Archive of posts from 2014

    Oatmeal Muffins (Cook’s Illustrated)


    We’ve been eating a lot of toast for breakfast recently, so it was time to restock the freezer with some baked goods. I was surprised to find out that I’d never tried these muffins before. And while they were unmistakably full of oatmeal, sometimes, you can have too much of a ...

    Perfect Brownies (Yvonne Ruperti)


    For a Christmas lunch we were invited to, I wanted to make something more child friendly than cheesecake, i.e. something with chocolate. Brownies were the obvious choice. I don’t have a go-to recipe, so I looked for something that was easy to make as I would be in my in-laws’ ...

    Lemon Cheesecake


    We’re in Montreal for a few days to see my new niece. We’ve been invited to a Christmas lunch at which I was asked to make a dessert featuring lemon curd. Tartlets or lemon bars would be the easy thing to make, but I decided on a cheesecake.

    Orange-Olive Oil Cake


    Our Hanukkah celebrations this year have involved many other families, mostly in the form of potlucks. So I didn’t need to make any dessert as other people brought doughnuts, unlike past years. Still, I wanted to make something I hadn’t made before using olive oil, and produ...

    Chocolate Waffles


    If there’s one thing my son will always eat, it’s anything made with chocolate. This past Saturday for breakfast, we made a crowd-pleasing batch of chocolate waffles.

    Chocolate Cherry Scones


    After eating breakfast at The Scone Witch in Ottawa recently, I came back to Toronto wanting to bake my own scones. Fortunately, the Bouchon book offered an irresistible recipe.

    Warm Chocolate and Banana Tart


    We were in charge of dessert again for a monthly Friday night potluck. I’ve been making a lot of apple things recently, so I thought it would be good to change things up. What better than a warm tart, made of chocolate and banana? Why, two tarts, of course!

    Crack Pie


    I could never bring myself to actually purchasing a slice of Crack Pie®. It sounded way too sweet and plain to me. But something inspired me to try baking it at home this week, and so on Wednesday evening, I set out to make this notorious dessert.

    Super Apple Pie (Alton Brown)


    Apple pie doesn’t need a lot of improvement. Sure, there are crumble toppings, cream, raisins or even nuts thrown in the filling sometimes. But once in awhile, I come across a new version that catches my eye.

    Chocolate and Lemon Madeleines


    For an easy quick dessert for a Friday night dinner, I made a batch of chocolate madeleines. There’s much to love about these little cakes masquerading as cookies: buttery flavour, soft texture, enticing fresh-baked aroma. Anyone can make them, provided you have the molds.

    Banana Muffins (Bouchon)


    I love a good deal, and when I saw a used copy of Bouchon Bakery online, I bought it right away. Thomas Keller has a number of restaurants that I’ve never eaten at, save for one brunch at Bouchon Bistro in Vegas. But the book’s photographs, precise recipes and the authors’ rep...

    Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire


    Disappointed by the loaf from last week, I looked for another multigrain bread and found one I’ve never blogged about from Peter Reinhart’s classic book.

    Chocolate Sour Cream Layer Cake


    For a friend celebrating her birthday this past week, we offered to make a dessert. Her parameters to me were that it be a chocolate cake. To keep things simple, we decided on a frosted layer cake from one of Alice Medrich’s books.

    Pear Mousse Cake: Step by Step


    I’ve always wanted to make a dessert using a technique that allows you to “print” designs onto cake. My first anniversary with my current employer, Shopify, provided the perfect reason to explore this idea and the result was a Pear Mousse Cake.

    Multigrain Boule


    On Sunday evening, before heading off for a few days in Ottawa, I made a loaf of bread so my family would have some breakfast toast. The way that Michael Ruhlman describes this bread, I thought it would make a delicious whole-grain loaf. Alas, it did not meet my expectations.

    French Apple Tart (Cook’s Illustrated)


    At the Friday potluck, we invited friends over for dinner the next night, and I half-jokingly said that I would make another dessert for them. Of course, I take dessert very seriously and decided to make the apple tart from the Nov/Dec 2014 issue of Cook’s Illustrated.

    Poached Pear and Almond Tart


    As a dessert fruit, I like pears even better than apples. And so when my parents gifted us with a huge bag of Bosc pears from the Waterdown Farmers’ Market, I started looking for ways to use them. This pear and almond tart from Cook’s Illustrated is quite possibly, the perfect...

    Dutch Apple Pie


    Our hand-picked haul of McIntosh apples from last week didn’t inspire much baking. For one, this variety is best for applesauce, as it turns to mush when cooked, so cake and pie recipes usually call for other kinds. A Cook’s Illustrated recipe for Dutch apple pie sounded good,...

    Carrot, Apple and Pecan Muffins


    Muffins that feature an abundance of fruit, nuts and seeds are sometimes called “morning glory” muffins. It turns out that a recipe bearing this name was first published in Gourmet more than 30 years ago. Despite its popularity, I tend to avoid muffins overloaded with a lot o...

    Pear, Riesling, and Ginger Sorbet


    Making a dairy- and wheat-free dessert is a bit of a challenge, and I often look to fruit sorbet for a solution. Being in the middle of fall, ripe pears were easy to find and I used them to make an alternative dessert for a big, weeknight dinner.

    Easy Apple Strudel


    On our drive back from Montreal last week, we stopped at an orchard outside of Cornwall. The only variety they had available for U-Pick was McIntosh, so that limited the baking applications somewhat. However, I found a recipe for strudel that called for this variety, and ma...

    Caramel Apple and Sweet Cream Cheesecake


    Despite not making a lot of cheesecakes, I really enjoy them at special occasions (or any other time, I suppose). With fall weather approaching, I dug up a recipe from one of my favourite baking books, and made caramel apple cheesecake this week.

    Corn and Apricot Muffins with Orange Essence


    A search of “sour cream” and ”muffins” in Eat Your Books brought up a muffin recipe I hadn’t made before. They promised a tender, moist muffin with lots of flavour and a sprinkle of sugar on top. On a weekday morning, I attempted to make them for breakfast, but they turned ou...

    Cream Cheese Brownies


    I’m not a huge brownie fan, as evidenced by the lack of brownie posts on this site. My preference falls somewhere in the middle of the fudgey vs. cakey spectrum. I also like nuts in my brownies, especially walnuts. But an ingredient surplus combined with a magazine recipe led ...

    Whole Wheat Challah


    For Shabbat dinners on Fridays, I often make the bread from scratch. On weeks where we’re too busy, I’ve discovered that the Fresh & Wild near my office stocks challahs from Harbord Bakery. But this past Friday, I wanted to try making a whole wheat variation.

    Croissants (Cook’s Illustrated)


    The Labour Day weekend was an opportunity to make something a little more time-consuming and complicated: croissants. I love these buttery, flaky, viennoiserie pastries and often buy them for breakfast, plain or filled with almond or chocolate.



    Having a few friends over for supper is as good an occasion as any to make fresh bread. While flipping through Carol Field’s bread book, I saw an herb loaf that I thought would make a good accompaniment to our Middle Eastern dinner menu.

    Burned Peach Ice Cream


    Peaches have shown up in our breakfast (smoothies), dinner (salads), snacks and desserts all week long. With the last few yellow peaches from Sunday’s market haul, I made a peach ice cream as part of an office frozen dessert event.

    White Peach Sorbet


    We bought two baskets each of white and yellow peaches from Bizjak Farms this weekend at the farmers’ market. Supermarket fruit tend to be a little underripe, so they survive transport better, but buying straight from the farmer yields deliciously ripe fruit. There’s going to ...

    Easy Sandwich Bread


    On Sunday evening, as I thought ahead to breakfast the next morning, I realized we were out of bread (again). But instead of walking over to the grocery store, I looked up a Cook’s Illustrated recipe for a superfast loaf (start to finish in under 2 hours) I recalled seeing fr...

    Scallion Pancake Challah


    A few weeks ago, Flick saw someone on Facebook mention a “Chinese challah”. The cynic in me immediately scoffed and wondered aloud what would make it Chinese: Soy sauce? Lap cheong? Sesame? For this week’s Shabbat, instead of buying a loaf at the grocer near my office, I decid...

    Sweet Corn Ice Cream with Blueberry Compote


    A couple of weekends ago, a recipe in the Saturday Globe and Mail caught my eye. It was for corn ice cream, which is an unconventional flavour, but one I knew I had to try. Unlike, say, some of these seafood based flavours.The recipe in the paper is attributed to a chef from S...

    Nectarine Basil Popsicles


    Stone fruit, especially nectarines and peaches, have a very short shelf life. After getting them from the market stand, they start to deteriorate rapidly, attracting fruit flies and mold within a few days. After holding a basket of overripe nectarines in the fridge for a few d...

    Potato Burger Buns


    Hamburger buns are pretty boring. They’re ridiculously cheap, come in either white or whole wheat versions, and are usually a sponge for ketchup, mustard, mayo and relish. For a lot of barbeque sandwiches, you want the cheapest, whitest, mushiest buns to serve your slow-cooked...

    Whole Wheat Bread (BBA)


    My son’s breakfast is typically toast with peanut butter. He’s been very consistent in his preferences. I like to bake bread, but we often just get loaves from the store. On Wednesday this week, I tried making the 100% whole wheat bread from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s ...

    Apricot Ginger Sherbet


    Ever since reading Adam Gollner’s article about apricots in Lucky Peach, I’ve actually avoided the fruit. Partly because they’re in season for a very short time here, and partly because I know that none of the varieties I have access to would even come close to what he describ...

    Sweet Cherry Pie


    Perform an image search for cherry pie, and you’ll most likely get pictures of desserts made with sour cherries. Cook’s Illustrated published a pie recipe using sweet cherries a few years ago that I’ve always wanted to try, so this week, I bought a 3L basket of the season’s la...

    Mango Sticky Rice


    The summer mango season is always a time when we try to purchase a case or two of mangos. We eat them fresh for a snack, chopped into a fruit salad or salsa, or blended into a lassi or smoothie. One of our favourites is the Ataulfo variety, which has a small pit, and very smoo...

    Yogurt Pudding with Poached Peaches


    You would be surprised how often I end up with a surplus of a single ingredient. This may happen due to shopping list duplication between Flick and I, or a Costco-triggered impulse buy. Our neighbours went on vacation and gifted us with the perishable contents of their fridge....

    Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream Sandwiches


    I’ve wanted to make my own classic, summer treat for a while now, that is, an ice cream sandwich. A specimen I tried from an Ontario dairy while cottaging recently wasn’t impressive: the chocolate chip cookies were too hard to bite into without the interior oozing out every ti...

    Lemon Blueberry Muffins (Cook’s Illustrated)


    We found ourselves with about 2.5kg of yogurt recently, so I set out to use some of it up in a muffin. I followed this recipe closely, but made one change: to ensure tenderness, I swapped about a cup of the AP flour with cake flour. The batter completely filled the cups of a l...

    Shortcakes with Strawberries and Whipped Cream


    A shortcake is really just a cream biscuit. More historical information can be found in this Wikipedia article, which also notes that June 14th is Strawberry Shortcake Day!Anyone can make this recipe, it’s easy enough to do on a weeknight after dinner. I started by cutting and...

    Strawberry Ice Cream


    Strawberry season is in full swing in Ontario, and we took advantage by purchasing a whole flat at the Leslieville Farmers’ Market this past weekend. After gorging on several quarts, plain and with whipped cream, it was time to use them in a few dessert applications.For Canada...

    Pan Graham


    The key ingredient in this bread is Graham flour which has an interesting history. Given the ubiquity of graham crackers (which I love in cheesecake crusts), I was dismayed to find out that the raw flour isn’t so easy to find. Over the past few weeks, I’ve had no luck finding ...

    Arnold Palmer Cake, Step by Step


    The first issue of Lucky Peach I bought was from Good Egg in Kensington Market. It was Issue 2: The Sweet Spot and featured such awesomeness such as an article on the best apricots in the world, a recipe for burnt miso, and whimsical phony fruit stickers. It’s out of print now...

    Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes


    For Gabe’s second 3rd birthday celebration (which included friends and family at a local playground centre), we had some leftover chocolate avocado cupcakes in the freezer, and decided to bake another batch for adults. I chose this Boston Cream one, as it sounded fun, and it’s...

    Glazed Chocolate-Avocado Cupcakes


    I bookmarked this recipe a few years ago, not sure when I would have an occasion to make them. It is egg-less and dairy-free, but we don’t have any close friends or family with those restrictions. For Gabe’s birthday today, we thought it would be a fun idea to celebrate with m...

    Low-sugar Blackberry-Raspberry Ricotta Tart


    While we were in the hospital after Gemma was born, this recipe caught our eyes. It was part of an article talking about how to tame your sweet tooth. With a recent front page article in Maclean’s, and a key subject in the bestselling book Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants...

    Challah (Cook’s Illustrated)


    Despite making dozens of challahs, I somehow haven’t made and documented the Cook’s Illustrated version. For this week’s Shabbat meal, I started the recipe on Friday morning since it didn’t require making a poolish/starter/pre-ferment. I like that a whole number of eggs is use...

    Peter Reinhart’s Challah


    Reinhart is a prolific baking book author, so he’s published many challah recipes, some of which I’ve made in the past. But looking through this blog’s archives, I cannot find a writeup of the challah from either The Bread Baker’s Apprentice nor Whole Grain Breads. Anyhow, I b...

    Ultimate Flourless Chocolate Cake


    On Saturday morning, we decided that the pistachio cake might not be enough for all the adults plus children, so I quickly baked this flour-free chocolate cake recipe that had only three ingredients. I used a false bottom 8” tin, instead of a springform, but otherwise followed...

    Pistachio Layer Cake: Step by Step


    For a party we planned on hosting on Saturday, I wanted to make another Milk Bar recipe. So without any further ado, here’s my breakdown of this project:Pistachio Paste This is an item that is hard to find here in Toronto: most stores either don’t carry it, or the quality isn’...

    Hazelnut Citrus Torte


    The last dessert I made for Passover was a nut cake based on this recipe from the NYT. It is not a pure ground nut cake, but has a bit of quinoa flour, which I made by pulverizing white quinoa in a spice grinder. To make it more diabetic-friendly, I used about ¼ cup of white s...

    Lemon Sorbet (No-Sugar)


    As a diabetic-friendly alternative, I made another sorbet for Passover using xylitol instead of sugar. I’ve used Splenda products in the past (either the standard white powder, or the 50% brown sugar blend) but dislike the noticeable aftertaste. Having chewed many a pack of Lo...

    Raspberry Sorbet


    Finding delicious and fresh ideas for Passover desserts is challenging, as everyone seems to make the same things over and over again. I thought sorbet might be a nice change and since we were hosting the first night at our house, took the opportunity to make a frozen dessert....

    Transitional Rye Sandwich Bread


    I hadn’t made a rye bread in a while, and looking back in this blog’s archives, noted that this recipe hadn’t been visited before. On a Sunday morning, I started with the soaker, using buttermilk and dark rye flour. The next morning, I made the biga, and substituted Antimo Cap...

    Banana Oat Muffins


    Continuing my search for oat recipes, I decided to try this muffin using quick-cooking oats. Unusually, it uses four bananas for a dozen muffins. To cut back on sweetness, I halved the quantity of brown sugar. While these turned out okay, they were a little bit gummy. Perhaps ...

    Chocolate Cherry Whirly-Swirly Cookies


    I’ve always enjoyed baking out of this book, as many of the recipes are over-the-top and loaded with chocolate. It’s also rare to see a cookie recipe calling for IQF cherries, so my curiosity was piqued.I started with the cherry dough, omitting the food colouring, and substitu...

    Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies


    I watched the CNBC mini-doc “Costco Craze” recently. It turns out that overspending is a common thing amongst Costco devotees. From not labelling aisles to having constantly changing SKUs, the store is designed to get you coming back and buying things you didn’t know you wante...

    Carrot Cake Muffins


    Muffins really are just small, unfrosted cakes, so why not a carrot cake muffin? This recipe comes from the Recipes for Health column of the NYT, explaining the use of whole-grain flour and reduced sugar and fat. I didn’t have whole-wheat pastry flour, so I used a mix of regul...



    Last week, we started by making the hamantaschen fillings. For the apricot one, we used a mix of unsulphured and sulphured dried apricots. You can use the latter if you don’t want a dark colour. Instead of orange juice, we substituted water to cut down on the sugar, as well as...

    Banana Layer Cake: Step by Step


    Producing this cake is a labour of (dessert) love. There are seven separate recipes to make, specialty ingredients and tools to acquire, and a significant amount of time to invest. Even though the end result was one of the tastiest cakes I (or my guests) have ever had, it fall...

    Cornflake, Chocolate-Chip and Blueberry Cookies


    With the cornflake crunch left over from an earlier project, I made the cornflake cookies from the book, but substituted blueberries for marshmallows, as they are on my shortlist of Foods I Don’t Eat. By now, the ingredients and procedure for a Milk Bar cookie are familiar. I ...

    Cereal Milk Panna Cotta with Cornflake Crunch


    Recipe from Momofuku Milk Bar by Christina Tosi and David Chang Notes: I had the idea to make cornflake crunch earlier this week, and decided that a light panna cotta would be a nice finish for a dinner we were hosting. A few notes: The cornflake crunch comes out very butter...

    Hazelnut Waffles


    It’s been a while since we’ve had waffles, and having some family over was a good excuse to bust out the Black and Decker iron. This recipe seemed rich: 4 eggs and a half cup of oil, but I stuck to the proportions as it was my first time. I made a few small changes, swapping o...

    Honey Hazelnut Truffles


    Recipe from Chocolates and Confections by Peter GrewelingEmployees at my new office give “lightning talks” from time to time: short, under-five minute presentations on a topic of your choice. I thought it would be fun to do a tutorial on chocolate making and made a presentatio...

    Blueberry and Cream Cookies


    I’ve been intrigued by the use of what Milk Bar calls “MSG for bakers”, i.e. milk powder. Our pantry has a bag of it because some of the bread recipes I make call for it. It’s used in this cookie recipe to make “milk crumbs”: basically, a streusel topping enhanced with milk po...

    Whole Wheat Pita


    For a dinner we were hosting on Sunday, I made two recipes out of Ottolenghi’s first book, the harissa-marinated chicken with grapefruit salad, and the chickpeas and spinach with honeyed sweet potato. I thought freshly made pita would be a good accompaniment, and dug out Reinh...

    Compost Cookies


    On my way home from a restaurant last night, I realized I could pass by the Toronto Momofuku and pick up some corn powder, useful for making, among other things, corn cookies. That got me thinking about compost cookies, so I also dropped by a 7-11 on the way home to pick up so...

    Sweet Potato Muffins


    I didn’t do much baking over the holidays while in Florida, but did make this batch of muffins. Without a scale, I’m not sure the quantity of sweet potato I used, but it was definitely more than called for, as the finished muffins were very soft and moist. Since I used the Spl...