The Twelve Days of Christmas: Two Turtle Doves

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

turtle doves (1)

The Twelve Days of Christmas recipes continue!!  Today’s theme is two turtle doves, and might I say this recipe is MUCH simpler than the last one.  It took very little time to make these and they are relatively simple.  To read about my Partridge in a Pear Tree recipe, click here.  I love turtles.  When I was growing up nothing excited me more than the orange turtle box under the tree.  My mom would leave it unwrapped since my dad would always go snooping for them, and by the time Christmas day would come around there would be none left.  She actually started buying two boxes of them because we just couldn’t help ourselves!  These turtle doves are essentially your basic run of the mill turtles, cloaked in white chocolate with a milk chocolate drizzle topping.  They are freaking fantastic.  I snagged this recipe from Woman’s Day Magazine’s December issue.

What you’ll need:  1 heaping cup of pecan halves, 16 soft caramel candies, 1 cup of white chocolate, 1/4 cup of milk chocolate and 1 tbsp plus 1/4 tbsp of shortening, divided.

The first step is roasting your pecans.  Toss a heaping cup of pecans onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 350 F degrees for about 10 minutes.  Make sure the pecans are arranged in a single layer, not overlapping, in order to get evenly roasted pecans.  Once the pecans have cooled, divide them into 16 clusters.

turtle doves (7)

Next, add a soft caramel candy to the top of each cluster.  Try to arrange it so that it is at the top of the cluster, touching multiple pecans.  I actually flattened the caramels a little bit so that they would better coat the pecans.  Place in over, set to broil, and bake for 2 to 3 minutes or until the caramel has melted.  Watch your caramels carefully, it can burn very easily if you’re not paying attention.

turtle doves (8)

turtle doves (9)

Let the melted caramel cool.  Meanwhile, melt white chocolate and shortening  in a double boiler, in a microwave, or in a heat safe bowl atop a pot.  Once melted, spoon heaps of the white chocolate over the pecan and caramel cluster.  Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes, or until hardened.

turtle doves (10)

Melt the milk chocolate as you did the white, and then drizzle over the white chocolate.  Return to the fridge to cool.  I left them in for about a half hour.

turtle doves (2)

These taste really good.  Let them soften to room temperature before serving or you will be biting into a really hard caramel center.

turtle doves (3)

Annnd that’s pretty much it… super simple right?  With cooling time in the fridge it took me about an hour from start to finish.  They’re a great gift to give at Christmas – especially for Turtle lovers.  Pop them in a home decorated box, wrap and send – it’s that easy.

turtle doves (4)

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

Chocolate Covered Oreo Cheesecake Balls

photo 5

So I have a secret, a guilty pleasure if you will, maybe even an obsession – with cheesecake.  I love cheesecake.  I think it is my favourite dessert ever, of all time.  Every time I order dessert at a restaurant, it’s cheesecake.  Always.  So when I discovered that I can roll cheesecake into a tiny bite sized ball and cover it in chocolate, I was sold.  Chocolate covered Oreo cheesecake balls.  So freaking amazing.  This recipe is incredibly easy, which is one of the reasons why I decided to add it to my list of recipes that I would be making this year.  I have a few more things on my Christmas baking bucket list that I want to make, but as anyone who bakes at Christmas knows, the easier the recipe the better,  especially if you’re making a lot of different items for a lot of different people.   photo 3

For this recipe, you will need a few simple ingredients:  one package of cream cheese, one package of Oreos, 2 cups of melted chocolate and 2 tbsp of shortening.  I always add shortening to my melted chocolate as it will make the chocolate thinner and more manageable when coating.

photo 4

This recipe is super simple: using a food processor, crush Oreos until finely ground.  If you don’t have a food processor, toss the Oreos in a large Ziploc bag and crush the cookies using a rolling pin.  
photo 1

Mix the crushed Oreos with the cream cheese (softened), and once combined, form the mixture into small balls, about 1/2 oz each.  Pop the Oreo cheesecake balls into the fridge for at least 30 minutes.  Once the balls are hardened, toss them in the melted chocolate and shortening mixture, one by one, and place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.  Let cool for another 20 to 30 minutes.  I add red chocolate drizzle to coat the cheesecake balls in order to give them a little Christmas colour.

photo 2

Chocolate Covered Oreo Cheesecake Balls


1 (18-ounce) package Oreo cookies
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening


1. Crush the Oreos using a food processor, or by adding the Oreos to a Ziploc bag and crushing them using a rolling pin.

2. Using a spoon, press, mix and stir until the cream cheese is completely mixed into the Oreo crumbs and you have a soft, homogeneous mixture.

3. Roll the mixture into small 1/2 oz. balls (equal to about 2 tsp)  and place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

4.  Using a double boiler (or microwave, or heat safe bowl atop a pot)  melt chocolate and shortening together.  Place the cooled cheesecake Oreo balls into the melted chocolate, one at a time, until fully coated.  Use a fork to lift the balls from the mixture, tapping against the side of your bowl to remove excess chocolate.  Place back on baking sheet and cool in the refrigerated until the chocolate has hardened (10 to 15 minutes).

Told you it was simple! Try them – they are amazing.  Everyone loves cheesecake, right?  So it’s pretty well a must make.  Happy Baking!

The All About Eggnog Post

Happy December!  With only a few weeks until Christmas, I thought I would share some “Christmas Flavoured” treats today.  One Christmas flavour that I have always loved is eggnog. Well, I’m actually not a huge fan of just plain old eggnog, but add a little spiced rum and I’m sold.  I stumbled upon a recipe for eggnog cookies with an eggnog glaze a few weeks ago and I immediately put it on my Christmas baking bucket list.  I also found an eggnog fudge recipe that I was dying to try, especially since I’ve never made fudge before, and I was curious of the process.  Both these recipes were actually relatively simple and they both taste absolutely freaking phenomenal.  Eggnog flavoured cookies and fudge are a must for your Christmas baking this year.  I scooped the fudge recipe from recipegirl[dot]com  and found the eggnog cookie recipe from yourcupofcake[dot]com.

eggnog (2)

I really love these cookies because they are the right kind of chewy while still having enough of a fluffy, airy texture.  I’m a huge hater of crunchy cookies, so these really fit the yummy bill when it came to it’s chewyness.  I also like that while these are eggnog cookies, it’s not all you taste when you bite into them.  This cookie has a great combination of flavours and the added eggnog glaze really gives it a kick of extra sweetness in every bite.  I REALLY loved these.  But, since I’m not a “oh my goodness eggnog is my favourite thing EVER” kind of girl, I decided to bring them along to my bestie’s house for a taste test.  She is a true eggnog lover.  She loved them and had no complaints… and my have even been a little sad that I didn’t bring more.  They passed the taste test from a true eggnog lover so trust me when I say that they will not disappoint you.

eggnog (4)

When baking I made the cookie mounds relatively small.   The recipe yielded about 24 medium-small-ish cookies.  Make sure when baking that the cookie mounds are well separated as the spread our quite a bit when baked.  Bake for 15 to 18 minutes.  You can glaze the cookies warm or cooled and then sprinkle with cinnamon and serve.

eggnog (8)
Eggnog Cookies



  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup eggnog
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Eggnog Glaze

  • 1 ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons eggnog


1. Preheat oven to 350°F Degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and lightly spray with non stick cooking spray.
2. Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.
3. Cream sugar and butter until light.  Add eggnog, vanilla, and egg yolks; beat at medium speed with mixer until smooth.
4. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined.  Do not over mix
5. Spoon dough mounds onto the prepared baking sheet, making the balls relatively small, as they will spread generously in the oven.  Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg.
6. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until the edges barely start to brown.
7.  While cookies are in the oven, make the eggnog glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar with 3 tbsp eggnog.
8.  Gaze your cookies warm or cooled and top with cinnamon.
Like I said, these cookies taste REALLY good, and will make an excellent addition to your Christmas baking.  Next came the fudge.  When I was a kid my parents traveled alot from Northern Ontario to Southern Ontario because of the type of work they did.  We made it a tradition to stop off at a trading post 45 minutes south of Sudbury to have a quick bite to eat and do some local shopping.  My mom would always buy me a small brick of Maple Fudge – it was my treat every time we went.  Since we only bought fudge when we took the long drive up to Sudbury, I just assumed it was the only place you could get “real fudge”.  Even when I learnt that you could buy fudge elsewhere, it still seemed like a really special, unattainable treat that one could not just simply make in your own kitchen.  Of course, during my baking escapades I have come to the realization that there is no recipe that is too complicating or too difficult to make in your own kitchen.  When I found this eggnog fudge recipe, my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to give it a go alongside my eggnog cookies.

eggnog (6)

The fudge making process is simple really.  You just have to be prepared to work quickly when mixing your ingredients as you don’t want your mixture to start cooling while you’re still combining.  Start by bringing the sugar, eggnog and butter to a boil.  Continue to boil the mixture on medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes.  Make sure you are stirring constantly so that the eggnog mixture doesn’t burn.

eggnog (9)

Remove from heat and mix in the white chocolate and nutmeg.  Continue to stir until the chocolate is melted.  Stir in the marshmallow cream (you will likely find this in the ice cream cone aisle…surprisingly enough) and rum extract (maybe next time we use real rum 😉 ?).  Beat the mixture until everything is well combined.  Pour into a foil lined and greased pan, sprinkle with nutmeg and cool.

eggnog (10)

Ensure that the fudge is completely cooled and has hardened before you cut it, or it will break apart.  I popped mine into the freezer once it had cooled to room temperature in order to speed up the cooling process.  This fudge was REALLY tasty.  I cut the fudge into very small squares (since it’s so sweet.. you don’t need much and it will hit the spot) – it made about 30 squares.

eggnog (12)

Eggnog Fudge


  • 2 cups granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 3/4 cup eggnog
  • 10.5 ounces white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, plus a little more for the top of the fudge
  • One 7-ounce jar marshmallow creme
  • 1 teaspoon rum extract


1. Line an 8 or 9-inch square pan with foil and let it hang over the sides. Butter the foil.

2. In a large saucepan combine sugar, butter and eggnog. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Continue boiling 8 to 10 minutes over medium heat or until a candy thermometer reaches 234°F, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat.

3. Using a wooden spoon, work quickly to stir in chopped white chocolate and nutmeg until chocolate is melted and smooth. Stir in marshmallow creme and rum extract. Beat until well blended and then pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle a little ground nutmeg on top. Let stand at room temperature until cooled. Refrigerate or freeze if you’d like to speed up the process.

4. When completely cool, cut into squares. Store in a covered container.

Fudge freezes well.  My favourite way to eat this is when it is super cold, so I must admit a few less people will receive fudge this year based on the amount I’ve snuck out of my freezer.  Since it’s December I will be doing TONES of baking –  sugar cookies, turtle doves, and lots more. Stay tuned, Happy Baking!

eggnog (14)

Nanaimo Bars with Ganache Topping

Nanaimo (7)

I said it once, I’ll say it again.  Christmas is not Christmas without Nanaimo bars? I absolutely love these little custard centered dessert bars; they are probably one of my favourite desserts around Christmas time.  Each layer is like a fun new adventure. The bottom is a chocolaty graham cracker crust like layer loaded with coconuts and your favourite nut.  The middle layer is a buttercream-like custard center and the bar is finished off with a fantastic hard chocolaty top layer.  So. Freaking. Good.  Now, I must say I do have a bone to pick with Nanaimo bars.  I absolutely hate when I bite into one of these tiny dessert bars of awesome, and the hard chocolate top layer pushes down on the custard center, which then proceeds to gush out from all side, all over my hands, plate, clothes, etc.  It leaves for a very messy treat and a very sticky Kelsey.  Last year I made these Nanaimo bars, and they were great (oh how my blogging has changed since then…wow!), but I just did not like how hard the top layer was.  So I brain stormed, and I thought, what can I do to the top layer to make it softer?  That when I remembered my absolute LOVE for chocolate ganache and thought, I’m sure these would be just great with a chocolate ganache topping!

Nanaimo (2)

There are a lot of different variations of the original Nanaimo recipe.  I used a recipe that varied slightly from the original in terms of measurements;  I found it at warmvanillasugar[dot]com.  This recipe uses brown sugar rather than white sugar in the bottom layer4, less cocoa and more graham crackers, and walnuts instead of almonds (loved this substitution).  Instead of the usual 1/2 cup butter and 2 tbsp plus 2 tsp of cream, this recipe calls for 1/4 cup of butter and a full half cup of cream.  I then topped everything off with a basic ganache topping, but adding a small amount of icing sugar to sweeten it up even more.

Nanaimo (6)

For the ganache topping I halved a recipe meant to cover a 13 x 9 inch pan that I used for my Cheesecake Bars last Christmas.  I used 4 oz of heavy whipping cream, 4 oz of chocolate, 1 oz of butter and 1/8 cup of icing sugar to fill the 8 x 8 inch top layer.

Nanaimo (5)

Nanaimo Bars with Chocolate Ganache Topping

makes enough for an 8 x 8 inch pan (approximately 25 squares total)


for the crust

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

for the custard buttercream center 

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup room temperature butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons custard powder

for the chocolate ganache top

  • 4 oz. heavy whipping cream
  • 1 oz. butter
  • 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/8 cup confectioners’ sugar

Baking Directions

  1. Make the crust:  Melt the butter, brown sugar and cocoa in a pot or double boiler.
  2. Beat the egg and quickly whisk it into the chocolate mixture.
  3. Add the graham crackers, coconut and walnut and press into a 8 x 8 ungreased pan that has been lined with parchment.  Chill in refrigerator for at least a half hour.
  4. Make the custard buttercream center:  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the powdered sugar, butter and custard powder.
  5. Slowly add the cream and beat until light and fluffy.
  6. Spread the cream layer evenly over the crust and refrigerate for another half hour.
  7. Prepare ganache.  Heat cream and butter on stove until just before boiling.
  8. Remove from stove and pour over chocolate.  Stir until completely combined.
  9. Add confectioners’ sugar and beat with a wire whisk until combined and smooth.  Pour over middle custard layer, cover and refrigerate overnight.

Nanaimo (1) The bars turned out really well… much better than last years and I did a much better job at making nice even layers.  I really hope you enjoy this recipe – try the chocolate ganache top, it’s heaven.  Happy Baking!!!

S’more Blondies and the Beginning of the Christmas Season


Kitchen fail of the week:  So I have recently taken a slight interest in the Paleo lifestyle. Not completely, don’t worry all my sweet-toothed, carb loving friends, I am not abandoning you.   I could never follow this type of lifestyle… well, actually I’m sure I could if I really tried… but I am a firm believer in bread. And cheese. And I will never give it up, NEVER I TELL YOU! YOU’LL NEVER TAKE ME ALIVE! Sorry… I get a little carried away when I talk about any type of bread free diet.  I’ll try to be a little less dramatic about the whole thing from here on out, promise.  Anyway, despite my unhealthy addiction to carbohydrates, over the last few months I have really been trying to cut down, and I have been really trying to cut out any and all processed foods.  So far, I’d say that I have cut down more than 60% of processed foods, and 100% of artificial sweeteners.  Including aspartame (I’ll miss you diet Coke!) and Splenda based products (my coffee is a little bit bitter but I have been substituting with honey).  Anyway, since I am a huge foodie and love learning about different types of diets and lifestyles, I decided to try some Paleo recipes.  Since I am focused on losing about 10 pounds by Christmas time (although I’m not sure how focused I will be considering the amount of baking I’ll be doing… how can I not try my treats?), and since I wasn’t gifted with the “eat anything you want and you won’t gain a pound” kind of body, and I’m absolutely not a “oh my god I love the gym because it just totally helps me blow off steam and I really love sweating” kind of girl, but more of a “I’d rather eat my own vomit then spend another damn second on that treadmill and oh my god I can’t breath I think I’m dying from this 10 minute jog”  kind of girl, a weight loss of any kind, whether it be small or big, will require effort, and change.

So let’s talk Paleo.  As I understand it, the Paleo lifestyle is based on eating wholesome, contemporary foods from the food groups of hunter-gatherer societies during the Paleolithic era.  The time period would be around 2.6 million years ago up until the agricultural revolution, which dated about 10,000 years ago.  Paelo dos include: fresh meats (preferable grass-fed or free-range), fish, seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables, seeds, nuts, and healthy oils such as olive or coconut oil, flax seed avocado, etc.  Paleo don’ts include ceral grains, legumes, refined sugars, processed foods, and dairy (FYI I got all this info from thepealeodiet[dot]com).  One thing I know I could NEVER give up is dairy.  Starches? maybe. If I really had to.  If I really made a commitment.  I’ve done it before and I could probably do it again.  But dairy? I will die before I give up cheese! You will have to pry it out of my cold dead hands before I give it up! I’m being dramatic again.  Anyway.  So I decided to try a Paleo pizza recipe last Friday.  It uses coconut milk, coconut flour, eggs, garlic and a few spices for the crust.  Blend in a processor and then spread in a pizza pan and bake.  It was a disaster.  Needless to say the recipe was not meant for me.  I offered my dad seconds, and he refused, saying he was full (if you know my dad you will know that he does not refuse seconds) and my boyfriend flat out said that I will be a single woman if I ever though of making him a fake pizza crust again… Oh well, at least I tried.

photo 1

Anyway, on to the good stuff. I am a Christmas freak.  A big one.  I’m one of those crazy people who start planning for Christmas before Halloween is over, and start decorating the first week of November.  This means, of course, that I start my Christmas baking just as early as I decorate my house.  My first recipe for this year is S’more Blondies.  I love S’mores – the chocolate, marshmallows and the ewey-gooeyness, it reminds me of campfires and summer.  So, when I stumbled on this recipe I just HAD to make it.

photo 12 (3)

photo 12 (1)

photo 11 (3)

I got this recipe from motherthyme[dot]com.  These things a frigging good. I Had one while it was still warm annnnnnd I almost died and went to heaven.  I found it very difficult to cut these things though, the marshmallow wasn’t having any of it.

photo 2

Chewy S’more Blondies

makes 12 to 16 blondies (or more if you make them smaller, I managed to get 32 small blondies out of the batch)


  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp baking poeder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 8 oz. milk chocolate squares, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows

Baking Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.  Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper.

2.  Mix flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.  Mix until combined and set aside.

3. Beat butter and brown sugar in a large bowl.  Add vanilla and then eggs, one at a time.  Mix until combined.  Gradually add flour mixture until combined.

4. Spread the blondie mixture into the prepared baking pan.  Bake for 30 minutes on centre rack.

5.  In a small bowl toss marshmallows and chocolate and then sprinkle on top of the blondies.  Return to oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

photo 3

photo 4

One Christmas bake down…ten to go?  I’m going to try a new nanaimo recipe next week so stay tuned for that. Happy baking!