Jam Filled Buns/Cookies

This week instead of testing out new recipes and making them my own I wanted to be nostalgic and take recipes from my childhood and try to change them up a bit and put my imprint onto classic recipes my mother would make for me when I was a little girl.

This recipe was my favorite as a young child and teenager. We would call them Jam cookies due to the tiny size and hint of sweetness from the jam, but the original recipe my mother went from years ago they were referred to as “Jam Filled Buns.” they have a flaky biscuit look and taste to them, and are perfect for a picnic, summer party or just a quick breakfast surprise. IMG_3063

  • 2 cups sifted all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cold butter (cut into cubes)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cold milk
  • Jam (any flavor you wish)
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a large bowl combine the sifted flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. Make well in center.
  3. Whisk together the milk and egg, then pour into the well of the flour mixture and stir well to form a soft dough. (use more milk if needed)
  4. On a floured surface knead the dough 8-10 times, pat or roll out the dough until it is about 2 cm thick.
  5. Using a round cookie cutter, cut out circles and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  6. Make deep hollow in top center of each biscuit. Drop small spoonfuls of desired jam into each hollow
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes depending on your oven. IMG_3065
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Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Cookies

Cookies have always been difficult for me to bake, they would would end up flat and burnt and crispy near the edges so it has been my mission for the last few months to finally and consecutively make perfectly formed and baked cookies and I’m proud to say I have figured it out. 

Part of the reason my cookies where coming out as flat is because most of the ingredients were warm and melted after mixing, to make the perfect for of a cookie refrigerate your cookie dough for at least half an hour and all the ingredients will come together, the flavor will intensify and you will get a perfectly formed and delicious cookie

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Cookies 

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk 
  • 1/2 teaspoon milk 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar 
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips 
  1. In a large bowl mix butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until the mixture is fine and creamy 
  2. Add in the egg, milk and vanilla extract and continue mixing
  3. Then add the powdered sugar and mix until it is fluffy. 
  4. Then add the flour, cornstarch and baking powder, mix again.
  5. Finally add the chocolate chips and stir well. Leave in the fridge for one hour. 
  6. Preheat oven to 375 F 
  7. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper,  take dough out of fridge and former balls (or use a cookie scoop) *the dough will be quite sticky* 
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes depending on your oven 

Blueberry Muffins

Blueberries are not normally eaten in our house fresh, I enjoy the taste of blueberry but whenever we buy a package they tend to be pushed to the back of the fridge and forgotten. We’ve decided to start buying frozen blueberries and we keep throwing them into our smoothies, and bake with them…my favorite fruits to bake with. I love the sweet taste that comes out of the berries when cooked and I love that the flavour spreads perfectly and pairs well with many other flavours.

With the decision to try and not buy many (if any) pre packaged foods, I decided to try and test out some muffins this week that can be used as a quick snack. after looking through other recipes so that I could get the basics down, I decided to make a few changes, using only brown sugar, and my favorite healthy swap of using yogurt instead of buttermilk and I was very happy of how the muffins turned out and Lily (who does not really enjoy blueberries) gobbled them up!IMG_2975

Blueberry Muffins 

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup yogurt*
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup blueberries
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Grease, or line a muffin baking pan (12)
  2. In a large bowl, sift the flour, add the brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix well.
  3. In a medium bowl, with a whisk or fork mix the egg, yogurt, melted butter and vanilla.
  4. Stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture until combined (the mixture will be lumpy) add the blueberries and mix well.
  5. Spoon the batter into muffin tin 2/3 full
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes depending on your oven.

*For added flavour, use a flavoured yogurt, vanilla or blueberry or mix it up and use strawberry or even peach.

*Don’t forget to go like my facebook page @ahappinesshomemade 

Bread Making Tips

My quest to make a (not quite so) simple loaf of sandwich bread continued this week, I had spent the weekend going through my baking books and even asked my mother and grandmother for some help and baking tips. With all this new knowledge I went to work on Wednesday morning with the goal yet again to make a proper loaf of bread that day and…

I did it! I finally made a loaf of sandwich bread

I’m going to continue to make my own bread for the household and keep using all of the information I have accumulated in my brain to make the perfect loaf, and I thought I should share some of those tips with all my readers.

  • Make sure there is sugar going into your water and yeast mixture. The yeast needs something to feed off of which is why the sugar is used
  • Most cookbooks call for you only waiting 3-4 minutes for your yeast to activate,  but the best time is to wait 10 minutes, you will know it is activated it will look bubbly and frothy and double in size
  • Use bread flour! Most recipes I was reading were using regular all purpose flour, but bread flour is high in protein and will form gluten which will help the bread rise and bake with a good crust 
  • sift the dry ingredients!  Many recipes never mentioned sifting and I honestly didn’t think of doing it until my mother mentioned it
  • don’t be tempted to cut short kneading time, kneading distributes the yeast evenly through the dough. Kneading should be around 10 minutes, or until it’s smooth and elastic
  • the best way I learned to do the proving process is boil water in a kettle, poor the water into a large baking pan and put on the bottom rack of the oven, then put the dough in a bowl on the top rack ( do not turn on the oven!) It gives moisture to the dough and the perfect temperature to rise the dough
  • after an hour of letting the dough rise, take it out, push down the dough and expel the bubbles, knead again for 1 minute then put it in the baking pan, then proof it again for 40 or so minutes
  • For a great crust glaze the top of the dough with milk
  • Try nor to open the oven while baking! The intense heat is needed for a good crust
  • If the dough does start to go a little to dark, tent some aluminium foil over the bread. 
  • You will know the bread is finished if you turn it out of the pan and tap on the bottom of the loaf, if it sounds hollow it’s cooked.

Determination and Bread Making

Determination is an amazing quality to have and to say I have that quality is an understatement. I’m a girl that grew up with social anxiety and depression without realizing that was my problem until I was 14 years old, it lead to many years of missed classes and assignments unfinished because my anxiety was to great to finish the project. Many teachers, counselors didn’t know if I would be able to finish high school with a diploma but I was determined and ended up graduating high school on the honour and with more then one award. I’ve been through abusive situations and have been able to get out with determination and strength. I’ve been a single mother for four years, I plan on opening my own business and when people told me I wasn’t able to do it a I am determined to show them wrong. 

When I started on a whim a few days ago I decidd to master making a simple loaf of white bread I used that same determination that has gotten me through life…and that determination was needed because at first it was an epic fail. 

Here’s my first tip, make sure your yeast isn’t expired. Growing up my mother would keep yeast in the cupboard, not in the recomended refrigerator. It made sense when we were younger because my mother made bread much more often and it was used up quickly but know that yeast is not used for months at a time keeping it in the cupboard is not the greatest idea which I learned after waiting three hours for my dough to rise and it hadn’t moved at all. 

The second tip I can give you, if you don’t have a kitchen thermometer that perfect temperature for yeast to activate is lukewarm. I was trying three different temperatures for water, hot from the tap (which is actually 130 degrees F) tried boiling water, and tried just steaming and of course it never worked, you don’t have to throw away the idea of bread making just because you can’t be exact at the water temperature, try lukewarm and wait for those bubbles ( go drink a cup of coffee by the end of the cup your yeast should be perfect) 

Third tip is add flour half a cup at a time, if you add to much it is difficult to work it all together again (if that does happen a couple drops of lukewarm water should fix that problem) work the dough but make sure you don’t over work it, and trust yourself if you don’t think you can add that last cup of flour without it turning out to dry, then don’t.  

Be patient let that dough rise, it might take you all day but it’s so worth it, and let it rise in the pan, don’t just plop it in there and rush it into the oven, let it rise and grow into the corners of the pan. 

It might take a couple tries, it might take a few more then that but it is so worth it for a loaf of bread that you can feel proud you made yourself. 

* I used the Joy of Cooking white bread recipe* 

Honey Madeleines

 

Having a madeleine pan since Halloween last year I felt it was finally time to check this off my list of things I have mastered in the baking world, I didn’t want just a plain madeleine but I wanted something simple due to the point that honestly I have never tasted or seen a madeleine in person and have only seen them in photos online, in cookbooks or on cooking competition shows.

The best tip I can give you though while cooking madeleines is use shortening and I’m not talking about in your recipe. Many recipes call for you to butter and flour your madeleine pan, or sometimes even just simply spraying baking spray on it. I will tell you though that none of those always work, there are going to be one or two madeleines that will probably stick, there always ends up being that one. Spreading shortening over the pan like you would butter makes the madeleines just slide out after a minute or two of cooling. IMG_2868

Honey Madeleines 

  • 2/3 cups unsalted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 heaping cup of white sugar
  • 2/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon heaping of honey*
  • Shortening, enough to grease the medeleine pan
  1. Melt butter in microwave or in a small saucepan
  2. In a large bowl, or in the bowl of a mixer whisk together the eggs and the sugars until the mixture is thick (about 2-3 minutes)
  3. Add the flour, baking powder and mix. Add the honey and melted butter. mix until everything is well incorporated and the batter is a thick consistency
  4. Leave the batter to rest in the fridge for at the least one hour (incorpates the honey flavour into the mix and cools down the butter and makes it ready for baking)
  5. Preheat oven to 500 degrees fahrenheit
  6. Generously grease the madeleine pan with the shortening
  7. Place a generous tablespoon of batter or use a piping bag
  8. Place the tray in the oven and turn down the temperature to 450 fahrenheit
  9.  Bake until the madeleines have risen and are lightly golden on top, for a large pan like I used its about 7-10 minutes.
  10. Once madeleines are cooked, pull out the pan, let cool for a few minutes and remove cakes from molds, and place on a cooling rack lined with parchment paper.

*The better the honey quality the better the flavour

*Spray your tablespoon with a baking spray before pouring the honey into the tablespoon so the honey comes out easier and easier to clean.

 

Strawberry Cake Loaf

When asked as a young girl what my favorite food was I would never have said brownies, no chips were the best flavour, no Mcdonalds chicken nugget invoked true happiness for me to be my favorite food, the food I loved to eat by itself, with a tiny sprinkle of sugar, cut up into pancakes or with a dollop of whip cream for dessert like my grandmother would give us, it was the perfectly red strawberry.

To this day I will tell you I love my strawberries, I don’t often eat them by themselves sadly but I love when they are in something, cut up into yogurt, in a smoothie, cooked into pancakes or waffles and of course baked into delicious treats like this amazing strawberry cake loaf, its baked into a bread pan and is a moist and delicious cake reminiscent of a pound cake. IMG_2921

Strawberry Cake Loaf 

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • 6 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup strawberry yogurt *
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped strawberries
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit
  2. Line a 9×5 loaf pan with parchment paper
  3. Cream butter, cream cheese, sugar, and salt in large bowl until fluffy (about 2 minutes)
  4.  Beat in eggs and vanilla extract until combined
  5.  Add flour, baking powder and baking soda to the mixture
  6. Add strawberries and stir until just combined
  7. Pour batter in prepared pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes. If top browing to quickly tent aluminum foil over bread.
  8. Cool in pan for 10 minutes remove and cool completely on wire wrack, serve with whip cream. Perfect for dessert or to eat alone for breakfast.

* Try to find a strawberry yogurt that is flavoured with real strawberry pieces rather then an artificial flavouring or the taste will be a little off in the end.

Add A Little Sprinkle To Your Life 

When you kid asks for chocolate chip cookies for three days straight you make her chocolate chip cookies.

I love baking with my daughter and I had gone two days without baking which feels like an eternity to me so I needed to bake and decided to treat my daughter with a little sprinkle to her day.

I’ve been spending the past few months trying to find the perfect cookie recipe, something that is still gooey on the inside but not undercooked, something that does not go rock hard in a day and a cookie that tastes delicious even when there is no chocolate chip (or sprinkle) in that tiny bite and I think I have finally made a cookie that fits all those criteria…finally.

These cookies are packed full so most bites will have you chewing on at least one chocolate chip and sprinkle. The mini chocolate chips make sure its not to much chocolate overtaking your taste buds (but if you can not find or have on hand mini chocolate chips then add either the same amount of regular chocolate chips or go a little extra and add a full 1 cup) IMG_2826

Sprinkle Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles
  1. In medium bowl whisk flour, baking soda,  cream of tartar and salt. Set aside.
  2. In large mixing bowl cream together the butter, brown sugar,  granulated sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Mix again.
  3. Slowly add in flour mixture into sugar mixture until combined. Add in chocolate cops and sprinkles.
  4. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Using cookie scoop, scoop dough onto sheet and cook 10-14 minutes (depending on ovem)
  7. Perfect is lightly browned and soft and doughy. IMG_2803IMG_2819

Chocolate Chip Snack Cake

My grandmother moved to a new home earlier last week and I wanted to make something easy for her and my family to snack on while packing and unpacking and wanted something that was not to sweet that they would have a sugar rush with the inevitable crash. 

I looked through a few of my baking cookbooks and this one snack cake that used cream cheese in the recipe stuck out to me so I decided to try to make a vanilla snack cake that used cream cheese to keep it moist and chocolate chips to add more flavor. 

I was able to use measures new Kitchenaid for the first time, Lily enjoyed pouring in the ingredients and every last crumb was eaten. 

Chocolate Chip Snack Cake

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 (8 oz) pkg. Cream cheese,  softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  1. Heat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×9 baking pan and line with parchment paper. 
  2. In large bowl beat butter and cream cheese together, mix in sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, and eggs one at a timebeating well after each addition. 
  3. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt  mix well. 
  4. Stir in milk and chocolate chips. 
  5. Bake in oven for 30-40 minutes. 

Lily in The Kitchen

When Lily was around 9 months old I borrowed this one book from the local library titled “The Homemade Pantry” and it’s exactly what the title suggests, an entire cookbook packed full of recipes that show you how to make all the pantry staples at your home instead of buying everything pre-made and processed with ingredients you might not even be able to pronounce. 

That idea of the book stuck with me all these years.

I want my daughter to grow up understanding how to make her own bread, that mayonnaise doesn’t just have to come from a Hellmans container but can be whipped up in our kitchen, I need her to know early on that pizza doesn’t come prepared and frozen in the freezer section of the grocery store, heck I want it to go so far that she understands she can even make her own crackers and cheese!

This is why Lily has grown up in the kitchen and will continue to do so. As a little girl, I would place her in her high chair, roll it into our tiny kitchen and give her a wooden spoon while I baked zucchini bread, graham crackers and even when I wilted spinach in a pan with Garlic to make her a personal toddler person that became a staple in her diet as a toddler.

As she’s grown older she grown from just sitting in the kitchen to her helping us gather our ingredients throughout our kitchen, to her even grating chicken and help dice carrots with a safe knife and learning to scoop the sides of a bowl while stirring and hold to lightly fold chocolate chips into a batter. 

I’m a Baker and I hope to one day own my own bakery and I hope for a little while that Lily will be along to help with odd jobs in the kitchen while I work…I even have this dream that I would have a tiny table for her to sit at off to side where she can do her homework. 

We have a bit to go for my dream of a fully homemade pantry but my daughter is along for the ride and I couldn’t pick a better kitchen helper.