Monthly Archives: October 2015

Halloween Cookies

I made these cookies for my kids’ school last week. They have bake sale about 3 times a year to raise money for the school. It is a very exciting event and the kids just love it ! These are Halloween cookies but you can make them for any occasions, Christmas, Valentines, birthdays, etc. Get creative and have fun ! The icing take at least 6 hours to dry depending on humidity.  So plan ahead, you may need up to 2 days to make them.

For the cookies

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 cups pastry flour
  • 1 + 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, salt together, set aside
  3. Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment,  cream butter and sugar until fluffy
  4. Add egg, vanilla and milk, mix well
  5. Add flour mixture in 2 – 3 portions
  6. Mix until a dough is formed, scraping sides of mixing bowl
  7. Roll dough flat on flour surface, about 2-3 mm thickness
  8. Cut with cookie cutters
  9. Bake on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper for about 8-9 minutes until edges turn brown
  10. Cool on cookie sheets for about 5 minutes,  then completely on rack

If the dough is too soft to roll, you can put it in the fridge for about 1 hour before rolling.  Cool cookies completely before icing.

For the icing

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons water
  • food coloring for icing
  1. Sift icing sugar
  2. Add milk, corn syrup and vanilla
  3. Add water, a few drops at a time to get the desired consistency
  4. Add food coloring
  5. Mix until smooth

Use a thicker icing to outline the borders, let dry, then use a thinner icing for the middle.  The icing is almost transparent, so you will need to add white food coloring to make it white.


Honey Roasted Cashews

Cashew has always been my favourite nut. Whether is roasted or fried with chicken, I just can’t have enough of it. It is a good source of magnesium, iron, vitamin B6 and many more. However, it is also quite high in calories, so don’t eat too much at a time ……Well, it’s pretty hard with this recipe……

Total time = 10 minutes

  • 8 oz raw cashews
  • 1 + 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Toss cashews with oil, honey and salt
  3. Place  on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
  4. Bake for about 10 minutes until golden brown, stirring once in between

It can be stored in an airtight container for up to one week.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

It is my daughter’s birthday today! She has been my biggest helper and biggest fan for my baking. Can’t believe she is 8 now ! Where does the time go? This is what she specifically ordered, vanilla cupcakes with chocolate frosting. Happy Birthday my little baby!

For the cupcakes

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (150 g), at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1+1/2 cups cake and pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, set aside
  3. Add lemon juice into milk, let sit for 5 minutes
  4. Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy
  5. Add eggs and vanilla, mix until blended
  6. Mix in half the milk, then half the flour mixture
  7. Add the remaining milk and flour mixture, mix until just blended, scraping sides of bowl, 
  8. Pour into lightly greased paper cups, only up to about 2/3 full
  9. Bake in tins for about 18-20 minutes, toothpick should come out clean when inserted in the middle
  10. Cool completely before frosting
  11. Decorate with sprinkles

For the chocolate frosting

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (150 g), at room temperature
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  1. Sift together icing sugar and cocoa powder
  2. Melt chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water, cool slightly
  3. Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter until creamy
  4. Add milk and vanilla
  5. Add sugar and cocoa powder in 2-3 portions, mix well after each addition, scraping sides of bowl
  6. Add melted chocolate, mix until smooth

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Fall is definitely in the air now, weather is getting cooler, leaves are falling.  This is a perfect drink on a cold breezy day.  Just smelling the aroma of all the spices makes me feel warmer !

Makes 2 – 3 servings

    • 1+1/2 cups milk
    • 3 tablespoons pumpkin puree, preferably homemade
    • 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee
    • 3-4 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
    • Pinch of ground nutmeg
    • Pinch of ground cloves
    • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  1. Heat milk in a non-stick pot over medium heat
  2. Stir in sugar, coffee, pumpkin and spices
  3. Bring to a simmer, add vanilla
  4. Top with whipped cream, sprinkle with more cinnamon 

Feel free to adjust the amount of sugar and spices according to your own taste.

Coconut Macaroons

Macaroons are cookies made of shredded coconut. Don’t mix them up of macarons which are the French sandwich cookies. Macaroons are crispy on the outside and chewy inside. You can dress these cute little balls up with melted chocolate (dark or white).

Makes about 24-30
Total time = 30 minutes

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 360 g unsweetened shredded coconut
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F
  2. Using a stand or hand-held mixer, beat egg whites, sugar and vanilla for about 3 minutes until frothy
  3. Mix in coconut (mixture should be wet but not too sticky)
  4. With the help of a rounded spoon or an ice cream scooper,  shape coconut mixture into balls and place on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper
  5. Bake for about 14-15 minutes until golden brown
  6. Cool and drizzle with melted chocolate if desired

Cream Cheese Whipped Cream

This can be used as a fruit dip or topping for your pancakes, waffles, pies and crepes.  The cream cheese makes it extra creamy and tasty!

Makes about 3 cups
Total time = 15 minutes

  • 1 cup whipping cream (cold)
  • 100 g cream cheese
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons icing sugar (adjust to your own taste)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese,  sugar and vanilla until fluffy
  2. Whisk whipping cream until thick and creamy
  3. Gently mix whipped cream and cream cheese until smooth
  4. Keep in refrigerator

Pumpkin Tart

It’s Thanksgiving tomorrow. My daughter drew a picture and wrote a list at school about what she is thankful for. She made a long list, but the one I like the most was “I am thankful for my hilarious brother!” For myself, I am most thankful for having two lovely kids….they make me laugh, cry….they give me the energy to keep going but they also burn me out……Hope everyone have a good Thanksgiving!
This is actually my first time making pumpkin pie.  I wasn’t sure how it would turn out.  So I decided to make a mini version to experiment.  And I have some tart shells left in the freezer, so it’s a perfect time to use them up! I prefer a sweeter and milder taste, so I didn’t use too much spices.  But you can adjust the amount to your own taste.

Makes about 24 tarts

  • 1+1/2 cup pumpkin puree, preferably homemade (420 g)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 24 store-bought small tart shells
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF
  2. Whisk pumpkin and eggs
  3. Add brown sugar, spices, salt and cornstarch, mix until blended
  4. Add whipping cream and vanilla, mix well
  5. Pour into tart shells and bake for about 25 – 30 minutes 
  6. Top with whipped cream when cooled

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

There are so many recipes you can do with pumpkins, sweet or savory. They are not only for carving and making jack-o’-lantern ! Freshly made pumpkin puree tastes much better than canned and it costs less.  Use it to make your muffins, pies, cheesecakes, soup, etc.  You can also save the seeds and roast them with olive oil and salt for a healthy treat !

Makes about 2-3 cups puree

  • Two medium-sized pumpkins
  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF
  2. Wash pumpkins, cut stems off, scrape out seeds and fibre
  3. Cut pumpkins into large pieces
  4. Bake on baking sheets lined with parchment paper for about 45 minutes until fork-tender
  5. Remove skin, puree with blender

It can be stored in the fridge for up to one week.

Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies

My mom loves to cook, and her dishes are very tasty. As my kids call it “grandma’s extreme cooking” ! Because it is extremely good ! I am more of a dessert gal, and my mom always says my stuff is too sweet for her. Guess what… she ate two of these cookies right out of the oven today and she wanted more ! So, I guess I can call this recipe my “extreme baking ” ! 
I used just raisins and chocolate chips just because my kids like them. You can pick your own favourites like shredded coconut, walnuts, cranberries, etc.

Makes about 2 dozens
Total time = 30 minutes

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter,  at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF
  2. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt
  3. Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light
  4. Add eggs and vanilla, mix well
  5. Add flour mixture in 2 portions, mix until blended, scraping sides of bowl
  6. Stir in oats, raisins and chocolate chips
  7. Place about 2 teaspoonfuls each on baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  8. Bake for about 8 minutes
  9. Cool on baking sheets for about 10 minutes,  then completely on rack

Mini Apple Pie

Can’t believe fall is already here ! I love fall, I love the colours and all the tasty goodies… pies, apple cider, pumpkin pies, pumpkin spice latte, squash soup, etc.   And of course the Halloween candies !  Hey, candies are not just for kids,  for adults too……OK, Let’s get back to the pie first !  

Makes two 4+1/2 inch pies

For the crust

  • 1+1/2 cup (225g) pastry flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 100 g unsalted butter, diced and chilled
  • 110-120 mL cold water
  1. Mix flour and salt 
  2. Using a pastry cutter or 2 forks, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs, butter chunks should be about the size of a pea
  3. Add cold water, mix gently
  4. Transfer onto a floured work surface and press dough together to form a ball (Do not knead, dough should contain lumps of butter)
  5. Cut dough in half, wrap each one tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight

In order to make a flaky pie crust, your butter and water has to be cold, very cold. This will prevent the butter from melting when you are working with the dough. When the pie is baked, the butter will melt, water inside the butter will evaporate giving its flaky texture.  I used all butter because I love the flavour.  You can use half butter, half shortening to make the pie more tender but shortening doesn’t have any flavour.  So, it’s your choice.   

For the fillings

  • 2 apples
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 + 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of lemon zest
  1. Wash, peel and core apples. Cut into slices or chunks
  2. Mix apples with all other ingredients

To make the pie

  1. Preheat oven to 380 ºF
  2. On a floured work surface, roll and flatten 2/3 of one dough to fit pie tin
  3. Fill with apple fillings
  4. Brush rims with water
  5. Roll the other 1/3 of the dough to make top of pie, trim and decorate, leaving at least one hole on top to vent
  6. Brush top with melted butter
  7. Bake for about 45 minutes

This is a modified recipe from the one I learned at my pastry course.  Original recipe by Chef Marco at Pastry Training Centre of Vancouver