Author Archives: tinysweettooth

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
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Sweet Sticky Rice Balls (For Lunar New Year) 糖不甩

Chinese New Year is just around the corner ! And this year is the Year of the Pig ! The Chinese Zodiac is a repeating cycle of 12 years. My daughter was born in the Year of the Pig…..which means this little piggy is going to be 12 ! What ?! Where did the time go ?

My fondest memory of Chinese New Year is definitely the food ! Rice cake, turnip cake, dumplings…..and many more ! I used to eat these sticky rice balls every year when I visited my aunt. The Chinese name of this dessert is 糖不甩 (pronounced as “tong but lut”), which literally means “sugar doesn’t come off”. What an interesting but appropriate name ! These balls are soft, chewy, with some sweet and crunchy toppings……just bites of yumminess ! Most of the ingredients are easily accessible in Asian supermarkets. The Chinese brown sugar for the syrup usually comes in a pack of 5-6 sticks. If you cannot find it, regular brown sugar would work too but use a little less, I tried and found it sweeter than the Chinese kind. 

I think it’s really important to pass on traditions to our kids, and doing so with food is the perfect way ! There are so many stories we can tell behind food that we grew up with.  And I am so glad my kids enjoy these traditional treats as much as I do ! Wishing everyone a prosperous Year of the Pig !


Makes about 10-12 balls

For the dough

  • 150 g glutinous rice flour
  • 150 mL warm water

For the syrup

  • 85 g (one stick) Chinese brown sugar (片糖)
  • 2 slices fresh ginger
  • 250 mL water

For the toppings

  • 50 g unsalted peanuts
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  1. Toast peanuts and sesame seeds in a 350ºF oven for about 5 minutes, let cool, then crush into small pieces
  2. Mix in coconut and sugar, set aside
  3. Prepare syrup by boiling together 250 mL of water, ginger and brown sugar, reduce heat and let simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes, set aside
  4. Mix glutinous flour with 150 mL of warm water, gently knead until dough is formed (dough should be soft but not sticky to hands, adjust amount of flour and water if needed)
  5. Roll into small one-inch balls
  6. In another pot, boil about 2 cups of water, add rice balls, reduce heat to medium and cook until they float to the top, about 5-7 minutes
  7. Using a slotted ladle, transfer them into the syrup, cook for another 8-10 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking 
  8. Remove from syrup, sprinkles with toppings and serve immediately (drizzle with more syrup if desired)

Dark Chocolate Granola

Happy New Year ! My first post of 2019 ! Do you have any new year resolution ? I am sure eating healthier is on everyone’s list, especially after the holiday indulgence…..but wait…..I still like my chocolates ?! So……let’s start with a recipe that has chocolate but also healthy and good for you ! How about granola ? It is easy to make and you can pretty much put whatever you like in there, nuts, seeds, dried fruits…..and yes, CHOCOLATES ! Use darker chocolate if you don’t mind the bitterness as it’s healthier. I used 85%, but if that’s too dark, you can use 60-70 %. Normally, I weigh all the ingredients in my recipe, but granola is very flexible, you can easily adjust the amount to your taste. 

I hope everyone is off to a good start this year ! Stay healthy and be happy !    

Makes about 2 cups     

  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 50 g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used 85 %) 
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil 
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
  1. Preheat oven to 300ºF
  2. Mix together all dry ingredients 
  3. Add maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla extract, mix well
  4. Place a thin and even layer on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
  5. Bake for about 20 minutes, stirring once
  6. Cool and store in air-tight container for up to 2 weeks

 

 

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

 

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