All posts by Marcella DiLonardo

Marcella DiLonardo, also known as “modest marce,” is a recipe developer, photographer and stylist. She is the creator of the blog Hey Modest Marce and author of the cookbook Bake the Seasons (Penguin Canada, 2019). She focuses on creating simple and seasonal recipes, putting a modern twist on the classics. Follow her over at @modestmarce to see her latest culinary creations.

You’ll Fall Head Over Heels For These Chocolate and Coconut Pots De Crème

It isn’t Valentine’s Day without a decadent chocolate dessert, and this chocolate and coconut pots de crème recipe is the epitome of all the things we love most about the rich, sugary-sweet confection. Not only are these romantic treats individually portioned, they’re best made in advance, and also happen to be dairy-free thanks to the creamy coconut milk (always opt for canned coconut milk as the carton variety is diluted with water). No matter who you’re treating – yourself, close friends or that special someone – these desserts are worth the indulgence.

Chocolate and Coconut Pots De Crème

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 4+ hours (includes cooling time)
Servings: 4 large or 6 small

Ingredients:

2 cups full-fat coconut milk, canned
½ cup granulated sugar
4 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract
1 pinch nutmeg
1 pinch fine salt
100 grams quality dark chocolate, finely chopped
Coconut whipped cream, for serving
Dried rose petals, for garnishing

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Boil a pot of water and set aside.

2. In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the coconut milk and sugar. Bring to a gentle simmer and remove from heat.

3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, vanilla extract, coconut extract, nutmeg and salt until well blended.

4. Slowly temper in the coconut mixture to the egg mixture, whisking constantly.

5. Transfer mixture back to the saucepan and add the chocolate. Whisk until chocolate is fully incorporated.

6. Pour mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to ensure a silky custard.

7. Evenly divide custard amongst 4 large (or 6 small) ramekins. Transfer to a baking dish and fill dish with the boiling water halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Be careful not to drip any water into the ramekins.

8. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the centre of each custard has set. The centre should still have a little jiggle to it. Remove ramekins from the baking dish and transfer to a cooling rack. Let cool to room temperature before transferring to the refrigerator. Chill for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight before serving.

9. Top with a dollop of coconut whipped cream and a sprinkle of rose petals before serving.

We’re here to satisfy all your dessert cravings with these 100+ decadent chocolate desserts, fudgy brownie recipes and no-bake vegan chocolate cheesecake hearts.

Healthy High-Protein Oatmeal, Dressed Up 3 Delicious Ways

You’ve heard it before and we will say it again: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But the kicker is, your go-to morning meal should feature nutrients to keep you satiated and satisfied (sugar-laden cereals just won’t cut it). Today, we’re sharing three protein-packed oatmeal recipes that promise to keep you full. It’s a healthy – and delicious – start to the year that belongs in your breakfast rotation. And with three exciting variations to choose from, you’ll never get bored.

Winter Citrus Oatmeal

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup orange juice, store-bought or freshly squeezed
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1 Tbsp vanilla protein powder (optional)
1 Tbsp hemp seeds, plus more for topping
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup, plus more for topping
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch fine salt
1/2 tsp orange zest
Orange slices, for topping
Blueberry jam, for topping
Chopped pecans, for topping

Directions:

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the almond milk, orange juice, oats, protein powder, hemp seeds and maple syrup.

2. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for an additional five minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla, salt and orange zest. If oatmeal appears thick, add an additional splash of almond milk.

4. Stir in orange slices, blueberry jam, pecans and maple syrup.

Cranberry, Coconut & Chia Oatmeal

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1 Tbsp vanilla protein powder (optional)
1 Tbsp chia seeds
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup, plus more for topping
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch fine salt
Fresh cranberries, for topping (can substitute dried)
Flaked coconut, for topping
Roasted almonds, for topping
Maple syrup, for serving

Directions:

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the coconut milk, oats, protein powder, chia seeds and maple syrup.

2. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for an additional five minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and salt. If oatmeal appears thick, add an additional splash of coconut milk.

4. Stir in cranberries, coconut, almonds and maple syrup.

Chocolate, Banana & Peanut Butter Oatmeal

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1 Tbsp vanilla protein powder (optional)
2 Tbsp honey, plus more for topping
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch fine salt
2 Tbsp natural peanut butter
1 banana, sliced
2 ounces dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1 pinch flaked salt, for topping

Directions:

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the almond milk, oats, protein powder and honey.

2. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for an additional five minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and salt. If oatmeal appears thick, add an additional splash of almond milk.

4. Stir in peanut butter, banana and dark chocolate. Top with flaked salt.

Restore your relationship with breakfast with this vegan apple pie oatmeal bake or these creative chia puddings 3 ways. These 3-ingredient breakfasts will also make mornings a breeze.

a glass of creamy orange-banana smoothie on a marble countertop

Cold-Busting Citrus Smoothie That’ll Save You When Sick Season Hits

When flu season strikes, keep your immune system strong with this citrus-infused cold-busting smoothie. This drink is packed with nutrients, and features two anti-inflammatory agents: ginger and turmeric. Citrus in the form of orange and lemon add a punch of vitamin C, which is a necessity this time of year. For a vegan version, simply sub the Greek yogurt with a dairy-free alternative, like cashew or coconut.

Easy Cold-Busting Citrus Smoothie Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 1-2

Ingredients:

1 large sliced banana, frozen
¼ cup full-fat vanilla Greek yogurt
½ cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
½ Tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
½ Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated
¼ tsp ground turmeric
4 ice cubes, or a handful of crushed ice
hemp hearts or chia seeds, to garnish

Directions:

1. Add all ingredients to a blender. Puree until mixture is smooth and creamy, about 60 seconds.

2. If mixture is too thick, add a splash more orange juice and blend.

3. Transfer to glass and garnish with hemp hearts or chia seeds.

Support your immune system with our favourite slow cooker comfort foods for sick days.

25-Minute Everything Bagel Smoked Sausage Rolls with Puff Pastry

These are hands down one of my favourite appetizers to serve at any social gathering. With the help of the smoked sausage, the rolls come together within 25 minutes! You can prepare them ahead of time and simply pop them in the oven to bake as guests begin to arrive. If Dijon mustard isn’t your jam, sub with equal parts cream cheese for a tangy filling.

Everything Bagel Smoked Sausage Rolls

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 12 rolls

Ingredients:

1 sheet frozen all-butter puff pastry, thawed
6 smoked pork sausages, halved
¼ cup whole grain or Dijon mustard, plus more for serving
1 large whisked egg, for egg wash
1 Tbsp poppy seeds
1 Tbsp dried minced garlic
1 Tbsp dried minced onion
½ Tbsp white sesame seeds
½ Tbsp black sesame seeds
½ Tbsp flaked sea salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375ºF . Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. Roll out the prepared puff pastry and slice into 12 evenly sized squares.

3. Brush the centre of each square with mustard. Place the sausage on the mustard and trim the ends of the pastry to ensure the edges of the sausage will be showing.

4. Brush the left side of the square with egg wash and gently roll. Press the ends to seal. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining squares for a total of 12 sausage rolls.

5. In a small mixing bowl, toss together the garlic, onion, sesame seeds and salt.

6. Brush the top of each sausage roll with the remaining egg wash, and sprinkle generously with everything-bagel seasoning.

7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. Serve with additional mustard for dipping!

We’ve also rounded up 35 Last-Minute Party Appetizers That Are Beyond Easy and 20 Un-Brie-lievably Good Baked Brie Recipes.

An Overnight Gingerbread French Toast Bake for the Perfect Winter Morning

This comforting, fragrant French toast bake is the best way to wake up on Christmas morning. It can be prepared the night before and baked fresh the next day. Just a little bit easier than standing over a griddle and individually frying each slice of French toast! The egg mixture features traditional gingerbread spices (which scents the whole house as it bakes) and the cranberry adds a hint of tartness. For best results, use a day old loaf of bread as it soaks up the liquid better.

Overnight Gingerbread French Toast Bake

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes
Serves: 8

Ingredients:

1 loaf country bread, cut into 1/2 thick slices
8 large eggs, whisked
3 cups whole milk
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1 pinch black pepper
1 pinch fine salt
1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped (optional)
1/2 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen
Powdered sugar, for serving
Maple syrup, for serving

Directions:

1. Grease a 9×12 baking dish. Arrange the slices of bread in two rows, overlapping each other.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, black pepper and salt.

3. Pour mixture evenly over the bread, gently pressing the slices down to soak up the liquid. Sprinkle with pecans and cranberries. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to bake.

4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. If bread begins to brown too quickly, cover the top with foil and continue baking.

5. Serve warm with a dusting of powdered sugar and a drizzle of maple syrup.

We’ve got more easy, ultra-appetizing holiday brunch recipes to bookmark this year, from these 25 standout dishes that’ll feed a crowd to healthier recipes guests will still devour (especially after a night of indulging).

This Winter Greens Mac & Cheese Recipe Will Make You Feel Healthy

When the cold weather strikes, macaroni and cheese is the ultimate comfort dish. This version takes advantage of the best winter greens the season has to offer. Any variety of nutrient-packed greens will work, such as chard, collards, rapini or kale. So go ahead and indulge in this cheesy, creamy pasta for dinner, while sneaking in a healthy serving of vegetables, too!

Winter Greens Mac & Cheese

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes
Serves: 6-8

Ingredients:

1 lb macaroni noodles, cooked to al dente
2 Tbsp + 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
6 oz chopped winter greens, stems removed
Salt & cracked black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp whole-grain mustard
3 cups whole milk
1 bay leaf
1 large egg, whisked
2 cups grated extra-old white cheddar, plus more for topping
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese, plus more for topping
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs

Directions: 

1. In a large pot over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, garlic and onion. Cook until the onion begins to turn translucent, about 5 minutes.

2. Stir in the greens, seasoning generously with salt and pepper. Continue cooking until the greens begin to wilt and cook down, about 5 minutes. Transfer the greens to a bowl and set-aside until ready to use.

3. Preheat oven to 350°. In the same pot over medium heat, melt together the butter and flour. Whisking constantly, cook until a smooth roux forms, about 5 minutes.

4. Whisk in the mustard, followed by the milk and bay leaf. Simmer for 10 minutes, until mixture begins to thicken. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Discard bay leaf, temper in the egg and remove pot from heat. Let cool slightly before stirring in the cheeses.

6. Add the macaroni noodles and mix until evenly coated. If the pot is not oven safe, transfer mixture to a 9 by 12 baking dish.

7. In a small mixing bowl, toss together the remaining olive oil, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper.

8. Top macaroni with additional cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake for 30 minutes, until the filling is bubbly and golden brown. Serve immediately.

Get in your cozies and enjoy more comforting recipes with a good-for-you twist, from Georgian cheese bread with kale to spaghetti puttanesca (starring cauliflower) to a decadent butternut squash tartiflette.

These Witches’ Cauldron Halloween Cupcakes Are Wicked Delicious

Looking for a fun and spooky treat to make this Halloween? Look no further! These witches’ cauldron cupcakes are as eye-catching as they are delicious. I used my favourite one-bowl chocolate cake batter as the base, and topped each with a fluffy vanilla buttercream frosting. 

The addition of handmade witches legs also add a little trick to the treat. To make the legs, all you need is black card stock and striped paper straws. Simply cut out 48 black booties using the card stock, cut each straw into thirds and glue the boot upside down to the top of each straw. What else are you brewing up this Halloween season?

Witches’ Cauldron Chocolate Cupcakes

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:

Cupcake Base
2 cups granulated sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk (can substitute equal parts dairy-free milk)
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp fine salt
1 cup boiling water

Cupcake Frosting
1 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
4 to 5 cups powdered sugar, or to taste
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
20 drops green food colouring
¼ cup whipping cream, cold
24 gummy fang teeth candy, halved
24 neon worms candy, halved
48 googley candy eyes, for topping
Halloween sprinkles, for topping
24 sets of witches legs (see headnote)

Directions:

Cupcake Base
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two 12-tin cupcake trays with cupcake liners.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the sugar, oil, butter, eggs and vanilla extract until fluffy. Stir in the milk until combined.
3. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Beat until batter is smooth.

4. Slowly whisk in the boiling water until well blended.
5. Evenly divide batter amongst prepared cupcake trays. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops bounce back to touch. Let cook completely before frosting.

Cupcake Frosting
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until fluffy, about 8 minutes.
2. Scrape down the edges of the bowl. Add the vanilla and food colouring. Beat until colour is evenly blended. Add the whipping cream and beat for an additional 30 seconds.
3. Transfer frosting to a large piping bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe as desired.

4. Top each cupcake with the fang teeth, neon worms, googley eyes and sprinkles. Finish with a set of witches legs.

Don’t let the scary fun stop there! We’ve got 25+ spook-tacular halloween desserts, plus more frightening cake and cupcake ideas!

Fall Chia Puddings 3 Ways: Apple Pie, Pumpkin Pie & Chocolate Chai

When September rolls around, I become a little bit of an enthusiast for all things fall. I like to incorporate the cozy flavours of the season into each meal of the day, and breakfast is no exception! These chia puddings are like biting into your favourite autumn dessert: apple pie, pumpkin pie and chocolate chai. They require minimal prep, and are so good for you, as chia seeds are loaded with nutrients. Pumpkin pie for breakfast? Yes, please!

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 8 hours
Servings: 2

Apple Pie Chia Pudding

Ingredients
1 cup almond milk
¼ cup chia seeds
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ cup unsweetened apple sauce
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 medium apple, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp walnuts or pecans, roughly chopped
Coconut whip, for topping (refer to this recipe, if desired)

Directions
1. In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk the almond milk, chia seeds, maple syrup, vanilla, apple sauce, cinnamon and nutmeg until well blended. Let stand for 30 minutes.
2. Whisk mixture a second time to distribute the chia seeds. Transfer mixture to a glass jar or serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
3. When ready to serve, top with sliced apple, nuts and coconut whip.

Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding

Ingredients
1 cup almond milk
¼ cup chia seeds
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ cup pumpkin puree
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground ginger
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 pinch ground cloves
1 pinch ground allspice
1 Tbsp walnuts or pecans, for topping
Coconut whip, for topping (refer to this recipe, if desired)

Directions
1. In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk the almond milk, chia seeds, maple syrup, vanilla, pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and allspice until well blended. Let stand 30 minutes.
2. Whisk mixture a second time to distribute the chia seeds. Transfer mixture to a glass jar or serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
3. When ready to serve, top with nuts and coconut whip.

Chocolate Chai Chia Pudding

Ingredients
1 cup almond milk
¼ cup chia seeds
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp chai concentrate (optional)
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground cardamom
1 pinch ground ginger
1 pinch ground allspice
1 pinch ground cloves
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 Tbsp mini dark chocolate chips
Coconut whip, for topping (refer to this recipe, if desired)

Directions
1. In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk the almond milk, chia seeds, maple syrup, vanilla, chai concentrate, cocoa powder, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, allspice, cloves and nutmeg until well blended. Let stand 30 minutes.
2. Whisk mixture a second time to distribute the chia seeds. Transfer mixture to a glass jar or serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
3. When ready to serve, top with chocolate chips and coconut whip.

Stay warm and cozy this season with this healthy apple pie oatmeal breakfast bake, these vegan pumpkin spice pancakes or this streusel-topped pear kuchen cake.

Easy No-Bake Pumpkin & Dark Chocolate Granola Bars

Get into the fall spirit with these simple no-bake granola bars with a pumpkin twist! While store-bought varieties are often filled with unhealthy preservatives, these homemade bars contain more wholesome ingredients. The end results produce a delightfully chewy, chocolate snack that encompasses all the cozy flavours of autumn. I recommend using almond butter, as it has a much more neutral taste than peanut butter. This recipe is also vegan and dairy-free, making it an ideal treat for everyone this season.

Easy No-Bake Pumpkin & Dark Chocolate Granola Bars

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes
Servings: 12 bars

Ingredients:

3 cups quick cooking oats
½ cups natural almond butter
¼ cup coconut oil
¼ cup pumpkin puree
⅓ cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground allspice
½ cup pumpkin seeds
½ cup mini dark chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish and line with parchment paper. Leave an inch or so of overhang for easy removal. Set aside.
2. In a saucepan over low heat, add the almond butter, coconut oil, pumpkin puree and maple syrup. Whisk until well blended.
3. Remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and all spice. Let cool slightly.

4. Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl. Fold in the oats followed by the pumpkin seeds and chocolate chips.
5. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish. Press down gently to firm.

6. Let chill for 60 minutes in the freezer before slicing. To store bars, place in a lidded Tupperware. Can be refrigerated for a week or stored in the freezer for up to a month.

Get your pumpkin fix with these grain-free chocolate chip muffins, vegan pumpkin pie cups with coconut whip or decadent pumpkin pie swirl brownies!

This Heirloom Tomato Galette is a Summer Show-Stopper

Sun-ripened tomatoes are my favourite thing about the late summer. They taste so fresh and sweet. I remember my grandma slicing up tomatoes from her garden, drizzling them generously with olive oil and sprinkling with sea salt, to serve to us as the perfect snack. Sometimes the simplest things in life are the best. Maybe it’s the Italian in me, but I can’t help but love every variety of tomato. This galette combines a rainbow of heirloom tomatoes, but regular red cherry tomatoes will do the trick.

Heirloom Tomato Galette

Prep Time: 25 minutes (prep pie dough ahead of time)
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 70 minutes
Serves: 6 to 8

Ingredients:

Single Pie Dough
½ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
¼ tsp fine salt
⅓ cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed
3 Tbsp shortening, cold
¼ cup ice water

Galette
1 batch Single Pie Dough, chilled
⅓ cup basil pesto, homemade or store-bought
½ cup thinly sliced fresh mozzarella cheese
2 cups mixed heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved
2 Tbsp extra- virgin olive oil
Pinch of fine salt
Pinch of freshly ground pepper
1 egg, whisked, for egg wash
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Single Pie Dough
1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour and salt. Add the butter and shortening. Using your hands or a pastry cutter, work the butter and shortening until the mixture forms pea-sized crumbs. Add the water 1 Tbsp at a time, tossing until the dough begins to come together.
2. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and shape into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Use within 2 days or freeze for up to 2 weeks. Thaw in the fridge the day before using.

Galette
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pie dough into a circle that is ¼ inch (5 mm) thick. Gently lift and transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet.
3. Brush the dough with the pesto, leaving a 1-inch (2.5 cm) border. Layer the mozzarella over the pesto.
4. In a large mixing bowl toss together the tomatoes, oil, salt and pepper. Spread the tomatoes over the cheese. Gently fold the dough border over, pleating it as needed. Brush dough with the egg wash and sprinkle the edges with the Parmesan.
5. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the tomatoes burst. Serve immediately.

Recipe Excerpt:
Excerpted from Bake the Seasons: Sweet and Savoury Dishes to Enjoy Throughout The Year by Marcella DiLonardo. Copyright © 2019 Marcella DiLonardo. Photography by Marcella DiLonardo. Published by Penguin Canada®, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.