Recipes

Sugar Cookies

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Can you believe Christmas is over & we’re well into the New Year?! And guess what’s right around the corner? Yup, it’s all about hearts, love, chocolates & candy – oh my! Okay, we may be jumping the gun just a tad but we can’t help it. We love occasions and any reason to celebrate something. We wasted no time, got all of our Christmas decor packed away and brought out our Valentine’s decor, then spent the entire day making these Valentine’s Day cookies. I’m not even kidding… a whole day. We have made Valentine cookies every year, but this year we decided to get more creative with the decorating. We searched the internet, browsed some of our favourite cookbooks and got to it.

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Can I just say that we were greatly naive in thinking that it was going to be a breeze, a cake walk, an easy task. Decorating cookies takes a lot of time, technique and patience. Don’t let those baking shows on tv fool you! They make everything appear so simple.

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When we finally figured out how to make the Royal Icing into various batches of colours and consistencies, (firmer batch for detailing and a more fluid batch for filling) we were on our way.
Oh, and may I just share a tip – make sure you twist tie the tops of the icing piping bags like the recipe says to, otherwise you will have big blobs of icing suddenly spilling out of the top and all over the front of your clothes and on top of the masterpiece decorated cookie you have been working on so diligently. Yeah, that happened. More than once! ha!

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Sugar Cookies Recipe

Ingredients:
{yield: approx. 60-80 cookies}
2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups Sugar
2 large Eggs
1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
5 cups Flour
Coloured Sprinkles for decorating

Directions:

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Approx 5 minutes. Add eggs, vanilla and salt, mix until combined. With mixer on low speed add flour and mix until combined.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or up to 1 week).

Preheat oven to 350.
Turn dough onto a clean lightly floured surface. Divide into 4 sections.
Roll out dough into 1/4-inch thickness and cut into desired cookie cutter shapes.
Place onto prepared cookie sheets 2 inches apart and bake until golden brown, approx 12-15 minutes.
Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.
Cool cookies completely before icing.

Royal Icing Recipe:

Ingredients:
4c. Icing Sugar
3tbsp. Meringue Powder
1/2 – 3/4c. Warm Water

Directions:

In an electric mixer beat icing sugar and meringue powder until combined. Add the water and beat on medium speed until very glossy and stiff. (approx 5-7 minutes)
If necessary to achieve the correct consistency, add more icing sugar or water.
Remember: To flood the entire cookie surface with icing, the proper consistency is a little more fluid.
To do detailing the icing consistency should be much more firm.

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It took us 5 hours to decorate approx 60 cookies! It was a lot of trial and error, mistakes and mishaps and a very messy kitchen- should’ve taken a picture of that! Mostly it was so much fun. We had a blast. At times we were almost falling over with laughter at each other!

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Happy Valentine’s and Happy Baking!
Laura & Natasha xo

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Recipes

Gingerbread Cupcakes

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Gingerbread is a Holiday classic & we just can’t get enough.
We are still on a total gingerbread kick after baking batch after batch of our Gingerbread Cookies this holiday season.
The Gingerbread cookies were a hit and we ended up making a lot more than we expected since friends & family kept requesting them! They were definitely our star holiday cookie this year.

We couldn’t let our gingerbread addiction end with just cookies this year though, so we decided to make Gingerbread Cupcakes!

These really are the perfect Winter cupcake. Super moist spiced cupcakes, with deliciously creamy cinnamon spiced cream-cheese icing. Mmmm. And nothing tastes more like Winter than the brilliant combo of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and molasses!

If you are a Gingerbread lover, you have gotta try these cupcakes. The combo of the ginger-spiced cake with the sweet & tangy cinnamon cream cheese icing go together like peanut butter + jelly. πŸ˜‰

These are fairly simple cupcakes to make and I love them because there are plenty of different adjustments you can make to alter the taste of the cupcakes to your liking:

If your not into the cinnamon cream cheese icing, try white chocolate frosting, chocolate frosting or even plain vanilla frosting. You could even leave the icing off completely and enjoy them as muffins.

You can alter the spices as you wish. If you’re not a fan of a certain spice, put a bit less/or omit it completely and up the quantity of a spice of your choice.

Instead of the little gingerbread men cupcake toppers, you can use sprinkles or if you want to get real fancy – bake a batch of gingerbread cookies, use a fairly small gingerbread man cutout and stick the gingerbread man cookie on top of the icing.

We had lots of fun baking & decorating these cupcakes and they really are every bit as tasty as they are cute.
We hope everyone had a wonderful New Year, and hope you enjoy this recipe!

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How cute are these Gingerbread Men Cupcake Cups & Decor?!
The cups and little gingerbread toppers are both Wilton brand & can be found at Michaels & certain grocery stores.
You can also buy them online here.

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Gingerbread Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe
{recipe slightly adapted from The Cupcake Diaries}
{yield: approx. 20 cupcakes}

Ingredients:
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons + 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups molasses
1 cup hot water

Frosting Ingredients:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3-4 cups icing sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
2 teaspoons milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pans with cupcake liners, or spray pans with non-stick cooking spray if you’re not using baking cups.
In a large bowl, sift together all (flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, salt) of the dry ingredients EXCEPT for the brown sugar. Lightly whisk the ingredients to combine them slightly than set the bowl aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter & brown sugar for a few minutes until light & fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and mix slowly after each addition. Add the molasses and mix until well combined. Next add one third of the dry ingredients and one third of the cup of water and mix thoroughly. Repeat this step, scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the last third, starting with the dry ingredients than add the last third of the water and mix until well combined.

Scoop the batter evenly in the cupcake liners. Bake for 16-19 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool completely.

Frosting:

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix all ingredients (except for the milk) together until well combined. To help the icing come together and to make it a bit smoother/creamier, add 2 teaspoons of milk. Continue mixing until the icing is to your preference.

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Natasha & Laura xo

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Recipes

Banana Muffins

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The year is coming to a close which means that sadly all the holiday baking is nearing its end as well.
It’s bittersweet – I’ll miss all the nummy Christmas cookies & holiday baking but I think we can all agree that it’s almost a relief when it’s over. (I know I have definitely eaten way more than my fair share of Christmas cookies this year!) So to end the year off right, I thought I’d switch it up a bit, take a break from all the cookie recipes and post a slightly healthier recipe for you guys!

Banana is one of my favorite fruits to bake with – It gives baked goods an amazing flavour, and helps keep them nice and moist. These simple banana muffins are no exception – they really are the moistest/most delicious banana muffins I’ve ever tasted. I’ve made them multiple times in the past few weeks and they are always eaten up quickly!
This recipe is perfect for those ripe leftover bananas sitting in the kitchen, and it’s a super easy recipe to whip up which is always nice.

We hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas & that you enjoy this recipe! xo

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Banana Muffins Recipe

Ingredients:
{yield: 12 muffins}

4 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup pecans, chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or spray muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

Mash the bananas and add the egg, sugar and butter; mix until ingredients are combined.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and pecans together.

Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until nearly all the flour has disappeared. (Don’t overmix – overmixed muffins turn out tough).

Pour batter evenly into the muffin pan and bake for approx. 20 minutes.

Enjoy!
Natasha xo

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Recipes

Maraschino Cherry White Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I’ve never baked anything using maraschino cherries before, but my Grandma gave me some cherries to bake with so I decided to make Maraschino Cherry White Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Don’t let the maraschino cherries scare you – they really don’t taste strongly of cherry, and are actually really nummy when baked in a cookie. My mom & brother both cringed when I said I was baking maraschino cherry cookies. I literally had to make them try a bite – But like I suspected, they were both surprised and loved the cookies!

The white chocolate balances out the sweetness of the cherries, making the cookies not overly sweet, but just right.
These cookies are large, soft & chewy but my favorite part of these cookies is how Christmasy they look. The red & green cherries make for the perfect Christmas cookie!

Happy Holiday Baking!

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Maraschino Cherry White Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe
{Note: This recipe requires chilling the dough for 3 hours.}

Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup maraschino cherries, cut into small pieces & patted dry
1 cup white chocolate chips

Directions:

1. In a saucepan, melt the butter until completely melted and no chunks remain, than set aside to cool.
Once the butter has cooled: In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, cream cheese, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together until nice and smooth. Add the eggs, and slowly mix until combined. With the mixer on low-speed, mix in the flour, salt, & baking soda and mix until just combined.
Using a spatula, fold in the cherries and white chocolate chips.

2. Cover the dough and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. (or overnight)

3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line or spray baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray.
Using a 1/4 cup, scoop out the dough and roll into balls. Place on the baking sheets, and flatten the balls slightly using either the bottom of a cup, or the palm of your hand. Bake for 9-12 minutes, just until the edges are golden.

Enjoy!
Natasha xo

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Recipes

Pumpkin Gingersnap Cookies

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I just couldn’t stop baking with pumpkin that easily! Although Fall is sadly over, and we are now in the midst of the snowy weather season, I just couldn’t resist baking some more goodies using pumpkin. I had one can of pumpkin left over so I decided to whip up a batch of these gorgeous, soft & chewy Pumpkin Gingersnap Cookies.

I love the combination of the flavorful pumpkin with the usual Gingersnap spices (ginger, cinnamon, & cloves). It makes for a perfect, spicy Winter cookie!
The pumpkin helps keep these cookies super moist, and really adds a nice punch of flavour.

These cookies are not hard & crunchy like most gingersnaps.. they are totally thick, soft & chewy which is just the way I like all cookies to be.. (No hard/crunchy cookies for me!)
I like to roll the cookies in sugar before baking because it adds a little more sweetness, and it also makes the cookies sparkle & look really pretty which is always a plus.

If you like gingersnaps, you will love these cookies.
They are a staple in our Fall & Winter baking, and we hope you enjoy them as well!

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Pumpkin Gingersnap Cookies

Ingredients:
(yield: approx. 3 dozen cookies)
1/2 cup of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar (plus extra for rolling the cookies in)
1/2 cup pure pumpkin
1/4 cup molasses
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter & sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the pumpkin, molasses, egg, & vanilla extract and mix until well combined.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves & salt together.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and slowly mix until combined. Do not overmix.
Cover dough and refrigerate for at least 1 1/2 hours. (Dough can be chilled for 1-3 days)

2. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line or spray baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray.
Place 1-2 cups of sugar in a small bowl. Using your hands, roll dough into tablespoon-sized balls than roll balls into the sugar until well coated and place on prepared baking sheet approx. 2 inches apart. Bake for only 10-12 minutes. The cookies will look very soft, and almost underbaked. That is what you want – do not overbake. Let cookies cool on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes, than transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Enjoy!
Natasha xo

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Uncategorized

Hostess Gifts

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We are all so busy during the holidays. With all the running around, shopping, baking, cooking, & entertaining, it can get real exhausting. We have made up a sweet list of hostess gifts that any girl would be happy to receive. Wine, chocolates or poinsettia’s are typical hostess gifts that are commonly given and while these gifts are great, we think hostess gifts can be a little more personal and have a wee bit more pizazz.

1. Soap Gift Sets from Lush

You can’t go wrong with Lush products. We love them so much. I know, I know, I have Lush on every single list for gift giving. Trust me, the hostess that receives a gift from Lush will definitely invite you back next year!

2. Specialty Tea from Teavana

Every Host knows that it takes a lot of time and energy to plan a get together let alone get through all of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. A quality cup of tea is always appreciated. We love these gift sets that come in the beautiful tins that can be reused over and over. You will be affectionately remembered every time she brews a cup of tea long after the holidays are over.

3. Pure Maple Syrup from Blisgourmet

This amazing maple syrup is recognized by top chefs and foodies such as Martha Stewart and Rachel Ray. This is something a little different then the typical bottle of wine or chocolates. Especially great for those that love to cook.

4. Scented Candles from Bath And Body Works

The scented candles from Bath And Body Works are to die for! We can’t pick just one as a favourite. This one is the ultimate holiday scent of rich red apples, green pine and golden cider. One for the hostess and one for me!

5. Lip Balm Sets from Korres

We love, love, love this line from Greece. The body products are the ultimate and so are their lip glosses. Perfect for the long winter to keep lips hydrated and smooth. This limited edition lip glaze set has delicious flavours such as jasmine, pomegranate, raspberry. Made with no parabens or sulphates.

6. Nail Polish Sets from Nails Inc.

Nail polish and nail art is all the rage and who doesn’t love to have their nails all done up? We are amazed at the selection of colours, textures and art that is being done on nails. Can never have too many nail polishes, now can we?

7. Bath and Body Products from Philosophy

We will never get tired of Philosophy products! Ever. The festive gingerbread products add spice to any girl’s day!

8. Designer Fragrance Sets

So many mini sets to choose from during the holidays. A set like this one is perfect with the rollerball fragrance so she can throw it in her purse.

9. Fun Novelty Gifts

Finding really fun personalized gifts are the ultimate if you know the hostess well. For music lovers, a gift like these coasters is different, unique and fun.

Happy Holiday Shopping!

Love, Laura xox

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Music

Cold December Nights: A Christmas Playlist

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It’s no secret that I am crazy obsessed with Christmas. I love everything about it.
Snow, eggnog, christmas cookies, & spending time with friends & family.
But one of my favorite, favorite things about Christmas is…
the music!
Nothing says it’s Christmas time quite like hearing Christmas music wherever you go.

Every year I am in charge of the Christmas music and make a huge playlist. I like to have a wide variety of Christmas songs and include a little something for everyone – some good ole classics (Elvis & Frank Sinatra), a lil country (Nobody does a Country Christmas quite like Dolly Parton!), a lil pop (Britney, Mariah), indie, etc.
I like to add new Christmas songs each year and keep it updated because let’s be real, nobody wants to hear the same old christmas songs played over and over again, year after year.

Here’s a list of 20 of our current favorite Christmas songs for this holiday season..
(You can find all these songs on youtube or itunes.)

Happy Christmas Caroling!

1. Merry Christmas, Baby. by Cee Lo Green ft. Rod Stewart
2. Santa, Bring My Baby Back (To Me) by Elvis Presley
3. Mr Right by Leona Lewis
4. My Only Wish (This Year) by Britney Spears
5. New York Christmas by Rob Thomas
6. Hard Candy Christmas by Dolly Parton
7. Last Christmas by Taylor Swift
8. Wrapped In Red by Kelly Clarkson
9. Carry Me Home by Hey Rosetta!
10. Little Saint Nick by She & Him
11. Sleigh Bells & Reindeer by Act As If
12. Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home) by U2
13. All My Bells Are Ringing by Lenka
14. Baby, It’s Cold Outside by Jessica Simpson
15. Cold December Night by Michael Buble
16. Silver Bells by Elvis Presley
17. Joy To The World by Andrew Ripp
18. Driving Home For Christmas by Chris Rea
19. Winter Wonderland by Jason Mraz
20. Oh Santa! by Mariah Carey

What’s on your Holiday Playlist this year?!
We’re always on the lookout for new Christmas music. We’d love to hear your favorites! Comment & let us know.

Natasha xo

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