Monthly Archives: December 2011

  • My Grandma’s Armenian Tell Kadayif My Grandma’s Armenian Tell Kadayif

    My Grandma’s Armenian Tell Kadayif

My Grandma’s Armenian Tell Kadayif

  I am making my way through a book about food writing, and it suggests that blog postings about our childhood memories of food are commonplace and therefore – well, rather boring. Humour me, then, please as this is a topic close to my heart. This is about my Grandmother Mariam’s Tell Kadayif, an Armenian version of a dessert commonly made in the Middle East. “Tell” means “string” in Armenian, due to the thin, long strands of the kadayif.Kadayif consists of shredded phyllo pastry,  which you can find at Greek or Middle Eastern grocers. This dessert is flavoured with rose water; filled with thickened cream, or cheese or walnuts; and topped with  a thickened sugar syrup. Western palates might find it more savoury than they’re used to, and perhaps more exotic as well due to the generous helpings of nuts, and rose water – a distinctly flowery and pungent taste. […]

  • Dark chocolate Buche de Noel with meringue mushrooms Dark chocolate Buche de Noel with meringue mushrooms

    Dark chocolate Buche de Noel with meringue mushrooms

Dark chocolate Buche de Noel with meringue mushrooms

  This is the single, proudest moment I’ve had as a baker this holiday season. I really thought I lost my baking mojo until I produced this whimsical Buche de Noel. I’ll admit I’ve made quite a few cheesy treats over my time. I like the glitz and the glam and the glitter and the flashing lights. I like the red and the green and the cartoon-type figures that please my toddler. But a Buche de Noel, a traditional dessert served at Christmas, is for me evocative of a fallen log in a snow-dusted forest. It’s untouched, it’s pure. It’s a quiet, delicious moment undisturbed by the usual din and racket. It’s indulgent simply because it takes so long to create something that disappears in just a few minutes.Making a Buche de Noel has been on my baking bucket list for a long time. I used to Google “Buche de Noel” […]

buche de noel, buttercream, chocolate, Christmas, Christmas desserts, holiday desserts, yule log|Comments Off on Dark chocolate Buche de Noel with meringue mushrooms
  • Florentiners a la Mama Florentiners a la Mama

    Florentiners a la Mama

Florentiners a la Mama

  When I first opened the pages of Gesine Bullock-Prado’s cookbook “Sugar Baby” I’ll admit the first thought that crossed my mind was, “Oh she’s used her famous sister Sandra Bullock’s name to get a book deal.” But not long after I realized this was the passion project of someone without any formal training who turned what she love into a successful business, someone who truly loved baking. Someone who was funny, and authentic. I was hesitant to try out her recipe for Florentiners a la Mama because it has German roots and involves a candy thermometer and anything that has German roots and involves a candy thermometer requires precision. And sometimes, due to circumstances out of my control (*cough, cough, my toddler*), I can’t be precise with timing when I’m cooking or baking. But I barrelled ahead anyway and made these cookies. (You can find the recipe here). And […]

cookies|Comments Off on Florentiners a la Mama
  • White-Chocolate Cherry Shortbread White-Chocolate Cherry Shortbread

    White-Chocolate Cherry Shortbread

White-Chocolate Cherry Shortbread

  This recipe caught my eye on Pinterest with the simple caption: “Apparently, the best Christmas cookie ever.” “Best” piqued my interest, and “ever” drove it home.  How could I possibly ignore the recipe for the best Christmas cookie ever? So I decide to make it on a whim and take it to my friend’s house as my contribution to her annual cookie swap. I had already made a couple of other kinds of cookies but this one seemed like it would be my show-stopper.Besides, I have never been able to truly master shortbread, and I thought this might be the recipe to change my unlucky streak. Not quite. This is a pretty cookie yes, but it’s also a high-maintenance one. Unlike classic shortbread, it’s delicate and doesn’t hold its form well.   What really bothered me though, and I swear I’m not this insecure about everything, is that no […]

  • Canadian Living’s Really Good Rum Balls Canadian Living’s Really Good Rum Balls

    Canadian Living’s Really Good Rum Balls

Canadian Living’s Really Good Rum Balls

  I considered not blogging about this recipe because I’m not crazy about this photo and I’m a big perfectionist. But, I’m also a realist and these rum balls were such a hit they’re all gone, and I can’t bear not to share the recipe with you. I’m not making them again just for the photo, sorry. I never used to like rum balls, but over the last couple of years I’ve developed a soft spot for those gigantic tennis ball-sized rum balls I can get at mom-and-pop run Italian bakeries.Those are cake-based, though, and these are not. But here’s a fun factoid. My colleague, who has chef’s training, told me you should stay away from rum balls in bakeries because they’re made of the cake scraps the pastry chefs don’t want to toss out. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing? You be the judge. Either way, these rum […]

chocolate, Christmas, Christmas desserts, holiday desserts|Comments Off on Canadian Living’s Really Good Rum Balls
  • Hershey’s Candy Cane Blossoms Hershey’s Candy Cane Blossoms

    Hershey’s Candy Cane Blossoms

Hershey’s Candy Cane Blossoms

  You know that saying: Don’t judge a book by it’s cover? Well, I’d like to meet the puritan who came up with that one to have a word or two. Because we’re going to judge a book by it cover even if we don’t want to! As a book publishing graduate, I study the cover: It tells me the market the publisher is going for. It tells me if it’s won any awards, it tells me what other prominent authors think of the text. A cover is important. And I also decide to make cookies based on their appearance, obviously. Especially during the holidays. So I flagged this recipe on Pinterest because I loved the vibrant Christmas colours. And we eat, first, with our eyes.But. And this is a big BUT. This recipe turned out to be a bit of a fail. To begin with, I used a peanut […]

Christmas, Christmas desserts, cookies, holiday desserts|Comments Off on Hershey’s Candy Cane Blossoms
  • Santa Hat Party Mix Santa Hat Party Mix

    Santa Hat Party Mix

Santa Hat Party Mix

  I like alliteration. I like sequins. I like punny jokes. I like Palm Beach fashion. I like a bit of camp. Isn’t it obvious? I like a good gimmick. So by the time Christmas rolls around, I’ve already been bookmarking festive recipes for months. This one jumped right out at me on Pinterest because I’d never seen anything like it and the Santa hats were so festive, so fantastic, so fun! Flavour had absolutely nothing to do with it. I thought it would be a fun, quick party mix to take to one of my work events during the holidays, which is getting harder and harder to plan for because my co-workers expect me to come up with something interesting every time. Last year I made Chocolate Gingerbread House Petits Fours, and Nigella’s Christmas Cornflake Wreaths. In years past, I’ve also made Festive Cheesecake Pops, which my co-workers are […]

Christmas, Christmas desserts, holiday desserts, savoury|Comments Off on Santa Hat Party Mix
  • Sweetapolita’s Inside-Out (Mini) Neapolitan Cake Sweetapolita’s Inside-Out (Mini) Neapolitan Cake

    Sweetapolita’s Inside-Out (Mini) Neapolitan Cake

Sweetapolita’s Inside-Out (Mini) Neapolitan Cake

  Isn’t this sweet? I made this mini cake with 4.5 inch springform fans for a dear friend of mine for her 30th birthday. I wanted to make something special so I thought I’d tackle a three-buttercream recipe. I was inspired from the cover of the latest cookbook from Miette (I just adore the bare edges) but mainly from Sweetapolita. It was harder to make than I thought because I didn’t level the layers of cake properly so one of them was at an angle, and it seemed to me like the cake would tip over. This cake ended up being a bit of an investment because of the springform pans, but I’m so glad I purchased them because I am always looking for a way to indulge my friends and I think a mini-tiered cake is the perfect way. I’ll be honest. This recipe has completely changed the way […]

  • Nutella Swirl Pound Cake with Espresso Glaze Nutella Swirl Pound Cake with Espresso Glaze

    Nutella Swirl Pound Cake with Espresso Glaze

Nutella Swirl Pound Cake with Espresso Glaze

  I’ve said this before, maybe a handful times, but this time I really mean it: I think this is the best cake I’ve ever made in my life. Ever. And it’s not just my ego speaking. Several people said so. It’s the kind of cake that whispers your name when you pass by, whispering, imploring you to cut “Just another small sliver.” It was gone, and fast. I made it for my husband’s birthday because a) he loves Nutella; b) he loves espresso and c) I don’t need to impress him with fancy piping skills or rosettes. Even my mother in law, who is a great cook and baker in her own right asked me “You bought this ready-made, right?” Nope. Of course, it’s not difficult to make a pound cake tasty, with the amount of butter that goes into it. But this one goes above and beyond with […]

cake, chocolate, espresso, Nutella, Sweetapolita|Comments Off on Nutella Swirl Pound Cake with Espresso Glaze
  • Owl Cupcakes Owl Cupcakes

    Owl Cupcakes

Owl Cupcakes

  Whooooo loves owls? Apparently, the masses, because they’re everywhere lately: Anthropologie, Crate and Barrel, Winners. You name it. I’m slightly miffed because I loved owls even before they earned a cultish following. Still, I couldn’t resist making these owl cupcakes. At first I was going to make them for Halloween but when our plans got cancelled, I made them anyway.The recipe comes by way of Duncan Hines, but I never would have seen it if it weren’t for Pinterest. Substitutions: I wish I used the mini Oreos, because I think they would have looked a bit cuter. Or even  the Double Stuf ones because it was a bit hard to separate the cookies without scratching the cream right off. I read somewhere that if you microwaved the cookies for about 10 seconds it was easier to take them apart. I tried it, but I can’t say for sure it […]

chocolate, cupcakes, kids, party ideas|Comments Off on Owl Cupcakes