Posts Tagged 'holiday'

Pipe Dream #235: To Get a What What – Mini Pumpkin Streusel Cheesecakes

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Can I get a what what?

Sorry, I just wanted to reference that song because I recently rediscovered it and was filled unwarranted nostalgia, as I never listened to it when it was a real popular song. Oh, for the days when commercial hip hop/Jay-Z was better.

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But guys. Get ready for something that never disappoints

Like a sprained ankle, boy, these aren’t anything with which to play.

Pumpkin. Streusel. Cheesecake. This ain’t no scrub hollering at you. Oh no. These elements are pure gold standalones, but when combined, they sing a tune catchier than Drake, Eminem, Kanye and Wayne put together.

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This is the most embarrassing post I’ve ever written. I think I need to go and wash out my mind with a Focus on the Family radio drama.

Also, in case you are wondering, Thanksgiving is soon. Wouldn’t this be a perfect Thanksgiving dessert?

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To likely mixes and unlikely mixes,


Pumpkin Streusel Mini Cheesecakes

Adapted from

2/3 cup  flour
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1/4 cup  packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into chunks
1/2 cup old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats, uncooked

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 1/2 eggs
1/2 can  (about 8 ounces) pumpkin puree
1 1/2 teaspoons  pumpkin pie spice

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Mix flour,  2 tablespoons granulated sugar and brown sugar in medium bowl until blended; cut in butter with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in oats and nuts.

Reserve 1/2 cup oat mixture; press remaining onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake 10 minutes. Beat cream cheese, remaining sugar, eggs, pumpkin and spice with mixer until blended; pour over the crusts. Sprinkle each with reserved oat mixture.

Bake 25 minutes, then cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in the fridge.

Pipe Dream #204: To Dissociate – Black and White Berry Ganache Cupcakes

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I have written in my planning notes that these black and white cupcakes would make a good pre-Independence Day post. I think I wrote that because these cupcakes are highly transportable (for all those sparkler bashes you’ll be attending). But I think the bigger reason I wrote that is because these cupcakes are decorated with blue and red berries, and obviously, anything blue and red combo triggers thoughts of fireworks and grillouts. Oh, and like, patriotism or something. #foodie #canadian #canadianfoodie

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Anyway, coming up is my favorite holiday, which I celebrate for untraditional reasons, mainly sparklers and fireworks. Don’t get me wrong, I’m fine with America, it’s a lovely place to live! I just don’t feel like wearing flag sweaters most days. Feel free to be untraditional and associate these cupcakes with something other than the 4th, even though this is the week. Ideas: Berry season, Britain, bomb pops. Beets.

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One point of regret: Do you see how lovely and perfectly creamy the above ganache is? It is actually beautiful. When I whipped it up to make the frosting for these babies (such a cool party trick), it split in the heat/humidity of my kitchen. Maybe save the whipped ganache for another, less summery day. You could try a quick buttercream, or a thin glaze, or heck, just a sprinkling of powdered sugar.

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I still frosted them. It tasted fine.

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Happy 4th!


White Cupcakes

Adapted from i am baker

2 cups + 1 tablespoon white whole-wheat flour
1 cup milk, at room temperature
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened but still cool, cubed

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with 24 cupcake liners.

Whisk the room temperature milk, egg whites, and extracts in a medium bowl until blended.
Mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of an electric mixer at low speed. Add butter cubes and continue beating on low for 1-2 minutes. Add all but 1/2 cup of the milk mixture to flour mixture, and beat at medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat for 1 minute.

Pour the batter into the lined muffin tins, filling each tin about 2/3 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcakes comes out clean, about 18 minutes (but please check at 15 minutes, don’t overbake). Allow the cakes to cool about 2 minutes in the pan, then remove to a wire rack to cool to room temperature.

Black Cupcakes

Adapted from Ina Garten

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups good cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with 24 cupcake liners.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

Pour the batter into the prepared tins and bake for abou 18 minutes (checking at 15 minutes), until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 2 minutes, then remove onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Whipped Chocolate Ganache Frosting

I used this recipe. Make sure you are whipping the ganache (or any frosting for that matter) in a cool kitchen. Don’t overbeat it either. Heat and overbeating will result in a curdled frosting.

How To Throw A Brunch In The Microwave

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Ok, so the title of this post might be a little misleading. It isn’t really about how to throw a party inside a microwave (that is unrealistic), nor is it a list of handy brunch-ish recipes that one can make in the microwave (I showed you that microwave lemon curd earlier this week.).

Rather, the title of this post reflects my wish that throwing brunches was as easy as 1-2-3 seconds in the micro. That way, I could do them all the time. Brunch food is the best, and special meals make people feel loved, so why wouldn’t I want to do them all the time?

Mother’s Day 2013 was a lovely treat, and a chance for me to practice my cooking skills. You can find what I made below–stay tuned for plenty of upcoming posts with the recipes for the pretty mini biscuits above. To go along with our strawberry bellinis, I made a series of little bites:

-Raspberry scones with sweet cream and lemon curd

-Chived paprika feta biscuits

-Black and white chocolate twist cookies

Here is the rest of the meal. Except I won’t be blogging about the following. This is a baking blog.

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Spring pea and scallion soup with truffle oil, cream and mint.

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Chived quinoa with dilled yogurt, salmon and kale.

Incidentally, I’m not sure what kind of salmon I used for this. It is some type of lox, like the stuff you see on the classic bagel breakfast. Based on this informative article, I think it might have been cold-smoked salmon.

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Kale, sun dried tomato, feta frittata with candied maple bacon.

Going forth,


FALSE ADVERTISING: Blueberry Lemon Almond Pavzilla

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Pavlova. Pavlooooooova. Named for Anna Pavlova, the famed Russian ballet dancer, after her tour to New Zealand in the 1920s. I learned this from Wikipedia.

The world’s largest pavlova, named ‘Pavkong,’ was made by some New Zealand students in 2005. Prior to this, the record for the largest pavlova was held by New Zealand’s national museum. It was named ‘Pavzilla.’

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I didn’t go for the world record of largest pavlova (the most original names had already been taken), but I did create a mini version in addition to a regular-sized one to show you the technique of filling the meringue. And by “technique,” I mean “plopping some instant pudding and blueberries on top of a cookie.”

Sounds simple (it is), but the end result is a beautifully rustic dessert, that ends ups being really light. The fillings and flavors are endless. If you wanted something lighter, you could go with whipped cream and fresh fruit as a filling, which is a bit more classic.

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This dessert is a celebration of eggs, clearly. They are the main ingredient, and with that yellow pudding thrown on top, it looks just like a deviled egg. Luckily, it doesn’t taste like a deviled egg. I mean, deviled eggs are scrumptious, don’t get me wrong; it’s just that if you tell someone, “Hey, try this blueberry lemon almond pavlova,” they will probably be expecting a flavor profile somewhere on the sweeter side of things. You don’t want to be accused of false advertising now, do you?

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I thought blueberry and almond would be a nice complement to the lemon pudding, so I tried my hand at making a blueberry sauce. The sauce is akin to the blueberry syrup stuff you get at Perkins, uber-sweet, but alright for its function as pancake-dresser. I’ll go with fresh blueberries next time to balance the sweetness.

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Makin’ records,


Blueberry Lemon Almond Pavlova

An LH original

For the pavlova:

6 egg whites, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups white sugar or caster sugar

pinch cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon cornstarch

scant 1/4 teaspoon almond oil or 1/4 teaspoon almond extract, to taste

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment, and draw a circle about a foot in diameter on the parchment.

Whip the egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy, then gradually add the sugar. GRADUALLY. Let the mixture beat for 30 seconds to a minute after each tablespoon. Beat until stiff, glossy peaks form. Beat in the cornstarch and salt, then fold in the almond oil.

Mound the meringue in the middle of the baking sheet, keeping inside the drawn circle. Smooth it out however you want; the meringue won’t spread out or change shape.

Bake for 1 1/2 hours, checking at 1 hour. The pavlova is done when it moves easily on the baking sheet. (Mine didn’t exactly), but I took it out anyway. It was fine. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet. Transfer to a serving plate.

For the lemon pudding:

Dig a box of off-brand instant lemon pudding out of your cupboard. Follow package directions and refrigerate. You’ll need 2 cups of milk.

For the blueberry sauce:

2 cups blueberries

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup white sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon almond extract, to taste

Bring the blueberries, water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan. Meanwhile, mix the cornstarch with a couple tablespoons of water. Add the cornstarch to the blueberries and  cook until the sauce is thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and stir in the almond extract. Let cool, then refrigerate.

For the candied almond garnish:

Chuck 2 ounces sliced almonds, 1/4 cup water and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a small frying pan. Boil until the water is gone and the almonds look shiny. Transfer to a sheet of waxed paper or parchment, breaking up the pieces. Let cool.

Note: I didn’t like this method; the almonds were chewy instead of crunchy. Try something else. Just Google it. There are way better ways to candy almonds.

To assemble the pavlova:

Move the pavlova from the baking sheet to a serving platter. Top first with the lemon pudding, then with the blueberry sauce, letting the sauce run down the sides of the pavlova. Garnish with candied almonds. To serve, dig in. There is no clean way to do this.

Shortbread Tales: WICKLE BUNNY BUNS

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You know you have to go make these right now. There is nothing cuter than baby bunnies. Nothing.

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Except maybe Nutella-stuffed baby bunnies.

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You can use up your extra sprinkles and create…

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…horror bunnies.

What do you expect from a recipe I pulled from DeviantArt?

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But don’t worry, they’re not really awful. Their sunken skeleton eyes belie their amicable hearts.

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Want more shortbread tales (pun intended)? Check out this last year’s digital flip book.

Your fast friend,


Wickle Bunny Buns (Cookies)

Adapted from DeviantART

Makes about 24 little bunnies.
150 grams flour
a pinch of sea salt
60 grams cold, cubed  butter
33 grams melted butter
1 egg yolk, beaten
2 teaspoons cold water
1 teaspoon milk
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

heavy cream, for glazing

Cadbury Mini Eggs and Nutella, for stuffing

Pulse together the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor. Chuck in the cold butter and the melted (slightly cooled) butter into the flour and pulse until it looks like fine bread crumbs.
In a small bowl, beat together egg yolks, cold water, milk and vanilla extract. Add it into the butter-flour mixture. Pulse until the crumbs just come together. Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.
Scoop balls of dough using a 1 tablespoon measurement. Quickly roll into balls and chill in the fridge for ten minutes.
Once chilled, flatten each dough ball with your hand and fill with a Mini Egg or frozen Nutella chip (see note below). Wrap the dough around the filling, rolling each ball into an egg shape.

To make the bunnies, snip two ears into the top of the dough ball. Use chopsticks or another utensil to shape the ears, and make eyes. If you want, you can poke sprinkles into the eye holes. Chill for another 10 minutes, then glaze the bunny ears with heavy cream. Bake at 350 degrees for about 24 minutes. The bunnies should be lightly golden. Let cool on a rack, and store in an air-tight container at room temperature.

Note: To stuff the cookies with Nutella, stick a 1/4 cup of Nutella in a little bowl in the freezer while you make the cookie dough. When you are ready to stuff the cookies, remove the Nutella from the freezer and scoop 1/2 teaspoon measurements before it gets melty.

Pipe Dream #183: To Single-Serve Splurge – No Bake Nests

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Do you ever buy Mini Cadbury Eggs in single-serve packages even though you know it would be a better deal to buy them in bulk?

Ok, me neither. Phewfta.

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Ok, I can’t carry on like this.

Confession: I bought Mini Cadbury Eggs in single-serve packages. they were like 84 cents! Mini Eggs are my delight. Even more than regular Creme Eggs. Hay-eck, I can make regular Creme eggs from scratch. But I will pay someone to make Mini Eggs.

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Seeing Mini Eggs in-store means that it is Easter time. I thought it would be cute to stick little candies in a classic no bake cookie, making little nests for a themed treat. I thought this was an #lhoriginal thought, but after a quick Google search, I’d been scooped once again.

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No bake cookies are literally the easiest cookie on the earth. And they take no time (exaggeration). And they are high in fiber. And they are so chocolaty peanuty nom nom.

One thing to heed is the amount of time that you boil the sugar/cocoa mixture. Boiling for a short minute will give you soft, shiny cookies. If you boil it for longer than a minute, your cookies will be a little crumbly. I couldn’t tell if the mixture was boiling–it was kind of a slow glurg at the edges of the saucepan–so I think I boiled them for a little too long. This turned out to be good, though, because they set up a little stiffer into their nest shape.

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Happy Easter! Guys, spring is tomorrow today! And don’t forget Jesus!


No Bake Nests

Adapted from Food Network

1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups quick oats
Cadbury Mini Eggs or other candies

In a heavy saucepan bring the sugar, cocoa, butter and milk to a boil. Let boil for 1 minute (I let mine go maybe two minutes so they held up better for the nests, but next time I would boil them for just one minute), then add the peanut butter and the vanilla, stirring well until combined. Stir in the oats. Drop the mixture by the tablespoonful onto a sheet of parchment or waxed paper. Let cool for a minute, then use the back of a spoon to make a depression in the center of each cookie so it looks like a bird’s nest. Once the cookies have cooled for about 30 minutes, fill each cookie with a Cadbury egg or two. Makes about 18 cookies.

Pipe Dream #176: To Be As Far From Rihanna As Audrey – Kicky Fudge Brownies

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It might have been a while since you have seen something really chocolate on this blog.

Sidenote, I just went to check on that statement to see if, in fact, it really had been a while. Imagine my surprise when I discovered dark chocolate sugar cookies  and chocolate lava cakes and Nutella cupcakes all in December. Clearly, I went on a kick. More clearly, I have a problem.

All the same, though the end of 2012 was rife with cacao, we now find ourselves at the end of February with naught but stray foil wrappers leftover from V Day, am I right? Clearly, it is time for a fix.

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I was playing around with the idea of a Nutella brownie, since we still had Nutella in the house (Incidentally, the promise of Nutella on toast is the reason I get out of bed in the morning during the work week [not kidding], so it is a good thing we still have some). I found some decent recipes promising crackly tops and extreme hazelnut flavor, but I found myself worrying that it just wouldn’t be enough. So I went crazy did the only possible thing a girl could do and added insane amounts of chocolate and booze. 200 grams of semi-sweet chocolate, Frangelico, creme de cacao, cocoa powder and, oh, a buncha browned butter later, we have ourselves a brownie.

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Needless to say, these should do the trick.

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Crackly top? Chewy edges? Underdone middle? Check check check. Because of the nearly-double amount of chocolate and lack of leavener in this recipe, these brownies are as far from “cake-like” as…as Audrey Hepburn is from Rihanna. Best metaphor I’ve pulled all year maybe.

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You should likely have more milk handy than I do. And don’t even think you can slice these larger than 1 inch square. Man, please. Your fudge tolerance is not high enough.

Also, I have it on good authority that these pair well with coffee, for dessert or, you know, for breakfast.

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Just can’t get enough? Check out these other chocolate fixes:

Minted Cocoa Brownies

Flourless Chocolate Torte

Secret Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Whiskey Truffles

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Incredibly Moist Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Sour Cream Cupcakes with Chocolate SMBC

Blood Orange Cupcakes

Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake

Chocolate Churro Cake

Kickin’ it in style,


Kicky Fudge Brownies

Inspired by Raspberri Cupcakes

200 grams semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

100 grams butter, browned

scant 1/4 cup creme de cacao

scant 1/4 cup frangelico

2 eggs

heaping half cup Nutella

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

3/4 cup flour

1/2 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8 x 8″ baking pan with parchment, letting the paper hang over the edges for easy removal.

Place butter in a small saucepan on medium heat until it melts, stirring occasionally and scraping up the bits until the butter turns an amber color and smells nutty. Set aside to cool.

Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and melt in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until just melted. Stir in the Nutella until blended.

Whisk together the flour, sugar and cocoa powder in a large bowl. Add the melted ingredients, creme de cacao, Frangelico and eggs. Stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Do not overmix. Pour into the prepared baking pan.

Bake for around 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. (Check at around 18 minutes.) Remove from the oven and place tin on a wire rack. Cool completely in the pan before removing and cutting into tiny squares. Serve with much milk.

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