Saturday, 21 November 2015

Gingerbread Waffles with Spiced Whipped Cream

Too early for gingerbread?  Maybe. But it happened. And it was good.  The End.

Make these this weekend.

Gingerbread Waffles with Spiced Whipped Cream

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 eggs
3 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tablespoons molasses

Spiced Whipped Cream

1/2 cup(s) heavy or whipping cream
2 teaspoon(s) sugar
1/8 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon(s) ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon(s) ground ginger

Melt butter.  Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices in a medium bowl.
In a separate bowl, beat eggs and add buttermilk, vanilla, and molasses.  Add the butter.

Preheat waffle maker.  Combine flour and buttermilk/egg mixture together.  Cook according to waffle maker instructions.   While first batch of waffles are cooking, prepare spiced whipped cream.
Combine whipping cream, sugar, and spices and whip until stiff peaks form.

Serve waffles fresh and hot with syrup and a dollop of spiced cream on the side (and some powdered sugar if you feel like getting all fancy and pretty).

Sunday, 15 November 2015


Looking for something elegant for your holiday potluck or cookie swap this year that makes an impression but requires minimal ingredients, expense, time, and effort?

Palmier - A palm tree (French: palmier or cœur de France) or elephant ear is a French pastry in a palm shape or a butterfly shape, sometimes called palm leaveselephant earsfrench heartsshoe-solesPakistani jalebi or glasses.

1 package puff pastry, thawed
granulated sugar*

*be creative, add cinnamon, other spices or even lavender

Defrost the puff pastry either overnight in the fridge, or on the counter in 30-40 minutes.  You want the pastry to be cold but not soggy, so if you are defrosting out of the fridge, take care.

Sprinkle the counter top with granulated sugar, about 1/4 cup. Depending on the brand of pastry you buy, if your puff pastry is rolled or folded up in between sheets of parchment paper, carefully unfold the pastry on top of the sugar, lightly pressing down so that the sugar sticks into the pastry. Use care to keep the pastry from sticking to the counter top.  Sprinkle more sugar on top. If your puff pastry comes in two thick squares, separate the squares.  Sprinkle granulated sugar on top of one square, and use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll it out to a rectangular shape.

Once your dough is in a rectangular form, sprinkle granulated sugar on top and use the rolling pin to lightly press the sugar into the pastry dough (again, taking care to keep the dough from sticking to the counter.  Sprinkle sugar underneath the dough as needed).   If you have two sections of dough, repeat.

There are two ways to create your palmier shape. The easiest and more traditional, is to simply fold over the left third of the dough (on the long side), and then fold the right third of the dough on top of the left side.

They will end up looking like this:

The second, and less traditional, is to picture your dough in half, and starting from the left, tightly roll the dough up until the mid point.

Then do the same on the right side, so you have two curled halves meeting in the middle.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes while the oven preheats to 400 degrees.

Once the dough has chilled, use a sharp knife to cut into 1/2 inch slices and place side-up on cookie sheet covered in parchment paper.

Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes, checking at 12 minutes, or until golden brown.  Don't overbake.  Makes about 2 dozen palmiers, depending on the amount of puff pastry and size of the cookies.  

Monday, 2 November 2015

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

Things that make you go mmmmMMMMM.   I found it. The perfect chocolate chip cookie.  Soft inside and crispy and golden outside, with as many chocolate chips as you want in a good cookie.  A buttery and sweet and salty taste. Perfect.

This makes a big batch - 36 cookies or 24 BIG cookies.  Your choice.

I had read about freezing cookie dough so I thought I would give it try and froze 2 dozen, with 1 dozen for immediate consumption.  I'll let you know how that turns out. Joanne recommends making the dough a day ahead of time and refrigerating to allow all the flavours to mellow out together.

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie
slightly adapted from Flour Bakery + Cafe

1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter chips or dark chocolate chips

Beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar on medium speed (with a stand or hand mixer) until mixture is light and fluffy, about three to five minutes.  Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract on medium speed until thoroughly combined, two to three minutes.

Mix together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add both chocolates to the flour mix and toss to combine. Turn the mixer to low speed (or continue to use a wooden spoon if mixing by hand) and slowly blend the flour-chocolate mixture into the butter-sugar mixture. Mix until the flour and chocolate are totally incorporated and the dough is completely mixed.

For best results, scrape dough into a container and let rest in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours before baking. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and position a rack in the centre of the oven. Drop the dough in heaping tablespoon balls onto a baking sheet about two inches apart. Press dough balls down slightly with the palm of your hand. Bake until cookies are golden brown on the edges and slightly soft in the center, about 12 minutes. Unbaked dough can be stored for up to a week in an airtight container in the fridge, or frozen in an air-tight container for 2-3 weeks.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Is it a Boy or a Girl? Funfetti Gender Reveal Cake!

We decided to do a fun cake gender reveal to our families.  I made two identical cakes so each set of parents could experience the surprise.  We filmed them cutting open the cake to reveal the gender of our baby, and then sent the video to our each of our siblings who are spread across the country to share the news.  I won't post the videos here (don't worry, Mom!) but it was a lot of fun.

Funfetti Gender Reveal Cake 
slightly adapted from Seriously Delish by Jessica Merchant

3 cups cake and pastry flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups white sugar
3 eggs
4 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
2 tbsp vanilla
1 cup milk
1/3 cup sprinkles - pink or blue
a handful of pink and blue jelly candies for decoration

**this recipe will make four 6" cake layers (good if you are making 2 cakes) or two 8" or 9" layers.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
In a separate large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, add the eggs one at at time, beating in between, Add oil and vanilla and mix until well combined.
Add half the flour to the butter mixture, then half the milk and stir.  Add the remaining flour and milk and continue to stir until thoroughly mixed.

Add the sprinkles and stir very gently so as to avoid colouring the batter too much.   Divide into two pans (or four pans, depending on the size of cake) and bake at 350 - for approx 25-30 mins (again, depending on the size of cake).  If you are baking thin layers, start checking at 20 minutes and continue to bake until cake tester comes out clean.

Allow to cool slightly before turning out onto wire rack to cool completely.  Once cool, spread frosting (I decided to colour mine blue, but it ended up being totally unnoticeable in the end, so I recommend either adding a really thick layer of frosting in the middle or just use plain ol' white).

Make a big batch of vanilla frosting - you are going to need lots of it to cover up the blue or pink sprinkle bits - a bit frustrating at times but well worth it.   Make sure no hints peek through!

Be sure to clean up the plate or serving dish to remove all the crumbs...

And for the final touch - decorate with blue and pink candies!

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Marvelous Double Apple Pie

It's Autumn - officially, finally, autumn.  You wouldn't know it from the temperatures we have, ahem, enjoyed, lately but you can definitely tell from the cool nights, deep golden hue of the sunshine and the changing leaves.  It's baking season!!  I have been off to a roaring start - pumpkin muffins and loaves, banana bread, and this apple pie.

This is probably the best apple pie I have ever made.  The two of us gobbled up half of the pie on Saturday night, which may be normal for my husband, but two slices of pie in one sitting is definitely pas de normale for me.  It was just that good.  I followed the pastry recipe exactly - and it worked out.  Pastry is not my strong suit, and I have never had much luck with butter crusts, but I thought I would give this a try - eggs and milk and all, and it was marvelous....!

The other marvelous thing about this pie is the double apple part - it is a mixture of firm and tart apples and soft and sweet apples, sweetened simply with brown sugar and flavoured with just a hint of cinnamon.

Pâte brisée
From Joanne Chang's Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery + Cafe

1 ¾ cups (245 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks/228 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons cold milk

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the flour, sugar, and salt for 10 to 15 seconds , or until combined. Scatter the butter over the top. Mix on low speed for 1 to 1 ½ minutes, or just until the flour is no longer bright white and holds together when you clump it and lumps of butter the size of pecans are visible throughout.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and milk until blended. Add to the flour mixture all at once. Mix on low speed for about 30 seconds, or until the dough just barely comes together. It will look shaggy and more like a mess than a dough.

Dump the dough onto an unfloured surface, the gather it together into a tight mound, smearing the butter chunks into the dough as you go.

Gather up the dough, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and press down to flatten into a disk about 1 inch thick. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before using. The dough will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Makes enough for one 9-inch double-crust or lattice-top pie

Double Apple Pie
adapted slightly from Joanne Chang's Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery + Cafe

2 large or 4 small Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
2 medium Macintosh apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
Pinch of ground cinnamon
2 tbsp sanding sugar

Roll out 2/3 of the chilled dough to fit a 9-inch pie pan. Gently press the dough into the bottom and sides of the pie pan, leaving a small lip at the edge of the pan. Place the pie shell in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine the apples, brown sugar, flour, salt, and cinnamon, toss until the apples are coated evenly. Let this sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes so that the apples get all juicy and saucy.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Roll out the remaning 1/3 of dough and using a pizza cutter or knife, cut the dough into 8 strips, with 4 a bit longer than the other 4. Remove the chilled pie crust from the fridge and pour the apples in, pressing down slightly to fill in the gaps. Lay 4 strips over the top, leaving an inch or so in between, starting with the two longer strips down the middle, and the two shorter strips closer to the edges. Lay the remaining 4 strips over top, making a criss-cross pattern, No need to weave in and out, unless you want to get all complicated : )

Sprinkle the lattice top with the sanding sugar. If you want to be fancy, you can brush the lattice with egg first.

Bake pie at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350 and continue baking until tops and edges are a nice golden brown and the apples are all bubbly, about 40-45 minutes.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Chocolate Chip Cookies for Two

This post marks two milestones - 100 posts, and 3 years of blogging!  Wow!

When I write Chocolate Chip Cookies for Two, I mean two hungry people (or one hungry man and his pregnant wife!) This recipe makes 4 hearty chocolate chip cookies.  We ate these for dessert on pizza night - I wouldn't recommend nor repeat that choice.  Who needs dessert after pizza? So full....but so good.  And, you have to eat them warm out of the oven or what is the point, really?  

These cookies are Comfort Food.  With capitals. 

Apologies for the poor quality pics - they were taken at 10pm on a Friday, and we were in a hurry to sample. 

Chocolate Chip Cookies for Two
totally borrowed from Chatelaine

2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup chocolate chips

PREHEAT oven to 350F. Line a baking pan with parchment.
STIR butter with brown sugar in a medium bowl until creamy. Stir in egg yolk and vanilla until combined. Stir in flour and baking soda until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
DIVIDE batter into 4 portions. Scoop each portion onto prepared sheet, 3-in. apart. Cookies will spread as they bake. Sprinkle with sea salt if desired.
BAKE in centre of oven until cookies are golden around the edges, about 10 min. Transfer sheet to a rack to cool just slightly, about 2 min.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Pumpkin Muffins or Loaf (or both!)

It feels like fall this weekend.  What a change....we were literally hiding out in a dark air-conditioned theatre last weekend to escape the sweltering heat.  Right now our house is cooler than it is in the depths of winter, but we refuse to turn on the furnace.  It is still summer, after all.

I fully welcome the change in seasons this year - and all the yummy things that come along with it. Yesterday morning I was up early and felt like baking, and as I looked through all my favourite cookbooks for inspiration, I was drawn to this pumpkin muffin recipe in Flour.  I kept flipping the pages though, thinking, no, too early, what else can I make, but all the other recipes required some ingredient or other that I just didn't have, nor did I have the 'drive' to go out and get it.  What I did have was two large cans of pureed pumpkin. So, pumpkin spice it was.

You can add raisins to this if you like, or espresso powder and chocolate chips.  You can add a maple glaze, cream cheese icing, or maple roasted pepitas to jazz them up or turn them into cupcakes.  I just baked them up, plain and simple.

This recipe makes a lot of pumpkin muffins.  A double batch of average sized muffins, or perhaps a dozen jumbo muffins.  I decided on 12 muffins and a loaf.

Pumpkin Muffins
from Flour
makes 24 muffins, 12 muffins and 1 9x5 loaf, or 2 9x5 loaves

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 tbsp molasses
4 eggs
3/4 cup pulp-free orange juice
454g pumpkin puree
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cloves in a medium-large bowl.

Cream butter, sugar, and molasses together in a separate bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at at time, beating in between additions.

Add the orange juice and the pumpkin.  Mix well until thoroughly combined.

Add flour mixture, all at once, and stir until well combined.

Pour into lined or well-greased muffin tins or loaf pans if using.

Bake muffins at 350 degrees for 20-22 minutes.  Loaves will take between 45-55 minutes.