mini pumpkin pies on a green plate

These Mini Pumpkin Pies From Anna Olson Will Become Your New Addiction

I love a good pumpkin pie when the cold-weather entertaining season hits, and these individual pies are adorable and fulfilling. This recipe can be baked as a traditional 9-inch pie.  Prepare the dough and filling as per the recipe, line a glass pie plate with the pastry and chill while making the filling.  Bake the pie for about 50 minutes at 375°F.

Related: Creative Pumpkin Recipes to Try This Fall


Mini Pumpkin Pies

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 6 individual pies (Or enough for one 9-inch pie)

Ingredients
For the pie dough:
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp fine salt
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup cool unsalted butter, cut into pieces (does not have to be ice cold)
¼ cup cool water
2 tsp white vinegar or lemon juice

For the filling:
2 cups pure pumpkin puree
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
3 Tbsp  fancy molasses
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
¾ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp fine salt
3 large eggs
1 cups whipping cream

For the topping:
1 ½ cups whipping cream
1 ½ Tbsp instant skim milk powder
2 Tbsp icing sugar

Related: Gorgeous Pumpkin Recipes That Aren’t Pumpkin Pie

Directions:
1. Combine the flour, sugar and salt together. Add the oil and blend in using a pastry cutter, electric beaters or a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until the flour looks evenly crumbly in texture.

2. Add the butter and cut in until rough and crumbly but small pieces of butter are still visible. Stir the water and vinegar (or lemon juice, if using) together and add all at once to the flour mixture, mixing just until the dough comes together.  Shape the dough into 2 logs, wrap and chill until firm, at least an hour.

3. Preheat the oven to 375°F and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Pull the pie dough from the fridge 30 minutes before you wish to roll it out.

4. Divide the dough into 6 pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll out a piece of dough to just under ¼-inch thick. Dust each of your 6  pie shells with flour and line the tart shell with the pastry, trimming away any excess. Place on the prepared baking tray.  Repeat with the remaining pastry portions and tart shells, and chill the shells while you prepare the filling.

Related: Chocolate Pumpkin Truffle Pops

5. Whisk the pumpkin puree with the brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cloves and salt until evenly blended. Whisk in the eggs followed by the cream. Pour this carefully into each of the tart shells and bake for about 30 minutes, until all but an inch at the centre of each tart jiggle when the shell is moved.  Allow the tarts to cool on the tray on a cooling rack to room temperature and then chill for at least 90 minutes before serving.

6. To garnish the tarts, whip the cream and skim milk powder until it holds a soft peak when the beaters are lifted. Whisk in the icing sugar. Remove each tart from its metal shell.  Dollop each tart with a bit of cream and serve.

Craving more pumpkin recipes? Why not try these: Perfect Pumpkin Desserts to Make Your Fall Menu Sweeter

Tune into Anna’s Occasions to see new episodes. Watch and stream all your favourite Food Network Canada shows through STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, or with the new Global TV app, live and on-demand when you sign-in with your cable subscription.

a chocolate turtle cake on a wooden serving board

We Can’t Get Enough of This Chocolatey Turtle Sheet Cake Recipe

The decadent chocolate cake takes inspiration from classic Turtle chocolates for the ultimate rich and moist dessert. Topped with whipped ganache, drizzled with caramel, and sprinkled with a pinch of flaky salt and lots of crunchy roasted pecans, it’s a textural treat that’s sure to please everyone. Best paired with coffee or tea, this is not your average chocolate cake!

a chocolate turtle cake on a wooden serving board

Turtle Sheet Cake

Prep Time: 1 hour
Bake Time: 35 minutes
Rest Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hour, 35 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients
Sheet cake
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp corn starch
1½ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
¼ cup and 3 Tbsp cocoa powder
¼ cup and 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
½ cup and 1 Tbsp buttermilk
½ cup brewed black coffee (cold)
2 eggs

sheet cake ingredients for chocolate turtle sheet cake

Caramel
½ cup and 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
¼ cup and 1 Tbsp heavy cream
2 Tbsp unsalted butter

caramel ingredients for chocolate turtle sheet cake

Ganache
½ cup whipping cream
¾ cup milk chocolate

chocolate ganache ingredients for chocolate turtle sheet cake

To assemble
Flaky salt, to taste
Roasted pecans, to taste

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a cake pan with parchment paper.

2. In a bowl, combine all sheet cake ingredients. Using an electric mixer or whisk, combine to form smooth mixture.

Related: This Impressive 12-Layer Chocolate Cake is Made With a Single Pan

batter for chocolate turtle sheet cake

3. Fill the cake pan with the batter and bake for 35 minutes or until when a skewer is inserted it comes out clean. Once baked, let the cake cool at room temperature for at least 2 hours.

4. While the cake cools, make the caramel: in a medium sized pot, caramelize the sugar until amber. Add the hot cream slowly while stirring over low heat. Remove the sugar and cream mixture from the heat and let it cool until warm. Stir in the butter until combined using a whisk or hand blender. Allow the caramel to cool and store it in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Related: Plum and Cardamom Coffee Cake is the Unexpected Flavour Pairing You Must Try

caramel drizzle in a jar

5. For the ganache: add the whipping cream and milk chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 1-minute intervals, mixing after every minute until combined. Refrigerate the ganache mixture for 30 minutes (or until it is cold and thick). Take it out of the refrigerator and using an electric mixer with whisk attachment to mix into a thick and creamy consistency.

6. To assemble the cake: Using the back of a spoon or spatula, spread the ganache onto the cooled cake and drizzle the caramel on top of ganache. Using the back of a spoon or spatula swirl it around so that the caramel semi-combines with the ganache. Sprinkle with roasted pecans and salt flakes and serve.

flaky salt being sprinkled over a chocolate turtle sheet cake

Note: You can store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week in an airtight container to maintain freshness.

a closup of chocolate turtle sheetcake

Love Yakuta’s chocolate cake? Try her rye oatmeal chocolate chip cookies next!

Nachos loaded with armstrong cheese on a serving platter

The Easiest, Cheesiest Nacho Recipe to Make Tonight

The key to any good plate of nachos is ooey gooey cheese, and lots of it! To ensure you get that melty cheese pull you’re looking for, be sure to load up on Armstrong Tex Mex Shredded Cheese. Well-seasoned ground chicken, roasted red peppers, fiery jalapeno and a final sprinkle of fresh cilantro and chives take this nacho plate to supreme levels.

Related: Cheesy Chorizo and Potato Bites Are the Ultimate Crowd Pleaser

Nachos loaded with armstrong cheese on a serving platter

Cheesy Tex Mex Nachos

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients
1 Tbsp olive oil
¼ cup cooking onion, diced
1 Tbsp garlic, finely chopped
1 lb (454 g) ground chicken
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp cayenne
1 bag (250 g) nacho chips
1 cup roasted red pepper, diced
1 fresh jalapeno, thinly sliced
¼ cup fresh chives, chopped
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 package (320 g) Armstrong Tex Mex Shredded Cheese

Directions
1. Drizzle olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until transparent, about 3 minutes.

2. Add ground chicken, and use a spatula to break it up into small pieces. Let the meat brown without moving it for about 3 minutes. This gives the meat more contact to the pan and will result in a better sear. Sprinkle meat with cumin, coriander, paprika and cayenne. Continue to brown the chicken, stirring every minute or so until all the moisture has evaporated, about 4-7 minutes. Make sure there are no signs of pink and break up any large pieces.

Related: This Cheesy Peameal Breakfast Sandwich Will Make You Excited to Wake Up in the Morning

3. Heat broiler to high and move rack to the middle position. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place nacho chips in an even layer. Spread cooked chicken mixture over the nacho chips, layer with roasted red peppers, jalapeno and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Broil for 2-4 minutes, watching closely.

4. Garnish with chives and cilantro. Serve immediately.

Love Roger’s cheesy nachos? Try his mac and triple cheese next!

garlic scape gremolata in a cast-iron serving dish

9 Easy Weekly Meal Plan Ideas That Really Work

Between busy schedules and a family full of picky eaters,  the dinner struggle is real. Finding inspiration for quick, budget-friendly and (at least somewhat) healthy meals can challenge the best of home cooks, never mind those whose plates are already heaped pile-high.

That’s where meal planning becomes a lifesaver—if you can take the time to actually do it. If you don’t have the means to sit down weekly and plot out your favourite fare, we’ve got your back with this simple guide that will help you plan your meals and grocery list, too. These meal ideas and recipes (one for every night of the week, plus two bonus ideas to swap in and out) makes preparing a weekly meal plan  or menu easy while helping you to create dishes that are anything but routine.

How to Start Meal Planning? Try These No-Fail Meal Planning Ideas!

garlic scape gremolata in a cast-iron serving dishGet the recipe for Sweet Potato and Zucchini Noodle Pasta with Garlic Scapes and Grilled Shrimp 

1. Start with Pasta

Pasta is an affordable universal favourite, so why not make it a weekly thing? Having a designated pasta night is genius because you can essentially pair any kind of pasta with whichever sauce, protein and veggie you feel like, and then you can do something completely different the following week.

Looking for some inspiration other than another plate of spaghetti and meatballs? Try these recipes instead:

Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese

15-Minute Three-Cheese Spring Pasta with Peas

Sweet Potato and Zucchini Noodle Pasta with Garlic Scapes and Grilled Shrimp 

Anna Olson’s Beef Stroganoff

Spaghetti with Olive Tapenade and Toasted Garlic Breadcrumbs 

Pappardelle Duck Ragu

If you’re off gluten or looking for a pasta option that packs extra protein, see our guide to alternative pastas.

2. You Can’t Go Wrong with Protein and Veg 

kimchi chicken patties being cooked in a frying panGet the recipe for 30-Minute Kimchi Chicken Patties

A  barbecued, baked or even pan-fried cut of meat or fish always pairs well with some steamed or baked veggies. Switch up your marinades and cooking methods for even more variety, and then throw in some rice, lentils or potatoes for a complete meal.

Want some new ideas? Check out these simple-to-prepare recipes:

30-Minute Kimchi Chicken Patties

No-Mess Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin With Veggies

The Best *Vegan* Steak Recipe Ever 

10-Minute Blackened Trout With Green Beans

Dill Salmon Burgers With Dairy-Free Tzatziki

3. Soup and Salads are Your Friends

immune boosting chicken soup in a bowl with bread on the sideGet the recipe for Immune-Boosting Bone Broth, Chicken and Vegetable Soup

There are so many hearty salads and filling soups out there these days that it’s easy to make either one a meal in itself. If the weather is nice, plan on eating an elevated salad one night of the week with some fancy ingredients to make it interesting. Or, for those weeks when you need something a little more comforting, plan on having a hot soup and some crusty baguette to go with it.

Get started with these recipes:

Immune-Boosting Bone Broth, Chicken and Vegetable Soup

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Marinated Artichoke Salad with Prosciutto and Parmesan

Slow Cooker Thai Red Curry Soup 

Herby Green Goddess Soup with Avocados and Feta 

Grilled Halloumi Salad

4. Make Use of Your Slow Cooker or Instant Pot

Get the recipe for Slow Cooker Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas

Who doesn’t love a meal that you can throw together and then forget about until it’s ready? That’s the beauty of slow cookers and Instant Pots—they do all of the heavy lifting for you. Figure out which night of the week will be your busiest, and then plan to use either tool to help pull dinner together in a breeze.

Need a new Crockpot or pressure cooker recipe? Check out any of these delicious dishes:

30-Minute Instant Pot Curry 

Instant Pot Turkey Chili 

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas

Slow Cooker Irish Stew 

Slow Cooker Saag Paneer 

Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken Breast

5. Stock up on Easy-to-Assemble Ingredients


Get the recipe for Greek-Style Baked Beans With Tomato Sauce and Feta 

Having a well-stocked pantry is always key when it comes to throwing together last-minute dinners, or figuring out how to use up fresh ingredients that have been sitting in your fridge for a few extra days. Make sure to keep things like canned tuna and lots of stock, tomato sauce and a few protein-filled grains and legumes on hand.

Check out these simple ideas to elevate your basic pantry staples:

Tuna Salad With Tomatoes, Basil, Beans, Kale and Garlic Chips 

One Can of Chickpeas, Six Different Meals

10-Minute Spicy Sautéed Cauliflower and Chickpea Dish

Greek-Style Baked Beans With Tomato Sauce and Feta 

One Can of Tomatoes, Six Different Meals

Vegan Sloppy Joe Sliders

6. Find Your Freezer Meals

Remember those meals you made a few months ago that have been sitting in your freezer just waiting to be eaten ever since? Well, make use of them already, especially if you know you have an evening coming up where preparing dinner is just going to be another thing to worry about. And if you haven’t gotten on the freezer meal train just yet, you may want to think about starting. Whether it’s doubling up on your next pasta sauce or cobbling together a second lasagna or tray of enchiladas, there are plenty of freezer meals that you can make ahead of time to enjoy on those hectic nights when cooking is the last thing you want to be doing.

7. Have an Eat-With-Your-Hands Night

Get the recipe for The Best Homemade Veggie Burger

Whether it’s a burger, pizza or taco, it’s always fun to eat with your hands. That’s probably why these are the same fast-food items we tend to usually order throughout the week. If you want to save money, use better ingredients and still have a meal in a matter of minutes for a well-deserved Eat-With-Your-Hands night!

From pizza and tacos to sloppy joes and charcuterie boards, there are plenty of hands-on dishes to choose from here:

Halloumi Burgers and Colourful Veggie Slaw 

Georgian Cheese Bread 

Sourdough Toasties, 3 Ways

Double Stacked Patties with Secret Sauce

Mexican-Inspired Taco Burgers

How to Make the Perfect Veggie Burger (Plus One Easy Recipe!)

8. Make One Night a Meatless Night

cauliflower-pot-pieGet the recipe for Vegan Shepherd’s Pie with Crispy Cauliflower Crust

We’ve heard of Meatless Mondays, but really any night of the week is a good excuse to go meatless—especially when you incorporate foods like whole grains, quinoa and barley that fill the tummy and soul. Stir yourself up a creamy risotto, build a yummy Buddha bowl with all the things, or stuff an eggplant or squash with some whole grains and nuts. Keep it simple and hearty, and before long, you won’t even remember a time when you didn’t incorporate a meatless dish into your meal planning. Check out these easy vegan recipes  to get you started:

Silky, Tender Chinese Steamed Eggplant 

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms 

Baked Falafel Sliders With Tabbouleh and Tahini Sauce 

Classic Middle Eastern Eggplant Casserole With a Vegan Twist 

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie with Crispy Cauliflower Crust

Hearty 20-Minute Vegan Zucchini Ramen Noodle Soup 

9. Plan a Designated Leftover Night

A leftover pasta frittata topped with tomatoes and basil
Get the recipe for Easy 20-Minute Leftover Pasta Frittata With Radicchio Salad 

Last but not least, it’s always a great idea to make one night an evening of no planning. That’s right, we’re talking leftovers. Once a week, throw whatever leftovers you have in the fridge on the table for everyone to enjoy, or reimagine them into a creative, brand new dish that requires very little effort.

Check out some of our favourite ways to use up leftovers here:

The Best Leftover Turkey Pizza 

Our Favourite Leftover Chicken Recipes

Easy 20-Minute Leftover Pasta Frittata With Radicchio Salad 

The Crispiest Leftover Potatoes

Leftover Turkey Dinner Hand Pies

5 Delicious Ways to Use Broccoli Stems 

Looking for more meal planning tips? Try these tips for prepping slow cooker meals.

Beauty shot of a bundt cake on a decorated table

Which Baked Good Matches Your Personality? Take Our Quiz

The holidays are fast approaching and you know what that means: now’s the time to start planning all of the flaky, buttery, downright delightful sweets and treats you want to make. If you really want to impress friends and family this year with your basket of baked goods, the first step is to select the right ingredients. And yes, that means sourcing the best butter for baking.

Bakers like you, and contestants on The Big Bake know that no matter what kind of treat you want to make, Gay Lea butter has you covered. The Bakers Gold line includes everything from Unsalted European Style, which is made with 84% milk fat to deliver flakier and tastier pie crusts, to the Grass Fed butter line, which is churned with milk from grass-fed cows.

Still looking for a little inspiration? Take our quiz to find out which baked good matches your personality, and get baking today!

 

 

Watch The Big Bake and stream all your favourite Food Network Canada shows through STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, or with the new Global TV app, live and on-demand when you sign-in with your cable subscription.

Photos courtesy of Pexel.

Contestants running on the set of Halloween Baking Championship

Halloween Baking Championship Season 7: The Winner is…

It’s been a terrifying trek through this season of Halloween Baking Championship, and host John Henson greets the remaining four denizens of Camp Devil’s Food Lake while malevolently toasting marshmallows  a tip off to the contestants that this episode’s thriller challenge is a S’mores based test. The bottom two  confections will land their creators in a sudden death challenge, and the loser sent off into the night to meet their gruesome ends at the hands of the mysterious camp killer. Here is our recap of the ghoulish season finale and the reveal of who wins this season of Halloween Baking Championship.

Judges Stephanie Boswell, Zac Young and Carla Hall and Judge John Henson, on the set of Halloween Baking Championship.

Fear Itself: The Thriller Challenge

Based on the questionnaire the contestants previously filled out, John has selected their most feared ingredients. A runner up from Halloween Baking Championship from Season 6 and a surprise entry into the competition in episode 2, Renee Loranger knows what her ingredient is before she even opens the box. “It’s sauerkraut,” she bemoans. “C’mon, I can smell it”. Each camper faces their nemesis; for Megan Baker, black garlic adds a wrinkle, while Adina Schaefer is faced with her hated rosemary. Guillermo Salinas, interestingly, has a composed dish rather than ingredient: a weird and wobbly gelatin dessert. 

Renee wisely chooses to focus on the coconut-like texture of the sauerkraut, rinsing it well and adding it to a raspberry brownie with marshmallow, salted caramel and graham cracker crumble. It turns out to be a wise decision, as judge Zac Young loves the chew of the sauerkraut, but Carla Hall would prefer it chopped finer.

Guillermo Salinas on Halloween Baking Championship

As an artist and a pastry chef, Guillermo Salinas is one to watch in this competition. On his Instagram, Guillermo says his goal in life is to make delicious things, but making creative edibles is his true passion. That definitely shines through in some of the plates we’ve seen from him, from gorgeous pastries and elegant cakes, to chocolate creations and airy croissants.

Faced with a cup of jelly, Guillermo makes the fearless decision to dice it and add it to a covered bowl infused with hickory wood smoke for a hot chocolate panna cotta with smoked gelatin, graham cracker and marshmallow. Unlike the other bakers, he opts for store-bought marshmallows, which costs him points with judge Stephanie Boswell, who calls him out for hermetically sealing his dessert with an impenetrable crust. Zac also points out that he could have transformed the ingredient better, by boiling and reducing it.

Contestant Megan Baker, as seen on Halloween Baking Championship, Season 7.

Megan Baker isn’t just ready to whip up those horror movie-inspired treats she’s ready to take them to the next level. As a cake artist, Megan is used to working with everything from buttercream to fondant, telling a story with each delicious offering.

Megan makes the brave but ultimately foolish decision to try for a macaron in a limited time, which does not allow for an overnight set to get the signature chewiness. Her black garlic jam macaron with salted chocolate and toasted marshmallow ends up being overbaked, and Stephanie compares its texture to an amaretti, although she praises the fermentation and acidic quality.

Contestant Adina Schaefer, as seen on Halloween Baking Championship, Season 7.

As a small business owner, Adina Schaefer is used to working under pressure which will definitely give her an advantage in this competition. The cake artist runs her own shop, Sweets By Adina Marie, in California. There, she whips up custom desserts and cakes made from scratch that feature high-quality ingredients. Now, we can’t wait to see how those skills translate on the series.

Despite Adina’s profound dislike of rosemary (“it reminds me of being trapped inside a really cheap, bad Christmas candle,” she says), and burning her caramel twice during her bake, her honey rye graham cracker, toasted marshmallow, rosemary brittle and chocolate crémeux wins her the advantage for the next challenge. “I feel like we’re going to eat anger and disdain,” says Carla, taken aback by Adina’s vehemence.

Death by Pumpkins

The sudden death challenge tasks Guillermo and Megan with recreating John’s worst fear in a fresh, modern and unexpected way. A display of ugly and unsettling rotting pumpkins serves as inspiration for the two contestants, both of whom take on classic handheld desserts. Despite the judges pointing out the bitterness of Guillermo’s burnt pumpkin seed crumble, they find favour with the creativeness of the piped pumpkin-shaped cream puff with cream cheese filling, plated on a garbage can lid. Megan’s chocolate pumpkin whoopee pie with pumpkin cream cheese and candied pecan, although praised for its ethereal mousse consistency from Zac, ultimately sends her packing due to its lack of the grossness the challenge demanded.

And Then There Were Three

The remaining bakers are faced with a fiendish task for the final challenge: a towering tribute to the anonymous camp killer that has been lurking in the background for the season. The tiered or carved cake must contain a topper shaped like a brain, with a gooey filling. The five hour challenge has all the bakers scrambling to make the amount of cake necessary for 24 inches (for reference, says Guillermo, that is the height of his son. “That’s a toddler-sized cake,” he says wearily.) This challenge means that in addition to making three to four batches of cake, running between their stations, the oven and the cooling racks, the bakers have to contend with structural considerations such as the weight of the topper and the need for dowels to steady the cake layers.

As her advantage for winning the thriller challenge, Adina gets to choose between mousse, curd or gelatin as the filling for her cake’s brain decoration. She picks curd, but ultimately regrets the decision, opting to use a lighter filling for her cake topper just in case. Her devil’s food cake with malt whipped cream ganache, cherry curd, cherry jam, pecan streusel and cinnamon buttercream is inspired by John, whom she secretly suspects is the serial killer villain of the show (she adds grey tufts into the frosting to pay tribute to his hair). The piece de la resistance of her ghoulish creation, apart from disturbingly realistic stitched together human skin made out of fondant, is her decision to use agar agar and put jam in front of the brain’s lobe, so that it will weep blood when it sits (a fact that both impresses and horrifies Zac at the judging table). The softness of the curd she uses to fill the cake, however, interferes with the structural integrity and leads Carla to point out that the cake is leaning to the side.

Guillermo decides to revisit his successes of the season, making a multilayer cake decorated with a mummy, zombie, pumpkin and clown all facing off into different directions so that at least one is always staring at the viewer. His orange sponge cake with chocolate ganache, cranberry mousse and amaretto buttercream, complete with crushable white chocolate molding for the brain and cranberry and raspberry interior, incorporates fresh fruit and candied nuts in what Stephanie calls “a cacophony of flavours”.

And The Winner Is…

Although Renee has experience with the final challenge, she feels as nervous as the other competitors. Unlike Adina and Guillermo, Renee uses round cake pans rather than baking sheets to make three tiers and a smaller tier in case her cake is too short. From the start, she’s behind in her bake, rushing to get the cakes in the oven and cooled successfully. When she goes to unfold them, however, they stick to the pan and need to be scraped out (thank goodness for frosting!). Her devil’s food cake with hazelnut buttercream, hazelnut feuilletine crunch and sour cherry crunch falls afoul of other problems, too; her sour cherry jam is initially too sweet and the cake topper white chocolate shell cracks, leading her to quickly make a rather flat-looking molded substitution (“it’s not the biggest brain, but it’s a brain,” she sighs). 

Renee Loranger making a cake on Season 7 of Halloween Baking Championship

Renee wowed the judges with her design of the screaming victim on the middle layer of her cake, and the design mastery at work. “It reads like a graphic novel,” says Stephanie, admiring her adherence to the story through fondant and chocolate, as well as shiny sour cherry blood oozing from gashes carved into the cake. Ultimately, Renee takes home the $25,000 prize and a handmade wooden medal from John, proving that her return to the championship was a killer decision.

Watch Halloween Baking Championship and stream your favourite Food Network Canada shows through STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, or with the new Global TV app, live and on-demand when you sign-in with your cable subscription.

torsades au chocolat in a paper bag on a white countertop

These Torsades au Chocolat Will Transport You to a French Patisserie

These are the sort of thing that always catches my eye at the bakery when I’m only supposed to be picking up bread. Inevitably, one will make its way into my order and will be enjoyed as breakfast or mid-morning – they’re so good I don’t know I could wait until l’heure du goûter! And while these are great in the morning, they are an excellent on-the-go snack to eat rushing from school to extra-curricular activities. Don’t worry if your twists are a bit misshapen the first time you make these – practice makes perfect!

torsades au chocolat in a paper bag on a white countertop

Torsades au Chocolat

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 25-30 minutes
Total Time:  45-50 minutes
Yields: 6 pastries

Ingredients
For the pastry cream:
⅓ cup milk
1 large egg yolk
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1½ Tbsp cornstarch
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
½ Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature

For the twists:
1 sheet store-bought puff pastry (225g), thawed but chilled
3 Tbsp roughly chopped semisweet chocolate or mini chocolate chips
1 large egg, lightly beaten for eggwash

For the glaze:
1 Tbsp boiling water
1 Tbsp granulated sugar

Directions
For the pastry cream:
1. Bring the milk to a boil in a medium saucepan.

2. In the meantime, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch together in a medium saucepan.

3. Once the milk has just reached a boil, pour in a couple of teaspoons of the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture and whisk until combined.

4. Slowly pour in the rest of the hot milk, whisking constantly and place the pan over medium heat, continuing to whisk.

Related: These Creme-Filled Chocolate Cookie Sandwiches Will Make You Feel Like a Pro Baker

5. Continue to cook and whisk for about 2-3 minutes, until the mixture starts to thicken slightly and produce large bubbles, then remove from the heat. If your mixture has overcooked and you have bits of cooked egg in your custard, strain the custard into a clean bowl using a metal sieve.

6. Whisk in the vanilla, then the butter, until completely incorporated.

7. Scrape the custard into a clean bowl, cover it with plastic wrap (the wrap should be touching the surface of the custard to prevent a skin forming) and allow the custard to come to room temperature, then, if not using immediately, refrigerate, until you are ready to use. Before you use it, you might have to give the custard a whisk to loosen it.

For the twists and glaze:
1. Preheat the oven to 375˚F and have a baking tray handy.

2. Roll your pastry out on parchment paper until it’s approximately 12 x 12 inches.

3. Spread the pastry cream over the entire surface of the pastry.

4. Sprinkle the chocolate over one half of the pastry and fold the other half of the pastry to cover it.

5. With the open end of the pastry facing you (you’ll have a rectangle of 12 x 6 inches), cut strips of the pastry approximately 2 inches wide.

6. Lift the parchment onto the baking tray and separate the pastry strips slightly.

Related: Plum and Cardamom Coffee Cake is the Unexpected Flavour Pairing You Must Try

7. Twist the pastry strips in one direction at one end and in the other direction at the other end to make a twist. Make two twists at each end. Some of the chocolate might fall out, just press it back into the pastry cream. Make sure your twists have a lot of room (about 2 inches) between them on the baking tray.

8. Lightly brush the twists with the egg wash, avoiding the custardy chocolate edge of the pastry.

9. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the pastry is puffed and golden brown.

10. Remove the twists from the oven, leaving them on the baking tray. Meanwhile, mix the boiling water and sugar together to make your glaze and brush the still hot twists with the glaze. This will dry as they cool and will make them lovely and shiny.

Cookbook cover for French Food For Everyone by Mardi MichelsExcerpted from French Food for Everyone: le goûter (after school snacks) by Mardi Michels. Copyright © 2021 Mardi Michels. Photography ©Mardi Michels. Published by MLM Publications. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

French Food For Everyone, Amazon, $13

All products featured on Food Network Canada are independently selected by our editors. For more products handpicked by our editorial team, visit Food Network Canada’s Amazon storefront. However, when you buy through links in this article or on our storefront, we earn an affiliate commission.

Love these chocolate custard twists? Try this recipe for Flaky Strawberry Rhubarb Cheesecake Pastry Pockets next!

5 Ways to Fix Over-Salted Food

Salt can be your best friend in the kitchen. It brings forward and enhances flavours, taking a dish from drab to vibrant with just a pinch. But what do you do when you’ve lovingly tended and seasoned a dish and you realize that you’ve added way too much salt? The panic is real.

Firstly, take a deep breath and put down that box of salt! There are lots of ways to rescue over-salted food.

Related: 5 Tips to Prevent Freezer Burn

Salt

Here are your best options for fixing over-salted food:

1. Make More of Your Recipe 

Let’s start with the most obvious: make more. If you have enough ingredients, double the recipe or make more by half, then mix it in with the salty batch a bit at a time until you’ve reached your desired flavour.

2. Bulk Up Your Dish

Bulk up the dish with more of any quick-cooking main ingredients you have, such as vegetables from your crisper drawer. I’ll often add handfuls of greens to dishes with too much salt.

3. Add a Starch

Stir in some cooked (unsalted) rice, barley, quinoa, pasta or couscous. These salt-thirsty ingredients will absorb quite a bit from a sauce. Depending on the dish, simmer or bake it with a splash of liquid to meld the flavours and allow the grains to absorb the excess salt. If it’s a soup, curry or other saucy dish, you can add large chunks of potato to soak up excess salt, then discard once tender.

Related: All the Ways to Cook Bacon For That Perfect Crisp

4. Dilute Your Dish With Liquid

With this option, you just want to be careful not to dilute all the hard-earned flavours as well as the salt, so don’t reach straight for water. Opt instead for unsalted broth, some unsalted diced tomatoes, or a splash of cream or wine. Make sure you’re adding something that will add to the flavour and not dilute the dish.

Related: 8 Vegetables You’re Probably Washing Wrong

5. Last Step: Re-Season, But Not With Salt!

If you’ve mitigated the saltiness by adding liquids or other ingredients, you’ll likely need to bolster the other seasonings so you don’t end up with a perfectly salted but otherwise underwhelming dish. Ground spices and fresh herbs can be added directly, but things like garlic, onions, ginger and whole spices won’t be very tasty if added raw. Here’s the golden secret: borrow a fantastic cooking trick from India called a “tarka” — aromatics such as onions, spices and garlic are sautéed separately and added to the dish at the last minute. The method is like magic, adding a ton of flavour as a final step.

For more kitchen tips, these are the five utensils every home cook needs. Plus tips on how long leftovers last, and how to properly dispose of cooking oil.

cheesy chorizo bites stuffed with armstrong cheese on a wooden serving board

Cheesy Chorizo and Potato Bites Are the Ultimate Crowd Pleaser

When it comes to feeding a crowd, cheese is always a good idea. With a creamy inside and delectably crispy outside, these cheesy chorizo balls are guaranteed to be a hit. Armstrong Mexican Fiesta Marble Cheddar with Jalapeno provides these tasty morsels with a complex hit of spice that balances well with the buttery potato filling.

cheesy chorizo bites stuffed with armstrong cheese on a wooden serving board

Cheesy Chorizo and Potato Bites

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes
Servings: 4-6 (makes 24 balls)

Ingredients
2 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1” pieces
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
Kosher salt, to taste
2 fresh chorizo sausages
¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
3 eggs, divided
Freshly ground black peppercorns, to taste
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
Vegetable oil, for frying
Large crystal sea salt, to taste
2½ cups Armstrong Mexican Fiesta Marble Cheddar with Jalapeno

Directions
1. Place the peeled and chopped potatoes in a large pot. Fill water to 1” above the potatoes. Bring the water to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer, continuing to cook for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender. You can test this by poking a piece of potato with a fork, paring knife, or skewer. If the utensil slides easily all the way to the center, the potatoes are done.

2. Strain potatoes and cool on a clean dry tray, until room temperature. Mash with a potato masher or process through a potato ricer, stirring in butter and seasoning with salt to taste. You should yield about 2 cups of mashed potato total. Set aside.

Related: Mac and Triple Cheese Topped with Grilled Chicken is the Comfort Food You Need

3. Heat a medium-sized frying pan over medium-high heat. Cut chorizo casings down the middle and squeeze the chorizo into the hot pan. Break the sausage apart into pea-sized crumble using a wooden spoon and turn the heat down slightly to medium, continuing to move sausage around the pan. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until cooked through. Chorizo should be dull red or light brown when cooked.

4. In a large bowl, combine the room-temperature mashed potatoes, cooked chorizo, cilantro, Armstrong Mexican Fiesta Marble Cheddar with Jalapeno and 1 egg. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Form the mashed potato mixture into compact balls using a small ice cream scoop or 2 spoons, make 24 balls total. The balls should be similar in size to golf balls and weigh about 30g each.

Related: This Jalapeno Appenzeller Bread is a Cheese Lover’s Dream

6. Prepare 3 shallow plates: 1 with flour, 1 with remaining eggs beaten and 1 with panko breadcrumbs.

7. A few at a time, roll the balls first into the flour, then dip them in the beaten egg and finally roll them through the panko, making sure they are completely covered. Place them on a plate or tray until ready to fry. Repeat this step until all balls are coated.

8. Add vegetable oil to a large pot, at least a couple inches deep, and heat over medium-high heat until a thermometer reaches 350°F. Fry balls in batches of 4 or 5 at a time. Using a slotted spoon, roll them around to ensure they are golden all over, about 2-3 minutes. Once crispy and golden, place on a towel-lined tray to cool. Garnish with a large crystal sea salt. Serve warm or cold.

Love Roger’s cheesy chorizo bites? Try this cheesy peameal breakfast sandwich next.

A variety of pasta shapes and sizes on a grey countertop

The Definitive Guide to Alternative Pastas

Whether you prefer it smothered in a hearty Bolognese or kissed with a delicate cream sauce, pasta is a comfort food favourite for good reason. Many of us turn to pasta when we’re in the mood for a quick, soul-warming dish, but it probably doesn’t top your list of better-for-you meal options. When nothing but noodles will do, however, a growing range of pasta made from flour alternatives is making it possible to enjoy your favourite recipes regardless of your health goals and dietary restrictions. From gluten-free noodles to high-protein varieties made from lentils, these are some of the best pasta alternatives to try the next time a spaghetti craving strikes.

A variety of pasta shapes and sizes on a grey countertop

Chickpea Pasta

Try it in: Pumpkin Fettuccine Alfredo

Made from ground chickpea flour, these nutrition-filled noodles can contain up to double the fibre and double the protein of wheat-based pasta. In addition to these potential personal health benefits, legumes like chickpeas have a low ecological footprint, making chickpea pasta a more sustainable meal choice than its grain-based counterparts. Chickpea pasta’s mild, slightly nutty flavour goes best with creamy carbonara and alfredo sauces, as well as with dishes featuring plenty of veggies.


Get the recipe: Pumpkin Fettuccine Alfredo

Black Bean Pasta

Try it in: 30-Minute Pasta with Green Garlic Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes

Another protein-packed alternative that’s ideal for fitness-minded eaters, black bean pasta has a distinctive dark colour and a pleasantly earthy taste. It’s typically made from dried black soybeans beans and its high fibre content makes it extra filling, so it’ll keep you feeling satiated for longer than wheat-based noodles (no late-night, post-dinner snacking needed). Black bean pasta is also gluten-free and high in iron. Try mixing it with simple, classic sauces like pomodoro or pesto. As with most gluten-free pasta, black bean pasta tends to become mushy when overcooked. It’s therefore best not to completely rely on the cooking time recommended on the packaging and, instead, start testing the pasta a few minutes before it’s supposed to be done in order to get the texture right.

Related: The Best Non-Dairy Milks to Meet All Your Needs (From Baking to Latte Frothing)

Brown Rice Pasta

Try it in: 5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Beef Bolognese

Like chickpea pasta, brown rice pasta offers higher levels of fibre and protein than traditional noodles. Nutritionally, brown rice pasta is similar to whole wheat pasta but, unlike whole wheat pasta, it’s also suitable for those with gluten sensitivities. With a fairly neutral flavour and a chewy texture, it’s a great go-to when you’re looking for a no-fuss nutritional boost on pasta night. Brown rice pasta takes a little more time to cook than classic pasta, with its naturally al dente consistency helping it to hold up particularly well in hearty sauces and noodle soups.


Get the recipe: 5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Beef Bolognese

Quinoa pasta

Try it in: Spaghetti Puttanesca with Cauliflower

Containing all nine essential amino acids, as well as high levels of magnesium, iron, riboflavin, and calcium, quinoa is a health-conscious foodie favourite for good reason. Quinoa pasta delivers the better-for-you benefits of the classic grain plus its dense texture makes it less likely to turn into a sloppy mess if you overcook it by a minute or two. Many types of quinoa pasta are blended with other bases, such as white rice flour or corn flour, so take a good look at the ingredient label if you’re hoping to get the full nutritional benefits of a quinoa serving or have dietary sensitivities to consider.

Related: Gluten-Free Dessert Recipes That Are Seriously Delicious

Spelt pasta

Try it in: Pappardelle Duck Ragu

Spelt is a form of wheat that’s high in protein, fibre, magnesium, and B vitamins. Many people find it easier to digest than the durum wheat flour used to make traditional pasta, but keep in mind that spelt pasta does contain some gluten (although less than classic noodles) and it’s fairly high in carb content. Spelt pasta’s nuttier flavour pairs best with bold, meat- and tomato-based dishes, rather than creamier sauces. It’s also good at retaining its al dente texture when used in soups like minestrone or chicken noodle.

Corn pasta

Try it in: 15-Minute Cheesy One-Pot Pasta

Gluten-free and high in fibre, corn pasta has a subtle flavour with a touch of sweetness. Its texture tends to be a bit grainier than traditional pasta, but it holds up well in sauces and can therefore be substituted easily into a range of different pasta dishes. Le Veneziane (italianmarket.ca, $2.99) is a non-GMO option that’s made in Italy, giving it that authentic Bel Paese-feel in spite of its non-traditional corn flour base. You can play up corn pasta’s natural flavour by adding it to a dish featuring fresh corn kernels or draw inspiration from corn’s frequent culinary partners-in-crime by creating a Southwestern-inspired pasta dish.

cheesy one pot pasta in a blue pot
Get the recipe: 15-Minute Cheesy One-Pot Pasta

Looking for more pasta inspo? Check out these Macaroni Recipes That Will Satisfy All Your Pasta Cravings.

pumpkin spice soft pretzels on a cooling rack

Soft, Fluffy Pumpkin Spice Pretzels with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Dip


In this edition of Menu Mashup, soft pretzels are combined with classic pumpkin pie to create these delectable Pumpkin Spice Soft Pretzels. Topped with a pumpkin spice sugar blend and served with a pumpkin cream cheese dip, this fall-inspired dessert is sure to be your new favourite pumpkin dessert… step aside, pumpkin pie!

pumpkin spice soft pretzels on a cooling rack

Pumpkin Spice Soft Pretzels with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Dip

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Rising Time: 1 Hour
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
Yield: 12 Pretzels

Ingredients
For the pretzels:
1 ½ cups warm water (110°F)
3 Tbsp brown sugar
2¼ tsp yeast
4 cups all-purpose flour + additional for dusting
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup butter, melted + additional for brushing
Oil, to grease bowl
8 cups room temperature water
½ cup baking soda

For the pumpkin spice sugar blend:
½ cup sugar
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground all-spice
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon

For the pumpkin cream cheese dip:
4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp pumpkin puree
2 Tbsp butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp heavy cream
Pinch salt

ingredients of pumpkin spice soft pretzels

Directions
1. For the pretzels, pour the warm water into a small mixing bowl. Stir in the brown sugar and yeast and let stand for 5 minutes, or until the yeast begins to foam.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Pour in the wet ingredients and the melted butter, then stir until it forms a dough. Lightly dust your countertop with flour and turn the dough out. Knead for 3 to 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Related: Celebrate Oktoberfest at Home With These Soft Pretzels, Done Two Ways!

dough for pumpkin spice soft pretzels being kneaded on a white countertop

3. Grease a large bowl with oil and place the dough in the bowl, turning and flipping it to ensure it is coated. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and keep in a warm spot for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

4. Once dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball and arrange on your countertop or a plate.

5. Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a large saucepan, add water and baking soda. Place on high heat and bring to a boil.

6. Meanwhile, shape the pretzels by rolling a portion of the dough into a long rope, at least 20 inches in length. Make a “U” with the rope and cross the ends over each other twice, then flip them and press into the bottom of the “U” forming a pretzel shape.

dough rolled into pretzels for pumpkin spice soft pretzels

7. Arrange the pretzels on a large, parchment-lined baking sheet. Working in batches of 2 to 3 pretzels, place them in the boiling baking soda solution for 15 to 20 seconds. Remove and place back on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pretzels.

Related: Pumpkin Crème Brûlée is the Pumpkin Dessert You Need This Fall

pretzels being boiled for pumpkin spice soft pretzels

8. Bake the pretzels in the oven for 12 to 14 minutes, or until they are shiny with a deep brown colour.

9. While the pretzels are baking, make the pumpkin spice by combining sugar, ginger, all-spice, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside until serving.

10. For the dip, in a medium bowl, whisk together cream cheese, pumpkin puree, and softened butter until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and mix again, then add vanilla, cream and salt, and give it a final mix. Transfer to a smaller bowl and set aside until serving.

11. Once the pretzels are baked, brush them in melted butter and sprinkle generously with pumpkin spice. Serve with pumpkin cream cheese dip on the side.

pumpkin spice soft pretzels on a baking tray, ready to serve

Note: Leftover pretzels can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Leftover dip can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Love Philip and Mystique’s pumpkin pie pretzels? Try their croque madame rolls next!

squares of plum cardamom cake on a blue oval plate

Plum and Cardamom Coffee Cake is the Unexpected Flavour Pairing You Must Try

The warm, earthy notes of cardamom complement juicy plums in this simple and irresistible cake recipe. Plum and cardamom are a match made in heaven, so if you haven’t experienced this combination before, it’s time that you try it out. Any variety of plum can be used for this recipe — whatever your local store has at the height of stone fruit season will work beautifully.

squares of plum cardamom cake on a blue oval plate

Plum and Cardamom Coffee Cake

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 35-45 minutes
Cool Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour – 1 hour, 10 minutes
Servings: Yields one 8-inch square cake

Ingredients:
For the coffee cake
8 whole medium ripe plums
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp ground cardamom
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp kosher salt
1¼ cups full-fat sour cream
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup whole (3.25%) milk
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the plum glaze
1 cup icing sugar
Juice reserved from slicing plums
2 Tbsp whole (3.25%) milk

Directions:
1. For the coffee cake, cut the plums into ½-inch slices over a small bowl, collecting the juice. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, cardamom, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the sour cream, butter, milk, egg, and vanilla. Add the butter mixture to the flour mixture. Stir until just combined.

Related: You’ll Never Guess the Secret Ingredient in This Beautiful Carrot Cake

3. Using a silicone spatula, fold in three-quarters of the sliced plums, being careful not to overmix. Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan. Scatter the remaining plum slices on top, making sure to reserve the juice for the Plum Glaze.

4. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Run a thin knife around the edge of the pan and turn the cake out onto a plate.

Related: This Confetti Sheet Cake With Pastel Frosting is Straight-Up Magical

5. For the plum glaze, in a small bowl, whisk the icing sugar with the reserved plum juice. Add the milk and whisk until smooth. Drizzle over the cake before serving. Serve warm.

6. Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

the earth to table bakes cookbook coverExcerpted from Earth to Table Bakes by Bettina Schormann and Erin Schiestel. Copyright ©2021 Bettina Schormann and Erin Schiestel. Photography ©2021 Maya Visnyei Photography. Published by Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Earth to Table Bakes, Amazon, $26

All products featured on Food Network Canada are independently selected by our editors. For more products handpicked by our editorial team, visit Food Network Canada’s Amazon storefront. However, when you buy through links in this article or on our storefront, we earn an affiliate commission.

Love this coffee cake recipe? Try this clementine yogurt pistachio cake next!

Close-up image of braised beef and red chilies on a plate

The Pioneer Woman’s Braised Beef and Red Chilies is the Comfort Dish You Need Right Now


Using four different types of red chilies, this braised beef with red chilies recipe is perfect on top of tacos, for a make-ahead meal or to be paired with your favourite carb for a more filling dish – any day of the week.

Related: Weeknight Dinners That Taste Even Better as Leftovers

Close-up of braised beef stew on top of a taco with cilantro

Braised Beef and Red Chilies

Prep time: 55 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours and 55 minutes 
Yield: 6 to 8 

Ingredients:

8 to 10 dried New Mexico chilies
4 cloves garlic
3 Tbsp olive oil
One 4 to 5-pound chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp ancho chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 large onion, sliced
2 cups beef stock
2 Tbsp sugar
2 bay leaves
Warm tortillas, shaved cabbage, sour cream, lime wedges and fresh cilantro, for serving 

Related: The Pioneer Woman’s Tex-Mex Recipes Will Satisfy Your Cheesy, Meaty Cravings

Directions:

1. Add the chilies and garlic to a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and steep for 20 to 30 minutes. Pour off half the cooking liquid. Using an immersion blender, puree the peppers, garlic and remaining liquid until smooth. (Alternatively, you can use a regular blender. Be careful when blending hot or warm ingredients.)

2. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.

3. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the chuck roast with the salt, pepper, chili powder and cumin. When the oil is hot, add the meat to the Dutch oven and brown on all sides, about 3 minutes, then remove to a plate.

4. Add the tomato paste and onion to the pot and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the stock, sugar, bay leaves and pepper puree to the pot and stir to combine. Return the beef to the pot and cover. Roast until the meat is fall-apart tender, 2 ½ to 3 hours.

5. Remove the bay leaves. Shred the meat in the pot and serve on warm tortillas with shaved cabbage, sour cream, lime and cilantro.

Recipe courtesy of Ree Drummond.

Watch  The Pioneer Woman and stream all your favourite Food Network Canada shows through STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, or with the new Global TV app, live and on-demand when you sign-in with your cable subscription.

Marcella DiLonardo's Poison Apple Cocktail

This Bewitching Poison Apple Cocktail is the Perfect Way to Celebrate a Spooky Halloween

It isn’t Halloween without something a little spooky, right? This cocktail is inspired by the ultimate hallmark of spooky season, the  “poison apple,” and  it’s sure to be a hit for any Halloween gathering. Be it a party with friends or a night in watching scary movies with popcorn, this bewitching That’s the Spirit cocktail features a whiskey base with a blend of apple cider and “bloody” pomegranate juice for sweetness. Serve it in a stemmed coupe glass for an elegant presentation. Cheers, if you dare!

Related: Travel Back in ‘Thyme’ With This Seasonal Twist on a Classic Aperol Spritz

Marcella DiLonardo's Poison Apple Cocktail

Poison Apple Cocktail

Prep: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 1

Marcella DiLonardo's Posion Apple Cocktail ingredients shot

Ingredients:

2 oz whiskey
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1 oz pure apple cider
1 oz pomegranate juice
2 to 3 dashes of bitters
Halloween gummies, to garnish (worms, eyeballs, spiders, etc.)

Related: 12 Dead-Easy Halloween Cocktails You Need to Try This Year

Marcella DiLonardo's Poison Apple Cocktail

Directions:

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass with ice. Add the whiskey, lemon juice, apple cider, pomegranate juice & bitters.
2. Shake or stir until well combined.
3. Strain mixture into a coupe glass.
4. Garnish with gummies and enjoy!

Marcella DiLonardo's Poison Apple Cocktail

Like Marcella’s Moscow mule? Kick off cozy season with her Autumn-Inspired Apple Cider Moscow Mule.

rose walnut chocolate chip cookies on parchment paper

These Rose Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies Are Simply Stunning

I’ve always thought that adding anything but chocolate to cookies was sacrilegious, but then I made these and that changed. They’re seductive and musky—perfumed, but not overly so. If you aren’t a fan of rose, it can hit you on the nose a bit, so I would recommend using half the amount and going from there. They’re amorous.

rose walnut chocolate chip cookies on parchment paper

Rose Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Chill Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 10-12 minutes
Total Time: 55-57 minutes
Servings: 16-20 cookies

Ingredients:
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
²/³ cup (1¼ sticks + 1 tsp) unsalted butter
¾ cup + 1 tsp light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 Tbsp tablespoon rosewater
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely chopped dark chocolate
½ cup chopped walnuts
Fleur de sel, for finishing
Rose petals, optional

Directions:
1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

2. Put the butter into a medium-size saucepan set over medium-low heat. Heat, stirring often, until melted. Pour into a large bowl then add in the sugars and whisk until combined. Whisk in the egg, followed by the rosewater and vanilla. Tip in the dry ingredients. Beat with a wooden spoon until a soft dough has just begun to form, then mix in the chocolate and walnuts. Cover and chill until firm, 30 minutes.

Related: These Creme-Filled Chocolate Cookie Sandwiches Will Make You Feel Like a Pro Baker

3. Meanwhile, set racks in the lower and upper thirds of an oven. Preheat to 350ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

4. Using a scoop or tablespoon as a measure, portion out evenly sized amounts of the dough. If you’re using a spoon, use your hands to roll them into balls. Divide between the prepared sheets, placing them a few inches apart for spreading. You should be able to fit 8 to 10 per sheet. Sprinkle with a little fleur de sel. You can set leftover dough balls aside to be baked off later, or, store in an airtight container and freeze for up to 2 months. Allow to stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes before baking from frozen.

Related: These Ginger Molasses Cookies Will Warm You up on a Chilly Fall Day

5. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the sheets between the upper and lower thirds of the oven halfway through, until golden, the edges crisp, but the centers still soft. Let the cookies stand on the sheets for a few minutes, before transferring them onto a wire rack to cool further, before serving.

wild sweetness by thalia hoFrom the book: WILD SWEETNESS by Thalia Ho. Copyright © 2021 by Thalia Ho. Reprinted courtesy of Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Wild Sweetness, Amazon, $37

All products featured on Food Network Canada are independently selected by our editors. For more products handpicked by our editorial team, visit Food Network Canada’s Amazon storefront. However, when you buy through links in this article or on our storefront, we earn an affiliate commission.

Craving more cookie recipes? Try these rye oatmeal chocolate chip cookies next!

mac and cheese in a casserole dish made with armstrong cheese

Mac and Triple Cheese Topped with Grilled Chicken is the Comfort Food You Need

Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food, and using Armstrong Triple Cheddar Shredded Cheese is an easy way to reduce prep time without compromising on flavour. Topped with juicy grilled chicken breast, this velvety mac and cheese is the comfort you’re craving, and it only requires 15 minutes of prep time!

mac and cheese in a casserole dish made with armstrong cheese

Mac and Triple Cheese Topped with Grilled Chicken

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 6-8

Ingredients
2 large skinless boneless chicken breasts
1 Tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh ground black peppercorns, to taste
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley, divided
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano, divided
4 cups macaroni pasta
¼ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup cooking onion, diced
1 Tbsp finely chopped garlic
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock
3 cups 2% milk
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 package (320g) Armstrong Triple Cheddar Shredded Cheese

Directions
1. Heat grill to 500°F.

2. Rub chicken all over with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp fresh parsley and 1 Tbsp of fresh oregano. Grill chicken, 4 minutes per side or until cooked through. To test if chicken is done, use an instant-read thermometer and ensure that it reads at least 165°F. Alternatively, you can cut into a breast and see if it’s white all the way through, not pink. Chicken breasts should be golden brown with nice char marks when they’re done. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

3. Cook macaroni according to package directions, then drain and set aside.

Related: Macaroni Recipes That Will Satisfy All Your Pasta Cravings

4. Meanwhile, in a large pot over medium-high heat, add butter, onion and garlic. Sauté until transparent, about 3-4 minutes. Whisk in flour and continue to cook for another 3 minutes. Add chicken stock, whisking constantly until mixture thickens. Slowly add milk, 1 cup at a time and continue whisking. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Whisk in smoked paprika. Take the pot off the heat and stir in Armstrong Triple Cheddar Shredded Cheese. Add cooked macaroni and mix to combine.

5. Dice the chicken and serve over the cheesy macaroni. Sprinkle with remaining parsley and oregano.

6. Serve immediately.

Love Roger’s mac and cheese? You have to try his cheesy breakfast sandwich next.

Overtop view of potatoes on a plate with a dip cup in the middle

This Recipe for Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Caramelized Onion Dip is a Must-Make

Cozier weather calls for comfort food sides on repeat. All those caramelized onions in a savoury herb sour cream dip are the most delicious accompaniment to these hot, golden, crispy potatoes – making this side dish delightful to whip up on a weeknight, for a special occasion or the holidays!

Related: Make-Ahead Holiday Mains and Simple Sides

Plate of potatoes with a dip cup in the middle

Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Caramelized Onion Dip

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6

Ingredients:

Crispy Smashed Potatoes:
2 pounds (900 g) small Yukon Gold or fingerling potatoes, scrubbed
⅓ cup unsalted butter 2 tablespoons olive oil
3 sprigs fresh thyme, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 sprig fresh rosemary, cut into 2-inch pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Caramelized Onion Dip:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 white onions, thinly sliced 2 cups sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, divided
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Zest of 1 lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

See More: Parmesan Chive Smashed Potatoes

Directions:

1. Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with 2 inches of Season generously with salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain and set aside until cool enough to handle.

2. While the potatoes are cooking, in a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are caramelized, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

3. In a medium bowl, combine the cooled onions, sour cream, half of the chives, the parsley and lemon Mix together until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a small serving dish and garnish with the remaining chives.

4. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment

5. Place the potatoes on the prepared baking sheet. Using a large fork or the heel of your hand, gently squish Be careful to keep them in one piece.

6. In a small saucepan, melt the butter with the olive oil, thyme and rosemary. Season with salt and Drizzle the potatoes with the seasoned butter. Bake for 20 minutes or until deep golden and crispy. Turn the potatoes and cook on the other side until crisp and golden, 10 to 15 minutes.

7. Transfer the potatoes to a serving platter and season lightly with salt and Serve with the caramelized onion dip.

Excerpted From Hearth &Home by Lynn Crawford and Lora Kirk. Copyright © 2021 by Lynn Crawford and Lora Kirk . Photography © 2021 Maya Visnyei. Published by Penguin Canada , a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Book Cover featuring a dish with vegetables for Lynn Crawford's book called Hearth & Home

Hearth & Home: Cook, Share and Celebrate Family-Style, Amazon, $30.

All products featured on Food Network Canada are independently selected by our editors. For more products handpicked by our editorial team, visit Food Network Canada’s Amazon storefront. However, when you buy through links in this article or on our storefront, we earn an affiliate commission.

Lap Cheong (Chinese Dried Sausage) on a plate

Getting To Know Lap Cheong (Chinese Dried Sausage)

Biting into a piece of lap cheong, or Chinese sausage, brings a flood of tastes and textures to the palate: the slight snap of the thin casing quickly yields to a wash of fatty meatiness and a vaguely soft salty flavour that lingers in the mouth.

See More: The Most Creative Ways to Cook Sausage for Dinner

As with much of the cuisines of China, lap cheong varies by region and the generic Cantonese term can even cover dried sausages from different countries in Asia. In North America, lap cheong commonly refers to the pork variety with a deep pink colour, while yun cheong is made with pork and duck liver and is darker brown with a deeper, more savoury flavour. Both types are made with coarsely ground or chopped meat in casing using a salt and sugar cure before being air dried (or, poetically, “wind dried”). The result is a firm, slightly sweet sausage that must be cooked before consumption, much like a raw chorizo.

Air dried lap cheong and yun cheong

These two varieties can be sold individually or packaged together with a dried, bacon-like pork belly product, and can be found in most Chinese supermarkets or grocers.

Related: Our Most Popular Pork Recipes

Storing Chinese Sausages

Although lap cheong and yun cheong are shelf-stable and sold vacuum-packed on store shelves, once the packaging is opened it is best to keep them in the refrigerator. Lap cheong has a relatively long shelf life (weeks in the refrigerator and months in the freezer) but should be cooked before the expiry date on the label and before it shows any sign of mold.

Chinese Sausage Cooking Methods

As versatile as bacon (try these sweet and savoury ways to enjoy bacon) with the same fat and salty notes, lap cheong and yun cheong have similar cooking methods and can be enjoyed on their own simply steamed or used as a flavouring in small quantities for rice, noodles or stir-fried dishes. In recipe books ranging from the iconic All Under Heaven to my mother’s well-worn book of Chinese-American recipes from the seventies, the best methods for enjoying Chinese sausage are often the simplest. 

Steaming Chinese Sausage

Steaming the sausages, either by themselves or over rice, is a traditional way to enjoy the purity of the flavours and the plump texture of the meat. Although the instructions on the packaging may differ, an easy way to steam the sausages is to lay them in a single layer on a heatproof plate, then put the plate on a metal rack over simmering water. Steam for at least 20 minutes, although if you forget them for an hour, as a family member discovered by accident, the sausages will still turn out fine.

Related: The Best Rice Recipes for Dinner and Dessert

Steamed lap cheong on blue plate

Steaming Chinese Sausage on Rice

For something slightly more substantial, but no harder, bring white rice to a boil (using this method for a perfect pot of rice on the stovetop), then place the uncooked sausages on top of the rice before reducing the heat to low for the final simmer. Want to ante up the flavour some more? Bite-sized pieces of uncooked chicken, green onions or pre-soaked shiitake mushrooms are also savoury additions to this easy rice dish that make for a cozy meal for winter months. (While you’re soaking the mushrooms, the chicken can be tossed in a marinade of equal parts of soy and rice vinegar, with slightly less white sugar.) If you’re set on a sauce, use light soy, ginger and sesame oil to finish it off, or for lovers of spice, a non-traditional dollop of gochujang, sriracha or chilli crisp would add a bit of heat.

See More: Learn how to Prepare The Perfect Pot of Rice on the Stove

steamed lap cheong and Chinese greens on rice

Chinese Sausage Stuffed Vegetables

In love with stuffed squash? Some Chinese cooks put a North American spin on Chinese sausage by cooking the rice, frying it quickly with sliced lap cheong and cooked chestnuts and then filling butternut or kabocha squash with the mixture for a substantial side dish or entree.

Related: Brilliant Ways to Use Butternut Squash

Chinese Sausage Stir Fry

Speaking of stir fries, lap cheong and yun cheong are perfect additions to add a little savoury, salty umami to all manner of wok-based dishes. Slice the uncooked sausages thinly on a bias to increase the contact ratio on the heat for added crispiness and use them to flavour vegetables from boy choy to gai lan. They can also be added to pan-fried noodles such as e-fu mein, chow mein, rice or egg noodles. Think of flavour pairings and contrasts — the slightly sweeter lap cheong can be a nice contrast to slightly bitter or acidic greens, while the darker, more savoury liver based yun cheong stands up well to more aggressively flavoured ingredients and sauces. Learn about Chinese greens with this guide on How To Shop, Prep and Cook Chinese Greens

However you prepare your Chinese sausages, the best way to figure out your preferences is to buy a pack and experiment with techniques and flavours. From simple to sophisticated plates, these versatile ingredients are well worth adding to your arsenal of cooking techniques.

*Note: All Chinese names in this article are English phonetic translations of the Cantonese terms and may vary in terms of spelling, depending on the recipe, producer or grocer.

Images courtesy of Getty Images

Feature image of Japanese chicken curry with fresh apples in a bowl with rice and pickled vegetables

The Secret Ingredient in This Japanese Chicken Curry is Fresh, Crisp Apples

Japanese curry is sweet and mild, making it a perfect gateway version to introduce children and spice-shy adults to the delicious world of curries. This recipe makes for mouth-watering leftovers, too (though you may need to thin it out a touch with water when reheating as the sauce thickens with time). This Japanese chicken curry is so delicious and a major hit at our house.

Japanese chicken curry with fresh apples plated in a bowl with rice

Related: Slow Cooker Curries That Deliver All the Flavour

Japanese Chicken Curry With Fresh Apple

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Total Time: 1 hr 30 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients:

Curry Roux
3 Tbsp (42g) unsalted butter
5 Tbsp (42g) all-purpose flour (or sub 1:1 gluten-free flour if needed)
1 Tbsp S&B curry powder *See note
⅛ tsp sweet paprika

Chicken Curry
2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken thighs cut into 1-inch pieces
1-2 tsp kosher salt (2 tsp if using Diamond Crystal brand, 1 tsp if other)
1 large white onion, sliced thinly (about 2 cups)
3 large carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
2 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
4 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken broth
1 8g package instant vegetarian kombu dashi granules *Optional, see note
1 sweet red apple (Gala, Honey Crisp or Fuji), peeled and grated
1 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari for gluten-free
1 Tbsp mirin
2-3 Tbsp honey, to taste
Neutral high heat oil for cooking

For serving
Steamed rice
Fukujinzuke (Japanese pickled vegetables such as radish, eggplant, cucumber)

Mise-en-place of ingredients for Japanese chicken and apple curry

See More: Our Top Make-Ahead Chicken Recipes

Directions:

1. Season the chicken pieces with salt to taste and set aside.

2. In a small pot over medium-low heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour and cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until it has turned golden brown (but not very dark brown). Add curry spice and mix well. Cook for 30 seconds more. Remove from heat.

Raw ingredients for Japanese chicken curry

3. Heat a large Dutch-oven or heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add oil and brown chicken in 2-3 batches so as not to overcrowd the pot. Set aside.

4. Add a drizzle more oil, then add in the onions, carrots and potatoes. Season with salt to taste and sauté about 10 minutes. Add broth, dashi, grated apple and the reserved chicken.

5. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Give it a taste and season with additional salt depending on salt content in your broth and your taste. Cover and let simmer on low for 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender and the grated apple has pretty much dissolved into the sauce. Check occasionally and skim off the scum on the surface and discard.

6. Add in the curry roux, soy sauce and mirin. If the curry roux hardened after cooling, scoop a ladle of sauce into the pot to thin it out enough to scoop. Simmer and stir until curry roux is completely incorporated with no lumps remaining. Taste and add honey as needed (how much honey is needed depends on your spice blend. I like adding 2-3 tablespoons to mellow out the slight bitter edge of the S&B curry powder). Simmer low uncovered 5-10 minutes or until slightly thickened. Serve over steamed rice with a side of Japanese pickles.

Japanese chicken curry being cooked

Notes: Many households make this dish using store-bought Japanese curry roux ‘bricks’ which are tasty and convenient. But you will see in this recipe that homemade roux is not difficult to make at all and nicely eschews all the additives in the purchased bricks.  What’s great is you can scale up the roux recipe to keep a few portions on hand in the freezer—then defrost and use in the recipe just like you would the store-bought bricks.

You’ll see this recipe calls for the S&B brand of “oriental curry powder”, which is a Japanese spice blend containing some of the usual suspects like turmeric, coriander, fenugreek, cumin, chili pepper, ginger, etc. plus mandarin orange peel which is perhaps a little bit different. It can be purchased at Japanese or other well-stocked East Asian supermarkets, as well as online. If you can’t source S&B specifically, substitute with your favourite mild “curry powder” blend and it will work well. Instant vegetarian kombu dashi powder is another very Japanese ingredient in this recipe.  It is made from dried kelp (different from the standard version made with fish). It adds a uniquely Japanese flavour and umami to the curry that I love but is not an absolute must so I have listed it as optional.

JApanese chicken curry with apples cooking on stovetop

Want more comforting dinner recipes? Check out satisfying slow cooker recipes that are perfect for any night of the week.

clementine yogurt pistachio snack cake on a cooling rack

The Dreamiest Clementine Yogurt Pistachio Snack Cake

I call this my Chameleon Cake, because it can take on so many different flavors: lemon and almond, blood orange and pine nut, coconut and lime—just sub the flavors with the same measurements and you’re good to go. Keep it rustic as a loaf cake or dress up your own chameleon with edible flowers in cupcake form. You won’t even recognize it. I use sweetened vanilla Greek yogurt here, which, to be honest, I bought by accident. It turned out to be a happy one, as it allowed me to cut back on the granulated sugar.

clementine yogurt pistachio snack cake on a cooling rack

Clementine Yogurt Pistachio Cake

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 40-50 minutes
Cool Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes – 1 hour, 5 minutes
Servings: Makes one 5 × 9-inch loaf or 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:
For the cake
1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup fine almond flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
½ cup chopped unsalted pistachios
1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
½ cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup light brown sugar
3 large eggs
3 Tbsp packed clementine or orange zest
½ cup olive oil + more for greasing

For the salted pistachio clementine glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp clementine juice
3 Tbsp chopped unsalted pistachios
¼ tsp flaky sea salt

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 5 × 9-inch loaf pan with olive oil.

2. To make the cake, in a bowl, stir together the flour, almond flour, baking powder, salt and pistachios.

Related: This Confetti Sheet Cake With Pastel Frosting is Straight-Up Magical

3. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, both sugars, eggs, zest and ½ cup olive oil.

4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir together using a wooden spoon or spatula until just combined. Don’t overmix.

5. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 40–50 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Related: You’ll Never Guess the Secret Ingredient in This Beautiful Carrot Cake

6. Allow the cake to cool for 5 minutes before using a knife to loosen it from the sides of the pan. Remove to a wire rack.

7. To make the glaze, in a bowl, stir together the powdered sugar and clementine juice until smooth and glossy. It will be thicker than you think it should be, but it will spread once poured. Pour over the slightly cooled cake, letting it drip over the sides, and sprinkle with the chopped pistachios and flaky sea salt.

Note: The cake will keep very well in an airtight container for 4–5 days.

conveniently delicious by devin connellExcerpted from Conveniently Delicious by Devin Connell Copyright © 2021 Devil Connell. Photography © Louisa Nicolaou. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Conveniently Delicious, Amazon, $30

All products featured on Food Network Canada are independently selected by our editors. For more products handpicked by our editorial team, visit Food Network Canada’s Amazon storefront. However, when you buy through links in this article or on our storefront, we earn an affiliate commission.

Love this snack cake recipe? Try this upside-down banana cake next.

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