Sunday, March 31, 2013

Key Lime Truffles for a Citrusy #SundaySupper

Out of all the fruit types in the world, I think I consume the most citrus. Granted, I love my Asian pears in the winter and my Ontario-grown apples in the fall, and if offered an in-season strawberry shortcake or cherry pie I'm certainly not going to turn it down! But generally for me, you'll find lemons and limes (as well as their juice components) in my grocery cart most weeks, since I add it to herbal tea, water, jam, salad, soup and baked treats as much as I can. My mom, though she doesn't mind the occasional orange or lemon treat, definitely has a favourite flavour in the citrus world: the key lime. Actually (unless Blogger is lying to me), the last limey treat I baked was an homage to her favourite Summer dessert - Key Lime Pie.
Key Lime Truffles
With the popularity of "cake" and "cookie" ball confections (and my experience making a bunch of recipes from Cake Balls: More Than 60 Delectable and Whimsical Sweet Spheres of Goodness back in December), it's no wonder that when I saw these cookies on Tales of an Overtime Cook turning the baked goody into an eggless, extra tangy "truffle" popped into my head immediately! Amusingly, very little of the original cookie recipe translated into the dark chocolate balls you see here. For one, they're covered in dark, luscious chocolate, and they aren't baked. Then of course, there are the facts that they're eggless, have almost no flour, a lot less sugar and have a mixed base of butter and cream cheese! The finished (uncoated) truffle centres keep almost forever in the freezer, and I just pull out a few of these and dunk them in chocolate whenever I need a quick gift or party tray item. That said - it's worth making a double (or triple) batch!

This week the fabulous #SundaySupper team is sharing any and all things citrus!

Better with Citrus Breakfasts:

Big On Citrus Breads & Condiments:

Make You Pucker Salads, Sides, & Main Dishes:

Sour Citrusy Sweets & Desserts:

Sour Sips & Drinks:

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter tonight (Sunday, March 31st) to talk all about citrus recipes! Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm EST. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more delicious recipes and food photos.

What's your favourite citrus food or recipe?

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Black Jack Cocoa Cupcakes

Blackjack CupcakesI'm a dark, bitter, strong and simple girl... at least when it comes to chocolate. In fact, I like my chocolate with characteristics almost directly opposite to mine! I'd most definitely take a square of high quality, bittersweet chocolate (like my favourite Amedei "Bar 9") over anything laced with fruit, nuts, caramel or "bits". Likewise, when it comes to chocolate desserts, I'll go for the plain chocolate cheesecake, molten lava cake or fudge brownie before the meringues, creme brulees and mousse fabrications.

Chocolate cupcakes are no different - by far, the best ones I remember having were made with the oh-so-easy Black Magic batter, which baked up moist, rich and pure. When it came around to making a batch of treats for one of my relatives' birthday parties, I immediately turned to that recipe for inspiration knowing that the vanilla side of things was already being taken care of (sadly, by a box mix... sigh!). Because it was, after all, a birthday, I tweaked the recipe just enough to bump up the "wow" factor and really let the rich chocolate shine. A touch of dark brown sugar and barley flour added depth, melted butter added a great "luxury" mouthfeel, and the merest hint of heat from black and ancho peppers broke up any possibility of cavity-inducing sugary taste. While they were perfect to look at (and eat) naked out of the oven, a dainty swirl of rich chocolate fudge frosting and a few silver baubles took them up to casino-party worthy status. Their name came from the fact that I got precisely 21 of these cakes from the batch, and with their elegant look and coffee content you can keep them passing around your next card-shark event until well into the wee hours of the morning!
Blackjack Cupcakes

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sugar Free Coconut Candies

With Easter just a few short days away, teachers and parents alike are bracing themselves for the inevitable sugar rush little Peter Rabbit and his friends will be giving to the kids (obviously the Easter Bunny never had children!). I have nothing against having a treat or two for a special occasion, but seeing the size of some of the baskets, boxes and bags of candy out there I can only imagine what the situation is going to be like at school come Tuesday!

Sugar Free Coconut CandiesI figured that if kids are going to be eating candy anyways, the best I could do was give them a slightly less sugary version that they would still enjoy, but wouldn't cause them to fly away after eating. I picked the relatively seasonal coconut as a base and bumped up the flavour by using both a rich, virgin coconut oil and organic shredded coconut for the "body" of the candy. Of course, since I was billing these balls as candy, I needed to sweeten them somehow, and I didn't want to add a bucket of sugar, corn syrup or honey to do so. On a whim a while back, I had picked up some xylitol to play with and figured I could try combining that with some stevia and see what happened.

I was extremely pleased with the result! While the candy is sweet, it is not cloyingly so, allowing the nuttiness and fruity flavours of the coconut to shine through. I even made my own sugar free chocolate coating by melting a few squares of unsweetened chocolate and mixing it with the same combination of xylitol and stevia. I left mine blissfully dark, but if you like milky chocolate, a dash of full fat coconut milk would do the trick and taste fabulous!

Shared with Wellness Weekends and Foodie Friday.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Super Safe Carrot Cake (Gluten, Corn, Soy and Nut Free, Vegan)

One of the quintessential spring desserts seems to be carrot cake. Now, I'm no stranger to carrot cake - it's definitely in my top 3 favourite (non-cheesecake) cakes of all time. I also love that it's not cloyingly sweet (at least when it's homemade by me!) and is almost infinitely variable in the things you can include or not depending on your taste. I wanted to give all the girls at my hair salon a treat they could enjoy for the Easter season, and since many of them are vegan, some of them are allergic to nuts or corn and still others are gluten free it looked like I had my work cut out for me.

GF Vegan Carrot Loaf CakeThen I checked out The Gluten Free Vegan from the library and spotted this gem. I adapted it to suit my needs and pantry, but it remains a "safe" dessert to serve (or eat yourself) to mixed company, especially if you don't want the fuss and bother of a fancy cake! My version uses juicer pulp in place of grated carrots since I had it in my freezer, but I'm sure finely shredded carrots, squeezed dry, would work too!

Shared with Allergy-Free Wednesdays, Wellness Weekends, Gluten Free Wednesdays and Gluten Free Friday.

Monday, March 25, 2013

13 Grain Flour

Making my own flour blends was one of those things that I never really thought about doing before getting into the whole special needs nutrition thing. I mean, you can buy whole wheat, multi-grain and regular flour at the store, so why bother? But then I started doing gluten free baking and seeing how much better homemade mixes "behaved" than store bought "all purpose" mixes, and that sparked an idea - why not make my own "glutened" multi-grain flour? I had all the different individual flours and grains at home anyway! I've got to say this is my new favourite blend for things like pancakes and banana bread, and it would probably be fantastic as a partial flour ingredient in rustic breads too.

Being able to make this in bulk really saves me a bundle while cooking healthier! The recipe as written makes 20 cups but if you don't bake much, you can easily turn it into it's more practical "parts".

You'll note that there are actually 15 ingredients, not the "13" that the title alludes to... but I used both the whole and ground forms of two items. Granted, a lot of the ingredients aren't even grains technically, but it's far too complicated and wordy to say "6 grain 7 seed flour" - so 13 Grain Flour it is!

13 Grain Flour
Makes 20 cups
6 cups whole wheat flour
3 1/2 cups spelt flour
3 cups Kamut flour
1 cup large-flake oats
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/3 cup whole flaxseed
1/4 cup whole quinoa
1/3 cup whole amaranth
2 1/2 cups barley flour
1 cup dark rye flour
1 cup dark buckwheat flour
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup whole millet
5 tsp whole chia or Salba seed
1/3 cup toasted buckwheat kasha
  1. Mix together and store in an airtight container.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 467.9
Total Fat: 4.8 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 6.5 mg
Total Carbs: 94.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 15.2 g
Protein: 18.0 g

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Exotic Walnut Cookies for an Easter #SundaySupper

Well it's almost time to bust out the snark for another Hallmark-ified holiday. Actually, because I grew up agnostic, Easter is one of those holidays that actually meant more to me as a commercialized venture than it's real religious basis. I fondly remember Easter Egg Hunts at school and home, once netting myself a milk chocolate Sorcerer's Apprentice Mickey figure that I found behind our couch (and yes, I've talked about this, and my adoration of Creme Eggs, before).

It wasn't until after my mom remarried that we really started doing anything like a special meal for Easter Sunday at home. My grandparents would on occasion have us over for the standard-issue ham or roast beef, but being on our sugar highs meant my sister and I were really more bent on dessert. I always think of carrot cake when it comes to Easter, in particular the flavour of toasted walnuts in the one that my grandma used to serve. I hated walnuts as a kid, but have grown to appreciate the nuances they add to something fruity or earthy like banana bread or carrot cake, and it's more the crunchy texture than the flavour that puts me off when they're in brownies.

After making the already nutty Baklava Cream Fondant, I was looking for something to use it with and making sandwich cookies seemed like a perfectly logical option! I took the same basic flavours of the fondant, bumped up the nuts and added caramelized sugar that I ground into a powder as part of the sweetening power. The cookies are chewy, slightly soft and cakey, but are a perfect pairing with the fondant in the centre (or a honey ice cream!). They're a unique ending to a festive meal when you don't want something as heavy or sweet as a cake.

Walnut Cookie Sandwiches

This week's #SundaySupper is all about Easter and Passover fare. With Holy Week beginning, there's sure to be many an opportunity to share these recipes with those you love! We have Carla as our host this week, a wonderful blogger, photographer and overall person I'm honoured to call a friend. You have to check out all the Easter treats on her blog - especially if you're as big a fan of the Creme Eggs as I am! Check out the offerings below:

This Week’s #SundaySupper is hosted by one of our fabulous #SundaySupper Contributors, Carla from Chocolate Moosey. I adore Carla’s recipes and her photography is absolutely amazing!  You can check out her blog here.

Easter Sunday Supper Recipes:

Breakfast, Breads, and Buns

Appetizers and Sides

Main Dishes


Passover Sunday Supper Recipes:


Wine Pairing Recommendations for #SundaySupper Religious Feasts from ENOFYLZ Wine Blog

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter on Sunday, March 24 to talk all about Easter and Passover recipes! We’ll tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm EST. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more delicious recipes and food photos.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Spinach and Goat Cheese Shells for #RecipeRedux

I have fond memories of birthday parties growing up. Not only mine, which were great but fairly standard, but some of my friends' too. Over the years I got to experience Laser Tag, modelling, pool parties and McDonald's tours, as well as the "joys" of Truth or Dare and frozen underwear during sleepovers. But one of my schoolfriends had the distinction of the best birthday food ever - ricotta and spinach stuffed pasta shells. Her mom was a great cook, and didn't hold with any "kid food" philosophy - while pizza and hot dogs weren't "forbidden", it was definitely homemade dinners in first place.

Spinach Stuffed ShellsFor my mom's birthday party this year (it's a "big" one but I won't say the number!) she asked for a recipe that I had originally made when testing out Fresh & Healthy DASH Diet Cooking: 101 Delicious Recipes for Lowering Blood Pressure, Losing Weight and Feeling Great - Spinach Stuffed Shells made without ricotta! Now I know what you're thinking - those shells look packed with cheesy filling. And you're partially right - there is cheese in there. But the bulk of the filling is mashed silken tofu, chopped spinach and fresh leek and herb tomato sauce, just accented with flavourful, easy to digest goat cheddar and goat mozzarella. I've always loved goat dairy in any form, since it is far more rich tasting, less salty and never gave me the "off" feeling that cow's cheese and cream did in large quantities (like alfredo sauce). With all the flavour of the goat cheeses, the spinach (I used my favourite Cookin' Greens) and the fresh herbs in the tomato sauce, you'd never know it was tofu that gave the filling that creamy, ricotta-like texture. They disappeared in a flash at the party, and nobody knew about the "secret" - just that it was delicious!
Spinach Stuffed Shells
This month's #RecipeRedux is Green with Herb Envy - fresh green herbs in nontraditional ways. While it's not exactly "nontraditional" to add herbs to pasta sauce, it is unusual to use them (and leeks and spinach, all springy green things!) to flavour a tofu filling for a usually dairy-packed dish.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Toast Topper #19: Moroccan Tomato Chutney

Some things just get better with age. A good wine, great cheese, vanilla extract, steak... and almost anything preserved. Canning is one of those practices that really allows you to revel in the splendour of a food over the course of time as it mellows, melds, and soaks up all the goodness that time lends to it. When you make mincemeat or chutney, for example, you are almost always rewarded by letting it hang out in your cupboard (or fridge, if you don't can) for a month or three. For me, canning chutney and mincemeat over the summer means that by the time Christmas gift-giving rolls around, they are better than day one, and by the time you open them to dig in, they are at the peak of their flavour potential.

Moroccan Tomato ChutneyLast year I couldn't wait to get my Moroccan flavours on - I love Moroccan food and culture and couldn't resist combining the rich spices of the region into a thick spread that would work on toast, rice or any protein (including eggs, baked tofu and grilled Halloumi!). I found inspiration on the blog Taste Space, and started playing around a bit. The finished Toast Topper is packed with an intense amount of spices, but none of them overpower any other. Plus, the tomatoes soak up the goodness over time, melting into a thick treat for anyone with a penchant for flavour!

Shared with Allergy-Free Wednesdays and Gluten-Free Wednesdays 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sweet Ginger Scallion Noodles for a Springtime #SundaySupper

When it comes to comfort food, you can't do much better than a big bowl of noodles. I'm not partial to any one kind of noodle dish in particular, but be it sauced with tomatoes, tossed with vegan Parmesan and black pepper or, like this one, dressed in an Asian sweet-salty glaze with lots of veggies, tucking into a slurpable carb fest is a perfect way to end a tough day at work, or to warm up after a brisk walk out in the cold.

For #SundaySupper this week, we're celebrating the coming Spring season by sharing recipes that are as bright as the future months. Amber of Mama's Blissful Bites is our host, and we have quite the delectable array to choose from when it comes to cooking for the season! I decided on these chewy somen noodles that I stir fried with shredded cabbage and broccoli and dressed with a spicy, sweet garlic - teriyaki - scallion sauce inspired by White on Rice Couple and Simply Reem. I've made it a few times now, and in the absence of scallions I've also used shaved leeks, which were amazing as well!

Sweet Ginger Scallion Noodles

For what it's worth, I prefer San-J Teriyaki Sauce for general cooking (and especially noodle dishes like this), but it isn't vegan as it's honey based (I don't eat meat, dairy or eggs but I'm pretty lax on the honey thing). Steels is a good vegan option or you can make your own if you have the time and ingredients! The stevia I've been using lately is by a brand called Pyure, who's organic brand of stevia is made with probiotic inulin and tastes fantastic.

Hungry for our Spring menu? Check out the #SundaySupper nosh below!


Apps, Bread, Salads, Soups and Dressings:

Main and Sides:



Please be sure you join us on Twitter throughout the day during #SundaySupper. We’ll be meeting up at 7:00 p.m. EST for our weekly #SundaySupper  live chat where we’ll talk about our favorite Springtime recipes! All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, or you can follow us through TweetChat!

How do you celebrate Spring? Do you have a special seasonal dish you like to make?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Irish Cocoa Muffins

I can't believe we're over halfway through March already! It seemed just yesterday that we were toasting the new year, and all of a sudden here's St. Patty's Day knocking on the door. Of course, that just means it's that much closer to Easter, my and my sister's birthdays, and summer break! For now though, St. Patty's is nigh - as the various breweries, bars and good-timey folks have been reminding us for weeks.

While I look somewhat Irish, and in some way am Irish, I don't have the stereotypical "partier" in me, and don't even drink! On the other hand, the Irish spend an average of €1,675 per household on alcohol annually (3x more than Denmark, the second-highest spenders). I barely own anything green for the holiday - I have two shirts and some nail polish, so I suit myself with that.

Irish Cocoa MuffinsBut that doesn't mean I can't dip my toe into the Irish world for one day a year! Growing up I had a mad fondness for Baileys in coffee and hot chocolate (yes, as a kid), and my mom still does to this day. Bailey's is a great ingredient to use for baking too, being cream based, and like it's alcoholic component, whiskey, adds a great flavour without tasting like turpentine or Pinesol. I wanted to try baking the memories of my old favourite cocoa into a muffin, complete with a marshmallow, and with a combination of melted frozen yogurt, oat flour, cocoa, coffee and whiskey I had my prize! Tender, not too sweet and with just a hint of that "something special", they're a nice late-night sweet table addition to your next craic.

Erin go Bragh!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Baby Cinna - Buns

Well, March Break is almost over and done with, which means that Monday brings another run of cookin' for the kids! Before we went on break, I decided I'd give them something to look forward to, at least where my job is concerned! Growing up, I was a huge fan of the cinnamon roll, be it from a restaurant or a can, but I had never made a batch from scratch myself! The realization shocked me, since not only do I love eating the buns but I love to make bread too! 
Baby Buns 
I think my stumbling block when it came to cinnamon buns is not only that they're often laden with fat and sugar, but it's that they're really only best the day they're made, ideally hot out of the oven. Well, I don't have time to do that at work - but I still wanted them to get that homemade, fresh treat and make it a bit better for them too. So I settled on a compromise - miniature (AKA kid-size) rolls, prepped all the way to the second rise and popped into two foil lasagne pans on the weekend. Frozen, the yeast stops it's activity, meaning I could choose just what day I wanted to bake off a batch. As long as I remembered to take the frozen pans out of the freezer and put them in the fridge the morning before, I had perfectly risen rolls waiting for me come time for snack.

To make sure I got the baking and ratios right for the mini-buns, I adapted this recipe from Pixel Whisk. My changes were mostly nutrition-related, making them whole grain, eggless and lower in fat, as well as adding pureed chickpeas for extra protein, fibre and flavour! I kept mum on that subject though, and the kids never complained - I mean after all, who doesn't like a warm cinnamon bun? 

In honour of Meal Planning Mom's Eating the Alphabet Challenge (featuring letters C&D this month), I'm submitting these chickpea- and coconut milk-laden treats to the party! Check out all the great posts below after the weekend:

Baby Cinna-Buns

Baby Cinna - Buns
Makes 40

2 cups flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp instant yeast
2 tbsp sugar
¼ cup buttermilk powder or skim milk powder
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cardamom
2 tbsp flaxseed
¼ cup water
1 cup evaporated or coconut milk, warmed
½ cup applesauce
1 tsp salt
¼ cup pureed tofu or pureed chickpeas
¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
Milk, for brushing

¼ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup raisins or dried cranberries, optional
  1. Combine the flours, yeast, sugar, buttermilk powder, cinnamon, and cardamom in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Mix together the flax, water, milk, applesauce, salt and tofu or chickpeas and add to the dry mixture.
  3. Knead with the dough hook for 5 minutes, then add the butter bit by bit and knead for 7 minutes longer.
  4. Scrape down sides of bowl, cover and let rest for 1 hour.
  5. Deflate the dough and transfer to a large floured work surface. 
  6. Divide into 5 equal pieces.
  7. Working one piece at a time, roll each piece out into a thin rectangle.
  8. Combine the sugars and cinnamon in a bowl.
  9. Brush dough with milk, then sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar and fruit if using, leaving 1” of space on one long side.
  10. Starting with the sugared long side, roll each rectangle up.
  11. Slice each roll into 8 pieces and place 1.5” apart in two well greased 9x13” pans and cover with plastic wrap.
  • At this point, the cinnamon rolls can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight or covered with foil and frozen for 1 month. Before baking, allow rolls to thaw in the fridge for 24 hours and rise 1 hour in a warm place.
If baking immediately:
  1. Let rise in a warm spot for about an hour. 
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  3. Brush tops of the buns with milk, cover with foil and bake buns for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake 15 minutes longer.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 79.5
Total Fat: 1.7 g
Cholesterol: 4.1 mg
Sodium: 78.3 mg
Total Carbs: 14.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.1 g
Protein: 2.4 g

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Cookie Sheet Brownies

So, you know how I alluded to making brownies when I posted that Cocoa Syrup last week? Well, I finally got around to writing about them! I've gotta say these were a major sleeper hit around here, all things considered - for one, they are incredibly thin, dense and chewy, unlike any storebought or box mix brownies out there. For another, they're very dark and rich in cocoa content, which I love as a 70%-plus bittersweet lover, but considering I was making them for a mostly under-10 crowd was a bit of a risk! Then of course was the fact that these are completely vegan - no butter, no eggs... just my Cocoa Syrup, oil and a block of silken tofu! All that said, though, the kids at work lapped them up - from toddlers to 12 year olds.

I'm not totally insane, however. I conveniently omitted mention of the egg replacement when describing the brownies to an interested group of students, since I knew that most of the kids would go green at the mention of tofu in their school food. No matter - I can still claim these as "nutritional" snacks thanks to their protein content, low fat and calorie counts and the plus factor that they're cholesterol free!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Black Rice Bread

I'm lucky to have a mom who is as adventurous in her eating as I am in my cooking. Since I first started honing my love for cooking (and baking in particular), she has willingly subjected herself to untold numbers of calories, carbohydrates and fat grams to taste test my creations from the divine to the completely obscure. Above and beyond anyone else, I value her feedback and suggestions for improvement whether what I'm serving up is a tester recipe for a cookbook review or a creation of my own design.

Black Rice BreadNo item in recent history is as good of an example of my mom's adventurous palate as this Black Rice Bread I made from Jane Mason's All You Knead is Bread. Using dark soy sauce instead of salt, it has a unique Asian flavour that meshes well with the nutty black rice, especially after I added a dash of coconut extract, coconut milk and super sweet stevia for a bit of extra oomph. Whole wheat bread flour boosted the whole grain nutrition and added it's own rich heartiness as well. The whole combination worked so well in the end that my mom finished the loaf in under a week, and I knew it would be the perfect addition to Zorra's BBD #57 - Blogwarming Party!

This is a fun "project" bread to make, but I'm not adding it to our "everyday loaf" roster. It's too low-rising for the toaster or to make proper sandwiches - but it's delicious and healthy, and when spread with peanut butter makes a fabulous morning pick me up!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Irish Potato - Oatmeal Bread

I know most of my heritage along my family tree, but for a quarter of my background, just where my sister and I come from is cloaked in mystery. My grandmother on my mom's side was adopted as a baby with her brother, and while we know that they are from somewhere in the England/Ireland/Scotland/Wales area the specifics were lost to time. Her stepmother was German, and of the "dark" stock with chestnut hair and grey eyes - but my Grandma is fair, blue eyed and from what I hear had reddish-blonde hair as a child. In fact, if you see photos of her even as a young adult (the rare few in colour that exist), she looks eerily similar to me - the only one in my immediate family with red hair and super-fair skin (though my cousin and his son do too). Because of us sporadic offspring, it's generally assumed that Grandma and Great Uncle came from Ireland.

The Irish are, like their Scottish neighbours, frugal out of necessity, and those of "pure stock" that I know personally are famous for their ability to use almost every single scrap of what they have before buying more. Leftovers are re-jigged into miraculous meals, jackets and shirts too tight or short in the arms become vests and dishcloths, and kids learn how to darn socks and sew buttons from youth. A stereotype? For sure, but there you are. And aside from my mom's, I have never had better tasting, heartier bread than the oat rounds made by my childhood friends' mom on the weekends.

Irish Potato - Oat Bread

This St. Patty's Day I'm privileged to be a part of a great roundup of Irish recipes from around the world. From bread to benedict, cookies to savoury cheesecake, we have quite the assortment!  Check out everyone's Irish-inspired nummies below and get ready to dance a jig!

1. Key Lime Pound Cake by Joan at Chocolate Chocolate & More
2. Mini Banoffee Pie Tarts by Kelly at Kelly Bakes
3. Chocolate Bailey's Mousse Tart from Nancy at Gotta Get Baked
4. Irish Carbomb Cupcakes from Susan at Girl in the Little Red Kitchen
5. Pistachio Caramel Cookies from Jen at Jen's Favorite Cookies
6. Guinness Stout Mini Bundt Cake from Shanna at Pineapple and Coconut
7. Irish Cheese and Bacon Cheesecake with Walnut Crust by Carla at Chocolate Moosey
8. Bailey's Irish Cream Cheese Trifle from Anita at Hungry Couple NYC
9. Key Lime Pie Ice Cream from Renee at Magnolia Days
10. Pistachio Mousse Cups from Kim at Cravings of a Lunatic
11. Irish Eggs Benedict from Isabelle Crumb Blog
12. St. Patrick's Day Cookie Stack from Angie at Big Bears Wife
13. Guinness Chocolate Cake from Jen at Juanita's Cocina
14. Irish Potato Oatmeal Bread from Sarah at What Smells So Good

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Cocoa Syrup

Two words have rarely elicited such delight as cocoa syrup. And truthfully, the end product itself does not disappoint, especially if you, like me, are a dark chocolate fiend! I wanted to be able to make the classic Hershey's Syrup Brownies for school, but their classic fudge syrups all contain milk, not to mention HFCS, hydrogenated oil and a host of other weird stuff I can barely pronounce.

Making sundae syrup shouldn't be that complex. Seriously.

I took 10 minutes, a whopping 5 ingredients (including water) costing a grand total of $1.23, and wound up with two cups of the most luscious, not-too-sweet concoction that not only fits snugly into brownies, but makes delicious chocolate milk (and hot chocolate!), killer sundaes and is the best dip for strawberries!

The best thing? No fat, no weird ingredients and no running to the store!

Cocoa Syrup Goodness

Cocoa Syrup
Makes 2 cups, 16 (2-tbsp) servings
1 ½ cups water
¾ cup sugar
½ cup high-quality, (ideally) Dutch processed cocoa powder 
¼ tsp salt
3 tbsp cold water
1 tbsp cornstarch
  1. Combine the water, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt together in a saucepan over low heat.
  2. Whisk constantly until the mixture thickens and begins to simmer.
  3. Whisk together cold water and cornstarch. Stir into the cocoa mixture and cook until thick.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 42.5
Total Fat: 0.4 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 35.5 mg
Total Carbs: 10.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.9 g
Protein: 0.5 g

Shared with Gluten Free Fridays

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Baklava Cream Fondant

Growing up, I had my fair share of Greek food. Both my parents spent a good chunk of their young adult lives in a section of Toronto that was predominantly Greek and Jewish (a somewhat eclectic mix, but there you have it). As such, they both have a love for those cuisines and they managed to pass along many of their favourites to me.

Baklava Fondant Chocolate FillingOne of those favourites is the quintessential Greek phyllo dessert baklava. Flaky, buttery, sticky sweet layers of paper-thin pastry and finely chopped nuts (my favourites were hazelnuts) drenched in a honey syrup - for someone like me with that sweet-salt tooth, it was manna. It was a special occasion dessert, though, which was probably a good thing given all that sugar and fat! I never lost my taste for it though, and I became enamoured with anything with a "baklava" flavour inspiration. From ice cream / frozen yogurt to cookies to cheesecake, if they built it I would come!

Finished Baklava Fondant ChocolatesI wanted to try my hand at the non-baklava baklava game too, and a creamy (uncooked) fondant candy just seemed like the perfect way to go about it. It made a perfect filling for my chocolate Christmas turtles as well as an ideal cookie filling (think exotic Oreos). I can't wait to see what small balls of it stirred into vanilla ice cream would be like! Between the honey, amber agave nectar, rosewater, cinnamon and walnuts, it's a HEAVENLY concoction that really does evoke memories of the Mediterranean pastry!

What's your favourite dessert? Have you ever tried "standing it on it's head"?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Chicken Noodle Casserole

I have a secret - I have never eaten Tuna / Turkey / Chicken Casserole. Ever. I have a very strong aversion to fish with anything "creamy", and really, the thought of gooey, canned-soupy noodles, frozen vegetables and overcooked protein with a crumby crust on top just never sat well with me.

So why am I giving you a recipe for the very thing I detest? Well, for one, I know it's a popular dish, and it's one my mom loves even today. She never made it at home for us kids (probably because my picky sister would kill her if she tried) and so I never had the opportunity to try it, nor did I ever learn to make it. Then I got to work one week to discover that that week's menu included one lunch of Tuna or Chicken Noodle Casserole. It was the strangest thing to research how to actually put one together (not so much the ingredients, but the baking time), since it's a recipe that's almost a given that everyone should be able to make with their eyes closed.

Thankfully my life was made a lot easier by my involvement in the #SundaySupper Movement, since one of our roundups in January included "A Retro Throwback of Tuna Noodle Casserole for #SundaySupper" by Country Girl in the Village. I basically followed Shannon's recipe, with the exception that I had to use a combination of noodles rather than just egg (we didn't have enough), used "mixed" vegetables for the peas and used half mushroom, half chicken cream soup. Our school has three fish-allergic children so even though I could have made them a separate dish, I saved myself the cleanup and did 100% chicken instead. And yes, it was canned chicken. How much more retro can you get?

Chicken Noodle Casserole

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Dense Chocolate Cherry Cakes for #SundaySupper

What's your "taste personality"? Are you a sweet tooth? A salt lick? A sour puss? Or a bitter bite? I was discussing this with my mom yesterday when the topic of snacking came up during our weekly grocery trip. I knew my weakness - give me something sour/salty (i.e. Kosher dill pickles) or sweet/salty (i.e. dark chocolate on saltines) and I'm a happy girl. My mom, though, would much rather have a salty/bitter or salty/sour flavour, and her weakness is definitely richly flavoured dairy like aged cheese. We're not ones to buy out the candy or chip aisle - those flavours are too one-note for us. That said, neither of us is about to pass up a chunk of dark chocolate or a slice of rich cheesecake!

Dense Chocolate Cherry CakeThat's why I was so happy with these miniature bites of flourless chocolate indulgence that were inspired by Chocolate Covered Katie's infamous blondies and Barefoot Baker's cocoa version of them. These gluten free, vegan mini cakes are dark, dense and rich - just sweet enough, with a touch of fruity elegance from my homemade cherry jam. I chose to make the flavour more "complex" than "sugary" by combining xylitol, stevia, glycerin and brown sugar in with the flavourful coconut oil, nutty quinoa and hearty, creamy adzuki beans. These are really rich, so a tiny piece satisfies!

The #SundaySupper Group has some super fantastic recipes for this week! Tons of savory cheese dishes, wonderful cakes and amazing cheesecakes!



...& Cheesecakes

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter each Sunday. We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. This week we will be sharing our love of Cheese, Cakes AND Cheesecakes! Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm EST - just follow the #SundaySupper hash tag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Don't forget to check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos too!