Archive of posts from 2021

    Char Siu Bolo Bao (叉燒菠蘿包) aka Pineapple Buns with BBQ Pork


    While browsing the Cook’s Illustrated site, I saw a recipe for Hong Kong pineapple buns, an unexpected surprise. These cookie-coated mini breads filled with sweet coconut and butter are one of my favourites from Chinese bakeries. In case you’re wondering about the name, it re...

    Kanelbullar (Swedish Cinnamon Buns)


    Have you noticed Cook’s Illustrated has more colour pages, and has started to let their writers explore more culinary traditions? It’s happened slowly, and I like the increased variety in every issue. With hygge and fika popping up everywhere online recently, I wasn’t surprise...

    Holiday 2021 Cookies


    For this year’s holiday cookies, we made six of the recipes in the curated 24 Days of Cookies collection:

    Guava and Cream Cheese Twists


    For our final cookie of the week, we took guava paste (pasta de guayaba in Spanish) and put it in a cream cheese dough. Pretty simple, eh? These weren’t bad, but they weren’t that impressive either.

    Brown-Butter Toffee Sandwich Cookies


    Another eye-catching cookie from the NYT’s 24 Days of Cookies was this sandwich cookie. With toffee crumbs in the dough, and brown butter in the icing, these crisp, filled cookies were unusual and satisfying.

    Peppermint Brownie Cookies


    No holiday box would be complete without something chocolatey. And candy canes are definitely one of the most seasonal sweets at this time of the year. Put them together, and you get this peppermint brownie cookie.

    Peanut Butter Cookies (Genevieve Ko)


    Our third cookie this week (we’re baking from the 24 Days of Cookies calendar) was a peanut butter cookie, enhanced in this version with peanut butter chips and whole nuts. It was impossible not to like these, as they were sweet, soft, and very peanutty.

    Minty Lime Bars


    Continuing with our way through the 24 Days of Cookies calendar, we tackled this lime bar. Unlike most Key lime bar recipes, this one doesn’t use any condensed milk at all, but does use mint in the crust.

    Tahini Thumbprints Cookies with Dulce de Leche


    Do you remember the 2019 New York Times cookie special? Well, it’s back this year in the form of 24 Days of Cookies. There was no fold-out spread in this past Sunday’s newspaper, so maybe it’s online only. We decided to make holiday cookie boxes again, so we started to bake on...

    Cranberry Curd Tart with Almond Crust


    Post-Thanksgiving deals at the supermarket are too good to pass up. For example, packages of deep red cranberries reduced to just 75 cents for 340g (12 oz). Of course, you buy them with good intentions, but it’s funny how time slips away and then the firm, ruby spheres aren’t ...

    Burnt Miso Pound Cake


    I wanted to host a dessert party on a weeknight for some out-of-town colleagues visiting Toronto, but the plan fell through. I had already done some prep earlier in the week, like making some delicious orange-cardamom spiced nuts. Nevertheless, I went ahead and made a cake con...

    Raisin Bran Muffins


    Does anyone else get cravings for bran muffins? Sometimes, when I’m at Tim Horton’s, I like to get a bran muffin. It’s pleasantly sweet, raisin-y, tender and coarse at the same time. But, then I look at the nutritional information and am reminded that every single one of thei...

    Vegan Coffee Ice Cream


    As there were a number of kids at our Friday night dinner, I decided to make ice cream in addition to the cake. In keeping with the pareve meal, I turned to the Van Leeuwen Cookbook, which is my go-to source for vegan ice creams.

    Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake


    We’ve started to have small groups over for dinner parties again. On Friday, some of our guests preferred to avoid mixing meat and dairy so I was looking for some desserts that were vegan as those would automatically have no butter or milk. In the end, I found a dairy-free ch...

    Saffron, Orange, and Honey Madeleines


    While I had the Ottolenghi & Goh book Sweet out, I flipped through it to find something to make as a hostess gift to bring to a dinner we were invited to. And this madeleine recipe, with its saffron flavouring and pistachio decoration, seemed like something that would be a...

    Apple Chocolate Mousse Verrine


    As part of a dessert party we hosted on the weekend, my daughter and I got really excited to see these verrines in the Duchess Bake Shop cookbook. Not only were they beautiful to look at, they were very seasonal, featuring caramelized apples in the middle.

    Coffee and Walnut Financiers


    To celebrate an achievement among Dr. S’ colleagues, we hosted a dessert party on the weekend. We provided sparkling wine, a small cheese board, and three desserts. One of them was these cake-cookies, rich with the flavour of coffee, and enjoyed by both young and old.

    Apple-Blackberry Betty


    For an early Thanksgiving dinner celebration, I wanted to make an easy, warm dessert, and this month’s cooking magazine suggested something I’ve never made before: an apple betty.

    Apple Bourbon Bundt Cake


    Fall is on the horizon, and I’ve reluctantly stopped making ice creams, and thinking more about warm, comforting desserts. While looking for an apple cake to end off a post Yom Kippur meal, I landed on a real winner from Melissa Clark.

    Roasted Peaches with Glazed Sesame Oats


    It’s no secret that one of our favourite market vendors is Bizjak Farms. I’ve written about their wonderful stone fruit before. Still, the quality varies from year to year, even week to week. A recent haul of peaches from the Wychwood Barns Farmers’ Market left us underwhelme...

    Olive Oil Challah


    With Fridays off during the summer, I can easily make fresh bread for Shabbat dinner. Since we had no more frozen, store-bought challahs, I decided to make one from a recipe I’ve been meaning to try, featuring olive oil and orange juice.

    Cherry Cheesecake Ice Cream


    We’ve been buying black cherries for a few weeks now and they’ve come down in price from $9/lb to $5 and to $3. While snacking on a cold, firm, sweet cherry is hard to beat, the fruit is often a bit mushy, or starts to bruise. Preserving them in alcohol is a handy way to exten...

    Cinnamon Raisin Sourdough Bread


    DEC 14. That’s what I wrote on my bowl of sourdough starter the last time I fed it. Even though this is the longest period I’ve left my starter dormant, it came right back to life after a feeding. I let it rock out for about 24 hours or so on the counter, then made three loave...

    P.B. & J. Gelato


    I don’t even know whether molecular gastronomy is still a “thing” anymore. A while back (maybe 15 years ago?) it seemed every restaurant was doing foams, emulsions, and spherification. I still enjoy reading about modern chemistry though, and on understanding its role in the ...



    June is National Indigenous History Month in Canada. One of the events that our indigenous employee resource group put on was a bannock cook-along in partnership with Bangin’ Bannock. On the day of the event, Canada Post delivered a packet of bannock mix just in time for me ...

    Rhubarb Upside Down Cake


    We enjoyed the Market Box from Thames River Melons so much last year, that we’re doing it again this year. Their upcoming delivery reminded me of last spring’s rhubarb that was still in the freezer. I needed to cook with the old, cut fruit, before we got even more fresh stalk...

    Banana Muffins (Cook’s Illustrated)


    Cook’s Illustrated covered banana muffins way back in 1997 and I liked those muffins the last time I made them. But in this month’s issue, I was excited to try their latest formulation, especially since they offered several different variations, including peanut butter and se...

    Flourless Chocolate Cake With Halvah Honey Sauce


    It wasn’t until the last two nights of Passover that we needed to make another dessert. That first cake was so good, we kept slicing off slivers of it every day of Pesach. But, when all that was left was crumbs, the lure of sesame, cream, and honey kept calling, so I went back...

    Almond Cake with Cardamom and Pistachio


    Another year, another virtual holiday celebration… I found a flourless cake that greatly appealed to me, but was unsure whether the rest of my family would enjoy it. Turns out, everyone LOVED this super moist, super tender cake.

    Oatmeal Cookie Bars


    I was invited to lead a virtual baking class for a team social event recently. That got me thinking about what sweet treat would require a minimum of equipment and ingredients, could be assembled in an hour, and could be customized to everyone’s taste.

    Orange Supreme Muffins


    I already have a favourite orange muffin, this orange date muffin which uses the entire orange, zest, pith, and all. But, when I see an interesting idea, like including whole segments of citrus, I’m willing to give it a go.

    Chinese New Year Sweet Rice Cake (年糕)


    I tell everyone that I never repeat any recipe in my baking experiments, but it’s not literally true. Some items are so tasty, that they make it into a regular rotation at our house, but I don’t write about them here. However, there are things that I won’t make more than once...

    Brown Butter Carrot Cake


    Carrots are one of those root vegetables that are sweet enough to make themselves at home in Dessertville. I’ve even made carrot sorbet before! This week, a carrot cake recipe by Stella Parks caught my eye (as do most of her creations). Keep reading for how this 7-pound behe...

    Raspberry Dark Chocolate Éclairs: Step by Step


    On New Year’s Eve, I still hadn’t decided on a dessert to cap our eat-in, takeout dinner from local restaurants Favorites Thai and Alma. Finally, I thought that a batch of éclairs wouldn’t be too much trouble, and provide an opportunity for little hands to help. I used a recip...