This is a fun and easy-to-make alternative (or addition) to birthday cake for casual or last-minute celebrations. It’s convenient for cottage or ski chalet getaways, classroom or office celebrations, dessert tables, etc.
Archive for the ‘Other Desserts’ Category
I very seldomly use cream of tartar, so one box has lasted me several years. Whenever I clean out my pantry, I’m tempted to throw it away, because storage space in my home is literally that precious. I recently made a batch of cookies that, surprisingly, required cream of tartar. I didn’t have any on hand and didn’t have time to buy more. Luckily, I found a website that provided a simple and effective substitute for cream of tartar. I also finally learned what it does. It turns out that cream of tartar is an acid that reacts with baking soda to create carbon dioxide gas, thus acting as a leavener. Cream of tartar can also stabilize whipped egg whites (by maintaining the air bubbles) and prevent crystals from forming in simple syrup.
I was first introduced to this traditional Christmas dessert at a craft show where I sampled Cranberry Creek Baking Co.‘s cranberry pudding. I immediately fell in love with it, because it is dense, moist, slightly chewy, and almost savoury. The tartness of the cranberries in the pudding, which is more cake-like in texture, is contrasted nicely with the sweet and warm butter sauce. Also, I like that this dessert uses molasses instead of more processed sugars. Since this dessert is steamed, it was perfect for our Christmas meal in 2013 when our oven was broken.
I’ve made delicious danishes from scratch twice now, and they were a huge hit. The cheese danishes are especially good. You could also use half cheese and half fruit for the filling. Although you could use store bought puff pastry, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to make your own puff pastry using the shortcut in this recipe. If you take the time to make a large batch of puff pastry, you can freeze it for future uses.
John loves pancakes, so for his 30th birthday, I made black forest pancakes for breakfast. These were indulgent and chocolatey without being too sweet. These black forest pancakes are made by layering German chocolate pancakes, whipped cream, reduced black cherry juice and fresh cherries. They are a great way to mark any special occasion.
When I first saw McGuinness Glazed Donut liquor, I knew that I had to get it, because, as I’m sure you’ve heard, John has a thing for donuts (see the Donut Tour of Toronto here, and the Donut Pillow/Costume DIY here). I created a few donut-inspired signature drinks for John’s housewarming party. I served them as shots, but some of them would make delicious cocktails as well. They were very well received.
In the past, I often used store bought, frozen puff pastry for special occasions and parties. Although I had been planning to attempt making puff pastry from scratch for years, I put it off, because the process requires many steps and resting times. So imagine how excited I was when I found a time-saving technique for puff pastry in The Modern Baker. Not only is this puff pastry easy and relatively quick to make, it is freezer friendly, too. So you can make several batches in half a day, freeze them, and have your own instant puff pastry for future uses. This puff pastry bakes up beautifully flaky, buttery, and crisp. I’ll probably never use store-bought puff pastry again. When I used this dough to make cheese danishes, my dad said that they were better than the ones that he buys from a bakery. I’ve also used this successfully for savoury tarts (see recipes here and here) and beef wellington. Here are a few other recipes that use puff pastry: Hong Kong egg tarts (see recipe here), apple turnovers (see recipe here), chicken or turkey pot pie (see recipe here), and vol au vents.
I love the crunchy, torched sugar topping of crème brûlée. Although crème brûlée is one of my favourite desserts, I only eat the custard part because I don’t want to feel guilty about wasting food. I used to order crème brûlée more often than any other dessert at restaurants, but that changed when I discovered this recipe. My family and I love this recipe, even though we don’t normally like custardy desserts. The texture of the custard is just right, in my opinion; it’s creamy without being heavy or too rich, and it’s soft and jiggly without being runny or too pudding-y.
I made these in disposable aluminum tart pans for my sister to take to work for her lunch club. One of her friends liked it so much that she used her finger to get the remaining custard out of the pan. This dessert is classy enough to serve at any occasion and it can be made a day or two in advance.
Wild blueberries will forever remind me of the trip that my sister and I took to New England (East coast of Canada and USA). (See my New England clam chowder recipe and review here and my review of a New England restaurant that Barack Obama ate at here.) I was feeling nostalgic when I discovered that President’s Choice sells frozen Canadian wild blueberries, so I purchased a very large bag and have been making this simple wild blueberry sauce ever since. (On a side note, I’m hoping to come up with a recipe that uses frozen blueberries to make a good wild blueberry pie. I’ve had a failed attempt so far. I’ll keep you posted.) I have made this sauce for family, friends, and Ed, and everyone has loved it. It’s subtly sweet and natural tasting and is versatile for a range of simple and delicious desserts. For example, you could serve it warm over ice cream (photo below) or a slice of pound cake (recipe here) with a dollop of whipped cream. (If you have leftover whipped cream, you can freeze it (see here for instructions)!) I’ve also used this sauce (cooled) in trifles (photo above) and danishes (recipe here). I don’t recommend making this sauce with regular blueberries, because they’re not as flavourful, they’re more tart, and they don’t hold their shape as well as wild blueberries.
For our company’s gingerbread house decorating contest, I teamed up with my friends, Erin and Andrea. Thanks to Erin, who has a family tradition of making gingerbread houses, we won first place by most popular vote! I had such a great time making my first gingerbread house, so I’ve shared what I learned about how to make and decorate a gingerbread house. For some inspiration, see some amazing and elaborate gingerbread houses here. You could even use the guidelines provided below to make mini gingerbread houses as mug decorations (see here). Happy holidays everyone!
Despite my age, I still get a little excited whenever I treat myself to a popsicle. Fudgesicles used to be my favourite frozen snack, but years ago, I turned my back on them when I started giving up unnaturally flavoured, processed foods. So imagine how happy I was when I found recipes for homemade fudgesicles. I love that I can now make adult fudgesicles that have a dark chocolate flavour without fructose or corn syrup. I tested two highly rated recipes and have posted my favourite below. I’ll never crave a processed fudgesicle again. 🙂