Archive of posts from 2015

    Chocolate Covered Toffee Break Ups


    At the end of the year, Dr. S brings a holiday treat for her staff. In the past, we made caramel corn. This year, we decided to try chocolate covered toffee with nuts.

    Fruitcake That Won’t Make You Gag


    As someone who’s enjoyably eaten fruitcake for many decades, it’s hard for me to understand the revulsion and mockery that this seasonal treat receives. Like with any other baked good, there are excellent home-made specimens, but also terrible mass-produced ones too. This yea...

    Olive Oil and Sweet Wine Cake


    Continuing in the theme of cooking with oil during Hanukkah, I decided to make an olive oil-based cake, flavoured with a sweet wine and a citrus zest. The recipe (which I can’t find an online copy of) is from one of my favourite cookbooks, In The Sweet Kitchen.

    Churros with Chocolate-Dulce de Leche Dip


    When I was younger, our family would occasionally order congee accompanied by a plate of jauzaagwai (油炸鬼). Deep frying wasn’t something my parents did a lot at home, so it was a treat to eat a fried breadstick at a restaurant. Now that I have my own family, cooking things in ...

    Focaccia (BBA)


    While it might not be a traditional Hanukkah food item, my wife came up with the excellent idea of serving focaccia at our party. It’s an airy, chewy flatbread, topped with herb oil.

    Cherry-Whipped Cream Doughnuts


    I’ve really embraced the custom of eating fried foods to celebrate Hanukkah. A few weeks ago, we started planning a menu for a party we would be hosting. Of course, doughnuts needed to be on that menu, and I chose one of the recipes from Bouchon Bakery to make.

    Bacon Cheddar Scones


    I’m starting to go back into the office again, after working from home for the past two months, due to a foot injury. To celebrate, I wanted to make a savoury treat, and this scone recipe from Bouchon Bakery caught my eye.

    Velvety Bean Bread


    Another untried bread from Homebaking was this loaf made with puréed navy beans. It was an interesting experiment, a way to add fibre and protein to our diet, but in the end, it couldn’t hold our interest.

    Helen’s Special Raisin Bread


    I’ve started to go through Homebaking again, and found this raisin bread which made my son very happy. He and I share a love of raisins, unlike my wife, who prefers chocolate chips over pretty much everything else.

    Winter Squash Pancakes with Squash Syrup


    April Bloomfield’s A Girl and Her Greens is a vegetable-focused cookbook, with a few sweet ideas thrown in. To use up a medium-sized pumpkin we bought, we tried making her pancakes one Saturday morning. Unfortunately, they weren’t really appetizing.

    Caramel Nut Tart


    My father’s birthday falls around Thanksgiving, so as part of our dessert table over the Canadian holiday, I wanted to make him something he would like. Since he loves nuts (of all kinds), I made this stunning tart which would have several kinds of nuts in each forkful.

    Pumpkin Bread


    Fall is here, and that means pumpkins are also. A neighbour gave us a big container of cooked pumpkin, so in addition to soup, we made a loaf of pumpkin bread with walnuts.

    Rustic Country Bread (Cook’s Illustrated)


    My experiments with high hydration breads at home have been few and far between, but over the past few weeks, I’ve made this rustic bread three times. Each time, I tweaked and refined the Cook’s Illustrated original and the results got successively better.

    Chocolate-Caramel Layer Cake


    As a token of appreciation for the nanny who took care of our children this summer, we decided to bake her a cake. The Sep 2015 issue of Cook’s Illustrated provided the recipe for this sweet treat, combining chocolate cake with the bittersweet flavour of caramel.

    Corn Muffins


    It’s peak corn season in Ontario, and we bought 15 ears at St. Lawrence Market on the weekend. After making an intensely, superb corn soup, I decided to try making muffins out of some of the remaining cobs.

    Honey-Poached Apricot Cornmeal Crunch Cake


    With a whole lot of apricots, peaches and nectarines all ripening at the same time on our counter, this cake was ideal to use up some less than perfect fruit. Even better, this dessert tasted better after a few days.

    Campton Place Coffee Cake


    At the Withrow Park Farmers’ Market this week, there was a table piled with cookbooks for sale. I was able to pick up Sherry Yard’s second book, Desserts by the Yard. Within in its pages, I found a coffee cake with a filling containing peaches.

    Mango, Guava and Coconut Ice Pops


    While shopping in Little India, we tried to buy a case of mangoes from one vendor, but were told that the season was mostly over. Fortunately, they did have incredibly fragrant guavas, and were able to procure mangoes from a nearby store. After a few days to let them ripen, we...

    Fresh Apricot Ice Cream


    Ever since reading that article about apricots in Lucky Peach, I always keep an eye (and nose and tongue) out for a sweet, juicy and fragrant apricot. This past week at the market, the apricots for sale were so good, that we promptly bought an entire 7L basket.

    Apricot Salted Caramel Ice Pop


    This past weekend’s market trip netted us 7L each of apricots and peaches. Bizjak Farms delivered again, with fragrant, ripe and juicy apricots. As well as eating them fresh out of hand, we turned them into a few apricot desserts this week.

    Ciabatta (BBA)


    For the Civic Holiday Monday, we were invited for dinner and wanted to bring something to go with a nice goat cheese spread we bought at a farmer’s market. I took the opportunity to make the ciabatta from the book I learned to bake bread from.

    Mexican Street-Corn Paleta


    I remember the success of last year’s corn ice cream, so when I saw this recipe for a corn, sour cream, and lime popsicle in a recent issue of the New York Times Magazine, I knew I had to try it.

    Zucchini Bread with Pistachios (Cook’s Illustrated)


    While vacationing at a cottage this past week, I had time to do some baking in the well-stocked (both in pantry supplies and equipment) kitchen. For a snack/dessert, I decided to make us a zucchini bread with squash bought at the Haliburton Farmer’s Market.

    Beet Goat Cheese Honey Pistachio Ice Cream


    Yes, this ice cream really does turn a beet salad into an ice cream. This wasn’t my first vegetable-based dessert, but it was definitely one of the most unusual.

    Sour-Cherry Pistachio Crisp


    The farmer’s markets now have heaps of cherries, both sweet and sour varieties. We bought some Morello cherries this week, a dark-fleshed tart variety, and stained our hands red pitting them to make desserts post-dinner.

    Strawberry Lemon Cake


    Five separate components make up this this strawberry lemon layer cake from Momofuku Milk Bar.

    Maple Walnut Ice Cream


    In honour of Canada Day, I made a batch of maple walnut ice cream, a cool treat to enjoy on a warm day.

    Strawberry Scones


    As a thank you to friends who were doing us a favour on Saturday morning, my wife volunteered me to bake something. I found a scone recipe that sounded easy to make, and would feature a seasonal fruit.

    Strawberry Jam


    We visited Springridge Farm this week and came home with a flat of sweet, fragrant Jewel strawberries. A batch of jam was a great way to preserve this summer harvest.

    Raspberry Charlotte


    From time to time, we get invited to dinner, and invited to make dessert for the occasion. This weekend, our contribution was a raspberry charlotte from a recent issue of Cook’s Illustrated.

    Challah (Second Helpings)


    After partaking of an amazing challah at a friend’s Shabbat a few weeks ago, I was surprised to discover she made it from the 1968 classic, Second Helpings, Please! This Friday, I tried it out myself.

    Rhubarb Brûlée Tartlettes with Ginger


    Before rhubarb fatigue sets in, I found a recipe I’d never made before in one of my favourite books, In The Sweet Kitchen. This tart has a baked custard base encasing poached rhubarb and candied ginger, and a crunchy sugar layer on top.

    Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie


    Next on the rhubarb checklist: the strawberry-rhubarb pie recipe in the May/June 2015 issue of Cook’s Illustrated magazine.

    Rhubarb & Strawberry Ice Pops


    My family often samples the ice pops offered by Augie’s at the various farmer’s markets in the city. But at $3 for a regular, and $1.50 for a mini, it’s a pricey treat that can be easily made at home. With rhubarb season in full swing, and strawberry season just around the cor...

    Banana Split Bombe


    We’ve established a tradition of cupcakes for birthdays in our family. My son’s fourth birthday celebration was to be a pizza lunch in the park on the weekend, but we wanted an additional cake to celebrate on his actual birthdate. My wife suggested an ice cream cake, and as u...

    Challah (BBA)


    As I mentioned last year, I’ve made the challah from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice many times without documenting it, so here’s a post to rectify that.

    Banana Bread (Advanced Bread and Pastry)


    Yet another banana bread… This time the recipe comes from Michael Suas’ book, Advanced Bread and Pastry. Sadly, this recipe offered nothing new in terms of technique or flavour.

    Foolproof New York Cheesecake


    For Mother’s Day, we had a picnic with family in Spencer Smith Park in Burlington, underneath the cherry blossoms. Dessert was a New York cheesecake, that turned out to be not quite so foolproof.

    Multigrain Bread (Sourdough)


    There’s a first time for everything, and this past week, I baked my first few loaves of sourdough, using a starter I built up from scratch.

    Walnut Bâtards


    These past two weeks, I have been nurturing a sourdough starter using the directions in Bouchon Bakery. Using the liquid levain I’ve been feeding on a daily (sometimes twice-daily) basis, I made four loaves of walnut bread this week, perhaps the best bread I’ve ever made. I’ll...

    Maple-Sweetened Carrot Cupcakes


    While browsing for relatively healthy cupcakes for a celebration on Saturday, I came across a carrot cupcake recipe that didn’t use refined sugar. It was an ideal dessert for a one-year old’s birthday BBQ.

    Passion Fruit Chocolate Chip Layer Cake: Step by Step


    Milk Bar cakes are complicated, multi-step affairs, doable in one day, but more practically made over several days. For a recent anniversary, I decided to tackle their chocolate chip layer cake, made with passion fruit and coffee flavours.

    Cara Cara Orange Curd


    Flick and I made all three Seder desserts ahead of time on Thursday night. For Saturday, we decided to repeat an old and a new favourite: a flourless chocolate-orange cake and a creamy chocolate pudding. To accompany the former, we made an orange curd.

    Chocolate Pecan Cake


    The New York Times cooking sections are full of useful information, and it’s where I found the dessert recipe for the first night of Passover. This chocolate pecan cake was super easy to make, and was a nice finish to a big dinner.



    This is the second cookie I made from Bouchon Bakery this week. It’s a version of a classic cream-filled chocolate cookie, the initials standing for Thomas Keller Oreos.

    Better Nutters


    These peanut-butter filled oatmeal sandwich cookies looked simple, but this weekend project ended up being spread over three days.

    Candied Orange Oat-Scones


    Looking for an oatmeal porridge recipe, a search for oatmeal candied orange led me instead to these scones. These took less than an hour from start to finish, and was an easy breakfast treat for a Sunday morning.

    Blueberry Muffins (Bouchon)


    I’m about halfway through all the muffin recipes in Bouchon Bakery, and finally got around to making one of my favourite varieties, blueberry.

    Grilled Banana Bread with Tahini and Honeycomb


    My brother-in-law, who is staying with us for a while, really, really wanted banana bread. I happened to be cooking out of one of Ottolenghi’s savory cookbooks, when I saw this recipe in the last chapter.

    Buttermilk Waffles


    If you’re looking for a recipe that makes Belgian waffles (the kind you top with fruit and cream), I found one. Not only did these turn out soft and light, they’re made with half whole wheat flour, so you can pretend that you’re having a healthy, whole-grain breakfast.

    Carrot Muffins (Bouchon)


    It’s rare that I come across a muffin that really impresses me, but these carrot muffins from Bouchon Bakery were outstanding.

    Chocolate Raspberry Torte


    Chocolate and raspberry is perhaps my favourite dessert combination. I particularly like the two in cake or ice cream. For a seven-person dinner we hosted on Saturday, I decided to make a chocolate raspberry torte, something that I could do ahead of time, and that looked elega...



    Brioche isn’t good for you. With a flour-butter ratio of 2:1 or even closer, and a healthy amount of eggs, it’s an enriched bread that could easily pass as a pastry. That didn’t stop me from trying Bouchon Bakery’s recipe for craquelins, a brioche made with orange and sugar.

    Bran Muffins (Bouchon)


    Muffins are often criticized as being little cakes, rather than a healthy choice at breakfast. Many whole grain muffins indeed are loaded with sugar or topped with icings to compensate for their coarseness. Thomas Keller’s take on bran muffins falls somewhere in the middle, ...

    Creamy Mexican Pudding


    Mexican chocolate pudding, that is. The Cook’s Illustrated website offered this complex, “adult” variation with flavourings like vanilla, cinnamon, espresso and chili. I love these things in chocolate chili ice cream so I was excited to try it in a pudding.

    Chocolate Chunk and Chip Cookies


    I went back to the Bouchon cookbook in search of an easy dessert I could make. With only an hour of prep time before we had to leave, I decided on a cookie dough that required refrigeration, i.e. left outside in the snow, and could be baked at our friend’s house after dinner.

    White House Honey-Oat Muffins


    We baked a few times during our month in Florida: brownies, muffins, challah, etc. Back in Toronto (where the temperature was about 40°C colder), I made a batch of breakfast muffins on a Friday morning that turned out to be plain, but tasty.