cinnamon apple cake

Cinnamon Apple Cake – rich and incredibly moist, this cake is a perfect combination of fall flavours.

In addition to fall being pumpkin season, it’s also a perfect time for anyone who loves apples. At the farmer’s market, the berries and peaches of the summer are making way for so many different varieties of apples. I haven’t even heard of half of them, and I want to try them all. I’m not a big fan of most fruit (gasp!), but a fresh, tart apple makes a great mid-day snack, especially with a bit of cheese or a spoonful of peanut butter. And I’ve mentioned before that I love fresh apples and cranberries in my oatmeal (and yes, I’m looking forward to oatmeal on the weekends again now that the weather is cooling down). And of course they’re great in baking. This week I’m going to share a recipe that has become one of my favourites over the years. I’ve baked this for my friends several times in the past (before I’d started this blog, though), and it gets requested again and again.  (more…)

pumpkin muffins with cranberries and chocolate

Pumpkin Muffins with Cranberries and Chocolate – moist and delicious, the flavours of fall made even better with the addition of rich dark chocolate.

So it’s officially fall. The weather is starting to turn cooler, especially in the evenings. And here in Vancouver we’re finally seeing rain after a long hot and dry summer. Although it’s by no means cold yet – I can still keep my windows open and it’s still warm enough to be wearing my sandals (in spite of the rain). Actually, I’m still wearing exactly the same clothes I wore throughout the summer, except now I’m adding a sweater to the mix, because it’s that lovely season when it’s cool in the morning and evening, but the afternoon is determined to still be summer. But it’s definitely baking weather. And it’s the season for pumpkin. I know the market is ridiculously inundated with pumpkin spice this and pumpkin spice that. But here’s the thing – it became popular for a reason. Because it’s awesome. Pumpkin tarts and pumpkin pies and omg pumpkin cheesecakes. And if you’ve never tried pumpkin with chocolate? Read on. You need to try it.  (more…)

mocha mudslide cookies

Mocha Mudslide Cookies – rich with the flavours of chocolate and espresso, studded with both chocolate chips and cappuccino chips.

I looove the taste of coffee. Generally I can take it or leave it (I’m not addicted to the caffeine – phew!), but I really enjoy a cup in the morning, especially in the fall and winter. I just don’t need to have it. When I do, though, I like it unadulterated. Black. No sweeteners or cream, just strong coffee. If I’m going to have a fancy coffee drink? – which I do really rarely – it’s going to be a mocha. No question. I love the combination of coffee and chocolate. Does anyone not? Espresso, chocolate syrup, and as little milk as possible. Perfection. Those two flavours were made for each other. Both great on their own, but even better when combined. And I’ve also learned that when baking something chocolate, the addition of a small amount of espresso powder will actually enhance the flavours of the chocolate without adding its own flavour. Making brownies? Toss in a teaspoon of espresso powder. You’ll love it! And just add more to transform regular brownies into mocha brownies. Baking is awesome.  (more…)

peanut butter chocolate chip cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies – soft and chewy, loaded with chocolate chips, and topped with a salted peanut to contrast the sweetness.

I’m not usually a big peanut butter fan, but for some reason I was craving peanut butter cookies this week. I’ve already shared my usual recipe with you guys, so this week I had to delve into my pile of cookbooks to find a new one. Peanut butter cookies is one of those staples that’s in almost every book, so I had lots of options to choose from. Eventually I’ll get to them all, but for this week I decided to go with a chewy cookie.  (more…)

brown sugar butterscotch cookies

Brown Sugar Butterscotch Cookies – soft and chewy and loaded with butterscotch chips.

This is the second brown sugar butterscotch cookie I’m posting here (coincidentally both from the same cookbook), and I learned an important lesson from last time. As good as they taste, the Guittard butterscotch chips bake up a horrific orange colour. Seriously, if you click that link, try not to look at the pictures. That was not an attractive cookie (it tasted great though!). This time, however, I used a different brand and the cookies are much prettier. I mentioned before that flavour-wise? I prefer the Guittard. But now I save them for recipes where the colour isn’t an issue.  (more…)

mocha walnut cherry cookies

Mocha Walnut Cherry Cookies – a delicately flavoured shortbread, studded with crunchy walnuts and sweet cherries.

After a summer of no-bake cookies and popsicles (omg, so many popsicles!), I was really starting to miss baking. So when I saw rain and a dip in temperature forecast for the weekend, I got a little excited. Finally, I get to make some proper cookies again! Our summer is far from over though. Vancouver summers usually start late, but then we usually have beautiful weather straight through October. Some years I’m still wearing my sandals in November! So I may not be done with no-bake cookies quite yet. I was hoping to make some whoopie pies, but when it came down to it, I was missing one ingredient. D’oh! And as it was the last day of the long weekend, and raining, and I really didn’t feel like leaving my apartment, I decided to shelve that recipe for another day and pick something else. And I gotta tell you, I had a really hard time deciding. After being away from baking for so long (it feels like a long time, anyway – how long has it been?), I wanted to make everything. My coffee table is still completely covered by all the cookbooks I was looking through.  (more…)

chocolate peanut butter rice krispie treats

Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats – a little fancier than the Rice Krispie Treats we're all used to. Sure to be a new favourite!

Who here hasn’t had Rice Krispie treats? We’ve all had them, right? And they’re pretty sweet, right? With all the marshmallow? Well the addition of dark chocolate cuts that sweetness down considerably, resulting in a slightly more grown-up treat (only slightly, because face it, they’re still Rice Krispie treats!). Trying chocolate Rice Krispie treats for the first time was a revelation for me. Personally, I’ll never make the plain ones again.  (more…)

mexican vegetable stew

Mexican Vegetable Stew – loaded with beautiful fresh vegetables, this slightly spicy stew is hearty and filling, but not too heavy. It's one of my absolute favourites that I make again and again.

This is going to sound weird to those of you already familiar with this blog. You know I love to bake, and when I bake, I don’t generally take shortcuts or make “healthy” substitutions. If it’s a sugary treat? It’s going to be loaded with sugar and butter. That’s what it’s all about. However, when it comes to “real food”? I try to eat as healthy as I can. I eat mostly vegetarian food, and cook everything from scratch. Yes, there’s occasionally lasagna or baked ziti (omg, so good), but mostly a lot of vegetable stews and lentils and ridiculously good-for-you type foods.  (more…)

peach bourbon popsicles

Peach Bourbon Popsicles – the flavours of the southern states in a grown-up treat.

Something about the combination of peaches and bourbon just sounds so right. I think it’s because it’s evocative of the southern states. Kentucky bourbon & Georgia peaches. Well I’m nowhere near there, so while I am using Kentucky bourbon (YUM), these are home-grown BC peaches. I don’t know how we compare to Georgia, but BC, especially the Okanagan, is well known for its fruit (and wineries!). If you ever want to take a road trip in the summer, you’ll find fruit stands everywhere (and wine tastings!). And if you time it just right, you can even buy fresh buttered corn on the cob at the side of the road. Now that’s my kind of road trip.  (more…)

peach jalapeño popsicles

Peach Jalapeño Popsicles – a sweet treat with a bit of heat is a beautiful thing.

A bit of heat in an otherwise sweet treat is a beautiful thing, like jalapeño jelly, and chocolate cookies with fresh grated ginger. Even mango salsa, although technically I guess that’s a hot dish with a bit of sweetness. I remember my old English teacher telling me about her time living in Mexico, and one of her favourite things was oranges with hot sauce injected into them. So of course I had to try one – trust me, it’s a treat! I’ve even been known to dip pieces of chocolate in salsa – don’t mock, it’s good! So when I saw this recipe for peach jalapeño popsicles, I was ready for something amazing. We’re right in the middle of peach season here, so the timing couldn’t be better.  (more…)

blueberry cardamom popsicles

Blueberry Cardamom Popsicles combine fresh summer berries with aromatic cardamom for a complex and sophisticated flavour.

I’ve discovered a real love for cardamom. For one thing, chai (delicious!). And it also makes me think of these spiced cardamom cookies I made last year which were amazing. I ate way too many of those cookies, let me tell you. But they were sooooo goooooood. So when I was flipping through my new book the other week (yes, I got another one!), this recipe caught my eye. I wasn’t sure how blueberry & cardamom would work together, but the other popsicle I made from this book was fantastic, so I had faith that they know what they’re talking about. And they really do.  (more…)

chow mein noodle cookies

Chow Mein Noodle Cookies – sweet and crunchy and slightly salty.

This is it – my favourite of my mom’s no-bake cookie recipes from when I was a kid! She never gave us any advance warning when she was going to make these, and I never actually saw her make them (spooky!). But occasionally I’d come home from school, look in the fridge, and there’d be a container of these cookies. Yay! And every time, I’d try to stealthily sneak some and re-arrange the remaining cookies to hide my theft. Heh. Pretty sure I wasn’t fooling anyone.  (more…)

strawberry mint popsicles

Strawberry Mint Popsicles – sweet, light and refreshing. A perfect summer treat.

I made two batches of the strawberry and bitters popsicles (so good!) and still had some strawberries left over. I also have a lot of mint on-hand for the cucumber lime mint popsicles that I’ve promised my coworkers to continue making (I’ve started just calling them mojito popsicles, because that’s totally what they taste like). Is there such a thing as a strawberry mojito? Doesn’t strawberry and mint sound good? One way to find out, right?  (more…)

strawberry and bitters popsicles

Strawberry and Bitters Popsicles – a bright, fresh, slightly grown-up flavour.

Have you ever tasted Angostura bitters? It’s that ubiquitous bottle of bitters that seems to be in every grocery store, gathering dust on its over-sized label. I’ve always thought it was pretty unpleasant on its own. I have it on-hand to add to cocktails (along with waaaaaaay too many other types of bitters), but I couldn’t imagine it as a major component of anything enjoyable. And then one day I was given a cocktail to drink – a very delicious cocktail, I might add – and told to guess what was in it. Yup. A full ounce of Angostura bitters. Whaaaat?? Almost a full third of that cocktail was Angostura bitters! So when I saw this recipe that pairs strawberries and bitters? I thought it just might work. Spoiler alert – it totally does!  (more…)

blueberry lemon yogurt popsicles

Blueberry Lemon Yogurt Popsicles – sweet and tart, creamy and refreshing – flavours that were meant to be together.

Blueberries and lemon are a perfect combination. Who hasn’t had a blueberry lemon muffin? Or blueberry lemon bars? Or blueberry lemon tart? You get the idea. These two flavours were made for each other. Well blueberries are in season right now, and I always have lemon on-hand (have I mentioned that I love lemon?), so it seems the stars have aligned and the fates have decided that I need to make some blueberry lemon popsicles. Right? Right. (was that overly dramatic?)  (more…)