Simple No-Cook Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

There’s a good reason why it has taken me over five years to post an ice cream recipe in this space: I don’t want to assume that each and every one of you has method for churning ice cream, you know what I mean?

I tend to stick with recipes that can be made with basic kitchen tools and appliances, and an ice cream machine is not a necessity – or is it? Considering we mostly use a second-hand, beat-up churn that I picked up for $5 at a garage sale, I’m gong to take a risk and state that if you want homemade ice cream badly enough, you can probably get your hands on a churn.

Because let’s face it, there is nothing better on a sweltering summer day. Sure you can make a no-churn frozen dessert, like this Fresh Strawberry Granita, but when you can also have the option for Salted Cantaloup Honey Sorbet or today’s vanilla bean ice cream, let the heat wave come.

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Blood Orange Panna Cotta

Here’s a dessert I’ve never written about but has been a favourite of mine since I first learned to make it in a small bistro kitchen: Panna Cotta. Ironically, it was a French chef who taught me this classic Italian dessert, during my short stint as a pastry chef in my twentes.

I’ve always loved the Panna Cotta for it simplicity. It was one of the items on my daily prep list that I could breeze through and let my mind drift out of the cramped kitchen in the process. I’d open carton after carton of heavy cream, warm it slowly with sugar and vanilla bean and then whisk the hot cream into bloomed gelatine. From there I would pour the vanilla-scented cream into dozens and dozens of martini glasses and set them on racks in the refrigerator to chill.

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Vegan Pumpkin Seed Cocoa Brownies

We’re more cookie people than brownie fans around here, and you’ll find more recipes for pies than bars in the archives.

In fact, this is the first brownie recipe I’ve published in five years. Now, I get the appeal of brownies; I really do! It’s just that most recipes require so much white sugar and butter, I can’t make them for my family in good conscience. Until now, that is.

My editor recently sent me a cookbook that happened to arrive just in time for my January pantry purge. At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen: Celebrating the Art of Eating Well is an absolute gem of a book, not only for the sheer wealth of information it offers on healthy eating, but for the line-up of incredible recipes begging to be made.

Today’s brownies are adapted from Amy Chaplin’s book. Finally I have a brownie recipe for the lunchbox, my afternoon tea and basically any special occasion. These are brownies well worth a five year wait.

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Chocolate Hazelnut Bûche de Noël (Yule Log)

Whipping cream into soft peeks, spreading frosting on cookies, or dusting the fruitcake with powdered sugar, holiday baking has to be the ultimate opportunity to welcome the children into the kitchen and let them stir, mix and roll alongside you.

In doing so, you are making memories together and creating traditions that just might last through generations. Perhaps it is just a simple batch of shortbread, prepared a few different ways and loved by all, or cut-out gingerbread cookies, our annual holiday cookie of choice. But whatever the recipe, make sure to include little helpers when you bake – it will have a lasting impression on them.

We recently sweetened up a Saturday afternoon preparing something extra special for our weekly Sunday dinner. It was enormous fun to make with my Mateo, which is why we decided to share it here with you.

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Dairy-free Spiced Pumpkin Pie and Chocolate Pumpkin Baked Doughnuts

In October, we lug home golden pumpkins and red-skinned apples from the markets and transform them into a sideboard of sweets for a Canadian Thanksgiving celebration.

The correlation between Thanksgiving baking and cooler fall temperatures is no coincidence. My kitchen begins heating up with crimped pies and tender cakes right around the time our evening walks start requiring scarves and sweaters. It’s a good balance.

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