A Taste of Florentines

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An Italian Holiday Treat

Crunchy, chewy Tuscan cookies are great for scooping up ice cream. Who cares if it’s cold outside?

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 3/4 cups sliced almonds

3 tbsp flour

2 tbsp orange zest (about 1 orange)

1/2 cup dried cherries

1/4 tsp sea salt

3/4 cup sugar

2 tbsp heavy cream

2 tbsp honey

5 tbsp unsalted butter

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

6 oz bittersweet chocolate to decorate

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with Silpat or baking parchment.

Place almonds in food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Stir in dried cherries, flour, orange zest and salt. Set aside.

Place sugar, cream, honey and butter in a small pan. Stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to boil and cook for 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla and almond mixture until just combined.  Set aside to cool for about 30 minutes.

When mixture is cool enough to handle, roll teaspoons of mixture into balls and place on baking sheet about 4 inches apart to allow room to spread.

Bake until flat and golden brown all over, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool  and harden for a few minutes, then transfer to cooling rack. Drizzle or sandwich with melted chocolate when completely cool.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Sindulgence: Caramel Brownies

Caramel Brownies2

Salty, sweet, chewy and chocolateythese squares of sticky goodness are easy to make and form the best brownie edges you will ever bite into. Enjoy them alone or warmed and topped with an oozy scoop of your favourite ice cream. Oh, and just try not to eat the whole pan at once…

Preheat 350°F

INGREDIENTS:
4oz unsweetened chocolate (99+% cacao)
3/4 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp salt, divided
3 large eggs
1 cup flour
6oz semi-sweet chocolate chunks
14oz caramels, unwrapped
1/4 cup heavy cream

INSTRUCTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 13 x 9 pan with foil and grease with cooking spray or butter.

Place chocolate and butter in microwaveable bowl.

Heat on HIGH for 1 ó minutes, stirring occasionally until melted. Stir in sugar, vanilla and 1 teaspoon of salt. Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in flour and chocolate chunks.

Pour half batter mixture into pan and smooth with a spatula. Bake for 20 mins.

Meanwhile, place caramels, heavy cream and remaining teaspoon of salt into a microwaveable bowl. Heat for 1 minute on HIGH or until caramels start to melt. Stir until smooth.

Remove brownie batter from oven and pour caramel mixture over top. Smooth with a spatula. Spoon over remaining batter and smooth with a spatula.

Bake for a further 30 mins or until just set. Do not over bake. Sprinkle a little salt on top of brownies.

Allow to cool before cutting into squares. Serve with vanilla or espresso ice cream.

Caramel Brownies

Prep Time 30 minutes
Makes 24 brownies

A Taste of Banoffee Pie

Banoffee Pie - England

Banoffee Pie – England (Serves 6)

Better known for its rib-sticking meat pies, England is home to some equally hearty dessert pies like this composition of banana, caramel, cream and cookie.

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cups graham crackers, crushed

1 stick (8 tbsp) butter, melted

1 can (13.4 oz) dulce de leche

3 large bananas, sliced

1 1/2 cups (12 fl oz) heavy cream, chilled

4 oz dark chocolate

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350˚F. In a small bowl, mix together cookie crumbs and melted butter. Press into a 9″ pie or tart pan and bake for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Pour dulce de leche into crust and spread evenly. Chill for 30 minutes. Arrange banana slices over dulce de leche. Place heavy cream into a large bowl and whip until soft peaks form. Spread cream over bananas. Melt chocolate and drizzle over cream. Serve in thin slices and attempt to restrain yourself.

A Taste of Sata Andagi

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Japanese Donuts

These crunchy sweet bites are an Okinawan staple that reminds us of deep fried pound cake.

 

INGREDIENTS:

4 large eggs

3/4 cup whole milk

3/4 tsp vanilla

4 cups flour

2 cups sugar

3 1/2 tbsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

Peanut oil for deep frying

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Place oil in large, heavy bottomed pan or wok. Heat to about 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, sift flour, sugar, baking powder and  salt. In a large bowl, mix eggs, milk, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients to egg mixture, and stir until dough is smooth.

Carefully drop teaspoonfuls of dough into oil and fry until golden brown, about 6-8 minutes. Drain on paper towels and serve warm with a steaming cup of green tea.

Tip: Cook doughnuts in small batches so the temperature of the oil doesn’t drop too much and make them greasy.

A Taste of Lamingtons

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An Australian Holiday Treat

These cute little cakes are wildly popular in Australia, and they’re as fun to make as they are to eat. Serve with hot cocoa and holiday movies.

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 day-old sponge/poundcake, baked with your favourite

recipe or store bought

4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3 tbsp unsalted butter

1/2 cup whole milk

2 cups desiccated coconut, unsweetened

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Cut cake into 16 squares and set aside.

Place confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, butter and milk into a heatproof bowl. Place bowl over a pan of simmering water, and stir mixture until smooth and pourable.

Using two forks, dip cake squares in chocolate mixture until all sides are coated, then roll in coconut. Place lamingtons on a wire rack to set.

Tip: Halve the squares of cake and fill with raspberry jam  before you frost them.

Makes about 16 little cakes.

A Taste of Basler Brunsli

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A Switzerland Holiday Treat

Chocolate-almond spice cookies are naturally gluten-free, and they fill the air with magical holiday aromas while baking.

 

INGREDIENTS:

8 oz whole almonds

1 1/3 cups sugar

1 tbsp sugar

6 oz bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves

2 large egg whites

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Place almonds and sugar in food processor; pulse until finely ground. Add chocolate and pulse until well blended. Add spices and egg whites. Pulse until a stiff dough is formed.

Sprinkle the additional 1 tablespoon of sugar onto large work surface and place dough on top. Cover with a sheet of baking parchment and roll out dough until . inch thick. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters until dough is used up. Place cookies on lightly greased cookie sheet and set aside to dry while oven preheats. Preheat oven to 325F.

Bake until slightly firm to touch, about 10 minutes.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

 Use chocolate with a 60% or higher cacao content for the best flavour.

Boo-Berry Bats over Blue Moons

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Who says Halloween is only about pumpkins? Why not make a ghoulish dessert with fresh BC Blueberries? Try making these delicious dessert ‘sandWITCHes.’

Ingredients

12 oz frozen blueberries, divided (about 2 1/4 cups total)
…“ cup + 1 tbsp sugar, divided
1 tbsp cornstarch
Pinch salt
1/2 cup whipped cream cheese
2 drops red food colouring
1 drop yellow food colouring
1 loaf frozen pound cake, thawed (10.75 oz)
1 tsp confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions
In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring 1/2 cup water to a boil. Add 2 cups of the blueberries; return to a boil. Cook until liquid is released from fruit, about 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a cup, combine …“ cup of the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Add to blueberries in saucepan, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Spoon into a bowl; cover and chill.
In a small bowl, stir together cream cheese, the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar, and food colouring; set aside.
Cut a thin layer off the top and bottom of the pound cake. Cut the pound cake into 4 thick horizontal slices. Working with 1 slice, use a 4′ bat-shaped cookie cutter to cut out 2 bats. From the same slice, use a 1/2′ half-moon shaped cutter to cut our 4 half moons.Repeat with the remaining cake slices.
Carefully spread 4 bats and 8 moons with cream cheese mixture. Press the remaining 1/4 cup blueberries into cream cheese, covering with remaining bat and moon shapes, forming sandwiches.
In a cup, combine confectioner’s sugar and cocoa; through a strainer, lightly sprinkle over sandwiches.
Spread blueberry sauce on 4 serving plates to form a ‘sky background’. Arrange 1 bat and two moons on each plate, serve.

Serves 4

For more recipes using BC Blueberries, visit: BC Blueberry

A Taste of Almond Galette

Peach, Blackberry and Almond Galette - France

Peach, Blackberry and Almond Galette (Serves 4)

France

Galette – also called crostata in Italy – is rustic, pretty and easy to make with whatever fruit is in season.

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

4 tbsp granulated sugar, divided

1/4 tsp salt

1 stick (4 oz) butter, cut into small cubes and chilled

1/3 cup ice water

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

3 cups (1 lb) sliced peaches (defrosted if frozen)

1/3 cup blackberries

2 tbsp flaked or slivered almonds

2 tbsp apricot or peach jam, warmed

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, salt and butter. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. With motor running, drizzle in just enough ice water so pastry forms a ball. Gently form dough into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F and line a flat baking sheet with parchment paper. Place dough on top. Roll out dough to a rough 12″ circle. Toss fruit with remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Spread breadcrumbs over pastry and arrange fruit on top, leaving a 2″ margin. Fold uncovered edges of pastry circle up and over to contain fruit. Brush fruit with warm jam. Sprinkle with flaked almonds and bake for 45-60 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.

Set aside to cool for 30 minutes, then serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

Sindulgence: Ginger Rogers Cookies

Sindulgence-cookie

In celebration of a woman who could do everything her partner did— but backwards and in high heels—a small indulgence with big impact is in order. Ginger, in its dried and fresh forms, has wonderful powers. A traditional remedy for all things tummy, it’s also an anti-inflammatory. In an honest, chewy cookie its flavour astounds.

Preheat 375°F

INGREDIENTS:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup organic cane sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup molasses
1 tbsp white vinegar

INSTRUCTIONS:
Lightly grease a baking sheet or use a silicon mat. Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, ground ginger and stir in grated fresh ginger.

Use a blender to mix butter, sugar and egg together and then blend in molasses. Beat for 2 minutes. Stir in vinegar.

Add flour mixture and blend thoroughly. Place into the fridge for 5-10 minutes to firm dough.

Prepare a plate of sugar to dip balls into. Roll dough into 2″ balls and roll in sugar before placing on baking sheet. To make crisp cookies, flatten with a knife. To make soft and chewy cookies, leave as balls.

Place into oven and bake for 12-15 minutes until flattened and beginning to crack on top. Remove to racks to allow to cool.

Serve with a shot of espresso and candied ginger.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Serves 24

Blueberry Bacon Bread Pudding

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It’s blueberry season, so why not head to your local supermarket’s produce department and buy BC Blueberries, supporting Canandian farmers.

More than 800 British Columbian blueberry farmers are out in the fields picking the antioxidant-rich, sweet berries.
Known as ‘nature’s candy,’ B.C. blueberries are expected to be available through until mid-October this year. Grab a handful or make a delicious Blueberry Bacon Bread Pudding.

Ingredients
5 cups French bread (6-8 thick slices) cut in 1.5′ square cubes
4 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1 half & half 10% cream
1/3 cup maple syrup
2/3 cup butter, melted
1- 1/2 cups B.C. blueberries, fresh or frozen
1- 1/2 cups bacon (15-20 slices)

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 °F.

Butter a non-stick 8 x 8′ baking pan.

Cut stale bread into 1- 1/2′ cubes and set aside. To make your own stale bread, cube fresh bread and bake in oven at 150 °F for 30-60 minutes until dry.

Fry slices of bacon in a pan, let cool and cut into ¾’ pieces.

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, cream, butter and maple syrup. Soak the cubed stale bread in the egg mixture for 10-20 minutes until bread absorbs the egg mixture.

Fold in the bacon and blueberries. Pour into the buttered baking pan.

Bake in a 350 °F oven for 50-65 minutes until bubbling and golden brown.

Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup.

Makes 6 – 8 portions

Visit the BC Blueberry Council for more great recipes.

A Taste of Gulab Jamun (Donuts)

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India and Pakistan

These warm, sweet doughnuts are soaked in a fragrant syrup and served at weddings and other festive occasions.

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups water

3 cardamom pods, crushed

1/2 tsp rose water

Pinch of saffron

1/2 cup milk powder

2 tbsp flour

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tbsp butter or ghee, melted

Oil or ghee for frying

2-4 tbsp whole milk

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

In a large pot, combine sugar, water, cardamom, rose water and saffron. Boil for a couple of minutes over a  medium heat, without stirring. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together powdered milk, flour, baking  soda, butter or ghee and milk to form a soft dough. Allow to rest for 15 minutes then gently roll into 3/4 inch balls.

Place 2 inches oil or ghee in large, heavy bottomed pan or wok. Heat over medium heat to about 300 degrees. Fry dough balls until golden brown, drain on paper towels then soak in reserved syrup. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios to serve (optional).

Sindulgence: Love Nest Monster

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Be very gentle. We are making meringues. They’re not hard to make, but they are a wee bit temperamental. So, take your time. Allow the egg whites to warm gently to room temperature. Then add the ingredients ever so slowly, one at a time.

Finally, bake at a low temperature. Done correctly, you end up with a base that is strong enough to support all kinds of delicious toppings, yet light enough to melt in your mouth. Yumminess.

INGREDIENTS:
3 egg whites
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 cup granulated sugar

INSTRUCTIONS:
Preheat oven to 250°F.

Separate egg whites from egg yolks and allow whites to warm to room temperature. Place whites into a clear glass bowl. Add salt and cream of tartar, then beat with a hand blender or a whisk until it is very foamy and no white remains at the bottom of the bowl. Blend in sugar one tablespoon at a time until mixture is very firm and forms glossy, pointed  peaks when you lift the beaters.

Use a 1/4 cup scoop to form 5 or 6 small nests. Bake in oven for 1 hour. Turn oven off and open the door leaving meringues inside to cool.

Serve each meringue on a dish of mixed berries and top it with fresh, real whipped cream.