Archive for the ‘Baking’ Category

Sugar Cookies

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

2010 is fast approaching, but I’m not talking about the upcoming New Year, although, yikes, that’s coming up fast too! I’m talking about the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games. Or maybe I should refer to them as the Cool Sporting Event That Takes Place in British Columbia Between 2009 and 2011.

Had some fun last night decorating some sugar cookies that are non-offensive to VANOC (I hope!) and definitely GO CANADA!

canada sugar cookies

I love sugar cookies. They’re sturdy, decoratable, and most of all delicious! Not too sweet, with crisp edges and a soft chew, they are the perfect canvas for all of your cookie decorating desires. Personally, my go-to is Martha’s recipe, but if you do a quick search on google, you’ll find lots of recipes to choose from.

Some quick tips:

  • Don’t work the dough too much, it’ll make your cookies tough
  • Roll out your dough 1/4 of an inch if you like your cookies a bit chewy, 1/8 if you prefer them crisp
  • Leave the dough in the fridge if you’re not working with it; warm dough will spread in the oven when you bake it and your cookies will lose their shape
  • Keep an eye on your oven! Cookies bake (and brown!) quickly

Chateau Blanc exclusively for Starbucks

Monday, December 21st, 2009

starbucks macaron

I made a trip down to the States the other day and couldn’t resist picking up a package of the Chateau Blanc French style “macaroons” from Starbucks. A package of 12 cost $9.95, which may seem a bit steep, but is actually a really good deal. In France, macaron from Pierre Herme and Laduree go for about 2 euro each. In comparison, the Starbucks macaron are a steal!

starbucks macaron 2

The macaron came in six classic flavours: coffee, pistachio, raspberry, chocolate, vanilla and lemon. The lemon was definitely my favourite, texture-wise. A crisp delicate shell gave way to a delightfully soft yielding inside. Other than the lemon, the texture of the other flavours were a bit more chewy than Parisian macaron. I’ve never heard of Chateau Blanc; in the macaron world, most purists champion Laduree and everyone else worships Pierre Herme.

Macaron are notoriously tricky to make and they lose their freshness quickly, so I’m not surprised that the Starbucks offering is nowhere near as delicious as Parisian macaron. That being said, they certainly are better than the macaron that are sold in Vancouver.


Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

proofing croissants

Croissants, those butter, flaky, crescent shaped pastries of deliciousness! Croissants are part puff pastry (layers and layers of butter) and part bread (yeast-rising).


Croissants are time consuming, yes, but oh so worth the 13+ hours you put into them.

Mint Mint Brownies

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

mint mint brownies

As I do every Christmas season, I made mint mint brownies today! Mint brownies are perfect during the holiday season. Creamy, minty buttercream is sandwiched between a fudgey, moist brownie layer and a ganache topping.

Brownies are one of those quintessential desserts that most kids grew up with. Did you know back when they were first introduced at the Chicago world’s fair, brownies didn’t contain chocolate? Fannie Farmer’s 1896 recipe only called for butter, sugar, molasses, eggs, flour, and pecans. Personally, I couldn’t live without chocolate in my brownies.

The ratio of chocolate to flour in these brownies is about 3:2. Its how brownies get their distinctive colour and their name. Most people use baking chocolate or Dutch process cocoa. My brownies get a little extra minty deliciousness with a layer of mint butter cream between the ganache and the brownie for a refreshing break! Yum!