Tag Archives: desserts

Baked Nutella Churro Nests 

​We love churros ! Well, who doesn’t ? I have been hoping to make some for a long time. But personally, I cannot eat too much fried food. Not that they don’t taste good, my very sensitive stomach just can’t handle a lot of oil. I guess that’s both a good thing and a bad thing……

I remembered watching a video in which people make churro ice-cream bowls, what a great idea ! So I thought, since Easter is coming up, why don’t I bake some churro bowls and turn them into little nests ! I decorated mine with some feuilletine that I have, which is a crispy crumb mixture of crepes. You may be able to find them in some specialty kitchen store. I got mine from the Gourmet Warehouse in Vancouver. Or you can just use cookie crumbs, pretzel sticks, even some popcorns. With some chocolate eggs on top, they look exactly like little nests ! And I am sure the kids are going to love them ! Have a Happy Easter ! 

Makes about 8-10 nests 

For the nests (choux paste)

  • 200 mL water
  • 90 g unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 30 g demerara or brown sugar
  • 120 g all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 2.5 mL pure vanilla extract

For the fillings

  • 7.5 g ground cinnamon
  • 45 g granulated sugar
  • 30 g unsalted butter, melted
  • Nutella spread
  • Cookie crumbs, pretzel sticks or feuilletine
  • Easter chocolate eggs
  1. To make the cinnamon sugar, mix together ground cinnamon and granulated sugar, set aside 
  2. To prepare the choux paste, heat together water, butter, salt and demerara or brown sugar in a pot over medium heat until just starting to boil
  3. Turn heat down to low, add flour all at once
  4. Stirring constantly, cook until a thin film of paste formed at the bottom of the pot, about 5 minutes
  5. Transfer paste to a heat-proofed mixing bowl and cool down
  6. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375ºF and prepare piping bag with large star piping tip 
  7. Add vanilla, then eggs to paste, one at a time and mix well after each addition
  8. Transfer to piping bag and pipe into domes on back of oiled muffin tins
  9. Bake for about 25 minutes until starting to brown, turn heat up to 450°F at broil setting and bake until top is golden (about 2 -3 minutes, watch closely, as they can burn very easily)
  10. Take puffs out, let cool
  11. Brush outside with melted butter then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar
  12. Fill inside with about a tablespoon each of Nutella
  13. Decorate with crumbs and chocolate eggs, best to serve immediately 

Tools that I used

Wilton Decorating Tip 6B

 

DayMark IT112793 18″ PipingPal Plus Disposable Pastry Bag with Dispenser (Roll of 100)

You can get the piping tip and bags the Amazon website by clicking the above link. I will receive a small compensation if you purchase the item. 
 

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Maple Pecan Tart 

“Pee-can” or “Puh-kahn”, no matter how you pronounce it, pecan is a very delicious and nutritious nut ! It’s high in fibre, healthy fats, magnesium and many other vitamins and minerals. It contains quite a bit of calories though, so don’t overindulge yourself if you have to watch your calorie intake. (Yeah, I know how hard that is, especially with this yummy tart !) I originally made a pecan pie, but I just felt that a buttery and crumbly tart would work better, and with the maple syrup…..Mmmmm, just so rich, aromatic and satisfying !

I found this beautiful rectangular tart mold in a discount store a few weeks ago and it’s perfect ! At first, I was worried the tart would break cause it’s so long, but it came out really nice ! My only problem now is to resist having a second piece ! 

Makes one 4″ x 14″ rectangular or one 9″ round tart

For the tart 

  • 120 g cold unsalted butter (cut into small pieces)
  • 75 g granulated sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 180 g cake and pastry flour, sifted

For the filling

  • 150 g pecan halves
  • 100 g demerara or brown sugar
  • 40 g granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 80 g unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 40 mL maple syrup
  • 5 mL pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  1. To make the tart, mix together cold butter and sugar using a wooden spoon until no more lumps
  2. Add egg yolk, mix until blended
  3. Add flour all at once, mix with the wooden spoon, then transfer onto a table or counter and gently knead dough together (just work until ingredients are mixed in)
  4. Wrap with plastic wrap, refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours or overnight
  5. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350ºF
  6. Knead dough until pliable
  7. Roll dough out to about 1/8 inch in thickness on a floured surface, dock with a fork
  8. Place inside slightly greased tart mold, trim off excess dough 
  9. Bake for about 8 minutes, let cool 
  10. Toast pecan in a pan without any oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes, set aside and let cool 
  11. Whisk together eggs and sugars until frothy 
  12. Add maple syrup, vanilla and cornstarch and melted butter, whisk until blended 
  13. Stir in 1/2 of toasted pecans (try to save the better pieces to put on top later)
  14. Put filling into cooled tart shell and top with remaining pecans 
  15. Bake for about 40 minutes until crust is golden and filling is set
  16. Cool slightly, serve warm 


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

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