Archive of posts from 2020

    Holiday 2020 Cookies


    Here are the seven cookies we made for our Holiday 2020 cookie box. A few were favourites repeated from our housewarming earlier this year.

    Ultranutty Pecan Bars


    My daughter’s main protein source these days is pecans. And who can blame her really? Sweet, rich, not too bitter, and fragrant, pecans are a favourite in desserts like pie, ice cream, and cookies. So it was an easy decision for us to include this bar in our holiday cookie box.

    Gingery Brownie Crinkle Cookies


    Continuing with our epic December baking project, my daughter and I made a chocolatey, gingery cookie next. This one was definitely like a circular brownie in that it was chewy, moist, and full of chocolate flavour, but it lacked a strong ginger kick.

    Millionaire’s Shortbread


    As part of an upcoming cookie box, Little G and I decided to make an assortment of cookies. We picked a few from the 2019 New York Times cookie special that we hadn’t made before, then added a few more ideas from elsewhere. This one was probably everyone’s favourite, and it’...

    Yeasted Doughnuts


    This summer, Cook’s Illustrated featured a recipe with a promise of moist, tender doughnuts accompanied by a tempting, colourful photograph. I saved that image in my head until December, so that we could celebrate Hanukkah with freshly made fried dough.

    Homemade Pocky


    Last year’s spectacular New York Times’ cookie spread still leaves an impression on my daughter and I. We chose one of the recipes we hadn’t made before while brainstorming ideas for holiday baking projects. These little sticks were simple to make, delicious to eat, but requir...

    Cornmeal Waffles (Craig Claiborne)


    There’s many reasons to like waffles: the crisp and soft textural duality, the indentations to hold syrup and fruit, the guilty pleasure of making them with a unitasking appliance. They’re not uncommon at our household, but I do like to try a new variation from time to time....

    Fig and Almond Cake


    On a recent grocery trip, I was delighted to see a lot of fall fruit, but none more exciting than a case of black figs from Greece. These were large, clementine-sized beauties that looked so inviting. Eaten fresh, they were soft, sweet, and fragrant. But baking them into this ...

    Jammy Blueberry Bars


    Date squares are something I grew up eating, as my Mom would make them from time to time. The soft, sweet fruit and ever-so-slightly salty crumble was pretty close to snack perfection. So these blueberry bars were a revelation, that a similar square could be made with fresh fr...

    Peach Blueberry Cobbler


    This has been a great year for late summer fruit. Our farm boxes have consistently provided us with amazing produce all summer long. These past few months, there have been plenty of blueberries, and we’ve gotten some enormous, juicy, flavourful peaches from Costco too. This w...

    Pain-au-Lait Pullman Loaf


    It’s weird, but I feel just ever-so-slightly miffed whenever we buy bread from the store. Sure, there are many great independent bakeries in our city, and even the store-bought stuff can be decent. But I know how to make the staff of life, and I like to provide for my family....

    Perfect Peach Pie


    Summer is when the produce of Ontario really shines, especially in the Golden Horseshoe region. 3L baskets of peaches are on every fruit stand, farmers’ market table, and supermarket display. As a once-a-summer treat, I decided to make a pie, using Sam Sifton’s recipe from th...

    Glossy Fudge Brownies


    For an outdoor get-together, I decided to offer up some brownies, as they’re a crowd pleaser. I’m pretty blasé about these often one-note treats: too sweet, too dry, too fudgy. But after a recent purchase of high-fat (22%) Dutch cocoa powder, I decided to try Stella Parks’ ta...

    Joanne Chang’s Maple-Blueberry Scones


    I first heard of Joanne Chang’s Flour bakery in Boston from a muffin article in Fine Cooking in the mid-2000s. While I have never been to any of her bakery locations, I do see her name pop up from time to time in food articles. So when a Sunday Magazine article told her story,...

    Peach Poundcake


    It isn’t quite peach season here in southern Ontario, but a recent New York Times recipe had me buying some fruit from south of the border just to make it. This unique poundcake incorporates peach into the batter in two ways, and even uses it in the icing.

    Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp (Cook’s Country)


    Sometimes you just want something quick and easy, and this one-pan recipe is a fast way to make a classic summer dessert. This strawberry-rhubarb crisp is started in a skillet, then finished in the oven, and can be on the table in under an hour.

    Sichuan Chile Crisp Sundae With Peanut Streusel


    You, dear reader, may know that I love to seek out new tastes, and boldly try the unfamiliar. So when I saw J. Kenji López-Alt describing how ice cream and chile crisp taste good together, my heart beat a little faster.

    The Best Strawberry Ice Cream


    My go-to strawberry ice cream is really good: it’s made with a classic custard base, with lots of strawberry flavour. But it’s a pain to make (even though I make it every year when we have good berries). After trying what Serious Eats calls “The Best” version of strawberry ice...

    Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie (Duchess)


    We made yet another delicious summer dessert this week, from the bountiful rhubarb and strawberries we’re getting in our market boxes from this farm. What caught my eye in this recipe, were the flavourings: cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, rosewater. Also, it calls for an easy mixe...

    Rhubarb Ice Cream


    With a steady supply of rhubarb arriving weekly, I used this week’s fruit to make an ice cream. Its tartness and colourful ripple made it a standout summer treat.

    5-Ingredient Strawberry Shortcakes


    We get weekly deliveries from Thames River Melons, a farm in Ontario offering market boxes this summer, in lieu of selling at farmers’ market stands. When a heaping flat (6 quarts) plus another 2L basket of local strawberries greets you on your doorstop, you know that summer ...

    Rhubarb Crisp (Serious Eats)


    The reviews are in: last week’s rhubarb crisp, containing unconventional ingredients like red wine and poppy seeds, was not well received. Our household prefers more conventional flavours, which disappoints me, as I always like to try new things. To appease the majority, I tur...

    Wine-Poached Rhubarb and Poppy Seed Crisp


    We’ve been enjoying our market box deliveries from Thames River Melons, a fruit and vegetable farm, an hour and a half drive west of Toronto. We’re not going to be able to browse the market stands this summer, so I’m glad Dr. S found out that Thames was delivering. During May...

    So-Cal Churros


    The mess and unhealthiness of deep-frying make it a special occasion occurrence at our house. For my son’s birthday, we ended up making churros, an easy fried treat that could be dipped in chocolate sauce.

    Blueberry-Lemon Scones


    Mother’s Day at our house, is often a breakfast-in-bed affair. This year, we decided to change things up from the usual pancakes or waffles, and make scones.

    Chocolate Cupcake with Raspberry Ganache, Raspberry and Mango Sorbet


    For birthdays around here, my go-to cupcake recipe is one I’ve been making for the last 10 years, namely, the Cook’s Illustrated “ultimate” chocolate cupcake. This year, my daughter and I brainstormed and researched, to come up with her ideal birthday dessert.



    One thing I very much enjoy while staying at home these days, is making lunch. Maybe it’s the friendly flexing we have in a Slack channel at work, or just wanting to try different things each day, but I like planning something exciting to eat at noon each day. This week featur...

    Chocolate Semifreddo


    With the last bit of heavy cream we had, I wanted to make something that didn’t use as many eggs as ice cream. This “semi-frozen” dessert checked that box, and was also made of chocolate, which checked my family’s boxes. Accompanied by a sweet-tart cherry sauce, this was a si...

    Tart Montréal: Step by Step


    My parents gifted me a cookbook a few years ago, and it beautifully captures the essence of a bakery in Edmonton, where my aunt lives. I finally made one of the more elaborate, multi-step, multi-flavour desserts from the book, and it was so worth it.

    Easy-Braid Challah (Cook’s Illustrated)


    Our kids’ school offers a challah fundraiser, where they arrange to bring in loaves on Friday mornings, and the kids who participate get a fresh loaf to bring home. Since we’ve been staying at home the past two months, I’ve been making challah regularly. This past week, I trie...

    Buttermilk-Grapefruit Panna Cotta with Caramel-Coated Almonds


    Our recent grocery haul included two litres of buttermilk. Besides being a key component of pancakes, I often use it for muffins, buns, and other baked goods. A photo in a recent magazine article about panna cotta sounded so good and simple, that I immediately added gelatin t...

    Torta Caprese


    For the recent Passover holiday, I came up with a few new ideas, like pavlova (giant baked meringue, with fresh fruit and cream), or thumbprint nut cookies for my family. But, predictably, they requested a flourless chocolate cake. Sigh, chocolate always wins.

    Lemoniest Lemon Bars


    Who can resist a lemon square? With its buttery base, and bright, mouth-puckering filling, it’s something I want to buy every time I see it in a pastry case. Our fridge is overflowing with lemons right now, and my wife needed a baked good for barter, so I set out to look for ...

    Naan (Cook’s Illustrated)


    We’ve been cooking three meals a day for the past three weeks, and I’m constantly looking for new things to try. The genesis of many of my cooking ideas is leftover ingredients, so this week, that was yogurt and red lentils. With the latter, I made a lentil dal, and what bette...

    Creamy Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread


    To celebrate Purim this year, we had two young people join us on a Sunday to roll out dough rounds, plop a sweet filling in the middle, and fold them up into little hamantaschen. Due to a last minute cancellation, the person bringing Nutella had to cancel, so it was up to me t...

    Mocha Almond Fudge Ice Cream


    With the rest of the heavy cream I had on hand, I made this coffee, chocolate, and nut ice cream that was well worth the effort. The combination is classic: you may have tried this at Baskin Robbins, where they call it Jamoca Almond Fudge.

    Black Sesame Ice Cream (Van Leeuwen)


    As a kid, I loved black sesame soup (黑芝麻糊). It was inky black, smelled and tasted like peanut, and a stark visual contrast to the white porcelain bowls we ate it from. This weekend, I made a mediocre black sesame ice cream, but I definitely want to make a better batch in the ...

    Milk-Chocolate Soufflé


    Not just a restaurant dessert, a souffle can be a weeknight dessert, one that’s full of protein. Or so I told my kids.

    Classic Banana Bread


    I count at least ten different banana breads on this blog. You’d think that in over 30 years of baking, there wouldn’t be that many surprises in this department. But the baker known as BraveTart surprised me with her “classic” banana bread.

    Five Spice Praline Chocolates


    While browsing one of my favourite baking supply stores in the city, I came across their selection of coloured cocoa butters from the Canadian company, Roxy & Rich. Despite my aversion to artificial colourings, I couldn’t resist picking some up for a molded chocolate proje...

    Stamped Citrus Shortbread


    Back in December, after marvelling at the stunning spread of cookies in the twice-folded insert of the New York Times, the one that I most wanted to make was the stamped citrus shortbread. Only one problem: I hadn’t even heard of cookie stamps before.

    Marbled Tahini Cookies


    Continuing through the NYT 2019 Holiday Cookie Extravaganza, the next cookie I planned for our housewarming were these two-tone sesame cookies. The hardest part of the process? Sourcing the ingredients.

    Peanut Shortbread With Honeycomb


    Real honeycomb, the hexagonal cells made of wax that bees make their honey in, is soft, chewy, and sweet. That’s not what this cookie recipe is referring to, though. Rather, it’s a hard, brittle confection whose cross-section is nowhere near as regular or beautiful as that pro...

    Honey-Thyme Chocolates


    For our housewarming party, I wanted to make a variety of chocolates, not only in flavour, but in appearance also. This honey-thyme chocolate sounded interesting (herbs in sweets!) but its technique of a texture via a wire baking rack wasn’t one I had tried before.

    Dirty Chai Earthquake Cookies


    A funny thing happened on the weekend: our oven started turning itself off after about 5-10 minutes of preheating. At first, I didn’t realize it was the breaker that was tripping, despite going to the panel and flipping it off and then back on again. This timing was particular...

    Passion Fruit Chocolates


    Making chocolates by hand doesn’t fill me with dread: I don’t mind that success depends on being exacting and patient because I have those qualities. I’ve made dozens of varieties of chocolate in the past decade and a half, and almost every time, they were for a special occasi...