Lemon Thyme Sugar Cookies

If I send out spring energy into mother nature, do you think she’ll reciprocate and make spring actually come to be?!

IMG_1747[1]

So we’re a week into April, and I won’t complain too much – I know we didn’t have a terrible winter but dudes – I’m so ready for spring! I want to wear open toe shoes, cute flowy dresses, I want to be able to finally leave my huge-mongous winter jacket behind!! Also … there’s tons of ice cream to be eaten on bright balconies – priorities.

Could there BE anything more spring than lemons?! Well, tulips maybe … and I’ve been trying to flood my kitchen with them – but lemons to me, with that burst of tang – ahhhh brrring on the spring!!

IMG_1700[1] IMG_1735[1]

Today’s Lemon Thyme Sugar Cookies are dainty and kind, but relatable. They would fit in beautifully over tea, but put them out at a lemonade stand ( do kids still do this?!) and they’ll be gone in no time. The cookies are sweet, savory and a little tangy – most importantly, you’ll want them in your face as soon as they come out of the oven!!

IMG_1742[1]

Lemon Thyme Sugar Cookies

1 cup margarine

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar + 2 tbsp (separated 1/2 cup by 2 tbsp)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking soda

2 tbsp cornstarch

2 eggs

2 1/2 cups flour

2 tbsp lemon zest  (separated 1tbsp x 1 tbsp)

1 tbsp fresh thyme (finely chopped)

IMG_1722[1] IMG_1728[1]

Directions

IMG_1742[1]

Pre-heat oven to 350 oc.

In large bowl, combine margarine, brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, vanilla and eggs.

In a separate bowl whisk together baking soda, cornstarch, flour and 1 tbsp lemon zest.

Combine wet and dry ingredients.

In a small bowl, combine 2 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp lemon zest and 1 tbsp thyme. Massage together to release all of the lemon-thyme extracts.

Scoop out cookie dough using a 1 tbsp scoop, roll into a ball and gently roll in lemon-thyme-sugar mixture. Place on cookie sheet 1/2 inch apart.

Bake for 9 minutes, and remove from baking tray right away.

IMG_1744[1]

Advertisements

Mocha Toffee Cookies

Confession – there are tons of cookies that are about to come your way.

IMG_9520

Kind of a #SorryNotSorry situation.

Heh. I used a hashtag in conversation. Oh internet, you have successfully ruined me.

Speaking of which, my spelling is now at an all-time low.

Does this make you cringe for generations to come? Did I just sound like an old lady …. Hahaha. Sad.

IMG_9493IMG_9494

I’m just a kickin success these days … also in kind of funny/not so funny news – I got an e-mail last week from a reader noting that my writing was filled with a lot of slag, and they wondered if I also wrote this way at work.

*ROTFL*

That’s how I feel about that.

I shouldn’t have even addressed this, but still.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME internet world, can we all not just sit in a circle, eating cookies singing kumbaya?!?!

IMG_9497

These cookies have bits of toffee in them; and coffee; and chocolate. #Winning 😉 hahaha …

Mocha Toffee Cookies

1 Cup bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3/4 cup light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground instant coffee

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 ½ cup Skor toffee bits

IMG_9513

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate and butter together, stirring until smooth.

In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, instant coffee, and baking powder.

Add in chocolate mixture.  Fold in flour and cocoa powder.

Add Skor toffee bits.

Spoon onto a prepared baking tray and bake for 10 minutes.

Allow to cool on baking tray for 2 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.

IMG_9525

Excuse me while I chow down on these cookie monster style, chased with iced cold milk!

Dark Chocolate Chunk Mango Coriander Cookies

Hehehe last week I got my official Foodblogger cookie swap e-mail.

IMG_9399

I was pretty much ( read: totally) bouncing off the walls!! I’ve participated in the past and to be honest, there’s nothing that gets me in the holiday spirit more than cookies.

Oh and Santa of course … speaking of which – the big guy made his appearance this past weekend!!

IMG_9444

This of course makes it okay for me to even start talking about Christmas!! Some of our stores have already started playing carols … too early?!? When do you put up your tree? Is it already up? I have a feeling ours won’t go up for at least a couple weeks … I’m thinking at least until the first weekend of December. The holiday season is always a special time for my family and I – and cookies only sweeten the deal.

Even if you’re not quite in the holiday spirit just yet ( and yes, I know there’s still American Thanksgiving) it’s always a good time for cookies!!

IMG_9409 IMG_9414

These particular cookies are a new mixture of sweet and savory – they’re cake like and definitely a heightened version of an everyday chocolate chunk cookie. And the colour and smell of the mango baking away are sure to tantalize your taste buds… also, look how yellow they are!!

IMG_9447

Dark Chocolate Chunk Mango Coriander Cookies

1 Large mango; peeled and diced

1/4 cup water

1 cup gran­u­lated sugar

1 Tbsp fresh coriander, minced as fine as possible

1/2 cup shortening

2 eggs

2 cups flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup Dark Chocolate Chunks

IMG_9401IMG_9404IMG_9407

Directions:

Pre­heat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a blender / Food processor combine mango and water. Blend to a thick pulp.

In a small bowl, combine sugar and coriander – rub together to flavour the sugar.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking soda.

In a separate bowl, cream together shortening and sugar mixture.

Add eggs and mango puree.

Fold in dry ingredients, and add in chocolate chunks.

Scoop onto prepared baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool.

IMG_9449

Making Dough — Cookbook Review … and I made Croissants

When I first got the e-mail to review this book, I thought it was a joke. I thought it was spam … but i wanted it to be real soooo badly that I provided all of the required information, and remained hopeful.

IMG_9568

When the book Making Dough by Russell Van Kraayenburg showed up at my door step, again, I thought it was a joke. Hah, me? – review a cookbook, an actual cookbook with amazing pictures, and recipes, test out, and give my opinion on someones labour of love – stepping into their shoes and experimenting with their baking journey. Me, are you sure?!?!  

I knew i had a great task at hand.

I was honored.

Humbled.

So first, thank you Quirk Books, Pinguin Random House Canada and Russell … can I call you Russel, like we’re friends?!?!

IMG_9566 IMG_9806

I cracked open the book, loving the sound of that spine cracking and the smell of fresh pages. In the most ironic possible way … the book was “recipes and ratios for perfect pastries” hahaha … good joke. Remember how I’m crazy scared of pastries … again, was someone playing a joke on me?!?!

I thought though, this was my chance, this would actually be a true test of this book. I’m not a dainty baker, ask me to dump cake batter in a pan and bake it, done — ask me to scoop out cookies on tray suuuuurrreee … ask me to make a soufflé-fra-li-lah … yea, no, not happening. I normally put pastries/ doughs under that “ soufflé-fra-li-lah” category.

IMG_9801

As I skimmed through the book, divided by 12 key dough recipes I realized, I’m actually a big huge liar … I’m not actually scared of pastires, according to Russell’s book, I’ve actually made tons of pastries!! Scones, done it – Biscuits, nailed it … and the idea that Gnocchi is a type of Pate A Choux excited me … I thought, you know what, I can totally do this.

And then I decided to make croissants.

And not just any old kind of croissants, but poolish croissants – promised as a more “yeasty flavoured” croissant.

Review of the book:

My first reaction was, its beautiful. I flipped through the pages drooling and intrigued by recipes like Bourbon-Maple Glazed Cheddar Bacon Biscuits, Blueberry Mascarpone Hand pies and Salted Caramel Eclairs topped with Salted Caramel Popcorn … 2 words: I.DIE.  I knew it would be tough to narrow down exactly what I was going to bake.

As I continued reading, I realized this wasn’t just a cookbook – and in fact if I were to give it an alternate title – I would call it “ The Theory of Dough” the time, patience and detail included in each of the steps, the explanations included in how your dough should look as you progress through a recipe, the attention to explaining each component of your masterpiece it definitely gave me a new perspective on baking.

IMG_9810

Quite often, baking is compared to science – and I suppose it is ( although i was NEVER good at science) Russell’s book is a true testament to the science of baking. I wouldn’t say it’s overly technical, but it is extremely detailed. I would deem it a baking textbook, one that every ambitious baker should have on their shelf. There is a lot to learn, and Russell makes it easy to do so.

I would definitely refer Making Dough to a seasoned baker; while the steps included are clear and easy to follow – I found that a lot of the required tools ( a kitchen scale, candy thermometer, marble slab) just aren’t tools a home bakers like myself have on hand ( hehe … this could DEFINITELY be a hint to that Santa!!). I also found it challenging to work with weight measurements as opposed to cups, tablespoons and teaspoons.

IMG_9811IMG_9814

For those who are new to the baking game, I think this book could serve as a great method to learn the ins-and-outs of how to be a great baker … I would definitely package this book with a couple items – a food scale, thermometer, pastry brush and ruler … hhheeellllloooo foodie gift basket!! 

Baking from the book:

First … look what I made!!

IMG_9878 IMG_9872

Croissants are NOT an easy feat – I must say, this recipe has taken my baking ambition to a whole new level. I’m going to deem this a win, as a first time try but honestly, I probably won’t be making croissants again in a while.

IMG_9859

They.take.SO.long. either that, or I just lack any sort of patients!! The result was a flakey pastry and buttery center – worth the 26 hours …. Mmmm … for the smell of my home; yes – for how they actually turned out, not so much. I must have done something wrong ( and it’s very possible …) my croissants were heavy, not light and fluffy as I hoped. They also baked a lot faster than the suggested 45 minutes. While the tops were golden brown, the bottoms were toasted – not burnt, but definitely more cooked than probably necessary.

Baking from the book was relatively easy – the instructions provided are clear, and detailed. One thing that definitely stood out ( and maybe this was based on the recipe that I choose) I continuously had to flip back and forth to reference other information; as well, as I mentioned before, some of the tools required, I just didn’t have and I ended up improvising.

IMG_9860

There are a ton of other recipes I would like to try. Overall, I would say Making Dough is a keeper – ideal for any seasoned baker as a Christmas present; and a new adventure for novice bakers such as myself.

IMG_9870

My Little Happy Place and a Triple Whammy Cookbook Giveaway

I’m sitting here writing today’s blog post from a very special place…

My kitchen.

Yes – I just said My kitchen. Now, I’m sure you’re not surprised, as most food bloggers hold their kitchen near and dear to their hearts.

It’s their playground of butter, sugar, flour – where creativity takes wind and they become a culinary magician.

My kitchen – – it’s a big deal.

Except today … my kitchen, isn’t Mama and Papa LTSL’s kitchen – – it’s actually

MY kitchen.

That’s right cupcakes – – I BOUGHT A KITCHEN!! … of course, there is an entire condo attached to it – – but none of that matters (… much).

Being that I celebrated a very significant birthday this year, I wanted to do something really special for myself. I had been saving and saving … I tossed around a million and one ideas of what to do and then I realized, all along this has been my dream.

By no means do I feel like I’m getting old or into that phase where everyone begins to mention the “M –word” *gag* , in fact many have claimed I’m extremely young to have my very own condo ( that looks so weird seeing it in writing :D)  – – but before settling down I have a bit of a to do list that I want to get done.

 It’s a list that comprises of things that I need to do for myself – before I can share my life with someone else … lucky for me Mr. LTSL gets it.

He just gets it.

The list covers everything from travel, to career opportunities to owning my very own condo.

And so – – I did it 😀

And I love it.

And it was HARD work – – remember when I said I needed some time away from life, let’s just say things were not going as smoothly with all of my condo plans. But now, that is well behind me and I sit here in my clubhouse 🙂

This is a big deal for me, it reminds me that hard work does pay off – it reminds me the importance of family and the necessity of being independent and chasing your dreams.

But there’s big things for you too!! Because I love you all – – and know that the support I have received from you is irreplaceable – – I’ve got some goodies to thank you!! 

You know how I’ve been carrying on an on and on about the amazingness that is Joy Wilson – – I’m sharing the love and her coolness ( seriously, it’s far too much for me NOT to share her … I secretly – not so secretly – want to be her BFF and drink brown butter for the rest of my life)

Also, all the cool kids are playing with Amy Atlas’s Book – – so hhheerrreee yooouuu go. If you look up design genius in the old dictionary you’ll see a picture of Amy. She’s cute huh? Well her book rocks my socks from here to the moon and back…. twice.

Last – – sit down for this one – I’ve had this cookbook on pre-order since the lovely Lindsay said she was releasing a cookbook. I counted down the days until it hit the shelf and when the package arrive I did the msn banana dance (you know the one I’m talking about). I’ve looked through this book drooling and dreaming about

EVERY.SINGLE.RECIPE.

I have nightmares that the cookie monster and I will fight over the goodies that I conjure up when this book and I make sweet sweet love.

You want it.

You need it.

Here. You . go.

Please note anyone / everyone can enter.

Please leave a separate comment for each step that you take

Please also provide a valid e-mail address for me to contact le winner.

It’s easy-peasy … there are 5 different steps to take to get these babies in your hands.  You can do just one – or every single one 🙂

You will have until Midnight on Friday June 22, 2012

1)      Answer the following question “ what is one thing on your personal bucket list that you would like to accomplish and when”

2)      Answer the following question “ what was your first big purchase?”

3)      Follow @LivinLovinSweet on twitter

4)      Subscribe to the Living The sweet Life Blog

5)      Tweet the following  ” OH MY CUPCAKES!! Gimme Gimme Gimme … I want to win The @livinLovinSweet triple whammy cookbook giveaway:  https://livingthesweetlifeblog.wordpress.com/2012/06/15/myhappy-place-and-a3whammygiveaway/ ‎ “

Good Luck Cupcakes, have a lovely weekend 

Xox