Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Best Granola Ever!

Another treat that I sold was granola - it's a mix of pumpkin seeds, almonds, sunflower seeds, craisins, oats, and cinnamon.

I based my recipe on Nigella Lawson's granola recipe from her cookbook "Feast," which I adapted to my liking. I'm very picky about my granola and this one is simply perfect! Lots of crunch and flavor, without being too sweet. Next batch I make, I would like to try adding some more heart-healthy ingredients in it, such as hemp and chia seeds. 

Granola always takes a long time to make - particularly the baking process, as you really have flip it consistently to get that crunchy and delicious texture - but it's well-worth it in the end and much cheaper than store-bought granola! 

(adapted from Nigella Lawson)

5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
3 cups whole raw almonds
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp salt

3/4 cup unsweeted applesauce
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup honey
2 T. vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 300F.

1. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, almonds, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger and salt.

2. In a saucepan, heat the applesauce with the maple syrup, honey and oil. 

3. Blend the applesauce mixture into the dry ingredients until thoroughly mixed, then divide and spread the mixture evenly on two baking sheets. 

4. Bake the granola for 45 minutes, stirring and flipping every ten minutes (very important!), until the granola is a deep golden brown and crunchy. 

5. Remove from the oven, then cool completely. 

Store the granola in airtight containers (I like to use mason jars); they will keep for a month. 

Cranberry-Orange Scones

For the market I made three different types of scones: Cheddar-Dill, Cheddar-Jalapeno and Cranberry-Orange. It was my first time experimenting with scone recipes and they turned out fantastic! The trick is to not over-mix the batter, as this will make the scones very dry! 

All of the scones were delicious, but the Cranberry-Orange scones were something special. The tartness of the cranberry and the citrus flavor of the orange paired perfectly! 

Cranberry Orange Scones
1 1/2 T freshly grated orange zest

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar plus 3 T
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch bits
1 1/4 cup fresh cranberries, chopped coarse
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 400F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Remove the zest from the orange, and mix with flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, and butter until mixture resembles coarse meal.

In a small bowl toss together fresh cranberries and 3 tablespoons sugar and stir into flour mixture.

In another small bowl lightly beat egg and yolk and stir in cream. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir until just combined.

Using an ice cream scoop, scoop scone batter onto baking sheet, placing an inch apart. Sprinkle with sugar, and bake in the middle of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

These babies are best enjoyed warm with a dab of butter, jam and a cup of tea! : )

Baker's Market

This fall I participated in a few local markets to sell my baked goods under the name of "lovecrumbs." One of the markets that I sold at was the Baker's Market - it's a small market located in South Vancouver which is dedicated to everything sweet! Each Saturday, there are about 10-15 vendors selling cookies, cupcakes, muffins, scones, tarts, and anything else delicious that you can think of. It was a lot of fun to participate in, and I'm going back this April to sell at the spring edition of the market. Here's the link for the market, I highly suggest heading there for a visit:

Stay tuned for some of the recipes! 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thumbprint Cookies with Homemade Apricot Jam and Walnuts

From my summer jamming efforts, I have several jam jars in my fridge that didn't seal. I've been slowing eating my way through them on toast and PB+J sandwiches, but one person can only eat so much jam! 

Then I thought of the wonderful idea to make thumbprint cookies to use up the jam! 

Thumbprint Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup white sugar
2 large eggs, seperated 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup walnuts (hazelnuts, almonds or pecans would also be fine), toasted and finely chopped
1/2 cup apricot jam (any jam would be fine as well!)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

2. To toast the nuts: spread nuts on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes until golden-brown in colour and fragrant. Watch out - these cook fast! Let cool completely, and then chop finely by hand. 
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract, and beat until combined. 
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the flour mixture to the batter and beat until just combined. 
5. In a small bowl, whisk the egg whites until frothy. Place the chopped walnuts on a plate. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls. Dip the dough into the egg white, and then lightly roll on the walnuts. Place on the prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Using a wooden spoon, make a indentation in the center of each cookie and fill with a dollop of jam. 
6. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the cookies are set and have nicely browned. 

Zucchini Chocolate-Chip Walnut Loaf and Muffins

A few weekends back, Thomas and I made a trip out to his parent's house in Glen Valley. His parents grow a variety of herbs, vegetables and fruit on their property. Apart from some delicious blackberries and apples that we picked, his mom gave me a summer zucchini the size of about my arm. 

I've never been a big fan of zucchini, probably due to the fact that I don't really know what to do with it. So faced with a huge zucchini that I really didn't want to see go to waste, I decided to bake with it. My big inspiration was the vegan zucchini chocolate-chip muffins that are sold at JJ bean. Their muffins are moist, nutty, chocolate-y and delicious - so delicious that you forget that there is even zucchini in them! 

I found a recipe for a zucchini chocolate-chip loaf smitten kitchen which looked yummy, so I decided to give it a shot! 

Zucchini Bread
(I've made a few adjustments to the smitten kitchen recipe)

Yield: 2 loaves or approximately 24 muffins

3 eggs 
3/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
1 1/4 cup sugar 
3 cups grated zucchini
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour (next time I would use a mixture of whole wheat flour and all-purpose) 
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, plus 1/3 cup to sprinkle on top
1 cup chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour loaf pans and muffin tin. 

2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk. Mix in oil and sugar, then zucchini and vanilla.

3. Combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt, as well as nuts, chocolate chips and/or dried fruit, if using. Stir this into the egg mixture. Divide the batter into prepared pans, or muffin tins. 

4. Bake loaves for 60 minutes, plus or minus ten, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Muffins will bake far more quickly, approximately 25 to 30 minutes.

Amelie's Plum Cake

If you've seen the movie Amelie (Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain), I'm sure, like me, you've always wanted to be able to make her famous plum cake. 

A few weeks ago, I was looking at recipes on the internet and came across this website, which claims to have THE Amelie plum cake recipe -->

I tried the recipe out and it turned out fantastic! Be forewarned - this recipe takes about 4-5 hours in total to make, due to letting the dough rise and chill multiple times. A good lazy, rainy day activity! 

When baked, the butter and sugar turn into a smooth and silky caramel - delicious! 

Amelie's Plum Cake

1 tablespoon yeast, not rapid rise
¾ cup warm water
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar, which will be used in 1/4 cup incriments
(Plus an additional bit of sugar for yeast feeding and dough rolling)
1 stick salted butter cut into inch square pieces, chilled
2-3 tablespoons additional salted butter, melted
2-3 ripe plums

For a step by step guide with pictures, check out this website.  

The final stage of the dough - ready for the plums, butter and sugar.  

After adorning with plums. 

The final result! 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Apple Cake

This recipe is from a cookbook that I rashly bought at the Dublin airport in Ireland, and to which I am very glad that I so rashly purchased. Since being home, I have made four or five recipes from it, all with excellent results. 

A couple of weekends ago, Thomas and I went to his parent's house in Langley and picked about ten pounds of apples from their apple tree. After making a couple of pies, there were still plenty of apples left so I decided to try this recipe out. 

The cake is just perfect! The combination of the cinnamon-y cake, the soft apples and the sweet, crispy strudel is delicious. I liked this recipe so much that I made the cake twice in the course of five days! 

Apple Cake
1lb cooking apples
175g self-raising flour 
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
115g butter, plus extra for greasing cake tin
115g white sugar
2 eggs
1-2 tbsp milk (I used plain yogurt, as I don't keep milk in the house)

115g self-raising flour
85g butter
85g white sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch round springform cake tin. 
2. To make streusel topping, sift the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the white sugar and reserve. 
3. Peel, core and thinly slice the apples. To make the cake, sift the flour into a bowl with the cinnamon and salt. Place the butter and white sugar in a seperate bowl and beat together until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, adding a little of the flour mixture with the last addition of egg. Gently fold in half the remaining mixture, then fold in the rest with the milk.
4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the top. Cover with the sliced apples and sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the top. Bake in the oven for 1 hour, or until browned and firm to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin before removing the sides. 
5. Serve with warm with vanilla ice cream or creme fraiche.