Tag Archives: nuts

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.

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!


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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Almond Cakelettes

So, I totally forgot to mention this in my last post, but I’ve decided that November is going to be Cake Month ’round here!

Cake is a huge part of pastry school training — aside from bread, cake is one of the most historically rich and diverse pastry traditions. In class we’ve been making chemically leavened cakes, egg foam-based cakes, cakes that rise using only steam, mousse cakes, cheesecakes, cakes, cakes, cakes.

Cakes on the braaaain.

And, while I love all cake, my favourite kind of cake tends to be “American-style” cake, which is denser and moister than French chiffon and sponges — so I bet you can guess what kind of cakes I’m going to posting all about!

Speaking of cake and pastry school, in case any of you are wondering, classes are going pretty well.

There were some serious tension that all came to a head the other day, though — mostly over the fact that not everyone has been pulling their weight when it comes to cleaning up at the end of the class (and there’s a ton of cleaning up to do).

The biggest do-nothing is this older guy in the class, who shall remain nameless, with a bad attitude.

He tends to be overly competitive, unwilling to help others, not interested in doing dishes, makes inappropriate comments towards some of the women in class, etc. He prefers to check his cell phone and pick at crusty bits on the stove top by his work station instead of pitching in.

Anyways, so we have this round table discussion about cleaning up and responsibility at the end of day and whatnot, and we (read: me and a couple other people in the class) call him out on his apparent cleaning allergy.

His reaction?

To fold his arms, deny all responsibility, and call us “lazy females” in a voice oozing with indignity and disgust!

Now, normally I’m not one to lose my cool, but when I lose it, I really lose it, and sexism is one of my only hot buttons.

Scratch that — sexism is my 5000°C rage button!

Continue reading

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

Adorable Acorn Cookies

Whoamigawd — normally I’m not one to toot my own horn, but these cookies are just so damned cuuute!

Sadly, as yummy as they are, these little morsels are not really made of acorn.

But I had this idea about collecting a bunch of acorns, shelling them, soaking them, roasting them, grinding them, and making acorn flour for actual acorn cookies…

Then I remembered that I’m not a squirrel. HA!

Yes — not only am I definitely not a squirrel, but the real squirrel (a chubby, black-furred little rascal) who lives out back of my apartment already beat me to all the acorns nearby.

It started taking the acorns out of the tree in mid-summer, actually — while they were still green. Ew. Eating a green acorn seems like the squirrel equivalent of a eating a bright green banana, but I guess the squirrel knows what it’s doing.

So, instead of acorns, these shortbread-like cookies are made with brown butter, ground walnuts, and vanilla. Then they’re dipped in chocolate and more walnuts.

See? Not being a squirrel has its advantages.

Continue reading

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

Triple! Almond Maple Cookies

Vegan cookies? Well, this is a little out of character.

I think some of my vegan blogger buddies are rubbing off on me!

Not that I could ever give up eggs or dairy for long (seriously — one look at cheese and I’ve already committed a thousand vegan sins in my head), but sometimes it’s good to get flexible with rigidity.

Baking without eggs, butter, milk, or fakey dairy substitutes is tough, people. Baking needs fat. Baking needs binders. Baking needs something to whip with sugar and trap air bubbles for lift and texture.

That’s the reason why vegan baked goods are often denser than their butter-and-egg-laden counterparts. Science!

While these triple! almond maple cookies are no exception to the vegan laws of baking physics, they, like so many other vegan treats, make up for it by being packed with flavour. Sweet maple and toasty almond flavour, to be precise.

Continue reading

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

Cocoa-Kissed Road Trip Cookies

By the time you read this, I’ll be on the road!

Up to the land of perfect summer, The Okanagan — sunshine and orchards and wineries, oh my!

Since I’m always the self-designated Head of Everything Sweet and Snacky, it’s only natural for me to feel that no road trip could ever possibly be complete without some kind of baked treats in tow.

Originally I made these for a coworker to take on her cross-BC road trip (she doesn’t know how to bake, but she wanted her 14-year-old son to have something special to munch on for his birthday) and they turned out too good to not make again.

I love it when that happens!

Anyways, these cookies are a little chewy, a little chocolatey, and a little sweet — and they’re full of oats to keep ’em softer for longer, too.

Continue reading

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