I'm very pleased to announce that my two blogs, Olive and Lemon and Sweet Secrets have now come together in a fabulous culmination of culinary joy! Check out Gourmet Gal - a culmination of all that's good in my kitchen: from the sweet to the savoury to the absolutely sublime!
All the wonderful recipes I've already shared can be found there, along with new goodies I'll be adding almost daily! So stop by and say hi - you'll be glad you did!
See you soon!
Ally aka 'Gourmet Gal' (http://www.allyskitchen.blogspot.com)
Please note: I'll only be posting on Gourmet Gal going forward, so please update your favourites & bookmarks accordingly. Thanks for your support!!!
Sweets by Ally is pleased to announce that we'll be on hand at the YRMG Christmas Craft Show and Sale at the Glenway Country Club in Newmarket, Ontario!
This Saturday, November 15th from 10am to 3pm, shoppers will have the opportunity to get a head start on their holiday shopping with fabulous crafts, presents and decorations - and of course, delicious chocolate bark from Sweets by Ally. For more details on Sweets by Ally treats - check us out online at http://www.sweetsbyally.com!
Hope to see you all there!
Glenway Country Club
470 Crossland Gate, Newmarket ON
(south side of Hwy 9/Davis Drive betwen Bathurst & Yonge St)
Put away the pie dish and break out the springform pan! Here's a sweet twist on a Thanksgiving classic: Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake. Topped with whipped cream, or just served on it's own, the classic taste of pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg will make this treat a new tradition for your holiday table.
Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Make the crust by combining the graham cracker crumbs with the melted
butter and 1 tablespoon sugar in a medium bowl. Stir well enough to
coat all of the crumbs with the butter, but not so much as to turn the
mixture into paste. Keep it crumbly.
3. Press the crumbs onto the bottom and about two-thirds of the way up
the sides of a springform pan. You don't want the crust to form all
of the way up the back of each slice of cheesecake. Bake the crust
for 5 minutes, then set it aside until you are ready to fill it.
4. In a large mixing bowl combine the cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, and
vanilla. Mix with an electric mixer until smooth.
5. Add the pumpkin, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice and continue
to beat until smooth and creamy.
6. Pour the filling into the pan. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes. The top will
turn a bit darker at this point. Remove from the oven and allow the
cheesecake to cool.
7. When the cheesecake has come to room temperature, put it into the
refrigerator. When the cheesecake has chilled, remove the pan sides
and cut the cake into 8 equal pieces. Use dental floss to make a
Serve with a generous portion of whipped cream on top.
I've been meaning to share this recipe for a while. It's a simple, yet wonderful cake recipe I stumbled upon years ago, and has always been a favourite for brunches & lunches - especially this time of year. It lends itself to the savoury as much as the sweet, and is a great way to finish off a meal - without overloading your guests with something that's ooey-gooey rich (not that there's anything wrong with ooey-gooey rich!)
So pour a cup of steaming hot breakfast blend coffee and enjoy this little slice of spicy-sweet heaven!
Sweets by Ally
Ginger Cake with Spiced Cream
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves (if you don't fancy the taste or smell of cloves, you can omit this ingredient - it won't harm the cake in any way!)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup sugar
1 cup whipping cream
1 tsp good vanilla
icing sugar to decorate
For the whipped cream:
3/4 cup whipping cream
1 tsp confectioners sugar
1/4 tsp each cinnamon and ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan.
Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon into a bowl. Set aside.
With an electric mixer (hand or stand version), beat the eggs on high speed until very thick, about 5 minutes. Gradually beat in the granulated sugar.
Adjusting the mixer to low speed, beat in the flour mixture alternatively with the whipping cream into the eggs, beginning and ending with the flour.
Stir in vanilla.
Pour into the pan and bake until the top springs back when touched lightly, about 35-40 minutes.
To make the spiced cream, combine ingredients in a bowl and whip until the cream holds soft peaks. sprinkle icing sugar over the hot cake, cut into squares and serve with whipped cream.
I love anything lemon. It's tart, sweet and so refreshing...it just "oozes" summer to me. As both a baker and a cook, I'm also taken with lemon because of it's ability to be both sweet and savoury at the same time. Just a hint of lemon zest sauteing in a pan with onion and garlic or a splash of fresh lemon juice to perk up a sauce - these are aromas that make me happy.
Then there's the sweet side of lemons - and one of the most incredible lemon desserts I've ever had is this lemon yogurt cake from The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten. After watching her make this cake on TV, I had to try it for myself. It is the best lemon cake I've ever made - and it's really quite easy. This is a guaranteed showstopper for any Sunday Brunch event. It's light, moist and super-lemony.
Lemon Yogurt Cake
(adapted from Ina Garten's book: Barefoot Contessa at Home)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain yogurt (you can substitute this for lemon yogurt for an extra-lemony punch!)
1 cup sugar, divided
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
for the glaze:
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt into one bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 2/3 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, vanilla, and vegetable oil. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
While the cake is cooking, heat the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.
When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and place it on a cooling rack with a baking sheet, parchment paper, or foil underneath (to catch the drips.) While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.
When the cake has cooled, make the glaze: combine the confectioners sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake; it will dribble down the sides and that’s just fine.
Makes 1 loaf.
I don't think there is any dessert that is more classic or comforting than a fresh-baked chocolate chip cookie. Few other scents can invoke such nostalgia as the smell of chocolate chippies baking in the oven.
A fresh baked cookie reminds us of Mom; of after-school snacks and bake sales, and most importantly, of home. It's one of the main reasons that real estate agents suggest that sellers bake a batch of cookies just before an open-house; it shows prospective buyers that your home is loved.
As we move away from the carefree days of summer and into the reflective mood of fall, I'm reminded of things that are comforting; my favourite sweater, my blanket, a comfy chair, a good book and of course, homemade chocolate chip cookies.
Here is my favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe. I hope it will become yours too.
Sweets by Ally
Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies
(yields about 5 dozen 2 1/4" cookies)
2 1/4 cups of flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon good vanilla extract
1 x 12 ounce package (2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips (Hershey's or Nestle Toll House)
1 cup chopped pecans (they play so nicely with chocolate chips!)
preheat oven to 375F
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside for a moment.
In a large bowl, combine butter, white sugar, brown sugar and vanilla. Beat until the mixture is creamy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Gradually add in the flour mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts.
Drop the cookie mixture by the tablespoonful onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes, until golden brown.
Turn these cookies into Chocolate Chocolate Chip cookies by substituting 1/4 cup of flour with cocoa powder and use white chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet.
It's Autumn, which means time to say goodbye to sandals and swimsuits, and say hello to sweaters, cool scarves and of course, the bounty of the harvest. What October wouldn't be complete without a trip to a local orchard for fresh pressed cider, corn mazes and of course, bushels of apples?
So, the family is heading out this weekend to go apple-picking, which means that come Monday, my kitchen will be full to the brim with the smell of apples, cinnamon and fresh pastry. To set the mood, here's a classic Autumn morning treat that's sure to fill your kitchen (and your tummy) with warm apple goodness:
Apple Cinnamon Muffins
(yields 16 small muffins)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chilled butter
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 large apple, peeled & diced
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
2/3 cup milk
In a bowl, blend flour, sugar, baking powder, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and salt. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the butter until mixture is the texture of coarse meal. (Speedy hint: use a food processor!)
Measure out 1/4 cup of mixture. Add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and brown sugar and set aside for the topping.
Add apple and walnuts to remaining mixture. In a separate bowl, beat egg, then add milk. Blend well. Add to flour mixture, stirring until just blended. Don't worry if the batter is thick and lumpy - it's supposed to be!
Spoon batter into greased or paper-lined muffin cups, filling 2/3 full. Sprinkle topping lightly over batter & bake in a preheated 425F oven for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean.
Cool, remove from pan and enjoy!
Sweets by Ally