Category Archives: Brownies, Blondies & Bars

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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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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Strawberry-Almond Shortbread Bars

Okay, here it comes — cover your eyes if you’re not in for a bitch fest or if you hate delicious summer fruit (psych! no one hates delicious summer fruit).

What is up with the weather?

I’m starting to feel like we’re getting a bum deal on our yearly allotment of summer heat around here.

The markets I saw in Europe were bursting with rainbows of fresh fruit (even in May!) and reading about the “warm desserts for cold winter nights” from my foodie friends Down Under is making my eye twitch — your nightly low is my daily high!

Uh, like… hello? This is jealousy talking — can I come visit you?

I went to the local farmers market last Sunday, armed with cloth bags and cold, hard cash for bundles of berries, and what did I see? Strawberries, strawberries, strawberries!

Aaaand that was pretty much it. Just strawberries — all of our other local crops are late.

So, what do you do when life gives you strawberries? Make strawberry bars!

These sweet and sticky bars are full of fresh strawberry flavour and buttery nuttiness, all while being soft in the middle and crunchy on top — oh, and did I mention that they have a delicate and crumby base?

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Christmas Recipe Round-Up

I have to confess — while recipe round-ups are not normally my style, I felt like there was too much of a gap between my stöllen and my next post, so a wee bit of filler was in order.

Coming soon: cookies and big news!

So, I’m currently bogged down with cramming and exams — that just means that some of the delicious treats I made last Christmas get an extra minute in the spotlight — like these rich and velvety Mucho Mocha Shortbread.

That’s win-win, right?

Especially because I think some of these creative recipes, like Mandarin Cupcakes with Clove Buttercream, definitely deserve a second look.

I did crazy, mad, frantic, enthusiastic baking during my first few weeks of blogging, and it just so happened to be over the holidays!

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It’s bitter-sweet to think about the lovely Pear & Cranberry Cake with Orange Buttermilk Glaze that hardly anyone ever looked at, simply because I hadn’t yet learned about networking, making fellow blogging buddies, or the glories of photographing with natural light.

Sad, but true!

I mean, these Cranberry-Pecan Sandies are the type of cookie that my coworkers pestered me to make again over and over (I just indulged them this last weekend — and they’re good as ever), but I just didn’t know how to make them shine in front of a camera.

Especially since I didn’t know anything about food styling or adding props to photos either.

The gold star embossed tissue paper behind these Toasted Coconut Icebox Cookies was about as complicated and intricate as it got with me.

Maybe a sad piece of shriveled holly bush managed to sneak itself into the frame when I photographed these Chocolate-Dipped Marzipan Cookies — but adding props like that didn’t happen very often!

Behold — a whole dish, napkin, and spoon! I had started to branch out!

A bowl full of nutmeg-dusted Cranberry Syllabub aside, the last year has been a serious learning experience for me — there’s more to making a blog work, to making food work, making writing work, than just churning out recipe after recipe.

You’ve gotta have a story to tell, a life to share, and a love of food to impart to the world!

This funny-looking Rum-Spiked Brownie Bits with Candy Cane Frosting has a story to tell, too — one about how half my coworkers wouldn’t touch these chocolately morsels because of the sluggish, speckled grey frosting on top.

That is, until someone had the guts to try this odd-coloured creation and declared it delicious!

Sometimes food blogging can be made pretty and easy and neat, like these Perfect Gingersnaps, and sometimes it’s so much stress that you want to tear all your hair out and sleep for an entire month!

I know that in my last post I said I fear the impending holiday rush — and, well, it’s still true.

But all your kind comments (and some like-minded facebook statuses from my friends) made me realize that it’s best to meet things head on!

Here’s to the holidays — the stress, the joy, the festive food, the amazing baked treats — and keeping your head screwed on as tightly as possible from now until the new year!

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Maple Bourbon Walnut Bars

The honey bourbon! It’s back!

But of course it is — if there’s anything I adamantly believe in, it’s that everything is better with booze. Yes, everything.

Boring pasta sauce? A dash of wine will fix that! Want a better tasting bread? Add a bit of beer to your dough! After dinner coffee? Break out the liqueur! Painful and awkward social gathering? Nothing a few drinks won’t fix!

Riiiiight.

I’ll stop there, lest I get another call from my mother (who reads my blog) and a lecture about alcoholism. But I’m not an alcoholic — gawd, mom, really! — and I say this with confidence because alcohol is something I only indulge in once or twice a week, and especially I only drink hard alcohol a few times a year — a YEAR!

That’s why getting a new bottle of liquor excites my inner 10-year-old!

Y’know… uh. If my inner 10-year-old self was old enough to buy booze and smart enough to know how to cook and bake with it.

Ahem. I swear I’m not an alcoholic — just a booze hound! Totally different, thaaaanks.

I’ve been having way too much fun playing with my JD Tennessee honey bourbon!

So far it’s been added to pumpkin honey bourbon cheesecake, pumpkin bread pudding, pumpkin pie, apple compote (made it at school) and, now, maple bourbon walnut bars. It’s totally perfect for fall baking, but that’s just me being a broken record.

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One Year Blogiversary

Hellooooo, world!

I can’t believe it’s been a whole year already.

It’s kind of strange to think about, considering that this blog is the first consistent written account of my life that I’ve ever kept. Ever.

This time last September I was going into my last stretch finishing up a BA, getting tutorials on how to use WordPress from Miriam, fumbling around with my camera and lighting in my teeny-tiny kitchenette (actually, I’m still doing that), and posting my first recipe: pumpkin cinnamon spice cookies (behold the terrible photos)!

Now it’s 110+ recipes, 365 days, and 86,000+ page views later. Whew!

Part of me definitely thought that I could never really stick with any one thing for very long, but…

I’ve gained an invaluable amount of experience through it all — blogging has developed my creativity, knowledge, experience, discipline, and determination.

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Of course, the remarkable encouragement I’ve had from friends, family, and fellow bloggers has kept me determined, too.

The amount of effort and planning I put into each recipe means a lot to me — it’s always my hope that how much I care about food, particularly sweet foods, shines through in my posts. And even though I love everything I make, it’s only natural to have a few favourites…

So here are my top five recipes from the last year — after the jump!

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