Bulldogs

I want to Made in Mexico with a few girlfriends tonight and we ordered Bulldogs.

I have seen these the last couple times I have gone for drinks and clearly this is an intriguing drink. How can you turn down a margarita that has a bottle of beer turned upside down in it? I’m not going to lie – I would prefer a regular ol’ margarita. Side note about margaritas – I don’t think I can drink copious amounts of these, which I think my liver appreciates. Tequila and me don’t mix well. Not in a typical alcohol-related way, but more in that the amount of citrus that is normally mixed with tequila makes me queasy. Also, if Snookie drinks these, then clearly I need to avoid these.

The real reason I wanted to post about another visit to Made in Mexico was to talk about mole sauce. Now, I don’t know a ton about Mexican food – my experience is limited to this restaurant and Chipotle (blasphemy?!) and I am trying to learn because apparently it is trying to kill me. Mole sauce, according to our good friend Wikipedia, is the name for a number of generic sauces in Mexican cuisine. Classic mole sauces include ancho, pasilla, mulato and chipotle (various types of peppers). Now apparently there is five categories/classes of mole sauce: chiles, sour (tomatillos), sweet (dried fruits and sugar), spices, and thickeners (nuts and tortillas). At Made in Mexico they use this mole sauce on their flautas and enchiladas. BE AWARE OF THIS AND BE SAFE. And don’t die kids.

Just some friendly advice to enjoy Mexican food safely.

Christmas Baking 2011

 

A few days late but here it goes – my Christmas baking.

From top left, clockwise: my cats on Christmas morning, Black Forest Trifle for Christmas eve, and some of my Christmas treats.

Gingerbread Cupcakes on my new cupcake stand.

The week before Christmas I spent every night baking. From December 18 to December 26 I was baking something. I didn’t take pictures of anything I made until… last night, after the majority of my treats were eaten.

Here is what I made:

1. Classic Sugar Cookies

2. Gingerbread Cookies – actually a ginger snap recipe so they are softer then traditional gingerbread cookies

3. Shortbread Cookies

4. Linzer Thumbprints with Apicot and Raspberry Jam

5. Choco-Loco Thumbprints with Caramel Hershey’s Kisses

6. Raspberry & White Chocolate Brownies – these were really wet. I think it was because I put them in a container too soon after they came out of the oven and the condensation moistened them

7. Snowy Lemon Balls – some felt these were too sweet

8. Gingersnap Logs – I tried to make these but my dough was too liquidy when I tried to coat them in white chocolate icing so I just tossed the mixture

9. Cheesecake Truffles rolled in Christmas coloured sprinkles and Oreo crumbs

10. Black Forest Trifle – AMAZING. I think this was better than the Black Forest cake I made for my Dad’s birthday. I want to make trifle all the time but the only problem is a) I don’t have a trifle bowl, I had to borrow my mom’s and b) if you don’t finish it all in one sitting/meal, you have to put it in a container and trifle just looks so unappealing when is it smushed into a different container.

11. Vanilla Cupcakes decorated like Christmas ornaments

12. Gingerbread Cupcakes – this time I didn’t add the milk to the icing and it was thicker which piped out a lot better.

And that’s it! Ridiculous, I know. I just think for Christmas you have to have the classics (gingerbread, shortbread and sugar) and then a few new cookies, squares and cakes. Next year I will parse through the recipes a bit more closely.

I am just finishing off the last of the Christmas baking – bringing it into work and forcing my family to eat copious amounts of baking. After that – more baking!

 

Cheesewerks

Cheesewerks! We have been meaning to go since we heard about this new restaurant on BlogTO and started following them on Facebook back in October. They hadn’t officially opened until last weekend when we tried them at the Christmas Market. They are located on Bathurst Street at King Street in downtown Toronto – a hip, expensive location close to the financial district.

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Distillery District Christmas Market

Every year, the Distillery District  in Toronto puts on a Christmas market. The Christmas market features local artisans, crafts, food, carols and of course, a giant Christmas tree! We had missed going to this last year because it only runs for about two weeks and being a Christmas time, it is the busiest time of year. This year we made a point of going because of Cheesewerks.

Toronto Life had released a list of the 10 best foods at the Christmas Market before we went which was convenient and amazing. The list had a lot of different things on it and to eat everything would have been insane so we just choose a few different things: chocolate covered bacon, bacon bark, grilled cheese and mulled wine.

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Gingerbread Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

I went out for brunch this morning with my friend Lesley who is Scottish and delightful. She was asking what festive things I have been up to and my mind drew a blank. I think I started my Christmas planning a little too early and the past few weeks I haven’t really been doing anything festive… So this clearly needed to change.

1. I haven’t eaten on of these yet but my sister Theresa did and she described them as, “Perf.” She liked them because it had all the goodness of a gingerbread cookie without the dry, crunchiness.

2. I have too many Christmas wrappers – I ended up using the snowflake wrappers but you can’t even tell. Slightly disappointing for me but then I used blue sprinkles to compliment the paper and it looks snowy and magical!

3. The icing is AMAZING. It is cinnamon, lemon cream cheese icing. The flavours compliment each other so nicely but it is still light which cream cheese isn’t always.

4. Next time, I wouldn’t add water to the icing – it was the perfect consistency and then it became to runny. When I piped it out, it didn’t keep its perfect peak so well. Hopefully with refrigeration, the icing will become a little more stable.

5. There is a limited number and we are having an end-of-the-year-not-a-Christmas-party-on-December-12th tomorrow at work and there will be around 20 people there and I am only bringing 16 in… Hopefully everyone will stay calm and enjoy the festive treats!

The recipe below the cut.

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Dark Chocolate Chip Mascarpone Cupcakes

On Friday we had a pseudo-unofficial-not-really-a-Christmas party at one of my co-worker’s house. We had so much delicious food and the decorations were beautiful. All in all, an amazing night. The host had asked me to bake something for the evening because it is another one of our co-worker`s birthday on Monday.

Betty Crocker`s Dark Chocolate Chip-Mascarpone cupcakes.

1. The recipe called for Dark Chocolate Chips – is that even a thing? I couldn’t find them at Loblaws and if they don’t have them, I don’t think this are available in Canada. And I didn’t coarsely chop them. They melt, there is no point in my opinion.

2. I didn’t use the Marsala wine/dark rum that the recipe called for. There was going to be kids at the party and I didn’t feel like exposing 4 and 5-year olds to alcohol for the first time.

3. Reynold’s is officially my favourite company. They have a new line of cupcake wrappers called “Stay-Brite” and I’m in love. I have a problem with purchasing way too many wrappers and it is actually quiet pointless as when you bake the cupcakes the oil from the cupcakes saturates the paper and you can’t see the pattern. So these wrappers solve my problem and I want to bake cupcakes all the time. I just need to use up all my old wrappers…

4. The cake from the recipe is dry (or at least I find it to be). I thought that the first time I used it for my Italian cupcakes and I still think that. I don’t think I will be using it again,

5. The icing was light and delicious and secretly fattening. Love it. The icing is clearly the highlight of this cupcake – it just needs a different base.

Here is the recipe…

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What I have decided to do with my Christmas tins…

About a month ago, I had wandered into Dollarama and discovered their plethora of Christmas tins. Now, bear in mind, my father is a teacher and over the years we have accumulated our fair share of Christmas tins featuring a variety of different scenes: Scrooge and a Christmas carol, snowflakes, Santa, and even Noah’s Ark. What Noah and his boatload of animals has to do with Christmas I really don’t know. But needless to say, Dollarama is too tempting and the tins were in the price range of $1-2 (which is the cheapest you will find anywhere!) so I promptly left with over 20 tins.

And now to figure out what to put in them! They are not really conducive to putting cookies in because they are tall, and octagonally shaped so I was thinking of making peppermint bark. But then I had a better breakthrough: HOMEMADE CARAMEL CORN. Yum. Which through a quick search led me to homemadecaramelcorn.com. Yes, there really is a website for everything.

So this looks easy enough and I am hoping to make some next week!

Lemon Cupcakes

About a week ago I made these Meyer Lemon Cupcakes from Martha Stewart (this recipe isn’t listed on her website! But I got it from her cupcake book) for a co-worker’s birthday. I know, I know. A week later and the post goes up.

1. I made them because my co-worker sent me a list of desserts his mother had told him he loved as a kid. This list included cherry pound cake, scotch cakes (what these are, I do not know…) and lemon pie. Since I had never made any of these things and pie isn’t really conducive to sharing with 15+ people at work I thought I would make lemon cupcakes of some sort.

2. At my grocery store, there are lemons. It does not specify what type of lemons and there is only one basket of lemons. I don’t know if I got Meyer lemons or even if there are other lemons. I clearly need to educate myself about the various species of citrus fruits that exist.

3. This recipe uses a lot of eggs. A LOT. 17 to be exact. Which is fine because at the time we had 4 dozen eggs in the fridge for some strange reason. Needless to say, these cupcakes are a heart attack in a cute wrapper.

4. The curd is the best part. So citrus and lemony. Yum. I didn’t use freshly squeezed lemon juice because that would have required 6 lemons which is slightly ridiculous. I’m sure Martha would judge me but no one I gave them to could tell the difference.

5. The cupcakes were very dense and I wasn’t crazy about that. There is cream cheese in the cupcakes so it is supposed to be this way but I think a lighter cake would compliment the curd much nicer.

6. Excessively large recipe – it makes 42 cupcakes! Why is this necessary?! It is fine because everyone at work was able to have seconds, and thirds but I feel slightly bad about secretly raising everyone’s cholesterol.

7. I made one slight mistake of piping the curd on top of the cupcake instead of piping some of it into the cupcake. Maybe this would have made it less dense and would have made the two elements of the cupcake work more in sync with one another.

8. Everyone loved these but from what I can tell it was because of the curd. I think I need to find a recipe that uses this curd in a different way.