Orange Cranberry Biscotti

I haven’t posted for over 2 months ! Even my daughter told me I have to start working on my blog again. Yeah…. sorry….working for the Christmas markets and other commitments had taken up all my time and I had to “abandon” my blog for a while. But here I am ! And I promise it won’t be another 2 months before I post again.

I love biscotti ! It is something that I would order every time I visit a new bakery. Maybe I am weird, but I actually enjoy them without dipping into anything. That’s why I only leave them in the oven for about 10-15 minutes during the second-bake, so they won’t be too dry and hard. You can also make this recipe with almonds.  Just add a little bit of almond extract and replace the dried cranberries with some toasted almond slices, or you can have both. 

Christmas is just around the corner, so I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday !

Makes about 18 – 20 pieces

  • 60 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 180 g granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 30 mL orange juice
  • Zest of 1 small orange
  • 5 mL pure vanilla extract
  • 5 mL orange extract
  • 360 g all-purpose flour
  • 3 g baking powder
  • 3 g baking soda
  • 2 g salt
  • 60 g dried cranberries
  1. Preheat to 350ºF
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  3. Cream together butter and sugar (either by hand with a spatula or a mixer)
  4. Add eggs, orange juice, zest and extracts, mix until blended
  5. Add flour mixtures in 2 parts, mix until combined
  6. Stir in cranberries
  7. Divide dough into half, press down and form each one into a flat log, approximately 30 cm x 10 cm x 2 cm (you can freeze the logs if not baking right away)
  8. Place in baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for about 30 minutes 
  9. Remove from oven, turn heat down to 300ºF
  10. Let cool until manageable, about 10-15 minutes
  11. Cut with a serrated knife into 1/2 inch-wide pieces (either diagonally or vertically)
  12. Place on baking sheet, and bake for another 10 -15 minutes, flipping half way

 

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Pumpkin Spice Parfait

Happy Thanksgiving ! I can’t believe is October already ! This year has gone by so fast ! Thanksgiving is a good time to take a step back and think about what’s important to us and be appreciative. We tend to get carried away with our busy daily lives. As I get older, I realize happiness can come from the simplest things. This is a quote that I read recently and couldn’t agree more….. “When things aren’t adding up in your life, start subtracting “. Sometimes we put so much weight on our shoulders that we are living less with more….

Here is a simple thing that makes me happy….my daughter’s drawing…..and yeah, the coffee too !

Ok, getting back to my Thanksgiving dessert for tonight. It’s a really easy one….. I put it together in like 30 minutes. Cause I’d rather spend more time with my family than in the kitchen all day !

Makes about 2-4 servings

  • 150 g pumpkin puree
  • 250 g soft cream cheese
  • 90 g icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of cloves
  • 12-16 ginger cookies
  • Whipped cream and toasted walnuts for toppings (optional)
  1. Whisk together cream cheese and icing sugar until smooth
  2. Mix in pumpkin puree and spices
  3. To assemble, coarsely crush ginger cookies, layer with pumpkin mixture top with whipped cream and toasted walnuts if desired

Mini Apple Walnut Loaves

When my kids were younger and were still in Scouts, we used to sell apples to raise money every September. It takes quite a bit of courage for a 6 and a 9-year-old to go up to strangers and ask for donations. It was such a good experience and I was so proud of them. Now that their interests have changed and we are no longer in Scouts, I really miss those years of fund-raising, camping, hiking and all the other activities that we have done….  

Fall is the apple season and there are so many different kinds of apple. Gala is my favourite ! It’s not too big, it’s sweet and has the perfect texture for eating or baking. And I made these mini loaves with walnuts the other day. They taste best when warm….and even better with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream ! I like to make them in mini loaves as you don’t need to bake them as long and can freeze them very easily for later.  

Makes 4 mini loaves (dimensions of pans: 5.75 x 3.25 x 2.25 inches)

  • 360 g all-purpose flour
  • 10 g baking powder
  • 4 g baking soda
  • 2 g salt
  • 3 g ground cinnamon
  • 100 g granulated sugar
  • 100 g demerara or brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 180 mL vegetable oil
  • 150 g sour cream
  • 10 mL pure vanilla extract
  • 400 g diced apples, about 3-4 apples (I used Gala, washed, peeled and cored)
  • 120 g coarsely chopped walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Lightly oiled and floured 4 mini loaf pans
  3. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, set aside
  4. Whisk together eggs and sugars until frothy, mix in oil, vanilla and sour cream
  5. Add wet ingredients into dry ingredients, mix until just cooperated
  6. Stir in apples and walnuts
  7. Pour batter into 4 loaf pans and bake for about 35-40 minutes

 

Tools that I used 

Chicago Metallic 59440 Commercial II Non-Stick Mini Loaf Pans, Set of 4

You can get the mini loaf pans through the Amazon website by clicking the above link. I will receive a small compensation if you purchase the item. 

Baked Matcha (Green Tea) Doughnuts

My family took a trip to Japan this summer and we had so much fun ! It’s a really fantastic country to travel. It’s clean, organized, modern yet traditional, there is so much to see. And the food was soooo good ! From fresh sashimi, ramen, to crepe, and everything matcha…..mmmmm, they were all super delicious !

fresh sashimi, teppanyaki, ramen, takoyaki octopus balls

creme brulee crepe, matcha parfait, soft cheesecake, pancake skewer

I think the only part we didn’t enjoy was the heat and the crowd. But we were actually very lucky, as Japan was hit by a powerful typhoon soon after we left, and also an earthquake in Hokkaido…just hope everything is ok…

Matcha (green tea powder) is really popular there, not only as a tea, but in many desserts ! Mochi, cake, cookies, ice cream, shaved ice, parfait, latte……the list is endless ! I wish I could bring all of them home….or I can try making them myself ! Here are my Baked Matcha Doughnuts ! They are as delicious as the fried ones but “matcha” more easier to make !

Makes about 8-10 doughnuts

For the doughnuts

  • 75 g all-purpose flour
  • 75 g cake and pastry flour
  • 60 g granulated sugar
  • 5 g matcha powder
  • 3 g baking powder
  • 1.5 g baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 150 mL buttermilk
  • 45 mL vegetable oil
  • 2.5 mL pure vanilla extract

For the glaze

  • 90 g icing sugar
  • 2 g matcha powder
  • 15-20 mL milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 ºF
  2. Sift together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and matcha powder, set aside
  3. Whisk together egg and sugar until frothy, mix in buttermilk, oil and vanilla extract
  4. Add wet ingredients into dry ingredients, mix until just combined
  5. Pour batter into lightly-greased doughnut pans
  6. Bake for about 12 minutes, let cool in pans for 10 minutes, then completely on rack
  7. To make the glaze, sift icing sugar, whisk in milk until smooth
  8. Sift matcha powder and add a little at a time into icing mixture, whisk until no more lumps
  9. Dip one side of doughnuts into matcha glaze, best to serve within one day

Blackberry Cream Cheese Puffs

This is the third recipe of my berry series ! The stars this time are blackberries ! They tend to be more tart than other berries but are equally delicious. And instead of a muffin or a pie, I want to make something more fun. My daughter has been asking me to make cream puffs, so why don’t I put the two together ?! Blackberry and cream cheese go so well together. And WOW ! It turned out with such a pretty colour! Choux pastry is so magical, it turns into light and airy puffs without any leavening agents. And you can fill the puffs with any flavour of cream or custard, even just a spoon of whipped cream. Be sure to eat them immediately for best tasting…..but hey, they are so yummy and I guarantee they are not going to last ! 

 Makes about 10-12 puffs 

For the fillings

  • 100 g fresh blackberries
  • 250 g soft cream cheese
  • 60 g icing sugar, sifted
  1. Puree blackberries with a blender, strain through a fine mesh to remove seeds, should yield about 60 g of puree
  2. Beat cream cheese until fluffy, add icing sugar, beat until smooth
  3. Add blackberry puree, mix until blended
  4. Store in refrigerator until use 

For the choux pastry puffs

  • 200 mL water
  • 90 g unsalted butter
  • 2 g salt
  • 30 g  granulated sugar
  • 120 g all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  1. Heat together water, butter, salt and granulated sugar in a pot over medium heat until just starting to boil
  2. Turn heat down to low, add flour all at once
  3. Stirring constantly, cook until a thin film of paste formed at the bottom of the pot or about 5 minutes if using a non-stick pot
  4. Transfer paste to a bowl and cool down
  5. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350ºF and prepare piping bag with desired piping tip
  6. Add eggs to paste, one at a time and mix well after each addition
  7. Transfer to piping bag and pipe onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper 
  8. Bake at 350ºF  for about 15-20 minutes until starting to brown, turn heat down to 325°F and bake for another 25-30 minutes until golden (if puffs are under baked, they will collapse after taken out)
  9. Turn heat off, leave puffs inside oven for about 10 minutes with oven door ajar
  10. Take puffs out, let cool  

To assemble

  1. Cut puffs in halves with a serrated knife, spoon or pipe blackberry fillings in middle
  2. Dust with icing sugar and serve immediately 

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream 

Our summer has been pretty hot, I am not complaining, it’s been great ! And nothing is better than having a bowl of ice cream on a hot summer day…..and it’s homemade ! Blueberries are in season, so why not make good use of them ! This recipe is really simple, yet flavourful. No kidding, it’s probably the best ice cream I have ever made ! It looks amazing too ! I am so glad I bought the ice cream machine, trust me, it’s totally worth it !  Oh, here are some extra tips …….

  • Don’t skim on the dairy if you want your ice cream to be rich and creamy, use full fat
  • Make sure your mixture is very cold before putting into the ice cream machine
  • Don’t mesh all of the blueberries when making the compote if you want some “blueberry crunch” in your ice cream

Hope you will give this a try and have a great summer !

Makes about 1 L

  • 150 g blueberries 
  • 30 g granulated sugar (adjust if needed)
  • 10 mL lemon juice 
  • 250 g soft cream cheese 
  • 250 mL whipping cream
  • 250 mL full-fat milk 
  • 180 g granulated sugar 
  1. To make the blueberry compote, cook blueberries, 30 g of sugar and lemon juice over medium heat 
  2. Turn heat down when liquid starts to bubble 
  3. Gently mesh blueberries with back of wooden spoon and cook until slightly thicken 
  4. Let cool then refrigerate until use 
  5. Blend cream cheese, whipping cream, milk and sugar together for a few minutes until smooth 
  6. Refrigerate for about 2 hours or until mixture is very cold
  7. Pour into ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions 
  8. Spoon and swirl blueberry compote into ice cream 
  9. Freeze until serve 

Fruit Pizza (For Canada Day) 

​Summer is here and that means…..lots of berries ! I love to eat them fresh, but also like to use them to make pies, tarts, ice cream, etc…….Just thinking about it makes me soooo excited ! To start off my “berries season”, I made this simple fruit pizza ! It’s basically a giant cookie, top with cream cheese and fruits ! I picked strawberries and raspberries just in time to celebrate Canada Day, but you can also use blueberries, blackberries, even kiwi and banana. It is so easy to put together and I think it is a nice, refreshing dessert for your summer backyard BBQ. Have a Happy Canada Day !  

Makes about four 7″ pizzas

For the “pizza” dough

  • 170 g all-purpose flour 
  • 170 g cake and pastry 
  • 3 g baking soda 
  • 2 g salt
  • 120 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 180 g granulated sugar 
  • 1 egg
  • 5 mL pure vanilla extract 
  • 30 mL lemon juice 
  • Zest of 1 small lemon 

For the toppings

  • 250 g soft cream cheese
  • 60 g icing sugar
  • Fruits of choice 
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F
  2. Sift together flours, baking soda and salt, set aside 
  3. Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy 
  4. Add 1 egg, vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest, mix until blended 
  5. Mix in flour mixture, 1/3 at a time until just cooperated (do not over mix)  
  6. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead until dough is formed (dough can be stored in fridge or freezer for later use)
  7. Roll out to about 0.5 cm in thickness 
  8. Cut into large circles using a plate or a cake ring (You can collect the dough scraps all together and re-roll, cover unused dough with a damp cloth or plastic wrap)
  9. Place on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper 
  10. Bake for 10-12 minutes, let cool
  11. Beat together cream cheese and icing sugar until smooth
  12. Just before serving, spread cream cheese on top of giant cookies, top with fresh fruits