Monthly Archives: January 2016

Sweet Potato Honey Muffins

One of my goals this year is to use less sugar in my recipes without compromising flavours.  Japanese sweet potatoes have red skin and light yellow flesh.  They are a good source of vitamin A, C and dietary fibre. They taste very sweet, so you don’t really need to add much sweetener.  I only added some honey and they came out super tasty ! They are very healthy too !   

Makes about 10-12 muffins

  • 240 g mashed Japanese sweet potatoes
  • 1+1/4 cups cake and pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 100 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 240 mL milk
  • 100 g plain Greek yogurt
  • 6 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

To prepare the sweet potato

  1. Cut sweet potatoes into large chunks
  2. Prick with a fork a few times
  3. Bake in an 400ºF oven until soft, about 45 minutes to 1 hour
  4. Peel and mash, cool and set aside

To make the muffins

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt, set aside
  3. Blend mashed sweet potatoes, milk and honey to make a puree
  4. Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter until fluffy
  5. Mix in eggs, yoghurt, vanilla and sweet potato puree
  6. Add flour mixture, mix until just blended, do not over mix (it is fine if mixture is slightly lumpy)
  7. Pour batter into muffin tins lined with slightly greased paper or silicone muffin cups
  8. Bake for about 20-22 minutes
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Lemon Raisin Scones

I fell in love with lemon lately! I add it to many of my recipes, e.g. pies, cakes, muffins, smoothies, etc. It just makes them taste a lot better!  It is also an acid, so when it’s combined with baking soda, it helps to rise your dough.  I’ve drizzled some lemon glaze on top of these scones, but they taste amazing even with just butter.  You can have them for breakfast or afternoon tea. I actually had one for lunch too!

Makes about 8 scones
Total time = 2 hours

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 +1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • zest of 1 large lemon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF
  2. Add lemon juice to milk and let sit for a few minutes
  3. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt
  4. Mix in sugar
  5. Cut in butter by pastry cutter or rub in by hands until resembles coarse crumbs 
  6. Add lemon zest and raisins
  7. Add egg,milk with lemon juice and vanilla extract, mix until blended
  8. Transfer dough to a floured surface, and press together to form a round disc about 1/2 inch thick
  9. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hour
  10. Cut disc into about 8 triangular wedges (like cutting a pizza) 
  11. Bake on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper for about 20 minutes
  12. Serve warm with butter or lemon glaze

For the lemon glaze

  • 1+1/4 cup icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  1. Sift icing sugar
  2. Whisk in lemon juice, water and lemon zest until smooth

Cookie Butter Cookies

Have you ever tried cookie butter? It is soooo delicious!  Try just spreading it on your toast or fruits like apples and bananas, I am sure you will fall in love with it.  And of course, these cookie butter cookies are absolutely scrumptious , This was originally a peanut butter recipe.  I used cookie butter instead.  Since it is sweeter than peanut butter, I cut back on the sugar. 

Makes about 24 cookies

  • 1+1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup demerara or brown sugar
  • 200 g cookie butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, set aside
  3. Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter, cookie butter and sugar together until fluffy and creamy
  4. Mix in egg and vanilla extract, scraping sides and bottom of bowl
  5. Add flour mixture in 2-3 portions, mix until blended
  6. Gently shape about one tablespoon each of dough into balls
  7. Place on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper, about 2 inches apart (you can gently flattened cookies with fork if desired)
  8. Bake for about 9-10 minutes

Orange Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

For me, the taste of chocolate and orange brings back a lot of childhood memories.  One of my favourite treats when I was young was Jacob’s Club Orange Chocolate Bar.  It’s a orange-flavoured wafer biscuit coated with chocolate.  It’s absolutely delicious !  So when I was thinking about a cupcake recipe, this combination came to my mind.

For the cupcakes

  • 1+1/2 cups cake and pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (120g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • zest of one large orange
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 1 +1/2 teaspoon pure orange extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, set aside
  3. Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy
  4. Add eggs, orange juice, orange zest, milk and the 2 extracts, mix until blended
  5. Mix in flour mixture in 2-3 portions
  6. Pour into baking tins lined with baking cups, about 2/3 full
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes
  8. Cool completely before frosting

 

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

Vanilla Cream Pastry Puffs

This is a dessert that has been in my mind ever since I took the pastry course in September. The original recipe uses a choux pastry.  I used a store-bought puff pastry instead. The textures of the two pastries are quite different, but they both go really well with the vanilla cream. 

Makes about 8 puffs

For the vanilla cream

  • 500 mL milk (preferably full fat, but 2 % works too)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 to 1 vanilla bean
  1. Whisk egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and 1/2 cup of milk together until no more lumps
  2. Cut vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape seeds out of bean pod, do not throw away bean pod
  3. In a pot, heat remaining milk, vanilla beans and the pod over medium heat until just boiled
  4. Whisk 1/2 of boiled milk slowly into egg mixture to temper, then pour everything back into the pot
  5. Heat until just starting to bubble, whisking constantly
  6. Take pot off the heat, remove vanilla pod 
  7. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool

To make the pastry puffs

  • 1 box frozen puff pastry (two 10 inch x 10 inch sheets), thawed
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 -2 tablespoons granulated sugar or vanilla sugar 
  • Icing sugar and fruits for toppings
  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF
  2. Spread two sheets of pastry flat on a floured surface separately (if your pastry comes in a block, cut and row into 2 sheets of about 1/8 inch in thickness)  
  3. Brush one sheet with egg wash, then sprinkle evenly with granulated or  vanilla sugar
  4. Place the other sheet on top, pressing gently
  5. Cut with a round cookie cutter into circles, about 2 -3 inches in diameter
  6. Prick a few times with a fork in the middle, so they won’t puff up too much
  7. Bake for about 15 minutes until golden
  8. Let cool, then gently cut puffs in half horizontally
  9. Spoon or pipe vanilla cream in the middle
  10. Top with icing sugar and fruits

 

Original recipe of vanilla cream by Chef Marco Ropke at Vancouver Pastry Training Centre

Homemade Vanilla Sugar

Vanilla bean…..an ingredient that can make almost any dessert more flavourful but it can be quite expensive. So why not make the best use of it ? If you have used, empty vanilla pods, you can make your own vanilla sugar very easily. Here is what you need:

  • 2-3 used,dried vanilla beans
  • 2 cups granulated sugar

Put 2-3 dried vanilla pods in about 2 cups of granulated sugar. Shake to combine and let sit in an air-tight container for at least one week before use.

You can use it to replace sugar in your cake, cookie or muffin recipes; or sprinkle it over french toasts, pancakes, pastries, etc.

Preparation time = 10 minutes

Cheesy Biscuits

My daughter and I love sweets, and I have been posting mostly sweet treats on my blog, especially during the winter holidays. But my son has a salty tooth instead of a sweet one. He sometimes complains that I don’t make anything for him. So, this recipe is specifically for him! I haven’t forgotten about you, dear!

Makes about 15
Total time = 20 minutes

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt (or season to your own taste)
  • 2 stalks green onions,  finely chopped
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 450 °F
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder
  3. Add salt and green onions
  4. Pour in milk and vegetable oil, mix until blended, dough is quite sticky
  5. Stir in cheese
  6. Drop about 2 tablespoons each of dough on to cookie sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart (just shape them roughly, don’t have to be smooth)
  7. Bake for about 10 minutes
  8. Serve warm with butter or cream cheese spread