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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 
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Peanut Butter Nice Cream Sandwiches

Summer is always busy for me….working, driving the kids, getting together with friends and relatives, etc. But it seems like everything I do revolve around food or desserts…..snacks, lunches, picnics, BBQ’s. Making something that are easy and healthy would be great when I am running a tight schedule. These Peanut Butter Nice Cream Sandwiches are super simple and most of us probably have all the ingredients at home already. Nice cream is a much healthier alternative to ice cream using frozen bananas. I added peanut butter, but there are many variations you can do, like cocoa powder, chocolate chips, berries, nuts, etc. You can also use other cookies or crackers for the sandwiches. Don’t think that you have to compromise on taste by making a healthier dessert because they are really really yummy ! They didn’t last long at all in my house !

Makes 12 sandwiches  

  • 4 ripe bananas 
  • 100 g smooth peanut butter 
  • 30 mL milk (or you can use almond or coconut milk) 
  • 24 squares graham crackers 
  • 60 g melted chocolate for drizzling (optional)
  1. Peel and cut banana into small pieces 
  2. Freeze for 3-4 hours or overnight 
  3. Lay half of the graham crackers on a square or rectangular pan lined with parchment paper 
  4. In a food processor or blender, blend together frozen bananas, peanut butter and milk until smooth 
  5. Spoon on top of graham crackers in pan, smooth evenly with a spatula 
  6. Arrange the other graham crackers on top
  7. Freeze until set 
  8. Cut into squares and top with melted chocolate or other toppings as desired 

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 


Orange Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

For me, the taste of chocolate and orange brings back a lot of childhood memories.  One of my favourite treats when I was young was Jacob’s Club Orange Chocolate Bar.  It’s a orange-flavoured wafer biscuit coated with chocolate.  It’s absolutely delicious !  So when I was thinking about a cupcake recipe, this combination came to my mind.

For the cupcakes

  • 1+1/2 cups cake and pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (120g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • zest of one large orange
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 1 +1/2 teaspoon pure orange extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, set aside
  3. Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy
  4. Add eggs, orange juice, orange zest, milk and the 2 extracts, mix until blended
  5. Mix in flour mixture in 2-3 portions
  6. Pour into baking tins lined with baking cups, about 2/3 full
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes
  8. Cool completely before frosting

 

For the chocolate frosting

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (150 g), at room temperature
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  1. Sift together icing sugar and cocoa powder
  2. Melt chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water, cool slightly
  3. Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter until creamy
  4. Add milk and vanilla
  5. Add sugar and cocoa powder in 2-3 portions, mix well after each addition, scraping sides of bowl
  6. Add melted chocolate, mix until smooth

Cake Pops

This was another fun project that I did with my daughter.  She helped me make the cake balls and decorate them.  I am not a good artist, so I really admire bakers that can make beautiful and amazing cake pops, cookies and cakes.  This is just the basic recipe, you can decorate any way your imagination takes you !

To make cake pops, you need to prepare the cake, the frosting and the coating. You would also need cake pop sticks and a cake pop stand of or a styrofoam block for drying.   

Makes about 30 cake pops

For the cake

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1+1/3 cup self-rising flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 90 mL milk

For the frosting

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 120 gm cream cheese
  • 1+1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the coating

  • 24 ounces candy melts or chocolate
  • 1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil if using candy melts

To make the cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF
  2. Sift self-rising flour
  3. Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment,  cream butter and sugar until fluffy
  4. Add eggs, vanilla and milk
  5. Add flour in 2-3 portions, mix until blended
  6. Bake in muffin tins for about 20 minutes (toothpick should come out clear when inserted in the middle)
  7. Let cake cool completely

I used muffin tins because the cake would bake more evenly and it would take less time.  You can use a loaf pan, but bake it for about 35-40 minutes.

To make the frosting

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese together
  2. Add vanilla, then icing sugar in 2-3 portions
  3. Mix until smooth

To prepare the cake balls

  1. When the cake is completely cooled, break the cake into fine crumbs with fork or fingers
  2. Gradually add frosting, a couple of tablespoons at a time, mix and knead until you can roll mixture into balls
  3. Roll cake mixture into small balls, place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, cover with plastic wrap and put in fridge for at least about 30 minutes

Meanwhile, start preparing the coating

To make the coating

  1. Melt candy melts or chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water 
  2. Stir in a little vegetable oil, if using candy melts,to get desired consistency and to make coating shiny

Finally ! To assemble the cake pops

  1. Dip cake pop sticks into coating about 1 inch deep
  2. Insert coated sticks into cake balls (you may need to gently reshape them into balls)
  3. Dip into coating, covering the whole cake pop
  4. Gently tap off excess coating
  5. Decorate with sprinkles while coating is still wet
  6. Stand them into a cake pop stand or a styrofoam block to dry