The holidays are busy, prior to this pandemic I would be entertaining hand over fist. Sure entertaining has slowed down, but you should always have elegant, quick and easy appetizers in your kitchen repertoire. Here is one that looks elegant but start to finish takes 15 minutes.
12 slices of prosciutto but you can use Serrano ham too
1 ball of cranberry and pepper Boursin
24 pecan halves (toasted in a fry pan)
1 cup of arugula
1/2 cup of balsamic (I used a white cranberry balsamic) put it in a pan and reduce it until it turns into a thick syrup- takes about 5 to 8 minutes on low. – you should have 2 tablespoons once it is reduced
2 tablespoons of dried cranberries
Now it’s time to put it together. Lay the slices of prosciutto out on a cutting board. Section the Boursin into 12 each portions ~ 3/4 tbls. Put the cheese on one end, top with 2 pecans and a generous pinch of arugula. Roll them up and slice in half. Then drizzle the top with the reduced balsamic glaze and a few dried cranberries.
Mixing up the usual … these are gloriously delish 🤤
The slight crunch of the cornmeal make a perfect backdrop for blueberries, which burst as they bake, creating pockets of juice that keep the muffins tender. Serve warm with a pat of butter 💥
Ingredients: 3/4 cup milk 1-1/2 cups all purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal 3/4 cup sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries 2 large eggs 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 stick or 1/2 cup salted butter, melted
Set oven to 350, 325 for convection bake.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
Place the blueberries in a small bowl and toss with 1 teaspoon of the flour mixture. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients, along with the melted butter. Stir until just blended; and then stir in the blueberries. Do not overmix. The batter comes together in about 5 minutes.
Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared muffin pan, filling each cup very full and please use liners as the blueberries will make everything very sticky. Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, or until the tops are set and golden around the edges. Cool the muffins for a few minutes in the pan, then serve warm with butter or transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
I was watching a TV show called Nadia Bakes on Netflix this weekend and in one of the episodes she spotlighted a baker named Richard Bertinet. He was born in France but has lived in the UK for more than 30 years now and he is the godfather of breads. I watched his segment and rewatched it 5 times. I was inspired to try them. These are an adaptation of his famous cinnamon buns.
Braided sticky cinnamon buns
These are sweet, sticky and oh-soo delicious little cinnamon buns twisted in beautiful knots. Perfect to enjoy with your favourite cup of tea or coffee.
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Proving Time 3 hours
Total Time 4 hours
Servings 12 buns
You need a scale to make these!
For the dough:
250 ml milk any type
60 g salted butter cubed
500 g AP flour
15 g fast-action dried yeast
100 g granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1 large egg
For the filling:
150 g salted butter softened
200 g light brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
Place the milk in a small saucepan and heat it up until it is lukewarm. Add cubed butter to the lukewarm milk, swirling the saucepan every now and then to encourage the butter to melt. Remove from the heat and set aside.
In a bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with a hook attachment, mix together the flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Add milk and butter mixture followed by the egg. Mix on low speed until dough comes together, about couple of minutes, then increase the speed to medium and and mix for 8-10 minutes until you have a smooth and elastic dough that no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and using your hands, roll it into a ball. Place it in a clean, large bowl, lightly greased with some oil. Cover the bowl with clingfilm or reusable kitchen wrap (clean shower cup works great here!) and leave somewhere warm for an hour or until it doubled in size (depending on the temperature in your kitchen, this may take more, or less than 1 hour).
In a meantime, prepare the filling. Place softened butter and brown sugar in a bowl of a freestanding mixer and beat together on medium speed until pale, fluffy and well combined. Reduce speed to low and add ground cinnamon. Mix until combined and set aside.
Remove the dough from the bowl into a lightly floured surface. Gently knock out the air from it, then stretch it into rough rectangle shape. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into larger rectangle, roughly about 15 by 19 inches with the longer edge facing you.
Spread the filling over ⅔ of the top of the dough, leaving ⅓ of the dough clean. Fold the clean part of the rectangle towards the middle, then fold the other end of the dough on top of that. Use a rolling pin, roll it over the rectangle to flatten it out and stretch a bit.
Using a sharp knife trim off the edges of the rectangle. Divide the rectangle into 12 equal pieces, widthways, each strip roughly about 1.5 ish inches across. Next, use a knife or pizza cutter to cut twice down the length of each strip to make three strands. Braid the three strands together, then roll it up along its length to create a knot. Repeat with remaining strips.
Lightly grease 12-hole muffin tin, then transfer the knots into it. Cover and allow to prove for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until they have doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 350 or 325 for convection bake and bake in the middle shelf of the oven for roughly 18 minutes or until golden brown.
Don’t worry if some of the filling has leaked. Mine did. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool only for a minute or so, then transfer the buns onto a cooling rack. Do not leave them to cool in the tin, as it will be hard to remove them later. Enjoy them while still a bit warm!
Chloe ate hers in under 2 minutes and Holly and Joel thought they were delish.
Do not go overboard with the filling! Thin, but even layer is what you are aiming for.
Don’t worry if some of the filling comes out and spill from the sides while the buns bake. This is normal.
Once baked, allow the buns to cool in the tin for only a minute or so. Transfer them to cooling rack while they are still hot, before the leaked sugar and butter sets and becomes hard.
HOLY THESE ARE DELISH!!! They are the perfect blend between a very sticky bun and a cinnamon bun.
This homemade version of vanilla bean scones is so easy to make. Great for kids and quick snacks.
Prep Time 30 minutes – Cook Time 16 minutes
Makes 16 mini scones
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated white sugar or vanilla bean sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, grated into pieces
1/2 to 2/3 cup cold heavy whipping cream (depends on the moisture in your flour and house)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
seeds scraped from one vanilla bean or 1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste (I swear by this stuff!)
1½ tablespoons milk
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (I did 350 degrees for convection bake) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine. Add the grated butter and rub butter and flour together with your hands. Continue until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Then mix in the cream and the vanilla extract.
When the dough has gathered itself into a ball and divide the dough into 2 equal portions. I had to add more cream to make this happen… keep that in mind. Flatten each portion of dough into a disc shape, about 1 1/2-inches thick. Score each disc into 8 triangles with a knife, and pull the triangles slightly away from one another (allowing about 1/2-inch in between).
Brush with cream on top and bake the scones for 16 to 20 minutes, until set in the centers and slightly golden on the bottoms.
ADD THE GLAZE:
In a small bowl, stir the powdered sugar, vanilla bean seeds, and milk together until smooth. Spread a small amount of glaze on top of each scone.
These are delish, you can’t eat just one. The recipe makes 16 mini scones, 2 hours after baking I have 8 left. They got a 12/10 for taste. 🙌
I have always dreamed of having a backyard with a huge stone pizza oven. But I’m afraid it’s going to be baby steps for me to get to my dream, so I started my journey on Mother’s Day when I treated myself to an Ooni Koda gas pizza oven from Capital BBQ.
This pizza oven has changed my life. It is portable, meaning I can pack it up and bring it to a friends house for dinner. It weighs 12 pounds, the design is sleek, I can store it in the off-season in my kitchen. It is powered by a propane tank and it only takes 15 minutes for it to come up to 930° and it cooks delicious Neapolitan style pizzas in 60 seconds.
The high temperatures help pizza dough quickly transform to a perfectly chewy-but-crispy crust, all while drawing any excess moisture out of any sauce, cheeses & toppings you have on your pizza. The result? Crispy crust, with no sogginess. A pizza lover’s dream!
I do have a couple of tips I have learned in the 5 times I have used my pizza oven.
Use only quality ingredients – I make my own dough and sauce and boy does it make a difference!
Use a wood pizza peel to put the pizza in the oven and the metal one to pull it out
Do not multi task when you are making the pizzas, they take 60 seconds and every 20 seconds you turn the pie in the oven
The less toppings the better. Since this cooks quickly you need you keep the toppings light
Try new things! I created a Flammkuchen style pizza that is the 💣
It is not just for pizza! With a cast iron pan you can look steaks and chicken in it too!
The cost. My Ooni koda cost me 499$ CDN plus tax. I would say it was the best money I ever spent.
Continuing my pandemic weigh gain I deciding to dabble in bagel making. They are crazy easy to make and even easier to eat. Make these today!
NEW YORK-STYLE BAGEL RECIPE Makes: 8 medium-sized bagels Total Time: ~2 hours
Optional Toppings: Everything seasoning, poppy seeds, or sesame seeds. (Everyone in my house prefers plain bagels, so I went with 3 Everything and 5 plain) 😉
Preparation:1. In ½ cup /120ml of the warm water, pour in the sugar and yeast. Do not stir. Let it sit for five minutes, and then stir the yeast and sugar mixture, until it all dissolves in the water.
Ingredients: 2 teaspoons active dry yeast 1 ½ tablespoons (4 ½ teaspoons) granulated sugar 1 ¼ cups / 300ml warm water 3 ½ cups (500g) bread flour or AP flour what I used (you will need extra for kneading) 1 ½ teaspoons salt
2. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast and sugar mixture.
3. Pour 1/2 cup / 90ml of the remaining warm water into the well. Mix and stir in the rest of the water as needed. Depending on where you live, you may need to add anywhere from a couple tablespoons to about ¼ cup/60ml of water. You want a moist and firm dough after you have mixed it. I had to use all the water.
4. On a floured countertop, knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Try working in as much flour as possible to form a firm and stiff dough.
5. Lightly brush a large bowl with oil and turn the dough to coat. Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in size. Punch the dough down, and let it rest for another 10 minutes.
6. Carefully divide the dough into 8 pieces (I did not have a scale so I made a ball and cut it in half and half again and again until I had 8 pieces). Shape each piece into a round. Now, take a dough ball, and press it gently against the countertop (or whatever work surface you’re using) moving your hand and the ball in a circular motion pulling the dough into itself while reducing the pressure on top of the dough slightly until a perfect dough ball forms. Repeat with 7 other dough rounds.
7. Coat a finger in flour, and gently press your finger into the center of each dough ball to form a ring. Stretch the ring to about ⅓ the diameter of the bagel and place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Repeat the same step with the remaining dough.
8. After shaping the dough rounds and placing them on the cookie sheet or granite or wooden board, cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 425ºF.
9. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Reduce the heat. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to lower the bagels into the water. Boil as many as you are comfortable with boiling. Once the bagels are in, it shouldn’t take too long for them to float to the top (a couple seconds). Let them sit there for 1 minute, and them flip them over to boil for another minute.
10. If you want to top your bagels with stuff, do so as you take them out of the water. I didn’t brush them with egg wash I just sprinkled on and voila!
11. Once all the bagels have boiled (and have been topped with your choice of toppings), transfer them to a lightly oiled baking sheet or in my case I oiled the parchment paper on my baking sheet.
12. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown. I rotated the pan 1/2 way through.
13. Cool on a wire rack… or if you are my kids tear one open slather it with butter orschmear it with cheese cream and devour it.
Banoffee pie is an English dessert pie made from bananas, cream and toffee, combined either on a buttery biscuit base or one made from crumbled biscuits and butter.
In simple terms it is a pie that is freaking delicious!
1 and 1/2 cups (150g) graham cracker crumbs (about 10 full sheet graham crackers)
5 Tablespoons (72g) unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar
1 and 1/4 cups dulce de leche**
2 large bananas, sliced
2 cups (480ml) cold heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar or granulated sugar*
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
optional toppings: chocolate shavings, chopped nuts, or toffee bits for garnish
What is Dulce de Leche?
Dulce de leche is similar to caramel, but a little sweeter and creamier. It’s prepared by slowly heating sugar and milk until everything caramelizes. If we’re getting all scientific, I learned that a lot of the flavor comes from the Maillard reaction. Interesting! Dulce de lecheis Spanish for candy made/of milk. There are a few ways to prepare dulce de leche including:
The classic method of cooking down and constantly stirring milk and sugar
The shortcut method of cooking sweetened condensed milk
We’re using the shortcut method today, Both are delicious!
You need 1 can of sweetened condensed milk, a non stick frying pan, spatula and patience.
Pour the can of sweetened condensed milk into a non stick frying pan. Put heat on medium and stir with a spatula. You want the milk turn into a deep caramel colour that we will use for the banoffee pie. This whole process will take anywhere from 15-30 minutes. Whatever you do don’t stop stiring it! You can also do it on medium low heat too. This is a marathon not a sprint.
Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
If you’re starting out with full-sheet graham crackers, you can use a food processor or blender to grind them up. Or crush them in a zipped top bag with a rolling pin. Mix the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and granulated sugar together in a medium bowl until combined. The mixture will be thick, coarse, and sandy. Press the mixture into the bottom and slightly up the sides of a 9-inch pie dish. Make sure it is tight and compact. Use the bottom of a flat measuring cup to press it down tightly. Bake the crust for 15-16 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes (and up to 2 days) before adding the layers. Meanwhile, make the whipped cream. (Next step.)
For the whipped cream: Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract on medium-high speed until medium peaks form, about 3-4 minutes. Medium peaks are between soft/loose peaks and stiff peaks and are the perfect consistency for topping and piping on desserts.
Spread dulce de leche on top of the crust. Arrange banana slices in 1-2 layers on top of the dulce de leche, then spread whipped cream on top.
Refrigerate pie uncovered for at least 2 hours and up to 1 day. Garnish with toppings before serving, if desired.
Cover and store leftover pie in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It won’t last 5 days…. just sayin’.
Big, fluffy, soft and absolutely delicious. I have to admit I’m not much of a baker. I prefer to wing it in the kitchen, but with baking you can’t do that.
This recipe is pretty fool proof however! It takes a while though… from start to finish you are looking at about 3 hours or so. On a rainy day these are perfect to make!
For the dough:
¾ cup warm milk (whole milk or 2% preferred) (110 degrees F)
2 ¼ teaspoons quick rise or active yeast (1/4-ounce package yeast)
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
¼ cup salted butter, melted
3 cups flour, plus more for dusting
3/4 teaspoon salt
For the filling:
2/3 cup dark brown sugar (light brown sugar also works)
1 ½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup salted butter, softened
For the cream cheese frosting:
4 oz cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Warm milk to around 110 degrees F. I like to do this by placing milk in a microwave safe bowl and microwaving it for 40-45 seconds. It should be like warm bath water. Transfer warm milk to the bowl of an electric mixer and sprinkle yeast on top. Add in sugar, egg, egg yolk and melted butter. Mix until well combined. Next stir in flour and salt with a wooden spoon until a dough begins to form.
Place dough hook on stand mixer and knead dough on medium speed for 8 minutes. Dough should form into a nice ball and be slightly sticky. If it’s TOO sticky (meaning it’s sticking to the bottom of the mixer, add in 2 tablespoons more flour.) If you don’t want to use an electric mixer, you can use your hands to knead the dough for roughly 8 minutes on a well-floured surface.
Transfer dough ball to a well-oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a warm towel. Allow dough to rise for 1 hour to 1 ½ hours, or until doubled in size. This may more or less time depending the humidity and temperature in your home.
After dough has doubled in size, transfer dough to a well-floured surface and roll out into a 14×9 inch rectangle. Spread softened butter over dough, leaving a ¼ inch margin at the far side of the dough.
In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar and cinnamon. Use your hands to sprinkle mixture over the buttered dough, then rub the brown sugar mixture into the butter.
Tightly roll dough up, starting from the 9-inch side and place seam side down making sure to seal the edges of the dough as best you can. You will probably need to cut off about an inch off the ends of the dough as the ends won’t be as full of cinnamon sugar as we’d want it to be.
Cut into 1 inch sections with a serrated knife or floss. You should get 9 -12 large pieces.. I got 10 🤷♀️
Place cinnamon rolls in a greased 9×13 inch baking pan or round 9 inch cake pan. (I also recommend lining the pan with parchment paper as well, in case any of the filling ends up leaking out.) Cover with plastic wrap and a warm towel and let rise again for 30-45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees or 325 convection bake F. Remove plastic wrap and towel and bake cinnamon rolls for 20-25 minutes or until just slightly golden brown on the edges. You want to underbake them a little so they stay soft in the middle, that’s why we want them just slightly golden brown. Allow them to cool for 5-10 minutes before frosting. Makes 9-12 cinnamon rolls.
To make the frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth and fluffy. Spread over cinnamon rolls and serve immediately. Enjoy!
These Best Ever Vanilla Bean Scones are the perfect homemade coffee shop treat for vanilla lovers! Follow all my pro tips for making the best flaky scones!
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 vanilla bean or you can use 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or 2 tsp of vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsalted butter COLD and grated
3/4 cup cream – I used heavy but you can use coffee cream
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Start by sifting the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a clean, dry bowl using a sieve or sifter. Tap the sieve against the palm of your hand until all the dry ingredients have passed through it and you’re left with the lumps. Push the lumps through the sieve with your finger tips.
Next, slice a vanilla bean down the centre lengthwise using a paring knife. Skip this step if you are using vanilla bean paste or extract
Open it up and scrape out as many of the teeny tiny vanilla bean seeds as you can using the back edge of your knife.
Even after you’ve scraped out all the vanilla seeds you can, don’t throw away the rest of the bean! Put it in your sugar container for vanilla sugar.
Add the vanilla bean seeds to the flour mixture and blend in using a whisk. Try your best to break up the clumps of vanilla bean seeds, but if there are a few tiny clumps left that’s ok. The vanilla bean seeds will probably disappear into the flour mixture, but don’t worry. They’ll become visible again once the wet ingredients are added.
In a liquid measuring cup, measure the cream and add the egg. Whisk together using a fork and set aside.
The next few steps should be done quickly, as you’re working with cold butter and you want the butter to be as cold as possible when it hits the heat of the oven. This will result in a flaky scone, rather than a heavy and dense one.
Grate your butter, right from the fridge, into little pieces and dump it into the flour mixture.
Using your hands (wash them well first and remove any rings), pick up handfuls of the butter and flour mixture, rubbing the pieces of butter and the flour between the heels of your hands to create “sheets” of butter. You should act quickly here, and don’t allow the pieces of butter to sit in your hands for any length of time as the heat from your hands will cause it to soften. The goal is to create paper-thin pieces of butter, small and large throughout the mixture. Once there are no thick chunks of butter remaining, only thin sheets, remove your hands from the mixture. Hands equal heat, so handle the mixture as little as possible.
Pour in the wet ingredients and mix roughly with a fork. Do not over mix, or the result will be heavy and dense. Once the wet ingredients have been incorporated but there are still several streaks of flour, turn the dough out onto a clean and floured counter surface. Press the dough down into the counter and then fold one half over the other half like you are folding a piece of paper. Press down again and make another fold. Repeat this 2 or 3 more times, gathering any outlying dough bits and flour into your folds. Don’t knead the dough like you would if you were making bread, and don’t stir or mix the dough like you would if you were making muffins. Scones are technically a pastry, so the goal is flaky layers that are created by the thin sheets of butter and all the folding.
Once your dough is formed after folding several times, shape it into a 10-inch rectangle (approximately).
Again, be careful not to handle the dough too much, so a few little cracks here and there are fine. I sometimes sneak in a few mini chocolate chips for Holly into 1/2 the batch. 😉
Cut the rectangle into 12 squares with a very sharp knife
Arrange the squares on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for about 18-22 minutes. I usually set the timer and start watching them after about 16 minutes. You want them to stay nice and white and not get too brown, especially on the narrow end of the triangle.
Remove them from the oven when they’re just barely golden brown on the bottom and the surface of the scones lose their shine. Let them cool for 3-5 minutes on the baking sheet. Transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely. Eat and enjoy !
I don’t know about you but I love a good cheese ball as part of a charcuterie board. I know it sounds bit retro but I don’t care.
They are creamy, and tasty and SO easy to make. You can whip this up in 10 minutes. I prefer letting it set overnight so the flavours come together but I have also been known to eat this straight out of the bowl… this is a judgement free zone 😉
Here is what you need:
1cupwhite sharp cheddar cheeseshredded / of old white cheddar
1cupdried cranberrieschopped and divided
1cuppecanschopped and toasted
1/4cupchives or green onionschopped (Iprefer chives)
½tsp garlic powder
½tsp of seasoning salt
To Toast Pecans: Pre-heat oven to 375F. Place chopped pecans on a baking tray and bake for 5 minutes or until aromatic. Remove from oven and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, cheddar cheese, ½ toasted pecans, ½ cup dried cranberries, chive or green onion, seasoning salt and garlic powder until well combined.
Place mixture in the center of a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper and cover completely with wrap while forming it into a ball shape. Place in fridge until ready to serve.
Just before serving, combine remaining ½ cup pecans, ½ dried cranberries, and 2 tablespoon chives on a flat surface or cutting board. Unwrap the ball and roll in cranberry-pecan mixture.