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Sweet Treats

Ding Dong Cake

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Ding Dong Cake

When the older members of the family get their choice, including my now teenage son, more often than not, they choose a Ding Dong Cake.  What the heck is a Ding Dong Cake?  Maybe remember a spongy chocolate coated, cream and caramel filled chocolate snack cake in a cellophane package that sat on corner store shelves and could likely survive the apocalypse? That was a Ding Dong. What I make may be inspired by that snack, but it is so much tastier!

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Elevated Crispy Rice Squares (thanks to Brown Butter)

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Elevated Crispy Rice Squares (thanks to Brown Butter)

If you have been out to eat at least once in the last few years, you have likely seen Brown Butter something on the menu.  Savoury and sweet chefs' love this ingredient for the nutty, complex flavour it adds to their dishes.  There is good reason for chefs' obsession with Brown Butter…it is delicious!! Beurre Noisette (that is just the fancy French work for Brown Butter) is simply unsalted butter that is cooked to the point that the milk solids in the butter begin to cook and caramelize giving your butter a nutty flavour.  

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How to Crown your Cookies:  Royal Icing

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How to Crown your Cookies: Royal Icing

Now when it comes to icings, I am all about the buttercream (check out my blog for my Swiss Meringue Buttercream Recipe).  While buttercream is great in a sandwich cookie or as a dip for sugar cookies, it is not optimal for decorating as it remains soft and will squish and smudge. For detailed decorating you need to use royal icing.  Royal icing is a simple mixture of egg whites, icing sugar and flavour that is easy to pipe with and dries hard so your cookies can be moved, stacked and stored without the risk of smearing. 

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A Treat for your Valentine:  Chocolate Lava Cakes

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A Treat for your Valentine: Chocolate Lava Cakes

As a trained pastry chef I have to admit I am almost embarrassed to be offering this recipe.  This once king of fine-dining desserts now gets snickers from chefs and foodies when it appears on a menu.  It is now so common place it is seen as showing little creativity or technique from the kitchen.  Despite the Lava Cake’s fall from fine dining grace, it is still hard to beat that first delicious bite of warm, oozing chocolate!

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Favourite Banana Bread

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Favourite Banana Bread

To use up all those bananas, I have tried banana-oatmeal cookies, banana snack cake, banana pancakes, banana ice-cream and more, but in my family’s opinion those are all a waste of time because chocolate-chip banana bread will always be number one in their hearts.

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A Fruitcake to Love

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A Fruitcake to Love

People can be divided into those who love Fruitcake and those who hate Fruitcake.  It is very polarizing and there is little middle ground!  I was in the latter group until one Christmas season I was reading my December issue of BonAppetit and saw a recipe for, “A Fruitcake to Love.” A light fruitcake that had olives in it!  I present this recipe mainly for the haters in the hopes that you will stick your toe over the line and give it a try.

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Oh Snap!  Ginger Snaps!

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Oh Snap! Ginger Snaps!

It is that time of the year when I am deciding what Christmas Cookies I will be baking this year.  I always try two or three new ones from all those cooking magazines that I subscribe to.  However, there are two that always make my list, my Grandma’s Shortbread and Ginger Snap cookies.  As soon as the first batches of these are in the oven I start to feel the Christmas spirit!! 

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Frozen Crème Anglaise (aka Vanilla Ice-Cream)

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Frozen Crème Anglaise (aka Vanilla Ice-Cream)

Why I do I love making homemade ice-cream?  Let me count the ways: 1) It is not as sweet as most commercial ice-cream, 2) I can get creative and make the perfect flavour for my dessert, 3) It has no artificial “junk” in it, 4) it is rich and creamy and has a pure flavour.  There, have I convinced you?

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NO!  Guimauve!

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NO!  Guimauve!

I love homemade marshmallows!  Guests are always “wowed” by them, (although once they see how easy they are they may not be as impressed) and you can easily customize them with booze, fruit, nuts and chocolate. 

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When you Can't Wait for Mini-Doughnuts at Stampede

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When you Can't Wait for Mini-Doughnuts at Stampede

Deep-Fried Jello, Crispy Chicken Feet on a Stick and Canadian Bacon Pickle Balls all sound interesting, but nothing really lives up to those mini doughnuts…warm from the fryer and sprinkled in cinnamon sugar.  But Stampede is still more than six weeks away and I am not inclined to deep-fry this afternoon, so luckily I have a recipe for doughnut muffins that does a very good impression of this Stampede favourite. 

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Smash that Cake!

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Smash that Cake!

If you have a toddler in your life, then you have heard of Smash Cakes.  For those of you living adult only lives, smash cakes are all the rage for celebrating first birthdays.  The birthday boy or girl is given a small cake of their very own to, you guessed it, smash it!

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