Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bodacious Brownies!

My sweetheart made it crystal clear last night he was in need of a brownie fix, so I got up super early this morning to surprise him - until I knocked the cocoa canister all over the kitchen floor and had to vacuum, which of course woke him up and ruined my plan...

These brownies turned out moist and delicious, and were super quick and easy to throw together. I will definitely be making them again, and I think they would be super easy to doctor a little to make them even better! There was a recommended frosting recipe attached, which I will include, but I did not make it this time and they were great.

I doubled the recipe into a 9 x 13" pan, and added two packs of Starbucks' Columbia Roast VIA, but you could add instant espresso or nothing at all.

1/2 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup AP flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder

3 tbsp. butter, softened
3 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an 8-inch square pan.

In a large saucepan, melt butter. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk in dry ingredients. Spread batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

To make frosting: Combine all ingredients and frost brownies while they are still warm.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

It's a Pizza Pie!

I've made it no secret how much I adore Mark Bittman's recipes. So when I had a craving for pizza this week, it's no surprise that the dough recipe I went with came from his website.

The recipe itself is extremely minimalist, and guaranteed you are likely to have everything you need already in your kitchen.

Baking times will vary based on where you are and if you're using a pan or a stone. I used a pan and baked mine for 20+ minutes because I like a crispy crust.

You can use it same day (allow at least 2 hours rise time), or make ahead and freeze for when you need dinner fast. Also, the recipe calls to be mixed in a food processor but I didn't feel like cleaning it all up after so I just mixed it all by hand in a large bowl.

Mark Bittman's Pizza Dough

3 cups AP flour
2 tsp. instant yeast
2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. olive oil

Combine flour, yeast and salt in a food processor. Turn the machine on and add olive oil and 1 cup water through the feed tube.

Process for about 30 seconds, adding more water, a little at a time, until the mixture forms a ball and is slightly sticky to the touch. If it is still dry, add another tablespoon or so of water and process for another 10 seconds. (In the event that the mixture is too sticky, add flour a tablespoon at a time.)

Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead by hand for a few seconds to form a smooth, round dough ball. Put the dough in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap; let rise until the dough doubles in size, 1 to 2 hours. (You can cut this rising time short if you’re in a hurry, or you can let the dough rise more slowly, in the refrigerator, for up to 6 or 8 hours.) Proceed to Step 4 or wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap or a zipper bag and freeze for up to a month. (Defrost in the bag or a covered bowl in the refrigerator or at room temperature; bring to room temperature before shaping.)

When the dough is ready, form it into a ball and divide it into 2 or more pieces if you like; roll each piece into a round ball. Put each ball on a lightly floured surface, sprinkle with flour, and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let rest until they puff slightly, about 20 minutes.

Bake at 425 degrees 15-20 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cupcakes in Calgary

I've recently moved to a new city, Calgary Alberta. Shopping last weekend I made my favorite kind of find: a cupcake shop!

Bliss & Co. Cupcakes and Desserts. They're located at 108-3rd Ave. SW Unit 111, but I stumbled upon them at an outlet in gigantic Chinook Centre.

If you can stop by there, I highly recommend Chocolate Bliss and Island Dream. Also, and believe it or not, I LOVED their Lemon Cream cupcake! I am extremely discriminate of lemon cupcakes, the best ever of course at Trophy Cupcakes in Seattle, the other best out of MY kitchen... But their lemon was a close third (I maintain mine are better!!).

What a nice surprise on a chilly afternoon!

Here's a link to their website so you can check them out yourself: Bliss & Co, Cupcakes and Desserts


I was shopping today and craving bagels. Big, fresh, doughy, delicious bagels. The specialty bagel shop was already closed when I got there, and I won't purchase the supermarket alternatives, so I opted to make some myself!

Bagels are extremely simple and rewarding to make. Breads can be daunting to some, but I found a fantastic recipe that start to finish, takes less than an hour.

Their shelf life is not as long as their grocery store counterparts, but that's a good thing. The best thing about making your own bagels at home: you know what's in them! My boyfriend bought some recently at the grocery store that eight weeks later still appeared to be good - scary!

4 cups AP flour
1 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. canola oil
2 tsp. instant yeast
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups warm water

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. The dough should feel stiff, but add the extra water if it's really stiff or you are having trouble incorporating all the dry flour.

Drop the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for about ten minutes, or until the dough is uniform and smooth.

Cut the dough into eight equal-sized balls, and let rest for 10-20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Take each of the dough balls and using two hands, roll into a little snake on the surface. When the snake is longer than the width of your two hands, wrap it around one of your hands. The dough rope should be wrapped so the overlapping ends are together at your palm, near the start of your fingers. Take the two overlapping ends, and use your palm to squish/roll the two ends together. Once the dough is fused, you should have a perfect circle.

Let the bagels rest on the counter for about 20 minutes, and meanwhile bring a large pot of water to boil, and line a baking sheet with parchment. Rub parchment with a splash of vegetable oil.

After 20 minutes have passed and dough has risen, add them to the pot, as many as will fit at a time without crowding them. Boil for about a minute, turn them over, and boil another minute. Take them out and let dry for a minute. Place them on prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all the bagels are boiled.

Bake bagels for 10 minutes, flip them over, and bake 5 to 10 minutes more until they are golden brown.

Let cool for 20 minutes and enjoy.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The BEST Chocolate Chip Cookie EVER!

These cookies are my absolute favorite ever! I don't make them very often because the recipe calls for a full pound of butter, but for those rare occasions when you're feeling especially deserving of something bad for you, they fit the bill perfectly!

This is another Martha Stewart recipe, actually from her daughter, Alexis. They are big and flat and chewy and crispy? Sounds odd, but trust me, they're amazing!

Alexis's Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 lb. (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups AP flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside. Cream butter until smooth; add sugars and beat until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Into a large bowl, sift together dry ingredients. Slowly beat dry ingredients into wet mixture. Fold in chocolate chips.

Drop 2-3 tablespoons dough per cookie onto prepared baking sheets; space dough at least 2 inches apart to allow for spreading. Bake until golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove cookies from baking sheets, and allow to cool on racks.

Makes fifty 4-inch cookies.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Perfect Lemon Cupcakes

My friend is celebrating her birthday tomorrow... She loves lemon, the color yellow, and stars, so I decided to make little lemon cupcakes with pretty yellow buttercream and super cute confetti star candies! It wasn't really a stretch for me, I do have an addiction to lemon anything...

You know when you go to a cupcake shop and try the lemon only to find out it tastes something like lemon household cleaner?? I recently had this bad experience and have decided to make it my crusade to come up with awesome natural lemon-flavored cakes.

Here it is - all my own creation! Makes 24.

Perfect Lemon Cupcakes
By Dulce Doll

1 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
Zest of 3 lemons
Juice of 2 1/2 lemons
1 cup milk
1 tsp. lemon extract
3 cups AP flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat together butter and sugar in a stand mixer until smooth. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add rind, milk, lemon juice and lemon extract. Beat well until completely combined.

Add flour, one cup at a time, beating well between each addition. Add baking powder and salt and beat until smooth.

Line 2 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake liners. Fill each cup with about 1/4-cup of batter.

Bake 18 to 22 minutes depending on your oven, rotating pans halfway through.

Lemon Buttercream
By Dulce Doll

1 cup butter, room temperature
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 1/2 lemons
4 1/2 cups confectioners sugar (may vary depending on desired consistency)
Yellow gel food coloring

Beat butter until creamy and smooth. Add lemon zest and juice and beat until incorporated.

Start adding sugar, one cup at a time, beating after each addition until you have desired consistency for piping or spreading.

Beat in a few drops of gel coloring until you get the color that you'd like.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Gateau au Citron

On my Facebook group Bakealicious! I've implemented a monthly baking challenge to try to get everyone into their kitchens and trying new and yummy recipes. For March I chose a French-style yogurt cake from Orangette, which I made finally last night, and it turned out delicious! I'll definitely be making it again and again and with different citrus fruits.

It was super moist and tasty and had a tart lemon glaze, I highly recommend it. I made it all in the one bowl of my stand mixer, very little mess! I altered the original recipe slightly, adding a little more lemon zest than it called for because I LOVE lemon!

For the cake:
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups AP flour
2 tsp. baking powder
Grated lemon zest of two lemons
1/2 cup canola oil

For the glaze:
Juice from 2 lemons
1/2 jar powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, sugar, and eggs, stirring until well blended. Add the flour, baking powder, and zest, mixing to just combine. Add the oil and stir to incorporate. At first, it will look like a horrible, oily mess, but keep stirring, and it will come together into a smooth batter. Pour and scrape the batter into a parchment-lined 9-inch round cake pan.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the cake feels springy to the touch and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Do not overbake.

Cool cake on a rack for about 20 minutes; then turn it out of the pan to cool completely.

When the cake is thoroughly cooled, combine the lemon juice and powdered sugar in a small bowl and spoon it gently over the cake. The glaze will be thin and will soak in like a syrup.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Great Coffee In Vancouver

I know I should probably NOT be advertising another coffee company's brand, but whenever I'm close to an Artigiano's location I make a point to stop in for a great Americano or French Press. I can't help it - hope you do the same sometime! Quaint, great service, welcoming atmosphere, appropriate food offerings, and delicious coffee!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

More Olympics!

Something I loved to do almost daily during the Olympics was visit the Cauldron down on the waterfront. I was very depressed the day they put it out.

Gold rings means Canadian gold medal!

One afternoon a friend and I decided to go for a walk through Stanley Park to visit the Olympic rings out on their barge in the harbor. Needless to say, it didn't look as far as it was and we ended up walking about ten kilometers round trip! Totally worth it, however, despite the gray weather and the threat of rain. It made for some great photos...

Downtown on Robson Street was chaos once the games were on!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Urban Fare

When I was at the Olympics I did my shopping at this great market that I found in the new Shangri La building in Vancouver. It's the tallest building in the city now, home to celebrities, Burberry, and the Urban Fare Market.

It includes a full bakery/pastry department, deli, salad bar, and Thomas Haas Chocolaterie. It was just a really pretty store to shop in!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

March Mac Attack Entry!

Firstly, thank you again to Jamie and Deeba for facilitating this fun activity! The theme for Mac Tweets' Mac Attack 5 is "Spring Fling", and the inspiration is to be spring flowers. The first thing that always comes to mind for me when I think about spring/summer is lavender. I love everything about it. How something so simple can be so impactful is amazing to me.

I knew I wanted lavender macarons, but I got the idea to pair that flavor with fresh orange from Cannelle et Vanille.

Lavender Macarons
By Dulce Doll

1 cup plus 1 tbsp. confectioners sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. ground almonds
2 large egg whites, aged 24 hours
5 tbsp. granulated sugar
Grated zest of 1 orange
Blue or lavender gel food coloring
Dried lavender

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment, and have a pastry bag fitted with a plain 1/4-inch tip ready.

In a food processor, pulse together the powdered sugar, almonds, and cocoa, until a fine powder.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites until they begin to rise and hold their shape. While whipping, beat in the granulated sugar until very stiff and firm, about two minutes. Add orange zest and a very small amount of food coloring, only enough to very slightly tint the color. Whip again for a few seconds to incorporate zest and color.

Carefully fold in the dry ingredients, in two batches, with a flexible rubber spatula. When the mixture is just smooth and there are no streaks of white, stop folding and scrape the batter into the pastry bag (standing the bag in a tall glass helps if you're alone).

Pipe the batter on the prepared baking sheets in 1-inch circles, evenly spaced one-inch apart. Sprinkle tops with dried lavender.

Rap the baking sheet a few times firmly on the counter top to flatten, then bake 8 to 12 minutes depending on your oven. Let cool completely, then remove from baking sheet.

Fresh Orange Buttercream
By Dulce Doll

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
Confectioners sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Zest of 1 orange

Cream butter until smooth. Add vanilla and continue beating to incorporate. Start mixing in confectioners sugar, 1/4-cup at a time until you have desired consistency. Beat in orange zest.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My New Love

Okay, so I've always been terrified of making crepes. I'm not sure why, but up until now, I haven't even attempted making them. I thought you had to have a special pan - not entirely true.

I've always liked crepes, usually sweet ones with lots of fruit and whipped cream. One time in Calgary, my BFF and I went to an eclectic little restaurant only serving crepes. We were very excited, Sunday morning, and then the waitress called them creeps. Ugh. We felt a little less classy at the time, but the joke still keeps on giving...

One of my almost daily staples in Vancouver is Cafe Crepe - they're all over the city, a walk-up crepe kiosk, if you will, with every yummy flavor you could want, savory or sweet.

Needless to say, I was ecstatic when one of my favorite bloggers, Christine, of Fresh Local and Best posted a very simple crepe recipe from her recent trip to France. I took it as a sign and what happened next is very dangerous. I now know how to make crepes. This recipe does not call for vanilla, but I will add it next time.

Basic Crepes

2 eggs
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
Pinch of salt
4 tbsp. melted butter

To make batter, whisk eggs in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk in flour until blended. Pour in milk, a quarter cup at a time, so that the batter is smooth. Add salt and 2 tablespoons of the melted butter. Whisk until smooth.

Place a frying pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, brush melted butter onto the entire surface of the pan. When you are ready to ladle the batter onto the pan, pick up the pan, have it tilted at about a 30 degree angle. Ladle about a quarter of a cup of batter onto the tilted pan. Continue to tilt the pan in a circular motion to spread the batter evenly.

Allow the crepe to cook for roughly two minutes. Use a plastic spatula to loosen the edges of the crepe. When the crepe looks ready, peel it off the skillet and flip it over. Brown the second side for roughly a minute.

My very first crepe!!

I brushed melted butter and sprinkled with sweetened coconut flakes.

Strawberry jam - yum!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I always love trying new chocolate chip cookie recipes because you never know if one might be just a little bit more perfect than the one you already think is perfect. I don't know, I can't take that chance. This recipe comes from my new cook book (the one pictured in my last post).

This recipe is great, the cookies baked really nice and evenly, were extremely easy to put together quickly, and tasted just right. Still, my all-time favorite chocolate chip cookie is still this one, but this one may have moved into second place, just based on the fact that they are chewy!

Chocolate Chip Cookies
From The Best of Chef at Home by Michael Smith

1 1/2 cups AP flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer or food processor, cream the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and continue beating until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and gradually add flour mixture, beating just until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Using a spoon, scoop out a ball of dough, roll in your hands to shape and then drop on parchment-lined baking sheet, allowing plenty of room for cookies to expand. Slightly flatten the tops.

For a soft, chewy cookie, bake for exactly 12 minutes. For a crispier cookie, bake for exactly 15 minutes.

* I made some cookies regular size, but I made some also that were giant, flattened them quite a bit before baking, and added some baking time. They were awesome!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

New Book

I bought this new book this week and I LOVE it! Lots of fabulous, tasty recipes by a chef who takes a fairly laid back approach to cooking. He's a Canadian chef, from Prince Edward Island with a background in fine dining. He's all about flavor and ease and that personal touch making the dish your own.

I made his chocolate chip cookies last night, huge hit at work this morning! Will post them tomorrow!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

An Hour and Twenty Minutes for a Hot Dog!

I don't know if you've heard about Japadog, but it's kind of a big deal in Vancouver! After a mention on the NBC Today Show during the Olympics they became an even bigger deal, and after promising my friend visiting Vancouver his first trip to Japadog, I stood in line for well over an hour for my dog.

Fortunately, these dogs are fantastic, unique because they're topped with traditional Japanese fixings, and suggested accompaniments that include edamame. I ordered one of my favorites, the Beef Terimayo, which is a beef smokie, Japanese mayo, teriyaki sauce, grilled onions, and nori.

I wish I had one now!

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Opening Ceremonies!

Today I will share my photographs of my night at the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympic games! Wow, what an incredible energy! Just walking up to BC Place was so exciting!

Please excuse the photo quality, some photos are from my iphone, some from my camera, but it was very dark inside, with constant movement and it was difficult to capture everything. I'm posting some of my favorite memories from the evening, including several photos of athletes, but really, it's all about them! I hope you enjoyed the show as much as I did.

Waiting to get through security (in the rain!).

My Dad waited for the clock to count down at the Art Gallery.

Mounties raising the Canadian flag to start the ceremonies.

The start of the athletes' arrival.



Great Britain

United States

Canada! The audience exploded with their arrival!

Northern Lights

Totem Poles


Rocky Mountains

K.D. Lang's breathtaking performance.

Finally the torch! Paralympic medalist Rick Hansen arrives.

The final hand-off to Wayne Greztky!

Ready to light the now famous malfunctioning cauldron.


Time to relax! Athletes starting to leave the building.

One of my favorites! US athletes making snow angels in the artificial snow!

This Canadian athlete (center) "flagged" down these two fans for a photo!