Chocolate Dipped Pretzels – Valentine’s Day Treat

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Whether you’re celebrating with a special someone today, having a Galentine’s day, or just want to treat yourself, we have the perfect easy treat for you 🙂

This is a great last minute treat to make if you’re scrambling for ideas on what sweet treat to make for your Valentine today. You can either enjoy them yourself or package them up in a nice little treat box or cellophane baggies and give them out as gifts! Either way, you can’t go wrong.

Here are all the ingredients you’ll need:

  • Pretzels
  • White chocolate wafers (any white chocolate will do)
  • Pink chocolate wafers (optional)
  • Pink, red, and white sprinkles

First, melt your white chocolate and pink chocolate wafers in separate bowls. We microwaved ours in a microwave safe bowl in intervals of 30 minutes as to not risk burning the chocolate. After each interval, stir vigorously until the chocolate is fully melted.

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Blueberry Crisp Recipe

Several years ago, I stumbled upon and mastered the Apple Crisp recipe which has been my go to dessert. Most people I’ve made this for actually prefer this over Apple Pie and best of all, I feel that there’s less prep work with Apple Crisp as I don’t need to make the pie crust ahead of time.

I’ve since adapted that recipe with other fillings. We bought a bunch of blueberries the other week and since we couldn’t finish them all in time, we decided to make a Blueberry Crisp before they go bad.

To start, combine your pint of blueberries with 1 tbsp of sugar and 1/2 tbsp of lemon juice. Add the zest of half a lemon and 1 tbsp of flour. Toss to coat the blueberries evenly.

Meanwhile – make the crumble topping. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, rolled oats, and brown sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the cold butter and with a pastry cutter, cut the cold butter into the dry mixture until the mixture looks like cornmeal and the butter is cut into really fine pieces and fully integrated with the dry mixture.

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Cinnamon Sugar Apple Donuts – using pizza dough!

Sometimes the bf gets a random craving for a specific dessert late at night and he asks me to whip something up for him. Often times, he cannot make up his mind as to what he wants because he lists off 5 things he wants and I told him I’m not making all of that for him when I know he’ll only eat 2 pieces and there’s no way I can finish the rest.

I’m also very lazy – so I opt to pick the option that requires the least amount of effort while also taking advantage of what we already have in stock in our pantry. One of the options we considered was making donuts but I ran out of milk – he suggested I use whipping cream instead since we had that in stock but I am not planning on substituting 1 1/3 cup of milk with whipping cream!

So the alternative was to use pizza dough instead! Ya that is kinda random but recently we ordered some cinnamon stix from Domino’s Pizza and they were pretty good and guess what – made from pizza dough too! It was a good compromise and I thought it’d be interesting to try it out. Hence – Cinnamon Sugar Apple Donuts was born!

The effort to make this was minimal – what took the longest was really just waiting for the pizza dough to proof (which took minimum an hour).

So if you’re ever getting some cravings late at night – give this a try!

Cinnamon Sugar Apple Donuts – using pizza dough!

Prep Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes

Yield: 12

Cinnamon Sugar Apple Donuts – using pizza dough!

Ingredients

    Pizza Dough
  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup warm water (100-110F)
  • 3/4 tsp dry active yeast
    Apple filling
  • 1/2 an apple, peeled and diced into small pieces
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp flour
    Cinnamon-sugar mixture
  • 2 tbsp granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
    vegetable oil for deep frying

Instructions

  1. First, prepare your pizza dough. Activate the yeast by mixing it in the warm water and wait a few minutes until it starts to foam. Once it foams, you know your yeast is ready.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine flour and salt. Slowly, add about half of the yeast mixture into the dry ingredients and drizzle a bit of the extra virgin olive oil as well.
  3. Continue mixing the dough until the wet ingredients are incorporated, and add in the rest of the yeast mixture and olive oil. Mix until all the dry ingredients are incorporated. If the mixture is still looking a bit dry, add a bit more water.
  4. Knead the dough on a well floured surface until it's smooth and tacky to the touch, about 5 minutes. When you shape the dough into a round ball and it springs back to the touch after pressing on it gently, it's ready. Put it into a well greased bowl with olive oil and cover with saran wrap and allow to rise for an hour or until doubled in size.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare your apple filling. Toss the diced apples with the flour, cinnamon, brown & white sugar mixture. Set aside.
  6. Prepare your cinnamon sugar mixture my whisking together cinnamon and sugar. Set aside until ready to use.
  7. Once your dough has proofed/doubled in size, punch down the dough. Take pieces of dough and form them into round disks and fill with the apple filling. Cinch them up like you would a dumpling, twisting the opening close and reform them into round shape.
  8. Prepare your oil for deep frying. In either a deep fryer or a sauce pot, fill it up with vegetable oil (enough for the donuts to float to the top) and heat it up until it reaches 350F. Drop each donut into the oil and flip occasionally to ensure even browning.
  9. Once they float to the top, they are ready! Remove with slotted spoon to remove excess oil and quickly toss them in the cinnamon sugar mixture and set aside on wire rack to cool. Serve immediately!
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http://cookingwithteamj.com/2018/06/20/cinnamon-sugar-apple-donuts/

Peach and Blueberry Crumble

It’s peach season!! Meaning peaches are the sweetest and most cost effective during this time of year 🙂

Not having gone as crazy last year as buying a giant basket of peaches from the farmer’s market where we used it to make our Summer Peach Crumble, we decided to used the peaches we bought from the grocery store to make this Peach and Blueberry crumble as somehow we ended up with 3 pints of blueberries that we barely touched throughout the week…. >_> It worked out pretty well because we had friends come over for dinner and we always prep a full course meal whenever we have people over and a full course meal would not be complete without dessert.

Although there is the option to make peach and blueberry pies instead of crumbles, our personal preference is to have crumble because of the nice texture that it has. Plus, it’s a lot easier to make the crumble from scratch than it is to make pie crust from scratch as it requires less prep time.

To make the peach and blueberry crumble, all you have to do is sprinkle some sugar, cornstarch, some lemon juice and lemon zest onto the peeled peaches and fresh blueberries and toss it around a bit. The corn starch will help thicken the fruit juices up once they are being baked.

 

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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/

Hojicha Creme Brulee

If you’ve been following our blog for some time now, you’ll know we are pretty into Japanese food and have experimented quite a bit with Japanese cooking. Matcha has been all the craze for the longest time but recently, a new type of Japanese tea has been rising in popularity – Hojicha!

Hojicha is a roasted variation of green tea. I’ve had it several times in Japan and upon returning to Toronto, I started noticing it more in restaurants. In fact, a fairly new Japanese dessert shop in Toronto (Tsujiri) that typically specializes in matcha desserts came out with Hojicha soft serve ice cream and it was really good. Though I personally felt it left a bit of a bitter aftertaste due to how strong the tea flavour was, I enjoyed it.

This inspired us to make Hojicha creme brulee. The great thing about Creme Brulee is that it’s a very versatile recipe. Once you have the base recipe down, you can essentially make any flavour you want. We are still in the process of experimenting with the ratios but I think the first round went well.

As when we experiment with any new recipe, we always try to make it in small batches first as to not waste it if it all turns sour. I found a recipe on SeriousEats that makes creme brulee just for one — perfect! From there, I just adapted the recipe by steeping 1/2 tbsp of hojicha into the whipping cream and voila! This creme brulee is born.

We plan to continue refining this recipe and adjusting the portions as we go. What I like about our blog is that it’s a place for us to keep track of what we made, and allow us to track refinements as we go along.

Hojicha Creme Brulee

Hojicha Creme Brulee

Ingredients

  • 100 g whipping cream
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tbsp hojicha leaves
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 tsp of sugar (to carmelize for the creme brulee)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300F and boil some water for the square 8x8 baking pan which you will use for the bain marie.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the whipping cream over medium high heat until it comes to a gentle simmer. Once it starts to bubble a little bit around the edges, turn off the heat and add the hojicha tea leaves. Cover and let steep for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Once it's done steeping, strain the tea leaves and put the infused whipped cream mixture back into the pot to keep warm.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolk and sugar together. Then, slowly add a bit of the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture to temper it while whisking continuously. Then, add the rest of the cream mixture in a bit at a time. This will prevent the eggs from cooking. Finally, add the vanilla extract.
  5. Put the mixture into a ramekin and place the ramekin into the square pan. Fill the pan with boiling water and bake for 40 minutes or until the centre is firm when you shake it.
  6. Allow to cool for 15-20minutes and then chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
  7. When ready to serve, sprinkle the top of the creme brulee with the remaining sugar and blow torch the top to get that signature carmelized top.
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http://cookingwithteamj.com/2017/07/03/hojicha-creme-brulee/

 

 

Yuzu Sorbet

Nothing is more refreshing and cleansing than having sorbet as dessert. The great thing about sorbet is that it’s perfect for those that are lactose intolerant, and it typically enhances the flavour of whatever fruit sorbet is being made.

Continuing with our posts for #JapanWeek, we are making Yuzu sorbet today.

I’ll start off by saying that there aren’t that many yuzu sorbet recipes out there… And when there are, they all require the use of fresh yuzu fruits (which are extremely hard to find here…. and when found, are crazy expensive). I’m sure this would’ve tasted a lot better if I used real fruit and yuzu zest but even with bottled yuzu juice, it still turned out really good. I was pretty impressed with myself when I made it the first time.

Mind you… this sorbet could be better had I improved the texture. I think the next time I make this, I will use corn syrup as I read that will make it less grainy and more scoopable. I’ll be sure to post an updated version when I make this again.

Yuzu Sorbet

Yuzu Sorbet

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1.2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup yuzu juice

Instructions

  1. In a sauce pot over medium high heat, bring water and sugar to a boil to make simple syrup.
  2. Let the mixture cool down to room temperature.
  3. Then, stir in yuzu juice. Taste it and adjust sugar as required.
  4. In an ice cream maker, add the sorbet mixture and mix until it's in a scoopable texture. If you don't have an ice cream maker, you can do what we did and just put it in a glass container in the freezer, and stir it around every hour to hour and a half to help it slush up.
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http://cookingwithteamj.com/2017/05/27/yuzu-sorbet/

Cream Puff Recipe

I wasn’t always a fan of cream puffs. However, over the last couple of months, we’ve been frequently some of our favourite local cafe and bakery in our neighborhood and one of the pastries that has always seem to attract my attention were the ones made with a Pâte à Choux base. Whether it be cream puffs or eclairs, these desserts have inspired me to attempt to make them myself so that we can stop spending all our disposable income on these desserts XD

Thanks to my trusty Ladurée cook book that I bought last year, I had a point of reference to make my pastry cream. Being unsatisfied with their Pâte à Choux recipe, I decided to try another which turned out a lot better (the choux just had more flavour overall).

Cream Puffs

This dessert is actually not very hard to make though it can be time consuming as you have to dry the Pâte à Choux out in the oven, and then wait for your pastry cream to cool before you can actually use it. But once you have this base recipe down, you can actually adjust the pastry cream flavour to your liking. I went ahead and made a matcha variation of it that turned out quite well!

Matcha cream puff

To view the full recipe, see below.

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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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Nutella Crepe Cake

It finally feels as though spring has arrived. For the first time in god knows how long, the sun is out! The day is also longer so that means there will be more opportunities for me to take food photos 😀

I’ve always loved nutella but for some reason I never got around to buying it. I took the plunge last week and decided to see how many dishes I can make with it as it feels like the possibilities are endless. To start, I decided to make Nutella Crepe with mixed berries. But I thought why stop there? Why not make a Nutella Crepe Cake! And hence the idea was born.

Nutella Crepe Cake

Guys, this tastes as good as it looks. Imagine layers upon layers of Nutella! This gives you the satisfaction of eating multiple crepes (because we all know you won’t be satisfied with just one) in a few slices.

Layers

Indulge yourself and make this super easy to make crepe cake!

Nutella Crepe Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs (room temperature)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup nutella
  • Fresh raspberries

Instructions

  1. Beat eggs, milk, butter and vanilla extract together. In a separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients together.
  2. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and combine with a whisk. Do this in several batches to ensure all dry ingredients are evenly incorporated
  3. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat and add a ladle full of the crepe batter into the centre and quickly swirl it around the pan to ensure even distribution. Once the sides start curling up and you see some air pockets forming, flip it to the other side to cook for a couple of minutes. Do this for all the crepes.
  4. Meanwhile, heat up the nutella for about 45 seconds or until it has a very smooth consistency. This will help it spread easier.
  5. Once all the crepes are done, start assembling the cake. Take one crepe and spread nutella on top. Then add another crepe on top. Repeat until you're down to your last crepe.
  6. Top with some fresh raspberries and you're done!
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http://cookingwithteamj.com/2016/04/16/nutella-crepe-cake/