“Esquimaux Pops” and Why Easier Sometimes Wins Out Over Fancier

slightly melty but oh so yummy

Slightly melty but oh so yummy! If you look closely at the photo, you’ll realize that I tasted the ice cream pops before I took the photo. Hey, quality control, right?

It’s been swelteringly hot here in Toronto this past week, with the humidex hovering in the low 40’s. This is just not my jam. I go from air-conditioned home to air-conditioned work and back again, and still it’s too hot for me. Which is why when I realized that my bake-a-long group was making “Equimaux Pops” this week (from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking Chez Moi cookbook), I was ALLLLLL over that!

I researched popsicle molds online and found some gorgeous ones, but in the end I settled for expediency and just bought one from the dollar store. I do not recommend this, as after this recipe, the mold is going straight into my garage sale/donation pile. Sometimes it’s worth it to invest in a nice piece of equipment. But I couldn’t justify the expense to myself for just one recipe, so a plastic dollar store mold had to suffice!

These popsicles are basically ice cream on a stick, but a grown-up version, tasting like alcohol and studded with chunks of chocolate. I was tempted to do as Dorie suggests and dunk them in a coating of hard crack chocolate (i.e. “magic shell”), as it would have made it so much yummier, but really, do you think I had the patience for that? Ha!

We interrupt this blog post for a Very Important Kitchen Hack: mix coconut oil and chocolate chips together, 2/3 unit coconut oil for every 1 unit chocolate chips, and you’ll have made yourself some chocolate shell! Bam, done!

Mixing up the yumminess!

Mixing up the yumminess!

The ice cream itself is made using raw eggs, so Dorie stresses that they have to be very fresh. Personally, I’m not too concerned with salmonella, as I’ve never seen someone get it in my lifetime, but I suspect a lot of people will be turned off this recipe simply because of the raw egg. The eggs are separated and the egg white whipped, while the egg yolk is mixed with sugar and other delicious things. Then they’re all mixed together with some whipped cream, and the chocolate chunks (I used mini chocolate chips) are folded in.

Freeze, release them from the molds, and enjoy!

We interrupt this blog post again for a Very Important Kitchen Instruction: to release popsicles from molds, run hot water over the mold or sink the mold into a bowl of hot water, until the popsicles can be pulled out. No wrestling with unwieldly molds, yay!

These ice cream pops are definitely a grown-up treat, as the alcohol flavour comes through splendidly (I used rum, and oh yeah, baby! is all I can say). Would I made this again? Probably not, just because they’re a bit of a pain to mix together and I think it’s much easier just to make ice cream using my standard whipping cream, rum, and condensed milk recipe.

That said, they did cool me off considerably when I ate them post-work for several evenings! Should I call it dessert or should I call it dinner? Eh, potato, potahto!

Next Post: Skor Mini Cupcakes? Bite-sized cupcakes of Skor delight! Probably. Unless something else delicious catches my eye.

Linking Up at Southern Plate, Stone Gable, and A Proverbs 31 Wife.

Memories of Meals Past…and Future, Because this Sandwich Bread Recipe is Just That Good!

Freshly baked homemade bread, all sliced and ready to be devoured!

Freshly baked homemade bread, all sliced and ready to be devoured!

A few weeks ago, I came across a recipe for a sandwich bread (Amish Sweet Bread) which the writer said sliced easily. I had yet to find the perfect homemade bread recipe (although I have figured out the perfect dinner roll) so I thought I’d try it out. It does make a sweeter bread, but you can adjust the sugar to your taste. Personally, I love it with all the sugar in it, but I do admit to having a serious sweet tooth.

This bread? So. Good. Ohmigosh, soooo good! I’ve made at least six loaves since I first came across the recipe. Each batch makes two loaves, which is perfect for me; I can eat one over the next few days while it’s fresh, and slice and freeze the second one so I can eat extra yummy homemade toast at midnight. It’s a total midnight snacking win!

This bread slices so easily, and is great for sandwiches. I’ve made cheese sandwiches with it and they really make lunchtime that much better! I’ve also taken the bread camping and made grilled cheese sandwiches. My sister was with me and the bread was so good that she didn’t even wait for the sandwich to be grilled — she just ate it un-grilled! And then wished I had brought more so that she could have another sandwich, but this time grilled. So yes, it’s good bread!

Lately, I’ve been eating this bread with homemade jam too. I came across a really easy Vanilla Apricot Jam recipe that doesn’t even require pectin. The ingredients? Apricots, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. If you’ve never made jam before, try this one and you’ll be a home-canning convert! It’s easy, and most importantly, it’s DELICIOUS!

But back to the bread. In my next batch, I’m going to replace some of the water with some whey leftover from my latest batch of homemade yoghurt. Whey is high in protein and other nutrients, and hey, waste not, want not! (Also, healthy, and I’m all for that.)

In closing, make this bread! Seriously. That is all!

Next Post: Should I post about my Skor Mini Cupcakes? Or a Blueberry Cream Cheese Tart? Mmm…delicious choices!

Linking Up at: Stone Gables, Amaze Me MondaysA Proverbs 31 Wife, Inspire Me Mondays, and Southern Plate.

Foodie Trends: Hemp Seed Antioxidant Smoothie Bowl

The ying and yang of life, all in a smoothie bowl.

The ying and yang of life, all in a smoothie bowl.

I present: the Hemp-Seed & Kale Antioxidant Smoothie Bowl! It’s super-yum, super-easy, and so on trend that it’s practically on fleek.

I don’t have a crystal ball (or a crystal mixing bowl, for that matter) but I do read a lot of food blogs. Between the food blogs and Pinterest, you can totally see trends emerging, with pumpkin-spice-everything being the most obvious one. I’ve made a point to follow (almost exclusively) food bloggers on social media and it’s an education in itself to see how trends evolve and take off.

So I thought I’d try something different today, and talk about some of the trends I see developing on the foodie blog scene. And then try to develop my own trendy recipe, just ’cause I wanna go viral like that. (Referencing this post in which I talk about my plans for foodie world domination. Because why not?)

FOODIE TRENDS, according to moi:

  1. Cram-It-All-In Recipes — Take all the key words (gluten-free, low-carb) and/or mash-up a couple of types of recipes (brownie, cake, cookie), and voila! You’ve got a recipe that’s a) original and b) hopefully will go viral. Case in point, the Pumpkin Fudge Brookie.
  2. Dessert for Breakfast — As I’ve previously written, I have insomnia and as such am not a morning person. A dessert person, on the other hand, I most definitely am! If you’re like me, when you have no time to prepare breakfast, just make one of this year’s popular breakfast desserts and pop them in the fridge.
  3. Candy-Store-on-Top Cakes — You have your cake, and then you add slabs of chocolate, lollipops, macaroons, candy floss, basically everything you can find in a candy store and stack that baby up. It’s a one way street to a diabetic coma, but oh, what a way to go! Another variation of this is the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink milkshakes. You know, the ones that have a donut, a slice of pie, whipped cream, chocolate AND caramel sauce, and perhaps a few chocolate bars, all balancing on a tall, frosty milkshake? Not familiar with the concept? Check this out.
  4. Smoothie Bowls — Take a smoothie, pour it in a bowl, sprinkle some toppings over it all, and call it a smoothie bowl. Add in a few trendy words to get the clicks.

Which brings me to my latest easy-peasy recipe! Smoothie bowls are one of the next big things, and I do love my kale smoothies, so I thought I’d see what sort of a delicious mash-up I could make.

Hemp Seed & Kale Antioxidant Smoothie Bowl

Terri’s smoothie from this buzzfeed article is my absolute favourite, so I adapted it for this recipe.

Smoothie Base:

  • 1 small banana, frozen
  • 1 cup kale, frozen
  • 1/2 ripe pear, frozen
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 tbsp. peanut butter
  • 1 tsp. dehydrated broccoli powder (greens powder from a bulk food store works too)
  • 1 tsp. goji berry powder (optional, but ups the antioxidant factor)

Topping

  • 1/4 c. hemp seeds
  • 1/2 c. blueberries

Blend all ingredients for the smoothie together. Pour into a bowl. Sprinkle toppings over the smoothie.

Yup, it’s that easy! And it’s surprisingly delicious! The protein keeps you full until your next meal, the goji berries and blueberries are full of antioxidants, you’ve got your veggies in the form of kale and broccoli, and healthy fats via the hemp seeds. And did I say it’s delicious? It’s basically like…dessert for breakfast! (See what I did there? Foodie trendz for the win! *high fives self*)

Honestly, this smoothie bowl is much more delicious than it sounds.  Try it out, switch up the toppings, and come up with your own trendy version! And then post your version in the comments. Maybe it’ll go viral!

Next Post: The Sandwich Bread post, probably. Because I’ve already made the recipe twice and there are two more loaves in the oven right now!

Blueberries Gone Bonkers: A Galette Story

Pie, why are you not in my mouth already?

Pie, why are you not in my mouth already?

This week my bake-a-long group is making Dorie Greenspan’s Summer-Market Galette, from her Baking Chez Moi cookbook. What’s a galette? It’s basically a free-form pie.

How to make a galette:

  1. Take a pie crust (I suggest my recipe, ‘natch!), place it on a cookie tray, rolled out into a rough circle.
  2.  Sprinkle a little flour on the pie crust, except for a few inches around the edge.
  3.  Dump your filling on it, mounding it in the centre.
  4.  Fold the edges over.
  5.  Stick in the oven and bake in a hot oven until crust is golden brown and filling is forkable (it’s a word, really! Says I.)
  6.  Let cool (just enough so you won’t burn your tongue).
  7.  Eat!
  8.  Repeat steps six and seven as necessary. This step is pretty obvious, amirite?

In other words, it’s pretty darn easy!

Put down your camera and eat me #whathepiesaid

Put down your camera and eat me #whathepiesaid

Dorie’s recipe takes the basic galette recipe and makes it a bit more upmarket, of course. She gives the recipe for a galette crust that is flaky and browns wonderfully (I still prefer my vodka crust to be honest, but Dorie’s galette dough does hold its shape wonderfully, I have to say), and suggests using crumbled butter cookies (les petits beurres) or crumbled leftover brioche instead of flour to soak up the juices (personally, I don’t have leftover brioche lying around. And if I did, I wouldn’t be wasting it on the bottom of a pie crust. Just saying.). Her recipe calls for summer fruits, such as nectarines, plums, blueberries, and pluots (ever had one? I haven’t, but I’d love to! The love child of a plum and an apricot has got to be delicious, don’t you think?), all seasoned with lime zest and finely chopped ginger. The final touch is a sprinkle of decorative sugar all around the edge of the galette, complemented by an apple jelly glaze. These changes definitely makes the humble country galette a tad more upscale, wouldn’t you say?

And speaking of changes, I wouldn’t be the Queen of Substitutions if I didn’t make some changes to the recipe myself. I decided to use only blueberries. Why? Because blueberries were on sale this week ($2/lb, which is pretty darn cheap for Toronto) and the DH bought 14 lbs. Oh yeah! I’ve made blueberry muffins, dried blueberries, blueberry jam, added blueberries to my homemade yoghurt (recipe to come in a future post!), and ate bowls and bowls of blueberries as a snack. And there are still blueberries. So, a blueberry galette it was!

Other changes? I roughly estimated the ginger, zesting it from some frozen ginger I had in the freezer instead of finely chopping some fresh ginger. The lime zest I replaced with clementine zest simply because that was the only citrus in the house. For the decorative sugar, I used the pearl sugar I bought for another bake-a-long recipe, and it definitely added a nice touch.

Dear reader...I ate him.

Dear reader…I ate him.

And the result? Gorgeous! Also tasty, which is the whole point. (Pretty is as pretty does, but tasty is where it’s at, yo’!) I’d recommend the recipe! I’m sure it’s extra good when one follows the mixed-fruit recipe in Dorie’s cookbook. I can’t wait to see what everyone else in my bake-a-long thought!

Linking up at Southern Bite.

Next Post: The Ultimate Sandwich Bread? Grow-Your-Own Sprouts? Easy as 1-2-3 Homemade Yoghurt? Skor Mini Cupcakes? Oh, the delicious dilemma, I tell you what!

Look, ma! I’m fancy! Or at least my Meringues are.

Oh, sweet pile of sugar!

Oh, sweet pile of sugar!

In the baking world, as with most things in life, there are trends. The latest baking trend is fancy-pants meringues! Seriously fancy-pants, like plaid or Moroccan or cartoon hearts fancy-pants. Ok, so maybe cartoon hearts aren’t that fancy, but I think some of the designs are really…groovy! (I couldn’t resist. And here’s a meme just because that’s what’s going on in my brain right now. You’re welcome.)

groovy baby

What are they really? They’re edible transferable images for meringues.

How to use them?

  • You place the pretty coloured sheets on a baking tray
  • pipe the meringues onto the sheets
  • bake as usual
  • and then peel the meringues of the sheets.

And voila, your meringues are extra-fancy! It really is that easy.

I saw these debuting on some blogs last year and bought some for myself as soon as I could. The company I bought them from is overseas (this one), but I just found out that there is a Canadian one now (this one), so I plan to order from there next time.

Baaaby meringues! (sung to the tune of 'Baby Beluga', because I'm cool like that.)

Baaaaby meringues! (sung to the tune of ‘Baby Beluga’, because I’m cool like that.)

I think these are an easy way to make an event a bit fancy, say for a baby shower or a wedding dessert table, or just a holiday gathering. The meringues look extra pretty and hey, it’s a conversation piece too!

Would I buy some more? Probably, just because it’s fun and adds a nice touch. There isn’t any taste or change in texture, although the DH wasn’t particularly fond of them (he prefers my usual meringue recipe, instead of the one I used this time).

Do you have a favourite meringue recipe? Would you use these sugar sheets for your meringues? Let me know in the comments!

Next Post: Maybe about the AH-MAZE-ING bread recipe that I came across recently and made several times already, maybe about the myriad of canning that I did this week, maybe something else entirely. So many delicious things to write about!  

Linking to: Think Tank Thursday, Meal Plan Monday, Living Proverbs.