Category Archives: Spring/Easter

Rose Water Sugar Cookies 

I’ve never been good at drawing. Really, if you ask me to draw something right now, it’s going to look like it was drawn by a six years old ! That’s why I admire people, including my daughter, who has the talent to draw. Her pictures are always full of creative ideas and her characters are very lively. Like this one here….Coffee and Tea are having a battle ! 

And this one, which she drew last week at her art class, illustrates people taking photos of the beautiful Cherry Blossoms.

And yes, thanks to the Cherry Blossoms, otherwise we wouldn’t even notice that Spring is here! The weather is still rainy and pretty cold…….To help “spring” our spirits back, I made these Rose Water Sugar Cookies ! The rose water gives the cookies a nice floral flavour, but you don’t need very much. I decorated the cookies two ways, with coloured sugar and with royal icing. (This is the time when I really wish I am as artistic as my daughter, so I can make my cookies prettier !) 

People often wonder what I do with all the goodies I made. I mostly share them with friends and family.  But this time, I wrapped them up nicely and sent them to my kids’ school for their annual Spring Fair ! Being able to share them and help raise money for our school feels fantastic ! Happy Spring everyone !

Makes about 3-4 dozens 

For the cookies 

    • 360 g all-purpose flour 
    • 3 g baking soda 
    • 2 g salt
    • 120 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 180 g granulated sugar 
    • 1 egg + 1 egg white for brushing 
    • 5 mL pure vanilla extract 
    • 30 mL lemon juice 
    • Zest of 1 small lemon 
    • 5 mL rose water
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Sift together flour,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 and rose water, mix until blended 
  5. Mix in flour mixture, 1/3 at a time  
  6. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead until dough is formed
  7. Roll out to about 0.3 cm in thickness 
  8. Cut with cookie cutters (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. If decorating with coloured sugar, brush top with egg white, sprinkle with sugar, then bake for 8 minutes. If decorating with royal icing (see recipe below), bake first for 8 minutes, cool completely, then decorate. 

Royal Icing

    • 45 g meringue powder,sifted 
    • 500 g icing sugar
    • Pinch of salt
    • 90 – 120 mL warm water
    • 5 mL pure vanilla extract
    • 10 mL corn syrup 
    • Gel food colouring
  1. Mix meringue powder with about 45 mL of water, let sit for a few minutes 
  2. Stir in vanilla and corn syrup 
  3. Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, start mixing icing sugar and salt at low speed 
  4. Add meringue powder mixture 
  5. Slowly add in more warm water until shiny and desired consistency (thicker for outlining and thinner for filling)
  6. Add gel food colouring 

This recipe is also part of the Canadian Food Creatives’ round up. Our topic this month is “Bring On Spring” !  Be sure to check out the links below for more Spring recipes from other Canadian Food Bloggers. You can also find them on social media using the hashtag #CDNFoodCreatives. Many thanks to Melanie Maxwell at The Refreshanista for hosting. 

 

 

 

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Spring Chocolate Pudding 

Spring is finally finally here ! It’s been a long time ! Even the cherry blossoms think so, they’ve been waiting to bloom and shine !  I used to garden a lot more, but ever since I have kids, I’ve been too busy growing two little humans and kind of abandoned my garden. This year, I want to at least plant some herbs, so I got some basil and cilantro seeds the other day and just put them in a couple of small pots. Well, I have to wait a while before my herbs grow.  So meanwhile, I made these cute little pudding pots to enjoy. They look very realistic !  And I was so happy that I could shoot the pictures in my backyard with some sunshine ! They would make a fun little snack for the kids at Easter ! Try to pick strawberries that are smaller and longer in shape so they would look more like little carrots.  

Makes about 6-8 servings 

For the candy coated strawberries

  • 180 g orange candy melts 
  • 5-10 mL vegetable oil
  • 8-10 strawberries (at room temperature)
  1. Wash and dry strawberries leaving the stems on 
  2. Melt candy melts in the microwave or over a double boiler according to package instructions 
  3. Add 5-10 mL of vegetable oil to achieve desired consistency if needed 
  4. Coat strawberries with candy melts, tap off excess, be careful not to break the stems 
  5. Place on a tray lined with parchment paper 
  6. Pour remaining candy melts into a piping bag 
  7. Cut a small hole at the end of piping bag 
  8. Drizzle over dried, coated strawberries 

For the chocolate pudding 

    • 30 g unsweetened cocoa powder 
    • 75 g granulated sugar 
    • 30 g cornstarch 
    • Pinch of salt 
    • 500 mL milk (whole or 2%)
    • 120 g semi-sweet chocolate chips 
    • 5 mL pure vanilla extract 

You would also need 8 regular-sized Oreo cookies for topping

      1. In a non-stick pot, mix together cocoa powder, sugar, cornstarch, salt
      2. Gradually stir in milk 
      3. Place over medium heat, stirring continuously until starting to bubble   
      4. Add chocolate chips, stir until thickened and chocolate all melted
      5. Remove from heat, mix in vanilla extract 
      6. Spoon into containers, let cool and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours (a skin will form on top of pudding, but that’s OK, as we will put crushed Oreo on top)

To assemble pudding, crushed Oreo into small pieces, put on top of pudding, place a coated “carrot” on top 

Candy coated strawberries recipe adapted from lifemadesimplebakes.com

Matcha (Green Tea) Mousse Cake

I wish Spring is here soon ! Our winter here in the west coast has been pretty cold and snowy. Well, I guess I shouldn’t complain, the kids did have a lot of fun playing in the snow and compare to many other places in Canada, this is very mild. To welcome Spring and St. Patrick’s Day, I thought I should make something green. And of course matcha is the first thing that comes to mind. This recipe is what I call a 2-in-1. The mousse cake has two parts, but each of them can be a dessert on its own ! You can use the cake batter to make cupcakes or mini loaves.  And for the mousse, you can pour it into nice little bowls and refrigerate, which is exactly what I did with the leftover !

Matcha (Green Tea) Mousse

Matcha (Green Tea) Mousse

For the mousse cake itself, I made one layer of each, but you can definitely stack them in multiple layers if you like. I also added some chopped dark chocolate on top but it’s optional, cause I believe everything (almost everything) tastes better with chocolate ! And hopefully this Spring dessert can bring some warm weather soon ! 

Matcha (Green Tea) Mousse Cake

Makes one 6-inch cake

For the cake

  • 4 large eggs (separated)
  • 120 g granulated sugar (20 g for meringue)
  • 75 g cake and pastry flour
  • 5 g matcha (green tea) powder
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice 
  1. To make the cake, preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Lightly grease an 8″ x 10″ x 1″ baking tray and line bottom with parchment paper
  3. Sift together flour and matcha powder, set aside
  4. In a mixing bowl, beat together egg yolks and 100 g of sugar until pale
  5. Add vanilla and the flour mixture, mix until blended
  6. In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer with whisk attachment, whisk egg whites and lemon juice until frothy
  7. Increase speed to high and slowly add in 20 g of sugar
  8. Whisk until medium peak is formed
  9. Gently fold meringue into cake batter, 1/3 at a time, do not over mix
  10. Pour into baking tray and bake for about 15 minutes
  11. Let cool completely, then cut into a round disc to fit cake mould (I used a cake ring, so I just cut it with the ring)Matcha (Green Tea) Mousse Cake

For the mousse

  • 500 mL whipping cream (cold)
  • 250 mL milk (preferably whole milk)
  • 120 g granulated sugar
  • 15 g matcha powder
  • 10 g gelatin powder
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Chill the mixing bowl in the fridge for at least 30 minutes
  2. Sprinkle gelatin over about 1/4 cup of milk and let sit for a few minutes to bloom
  3. Heat and stir remaining milk, sugar and matcha powder in a pot over medium heat until sugar melted and just starting to bubble
  4. Add gelatin mixture, stir until all dissolved
  5. Turn heat off, add vanilla 
  6. Strain mixture through a fine mesh and let cool to room temperature
  7. Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment and the chilled mixing bowl, beat cold whipping cream until medium peak is formed
  8. Gently fold the whipped cream into milk mixture, 1/3 at a time, do not over mix

To assemble

  1. Place a lightly greased cake ring on a tray lined with parchment paper
  2. Place cake disc (smooth side down) at the bottom
  3. Pour mousse on top of cake and smooth top with a spatula 
  4. Refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours to set
  5. Sprinkle top with finely chopped dark chocolate (optional)

NotesIf you have trouble removing the ring, you can freeze the cake for about 1-2 hours, put a knife or an angled spatula in hot water, wipe dry, then run it around the cakeMatcha (Green Tea) Mousse Cake


 

 

Carrot Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting

These cupcakes are a delightful treat for kids at Easter ! The carrot cupcakes are soft and moist. The marshmallow frosting is fluffy and shiny but actually contains no real marshmallows ! Overall, they contain less fat and are lighter than a regular carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.  Hey ! I think I just saw an Easter Bunny taking one of my cupcakes !

Makes about 15 cupcakes
Total time = 90 minutes

For the cupcakes

  • 200 g grated carrots
  • 1+1/2 cups cake and pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, set aside
  3. Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy
  4. Mix in eggs,milk, lemon juice and vanilla
  5. Add flour mixture in 2 portions, mix until blended
  6. Add grated carrots
  7. Pour batter into lightly greased paper muffin cups
  8. Bake in muffin tins for about 20 minutes
  9. Cool in tins for about 5 minutes, then completely on rack before frosting

For the marshmallow frosting

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Put egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in a heat-proof mixing bowl, and place on top of a pan of simmering water
  2. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and egg whites are warm (3-4 minutes)
  3. Remove bowl from heat, continue whisking with an electric mixer until stiff peak is formed (start slow, then increase speed to high)
  4. Add in vanilla
  5. Best to use immediately, may refrigerate for 2 days

Original marshmallow frosting recipe is by Martha Stewart at marthastewart.com

Lemon Coconut Thumbprint Cookies

Can’t believe Spring is already on its way ! The weather is warmer, Cherry Blossom trees are blooming….and my hay fever is back ! Even though my nose is a little itchy and stuffy, I can still smell these delicious cookies. They are loaded with lemon flavour ! I added some shredded coconut around the cookies for extra crunchiness. You can omit it, or use almonds or hazelnuts if you are not a coconut fan.

Total time: 90 minutes

For the lemon curd

Makes about 1/2 cup

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 50 gram unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  1. Whisk together egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice, water and zest
  2. Heat mixture in non-stick pot over low heat, stirring constantly until thickened (mixture should coat back of spoon)
  3. Turn heat off, mix in butter, a few pieces at a time until all melted
  4. Cool, can refrigerate up to 2 weeks

For the cookies

Makes about 20 cookies

  • 1+1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter,at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 325ºF
  2. Sift together flour and salt, set aside
  3. Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until fluffy
  4. Add egg, lemon juice and vanilla
  5. Add flour mixture in 2 portions, mix until blended
  6. Roll dough into one inch balls
  7. Gently crate an indentation in the middle of balls with thumb or tip of a wooden spoon
  8. Coat top of cookies with shredded coconut
  9. Bake for about 10 minutes, take cookies out, gently crate centres again
  10. Bake for another 7-8 minutes until golden
  11. Cool on cookie sheets for about 5 minutes, then completely on rack
  12. Spoon lemon curd into centres of cookies 

Japanese Cheesecake

Last Sunday, I made this Japanese cheesecake with my daughter. It turned out very nice. It has a lighter taste and a softer texture than a regular cheesecake, but is still very creamy. The special ingredient ? ……. Meringue ! It allows more air to be incorporated into the cake batter and hence, a fluffy cake. So if you find regular cheesecake too heavy, this may just be right.
By the way, you can now “yum” my recipes on Yummly if you have an account.  Just click the Yummly button under each recipe. Thanks in advance !

For the cake

  • 3/4 cup cake and pastry flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 400 g soft cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 60 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 200 mL whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pot of boiling water for baking cake

For the meringue

  • 6 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

To make the cake

  1. Preheat oven to 325ºF
  2. Line a 9 inch spring-form cake pan with slightly greased parchment paper
  3. Wrap base of pan with two layers of aluminium foil to prevent seepage
  4. Sift together flour and baking soda, set aside
  5. Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter, cream cheese and sugar until fluffy
  6. Add egg yolks, lemon juice, vanilla extract and whipping cream, mix until blended
  7. Add flour mixture, mix until smooth
  8. Pour batter into a different large mixing bowl
  9. Clean and dry used mixing bowl thoroughly before making meringue
  10. To make the meringue, use the electric mixer with whisk attachment, whisk egg whites and cream of tartar at medium speed until frothy
  11. Increase speed to high, gradually add in sugar
  12. Whisk until stiff peak is formed
  13. Gently fold meringue into cake batter until just blended, do not over mix
  14. Pour batter into cake pan, place on a tray filled with boiling water and bake for about 60 minutes until golden brown, a tooth pick should come out clear when inserted in the middle
  15. Turn oven off, leave oven door ajar for about 20 minutes before taking cake out. This will prevent cake from shrinking too much due to sudden drop in temperature.  A slight shrinkage is normal.
  16. Remove baking tray, let cool on rack completely
  17. Remove from cake pan, refrigerate for 2-3 hours or overnight in an air tight container
  18. Cut, serve and enjoy!

 

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Adapted from http://www.justonecookbook.com