All posts by Michelle Rabin

Michelle is a Toronto-based food stylist and recipe developer. When she is not in the kitchen, which is almost never, you can find her doing ceramics or biking. Her favourite food is simply soft scrambled eggs.
Ice Ring

How to Make a Party-Perfect Ice Ring for Your Punch Bowl

Nothing gets a party going like punch. Friendships and laughter are born around the punch bowl, but we’re not talking about the awkward fruit punch you drank at high school dances. This fresh, modern recipe is an elegant cocktail that’ll impress your guests, complete with a bright, berry-ful ice ring to keep your punch chilled while adding a gorgeous garnish.

Fruit Ice Ring

Sparkling Citrus Punch with Berry-ful Ice Ring

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 8 hours
Serves: 6

Ingredients:
Ice Ring
1 cup raspberries
1 cup sour cherries, pitted (frozen if fresh is not available)
2 cups champagne grapes*
1-1 1/2 cups distilled water

Sparkling Punch
750 ml bottle of dry white sparkling wine
1-330 ml can sparkling orange soda, such as San Pellegrino Aranciata
2 oz bitter Italian soda, such as Aperol
2 oz orange liqueur, such as Triple Sec
1/2 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Fresh mint for garnish

Fruit Ice Ring

Directions:

Ice Ring:
1. Place raspberries, cherries, and grapes in an 8 or 9 inch Bundt pan. Pour distilled water over fruit only just to cover. Place in the freezer for 8 hours or overnight until frozen.

Sparkling Punch:
1. In a large punch bowl, mix sparkling wine, soda, Aperol, triple sec, orange juice and lemon juice.
2. Remove Bundt pan from freezer. Run warm water over bottom to loosen the ice ring from the pan. Place the ice ring in the punch and garnish with fresh mint. Serve immediately.

*if champagne grapes are not available, substitute cranberries or sliced strawberries.

Looking for more entertaining inspiration? Try our 10 Tasty Canadian Cocktails.

Upside-Down Cherry Cheesecake Jars

Picnic Perfect Upside-Down Cherry Cheesecake Jars

Sour cherries have a short season beginning in June and ending in August. The plump ruby red gems are a delicious way to celebrate summer. The pucker-inducing stone fruit are more tart than their more common counterpart, but add the perfect balance to this creamy no-bake cheesecake.

In this recipe, a sweet-tart topping made of sour cherries is layered with a smooth and creamy cheesecake mixture with a hint of almond. To top it off, crunchy graham crumb streusel is sprinkled over top. Close the lids and bring these jar cakes along to your next picnic, and enjoy all the layers of red and white deliciousness with shear Canadian flavour.

Upside-Down Cherry Cheesecake Jars

Prep Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 30 min
Makes: 6, 8-oz Jar Cakes

Ingredients:

Graham Crumb Streusel:
1/3 cup graham cracker crumb
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
¼ cup butter, at room temperature

Sour Cherry Sauce:
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp.cornstarch
2 cups sour cherries
2 tsp lemon zest

Cheesecake Filling:
½ cup sour cream
1 250 g brick cream cheese
3 Tbsp honey
1 tsp almond extract

Upside-Down Cherry Cheesecake Jars

Directions:

Graham Crumb Streusel:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment.
2. In a bowl, combine graham cracker crumb, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Work the butter into the dry ingredients using your fingers until pea size clumps being to form, about 1 minute.
3. Pour the mixture onto prepared baking sheet and spread into a single layer.
4. Bake until mixture is golden brown and fragrant, about 15 minutes. Once cooled, break any big clumps into crumbs.

Sour Cherry Sauce:
1. Combine 1/3 cup sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan heated over medium.
2. Add in cherries and cook until tender and sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes. Add in corn starch and cook until dissolved, about 1 minute.
3. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest. Let cool.

Cheesecake Filling:
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, or using a hand mixer, beat sour cream with cream cheese, honey and almond extract on high until smooth and fluffy.
2. Cool in fridge for about 1 hour. Transfer mixture into a piping bag.

Assembly:
1. Pipe one layer of cheesecake mixture into the bottom of each jar. Spoon a layer of sour cherry sauce over the cheesecake mixture. Continue this pattern leaving a 1/2 –inch of space at the top of each jar.
2. You can finish with a cheesecake layer or a cherry sauce layer. Sprinkle graham streusel over top layer of each jar cake.

Tip: If you cannot find fresh sour cherries, they can be replaced with frozen.

Cute and Easy Canada Day Pretzel Sparklers

Cute and Easy Canada Day Pretzel Sparklers

The best part of Canada Day is laying down outside on a summer night and watching the sky light up with celebratory fireworks. If the cool grass and the sound of firecracker bangs doesn’t bring back a feeling of nostalgia, this recipe will.

This tasty recipe takes all your favourite childhood snacks and combines them into the craziest treat ever. The chocolate covered pretzel rods not only look like sparklers, but thanks to the pop rocks, they will literally create tiny explosions in your mouth.

Canada Day Pretzel Sparklers

Prep: 10 minutes
Cool Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Serves: 12

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups finely chopped white chocolate
12 pretzel rods
28.5 g cherry popping candy
1/2 cup red chocolate rounds

Directions:
1. Heat white chocolate in a double boiler set over medium heat. Keep over heat until chocolate is fully melted, about 5 minutes. Pour chocolate into a tall pint sized glass.
2. Dip one pretzel rod into white chocolate. Allow excess chocolate to drip off. Sprinkle cherry popping candy onto pretzel rod while white chocolate is still wet. Set onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Continue with remaining pretzels. Tilt the glass of chocolate when necessary to allow tops of pretzels to fully immerse in chocolate.
3. Heat red chocolate rounds in a double boiler set over medium heat. Keep over heat until chocolate is fully melted, about 5 minutes. Pour chocolate into a bowl. Dip the end of one pretzel rod into the red chocolate. Flip pretzel rod upside down to create a dripping effect with the chocolate. Hold pretzel rod still for 3 seconds to allow chocolate to set. Set onto a baking sheet lined with new parchment paper.
4. Allow pretzels to set in fridge for 30 minutes before serving.

nanaimo-smores

Scrumptious Canadian Nanaimo S’mores

Bonfire or no bonfire, these s’mores are uniquely Canadian and arguably the most decadent. Inspired by the classic campfire treat of marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers, this variation incorporates delicious Nanaimo bar flavouring. Each s’more is stacked with vanilla custard, gooey marshmallows, melted chocolate, toasted coconut and graham crackers.

Nanaimo Bar S'mores

Nanaimo S’mores

Ingredients:
12 whole graham crackers
24 large marshmallows
1/3 cup sweetened dessicated coconut, toasted
2 -1oz. milk chocolate bars, divided into 12 equal portions

For the Custard:
2 Tbsp butter, softened
1 Tbsp custard powder
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup icing sugar
2-3 tsp milk

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to broil.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter with custard powder, icing sugar and vanilla on medium speed. Add icing sugar in stages, then add milk, 1 tsp at a time until a smooth, thick paste forms.
3. Split graham crackers in two. Lay out 12 graham cracker halves and spread custard equally over them.
4. Place marshmallows on one half of a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place under broiler until marshmallows are golden, about 1 minute. Remove from oven and place the remaining graham crackers on the other half of the baking sheet. Place 1 portion of chocolate on each graham cracker. Return baking sheet to oven for another 30 seconds. Remove from oven and sprinkle toasted coconut over chocolate.
5. Using a small spatula, place 2 marshmallows on each custard graham cracker. Top each s’more with chocolate and coconut graham cracker. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Serve immediately.

Looking for more tasty desserts? Try our Ultimate Nanaimo Bar recipe.

Scrumptious Peameal Bacon Banh Mi Sandwiches

The banh mi itself is an example of food fusion at it’s most satisfying; a French baguette is stuffed with a tasty array of Vietnamese flavours including pork, pickled daikon radish, carrots, cucumbers and heaps of fresh cilantro. We take it one step further with our banh mi recipe, in which Canadian and Vietnamese traditions are fused between two halves of baguette. The result? Tangy, sweet, salty, fresh and absolutely delicious.

Served warm or cold, this sandwich is casual enough for a picnic and elegant enough for a party.

Peameal Bacon Banh Mi

Peameal Bacon Banh Mi

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 cup julienned carrot
1/2 cup julienned daikon radish
2 tsp vegetable oil
8 slices peameal bacon
2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 demi French baguettes
2 baby cucumbers, thinly sliced in ribbons
1/2 cup fresh cilantro

Directions:
1. In a medium bowl, mix together rice vinegar and sugar. Submerge julienned carrot and daikon in vinegar mixture. Set aside for a minimum of 1 hour or overnight.
2. Heat oil in a large pan to medium-high. Fry peameal bacon on one side until golden, about 30 seconds. Flip bacon and continue to cook the other side for 30 seconds. Lower heat to medium. Add hoisin sauce to pan and flip bacon slices to coat in sauce. Continue to cook until hoisin has become thick and sticky, about 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat.
3. Drain carrot and daikon from pickling liquid.
4. Cut baguettes in half lengthwise and spread mayonnaise on bottom halves. Divide cucumber ribbons over mayonnaise. Place 4 slices of peameal bacon on each baguette and top with the pickled carrot and daikon, and fresh cilantro.
5. Close each sandwich with top bun and slice in half.

How to Make Cute Canadian Moose Cupcakes

These fun cupcakes pay homage to one of Canada’s iconic animals: the moose. Made with peanut butter, salty pretzels, chocolate fudge and maple, it’s a deadly combination that will be hard to resist. There’s one more sneaky treat layered into these adorable desserts; maple cookies! When flipped upside down, the classic Canadian snacks make perfect moose faces. Who knew?

Moose Cupcakes

Moose Cupcakes

Prep time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Total time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Makes: 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:
1 box chocolate cake mix (15.25 oz)
3 large eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1 -1/4 cup water

For the Moose:
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 Tbsp heavy cream
24 maple leaf cookies, store-bought or homemade
48 pretzel twists
48 mini white chocolate chips
24 chocolate covered raisins or peanuts
1/2 tsp blue or green sprinkles

For the Buttercream Icing:
3/4cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3 cups icing sugar

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place paper cupcake liners in 24 regular size muffin cups.

2. In a bowl of an electric mixer, beat cake mix with oil, eggs, water and peanut butter on medium until smooth, about 2 minutes. Pour batter into liners until 2/3 full. Bake for 18 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

3. While cupcakes are baking, combine the chocolate and heavy cream in a heat-proof bowl. Place bowl over a pot of simmering water to form a double boiler. Stir chocolate mixture with a rubber spatula until fully melted, about 5 minutes. Remove bowl from heat. 4. Dip one face of the maple leaf cookie into chocolate and allow any excess chocolate to drip off. Repeat with remaining cookies. Set dipped cookies aside on a cookie sheet until chocolate has set slightly, about 10 minutes.

5. While chocolate is still soft, build the face of the moose. Form the antlers by gently pressing the bottom of two pretzels into the bottom two corners of each maple leaf cookie. Press two mini white chocolate chips, points facing down, side by side, in the centre of each cookie to form the moose’s eyes. Press one chocolate covered raisin or peanut into the top point of each maple leaf cookie to form the nose of the moose. Carefully place a blue or green sprinkle on the tip of your finger and press into the white chocolate chip to finish the eyes of the moose. Continue with remaining moose. Set cookies aside in a cool place for chocolate to fully set, about 30 minutes.

6. To make the chocolate peanut butter buttercream, place butter, peanut butter and cocoa powder into a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the icing sugar until fully combined.

7. Once cupcakes are cool, place buttercream in a piping bag with preferred tip and pipe onto cupcakes or you can simply smear buttercream over cupcakes using a palette knife. Place one moose cookie face on each cupcake until complete.

Looking for more Canadian desserts? Try these 9 Cool Canadian Cakes.

Insanely Delicious Bacon Grilled Kimcheese Sandwich

There’s no way around it; grilled cheese sandwiches are ooey, gooey comfort food at its finest. While there are lots of mouthwatering  additions to a grilled cheese — apple, bacon, smoked meat — kimchi adds a zesty cabbage crunch.

This version marries the Canadian comfort classic of melted aged cheddar cheese and crispy bacon with tangy, spicy Korean kimchi.

Serve it with homemade spicy ketchup for the ultimate flavour bomb.kimchi-grilled-cheese-kimcheese

Bacon Grilled Kimcheese Sandwich

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
4 strips of bacon
8 slices white sourdough bread
2 1/2 cups aged Canadian cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup store-bought kimchi, drained with juices reserved
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
1/2 cup ketchup

Directions:

1. Heat a large pan to medium and fry bacon until crispy, about 5 minutes. Remove bacon from pan and set aside on a paper towel. Remove pan from heat and reserve 1 Tbsp of bacon fat in a small bowl. Leave remaining bacon fat in pan for later use.

2. Divide cheese among four slices of bread. Cut each bacon strip in half and place on top of cheese. Divide kimchi among sandwiches and sprinkle each with 1 Tbsp of sliced green onion. Top each sandwich with remaining bread slices.

3. Reheat pan with bacon fat to medium. Place 2 sandwiches in pan and fry one side until golden, crispy and cheese has begun to melt, about 4 minutes. Flip each sandwich and fry the opposite side until golden and cheese has completely melted, another 4 minutes. Remove sandwiches from pan and set aside. Add reserved bacon fat back to pan. Repeat with the two remaining sandwiches.

4. Mix 2 Tbsp of reserved kimchi juice with ketchup. Serve with grilled cheese.

Looking for more deliciously cheesy snacks? Try our Garlic Fingers with Donair Sauce.

Pear beer fritters

Beer-Battered Pear Fritters with Honey Drizzle

Pears give apples a run for their money in this absolutely addictive fritter recipe. The beer batter creates a light, crisp jacket around warm, tender pears. Perfect with afternoon tea or a decadent brunch, serve them warm with a drizzle of honey and a scoop of thick Greek yogurt. Choose your favourite lager for the batter, as it gives it a hint of colour, flavour and lightness to this fantastic fried treat.

Pear Beer Fritters

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 6 people

Ingredients:
3 Bartlett pears sliced lengthwise into ½ inch slices, core removed
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
¼ cup canola oil, plus more for frying
1 ¼ cup of lager
3 egg whites, whipped to stiff peaks
3 Tbsp honey

Pear Fritters

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, oil and beer. Gently fold in egg whites until combined. The consistency should be like thick pancake batter.
2. Pour enough oil into a saucepan to measure 3 inches deep. Heat oil over medium-high until its temperature reaches 375°F.
3. Dip one slice of pear into the batter to fully coat and let excess drip off.
4. Gently place pear in hot oil and fry until lightly golden, about 2 minutes. Flip fritter over and continue to fry the other side for another two minutes until fritters are crisp and lightly golden in colour.
5. Remove from oil and transfer to a cooling rack. Repeat with remaining pears in batches of two or three.
6. Adjust heat to maintain a temperature between 370°F and 375°F. Do not overcrowd the pot.
7. Once fritters have cooled slightly, drizzle honey over them and serve immediately with Greek yogurt or ice cream.

Looking for more great Canadian treats? Try our 9 Cool Canadian Cakes.