Archive of posts from 2017

    Giant Crinkled Chocolate Chip Cookies

    2017-12-24

    My wife sent this New York Times article about an “Internet-famous” cookie. Despite spending a lot of time on the Web, I’m not on Insta, so this cookie did not come across my radar until a few months ago. I finally had a chance to make it over the holiday break, and boy, was i...

    Festive Fruitcake

    2017-12-21

    I was delighted to find a fruitcake recipe in my newest cookbook. It’s something I actually enjoy eating, and it’s one of those cakes that has as many variations as there are bakers. This version follows the current trend of eschewing artificially coloured fruit (green cherrie...

    6-Minute Lemon Olive Oil Custard

    2017-12-16

    While searching the Interweb for olive oil gelato recipes, I came across this dairy-free custard recipe made completely in a high-speed blender. Not only was this a novel technique, I was obsessed with how good it tasted. Imagine a sweet, lemony mayonnaise that livens up slic...

    Yeast-Raised Doughnuts

    2017-12-16

    It’s the month for deep-frying at our house, to celebrate Hanukkah and the miracle of the oil. Indeed, frying foods in oil is miraculous, transforming plain food items like broccoli and potatoes into addictive, crispy tempura and French fries. This year, in addition to crowd-p...

    Almond, Ginger and Olive Oil Cake

    2017-12-15

    As part of the nibbles at our Hanukkah party, I wanted to make one or two cakes that were oil-based. A quick browse through my shelf uncovered a few I hadn’t made before, but this one from Dorie Greenspan sounded promising. It turned out to be a deliciously moist and fragrant ...

    Roasted Banana Cake

    2017-12-05

    Ground coffee was what attracted me to this recipe, along with a topping of chocolate chunks and walnuts. This embellished banana cake is well worth the effort, and I would highly recommend making it.

    Rye Bread (Bouchon)

    2017-12-03

    In the middle of the week, we ran out of bread for making toast at breakfast, so this quick sourdough loaf was something I could do on a weeknight. Despite using instant yeast, this bread couldn’t escape the fate of a lot of other whole-grain breads: a dense, and somewhat coar...

    Tahini and Halva Brownies

    2017-11-26

    Seeing combinations of flavours that I haven’t tried before gets me really excited. This chocolate-sesame brownie certainly made my tastebuds tingle, and was exactly the kind of dessert I knew I could expect from the new dessert book from Yotam Ottolenghi.

    Banana, Date and Nut Bread

    2017-10-26

    I’ve been anticipating the release of Sweet, a baking and dessert cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh, for months now. When I got it a few weeks ago, we flipped through it, leaving Post-It stickies for recipes we wanted to try at some point. Oddly enough, there wasn’t a...

    Raspberry Charlotte

    2017-10-17

    Our son returned from Montreal bearing a lot of fruit, literally. The car he was travelling in contained a huge basket of Quebec groundcherries, tomatoes of all sizes and colours, and a flat of fall raspberries. The latter had me thinking about a mousse cake I had seen in a ma...

    Cranberry Pecan Tart

    2017-10-15

    Fresh cranberries paired with pecans in a sweet gooey filling, made this fall tart an instant hit at Sunday dinner. It wasn’t difficult to make and everything came together quite quickly. Of course, discovering a disc of frozen tart dough in the freezer certainly helped.

    Apple Ice Cream

    2017-10-08

    For a Thanksgiving dinner we hosted on Sunday, my parents were bringing a coffee cake, and I wanted an ice cream to go with it. Naturally, with a basement fridge full of apples, I looked for a suitable recipe. I happened upon one which called for making applesauce first, and t...

    Slow-Cooker Apple Butter

    2017-10-04

    After our annual apple-picking trip netted us 20+ pounds of apples, my first project was apple butter. I did it the easy way this time: letting the slow cooker gently cook and reduce the fruit puree.

    Blackberry Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

    2017-09-04

    For a Labour Day picnic at a park, we and a group of families decided to order pizza. But, of course, we augmented the takeout with homemade baked goods, adult beverages, fruit, etc. My contribution was this striking blackberry cake, whose interior was tinted a pale purple.

    Apricot and Lavender Ice Pops

    2017-08-26

    Rounding out this whirlwind month of baking and dessert, I combined a basket of small, ripe stonefruit with a fragrant herb growing in my backyard. The result was a subtly scented apricot and lavender frozen treat that captured the essence of late summer.

    Blueberry Buttermilk Ice Pops

    2017-08-22

    With the last of the big basket of blueberries, we turned them into these beautifully marbled ice pops. The swirl of purple and white entices you, but the flavour of these ice pops was underwhelming.

    Blueberry Pie

    2017-08-20

    I don’t see pie offered as a dessert in many restaurants anymore. Maybe it’s because I don’t frequent diner-type establishments, or it’s no longer trendy. Even the Canadian Pie Company location in Leslieville closed a few years ago after a short run. Being able to make what yo...

    Blueberry Ice Cream

    2017-08-19

    The Big Giant Basket of Blueberries in the refrigerator remains stubbornly full. We bought it last week at a Farmer’s Market, and have already made one pie, but there are still many cups to go. Making this ice cream only used up a pint, but those two cups sure went a long way.

    Apricot, Walnut, and Lavender Cake

    2017-08-17

    The people at the fruit stand last weekend told me hail damaged a lot of their apricot crop. Many of the tiny fruit had deep, scarred pockmarks. This explained why the baskets were only $5 each. After a few days of letting them soften at room temperature, I tasted one and wa...

    Ring of Saturn Peach “Doughnuts”

    2017-08-16

    People like to name things after other things that have the same shape, e.g. U-turn, grape tomato, dogleg golf hole. I’ve never seen the appeal of a doughnut or Saturn peach, a flat, round variety that has less flesh and juice than regular yellow or white peaches. Still, I de...

    Chocolate Volcano Cakes

    2017-08-13

    By request of our house guest, I made molten chocolate cakes this weekend. No one cared about their sloppy appearance, and everyone just enjoyed the pleasure of warm, liquid chocolate in their mouths.

    Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream

    2017-08-10

    Continuing with my exploration into vegan ice creams, I made the chocolate recipe from the Van Leeuwen cookbook. Some of the other recipes they’ve formulated require a few ingredients I didn’t have on hand, e.g. unrefined peanut oil, a good peppermint extract. But I always hav...

    Apricot and Orange Blossom Ice Pops

    2017-08-07

    At the farmer’s market on the weekend, I optimistically bought a whole basket of Ontario apricots after tasting a sample. After letting them ripen for two days, I turned them into perhaps one of the most flavourful and satisfying ice pops I’ve made this year.

    Vegan Roasted Banana Ice Cream

    2017-08-07

    When I saw the Van Leeuwen ice cream book on BookOutlet.com, I hadn’t heard of them before. Several reviews online mentioned the deliciousness of their vegan ice creams, particularly one recipe. It was this highly acclaimed roasted banana flavour that I made on Monday, markin...

    Sweet Corn Ice Cream

    2017-08-07

    Corn is a “vegetable” that is pretty sweet, so it makes sense (in my mind) to try dessert applications of it. After getting a baker’s dozen ears of corn at the Saturday farmer’s market, I was all set to make… ice cream!

    Summer Peach Cake (Cook’s Illustrated)

    2017-08-05

    It’s the height of peach season in Ontario, with the 3L cardboard baskets appearing in markets everywhere. For a dinner we were invited to on Saturday, I contributed a summery cake made with, you guessed it, peaches.

    Peach Ice Cream

    2017-08-03

    It’s hot this week, so I was in the mood for more ice cream. Who am I kidding, it doesn’t need to be hot for me to be in the mood for frozen treats. Or any kind of dessert, really. With peaches in season right now, I turned two pounds of fruit into a fragrant, satisfying ice c...

    Overnight Chocolate Rolls

    2017-07-30

    At our annual cottage getaway with friends this week, we had some really delicious meals. For our final morning there, I decided to make a special breakfast treat. Working in our rental cottage’s well-equipped kitchen, I improvised with the equipment and ingredients on-hand, t...

    Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

    2017-07-27

    When making dessert for other people, it’s tough to convince them to try the experimental or exotic. Most eaters want the tried and true. So when I lugged my brand new ice cream maker to a cottage this week, and a copy of the Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream Book, I wasn’t sur...

    Cherry Lime Ice Pops

    2017-07-20

    Sometimes, an idea that sounds good in print doesn’t taste good when it’s made. Such was the case with these cherry ice pops.

    Crunchy Granola

    2017-07-06

    My favourite breakfast cereal growing up was Quaker Harvest Crunch. Over time, I stopped buying the bright orange box as I realized the cereal wasn’t that healthy, with its relatively high fat and sugar content. This week, while flipping through a cookbook, I became excited b...

    Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

    2017-07-04

    We went to Andrews’ Scenic Acres in Milton on the weekend. Dr. S was sick at home, so I took my two kids and met up with my parents, for a morning of strawberry, cherry, and raspberry picking. The warm weather naturally led to thoughts of a very cold dessert, like frozen yogur...

    Pain de Campagne (Bouchon)

    2017-07-03

    With Canada Day falling on a Saturday this year, I got a chance to make a slow-rise sourdough bread on Monday. This French country bread included white, whole wheat, and rye flour, and made a sizable loaf.

    Strawberry Ice Pops

    2017-06-21

    It’s strawberry season again in Southern Ontario, and this past Sunday, big G and I dropped by the Leslieville Farmer’s Market to pick up a flat from the Bizjak Farms stall. That evening, my son requested a crumble made with rhubarb and berries, but I had more ideas for what t...

    Salted Chocolate and Almond Butter Cookies

    2017-06-14

    A summer backyard BBQ with neighbours calls for a crowd-pleasing dessert. I don’t recall how I came across this recipe, but the use of almond butter piqued my interest. The cookies turned out to be winners, with a nice balance of sweet and salt.

    Peanut Butter Cookies

    2017-04-27

    I would wager that most people have the same image in mind when they think of peanut butter cookies, a small, crumbly disc, criss-crossed with indentations from the tines of a fork. When I saw a recipe for a different kind of giant, chewy PB cookie, I had to try them.

    Black Forest Cake

    2017-04-22

    For a dinner we were invited to, I wanted to make a milk chocolate dessert (our stockpile totals about 7kg!). While browsing my cookbooks, I couldn’t find anything I liked, and instead landed on this domed variation on a classic Black Forest Cake.

    Black and White Baked Alaska

    2017-04-16

    Back home in Toronto, we were still avoiding wheat, so when we had guests coming over, I needed a dessert made without flour. Dorie Greenspan’s Baking Chez Moi has a number of recipes that fit the bill, but the one that caught my eye was a retro classic, a baked Alaska.

    Clementine Cake

    2017-04-11

    Night two of Passover meant a second dessert, and after enjoying many delicious Jaffa Orri mandarins over the weekend, I knew exactly what I wanted to make. This clementine cake covered in chocolate frosting was a wonderful finish to a big holiday meal.

    Walnut Cake

    2017-04-10

    For a flourless dessert for Passover this year, walnuts were to be a featured ingredient. Serendipitously, a walnut cake recipe was just published in the New York Times. I made it, and it was fantastic.

    Grapefruit Pie

    2017-03-25

    Another day, another Milk Bar dessert. I bought four kinds of citrus at the supermarket last week, including a bag of grapefruit from Texas. When I looked over this Milk Bar recipe, with its salty cracker crust, and two-layer filling, I was too intrigued to pass it up.

    PB & J Saltine Panna Cotta

    2017-03-21

    Ingredients used for pastry are often expensive unless bought in bulk. Examples include chocolate or nuts, which I buy from Costco most of the time. Another item is feuilletine. I bought a large 2.5kg (5.5lb) box a while ago, and it’s sat quietly in our basement storage cupboa...

    Skillet Apple Pie

    2017-02-25

    When you have a lot of apples, it’s time to make apple pie. Or, so said my 5-year old son. With only one frozen pie dough in my freezer, I started thinking about a crumble topping, but found this Cook’s Illustrated recipe instead: a pie assembled in a skillet, and requiring le...

    Orange Polenta Cake

    2017-02-15

    The headnote of the recipe said blood oranges made for a “splendid” effect when used in this upside down cake. Sure enough, the deep ruby colour of the fruit made for an uncommon sight, and the combination of almond, cornmeal and citrus produced a delicious cake. I’ve come to ...

    Peanut Butter Pucks

    2017-02-14

    Valentine’s Day is also known as “House-i-versary” for us, the day we moved into our home. We don’t usually go out or get each other anything, but looking back at what I’ve made in previous years, it’s clear that something chocolatey was needed. These Reese’s peanut butter cup...

    Chocolate Pudding 3.0

    2017-02-10

    Over Hanukkah this year in Florida, I made this easy chocolate pudding from an Alice Medrich recipe. It was a big hit, in both low-sugar and regular versions. For a dinner we hosted on Friday night, we served it again to a group of enthusiastic children.

    Seville Orange Marmalade

    2017-02-05

    My favourite thing to put on toast is marmalade: any type of citrus, preferably thick-cut, not too sweet, with assertive bitterness and tartness. After seeing a huge variety of oranges for sale at the grocery, I bought some Seville and Moro oranges and set out to preserve them.

    Walnut Cookies

    2017-01-29

    For Chinese New Year celebrations this year, my family didn’t coordinate who would bring what to the potluck. To cover savory and sweet, we made dan dan mian, chocolate oatmeal cookies, and these walnut cookies.