Blueberry Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

Ah-ye-ah! Local blueberry season — finally!

It’s been bright and sunny around here and I’ve been mostly trapped inside, running about for work, or interviews, or trial shifts, or chores, or other general nuttiness. Yeah — that last job didn’t really work out.

To put it nicely: it sucked. Big time — and that’s putting it nicely. Place has big problems, doesn’t give a damn about good pastry, and is hemorrhaging money like nobody’s business.

Oh, well. Not my problem anymore!

I had the sense to a least leave on good terms, though — no one needs enemies in a small industry (especially since word tends to get around) — and now I’ve been interviewing at some really professional places. Cross your fingers for me!

So, in the spirit of summer and having no time, I bring you a recipe that’s easy as loafing around at the beach and quick as a ravenous mosquito.

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Frozen Limoncello Parfaits

Surviving the weekend: brought to you by sore feet, bruised knuckles, and burnt finger tips.

Yeah — I just started a new job.

Other than a few mishaps here and there, everything is going well — it’s not my ideal type of work (their pastry is very “homey” and everything gets garnished with a gooseberry), but I work with friendly people and I stay pretty busy on dessert station most of the night.

That said, having the last two months off has definitely been nice.

As a person who’s almost always had kind of employment (and school) going on since age 15, finally being able to afford some downtime has been unreal.

I went to the beach, slept in, caught up with friends, did nothing, made sketches of desserts and played around in my tiny kitchenette on more productive days.

Sigh — going back to work is always bitter-sweet…

On one hand I love working and being busy, but on the other hand I like being able to sit around with a glass of wine whenever I want.

Oh, and making tasty things whenever I want, like frozen limoncello parfaits.

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Honey & Pink Peppercorn Brioche

Fact: writing recipes is hard. Perfecting them is even harder.

Not even the best of us kitchen people get it right the first time — I’ve read quotes from top chefs talking about how they’ve spent years developing and tweaking their signature dishes.

And recipes don’t happen in a vacuum, either — in the pastry industry, we walk a path that’s been largely paved for us, relying age-old techniques that allow us to experiment with new forms of presentation and flavours.

If you engross yourself in the work of others and you’re suddenly inspired, then that’s a gift meant to be shared and passed on, not horded and used to polish your own self image.

This issue is often on my mind, because I often see recipes online with no credit given to their original authors.

And it bothers me, because it’s ridiculously disrespectful.

I’m not going to finger-point, but I’m often disgusted by how some of the “big bloggers” out there fail to light the way for those ahead of them by dimming the lights on those behind.

You should never be ashamed to give credit or cite inspiration.

If a reader can flip through more than 5 recipes in a row on a pastry blog and not see a single “adapted from…”, then it’s likely you’ve been pilfering from somewhere (unless you’re David Lebovitz — but even he talks about his inspiration and the recipes picked up from colleagues).

In a nutshell: not giving credit — just don’t do it. Sheesh.

Anyways, with all that off my chest, I bring you an inspired recipe: honey and pink peppercorn brioche.

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Compost Cookies

Call em compost cookies, garbage cookies, kitchen sink cookies — they’re more like everything-but-the-kitchen-sink cookies!

These chewy-crunchy treats are full of snacks snacks snacks. What kind of snacks?

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Your favourite kind, of course!

Not only are they full of snack foods, but these magical cookies can lead you to a place of epiphany and a greater self understanding — for example, up until a few days ago I would have certainly, definitely not considered myself a “potato chip” person.

But, when I had to buy chips in order to make this recipe for a friend — insert snobby foodie eyeroll here — what did I do with the left over chips? I ate them. All of them.

In, like, 10 seconds flat.

Then I realized that I had no more chips left over for any photos, so I went back to the 7-11 to buy more chips and take some final photos, and then I ate those, too.

Arrgh!

Much to my own chagrin, I’ve come to understand that the real reason why I don’t usually buy chips is because must I have a very deep, very dark, and (up until now) very secret — secret even to me! — love in my heart for them.

But that’s okay — because I can make compost cookies. They make me feel justified in my brazen potato chip love.

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Raspberry-Basil Lemonade Marshmallows

I love marshmallows — who doesn’t? Soft, luscious, melt-in-your-mouth morsels of sugar…

Until a few months ago (read: before pastry school) I didn’t even know they could be one of those things you made at home. Mind, blown!

Of course, like many other kinds of candy and confections, there’s a reason why people tend to not make their own marshmallows — they’re equipment and precision-heavy, and, while not beyond the reach of any home cook, they require a staunch commitment to measure, time, watch, and multi-task with very little margin of error.

It’s no wonder that most people think it’s just easier to buy ‘em at the store!

But, here’s the greatest thing about making your own candy — especially your own marshmallows — they’re like a blank canvas for flavour!

These were inspired by one of my fellow bloggers, daisy. She made raspberry-basil Italian cream soda a while back, and it really got the gears in my head turning.

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Maple Fudge Brownies

Happy Canada Day!

Okay, it’s a bit early — but I’ve always kind of failed to see the reasoning behind posting a celebratory occasion recipe the day-of, simply because it doesn’t really give anyone time to actually make it, right?

Anyways, I love being Canadian.

I really dig where I live, despite the deary weather, high taxes, and reputation for overbearing politeness (we’re not all that polite to each other, really).

Can you believe that we’re among the top 10 most patriotic countries in the world? I guess a lot of us are flag-wavers after all!

I have this American friend who makes a hobby out of telling me all about how inferior Canada is all the time (it’s amazing to see how Canadian patriotism makes Americans bristle — oh, but guess who’s first on that list of most patriotic countries in the world?), but you can’t beat our poutine, our Timmy’s, or our insane penchant for busting windows and setting police cars on fire when one of our teams loses a Stanley Cup Final.

Yeeeah. About that last one… Canadians drink a lot of beer — that’s all I’ve gotta say that.

So, in honor of tomorrow being Canada Day, I bring to you my special “How Canadian Are You?” quiz! Let’s test your cultural knowledge!

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