Search Results for: Dog Treats

Coconut Ice


My how time flies!  It seems like just yesterday that I was eight months pregnant and in the kitchen whipping up numerous batches of blue treats for my baby shower.  I know I’ve told you several times either here, on twitter or on facebook that I’d share the recipes with you, but it’s now eight months later and I realise that I’ve not shared any of them with you!

Well let me put a stop to that right now!  

The first baby blue treat I made for my baby shower was Coconut Ice which is a retro UK sweet that’s traditionally pink, not blue.  I’d never even tried it before, but I loved the way it looked when I first saw it on Pinterest.  

The other thing I loved about this Coconut Ice was just how easy it was to make – it only has 4 ingredients!  Oh so simple!

Coconut Ice is a sweet and chewy coconut square that lasts a week or so when stored in the fridge.  I’ve been told by several friends that this recipe tastes just like the real stuff they remember from their childhood.



Coconut Ice 

Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups (560g) Icing Sugar  
2 1/2 cups (200g) Shredded (Desiccated) Coconut  
395g Can Sweetened Condensed Milk  
1 tsp Vanilla Extract  
Food colouring (traditionally pink, but you can use any colour you feel like)  

Instructions:

1. Line the base and sides of a deep (4cm+) 19cm square dish with plastic cling wrap  
2. Sift the icing sugar into large bowl. Stir in the coconut, condensed milk and vanilla extract.
3. Press half the mixture firmly into the base of the pan.  Work the food colouring into the remaining mixture, kneading well in order to distribute the colour.  Press the coloured layer evenly over the white layer.  
4. Refrigerate for 3 hours or until firm.  Remove the coconut ice from tray, peel away the cling wrap, and cut into squares.  The coconut ice will keep for a week if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.



And if your wondering about the cute little stuffed dog in the pictures, it was one of several that my husbands cousin made to help decorate the baby shower.  I think they were Kath Kidston designs that she got from a craft magazine.  Pretty cute huh?

Cupcakes for Bonfire Night

So I’m conscious that I often blog about the differences between baking in North America and the UK, and now that we’re entering the holiday season I can tell you right now I’m going to do it even more.  After growing up in Canada, and experiencing over 25 Thanksgivings, Halloweens, Christimas’ and other holidays I can’t help but compare my Canadian heritage & holiday traditions with my newly found UK ones.  I’ll elaborate more on the differences in the coming weeks when I start to do my Christmas baking, but for now I’m still getting over Halloween.  As I’ve mentioned before, Halloween is considered to be a fairly recent “holiday” here in the UK, and trick or treating and pumpkin carving are increasing in popularity every year.  Back when I was much younger I remember someone telling me that Halloween was a North American holiday and that they celebrated something called Guy Fawkes Day (aka Bonfire Night) in the UK, and instead of trick or treating they held bonfires across the country.  To be honest, I thought that going to a bonfire instead of trick or treating sounded a bit lame.  But c’mon – when your 12 years old a lot of things sound a bit lame.  Even if it really is super cool, and you just don’t want to admit it. 
For those of you who don’t know the story behind Bonfire Night (which is probably most people living outside the UK), it all comes down to a foiled attempt by a man called Guy Fawkes who tried to overthrow the King of England by blowing up the London Houses of Parliament way back on November 5th 1605. (I’d suggest watching the movie V for Vendetta, to learn more about Guy Fawkes and the Gun Powder Plot).  Shortly after the incident the public began to make their own “Guys” using old clothes, crumpled paper and straw.  The Guy was then thrown on top of a bonfire to burn, and fireworks were set off while the public celebrated the foiled gun powder plot.   
 Photo courtesy of Brockham Bonfire
Fast forward 405 years and Bonfire Night is still going strong.  It’s also quickly becoming one of my favourite UK traditions.  The first year I moved here my husband and I had no idea what Bonfire Night was, so we just stayed at home like an old married couple wondering why all the fireworks were going off.  Last year we were fortunate enough to be informed about Bonfire Night, and which bonfires were the best ones to go to.  It turned out the the bonfire with the largest and most expensive fireworks show in all of the UK was pretty close to where we live.  We had no idea what to expect, except that we should dress warmly and arrive super early in order to get one of the coveted 200 parking lot spaces.  Each year the Brockham Bonfire attracts close to 25,000 people, so 200 parking spaces to share amongst the crowd is a little insufficient.  But hey, that’s part of the charm of the whole event.  It takes place in a tiny little village green that’s not much bigger than a skating rink.  Well that night were absolutely amazed with what we saw and vowed to go back again the next year. 
And that’s exactly what we did!  This past Saturday (November 6th to be exact) we went back to the Brockham Bonfire and we were not disappointed. We arrived at 4:30 in order to get that all important parking spot (there’s no parking on the road, so many people walk for miles along dark single lane back roads to get there). There’s not a whole lot to do before the bonfire and fireworks get under way at 7:45, but they do sell food like BBQ’d hamburgers, hot dogs, freshly roast pig, etc. At about 6:30 a procession starts with some of the local people dressing up in traditional costumes.  The people carry flaming torches and pull the giant “Guy” in a wagon throughout the village for nearly an hour while a marching band plays.  As the procession returns to the starting point, even more people join in and everyone is given a flaming torch.  They circle around the bonfire pile and wait for the giant Guy Fawkes to be hoisted up on top of the bonfire.  There’s something eerily creepy about hundreds of people approaching you with flaming torches!  It’s like your actually in an old fashioned horror movie.  Once the all clear is given, everyone throws their flaming torch onto the bonfire pile and it quickly goes up in flames.  The Guy is stuffed with fire crackers, so once the flames reach the top hundreds of loud pops and bangs start to go off. These firecrackers signal the start of the fireworks, and we witnessed one of the most amazing fire works shows we’ve ever seen. 
 
I think the thing that makes bonfire night so special for me, is that back in North America there would be no way in hell hundreds of people would be allowed to parade through town with flaming torches before lighting fire to a 30 foot bonfire pile. The whole Bonfire Night tradition is a very civilized family event.  Everyone joins in, and the same families have been helping to build and put on the bonfire and firework shows for generations.  
So in honor of Bonfire Night I made some special cupcakes to celebrate.  These are super easy, and you only need a few things to make them. 
Bonfire Night Cupcakes

Cupcakes of your choice 
White icing 
Black, red & orange food colouring 
Pretzel Sticks* or chocolate sticks 
Pop Rocks 
 
1. Start out by dividing your white icing into 3 bowls.  Tint one bowl grey, one red, and the last one orange.  Cover the top of your cupcake in grey icing (it doesn’t have to be smooth) this will be the “ashes” on your cupcake. 

2. Gently combine the orange and red icing into one bowl so that it’s slightly swirled together. Make sure not to mix the icing together too much – you don’t want the colours to totally blend together.  Spoon the red & orange icing mixture onto the center of your cupcake, making sure to build the icing up into a little peak. These are the bonfire flames. Now sprinkle on some red & orange pop rocks over top of the icing flame, and you’re almost done. 
3. Finally, take some pretzel sticks and lay each one over the icing flame to create a bonfire pyramid.  That’s it!  You’re done.  Told you they were easy!  Not only are these a really great tradition to make on Bonfire Night, but the addition of pop rocks even makes the cupcakes sound like they’re really popping and burning! 
*Note: They don’t normally sell pretzel sticks in the UK, but I’ve been able to find them in the local Polish shops (along with Cheetos brand cheezies – oh yeah!). If you can’t find pretzel sticks, don’t worry.  There’s lots of other things you can use to look like sticks or logs such as Twiglets, Mikados, Matchmakers, etc.  
These cupcakes are really cute, and are perfect for kids to make each year as a Bonfire Night treat. Since I’ve only lived in the UK for just 2.5 years I’m not aware of any other traditional Bonfire Night treats, but I’m sure there are lots.  Do you have any favourites?

Not Fit For Human Consumption

I had a lot of fun making these.  Mainly because my husband left the house, which meant I could play my Michael Buble CD as loud as I wanted.  I could even snap my fingers along to the music, except I can only do that on my right hand.  I’ve never mastered the left hand.

Now I know these cupcakes aren’t as pretty as my regular cupcakes, but that’s because these are NOT regular cupcakes.  They’re doggy cupcakes!  Roxy – my little Yorkshire Terrier had her 2nd birthday last week, so what better way to celebrate her birthday than with cupcakes.  My mom had actually sent Roxy this cupcake kit for Christmas all the way from Canada, but I hadn’t had a good excuse to use it until now.  

The cupcake kit comes from the Seattle based bakery Petit Four Legs, who specialize in gourmet doggy treats.  The kit contains natural gluten free peanut butter chip cupcake mix, yogurt frosting, and the most adorable little dog bone decorations – all beautifully packaged and tied up with a bow. 

Above photo courtesy of  Petit Four Legs

Making these was really easy.  No electric mixer needed.  Just a spoon and a mini muffin tin.  I was hoping to use the Wilton 24 mini cupcake pan I’d purchased while visiting Texas, but it was too big to fit in my tiny UK oven.  Now, usually when I tell people back home just how small our UK ovens are, they don’t believe me.  Just to show you all how small they are, I’ve taken a picture of me trying to cram the US pan into my UK oven.  NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!   In the second picture you can see the size of 12 mini muffin pan I had to use instead.  According to the instructions the mix makes 18 mini sized cupcakes, but I was able to get 24.

After the cupcakes are baked and cooled it was time to frost them.  The cupcake kit comes with white yogurt chip frosting, but after topping a few of them off with the little white bones, I thought the cupcakes needed a little something. Something pink.  



As I said previously, I had a lot of fun baking these, and Roxy LOVES them.  I will definitely be making more dog friendly cupcakes and treats in the near future, so stay tuned!

The birthday girl with her cupcakes.