Tag Archives: sugar

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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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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Sugar & Chocolate

Hello, friends!

It’s been a while. Of course, as usual, my life has been busy — sometimes it’s hard to believe that so much time has passed between now and my last update.

Over the past couple months I’ve had a few immensely rewarding school experiences.

I had the chance to stage (pronounced to rhyme with the “rage” in garage) at a very nice restaurant downtown during Dine-Out Vancouver. I got to meet some great people and have fun as a plating volunteer at an award-winning food and wine pairing event.

Then I made an orange-buttermilk cake with vanilla and marmalade mousse topping and won a little cupcake-making competition in my school, so they sponsored me to participate in Vancouver’s annual Cupcake Throwdown fundraiser for the H.A.V.E. Café.

After seeing what a great cause H.A.V.E. was, I tried to donate some money to the Café through the school, but my executive chef suggested that I organize a charity bake sale to raise even more funds, so me and some classmates did that, too!

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Grandma’s Cherry Snowballs

My grandma is an awesome lady — I wish I knew her better.

She’s still alive n’ kicking, but my grandma has Alzheimer’s disease and hasn’t recognized me  for a long time now. I visit her occasionally and I see her at family dinners, but I could and should visit her more often.

Especially since my grandma has one of the kindest hearts and sweetest dispositions you could ever hope to find in a person — she loves animals and people and I remember someone in my family once telling me that the most terrible cuss they’d ever heard her say was “hell’s bells”!

From what I know from the stories she’s told me, she grew up just a block from where I grew up and attended the same school (back when it was a high school — by the time I went there it had been switched to an elementary school and the high school had been moved to a bigger building down the hill).

I went to the same university as she did, but she majored in social work while I did an English degree.

My grandma even belonged to a sorority (back when sororities did charity work instead of drinking with frat boys) and worked with the YMCA to help underprivileged children.

I remember once she gave me a bottle of pale green glittery nail polish for Christmas, and, upon seeing it, my teenage self exclaimed, “Grandma, this is wicked!

“Oh… well,” she said, “If you don’t like it, I can always take it back.”

Then I had to explain to her that wicked meant awesome, kind of like how bad can mean good. I think she was a little perplexed, but accepted the fact that I liked her present after all.

Haha!

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Blackberry & Ginger Pull-Apart Bread

Today, I’m going to write about bread. Just bread with berry.

Sweet and tangy blackberry-ginger filling sandwiched between soft, warm-from-the-oven, pillowy, pull-apart squares of bread.

Did you just drool a little?

We’ve all been there.

To those of you who have ever made their own bread, I don’t need to go on. To those of you who have never made their own bread, you just don’t know what you’re missing.

Sometimes a little flicker of happiness is just fresh bread and a pat of salted butter.

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Perfect Pie Crust

As much as I pride myself on being an intensely passionate, self-taught baker, I have to confess to having taken a class or two…

Well… maybe three.

Yeah, I’ll say three, because if I combine all the dessert portions of the cooking classes I’ve taken, then it probably adds up to about that much.

Originally, this recipe came from a beginners’ cooking class I took through the Vancouver School Board.

Chef Helena was an awesome teacher — she taught my class all about different knife cuts, spices, and how to ”season” fruit with salt and lime juice  — but, because of costing issues, we had to do all of our baking with margarine. For shame!

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