Taylor’s 24th Birthday!

Yesterday was ridiculous. It was Taylor’s 24th birthday and we had quite the eventful day. We consumed so much sugar I don’t want to see anything sugar-related for a very, very long time. This was a day full of surprises, laughter, sugar, adventures, death-defying moments, gingerbread tea, Christmas cookies, carrot soup and spilled prosecco.

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We started off the day by surprising Taylor with a breakfast brunch. The look on her face as she walked through the door was priceless. I wish I’d had my camera set up for a video because she squealed and jumped up and down like a little girl 🙂 I made some lemon-raspberry breakfast rolls and turned my grandmother’s coffee cake recipe into a cupcake recipe, and Tamara made German pancakes and an egg-sausage dish. I have a few pictures of the breakfast foods to go with the recipes and Tamara has some really great pictures of everything that we’ll hopefully get soon.

After brunch, we made our way back to Taylor’s apartment to get ready for our tree-finding expedition! Boy oh boy was this an adventure. We had plans to go out to a Christmas tree farm in North Plains that Taylor had written an article on, but after turning around to avoid one snowy, icy hill we got a little stuck going up another one. We had little to no traction and didn’t particularly feel like sliding down an embankment, so we backed down the hill very slowly, turned around and went to a tree lot where we found Charlie, the perfect little Christmas tree. Isn’t he adorable?

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After the slight Christmas tree debacle we spent the rest of the evening baking and decorating peppermint sugar cookies and gingerbread cookies while eating a really delicious carrot soup with tahini and crisped chickpeas. It was the perfect dinner to counterbalance all of the sugar we had consumed already.

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The white chocolate peppermint cookies recipe below is the one I told you guys I was working on a couple of weeks ago. I have finally perfected it, and I’m ready to share it with you. I’ll warn you though, you won’t be able to eat just one 🙂 To end the evening we had a little “Team High Bun” photoshoot. It was great!

Lemon-Raspberry Breakfast Rolls: 

Via

Ingredients:

Dough: 

  • 1 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 1/4 cups A.P. flour, plus 1/2 cup for kneading

Filling: 

  • 1 heaping cup raspberries (if using frozen, don’t thaw)
  • 1/3 cup sugar, plus 1/2 cup sugar for dusting
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, browned and slightly cooled

Glaze: 

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. water

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the milk to about 95 degrees.  Pour the warm milk into the bow of an electric stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment.  Stir the sugar and yeast into the warm milk and let sit for 5 to 7 minutes.  The yeast will foam and bubble.  That’s how you know it’s alive.  After frothy, add the butter, eggs, lemon zest, and sea salt to the yeast mixture.  Add 4 1/4 cups flour.  Beat on low speed with the paddle attachment for 2 minutes.  Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and replace the paddle with a dough hook.  Beat dough with the dough hook on medium speed for about 10 minutes.
  2. Dust a clean counter with flour.  Scrape the dough out onto the work surface.  Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of flour and knead for about 2 minutes.  Dough will be soft and slightly sticky.
  3. Place dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl.  Sprinkle a bit of flour on top of the dough.  Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel, and place in a slightly warm place to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  4. While dough rises, grease a 9×13-inch pan with butter.  Set aside.
  5. In a medium bowl toss together raspberries, sugar, lemon zest, and cornstarch.  Crush the raspberries just slightly as  you stir.  Set aside.
  6. In a medium saucepan, melt butter until it is browned and fragrant.  Set aside to cool slightly.
  7. When the dough has doubled in size, turn out onto a floured work surface and gently knead for 1 minute.  Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a roughly 10×20-inch rectangle.
  8. Spread the butter over the dough.  Spread the filling over the dough.  Raspberries will be here and there across the dough.  Sprinkle the dough and fruit with 1/2 cup granulated sugar.
  9. Working quickly, tightly roll up the dough into a 20-inch long log.  Cut the log into quarters, then cut each quarter into 3 pieces.  Carefully and quickly lift the rolls into the prepared pan.  The rolls will release juice into the bottom if the pan.  That’s fine!  Cover pan with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rest in a warm place for 1 hour, until puffed.
  10. Preheat oven to 400°F.  Bake rolls for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden and bubbling.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes.
  11. In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, lemon juice, and water.  Drizzle glaze over cooled rolls and serve.  Rolls are best served the day they are made but will last up to 3 days well wrapped at room temperature.

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Garney’s Coffee Cake Cupcakes: 

Ingredients:

Cupcakes: 

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup golden syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup A.P. flour
  • 2 tsp. instant espresso powder
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Frosting: 

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 3 tsp. espresso powder dissolved in 2 tsp. hot water

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake tin with 12 cupcake liners.
  2. In a saucepan set over medium-low heat, combine sugar, butter, syrup and salt. Heat, stirring, until butter melts (do not boil). Remove from heat and cool.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, espresso powder and baking powder.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and vanilla. Whisk the cooled syrup mixture. Gently stir this mixture into the flour until combined. Scoop into cupcake liners and cook for 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool.
  5. Beat butter and powdered sugar until well combined. Add coffee mixture and stir to combine. Place frosting into piping bag and pipe onto cupcakes. Top with chocolate sprinkles (optional).

White Chocolate Peppermint Cookies: 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. peppermint extract
  • 3 cups A.P. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. hot water
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 cup Andes peppermint crunch bits (if you can’t find these, crushed candy canes will also work)
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla and peppermint extract. Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Add to batter along with salt and cream of tartar. Stir in flour, peppermint crunch bits, and white chocolate chips.
  3. Drop tablespoon size balls onto lined baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until edges are nicely browned.

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Carrot Soup with Tahini and Crisped Chickpeas: 

Via

Ingredients:

Soup: 

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 pounds carrots, peeled, diced or thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1/4 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt, plus more if needed
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups vegetable broth

Crisped Chickpeas: 

  • 1 3/4 cup cooked chickpeas, or 1 15-oz. can, drained and patted dry
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin

Lemon-Tahini Dollop: 

  • 3 tbsp. tahini paste
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • pinch or two of salt
  • 2 tbsp. water

Pita wedges – garnish: 

  • A few large pitas, cut into 8 wedges
  • Olive oil, to brush pitas

Directions:

  1. Heat two tablespoons olive oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add carrots, onion, garlic, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper flakes and sauté until they begin to brown, about 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat your oven to 425°F. Toss chickpeas with one tablespoon olive oil, salt and cumin until they’re all coated. Spread them on a baking sheet or pan and roast them in the oven until they’re browned and crisp. This can take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the size and firmness of your chickpeas. Toss them occasionally to make sure they’re toasting evenly.
  3. Once vegetables have begun to brown, add broth, using it to scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Cover pot with lid and simmer until carrots are tender, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small dish, whisk together tahini, lemon juice, salt and water until smooth with a yogurt-like consistency. If more liquid is needed to thin it, you can add more lemon juice or water, a spoonful at a time, until you get your desired consistency.
  5. Spread pita wedges on a second baking sheet and brush lightly with olive oil. Toast in oven with chickpeas until brown at edges, about 5 minutes.
  6. Puree soup in a blender or with an immersion blender until smooth. Ladle into bowls. Dollop each with lemon-tahini, sprinkle with crisped chickpeas and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve with pita wedges.

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Gingerbread Cookies: 

Ingredients:

Cookies: 

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup unsulphured molasses

Frosting: 

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. milk

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
  2. In another bowl or electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and molasses and beat until well combined. Gradually add the flour mixture, beating until incorporated. Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (at least 2 hours).
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Use gingerbread cookie cutters to cut out cookies and place on baking sheet. Bake for 8-12 minutes, until they are firm and the edges are beginning to brown. Remove cookies from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  5. For the frosting, beat the butter until smooth and well blended. Add vanilla, powdered sugar and milk and beat until frosting is light and fluffy. Add food colouring if desired, and decorate.

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Peppermint Sugar Cookies: 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. peppermint extract
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Cover and chill dough for at least one hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Roll out dough onto floured surface 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes.
  3. Bake 6-8 minutes. Cool completely, then decorate.

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“Team High Bun Trifecta!”

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Happy eating, everyone!!

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