Copycat Cranberry Bliss Bars

Makes 16

Ingredients

Bars

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest 1/2 orange
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries

Frosting and Finish

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 Tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest 1/2 orange
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 3oz white chocolate, melted

Method

To make the bars

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13×9 inch baking pan with parchment paper
  2. In bowl of a stand mixer, combine the melted butter, brown sugar and beat with the paddle attachment at medium speed for between 5- 6 minutes
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together the orange zest, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and flour until combined. Set aside until needed
  4. To your sugar/ butter mixture add in eggs, orange extract, and vanilla extract and beat until mixed well. Add in the flour/ dried ingredients mixture, beating until just blended
  5. Fold in white chocolate chips and dried cranberries using a spatula. Spread evenly into the bottom of prepared pan
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes until set and golden brown at the edges. Remove from oven and place pan on a wire rack to cool. Allow bars to cool completely before topping with frosting and decorating

To make the frosting and finish

  1. With an electric whisk, beat together the cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add orange juice, vanilla extract, orange zest beat again until well combined and smooth
  3. Using a spatula top the cooled bars with frosting. Sprinkle over the chopped dried cranberries and drizzle white chocolate over the top with either a piping bag
  4. Place the bars in the refrigerator for about an hour to help them set up before cutting. Cut baked sheet into half lengthwise, then into 4 so you end up with 8 pieces. Cut each piece in half diagonally so you end up with two triangles so you end up with 16 triangles in total
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Edible Gingerbread Cookie Dough

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, heat treated*
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons fancy molasses
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ cup white chocolate chips
  • Festive sprinkles, or nonpareils

Method

  1. In the bowl of stand mixer combine the butter, both sugars, salt, fancy molasses and whip together until pale and fluffy, about 10 minutes
  2. Mix in the milk and the vanilla extract until combined
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Add in the flour mixture by ¼ cupful, beating between until combined, until all the flour mixture has been added
  4. Fold in the chocolate chips. Add sprinkles, or nonpareils, to your liking
  5. Scoop, or spoon, into sterilised mason, or kilner, jars and add some more sprinkles for that extra festive touch. Wrap as you like if you’re gifting to someone- I usually bow and tag the jars with festive ribbon
  6. Cookie dough is best eaten at room temperature

How To Store: Keep this Edible Gingerbread Cookie Dough in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Eat it up within 2 weeks!

* To heat treat your flour for safety, place it in a bowl and microwave it in 30-second intervals until the flour temperature reaches 165 F (74 C). Mix with a spoon between intervals. Mine usually takes around 3 bursts. Allow to cool before using. Or you can bake it for 7-8 minutes in a preheated oven at 350°F

Edible Cookie Dough Christmas Trees

If you’re not gifting this edible cookie dough (how could you not? It’s the Season of Giving!) a fantastic way of using this delicious treat are these adorable Edible Cookie Dough Christmas Trees. Fun and easy to make, you can also get some little helping hands involved too!

Ingredients

  • Additional waffle/ sugar cones 
  • White, or semi-sweet chocolate, melted
  • Festive sprinkles

Method

  1. Line a baking tray with baking parchment or foil, and set aside until needed
  2. If your edible cookie dough is still soft enough, fill a place in a piping bag and snip the end off.
  3. Pipe the cookie dough into your cones. (If the edible cookie dough is a bit too stiff to pipe, you can use a butter knife, or small spoon, to fill the cone instead)
  4. Coat the outside of your filled comes with the melted chocolate, either by dipping in a deep bowl, or coating using a spoon
  5. Place on your prepared baking tray and let the chocolate set for a minute or two (this will help the sprinkle stick better). Add festive sprinkles to finish your Christmas trees off and allow for the chocolate to fully set
  6. To serve/ eat, push a popsicle stick into the cookie dough, for ease of holding and enjoy! 

Homemade Cookie Butter

Ingredients

  • 9oz speculoos cookies
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons dark corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil

Method

  1. Place the cookies in a food processor and blend to your desired cookie butter texture. The finer the crumb off cookie the smoother the final result will be
  2. Transfer the processed cookie crumbs from the processor to a medium pan and combine with brown sugar, evaporated milk, water, ground cinnamon, dark corn syrup, and salt
  3. Heat over a medium heat, stirring until the mixture is well combined, the sugar has dissolved and the cookies crumbs have almost dissolved. If the mixture starts to bubble, reduce the heat to a simmer
  4. Remove from the heat and place in a heat proof bowl. Leave to cool for 5 minutes
  5. Add in the coconut oil, stirring carefully until melted and almost incorporated
  6. Using an immersion blender, blend the mixture until it is fully emulsified and thick
  7. Transfer to a sterilised glass jar and transfer to the fridge to allow the mixture to set. This allows the dispersed coconut oil to fully set within the mixture
  8. To use remove the cookie butter from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature for best taste

Peach Cobbler Cake

I adore peaches. Nothing sums up Summer quite like the heady waft of a ripe peach just before you bite in, followed by the trickles of sweet juice running down your chin. Ahh Summer days! Needless to say as a result I’m a sucker for all things peach- bakes and desserts. One of my favourites being Peach Cobbler. Being synonymous with the American South there’s a deluge of recipes of the sweet peachy dish which has been baked into the history and hearts of people, each tweaked in accordance with individual family traditions and tastes.

You will of course by now know of my love for the unexpected in baking, turning things on their heads. So why not Peach Cobbler- but make it cake? Yes, I know it’s been done before…but featuring tea as an ingredient? Welcome to my world!

For those of you who followed my adventures in the kitchen of Food Networks Canada’s Great Chocolate Showdown, you’ll of course remember there was a Tea Challenge- where bakers were tasked with incorporating a selected tea into their desserts. The perfect springboard for this recipe!

This recipe gave me the perfect opportunity to work with Pluck Teas. Pluck Teas is an award-winning female-founded Canadian small business and tea maker, producing premium quality tea blends in Toronto for tea drinkers who value quality and sustainability. Hand-blended in small batches with several of the brand’s favourite ingredients (like lavender, grapes and ginseng) grown and dried in Ontario, ensuring that the product is fresh while also reducing the brand’s carbon footprint.

I’ve created this Peach Cobbler Cake using their “Just Peachy” tea blend. “Just Peachy” is one of Pluck’s black teas – a delicious, soft, and fruity infusion featuring a full black tea character layered with luscious ripe peaches. Perfect for a Summer tea treat!

Layers of tasty cinnamon sponge filled with juicy Ontario peaches, peach flavoured crunch, enrobed in sumptuous brown butter buttercream, and finished with a delectable caramel drizzle. All infused with Pluck “Just Peachy” tea blend. Everybody likes tea and cake, right?

*This is a sponsored post

Ingredients

Cinnamon Sponge Cake

  • 2/3 cup milk, room temperature
  • 1 sachet Pluck Tea “Just Peachy” tea*
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract, or paste

Cake Syrup

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 sachet Pluck Tea “Just Peachy” tea*
  • 1 cup white sugar

Peach Filling

  • 5 Peaches, diced
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 sachet Pluck Tea “Just Peachy” tea*
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh nutmeg
  • 1 Tablespoon corn-starch

Peach Crunch

  • 20 Golden Oreo Cookies
  • 1 sachet (85g) Peach Jell-O powder
  • 1 sachet Pluck Tea “Just Peachy” tea*
  • ¾ cup butter, melted

Brown Butter Buttercream

  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 sachet Pluck Tea “Just Peachy” tea*
  • 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) butter (divided in to 2 sticks and 1)
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 5 cups powdered sugar

Caramel drizzle

  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 1 sachet Pluck Tea “Just Peachy” tea*
  • 1 Tablespoon liquid glucose, or light corn syrup
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ¾ cup heavy cream, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, room temperature

*Pluck Tea “Just Peachy” sachets used here are from the “Just Peachy” Iced Tea selection. If you are using “Just Peachy” loose leaf it is 2 ½ Tablespoon equivalent (along with using a tea steeper ball where required)

Method

Cinnamon Sponge Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour three 8″ cake rounds and line with parchment
  2. In a small pan combine the milk and tea sachet. Gently heat the milk to just below boiling. Remove from heat, set aside to infuse until needed later
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt until well combined. Set aside
  4. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and beat on med-high until pale and fluffy (approx 10mins)
  5. Reduce speed and add eggs one at a time fully incorporating after each addition. Add vanilla
  6. Alternate adding flour mixture with cooled milk/ tea infusion, beginning, and ending with flour (3 additions of flour and 2 of cooled milk/ tea infusion). Fully incorporating after each addition
  7. Spread batter evenly between the prepared pans and smooth the tops.
  8. Bake for approx. 35mins or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out mostly clean
  9. Place cakes on wire rack to cool for 10mins then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely

Caramel Drizzle

  1. In a large pan, steep the tea sachet in the boiled water for 15mins.
  2. Remove the tea sachet, add in the sugar, and glucose (or light corn syrup if using). Swirl the sugar to ensure it is fully soaked with the tea infusion
  3. Heat over a low heat until the sugar is melted, gently swirling the occasionally
  4. Increase to high heat to bring to a boil, allow to boil for 1 minute, then reduce to medium heat and simmer for 7 minutes
  5. Remove from heat, add the heavy cream and salt. Take care here as the mixture will steam and bubble. Whisk at a steady pace to combine the mixture. If the caramel seizes around your whisk don’t worry continue to stir until almost combined
  6. Return the pan to a medium heat and simmer for a further minute to fully melt the caramel. If the caramel bubbles too high, reduce the heat
  7. Your caramel should now be smooth. Remove from heat, and gently stir in the butter pieces a Tablespoon at a time, ensuring each is fully melted before adding the next
  8. Once all the butter has been added, transfer to bowl to cool fully

Cake Syrup

  1. Combine all the syrup ingredients in a pan. Heat gently to dissolve the sugar
  2. Increase to a boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat and allow to infuse for 15 minutes before removing the tea sachet
  3. Set aside to cool until needed

Peach Filling

  1. In a large pan combine the chopped peaches, brown sugar, lemon juice and tea sachet
  2. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally and taking care not to break the tea pouch
  3. Once boiling reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes
  4. After this time remove the tea sachet, add in the corn starch. Continue to simmer until the mixture has thickened
  5. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl to cool. The mixture will thicken further as it cools. Set aside until needed

Peach Crunch

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F. Line a baking tray with baking parchment
  2. Place the Oreo cookies in the bowl of a food processor, and process to a medium crumb
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the cookie crumbs and the Jell-O powder. Stir to combine
  4. Add in ½ cup of the melted butter and stir to combine. You’re looking for texture similar to cheesecake crumb base (damp sand). If the mixture is too dry, add the remaining butter a Tablespoon at a time until the desired texture is achieved
  5. Once ready, spread the crumb on to the prepared baking try and bake f or 7- 8 minutes
  6. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool until needed

Brown Butter Buttercream

  1. In a small pan, combine the milk and tea sachet. Heat until just below boiling, remove from heat and set aside to infuse until needed
  2. In a pan, heat 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter until fully melted. Continue to heat until the butter starts to foam. Take care in case the butter bubbles up too much. If it does, reduce the heat until it subsides, then return the heat. Continue to heat the butter, stirring constantly, until you noticed it start to turn a light brown and smell a nutty aroma. Transfer the browned butter to a heat proof bowl, chill until cool and almost set
  3. Once cooled, combine the brown butter and remaining stick of butter in the bowl of a stand mixer, along with the salt. Beat until smooth and fully combined
  4. Add in the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating between each addition until fully combined
  5. To the butter/ sugar mixture, add the milk/ tea infusion a tablespoon at a time. Beat rapidly between each addition to whip the buttercream
  6. When all the milk has been added increase to a high speed and whip for 2 minutes until light and fluffy
  7. Set aside and start assembling the cake

Cake Assembly

  1. Gently brush the top side of each sponge layer with some of the cake syrup. Use enough so that the layers feel moist to the touch
  2. Place the first sponge layer on a cake board, syrup side up. Spread a layer of butter cream over the top. Pipe an additional border around the edge of the sponge layer
  3. Inside the buttercream border, spread some of the peach filling. Top this with the peach crunch sprinkled over (breaking up any large pieces)
  4. On top of this place the next sponge cake layer and repeat the process with fillings and the third/ top layer
  5. Apply a crumb coat of buttercream to the cake, before a final coat of buttercream, finished to your preference
  6. Finish the top sponge with any remaining peach filling and a final sprinkling of peach crunch before drizzling with the caramel sauce (to your preference)

*I like to pipe a border around the edge of the top layer to keep the final peach filling/ crunch layer in place

Blue Cheese & Roast Fig Ice cream

Ingredients

Ice cream

  • 10 fresh figs, quartered
  • 2 tbsp of brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp of honey
  • 1 ½ and 1 cup whipping cream, chilled
  • 2 Tablespoons light cream
  • 5oz Blue Cheese*, crumbled or broken into pieces
  • 1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk

Balsamic Reduction

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar

Method

Ice cream

  1. Preheat your oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with baking parchment
  2. In a large bowl, combine the quartered figs, honey and brown sugar
  3. Spread onto the prepared baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15 minutes
  4. Remove from the oven and allow fully cool before transferring to a bowl
  5. Add 2 tablespoons of light cream and puree using a blender wand (or puree in a blender)
  6. Set aside until needed later
  7. In a large saucepan combine 1 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream and the blue cheese
  8. Heat over a medium heat, stirring occasionally until small bubbles start to form at the edge of the milk and the cheese has started to melt
  9. Reduce heat to low for 5 mins and continue to melt the cheese
  10. After 5 mins remove from heat and leave to infuse for 15 mins. After this time strain the cream/ cheese mixture into a small bowl to remove any spores or rind debris
  11. Cover surface with plastic wrap to prevent skin and place in refrigerator to cool fully for at least an hour
  12. Once the cream mixture has cooled fully, transfer to a large bowl, add in the remaining 1 cup of whipping cream and whisk to soft peak stage
  13. Fold in condensed sweetened milk until fully incorporated
  14. Add in the fig puree and fold until incorporated
  15. Pour the mixture into a freezer-proof container, cover the surface with plastic wrap and freeze for 2 hours
  16. After 2 hours, remove ice cream from freezer and fold the mixture a few times
  17. Return to freezer and leave until fully frozen, minimum 6 hours

Balsamic Reduction

  1. Combine the balsamic vinegar and browns sugar in a medium saucepan
  2. Bring to a simmer and continue cooking until reduced by half, is thick and syrupy

To serve

  • Remove from freezer and leave at room temperature for 5 mins before scooping to serve. Drizzle the balsamic reduction over

*A milder blue cheese like Cambozola will give you a creamier ice cream with a subtle blue cheese taste. A stronger cheese like Roquefort will result in a tangier, saltier ice cream.