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Archive for December, 2011

Butter Tarts

I had decided that this was going to be my big Christmas year. My golden/champagne Christmas if you will. For real. My 25th Christmas on the 25th of December, it’s was if all of the stars had aligned. For the past few years Christmas seemed to sneak up out of nowhere only to disappear for another 11 months. Not this year I had decided. This year I would be prepared, and excited.

Surprise, surprise the exact opposite happened. Frantically running around grabbing Christmas presents at the last minute, starting to listen to my favourite Amy Grant Christmas CD has still yet to happen, and the Christmas baking, well the Christmas baking  is still calling my name. I don’t get it. Better luck next year I guess.

At least these goodies have already made an appearance.

One of the recipes that always appears on our dessert plate at Christmas time are these butter tarts. Because this recipe belonged to my great-grandmother it has been perfected over the years and is always something that I enjoy at this time of the year.

The tarts are sweet, sweet, sweet, just the way that I like them, and they could not be any better when paired with egg nog (let’s be honest, anything could be paired with egg nog and it would be delicious!). Eaten on Christmas Eve by the fire, what more could you want to get into the spirit of the season!?

Merry Champagne Christmas!

 

Butter Tarts

Pastry

1 cup flour                 1/2 tsp salt

1/3 cup shortening     2-4 tbsp cold water

Blend flour and salt in a mixing bowl.

Cut the shortening into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Sprinkle 2 tbsp cold water over the mixture. Using a fork, mix until the dough holds together.

On a floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/2 inch thickness.

Using a cookie cutter, or cup, cut out circular shapes.

Spray muffin tins with Pam and place each tart crust into the muffin cups.

Set aside.

Tart Filling

1 cup sugar        1/2 cup currants

1/2 cup raisins   3 tbsp milk

1/2 cup butter    1 egg

1 tbsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 450F.

In a pot, boil the currants in milk. Reduce heat to low.

Add sugar, butter and the egg to the pot. Beat together until all of the sugar has dissolved.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tart shells.

Bake for 8 minutes, then reduce the oven to 350F and bake for an additional 8 minutes, or until brown.

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Sometimes things get a bit excessive over here. Like let’s take cupcakes and instead make them into a massive cake that is completely covered in rich icingand chocolate. Or how about this past week when I decided that chocolate cheesecake cupcakes were too plain for my taste? Solution…peanut butter icing. What can I say? I know what I like and in some cases I throw it all together and hope for the best.

These cupcakes are pretty good. I still don’t understand why they are called “black bottom” though, since all of the cheesecake sinks to the bottom, creating a “white bottom.” I should seriously be in charge of naming all desserts, but I digress.

These are good. I felt like they needed some sprucing up, hence the icing, but to be honest I don’t know if that was the best idea. Maybe a ganache, maybe nothing? I’ll leave that choice up to you.

I’ll be honest, these cupcakes were all about excess, and similarly, birthdays are all about excess, so I decided to combine the two this year. Can I just say that I have amazing friends. What a full weekend of celebrations, I couldn’t be more thankful for fun memories, incredible people and these cupcakes. Duh.

 

 

Black Bottom Cupcakes

8 oz package cream cheese       1 egg

1/3 cup sugar                           1/8 tsp salt

Chocolate chips                         1 pkg Devil’s Food Cake Mix

Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine cream cheese, egg, sugar and salt. Mix until well blended.

Add the chocolate chips and set aside.

Prepare the cake mix according to package instructions.

Fill paper cupcake liners 1/2 full with cake batter. Top with heaping tablespoonful of cream cheese mixture.

Bake 15-20 minutes.

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