Black Currant scones

When you have a house full of girls you might have to attend or host a few tea parties. Today was one of the girls birthday and we enjoyed a nice tea party with family. The birthday girl help me make some delicious scones just for the occasion.

Black Currant Scones

Black Currant Scones

This is a quick and easy tea time treat.

Ingredients 

  • 3 1/2 cup of flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup butter cubed (cold)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup of black currant
  • zest of 1/2 of an orange
  • 1/2 of a nutmeg freshly grated
  • a pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 cup of sour milk (add 2 tsp lemon juice to milk and rest for 10 min)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Black Currant Scones

Tea Party

Method

  1. Preheat the oven at 400 degrees
  2. In a large bowl mix all the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, spices)
  3. Add the cold cubed butter to the dry ingredients and rub with your fingers or a pastry cutters, until it looks like breadcrumbs.
  4. Stir in the sugar, orange zest and currants
  5. Pour the milk, vanilla, egg and mix with a wooden spoon or by hand until all the wet ingredients are well incorporated. Do not over-mix
  6. Turn the dough on a floured surface and roll until you reach 1 1/4 inch thick and start cutting with a cookie cutter.
  7. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 12 to 15 min or until the top or golden brown.Cool on a cooling rack.

Black currant scones

It’s hard to believe that my oldest turned eight today. So many things happened in the last eight years, it’s been an interesting ride. Eight, is no longer a baby and yet not a teenager. Seeking independence, but yet still needs me or lots of things. I have to admit eight is a good number of years to train them to be good helpers in the kitchen, and of course they are always willing to be taste tasters at that age.

Here a few pictures of this afternoon tea party

Tea Party

Tea Party

tea8

Tea Party

Tea Party

Tea Party

Have yourself a good evening!

French Macarons

I have seen pictures of French Macaron all over pinterest, instagram and facebook. They look amazing and just mouth-watering. I would not call myself a baker, so the idea that I could bake those little clouds of sweetness was absurd. After many hours reading at different recipes and watching youtube videos, I decided to take the plunge and try to make them.

French macaron

To my understanding there is a few trick that can make your adventure a success

  1. Sifting the almond meal and the confectioner sugar with prevent clump and lumpy texture to the cookie.
  2. For the meringue having the eggs room temperature is a must.
  3. Mixing is important.  Over-mixing and you have a cracking crusty mess, under-mixing and the batter will spread out too much and you will not have the desired round shape. Fold the meringue until it falls ever so lightly, or a thick ribbon that follows the spatula.
  4. Getting rid of air bubbles, this is the fun part. After piping the macarons on the cookie sheet, you need to lift and tap it several time on the counter until the air bubble comes to the surface. You can also use a toothpick to help.
  5. resting period to let the macaron create a “skin” or layer to their surface. This will be crucial to the formation on “feet”
  6. Baking in a well heated oven, even if it means heating it for 30 minutes before putting the macarons in.

French macaron

Ingredients for the Macarons (makes about 24)

  • 3 eggs whites room temperature
  • 50g white sugar
  • 200g confectioner sugar
  • 120g almond flour
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar

French macaron

Method

  1. Preheat the oven at 300 degrees
  2. Whip the eggs until frothy, add the cream of tartar and gradually incorporate the sugar little by little. Whip until stiff glossy peak and add any food coloring at this point if needed (keeping in mind that during the baking the batter will lose some of the coloration, better go a shade or two darker before baking)
  3. Fold the sifted sugar/almond flour into the egg until thick ribbon are formed
  4. Transfer to a pastry bag and pipe out 1 inch rounds on a baking sheet that you have lined with parchment paper.
  5. Tap hard on the counter until air bubbles comes to the surface and if needed use a toothpick to assist you. Let them sit for 30 to 1 hour
  6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes

French macaron

Filling

  • 250 g of cream cheese
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3-4 cups confectioner sugar
  • Zest on 1 lemon

Mix all the ingredients together until smooth creamy texture, pipe some filling unto the back of the cookie and top with another and voila a macaron sandwich!

Enjoy!

Nutty Butternut Squash Muffins

This is the story a muffin that likes to dress-up like a cupcake. It is a delicious muffin all own its own, and made out of vegetable so it’s somewhat healthy. But if you want to bring this muffin to a whole new level, top it off with lemon cream cheese frosting.

Butternut squash muffin

What you will need (makes 24 muffins)

  • 400g Butternut squash, washed and cubed
  • 300g sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Maple syrup
  • 100g all-purpose flour
  • 200g graham cracker crushed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup pecan nuts ( plus more for decorating)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

For the icing view this post, the icing is optional but give an extra nice touch.

Butternut squash muffins

Butternut squash Muffins

Method

  1. Set the oven at 350 degrees and line cupcake pan.
  2. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients and set aside
  3. In the food possessor add the squash, the eggs and the nuts and puree until smooth.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients and the puree and add the oil until all the dry ingredients are wet.
  5. Add the mixture filling the cupcake liners to 3/4 full and bake for 25 minutes. Let cool completely.
  6. Eat as it is or top with creamy frosting

Lemon poppy seed cupcakes

It’s Friday again, and if you are like me, this week just flew by in a blink of an eye. Weekends are time to treat ourselves and what’s better treat than cupcakes! I created some delicious, super easy, no mixer needed, lemon cupcakes. Lets jump right in shall we.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes

Ingredients

For the cupcakes (makes 16)

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • Zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup of sour milk*
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3  tbsp of poppy-seed (more if you really like them )

* To make sour milk I add the juice of the lemons to the milk and let it rest for 10 min

For the icing

  • 250 g of cream cheese
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cup icing sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2-3 tbsp milk

Method (cupcake)

  1. Set the oven at 375 degrees
  2. Mix in all the dry ingredients in a large bowl, set aside. In a medium size bowl whisk the eggs and add all the other wet ingredients, add to the dry ingredients and stir until well incorporated.
  3. Line your muffin pan with cupcakes liner or grease them really well, fill with the batter until 3/4 full. I used an ice-cream scoop so that all the same amount of better was used.
  4. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until the cake tester comes out clean.
  5. cool completely before frosting

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes

Method (icing)

  1. Cream the butter and cream cheese until soft and fluffy. Add the icing sugar and lemon juice, mix very well.
  2. If the icing is a bit dense add milk until desired consistency, Transfer into a piping bag and decorate your cupcakes.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes

Enjoy

How to get you kids to eat legumes and like it

We all want our kids to make wise and healthy choices when it comes to their diet. Not all of us have been blessed with kids with an adventurous palate, on the contrary, some deals with picky eaters on a daily basis. I never been a big fan the whole, hiding vegetables into other food so that your kids won’t know it’s there, trend. I am in the opinion that kids should know what they are eating in order to have the opportunity to learn and get a taste of all the different types food.

With that said, I am not against trying new ways to prepare, fruits, vegetables and even legumes. I remember eating a Mooncake in a Chinese restaurant,a long time ago. When I asked what was the delicious sweet paste filling, I was surprised to hear that it was beans! If my memory serves be right is was a red paste bean and I think adzuki beans was used, since then they have been on my mind from time to time.

This was my inspiration in creating little bites of that beans paste as a healthy treats for my kids. They eat them without complaints and had no clue it was made with beans. After I told them about the secret ingredient, they still asked for more. I call that a success.

Healthy beans and pecan bites

And so begun my attempt to replicate that yummy bean paste that I remembered. I did not have aszuki beans on hand but did have plenty of Mung beans.  Of course I first thing I did was to turn to the internet, the source infinite knowledge, trying to find a half decent mung beans cake filling paste recipe. I came across many recipes and some had weird ingredient like lye water, what in the world is lye water. After about an hours of reading, I decided to use this recipe as guide to create my own version of bean paste sweet treat.

Healthy beans bites

The basis of this recipe is cooked beans, some form of fat, sweeter and liquid, simple enough, right? If you want to save yourself some time cooking the beans a soaking time overnight or 3 to 6 hours will speed the whole process. Add off the ingredients in a food processor, make a puree and then cook it until it’s transform into a sticky paste. Shape and voilà.

Now for the fun part, use the basic recipe and make it your own, adding flavors and textures. I worked on three different combination, two turn out very good the other, well I won’t be blogging about that one. My favorite was beans, oats and brown sugar combo but the girls like the Maple syrup, pecan and spiced beans treat better. I’ll be sharing both here today and my ideas of other flavor combination that I want to try in the future.

Maple Pecan healthy bites

Spiced Maple Pecan mung bean bites

ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of pecan, chopped
  • 1 cup of cooked mung beans
  • 2 tbsp butter (or coconut oil )
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup of coconut milk
  • pinch of salt

mung beans oats bites

Mung Beans and oats bites

ingredients

  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of cooked mung beans
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup of coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • pinch of salt

Method (same for both Maple and oat bites recipes)

Soak the beans overnight, rinse well and cook for about 30 minutes or until soft. In the food processor add all the ingredient and blend until a soft puree. Don’t worry in the mixture is too liquid, cooking will evaporate the excess. Cook the puree in a pot on medium heat, and stir stir stir. Cook until the mixture start to form a soft ball and is no longer sticking to the bottom and side of the pot.

Let it cool down until lukewarm and start forming balls. Optional, you can roll your little bites in nuts, seeds or coconut  whatever you have on hand. I recommend to store those little sweet bites on the fridge up to 1 week.

maple pecan bites

I did say I was thinking of other flavor combinations, I think that pistachio and rose-water and  honey and sesame seeds would be lovely. How about you, what do you think a good flavor combination would be? Share in the comment below.

Petit Pain d’épice

Having a house full of girls, afternoon tea is a common occurrence. We enjoy our tea time, with some sweet treats and reading some poetry.  We love the whole thing, from the dressing up to using our table manners and using vocabulary like “C’est magnifique!” a la Fancy Nancy style.

We made scones, cupcakes, muffins, banana bread and many other treats but today I was in the mood for something a bit different, something with spices. I remembered eating, once a loaf of spiced bread called “Pain d’épice”, a long time ago and decided to give it a try.

Petit pain d'epice

Pain d'epice

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 stick on cinnamon ( about 1 1/2 tsp grated )
  • 1/2 nutmeg, ground in a mortar and pestle
  • 3 gloves, grated
  • 1/2 tsp anise seeds, ground in a mortar and pestle
  • 2-3 black peppercorn, ground in a mortar and pestle
  • 1 inch of fresh ginger, grated
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup oil or melted butter

petite pain d'epice

In a bowl mix in the flour, baking powder, the spices, lemon zest and salt, set aside. In a mixing bowl cream the eggs and brown sugar until fluffy, add the flour mixture. Add the milk, oil and honey and mix until smooth and all the flour mixture in no longer dry.

Pour in a well-greased bread pan and bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes. Your whole house will be enveloped with those spices and you will not need any air freshener, this will be the best time to relax and enjoy the aromas coming out of the oven.

petit pain d'epice While the bread is cooling down, set the table for tea time. Choose your selection of poetry that you and your family will enjoy reading. Time to start your glaze

Lemon glaze

  • 1/2 cup confectioner sugar
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 to 2 tsp of milk as needed

pain d'epice

Petit pain d'epice

In a small bowl mix in the sugar and the lemon juice, add in enough milk to get a smooth somewhat liquid white glaze, pour over the cool bread. Slice and serve with butter or homemade lemon curd (I personally like the contrast of the tartness of the lemon with the spices and light sweetness of the bread)

pain d'epice

Pain d'epice

Tip: Using dried ground spices is convenient but sometime you don’t get the full flavor, using fresh grated spices will give you more intense flavor and you won’t regret it.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake

What to do with all that Easter chocolate, don’t we all have that question on our mind today? Why not put it into good use and made a desert that doesn’t look like an egg or a bunny. I give you the “Peanut Butter Cheesecake with chocolate ganache”

Peanut butter cheesecake

Coffee

What you need

  • Graham crust 
  • 2 (250g) of cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup of creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • about 12 small chocolate eggs (ganache)
  • 3 tbsp butter (ganache)
  • Pecan (topping)

Cream the cream cheese and the sugar together with a mixer until smooth, add the peanut butter and vanilla and blend well. Mix in the eggs one at the time until incorporated. Pour in the cooked graham crust and baked in water bath at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until it’s firm to the touch. Let it rest until cool and refrigerate for a minimum of 3 hours.

Peanut butter chocolate cheesecake

Easy ganache

In a bain-marie (double boiler) melt the butter and the chocolate eggs until soft and velvety. Pour over the cheesecake and let it set, about 30 min. Decorate with pecan

Tips: From time to time butter and cream cheese goes on sale and if you want to maximize your saving, buy in bulk and freeze them. With a bit of planning, all you’ll need to do is bring either butter or cream cheese out of the freezer and let it comes to room temperature and use it in any recipe.

chocolate peanut butter cheesecake

peanut butter cheesecake

I was inspired to make this treat after looking at Northern Nester’s “Chocolate cheesecake THM version” her pictures made me crave some of the deliciousness. Being creative in the kitchen sometimes is being free to not follow a recipe but letting yourself being inspired by it.

Lemon Cheesecake topped with lemon curd

If I could choose a favorite dessert it probably would be lemon “something”; lemon meringue pie, lemon cookies, lemon poppy-seed bread and many more.  With Easter coming, lemon cheesecake obviously came to mind. Creamy, tangy, velvety rich,  a oh so very I-am-not-on-a-diet rich lemon cheesecake.

Please excuse me for a second while I get myself another slice.

Lemon Cheesecake with lemon curd topping

Ok I am back.

I did shy away from making cheesecake for a long time, not really sure why but I think I had the notion they were difficult to make. Was I ever wrong. They aren’t complicated, a bit time-consuming, but worth every minutes of it. Let’s cut to the chase and get on with how to make this deliciousness.

Graham crust

  • 1 1/2 cup crushed graham cracker crumb
  • 1/4 sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted butter

Directions

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix until all the graham crumb are covered with butter. Transfer in a pie dish, pressing down the mixture to form a crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Let cool down before filling.

Lemon cheesecake

Cream cheese filling

  • 2 (250g) cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Direction

In a mixer, cream the sugar and cream cheese until fluffy. Add the lemon juice, zest, eggs and vanilla until all blended in. Pour into the pie crust placed in a water bath and baked for 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

Let cool and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

ready to be baked

ready to be baked

in the water bath

in the water bath

Lemon Curd

  • Zest of 2 lemons and juice of 3
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter (unsalted)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Cream the butter and sugar together, add the zest and juice of the lemons and salt. Beat in 1 egg at the time mix until well combine. Pour the mixture in a sauce pan, cook over medium heat while stirring constantly until it thicken (about 10 minutes)

Lemon cheesecake with lemon curd topping

Remove from the heat and cool. Pour over the cheesecake and refrigerate over night

Enjoy

Tip: Baking in a water bath  will keep the oven moisture high and the heat gentle, and this will prevent cracking trough the middle of the cheesecake.

Spiced Carrot and Pecan Cake

Easter is just around the corner, a time of celebration, good food and good company. This week I will be sharing some recipes that could be part of your Easter Sunday dinner, just anytime other of the year.

Spiced Carrot and Pecan Cake

Now I am not sharing in order, because I am starting with dessert. Carrot cake and Easter goes hands in hands, not really sure why. Could be because of the bunny or because it’s pretty much the last vegetable left from winter and the Spring crops aren’t ready yet. No matter the reason why we make this scrumptious cake, cream cheese frosting is a must.

This carrot cake recipe is simple and kids will love getting their hands dirty helping.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of Flour
  • 3/4 cup Graham cracker crumb
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 small fresh nutmeg, grated
  • 1 inch of fresh ginger, grated
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup pecan, chopped
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups of grated carrots

Cake

Set the oven at 350 degrees

In a large bowl mix together the flour, graham crumb, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, granulated and brown sugar and pecan.

grating nutmeg

In a small bowl beat the eggs add the oil and pour over the dry ingredients, add the carrots and mix with a spatula until no dry flour mixture if left.

carrot cake batter

Line three nine-inch round cake pan with parchment paper, divide your cake batter in equal part. About 420 g each pan.

batter in pan

Bake for 16 – 18 minutes or until the tester comes out clean. Let it rest for 10 minutes before taking it out and finish the cooling on a wire rack. cool completely.

Carrot cake cooling down

Icing

  • 250 g of cream cheese
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cup icing sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice

spiced carrot cake

In a large bowl cream the butter and cream cheese until fluffy, add the icing sugar and blend well. Add lemon juice to taste. Generously spread the icing on each cake layer. If you feel like it, decorate the cake with pecan nuts and a bit of graham cracker crumb.

Carrot Cake

carrot cake with cream cheese icing

Tip: Don’t do what I did and frost the cake when it wasn’t completely cool. I had too many little fingers trying to sample the cake I had to frost it and hide it from them. After leaving the cake in the fridge for about an hour, the icing and cake firmed up. You can tell from the pictures the icing was starting to melt!!!

This cake was inspired by Smitten Kitchen, carrot graham layer cake. I made the recipe my own, but if you want to see the original click on the link .

Chewy chocolate chips cookies

I don’t know about you, but here, chocolate chip cookies is the ultimate comfort food.

When our day isn’t going as plan or we just want to cheer the mood up, the rich aromas of baking chocolaty cookies and a sure way to turn the frown upside down. I could write more about it but I know why you are here, so let’s get to the recipe shall we.

stack of cookies

Ingredients 

  • 2  1/4 cups of flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup butter room temperature (can be substituted with margarine )
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups of chocolate chips

How to:

Preheat the oven at 350

IMG_0758 IMG_0762 IMG_0766

In a bowl add the sugars and butter and cream together until fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until well mix. I a clean bowl add the dry ingredients and mix, add the flour mixture until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

IMG_0771IMG_0778

Drop small ice cream scoop full the dough unto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 17 minutes or until the edges are golden grown.Remove from the cookie sheet and transfer to a wire rack until completely cool.

Serve with a tall glass of milk and you don’t need to worry about trying to store them, they will be gone before the end of day!

chocolate chip cookies

This recipe will make 12 medium size soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies. For smaller cookies, drop about 1 tablespoon of the dough and bake for 8 to 10 min.

Tips: We all have different preferences when it comes to cookie texture, soft and chewy, crispy or cakey.  For tin and crisp increase the butter to 1 1/3 cup  and sugar will be 1 1/4 cups of both sugars and for cakey reduce the butter to 3/4 cup change the sugar for 3/4 cup  white sugar and 1/4 cup of brown sugar.

This information was taken a while ago from a Martha Steward magazine but you could probably find it online somewhere.