Tag Archives: baking

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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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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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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Chocolate & Praline Madeleines, Praline Powder

Have you ever thought about learning another language?

I think about it all the time — especially when I translate recipes from other languages.

One of the weirdest things about traveling around Europe was not being able to effectively communicate with local people in a local language — I definitely felt more than a little ignorant (and inconsiderate) at times.

Especially at hostels, when I’d inevitably get something like: “But… you’re Canadian — don’t you speak French?”

Well, actually, no.

Vancouver is kind of a weird place, see — a lot of people I know (myself included) opted out of French as soon as we hit high school in order to take an Asian language, like Mandarin or Japanese, instead.

When you live right across the ocean from Asia, it just seems to make more sense.

But now I’ve been thinking of picking up another language. Russian, German, Dutch, and Italian all seem really interesting, and it’d be nice to be able to do more than buy train tickets and coffee next time I travel to Europe!

Anyways, more madeleines today — another recipe from the cute little book I picked up in Milan.

These are different than other madeleines I’ve made before — they actually taste better at room temperature and keep well overnight!

You have to make your own praline powder for this recipe, but whooomigawd — praline powder? Gimme Gimme Gimme! Yes, please!

I like to think of it as “hazelnut crack” because it’s addictive and good on everything.

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