I was looking for a way to make it easier for LongJohn to grasp slippery avocado without totally. smushing. it. EVERYWHERE. and I found out that people BAKE the suckers after BREADING them. I got very excited about that. Then I looked at the price of avocados in this country and felt less excited. But LongJohn needs his superfoods …
The trick here is to use underripe avocados, because otherwise they go a little too squishy after baking. These were perhaps a little past their prime but they did a decent job.
Preheat your oven to 350°F, set the rack in the centre of the oven, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pit and peel your avocados and slice them lengthwise into nice long “fries.”
Grab a bowl with some flour, another with some panko (seasoned with salt and pepper and whatever else you crazy kids can come up with), and a third bowl with a beaten egg (go with the ratio of one egg for every avocado you use).
Dip an avocado fry into the egg, then the flour, then the panko, and lay them out on the baking sheet.
Spray the fries with some cooking spray (sounds weird, I know, but trust me – it’ll make the panko go all nice and golden).
Bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping the fries halfway through, until the panko is gloriously gold and they’re nice and crispy. You can see that my fries were a little softer than they should be in that my spatula took chunks out of them in the flipping process.
I served these up to LongJohn with some tasty tuna patties, a dijon-yogurt dipping sauce, and a small mountain of fresh fruit … but you can do them however you do.
I found this recipe in the newspaper a little while back and thought it looked tempting enough to try. It’s easy peasy and totally delectable but it looks complicated and fancy when you serve it, and it is not a totally overpowering dessert, so you can always have seconds!
The impossible part of this pie is that you mix everything together all at once and pour the very liquidy batter into your pan for baking, and what comes out ends up having three layers: a sweet fudgy layer at the bottom, a custardy layer in the middle, and the chewy coconut layer on top. Full disclosure: I never achieved the fudgy bottom layer, but I suspect it’s because I used a huge heavy pie pan (because that was the only one I had that was deep enough). Perhaps if you use a thinner pie pan you might have better luck – if not, the pie is still pretty effing good.
Heat your oven to 325°F and spray a 10″ wide and 2″ deep pie pan.
Melt 1/2 cup butter, and let that come to room temperature. Pro tip: if you only melt the butter halfway, then give it a stir, the melted butter will melt the non-melted butter and the non-melted butter will bring the temperature of the melted butter down faster and you don’t have to wait as long for your super molten burn-y melted butter to cool down. It’s like MAGIC. Or thermodynamics. Either or.
Grab 4 large eggs out of the fridge and bring them to room temperature by plopping them in a bowl of warm water. While you’re at it, leave 2 cups whole milk (or a combo of milk and cream) out on the counter to warm up too. HEY PRESTO!
Take 1 lemon and zest it and then juice it. Nothing super magic about that. It’s a lemon for crying out loud.
Grab yourself a perfectly ordinary food processor (or is it?). Or a blender. Or do this by hand. I prefer the magic of electricity. Plop in your 4 eggs, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.
Then tip in (or do this first, the order doesn’t matter – this is just how I took the photos) 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder.
THEN tip in (or do this second, or whatever) your 1/2 cup butter, 2 cups whole milk, and lemon juice and zest.
Give that a good whaz, THEN tip in (and this time it DOES matter the order because this has to happen after the whazzing) 1 1/4 cups shredded sweetened dried coconut (I used unsweetened. It was fine.). Stir that around.
Pour the batter into your prepared pan. There it is, all perfectly ordinary and homogeneous-ish.
Shove that in your prepared oven (I used my convection toaster oven) and bake for 55-60 minutes, until the top is a golden brown around the edges and you can shove a toothpick in the centre and it comes out clean (LIKE IT WAS NEVER DIRTY! AMAZING!).
Pop that on a wire rack to cool. You can serve this warm but it cuts best if it’s been chilled first, so I recommend that. Keep any leftovers (HA) in the fridge, covered up.
Even without that fudgy layer, this thing was still ballin’.
If you have checked me out recently on Instagram, you may have noticed that LongJohn and I just spent the last three weeks hanging out with my parents in Florida, where we both got a nice tan and the kid grew about four inches.
I didn’t do too much cooking while I was there, but I did make one or two things, and here’s one of them. My dad was trying to clear out the pantry in preparation for their trip back to the True North, so in my efforts to help him get rid of a few things, I came up with this puppy. It’s a good cake for the winter or the summer (I think).
Preheat your oven to 350°F and spray or butter an 8″ x 8″ glass baking dish. Might as well polish off some of the brownies-from-a-box you made the day before. Gotta keep cleaning out that cupboard, right?
Grab some butter (oh, the land where butter is always at a spreadable temperature!) and melt 3 tablespoons of it.
Grab a small bowl and tip in 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 cup oats, and 1 teaspoon baking powder. Then assemble the rest of your stuff: 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, a pinch ground cloves, 1/3 cup molasses, 1 egg, and of course your 3 tablespoons melted butter. You’ll see here as well about 1-ish cup fresh (not frozen) blueberries. If you use frozen blueberries the juice from the broken blueberries will get all through the batter and alter the molasses taste. It might also take longer to cook.
Take all the stuff that isn’t in a bowl with oats or is blueberries and beat that together.
Take the blueberries and tip them in the bowl with the oats and flour and stir that a bit. Coating the blueberries in flour prevents them all from sinking to the bottom of the baking dish.
Plop the oats, flour, and blueberries into the molasses mix and stir until smooth(ish).
Spoon that into your prepared dish and bake for 25-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. This timing will really depend on how thick the glass on your dish is. I cooked this in a convection toaster oven which I think is slightly hotter than it says it is, and so it was done in 25 minutes. Put the cake, still in the dish, on a wire rack to cool completely.
Now if you want to make it fancy, grab yourself a nice ripe whole pineapple. The pineapple trivet is optional.
Cut the top and bottom of the pineapple up and then slice off the skin.
Cut the pineapple into quarters along its core, and slice off the core from the quarters.
Cut each quarter lengthwise into three pieces. Too complicated? Just cut it up any way you would like. I’m not your mother.
Coat each one of the pineapple pieces in granulated sugar.
Set those aside for a minute.
In a large skillet or frying pan (or saucepan, whichever is your biggest), melt another 3 tablespoons butter.
Cook all the slices of pineapple in the skillet on medium heat until they’re cooked through and kind of shrunken, about 8-10 minutes. If you don’t have room to cook them all in the pan at once, wait until some of them shrink before adding a few more slices.
Remove from pan and set on serving plate. They will start to ooze thick sugary juice.
Add 3 tablespoons water to the butter and sugar in pan and let it thicken, stirring, JUST until it starts to brown then remove immediately from the heat. It will continue to brown as you stir, off the heat.
Drizzle that over the pineapple.
You can serve them hot but if you leave the caramel on the pineapple as it cools it will slowly dissolve back into the juice, leaving a nice sauce you can spoon over the pineapple and the square when you serve it.
As a follow-up to the angel food cake we made in the last post, I made this devil’s food cake the same day to use up the 12 yolks I had on hand. The only problem was that there wasn’t actually a recipe out there that used 12 yolks in a chocolate cake. We had long since grown out of doing that, using whole eggs instead. All the 12-yolk recipes on the internet were for yellow cakes, not chocolate. So I had to make it up. And here it is. I’m quite pleased with the results.
Start by preheating your oven to 350°F and grab yourself a bundt pan. You can do this in any pan you like, or make it into a layer cake, but because I was serving this alongside the gluten-free angel-food cake, I wanted them both to be round with holes in the middle. Butter or spray your pan and then flour it to be on the safe side.
If you can bear to part with it (and as a parent of a nearly one-year-old, that’s a big sacrifice), save 1 3/4 cup coffee from your morning brew and allow it to cool. To up the coffee insanity (unless you made espresso earlier), tip in 2 tablespoons instant coffee or espresso powder and stir to combine.
Chop up about 1 cup chocolate into wee pieces and toss it in the top of a double boiler or heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water and let that sucker melt. Let it cool a little bit so it’s not molten lava.
In another container, whisk together 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa, 2 1/4 cups flour, and 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda.
In the bowl of your mixer, cube up 1 cup butter (softened) and beat the crap out of it together with 1 1/2 cups sugar until it’s soft and fluffy.
Then grab your 12 egg yolks and slide them into the mixer one at a time until they’re fully combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Add in 2 teaspoons vanilla as well.
Look at that yellow loveliness.
Now beat in your melted chocolate until your batter resembles a tar pit.
Then grab your flour/cocoa mixture and your coffee.
Alternate adding the two ingredient groups, flour-coffee-flour-coffee-flour and mix until the batter is smooth.
Even with a spatter shield in place I still had a bit of a mess.
Smooth the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure if it’s 35 minutes or not. I didn’t write down that part of my recipe and after having dropped one angel food cake and had to make up another it kind of slipped my mind. But I’m guessing 35 minutes. If it’s not, then it’s a little longer, maybe 45 minutes. But certainly not less than 35 minutes. So keep an eye on it. And tell me what you come up with.
When the cake has somewhat cooled you can tip it out onto a rack to cool completely. You can see the light coloured stuff on the surface: that’s the flour/butter from the pan. If you don’t want that to show up – like if you’re not planning to ice the cake – then don’t flour it (maybe use cocoa?).
While the cake is cooling, you can make up a ganache. Chop up another 8 oz chocolate and set it in a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, heat 1 cup whipping cream until it’s just simmering, then pour it over the chocolate and stir it occasionally until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is uniform.
Let that cool until it reaches a spreadable consistency.
Then jam it all over your cake.
I decided seeing as I suck as icing things in an artistic fashion to kind of make it look like stucco by smacking my icing spatula against it and pulling it away.
Then I added some chips of white chocolate that I had on hand for contrast. I could have applied them better but again, not so good with the artistic part of cake-making. I’m more into the cake-eating.
We’ve made this cake before. Many times. But I thought I’d make it again for a dual birthday celebration we had a few weeks ago. This cake was for the Pie’s grandmother, who recently turned NINETY. The next cake on our list I made for Papa John, her son, who turned SEVENTY at the same time. The Pie’s grandmother is a celiac and she’s also lactose-intolerant, so making her a special treat for her birthday was going to be a challenge I looked forward to.
And why not actually go through the old traditional way where you make an angel food cake the same day as a devil’s food cake, so that you can use up all the yolks? So the devil’s food cake will be in my next post – stay tuned!
Begin with your egg whites. Separate 12 eggs, saving the yolks for the chocolate cake coming up (you can freeze them), and bring them to room temperature. Normally I do this by leaving the bowl in a patch of sun on my counter but if you’re in a hurry, you can set the bowl in warm water and that’ll do the trick too. Don’t try to use pasteurized egg whites from a carton: they will not whip at all. I’ve tried.
Plop your 12 egg whites in the bowl of your electric mixer with 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar and 2 teaspoons vanilla (or however much a generous dollop is. I never measure vanilla).
Beat that with the whisk attachment until it’s nice and thick and foamy, and then slowly tip in 1 cup granulated sugar while you beat it some more. It’s the sugar that makes the meringue here stiff and solid, so don’t skimp on it!
Once that’s ready you can set it aside for the moment and whisk together your “flour.” In this case, our tried-and-true combination for gluten-free gorgeousness is 1 1/3 cups icing sugar, 1/2 cup tapioca flour/starch, 1/4 cup cornstarch, 1/4 cup rice flour, 1 teaspoon xanthan gum, and 1/4 teaspoon (a pinch) fine salt.
Fold that flour mixture into the meringue mixture very carefully. You have to be gentle enough that you don’t smush the bubbles in the egg white, but thorough enough that you’re not leaving pockets of flour in the batter.
Smooth the batter into an UNGREASED angel food pan (can’t stress that enough, never grease your angel food pan or it will fall out on you).
Pop that in the oven for 35 minutes, until the top is golden-brown and dry to the touch. If you see cracks, that’s good.
Fantastic. Now take it out of the oven and invert it over a bottle or if it has feet, stand it on the feet. This keeps the cake from collapsing under its own weight as it cools. Once it cools it’s a lot more firm. The gluten-free version is always way squishier than the gluten-y one so this is very important.
Here’s my issue: my angel food pan is actually NON-STICK. So as I was inverting it, the bottom segment shifted away from the sides and I bobbled the whole thing, dropping it with a clatter. KABOOM.
At precisely that moment and not ten feet away, the Pie had just put his elbow down on LongJohn’s plate, spectacularly spattering his lunch all over the floor and wall. Windows too. That’s the kind of day we were having.
So I made another one. Which meant that we had not just 12, but 24 egg yolks. And a busted cake. “I guess that means we’re having trifle for dessert tonight,” said the Pie as he scrubbed hummus off the wall.
So that’s what we did. But that’s neither here nor there. I made the other cake. And it turned out even better than the previous one.
You can see that the pan is trying its best to screw me over by separating. Jerk.
Once the cake has cooled you can decant it from the pan and decorate it as you see fit. I usually whip up some cream and slather it all over with some fresh berries, but the Pie’s grandmother is also lactose intolerant, so I decided to try whipping coconut cream instead.
Coconut cream is a bit harder to find in Ottawa than regular coconut milk, but I eventually tracked some down in the local health food store. I was told by the cashier that the trick in getting it good and whippy is to make sure the cream, beaters, and bowl are all extremely cold. So the 2 cans coconut cream went into the fridge overnight and the beaters and the bowl went into the freezer.
I tipped the cream into the ice cold mixer bowl together with a few tablespoons icing sugar and a dobble or two of vanilla bean paste and gave it a whirl with the whisk attachment.
It takes a while, and it doesn’t get as stiff as whipped dairy cream, but it sure tastes good.
Slather that all over the cake. It’s a bit slippery so make sure to keep it in the fridge until you’re serving. Does anyone know if there’s some kind of stiffening agent you could add to make it stay put?
Pop some berries on top and in the hole in the middle and we are good to go!
I made this (from Recipe Tin Eats) for Nana Nice’s birthday a couple weeks ago. Unfortunately I had the plague and couldn’t partake but I can assure you that it’s equally good the next day …
Start by preheating your oven to 350°F and butter a 9″ springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment and butter that too. You can never have enough butter.
In a smallish pot on the stove, combine 8.5 ounces dark chocolate with 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 2 sticks unsalted butter, and 1/2 cup milk. Stir on medium low until the butter and chocolate have melted. Don’t let it come to a simmer.
Tip in into a bowl and whisk in 1/4 cup vegetable oil and 3/4 cup milk.
Then mix in 2 eggs – WAIT, I ONLY HAVE ONE EGG!
Not to worry. You can substitute an egg with 2 tablespoons flour, 1/2 teaspoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and 2 tablespoons milk, cream, butter, or yogurt.
Whisk in those “eggs.”
In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together 1/2 cup cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 3/4 cups plain flour, and 2 tablespoons instant coffee.
Sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and whisk until smooth.
Pour the mixture into the cake pan and bake for 70 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out mostly clean (a little residue means your cake will be extra fudgey!).
Remove the sides of the pan and let it cool completely on a rack.
You can frost this with whatever you want but a nice ganache is never a bad thing. Heat 1 cup whipping cream on the stove until it’s about to start simmering, then pour it over 8 ounces dark chocolate of your choosing.
Stir until smooth and all the chocolate has melted, and then leave it to cool until it spreads like peanut butter.
Frost your cake, and have fun with whatever swirls and squiggles you’d like!
This post has been sitting in my brain since Thanksgiving (the Canadian one, that is), so I figured for the American one I could accent your Black Friday with a chewy cookie.
These cookies inspired by Gimme Some Oven came out way flatter than I normally like and tasted a little greasy. I still prefer my Starbucks knockoff cookies, but I’m always on the lookout for another recipe, and someday when I no longer have a tiny boy with a short attention span on my hands, I may come up with my own.
Start, as you do with most cookies, with your powdery bits. Whisk together 4 cups flour, 4 teaspoons baking soda, and 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (put it together from here).
Set that aside and cream together 1 1/2 cups salted softened butter, and 2 cups granulated sugar.
Then pour yourself a lovely gob of 1/2 cup molasses.
Tip that into the butter mix, together with 2 eggs, and beat that up until combined.
Slowly add the flour mix and beat until well combined. Chill that dough for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 375°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll your dough into golf ball-sized balls and roll them in granulated sugar (with a dash of cinnamon mixed in). Plop them on the baking sheet and leave a lot of space as they flatten quite a bit.
Bake those puppies for 8-10 minutes, until they start to crack, then let them cool on the sheet before removing them to a rack (or just eating them).
Again, not my favourite adaptation but good nonetheless.
Do you have Hallowe’en candy left? We did. But then we had houseguests. But while we didhave leftover candy, I made these sweet somethings. I forgot to photograph the middle part but I’m trusting you to know what I’m talking about.
Start with some hardshelled chocolate candy. You want the stuff with shells otherwise the chocolate will just melt out of your cookie and ruin the structure. Here I have M&Ms, regular and peanut, Reese’s Pieces, and Smarties. For you Americans reading this, these are more like M&Ms – not the chalky discs we call Rockets.
Gather up about 1 1/2 cups of candy. Try to avoid eating it all as you empty the little tiny packets.
Grab 2 1/2 cups flour, and whisk it together with 3/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Set that aside.
With a mixer, cream together 1 cup softened butter, 3/4 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup granulated sugar (I only had white in the photo but brown makes it excellent).
Tip in 3 egg yolks and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and mix away.
Add in your flour mixer and mix on low until just combined. You want this still to be a little crumbly.
Dump in all your happy candy and stir it in.
Preheat your oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop a golf ball-sized lump of dough and form it into a ball. Roll the ball in granulated sugar and flatten slightly onto the baking sheet. Bake for about 16 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until the tops of the cookies start to crack. Allow them to cool on the baking sheet a little bit before you move them to a wire rack to cool – that way they’ll stay together better.
Then all you need to do is eat them – easy enough!
I whipped these up for dessert at Thanksgiving and like all my made-up cookie recipes, they’re dead easy and use the same base. Experiment with what you chuck into them and enjoy!
Start by whisking together 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and a dash of cinnamon. I put the cinnamon in not just for flavour, but also to help me determine if I’ve mixed in the baking powder well enough – if I can’t see streaks of cinnamon then that means there aren’t any streaks of baking powder either. Set that aside.
In the bowl of a mixer, or by hand if you’re Hercules, beat together 1 cup butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar until it’s stupid fluffy.
Crack in 1 large egg and a dribble of vanilla and beat again until fully incorporated.
Slowly tip in your flour mixture and beat on low until smooth and completely combined. The dough will be pretty stiff.
Then grab yourself some of your favourite dried fruit!
I tossed in rough handfuls (and remember we measured my handfuls and they’re precisely 1/3 of a cup) each of dried papaya, cranberries, golden raisins, and pineapple (though I tore up the larger pineapple pieces first).
Chill the dough for about 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet or two with parchment paper. Roll the dough into smallish balls and space evenly on the baking sheet (they will not expand very much).
Bake for 8-10 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, and then set the cookies on cooling rack to chill out.
There’s this tree in the green space where I walk with Gren and LongJohn in the mornings. It’s a beautiful old apple tree. I know it’s old because the apples on it are tiny and REALLY sour. But that doesn’t stop people from picking them – no sir. All the apples within a reasonable reach have been removed, so I scoured through the windfall after a recent storm and brought home about 15 or so more or less unscarred apples (because as you know I can’t resist stealing fruit from public places). I wanted to make turnovers, or handpies.
This is the first bit of baking I’ve done while solo in the house with an active and demanding baby on my hands, so it was a challenge to test both my rusty cooking skills and my son’s patience threshold. All in all, it worked out for the most part. I also cheated and used puff pastry but can you really blame me?
First, you need to peel the apples. I used about 15 of these tiny sour things but if you’re using regular apples maybe 3 large apples would suffice. Actually, before you peel the apples, you need to install the baby in his swing chair with Raffi for company. This will buy you about fifteen minutes.
It takes a while to peel 15 tiny misshapen apples.
Avoid the wormy ones.
Chop the apples up roughly and sprinkle the pieces with lemon juice, both to keep them from going brown and to add some tartness to the mix (not that you really need tartness with sour apples). Wrap them up and set them aside.
Next, whisk together 3 tablespoons cornstarch with 1/2 cup water.
Tip your apple pieces into a pan with some liberal dashes of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and some sugar. Use about 2 teaspoons sugar for each regular apple – for the sour ones I went a bit more generous and added about 6 tablespoons for the whole lot.
Re-install your baby in a new location with new focal points. You’ve got another fifteen minutes or so.
Cook the apples on medium heat until they’re bubbly and the liquid is starting to cook down.
Tip in the cornstarch mixture (you may need to re-whisk it because it’s not a solution and the cornstarch will likely be sticking firmly to the bottom of your dish).
Stir quickly in and watch the juices thicken.
Remove from the heat and spread in a thin layer on a plate to cool. Attempt to put your baby down for his nap.
After failing to put your baby down for his nap (strange how a logical argument does not work on a three-month-old), grab some thawed puff pastry (this stuff comes in a box with two rolled out squares in it) and use a rolling pin to gently expand the sheet. You want the pastry a little thinner than it comes standard.
Cut the square into 9 equal(ish) pieces.
Place a dollop of the cooled apple goo on each square.
Carefully peel the pastry off the paper and fold it over itself to form a triangle. Pinch the seams closed.
Puff pastry objects to being handled so roughly so they look a little demented.
Give your baby a different toy to punch. Encourage him to yell obscenities at the toy (I don’t speak baby so that’s what I’m assuming he’s doing) to buy yourself some more time.
On the second sheet, I didn’t roll the pastry out as much, and it was easier to remove it from the paper. They looked less demented.
Crack and beat an egg and brush each of the pastries with a bit of egg goo. Set them on a sheet of parchment on a baking sheet.
Bake your pastries for about 20-25 minutes at 375°F and eat them as soon as they’re cool enough to hold in your hand. The demented ones stayed together better than the non-demented ones – just keep that in mind.