We never really had Egg Nog in our house growing up. I think one of the first times I ever had Egg Nog was when I worked at Starbucks during university and had to try some in their Egg Nog Latte. It was that Christmas that I had the bright idea to throw a holiday party at my house and make Egg Nog from scratch. I figured it couldn’t be THAT hard, and homemade Egg Nog would be pretty decadent. So, I searched the Internet for a recipe. It was then and there that I was introduced to Martha Stewart and her Classic Eggnog recipe. It was also then that I came to the conclusion that Martha also must have been a raging alcoholic.
I was so excited when I went to the liquor store and bought all these “adult” liquors, like dark (not light!) rum, cognac and bourbon that was in the recipe. I mean, I was a university student, so my booze selections back in the day mainly consisted of cheap beer and terrible wine coolers. $70 later, I was pumped to begin my egg nog making journey. I hurried home and began making my homemade egg nog that I was certain would catapult me into ‘amazing hostess’ status in the eyes of my friends. After a day of refrigeration, the egg nog was now ready to be tasted and served. I took a sip of the creamy liquid and paused. It took a few seconds for me to realize that my throat was burning and that my breath could cause a fire if exposed to an open flame. Either Martha likes her egg nog STRONG, I couldn’t handle the ‘adult’ liquors, or I did something horribly wrong to the recipe. I quickly called my Dad into the kitchen. I mean, he of all people would be able to tell me if I screwed up the recipe or if his adult tastebuds found the egg nog delectable. He took one sip and couldn’t drink anymore. I think his exact words were “Holy god, what did you put in that?!”
I panicked. Not only did I spend $70 on alcohol that smelt like something you would put on open wounds, but I had guests who I had to dazzle with my homemaking skills. I called in my Grandmother. Surely, she could tell me what I did wrong? She came into the kitchen and took a small sip. I stared at her nervously. She paused, then said “It’s not bad actually”, continued to pour herself a mug and left the room. It was then that I had a new appreciation for my Grandmother’s love of strong liquor, and perplexed ideas of what made Martha Stewart queen of the kitchen. I served the egg nog, and it went over fairly well with my friends. But not as well as Martha’s cupcakes a few years later.
I still enjoy experimenting with egg nog and alcohol. In small doses, they go together rather nicely. This fudge recipe incorporates my favourite holiday items: booze (bourbon), dark chocolate and egg nog – store-bought of course…I learned my lesson the hard way! This fudge is extremely decadent and soft. Much softer than typical varieties and definitely does melt in your mouth. It is important to keep this fudge in the refrigerator until you want to serve it. The egg nog gives a nice nutmeg hint to the chocolate. The bourbon is very mild in this recipe, and gives the fudge a nice warmth. This recipe is also super easy to make. The hardest part is waiting a few hours before you can dig in.
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Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. I loved going to school as a kid knowing it was Valentine’s Day. We would tape our brown paper bags to our desks, walk around the room and hand out little Valentine’s cards to everyone in the class. It was such a fun ‘holiday’ growing up. Not to mention, the abundance of cinnamon hearts and heart shaped foil wrapped chocolates!
As an adult, Valentine’s Day has become just another day for the most part. This year, I was asked to incorporate “love” into a blog post and express what it means to me. After some careful thought and consideration, I figured the best way to speak to this is to create a top 10 list of the things I love in my life. Here is what I came up with (in no particular order):
- My beautiful friends and family. That is clearly a given if you read my blog on a regular basis.
- My 3 crazy cats that I share my home with. They drive me insane, but they’re amazing.
- Sleep. If you know me well, you know I will sleep until Noon every day if given the chance.
- Travelling anywhere and everywhere. I am truly obsessed.
- Baking on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. It is more relaxing than yoga to me.
- The smell of hockey rinks. Playing hockey is the most natural feeling I have ever experienced, even after a 15 year hiatus. Amateur hockey rinks have this distinctive smell of frozen ice and hockey equipment. It’s not a particularly amazing smell, but it reminds me of my childhood and I just cannot get enough of it.
- Marathons of Dateline on TV. I clearly was a detective in a previous life.
- The first 3 Star Wars movies. I’ve seen them all literally over 100 times and I still watch them to this day.
- Sharks. Yes, you read that right. I’m fascinated with them and watched Shark Week on Discovery Channel before it become ‘cool’. My dream is to cage dive with Great Whites. I will do this – mark my words.
- Chocolate. I’m addicted. I can’t get enough.
Because Valentine’s Day is so synonomous with chocolate, I decided to feature The Ultimate Chocolate Cupcake recipe on the blog. It is seriously delicious. It is rich with chocolate flavour and very moist. You also cannot go wrong with Fresh Strawberry Buttercream Frosting! It has the perfect amount of sweetness yet doesn’t have that artificial strawberry flavour that most icings have.
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It’s amazing how fast my mind switches from preparing for Christmas to preparing for New Years Eve. I can’t believe 2014 is just around the corner and Christmas is over. It all happened so fast. I mean, I’m still eating leftovers!
We are staying in and hosting a friend for New Years Eve this year. I have already started my mad search on Pinterest for some fun and festive appetizers and treats to ring in 2014. If you haven’t already noticed – I kinda love red velvet. I also really love sandwich cookies. I mean, you really cannot go wrong with slathering cream cheese icing in between two deliciously moist cookies. These are super simple to make and took me no time at all. I thought the sprinkles were also a very cute festive touch as well. I highly recommend you give these a try for your New Years Eve!
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My favourite thing to do on Sunday’s is bake. Funny how I say that on Super Bowl Sunday. While I’ve heard so many people today state: “I can’t believe this is the last day of football for months”, I (secretly) smirk and think how happy I am to get my Sunday’s back and obtain full monopoly of the TV to catch up on my week of guilty pleasure shows.
Cookies are my favourite treat to snack on when watching my “stories”. I have been known to be a huge fan of Coronation Street and participate in marathons of Dateline NBC. These Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies are the perfect compliment for going through the emotional viewer turmoil of solving murder mysteries and wondering if Tyrone will actually trick Kirsty into marrying him, only to kidnap their baby to get custody because, of course, his name was left off the birth certificate. I could not make this stuff up people! These cookies are on the sweet side. When I originally made them, I used half milk chocolate and half white chocolate chips. I would recommend using only milk or dark chocolate chips, as I found the white chocolate to be way too sweet. Regardless, these are chewy, fun and a great guilty pleasure treat.
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Question – if you were stuck on a deserted island and only given one dessert to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be? Mine, hands down, would be ice cream.
I purchased an ice cream making attachment to my KitchenAid Stand Mixer last summer and haven’t looked back. It is pretty much the best purchase I’ve made in a long time. Making ice cream with it is easy and it tastes a million times better than store bought. My absolute favourite ice cream flavour is Cold Stone Creamery’s “Birthday Cake Remix“. It combines sweet cake batter ice cream with rainbow sprinkles, fudge sauce and a mashed up brownie in it. Seriously amazing. Therefore, I figured I would take a stab at making the cake batter ice cream for myself at home. I am so glad I did!
This ice cream is absolutely delicious. With a hint of cake flavour, this ice cream is rich, creamy and sweet. It is perfect on its own or with a few fun sprinkles on top. This recipe was adapted from one of my favourite food blogs – Annie’s Eats.
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The holidays would not be complete without making and decorating Sugar Cookies. As you can tell from the image above, I decorate cookies like a 5 year old. Actually, a 5 year old could probably do a lot better. I still draw stick figures for people. I didn’t do very well in art class.
Claudia received this recipe from a coworker (Stacey) a few years ago. It’s very simple and makes great tasting cookies. We prefer thicker, chewier Sugar Cookies. But you can easily roll this dough out to make thinner, crispier cookies.
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