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Posted By Erin Bolger
TOP 5 GUILTY PLEASURES

Now of course my guilty pleasures are generally sweets and with an abundance of chocolate with the exception of In Touch Magazine (that will be my 6th guilty pleasure). I have had the pleasure of enjoying the items below more than once. I couldn’t pass them up even if my trainer was with me and giving me the “evil stare”. Because trust me as a guilty pleasure I have no desire in learning the fat and calorie content.

1) Garrett’s Chicago Mix Popcorn - It is the cheesiest most caramel popcorn I have had in my life. My first time in Chicago I didn’t need directions to the shop I just followed my nose. The whole day you could see people with orange stained hands from the cheese and you just smiled at them as they were part of the Chicago Mix Club. If you can’t get to one of their shops you can order it online. GARRETT POPCORN



2) Soma’s Chocolate Covered Salted Corn Nuts, Toronto – The Soma Chocolate shop is located in The Distillery in Toronto. It is my favourite chocolate shop. I love treats with a twist and they have no short supply of them. When I first came across these I thought … odd but awesome. It’s a great chocolate shop complete with spicy thick rich mayan hot chocolate churning on the counter! SOMA CHOCOLATE

3) Thorntons Chocolate Covered Toffee, England – I have an obsession with British chocolate. I always need to make lots of room in my suitcase to fill it up with some sweet treats and I make lots of room for Thorntons! My absolute fav is the chocolate covered toffee I could replace my meals with this and be a happy woman although my jeans would beg to differ. THORNTONS

4) Pierre Hermes Macaroons, Paris- The first time your going to have a macaroon it should be in Paris. I went on hunt to find this shop and it did not disappoint. I was quite surprised that one of my fav macaroons was a passion fruit one (weird for me) of course the chocolate one was way up there too. Macaroons are fabulous and finish off a Parisienne experience! PIERRE HERME

5) Milsean Demerara Butter Crunch Bars, Aldergrove British Columbia – I first had this bar at the One Of A Kind Show in Toronto. Wowza! It’s so buttery and rich one bite and it takes me back to the motherland. My favourite is the milk chocolate with hazelnuts! MILSEAN

Mmmmmm I hope you enjoy my list everyone!!


PASSION FRUIT MACAROON

 
Posted By Erin Bolger
YOU ARE NOT AS SWEET AS MY SUGAR COOKIES - RECIPE

½ cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar

Juice of 1 lemon, remove seeds
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

1¼ cups all purpose flour
¼ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
Coconut to roll dough in.

✪ Preheat oven to 350˚F (175˚C)
✪ Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt: set aside.
✪ In a medium mixing bowl; cream together the butter and sugars.
✪ Mix in lemon juice, egg, and vanilla.
✪ Add dry ingredients. Wrap dough in plastic and put in the refrigerator until easy to handle.
✪ Roll dough into a 1-inch ball and then roll in coconut. Place ball on a lined cookie sheet and flatten with your fingers.
✪ Bake for 12-15 minutes, until slightly golden. Let cool on wire cooling racks.




Photo by Jason Hervey, Prop styling Eden Bluestein

 
Posted By Erin Bolger
It’s time to get your Festivus Bake On! If you are a baker this is probably one of your favourite times of the year. Time to create and time to sample some yummy and sinfully delicious recipes. Of course these calories don’t count either … or so I think ... It just may be time to bring out the stretchy pants!

I put together a top 10 list of my all-time favourite recipes for this time of year. Some of them my own and some from our favourite bakers.

Happy Baking Everyone!!




PEANUT BUTTER FUDGE

1) PEANUT BUTTER FUDGE

I am a huge fan of fudge I have spent a ton of time playing around with my candy thermometer and creating perfectly yummy smooth fudge. I created this recipe for Christmas last year and it was pretty much devoured in record time!

2)MARTHA STEWART’S ALMOND- ORANGE BISCOTTI

Almonds are my favourite nut! Pair them with oranges and you have a fabulous recipe from Martha Stewart. Biscotti is great to share easy to store and easy to freeze. I love adding a plate of biscotti to family brunches.

3) RICE KRISPIE SQUARES REINDEER

Rice Krispie Squares bring out the kid in me. I just bought my first huge box of festive Rice Krispies which I'm sure won't last too long ... especially if I make them into cute reindeers.

4) OLD SCHOOL RUMBALLS

Check out this video of me making my famous rum ball recipe "You Are Lucky I Didn't Rip Your Rum Balls Off!"

5) ROSE CHAMPAGNE TRUFFLES

Truffles are not as hard to make as they seem. They store well and will satisfy the sweetest tooth.

6) LEMON SUGAR COOKIES

My favourite sugar cookie recipe from my cookbook The Happy Baker. Lemon gives these classic cookies a refreshing twist.

7) SANDRA LEE'S GINGERCAKE MEN

Nothing is more festive then gingerbread. Enjoy this recipe from Sandra Lee with a twist on the original gingerbread men.

8) MINI EGGS SHORTBREAD

A huge hit at Easter but I hear y'all like to bake them for the holidays too. Mini Eggs & Shortbread ... need I say more?!

9) OCEAN SPRAY'S OATMEAL CRANBERRY WHITE CHOCOLATE COOKIES

Cranberry & white chocolate make a perfect combo visually and for our taste buds!

10) TRISH MAGWOOD’S PEPPERMINT CRUNCH BARK
Another recipe that gets easily devoured. It keeps you coming back for more!

I will be one busy little baker in the kitchen the next month. Hopefully it will be full of recipe fabulousness!

Have a fantastic baking season!


ROSE CHAMPAGNE TRUFFLES
 
Posted By Erin Bolger
Nothing brings me more joy then Halloween! The costumes the candy and of course the Halloween inspired recipes!

Here is another fun recipe to do with the kiddies. You can add shoe string licorice to hang the critters or also make some on a candy stick. I tweaked a recipe in my cookbook The Happy Baker-A Dater's Guide To Emotional Baking. I used my Speed Dating Quickies recipe (an old school one my mom used to make) and I added less oatmeal and more coconut and of course eyes and legs.

CHOCOLATE QUICKIE CRITTERS

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup milk (I used 1%)

1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups quick cooking oats
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 cups coconut (do not use finely shredded, more course coconut will give a better texture for the critters)

Pretzel sticks for critter legs
White chocolate chips for eyes
Wilton Black glitter gel icing tube for eyes

In a medium heavy bottom saucepan combine the butter, sugars and milk. Over medium heat bring to a boil; stirring often.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla

Add the chocolate chips; stir until melted. Stir in the coconut and oats.

On a lined cookie sheet break 3 pretzels in half place them in a critter leg type pattern. Spoon a tbsp. of the mixture on the pretzels. Place two white chocolate chips in as eyes and use a small amount of the black glitter gel for eyes. Let set in the fridge. Store in the fridge in an air-tight container.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!




 
Posted By Erin Bolger
Who knew something so yummy was so good for you?! Not everyone likes to scoop out the insides of a pumpkin when making your jack o' lantern but at least you are rewarded with some fab pumpkin seeds. Here is a yummy and simple recipe to dress up your seeds.

Wash your seeds thoroughly and remove all the pumpkin goop.




Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Toss the seeds with a Tbsp. of olive oil, sea salt, pepper (to taste) and a dash of cayenne pepper.





Roast the seeds in your oven for about 30 minutes until toasty and browned; stirring every 10 minutes.

Store in an air-tight container and enjoy!



 
Posted By Erin Bolger
Thanks so much to everyone who attended Canada's first ever Baking & Sweets Show in Toronto. The event was a huge success. There were amazing vendors selling everything from sassy aprons to organic ice cream to the fabulous Girl Guide Cookies!







There were also baking demos and baking competitions and celebrity appearances by Buddy The Cake Boss and the Cupcake Girls! To check out all the photos please visit my Facebook Fan Page









 
Posted By Erin Bolger
Pumpkin Spice Cake Balls

1 cup butter, softened
¾ cup brown sugar, packed
¾ cup white sugar
1 ¼ cups fresh roasted pumpkin, pureed

3 eggs

2 ½ cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. cloves
pinch of nutmeg

½ cup warm milk

Preheat oven to 350*

Grease and flour a 9 X 13 baking dish.

In a large bowl mix together the sugars and butter; mix until light and fluffy. Mix in pumpkin puree until thoroughly combined.

Add the eggs one at a time on low speed of hand mixer; mix until combined.

In a medium sized bowl sift or whisk together the remaining dry ingredients.

Add dry ingredients to the wet mixture. Stir until just combined. Gradually stir in the warm milk.

Pour into prepared dish. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Caramel Cream Cheese Icing & Filling

½ cup butter, softened
1 8oz. package cream cheese, softened
3 cups icing/confectioners sugar
3 tbsp. caramel sauce or caramel liqueur

Crushed walnuts/pecans for decorating

Using a hand mixer; mix the cream cheese and butter together until light & fluffy. Add ½ cup of icing sugar; mix. Add 1 Tbsp. caramel sauce or liqueur; mix. Alternate until you get a smooth and creamy icing. When the cake is cool enough to touch mix the icing and the cake together until combined; using your hands works best. Roll the cake mixture into 1-inch balls. Freeze overnight. The cake balls stay together better when dipped if they have been frozen.

Using a double boiler melt white chocolate melting wafers. Let the cake balls thaw slightly because the cake will expand when thawed causing the chocolate to crack. Stick a candy stick in the cake ball. Dip and swirl in the chocolate and then sprinkle with crushed pecans or walnuts.

Since these pops have cream cheese in them I store them in the fridge I know this is not ideal for the chocolate and the chocolate will lose it’s gleam but I sleep better at night doing it☺




 
Posted By Erin Bolger
The journey of my melons has come to an end .. this year! I used my largest melon weighing in at 13 pounds for my recipes. Below is a recipe for sangria that even non watermelon lovers enjoyed!



1 1.5 litre bottle of dry white table wine
4 cups watermelon chunks, seeded & then pureed
3/4 cup Brandy
1/4 cup - 1/2 cup instant dissolving sugar
1 1/2 cups sparkling water
Apple slices
Grapes ... or cut of fruit of your choice

watermelon ice cubes (using a melon baller make watermelon balls and then spread out on a cookie sheet;freeze)





Using a hand held blender or a blender puree the watermelon. In a large serving jug pour in the bottle of wine. Add the brandy, pieces of fruit & pureed watermelon;stir. Gradually add the sugar until you reach the desired sweetness.

When ready to serve add the watermelon ice cubes and sparkling water.

Enjoy & do the Watermelon Crawl




 
Posted By Erin Bolger
I am a sucker for a fresh baked cookie and what's more fabulous than adding some ice cream to it?!

I can still remember when my brother and I were younger and if we were sick my mom would bring us ice cream sandwiches. For some reason they would make us feel better. To this day if my stomach is upset or I am seriously hungover from some crazy night of Toronto partying I will crave ice cream ...

If I could replace all meals with this and still be healthy I would!



RECIPE:

This is a cookie recipe from my cookbook The Happy Baker-A Dater's Guide To Emotional Baking. It pretty much has a little bit of everything and is great to bake when your emotional and don't know why all you know is you have to bake something NOW! I added vanilla bean ice cream in between cookies to make a sandwich you can also use frozen yogurt...get crafty people!

ERIN'S GO-TO COOKIE:

½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup butter, softened

½ cup smooth peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg

¾ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup rolled oats
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup coconut

Preheat oven to 375 F (175*C)

In a large bowl, combine sugar and butter, beat until light and fluffy. Add peanut butter, vanilla, and egg ; mix well. Blend in flour, oatmeal, baking soda, and salt. Stir in chocolate chips and coconut.
Drop by tablespoon on a lined cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Flatten with fingers.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown. Let cool completely. Remove ice cream from freezer and let soften slightly. Add a generous scoop between two cookies and gently press cookies to form a sandwich. Wrap in plastic wrap or a sandwich baggie and store in the freezer until ready to eat!

 
Posted By Erin Bolger
August has been quite the month for active weather! One of my favourite towns Goderich, Ontario was hit by a F3 tornado. Causing major damage to the historic town square. Businesses are demolished and 100 year old trees completely uprooted. In the words of many it is a miracle there were not more fatalities. This is a link to The London Free Press and photos of the storm.

I grew up a hop, skip and a jump away from Goderich and I am hearing many stories from friends and family members about the tornado. It really is heart breaking but I know Goderich will come back from this tragic event! If you would like to help please visit this LINK for more details.

I do spend a ton of time back home but for the past 18 years I have lived in Toronto. We had quite the lightning show from an extremely active thunderstorm. Here are some photos I took of the night. You can also check out a YouTube video I did of lightning hitting the CN Tower.









It looks like the week is going to be filled with amazing and sunny weather a great way to end off August! I just happened to wake up extra early this morning and took a few shots of the city and the sunrise. I love this city!







BOHM@HOME
 
Posted By Erin Bolger
Woo hoo we cut the first melon and it was delicious! Super sweet and juicy! It could have been a little sweeter so we are going to keep the others on the vine a tad longer.



I let my BF aka “Babe” cut the first melon he was super proud of my melons so it only seemed fair. This is his "I'm so cool hanging on to this melon" face.



I then took it back to my home in Toronto and got busy in the kitchen.



So far I have made a Watermelon Sangria (which I need to tweak recipe will be included in next newsletter NEWSLETTER) as well as a Watermelon Arugula salad with Peppercorn Goat Cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.



That was pretty darn yummy next time no red onions it was spicy enough without it!

Also don’t forgot about the new fabulous Watermelon Contest. To enter the contest simply visit my FACEBOOK. page and post your favourite watermelon recipe and photo. One winner will be picked at random and will receive these lovely one of a kind cocktail wands from Marie Bohm



Designer of BOHM@HOME as well as a Happy Baker swag. The winner’s watermelon recipe will be included in my next newsletter and of course featured at my watermelon crawl! Thanks for being a part of my melon journey. Ill post new recipes and photos soon!

 
Posted By Erin Bolger
My watermelons are growing like there is no tomorrow. Here is a look at the measurements of the melon with the fastest growing spurt as told by “One Arm”.

July 27/2011 ~ 11"
July 28/2011 ~ 12 1/2"
July 29, 4:45 pm ~ 14"
July 30th 12:00pm ~ 15" (with help from Babe aka my BF)
July 31st 5:00pm ~ 16 1/2"
Aug 1st 3:45 pm ~ 18"
Aug 2nd 4:24pm ~ 19 1/2"
Aug 3rd 12:23 pm ~ 20" (slower growth due to lack of sun)
Yours till melons ripen, “One Arm”



"…… This just in, at 4:32 pm (July 28th) eastern standard time Erin’s melons are 12 1/2" in circumference. That is a gain of 1 1/2" from yesterday. da da dot dot......"
“One Arm”



"Hello from the garden of "One Arm" I have recently updated my measuring string to a "measuring tape" with hopes to get more accurate measurements of Erin’s Melons.

I am now measuring 3 melons:
(Original melon) now called Erin’s First - 4:15 Aug 9th 22"
(2nd melon) Erin’s Blemish - 4:15 Aug 9th 26" (Aug 4th measurement 20")
(3rd melon) Erin’s West End - 4:15 Aug 9th 24" (Aug 8th measurement 22 1/2")"

(I don’t know how he measured all melons in one minute with one arm … that is one talented gardener).

Can't wait for the harvesting and final measurements of Erin’s Melons see ya when I see ya "One Arm"



I just had a look at my melons this past week-end and it look like my original melon has stopped growing and now is changing colour and becoming a little more green. The one melon that is now in 1st place is the one called Erin’s Blemish. It has a little scar on one side but I think it adds a lot of character.



Now to celebrate my first attempt at growing watermelons and having a watermelon crawl I have a fabulous contest for y’all. Marie Bohm designer of BOHM@HOME has designed and created some lovely handmade glass cocktail & shaker wands.



Perfect for stirring the Watermelon White Sangria I plan on making! To enter the contest simply visit my FACEBOOK page and post your favourite watermelon recipe and photo. One winner will be picked at random and will receive these lovely one of a kind cocktail wands as well as some Happy Baker swag (you must be 21 yrs. old and above to enter). The winner’s watermelon recipe will be included in my next newsletter and of course featured at my watermelon crawl!


 
Posted By Erin Bolger
I have been talking about my melons for quite some time now and yep they are still huge and getting even bigger and greener! Yes you have it I’m talking about watermelons. We have been measuring them every couple of days and I can’t wait to have a fabulous watermelon crawl.

Now it hasn’t been an easy ride. First I bought some organic watermelon plants in Toronto and planted them at my BF’s … unfortunately they did not get enough sun and after a good fight they dwindled away … RIP 1st watermelons.



Well that is not going to stop me I was hell-bent and determined to have a watermelon that I grew filled with some Kettle One vodka this year. I decided to buy more plants but considering it was a month past planting season in southwestern Ontario they weren’t too easy to find. Finally at the Islington Nurseries in Toronto I found some watermelon plants. I have no idea what kind they are if they will have seeds or not but at this point I just don’t care.

It was time to find a nice sunny garden to put my new plants in … hmmmm who will let me?!?! These plants grow huge, long and winding so they are not for everyone with a garden. Well I twisted someone’s arm … currently his only working arm. His nickname at the moment is “One Arm” due to shoulder surgery he just had on his other arm. “One Arm” was happy to plant my watermelons and take care of them for me … of course he knew he would be invited to the watermelon crawl as well! Unlimited watermelons and fabulous recipes most of them including a little booze this will be the start of a lovely tradition.








 
Posted By Erin Bolger
50% cupcake ... 50% muffin ... 100% Enjoyable. May I introduce you to the CUPPIN. They are too sweet to be considered a muffin and without the icing they are not really a cupcake but they are seriously yummy and a perfect dessert for summer. I LOVE fresh peaches what better way to eat them! This is a great moist vanilla cuppin!

Summer Lovin’ Peach Crumble Cuppins

Ingredients:

2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cake & pastry flour
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp. salt

3 eggs, large
1 tsp. almond extract
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk, I used 1%

2 cups peaches, peeled and sliced into small chunks

Crumble Topping:

1 cup ground almonds
1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
½ cup flour




Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees line 2 cupcake tins (makes 24 cupcakes). In a large mixing bowl combine the flours, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda; whisk or sift together.

Add eggs, almond extract, milk and oil. Mix together with a hand mixer until smooth about a couple of minutes.

Stir in the peaches.

For the crumble topping: In a medium sized mixing bowl stir together the ground almonds and brown sugar. Using a fork add the flour and butter until the mixture is crumbly and not gooey.

Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full of the cupcake batter and then sprinkle a generous tbsp. of the crumb topping on top. Bake for 22-24 mintues until the edges are golden brown. Let cool and enjoy! Store in an air-tight container in a cool dry place.

Happy Summer Baking Everyone!!


 
Posted By Erin Bolger
Hola Everyone, I had the pleasure of working with Mina Samuels and writing a guest blog for her website RUN LIKE A GIRL.

Mina is the author of the fabulous BOOK with the same name. You can read the blog HERE and also get my recipe for Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies ... made with healthy stuff ... seriously!!


 


 
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