Tag Archives: desserts

Kardea Brown’s Big Apple Crumb Cheesecake is the Dessert You Deserve Right Now

Kardea Brown’s hearty, creamy, apple-forward cheesecake may be a little more time-consuming than the average baking session, but it’s absolutely worth the wait. From the graham cracker crust and cream cheese filling to the tart and tangy apple crumb topping, there’s no need to wait for a special occasion to relish every last bite.

Related: Our Most Excellent Cheesecake Recipes for Total Dessert Bliss

Related: Kardea Brown’s Pan-Fried Collard Greens Are the Garlicky, Bacon-y Vegetable Side Dish of Your Dreams

Kardea Brown’s Big Apple Crumb Cheesecake

Total Time: 5 hours, 10 minutes (includes cooling and chilling time)
Yields: 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients:

Nonstick cooking spray, for the pan
15 graham crackers (or 2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs)
3 Tbsp packed light brown sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Apple Crumb Topping:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tart apple, peeled, cored and diced

Cheesecake Filling:
1 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
Pinch kosher salt
Three 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream
3 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
Store-bought caramel sauce, for serving

Related: Kardea Brown’s Beef and Okra Stew is the Warming Dinner You Didn’t Know You Were Craving

Directions:

1. For the graham crust: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray and place on a baking sheet.

2. Add the graham crackers to a food processor and pulse until fine, then add the brown sugar and salt and pulse until well combined. Drizzle in the melted butter and stir until the mixture resembles damp sand. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the prepared springform pan in an even layer. Bake the crust until firm, about 10 minutes, then let cool.

3. For the apple crumb topping: Stir together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Drizzle in the butter and stir until the mixture resembles wet sand, using your hands to form some clumps. Fold in the diced apple.

4. For the cheesecake filling: Stir together the granulated sugar, cornstarch and salt in a small bowl. Pulse together the cream cheese and sour cream in a food processor until smooth. With the processor running, add the sugar mixture 1/2 cup at a time until the mixture is smooth. Add the eggs and yolk one at a time, pulsing until well combined, then add the vanilla, scraping down the sides of the processor and giving it another pulse to make sure everything is incorporated. Pour the cheesecake filling over the top of the graham cracker crust.

5. Sprinkle the crumb topping over the filling. Bake the cheesecake until it is mostly set but still has a bit of a jiggle in the center, 60 to 70 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the oven door slightly open for 1 hour. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature, about another hour, then refrigerate for 1 hour more. Run a paring knife around the outside before unmolding and slicing. Serve drizzled with the caramel sauce.

Watch the how-to video here:


Watch Delicious Miss Brown 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.

salted caramel lava cakes on white plate

These Warm Salted Caramel Lava Cakes Only Require 8 Ingredients (Easiest Holiday Dessert Ever!)

Warm salted chocolate caramel lava cakes — yes, you read that right! These Baking Therapy treats are different from traditional lava cakes: picture a cross between a cupcake and a brownie. They’re chocolatey, fudgy and oozing with dulce de leche! Make a big batch and enjoy all winter long. Added bonus: this recipe requires only eight ingredients and takes just 40 minutes to whip up.

salted caramel lava cakes on white plate

Warm Salted Caramel Lava Cakes

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 10-12 minutes
Total Time: 40-42 minutes
Servings: 9 lava cakes

Ingredients:

½ cup store-bought caramel or dulce de leche
½ tsp flaky salt
1 stick butter
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 large eggs, room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour

Lava cake ingredients on kitchen counter

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Grease and line the bottoms of 9 muffin tins, set aside.

2. In a small bowl, mix together the dulce de leche and flaky salt. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and lightly grease with neutral oil. Dollop 1 heaping teaspoon of dulce de leche on the greased paper, place in freezer for at least 30 minutes.

Related: Our Favourite Decadent Chocolate Desserts

3. While your dulce de leche is cooling: in a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Once the butter has melted, turn off the heat and stir in the chopped chocolate. Mix until mixture is smooth.

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the eggs and sugar on high until doubled in size, about 4-5 minutes. Stream in the melted chocolate mixture and vanilla and whisk to combine. Fold in the flour.

salted caramel lava cakes batter

5. Once the dulce de leche is cold, lightly grease your hands and roll them into perfect rounds. Set aside.

6. With an ice cream scoop, fill the muffin tins ⅔ of the way full, reserving about ½ cup of batter. Push the dulce de leche rounds into the centre of each and top the cakes with the remaining batter.

salted caramel lava cakes batter in muffin tin

7. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes until the tops are slightly cracked. Cool in the muffin tin for 10 minutes. Wedge a knife or offset spatula to lift the cakes out, peel off the parchment. Enjoy with a scoop of ice cream.

salted caramel lava cakes with ice cream on top

Like Sabrina’s lava cakes? Try her gingerbread doughnuts or her chocolate eggnog sandwich cookies.

Team Buddy featuring Buddy Valastro, as seen on Buddy vs Christmas, Season 1.

Cakes, Cookies or Pies? Buddy Valastro Reveals His Ultimate Holiday Treat

Christmas is kind of a big deal at the Valastro residence. Sure, this holiday season may look a little bit different than Christmases past as a result of the pandemic, but in a typical year Buddy and his wife Lisa go all-out when it comes to their holiday dinners. Would you expect anything less from the Buddy vs. Christmas personality?

In previous years the couple has hosted all of their extended family, which adds up to more than 100 festive people. Typically Lisa cooks (prime rib, eggplant parm, lasagna, shrimp, lobster and more), while of course, Buddy does the desserts. But don’t let him fool you — he doesn’t necessarily whip up 100 mini pastries or elaborate cakes at home for the occasion.

Related: Buddy vs. Duff: See Buddy Valastro and Duff Goldman’s Most Epic Cakes

“Well, I’m not gonna lie. I don’t want to take credit,” he tells us. “I just bring like a slew of stuff from the bakery. We bring cakes and pies and cookies and lobster tails and pastries. And you know, we still love cake. After all these years and all these holidays and all these desserts, we still love cake.”

 

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While cake may be a year-round hit, Buddy adds that Christmas feels like an especially great time to indulge in pasties. He and his family specifically dive into Italian classics like cannoli and lobster tails (AKA sfogliatelle) because, let’s face it: when else do you have as much room for dessert as you do come the holidays?

“As big as the meal is that my wife makes, I swear it is just as important when we eat dessert,” he laughs. “No matter how stuffed everyone is — ‘oh, I can’t get up, I’m so full’ — they wind up all eating dessert. Every single one of them.”

Related: Ina Garten’s Best Desserts for the Holidays

For those fellow dessert-lovers out there, the host adds that around the holidays Carlo’s Bakery typically offers a red-and-white sponge cake that’s festive and crowd-pleasing — and they have a few other goodies in store for December too. This year that’s extra exciting for Canadians since the shop has expanded into Canada. In fact, Buddy says his Oh Canada Baby! cake would be the perfect thing for Christmas dessert this year.

“That would be a great Christmas cake on anyone’s table because it’s pretty and it’s delicious,” he says. “It’s also made with love. I want the Canadian people to know this is only the beginning of the plans for Canada because every time I come there fans are just so receptive and great. I’ve always felt so loved there and now it’s time for me to do some more in Canada.”

Related: Buddy Valastro’s Coolest Celebrity Cake Creations

For now Canadians can catch Buddy in his latest holiday-themed series, Buddy vs. Christmas. In each of the four episodes the baker and his team come together to face off against highly specialized artists (Broadway set designers, expert glassblowers and more) to see who can create the best life-sized Christmas displays to be presented at high-profile events.

 

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A post shared by Buddy Valastro (@buddyvalastro)

“These four creations are some of the best work — I was so blown away by what we did,” Buddy reveals. “When you see what we made, it’s just to another level. This was less about a competition because we’re all artists. Whether you’re a glassblower or whether you’re a brick artist and you make Legos or you’re a Broadway set designer or you’re someone who does animatronics in the windows, we’re all using different art forms to express our medium,” he continues.

“I love Christmas. My house is like the Griswolds at home with the decorations and stuff. And I gotta tell you, we just turned it on for this. It’s really cool.”

Watch Buddy vs. Christmas Mondays at 10EP 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 Ghost Hand Pies Are a Spooky and Savoury Halloween Appetizer

Although the days are getting shorter and the air crisper, it’s hard to begrudge the changing season when it brings us all the spooky fun of Halloween. Although the annual tradition of dressing up and trick-or-treating might look a little different this year, that hasn’t stopped Girl Meets Farm‘s Molly Yeh from conjuring up one of the best ghoulish hand pie recipes we’ve ever seen.

Homemade pie dough, sharp Cheddar and Dijon mustard form the crux of this mouth-watering savoury treat that will become an instant Halloween classic in your household.

Related: Spookylicious 2020: These Are the Hauntingly Entertaining Shows Coming to Your Screen

Ghost Hand Pies With Honey Dijon

Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
Yields: 8 small pies

Ingredients:

Pie Dough:
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cubed

Ghost Pies:
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 lbs pie dough (homemade is best, but store-bought will work too), recipe follows
All-purpose flour, for dusting
4 oz sharp Cheddar, finely chopped (1/4-inch cubes or smaller) or shredded
1 large egg, lightly beaten with a splash of water (for the egg wash)
3/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp honey

Related: Our All-Time Favourite Pie Recipes, From Classics to Clever Twists

Directions:

Pie Dough:
1. To make the dough, combine the cider vinegar and 6 tablespoons water in a measuring cup and stick it in the fridge (or the freezer even) to get really cold. In a large bowl or food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and either use your hands to toss it with the flour and pinch the butter into flat sheets, or pulse in the food processor, incorporating the butter so that about 75 per cent of the mixture is mealy. The rest of the mixture should have some slightly larger, pea-sized bits of butter. Drizzle in the vinegar and water and mix with your hands or continue to pulse in the food processor just until the mixture comes together to form a dough. If it seems dry or is having a hard time coming together, add a bit more water a few drops at a time until it comes together. Turn it out onto a clean surface, using your hands to press on any stray crumbs, and divide the dough in half. Pat the halves into discs, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

See More: Molly Yeh’s Flaky Dill Bread, The Perfect Use for Leftover Herbs

Ghost Pies:
1. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions with a good pinch of salt and a few turns of pepper and cook, stirring, until very soft, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low, add 1/4 cup water and cook, stirring occasionally, until the water is evaporated and the onions are lightly caramelized, 25 to 30 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

3. Divide the pie dough into 8 equal parts and shape into balls (keep half of the dough balls covered in the fridge while you aren’t working with them to keep them cold). On a lightly floured surface, roll out the balls to ovals that are 8 inches long and about 6 inches wide. Top the bottom half of each dough piece with a pile of cheese and a pile of onions, leaving a 1-inch border. In the top half of each dough piece, punch out an upside down ghost face with piping tips or tiny round cookie cutters (it’s upside down so that when you fold it over on top of the filling, it’s right-side up). Brush the edges with egg, fold the top down over the filling and fold the sides in on themselves so that you have ghost shape. (Or, rather, a shape of a tiny kid in a bedsheet ghost costume that’s lying down.) Press around the side and bottom edges to seal, transfer to the baking sheets, brush the tops all over with egg wash and sprinkle with a little salt.

4. Bake until golden brown; begin checking for doneness at 20 minutes. Let cool slightly.

5. Mix together the Dijon mustard and honey in a small bowl. Serve the hand pies warm or at room temperature with the mustard sauce.

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.

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

Many of us have elevated our at-home baking game in recent months, seeking solace in the nostalgia that comes with revisiting quintessential desserts. But what happens when you combine two sweet tooth classics – chocolate chip cookies and cake? Well, it’s a whole new level of dessert that you’ll want to add to your repertoire ASAP, birthday or not.

Almond flour, brown sugar, hazelnut flour, chocolate chips and colourful homemade buttercream frosting come together beautifully in this mouth-watering dessert that comes straight from Molly Yeh‘s oven. It’s as delicious as it is gorgeous and can be enjoyed year-round.

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

Molly Yeh’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Yields: one 8-inch cookie cake

Ingredients:

Cookie Cake
Nonstick cooking spray, for the pan
1 cup almond flour
1 cup hazelnut flour
1/2 cup lightly-packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Buttercream
3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp kosher salt
3 Tbsp heavy cream

Related: Our Best No-Bake Desserts That Won’t Let You Down

Directions:

1. For the cookie cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch cake pan with nonstick cooking spray and line it with parchment. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine the almond and hazelnut flours, brown and granulated sugars, salt and baking soda. In a small bowl, combine the vanilla and almond extracts and egg. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, add the chocolate chips and stir to combine. It may seem dry at first but keep on stirring. Pat the dough out evenly in the prepared cake pan.

3. Bake until golden brown on top; begin checking for doneness at 22 minutes. Let the cake cool fully in the pan.

4. For the buttercream: In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the powdered sugar, butter, vanilla and salt. Once combined, beat in the heavy cream until smooth.

5. Remove the cake from the pan. Transfer the buttercream to a piping bag and decorate the cake as desired (or spread on the cake to decorate).

Special Equipment: a piping bag, optional

Get to know the cookbook author and blogger behind Girl Meets Farm with 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Molly Yeh.

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.

Ree Drummond’s Rustic Strawberry Tart is the Perfect Way to Celebrate Canada Day

Baking doesn’t always require hours in a hot kitchen, especially if you try something as quick and simple as The Pioneer Woman‘s rustic strawberry tart. Ree Drummond skips the homemade pastry and opts for store-bought pie crusts to cut down on prep time, then she fills it with ripe summer strawberries and bakes the tart for 30 minutes until golden. Topped with sweetened whipped cream, it’s the perfect dessert for your Canada Day celebration at home.

Related: Ina Garten’s Easy Recipes That Start with Store-Bought Ingredients

The Pioneer Woman’s Rustic Strawberry Tart and Sweetened Whipped Cream

Total Time: 1 hour (plus cooling time)
Serves:
6

Ingredients:
4 cups strawberries, halved
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting your work surface
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon juice
2 store-bought pie dough crusts, thawed if frozen
1 large egg
1 Tbsp water plus a splash
1/3 cup apricot preserves
Sweetened Whipped Cream, for serving, recipe follows

Sweetened Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp granulated white sugar

Related: The Pioneer Woman’s Best Summer Grilling Recipes

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. Add the strawberries to a bowl along with the sugar, flour, vanilla extract, lemon zest and lemon juice and toss together until well combined. Set aside while you prepare the crust.

3. Lightly flour your work surface so the crust doesn’t stick. Unroll the pie crusts and lay one on the other, overlapping about halfway. Use a rolling pin and roll the crusts in the center to join them together and to spread them out slightly. It should be about 19 inches by 11 inches and fit on a sheet pan.

4. Use a knife to round the top and bottom edges slightly and along the sides to neaten up the edges; no more than 1/2-inch of dough should be cut away. (Discard the extra dough.) Transfer to a parchment-lined sheet pan.

5. Spoon the strawberry mixture into the center of the dough leaving a 1-inch border around all sides. (Be sure they aren’t too mounded so they bake evenly in the oven.) Working carefully, fold edges of the dough up and over the strawberries, pleating them as you go.

Related: The Pioneer Woman’s 30 Most Popular Cake and Pie Recipes

6. In a small bowl, whisk the egg and 1 tablespoon water together. Use a pastry brush to lightly coat only the folded edge of the dough.

7. Place the sheet pan into the oven and bake the tart for 30 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through the bake to make sure it bakes evenly. While it is baking, heat the apricot preserves in a small pan with a splash of water until warmed through.

8. When the crust is golden brown, remove it from the oven. Brush the strawberries gently with the warmed apricot preserves and cool completely before cutting and serving with the Sweetened Whipped Cream.

Sweetened Whipped Cream:

1. With a whisk, a handheld mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream and white sugar until it has formed soft peaks.

Related: Red and White Desserts to Celebrate Canada Day

If you’re looking for more of Ree Drummond’s kitchen shortcuts, check out The Pioneer Woman’s Top Cooking Tips for Easier Weeknight Dinners.

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

Sarah Britton’s Keto Salt and Pepper Tahini Cookies = Our New Favourite Treat

In the new Food Network Canada Facebook series The Substitute Baker, celebrated Toronto-born holistic nutritionist Sarah Britton shows us just how easy it can be to adapt your favourite recipes to suit any occasion or special dietary needs.


This time around, she’s elevated the humble cookie and transformed it into a salty and sweet keto-friendly treat that you’ll want to make on repeat.

Related: Homemade Bread Recipes You’ll Want to Make Again and Again

Salt and Pepper Tahini Cookies

Homemade Tahini Ingredients: 
Makes about 2 cups (500ml)

4 cups / 300g un-hulled (brown/variegated) sesame seeds
½ tsp. fine salt
½ cup cold-pressed sesame oil (olive oil works too)

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spread sesame seeds out on two rimmed baking sheets and place in the oven to toast for 15-20, stirring a couple times during cooking to prevent burning. Remove from the oven and let cool.

2. Place sesame seeds in a food processor and blend on high until smooth, adding the oil as needed. Add salt and blend.

3. Store tahini in an airtight glass jar in the fridge for up to 2 months.

Related: 20 Comforting Baking Projects That Deserve a Pat on the Back

Cookie Ingredients:

2 cups / 220g almond flour
½ tsp. flaky sea salt, plus more for garnish
1 ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup / 175ml tahini
½ cup / 125ml yacon syrup
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup / 50g chopped dark chocolate
2 Tbsp. crushed cacao nibs, plus 2 Tbsp. to garnish

Related: 10 Surprising Foods That Boost the Immune System

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F / 170°C. Lightly grease, or line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, black pepper and salt. Set aside.

3. In a small saucepan whisk tahini, yacon syrup, and vanilla together over low heat until runny. Pour over dry ingredients and stir well to combine. The dough will be thick and you may need to use your hands to finish mixing. When the dough has cooled, fold in chopped chocolate and cacao nibs.

4. Roll about a tablespoon and a half worth of the dough in the palm of your hands, into a ball. Flatten slightly, then place on the prepared tray, sprinkle with a few more cacao nibs and a pinch of flaky salt. Lightly press the toppings into the dough.

5. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the bottom is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

6. Store in airtight containers at room temperature for up to a week.

For more baking inspiration, Sarah Britton’s Bold and Beautiful Raspberry Cashew Cheezecake is an instant dessert classic, or learn how to make her easy Gluten-Free Everything Bagel Loaf.

Watch The Substitute Baker Wednesdays at 4ep on the Food Network Canada Facebook page.

Sarah Britton’s Bold and Beautiful Raspberry Cashew Cheezecake

In the new Food Network Canada series The Substitute Baker, celebrated Toronto-born holistic nutritionist Sarah Britton shows us just how easy it can be to adapt your favourite recipes to suit any occasion or special dietary needs.

For starters, she’s crafted this bold, gorgeous and positively mouth-watering plant-based cheesecake recipe that will make you look like a well-seasoned baker.

Related: 20 Easy Plant-Based Recipes for Beginners That Will Make You Drool

Healthy Raspberry Cashew Cheezecake

Ingredients:

Crust
1 cup/150g toasted sunflower seeds (almonds, pecans or walnuts also work)
¼ cup/35g cacao nibs
1 cup/250g soft dates, pitted
2 Tbsp raw cacao powder
¼ tsp sea salt

Filling
2 cups/300g raw cashews, soaked overnight
3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Seeds of 1 whole vanilla bean (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
½ cup/125ml virgin coconut oil
½ cup/125ml raw honey
Pinch sea salt
1½ cups frozen raspberries (thaw slightly)

Decorations
30g dark chocolate, melted
Handful of dried raspberries, crushed

Directions:

1. Place seeds, cacao nibs, cacao powder and dates in a food processor with sea salt and pulse to chop until they are to your desired fineness (process a finer crust longer than a chunky one). Test the crust by spooning out a small amount of mixture and rolling it in your hands. If the ingredients hold together, your crust is perfect (if it’s too dry, add more dates, if it’s too wet, add more seeds).

Related: Our Very Best Vegan Dessert Recipes to Make

2. Reserve ¼ cup of your crust to use as decorations later and transfer the remaining crust mixture to a lightly greased (with expeller-pressed coconut oil) and parchment-lined 7.5” (19cm) spring-form pan. Press the mixture firmly, making sure that the edges are well packed and that the base is relatively even throughout. Use a flat-bottomed drinking glass or bottle to help press the crust into the pan evenly. Use the reserved mixture to make balls of different sizes that you will use as decorations later. Store these in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

3. Warm coconut oil and honey in a small saucepan on low heat until liquid. Add vanilla and whisk to combine.

4. In the most powerful blender you own (I recommend a Vitamix), place all filling ingredients, except raspberries, and blend on high for 1-2 minutes or until very smooth.

5. Reserve ⅛ cup filling in a small bowl and set it aside. Pour about 2/3 (just eyeball it, you can’t make a mistake!) of the filling out onto the crust and smooth with a spatula. Tap the pan firmly against a hard surface to remove air bubbles. Add the raspberries to the remaining ⅓ of the filling and blend on high until smooth. Pour onto the first layer of filling and tap again to create a smooth surface. Dollop the reserved white filling onto the raspberry layer and swirl with a knife tip. Tap the pan once more to even out the filling, then place the cheezecake in the freezer until solid.

6. To serve, remove from the freezer 30 minutes prior to eating. Remove parchment from base of cake. Decorate with date and seed balls, drizzle with melted chocolate and sprinkle dried raspberries.

Related: Can I Freeze This? How to Freeze Fruit, Cheese, Leftovers and More

For more baking inspiration, try Our Most Crave-Worthy Carrot Cake Recipes in Every Form or These Banana Bread Recipes That Will Provide All the Comfort.


 

Irresistible Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream and Smoked Salt

The combination of chocolate and peanut butter will forever be a classic, but the addition of smoked salt takes these cupcakes to a new level. A childhood favourite, reinvented. The cupcakes feature a peanut butter base with a rich chocolate buttercream piped mile high. To find the flaked smoked salt, visit the spices section in your grocery store. Biting into one of these decadent beauties just might become the sweetest part of your week.

Related: 25 Sinful Chocolate Desserts That Are Worth the Indulgence

Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream and Smoked Salt

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Bake Time:
20 minutes
Total Time:
45 minutes
Serves: 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:

Cake Batter 
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
⅓ cup natural peanut butter, smooth
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp fine salt
¾ cup whole milk

Frosting
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 to 4 cups powdered sugar, or to taste
½ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
¼ tsp fine salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ cup whipping cream, cold
Smoked flaked salt, for sprinkling

Related: The Only Oatmeal Cookie Recipes You Need in Your Life

Directions:

Cake Batter
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a 12 tin cupcake tray with liners.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, peanut butter and sugar.

3. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract until well combined.

4. Sift in the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

5. Turn the mixer to low speed and slowly add the milk. Turn mixture to medium speed and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes.

6. Using a large ice cream scoop, evenly divide mixture among the prepared cupcake tray.

7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops bounce back to touch. Let cool completely before frosting.

Related: How to Melt and Temper Chocolate for Perfect Candy Making

Frosting
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt and vanilla. Beat until well combined, about 2 minutes.

2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the whipping cream. Beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

3. Transfer frosting to a large piping bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe cupcake as desired and finish with a sprinkle of salt. These are best enjoyed within 24 hours!

For more cakey, frosting goodness try Molly Yeh’s Carrot Cake with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting or Anna Olson’s Very Best Cupcake Recipes.

Harry Eastwood’s Top 7 Baking Tips for a Marvelous Holiday

There are few things in this world that excite The Big Bake: Holiday judge Harry Eastwood more than baking during the holidays.

“I am an absolute, unabashed Christmas junkie all the way,” she says with a laugh. “I’ve even already started wrapping up some presents and putting them on the top shelf in my office.”

Famous for her unique approach to vegetable cakes (more on that in a minute), the British-born, Paris-based chef and cookbook author knows more than her fair share about holiday baking.

So, as the talented teams on The Big Bake: Holiday continue to wow us with their festive cake creations, we took the opportunity to catch up with Harry to learn more about her top tips for healthy holiday desserts – including cake baking tips for beginners.

Related: Our Top 100 Holiday Cookie and Square Recipes


Harry on the set of The Big Bake: Holiday episode Santa on Cakecation

Plan Ahead

Although it may seem fairly obvious to prep in advance, Harry points out that it’s often one of the easiest mistakes home bakers make – and one that can result in high levels of stress and burnt baked goods. “I’m a big proponent of planning,” she says, “and by planning what I really mean, if I’m cooking a cake on Friday my list of ingredients would be done at least a day or two beforehand so I have time to make sure that I have everything I need. It’s very depressing to start a cake and discover that you’ve got only half the amount of sugar you needed.” So, forget that Santa wishlist: the most important list you’ll need this holiday season is the one organizing all your must-have ingredients. Check!

Budget Your Time

Another cake baking tip for beginners is something that comes with practice – and a whole lot of patience. “Don’t hurry it,” Harry says about getting your bake on. “The thing about cakes, above anything else, is [the realization] that you’re not in charge. The ingredients and the cake are in charge and that won’t bend just because you have a dentist’s appointment. So, budget the time for it.”

Related: Harry Eastwood Takes You Through the History of Cakes

Divide and Conquer

There are two stages of baking, according to Harry: one is the actual baking of the cake and the other is the icing and adding any additional decorations. Remember: there’s no reason why you can’t ice and decorate your masterpiece the next day, so there’s no need to rush through the entire process in a couple hours. “It’s like writing a letter by hand, the joy is always in doing,” she says. “Racing to finish it is dangerous and it would be such a shame to lose the joy of [baking].”

Kitsch for the Holidays

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, so don’t be afraid to have a little fun and infuse some of your own personality into your creation. Adding a little colour and texture can easily elevate your cake to the next level, so embrace it! “I’m not afraid of kitsch,” Harry says. “I love making my own [cake] toppers. I love that candy cane stripe; it’s so easy to mix into cakes. You can smash them up and make patterns on top. Everything is an excuse for a story at this time of year, so go nuts on the decorations because it’s such a joyful wow-factor.”

Related: The Perfect Holiday Cookie, According to Your Zodiac Sign


Harry Eastwood on set with host Brad Smith and judge Eddie Jackson

Swap in Some Veggies

If you’ve got root vegetables on hand and you’re looking to make an epic sponge cake that has some real moisture to it, Harry suggests swapping out some of the more common ingredients for some of those sweet veggies. “I think vegetable cake is so underrated just because it’s healthier,” she says. “But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t taste good! If you have a vegetable cake with buttercream icing on top, I defy you to tell the difference.” Bonus: since the holidays are all about indulging in your favourite treats, you’ll appreciate having at least one healthy(ish) dessert. It also comes in handy if you’ve got a few picky eaters on your hands. “Zucchini is probably my favourite ingredient to add into cakes because it’s very easy to introduce without anybody having a clue,” Harry says with a laugh. “The point of a vegetable cake is that people don’t know it’s a vegetable cake so you need to do something which just effortlessly swaps it in. If you’ve succeeded at that, then you’ve done a good job. You’ve nailed it.”

Simple Substitutes

Bid adieu to butter this holiday season. “You definitely don’t taste the butter in a sponge cake, you taste the buttercream [icing],” Harry points out. “It’s the easiest ingredient you can lose without noticing so long as you replace it with a healthy fat, like ground nuts, because there needs to be a balancing act with what you put in.”

Related: Anna Olson’s Quick Guide to Ingredient Substitutions

Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment

You don’t have to wait until you’re a seasoned pro before you can start experimenting in the kitchen. “I’m a big fan of a recipe I wrote a little while ago which is for a sesame tahini white chocolate blondie,” Harry says. “That in itself is a show-stopper. I love offering something unusual around Christmastime.”

For more holiday fare, you can get your bake on with these 20 easy make-ahead Christmas cookies for your holiday bash and Anna Olson’s Ultimate Holiday Cookie Hacks.

This Simple Cherry Crisp Will Make Your Summer That Much Sweeter

Nothing complements a summertime meal quite like a fruit-laden dessert – and this cherry crisp is easier to make than pie. There’s no better way to showcase the popular summer fruit in its prime than with a sweet, buttery golden oat topping that beautifully contrasts with the warm fruit beneath. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream that can melt into both layers.

Easy Summer Cherry Crisp

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

Topping
½ cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted

Filling
6 cups cherries, pitted and halved
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup cornstarch

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon and salt. Stir in butter until combined.
3. In a large bowl, combine cherries and sugar. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir in cornstarch and pour into 9×5-inch pan. Sprinkle with oat mixture.

4. Bake until fruit is bubbling and topping is golden brown, about 40 minutes, covering with aluminum foil to prevent excess browning if necessary. Let cool 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Looking for more desserts that will satisfy your sweet tooth? We have 20 grilled desserts you can make on the BBQ, plus 40+ no-bake desserts you need to make this summer.

Anna Olson’s Canadian-Inspired Desserts Will Make Your Weekend

The days are long and languid, and I love lapping up every last drop by spending as much time outdoors as possible. Let your summer dinner party festivities linger on by setting up a Canadian-inspired dessert bar, so guests can help themselves (and return for seconds.)

A Festive Strawberry Shortcake Bar

June & July are strawberry season, so why not celebrate with this fresh red and white dessert — strawberry shortcake?  If you are into baking, you can bake off shortcake biscuits, then have bowls of sweetened whipped cream and fresh strawberries sliced and ready for assembling and serving.  You can even add a bowl of chards of crisp meringue to stir into the dessert, making an Eton Mess (and this also gives those going gluten-free an option!).

Farmhouse-Strawberry-Shortcake

Classic Farmhouse Strawberry Shortcake

Get the recipe: Classic Farmhouse Strawberry Shortcake

For more of a cake version, slices of angel food cake suit strawberries and cream.  Set a whole cake out on display as a centerpiece, but have slices of cake already paltered and ready to serve.

Anna-Olson-Strawberry-Shortcake-and-Trifle

L-R: Angel Food Cake with fresh fruit; Strawberry Shortcake Trifles

For a more formal setting, you can assemble individual strawberry trifles.  Arrange them on a dressed table and use quarts of fresh strawberries as décor.

A Classic Butter Tart Buffet

A Canadian classic, this is a fun dessert station to set up if you are hosting a party at the cottage.  We all love butter tarts, but there are heated debates over what should be inside a butter tart: Raisins? Walnuts? Pecans? Chocolate Chips? Bacon? Nothing? So in order to please everyone, I like to make a dessert station out of butter tarts, or even butter tart squares.

Take the Quiz: Which Butter Tart Matches Your Personality?

I make plain butter tarts or butter tart squares – a good non-stick pan really helps make extracting the tarts or squares easy, and I’ve put my muffin tin through the paces, testing them with butter tarts!

Butter Tart Buffet, photo courtesy of Janis Nicholay

Get the recipe: Anna’s Butter Tart Bars

After the tarts are made, I prepare bowls of our favourite butter tart add-ins, as well as scoops of ice cream and caramel and chocolate sauce. Each guest can grab a plate, place a butter tart on it and top it as they wish.  What I’ve learned over doing this just about every summer is that inevitably, each guest puts EVERYTHING on their butter tart!

See More: These Nanaimo Bar Popsicles are Everything You Need This Summer

 

The Anna Olson Kitchen collection of 48 items of bakeware, baking tools and decor tools are available exclusively at The Hudson’s Bay Company and www.thebay.com

Anna Olson’s 10 Secrets to Mastering Meringue Make Lemon Pie That Much Better

The perfect meringue is a lofty, yet very attainable, goal for any baker. Achieving that crowning glory of pillowy softness inside and browned exterior is no easy task — but professional baker Anna Olson has you covered with a few tips and tricks to make sure your next meringue attempt doesn’t fall flat.

Let’s start by breaking down meringue by type. Depending on the stability required, meringue techniques can vary from a simple whip and serve to a more complicated cooked syrup version:


Get the recipe for Anna Olson’s Lemon Meringue Cheesecake

Common Meringue

This is simply egg whites with granulated sugar, sometimes with cream of tartar or lemon juice added for stability. The whites are whipped to a medium peak, which Anna describes as “peaks with a curve, but not a full curl when the beaters are lifted”. This method is used for the pretty swirls you see atop lemon meringue or other pies, and is often browned once frosted.

Swiss Meringue 

A method that takes the simple meringue one step further by heating the egg whites and sugar over a water bath until gently warmed (for those reluctant to pull out a double boiler, a bowl placed over a pot of boiling water will also work). The warmed egg white mixture is then put into a mixer and whipped into a meringue, which sets as it cools. You’ll see this technique used for pavlovas, meringue cookies or anywhere you want a little more stability and firmness once baked.

Italian Meringue

This is the zenith of meringue firmness — Anna calls it “the magical combination of whipping hot sugar syrup into softly whipped egg whites.” By melting sugar (and sometimes honey) to a specific temperature, then whipping it with egg whites, this extra thick meringue can be used for marshmallows and other candy (Anna makes torrone, a type of Italian nougat candy with pistachios, almonds and citrus zest). You can also use this method for key lime pie, a cousin to the ubiquitous lemon meringue.


Get the recipe for Anna Olson’s Key Lime Meringue Pie

Ready to get started? Here are Anna’s 10 secrets to achieving the perfect meringue for lemon pie.

1. Don’t Over-Whip

One of the hardest things for novice bakers (and even some pros) to judge is how much is too much when it comes to whipping egg whites. Over-whipped egg whites look kind of craggy, says Anna, and when you touch them, they start to collapse. You don’t want to bake with over-whipped eggs, because whatever you bake will fall once it hits the heat of the oven.

A quick fix? A little bit of time: let the eggs sit, and after about 10 minutes, the mixture will start separating. Even if you’ve added sugar, you can whip those egg whites on medium speed back to the point you missed the first time.

 2. Keep Thing Hot

When topping a pie, make sure your filling is hot when you’re ready to put on your meringue, says Anna. The reason you don’t want to put a layer of meringue on a cold filling is to prevent condensation — that layer of dew in between the lemon filling and the meringue. Keeping the filling hot when spreading on the meringue ensures a nice even layer without gaps or weeping (either from the pie or the cook).


Get the recipe for Anna Olson’s Lemon Meringue Pie

3. Pretty Peaks

Want to get the same Instagram-worthy swirls and flourishes you see in the bakery window? In her recipe for lemon meringue pie (above), Anna recommends adding half the meringue and using a bamboo skewer or paring knife to swirl and secure it to the lemon curd. Then, dollop the remaining meringue onto the pie and use the back of your spatula to lift up the meringue and create spikes.

 4. Stir, Stir, Stir

If you’re making an Italian meringue, you’ll be standing by the stove for a bit: Anna advises that you stir the sugar mixture constantly when you’re bringing it up to the initial stage of 280°F to prevent it from boiling over. Between 280°F and 315°F (the final stage), you can take a break and ease off the stirring — the danger of an overflowing pot is past.

5. Safety First

To prevent spatters when putting hot sugar syrup into a mixer going at high speed, Anna has a safety tip: pour it down the side of the bowl — it will bypass the beaters entirely and go to the bottom without splashing a single drop. You’ll be able to tell when the mixture cools and thickens by the sound of the motor, and by touching the side of the bowl.


Get the recipe for Anna Olson’s Lemon Meringue Squares

6. Connect the Dots

When smoothing your meringue over the pie filling, make sure it connects with the crust — that little connection kind of latches the meringue in place, says Anna. Use a spatula and even, long strokes to smooth the thick meringue onto the pie, making sure you don’t press too hard, deflating your meringue and, even worse, staining the pristine white fluffiness with flecks of filling.

 7. Perfect Piping

For pro-level piping to top mini lemon meringue pies, cupcakes, eclairs or even profiteroles, scoop your meringue into a piping bag (be sure to prep your fillings first). Anna’s technique involves piping evenly and in one concentric motion for round desserts, or using a slight back and forth wave for an eclair. Any mistakes can be scraped off for a second attempt — we won’t tell.

Get the recipes for Anna Olson’s Cheerful Lemon Meringue Desserts

 8. Time for the Torch

Although meringue will set on its own, those dramatic dark touches of colour can be added with a butane kitchen torch to brown the meringue. Don’t have a creme brûlée torch? Take a tip from Anna’s recipe for lemon berry meringue cake (below) and turn the desserts out onto a parchment-lined baking tray, pipe and then bake the meringues for two minutes in a 450°F oven.


Get the recipe for Anna Olson’s Lemon Berry Meringue Cakes with Bumbleberry Sauce

 9. Cool it Down

Even if you’re tempted to dive right in, it’s very important that once you’ve baked your meringue, you let your pie cool completely before slicing into it. The reward for your patience? Pretty, even slices with distinct meringue and filling layers.

 10. Keep Things Fresh

Sadly, lemon meringue desserts aren’t meant for keeping. Anna advises making the pie the day you plan to serve it in order to show off your perfect meringue at its finest. Don’t worry — with a pie this good, you’ll have no problem indulging in seconds.

Fore more inspiring Anna Olson Dessert recipes, browse her 50+ Most Popular Easter Desserts, Top 20 Lemon Desserts and her Best-Ever Cake Recipes.

5 Gorgeous Pastel Cakes That Will Make Your Spring Table Shine

It’s been a long, drawn-out winter. The upside? Spring’s arrival is all the more deserving of celebration! We’re paying tribute to perfect temperatures, fresh blooms and heaps of sunshine with five show-stopping pastel cakes from professional baker and food blogger Tessa Huff’s latest cookbook, Icing on the Cake. From her rainbow no-bake cheesecake to a blueberry galaxy cake, these eye-catching desserts promise to brighten spirits (and plates) everywhere.

1. Lavender Blackberry Cake

This stunning buttercream cake is the epitome of spring: not only does it feature a brilliant flower crown, the batter is subtly infused with lavender milk and simple syrup, which is complemented by thin layers of blackberry jam and tangy cream cheese frosting. While the flower wreath is completely optional, Tessa provides helpful step-by-step instructions in her book on how to pipe them to perfection. Get the cake recipe here!

2. Rainbow No-Bake Cheesecake

Rainbow No-Bake Cheesecake

The fact that this pastel-happy cake doesn’t require an oven is already a win. Even better is the cheesecake’s light, mousse-like texture and warm-weather flavours (think strawberry, mango and lime). Prepare it for Easter dessert, or simply make it on the weekend to welcome spring in style. Get the cake recipe here!

3. Blueberry Galaxy Cake

This isn’t your average galaxy cake. Instead of being coated in a shimmering mirror glaze (see here for instructions on this technique), this version features a delicate watercolour frosting that resembles a starry galaxy just the same. The cake is lemon poppy seed, iced with vanilla and blueberry buttercream. We love how Tessa adorned the berries with gold and silver luster dust before arranging on the cake. After all, creating a delicious and dazzling dessert is all in the details. Get the cake recipe here!

4. Blackberry Elderflower Vertical Cake

This vertically layered dessert turns traditional cake filling on its head (and looks mighty fine while doing so). The technique is also easier to achieve than you might think. The sugary secret? Cutting the cake lengthwise to create four long strips, then rolling one strip to create a spiral before wrapping the remaining strips around it. The vanilla sponge cake is also infused with an elderflower syrup, which perfectly complements the blackberry buttercream. Be sure to slice this dessert before serving to show off your baking acumen. Get the cake recipe here!

5. Orange Salted Honey Cake

While each of these spring-inspired cakes are almost too pretty to eat, the good news is they taste just as scrumptious as they look. This decadent butter cake combines citrus with salted honey for an unexpected, zesty flavour pairing that hits all the right notes. The ruffle petal piping technique is certainly worth a try, too! Bake this show-stopper for an upcoming baby shower, Mother’s Day brunch or as a DIY wedding cake. Your guests will be happy you did. Get the cake recipe here! 

Recipes excerpted from Icing on the Cake by Tessa Huff, reprinted by permission of Abrams Books. Photographs by Tessa Huff.

How to Make a Dreamy Mirror Glaze Cake

Ever wonder how to make a mirror glaze cake at home? This show-stopping masterpiece is made doable with some gelatin, chocolate and a range of contrasting colours, so you can cover nearly any cake in this gorgeous coating. The trendy technique may appear tricky to pull off at home, but carefully following these six steps and being mindful of key temperatures will lead you to a shimmering, galaxy-like cake glaze in no time! Just image this pretty pastel version at your Easter feast or springtime tea party.

How to Mirror Glaze Any Cake 

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Glaze Setting Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour (plus 2 hours for chilling baked cake)
Makes: Glaze for 1, 8- to 9-inch cake
Serves: 10 to 12

Ingredients:

1 filled and smoothly frosted 8- or 9-inch cake
3 envelopes powdered gelatine
1 cup water, divided
1½ cups granulated sugar
7 oz. sweetened condensed milk
12 oz. white chocolate, chopped
Gel food colouring in 3 to 4 contrasting colours

Directions:

1. Place the smoothly frosted cake in the freezer until very cold and firm, at least 2 hours. Meanwhile, set up your glazing station by placing a wire rack over a rimmed sheet pan. Set aside.

2. Sprinkle the gelatine into a small bowl and stir in half of the water, ½ cup. Set aside for 5 to 10 minutes for gelatin to bloom. Meanwhile, stir together the remaining ½ cup water, sugar and condensed milk in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Once the mixture is hot, remove from the heat and whisk in the bloomed gelatine until it melts.

3. Place the chopped white chocolate in a large, heat-safe bowl. Pour the milk and gelatine mixture over the top of the chocolate. Gently stir until the chocolate melts. Use an immersion blender to make sure the mixture is completely smooth. Keep the device submerged in the glaze to prevent air bubbles. Strain the mixture back into the saucepan using a fine-mesh sieve to make sure the glaze is smooth and to remove any air bubbles.

4. Divide the mixture into 3 to 4 bowls. Add a few drops of different gel food colouring to each and gently stir until the desired colours are achieved. There is no need to divided the colours evenly – create a larger base colour with a few smaller portions of accent colours.

5. Add the base colour to a spouted cup or large measuring cup. Pour in the remaining colours and gently stir a little (stirring too much will muddle the colours together). Allow the mirror glaze to cool to 95°F when tested with a candy thermometre – pouring the glaze at the correct temperature is crucial to the cake’s success. If the glaze drops below 95°F, gently reheat in the microwave, 10 seconds at a time, and stir until the correct temperature.

6. As the glaze cools, place the chilled cake on the wire rack. Once the glaze hits 95°F, pour it over the top of the prepared cake. Starting in the centre, swirl the glaze around the cake. Make sure the glaze pours over each side of the cake as well. Immediately pop any obvious air bubbles with a toothpick. Allow the glaze to set for about 20 minutes before serving (the chilled cake with help the glaze set quickly). Cut the cake with a sharp knife and clean it between slices, and then serve.

Notes:

  • To prevent air bubbles, do not whisk or stir the glaze too vigorously.
  • Make sure to properly chill the cake ahead of time.
  • Frost the cake as smoothly as possible with buttercream or ganache.
  • Pour the glaze at a precise 95°F.

For more artfully prepared slices, bake up one of Our 40 Most Spectacular Layer Cakes.

Easy 2-Ingredient Vegan Peanut Butter Cups

This concept is nothing new, but I have yet to find an easier peanut butter cup recipe. So here ya go! (And personally, I think these cups taste way better than the brand name store-bought variety.) Note: We used Earth Balance Creamy Coconut & Peanut spread (crunchy) which is sweetened with agave nectar. Using a natural peanut butter on its own works as well — and you can add in your own sweetener if you like.

vegan-peanut-butter-cups

Easy Vegan Peanut Butter Cups Recipe

Makes: 12

Ingredients:

1 bag of vegan chocolate chips (approximately 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup peanut butter

vegan-peanut-butter-cups-1

Directions:

1. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or use a silicon muffin tray
2. In a double boiler melt the chocolate chips until silky smooth. Put 1 teaspoon of melted chocolate into the bottom of the muffin liners and then spread it out evenly with your finger or a spoon. Refrigerate this for 10 mins.
3. Then take 1 teaspoon of peanut butter and put that on top of the hardened chocolate. Don’t spread this out with your finger as it will settle itself and stay mostly in the centre. Refrigerate this for 10 mins.

2-ingredient-peanut-butter cups

4. If your chocolate has become sludgier while you were waiting just put it back on the double boiler quickly to re-melt it. Then take 1 to 2 teaspoons more of melted chocolate and put that on top of the peanut butter. The peanut butter won’t be super hard but it will hold up for the rest of this process. If you’re rushed you don’t really have to put the peanut butter part in the fridge again.
5. You can push the melted chocolate into the sides a bit with your teaspoon to ensure it runs down to cover the peanut butter. This won’t necessarily happen, especially if you don’t refrigerate the peanut butter part, but I don’t mind them looking a little rustic and oozy anyway!
6. Smooth the top of the cups if you desire, but they might just settle nicely on their own. Then refrigerate this for at least 20 minutes before serving. Store in the fridge in an airtight container or at room temperature if you want softer cups.

Looking for more vegan treats? Try our Vegan Desserts Even Non-Vegans Will Love.

10 Butter Tart Spots to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Butter tarts are a uniquely Canadian dessert with a history as rich as the country itself.

If you’ve never experienced the glory of these treats, they’re delightful pastries filled with a sticky, sweet, buttery filling. Raisins or pecans are popular additions to the filling while some bakers get creative with fruit, candy, or other unique variations.

Invented in Ontario, the province is also home to award-winning tarts and even has a festival that has transformed the dessert into a full-day experience. If you’re on a quest for butter tart bliss, here are 10 of Ontario’s top spots to indulge in this tasty national treat.

Ontario’s Best Butter Tart Festival (Midland, ON)

The ultimate destination for butter tart buffs, Ontario’s Best Butter Tart Festival takes place in Midland June 9, 2018. With more than 60 vendors and over 150,000 tarts for sale, it’s the perfect place for the entire family to try baked goods from across the province. Home to Ontario’s Best Butter Tart competition, bakers enter their finest classic and contemporary creations, and a panel of expert judges selects the best of the best! Another highlight of the day is the Butter Tart Trot, which includes a family-friendly fun run, as well as a 5k, 10k and half marathon.

Maple Key Tart Co. (Locations in Toronto and Northumberland County, ON)

Rachel Smith and Jean Parker, hosts of Food Network Canada’s The Baker Sisters, have been baking tarts since childhood when they helped their mother with her butter tart business. After they became mothers themselves, they co-founded their boutique butter tart company, taking their mother’s award-winning recipe and making a few tasty tweaks. Their rustic, handcrafted tarts are made with locally-milled flour and vegetable shortening and are available in four varieties: classic, raisin, pecan, and maple walnut. Jean and Rachel are judges in the “Traditional Butter Tart” category at Ontario’s Best Butter Tart Festival this year, plus they’ll be taking part in a meet and greet.

The perfect buttertart ❤️ #buttertartfestival #themaidscottage

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The Maid’s Cottage (Newmarket, ON)

Three-time winners at Ontario’s Best Butter Tart Festival, sisters Pam and Debbie got a young start helping their mother, Jackie, sell tarts and other baked goods on their front lawn. As word spread about Jackie’s baking, she opened their first shop on Main Street in Newmarket, and expanded to a larger location nearby a year later. Jackie sadly passed in 2003, but Pam and Debbie have continued the tradition, making their famous butter tarts from a secret family recipe.

Bitten on Locke (Hamilton, ON)

Rebecca and Erica at Bitten conquered the cupcake game before venturing into butter tarts just over a year ago. They researched a number of recipes from cookbooks, friends and family to come up with a base for their tarts, and spent many delicious months adjusting it until they landed on their current formula. Their traditional flaky pastry is made with lard and includes one secret ingredient that really sets them apart. While their cupcakes venture on the wild side, this duo considers themselves butter tart purists, offering only plain, raisin or pecan tarts.

Nana B’s Bakery (Merrickville, ON)

Owner Anne Barr created the award-winning Maple Rhubarb Apple butter tart that took first place in the Pro All-Ontario Ingredient category at last year’s Ontario’s Best Butter Tart Festival. Anne’s tarts are proudly made with ingredients sourced locally, in Eastern Ontario, and while her bakery is popular with locals, it is also a destination for day-trippers, boaters and cyclists alike. Nana B’s is committed to helping keep the environment beautiful, reducing and recycling as much as possible, and sends its used vegetable oil to a local garage for biodiesel conversion.

The Sweet Oven (Barrie, ON)

This Barrie Bakery owned by Becky Howard and her family is known right across the country for their handcrafted tarts. Each tart is made from scratch from the highest quality ingredients and baked on site. With more than 20 flavours to choose from, there is something to please every palate. They have the classics like pecan and raisin, but chocolate chip, peanut butter, English toffee and their signature tart raspberry are other popular picks.

In honour of #TeamCanada and how proud they’ve already made us #pyeongchang2018

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Carla’s Cookie Box (Toronto, ON)

Carla’s love of baking started as a kid while making traditional Italian cookies with her mom. As an adult, she started her butter tart journey at the request of her son after sifting through recipes from friends. None were quite right, so she experimented until she landed on her own recipe. Her handcrafted tarts are made in small batches, sometimes with help from her husband and kids, using the freshest maple syrup, flour, eggs and butter from Ontario farms and businesses. In addition to traditional fillings, she dabbles in fun flavours like Nutella Swirl and Pina Colada.

Doo Doo’s Bakery (Bailieboro, ON)

It was a bittersweet beginning for Diane Rogers’ butter tarts. Newly widowed and raising a teen and a toddler; she started her late-night baking sessions while the kids were sleeping. A self-taught baker, she developed her signature pastry by experimenting with an old recipe. Her soft, hand-rolled pastry is made in small batches with the finest ingredients. The light, flaky tarts have a jelly-like filling that’s not overly sweet with a good filling-to-crust ratio. Diane’s best ideas still come at night, so that’s her favourite time to prepare for a competition or event.

Betty’s Pies and Tarts (Cobourg, ON)

Over 40 years ago, Betty sold homemade baked goods from a converted garage, using a butter tart recipe handed down from a bakery she worked at. Betty retired in 2001 and sold the business to Nancy Coady, who first moved it to Port Hope and then to its location on Highway 2. Current owner Ali Jiggins worked at Betty’s through high school, and after university, bought the bakery from Nancy. Ali still uses Betty’s award-winning recipe with a few tweaks. They have a slightly heavy crust with a runnier filling, and comes in unique flavours like PB&J and raspberry-coconut.

13th Street Winery and Bakery (St. Catharines, ON)

13th Street Winery and Bakery is owned and operated by Karen and Doug Whitty, with Karen’s sister, Jo, as head baker. Their butter tart recipe was given to Jo by an old neighbour, which had been passed down for three generations before ending up in her hands. The filling is hand-mixed, measured into pressed pastry, and then baked until caramelized on top and runny on the inside. Raisin or pecan is available daily along with seasonal flavours like heart-shaped chocolate butter tarts for Valentine’s Day. Drop by on the weekends, when they feature pancake breakfast-inspired bacon butter tarts.

Have a favourite butter tart spot? Tell us in the comments below!

rhubarb-raspberry-cheese-cake

Rhubarb Raspberry Cheesecake Adds a Pop of Spring to Your Easter Table

After months of snow, rain, and grey skies, rhubarb bursts onto the scene with its beautiful colour and tart, refreshing flavour. As soon as we spot those ruby red stalks at the market, we know spring is finally here! A bit sweet, slightly tart and extremely vibrant, rhubarb brightens up all of our favourite desserts and pastries – and this cheesecake is no exception.

Against a canvas of creamy white cheesecake, this jewel-toned rhubarb raspberry coulis pops off the plate. A hint of lemon would pair wonderfully in the cheesecake filling, but we love pure vanilla bean to round out all of the tangy flavours of the rhubarb and raspberry. A classic graham cracker crust and sour cream topping keep the slices clean and elegant for a sweet spring or Easter celebration.

Rhubarb Raspberry Cheesecake

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Bake Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Cooling Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 20 minutes
Serves: 10 to 12

Ingredients:

Crust
1¾ cups graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup granulated sugar
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Cheesecake Filling
1½ lbs cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ tsp salt
Seeds from 1 vanilla bean or 2 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp sour cream, room temperature

Cheesecake Topping
1¼ cups sour cream
¼ cup granulated sugar

Rhubarb Raspberry Coulis
1½ cups sliced rhubarb (fresh or frozen)
½ cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)
¼ cup granulated sugar, or to taste
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cornstarch

Directions:

Crust:
1. Preheat oven to 325ºF.
2. Add the crumbs to a mixing bowl along with the sugar. Add the melted butter and stir to combine.
3. Pour the crust mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Press the crust into an even layer on the bottom of the pan using your fingers tips or the bottom of a flat measuring cup or drinking glass.
4. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack as you prepare the filling.

Cheesecake Filling:
1. Increase the oven to 350ºF. Bring 4 to 6 cups of water to a boil (enough to halfway fill a large roasting pan) and set aside. Place a large roasting pan on the very bottom rack of your oven. Place a second rack just above the roasting pan.
2. Meanwhile, place the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese on medium-low for 4 to 5 minutes, or until completely smooth. Stop and scrape down the bowl every couple of minutes.
3. Add the sugar, salt and vanilla bean seeds or extract into the cream cheese and mix for another 3 to 4 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl. Mix for another 30 to 60 seconds to smooth out any lumps.
4. With the mixer on low, add the eggs one at a time. Allow each egg to fully incorporate into the batter before add in the next. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
5. Add the sour cream. Mix on medium-low until the batter is creamy and uniform, about 2 minutes.
6. Pour the batter into the cooled crust. Smooth out the top as needed. Tap the bottom of the cake pan on top of the counter a few times to expel any trapped air bubbles. Wrap the sides of the pan in a double layer of aluminium foil.
7. Very carefully pour the recently boiled water into the roasting pan. Place the baking pan on the rack above the roasting pan and bake for 1 hour. When done, the sides should be puffed and set while the centre should jiggle when the pan is moved. If it is not ready, check again after an additional 10 minutes of baking. Once done, turn the oven off and prop the door open with a wooden spoon. Allow the cake to cool inside the humid oven for about 45 minutes. Once cool, remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire rack.

Cheesecake Topping:
1. Turn the oven back on to 350ºF. As the oven heats back up, combine the sour cream and sugar for topping the cheesecake. Carefully spread the topping over the top of the cheesecake with a small offset spatula. Return the topped cheesecake back to the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
2. Turn off the oven and again prop open the door with a wooden spoon. Allow the cake to cool in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes before placing it on a wire rack. Let cool for an additional 30 minutes then place in the refrigerator. Drape a piece of parchment paper over the top of the cheesecake to prevent condensation from forming and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight (best).

Rhubarb Raspberry Coulis:
1. Place the rhubarb and raspberries in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar and cook until the fruit begins to break down and juices begin to simmer about 5 to 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, dissolve the cornstarch in the lemon juice. Stir the lemon juice mixture into the rhubarb and cook for a few minutes. Remove the mixture from the stove and blend until smooth. Press the puree through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the raspberry seeds. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Assembly and Serving:
1. To release the cheesecake from the pan, carefully run a thin knife around the edges of the cake before unlocking the springform pan. Warm a metal spatula under hot water, dry, then run it around the edges of the cheesecake to smooth.
2. Slice cheesecake into wedges, cleaning your knife in between slices, and add to plates. Top with a generous drizzle of coulis and serve.

Explore another spectacular spring dessert couple with our best strawberry rhubarb recipes.

How to Throw a Burns Night Supper

Don your tartan and get ready to feast on Scottish cuisine with our scrumptious Burns Night menu.

Each January 25, Scots raise a glass to famed poet Robbie Burns, who gave the world Auld Lang Syne and many much-loved poems. In Scotland, the poet’s birthday is marked with lots of whisky, bagpipes, poems and of course, haggis.

Here, we’ve put a Canadian twist on the traditional Scottish celebration, with dinners hosted from coast-to-coast. In Newfoundland, Scottish heritage societies hold roast beef suppers for the community. While in Vancouver, haggis-filled dumplings are served for Gung Haggis Fat Choy, a melding of Chinese New Year and Burns Night.

Whether you have Scottish heritage or just appreciate good poetry, make January 25 a little extra special with a Scottish-inspired dinner.

Cock-a-leekie soupCock-a-Leekie Soup

A Scottish classic, this comforting chicken and dumpling soup is a delicious start to Burns Night dinner. Prunes may seem like an odd ingredient but a touch of sweetness balances out the soup.

haggisHaggis

This traditional Scottish dish is the star of the night. Haggis is quite an endeavour to make but worth the effort. The meaty pudding is made by filling a sheep’s stomach with minced heart, liver lungs and suet. Onions, oatmeal and dried herbs are tucked inside and the stomach is boiled, creating a mouthwatering main. The fun comes when you present the haggis to your guests. Make it extra special by reading Robert Burn’s famed ode to the dish, Address to a Haggis and stabbing it with a knife as traditionally done. For a Canadian twist, try this recipe for deer haggis.

Neeps and Tatties

You might know them better as turnips and potatoes, these root veggies are boiled and mashed and served alongside the haggis.

Kale SaladKale Salad

Kale is a nutritious and hearty veggie that thrives in cool weather, making it a great winter green and a staple in Scottish diets. This salad is the perfect mix of sweet and tart, making it a great addition to your menu.

Raspberry TrifleTipsy Laird

A twist on a trifle, your guests will be delighted with a little bit of sherry, brandy or whisky in their dessert. Try soaking your sponge cake or ladyfinger cookies in a bit of booze as you layer the trifle and let chill in the fridge before serving.

Scottish Pan ShortbreadScottish Shortbread

This simple shortbread is a sweet way to end the meal. So get the kettle going serve these light biscuits with a cuppa tea.

Anna Olson’s Easiest-Ever Holiday Desserts

The sheer bustle of the holidays is enough to trip up even the most prepared party-throwers among us. So why make things even harder for ourselves when it comes to whipping up a holiday meal? Or more specifically, when it comes to everyone’s favourite part — dessert.

Whether you have last-minute guests or a big dinner party planned, Anna Olson has your back. Here are four of her ridiculously easy-to-assemble favourites that will leave all your guests impressed and satisfied, giving you way more time to actually enjoy the holidays themselves.

Super Simple Chocolate Mousse

Who doesn’t want delicious chocolate mousse in a matter of minutes? This genius recipe calls for just two ingredients, making it the perfect dish for last-minute guests. Whip some up while you’re getting dinner ready, or make it in advance and keep some on hand in the fridge. This yummy dessert will last as long as the expiry date on the cream you used to make it, which means it can be the perfect standalone dish or serve as a fancy-schmancy garnish.

Lemon Cheesecake Mousse

If it’s a cheesecake flavour you’re looking for but you find yourself low on time, this zesty mousse certainly lives up to expectations. With just five ingredients—including fresh lemon juice—and a hand-mixer doing most of the actual labour, the hardest part about this recipe is not licking the spatula every time you scrape down your cream cheese mixture.

Last-Minute Lemon Delight

Whisk up this three-ingredient, warm lemony delight and serve it over fresh fruit for any last-minute guests you find yourself hosting this holiday season. Or, add some cream to stabilize the mixture and refrigerate it for a dreamy lemon mousse later on. Heck, why not just make both while you’re at it and enjoy the best of both dessert worlds? We promise, it’s that easy.

Easy Apple Tart

Anna can’t take full credit for the deliciousness that is this easy peasy apple tart; it’s actually her husband Michael’s go-to recipe. Four simple ingredients and a half hour in the oven mean this sweet-and-savoury dish is impressive without being time-consuming. Seriously, the hardest part is probably peeling the apples.

Looking for more inspiration? Try these 4 Genius Homemade Christmas Gifts from Anna Olson.

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