Happy 4th of July
I can't believe it's July already! We are halfway through week one of summer vacation. And we have Canada Day and the 4th of July under our belts. Where has time gone?!
End of June was a bit of a gong show for me! We have 3 birthdays, an anniversary, plus the end of school all happening in a two week span. Needless to say, I dropped off the blog radar yet again! If you're on Instagram though you'll see that I've been around just not writing any posts.
What have I been up to? Well, way back in January I vowed to be more adventurous in my baking and try new things but I've played it pretty safe since then. So for my daughter's class celebration of her birthday I decided to make "galaxy cookies." Chocolate sugar cookies with a swirly, royal icing. Definitely not the easiest thing I have ever done because I pretty much never work with royal icing so it took many tries to find a consistency that would work. But I managed!! And they were a huge hit. The cookies ended up having almost an Oreo flavour to them. Really good if a little sweet (for my taste anyway, the kids loved them).
hen for my birthday I decided to make a cake. Not a simple sheet cake but a two layer cake with ombré icing!! May not sound like much to you but to me it's terrifying! Lol. Piping, icing, etc it's all scary. I'm no good at it. I think I rush it but I don't know why. Anyways, that was my goal.
So I found a recipe for a simple white cake and then a recipe for buttercream icing. I had bought for the galaxy cookies, but not used, some concentrated cherry extract so added a teeny bit of that to the icing. It's dyed red so meant I had no true white icing for my ombré but it didn't matter! Vanilla cake with cherry buttercream frosting sound so fancy! The ombré wasn't too hard either. I divided out the icing and added some burgundy gel colouring and stirred them up. Then piped around the cake a couple of layers with each colour going from darkest to lightest (bottom to top). Used my bench scraper to smooth it all out as and ta-da ombré cake! It was by no means perfect but was still a huge accomplishment for me.
he last week of June was pretty busy with my daughter finishing up school. I was in there helping out with some of the end of year parties, etc. Then Canada Day hit! We had no major plans and I hadn't baked anything so when I woke early that morning I decided to try my hand at the classic Canadian butter tart. BUT, if you'll recall from the last post, I have no muffin tins! So mini tart is was. And they worked perfectly. Well almost. I think I beat the eggs too much so the mixture rose in the oven and then fell when cooling but it didn't matter, tasted delicious! I think hubs ate half the tray, and he doesn't do sweets at all!
And I guess that's it. You're now up to date on my life! Not particularly thrilling but I'm okay with that. My daughter had her best friend over for a sleepover last night - 24hrs of 8yr old giggles is about all I can take. Lol. Today I write you this post and then sign off so I can take my book out on to the deck and enjoy the glorious weather (not to mention the peace and quiet).
Flaky Pie Dough
1 1/3 C all-purpose flour
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 C cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
4 tbsp ice water, plus more as needed
Place flour, sugar, salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse to form a coarse meal. Gradually add the ice water while pulsing until it comes together into a ball.
Form into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, or until needed.
1/2 C unsalted butter
1 C packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 C maple syrup
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp kosher salt
Roll out the pie crust on a lightly floured surface until 1/4 inch thick and cut out with a 3" round cookie cutter. Carefully push down into cups of a buttered mini muffin tin (be careful not to rip with your nails - I used round end of a knife handle). Should stick up about 1/2" above the edge of the pan. Chill in fridge while you prepare the filling.
Melt the butter and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until it's all bubbling. Remove from heat.
In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt. Gradually add in the warm butter, sugar mixture. Be sure to whisk constantly to avoid scrambled eggs.
Remove muffin pan from the fridge and pour or spoon the filling into each cup.
Bake for 10 mins at 400F and then reduce the temperature to 375F and continue baking for 15 mins. Filling should be bubbling and the crust should be browning evenly along the edges. Leave the tarts in the pan but be sure to give them a twist now and again to prevent the sugars from crystallizing to the pan. Cool completely in the pan. Refrigerate for a few to set the flavours (my own personal preference) or serve immediately.