Saturday, August 13, 2022

Pink Frosted Chocolate Doughnuts

When you have your 2 four-year-old nieces over and a free afternoon, it's time to make the doughnuts! These are eggless chocolate cake doughnuts moistened with yogurt and given a classic flavour with a bit of Selefina Spices nutmeg. 


First off, I'll admit I'm working a bit backwards with these "baking with my niece" posts - for the last month of Summer break, I've made one day a week baking day with her both to keep her busy and to teach her a few life skills (and to give my mom a bit of reprieve!). If you follow me on IG (and if not, you should!), you'll have seen some of our past projects, and I will be sure to share those too! But upon her request, the doughnuts are going first.

These are a pretty straightforward baked cake doughnut, with a touch of yogurt to keep it moist and just a hint of nutmeg for that doughnut flavour - that addition amazed the littles, and they had a blast looking at the whole nutmeg Selefina Spices had sent me. Being so simple, the recipe allows lots of opportunity for learning - aside from melting the butter and measuring the yogurt and milk, everything else was measured and mixed by my team of two sous chefs. The girls were also the lead decorators, picking the colour of the icing and deciding on the sprinkle selection, dipping the doughnuts and finally, showing them off to the other adults. I dare say they were on par with some of my old grade 7 and 8 kids!

Friday, August 12, 2022

Blueberry Pecan Bread

You can never have too many pecans (well, if you're a pecan lover like my mom!), and combined with this multigrain dough made with blueberry jam and a hint of orange blossom water every slice feels luxurious.

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With a week to go until she left on vacation, my mom and I decided to do a complete clean out of our fridge and freezers - yes, we have three freezers, which sounds great until the documentation of where things are starts to falter and more and more items get shoved to the back! In my rummaging, I came across a bag full of different nuts and seeds that I had put there for safekeeping and forgot about! 

Since I knew I had the end of a Costco-sized jar of blueberry jam to use up, I decided to try and combine the two into a slightly sweet whole grain loaf - just one, mind you, since otherwise we wind up with storage issues of the bread persuasion, and mom could bring the remainder of the single loaf on her road trip. Buffed by Naked Shake for protein and a hint of sweetness, and packed with whole grains for even more texture and fibre, the resulting loaf is perfect for when you need to keep full for a while and much better tasting than the average gas station fare!

This loaf inspired a few others in it's wake, so stay tuned to see the twists I put on this one and let me know what you would add to your perfect loaf: cherry jam and almonds? Grape jam and peanuts? Or maybe skip the nuts altogether and add your favourite fruit!

Monday, July 11, 2022

Chocolate Cold Brew using @lardera_coffee

I "discovered" cold brew coffee a few weeks ago, but it was a hassle to make at home with what I had. Enter Lardera Coffee Roasters and their cold brew pitcher. Simply put your preferred coffee grounds into the stainless steel filter core and fill with cold water (more instructions will be on my blog post - don't worry!) and let steep overnight. The result is smooth and delicious straight (if, like me you like black coffee) or jazzed up like in my Chocolate Cold Brew.

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Like most trends, I'm really late to the party when it comes to cold brew coffee. I'm a hot coffee drinker through and through - and since I drink it black, I'm picky about what I have in my cup. The idea of chilled coffee always felt a bit weird too - I associated cold coffee with when I was teaching and my neglected cup sat ignored on my desk for far too long. 

That changed this summer, when we got a heatwave that gripped us in 40°C (104°F) days and rendered the thought of eating or drinking anything hot impossible. I had seen the ads for Starbucks' cold brew drinks and it inspired me to try making my own cold brew at home, where I could control the ingredients and make a large cup without shelling out $10. My original method of soaking ground beans in water (in my trusty litre Mason jars) then straining it through a filter worked, but was messy and a bit of a pain to babysit. 

When Lardera Coffee (sister company to Adagio Teas and Selefina Spices) approached me with a new cold-brew pitcher, I was immediately sold for a few reasons:

1. Capacity: the pitcher is 44 fl oz, which is perfect for me to sip through on a Saturday (yes, I am a caffeine addict) or to make more moderate sized drinks for a group

2. Material: the pitcher is glass, with a silicone band for grip. The glass keeps the taste of the coffee pure, which I appreciate (and yes, this means the better coffee you buy, the better it will taste). The glass look is also gorgeous to serve from, and the pitcher has a lid that fits snugly on the infuser insert or loosely on the pitcher so it keeps your coffee clean.

3. Cost and convenience: I don't need to tell you that making coffee of any kind at home is going to be cheaper than going to your local coffee shop. The cold-brew pitcher here is only $24USD. Even with buying better beans, you get a lot more bang for your buck this route, and if you're like me, you want to enjoy coffee in your PJs, not schlepping out to the cafe.

My only critique of the pitcher has to do with an absolute lack of instructions. Not having really made cold brew before, I had to look up coffee:water ratios on another website before beginning since there are no guides in or on the box. I found the best flavour (for me) with 105g of ground coffee to the 44 fl.oz of water.

Lardera also offers a bunch of coffee varieties on their website, including samples for those who aren't quite sure what they're after in the flavour department. I sampled both Kenya Washed and Catuai Honey as cold brews, and I prefer Catuai Honey as a straight "pick me up" cup with a bit of ice while the Kenya Washed is perfect for more dessert-y drinks like the recipe below.

If you've never tried cold brew before, I definitely suggest making it at home and playing with it until you find what you like. This summer is going to be a long one, and its a great way to keep cool. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Two Bite Confetti Cake Cookies

Two bite cookies are the perfect snack, and when they taste like confetti cake *and* have added protein and fibre in them, there is no excuse not to indulge!

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It's definitely a month of celebrations around here - the end of school for the littles at home, graduation for my past class of grade 8's, Pride month and the end of exams hearkening the halfway point of my last term of college. I always love to bring some dessert to the celebration atmosphere, and cookies win out due to their portability and never-ending variability.

Given that we're still pretty busy these days, I wanted to put together a batch of cookies that were a bit more power-packed than usual, while still keeping the taste of dessert. When I saw this recipe I was sold - confetti cake in cookie form, with a protein boost? Heck yes. I made these cookies vegan and gluten free to serve the allergic amongst me, and the combination of Naked Shake's vanilla flavour and Naked Rice protein powder worked perfectly - slightly sweet, very vanilla-y with no grit. Sprinkles were added with abandon, because you can never have enough sprinkles!

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Condensed Milk Bread

Have a can of sweetened condensed milk about the house? Why not use it for something new - like two (or three) loaves of super soft whole wheat bread? I added a bit of extra flavour and protein with @nakednutrition Vanilla Naked Shake, and as you can see the resulting loaf (in admittedly a too small pan) had higher aspirations than I did in college 🤣

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I take a distinct pleasure in bread-baking day, especially since it gives me something to do between countless assignments and quizzes for school, or watching lectures. Periodically getting up to check on proofing, knock down and shape dough, or checking on it through the oven window is the perfect quick diversions of my attention that break up the monotony of the day. 

Today's loaf was surprisingly simple, yet such a performer! I had a can of condensed milk in the pantry with no plans to use it, so I searched a bit to see if I could incorporate it successfully in a loaf. RasaMalaysia gave me a great base recipe, which I tweaked a bit to double and make mostly whole wheat as well as add a hit of protein from my favourite Naked Shake. After the first rise, it shaped easily and I popped it into two loaf pans, hoping for the best since I only had one 9x5, the other one being an 8x4. Guys - spring for another 9x5, unless you're after the mushroom of a loaf I have here (or use three 8x4 pans)! That said, it may have looked a bit wonky but the crumb was velvety soft and the flavour was the perfect balance of sweet and wholesome. Toast it for a bit of heft before layering on jam or eat it straight with super soft butter - the choice is yours!