All posts by Jessica Witt

Jessica Witt is the associate editor for foodnetwork.ca. She is a peanut butter enthusiast, avid magazine reader and hopes to travel the world, one delicious meal at a time.
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The Only One-Bowl Brownie Recipe You Need (With a Secret Ingredient!)

The secret to moist, chewy, fudgey brownies? Mayonnaise!  Everyone’s favourite sandwich spread is the key to success when it comes to the perfect brownie. Also worth mentioning is that mayo replaces the need for any butter, which means far less saturated fat.

Anna Olson’s One Bowl Chocolate Brownies

Makes: 1 9-x-13-inch (3.5 L) pan

Ingredients:

4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
⅔ cup boiling water
2 cups sugar
⅔ cup mayonnaise
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cocoa powder, sifted
½ tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Grease and line a 9-x-13-inch (3.5 L) baking pan with parchment paper.
2. Place the chopped chocolate in a large bowl and pour boiling water overtop. Let the chocolate mixture sit one minute, then whisk to melt.
3. Whisk in the sugar, then add the mayonnaise and then the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the vanilla.
4. With a wooden spoon or spatula, stir in the flour, cocoa powder and salt until evenly blended. Stir in the chocolate chips.
5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for about 30 minutes, until a tester inserted in the centre of the brownies comes out clean. Cool to room temperature.
6. Brownies slice best when chilled, but taste best at room temperature.
7. Once sliced, you can store the brownies in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Want more baking recipes and tips? Find out how to fix your biggest baking fails here.

Anna Olson’s Tips to Make Holiday Baking a Breeze

As Canada’s baking expert and adored television personality, Anna Olson has amassed an infinite amount of tips and tricks to keep her calm and organized in the kitchen.

Whether you’re a serious home baker or just preparing for your annual cookie swap, it’s always a challenge trying to whip up homemade treats during the busy holiday season. Here, the Bake with Anna Olson star shares some of her holiday traditions, along with her tried-and-true tips for holiday baking.

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On Her Turkey-Less Traditions
I do have some traditional things; when I grew up, my grandmother would always make cherry walnut icebox cookies. And my husband’s favourite holiday dessert is an Icelandic dessert called Vinarterta; a prune and cardamom shortbread torte. So for me, it’s not Christmas until those are made. But, I am a cookie monster. I love making holiday cookies — shortbreads are my favourite. There are so many different styles with those same four ingredients.

On Show-Stopping Desserts
To ensure success and to ensure that you’re spelling desserts front to back and not backwards (which is stressed), you want to budget time. It takes baking, chilling, cooling, setting time — those are the little steps that you don’t want to cheat on. For something like a croquembouche, make it work for you as a make-ahead (dessert). (Make and) freeze the profiteroles a week ahead, take them out to thaw, and make the pastry cream two days ahead. Then, you can assemble it the day you serve it, and set aside one hour.

Croquembouche

On The Right Ingredients
(Use) unsalted butter, not salted butter. It’s sweeter, fresher and you’re in control of the salt, because you don’t know how much salt is in salted butter. Salt also retains water, and when you melt butter in a pan, you get that white liquid that runs off called milk solids, [which is] essentially water. So you’re getting more butter in unsalted butter.

On Knowing Your Oven
Just because you set your oven to 350°F, doesn’t mean it’s actually at 350°F. Spend the $7 to $10 on an oven thermometre. That’s the best way to prevent a baking disaster, because that’s the point where you relinquish control. I do a lot of candy making and chocolate work at holiday time, so I have a really good thermometre and I’d say that’s indispensable.

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On Freezing Now, Baking Later
I find that when you freeze baked cookies, they never come out as good as they went in. They take up so much space, so you can just make all your (cookie) dough ahead of time. If it’s a slice-and-bake, say my Chocolate Slice Cookies, I’ll just label it: “Chocolate slice, 325°F, 1/4-inch thick, 12 minutes.” So when I pull it out (of the freezer), I don’t have to go back to the recipe — slice, bake, done.

Timing is Everything
My #1 tip: Timing. Taking time now that we have time. If you know you have between 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. on Saturday morning, then make that your time. Make your favourite coffee, put on your favourite playlist, and baking takes you into that place. We love our sweets at the holidays, but we love baking because it’s an extension of that sharing and giving, and you want to channel that — remind yourself that that’s what it’s about.

Looking for some festive dessert recipes? Check out Anna Olson’s Ultimate Holiday Treats.

13 Baked Alternatives to Your Favourite Fried Foods

Chicken fingers and fries, spring rolls, calamari, tempura… The list is endless when it comes to your favourite deep-fried dishes. Even though it would be great to indulge on a regular basis, it’s really not wise (for your health, at least) to be consuming these types of greasy foods that often.

So, we decided to find the most delicious and healthy baked versions of your deep-fried favourites that are sure to leave you feeling guilt-free but completely satisfied!

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1. Mouthwatering Baked Buffalo Chicken
2. Nancy Fuller’s Sweet Potato Steak Fries
3. Baked Samosas with Tamarind Chutney 
4. Crunchy Cheesy Oven-Baked Chicken Wings
5. Panko Crusted Baked Shrimp 
6. Chuck’s Crab Cakes
7. Baked Falafel Sliders with Tabbouleh
8. Baked Turkey and Jack Cheese Chimichangas
9. 15-Minute Churros with Caramel Sauce
10. Anna Olson’s Baked Chocolate Almond Doughnuts
11. The Pioneer Woman’s Jalapeno Poppers
12. Valerie Bertinelli’s Southwestern Egg Rolls

13. Almond-Crusted Baked Eggplant

Top 5 Pizza Recipes from You Gotta Eat Here!

There’s just something about homemade pizza — whether it’s shaping the dough, the layering of your favourite ingredients, or devouring the pizza itself, nothing is more satisfying than some mouth-watering pizza created by yours truly.

To get you in the pizza making mood, we’ve rounded up five of our favourite pizza recipes from You Gotta Eat Here!:

1. Mango Tango Chicken Pizza
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2. Pulled Pork Pizza
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3. Capricciosa Pizza
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4. Kung Pao Chicken Pizza
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5. Wise Guy Pizza
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How to Make a Naked Cake

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I’d (quite confidently) call myself an expert in cupcakes. I can whip up a batch and have them frosted with a pretty swirl design in no time. But cakes? Cakes are another story. The finished product all too often resembles something that the cat dragged in.

And so, I decided it was time to work on my gateau design skills, and find a way for that typical messy icing to actually add some charm to the design.

It’s called a Naked Cake. In case you haven’t been on Pinterest in a while, it’s probably the biggest trend in cakes right now. And lucky for me, it’s ridiculously easy to create.
Intrigued? Follow my easy steps to see how I pulled it off. New bakers are definitely welcome!

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First thing to do is gather the materials. Follow this recipe for your classic white cake, and this recipe for vanilla buttercream icing. You will need two batches of each.

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As for flowers to top the cake, I went for a bundle of white Freesias, and five roses in light pink, darker pink and yellow.

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You’ll have four cakes in total. With a serrated knife, cut off the top of each cake, so you’re left with a flat surface.

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Spoon a hefty amount of icing onto the surface of the bottom cake, and use a butter knife to carefully dab and spread it around. Be careful not to smear it or you’ll risk getting bits in the icing. When you’re finished one layer, turn the cake around to make sure it’s all covered. Then pile the next layer on top, and do the same.

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It’s okay to be a little messy! The icing shouldn’t be too perfect.

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Once all the cake tops have been frosted, it’s time to add the flowers. I started with the Freesias on the bottom, and placed the roses on top.

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After the roses, I added a few more Freesias in between the roses to make it full.

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And that’s it! The naked cake is perfect for wedding showers, baby showers, birthdays, and other celebratory events. Or if you’re like me, an ordinary Tuesday night.

headshot Renée Reardin is a lifestyle writer and stylist living in Toronto. To learn more about her, visit www.reneereardin.com, and follow her on Twitter @reneereardin.

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