Chocolate Madeleines

Madeleines are buttery little cakes originated from France. These shell-like sweets are actually very easy to make. Of course, you will need a madeleine pan. The classic flavour is usually lemon. But as a chocolate lover and an avid baker, I am “obligated” to make some chocolate ones ! And (almost) everything is better with chocolate, right ? They may not be the most eye catching desserts, but they are absolutely delicious ! And I finally tempered my own chocolate! It’s much smoother and shinier !  Here is the recipe that I followed https://www.cordonbleu.edu/news/technique-tempering-chocolate/en . Again, it’s something that looks more difficult than it actually is.  All you need is a thermometer, good chocolate and some patience ! But trust me, it’s worth it ! 

Makes about 20-24 madeleines

  • 120 g unsalted butter + 30 g for greasing pan, melted
  • 60 g all-purpose flour
  • 90 g cake and pastry flour
  • 30 g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 g baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 180 g granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 7.5 mL pure vanilla extract
  • melted dark chocolate for drizzles
  1. Melt 120 g of butter in a sauce pan or microwave, cool slightly 
  2. Sift together flours, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt, set aside 
  3. Whisk together eggs, sugar and vanilla until frothy 
  4. Fold flour mixture into egg mixture 
  5. Gently mix in melted and cooled butter, 2-3 tablespoons at a time until just blended 
  6. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight 
  7. When ready to bake, prepare madeleine pan by melting about 30 g of butter in a sauce pan or microwave, cool slightly 
  8. Brush moulds with melted butter, coat with flour, tapping off excess
  9. Place coated pan in freezer for at least one hour
  10. Preheat oven to 375°F
  11. Drop about 1 tablespoon of batter into each mould without spreading it out
  12. Place madeleine pan on another large baking tray and bake for about 12 minutes 
  13. Cool in moulds for a few minutes then completely on rack 
  14. Drizzle with melted, tempered dark chocolate, best to consume within 2 days

Baked Pears

Our fall weather has been kind of cold. It seems like we had summer, lots of rain, then winter is here …..Do you ever crave for a nice warm dessert after dinner on a cold night ? My daughter and I certainly do ! And often we want something that’s slightly healthier.  Here is one very simple recipe. You can just put it together just before having dinner, put it in the oven and it’s ready when you finish !  You can serve them with some vanilla yoghurt….or ice cream ! Well, I think that’s still pretty healthy….. 

Makes 4 servings

  • 4 ripe Anjou pears
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup crushed walnuts
  • 3-4 tablespoons maple syrup
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Cut pears in halves and remove cores
  3. Mix together walnuts, cinnamon and maple syrup
  4. Spoon fillings into pears
  5. Sprinkle and drizzle with more cinnamon and maple syrup
  6. Bake for about 40 minutes until soft
  7. Serve warm with vanilla yoghurt if desired 

 

Blueberry Tarts

I feel like I need 48 hours a day ! I seriously do. I have so many things I want to do, so many things I have to do but just not enough time…..I know I sometimes over-schedule myself, but at the same time, I feel the most productive this way….So yes, this post was done much later than I planned, but at least I manage to do it before the end of July! 😅

How can I not make something out of blueberries in the summer! We are so lucky to have some locally grown blueberries and I would buy at least 20 lbs of them! This is a super easy recipe. You can make the tart dough ahead of time and freeze it until use. Try to spoon the fillings in just before serving so the tart shells won’t get soggy.

Makes about three 4-inch tarts or six to eight mini tarts

For the tart shells

  • 120 g cold unsalted butter (cut into small pieces)
  • 75 g granulated sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 180 g cake and pastry flour, sifted
  1. Mix together cold butter and sugar using a wooden spoon until no more lumps
  2. Add egg yolk, mix until blended
  3. Add flour all at once, mix with the wooden spoon, then transfer onto a table or counter and gently knead dough together (just work until ingredients are mixed in)
  4. Wrap with plastic wrap, refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours or overnight
  5. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350ºF
  6. Knead dough until pliable
  7. Roll dough out to about 1/8 inch in thickness on a floured surface, dock with a fork
  8. Place inside slightly greased tart molds, trim off excess dough
  9. Bake for about 12 minutes till golden, let cool

For the blueberry fillings

  • 300 g fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 75 g granulated sugar
  • 15 mL lemon juice
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 15 g corn starch
  1. In a non-stick pot, heat blueberries, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest over medium heat
  2. When mixture starts to boil, sift in corn starch
  3. Mix until thicken, then let cool

Right before serving, spoon blueberry fillings into cooled tart shells

Berries and Tofu Smoothie Bowl (Vegan)

Over the past year, I have been trying to eat less meat and more plant-based proteins. I was never a big meat eater, so the transition was pretty easy. To me, the change has been beneficial, especially for my gut. I have a lot less indigestion and heartburn. Trying to cooperate these ingredients in recipes has been fun too. Tofu is my favourite, I mostly use it in savoury dishes or soups, but I can also make it into a simple and nutritious sweet treat, like this smoothie bowl ! You can use any berries and toppings of your choice. For a thicker smoothie, freeze some of the berries first. Look at the beautiful and vibrant colours ! It’s definitely a treat for your eyes and your tummy !  

Makes one serving

  • 150 g mixed berries (I used fresh raspberries, frozen blueberries and blackberries)
  • 150 g soft tofu
  • 1 tablespoon of maple syrup to sweeten (optional)
  • Toppings of choice (other fruits, seeds and nuts)

Blend all ingredients together then add toppings 

Vanilla Cake with Blueberry Cream Cheese Frosting

Sorry! I was one day late for my Mother’s Day post ! Well, but I think we can treat our moms (and myself) any time of the year, and we should ! It doesn’t have to be just Mother’s Day, right ? This cake is very simple, and the blueberries give it a stunning, beautiful color that you don’t need to do much decorations ! I added some freeze-dried blueberries.  If you cannot find them, just add a little more puree to enhance the blueberry flavour. (Just a little otherwise the frosting may become watery). The cream cheese frosting is quite soft, so you should keep it in the fridge until serving. I use vanilla cake as I find it very versatile. You can pretty much pair it  with any flavour, berries, citrus, caramel, chocolate,etc. Once you have a good recipe, you are set and good to go. You can also use this recipe to make cupcakes, just decrease your baking time to about 18-20 minutes. 

I hope all moms had a good Mother’s Day yesterday ! I got a nice surprise from my daughter. She made me some Blueberry Chocolate Bark !  How sweet !

Makes one 6 inch cake

For the vanilla cake

  • 300 g cake and pastry flour
  • 6 g baking powder
  • 3 g baking soda
  • 2 g salt
  • 180 g granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 180 mL buttermilk
  • 120 mL milk
  • 10 mL pure vanilla extract
  • 100 g unsalted butter (melted)
  • 100 mL vegetable oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF
  2. Line the bottom of two 6 inch round cake pans with parchment paper, lightly oil and flour the sides
  3. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, set aside
  4. Whisk together eggs and sugar until pale
  5. Mix in milk, buttermilk, vanilla, butter and oil (it’s ok if batter is lumpy, the butter may just be solidifying)
  6. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mix until just cooperated.
  7. Pour batter into the cake pans and bake for about 40 minutes
  8. Cool completely  before assembling

Tips:

To keep the cake moist and evenly baked, you can bake them in a hot water bath. You can also use cake strips, which you soak in water for a few minutes, squeeze out excess, wrap it around the cake pans and bake.

For the frosting

  • 270 g unsalted butter (soften)
  • 225 g soft cream cheese
  • 120 g icing sugar
  • 45 g blueberry puree (store bought or homemade) 
  • 20 g freeze-dried blueberry powder (optional)
  1. To make the puree, blend fresh or frozen blueberries (you may need more than 45 g of whole blueberries) 
  2. To make the blueberry powder, grind freeze-dried blueberries with food processor until fine
  3. Beat together butter and cream cheese until smooth
  4. Sift in icing sugar, beat until light and smooth
  5. Add blueberry puree and powder, mix well
  6. Refrigerate until use

To assemble

  1.  Trip top of cakes to flatten
  2. Layer cakes with frosting in between
  3. Coat side and top of cake with more frosting
  4. Decorate as desired
  5. Keep in fridge until ready to serve

 

You can get the cake strips through the Amazon website by clicking the link below. I will receive a small compensation if you purchase the item. 

 

Wilton Bake Even Cake Strips, 2 Pieces

Lemon Coconut Muffins

My friends often ask me how I come up with recipe ideas. Most of the time is seasonal, like using berries in the summer and pumpkin in the fall. Sometimes it’s just sort of random and use whatever I have at home. The other day, I was cleaning up my pantry, I found a bag of shredded coconut, some coconut oil and a few leftovers that I’ve only used once or twice ! Then I remembered I had  some coconut milk in the fridge too ! (Wow…didn’t realize I love coconut so much…..) So, I came up with these very “coconuty” muffins ! I added some lemon juice and zest to add fresshness and balance the flavour, and I just love that golden crust on top ! So, if you have some extras lying around, don’t waste them ! Create your own recipes ! You may come up with something really delicious ! You never know !  

Makes about 8-10

  • 200 g all-purpose flour
  • 3 g baking powder
  • 3 g baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 100 g granulated sugar
  • 120 mL unsweetened coconut milk
  • 80 mL buttermilk
  • 60 mL coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled
  • 5 mL pure vanilla extract
  • 30 mL lemon juice
  • Zest of a small lemon
  • 30 g unsweetened shredded coconut + more to sprinkle on top
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, side aside
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar and egg
  4. Mix in coconut milk, buttermilk, melted coconut oil, vanilla extract and lemon juice
  5. Add wet ingredients into dry ingredient, mix until just blended
  6. Stir in lemon zest and shredded coconut
  7. Spoon batter into muffin tins lined with lightly greased muffin cups, about 3/4 full
  8. Sprinkle top with more shredded coconut
  9. Bake for about 18-20 minutes

Caramel Brownies

Compared to many parts of Canada, our winter in Vancouver has been very mild…..until 2 days ago ! A snow pile just dumped onto us in a matter of hours ! Seriously, I was still jogging in the morning at 9 am, it was cold, but no snow. Three hours later, everywhere was covered in white ! I guess it’s our turn to experience this cold snowy winter ! And what does a baker do when it snows ? Bake of course ! So I made these brownies and also had time to decorate a whole bunch of Valentine’s cookies ! The snow has made me more productive !

I like my chocolate desserts very chocolaty, and I mean VERY……And this brownie is not only chocolaty, but also soft, fudgy and chewy ! Who can say no to that ? Especially if you are making it for your Valentine’s ! Make sure you don’t overbake, in fact, a good brownie is often slightly underbaked. It’s best to serve them warm, reheat in the oven for a few minutes if you need.

Happy Valentine’s Day !

Makes about 10 – 12 brownies
For the batter

  • 180 g unsalted butter
  • 180 g semi-sweet chocolate
  • 40 g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 240 g granulated sugar
  • 5 ml vanilla extract
  • 135 g all-purpose flour
  • 2 g baking powder
  • 2 g salt
  • 10-12 caramel candies

For the caramel sauce

Melt together 30 caramel candies (about 240 g) and 1/2 cup of whipping cream in a non-stick pot over low heat until well blended, stirring frequently

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt
  3. Melt butter, chocolate and cocoa powder in a bowl over a pot of simmering water, let cool for about 5 minutes
  4. Whisk together eggs, sugar and vanilla until pale
  5. Mix in chocolate mixture
  6. Add flour mixture and mix until blended, the batter can be quite thick
  7. Spoon half the batter into lightly-greased silicone molds, place a caramel candy in the middle, cover with remaining batter and bake for about 20 minutes
  8. Cool slightly, drizzle with caramel sauce and serve warm