desserts

  • Homemade Samoa cookies Homemade Samoa cookies

    Homemade Samoa cookies

Homemade Samoa cookies

I’m tired, way too tired, to get creative here so I’ll cut to the chase: Shortbread crust, caramel, coconut, chocolate. Need to know more? I didn’t think so. These are Samoa cookies, also known as the cookies I will never make again. While the idea of rolling out cookies and letting your kids use cookie cutters sounds wonderful in theory, it is anything but. By the time their sticky little hands cut out the cookies with the 1,543rd cookie cutter they settled on, the dough is too warm. So, you end up throwing it out. But I digress. This was a several day, multi-hour process. Worth it? Yes, they turned out extremely well. But I will never take so many hours to make them again. If you have children who are grabbing at you demanding milk, no cold water, no freezing water! Or need you to moderate an argument, or make […]

  • Candy cane heart cupcake toppers Candy cane heart cupcake toppers

    Candy cane heart cupcake toppers

Candy cane heart cupcake toppers

You know those teeny candy canes that you never seem to know what to do with? I always seem to have hundreds lying around. If you don’t trim your tree with them, or eat a few every day for the month of December, they just end up in the trash. I decided to put them to good use one year, and I am only getting around to posting a blog about it now. If you’re like me and want to contribute to the holiday-time potlucks but feel pressed for time, this is a neat trick. Here’s how you do it: Preheat the oven to 300F. Line waxed paper or parchment paper on a couple of cookie sheets. Arrange the mini candy canes in the shape of hearts. Place the hearts in the oven for 3 minutes. Depending on your oven you may need to do a couple minutes more or less. It’s […]

  • Skinny strawberry shortbread trifle Skinny strawberry shortbread trifle

    Skinny strawberry shortbread trifle

Skinny strawberry shortbread trifle

Well, hello, hello, hello. A colleague asked me the other day if I was still baking… and I had to confess that I hadn’t really baked very much since I returned to work from maternity leave in January. With a 4.5 year old and a 1.5 year old, I’m not quite at the point where I can leave my little one to be independent and have an extra 15 minutes here and there to get to some baking. Since I’ve been down this road before, I know full well that this is temporary and things will get a bit easier, so I’m being patient. Besides, after a full day’s work, and then coming home to prepare dinner, bathe the kids, attend to some piano practice or basic homework, tidy up, all before my husband gets home, I’m absolutely beat. And I can’t muster up the energy to speak, much less […]

  • Cinnamon rice-pudding with cherry compote Cinnamon rice-pudding with cherry compote

    Cinnamon rice-pudding with cherry compote

Cinnamon rice-pudding with cherry compote

It all began with a recipe for Ottolenghi’s chocolate-dipped florentines I saw on another blog. My curiosity was piqued and I first purchased the Jerusalem cookbook, in which Yotam Ottolenghi teams up with his friend and co-owner of his restaurants, Sami Tamim. The flavours in that book are very, very familiar to me. As the daughter of a Jerusalem-born Armenian, and the wife of a Lebanese-born Armenian, the recipes in this book use very familiar flavour combinations and ingredients and reinvent those comforting childhood favourites to something almost magical. It might seem like I’m waxing poetic here, unnecessarily, but I’ve been working my way through that cookbook and it is nothing short of amazing. I have since gone on to purchase the Plenty cookbook and the eponymous cookbook, Ottolenghi. But I relate the most of all to the book, “Jerusalem” and this recipe for cinnamon rice-pudding is the perfect example […]

  • Nutella banana loaf Nutella banana loaf

    Nutella banana loaf

Nutella banana loaf

Following the Weight Watchers program really underscored my weaknesses: Cake, chocolate, cookies. Dense, moist, chewy, gooey, calorie-packed, carbohydrate-embracing yummy stuff. Sometimes I would overcome my cravings by allowing myself to have just a little bit everyday, other days I would experiment making Weight Watchers versions of sweets, but they never quite hit the spot. Until this recipe. Each serving of this banana loaf is only 4 Weight Watchers points plus – fantastic! I can eat three satisfying meals, and have my cake too! Only two tablespoons of butter! I will stop using exclamation marks now. But even if you’re not on Weight Watchers or watching your weight, this Nutella banana loaf is utterly delicious. Decadent, moist, and it even seems to improve in flavour after a day or two – if it lasts that long. This banana bread is on the moist side, as op There was not one person […]

  • No-bake chocolate, macadamia and fig slices No-bake chocolate, macadamia and fig slices

    No-bake chocolate, macadamia and fig slices

No-bake chocolate, macadamia and fig slices

Sometimes I want something a bit fudgey, dense, with a lot of bite. A cookie won’t do, a brownie is much too sweet. Cake, too fluffy. Something where I can taste the cocoa and the dark chocolate and really let the flavours develop long after I’ve swallowed. These chocolate, macadamia and fig slices fit the bill; they’re the perfect treat to have alongside a steaming cup of coffee when you want something small that will satisfy your sweet tooth. They’re small but the flavour packs a huge punch. And they’re a really elegant dessert to serve to guests when they show up unexpectedly. I always have some cookies on hand, but I hate it when they’re only my kids’ Oreos. I got this recipe from a great book called “Fireside Feasts & Snow Day Treats” (Ryland Peters & Small) but I played around with the ingredients a little bit to […]

  • Welcome baby girl cupcakes Welcome baby girl cupcakes

    Welcome baby girl cupcakes

Welcome baby girl cupcakes

You might have noticed I have had a sudden flurry of blogs. There are a few reasons for this: my eldest is in kindergarten now so I have a few hours (okay 2) where I am only dealing with one kid; the holidays are fast approaching and baking is synonymous with the holiday season in my mind; I will be returning to work soon and I don’t want my blog posts to pile up even more than they have now. With my maternity leave coming to an end, I am reminded that a dear friend’s maternity leave is also coming to an end. We were pregnant together and I was thrilled to make some cupcakes for her welcome baby party several months ago. She is one of my nearest and dearest friends; I’ve known her since we were 6 and I hope our kids will grow up together too! I […]

  • Homemade chocolate peanut butter cups with fleur de sel Homemade chocolate peanut butter cups with fleur de sel

    Homemade chocolate peanut butter cups with fleur de sel

Homemade chocolate peanut butter cups with fleur de sel

If you don’t like Reese’s peanut butter cups, well, there’s not much more for me to say to you except, you might want to surf around on my older posts and come back later… If you’re still reading, apologies for the pic. It’s from my smartphone. I really should have taken a better pic with my DSLR but these mini morsels were gone before I had a chance. Yup, that good. To give you an idea of the size of these mini morsels, the saucer they are sitting on for an espresso cup. So they’re teeny but back enough of a punch that just one will satisfy you if you’re watching your weight (and, aren’t we all?) And if you have any family or friends who are on a gluten-free diet – BONUS, they’re gluten free too! These are perfect to have laying around, or to give as hostess gifts, […]

  • Pumpkin chocolate chip cookie pie Pumpkin chocolate chip cookie pie

    Pumpkin chocolate chip cookie pie

Pumpkin chocolate chip cookie pie

I’m seriously kicking myself right now because I just tossed the last bit of pumpkin puree I had in my refrigerator because I have zero energy to cook or bake anything right now. And then I found this old blog post I’d been meaning to write up…. Indeed, ’tis the season for my ever-recurring bronchitis to return, hence the lack of energy, and unfortunately this coincides with pumpkin season too. Nonetheless, there is no reason for you not to make this recipe in my place. Not quite pumpkin pie, not quite chocolate chip cookie, just call it pumpkin chocolate chip cookie pie. Heck, once you take a bite you’ll forget about the whole name thing and you’ll ask for some ice cream. You can find the recipe here… And before you forget to do so, I’m going to suggest you Pin this, bookmark it, whatever you need to do to […]

  • Pretty posies and vintage tea cups: My birthday tea party Pretty posies and vintage tea cups: My birthday tea party

    Pretty posies and vintage tea cups: My birthday tea party

Pretty posies and vintage tea cups: My birthday tea party

About five years ago, I wandered into an antique shop and picked up a couple of lovely china tea cups. At the time, we were living in a townhouse and had no extra room for any tchotchkes, so I put them back. But I thought about them day after day until one day I returned and I bought those two tea cups. That was the beginning of my vintage china tea cup collection. Since then I’ve amassed some 15 tea cups, hunting for them online, in consignment shops, antique shops, yard sales. My favourite brands are Royal Albert, Aynsley, Paragon but really I’m just looking for vibrant colours that will stand the test of time. Then the collecting moved on to dinner plates and dessert plates and I realized it wouldn’t do to just let them collect dust, I had to put my china to good use. So I decided […]