Best of Baking

IMG_0803The holiday break has afforded many opportunities to rev up the new Kitchenaid mixer. I look at it daily and think “what can we make today?” And then I tell my mixer that treats cannot be an everyday occurrence. Although they should be.

For a New Year’s get together I jumped on the chance to bring dessert so that I would have an excuse to make a chocolate cake. I made my favourite Nigella version, posted here. It was more-ish as always and was promptly demolished, as chocolate cakes should be. You should make it. And fill your face with it-but don’t blame me for your derailed resolutions. Blame Nigella.IMG_0793

If you want something a little lighter and less guilt-inducing, I made holiday gingerbread in December and didn’t get around to posting it. I shared the cookies around at a few holiday shindigs and people are still talking to me about it. It’s just a McCormick recipe, but I think the magic is in the technique. Roll the dough as thin as you can and bake them until firm, and you’ll end up with light, crispy, refreshing ginger bombs. They are so good and so delightfully spiced that I am thinking about making another batch just to have for after-dinner treats. They keep really well in the freezer, just waiting for when you need a ginger pick-me-up. You can also tell yourself that ginger is good for digestion and therefore this cookie is good for you. Plus they have molasses and that’s better than white sugar, right?Blueberry Muffins

So finally, in a moment of holiday boredom, I whipped up some blueberry muffins to pass the time. I used my favourite recipe from Smitten Kitchen (see my previous post here) and they were perfect to have on hand for post-Christmas snacking and lounging about.

So here are 3 ideas for homemade treats to start 2013 with a bang and give the finger to any thoughts of healthier living and self-denial. Plus, some self-righteous food guy once said (something to the effect of) “it’s ok to eat treats as long as you make them yourself.” And that’s the mantra I live by. Although it’s also ok in my books if Pan Chancho or Bread & Butter Bakery make them too.

Happy Days are Here Again

A favourite childhood treat.

After a 2 month blogging hiatus, I am back! May and June hit me with a double take out- my food allergy diagnoses, and a work overload. I was so busy, I didn’t really have the energy to try out new allergy free treats and report back.

But 3 weeks off in Calgary, complete with trips to the mountains, the Stampede, and plenty of time with lovely family and friends, have left me refreshed. And with a suitcase weighed down by my favourite wines! The selection out here is so much better than the LCBO, I can’t help myself when I enter a wine store. I also found a vegan baking cookbook recently, and will have lots of new things to test out in the kitchen.

However, that will have to wait until I return home next week. Until then, I will share a very exciting recent discovery: the fact that Dutch honey cake does not typically contain eggs or dairy! My mom is Dutch, and I have always enjoyed typical comfort foods like honey cake, speculaas (spice cookies), meat croquettes and red cabbage. Today we saw a sign in the neighbourhood that advertised “dutch treats,” so of course we had a check out this new store. I gravitated toward the honey cake section, as that is my absolute favourite, especially the kind with candy on top, and was delighted to discover that Hille brand is largely allergy free, and is even made of rye flour. That’s good for you, right? We’ll just overlook the fact that sugar is the first ingredient.

I’m off to cut a few slices and savour them with a cup of tea….with the aid of a tea towel with windmills on it, naturally.