as many kids come to our door for Trick-or-Treating as we usually do. That was a theme with most of my friends that I have talked to. We bought enough candy for about 120 kids, and we only received about 20 at our house. Crazy, right? Not to mention that kids these days have it so easy. Sure, it was cold, but we had no snow. I recall every Halloween as a kid trudging through knee-deep snow to get myself that sugar gold. No word of a lie. I have photographic evidence too. 

I figured I would try and experiment with our leftover candy that we have in the house and make these skillet candy cookie bars! I essentially adapted our Cadbury Mini Egg Skillet Cookie to create these beauties by doubling the dough and layering the candy in the middle. Also – Man, do I love using cast iron skillets to bake cookies. The skillet creates such a rich, decadent cookie. I also love using browned butter. It has such a nutty flavour which is a perfect compliment to the sweet candy bars. If you have leftover candy an want to do some baking, I highly recommend you give these a try! 

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World’s Best Apple Pie

Claudia's Cookbook - The Best Apple Pie cover

 Oh kitchen and blog, how I’ve missed you. I am back from our 3-week honeymoon vacation in England and Italy. I must say, I didn’t miss much. Let’s be honest here,  does anyone really look forward to coming home after a wonderful vacation? Sure, I missed my bed, my cats (who probably laid mostly on my bed), and such luxuries as clean clothes from my closet. But I wasn’t ready to come back to reality so soon. I was, however, excited to share some fun things I was able to do on my trip. It is all pretty much food related (duh)!  

I had the awesome opportunity one day while we were in Tuscany to learn how to make traditional Tuscan eggless pasta from scratch. Here’s me with my lovely teacher, who was both patient and amazing. She even said I was a natural at dough rolling. I told them it was years of perogy making practice! 

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I also had some of the most amazing food at the villa where we stayed in Tuscany.

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This was the lunch that greeted us upon arrival. So incredible! 

And I cannot mention my trip to Italy without showing you the PIZZA! 

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 This one had homemade buffalo mozzarella and spicy caramelized salami.

It was probably the spiciest pizza I’ve ever had!

It was delicious. And it made me chug my Italian beer. 

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Like, c’mon! 

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Carapina was my favourite gelato place in Florence and Rome.

They make all their gelato fresh every morning and have a dozen flavours at one time.

My favourite was the dark chocolate, hazelnut and marsala wine flavours shown above!

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Truffles and mushrooms were in season while we were in Italy. They were everywhere and so delectable! 

Pasta with truffles – get outta here! SO good. 

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The open air meat, seafood and produce markets were also total eye candy. I wanted to buy everything.

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 You know that place that served me that spicy pizza? Oh yeah, it’s also a mozzarella bar!

Here is mild, strong and smoked mozzarella, made fresh (of course).

Let’s all go back immediately! 

  As much as I loved dining out at a different restaurant for 3 weeks, I did miss my kitchen and making (healthy) food for ourselves. I also missed the food blogger community. And, of course, I missed my Mom :)

Claudia and I actually got together a few days before I left for Europe to make this apple pie. It was then that I deemed it “World’s Best Apple Pie”. Because it is. I mean, I might be biased? But I’m also a pretty good judge of food character (humble brag). The crust is so flaky and light, and the apple filling is warm, sweet and comforting. We made this particular apple pie with locally-grown apples from Claudia’s friend’s yard! Ah, the beauty of summer…which is slowly fading away. I recommend you try this apple pie immediately, and capture some of summer back into your lives. 

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Pumpkin Cheesecake Trifles with Maple Bourbon Whipped Cream

Claudia's Cookbook - Pumpkin Cheesecake Trifles with Maple Bourbon Whipped Cream cover

I am really trying to do my best not to believe that autumn is upon us here in Canada. I was in full on denial up until this week, when I decided to give into Starbucks and purchase a Pumpkin Spice Latte every single day this week. They are just so darn delicious. It’s also hard to deny our impending seasonal change when the weather here has turned cool, and all I see on my Pinterest news feed is nothing but pumpkin recipes. So yeah, I gave in. 

I’ve featured my fair share of pumpkin recipes on the blog (feel free to check them all out here). So each September and October I rack my brain to come up with a unique spin on such a classic flavour. I think I did well this year. This dessert is so dreamy. Yes, dreamy. It has the best pumpkin pie flavour but is light as air. The pumpkin cheesecake layer is rich and creamy, but very light. The maple bourbon whipping cream has a wonderful sweetness, and the Speculoos cookie bottom is so decadent. Not to mention, it’s a pretty classy looking dessert, right? Bring on autumn! 

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Guilt-Free Chocolate Nana Ice Cream

Chocolate Nana Ice Cream cover

Leave it up to me to finally blog an ice cream recipe when it’s September and freezing cold outside. Don’t tell me I am the only person who craves ice cream 365 days a year. Because I would have to call you a liar. And, I really don’t want to do that to you, my friends.

I do have a very valid reason that I am super tardy on this post. I got hitched 2 weeks ago! Yep, I convinced a boy to marry me. He’s pretty great too. As you can imagine, Claudia is over the moon. Because we are friends, and so many of you have sent me so many amazing well wishes and congratulatory comments (thank you!), I thought I would share a couple of my favourite photos of our special day:

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 A moment captured by my Maid of Honour.

Bridemaids

 The best Bridesmaids in the entire world!

Now that the wedding planning insanity (insanity in a good way!) is over, I have more time to really focus on making healthy choices. As I’ve mentioned before, I crave sweets A LOT. Lately, I have been on the hunt for healthy alternatives for sweet treats. This one is probably my favourite!

I’ve seen a lot of photos of “Nana Ice Cream” on Instagram this summer and I thought I would give it a try for myself. I can honestly say that it is amazing! Yep, the texture is creamy like ice cream, and it’s so versatile. I am a chocolate fiend, so this recipe is my go-to. You can easily incorporate peanut butter, strawberries, shredded coconut….you name it! Play to your favourite flavours. This one is a serious keeper (like my new husband). Sorry, I had to do it.

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Healthy No Bake Energy Bites

Claudia's Cookbook - No Bake Energy Bites cover

Time flies when you are having fun….or planning a wedding. I have been very M.I.A on the blog lately. I am two weeks away from my wedding and feel pretty good about it. I have fielded the same question for the last few months: “Oh, you must be so stressed?” Not really. Not at all actually. One great thing I have discovered about being Type A is that my incessant organizational skills are coming in handy. I also have the most wonderful bridesmaids and family that have made everything so easy and carefree.

I am actually so organized, that I was able to do not one, but two road trips in two weeks. The first was two weeks ago to Minneapolis. While it was a great 3 days away in one of my absolute favourite cities, the diet suffered. Oh, did it suffer. Road trips often mean salty snacks in the car, followed by pub beers and “I’m on vacation!” desserts. My digestive system took a beating. I felt terrible when I returned home. I also dreaded the second road trip to Madison, Wisconsin I was about to embark on. Therefore, I decided to take things into my own hands and find healthy road trip snacks that won’t make my friend and I feel terrible in the car and throughout our awesome trip. Boy, did I ever hit the jackpot on these No Bake Energy Bites by Gimme Some Oven! They are so incredibly delicious and easy to make. Not to mention, super healthy! My friend Nicole raved about them, as did my cousin-in-law who saw me post this recipe on Facebook and decided to make them for herself.

These energy bites can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for approximately 5 days. You can also freeze them or keep them in a container in the fridge. You can also mix up the ingredients to incorporate your favourites. I use natural peanut butter, but you can easily use almond butter. Instead of chocolate chips, you can easily use dried cranberries or any dried fruit your heart desires. Very versatile and perfect for your next summer road trip!

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Strawberries & Cream White Chocolate Scones

Claudia's Cookbook - Strawberries & Cream White Chocolate Scones 17

A word of advice, my friends: don’t ever schedule two workout sessions in one day after a weekend of consuming beer and rich food for your birthday. It won’t end well. At least that is what I have discovered today when I made my triumphant return to the gym this morning with a 1 hour weight class. I was so dehydrated, I got dizzy and thought “And I have to do this all over again at 6:30pm? No way!”. Even my lovely trainer who was teaching the class commented that I looked “off”. It was then and there that I regretted all my terrible (yet oh so delicious) food choices of the past weekend. Burgers, ice cream, chocolate and beer. I swore them off then and there. It wasn’t worth feeling so horrible while working out. But, after 2 hours of recovery and a nice relaxing bath, I am back to my old self and craving these decadent scones.

Besides our Pumpkin Scones, these are by far the best scones I have ever made. They are so soft and buttery. The strawberry glaze gives it a fruity sweetness. Not to mention the melted white chocolate and strawberries inside the scone – so amazing. The dough comes together really easy in a food processor and is very easy to roll out with your hands.  A no-kneed dough is my kind of dough, people.

This recipe makes 6 very large scones, but you can also make smaller, mini scones as well. Just depends on how big of a cutter you have, or how big you want to cut the dough triangles. I highly recommend you give these a try soon! I know I will. Totally worth struggling in the gym for.

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Raspberry Brownies

Claudia's Cookbook - Raspberry Brownies cover

I’ve been meaning to blog these decadent brownies for a couple years now. Basically, ever since a bunch of us went out to my friends cabin and we devoured an entire pan in 2 hours. Yeah, they’re that good.  They’re also incredibly simple and quick to make, which is perfect for my life these days.

One of the reasons I love the ladies on my ice hockey team is that they allow me to experiment on them with recipes. I brought a pan of these brownies to our game today and I was reassured they were blog worthy. They are rich, fudgy chocolate brownies with a tart layer of raspberry jam. Not to mention the sweet glaze on top. This recipe makes a lot of brownies (approximately 32 small squares). Because they are so rich, you can easily cut them into smaller pieces.

You can also use your homemade raspberry jam, or your favourite store bought brand. You really cannot go wrong. I highly recommend you make these for your next BBQ or picnic. They are delicious!

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Buttered Popcorn Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

Claudia's Cookbook - Buttered Popcorn Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies 14

So, remember in my last post where I was complaining about the cold weather? Yeah, that’s not the case anymore. It has been so incredibly warm and beautiful here the past two weeks I almost forgot I live in Winnipeg. Granted, our summers are traditionally nice and hot. I actually went for lunch on a patio with a friend on Friday and got sunburnt. Gone are the days where I used Hawaiian Tropic tanning oil with SPF 6. Seriously, that’s what I used 20 years ago when I went to the beach! Today, I put on SPF 60 to cut the grass. Either our ozone layer is non-existent now or I’m learning another harsh reality of growing older. As if the grey hair wasn’t enough, right?

We are celebrating 4 birthday’s on our hockey team this week. Since I am incapable of celebrating without baking, I decided to make something unique for the birthday girls. These cookies combine my favourite movie theatre snack items. I recently discovered that the kids pack is the best invention ever. I don’t know about your theatres, but our theatres have a kids pack that comes with the perfect amount of popcorn, one chocolate bar of your choice and a normal-sized drink. Not to mention, it’s cheap! Well, cheap for movie theatre standards I suppose. You simply cannot go wrong.

You also cannot go wrong with these cookies. The salty buttered popcorn pairs wonderfully with the dark chocolate chips and creamy cookie dough. They are also extremely chewy and soft. I used buttered microwave popcorn because it’s super convenient. But you can also pop and butter your own popcorn too if you don’t like microwave popcorn. This was actually the first time I bought microwave popcorn in years as we typically pop our own on the stove. A huge shout-out to both Joy the Baker and Deb from Smitten Kitchen for originally creating this recipe. They are two of my all-time favourite food bloggers, so serious props need to be given to them. I highly recommend you check out their blogs. They are stunning.

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Salted Caramel Mocha Cake Donuts

Claudia's Cookbook - Salted Caramel Mocha Donuts 18

I’ve had a bit of a donut obsession over the last few months. I’m not 100% sure why. I don’t really crave them, and they’re not really my favourite dessert. If there was a box of store bought donuts sitting in the lunch room at work, I could easily pass it up. Chocolate cake, on the other hand, I would have to be dragged from. So, my obsession has baffled me slightly. I actually blame Pinterest. I’ve never made homemade donuts before, so I think I felt: a) left out and b) up to the challenge.

I’ve been on the hunt for a donut pan for a while. It was one of those things where I would see them everywhere when I didn’t want to buy one, and nowhere when I did want to buy one. I finally found one at a great local kitchenware store this weekend. I wasted no time and got to work on these delicious treats.

These donuts are baked and have the texture and density of cake (hence the name, cake donuts). The chocolate is rich, the glaze is sinful and the salted caramel is, well, amazing. Baking donuts are also a tad healthier and less greasy than traditional deep fried donuts. They are also very easy to make and they take no time (9 minutes)! I’ve already had orders from my hockey team to bring a few dozen to our game on Wednesday. They are a very supportive (and hungry) bunch.

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