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Hi friends! It's been SO long since I've been on here and it's definitely time I posted something to share with all of you! I hope everyone is staying healthy during these tough times and that through it all, you are able to find a reason to smile each and every day-it's important:) By sharing these delightful little cuties with you I hope that maybe they'll be just that reason. After all, right now I'm sure we could all use a little something that is fun, lighthearted and that makes us feel like a kid, the simple, happy stuff.


We made our batch of Easter almond-coconut chick macaroons today and they'll be our "something sweet" after our big meal on Sunday (and because they're fluffy and lighter, they can be enjoyed in their entirety!). They're a cinch to create, take only a few ingredients, a little bit of time and a perfect family activity. Coconut has to be one of my very absolute favorite flavours (the equal other being almond), so I was set with the intent of finding something that could combine both (a perfect taste for spring) and be our special holiday dessert. Within minutes of scrolling the pages of Pinterest for something to inspire me I came across SO many fantastic ideas but these ones were exactly what I had in mind. To make the full sized chicks as we did you will get about 4-6 (depending on your size of bodies and heads) out of a single batch of the macaroon recipe below. We doubled the recipe so that we would have extra chicks to enjoy throughout the week and it made 12.


Almond-Coconut Macaroon Chicks

(recipe for macaroons from kitchn)


3 cups sweetened (we used unsweetened), shredded coconut

4 large egg whites

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract (we used almond)

1/4 teaspoon salt


Simple Icing


Confenctioners Sugar

Food colouring

Milk


Preheat oven to 350 and line baking sheet with parchment paper. Toast coconut flakes in a pan over low and stir for deeper coconut flavor and extra-crispy macaroons (optional)-we did not. Or spread the coconut on a baking sheet and toast until just barely starting to show some color-5 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly before using.


Whisk egg whites, sugar, vanilla or almond extract and salt together in bowl until combined and the mixture is frothy.


Add the coconut to the mixture and stir until moistened-I found it easiest to use my hands for this. With wet hands to prevent sticking (dip just your finger tips into a bowl of water), shape the coconut mixture into desired shapes (we made large and small balls for the bodies and heads) and space them an inch or so apart on the baking sheet.


Bake the macaroons until golden-brown, 15 to 20 minutes.


Let the macaroons cool for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack or large piece of parchment paper to cool completely.



For icing mix a small amount (start with a tsp) of milk and confectioners sugar together until you make a very stiff paste (be careful to not make it too runny or it wont hold it's shape when piped). Add food colouring as needed to create your desired colours and place in a piping bag or Ziploc bag (snip corner or end of bag). Repeat this step for as many colours as you would like to use.



Pipe on the eyes and beaks for each chick and then use white simple sugar to connect the heads and bodies, and if any of the macaroons start to come apart or crack, use the same icing to fill and press back together:) Let set for about 1 hour before serving or storing in an airtight container.





Little hands hard at work on their feathered friends....





We're going to be serving ours on plates just like this for each person at the table-how sweet!



You could also pipe little legs onto the plate to add just that little bit more detail!


Happy Easter!!














This Valentine's Day treat is super easy and quick to make-no baking required! Simply use your most favourite no-bake cookie recipe, portion out your cookies to the sizes you want, let them cool, shape, freeze, package and give! And just in case you might need a great recipe for the occasion I'm sharing the one I used below, from Cooking Classy. The kids and I whipped up our batch one afternoon and then went for a walk while they cooled, once we returned I shaped and then froze them (this not only helps the cookies maintain their heart shape, but it keeps them fresher and chewy-the way we prefer all of our cookies!


These treats are perfect for giving to any Valentine whether it be a teacher, friend, family or neighbour...but don't forget to show some love for yourself too and save a few for later;)


Ingredients


1/2 cup salted butter (I used unsalted)

1 3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

2/3 cup creamy peanut butter

3 cups quick oats (I used old fashioned)

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (my addition)


Line several baking sheets or a counter space with parchment paper. In a medium saucepan combine butter, sugar, cocoa and milk, melt over medium heat (stirring often) until it reaches a boil. Let boil for 60 seconds without stirring (be sure to do this at FULL boil). Remove from heat and immediately add vanilla, peanut butter and oats, combine. Drop mixture onto parchment paper using a spoon or small ice cream/cookie dough scoop (or larger if you desire). Allow to cool for 20-30 minutes at room temperature or place in the fridge to speed the process up (we let ours sit on the counter for 1 hour at room temperature and then shaped the cookies into hearts before placing them on a cookie sheet in the freezer). Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature (like most of our cookies, we like to keep ours in the freezer and enjoy them cold and chewy!!).


For giving as valentines, simply package them up into small bags or boxes and seal with a pretty ribbon and tag or just a heart shaped sticker, Happy Valentine's Day!



I made this chocolate cake and ganache icing from Ina Garten's cookbook "Cook Like A Pro" for our Christmas meal dessert this year and it was a hit with everyone. It might very well become one of my chocolate cake go-to recipes from now on. It's super quick to make and mega dense and rich-just the way chocolate cake should be in my opinion;). I know a lot of you may have likely already tried it but if by chance you haven't you should, put it on your "next chocolate cake to make" list and I can guarantee you will be happy you did!


Ingredients:


1/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature

1 cup sugar

4 extra-large eggs at room temperature

1 1/3 cups Hershey's chocolate syrup

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

For the ganache:

1/2 cup heavy cream

8 ounces good semisweet chocolate chips

1 teaspoon instant coffee granules


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour an 8-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. In bowl of an electric mixer cream the butter and sugar with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time. Mix in chocolate syrup and vanilla. Add flour and mix until just combined. Don't overbeat, or the cake will be tough.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until just set in the middle. Be sure not to overbake, I started checking mine at about 35 minutes! Let cool thoroughly in the pan.


For the ganache, cook the heavy cream, chocolate chips, and instant coffee in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally. I opted to leave the coffee granules out (to make it a bit more kiddo friendly).


Once cooled place the cake upside down on a wire rack and pour the glaze evenly over the top, making sure to cover the entire cake and sides. You can tilt the rack to smooth the glaze. Keep it at room temperature and do not refrigerate. The recipe shows a chevron pattern which it also gives instructions on how to create-we just kept ours a simple chocolate coating as pictured and it was devine!



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