Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

I had never really been a fan of Gingerbread anything (sorry!)…I always found the spice was a little too nice and it never really tasted that good. I’m realizing as I’m getting older (sigh) that my taste-buds are changing and things I never used to like, or be drawn to, I’m giving another try – and liking them! To my surprise this Christmas season, Gingerbread Cookies happened to be one of those things.

Follow along to see some snaps on making and decorating the Gingerbread Cookies! The recipe below was adapted from Gimme Some Oven. I didn’t include the icing sugar recipe, since I prefer to use the already pre-made and pre-coloured icing from the grocery store or bulk barn!

A very special thank you to @MagicInColours Photography for the great shots! You can follow her on Facebook to see more of her work or if you’re in the GTA and want some shots taken – get in touch with her there!

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Ingredients:

Gingerbread Cookies Recipe:

  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • Icing + Sprinkles/Decorations

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, cloves, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.
  2. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together for 2 minutes on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.  Add in eggs and molasses, and beat on medium speed until combined. Reduce mixer speed to low, and gradually add the flour mixture until just combined.
  3. Divide the dough into two equal portions, and form them each into a ball.  Then flatten each ball into a 1-inch thick disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
  4. Heat the oven to 350°F.  Unwrap the dough and place it on a large, lightly-floured hard surface.  Use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough evenly until it is approximately 1/4-inch thick.  Then use your favorite cookie cutters to cut out your desired shapes, re-rolling the dough as needed to cut out more.  Transfer to parchment-covered baking sheets.
  5. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
  6. Once the cookies are room temperature, DECORATE!

 
Don’t have the time to whip up this recipe? Check out my fast (and easy) holiday baking favourites here!

Merry Christmas!

lxiv

Best Holiday Baking Recipes

I don’t know about you, but my sweet tooth comes out in full force during the holidays. There’s something about making homemade sweet amazingness baked goods that just puts you right in the Christmas spirit. Here in Toronto we have about a foot of snow on the ground and we’re expecting more this week, so it just feels so right when you have a cup of hot chocolate and a couple (4+) sugar cookies to snuggle up on the couch with.

This holiday I actually have the time to bake since I am no longer in the retail industry. To be honest, Christmas is WAY less stressful and I am actually able to spend quality time with the people I love and do fun and festive activities! Christmas is also way less stressful this year because both Adam and my family decided to do “secret” Santa for all of our gifts. You can probably guess why secret is in quotations…it’s never really a secret by the end of it – especially when you want to get gifts that people will actually use/like. Not only are we doing this as a money saving option, but we’re making it more about what Christmas is truly all about; spending time with people you love versus spending a ton of money on gifts!

With that being said, don’t show up to your holiday outings or quality time with friends and family empty handed! Below is a round up of my top 5 favourite (and easy) holiday recipes that you can make for your holiday gatherings. Some have a few more steps to them, and others you can whip up last minute and it will still be amazing!

1. Gingerbread Cookies.

Stay tuned for a blog post on this one soon! This recipe is SO simple and the cookies turned out amazing! Screen Shot 2017-12-17 at 9.23.38 AM

 

2. No Bake Peanut Butter Balls

I’ve made these without the graham crackers that this recipe calls for and it still tastes amazing, so if you don’t have that ingredient handy in your cupboard, I wouldn’t sweat it!

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3. Three Ingredient Cookies and Cream Fudge

I posted this recipe last year on my blog for the #12DaysOfChristmas series. This is my ultimate favourite recipe. It takes no time at all to make. Just be sure to factor in the time it takes to place harden in the freezer!

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4. Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

The mix of shortbread cookie and chocolate is the best combo ever. Here are two different versions because I love the idea of using Hershey kisses that are pictured below,  but I don’t love the recipe that was used… cornstarch is 100% not the right ingredient for this (in my opinion). I use Martha Stewart’s version and it turns out amazing! Be sure not to over cook this recipe, I put them in the oven for the shortest time and trust me – they are done even if they don’t quite look it! PS. I’m loving the interactive elements on Martha Stewart, where you can actually check off each ingredient and steps as you go through the recipe.

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5. Sugar Cookies!

Of course, this classic make the list! Sugar cookies aren’t as difficult as you think! This recipe even shows you how to decorate your cookie like a pro! No royal icing required.

Quick tip: I use the already made icing, I found them in huge tubes at Bulk Barn and Walmart this year and they are so easy to work with. If you want to do details though, I would probably stick to the real deal, but this was easy for flooding the cookies!

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What’s your favourite holiday baking recipe? Have any that you must make every holiday season? Let me know in the comments below!

Stay connected with me on social media to get even more inspiration! 

Instagram: @stephhdavis
Twitter: @stephhdavis

Merry Christmas!
lxiv

Easy Meal Prep Ideas for Lunch or Dinner!

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Yesterday I participated in my first ever CrossFit Competition for our box, CrossFit Canuck, who turned 5 years old today! The gym hosted a in-house competition, “The Canuck Games”, in true CrossFit fashion to celebrate this milestone!

The Canuck Games was an all day event with 5 partner WODs total and let me tell you – it was HARD. I would consider myself fairly athletic, but I was never part of any sports teams during High School or University (even though I was asked to join a few). Instead, I focused on Student Council, my singing and my studies. I never thought I had time to work out or join a sports team. But since I’ve been doing CrossFit, I can’t tell you how happy I am! Sure, there are bad days and good days like anything else, but I can’t explain how wonderful it feels when you lift something above your head that you never thought you could. The strength portion surprises me every time I step up to the bar.

I’ve been a little more aware of how I’m fueling my body since joining CF. I knew before joining CrossFit that I didn’t feel like I was getting the proper amount of nutrients (honestly, I still don’t feel like that 60% of the time) and I’ve been putting in a lot of time into researching this and ensuring that I’m nourishing my body properly! Meal prep has been a savior for me since I’m a very busy person and want to do a million things all at once. If I don’t meal prep,  I am so so guilty of picking up fast food because with a billion excuses like “time is of the essence” and/or “I’m too tired (or lazy) to whip some actual food together”. This is a continual challenge for me and something I will keep working on!

Since I’ve been doing so much research myself, I figured I would share with you my meal prep for this week. Mind you, it isn’t everything that I will eat all week and I did make some Healthy Oatmeal Cinnamon Cookies to go with this that I will post in a later blog post, but it does give you an idea of some of my go-to favourites for meal prep.

The amount of food I made today will last my hubby (I can finally say that now!!) and I about 2-3 days of lunches or dinners. I usually will pre-pack the food and then leave some extras in separate containers to mix in with different meat or different sides for variation because I can get really bored, really fast and I am definitely the type of person who will leave food in the fridge for months because I didn’t feel like eating it….

IMG_0259On the menu this week was Italian seasoned Chicken Breast with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Carrots with Green Beans. For snacks this week I packed Veggies with Roasted Red Pepper Hummas, some Dark Chocolate and Cherry Kashi Granola Bars, Vanilla Greek Yogurt and Fruit!

IMG_0260I used the Club House Italiano seasoning blend as a dry rub on the chicken breasts and cooked them in the oven first. Then for the sweet potatoes and carrots, I peeled them and diced them, used about a tablespoon of olive oil and seasoned with garlic powder, salt and pepper. My favourite way to prepare the sweet potatoes is by Grocery Girl. I season the potatoes differently and add other vegetables, but the cook time is how I prepare them! Finally, nothing fancy for the green beans – they are boiled and seasoned with salt and pepper. You could easily add some Parmesan and Garlic for some extra taste.

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I usually roast beets with the sweet potatoes and carrots, but opted to boil them this time and then peel the skin off. I seasoned them with garlic, salt and pepper, diced them and put them in a separate container in the fridge to grab as a side for any other meal.

IMG_0262Below is the recipe breakdown for how I made our meals this week.

Italiano Chicken Breast

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • Club House italiano seasoning
  1. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Place chicken breasts on sheet and season both sides of the breast evenly.
  3. Cook in the oven for 15 minutes, then flip the chicken and place back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes. The time may vary depending on your oven!
  4. Allow to cool, and cut into desired sizes for meal prep!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Carrots

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  1. Peel and dice the potatoes and carrot.
  2. In a bowl, mix the potatoes, carrot, olive oil and seasoning until well combined and all of the vegetables are coated.
  3. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  4. Ensure all of the vegetables are flat on the baking sheet and ensure you don’t overcrowd the veggies!
  5. Cook in the oven for 15 minutes, then give them a little mix with a spoon for even baking and bake for another 10 minutes. I usually test the vegetables with a fork to see if they are the right tenderness for me, so adjust your cook time for your preference!

 

What are you go-to meal prep foods? Share them with me below!

lxiv

Recipe: No Bake Energy Protein Balls

Hello again!

I’m sorry for neglecting this blog. Life has been busy planning for the wedding and keeping busy this summer. I’ve also been dedicating quite a bit of time to eating well and going to Crossfit (which I am totally loving by the way!). I have seen what a huge difference eating well and exercise has on your mental health along with your physical health. It has not been easy, that’s for sure. And according to the scale, I haven’t lost too much. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing since I can see changes in my body and that I’m gaining more muscle. I will more than likely share some of the things I’ve been doing to help guide me on a healthier lifestyle! For now, here’s a recipe I made a long time ago but never had the time or drive to post. Follow along below to see the full recipe!

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What you’ll need:

  • 1 Cup of Oats
  • 1 Cup of Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 cup of Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey (not pictured)

The beauty of this recipe is that you can add/subtract whatever you want from the ingredients!

Mix all of the ingredients together, roll into balls and refrigerate! I typically will place them in smaller containers or little bags so that they are ready for me to grab and go!

More to come on this little blog of mine, and I will promise to try to post more regularly! I have a lot of content ideas and can’t wait to share!

Let me know below if you’re going to try this recipe in the comments below.

Happy Healthy Baking,

lxiv

Recipe: Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Last week, I was in the mood for baking! I feel like after Christmas time everyone goes on a baking hiatus from sweet baked overload. Now that the spring weather is slowly creeping in, it felt like the right time to make something yummy.  After searching Pinterest for what seemed like hours, I finally found this recipe: Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies. Um, yes please! I used Sally’s Baking Addiction’s recipe, but did change a few things.

For instance, I used Funfetti Cake Mix instead of vanilla and did not add white chocolate chips. I didn’t need to chill the dough either, it was thick enough that I was able to just roll the dough onto the baking sheet. However, Sally’s technique with rolling the dough more vertically worked really well and I will definitely continue doing that in the future! A couple of additional tips: If you’re using the funfetti cake mix, don’t use as many sprinkles! And two, use parchment paper instead of just an ungreased cookie sheet. The cookies came out much more fluffy.

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 and 1/4 cup Funfetti cake mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sprinkles

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix flour, cake mix, and baking soda. Set aside.
  2. Mix the melted butter and sugars together. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until well combined.
  3. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Add the chocolate chips and sprinkles. Mix until they are evenly distributed throughout the dough!
  4. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  5. Scoop rounded balls of dough onto baking sheet. *This is where you can see Sally’s Baking Addiction’s great tip!*
  6. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes until edges are slightly browned.
  7. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Happy Baking!

lxiv

12 Days of Christmas: Easy Christmas Fudge

I love to bake during the Holiday season, but sometimes I don’t have all day to dedicate to baking. This was the case a couple of days ago before I hosted my “Cookies, Cocktails and Christmas Cheer” party with my cousins and aunts! I wanted to still make something home made, but didn’t have the time to make a full assortment of holiday baked goods. Solution? Easy and quick to make treats that will impress your guests! First up for Post #2 of #12DaysOfChristmas is Cookies & Cream Fudge!

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This recipe is only 3 ingredients! Yes, you read that correctly! So simply and such a crowd favourite! I followed the recipe from Hidden Ponies Blog, check out her version of the recipe here.

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What you’ll need:

  • 8″x 8″ round or square baking dish (I used round since that’s what I had and it worked just as good!)
  • Large bowl
  • Parchment paper
  • Spatula
  • Ingredients!

Ingredients:

  • 2 packages White Chocolate Chips
  • 1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 package Oreo Cookies (approx 20 Cookies), chopped

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, add the chocolate chips and can of condensed milk.
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  2. Place in microwave for 45 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir. img_1924
  3. Place back in microwave for 30 seconds. Remove and stir.
  4. Repeat step 3 until the mixture is smooth. DO NOT OVER MICROWAVE! (I only needed to repeat step 3 once!).
  5. Chop Oreo cookies. img_1926
  6. Add half of the chopped cookies to the bowl and combine.
  7. Line baking dish with parchment paper and pour mixture into dish.
  8. Sprinkle the remaining cookies on top of the mixture in the baking dish. Press down lightly to ensure they are firmly in the mixture. img_1931
  9. Place uncovered in the fridge overnight.
  10. Remove from dish, cut into pieces and serve!

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That’s it! Do you have a favourite fudge flavour? Or easy to make holiday recipe? Let me comments below!

lxiv

The Best S’Mores Bar Recipe

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I’m sitting here dreaming of Christmas, and what better way to kick off the Holiday Season than by posting a yummy, cozy, gooey treat?! I adapted this recipe from Wine & Glue and made these on a whim! I am so happy with how they turned out. This is a simple recipe to follow and I break it down into three separate layers to complete the entire bar.

The final product is 100% messy to eat – but well worth it! I thought this would be a nice post before I kick off the 12 Days of Christmas here on lxiv. Christmas is absolutely one of my favourite times of the year. I love the cozy warm glow from the Christmas tree, to the crisp cool air and the hot beverage in a beautiful mug. It’s a time to bring people together and enjoy the company and laughter of others. Stay tuned for some fun DIY, Christmas decor, recipes, some collaborations and more!!

Follow along below to see how I made these tasty treats.

Graham Cracker Crust Ingredients

  • Graham crackers (enough to line your pan, then crush!)
  • 6 tbsp melted unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp sugar

Cookie Layer Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg

Top Layer Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cup mini marshmallows

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9″ x 13″ baking pan with cooking spray or coat with butter or coconut oil.

Graham Cracker Crust:

  1. Crush the graham crackers (easiest way is to put them in a bag and use a rolling pin to crush them!).
  2. Mix together the crushed graham crackers, butter and sugar. Then press onto bottom of baking pan.

Cookie Layer:

  1. In a new bowl, mix flour, salt, and baking powder.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat the sugar and butter together until creamy on medium speed with a hand or stand mixer for about two minutes.
  3. Add egg and vanilla until just combined. Next, add flour mixture until completely combined.
  4. Ensure you do not handle the cookie dough too much! You will need to spread the dough on top of the graham crust. This was the trickiest part! Work your way from the corners of the pan into the middle by spreading dough in your hands and gently pressing it on top of the crust. In other words, make mini pancakes by flattening the dough between your hands and place on top of the graham cracker crust. You cannot move or spread the cookie dough once placed, as it will start to lift the crust off of the pan. Another idea would be to pipe the dough onto the crust, using a clear plastic bag and cutting a little hole in the corner.

Top Layer:

  1. Next, spread the marshmallows and chocolate chips over the cookie dough. Then pour the condensed milk.
  2. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the marshmallows turn golden brown.
  3. Wait for the pan to cool before cutting! The bars are very crumbly, so don’t be surprised if they do not cut or serve perfectly.

Et, Voila! Yields approximately 20 squares (depending on the size you cut them!).

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What’s your favourite holiday dessert? Let me know in the comments below!

 

lxiv