Tag Archives: baking

Gluten-Free Almond Thumbprint Cookies 

Halloween is over and Christmas is less than 2 months away ! Seriously ? Where did the time go ? And I am doing two Christmas Fairs in about 2 weeks ! This is my first time ever selling my cookies and baked goods ! I am super excited but nervous at the same time. How should I set up my table ? How much should I bake ? Am I going to have enough time ? Ahhhh……..My daughter told me the other day, “mom, don’t worry, just chill and do it and you will be fine ! ” OK, let’s take a deep breath and get organized, I can do this, I can do this ! Oh, and of course I can’t forget about my blog ! I wanted something that’s quick and easy…..How about thumbprint cookies ? Shortbread cookies filled with fruity jams, simple but absolutely delicious ! I made a gluten-free version this time by using ground almond. They are best to be consumed on the day you make it, so I would suggest making smaller batches. Although these cookies have less butter, they are still very rich and tasty ! Thanks to the high fat content of almonds. I totally need to eat a few of them to help me relax ! …..Wish me luck on my craft fairs ! And come visit me if you live around Richmond,B.C. ! 

Makes about 16 cookies

  • 90 g unsalted butter, soften 
  • 90 g icing sugar, plus more for dusting 
  • 240 g ground almond 
  • Pinch of salt 
  • 5 mL pure vanilla extract 
  • Jam of choice
  1. Preheat oven to 325ºF
  2. Cream butter and icing sugar with an electric mixer or wooden spoon 
  3. Add vanilla, then ground almond and salt, mix until combined
  4. Roll into one inch balls, place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper, about 2 inches apart 
  5. Make an indentation with your thumb in the middle of each ball (It’s normal for the dough to be slightly cracked)
  6. Bake for about 10 minutes 
  7. The indentations will flatten, gently press the middle again with the end of a wooden spoon while they are still fairly hot and soft 
  8. Let cool, then spoon jam in the middle. (If the jam is too cold to spread, you can warm it up in a hot water bath)
  9. Dust with icing sugar 

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Spiced Pear Tart 

My kids love to eat any kind of pears ever since they were little, Anjou, Barlett, or Asian. Pears are all very sweet and tasty no matter how you eat them. You can enjoy them raw, cook, bake, poach, etc. They are also a good source of fibre and vitamin C. It’s pretty hard not to love them ! Fall is the season for pears, so I used some Barlett pears and made this Spiced Pear Tart. I spiced up a basic short crust  for the tart shell. The dough freezes well, so you can make it ahead of time. It can also turn into yummy cookies ! So don’t throw away the trimmings after you make the tarts. Just gather them together, roll it, cut it with cookie cutters and bake for 8-10 minutes at 350°F ! I baked mine into leaves and used them as garnish ! You can adjust the amount of spices used according to your taste, both in the tart shell and the fillings. I actually would prefer a bit spicier, but my daughter said this is perfect for her palate. Well, I have to listen to my little boss ! The tarts taste delicious on their own, but my little boss likes them with vanilla ice cream, even better !  

 

Makes four 4-inch tarts or eight 2-inch mini tarts    

For the tart shell 

  • 120 g cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces 
  • 75 g granulated sugar 
  • 2 egg yolks 
  • 180 g cake and pastry flour 
  • 3 g ground ginger 
  • 2 g ground cinnamon 
  • Pinch of cloves
  • Pinch of nutmeg 

For the fillings 

  • About 3-4 pears (wash, peel, core and cut into chunks)
  • 60 g brown sugar 
  • 3 g ground ginger 
  • 3 g ground cinnamon 
  • 5 mL pure vanilla extract 

For the crust 

  • 60 g quick oats 
  • 30 g all-purpose flour 
  • 30 g brown sugar 
  • 30 g unsalted butter, melted 
  1. To make the tart shells, sift together flour and spices 
  2. Mix together cold butter and sugar using a wooden spoon until blended
  3. Mix in egg yolks
  4. Add flour mixture all at once, mix, then transfer onto a surface and gently knead dough together until everything just combined
  5. Wrap with plastic wrap, refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours or overnight
  6. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350ºF
  7. Knead dough until pliable
  8. Roll dough out to about 1/8 inch in thickness on a floured surface, dock with a fork
  9. Place inside slightly greased tart molds, trim off excess  
  10. Bake for about 8 minutes, let cool
  11. Meanwhile, prepare the fillings by mixing pear chunks with brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon and vanilla 
  12. Spoon into cooled tart shell 
  13. Mix all crust ingredients together and spoon on top of fillings
  14. Bake at 350ºF for about 25 minutes until golden 
  15. Serve warm 

 

 

Baked Cinnamon Doughnuts (with Butterscotch Glaze and Toasted Walnuts) 

Another school year has just started ! I can’t believe my son is in high school ! He is certainly excited to move on and become an official teenager, and I am happy to see him growing up and becoming more independent. But as a mom, I would never stop worrying about him ! Is he doing well at school, is he making new friends, and are they good kids, etc….Luckily, my kids and I are very close, and we would talk about almost everything…..I am sure there are things they don’t want me to know !

Since the kids are back to school, I finally have a little more time to work on my recipes. These cinnamon doughnuts are nice surprise ! I was trying to make some cinnamon apple waffles but they didn’t turn out right. So, I switched and made doughnuts instead. And I am so glad  I did ! They are so soft and tasty even without any toppings. But hey, why not kick them up 2 more notches ! The butterscotch glaze is heavenly ! No kidding, my daughter would have “drunk” the whole bowl if I didn’t stop her ! The toasted walnuts are really nice too, they add extra flavour and crunchiness. Pecans would also be a good alternative. You can refrigerate the extra butterscotch sauce for up to 1 week. Rewarm and drizzle it on some vanilla ice cream, and you’ll have another dessert !  

Makes about 12 doughnuts     

For the doughnuts

  • 300 g all-purpose flour 
  • 6 g baking powder 
  • 3 g baking soda 
  • 2 g salt 
  • 6 g ground cinnamon 
  • Pinch of nutmeg 
  • 30 g brown sugar 
  • 30 g granulated sugar 
  • 2 eggs (slightly beaten)
  • 300 mL buttermilk 
  • 60 mL vegetable oil 
  • 5 mL pure vanilla extract 

For the butterscotch glaze  

  • 60 g unsalted butter 
  • 120 mL whipping cream 
  • 120 g brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 mL pure vanilla extract

You will also need about 90 g walnuts 

  1. Preheat oven to 325ºF 
  2. Toast walnuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for about 10 minutes, let cool and crush into small pieces
  3. Turn oven up to 350ºF
  4. In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg, add both sugars
  5. In another bowl, mix together eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla extract 
  6. Add wet ingredients into dry ingredients, mix until just blended 
  7. Pour batter into lightly greased doughnut pans and bake for about 12 minutes, let cool
  8. To make the glaze, cook butter and whipping cream in a small non-stick pot over medium heat until butter melts
  9. Add sugar and salt , stir continuously until thicken and smooth  
  10. Add vanilla, let cool slightly
  11. To assemble, dip one side of doughnuts into the glaze, then the crushed walnuts, best to serve immediately

 

Butterscotch sauce recipe adapted from Mark Bittman, “How to Bake Everything” 

 

Books and Tools

 

How to Bake Everything: Simple Recipes for the Best Baking

Wilton Nonstick 6-Cavity Donut Pan

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

Chocolate Zucchini Loaf

I haven’t been blogging actively. It’s been such a busy summer and we were on vacation last week. I make this zucchini loaf all the time and I have been hoping to share it since May ! Somehow just never got around to it. Last week, the mom of my daughter’s best friend gave me a few gigantic zucchini fresh from her garden ! So I made this again and finally put the post together. It’s one of those sneaky recipes in which you can hide the vegetables ! My son doesn’t like sweets nor zucchini, but he would come back for more of this. I guess that means it tastes pretty good ! If you prefer, you can put them in muffin tins instead, just remember to adjust the baking time to about 20-25 minutes. 

Makes 2 mini loaves (dimensions of pan: 5.75 x 3.25 x 2.25 inches)

  • 120 g shredded zucchini
  • 180 g all-purpose flour
  • 20 g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1.5 g baking powder
  • 1.5 g baking soda
  • 2 g salt
  • 50 g brown sugar
  • 50 g granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 180 mL buttermilk
  • 30 mL vegetable oil
  • 2.5 mL pure vanilla extract
  • 60 g semi-sweet chocolate chips 
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  3. Add both sugars
  4. In another bowl, mix together egg, buttermilk, oil and vanilla
  5. Add wet ingredients into flour mixture, stir until just blended
  6. Fold in chocolate chips and zucchini (batter will be slightly runny)
  7. Pour into lightly greased and floured loaf pans
  8. Bake for about 40-45 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. 

Blueberry Galette 

Can’t believe summer is half-way through already ! I have been really busy, driving the kids around to different activities, keeping them occupied. If you are a parent, you would know, summer is actually busier than school days ! But they are having so much fun…..swimming, trampoline park, bowling, sleep over…..Although I am exhausted at the end of the day, seeing their happy faces makes it all worth it. Hey, kids are supposed to sleep in, play lots and eat lots during the summer, right ? With all the activities, meal times for us may not always be as regular and as healthy as I’d like. To balance that out, I make sure I stock lots of fruits at home. Luckily my kids are not picky eaters and love the summer fruits…blueberries, cherries, watermelon, peaches, etc.  And of course I use them to make desserts, like this blueberry galette. It’s basically a rustic blueberry pie and you don’t need to worry about making the crust neat and tidy. It makes a perfect summer dessert with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream !

Makes one galette

For the crust 

  • 90 g unsalted butter (cut into small pieces and chilled)
  • 100 mL ice-cold water
  • 200 g cake and pastry flour, sifted
  • 15 g granulated sugar
  • 2.5 g salt

For the filling 

  • 200 g fresh blueberries 
  • 30 g granulated sugar 
  • 7.5 mL lemon juice 
  • Zest of 1/2 small lemon 
  • 7.5 g cornstarch 
  • 10 g graham cracker crumbs 
  1. To make the crust, combine flour,sugar and salt
  2. Rub in chilled butter with hands until resemble coarse crumbs, there should be pea-sized lumps of butter
  3. Add cold water and mix until dough just starting to form
  4. Transfer to a lightly floured surface, and press dough together (Do not knead)
  5. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight (I actually doubled the amount of ingredients and kept half of the dough in the freezer for later) 
  6. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375°F 
  7. Gently mix blueberries with sugar,lemon juice, lemon zest and cornstarch 
  8. Let sit for about 10 minutes 
  9. Roll dough out to about 0.5 cm in thickness 
  10. Sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs in the middle leaving about 5 cm from the edge, the crumbs help to prevent a soggy crust 
  11. Spoon filling on top  
  12. Fold and pleat edges over part of the filling
  13. Brush edges with water and sprinkle with vanilla sugar or granulated sugar 
  14. Bake for about 60 minutes until golden and filling is bubbling (you can cover it with aluminium foil for the last 15 to 20 minutes to prevent crust from getting too brown)
  15. Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream 

Maple Cookies for Canada 150 

Yesterday was the last day of school and my son just graduated from elementary school ! Time really flies ! It seems like my little boy has turned into a young man overnight. I still remember his first day of preschool. He was a little scared and worried and so was I. 10 years later, he has become a positive, energetic young man eagerly entering a new stage of his life. I am 10 years older, still a little worried about what’s ahead of him. I encourage him to be kind and genuine, and try his best in everything he does. At the same time, I feel that I am growing and learning together with him, how to be a better person, a better mother……I found this quote for him and myself from Dr. Seuss, ” You’re off to great places, today is your day. Your mountain is waiting, so….. get on your way !” ……Okay, it’s time to get back to baking, otherwise I am going to cry….in a happy way.

This year is very special for all Canadians, it’s Canada 150th birthday ! There are celebrations all over the country. In our area, we have the Steveston’s Salmon Festival, concerts, ship boarding, fireworks and lots of food of course ! It’s going to be so much fun ! I am showing my Canadian spirit with these Maple Cookies ! Not only are they in the shape of a maple leaf, they are made with maple syrup ! Happy Birthday Canada !   

Makes about 16 depending on size

For the cookies 

  • 120 g all-purpose flour
  • 120 g cake and pastry flour 
  • 1 g salt 
  • 120 g unsalted butter (slightly softened)
  • 60 g sugar 
  • 2 egg yolks 
  • 60 mL maple syrup 
  • 5 mL pure vanilla extract
  1. Sift together both flours and salt, set aside 
  2. Using a wooden spoon, mix butter and sugar until blended 
  3. Add egg yolks and vanilla, then maple syrup
  4. Mix in flour mixture, then transfer onto a table or counter and knead gently until dough just come together 
  5. Wrap with plastic wrap, refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours or overnight
  6. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325°F
  7. Roll dough flat to about 0.5 cm in thickness 
  8. Cut with cookie cutter, place on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper 
  9. Bake for about 10 minutes 
  10. Cool completely before icing 

For the icing 

  • 45 g meringue powder
  • 500 g icing sugar, sifted 
  • 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. In another bowl, mix icing sugar and salt together 
  4. Whisk in meringue powder mixture using an electric mixer or a hand whisk 
  5. Slowly add in more warm water until shiny and desired consistency (thicker for outlining and thinner for filling)
  6. Add gel food colouring 


Buttermilk Scones and my day at Vista D’Oro Farm 

A couple of weeks ago, on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, I had the opportunity to participate in a jam making workshop at Vista D’Oro farm in Langley, B.C. It was organized by Appetite by Penguin Random House and Food Bloggers of Canada. Lee Murphy, the owner of the farm, also the author of the cookbook, The Preservatory, patiently taught us her techniques of making artisanal preserves from fresh fruits. We cooked and created some very special blueberry and rhubarb preserves. We then had a tour of the winery with Lee’s husband, Patrick, enjoyed some wine tasting and a yummy snack platter at the patio, with cheese, bread, sausages and jams of course ! It was a wonderful experience and we all went home with a big box full of jams and The Preservatory cookbook !

I also brought home with something else….. something that I saw in Lee and Patrick. It’s the love, the enthusiasm and the passion that they put into their farm, their preserves and their wine. And I truly think that’s what make their products unique. Being able to do what you love and love what you do is a blessing, and I think we should really embrace those opportunities in life and make the best out of them.

So……to make the best use of the jams I got, I made these buttermilk scones. They match perfectly with the fruit preserves. They taste best when they are fresh and warm. So if you cannot consume the whole batch, you can save part of the dough in the freezer.

Makes about 16 scones

  • 180 g all-purpose flour
  • 180 g cake and pastry flour
  • 15 g baking powder
  • 3 g baking soda
  • 1 g salt
  • 100 g vanilla sugar granulated sugar plus more for sprinkling
  • 120 g cold unsalted butter (cut or grate into small pieces)
  • 2 eggs (1 for dough, 1 for egg wash)
  • 150 mL buttermilk
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F
  2. Sift together flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  3. Mix in sugar
  4. Rub in cold butter with fingers until resembles coarse crumbs, there should be small lumps of butter in the dough
  5. Lightly beat 1 egg and buttermilk together and add to dry ingredients, mix until just combined 
  6. Transfer to a generously floured surface, gently knead and press until dough just come together, handle the dough as little as possible 
  7. Roll flat to about 1/2 inch in thickness
  8. Cut into discs, about 2 inches in diameter, and place on baking trays lined with parchment paper
  9. Beat the other egg with about 2 teaspoons of water 
  10. Brush top of discs with egg wash and sprinkle with vanilla sugar or granulated sugar
  11. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden
  12. Serve warm with your favourite jam 

Lee Murphy’s new cookbook, The Preservatory, is a wonderful resource for making and using preserves. The book is divided into 2 parts. Part 1 includes recipes for preserves using seasonal fruits with the addition of spices, herbs and wine. Part 2 contains recipes using the preserves, it covers everything from an appetizer to a dessert. Wow ! Jam is a lot more than a PB&J sandwich ! Lee also has a wonderful scone recipe in her book, which is slightly different from the one above, but her scones were super tasty too ! 

 

The Preservatory: Seasonally Inspired Recipes for Creating and Cooking with Artisanal Preserves

You can get this beautiful cookbook through the Amazon website by clicking the above link. I will receive a small compensation if you purchase the item.