Buttered Popcorn Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

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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.


Flourless Dark Chocolate Cookie Bites {Gluten Free}

Claudia's Cookbook - Healthier Dark Chocolate Flourless Cookie Bites cover

You are looking at a hockey champion. That’s right, my hockey team won our divisional championship last weekend! Considering we didn’t win a single game until January (season started in October), being division champs is HUGE feat for us. I couldn’t be prouder of my team, which is made up of the best group of ladies ever. I honestly don’t think we could have grown as a team as much as we did without the positivity and sportsmanship everyone exuded each game. Even the ones where we lost 10-0. Yes, that happened more than once!

Goal Diggers: ASHL Hockey Champs

 (I’m second from the left in the front row!)

I am on a month hiatus until our spring/summer hockey league starts. Not only will I miss the ladies I play with, I will also miss the exercise each Sunday. I have started a really awesome workout regime thanks to my teammate Danelle, who is also a personal trainer. For the first time in a few years, I’m actually enjoying going to the gym and working out with her. I have also found that when I get into a solid workout routine, my diet naturally gets better. It’s probably because when I’m laying on the floor in utter exhaustion, the last thing I want is for all that hard work to go to waste by eating terrible.  But don’t get me wrong – I still crave my favourites, including my beloved chocolate. That’s where these cookie bites come in. They are a healthier version of a dark chocolate cookie, but without all the guilt. They are not only flourless, but they are also made with egg whites and bittersweet/dark chocolate (which has less sugar). Not only do they totally fulfill my chocolate cravings with their delicious flavour, but they also have an amazing merengue-like texture with a fudge centre. Not bad for 80 calories a cookie bite!


Brown Butter Fruit & Oat Cookies

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I had to travel to Toronto last week for a work conference. Over the past 10 years Toronto has become one of my favourite places to visit. Not because I actually love the city (I’m still on the fence) but because Denise, my best friend in the whole wide world, lives there. Since I was a little late on sending her a birthday present (it was in February), I decided to bake her some delicious treats to give to her in person. Denise is one of my biggest baking supporters. Although the distance doesn’t really help her taste most of my baking, she continues to encourage me to create delicious treats in hopes she will one day try them. This past weekend was now her time to enjoy!

I was inspired to make these cookies after a visit to my local Starbucks. I was famished and needed a quick pick-me-up. I tried their Fruit & Oat Cookie, fell in love with it, and immediately needed to replicate it. As I have previously stated throughout this blog, I love baking with brown butter and I wanted to do the same with these cookies. They have great texture with the oats and a nice blend of sweetness with the dried cranberries, apricot and raisins. Most importantly, they are Denise approved. You can’t get a better endorsement than that.


Our Most Popular Recipes of 2012

2012 was a fantastic year. I can’t believe it’s almost over! I wanted to take an opportunity to thank you all again for visiting our blog – whether it was for the first time or your tenth time.

Today, I wanted to recap our top 12 recipes for 2012. I always find it fascinating to see which recipes resonate the most with our readers. In our 3 years of blogging, our most popular recipes always tend to be the Ukrainian dishes. Our all-time most popular recipe is Cabbage Rolls, which was one of my very first posts on the blog. Without further adieu – here is your top 12 of 2012!

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#12 – Fiery Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup – Without a doubt, this is my favourite soup of all-time. It’s creamy, rich and packed with a lot of delicious flavour.

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#11 – Pumpkin Snickerdoodles with Vanilla Icing – These were a pretty big hit with my friends. These cookies are soft, warm and sweet. Besides, who doesn’t like hints of cinnamon, ginger and pumpkin…especially in the autumn season.


#10 – Salted Caramel Chocolates – This creation was the end result of me getting really into using chocolate molds. Not to mention, I love salted caramel. These treats are really easy to make and super delicious. There is nothing better than homemade chocolates in my humble opinion.


#9 – Wookiee Cookies – My love of Star Wars resulted in my love for these cookies. The recipe is from the Star Wars cookbook that I received for a birthday present. These cookies start out as your basic chocolate chip cookies until you add cinnamon to them. They are delicious, and my fiancé’s favourite cookies!

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#8 – Danish Apple Bake – This apple dish is buttery, flaky and full of flavour. I still love my former coworker for this recipe!


#7 – Rolo Brownie Trifles – This individual trifle recipe is decadent and rich – a perfect guilty pleasure treat. You simply can’t go wrong with Rolo candies, brownie, gooey salted caramel, and chocolate whipped cream!

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#6 – Pyrizkhy (Ukrainian Cabbage Buns) – As I mentioned earlier, Ukrainian recipes tend to be the most popular on my site. I posted this recipe a week ago and it made the Top 12 of 2012! These turned out to be a big hit for our Ukrainian Christmas Eve dinner this year.

Cream Cheese Butter Cookies 4

#5 – Chocolate Dipped Cream Cheese Butter Cookies – These cookies are a nice twist on the traditional holiday butter/sugar cookie. The cream cheese makes the cookie a little denser and the chocolate adds a nice sweetness. These were another big hit this year at Christmas time.


#4 – Cadbury Mini Egg Cookies – These cookies are an all-time favourite amongst my friends. Since you can now purchase Mini Eggs year round, I try to only make these beauties around Easter, to not overdo it of course. I often get requests from my friends to make them during the non-Easter season and I cannot help but oblige. These are truly delicious!

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#3 – Pumpkin Caramel Dream Cake – An adaption to our very popular Skor Cake, this Pumpkin Caramel Dream Cake is rich and full of caramel and pumpkin flavor. Perfect for the autumn season…or any season!

egg nog, cupcakes, buttercream,

#2 – Egg Nog Cupcakes – Perfect for the holiday season, these cupcakes are sweet, dense and moist. I am not a huge egg nog fan, but these cupcakes have the perfect amount of egg nog flavour.

IMG_6209#1 – Imperial (or Empire) Cookies – I was so happy to see that this recipe was #1 in 2012. I love these cookies. They remind me of my days as a Starbucks Barista. They are soft, delicate and delicious. I choose to make them with Claudia’s Raspberry Jam recipe, but you can always use your own favourite.

So there you have it – our 12 most popular recipes of 2012! What were your favourite recipes in 2012 – from either our blog or another? Please comment and let me know!

Chocolate Dipped Cream Cheese Butter Cookies

I’m not going to lie…one of the reasons I love the holiday season is the 12 Days of Cookies emails I receive from the Food Network. Just when you think you’ve seen all the Christmas baking recipes there is, another one lands in my inbox and become nearly giddy. Yeah, I probably could use a hobby besides baking. But who has the time?!

I finally found time in Claudia’s busy retirement schedule (I swear she’s busier now that she doesn’t work full time!) to fit in some quality baking with her for this blog. Last night she came over and we decided to try a couple new butter cookie recipes we have been eyeing. This one was the big hit. You really cannot lose when you incorporate cream cheese into the dough and dipping the cookie in chocolate! These are a nice twist on the traditional holiday butter/sugar cookie. The cream cheese makes the cookie a little denser and the chocolate adds a nice sweetness. Because the dough needed to be chilled, Claudia decided to make the dough prior to us getting together, so I do not have any pictures of these steps. I figured combining all ingredients into a bowl didn’t really require visual representation anyway.


Cranberry Bliss Cookies

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas here in Canada. The image below is what I woke up to this morning. Our first big snowfall of the year:

It seriously made me want to watch one of my favourite holiday movies, Elf, and put up my Christmas tree. I decided it was a little too early for that, given it was only mid-November. I did however get a jumpstart on my holiday baking with these amazing Cranberry Bliss Cookies! I love Starbucks and their classic holiday pastry – the Cranberry Bliss Bar. I thought these cookies were a perfect modification. These cookies are decadent, with a yummy layer of cream creese, dried cranberry and white chocolate icing. They really do taste like the holidays!

Recipe adapted from: Gimme some oven


Imperial Cookies (AKA: Empire Cookies)

The first time I had an Imperial Cookie (or Empire Cookie as they are also called) was when I worked for Starbucks while I was in university. We had an amazing local bakery supply all our pastries and it didn’t take much for me to fall in love with their Imperial Cookies. It has been a number of years since I worked for Starbucks, so I figured I would try to replicate one of my favourite cookies for the blog. This recipe is a hybrid between Canadian Living’s Classic Empire Cookie recipe and the amazing Anna Olson’s Empire Cookie recipe. I could not have been happier with the results. The cookies were soft, delicate and delicious. I also had the opportunity to use some of our newly made Raspberry Jam, which made these cookies even more delectable. Feel free to use homemade or your favourite store bought jam.


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