Tag Archives: baking

Photo of Anna Olson beside a close up of an Apple Cannoli Tart

Anna Olson’s Apple Cannoli Tart is the Best New Dessert Mashup

When it comes to comforting sweet treats, mouthwatering apple tarts are in a league of their own. Perfect for upcoming summer BBQs, this easy, elevated apple tart recipe is inspired by the traditional cannoli, but it’s the baked apples marinated with maple syrup that really makes this dessert shine.

Paired with a fresh and creamy ricotta cheese filling, this two-in-one dessert mashup from Junior Chef Showdown judge and mentor Anna Olson features an unexpected twist on an all-time favourite dish that brings out the flavours of the classic Italian treat.

See More: Anna Olson’s Best Fixes for Your Biggest Baking Fails 

Anna Olson’s Apple Cannoli Tart

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours
Yields: One 9-inch fluted tart

Ingredients:

Pastry
½ cup plus 2 Tbsp butter, room temperature
½ cup plus 2 Tbsp icing sugar, sifted
1 hard-boiled egg yolk
1 egg yolk
½ tsp vanilla
1-¾ cups pastry flour, sifted
¼ tsp salt

Filling
2-½ cups peeled, cored and thinly sliced apple, like  Cortland or Honeycrisp
3 Tbsp maple syrup or sweet Marsala wine
1-⅓ cups full fat, creamy ricotta cheese
¼ cup plus 1 tbsp granulated sugar
2 Tbsp grated dark chocolate
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
2 Tbsp butter, melted

Related: The Best Recipes from Junior Chef Showdown 

Cannoli Apple Tart With Ricotta Cheese

Directions:

Pastry
1. Beat the butter and icing sugar together with a hand mixer in a large bowl until smooth.

2. Press the hard-boiled egg yolk through a sieve into a small bowl and stir in the raw egg yolk and vanilla. Add this to the butter mixture and stir until blended.

3. Then, add flour and salt to the butter mixture, stirring until blended.

4. Shape the dough into a disc (it will be very soft) and, wrap in plastic and chill for about 2 hours until firm.

5. On a lightly floured work surface, gently knead the dough just a little soften, then roll it out to a circle about 12 inches across and ¼-inch thick. Line a 9-inch removable-bottom fluted tart pan, pressing the pastry into the bottom and sides.  Be sure to trim away any excess dough.

6. Chill the tart shell for 30 minutes and heat the oven to 325°F.

7. Place the chilled tart shell onto a baking tray and dock the bottom of the pastry with a fork. Bake the tart shell for 20 minutes, until the edges just begin to brown.

8. Cool the tart shell to room temperature.

Filling
1. Heat the oven to 350°F

2. Toss the apple with the maple syrup or Marsala and set aside; stir occasionally.

3. Whisk the ricotta, ¼ cup of the sugar, grated chocolate, egg, egg yolk, lemon zest and nutmeg together. Strain the Marsala from the apples into the ricotta mixture and stir to blend.

Assembly
1. Pour the ricotta filling into the tart shell and arrange the apples over top. Brush the apples with the melted butter and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.

2. Bake the tart for 25 minutes or until the apples are tender.

3. Cool the tart to room temperature then chill until ready to serve.

Note: The apple ricotta tart will keep refrigerated for up to two days.

Watch Junior Chef Showdown Sundays at 9ep and stream Live and On Demand on the new Global TV App, and on STACKTV. Food Network Canada is also available through all major TV service providers.

Harry Eastwood headshot overlaid on a food beauty of a tahini, lemon and berry pound cake

Gorgeous Edible Cake Decorations to Elevate Any Dessert

I’ve always been a big fan of using natural flowers to decorate celebration cakes, not only because they look spectacular, but also because you can then clean the stems and re-use them as cut flowers afterward. Fresh flowers are low maintenance and will immediately turn your cake into a glamorous thing of beauty.

Tahini pound cake with a lemon drizzle and fresh edible flowers

Get the recipe: Dairy-Free Tahini, Lemon and Berry Pound Cake

The things to bear in mind when choosing your fresh flowers are the following:

-Only use flowers that are edible, such as roses, calendula, borage, lavender, fennel, violas, nasturtiums, pansies, cornflowers and dahlias – as well as herbs we already commonly use in cooking.

-If you’re picking them yourself, rather than ordering them through a producer, make sure to wash the stems before use. Avoid flowers from the side of the road or in areas where pesticides are widely used.

Related: These One-Bowl Flowerpot Cupcakes Are the Cutest Thing We’ve Ever Seen

-Decorate with flowers at the last minute and keep in the fridge until needed.

-Just to be on the safe side, I prefer using decoration flowers only on cakes that are iced with a barrier between the flowers and the cake itself, such as fondant or royal icing – avoiding naked cakes. Even edible flowers may cause allergic reactions in some people so remember to remove them before handing the cake out to be eaten.

-Always tape the flower stems with floral tape to ensure that none of the liquid from the flower stems transfers to the cake itself

Can’t get your hand on edible flowers? Why not try Harry’s recipe for creating beautiful stained glass fruit to decorate cakes?

Watch the how-to video below:

Watch and stream The Big Bake and 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
Galettes on serving plate

Drop off a Batch of These Mini Potato and Leek Galettes to Mom (She Deserves It!)

Mother’s Day may look a little different this year — and while we might not be gathering in large groups to celebrate mom or the mother figure in our lives, it doesn’t mean that we can’t still show her we care. Drop off a batch of these Baking Therapy potato and leek galettes! They’re flaky, cheesy and drizzled with sweet honey. Made with homemade chive pie dough (store-bought dough works too!) and layered with creamy fontina cheese, caramelized leeks and yellow potatoes that crisp up around the edges. These individual galettes transport really well and heat up perfectly in a toaster oven!

Savoury potato and leek galettes on countertop

Potato and Leek Galettes

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Rest Time: 1 hour
Bake Time: 22-28 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 13 minutes
Servings: 6 galettes

Ingredients:

Chive Pie Dough
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp sugar
¾ tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1 Tbsp chopped chives
1 cup ice-cold water
3 tsp apple cider vinegar

Caramelized Leeks
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 leeks, sliced
Salt to taste

Assembly
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup fontina cheese, shredded
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
4 yellow potatoes, thinly sliced
Olive oil, for tops
1 egg for egg wash
Flaky sea salt
Honey for garnish

Equipment:

Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer, Amazon, $500 or KitchenAid Digital Countertop Oven, Amazon, $150.

Savoury potato and leek galette ingredients on countertop

Directions:

1. For the pie dough: in a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt. Add the butter and rub between your fingers to break it up into pea-sized pieces. Add in chopped chives. In a separate bowl, mix together the water and apple cider vinegar. Add 8-10 Tbsp of the water-vinegar mixture to the flour and mix with a fork until the dough starts to come together, dough will feel a little dry. Transfer to plastic wrap, form into a disc and chill for 45 minutes.

2. For the caramelized leeks: in a non-stick skillet over medium-heat, melt the butter and add olive oil. Add the leeks, salt to taste and saute for 15-20 minutes until the leeks are soft. Set aside to cool.

Related: Mother’s Day Gift Guide: Gift Ideas for Every Budget

3. Preheat oven to 425°F, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

4. Divide the pie dough into 6 equal portions. Roll out to about 8 inches in diameter. Spread about 1 Tbsp cream cheese, leaving about 1 inch from the edge. Add 2 Tbsp caramelized leeks, sprinkle on fontina cheese, Parmesan and layer on the sliced potatoes. Fold the edges over the potatoes, pleating as you work your way around. Stagger on baking sheets and freeze for 15 minutes.

Savoury potato and leek galettes on countertop being assembled

Savoury potato and leek galettes on countertop before baking

5. Drizzle the tops of the potatoes with a little olive oil, brush dough with egg wash and add a pinch of flaky salt. Bake for 22-28 minutes until the dough is golden brown. Serve with a drizzle of honey.

Savoury potato and leek galettes on countertop

Like Sabrina’s galettes? Try her pork bao buns or her soft pretzels.

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.

Eddie Jackson's upcycled cake sundae recipe

Eddie Jackson’s Tips for What to Do With Leftover Cake

Maybe you had a celebration and everyone was a bit too full for dessert (unthinkable!) or maybe you just got the baking bug and couldn’t help making that cake just because. Whatever the reason, if you find yourself with a lot of leftover cake, have no fear! My easy ideas will help you repurpose that cake into entirely new dishes that are just as delicious.

Add Leftover Cake to a Smoothie for a Delicious Dessert Mash-up


Use dry leftover cake as a base for an epic ice cream sundae as seen in my recipe above.

Make Leftover Cake Into a Frozen Treat

Use a round cookie cutter to cut your leftover cake into ice cream sandwich size portions. Dip in melted chocolate and garnish with sprinkles, nuts or chocolate chips. These freeze really well so go ahead and make a large batch!

Related: Ice Cream Sandwiches for a Sweet Summer Treat

Toast Leftover Cake to Add Texture to Parfaits

Cut up leftover cake and toast it on low in the oven until crisp. Top your yogurt and granola with it for an extra punch of flavour and texture. Try it with a fig compote for a delicious sweet parfait.

Breakfast Parfait with Fig Compote as seen on Valerie's Home Cooking On the Road Again episode, season 7.

 

Use Leftover Cake to Make Multi-Use Cake Crumbs

Make multipurpose cake crumbs from your leftover cake and to a frosted cake for texture or find a great cake crumb cookie recipe and add them.

See More: Classic Cake Recipes and Expert Advice for a Perfect Bake

Make a Carnival-Worthy Treat

Cut up chunks of cake and add them to pancake batter before frying or deep-frying in oil for a treat that will transport you straight to a summer carnival.

Watch The Big Bake Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT. 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

chocolate flowerpot cupcakes in terracotta planters

These One-Bowl Flowerpot Cupcakes Are the Cutest Thing We’ve Ever Seen

These flowerpot cupcakes are a wonderful celebration of the spring season — and they’re unbelievably easy to make! The terracotta pots give character, making them perfect for garden parties. The soft and moist chocolate cupcakes are topped with a luscious milk chocolate ganache and decorated with mint sprigs and edible flowers. Added bonus: with just one bowl, cleanup is easy peasy.

chocolate flowerpot cupcakes in terracotta planters

One-Bowl Chocolate Flowerpot Cupcakes

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 25 minutes
Rest Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Servings: 6 cupcakes

Ingredients:

Cupcakes
90 ml all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
½ cup sugar
½ tsp cornstarch
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ cup buttermilk
¼ cup brewed black coffee
2 ½ Tbsp oil or melted butter
1 large egg

Ganache
½ cup whipping cream
¾ cup milk chocolate

Assembly
¼ cup chocolate cookie crumbs
6 sprigs mint leaves
8-10 edible flowers
6 small terra cotta pots

chocolate flowerpot cupcake ingredients on countertop

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a muffin tin with paper cups.

2. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients listed for the cupcakes. Using an electric mixer or whisk, combine to form smooth mixture.

Related: Cute Tea Towels to Brighten up Your Kitchen for Spring

3. Using an ice-cream scoop or spoon, fill the cupcake pan with the batter. Bake for 25 minutes. Once baked, let the cupcakes cool at room temperature for at least 1 hour.

chocolate cupcakes baked in muffin tin

4. While the cupcakes are cooling, 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.

5. Refrigerate the ganache mixture for 30 minutes (or until it is cold and thick). Once cool, take it out of the refrigerator and using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, mix to a thick creamy consistency.

Related: Healthy Baking Recipes for When You’re Bored at Home

6. Using either a spoon or a spatula, spread the ganache onto the cupcakes and sprinkle the chocolate cookie crumbs. Then, add the mint sprigs and edible flowers. Finally, insert the prepared cupcakes into miniature terracotta pots.

chocolate flowerpot cupcakes ready for assembly next to terra cotta planters

anna-olson-icing-a-cake

Anna Olson’s Best Fixes for Your Biggest Baking Fails

When it comes to baking, nobody is perfect. Even expert bakers like the talented teams on The Big Bake have bad days in the kitchen, but the best part about messing up is learning from those mistakes.

Whether you’re baking a cake, whipping up a batch of cookies, or trying your hand at homemade pie dough, the next time you head into the kitchen, let Anna Olson show you how to fix your biggest baking fails.

Why do my chocolate chip cookies spread too much when baking?

There are two main reasons why your chocolate chip cookies are too soft and meld together into one giant sheet while baking. The first is that your butter could be too soft. An easy fix for that is to scoop the dough onto a pan, and then chill it for an hour before baking.

Your cookies could also fall flat if you use too much sugar or not enough flour. Even a seemingly harmless extra tablespoon of sugar could cause the cookies to spread because sugar liquefies as it bakes. Be sure to use measuring spoons and cups and follow the instructions for the best results.

How do I stop my cake from sinking in the centre?

A common culprit for why your cake is too wet (AKA raw in the middle) or sinking is an incorrect oven temperature. Just because your oven beeps and the display indicates that it’s 350ºF doesn’t mean that the temperature is accurate. An oven that runs too hot may make your cake look done when it really isn’t, or if the temperature oscillates, your ingredients can’t set at the right time and the cake sinks. The best solution is to purchase an oven thermometer and manually adjust how you set your oven.

Another cause is inactive baking powder or baking soda. If you don’t bake on a regular basis, always be sure to check the expiry date on your baking powder. For baking soda, replace it every three to four months and use the older box in the fridge as a deodorizer.

Anna Olson's lemon cake with coconut frosting and shaved coconut, a slice cut out and plated

Get the recipe for Anna Olson’s Luscious Lemon Coconut Cake

What causes my cheesecake to crack in the centre?

There are a few key steps to remember when baking a cheesecake. First, when adding eggs to your batter, mix them in on a low speed to prevent air working into the batter. Second, run a palette knife around the inside edge of the pan within 15 minutes of the cheesecake coming out of the oven. That way, if the cheesecake contracts, it will easily pull away from the sides without causing it to crack or tear in the centre. Finally, be sure to cool the cheesecake completely to room temperature before chilling. Your cheesecake can be refrigerated when the bottom of the pan is cool to the touch, not the sides.

See More: Watch Baking 101 With Anna Olson

How do I prevent peaked tops on muffins?

When your muffins come out of the oven with peaked tops, this is a sign of overmixing. To get those perfect muffin tops, mix your batter by hand instead of using electric beaters. When hand mixing, use a gentle stirring motion until the point where flour is no longer visible.

Anna Olson's chocolate banana muffins on a plate

Get the recipe for Anna Olson’s Chocolate Banana Muffins

Can I still use curdled custard?

Curdled custard means that the eggs in the custard have overcooked, but don’t throw it away and start over. While still hot, put the custard into a food processor or blender, and puree on high speed. Strain the custard into a dish, cool and chill as usual, and no one will even know – it’ll be smooth and perfect!

Ready to get even more advanced? See more baking tips from Anna Olson.

What is seized chocolate, and how do I avoid it?

If your chocolate has seized, it will take on a dull, curdled look, it will not be smooth, and some oil (which is actually cocoa butter) will be floating. To prevent seizing, melt your chocolate in a metal bowl placed over a pot filled with an inch of barely simmering water while slowly stirring. The steam from the water gently melts the chocolate. Try and avoid using the microwave to melt your chocolate, but if you must, use a lower heat setting.

If your chocolate seizes, remove it from the heat and add a few drops of tepid water. Stir slowly and gently with a spatula where the water was added, then increase the radius of your stirring motion to return the chocolate to its smooth state.

Craving a chocolate dessert? Try Anna Olson’s chocolate recipes for every skill level.

Why does my pie dough crack when rolled or shrink when baked?

Dough cracking while rolling may not be a sign of anything wrong with the dough itself. It is often that the butter within the dough is too cold, causing cracking. To prevent this, try pulling out the dough 30 minutes before rolling. It will roll out with less cracking (and far less effort).

If your dough shrinks when rolled or after baking, it’s a sign that it needed “relaxing.” The proteins (gluten) in flour become elastic when “exercised,” i.e. making and rolling the dough, and time is the only fix. If your dough springs back when rolling, pop it back into the fridge to rest for 20 to 45 minutes. To avoid a crust that shrinks when baking, chill the lined pie shell for 30 minutes before baking.

Anna Olson's flaky savoury pie crust

Get the recipe for Anna Olson’s Savoury Pie Crust

Is there a way to prevent a cake from breaking when it’s turned out of the pan?

All baked goods, including cakes, tarts, cookies and muffins, are fragile directly out of the oven. Be sure to wait 15 to 20 minutes before turning them out to cool.

If you suspect that the problem may be caused by the pan (cake will stick to a scratched pan even if it’s greased), then line the pan with parchment paper. Have the parchment hang just above the edges of the pan so you can use it to easily lift out the cake.

Is there a secret to preventing butter tart filling from bubbling over or sinking in the centre?

Butter tart filling bubbles over or sinks in the centre due to over-mixed filling. The eggs hold in the air which rises in the oven, causing the filling to overflow while baking and then sink immediately when taken out of the oven. The secret is to whisk the filling by hand until it’s evenly blended.

Sugar crystals in the bottom of the tarts are also caused by over-mixing, causing the sugar to separate from the eggs as the filling bakes. Adding a teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to the filling ensures the sugar will completely dissolve as the filling bakes.

How can I avoid lemon square filling from seeping under the crust base?

The key to making squares with a fluid filling poured over a base, such as lemon squares, is how you mix the base. It should feel crumbly, so don’t over-mix it. Gently press the base into the pan, and make sure a bit of it comes up the edges and goes into the corners. Do not pack it in firmly or it will pull away from the edges while it bakes, leaving a gap for the fluid lemon filling to seep underneath.

Anna Olson's lemon meringue squares with graham cracker base, lemon curd and toasted meringue top

Get the recipe for Anna Olson’s Lemon Meringue Squares 

For more with Anna Olson, watch The Big Bake and Junior Chef Showdown. 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

Anna Olson's vanilla and caramel birthday cake on a display

5 Classic Cake Recipes & Expert Advice for a Perfect Bake Every Time

Baking a cake from scratch can be easier than you think, especially when armed with professional tips and tricks. Veer too far from a few established rules, however, and you can end up with a cake catastrophe on your hands. Never fear, we’ve got you covered: with these five foolproof tips, we can help you ensure baking success and turn out a perfect, professional-tasting cake every time.

Let’s take a look at five favourites: classic cakes that you can make again and again, from anything-but-basic vanilla to next-level carrot cakes.

Vanilla Cake

Anna Olson's vanilla and caramel birthday cake

This delightfully moist cake is a stellar example of vanilla-flavoured deliciousness that can be used as a base for your favourite frosting. Sifting the flour mixture serves two purposes: it disperses small amounts of crucial ingredients, such as leaveners or salt, throughout the cake and also aerates the flour to make it easier to combine. Two types of pastry cream — vanilla and caramel — are used in different ways to create a multi-layered and hued cake with impressive height and fantastic flavour.

Chef’s Tip: Sift dry ingredients together onto a large piece of parchment paper before adding it to your stand mixer to keep things nice and neat. You can also grab the paper by the corners and use it as a foldable slide to help transfer your dry ingredients around your kitchen and pour into your mixing bowl.

Get the recipe for  Anna Olson’s Classic Vanilla Birthday Cake With Caramel Pastry Cream

Not sure which flour to use for your next big bake? Check out Flour 101: Your Guide to Mastering Holiday Baking and Ardent Mills’ complete flour portfolio including definitions and best-used-for applications.

Chocolate Cake

Six-layer chocolate fudge cake with slice cut out

This tall tower of cake perfection from pastry chef Anna Olson is a spectacular showstopper for any celebration for chocolate lovers. Four layers of fluffy cake (made with cake and pastry flour leavened with baking soda for extra rise) are sandwiched together with creamy, fudge frosting for a confection that’s decadent without being heavy. Using brewed coffee adds balance and depth to the chocolate notes in the cake, while a combination of bittersweet chocolate and cocoa powder adds plenty of chocolate-forward flavour to the fudge frosting.

Chef’s Tip: Chocolate flavour intensifies and improves with time. If you can resist the temptation, wrap your cake layers well in plastic wrap and aluminum foil and place in the freezer for a few days before thawing and icing them. Plan ahead for future chocolate cravings and make a double batch to freeze for up to 30 days.

Get the recipe for Anna Olson’s Chocolate Fudge Cake

Sponge Cake

Strawberry sponge cake with whipped cream and fresh fruit

Although all-purpose flour works well for cakes that require some structural integrity for heavier fillings, a soft wheat or cake and pastry flour (can lend the tender yielding quality needed to roll this sponge cake around a simple raspberry jam filling. Vary the filling based on your preference, and use homemade jam for an extra special touch.

Chef’s Tip: When whipping egg whites, your bowl needs to be perfectly clean. Any fat or oil residue in the bowl will keep your egg whites from whipping up and holding a structure no matter how long you beat them. A pinch of cream of tartar can also help to strengthen your whipped egg whites.

Get the recipe for Classic Raspberry Jelly Roll

Carrot Cake

Cream cheese iced carrot cake with heirloom carrot flowers

Keeping carrot cake from being too heavy, while still incorporating plenty of carroty goodness throughout, can be a bit of a challenge. Attempting to get the shredded carrots evenly dispersed in the batter causes some home bakers to over mix and overwork the gluten in the sturdy all-purpose flour, causing a tougher cake. This recipe from Molly Yeh provides some guidance to help counter this common error, including mixing the batter to 90 per cent before incorporating the carrots.

Chef’s Tip: To help your cake bake evenly, rotate the pan in the oven halfway through baking, helping ensure even temperature no matter the placement in the oven. Also, begin checking the cake for doneness about 20 minutes into your bake time to ensure the cake is not overbaked.

Get the recipe for Molly Yeh’s Carrot Cake With Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

Coffee Cake

Ree Drummond's blueberry crumb coffee cake on a plate

An easy coffee cake is a secret weapon for any baker: ready in under an hour with no frosting or decorations necessary, since it comes with its own crunchy and golden topping fortified with all-purpose flour such as Ardent Mills Bakers Hand®. With a cake this simple, the ratio of the ingredients plays a big part in a successful bake. The commonly used scoop and flatten method may unnecessarily compact flour into the measuring cup, adding more than intended to your recipe. A better technique is to simply spoon flour into the cup lightly and level off with a knife.

Chef’s Tip: For a consistent creaming cake batter, take all ingredients out of the fridge ahead of time to ensure they are all at room temperature. Softened butter creams easier and builds more volume. Also, eggs and milk that are at the same temperature ensure a more consistent creaming, and prevents the butter from clumping again.

Get the recipe for Ree Drummond’s Blueberry Coffee Cake

Looking for more classic cake inspirations? Try these birthday cake recipes that are sure to make you a dessert person.

Sponge cake photo courtesy of Ardent Mills

Chickpea pancakes with fruit and maple syrup

You Won’t Believe These Fluffy Chickpea Pancakes Are Totally Gluten-Free

Can you think of a better way to start the day than with a stack of fluffy pancakes? These Baking Therapy chickpea pancakes are gluten-free and come together in no time. Bananas are mashed and folded into the batter to give the pancakes a touch of sweetness and the buttermilk helps give it height and a slight tang. Whip up a batch this weekend, you won’t regret it!

Chickpea pancakes with fruit and maple syrup

Banana Chickpea Pancakes

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 12-14 pancakes

Ingredients:

1 banana
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 cup buttermilk
2 Tbsp butter + more for frying
1 ¼ cup chickpea flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt

Chickpea pancakes ingredients on countertop

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, mash the banana. Whisk in the eggs, maple syrup, buttermilk and butter. Sift in the chickpea flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix until the batter comes together.

Chickpea pancakes batter

2. Heat a non-stick pan over medium-low to medium heat. Melt about ½ Tbsp butter in the pan, scoop in about ¼ cup of pancake batter, cook for 2-3 minutes until the edges begin to set and the tops are bubbly. Flip and cook for another 1 minute. (To keep pancakes warm while cooking, place on a baking sheet in a 250°F oven).

Related: Unique and Tasty Ways to Eat Chickpeas

3. Top with berries and a drizzle of maple syrup!

Chickpea pancakes with fruit and maple syrup

Like Sabrina’s chickpea pancakes? Try her lemon poppy seed coconut buns or her rhubarb and sour cream streusel muffins.

Katie Lee's Miso Chocolate Chunk Cookies

You’ll Never Guess the Secret Ingredient in Katie Lee’s Chocolate Chunk Cookies

If I could only choose one dessert (besides frozen yogurt) to eat for the rest of my life, it would be warm chocolate chip cookies straight from the oven with a glass of milk. I am always trying to perfect my recipe. I like a chewy chocolate chip cookie, none of these flat, crispy cookies for me. Give me the chew and make it soft. I know it sounds weird, but white miso paste is the secret ingredient for the perfect cookie. You don’t taste miso, but the umami makes the chocolate even more chocolatey and gives the cookie a chewier texture. Trust.

Katie Lee's Miso Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Related: Try Katie Lee’s Eggplant “Meat” Ball Sandwiches

Miso Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Serves: 24-30 cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup (220 g) lightly packed light brown sugar
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
½ cup (1 stick/115 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1/3 cup (75 ml) white miso paste
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups (255 g) all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1½ cups (255 g) semisweet chocolate chunks

Directions:

1. Beat both sugars and the butter together in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until creamy. Add the egg, miso paste, and vanilla and beat until well mixed. Add the flour and baking soda and mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chunks. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (this is very important in order to have a chewy cookie that doesn’t spread out too much).

2. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).

3. Spray two baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray.

4. Use a medium ice cream scoop to portion cookie dough onto the prepared pans. Use two fingers to lightly flatten each scoop of dough. Bake, rotating and switching the pans halfway through, 13 to 14 minutes for a chewy cookie (a few minutes longer if you like a more well-done cookie). Transfer to a wire rack to cool (though I usually eat one straight out of the oven!).

Find this and more great recipes in Katie Lee Biegel’s new cookbook It’s Not Complicated: Simple Recipes for Every Day, Amazon, $36.

Katie Lee Biegel's new cookbook It's Not Complicated

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.

Lemon poppy seed buns on countertop

Brighten Your Day With These Easy Lemon Poppy Seed Coconut Buns

Baking bread (or buns) may seem a little intimidating with kneading and proofing, but it doesn’t have to be! These Baking Therapy lemon poppy seed buns come together really easily — in less than two hours. They’re soft, fluffy and filled with a sweet coconut filling. Similar to making cinnamon rolls, but the dough is knotted, so you get lemon, poppy seed and coconut in every single bite. Yum yum!

Lemon poppy seed buns on countertop

Lemon Poppy Seed Coconut Buns

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Rest Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Bake Time: 20-25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 55 minutes
Servings: 8 buns

Ingredients:

Lemon Poppy Seed Buns
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp instant yeast
¼ tsp salt
3 tsp poppy seeds
2 tsp lemon zest
1 cup milk, warm
4 Tbsp butter, melted
1 egg, beaten

Coconut Filling
½ cup shredded coconut
¼ cup cornstarch
¼ cup sugar
Pinch salt
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Egg Wash
1 egg

Lemon Glaze
2 cups icing sugar
4-5 Tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp lemon zest

Lemon poppy seed bun ingredients on countertop

Directions:

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour, sugar, instant yeast, salt, poppy seeds and lemon zest. Whisk to combine. Add the warm milk, butter, egg and give it a quick mix with a fork to get the dough going. Attach the dough hook and mix for about 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Transfer to a clean, large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside to proof for 35-45 minutes, until doubled in size.

Lemon poppy seed bun dough on countertop

2. Prepare the filling: in a bowl, mix together the coconut, cornstarch, sugar, salt, lemon juice, egg yolk and vanilla. Mix to combine and set aside.

3. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Related: Healthy Baking Recipes for When You’re Bored at Home

4. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle, about 16 x 14 inches. Spread the filling evenly over top. Fold the dough over onto itself, you should have roughly 8 x 14-inch rectangle. With the folded edge closest to you, cut the dough into 8 equal portions, using a knife, pizza or pastry cutter. Grab one strip of dough, hold the ends and twist them in opposite directions and tie into a knot. Place the knotted buns 2-inches apart on baking sheets.

Lemon poppy seed bun dough on countertop

Lemon poppy seed buns being formed by hand

5. Cover with plastic and let rise for 20-30 minutes until doubled in size. Preheat oven to 350°F.

6. Whisk 1 egg and brush the tops of the buns. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

7. Prepare the glaze: whisk together the icing sugar, lemon juice, vanilla and lemon zest. Drizzle over top and enjoy!

Lemon poppy seed buns on countertop

Like Sabrina’s lemon poppy seed coconut buns? Try her key lime pie cupcakes or her rhubarb and sour cream streusel muffins.

Flat lay of baking ingredients including sugar, butter

The Perfect Pastry Butter Hack, Plus 9 Golden Baking Rules to Always Follow

The weather is turning, the days are growing longer, and creativity is at an all-time high. And with so many fresh springtime ingredients ready to be transformed, who wouldn’t want to hop in the kitchen and put that extra creativity to good use? Whether you’re baking up some fresh cookies or homemade butter tarts to cheer up friends, following an easy chocolate cake recipe for a special occasion, or kneading a loaf of crusty bread to go with that seasonal salad for dinner, there are a few golden baking rules you’ll want to follow the next time you’re getting your batter on.

But First—The Perfect Pastry Butter Hack

Cubed butter in a bowl

Whether you’re a seasoned baker like those on The Big Bake or someone who’s just beginning to dabble in the world of all-butter pie crusts, short crust pastry, puff pastry and other offerings, getting your butter to that perfect consistency and temperature can make or break your bake. If you’re working on a pastry in which you need air pockets between the layers to rise up in order to create those fabulous flakes, freeze the amount of butter you need for your recipe beforehand. Then, rather than cubing or cutting it and pinching it into your flour, use your cheese grater to grate the butter directly in. The result is an easier dough to work with, since the grated butter is much more forgiving.

But wait—what if you actually need room temperature butter for your recipe, and your butter is in the fridge or freezer? You should still grate it. Doing so increases the surface area, allowing your beurre to warm up and soften quickly. In other words, a grater is the perfect tool to hack all kinds of buttery bakes. And now onto the other golden rules of baking…

Related: Brown Butter Recipes You Won’t Be Able to Resist

Always Read Over Your Entire Recipe Before You Start

Flat lay of cookbook and coffee

This rule applies to all kinds of cooking and baking, but to baking in particular where exact measurements are required and substitutions can throw off your whole game. Read over your recipe from start to finish so that you know exactly how much of each ingredient you need. But don’t just read over the ingredient list—have a good look at the method too. It can be easy to miss simple steps like resting time, sifted flour versus poured flour, or creaming your butter and sugar before mixing. With that last step for example, creaming your butter and sugar together beats air into the butter and helps the sugar to hold that air, giving your baked goods structure. If you just mix or pour butter and sugar in without adding that vital step, you could end up with a dense, flat product.

See More: Flour 101 – Your Guide to Baking

Remember the Quality of Your Ingredients Matters

Flat lay of baking ingredients including nuts, sugars and butter

When you’re shopping for a special recipe, the quality of ingredients will help dictate the quality of your final product. Sure, you can grab artificial vanilla extract, but will it taste the same as the real stuff? Of course not. The same can be said for the type of chocolate, nuts, maple syrup and honey you use—fresh, good quality ingredients will always transform your bake. Butter is another big one. In France, some of the world’s top pastry chefs only use butter that’s high in milk fat—at least 82 per cent. In Canada, our butter is typically only churned to 80 per cent milk fat, and that two per cent drop makes a world of difference. If you really want to create the flakiest of pastries and crispiest of cookies, grab Gay Lea’s new Bakers Gold butter, which is churned to an impressive, chef-grade, 84 per cent milk fat.

Never Overbeat Batter

A stand mixer or even the handheld variety can be a wrist saver for sure, but when you’re talking about mixing together ingredients for a bake there’s a slippery slope. More often than not recipes for baked goods always come with the disclaimer, “don’t overmix.” And for good reason. When you overmix cakes, cookies, muffins, bread or even pancakes you run the risk of injecting too much air into the batter and developing extra gluten. While some gluten is key when it comes to chewy baked goods, too much of it will just make your offerings gummy and dense. In other words, when a recipe says “mix until just combined,” take the step seriously and don’t walk away from a mixer that’s having a party in the mixing bowl.

Related: Harry Eastwood’s Healthy Baking Substitutes

Stop Confusing Wax Paper and Parchment Paper

Blueberry cookies on way paper with fresh flowers and ingredients

Hands up if you’ve charred a recipe or two by accidentally putting wax paper instead of parchment paper in the oven. Baking with wax paper is never really advisable. The stuff is water-resistant, which means it’s great to lay down for cool things when you don’t want them to stick, but it’s definitely not heat-resistant. A good rule of thumb is to remember that for anything cold, you want wax paper. And for anything hot you want parchment paper, which is typically safe in the oven up to 450°F. (But check your packaging.) If you have both and you keep confusing them however, maybe consider investing in a silicon mat or liners. Depending on the brand they’re great for all things hot and cold, and they wash up easily in your sink to cut down on waste, too.

Always Blind-Bake Pie Crusts

Blind baked pie crust with raw ingredients nearby on the table

No, you don’t need a blindfold to pull off the best pie crust of your life. Instead, all you need is a blind bake and some high quality butter, like the aforementioned high milk-fat butter that is Gay Lea’s new Bakers Gold butter. Blind baking means that you bake the crust in full before putting in any kind of filling, so that you know the crust is cooked all the way through. Otherwise you run the risk of adding filling to an uncooked crust and creating a soggy mess. What’s the other benefit of blind baking a pie crust with a butter that’s high in milk fat? Higher butterfat means less water and a softer texture, resulting in butter that easily melts into those pastry layers. There’s nothing like the flavourful, flaky crust that you get as a result. One bite can basically transport you back into your grandmother’s kitchen, where your mouth waters in anticipation of that freshly baked pie sitting in the windowsill.

See More: The Best Summer Pies and Tarts

Don’t Substitute Baking Powder for Baking Soda

…and vice versa. Although it’s easy to confuse baking powder with baking soda, they each do different things in the chemistry that is baking. Baking soda, AKA the one some people keep in the fridge to help deodorize all of those food smells, is sodium bicarbonate. In order for sodium bicarbonate to activate and help your baked goods rise, it needs an acid (brown sugar, lemon, vinegar, chocolate etc.) and a liquid. Baking powder, however, is baking soda that already has an acid (cream of tartar), and sometimes a bit of corn starch. In order to activate its equally awesome rising properties, all you need is a liquid.

Browning Butter is a Baking Superpower

Would you consider this one a rule, or a hack? Either way, nothing beats the deep, rich flavour of browned butter—especially in baking. Brown butter cookies, brown butter brownies… even a cake with brown butter frosting is enough to make you hungry. If you want to execute perfectly browned butter for use in your baked goods, slowly melt it in a pan over medium heat. You want even heat distribution so that the butter cooks evenly, but be sure to constantly stir it so that it doesn’t burn (brown butter can turn to burnt butter before you can say “browning burnt butter” three times fast). When the butter is a nice brown hue and the edges begin to sizzle and foam, you’re ready to remove it from the heat. All in all, the entire process should only take about 5-8 minutes, but it makes a huge difference in your final flavour profile.

Related: Anna Olson’s Guide to Buttercream Icing

Chill Your Cookie Dough Before Baking

Chocolate chip cookies baking on a baking sheet

If you’re going through all of that effort to make cookies from scratch, don’t you want to make the best possible batch? Of course you do! So if you aren’t already chilling your cookie dough before baking it, we have to ask, why not? As a general rule of thumb, once your dough has come together you should chill it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes so that the butter can harden again. That way the butter doesn’t disperse too quickly and flatten out the cookie. If you find it tough to work with chilled dough, scoop out your balls beforehand and then chill them on a baking sheet in the fridge. Or, flash-freeze them in the freezer, throw them into a freezer-friendly bag, and bake them up anytime you want fresh cookies.

Chilling cookie dough is a golden rule to be sure, but there are exceptions. If you’re going for a thin cookie that spreads out or you have a delicate dough like macron or madeleine, those are the instances where you’ll want to bake your cookies at room temperature instead.

Weigh Your Ingredients Whenever You Can

Recipes come in all kinds of measurements, but when it comes to baking, many of the pros prefer weighing their ingredients as opposed to counting cups and tablespoons. One reason is that a recipe is easier to half or double when you’re talking about weight over volume. But more importantly, there is less room for error when you’re using a kitchen scale versus the human eye. Baking is an exact science. And while there’s tons of room for creativity and innovation, the science at the base of those recipes remains the same. Whenever you have the opportunity to weigh your ingredients definitely do so, because the better you can get at precise ingredient measurements, the better those buttery baked goods will wind up tasting.

Watch The Big Bake Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT. 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.

Photos courtesy of Unsplash.

Anna Olson Chocolate Recipes for Every Skill Level

Anna Olson’s Chocolate Recipes for Every Skill Level: Easy to Advanced

Has Great Chocolate Showdown inspired you to try out some new skills in your kitchen? Not all chocolate recipes are created equal, so we asked Canada’s most beloved baker and Great Chocolate Showdown host Anna Olson to help us break down which of her recipes would be best suited to your skills.

Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned pro, here are Anna Olson’s best chocolate recipes for bakers of all levels.

Related: Expert Chocolate Techniques to Master Now

Easy Chocolate Recipes for Baking Beginners

If you’re not sure where to start your chocolate baking journey, look no further than this classic bake — cookies. “Chocolate chip cookies are a great basic because it gets you into the chocolate world,” recommended Anna.

Anna Olson's classic chocolate chip cookies cooling on a wooden trayGet the recipe for Anna Olson’s Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies

For a serious sweet tooth, fudgy brownies are another great option for new home bakers, and as a bonus, they use items you probably already have in your kitchen. “Brownies take minimal equipment. If you’ve got a pot, a pan, and a whisk, you can make brownies,” said Anna.

See More: Anna Olson’s Top Baking Tools

Anna Olson's fudge brownies studded with a pecanGet the recipe for Anna Olson’s Fudge Brownies

Intermediate Chocolate Recipes if You Have a Few Baking Skills Under Your Belt

For home bakers who have the basic chocolate skills down and want to give themselves a challenge, Anna provided some delightful options.

“You can get into fun things like chocolate crinkle cookies, a good, rich chocolate cake, a flourless chocolate torte, or vegan chocolate cupcakes with fudge frosting,” Anna shared.

Anna Olson's 6-layer chocolate fudge cake with one slice on a plateGet the recipe for Anna Olson’s Chocolate Fudge Cake

Advanced Chocolate Recipes for Baking Masters

If you’re ready to face the ultimate home baking challenge and show off your chocolate technique, Anna had a couple of ideas.

“I have a delicious chocolate mousse cake: chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, and it’s got a dark chocolate mirror glaze, which is really hot right now,” she divulged.

Related: Cynthia Stroud’s Expert Decorating Tips

A slice of Anna Olson's rich chocolate mousse cakeGet the recipe for Anna Olson’s Rich Chocolate Mousse Cake

“[My] chocolate souffle is another very challenging recipe,” she also shared. “It takes confidence, and you have to feel positive that you know how to get it just right.”

Anna Olson's chocolate souffle in a ramekinGet the recipe for Anna Olson’s Chocolate Souffles with Salted Caramel Sauce

Tune into Great Chocolate Showdown on Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/PT. 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

Easter egg hot chocolate bombs

These Easy 6-Ingredient Easter Egg Hot Chocolate Bombs Are Almost Too Pretty to Eat

Swap out those mini chocolate eggs for these beautiful Baking Therapy Easter egg hot chocolate bombs! They are filled with a sweet homemade cocoa mix and fluffy marshmallows. Pour warm milk over them and watch them “explode” with chocolatey goodness. Because you can’t celebrate Easter without lots of chocolate, right?

Easter egg hot chocolate bombs

Easter Egg Hot Chocolate Bombs

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Rest Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients:

¾ cup icing sugar
½ cup cocoa powder
1 cup instant skim milk powder
¼ tsp salt
4 cups melting chocolate wafers, in various colours
2 cups mini marshmallows

Equipment: 

Semi-Sphere Silicone Chocolate Silicone Mold, Amazon, $23.

Easter egg hot chocolate bomb ingredients

Directions:

1. For the hot cocoa mix: in a bowl, sift the cocoa powder and icing sugar. Whisk in the instant skim milk powder and salt. Set aside.

2. For the chocolate bombs: add the melting wafers to separate bowls and melt either using a double boiler or in the microwave in 30 second intervals, be careful not to overheat. Dip a clean paint brush into the melted chocolate and create designs in each mold. Place in the freezer for 5 minutes to set.

Easter egg hot chocolate bomb in silicone mold

3. Add about 2 Tbsp of melted chocolate to each cavity and using the back of a small spoon help guide the chocolate up the sides. Place back in the freezer for 5-10 minutes until set. Carefully remove from the chocolate molds and set aside.

Related: Delightfully Easy Easter Desserts That You Can Enjoy All Spring

4. To assemble, warm a non-stick saucepan over low heat. Fill half the molds with 2 Tbsp hot cocoa mix and 1 Tbsp mini marshmallows. To seal, place one half sphere, seam side down on the non-stick pan for 2 seconds to melt slightly. Cover the bottom halves with the top halves to create one complete sphere. Place the chocolate bombs in a mug and pour 2 cups of hot milk over the egg. Stir and enjoy!

Easter egg hot chocolate bombs being made

Easter egg hot chocolate bombs being made

Easter egg hot chocolate bomb in cup with milk being poured on top

Like Sabrina’s Easter egg hot chocolate bombs?  Try her rhubarb and sour cream streusel muffins or her gluten-free quinoa chocolate cake.

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.

Save That Leftover Pie Dough and Make These Cinnamon Pinwheel Cookies!

Several pie crust recipes yield enough dough for the top and bottom of a pie, but not all pies require both. When you find yourself with leftover pie dough, don’t let it go to waste. Turn it into a new dessert with this Love Your Leftovers cinnamon pinwheel cookie recipe. They’re simple to make and are so good that you might just find yourself going out of your way to have “leftover” pie dough. We’ve forever changed your what to do with leftover pie crust dilemma.

Leftover Pie Dough Cinnamon Pinwheel Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 12 to 15 minutes
Total Time: 27 to 30 minutes
Servings: 12 pinwheel cookies

Ingredients:

½ batch pie crust, chilled
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch fine salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. On a lightly floured surface, roll pie dough into a 12 by 8 inch rectangle.

3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together butter, sugar, cinnamon and salt until well blended.

Related: Start Your Morning on a Sweet Note With These Gooey Cinnamon Buns

4. Spread the prepared filling evenly over dough. Tightly roll the dough, beginning from the 12 inch side. Press the seam to seal. Trim and discard the ends, about ½ inch on each side. Cut log into ¼ inch thick slices and transfer to prepared baking sheet.

5. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to chill. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until edges begin to brown.

Like Marcella’s cinnamon pinwheel cookies? Try her leftover turkey pizza recipe or her pink beet pancakes.

Published April 30, 2020, Updated March 23, 2021

rhubarb and sour cream muffins in pan

Celebrate Spring With These Sweet Rhubarb and Sour Cream Streusel Muffins

You know spring is near with the first sight of rhubarb. These Baking Therapy rhubarb sour cream muffins are soft, sweet and studded with tangy rhubarb. The sour cream adds to the tender crumb and the brown sugar streusel lends the perfect crunchy texture. This recipe comes together easily (just 35 minutes!) — and if you’re not a fan of rhubarb, simply swap in for your favourite springtime fruit.

rhubarb sour cream muffins in pan

Rhubarb and Sour Cream Streusel Muffins

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 25-35 minutes
Total time: 35-45 minutes
Servings: 8 large or 16 regular muffins

Ingredients:

Streusel
½ cup brown sugar
⅓ cup flour
⅓ cup rolled oats
Pinch salt
4 Tbsp butter, room temperature, but still cool

Muffins
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup rolled oats
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 large egg
6 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled
½ cup sour cream
⅓ cup milk
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)
1 cup rhubarb, diced into small chunks

rhubarb sour cream muffin ingredients on countertop

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line large or regular muffin tins with paper cups.

2. For the streusel: in a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, roll oats and salt. Work the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingers until it’s incorporated and crumbly. Set aside.

Related: These Muffin Recipes Will Turn You Into a Baking Person

3. For the muffins: whisk together the flour, rolled oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, melted butter, sour cream, milk and vanilla.

4. Create a well in the centre of dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients. Using a spatula, fold the batter together until it’s just combined, the batter will be very thick. Add the chopped rhubarb and fold to combine.

rhubarb sour cream muffin batter

5. Using a cookie scoop, fill the muffin cups about half full. Spoon about 1 Tbsp of the streusel overtop of each. Bake for 25-35 minutes until the muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

rhubarb sour cream muffins before baking

three rhubarb sour cream muffins

Like Sabrina’s rhubarb and sour cream muffin recipe? Try her key lime pie cupcakes or her gluten-free quinoa chocolate cake.

Cynthia Stroud's trio of cakes with drip technique, chocolate transfer sheet and hand painted chocolate designs

Cynthia Stroud’s Expert Tips to Master 3 Beautiful Chocolate Decorating Trends

It’s easier than you might think to create show-stopping desserts with these three chocolate decorating ideas seen in Great Chocolate Showdown. From a simple chocolate drip technique to hand painting and transfer sheet designs, open your desserts up to a world of delicious decorating possibilities that taste as good as they look.

See More: Here’s What You Need to Know About Cynthia Stroud

How To Paint With Chocolate (Cocoa Butter)

Painting with cocoa butter is different to painting with water-based food colour and edible alcohol. The former is like oil painting and the latter is more like water colour painting. Keep this in mind when creating your designs with cocoa butter.

To create cocoa butter colours, melt cocoa butter and mix in edible food colour powder or dust. If a colour is too deep, you can add white edible food colour dust. Be sure to keep your cocoa butter warm and liquid the whole time you are painting otherwise it will coagulate and make it difficult to achieve the spread you want. To do this, whilst painting, balance your painting palette or a plate you are using over a bowl of warm water.

Cynthia Stroud hand painting with cocoa butter

Tips for Painting With Chocolate:

It is important that your paint brush is dry and free of water otherwise it will cause the cocoa butter to coagulate into clumps.

To create shades in your cocoa butter painting, layer over an area with white cocoa butter.

• To create texture, brush over any painted areas with dry brushes.

• To achieve colours true to type, it is worth painting a layer of white first

• You cannot use water-based food colouring to colour cocoa butter as the moisture in the water-based food colouring will cause it to seize up.

See More: Expert Chocolate Techniques to Master Now

How to Decorate With Chocolate Transfer Sheets

When painting on transfer sheet, paint on the details first. You ought to paint in reverse to the way you’d paint on a piece of paper. On a piece of paper or canvas you’d normally paint the background first and add details after, but for transfer sheets, paint the details first then the background after. To get a good idea of whether your painting is coming along the way you intend, lift the sheet from time to time and crane your neck to look at the unpainted side. That will tell you how your painted cake will look.

Cynthia Stroud's trio of cakes with drip technique, chocolate transfer sheet and hand painted chocolate designs

Tips for Creating Chocolate Transfer Sheets:

• When spreading the melted tempered chocolate, ensure it is not too warm & runny (or it will melt your painting) and don’t overwork the chocolate whilst spreading it on the painted transfer sheet or it will dislodge the painted details.

• Ensure the transfer sheet is covered from edge to edge or this will result in gaps in the transfer collar

Related: How to Temper Chocolate Like a Pro for Perfect Candy Making

How to Create a Chocolate Drip Cake Technique

Use tempered chocolate and allow it to drip down the side of your cake, creating a lovely and simple finish. Tempered white chocolate can be coloured with oil-based food colouring before pouring/dripping for a colourful look or drips can be embellished with gold leaf, dragees (also known as a Jordan amond) or flowers whilst still wet before setting.

Cynthia Stroud demonstrating a chocolate drip technique on a cake

Tips for Creating a Chocolate Drip Cake:

• It is important to cover your cake with a smooth coating of buttercream or ganache and chill the cake till firm/solid to the touch before attempting a drip pour.

• The tempered chocolate should be runny enough to run down the edge of a mug. Always do this test before attempting to drip straight onto the cake!

• It is important to ensure the tempered chocolate is fairly liquid. You can thin it down with some cocoa butter or coconut oil.

Watch Great Chocolate Showdown Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT. 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.

Anna Olson with Her Mirror Glaze Cake

Anna Olson’s Perfect Mirror Glaze Technique (Plus Tips!)

I love a mirror glaze cake and to be honest, while I find that entremet style of cake, mousse and fruit filling delightful to eat, it’s the making, assembling and glazing of the dessert that I love the most. Here are some tips so that you can dive right into this fun, reflective world of mirror glazing.

What to Glaze

Anna Olson mirror glaze
Photo courtesy of Janis Nicolay

Pick a dessert that has a smooth outside finish and a pleasing shape. Most mirror-glazed desserts are mousse based and are assembled in individual or full-size molds and then frozen to set them.  Silicone molds come in countless shapes and they are flexible and peel away from the mousse easily. You can also assemble a mousse cake in a regular metal springform pan.  You can use a heat gun on a low setting to gently warm the metal a little so that it lifts away from the cake easily.

Related: Anna Olson’s Chocolate Recipes for Every Skill Level

Mixing Your Mirror Glaze Colours

Anna Olson mixing mirror glaze colours
Photo courtesy of Janis Nicolay

A mirror glaze is composed of white chocolate, condensed milk, sugar, water and gelatine. When mixing, blend your glaze on low speed to avoid air bubbles and strain the glaze before tinting it.   Because white chocolate has a natural yellow hue to it, you will want to neutralize that by adding white food colouring to the glaze.  Then you can divide the glaze into separate pitchers to be tinted as you wish. Once made, the glaze can take 20 minutes or so to cool to the ideal pouring temperature, between 80-86°F (27-30°C), so be patient.

See More: Chocolate Animals DIY

How to Pour a Mirror Glaze

You have a few choices here. You can pour each colour onto your cake separately, making sure to cover the cake completely.  Drawing an offset palette knife over the top of the cake will blend the colours a little and can give you that “galaxy” look.  Or, if you’re feeling daring, you can go for the “tie-dye” effect and layer the colours before you pour.  Select your base colour and slowly pour in all of the other colours, one at a time, into the base, pouring carefully in a thin stream.  These colours will remain distinct in the pitcher (do not stir!) so that when you pour the glaze over the cake, the colours will create ripples and ribbons of colours that look like they are moving, even once set.

Remember that no two mirror glaze cakes look exactly the same, so just go for it. Before you pour, elevate the cake on a dish or stand that is smaller than the width of the cake, so that the excess glaze can run off easily and place a baking tray and rack underneath to catch that glaze.  The extra glaze can be reheated and reused again, but the colours will blend.

Anna Olson pouring a mirror glaze
Photo courtesy of Janis Nicolay

You can pour onto the centre of the cake and let gravity do its bit, or if the cake is on a wheel, you can spin the cake as you pour in the centre, creating a spiral effect.  You can also pour back-&-forth.  Regardless of the pouring technique, try to pour evenly and steadily and without disruption.  Take a moment to look at all sides of the cake to make sure it is completely covered.

See More: Anna Olson’s Best Chocolate Recipes

The glaze sets quickly, so after you see that the glaze pattern stops moving and dripping, use a palette knife to scrape away excess glaze from the base of the cake (or if you miss that window of time, use scissors or a paring knife to trim it away).  Resist the temptation to touch or move the glaze after the first minute or so – every mark will show.  But now you can add extra garnish – splatters of edible sparkle dust or top with piping detail, fruit or other chocolate decor. Remove the cake to a plate and chill until ready to serve.

Be prepared for “ooh’s” and “aaah’s” as you amaze your family or friends and impress yourself.

Watch Great Chocolate Showdown Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT. 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.

key lime pie cupcakes on serving tray

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at Home With These Key Lime Pie Cupcakes

These Baking Therapy key lime pie cupcakes are the perfect little treat to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day! Sweet and tangy flavours of key lime pie topped with a fluffy cream cheese frosting. Did I mention they’re also stuffed with a luxurious lime curd? These cupcakes are guaranteed to satisfy any sweet tooth. OK, now let’s get baking!

key lime pie cupcakes on serving tray

Key Lime Pie Cupcakes

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Rest Time: 2 hours
Bake Time: 30-40 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours, 10 minutes
Servings: 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:

Lime Curd
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 3 limes)
Pinch salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed
Green food gel colouring

Cupcakes
1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 egg white
¼ cup sour cream
⅓ cup milk
¼ cup lime juice
2 tsp lime zest
1 tsp vanilla extract

Frosting
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
5 cups icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp lime juice
Gel food colouring (optional)

Equipment:

Muffin Pan, Amazon, $35.

Baking Cups, Amazon, $6.

key lime pie cupcake ingredients on countertop

Directions:

1. First, you’ll make the lime curd. In a medium saucepan on medium-high heat, whisk together the sugar, eggs, egg yolk, lime juice and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. When the mixture starts to bubble, whisk in the butter, one Tbsp at a time. Bring the mixture to a boil again and let it bubble for 1 minute.

2. Remove from heat and strain the lemon curd. Mix in gel food colouring (if using) — it’ll make the curd brighter. Place plastic wrap directly on the curd and refrigerate until it sets, at least 2 hours.

Related: Anna Olson’s Very Best Cupcake Recipes

3. Now, for the cupcakes. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners, set aside.

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix together the flour, graham cracker crumbs, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the butter and mix until the mixture resembles wet sand, make sure not to over-mix. Add the egg, egg white, sour cream, milk, lime juice, zest and vanilla. Mix until the batter just comes together. Scrape down the sides and mix for another 10 seconds.

Related: Classic Irish Eats That’ll Bring the Emerald Isle to Your Kitchen

5. Divide the batter among the 12 cups, filling until ⅔ of the way full. Bake in the oven for 25-35 minutes until the edges are just golden and a toothpick when inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

key lime pie curd next to baked cupcakes

6. Now for the frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and cream cheese until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Gradually add the icing sugar and cream until smooth. Add the vanilla extract, lime juice and food colouring (if using), mix for 1 minute. Transfer to a piping bag.

7. Use a paring knife to scoop out the centres of the cooled cupcakes. Spoon about 1 Tbsp of the lime curd into the centre of each cupcake. Ice the cupcakes with the cream cheese frosting. Pipe on four-leaf clovers or add sprinkles to make it festive. Enjoy!

key lime pie cupcakes being filled with curd on wire rack

key lime pie cupcakes on wire rack

Like Sabrina’s key lime pie cupcakes? Try her no-bake key lime pie icebox cake or her easy gluten-free quinoa chocolate cake.

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.

How-to-Melt-and-Temper-Chocolate-for-Perfect-Candy-Making

How to Melt and Temper Chocolate for Perfect Candy Making

Dreaming of divine chocolate decorations but terrified of losing your temper? For many baked items, such as fluffy frosting or creamy cake fillings, you can get away with simply melting chocolate to take it from a solid to liquid form like in these Chocolate Divinity Candies. When you get into the world of bonbons and confectionary, however, that’s another matter entirely. Tempering chocolate is a mandatory step if you want both the shiny gloss and the distinctive snap of a well-made candy or decoration like in Anna Olson’s Chocolate Dipped Marzipan — and that’s where you have to pay some attention to technique in order to achieve success.


L-R: Anna Olson’s Chocolate Divinity Candy and Chocolate Dipped Marzipan

Related: Chocolate Making Tools Every Home Chocolatier Needs

If the thought of working with molten chocolate (and even worse, the dangers of it seizing or splitting) has you clutching your (baking) pearls, we’ve got you covered. Read on to find out the best, and easiest, ways to work with chocolate, even if you’re a novice chocolatier.

How to Properly Melt Chocolate

For melting chocolate, each method has its advocates: some cooks prefer the double boiler method (or just setting a glass bowl on top of barely simmering water), while others turn to the microwave for an easy fix. Both methods involve the same basic principle: chopping chocolate into chunks for faster, more even melting, and applying gentle heat until most of the distinct shapes have disappeared.

If the unthinkable happens and your chocolate separates into a greasy, gritty mess, due to over-vigorous stirring or too-high heat, you can try Anna Olson’s ingenious trick to add moisture to return the mixture to molten glossiness (note: this fix is only for melting — even a single drop of water is the enemy of well-tempered chocolate).

See More: Desserts That Prove Peanut Butter and Chocolate Are a Perfect Match

How to Properly Temper Chocolate

For this technique, you’ll need to pull out a few items, namely a candy thermometer, a sturdy glass bowl and a silicon spatula that can handle some heat without melting. Depending on the method you use, you may also need a few more pieces of equipment, such as a marble board and wax paper.

The initial stage of tempering looks much like the melting process — use a glass bowl set over barely simmering water (not a rolling boil; there shouldn’t be any bubbles) to melt the chocolate chunks, or place the bowl in the microwave and use short bursts, checking often.

Where tempering differs, however, is the next step, where the chocolate mixture is cooled and warmed within precise ranges of temperature in order to achieve a smooth, shiny surface when it hardens (the temperature you need to hit depends on the type of chocolate you plan to use).


Anna Olson’s Chocolate Covered Caramel Bars

See More: Easy Chocolate Garnishes With Steve Hodge

This varying of temperature can be accomplished in a couple of ways: by adding other ingredients such as more chocolate (seeding) or cocoa butter to the mixture, or by pouring two-thirds of the hot chocolate mixture onto a marble board and mixing it with putty knives to cool it manually (see Anna Olson’s step-by-step description for more on this method).

Inquiring scientific minds among us may be intrigued by more gear-driven approaches, including Alton Brown’s combination of the friction of a food processor’s blades plus liberal use of a hair dryer to create heat, or J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s sous-vide circulator method over at Serious Eats.

Decoding Seed Tempering

For the easiest method using the least equipment, however, seeding chocolate is probably the best approach for a chocolate novice (for a visual demonstration, check out the video below from Great Chocolate Showdown judge Steve Hodge, pastry chef and chocolatier at Temper Pastry in West Vancouver.) With a few simple steps, this process can be achieved without too much stress (on both the chocolate and the cook).


 

Using the glass bowl over simmering water method, melt chunks of chocolate to the desired temperature (remember that they vary depending on the chocolate and are very narrow ranges, so use that candy thermometer.) We’ll use dark chocolate for this example, which should be heated to 45 to 48 degrees — milk and white chocolate, with higher milk and sugar contents, may react differently. 

Take the chocolate off the heat (leave the burner on…you’ll need it again shortly) and add prepared small pieces of chocolate (the “seeds”), which will help cool the mixture down quickly as they melt into the warmed chocolate.

Stir with a spatula until the overall temperature comes down to about 27 degrees Celsius (again, there may be some variation depending on the type of chocolate you use).

Next, quickly warm the chocolate back up by putting it into the double boiler until it hits 32 degrees Celsius and a thick and glossy texture — perfect for piping into a pretty design on waxed paper that will set up beautifully. If you aren’t sure if you’ve tempered the chocolate correctly, you can test it out by piping a small bit onto the waxed paper (or a metal sheet pan set over an ice pack).

Working quickly, swirl and create chocolate garnishes to your heart’s content: the designs should set up to a delicate decoration with the signature snap when you bite into it (try and leave a few decorations for dessert!)

Watch Great Chocolate Showdown Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT. 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.

Molly Yeh’s Pretty Almond Tarts Are the Perfect Spring Dessert

Many of us have turned to at-home baking projects in recent months, finding comfort in the nostalgia that comes with revisiting classic desserts – and, with spring around the corner, we’re craving bright, bold treats that’ll satisfy our sweet tooth. Enter: Molly Yeh.

Almond meal, granulated sugar, fresh raspberries and colourful sprinkles with sliced almonds come together beautifully in this gorgeous, mouth-watering dessert you can enjoy year-round.

Related: Molly Yeh’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake is a Birthday Treat to Remember

Molly Yeh’s Almond Tarts

Total Time: 3 hours, 25 minutes (includes chilling and cooling time)
Yields: 12 servings

Ingredients

1/3 cup (67 grams) granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups (228 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup (168 grams) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
2 large eggs, separated
Nonstick cooking spray, for the pan

Filling:
1 cup (120 grams) almond meal
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
6 Tbsp (85 grams) unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp almond extract
1 large egg

Glaze:
About 1 cup (120 grams) powdered sugar, or more as needed
1/4 cup (60 milliliters) heavy cream, or more as needed, or 2 ounces fresh raspberries
1/4 tsp almond extract
To decorate: sprinkles, sliced almonds

Related: Molly Yeh’s Carrot Cake With Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting is Simply Show-Stopping

Directions

1. For the shells: Pulse together the granulated sugar, flour and salt in a food processor to combine. Add the butter and continue to pulse until mealy. Add the egg yolks (reserve the egg whites for the filling) and pulse until the dough comes together. Press the dough into a disc, then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, or up to overnight.

2. To mold the shells, grease a muffin tin with nonstick spray. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to 1/4-inch-thick, dusting with more flour as needed. Cut out 3-inch circles and press them into the muffin cups so that the dough comes all the way up the sides. (No worries if the dough tears; just patch it up with additional dough.) Freeze the shells for 15 minutes.

3. For the filling: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

4. Combine the almond meal, granulated sugar, salt, and butter, either by blending it in the food processor (no need to clean it out after making the dough, you can just use it immediately for this step), or by stirring it together in a large bowl (I find it’s easiest to get in there with my hands). Add the almond extract, egg and the reserved egg whites from the shells, and continue to blend/stir until smooth and combined.

5. Fill the frozen shells with the filling so that it comes up about 1/4-inch from the top. Bake until the tops and edges are lightly browned; begin checking for doneness at 30 minutes. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then use a small offset spatula or a knife to remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

6. For the glaze: If making the glaze with heavy cream, combine the powdered sugar, heavy cream and almond extract in a bowl until smooth. Add additional powdered sugar or liquid to thicken it up or thin it out so that you get the consistency of a thick glue.

7. To make the glaze with the raspberries, place the raspberries in a fine-mesh sieve and give them a rinse. Place the sieve over a bowl and use a stiff rubber spatula or wooden spoon to smash them through the sieve into the bowl until you’re just left with seeds in the sieve. Be sure to scrape the underside of the sieve to get the stuff that’s sticking to it. (You should be left with about 2 tablespoons seedless puree. If it’s a tiny bit more or a tiny bit less, that’s fine.) Add the powdered sugar and almond extract and mix to make a thick glaze. If it’s too thick, add a few drops of water to thin it out, and if it’s too thin, add a few more spoonfuls of powdered sugar. It should be the consistency of a thick glue.

8. Spread the glaze over the cooled tarts and decorate with sprinkles, almonds and anything else you’d like! These will keep for several days at room temperature or in the fridge.

Related: These Gorgeous Desserts From Molly Yeh Deserve a Standing Ovation

Watch Girl Meets Farm and stream Live and On Demand on the new Global TV App, and on STACKTV. Food Network Canada is also available through all major TV service providers.

Watch the how-to video here:


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