Tag Archives: cinnamon

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?

compost01

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.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Eggnog n’ Orange Rice Pudding

Not to sound like a broken record, but my life has been totally nutters lately!

Between school and work, I’ve been volunteering my time and meager pastry-making skills in a high-volume kitchen in downtown Vancouver these past few days.

Walking into the place, I was definitely nervous — cuz when I say “high-volume”, I’m not kidding around!

They have a frying contraption that’s the same size and shape of a bathtub, a cooking pot that looks like a coffee cup for the Jolly Green Giant, too many ovens to count, and a whole crew of hard working staff.

I’ve been piping a lot of chocolate mousse, making cheesecake batter and tiramisu cream, torching rows and rows of crème brûlée, rolling yule log cakes, scooping Christmas pudding, and helping take some pressure off a really kind and experienced pastry chef.

Just having the opportunity to get a foot in the door at a place where so much is happening so fast has been incredible.

I was thinking the other day that I wasn’t ready for this type of intense work, but then I read a good quote: “Nobody ever feels 100% ready when an opportunity arises, because most great opportunities in life force us to grow beyond our comfort zones, which means we won’t feel totally comfortable at first.”

There have been some moments when I’ve totally felt frustrated to tears and just wanted to go home (like when I almost ruined a bunch of roulade because I forgot to sugar the top of the sheet cake and then it stuck to the pan when I flipped it over), but sticking things out and overcoming frustration builds character!

I can do this!

Anyways, one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned while working in a real kitchen is that “real world” pastry isn’t really complicated after all.

I mean, it is and it isn’t — making cheesecake is still making cheesecake, it’s just that you’re making cheesecake for 500 people instead of 5 people, y’know?

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mulled Wine & Vin d’Orange

The closer we hurtle towards Christmas, the busier everything gets!

And my life has been intensely hectic — between going to school and working two jobs, it can be tough to de-stress at the end of the day. You’d think that after 14 hours of being on my feet that falling asleep would be easy, but sometimes it’s really not.

This is unusual for me, but I’ve actually been a bit of an insomniac over these last couple weeks despite how physically exhausted I am.

Also, dead serious: I’ve been dreaming of dessert! Not even kidding!

Lately I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night, my fading dreams swirling with visions of mince pie and gingerbread and bûche de noël — clearly I’ve got pastry on the brain, even when I close my eyes!

The worst part about it is how I wake up totally starving just because I’ve been seeing all this tasty food in my head, then it’s hard to go back to sleep all mentally overstimulated and curiously hungry (and I refuse to be a midnight muncher — it’s just not good for your health).

Is this an appropriate FML moment?

Anyways, winter time is definitely the best time of year to get’cho bake on — there’s nothing as comforting as a heavy blanket and a warm treat from the oven on a frost-dusted winter night — and it’s also the best time of year to get’cho drink on.

Nightcap of choice: glühwein, also known as: mulled wine — not so popular in North America, but it’s got a really long and rich history over in Europe.

The soothing sweetness, the aroma of spice and fruit, the warm liquid in your tummy… yes, mulled wine is where it’s at!

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Egg Noggies, for Charity

Big news! Big news! So much news!

Where to start — um, um… okay — so, first off, I’ve just come out on the other side of a round of practical exams.

I’m totally thrilled with my marks, mostly over 9+/10 on all my items (although I didn’t do a great job on my hand-rolled chocolate truffles), and my chef told me that I “set the bar” for the exam. Squee! How great is that?

Of course it’s my dream to become a truly skilled pastry chef — and of course I think I can do it — it’s just nice when someone I respect immensely throws a bit of fuel on the fire of my hopes and ambitions, y’know?

Look out, next semester, here I come!

On top of that, I was able to get a seasonal position (a second job, no less) helping out The Vancouver Club during their Christmas rush.

I recently had the luck of meeting their pastry chef, too, and she’s totally nice — she offered to let me come to the club one night and follow her around to see what she does for free, but this is even better.

Doesn’t it seem serendipitous that I’m able to work with her so soon after meeting her?

I don’t even know if I’m getting paid or not and I just don’t even care — money would just be gravy at this point — the opportunity of experience and the ballin’ reference on my resume is really all I’m lookin’ for!

Whoooooa shit — okay. Must calm down.

So, in other news, now that it’s the season of giving, my school is making cookie tins to sell and raise money for the local BC Children’s Hospital. Each pastry class has to produce at least 150 cookies to contribute to the tins.

I love the idea of baking for charity, and I was totally eager to participate no matter what kind of cookies my class decided to make, but imagine my surprise when my chef instructor asked me to make 150 cookies of my own recipe for the tins!

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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!

xmastime08

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!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Stöllen

Oh, god — December. Just get out already!

Now, normally I try to write about something light-hearted or historical for my blog, but lately I’ve just been sitting at my computer, anxiously blanking out at the screen, or wasting my time on memebase sites.

While most people wait in anticipation of December and relish in the Christmas season, I fear it.

Like, literally fear it.

Worrying about the Christmas season keeps me up at night — December offers me nothing in terms of relaxation and happiness.

Time off from work? Not with two jobs!

Time off from school? Not unless you count the two weeks off that I will spend working!

Buying presents that I seriously don’t want to buy and getting stuff that I seriously don’t need? Not constructive — I’d rather keep my money for bills and have my friends and family do the same!

Family dinners? Seriously awkwaaaaard.

Not to mention that there’s almost always snarkiness or fighting that breaks out.

My ideal December would involve a month of hibernation and intermittent waking periods for baking cookies and drinking wine and eating stöllen. For reals.

Anyways, enough complaining. I try not to complain, because, seriously — all I’ve got are first world problems.

If this is a season to love and be thankful, then I’ve got a lot to be thankful for.

Like rum spiked nog and stöllen!

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,