Apple Tart Recipe

Almost 3 hours later.. I finally finished making this Apple Tart recipe from Cedric Grolet.

About a year ago, the hubs got me a cookbook from Cedric Grolet. I’ve never heard of him until I got his cookbook but upon looking at some of his recipes, it appears he is a French pastry chef specializing in fruits.

Sadly, this was he easiest recipe I could find in the book that I dared attempt and the preparation process still took forever 🙁 Luckily I cleared my schedule today to do this!

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Mini Pumpkin Pies (Tarts)

Nothing says Fall is here than Pumpkins! It’s that time of year again and pumpkins are everywhere – whether it be for Halloween or in the form of Pumpkin Spiced flavored food and drinks. My favourite pumpkin dish would have to be Pumpkin Pie. It’s kind of sad because a lot of people I know don’t actually like Pumpkin pie and as a result, I rarely get to eat any of it 🙁

So what I like to do is make mini pumpkin pies (or tarts) so that it’s bite size to allow for portion control.

I like to make a batch of pre-made pie crust and pumpkin pie filling and just freeze them (already portioned) so that whenever I’m craving pies, I can just easily assemble them. In this case, I can easily assemble these pumpkin tarts! The filling is very easy to make and I like to re-use my pie tart recipe that I’ve used in other recipes like my Apple Hand Pies.

For the filling, all you need is a can of pumpkin puree, 2 eggs, and a can of sweetened condensed milk.

For the pumpkin puree, I cooked it over the stove for a bit along with the spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves,  ginger, salt) to help the flavors meld a bit better and to get rid of the “canned” taste.

I set it aside and let it cool. Once cooled, I combine it with the condensed milk and eggs and whisk until thoroughly combined.

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White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies – Fall Recipe

Living in Toronto, we experience erratic weather changes. Although Fall officially began last month, we had temperatures close to 15-20 degrees Celcius for the past several weeks and recently, temperatures have dipped to around 5 degrees! It’s like we just skipped Fall and went straight to Winter…

Anyways, I’m not quite ready for Fall to be over yet so I recently started baking some Fall recipes. One of the few recipes I wanted to try were these White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies. Whenever one hears of cranberries, I feel like they immediately think about Fall – probably due to its association with Thanksgiving dishes (i.e. cranberry sauce)?

Anyhow, I was excited to make these as I usually make the standard Chocolate Chip Cookies. Wanting to switch things up a bit, I leveraged one of our favourite Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe from Serious Eats to use as the base recipe for this cookie. What I like about the Serious Eats recipe is that instead of using regular butter, they use Brown Butter which lends a nuttier, butterscotch flavour than regular butter. Browning butter requires patience and a lot of attention as if you don’t watch it, you might end up burning the milk solids which will affect the overall taste of the brown butter. I cook the butter on medium heat for about 8 minutes, whisking occasionally until it turns golden brown and it starts smelling caramel-y. I aim for this color.

Then, I place an ice cube in there and whisk to facilitate the cooling down process and stick it in the fridge until it has fully cooled. You’ll know it’s cooled when it turns opaque and the sides are starting to solidify.

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Unicorn Birthday Cake Recipe

Yesterday, we celebrated our friend’s 30th birthday. Turning 30 is a pretty huge milestone for most people and I wanted to make her a birthday cake that represented her – a unicorn! Because she’s one of a kind 🙂

Originally, I was gonna make her a traditional 3 tiered 6 inch cake for her birthday but we typically stuff ourselves full during dinner and I had a feeling that the 4 of us would not be able to finish all that cake. So as a compromise, I decided to make a mini cake! I think this one is only 3 inches wide but I layered it so it is still 3 layers 🙂 This way, she still gets her unicorn cake but we will likely be able to finish it all!

For this cake, I used my favourite decadent chocolate cake recipe as the base but just halved it since this cake is almost half the size. She specifically requested this cake for her 30th so I couldn’t let her down! It’s definitely my go to cake recipe to date as everyone seems to love it! It’s a very moist cake that’s rich in chocolate flavour – if you haven’t checked it out already I highly encourage you to visit my Decadent Chocolate Coffee Cake recipe here on the blog.

I also previously made Unicorn cupcake which is where I drew the inspiration of the cake decoration from such as the fondant horns and ears. Visit the unicorn cupcake recipe for details on how to make those!

Unicorn Cupcake from my previous post – click to visit!

All in all I’m very happy with my creation! I highly encourage you all to try this and make it for your special someone 🙂

 

Ginger cookies recipe

This weekend was beautiful in Toronto. For the past month or so, it has been super gloomy and rainy, which sucks because it makes summer less enjoyable. All we want to do is have drinks on the patio or have bbq with friends.

It actually worked out really well that our friend decided to have us over for a bbq this weekend since we haven’t really hung out in a long time. It was like 30 degrees celcius, super sunny, no cloud in the sky – just perfect summer weather. We were tasked to bring some desserts so first thing Saturday morning, I opened up my Bobbette & Belle cookbook to get inspiration on what recipes to make. It also gave me an opportunity to try new recipes as well. I decided to make these ginger cookies as well as my Apple Cinnnamon Coffee Cake.

These cookies actually turned out really well. The first time I made it, the cookies were too crunchy because I cooked it for 15 minutes as per the original recipe. The second time round, I undercooked it a bit for about 12 minutes, and let the dough rest for about 3 more hours in the fridge and it was perfect.  These cookies were a bit strong in the ginger/clove flavour in my opinion but you can adjust accordingly.

Overall, I got good feedback on my coffee cake and cookies at the bbq and had lots of fun catching up with friends. Now I have extra cookies leftover so I guess i’ll be bringing them to work 🙂

Ginger cookies recipe

Prep Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 27 minutes

Yield: 30 cookies

Ginger cookies recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup loosely packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar to coat the cookies

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.
  2. In a separate stand mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy (approximately 3 minutes). Add the egg and beat to combine. Slowly dad the molasses and mix until well incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl at least once.
  3. On low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter mixture, mixing until combined. Do not overmix as it will make the cookies dense. Put the cookie dough in saran wrap and chill in the fridge for at least an hour, the longer the better.
  4. When ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or silpat
  5. Scoop small pieces of cookie dough and roll it into a small ball (approximately 1-2 inches) and roll it around in the granulated sugar. Press it out flat slightly on the silpat/parchment paper to give it its cookie shape.
  6. Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes if you want softer, chewier cookies. If you like them a bit crunchier, bake it for 15 minutes. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before you dig in. Store in airtight container.
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http://cookingwithteamj.com/2017/07/30/ginger-cookies-recipe/

Unicorn cupcake

Unicorn inspired food is all the rage now, and I can totally see why. From unicorn frappuccino at Starbucks to unicorn grilled cheese – they all have one thing in common – they’re super instagram worthy!

And what’s not to love about them? They’re so colorful they can brighten up anybody’s day.

Recently I noticed a lot of people posting about unicorn cakes. As much as I love decorating cakes, I cannot eat it all and I definitely do not have enough butter to make enough buttercream frosting to decorate it all. As a compromise, I decided to make unicorn cupcakes instead.

Ever since I made the hydrangea cupcakes, I’ve been obsessed with making buttercream frosting with mixed colors. These pastel colors are absolutely beautiful when combined!

In order to make the horn and the ears for the cupcake, I used homemade marshmallow fondant with some of it dyed pink for the inner part of the ears. To make the horn, I took some white fondant and rolled it into 2 thin cone shapes. Then, I twisted them around each other to form a horn. When it got too long, I just cut off the rest. I then dipped a toothpick in some water and inserted it into the ends of the horn so that I can insert it into the cupcake later. In order to make the golden horns, I mixed some gold lustre dust in a bit of water to form a little paste and painted it onto the horns. Allow to dry for an hour.

To make the ears, cut the white and pink fondant into circles. You can use a small cookie cutter to do this but since I didn’t have one, I used the opening of some piping tips instead. The white fondant circles should be larger than the pink ones because they form the main part of the ears.

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Turtle Bread – Melon pan recipe

I remember the first time I saw melon pan on cookingwithdog (a japanese cooking channel on youtube), I thought this bread was melon flavoured. Surprisingly, it did not contain any melon at all. I believe it got its name based on the way it looks, similar to how chinese pineapple buns got its name.

I’ve always been curious to try them but was too lazy to make it. I got to try it when I went J-town (Japan town) but instead, I had the matcha version of it in the form of a turtle bread. I thought it looked so adorable that I wanted to try making it myself. A few years later, after a few online tutorials, I finally got around to making this turtle bread.

Turtle Bread

Melon Pan

I actually had to make this recipe twice because I messed up the first time round. I also realized things I could’ve done better.

The first time I made this, I followed the instructions from cookingwithdog to a T. The problem was they used instant yeast in that recipe whereas I had active yeast. I soon learned that you have to activate the active yeast in water first before I could use it whereas with instant yeast, you could just mix it in with your dry ingredients right away. I also failed to dissolve the dry milk powder in warm liquid leaving my dough with a strange grainy texture.

When I made this the second time round, I activated the yeast in warm water. I also dissolved the dry milk powder in there as well to get rid of that grainy texture. The dough was much better the second time round.

After the dough has completed its first proof, I put on the turtle backs. I simply added some matcha powder to the cookie dough recipe to help give its signature green color. Though the original recipe said that I should keep it in the fridge so that it’s easier to handle, I found it easier for them to be a bit warm so that it’s more malleable.

cookie dough

I wrapped the cookie dough around the proofed dough and dipped the turtle shell in sugar.

Wrapping the dough

After coating it with sugar, I scored the turtle shell with its signature diamond pattern using a pastry cutter.

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Summer Peach Crumble

One of our favourite things to do on a weekend is visit St. Lawrence Market. Every Saturday, we visit the Farmer’s market there to see what fresh produce they have available. Now that it’s summer, it’s exciting to see what’s in season and it’s always so refreshing to see all the vibrant colors of the different fruits and vegetables they have available. Although the produce looks super fresh and amazing, they’re often very expensive 🙁  We decided to go closer to the end of day to the farmer’s market to see if we could get an end of day sale and lucky for us, one of the vendors sold us a giant basket of peaches for a fraction of the price!

Peaches

We were ecstatic! But the moment we got home, we realized how many peaches we had and there’s no way we could finish it all in a week…. So we tried to think of a few recipes we could make that would use up these peaches and one of them was peach crumble.

Peach crumbleInstead of making it in a traditional baking dish, I decided to make them in individual ramekins instead so that it’s easier to serve since it’s already portioned for each person. The dish itself is pretty easy to make – I kinda improvised the measurements for the filling.

Here’s how to make it:

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Apple Roses

This has got to be the easiest dish to make. Every time I see someone make rose anything, I worry that it’ll be super intricate and difficult. If you’ve ever tried to learn how to make rose origami, you’d understand. Luckily, this was really easy – I’m pretty sure a 6 year old can do it.

I saw this recipe on Youtube by Chef John. I love this guy – he’s hilarious and his recipes are usually pretty spot on. The great thing about this is that you can easily WOW people with this because they will probably be thinking “Wow you made that? It looks impressive!” when really you’re thinking to yourself “I made that in 5 minutes”. So if you’re bored of your traditional apple pastries, try this!

Apple Rose

All you need is some puff pastry (I bought mine pre-made) and some red apples (I used Fuji apples). That’s more or less it!

 

Soft Pretzels Recipe

A lot of my baking stems from cravings that I suddenly get or they’re inspired by food I stumble across on the internet. Recently I had a strong urge to make soft pretzels as it didn’t seem difficult to make and I already had all the ingredients. The initial batch of soft pretzels that I made were a hit but I personally found them a bit salty. I also found the dough lacked the softness and flavour needed to take it to the next level. I continued looking for a better soft pretzel recipe and I think I may have found the winner! I combined some of the techniques used in the other pretzel recipes with this one and the result was a golden, soft, and savoury pretzel..

Soft Pretzels

Oh man and these smell AMAZING! I came home after grocery shopping and I could still smell them before entering our apartment. Needless to say, this recipe has been bf approved 🙂

Let’s talk about how to make them:

First, prepare the dough. I think the secret to this soft and flavourful dough is the use of milk instead of water, and the use of brown sugar instead of white. This made a huge difference for me in my opinion. Knead the dough into a smooth ball and allow to rise for an hour until doubled in size.

Before After

Punch down the dough and allow to rest for 10 minutes so that it’s easier to work with. Divide the dough into even pieces. I divided mine into an assortment of sizes as I was experimenting with the different sizes.

Divided

Once done, roll out each piece of dough into a long skinny strand and form them into a pretzel shape as shown below

 

pretzel

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