Tag Archives: snacks

Chinese Pork Floss in a blue patterned bowl

Chinese Pork Floss is the Salty-Sweet Addition Your Pantry Needs

The fluffy, sandy and salty-sweet airiness of pork floss (or rousong) makes for a fascinating confection. Texture wise, pork floss carries tantalizing hints of carnival nostalgia, with a  candy-floss gossamer and sweet, meaty undertones of a really good jerky.

Although meat floss can be made with other ingredients — such as beef, chicken, fish or even vegetables for variety and religious reasons — and is used in cuisines across China, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, the type of product that you’ll see most often in Canada is the crispy pork variety.

Chinese Pork Floss in a blue patterned bowl

Buying and storing pork floss

A golden-hued collection of very thin threads, pork floss can also clump slightly in small tufts, resembling light brown sugar.  Sold in large Asian supermarkets and some big box grocery chains, pork floss comes in two varieties: pork sung (rousong in Chinese) and pork fu, which are relatively interchangeable, and can sometimes be found with additional flavourings such as seaweed or chilis. Since it is a dried product, pork floss is relatively shelf stable and easily stored in its big plastic jar for maximum freshness. Most varieties in North America are also inexpensive, with a large jar often sold for around (or well under) $10.

How to use pork floss

Once you’ve bought your pork floss home, there are a wide variety of applications for this versatile ingredient. Here are some traditional and unconventional ways to use pork floss on your plate.

A closeup of Chinese pork floss

Pair it by texture

Some pork floss connoisseurs enjoy snacking on it plain to best enjoy the meltingly soft, crisp interplay of textures with each bite. Much of the point of pork floss is that ephemeral crispness that dissolves in the mouth, so its probably not advised to get it wet too soon. Adding too much liquid or combining it with ingredients too far ahead of time transforms pork floss from fluffy and loveable to a soggy, lumpy mess and is best avoided.

Try it at home: Pork floss plays very well with mayonnaise and egg preparations, so add some meaty goodness to your next batch of scrambled eggs, or fold pork floss into hard-boiled egg yolks for devilled eggs or as a gribiche sauce for asparagus.

Pair it by flavour

The key to pairing pork floss successfully is to play off its salty-sweet nature. For those who love putting bacon in everything (including desserts!) the dark soy notes of pork floss fit the bill (one ice cream shop in Taiwan, Snow King, has been making rousong ice cream since 1979). Putting pork floss in sweet applications brings out the salty, meaty flavours, while using it in more savoury dishes will emphasize its slightly caramelized undertones.

Try it at home: Pork floss is a traditional pairing with sweet baked goods throughout Asia (more on that below), but you can take it in a different direction by stirring it into a whipped cream topping just before serving, or to deepen the complexities of a rice pudding.

Use it in baking

Although the internet is currently awash in takes on the pork floss and seaweed buns from Mooncakes and Milk Bread, pork floss plays a regular role in baked goods. In Chinese bakeries, pork floss is as ubiquitous as the chocolate sprinkles or icing sugar in a Canadian doughnut shop, and buns with sweet or savoury fillings such as salted egg can be seen in all their crispy and tender glory.

Try it at home: Use pork floss to rein in the sweetness of sugary items such as sticky cinnamon buns, or stir it into cheese biscuits or other savoury applications.

Cookies covered in rousong, or pork floss

Use it as a topping

Much like the umami-laden savouriness found in seaweed and furikake (which it is often paired with), pork floss is terrific on rice-based dishes. Served alongside a meltingly hearty bowl of congee, bibimbap or even plain rice, pork floss provides a textural contrast and a dash of meaty seasoning. Pork floss can also be sprinkled on stir-fried, braised or soup-based noodles, or pastas the way bottarga or parmesan would be used to supply a finishing hit of salt, or on top of silken tofu or steamed Chinese vegetables, such as gai lan or bok choy.

Try it at home: Provide a small dish of pork floss on the table so that diners can customize their plates to their own preferences. Think outside the bowl for anywhere you would use a finishing salt or sprinkle of crispy onions or bacon: casseroles, creamy soups or even baked beans could all benefit.

Use it as a filling

Pork floss is often enjoyed in sandwiches on its own with just a little bit of butter and cheese, but it also complements a wide variety of creamy or soft fillings. Crepes, French toast or even pancakes take pork floss further into brunch territory, while an onigiri, banh mi, omelette or Rice Paper Vietnamese Pizza can be a lunch or light dinner.

Try it at home: Tuck some pork floss into a grilled cheese or fried egg or egg salad sandwich, add it to an everything bagel with cream cheese or fold it through a tuna or salmon filling for a next-level sandwich.

Vietnamese crispy pizza filled with Chinese pork floss

Related: Getting To Know Lap Cheong (Chinese Dried Sausage)

Images courtesy of Getty and Pexels.

Justin Bieber with Timbieb Timbits from Tim Hortons

Justin Bieber’s Timbiebs Timbits Have Arrived – Here’s Our Honest Review

It’s hard to think of a more iconic Canadian duo than Tim Hortons and Justin Bieber – which is why the coffee shop’s latest collab with the superstar pop singer feels like a Canadian match made in heaven.

Justin Bieber with Timbieb Timbits from Tim Hortons

Timbits are Bieber’s favourite item on the menu (celebs, they’re just like us!), and the Canadian pop star worked closely with the Tims team to develop three unique new flavours. The limited edition selection of Timbiebs Timbits dropped in Tim Hortons restaurants across Canada and the United States today in Chocolate White Fudge, Sour Cream Chocolate Chip, and Birthday Cake Waffle flavours, along with branded Timbiebs merch including a toque, fanny pack and tote bag.

Related: The New Popeyes Nuggets Have Arrived In Canada — And We Tried Them First

The much-anticipated collab is projected to sell out (if it hasn’t already), so we got our hands on a coveted box of Timbiebs to see what all the hype is about. Read on for our honest review.

A box of Justin Bieber Timbiebs Timbits from TIm Hortons

Chocolate White Fudge Timbieb

This Timbieb takes the iconic chocolate glazed Timbit and gives it a little something special, with a chocolate white fudge crumble exterior. While a regular chocolate glazed Timbit is delightful on its own, this new added element of crunchy texture gives the humble treat a tad more complexity. Flavour-wise, it’s closest to a double chocolate glaze, but with a more interesting mouth-feel. Chocolate glaze lovers will flock to this one, and it was our fave of the bunch.

Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Timbieb

Sour cream donuts meet chocolate chip cookies in this textural Timbieb. Studded with chocolate chips and white chocolate crumble, it adds more depth of flavour and texture to the classic sour cream Timbit without overpowering it. This Timbieb had the most striking mouthfeel, with the chocolate chips lending  a super satisfying bite.

Related: 3 Things You Must Try From Barbershop Patisserie in Toronto

Birthday Cake Waffle Timbieb

We’ll be honest – we loved this Timbieb, but the waffle concept is a little lost on us. It’s essentially a classic birthday cake Timbit coated in a chunky, cinnamony crumble. While waffles aren’t typically cinnamon heavy, our best guess is that the crumble is an attempt at recreating a syrup drizzle. For a birthday cake Timbit, we also felt it could have had more pops of colour from the birthday cake confetti sprinkles. That said, it’s a tasty new version of a classic Timbit, and while the concept is a little puzzling, it’s undeniably delicious.

In short, Timbiebs take tried and true Tim Hortons Timbits and give them a healthy dose of celebrity glamour with crunchy, sprinkly new exteriors. While they’re not exactly game-changing, in true Bieber fashion they’re still absolutely yummy. Regardless of whether or not you’re a Belieber, you’ll be lucky to get your hands on a box of these.

Cookies stacked on a plate

Here is Anna Olson’s New Favourite Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe (And Why You Need To Try It!)

This is my new favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe…seriously! (And you know that I take chocolate chip cookies very seriously.)  That little addition of caramel sauce and the touch of oats gives these cookies a crispier outside and chewier centre that I’ve been searching for.

Related: Decadent Chocolate Desserts

 


Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

¾ cup unsalted butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp caramel sauce or dulce de leche
1  large egg, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½  cups  all-purpose flour
¼ cup regular rolled oats
1 Tbsp cornstarch
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp flaked sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup salted caramel chips**

Related: Easy Make-Ahead Cookies For The Holidays

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.

2. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat until the foaming subsides and you see brown bits form at the bottom, 3 to 4 minutes.  Measure the brown and granulated sugars into a large mixing bowl and pour the butter (including the brown bits) and whisk to combine.  Whisk in the caramel sauce (or dulce de leche). The mixture may not look smooth, but it will once the dry ingredients are added.

3. Switch to a spatula and stir in the egg and vanilla.  Stir in the flour, oats, cornstarch, baking soda and ½ tsp salt until well-combined and then stir in the chocolate and salted caramel chips. Scoop the cookies onto the baking trays, leaving 2-inches) between them.  Flatten them with your palm and sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes and give the trays a good smack on the oven door or counter before setting them on racks to cool. The cookies will keep up to 4 days in an airtight container.

**If not available, you can replace the salted caramel chips with regular chips or another flavour.

Related: Great Canadian Cookies and Bars

Tune into Anna’s Occasions to see new episodes. 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.

a closeup of vietnamese pizza

Crispy Rice Paper ‘Vietnamese Pizza’ is the Street Food-Inspired Snack You Need to Try

Rice paper is having a moment in the foodie world, spawning interesting usage across cuisines and even boldly crossing over from savoury to sweet. Beyond the well-loved Vietnamese fresh spring rolls, rice paper is now being used as dumpling wrappers, rolled up into rice cakes for Korean tteokkbokki, deep fried and seasoned as a crispy snack and even replacing glutinous rice flour to make Japanese Daifuku mochi. This virality of rice paper is how I came to discover Bánh Tráng Nướng aka ‘Vietnamese Pizza’, a popular street food in Vietnam featuring rice paper grilled over charcoal until crispy and then topped with a myriad of toppings including quail eggs, scallions, dried shrimp, pork floss or sausage, sweet chili sauce or sriracha, and even corn and cheese. At home, use a skillet on the stove to crisp up the rice paper followed by your own toppings of choice. This recipe shows one of our favourite combinations but do take the liberty to make this your own – it’s very versatile!

a closeup of vietnamese pizza

Vietnamese Pizza

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients
4 Vietnamese rice papers (make sure it is made from rice, not tapioca)
2-3 scallions, finely chopped
4 Tbsp sweet chili sauce
8 quail eggs or 4 medium chicken eggs
¾ cup loosely packed pork floss (see note)
Optional toppings: corn kernels, shredded cheese, crispy fried shallots, Japanese mayonnaise, sriracha, hoisin sauce, etc.

Note: Pork floss is seasoned dehydrated pork popular in East and Southeast Asian cultures. You can think of as finely-shredded pork jerky or savoury cotton candy with a lot of umami. If you don’t eat it or can’t find it, substitute with bacon bits, julienned ham, sliced hot dog, sliced vegan sausage, etc. or omit entirely.

ingredients for vietnamese pizza

Directions
1. Heat a dry skillet over medium heat. Place a single rice paper on the dry skillet – it will start to curl up right away. When it does, flip it over once to make it easier to add toppings.

Related: Pork Banh Mi Burgers With Grilled Pineapple

2. Sprinkle scallions on top. Drizzle about 1 tbsp of sweet chili sauce  and cook for a minute. Crack the egg (2 if using quail eggs, 1 if using chicken eggs) right on top, scrambling it and spreading it almost to the edges of the rice paper.

a vietnamese pizza in progress

3. Once the egg is almost fully cooked, sprinkle about 3 Tbsp of pork floss all over.

Related: How to Make Vietnamese Bun Cha, The Rice Noodle Salad Your Lunch Bowl is Craving

vietnamese pizza with pork floss sprinkled over top

4. If desired, fold the rice paper over when it’s pliable. Then continue to cook until the rice paper is crispy. Alternatively you can skip the folding step and cook until rice paper is crispy. Repeat steps 1-4 for remaining rice paper and serve immediately.

a folded vietnamese pizza in a cast-iron skillet

Love Sonia’s Vietnamese Pizza recipe? Try her Japanese Chicken Curry next!

chinese egg tarts on a pale pink countertop

How to Make Buttery, Flaky Chinese Egg Tarts At Home

Egg tarts are buttery and flaky, and their resemblance to little sunbursts makes you smile just looking at them. At the end of every dim sum feast, after we’ve eaten our fill of cheung fun and dumplings, my mom would track down the cart full of golden egg tarts. If she couldn’t find the cart, she’d flag down a waiter to put in a special order for at least two dozen freshly baked egg tarts, enough for each of us to inhale a pastry or two at the table and a few extra to take home and enjoy later.

Egg tarts are a perfect example of the European influence in Chinese culture. Pastry chefs in Hong Kong utilized the techniques and ingredients that were accessible to them, including lard instead of
butter and evaporated milk as a substitute for fresh cream or milk. Like those chefs, I use what is most commonly found in my local grocery stores. So while this recipe uses butter, by all means use
lard, if you can find it.

There are three different types of egg tarts: with a puff pastry base, with a shortcrust base, and Macau style, featuring a laminated base and a caramelized custard filling. A crisp pastry base
and a smooth, sweet filling is essential, but I like the variety you get with the Chinese puff pastry base, featured here. The texture of flaky pastry, shattering into a field of crumbs and juxtaposed with
the rich eggy filling, is one of the most satisfying bites. Storebought puff pastry is totally acceptable, but I encourage you to try making the Chinese Puff Pastry for the true dim sum taste.

Notes:
Chinese puff pastry is similar to French puff pastry, with laminated layers of butter and flour that add up to one delightfully flaky dough. The differences between the French and Chinese varieties are subtle: the Chinese puff is slightly less buttery (don’t worry— there is still plenty of butter) and a tad more crisp.

You will most likely have a decent amount of puff pastry left over, which is the nature of making neat pastry. Instead of discarding it, cut the scraps into roughly 3-inch pieces and bake in a 400°F oven until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Once cooled, dust with a little confectioners’ sugar or cinnamon. Scraps also can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.

This recipe requires 12 individual 3-inch metal tart or cupcake molds.

chinese egg tarts on a pale pink countertop

Classic Egg Tarts (Dan Tat)

Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Rest Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours, 25 minutes
Servings: 12

Ingredients
For the Chinese Puff Pastry Butter Block
1 cup unsalted butter, chilled
1 ¼ cups all- purpose flour

For the Chinese Puff Pastry Flour Dough
1 ⅔ cups all- purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1 large egg
½ teaspoon coarse salt
⅓ cup ice water

For the Filling
½ cup sugar
⅔ cup water
2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Chinese Puff Pastry
All-purpose flour, for rolling

Directions
1. Make the butter block: Cut the butter into 1-inch cubes and place in the bowl of a food processor. Add the flour and pulse until smooth (it will be crumbly at first). Transfer the butter mixture to a sheet of plastic wrap. Fold the plastic over the butter mixture and then press to form a roughly 5-inch square. Refrigerate until firm but still somewhat pliable, 30 to 35 minutes.

2. Make the flour dough: Place the flour, egg, salt, and ice water in the clean bowl of the food processor. Pulse just until a smooth ball of dough forms. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and slightly flatten into a disk. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, 30 to 35 minutes.

3. Unwrap both the dough and butter block. Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour and roll out the flour dough with a large rolling pin into a 7 x 10-inch rectangle. Place the butter block in the center of the dough and fold the edges of the dough over the butter block so that it is tightly wrapped. Flip over the pastry dough so it is seam- side down. Continue to lightly dust the work surface if the dough starts to stick. With the rolling pin, firmly press down on the dough to thin it out (this should prevent it from tearing). Roll out the dough into a 6 x 12-inch rectangle. Fold the dough into thirds, like a letter, and press it down with the rolling pin again to flatten. Roll the dough into a 6 x 12-inch rectangle and repeat the process of folding the dough into thirds like a letter one more time. Flatten and roll the dough into an 8 x 12-inch rectangle and wrap tightly with plastic wrap.

4. Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes before working it again. At this point, the puff pastry can be either frozen or refrigerated for future use.

5. Make the filling: In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Swirl the saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Boil until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the syrup to cool for 10 minutes.

6. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk to combine the eggs and egg yolk, milk, and vanilla. Pour the syrup into the egg mixture, whisking until smooth. (As an extra step to ensure a really smooth custard, you can strain the egg mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove any bits of egg that didn’t fully incorporate.)

7. On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry into a roughly 12 x 16-inch rectangle. Using a fluted 4-inch cookie cutter, cut out 12 rounds.

8. Gently press the rounds into twelve 3-inch tart molds, pressing against the bottom and sides to prevent air pockets. The pastry should extend about 1/4 inch above the rims. Arrange the pastry molds on a plate or medium rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate until firm, at least 20 minutes or overnight (cover with plastic wrap if chilling overnight).

9. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

10. Place the tart shells on a large rimmed baking sheet, spaced 2 inches apart. Fill each tart shell with the filling, up to 1/4 inch below the edge of the pastry. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350°F and bake until the filling is set but still has a slight jiggle in the center, 20 to 24 more minutes.

11. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let the tarts cool on the sheet for 10 minutes. Remove the egg tarts from the tart molds and serve warm or at room temperature.

The tarts can be refrigerated in an airtight container (a resealable bag works great) for up to 4 days (or frozen for up to 3 months). Reheat in a 350°F oven on a baking sheet until crisp and warmed through, 8 to 10 minutes (or a few minutes longer if they’re frozen).

Mooncakes and Milk Bread cookbook by Kristina ChoTaken from Mooncakes and Milk Bread by Kristina Cho Copyright © 2021 by Harper Horizon. Used by permission of Harper Collins Canada www.harpercollins.ca

Mooncakes and Milk Bread, Amazon, $37

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.

Love this egg tart recipe? Try this BBQ pork bao recipe next!

mini pumpkin pies on a green plate

These Mini Pumpkin Pies From Anna Olson Will Become Your New Addiction

I love a good pumpkin pie when the cold-weather entertaining season hits, and these individual pies are adorable and fulfilling. This recipe can be baked as a traditional 9-inch pie.  Prepare the dough and filling as per the recipe, line a glass pie plate with the pastry and chill while making the filling.  Bake the pie for about 50 minutes at 375°F.

Related: Creative Pumpkin Recipes to Try This Fall


Mini Pumpkin Pies

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 6 individual pies (Or enough for one 9-inch pie)

Ingredients
For the pie dough:
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp fine salt
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup cool unsalted butter, cut into pieces (does not have to be ice cold)
¼ cup cool water
2 tsp white vinegar or lemon juice

For the filling:
2 cups pure pumpkin puree
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
3 Tbsp  fancy molasses
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
¾ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp fine salt
3 large eggs
1 cups whipping cream

For the topping:
1 ½ cups whipping cream
1 ½ Tbsp instant skim milk powder
2 Tbsp icing sugar

Related: Gorgeous Pumpkin Recipes That Aren’t Pumpkin Pie

Directions:
1. Combine the flour, sugar and salt together. Add the oil and blend in using a pastry cutter, electric beaters or a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until the flour looks evenly crumbly in texture.

2. Add the butter and cut in until rough and crumbly but small pieces of butter are still visible. Stir the water and vinegar (or lemon juice, if using) together and add all at once to the flour mixture, mixing just until the dough comes together.  Shape the dough into 2 logs, wrap and chill until firm, at least an hour.

3. Preheat the oven to 375°F and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Pull the pie dough from the fridge 30 minutes before you wish to roll it out.

4. Divide the dough into 6 pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll out a piece of dough to just under ¼-inch thick. Dust each of your 6  pie shells with flour and line the tart shell with the pastry, trimming away any excess. Place on the prepared baking tray.  Repeat with the remaining pastry portions and tart shells, and chill the shells while you prepare the filling.

Related: Chocolate Pumpkin Truffle Pops

5. Whisk the pumpkin puree with the brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cloves and salt until evenly blended. Whisk in the eggs followed by the cream. Pour this carefully into each of the tart shells and bake for about 30 minutes, until all but an inch at the centre of each tart jiggle when the shell is moved.  Allow the tarts to cool on the tray on a cooling rack to room temperature and then chill for at least 90 minutes before serving.

6. To garnish the tarts, whip the cream and skim milk powder until it holds a soft peak when the beaters are lifted. Whisk in the icing sugar. Remove each tart from its metal shell.  Dollop each tart with a bit of cream and serve.

Craving more pumpkin recipes? Why not try these: Perfect Pumpkin Desserts to Make Your Fall Menu Sweeter

Tune into Anna’s Occasions to see new episodes. 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.

Nachos loaded with armstrong cheese on a serving platter

The Easiest, Cheesiest Nacho Recipe to Make Tonight

The key to any good plate of nachos is ooey gooey cheese, and lots of it! To ensure you get that melty cheese pull you’re looking for, be sure to load up on Armstrong Tex Mex Shredded Cheese. Well-seasoned ground chicken, roasted red peppers, fiery jalapeno and a final sprinkle of fresh cilantro and chives take this nacho plate to supreme levels.

Related: Cheesy Chorizo and Potato Bites Are the Ultimate Crowd Pleaser

Nachos loaded with armstrong cheese on a serving platter

Cheesy Tex Mex Nachos

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients
1 Tbsp olive oil
¼ cup cooking onion, diced
1 Tbsp garlic, finely chopped
1 lb (454 g) ground chicken
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp cayenne
1 bag (250 g) nacho chips
1 cup roasted red pepper, diced
1 fresh jalapeno, thinly sliced
¼ cup fresh chives, chopped
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 package (320 g) Armstrong Tex Mex Shredded Cheese

Directions
1. Drizzle olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until transparent, about 3 minutes.

2. Add ground chicken, and use a spatula to break it up into small pieces. Let the meat brown without moving it for about 3 minutes. This gives the meat more contact to the pan and will result in a better sear. Sprinkle meat with cumin, coriander, paprika and cayenne. Continue to brown the chicken, stirring every minute or so until all the moisture has evaporated, about 4-7 minutes. Make sure there are no signs of pink and break up any large pieces.

Related: This Cheesy Peameal Breakfast Sandwich Will Make You Excited to Wake Up in the Morning

3. Heat broiler to high and move rack to the middle position. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place nacho chips in an even layer. Spread cooked chicken mixture over the nacho chips, layer with roasted red peppers, jalapeno and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Broil for 2-4 minutes, watching closely.

4. Garnish with chives and cilantro. Serve immediately.

Love Roger’s cheesy nachos? Try his mac and triple cheese next!

torsades au chocolat in a paper bag on a white countertop

These Torsades au Chocolat Will Transport You to a French Patisserie

These are the sort of thing that always catches my eye at the bakery when I’m only supposed to be picking up bread. Inevitably, one will make its way into my order and will be enjoyed as breakfast or mid-morning – they’re so good I don’t know I could wait until l’heure du goûter! And while these are great in the morning, they are an excellent on-the-go snack to eat rushing from school to extra-curricular activities. Don’t worry if your twists are a bit misshapen the first time you make these – practice makes perfect!

torsades au chocolat in a paper bag on a white countertop

Torsades au Chocolat

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 25-30 minutes
Total Time:  45-50 minutes
Yields: 6 pastries

Ingredients
For the pastry cream:
⅓ cup milk
1 large egg yolk
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1½ Tbsp cornstarch
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
½ Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature

For the twists:
1 sheet store-bought puff pastry (225g), thawed but chilled
3 Tbsp roughly chopped semisweet chocolate or mini chocolate chips
1 large egg, lightly beaten for eggwash

For the glaze:
1 Tbsp boiling water
1 Tbsp granulated sugar

Directions
For the pastry cream:
1. Bring the milk to a boil in a medium saucepan.

2. In the meantime, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch together in a medium saucepan.

3. Once the milk has just reached a boil, pour in a couple of teaspoons of the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture and whisk until combined.

4. Slowly pour in the rest of the hot milk, whisking constantly and place the pan over medium heat, continuing to whisk.

Related: These Creme-Filled Chocolate Cookie Sandwiches Will Make You Feel Like a Pro Baker

5. Continue to cook and whisk for about 2-3 minutes, until the mixture starts to thicken slightly and produce large bubbles, then remove from the heat. If your mixture has overcooked and you have bits of cooked egg in your custard, strain the custard into a clean bowl using a metal sieve.

6. Whisk in the vanilla, then the butter, until completely incorporated.

7. Scrape the custard into a clean bowl, cover it with plastic wrap (the wrap should be touching the surface of the custard to prevent a skin forming) and allow the custard to come to room temperature, then, if not using immediately, refrigerate, until you are ready to use. Before you use it, you might have to give the custard a whisk to loosen it.

For the twists and glaze:
1. Preheat the oven to 375˚F and have a baking tray handy.

2. Roll your pastry out on parchment paper until it’s approximately 12 x 12 inches.

3. Spread the pastry cream over the entire surface of the pastry.

4. Sprinkle the chocolate over one half of the pastry and fold the other half of the pastry to cover it.

5. With the open end of the pastry facing you (you’ll have a rectangle of 12 x 6 inches), cut strips of the pastry approximately 2 inches wide.

6. Lift the parchment onto the baking tray and separate the pastry strips slightly.

Related: Plum and Cardamom Coffee Cake is the Unexpected Flavour Pairing You Must Try

7. Twist the pastry strips in one direction at one end and in the other direction at the other end to make a twist. Make two twists at each end. Some of the chocolate might fall out, just press it back into the pastry cream. Make sure your twists have a lot of room (about 2 inches) between them on the baking tray.

8. Lightly brush the twists with the egg wash, avoiding the custardy chocolate edge of the pastry.

9. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the pastry is puffed and golden brown.

10. Remove the twists from the oven, leaving them on the baking tray. Meanwhile, mix the boiling water and sugar together to make your glaze and brush the still hot twists with the glaze. This will dry as they cool and will make them lovely and shiny.

Cookbook cover for French Food For Everyone by Mardi MichelsExcerpted from French Food for Everyone: le goûter (after school snacks) by Mardi Michels. Copyright © 2021 Mardi Michels. Photography ©Mardi Michels. Published by MLM Publications. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

French Food For Everyone, Amazon, $13

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.

Love these chocolate custard twists? Try this recipe for Flaky Strawberry Rhubarb Cheesecake Pastry Pockets next!

cheesy chorizo bites stuffed with armstrong cheese on a wooden serving board

Cheesy Chorizo and Potato Bites Are the Ultimate Crowd Pleaser

When it comes to feeding a crowd, cheese is always a good idea. With a creamy inside and delectably crispy outside, these cheesy chorizo balls are guaranteed to be a hit. Armstrong Mexican Fiesta Marble Cheddar with Jalapeno provides these tasty morsels with a complex hit of spice that balances well with the buttery potato filling.

cheesy chorizo bites stuffed with armstrong cheese on a wooden serving board

Cheesy Chorizo and Potato Bites

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes
Servings: 4-6 (makes 24 balls)

Ingredients
2 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1” pieces
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
Kosher salt, to taste
2 fresh chorizo sausages
¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
3 eggs, divided
Freshly ground black peppercorns, to taste
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
Vegetable oil, for frying
Large crystal sea salt, to taste
2½ cups Armstrong Mexican Fiesta Marble Cheddar with Jalapeno

Directions
1. Place the peeled and chopped potatoes in a large pot. Fill water to 1” above the potatoes. Bring the water to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer, continuing to cook for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender. You can test this by poking a piece of potato with a fork, paring knife, or skewer. If the utensil slides easily all the way to the center, the potatoes are done.

2. Strain potatoes and cool on a clean dry tray, until room temperature. Mash with a potato masher or process through a potato ricer, stirring in butter and seasoning with salt to taste. You should yield about 2 cups of mashed potato total. Set aside.

Related: Mac and Triple Cheese Topped with Grilled Chicken is the Comfort Food You Need

3. Heat a medium-sized frying pan over medium-high heat. Cut chorizo casings down the middle and squeeze the chorizo into the hot pan. Break the sausage apart into pea-sized crumble using a wooden spoon and turn the heat down slightly to medium, continuing to move sausage around the pan. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until cooked through. Chorizo should be dull red or light brown when cooked.

4. In a large bowl, combine the room-temperature mashed potatoes, cooked chorizo, cilantro, Armstrong Mexican Fiesta Marble Cheddar with Jalapeno and 1 egg. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Form the mashed potato mixture into compact balls using a small ice cream scoop or 2 spoons, make 24 balls total. The balls should be similar in size to golf balls and weigh about 30g each.

Related: This Jalapeno Appenzeller Bread is a Cheese Lover’s Dream

6. Prepare 3 shallow plates: 1 with flour, 1 with remaining eggs beaten and 1 with panko breadcrumbs.

7. A few at a time, roll the balls first into the flour, then dip them in the beaten egg and finally roll them through the panko, making sure they are completely covered. Place them on a plate or tray until ready to fry. Repeat this step until all balls are coated.

8. Add vegetable oil to a large pot, at least a couple inches deep, and heat over medium-high heat until a thermometer reaches 350°F. Fry balls in batches of 4 or 5 at a time. Using a slotted spoon, roll them around to ensure they are golden all over, about 2-3 minutes. Once crispy and golden, place on a towel-lined tray to cool. Garnish with a large crystal sea salt. Serve warm or cold.

Love Roger’s cheesy chorizo bites? Try this cheesy peameal breakfast sandwich next.

pumpkin spice soft pretzels on a cooling rack

Soft, Fluffy Pumpkin Spice Pretzels with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Dip


In this edition of Menu Mashup, soft pretzels are combined with classic pumpkin pie to create these delectable Pumpkin Spice Soft Pretzels. Topped with a pumpkin spice sugar blend and served with a pumpkin cream cheese dip, this fall-inspired dessert is sure to be your new favourite pumpkin dessert… step aside, pumpkin pie!

pumpkin spice soft pretzels on a cooling rack

Pumpkin Spice Soft Pretzels with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Dip

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Rising Time: 1 Hour
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
Yield: 12 Pretzels

Ingredients
For the pretzels:
1 ½ cups warm water (110°F)
3 Tbsp brown sugar
2¼ tsp yeast
4 cups all-purpose flour + additional for dusting
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup butter, melted + additional for brushing
Oil, to grease bowl
8 cups room temperature water
½ cup baking soda

For the pumpkin spice sugar blend:
½ cup sugar
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground all-spice
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon

For the pumpkin cream cheese dip:
4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp pumpkin puree
2 Tbsp butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp heavy cream
Pinch salt

ingredients of pumpkin spice soft pretzels

Directions
1. For the pretzels, pour the warm water into a small mixing bowl. Stir in the brown sugar and yeast and let stand for 5 minutes, or until the yeast begins to foam.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Pour in the wet ingredients and the melted butter, then stir until it forms a dough. Lightly dust your countertop with flour and turn the dough out. Knead for 3 to 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Related: Celebrate Oktoberfest at Home With These Soft Pretzels, Done Two Ways!

dough for pumpkin spice soft pretzels being kneaded on a white countertop

3. Grease a large bowl with oil and place the dough in the bowl, turning and flipping it to ensure it is coated. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and keep in a warm spot for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

4. Once dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball and arrange on your countertop or a plate.

5. Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a large saucepan, add water and baking soda. Place on high heat and bring to a boil.

6. Meanwhile, shape the pretzels by rolling a portion of the dough into a long rope, at least 20 inches in length. Make a “U” with the rope and cross the ends over each other twice, then flip them and press into the bottom of the “U” forming a pretzel shape.

dough rolled into pretzels for pumpkin spice soft pretzels

7. Arrange the pretzels on a large, parchment-lined baking sheet. Working in batches of 2 to 3 pretzels, place them in the boiling baking soda solution for 15 to 20 seconds. Remove and place back on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pretzels.

Related: Pumpkin Crème Brûlée is the Pumpkin Dessert You Need This Fall

pretzels being boiled for pumpkin spice soft pretzels

8. Bake the pretzels in the oven for 12 to 14 minutes, or until they are shiny with a deep brown colour.

9. While the pretzels are baking, make the pumpkin spice by combining sugar, ginger, all-spice, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside until serving.

10. For the dip, in a medium bowl, whisk together cream cheese, pumpkin puree, and softened butter until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and mix again, then add vanilla, cream and salt, and give it a final mix. Transfer to a smaller bowl and set aside until serving.

11. Once the pretzels are baked, brush them in melted butter and sprinkle generously with pumpkin spice. Serve with pumpkin cream cheese dip on the side.

pumpkin spice soft pretzels on a baking tray, ready to serve

Note: Leftover pretzels can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Leftover dip can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Love Philip and Mystique’s pumpkin pie pretzels? Try their croque madame rolls next!

squares of plum cardamom cake on a blue oval plate

Plum and Cardamom Coffee Cake is the Unexpected Flavour Pairing You Must Try

The warm, earthy notes of cardamom complement juicy plums in this simple and irresistible cake recipe. Plum and cardamom are a match made in heaven, so if you haven’t experienced this combination before, it’s time that you try it out. Any variety of plum can be used for this recipe — whatever your local store has at the height of stone fruit season will work beautifully.

squares of plum cardamom cake on a blue oval plate

Plum and Cardamom Coffee Cake

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 35-45 minutes
Cool Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour – 1 hour, 10 minutes
Servings: Yields one 8-inch square cake

Ingredients:
For the coffee cake
8 whole medium ripe plums
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp ground cardamom
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp kosher salt
1¼ cups full-fat sour cream
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup whole (3.25%) milk
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the plum glaze
1 cup icing sugar
Juice reserved from slicing plums
2 Tbsp whole (3.25%) milk

Directions:
1. For the coffee cake, cut the plums into ½-inch slices over a small bowl, collecting the juice. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, cardamom, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the sour cream, butter, milk, egg, and vanilla. Add the butter mixture to the flour mixture. Stir until just combined.

Related: You’ll Never Guess the Secret Ingredient in This Beautiful Carrot Cake

3. Using a silicone spatula, fold in three-quarters of the sliced plums, being careful not to overmix. Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan. Scatter the remaining plum slices on top, making sure to reserve the juice for the Plum Glaze.

4. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Run a thin knife around the edge of the pan and turn the cake out onto a plate.

Related: This Confetti Sheet Cake With Pastel Frosting is Straight-Up Magical

5. For the plum glaze, in a small bowl, whisk the icing sugar with the reserved plum juice. Add the milk and whisk until smooth. Drizzle over the cake before serving. Serve warm.

6. Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

the earth to table bakes cookbook coverExcerpted from Earth to Table Bakes by Bettina Schormann and Erin Schiestel. Copyright ©2021 Bettina Schormann and Erin Schiestel. Photography ©2021 Maya Visnyei Photography. Published by Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Earth to Table Bakes, Amazon, $26

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.

Love this coffee cake recipe? Try this clementine yogurt pistachio cake next!

clementine yogurt pistachio snack cake on a cooling rack

The Dreamiest Clementine Yogurt Pistachio Snack Cake

I call this my Chameleon Cake, because it can take on so many different flavors: lemon and almond, blood orange and pine nut, coconut and lime—just sub the flavors with the same measurements and you’re good to go. Keep it rustic as a loaf cake or dress up your own chameleon with edible flowers in cupcake form. You won’t even recognize it. I use sweetened vanilla Greek yogurt here, which, to be honest, I bought by accident. It turned out to be a happy one, as it allowed me to cut back on the granulated sugar.

clementine yogurt pistachio snack cake on a cooling rack

Clementine Yogurt Pistachio Cake

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 40-50 minutes
Cool Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes – 1 hour, 5 minutes
Servings: Makes one 5 × 9-inch loaf or 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:
For the cake
1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup fine almond flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
½ cup chopped unsalted pistachios
1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
½ cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup light brown sugar
3 large eggs
3 Tbsp packed clementine or orange zest
½ cup olive oil + more for greasing

For the salted pistachio clementine glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp clementine juice
3 Tbsp chopped unsalted pistachios
¼ tsp flaky sea salt

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 5 × 9-inch loaf pan with olive oil.

2. To make the cake, in a bowl, stir together the flour, almond flour, baking powder, salt and pistachios.

Related: This Confetti Sheet Cake With Pastel Frosting is Straight-Up Magical

3. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, both sugars, eggs, zest and ½ cup olive oil.

4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir together using a wooden spoon or spatula until just combined. Don’t overmix.

5. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 40–50 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Related: You’ll Never Guess the Secret Ingredient in This Beautiful Carrot Cake

6. Allow the cake to cool for 5 minutes before using a knife to loosen it from the sides of the pan. Remove to a wire rack.

7. To make the glaze, in a bowl, stir together the powdered sugar and clementine juice until smooth and glossy. It will be thicker than you think it should be, but it will spread once poured. Pour over the slightly cooled cake, letting it drip over the sides, and sprinkle with the chopped pistachios and flaky sea salt.

Note: The cake will keep very well in an airtight container for 4–5 days.

conveniently delicious by devin connellExcerpted from Conveniently Delicious by Devin Connell Copyright © 2021 Devil Connell. Photography © Louisa Nicolaou. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Conveniently Delicious, Amazon, $30

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.

Love this snack cake recipe? Try this upside-down banana cake next.

the best new farm boy products for fall 2021

The 7 Best New Farm Boy Products to Try This Fall

If you’re anything like us, you’re already completely obsessed with Farm Boy – also known as Canada’s answer to Trader Joe’s. While we’d be remiss to write this article without shouting out our all-time Farm Boy favourites (the lemon-garlic dressing, chocolate almonds, and spicy kale edamame dip to name a few!), it’s time to say hello to Farm Boy’s latest crop of game-changing products. Here are our top picks for fall:

farm boy cream soda caramel corn

Farm Boy Cream Soda Flavoured Caramel Corn, $3.99/280g

Cream Soda Flavoured Caramel Corn

Caramel popcorn and cream soda is the unexpected snack mashup you need in your life. With notes of banana swirled into the pink cream soda drizzle, it lends the classic sweet snack a welcome note of nostalgia. Who needs to choose between popcorn, soda pop and candy when you can have all three?!

farm boy truffle pepperoni sticks

Farm Boy Truffle Pepperoni Sticks, $8.99/150g

Truffle Pepperoni Sticks

Truffle lovers, rejoice! These truffle pepperettes contain real summer truffle (none of the synthetic stuff!) and have a rich umami flavour that would be right at home on a luxe charcuterie board beside a thick chunk of brie and some herb-studded crackers. While we’re certainly fans of this truffley creation, they aren’t for the faint of heart – opt for the equally delicious Olive Pepperettes if you plan on sharing with kiddos or the truffle-averse.

farm boy tostadas

Farm Boy Tostadas, $3.49/350g

Tostadas

Looking to switch up your Taco Tuesday routine? These certified gluten-free tostadas are the answer, and contain just four simple ingredients: yellow corn flour, water, sunflower oil and salt. Supremely sturdy with just the right amount of crunch, you can pile them high with your favourite taco toppings. Bonus: we have a feeling they’d make for an *excellent* addition to at-home version of a Crunchwrap Supreme.

farm boy tomatillo and jalapeno salsa

Farm Boy Tomatillo and Jalapeno Fire Roasted Salsa, $4.99/300ml

Tomatillo and Jalapeno Fire Roasted Salsa

You’d never guess that this sophisticated salsa comes from a jar. With an inviting deep green colour and complex smoky flavour palate, this is not your average salsa! Keep this alongside a bag of corn chips in the pantry to serve when unexpected guests arrive and they’ll be impressed by your gourmet hosting abilities.

Organic Cucumber Melon Sparkling Water

Farm Boy Organic Cucumber Melon Sparkling Water, $1.49/1L

Organic Cucumber Melon Sparkling Water

Farm Boy’s organic sparkling waters are always an instant add-to-cart (we’ve been known to buy five cases of the Orange Vanilla at a time), so we were delighted to get our hands on their latest flavour. It tastes like a fizzy sparkling hybrid of cantaloupe and watermelon, and we’re officially hooked.

farm boy seafood paella kit

Farm Boy Seafood Paella Kit, $6.99/255g

Paella Kit

ICYMI: Paella is trending right now, and you don’t have to be a pro chef to make it at home! Farm Boy makes it easy with this straightforward kit that contains traditional ingredients like olive oil, bomba rice, and delicate saffron for quick prep, all you have to do is add in your favourite seafood and veggies.

farm boy fruit and vegetable wash

Farm Boy Fruit and Vegetable Wash, $4.99/496ml

Fruit and Vegetable Wash

While there’s nothing wrong with washing your fruits and veggies  the old fashioned way, this all-natural, fragrance-free alternative helps the process of removing pesticides, and eliminating bacteria without the soak time. Just spray and rinse!

rye chunky chocolate chip cookies on a cooling rack

These Rye Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies Are an Elegant Twist on a Classic

Chocolate chip cookie lovers, say hello to your new favourite baked good. The subtle additions of rye flour and oatmeal lend the classic cookie a nutty, earthy flavour that’s perfect for pairing with your morning coffee or a late-night glass of milk. Plus, the dough can be made in advance and frozen so that you can have fresh, warm cookies at a moment’s notice, perfect for an impressive last-minute dinner party dessert or taking with you for long weekend cottage getaway.

rye chunky chocolate chip cookies on a cooling rack

Rye Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Rest Time: 40 minutes
Bake Time: 16-18 minutes
Total Time: 66-68 minutes
Servings: 12

Ingredients:
¾ cup unsalted butter
¾ cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
⅓ cup rye flour
⅓ cup oatmeal
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup dark chocolate chips/chunks

ingredients for rye chunky chocolate chip cookies on a white countertop

Directions:
1. In a stand mixer, whip together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla, and combine.

2. Add all of the dry ingredients (except the chocolate chips) into the wet batter and combine using a stand mixer with beater attachment.

Related: These Ginger Molasses Cookies Will Warm You up on a Chilly Fall Day

3. Fold the chocolate chips into the batter.

4. Using a spoon or ice cream scoop (for large cookies), portion the dough onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Make sure they are well spaced apart (2-3 inches), so they don’t join when baked.

Dough for rye chunky chocolate chip cookies on a baking sheet

5. Chill in the freezer for 30 minutes before baking.

6. Preheat the oven to 350°F and bake for 16-18 minutes or until golden on the edges.

Related: These Creme-Filled Chocolate Cookie Sandwiches Will Make You Feel Like a Pro Baker

Rye chunky chocolate chip cookies on a baking sheet

7. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and enjoy.

Related: Date Night at Home Isn’t Complete Without This Chocolate Peanut Butter Skillet Cookie

A rye chunky chocolate chip cookie on a cooling rank with a bite taken out of it

Note: The cookie dough can be chilled for up to 3 months in an airtight container in the freezer.

Love Yakuta’s cookies? Try her mango tarts next!

mooncakes for mid autumn festival 2021

Mooncakes Decoded: Everything You Need to Know About the Decadent Treat

Dense, with a sugary richness contrasted ever so slightly by a golden brown pastry shell, mooncakes have a certain moreishness that make them a perfect indulgence for celebration. This is fitting, considering the role of mooncakes as a prized gift during the Mid-Autumn festival in China and throughout the world.

mooncakes for mid autumn festival 2021
Getty

Origin and History of Mooncakes

The origin of mooncakes is spun from a fanciful legend of Moon Goddess Chang’e, who became a deity upon drinking a potion for immortality given by the gods to her heroic archer husband Hou Yi, celebrated for shooting nine of 10 suns from the sky. In one version, the separation of the two lovers due to the flight of Chang’e to the heavens leads a heartbroken Hou Yi to set out favourite foods in her honour — a tradition that has continued in the moon festival.

Related: The Best Ways to Shop, Prepare and Cook Chinese Greens

Mooncake delicacies have long been rumoured to be the basis of revolution throughout Chinese history, from the Manchu rebellion (a story, which turns out, may be equally mythological) to the recent political uprisings in Hong Kong. The round cakes are gifted and shared with family, friends and business acquaintances to symbolize reunion each year on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar. Today, mooncakes are made throughout China, although, as with much Chinese cuisine, regional variations abound.

Where to Find Mooncakes

In larger Chinese supermarkets, you can often find more than 100 kinds of mooncakes and be warned: these delicacies dont come cheap. Around the Mid-Autumn Festival, which starts this year on September 21, store shelves and bakery displays begin to fill with colourful boxes of these treats.

Although you can certainly make mooncakes at home if you’re looking for a project, part of the pleasure of these pastries is opening the elaborate wrapping or box and getting that first glimpse of the intricate lettering or patterned design of the pastry created with a specialized mold that varies by bakery or manufacturer. Cutting through the thin golden crust to reveal the dense filling inside is also a satisfying sight, revealing the splendid treasures beneath the patterned pastry.

Related: Restaurant-Worthy Chinese Scallion Pancakes You Can Make at Home

If you want to attempt them at home, molds can be found in some Asian supermarkets and restaurant supply stores, and come in either wood or plastic for easy extraction, according to Carolyn Phillips’ comprehensive work, All Under Heaven.


Pexels

Types of mooncakes

From traditional to modern, here’s a rundown of the most common types you’re likely to encounter.

Sizes

Mooncakes generally come in two sizes, depending on the type: a larger 3-inch version and a smaller 1-inch mini cake.

Shells

The most traditional version of mooncakes uses lard or shortening to create a tender light brown shell, easily pressed into a mold and shaped. One variation you may see on store shelves today, however, are the increasingly popular snowy or snow skin mooncakes, which are unbaked and use rice flour, giving them a mochi-like consistency.

Related: Make These Soft and Fluffy BBQ Pork Bao Buns

Fillings

One of the most commonly made types of mooncakes are the ones using red bean paste, resulting in a dark brown filling the colour of a Mexican mole sauce or roux for gumbo. The texture is soft and chewy but easily sliced, and densely sticky sweet.

Lotus seeds, on the other hand, produce a lighter filling based on a laborious process involving shelling, boiling and pureeing the seeds to form a paste. The creamy caramel coloured filling is smooth and delicately sweet, contrasting with the thin pastry shell.

Although these two fillings are the staples, bakeries and manufacturers have gotten increasingly creative, using fruit such as durian or dates, nuts or even egg custard as fillings to cater to a wider audience.


Unsplash

In addition to the red bean, lotus seed, and other fillings that may come inside your mooncake, salted egg yolks are often added to represent the full moon in autumn. Whether you choose a one or two yolk filling is up to your tolerance for rich textures: brined duck eggs are used for both savoury and sweet applications in Chinese cooking and the salting process turns the yolks into the essence of deeply yellow egginess. If you really want to go all out, three egg yolk versions are available, but not for the faint of heart.

Whatever your choice, be sure to share your mooncakes with friends and family, the way that they were meant to be eaten —  in celebration and amidst the joy of reuniting.

Related: These Chinese Coconut Buns Come Together With Ingredients You Already Have on Hand

comeback snacks founder emily o'brien beside bags of her popcorn

This Popcorn Shop is Destigmatizing the Ex-Con Label, One Kernel at a Time

Almost every job application form asks one simple question: “Do you have a criminal record?” For many people, it’s easy to breeze by it without a second thought. But for an ex-convict, it can feel like an impossible employment barrier to overcome.

comeback snacks founder emily o'brien beside bags of her popcorn
Comeback Snacks founder Emily O’Brien

After being sentenced to four years in prison for attempted drug smuggling, Comeback Snacks founder Emily O’Brien knows this firsthand. “If you’re an employer and you have two candidates, you’re probably going to go with the person who doesn’t have a criminal record just because it seems like a safer bet, without knowing anything about the other person.“

Which is why O’Brien decided to do something about it by starting her own business helping ex-convicts like herself: “I knew I couldn’t let my sentence determine the rest of my life in a negative way,” she explains. Food felt like a natural path to pursue: “When I was in prison I noticed the ways food brought people together. It made people laugh and forget where they were. It also allowed people to talk about their anxieties about reentering the workforce. They were terrified of being misunderstood and stigmatized and having no one believe in them. I wanted to change that narrative for myself and for others.”

Related: How Food Injustice Inspired This 23-Year-Old to Start Her Own Farm, Plus Her Advice for You

5 bags of comeback snacks popcorn on a marble countertop
Comeback Snacks Popcorn, $6/bag, well.ca

And so, over many bowls of popcorn (a prison-approved snack), the idea for Comeback Snacks was born: “We would make different popcorn recipes, my favourite was Kraft Dinner cheese, I called it Jailhouse Cheese. I would buy Kraft Dinner from the canteen and put the cheese powder on the popcorn,” says O’Brien. “Some people would put mixtures of spices, some people would use a blend of cinnamon and Splenda from their morning coffee. It was really interesting to see how creative a lot of people were.” In many ways, popcorn provided the blank canvas O’Brien needed to map out her future: “I knew this would be the vector to my new way of life and my way of helping others to reenter the work force by proving that we are capable of so much more.”

That kernel of an idea turned into the thriving business that Comeback Snacks is now. With the help of friends and family on the outside, Emily mapped out her business while in prison and went full speed ahead once she was released, developing many of her flavours while living in a halfway house. Today, with five sweet gourmet flavours on their roster (think: Lemon Meringue and Salted Chocolate Caramel) and a staff of 5 employees (all of whom have criminal backgrounds), Comeback Snacks popcorn is in over 200 stores and ships across Canada. Each employee also earns above minimum wage: “Financial struggles are often a leading cause of why someone could become incarcerated,” says O’Brien. “When you come out and you have no credit or job and you’re trying to get an apartment, it can be really hard to build that foundation. We’re trying to help with that.”

Related: Joshna Maharaj on Tackling Food Security, Inclusion in Canada’s Hospitality Industry + More

In addition to hiring staff with criminal records, part of Comeback Snacks’ mandate is also to work with organizations that align with their values through fundraisers and popcorn donations, including the Yonge St. Mission, the Elizabeth Fry Society and even the SPCA: “Animals need a second chance too!” says O’Brien with a laugh.

 

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Comeback Snacks also recently opened their first bricks and mortar location in Hamilton, Ontario called Comeback Commissary. “Instead of it just being a store with popcorn it’s an educational experience for people to come and learn about the prison system and break some of the stigmas they may have,” says O’Brien. “I have a storytelling wall with my old uniform, pictures and other documents that explain the institutional challenges that limit people and make their reentry into society very difficult.” The shop also plans to serve as a community hub in its off hours: “We’re going to host AA and NA meetings. A lot of people that have worked with us struggle with that, and it’s important that they have a safe space they can use.”

As for what’s next? Comeback Snacks has partnered with snack food powerhouse the Neal Brothers to manufacture their popcorn on an even larger scale and produce new savoury flavours, including Lemon Pepper Dill and Emily’s own version of the Jailhouse Cheese flavour that started it all: “Instead of it being Kraft Dinner cheese it’s composed of three real Canadian cheddar cheeses.” Breaking stigmas has never been more delicious.

Related: What is Food Insecurity? FoodShare’s Paul Taylor Explains (Plus What Canadians Can Do About It)

Photos courtesy of Martyna Domurad

keto arancini in white bowl with parsley

Try This Keto Cauliflower Arancini for a Healthy Snack

Yes, you can absolutely enjoy cheesy arancini and wine with a keto twist! Unlike traditional arancini which is often deep-fried, this arancini with a garlic butter wine sauce is a feel-good alternative packed with tons of flavour, texture and of course, good cheese. You can also easily make this vegan by swapping in vegan dairy and eggs.

keto arancini in white bowl with parsley

Keto Cauliflower Arancini

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6-8

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp olive oil
3 cups riced cauliflower or cauliflower crumbs
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
⅔ cup Parmigiano Reggiano, shredded
2 egg yolks
⅓ cup almond flour
¼ coconut flour (optional)
½ cup almond flour
¼ cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
½ stick of unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ dry white wine
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

keto arancini ingredients on countertop

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place a saucepan over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Once the pan is hot, add in cauliflower, oregano, sea salt and pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

Related: Keto-Friendly Snacks That Are Simple to Make (and Super Satisfying)

2. Transfer cooked cauliflower into a bowl. Add mozzarella, Parmigiano, egg yolks and almond flour and mix until smooth. Now check the consistency of your batter. If your batter seems a little loose or too sticky, add in coconut flour and adjust as needed. You want to be able to form the shape of a ball without it flattening.

keto arancini ingredients in white bowl

3. Using an ice cream scoop or a ⅓ cup, scoop the batter onto the lined baking sheet until you have 6-8 medium sized balls. In a separate plate, combine almond flour and parmigiano cheese. Roll each arancini ball in the almond-cheese mixture and return to the baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.

4. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add butter. Once melted, add garlic and saute for about a minute. Add wine and simmer until reduced, about 1 minute. Turn the heat off and stir in fresh parsley. Pour the garlic butter wine sauce over the keto arancini. Top with additional parsley, if desired.

keto arancini in white bowl with parsley

Like Valerie’s keto arancini? Try her air fryer corn “ribs” or healthy oven-fried chicken.

Cross-section of pretty sandwiches made of white bread with whipped cream and sliced fruits

This Japanese Fruit Sando is the Sandwich of the Summer

Fresh fruit and sweetened whipped cream sandwiched inside fluffy white bread is a fun and easy no-bake treat to make. Called a fruit sando in Japan, it is made with Japanese milk bread (shokupan) which is wonderfully light and springy with a little bit of chew. Most East Asian grocery stores or bakeries will have them. If you can’t get a hold of it, the closest substitution is thickly-cut Texas toast or any thickly-cut, fluffy soft bread you can find. Use your favourite seasonal fresh fruit such as strawberries, kiwis, mangos, blueberries, etc. in this Kindred Kitchen recipe. Whatever you choose, arrange the fruit strategically along the cut line for an oh-so beautiful reveal.

pretty Japanese-inspired sandwiches with whipped cream and sliced fruit

Japanese Fruit Sando

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Rest Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 3 sandwiches

Ingredients:

7 large strawberries, stems trimmed off
3 kiwis, ends trimmed and halved lengthwise
1 mango, peeled and pitted and fleshy sides cut into long thick slices
1 passionfruit (optional)
1 cup whipping cream
6 Tbsp powdered sugar
6 slices of Japanese milk bread or other fluffy white bread

Three Japanese fruit sandos with strawberries, mango and kiwis ingredients on countertop

Directions:

1. Wash and pat the fruit with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Trim, peel, pit and cut as required (see above).

2. Pour whipping cream and sugar into a chilled bowl and whisk until stiff peaks. You’ll want the cream to be on thicker side, but also be careful not to overwhip. With a stand mixer, this takes 60 seconds.

Related: Bucket List Burgers and Sandwiches You Need to Try

3. Lay out bread slices and spoon ⅓  cup of whipped cream on each of the six slices. If you have a little bit of whipped cream remaining, hang onto that for the moment. Spread the cream evenly, leaving a small border around the edges which will be trimmed off later.

4. On three of the bread slices, arrange your fruit (in this case: strawberries, mango slices with passionfruit pulp dribbled on top and kiwi halves). Pay attention to how you place the fruit along the intended diagonal cut line since that’s what will be shown when the sandos are cut in half. Fill in larger gaps between fruits with any remaining whipped cream. Place the other bread slices on top.

Three Japanese fruit sandos with strawberries, mango and kiwis

5. Without changing the orientation of the sando, wrap each one tightly in a piece of plastic food wrap while pressing gently, but firmly down on it. Use a marker to draw a line on the plastic wrap where the intended cut will be so you know where to cut it later.

Three Japanese fruit sandos with strawberries, mango and kiwis wrapped in plastic wrap

6. Chill in refrigerator 30-60 minutes. When the rest time is over, make note of the marker line and unwrap each sando. Make a clean, firm cut along the line using a long, sharp knife. Trim off the four crusts (my kids snack on these). Wipe knife clean between every cut. Separate the sando halves to reveal your beautiful fruit design.

Like Sonia’s fruit sando recipe? Try her three-ingredient kimchi chicken patties or sweet and sour shrimp and tofu recipe.

A platter of deviled eggs and tempura cauliflower and a plate of ricotta topped figs

3 Crowd-Pleasing Appetizers From Lynn Crawford That Make the Perfect Snack Board (Plus Recipes!)

Kids aren’t the only ones that like to snack! Grazing platters are an impressive way to plate a variety of appetizers perfect for entertaining when you just can’t decide on one dish. Beyond that, snack platters can make for a special dinner at home that’s casual and delicious.

These three elegant appetizers from Junior Chef Showdown judge and mentor Lynn Crawford are so easy to make and, when plated together, make for a lovely spread of hors d’oeuvres. Featuring classic deviled eggs, lightly crusted tempura cauliflower and ricotta-stuffed figs drizzled with honey, this picturesque and crowd-pleasing grazing platter tastes as good as it looks.

Easy Five-Ingredient Deviled Eggs

Total time: 20 minutes
Yields: 12 devilled eggs

Seven deviled eggs on a wooden platter

Ingredients:

6 eggs, hard boiled and peeled
⅓ cup mayonnaise
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp salmon roe
1 Tbsp minced chives

Directions

1.  First, cut the hard boiled eggs in half. Remove yolks and transfer to a small bowl.

2.  Pass the yolks through a fine mesh sieve or mash well with a fork.

3.  Add mayonnaise and Dijon and stir until creamy. Season with salt and pepper.

4.  Spoon or pipe filling into egg halves evenly and then top evenly with roe and chives. Serve immediately.

Related: Lynn Crawford’s Bacon and Egg Ramen

Better-Than-Takeout  Cauliflower Tempura With Quick and Easy Buttermilk Ranch

Total time: 30 minutes
Yields: 6 servings

Three plates of cauliflower tempura and buttermilk ranch

Ingredients:

Cauliflower Tempura
1 small head cauliflower, cup into medium florets, about 4 cups
1 cup flour, divided
3 egg yolks
1 cup cold club soda
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp salt
Oil for frying

Buttermilk Ranch
Sour Cream
Mayo
Fresh Herbs (Parsley, Dill, Chives)
Buttermilk

Related: BBQ Halibut Collar & Tempura Spot Prawn Salad

Directions:

1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a cooling rack and toss cauliflower with ¼ cup flour in a large bowl.

2. Then, whisk together egg yolks and water in a large bowl until foamy. Add remaining flour, cornstarch and salt. Mix until smooth.

3. Heat oil in a deep fryer or heavy-bottomed saucepan to 325°F.

4. Toss cauliflower and flour in the batter. Add in batches to oil and fry for 3 minutes. Transfer to prepared sheet, sprinkle with more salt and cool slightly before serving.

5. Serve with buttermilk ranch (recipe below) or your dipping sauce of choice.

6. For buttermilk ranch, in a small bowl stir sour cream and a little mayo with  fresh herbs such as parsley, dill, and chive. Add buttermilk until desired consistency and salt and pepper. Optional: Add a few dashes of your favourite hot sauce.

Ricotta-Stuffed Figs Drizzled With Honey

Total time: 20 minutes
Yields: 12 stuffed figs

Six figs topped with ricotta and drizzled with honey on a plate

Ingredients:

12 figs
¾ cup ricotta cheese
1 Tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup chopped pistachios
2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp lemon zest

Directions:

1. Prepare the figs by cutting 1/2-inch off the steams. Them, score the top of each fig with an “X” about 1/2-inch  deep.

2. Gently separate the cuts and set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, stir cheese with lemon juice. Place the sauce into a small piping bag or sandwich bag.

4. Cut the tip and pipe the cheese mixture into each fig and sprinkle with the crushed pistachios.

5. Stir honey with the lemon zest. Drizzle over the figs before serving.

Related: 3 Classic Sauces From Lynn Crawford That Will Be Instant Staples (Plus Recipes!)

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Eden Grinshpan’s Baba Ghanoush With Za’atar, Pomegranate and Mint Will Be Your New Favourite Dip

What makes this an essential is the eggplant technique, which is so simple but blows your mind at the same time. I learned about charring eggplants whole when I was twenty-one years old and working in a restaurant in Tel Aviv. They’d score an eggplant, throw the entire thing on the grill, and then let the fire do all the work. The skin gets completely charred while the heat steams the flesh until it is smoky, tender, and juicy. That becomes the foundation of baba ghanoush, a smoky, velvety dip that’s an essential in its own right.

Baba Ghanoush with Za’atar, Pomegranate, and Mint

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20-35 minutes
Total Time: 30-45 minutes
Servings: 4 cups

Ingredients:

3 medium eggplants
½ cup tahini paste
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, grated
1½ tsp kosher salt
Za’atar, for serving
Extra-virgin olive oil, for serving
Pomegranate molasses, for serving
Fresh mint leaves, for serving
Pomegranate seeds, for serving (if in season)

1. With the tip of a knife, pierce each eggplant in two places—doesn’t need to be perfect or in the same place every time; this is just so the eggplant doesn’t explode on you (it’s happened to me, and it’s not pretty).

2. Pick a cooking method for the eggplant: grill, broiler, or stovetop burners. The bottom line is that you want this eggplant to be almost unrecognizable. It’s going todeflate and the skin will get white in some places, but that just means the fire is working its magic on that eggplant.

OPTION 1: Grill Preheat the grill until hot. Add the eggplants and let the fire do its thing, making sure to keep turning the eggplants so they char all over. You want them to get black in some places, 20 to 30 minutes total.

OPTION 2: Broil  Preheat the broiler. Put the eggplants in a broilerproof roasting pan and place the pan as close to the heating element as possible. (You may have to adjust your oven rack to accommodate the size of the eggplants and the depth of the pan.) Broil until they are evenly charred all over, 30 to 35 minutes, checking and turning the eggplants periodically. You want the eggplants to keep their shape but get really charred and wilted.

OPTION 3: Stovetop Gas Burners Line your stovetop around your burners with foil. Working with one at a time, place the eggplant over a medium flame and let it char, making sure to turn it every 5 minutes. Continue cooking until it is deflated and black all over, 20 to 30 minutes.

3. Transfer the cooked eggplants to a colander in the sink and let the juices run. (The juices can make the dish taste bitter.) Once the eggplants are cool enough to handle, remove the stem and all of the skin.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggplant flesh with the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and salt.

5. To serve, first make a za’atar oil by mixing together 1 tablespoon of za’atar with 1½ tablespoons of olive oil for every 2 cups of baba ghanoush.

6. For each serving, use a spoon to spread about 1 cup of the baba ghanoush over a platter or in the bottom of a bowl. Drizzle over 1 to 2 teaspoons of the pomegranate molasses (go easy—it’s very tart and sweet), followed by the za’atar–olive oil mixture. Finish with a sprinkling of small mint leaves (or large leaves, torn) and a small handful of pomegranate seeds (if using).

Excerpted from Eating Out Loud by Eden Grinshpan. Copyright © 2020 by Eden Grinshpan. Photography by Aubrie Pick. Published in the United States by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

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