Monday, April 30, 2012

Pip is Coming

You may remember that Caitlin made a wedding cake in the fall, while now our good friend Margot over at Newfoundlander at Heart has a person in progress (Pip) on the way. So, this past weekend we threw a baby shower for her, generously hosted by her mother in law, and organized by Hera and Brynn (Kate got the plates and napkins).

 I'm so excited for Margot to become a mother for real...I mean throughout all of University we all called her mom and she is probably the reason I didn't contract scurvy or some other nutritional deficiency in my first year of university. As amazing as she was and still is at being a friend-mom, she will be an even better for real mom!

In addition to providing an excuse to see Margot and other catch up with friends living in Toronto, the shower allowed me to knock a few things off my "to bake" list, which at the moment is pretty sizable.

I made brownies with chocolate butter-cream frosting...a lady only gathering does call for some pretty intense chocolate goods, along with brown butter chocolate chip cookies, and one of my new favourite things, chamomile cupcakes with honey glaze.  The brownies were probably no better than boxed brownies so I'm not sure it's something that I'd make again, but the cookies and cupcakes are both incredible and I can't wait to make either or those again.

All from: Joy the Baker Cookbook

Brownies with Chocolate Butter-Cream Frosting

Recipe for the Brownies:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

3) Melt butter and chocolate together in a heat proof bowl over simmering water. Once melted, remove the bowl from heat and stir in sugars. Whisk in the eggs, yolk, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture all at once and fold together. Fold in the chocolate chips.

4) Pour batter into a prepared 8 inch square pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or untila skwere inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool while you prepare the icing.

Recipe for the Buttercream frosting

3/4 cup butter at room temperature
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 to 3 cups of powdered sugar
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
scant 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup ovaltine powder


1) Cream together  butter, cocoa powder and salt.  Add in the powdered sugar, being sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that everything is evenly incorporated. Add in the milk and vanilla. Beat until smooth.

2) in a small bowl, mix together cream and ovaltine. Turn the mixer to medium and pour the cream in slowly.

3) Frost your brownies - this recipe makes enough for two batches of brownies, so you can either half the recipe or store some for later. 

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies


1 cup plus 1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp molasses
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (I used pecans)
1 cup chocolate chips 


1) Brown 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon of butter by placing it in a small sauce pan over medium heat until you start to see brown flakes on the bottom of the pot and it starts to smell nutty. Pour browned butter into a small bowl and place in the fridge to cool.

2) In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer cream together remaining butter and granulated sugar. Add the vanilla and molasses and bean until incorporated. Pour in the browned butter along with the brown sugar, and mix for about 3 minutes until well incorporated. Add egg and egg yolk, then beat for one more minute.

3) Whisk together flour, salt and baking soda. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just incorporated. Fold in pecans and chocolate chips.

4) Cover dough with saran wrap and place in the fridge for half an hour while the oven preheats to 325 degrees F. Roll dough into tablespoon sized balls and bake for 10-12 minutes.

Chamomile Cupcakes with Honey Glaze

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons dried chamomile (from teabags)
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Glaze
1 cup icing sugar
3 Tbs heavy cream
1/2 Tbs honey
pinch of salt

1) Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. In a stand mixer, cream together the butter, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and chamomile leaves.

2) Whisk together milk, eggs, and vanilla. Pour half of this into the butter mixture and beat until just incorporated. Add the remaining milk mixture and continue to beat.

3) Divide the batter between the cupcake tins. Bake cupcakes for 17 to 20 minutes. I made mini cupcakes for the shower so they only took 10 minutes.

Directions for the glaze:

Whisk together ingredients until smooth. Once the cupcakes have cooled use a rubber spatula to spread the glaze on the cupcakes and garnish with some chamomile leaves. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Lemon Chia Seed Protein Pancakes

One of my favourite things about breakfast is that it's the only meal of the day where it's ok to eat something sweet. Now, having the biggest sweet tooth in the world, this really appeals to me. However, it's also the only meal of the day where beyond meat and eggs, there aren't many options that aren't simple carbs. I'm currently trying to cut back my gluten for a little dietary experiment but last night I decided that  I really wanted pancakes for breakfast. So, I found a low carb pancake recipe to begin with.

The other part of this pancake story dates back to Monday. I was sitting in my Methods of Development class and we were discussing a project that was aimed at helping farmers move away from poppy growing in Pakistan. Well, all I could think about was lemon poppyseed anything! Once again, a burden of the sweet tooth - my mind is often derailed by sweets. I didn't have poppy seeds but I did have chia seeds, which are close enough. Plus, they're healthy!

The results of this little experiment were quite delicious, plus, I was totally full and will likely stay full for quite some time after just a few pancakes because of the protein packed punch (yay for alliteration!). I will warn you, the texture is not quite the same as regular pancakes, but I really liked it. They were still fluffy and the almonds added a subtle flavour.

Lemon Chia Seed Protein Pancakes

1 cup almond meal
2 tbsp unflavoured protein powder (I used pea protein)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 tbsp melted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 to 1/2 almond milk (or regular milk, or water)
zest of 1 small lemon
juice of half lemon
chia seeds (I didn't measure, just threw some in until it looked good to me)

1. Combine almond meal, protein powder, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
2. Melt butter in microwave, add eggs, vanilla, and almond milk and whisk all together.
3. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients, stirring until just before it is combined.
4. Throw in the lemon zest, juice and chia seeds and stir a tiny bit more until incorporated.
5. In a pre-heated (medium heat) and oiled pan, pour pancakes and cover until they cook enough to flip them. They won't bubble like regular pancakes, but you should be able to tell when it's ready to flip.
6. Serve warm with toppings of your choice. I ate them with raspberry jam.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Toasted Oat Smoothie

Breakfast is sometimes best in liquid form.

This smoothie is delicious and the toasted oats add a lovely richness to the berries.

Taken from: "Joy the Baker Cookbook"


1/4 cup raw oatmeal
1 1/2 cups soy milk
1 frozen banana
1/2 cup frozen blueberries15
2 tsp honey or brown sugar

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place oatmeal on a baking sheet and bake until fragrant and slightly browned - about 15 minutes.

2) Place oats in a blender, cover, and blend until the oats become a powder. Remove all of the oats and measure 2 tablespoons for the smoothie. Reserve the remaining for another smoothie.

3) Place milk, 2 Tablespoons of oat powder, banana, blueberries, and honey in the blender. Blend until well incorporated, serve immediately.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Pi Day and Falling a bit behind

Pi Day other wise known as 3.14 or March 14th....more than a month ago.

Woops. Turns out I've been so busy baking that I've neglected the blogging.

Sweet Potato Pie....tastes almost exactly like pumpkin pie but (in my opinion) has a better texture. The no roll crust....probably not as good as my usual crust, but this allows me knock off two of the recipes from the Joy the Baker cookbook.

Taken from: "Joy the Baker Cookbook"

Pie Recipe:

2 cups of mashed sweet potatoes
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 cups evaporated milk
3 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

No Roll Crust Recipe:

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen
1 heaping tablespoon cold cream cheese
3 tablespoons milk, cold
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons canola oil


1. Prepared mashed potatoes and allow to cool. Mash until there are no lumps.

2. In a medium pot over low heat, add the brown sugar, all of the spices, salt, butter, and half of the evaporated milk. Cook until the mixture is well blended and starts to bubble, remove from heat and allow to cool.

3. In a large bowl beat the eggs with a fork. Add the remaining can of evaporated milk, granulated sugar, and vanilla and beat until creamy. Add the cooled sweet potato mixture to the egg mixture and whisk well.

4. For the crust, whisk together flour, salt, sugar and baking powder. Grate the frosen butter and add the butter pieces and cream cheese to the flour mixture. Use your hands to incorporate.

5. Whisk together the milk and oils and add all once to the flour and butter mixture. Use a fork to combine the wet and dry ingredients. Leave the dough a bit shaggy and dump into the bottom of a 10-inch pie plate.

6. With your fingers, press the dough evenly into the bottom of the pie plate and up the sides. Try to create an even thickness along the entire pie place but don't worry about the finger indentations.

7. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the pie plate on a baking sheet and pout the filling in. Bake for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the pie crust is browned and the center of the pie is no longer loose or jiggly.