Salted Caramel Chocolate Vanilla Bean Milkshake

For the past few weeks, we noticed everyone posting online about a Canberra, Australia, cafe’s milk shakes. We have seen the photos (we’re sure you have too) and we can understand why everyone is so captivated. These milkshakes look decadent and over-the-top amazing!

Patissez Canberra Milkshake

Patissez / Facebook / Via Facebook: patissez.pty.ltd

We wish we could try them….if only they weren’t so far.

Unfortunately, we can’t make it out to Australia anytime soon – so we settled for the next best thing…making a delicious, sweet & messy milkshake at home!

See below for the recipe:

Salted Caramel Chocolate Milkshake Recipe

Salted Caramel Chocolate Vanilla Bean Milkshake 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 Container Christy’s Salted Caramel Sauce
  • 2 cups Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
  • 1 cup 1% Milk
  • Whipped Cream for topping
  • 1 Package of Christy’s Salted Caramel Chocolates
  • 1 Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookie – broken into pieces

How To:

  1. In a blender, blend together the Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and the Milk until it’s frothy and totally mixed together.
  2. In the meantime, take the top off the Salted Caramel Sauce and microwave it until it’s liquid-y (about 30-40 seconds), stirring half way through.
  3. Take a large mason jar, fill the bottom and the sides with the warm Salted Caramel Sauce.
  4. Pour the ice cream/milk mixture from the blender into the mason jar, covering the salted caramel sauce.
  5. Top the milk shake with a big spiral of whipped cream.
  6. Place pieces of Salted Caramel Chocolate into the whipped cream.
  7. Crumble the Vanilla Bean Sugar cookie pieces overtop of the whipped cream.
  8. Top with any leftover Salted Caramel Sauce or Chocolate Syrup.
  9. Enjoy!

Recipe: Chocolate Toffee Butterscotch Parfait

Christys Gourmet Gifts | Burlington, Ontario | Chocolate Toffee Butterscotch ParfaitWe’re not sure where Summer went this year…but it’s clear that Fall is here! When Fall arrives, it brings with it: Pumpkin Spice themed everything, harvest festivals and big, cozy sweaters. Our personal favourite is the big, cozy sweaters…because it means we get to eat more dessert! ;)

At Christy’s Gourmet Gifts, we always have oodles of Chocolate Crunch on-hand….so it was super easy to whip these up for a quick dessert.

Ingredients

  • 1 package Dark Chocolate Christy’s Crunch (or preferred Christy’s Crunch of choice)
  • 1 package ‘Jello’ Butterscotch (or Pumpkin Spice if you prefer a more Fall flair) Instant Pudding
  • 1 cup Cool Whip

Directions

  1. Get small glass jars (or mason jars for to-go parfaits).
  2. Put 1 cup of Cool Whip into a medium size bowl.
  3. Gradually add package of Butterscotch Instant Pudding and stir well.
  4. Put the Cool Whip mixture in the fridge to cool slightly.
  5. Break up Dark Chocolate Toffee Biscuit (Christy’s Crunch) into small pieces. You can use a food processor if you like.
  6. Take your glass jars. Fill each jar with one layer of Butterscotch/Cool Whip Mixture (as thin or as thick as you’d like).
  7. Top the Cool Whip mix with Christy’s Crunch crumbs.
  8. Top Christy’s Crunch crumbs with Cool Whip and so on until you have filled to the top.
  9. Place finished parfaits in the fridge until it’s time to consume!
  10. Enjoy!

Christys Gourmet Gifts | Burlington, Ontario | Chocolate Toffee Butterscotch Parfait

Pairing Beer & Chocolate

The first annual Burlington Beer Festival is coming up quickly (July 18th – 20th) and we’ve got Craft Beer on the mind!

Burlington Beer Festival | Christy's Gourmet Gifts Though Bernie loves experimenting with pairing our Brittle to local Craft Beers, he is always drawn back to chocolate – after all, he is a Master Chocolatier!

This week at the shop, we did some taste-testing and pairing with Craft Beer and Belgian Chocolate (is this really a job?!) and decided we should share our findings with all our fellow beer and chocolate enthusiasts!

Bernie - Master Chocolatier | Christy's Gourmet Gifts

We hope Bernie’s tips inspire you to do some pairings and tastings at home!

The rules of pairing are simple:

  1. Find and match flavours that taste great together
  2. Pair high-end with high-end and inexpensive with inexpensive
  3. There are no rules on what is right or wrong, it’s all about taste!
  4. Have fun!

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White Chocolate: White Chocolate is generally made with cocoa butter and includes no cocoa mass.  White chocolate may have the following flavour notes: cream, milk, honey, vanilla, caramel and/or fruit.

Belgian White Chocolate Callets | Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Pairing Chocolate and Beer

For pairing, we suggest lighter craft beers with subtle citrus undertones.  Brews with fruit, honey or vanilla flavours will pair nicely and won’t overpower the sweetness of the white chocolate.

Pairing Suggestions:  North American Light Lager, North American Lager, German Style Wheat Beer, Belgian Style Wheat Beer, Cream Ales, Fruit Beer, Ciders, Pilsner

Examples:  Nickel Brook – Green Apple Pilsner

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Milk Chocolate:  Milk Chocolate is generally made with cocoa butter, milk and 35%-45% cocoa mass.  Milk chocolate may have the following flavour notes: brown sugar, milk, cream, vanilla, honey, caramel, nuttiness, coffee and or malt.

Belgian Milk Chocolate Callets | Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Pairing Chocolate and Beer

For pairing, we suggest a medium strength craft beer which will work in harmony with the sweetness of the milk chocolate. Brews with brown sugar, caramel, coffee and nutty undertones are the best bet.

Pairing Suggestions:  Amber Lager, European Style Lager, Honey/Maple, Cream Ales, British Pale Ales, North American Pale Ale, India Pale Ale, Amber Ale, Porter

Examples: Nickel Brook – Maple Porter, Nickel Brook – Cuvee Ale 

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Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate is generally made with cocoa butter and greater than 55 % of cocoa mass.  It has a strong flavour with a good balance of sugar but is not too sweet. Dark chocolate may have the following flavour notes: nutty, spicy, smoke, coffee and/or earthy notes with hints of cherry and caramel.

Belgian Dark Chocolate Callets | Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Pairing Chocolate and Beer

For pairing, we suggest a darker craft beer which will complement the bitterness or strong flavour of the semisweet chocolate. Brews with nutty, spicy or earthy notes are the best bet.

Pairing Suggestions: Dark Lager, Bock, North American Pale Ale, India Pale Ale, Dark Ale, Porter, Stout, Strong Beer

Examples: Nickel Brook – Bolshevik Bastard Imperial Stout, Nickel Brook – Old Kentucky Bastard Imperial Stout 

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Are you interested in a private beer and chocolate tasting? We would love to hear from you!  Our Master Chocolatier is always interested in working with local craft breweries.

Contact us at: sales@christysgourmetgifts.com

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To read more about Chocolate and Beer Pairings, visit these links:

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/07/28/beer-types-decoding-different-beers_n_1711279.html

http://www.thenibble.com/reviews/main/chocolate/flavors.asp

www.mynslc.com/Content_MarketingPages/Content_Beer/Content_BeerAppreciation/Beer Pairings/BeerandChocolate.aspx

http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/983087/how-to-pair-chocolate-with-beer

Easiest Ice Cream Cake

Entertaining is fun but sometimes the party preparation can be exhausting!

No worries – we are here to help with your party dessert preparations. We came up with this quick and super easy ice cream cake which is sure to be a crowd pleaser. It’s literally the easiest cake you will ever make! Now you can spend more time socializing and less time slaving in the kitchen!Ice Cream Cake – Picture 1 Edit – Christy’s Gourmet Gifts

Check out the how-to below:

What you will need:

  • 1 Ice Cream Brick (I used 2 for a lot of visitors)
  • Christy’s Crunch “Ice Cream Topping” – $5 in-store
  • Chocolate Syrup

Ice Cream Cake - Picture 2 - Christy's Gourmet GiftsHow To:

  • Remove ice cream brick from paper wrapping and place on a cookie sheet.
  • Pour Christy’s Crunch crumbs all over cake covering top and sides. This can get quite messy (the cookie tray will catch your crumbs).
  • Use a spatula and your hands to carefully lift the ice cream block off of the cookie tray and place onto a nice serving tray.
  • Drizzle with chocolate syrup.
  • Serve and enjoy. :)

Ice Cream Cake - Picture 3 - Christy's Gourmet Gifts

Apple Hand-Pies Recipe made with Greaves Apple Jelly

Fall has finally arrived! For many people, getting geared up for Fall means going Apple Picking and that is exactly how we spent our first day of Fall! We grabbed our rubber boots and headed out to Carluke Orchards. The weather was cool with a slight wind, but it was sunny and once we were bundled up it was a perfect Autumn Apple-Picking day.

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Apple Hand-Pie Recipe made with Greaves Jam | Pic BWe managed to pick one full basket of Apples of a few different types – and let us just tell you that it was NOT slim-pickings at Carluke. WOW! We could’ve got a full basket just on one tree.

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Apple Hand-Pie Recipe made with Greaves Jam | Pic AWith all those apples, of course we had to do some delicious Autumn baking. Given that we are heading up to the Apple Harvest Craft show next weekend in Meaford, we thought the fresh smell of apple pie would get us in the “harvest spirit”. We decided to get extra creative and baked some Apple Hand-Pies (we did ours on a stick) made with Greaves Jams & Marmalades* Pure Apple Jelly. We loved the outcome and thought we would share this yummy recipe:

Here’s the delicious recipe:

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Apple Hand-Pie Recipe made with Greaves Jam | Pic 8

Apple Hand-Pies made with Greaves Pure Apple Jelly

(Makes enough for about 4 Hand-pies)

Ingredients

  • ½ cup Chilled Butter
  • 1 1/3 cups All Purpose Flour
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • ¼ cup Ice water
  • 4 Large Apples (We used Cortland)
  • 1 ½ cup Water
  • ¼ cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 jar Greaves Pure Apple Jelly
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp Milk
  • Sprinkling of Sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F.

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Apple Hand-Pie Recipe made with Greaves Jam | Pic 1Dice butter into cubes. Place in a bowl and then place in the fridge or freezer.

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Apple Hand-Pie Recipe made with Greaves Jam | Pic 2Place flour in a large mixing bowl with salt.

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Apple Hand-Pie Recipe made with Greaves Jam | Pic 3Cut in Butter until mixture becomes coarse crumbs. Slowly add ice water, one tbsp at a time, mixing until the dough becomes a ball. Roll the ball up with plastic wrap and place in the fridge. Let chill for 3 hours or more.

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Apple Hand-Pie Recipe made with Greaves Jam | Pic 4Prep your apples. Peel and core apples, and chop into small cubes.

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Apple Hand-Pie Recipe made with Greaves Jam | Pic 5Add the 1 ½ cup water to a pot. Bring to a boil and add the sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon. Stir continuously until mixture comes to a boil.

Place the apples in the pot. Bring down the heat, cover and simmer on low for 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir and let cool. Drain.

Cover a cutting board or smooth, clean surface with a dusting of flour. Take the dough out of the fridge. Roll the dough ball out until it is quite thin.

Using a cookie cutter, cut a few shapes out of the dough. Bring leftover dough together, roll out, and continue the cookie cutter process. Continue doing this until you can no longer get any more cookie cutters to fit on the dough.

Place half the cookie cutter shapes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

*Optional* Add a bake-safe stick to the bottom half of the pie. Press it in about ½ way up.

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Apple Hand-Pie Recipe made with Greaves Jam | Pic 6Place a dollop (1 tsp) of Greaves Apple Jelly to each shape of dough.

Cover the Apple Jelly with the cooled, cooked apples. (Don’t overfill as you will have trouble getting the sides to close!)

Place the leftover dough shapes on-top of the others. Press around the edge with your finger to begin with, then use a fork to seal the edges shut.

Cut a small X shape in the top of the hand-pies to let any steam escape in the baking process.

Mix together egg and milk. Brush onto the tops of the Hand-Pies to give a nice glaze. Sprinkle with sugar (Mmm sugar…).

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Apple Hand-Pie Recipe made with Greaves Jam | Pic 7Bake until golden and cooked through (around 25-35 minutes).

Enjoy! Happy Fall!

Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Apple Hand-Pie Recipe made with Greaves Jam | Pic 8 *Greaves Jams and Marmalades, in Niagara-on-the-Lake, is one of our newest Christy’s Sweets retailers.

Breakfasts in September – Quick & Easy Recipe

With the return of September, many Moms and Dads are beginning to think about quick and easy breakfasts to make for the kids. One of our favourite speedy and simple breakfasts is definitely oatmeal. As a special back-to-school treat, we decided to “spice up” our oatmeal with a special topper of Christy’s Crunch! We crumbled White Chocolate Cranberry Crunch overtop our maple and brown sugar oatmeal and boy was it ever good. The toffee and white chocolate melted slightly, which meant that even after we had eaten the Crunch up– the delicious flavour lingered on.

Christy's Gourmet Gifts - Quick and Easy Recipes for September - Back to School - Oatmeal TopperNow, we know this may not be a breakfast you’d want to serve your kids everyday… but it’s perfect for a special treat to beat the back-to-school blues. Try serving it with some yummy berries on the side for a more wholesome meal.

Some of our other favourite oatmeal toppings (perhaps more Mom-approved options) include:

  • Jams or Jellies
  • Yogurt
  • Sliced fresh fruit -  apples, bananas or berries
  • Dried fruit – apricots, mango, pineapple etc.

What are your favourite toppings for oatmeal OR your favourite easy breakfast recipes for the kids? How are you planning to beat the back-to-school blues?

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Everyday leading up to Cinco de Mayo we have had a special party tip, to make your themed party a blast. Check through all our latest blog posts to give your guests, or your family, a festive Cinco de Mayo!

Todays Party Tip Number 1: A Mexican Main!

Show your guests you can really get into the festive spirit by preparing this delicious main, which is one of the most representative dishes of Mexico – Chicken Mole Poblano! Reportedly, Chicken Mole Poblano is so popular, it’s been said that ninety-nine percent of Mexicans have tried at least one type of mole. (Wikipedia.) Spicy and sweet at the same time, with an addition of CHOCOLATE?! What more could you ask for in a meal?

If you have quite a lot of guests, rather than have a sit down meal.. you could serve this meal in tiny bowls with small spoons. That way, it’s still ‘appetizer’ style!

Chicken Mole Poblano recipe

Christy's Gourmet Gifts Cinco de Mayo Chicken Mole Poblano Chocolate Sauce Recipe

What you will need:

  • 4 dried pasilla peppers (stems and seeds removed)
  • 4 dried New Mexico chilies (stems and seeds removed)
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 medium tomatoes (peeled and seeds removed, chopped)
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • ½ cup almonds
  • ½ corn tortilla (ripped into pieces)
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground coriander
  • Water
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate square (or more, to taste)
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into bite sizes pieces)

How to: In a blender or food processor, mix together pasilla peppers, chilies, onion, garlic, tomatoes, 1 tbsp sesame seeds (the rest will be for garnish), almonds, tortilla, raisins, cloves, cinnamon and coriander. Add a small amount of water while it’s pureeing to be sure you finish with a smooth sauce. Heat 3 tbsp vegetable oil in a frying pan and fry the sauce for 10 minutes, stirring often. Mix in the chicken broth and chocolate square. Bring down the heat to very low and cook the sauce for 45 minutes. When done, the sauce should be very thick. While the sauce is simmering, in a separate stir fry pan, drizzle the remaining 1 tbsp vegetable oil. Heat over medium high heat and place bite sized chicken pieces in to the stir fry pan. Stir fry until completely browned and cooked through. Serve chicken over white rice, cover with mole sauce and sprinkle with remaining sesame seeds.

Today’s Party Tip 2: Fresh Dessert!

You can use whatever fruit you have on-hand. Citrus fruits and tree fruits work best, such as oranges, nectarines, peaches etc.

Sangria Fruit Salad Recipe

Christy's Gourmet Gifts Cinco de Mayo Sangria Fruit Salad Recipe with White Wine

What you will need:

For the Fruit Salad:

  • Kiwis, cut into bite sized pieces
  • Nectarines, cut into bite sized pieces
  • Grapes (green, purple) , cut into bite sized pieces
  • Figs, cut into bite sized pieces
  • Apples, cut into bite sized pieces
  • Oranges, cut into bite sized pieces
  • Peaches, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 Package Christy’s Gourmet Gifts Chardonnay Wine Brittle, broken into small pieces
  • Sugar for sprinkling

For the Dressing

  • 1/3 white wine
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tsp honey

How to: Mix all of your cut pieces of fruit in a large bowl. Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients, in a separate bowl. Pour the mixture over top of the fruit in the bowl. Sprinkle a bit of sugar, and the Chardonnay Wine Brittle pieces over your fruit salad. Serve with small bowls and spoons.

Dressing recipe is an adaptation from: Real Simple White Wine Vinaigrette

Have a great Cinco de Mayo party! 

Cinco de Mayo Countdown

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo Christy’s Gourmet Gifts style!

Though Cinco de Mayo originally began as a celebration over a battle (yikes!) more info here..  it is now widely recognized as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride.  But, you can find many people internationally celebrating this day, regardless of heritage! Take a look at Martha Stewart’s ideas  and the Food Network Cinco de Mayo party menu. Cinco de Mayo definitely looks like a celebration that we want to be a part of! 

Everyday leading up to Cinco de Mayo (the 5th of May) we will have a special party tip, to make your themed party a blast! Stay tuned for recipes, décor tips and lots more.

Today’s Party Tips:

1.Cinco de Mayo party favours!

Christy's Gourmet Gifts Cinco De Mayo Party Theme - Party Favours

Christy’s Gourmet Gifts is famous for our Christy’s Crunch so why not share our famous goodie with your friends and family at your party?! We put together a favour for our Cinco de Mayo party and we can do the same for you. If you can dream it, we can do it. (Not just for Cinco de Mayo either, we can help with all of your themed – or un-themed! – party favour needs.)

For the favour design, we spruced up a plain white gift box with some bright colours and patterns, added a bow and filled it up with some famous Christy’s Crunch. Yum! Guests will definitely be in the party spirit after receiving these little guys.

2.  Mexican Lime Pie Recipe!

What’s a party without some yummy desserts?! Bring some fresh citrus flavouring into your festivities, while giving your guests their sweets fix. You can whip up this easy Mexican Lime Pie in no time (really, anyone can make this recipe). Enjoy!

 Cinco De Mayo Themed Party - Mexican Lime Pie Recipe

What you will need:

  • 15 graham crackers
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 4 large eggs, yolks only
  • 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 12     key limes, juiced or ½ cup fresh lime juice (3 to 4 regular limes)
  • 2 tsp lime zest (+ a bit extra for garnish)

 How to:

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Crush the graham crackers and mix together with sugar and butter. Take a rectangular baking dish (or a 9” pie dish for a more traditional look) and press the mixture into the bottom of it, in an even layer. Bake until the mixture is golden, about 12 minutes.
  • While the pie shell is in the oven, beat the egg yolks with an electric mixture, until they lighten and thicken. Stir in ½ of the lime juice and the condensed milk. Whisk the egg mixture until thoroughly combined. Whisk in the remaining ½ of the lime juice, and the lime zest.
  • Fill your baked pie shell with the lime mixture. Bake for 12 minutes at 350F.
  • Take your key lime pie out of the oven and cool. Serve each pie piece with a dollop of whipped cream and a bit of lime zest.

Delicious and so easy!

Stay tuned for party tip number 3 tomorrow!

Happy International Earth Day!

“Celebrated every April 22, Earth Day is the largest, most celebrated environmental event worldwide. More than 6 million Canadians join 1 billion people in over 170 countries in staging events and projects to address local environmental issues. Nearly every school child in Canada takes part in an Earth Day activity.” http://www.earthday.ca/pub/about/history.php

How have you made a difference in the community or raised awareness for environmental issues? We registered a Christy’s Gourmet Gifts clean-up team for Pitch-In Canada. Check out Bernie, our master chocolatier, at the clean-up day this weekend…doing his part to help out!

Bernie the Master Chocolatier at Christy's Gourmet GiftsIn addition to doing your part in the community, you can educate and celebrate Earth Day with the kids with this easy ‘Mud Pie Mini Trifle’.

What you will need:

  • Oreo cookie crumbs & Vanilla pudding (equal parts)
  • Gummy worms
  • Christy’s Crunch (optional)

How To:

  1.  Layer 1/3 of your Oreo cookie crumbs on the bottom of a see-through bowl or cup. Try to pack it down slightly, so that you have an even surface.
  2. Cover with half the amount of vanilla pudding, evenly, covering the whole surface of “dirt”.
  3. Take another 1/3 of the Oreo cookie crumbs and evenly cover over the pudding.
  4. Finish off the pudding with another full layer.
  5. Complete the mini trifle with the final 1/3 of the Oreo cookie crumbs.
  6. Put gummy worms on top or push them slightly into the Oreo cookie crumbs.

Additional! If you want to add an extra special pizzazz to your recipe, add some broken up Christy’s Crunch to the Oreo cookie layer.
Christy's Gourmet Gifts - Mini Mud Pie Trifle - Recipe with the Kids for Earth DayYum!

Do you have any great Earth Day recipes, or have you seen some online you would like to try? Please share them with us! We’d love to hear from you!