Cakes (1) Cookies (2) Loaves (1) Muffins (1)

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Port-Ganache Glazed Brownies with Dried Cherries

We celebrated my mother's birthday on Saturday, and one thing is for sure - my mother LOVES chocolate! So I thought that I would make my friend M's brownie recipe. The port soaked cherries and port ganache make this a bit fancier than the average brownie (and so delicious!).

Port Soaked Cherries
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries, very coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup tawny port
In a small saucepan, bring the cherries and port to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and cook for about 2 minutes. Let the cherries and port cool to room temperature.

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cups cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and flour a 9x9in baking pan.

Melt the butter, and whisk in the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Keep stirring until the batter is smooth and uniform. Add the port soaked cherries, including any remaining liquid from the saucepan (don't want to let any of this go to waste!).

Spread the batter into the pan, and bake until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out with just a few moist clumps clinging to it (about 40 minutes). Let the brownies cool completely.

  • 1/2 cup tawny port
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the port to a boil. Boil until the port is reduced to 2 tbsp (3 to 6 minutes). Pour into a small cup or bowl. In a clean saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in the chopped chocolates and reduced port until the mixture is smooth and the chocolate is melted.

Pour the ganache into a bowl to cool to room temperature. Make sure to cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Once cool, spread evenly over brownies and let set for about an hour.


Saturday, 11 August 2012

Cranberry Almond Biscotti

It was rainy and dark here in Montreal yesterday evening, and so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to curl up on the couch with a good book, a cup of tea, and some tasty biscotti. This recipe was given to me by my friends A&J from Edmonton - thanks guys!

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cups almonds
  • 3/4 cups dried cranberries
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cups butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • Grated orange rind
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
In a large bowl, combine flour and backing powder. Add almonds and cranberries.

Whisk together eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla, almond extract and orange rind until creamy.

Combine wet and dry ingredients until a soft dough forms. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface, and form into two 12-inch long logs. Brush logs with lightly beaten egg. Transfer to baking sheet and bake at 350F for about 30 minutes (or until dough becomes firm).

Remove from oven and let cool for about ten minutes. Transfer the logs to a cutting board, and with a sharp knife (you'll need patience and a sharp knife to get through those almonds!) cut diagonally into 1-inch thick slices.

Stand the cookies up on the baking sheet, and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden and delicious looking.

Once the biscotti has cooled, grab your book and a warm drink, and head for your most comfortable chair...

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Strawberry Bread with Vanilla Mascarpone

Tomorrow evening I will be hosting my parents for the opening ceremonies of the olympics. To be a bit patriotic, I will be serving something red and white - a delicious strawberry bread with some vanilla mascarpone. Go team Canada!

  • 5 tbsp plus 1 tsp unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pan
  • 1 pint strawberries, rinsed, hulled, quartered and mashed with a fork
  • 1 1/2 cups spelt flour
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped or 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar
Preheat oven to 350F and butter an 8 x 4 inch loaf pan. In a small saucepan, bring strawberries to a boil over medium heat. Cook for about 1 minute while stirring. If you happen to be able to find some fresh local strawberries (the small ones from Quebec are fantastic), these will make an even sweeter and more delicious loaf.

Whisk together flour, wheat germ, baking soda, ground cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.

Cream butter, sugar and eggs until light and fluffy.

With mixer running, alternate between adding flour mixture and milk. Fold in strawberries.

Bake for about an hour. In the meantime, combine mascarpone, vanilla seeds and icing sugar. Cut a nice big slice of the loaf, add a dollop of the vanilla mascarpone and enjoy. Happy olympics everyone!

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Glencoe Club Muffins

My great aunt B, who lives in Calgary, belongs to the Glencoe Club. Often when I would visit her, we would attend the weekend brunch at the club and enjoy all of the delicious food. They would always have a nice pastry/bakery table layed out with all kinds of treats. Surprisingly, these healthier muffins were often the most popular item, beating out alot of the other sweets. After some coaxing, the chef from the club agreed to publish the recipe in the Calgary newspaper - so now we can all enjoy!

This recipe makes a large batch of muffins (about 30). The muffins freeze really well, and take a long list of ingredients, so I usually make the whole batch and save the extra.

  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tsp baking soda
  • 4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1 cup wheat bran
  • 4 cups carrots (grated)
  • 1/2 cup cranberries (dried)
  • 1/2 cup blueberries (dried)
  • 1/2 cup pecans (toasted)
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 2 apples (grated)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups canola oil
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups orange juice
  • maple syrup to glaze
Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, wheat germ, wheat bran.

Add carrots, cranberries, blueberries, pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, coconut, and apples.

In a seperate bowl, mix eggs, canola oil, flaxseed oil, vanilla extract, and orange juice.

Combine all ingredients, without overmixing.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes. While still hot glaze muffins with maple syrup.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are a hit with everyone that tries them, and are my default when I need something quick, easy, and sure to please.

  • 2 cups pecans
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cups brown sugar
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350F. Toast the pecans on a baking sheet for about 8 minutes. Let them cool completely.

Microwave butter until melted. Add sugars. When combined, add salt, vanilla, eggs.

When this is smooth, add flour, baking soda, and baking powder until just incorporated. i am a fan of using only one bowl (since i don't like doing dishes!).

Now, to get a soft cookie,  i usually do the following (feel free to skip, but i find it makes a big difference). Roll the dough into balls, and put them in the fridge for about an hour.

Reheat the oven to 350. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 15-18 minutes. And voila!

You can also make the dough balls, and store them in the freezer for about 1 month. Bake from frozen for a few minutes longer than normal. The cookies also freeze well, and I often have a tin ready in the freezer.