Tag Archives: desserts

Strawberry Panna Cotta

Panna Cotta is one of my daughter’s favourite desserts. She loves it plain with just a bit of vanilla flavour, but I prefer some fruits with it to cut down the richness. Valentine’s Day is coming up, so I made this panna cotta with strawberry sauce on top. It’s easy, tasty and perfect for the occasion ! The best thing for me is, my daughter and I can both enjoy it, with or without the sauce ! You can also use other fruits like mango, passion fruits, coconut or other berries. Happy Valentine’s Day ! Hope we all get to spend some time with our loved ones !  

Makes about 6 servings

For the panna cotta

  • 350 mL whipping cream
  • 150 mL milk (at least 2%)
  • 45 g granulated sugar
  • 5 mL pure vanilla extract
  • 6 g gelatin sheet or 1 envelope of gelatin powder

For the strawberry sauce

  • 360 g fresh strawberries (washed, hulled and cut into small pieces)
  • 90 g granulated sugar (adjust if needed)
  • 15 mL fresh lemon juice
  1. To make the panna cotta, bloom gelatin sheet in cold water until soft (alternatively, you can sprinkle gelatin powder over about 50 mL of milk)
  2. In a non-stick pan, heat whipping cream, milk and sugar over medium heat
  3. Turn heat off when liquid starts to bubble, add vanilla
  4. Gently squeeze out excess water from softened gelatin sheets and add into pot (or add the milk gelatin mixture if using powder), stir until all dissolved
  5. Pour into desired containers, cool then refrigerate until set, about 3-4 hours (To avoid a skin from forming, you can use a plastic wrap, pressing gently on top of the panna cotta when setting)     
  6. To prepare the sauceheat strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in a non-stick pot over medium heat
  7. Turn heat down to low when liquid starts to bubble
  8. Cook until thickened, let cool and puree
  9. When ready to serve, spoon strawberries sauce over panna cotta, decorate with finely chopped chocolate if desired
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Funfetti Cheesecake 

Can’t believe 2017 is almost over ! It has been a fun and eventful year for me ! I have tried a number of new things…..I did a 10K run (and I actually ran the whole 10K, not walking !) I did two Christmas markets, selling my cookies for the very first time…..I have also injured my feet (plantar fasciitis) and I am not sure when they will completely healed….but oh well, that’s an age thing too, I guess……But overall, I think I had more good than bad this year ! I hope 2018 will be even better, I already have many plans in my mind ! Hope yours will be a prosperous one too ! 

Here is a fun cake to make for New Year ! Funfetti Cheesecake ! I added some rainbow sprinkles to a basic cheesecake recipe and used shortbread cookies for the crust. I baked the cheesecake in a hot water bath to prevent the cake from cracking….Hope you’ll enjoy it and have a fun New Year ! 

Makes one 6-inch cake

For the crust 

  • 150 g shortbread cookie crumbs (you can use any cookies of your choice)
  • 45 g unsalted butter, melted 

For the filling 

  • 500 g light cream cheese, softened 
  • 180 g granulated sugar 
  • 2 eggs
  • 30 g all-purpose flour 
  • 7.5 mL pure vanilla extract 
  • 25 g rainbow sprinkles

Extra sprinkles and whipped cream for decorating if needed 

  1. To make the crust, mix cookie crumbs and melted butter together 
  2. Press firmly onto bottom of a 6-inch springform pan lined with parchment paper 
  3. Bake for about 8 minutes, cool slightly 
  4. To make the filling, beat together cream cheese and sugar until smooth using an electric mixer 
  5. Add eggs, flour and vanilla, mix until blended 
  6. Fold in sprinkles 
  7. Pour into pan, smooth with a spatula and bake in a hot water bath for 50-60 minutes. You can wrap the bottom of the pan with aluminum foil to prevent seepage 
  8. Cool completely, then refrigerate 
  9. When ready to serve, remove cake from pan, decorate with whipped cream and more sprinkles 

 

Halloween Monster Cupcakes 

I used to make my kids’ Halloween costumes when they were younger….fairy, witch, Thomas the Tank Engine, Ash from Pokemon, etc. Even though they don’t fit anymore, I still keep them in a box ! Maybe I am collecting too much “junk”, but they really brought back a lot of fond memories…..This year my daughter wants to be a grim reaper again, but scarier than the last two years. Yes, you read it right, it’s my daughter, not my son, and for the third time ! This was her on Halloween night two years ago ! She was only 8 ! Most 8-year-old girls would probably want to be a princess or a fairy, well….. not my girl ! 

Me? I am just going to make monster cupcakes ! These chocolate cupcakes with vanilla butter cream taste really yummy and are not scary at all ! They actually look quite adorable ! Happy Halloween ! 

Makes about 18-20 cupcakes 

For the chocolate cupcakes

  • 150 g all-purpose flour 
  • 150 g cake and pastry flour 
  • 50 g unsweetened cocoa powder 
  • 6 g baking powder 
  • 3 g baking soda 
  • 3 g salt 
  • 200 g granulated sugar 
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten 
  • 180 mL buttermilk 
  • 60 mL vegetable oil 
  • 5 mL pure vanilla extract 
  • 180 mL boiling water 

For the butter cream frosting 

  • 240 g unsalted butter 
  • 480 g icing sugar, sifted 
  • 5 mL pure vanilla extract 
  • 30 -60 mL milk 
  • Gel food colouring 

You will also need candy melts, licorice sticks, candy eyeballs, etc for decoration

  1. To make the cupcakes, preheat oven to 350ºF
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together flours, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt 
  3. Mix in sugar
  4. In another bowl, mix together eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla 
  5. Pour wet ingredients (except boiling water) into dry ingredients, mix until just blended 
  6. Gradually stir in boiling water, 3-4 tablespoons at a time, until just combined, batter will be runny 
  7. Pour into slightly greased cupcake cups and bake in tins for about 16-18 minutes 
  8. Cool completely before frosting 
  9. To make the frosting, use an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, start creaming butter 
  10. Gradually add in icing sugar, beat until fluffy
  11. Add vanilla, then milk, a little at a time, to desired consistency 
  12. Separate into batches, add gel food colourings
  13. Decorate cupcakes as desired 

Keep in refrigerator if not consume right away

 

 

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Cake 

For Thanksgiving this year, I want to make something that I haven’t made before and is easy to put together. So I made this Pumpkin Cake ! I kept it light by using vegetable oil in the batter and just a small amount of butter in the frosting. I figured everyone might be running out of stomach space after a hearty turkey meal ! The maple walnuts are optional, but they are REALLY good and make the cake a lot more flavourful ! My daughter is usually my taste tester, but this time I got my mom to try it …..and she ate 2 big pieces of it, I guess that means it’s approved ! Happy Thanksgiving !

Makes one 8-inch square cake

For the cake 

  • 150 g canned or homemade pumpkin puree 
  • 200 g cake and pastry flour
  • 3 g baking powder
  • 3 g baking soda
  • 2 g salt
  • 5 g ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 100 g granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 90 mL vegetable oil
  • 90 mL buttermilk
  • 5 mL pure vanilla extract 

For the frosting 

  • 250 g cream cheese, softened
  • 60 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 100 g icing sugar, sifted
  • 2.5 mL pure vanilla extract 

Optional toppings

Mix about 60 g walnuts with a tablespoon of maple syrup and toast in a 350°F oven for about 8 minutes.

  1. To make the cake, preheat oven to 350ºF
  2. Line bottom of baking tray with parchment paper, lightly grease and flour the sides
  3. In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking power, baking soda, salt and spices
  4. Mix in sugar
  5. In another bowl, mix together eggs, oil, buttermilk and vanilla
  6. Add wet ingredients into dry ingredients, mix until just blended
  7. Fold in pumpkin puree
  8. Pour into baking tray and bake for about 25-30 minutes, let cool 
  9. Evenly trim off top and sides with a serrated knife 
  10. To make the frosting, beat together cream cheese and butter until creamy
  11. Add icing sugar and vanilla, beat until smooth
  12. Spread over top of cake
  13. Top with toasted walnuts if desired 

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. 

No Bake Chocolate Cheesecake 

Baking is one of my favourite things to do. But when it’s so hot outside, even the most devoted baker needs a break ! So I made these no bake cheesecake jars the other day. They are creamy, chocolaty, yummy and super easy to do ! 

As a food blogger, I am constantly looking for props that I can use without spending too much. Plates, cups, cutlery, baking tools, towels, etc. So, kitchenware stores, thrift stores, dollar stores and garage sales have become my favourite places to hang out. And I get super excited when I can reuse or recycle ! It’s like doing a makeover ! These cute little jars were containers of some petit pot yoghurts that I bought. They are perfect for individual desserts ! My only complain…..they’re too petit ! Cause these cheesecakes are so delicious and one is not enough !  

Makes about 8 servings

  • 12-15 graham crackers (or other cookies of choice)
  • 45 g unsalted butter,melted 
  • 120 g semi-sweet or dark chocolate, plus more for garnish 
  • 200 g cream cheese 
  • 120 g icing sugar, sifted  
  • 5 mL pure vanilla extract 
  • 240 mL cold heavy whipping cream 
  1. Crush graham crackers into crumbs and mix in melted butter 
  2. Spoon into containers, press down gently and refrigerate for later use 
  3. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave, cool slightly 
  4. Place one small mixing bowl in the freezer for about 20 minutes (for making whipped cream)
  5. In another mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla until smooth
  6. Add in melted chocolate, set aside
  7. In the cold mixing bowl, beat 120 mL of the cream until medium peak 
  8. Gently fold into the chocolate cream cheese until just combined 
  9. Spoon or pipe on top of graham cracker base (refrigerate if not serving right away)
  10. Just before serving, whip remaining cream to garnish, top with chopped chocolate