Ube Cream Puffs w/ Craqueline Topping

Ube (pronounced OO-bay), is a purple yam native to the Philippines and other areas of Southeast Asia. Ube is a very versatile ingredient. It is not a purple sweet potato or taro, it is a purple yam. Its special taste reminds one of vanilla, pistachios or chestnuts. The vibrant purple color inside and out is uniquely photogenic.

Ube has been used for decades in Filipino cuisine and has now caught on in North America, especially in the form of desserts. In fact, one of the world’s top 10 food and beverage flavor manufacturers has identified the official 2024 Flavor of the Year as Ube. The 2024 Food and Beverage Flavor Trends Report is an annual summary by California-based T. Hasegawa USA.

Globally recognized for its innovation and expertise in flavor development and proprietary flavor enhancing technologies, T. Hasegawa remains at the forefront of consumer trends and shares these developments and research findings throughout the food and beverage industry.

Today, I’m making some ube cream puffs with a craquelin topping. Cream puffs start with choux pastry, a heady mixture of butter, milk, water, eggs & flour. When you combine these ingredients, they become so dense and sticky that it seems impossible they’ll come together as soft, puffy, light, tender. Heat is what initiates the expansion of the dense paste. Steam from the milk and water expands the pastry’s edges, puffing up its capacity until the oven heat provides just enough crispness and structure to hold the puffs’ boundaries. A cream puff expands so dramatically in the oven that it creates a cavern inside to hold any number of things—whipped cream, pastry cream, ice cream or savory fillings.

Cream puff pastry (or choux pastry) is the base for profiteroles (smaller puffs filled with ice cream), éclairs (elongated puffs filled with pastry cream and glazed), croquembouche (a tower of cream puffs held together and drizzled with caramel) and savory appetizer puffs called gougeres with cheese and herbs.

Craquelin (pronounced kra-ke-lan) is a thin biscuit layer that can be added over choux pastries before baking them. It is used to create a crackly appearance, crunchy texture and a buttery sweet taste as well as helping the choux pastry bake evenly to form hollow rounds. It certainly dresses up ordinary cream puffs and the taste is so unique.

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Ube Cream Puffs w/ Craqueline Topping
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Servings
CREAM PUFFS
Ingredients
Ube Pastry Cream
Craquelin Topping
Choux Pastry
Servings
CREAM PUFFS
Ingredients
Ube Pastry Cream
Craquelin Topping
Choux Pastry
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Instructions
Ube Pastry Cream
  1. In a medium saucepan whisk together sugar, cornstarch & salt. Pour the milk & egg yolks into a bowl & whisk until combined then add liquid mixture to the saucepan slowly & whisk together.
  2. Add butter, bring mixture to a boil whisking constantly for one minute before removing from heat then mix in the ube extract.
  3. Transfer the pastry cream to a separate container (optional: first strain it through a mesh sieve to ensure the cream has a really smooth consistency) Cover the pastry cream with plastic wrap, ensuring that the plastic wrap touches the top of the pastry cream to discourage the formation of a skin on top of it.
  4. Place in refrigerator & chill for at least 2 hours before using.
Ube Craquelin
  1. Soften the butter then mix the ube extract into it. Add in the flour, brown sugar & salt. Mix together until thoroughly combined. Place the dough between two sheets of parchment paper & flatten until the dough reaches about 1/4 inch thickness. Freeze the dough until ready to use.
Choux Pastry
  1. Pour the water, sugar, salt & butter into a saucepan & heat over medium heat. Stir the mixture together until the water is boiling & the butter is melted. Remove the saucepan from the heat & add the flour.
  2. Vigorously mix the flour into the butter/water mixture so that all the water is absorbed. Once the dough is formed, return the saucepan to the heat. Continue to mix & cook down the dough until it pulls away from the sides of the saucepan, about 2-5 minutes. You should be able to place a spoon into it & have it stand straight up.
  3. Transfer the dough to a bowl & allow it cool down for a couple minutes. Crack in the eggs one at a time, ensuring the previous egg is fully incorporated into the dough before adding in the next egg.
  4. Transfer the dough into a piping bag.
Assembly
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Remove the craqueline topping from the freezer & cut out disks of a desired size to put on top of the choux pastry.
  3. Pipe out mounds of choux pastry onto the prepared baking tray & top each mound with a craqueline disk.
  4. Bake for 30-40 minutes depending on the size of the choux mounds. DO NOT open the oven for the first 25 minutes of the baking process of the steam will release & the choux won't puff up properly.
  5. After about 25 minutes, open the oven & prick each choux with a toothpick, then return to the oven to cook for another 5-10 minutes depending on the choux size (this helps to dry out the insides to maintain a firm choux).
  6. Remove from oven once the choux is nice & golden brown. Prick each choux again with a toothpick to allow them to dry out even further while they cool.
  7. Remove the pastry cream from the fridge & fill a piping bag with it. Slice each choux pastry in half keeping them connected slightly on one side. Divide ube pastry cream between the 'cream puffs'.

Fudgy Valentine Brownie Cake

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!

It seems one of the most common symbols associated with Valentine’s Day are heart shapes, used to decorate cards, gift boxes, wrapping paper, cakes, cookies, candies, etc. etc.

Chocolate not only adds a touch of decadence but is one of the quintessential Valentine treats. This little chocolate fudge cake is kind of reminiscent of the ‘hot fudge pudding cakes’ from the 1960’s.  Easy to make, you don’t need any special equipment, just a bowl, a whisk and a few simple ingredients. The big thing is it tastes like pure unadulterated fudge.

Brion & I have never felt the need to give gifts on ‘occasions’ but rather just a card with a loving and sincere verse. As we grow older, it becomes clearer every day, the special privilege is to simply have each other to share life with. This year my valentine card for Brion is this edible chocolate heart. The bonus is I’ll get to share it with him!

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Fudgy Valentine Brownie Cake
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Servings
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a pot, melt butter over medium heat. Remove from heat & whisk in sugar. Add eggs & vanilla; whisk well.
  3. Add flour, cocoa powder & salt; whisk just until combined. Fold in chocolate chips & nuts (or seeds).
  4. Bake about 18 minutes. For a real fudgy texture, slightly UNDER BAKE it. This makes it sooo.. good!
  5. Write your valentine greeting on when cooled & give to your special someone.

Neapolitan Swirl Cookies

I was intrigued by the concept of these cookies; in that they replicate the flavor profile of the ‘nostalgic’ Neapolitan ice cream. The name ‘Neapolitan’ comes from Naples, Italy. Many believe the history of Neapolitan ice cream can trace its roots back to ‘spumoni’ – a traditional form of ice cream originating in southern Italy and made of multiple blocks of ice cream put together. The most popular flavors of spumoni are cherry, chocolate and pistachio. Historically the colors of the Italian flag – green (pistachio), white (vanilla), and red (cherry pink).

As legend goes, in the 19th century, immigrants to North America from southern Italy (namely Naples) brought along the recipes popular in their homeland including spumoni. The dessert likely adapted to popular local flavors at the time being, chocolate, vanilla and strawberry.

Over time, this flavor trio has evolved into much more, such as cookies, drinks, cheesecakes, trifle, fudge, rice krispie treats, parfaits and the list goes on.

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Neapolitan Swirl Cookies
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Course dessert
Cuisine American
Servings
COOKIES
Ingredients
Course dessert
Cuisine American
Servings
COOKIES
Ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Cream together butter & powdered sugar. Add egg & mix thoroughly. Sift in the flour, cornstarch & salt.
  2. Combine into a dough consistency. Divide dough into 3 equal portions.
  3. Add vanilla to the first one & combine well. To the second portion add strawberry flavor & red food gel; combine until evenly colored. To the third portion, add the melted chocolate & cocoa powder.
  4. Place each flavored ball of dough between parchment paper & roll out in a circle to an 1/8-inch thickness. On the chocolate piece place the vanilla layer & then the strawberry layer. Roll up in a 'cinnamon roll' fashion & place in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Using string, cut cookie roll in slices. This should create a nice 'feathery' look.
  7. Bake the cookies for about 10-12 minutes or until just lightly browned on the bottom.
Recipe Notes
  • I make use of the Lorann flavorings whenever I can. Lorann's professional strength flavorings and essential oils are 3x to 4x stronger than typical alcohol-based extracts. They smell & taste amazing!

Ube Bread Pudding w/ Ube Cream Cheese Drizzle

Ube (pronounced OO-bay), is a purple yam native to the Philippines and other areas of Southeast Asia. Ube is a very versatile ingredient. It is not a purple sweet potato or taro, it is a purple yam. Its special taste reminds one of vanilla, pistachios or chestnuts. The vibrant purple color inside and out is uniquely photogenic.

Ube has been used for decades in Filipino cuisine and has now caught on in North America, especially in the form of desserts.

When I first tried using it sometime back, it was in some sweet rolls that were filled with ube ‘halaya’ or jam and topped with Edam cheese. We absolutely loved them. My next adventure was some ube cheesecake for Easter (2019). Both of these recipes have been published here on the blog.

Now, I’m taking it another step further and making an Ube Bread Pudding. This dessert is best made over two days due to that fact that you are making the ube bread from scratch. Should be interesting!

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Ube Bread Pudding w/ Ube Cream Cheese Drizzle
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Servings
Ingredients
Ube Halaya (jam) Filling for Bread
Ube Bread Pudding
Ube Cream Cheese Drizzle
Servings
Ingredients
Ube Halaya (jam) Filling for Bread
Ube Bread Pudding
Ube Cream Cheese Drizzle
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Instructions
Ube Halaya
  1. In a medium, heavy saucepan, melt butter. Add coconut & condensed milks; stir until heated. Add thawed, grated ube & stir everything together. This process takes about 40-50 minutes until the ube is cooked. The mixture will be thick & sticky. It is important to stir the mixture often during cooking to prevent it from forming a crust. Transfer the ube halaya to a container & set aside.
Ube Bread
  1. In a small dish, heat milk to lukewarm. Add yeast & 1 tsp sugar; let sit for 5 minutes to allow yeast to activate. In a large bowl, whisk together remaining 1/4 cup sugar, melted butter, sour cream & egg. Add yeast mixture & stir to combine.
  2. In another bowl, whisk flour & salt. Add flour mixture to yeast mixture 1 cup at a time, combining after each addition. Once all the flour has been added, knead on a lightly floured surface for about 2 minutes.
  3. Lightly grease the large bowl, place dough in it & cover with plastic wrap & a tea towel. Allow to rest for at least one hour, in a draft-free place until dough has doubled in volume. Grate cheese & set aside in refrigerator until needed.
  4. Grease 2 loaf pans. Punch dough down & divide in half. Roll each piece out to about 7x7-inch (18x18 cm) square. Spread ube halaya over each one leaving about 1/2-inch border all the way around. Sprinkle each square with Edam cheese then roll up in jelly-roll style. Pinch to seal seams & place seam side down in loaf pans. Cover with plastic wrap & a tea towel. Allow to rise for an hour or until doubled in size.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake bread for about 50 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven; cool for just a few minutes then pat with butter. Sprinkle with more grated cheese.
Ube Bread Pudding (ON THE FOLLOWING DAY)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 8 x 8-inch baking dish. Cut thick slices of ube bread into 1-inch cubes & spread out in baking dish. In a saucepan, melt butter into milk on medium-high; do not let it boil. Remove from heat when butter is melted.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk eggs & coconut extract together. Slowly pour egg mixture into butter/milk mixture & begin whisking immediately to avoid scrambling the egg mixture. Pour custard over the ube bread pieces; use a spoon to work liquid between the pieces.
  3. Bake for about 30-45 minutes or until the top is springy. While the bread pudding is baking, make the ube drizzle.
Ube Drizzle
  1. In a bowl, using a mixer, beat butter for 2 minutes then add cream cheese & beat for another minute. Add powdered sugar slowly then beat thoroughly; add vanilla. Mix in ube halaya until well combined. Add enough milk to make a drizzle consistency. Either drizzle bread pudding before or after cutting into serving pieces.
Recipe Notes
  • You will have extra Ube Bread & Ube Halaya but it will no doubt be eaten before you have a chance to freeze it. Other than just enjoying it by the slice, it makes great French toast as well.

Ube Pull-Apart Bread

There are a many different names for pull-apart bread such as monkey bread, Hungarian coffee cake, golden dumpling coffee cake, tear & share bread, bubble loaf just to mention a few. Pull-apart bread has both popular and deep cultural roots having originated in Hungary. Starting in 1950 and making its way across the Atlantic to Hungarian Jewish bakeries in the United States. Pull-apart bread was eventually featured in a Betty Crocker cookbook in 1972 and even became a staple in the Regan White House of the 1980s.

Imagine a bread so soft and buttery that it pulls apart into tender pieces at the slightest touch. Pull-apart bread’s first North American incarnation was as a mass of buttery dinner rolls, baked together so they could be pulled apart at the table.

Home bakers have remained captivated by pull-apart bread, having come up with numerous versions such as maple bacon brie, garlic & herb, pepperoni, spinach artichoke. Of course, the classic with the sandy-sweet filling of a cinnamon roll, crunchy pecans topped with a rich caramel glaze will never go out of voque.

Pull-apart bread makes the ultimate baked good, perfect for a family or holiday brunch. Delicious cut into slices or simply torn into chunks, this Ube Pull-Apart Bread makes the perfect dessert for barbecues and picnics or just any time.

Ube (pronounced OO-bay), is a purple yam native to the Philippines and other areas of Southeast Asia. Ube is a very versatile ingredient. It is not a purple sweet potato or taro, it is a purple yam. Its special taste reminds one of vanilla, pistachios or chestnuts. The vibrant purple color inside and out is uniquely photogenic.

Ube has been used for decades in Filipino cuisine and has now caught on in North America, especially in the form of desserts. I fell in love with the flavor of ube jam many years ago so I’m always looking for another way to use it.

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Ube Pull-Apart Bread
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Course dessert
Cuisine American, Filipino
Servings
THICK SLICES
Ingredients
Ube Halaya (Jam)
Bread Dough
Course dessert
Cuisine American, Filipino
Servings
THICK SLICES
Ingredients
Ube Halaya (Jam)
Bread Dough
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
Ube Halaya (Jam) Best to make a DAY AHEAD of using
  1. In a medium, heavy saucepan, melt butter. Add coconut & condensed milks; stir until heated. Add thawed, grated ube & combine well. Cook over a low heat. It is important to stir the mixture often during cooking to prevent it from forming a ‘crust’. This process takes about 40-50 minutes until the ube is cooked. The mixture should be thick & sticky. Transfer the ube jam to a container & set aside.
Dough
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together lukewarm water, sugar & yeast & allow to sit until frothy.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the butter with milk & vanilla. Cool slightly.
  3. Pour the butter mixture into the yeast mixture and whisk together until just combined. Add the egg and beat until just combined. Slowly add the flour & salt, reserving 2 tablespoons for adjusting later.
  4. Knead the dough until you have a smooth, slightly sticky dough. Add some or all of the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour if necessary. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in an oiled bowl. Turn the dough to oil the top. Cover and let rise until doubled in size about an hour.
  5. Line an 8 1/2 inch by 4 1/2-inch bread pan with parchment paper.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and press or roll into a 16 x 11-inch rectangle. Spread about 1 1/4 cups (about 300 gm) ube jam filling mixture evenly across the top of dough going right to the edges. On the longest side, cut the dough vertically into six strips. Stack 3 of the strips on top of one another, making 2 layers of 3 strips each. Then, using a sharp knife, carefully cut the stacks into 4 squares.
  7. Layer the 8 'piles' of squares into the loaf pan vertically. Sometimes it helps to hold the pan vertically as you are stacking. Cover pan with greased plastic wrap & a tea towel. Allow to rise until doubled, about 45 minutes to an hour.
  8. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  9. Brush bread with egg wash & sprinkle with Edam cheese. Bake for 15 minutes and then tent with foil in the oven. Bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes.
  10. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove from the pan & sprinkle with more cheese if you wish. Serve with extra ube jam if desired.
Recipe Notes
  • I find making the Ube Halaya a day ahead is a good idea!
  • You will only need part of the amount of ube jam this recipe makes. I never have a hard time putting it to good use in other recipes or just using it as a 'jam'.
  • On my blog site there are numerous recipes such as ube cheesecakes, buns, cruffins, cake roll w/ cheese streusel, etc.

Salmon Galette w/ Cornmeal Crust

If you have never tried a little cornmeal in your pastry crust, now is the time. The texture really is amazing. Tender and flaky, you will have a hard time going back to a traditional crust.

We all know that what separates a good quiche from a great one is the pastry crust. No matter how good the filling is, if the pastry is undercooked or overcooked, then the quiche becomes one of ‘those’ kind of meals. Cornmeal adds a touch of nutty flavor to the tart shell which makes this a great choice to use for both savory and sweet pies.

Despite its notoriety for being the key ingredient in cornbread, cornmeal is not a one-note ingredient. Cornmeal’s vibrant color and flavor brighten up many dishes and it creates a light, crispy crust when baked. 

Since I started making cornmeal pastry years ago, it has become my go-to for sweet, savory and ‘in between’. In this quiche, it pairs extremely well with the salmon and veggies.

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Salmon Galette w/ Cornmeal Crust
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Sour Cream Cornmeal Pastry
Servings
Ingredients
Sour Cream Cornmeal Pastry
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Instructions
Cornmeal Pastry
  1. In a small bowl, combine sour cream & ice water; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar & salt. Using a pastry blender or fingertips, cut in butter until mixture resembles BOTH coarse crumbs & small peas. Sprinkle the cold sour cream mixture over dough, I Tbsp at a time, tossing with a fork to evenly distribute it. After you have added all the sour cream mixture, dough should be moist enough to stick together when pressed; if not, add additional cold water, 1 tsp at a time. DO NOT overwork dough.
  2. Press dough into a disk shape & wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. The dough can be kept in the refrigerator for a day or two or it can be wrapped airtight & frozen for a month. When ready to use, thaw, still wrapped in refrigerator.
Filling
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. In a container, lightly beat eggs & add cream, dill, mustard spices & basil paste. Combine well.
  3. Roll out chilled pastry on a lightly floured surface into a 13-inch circle. Transfer pastry to a pie plate, leaving rough edges overhang dish.
  4. Spoon salmon into shell followed by leeks, red pepper & corn. Pour cream mixture over all then fold the rough pie edges into galette. Brush pastry edges with egg wash & bake until custard is set when a knife is inserted near center & pastry is baked, about 40-50 minutes.
  5. Remove galette from oven, allow to sand a few minutes, then slice & serve or serve at room temperature.
Recipe Notes
  • Brion & I really enjoyed this galette with tartar sauce as a condiment.

Savory Dutch Baby Pancakes

I’m sure you are probably quite familiar with the Dutch Baby or German pancake. I have featured them on the blog numerous times over the years.

A cross between a pancake and a crepe, a Dutch baby begins with the thin pancake-like batter which is poured into an oven proof dish. When it cooks it starts to rise and puff up. When the edges of the pancake are brown, it is ready to come out of the oven. The center is perfect for adding either sweet or savory ingredients.

The recipe is a basic, universal one that can be adapted in a number of different ways. For example, you could add berries or other fruit to the batter or omit the sugar and vanilla and make a savory version with veggies and different spices.

We haven’t had a Dutch baby meal for a long time so I’m making a savory ones with zucchini, mushrooms & some Italian chicken sausage. Should be good!

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Savory Dutch Baby Pancakes
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Instructions
Dutch Baby Pancakes for 2
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. In a bowl, whisk eggs & milk. Add flour & whisk until incorporated. Whisk in parmesan cheese, sliced scallions, parsley, thyme, salt & pepper. Set aside.
Filling
  1. Heat oil in a skillet. Add onions & sauté until translucent. Add zucchini & sauté for 3-5 minutes until zucchini is tender. Season with salt & pepper. Transfer to a bowl. Add another 2 teaspoons of oil to skillet. Add mushrooms & sauté for 5-7 minutes. Cook until mushrooms are tender & most of the moisture has cooked off. Season with salt & pepper; transfer to another bowl. Keep filling ingredients warm will you bake the Dutch Baby pancake,
  2. Add 1 tsp of oil to skillet. Add sliced chicken sausage. Cook until browned. Transfer to another bowl. Add vegetable broth to skillet; whisk in flour & seasoning. Bring to a simmer while whisking until mixture thickens. Remove from heat & keep warm.
Bake /Serve
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Melt 4 Tbsp butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once the butter is melted & the skillet is hot, pour in the batter. Carefully transfer the skillet to preheated oven & bake 25 minutes, The Dutch Baby will puff up during cooking, but once it's removed from the oven & starts to cool it will deflate slightly.
  3. When Dutch Baby is cooked, remove from oven & place some of the chicken sausage in it then top with the veggies & the remainder of chicken sausage. Ladle sauce over top & sprinkle with grated cheese & fresh thyme. Serve immediately.

Pork Medallions w/ Wild Mushrooms & Mustard Cream

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Many of the best holiday traditions involve food — and New Year’s is no exception. Not only is it the final celebration of a long holiday season, but it’s also a moment to celebrate the end of a year and the beginning of a new one. When January 1st arrives each year, people across the globe turn to New Year’s Day foods said to bring good fortune, long life, love, and more in the coming year. No matter the events of the previous 12 months, many of us look at the holiday as a chance for a fresh start.

Eating pork is just one of the many foods considered to be lucky. Pigs symbolize progress. Some say it’s because these animals never move backward, while others believe it’s all in their feeding habits (they push their snouts forward along the ground when rooting for food). They are also rotund, symbolizing a fat wallet ahead. The meat itself is fattier than other cuts of meat, making this New Year’s Eve food both tasty and a symbol of prosperity. 

Here in Canada we have so much to be grateful for. I guess if we think further, the most important wish would be for world peace.

HEALTH & HAPPINESS TO EVERYONE IN THE COMING YEAR!

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Pork Medallions w/ Wild Mushrooms & Mustard Cream
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Instructions
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large, heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the mushrooms and 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 6 minutes.
  2. Wipe out the skillet. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in the skillet over high heat until hot. Sprinkle the pork medallions generously with salt and pepper. Sear over medium-high heat, turning once halfway through, until browned, about 12 minutes for medium. Transfer the pork to a platter.
  3. Add the shallots to the skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring, until golden, about 3 minutes. Add the mustard and heavy cream and bring to a boil, cooking until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the parsley. Spoon the sauce on a plate; place the medallions on the sauce and scatter the mushrooms over top. Garnish with additional parsley, if desired.

Krispy Chocolate ‘Eyeballs’/ Halloween Brownie Bites

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

While trick-or-treating has been a tried and true modern Halloween tradition, historians say the origins of kids begging their neighbors for food may date back to ancient Celtic celebrations or even a long-lost Christmas custom. Halloween customs, such as wearing disguises to ward off ghosts and offering food to appease malevolent spirits, were brought to Canada in the mid-to-late 1800s by Irish and Scottish immigrants. North America’s first recorded instance of dressing in disguise on Halloween was in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1898, while the first recorded use of the term trick or treat was in Lethbridge, Alberta, in 1927.

Every Halloween, children on the hunt for candy dress up in costumes, knock on doors and ask homeowners the infamous question: ‘Trick or Treat?’

Lethbridge historian Belinda Crowson said research has confirmed the term ‘Trick or Treat’ was first documented in the Lethbridge Herald on Nov. 4. 1927.

Hallowe’en provided an opportunity for real strenuous fun. No real damage was done except to the temper of some who had to hunt for wagon wheels, gates, wagons, barrels, etc., much of which decorated the front street. The youthful tormentors were at back door and front demanding edible plunder by the word ‘trick or treat’ to which the homeowners gladly responded and sent the robbers away rejoicing.

Crowson says Oct. 31 in Lethbridge used to be a big night of pranks, saying kids would take part in ‘gate night’ where they’d remove gates from yards and hide them around the city. The occasional outhouse was also moved on Halloween night, sometimes onto a streetcar track for it to be pushed down the route by the unknowing driver.

Alberta’s known for many things: the Rocky Mountains, the oil industry, the Calgary Stampede. But you wouldn’t think that it’s also home to one of the most beloved Halloween traditions, that is, trick-or-treating.

Having lived in Lethbridge years ago, for about 25 years, I was not aware that the term trick or treat had originated there until I stumbled on it when I was doing some research … who knew!!

Nevertheless, Halloween has rolled around again so here’s a few treats to enjoy.

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Krispy Chocolate 'Eyeballs'/ Halloween Brownie Bites
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Servings
Ingredients
Shortbread Crumbs for 'Eyeballs'
Caramel / Chocolate & Rice Crispies
Halloween Brownie Bites
Servings
Ingredients
Shortbread Crumbs for 'Eyeballs'
Caramel / Chocolate & Rice Crispies
Halloween Brownie Bites
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Instructions
Shortbread Crumbs
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 9-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl, cream together the butter & sugar until light and fluffy. Add the flour; using your fingers, work together to a crumbly but moist dough. Place mixture in baking pan and press down with the back of a spoon until firm and smooth. Bake shortbread until cooked but not browned, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven, lift out of pan with parchment paper & cool. When cooled, break into pieces & place in a food processor. Pulse to create shortbread crumbs. Set aside.
Caramel / Chocolate
  1. Place a heavy bottomed, non-stick pot, over a larger pot of boiling water. To the top pot add condensed milk, butter & brown sugar. Stir until combined, bring the mixture to a gentle boil, stirring continuously for a full 5 minutes. Add the milk & white chocolate & continue stirring until melted.
  2. Turn off heat under the boiling water. To the caramel/chocolate add shortbread crumbs & rice crispy cereal. With a rubber spatula, combine mixture.
  3. Keeping the pot over the hot water so the mixture doesn't harden to fast, scoop into small balls to form 'eyeballs. Place on a parchment paper lined tray. The scoop I used made about 44 balls. Press candy eyeballs into chocolate balls. If they aren't sticking well, dip them into a bit of white corn syrup first.
Halloween Brownie Bites
  1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Line 30 mini cupcake tins with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch & salt. Set aside.
  3. Using a mixer, beat sugar & eggs on high speed for 5 minutes, until it becomes light & pale in color. Melt the butter & add it along with oil & vanilla. Mix on low until combined. Slowly add dry ingredients, continuing to mix on low speed until combined. Put aside about a 1/4 of a cup of the brownie batter to use for decorating. Place a small scoop of brownie batter in each of the mini muffin cups.
Cheesecake Layer
  1. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar & vanilla extract on high speed for 1 minute. Add the orange food gel & mix until desired color. Then add the egg & mix on low speed. Place a Tbsp of cheesecake batter on top of the brownie batter. Add the 1 1/2 Tbsp HOT water to the remaining 1/4 cup of brownie batter & whisk until combined.
  2. Drizzle the brownie batter over the cheesecake batter in 2 circles (per brownie). With a toothpick draw lines from the center to the outside edge, creating a spider web effect.
  3. Bake for about 20 minutes or until not a lot of batter remains on a toothpick when tested. Cool on a cooling rack completely. Decorate with Halloween spiders, cats, ladybugs etc. These are nice when wrapped in foil & chilled overnight.

Raspberry Swirl Pound Cake

The name ‘pound cake‘ comes from the fact that the original pound cake contained one pound each butter, sugar, eggs and flour. Originally, no leaveners were used in the cake except for the air whipped into the batter. It was only in the 1900’s that artificial leaveners like baking soda and baking powder were added to reduce the density of the cake. Other variations include the addition of flavoring extracts like vanilla and almond or dried fruits such as cranberries or currants. At times, some or all of the butter was substituted by a cooking or vegetable oil to obtain a moist cake.

One of the most popular variations is the sour cream pound cake. The butter is substituted by sour cream to moisten the cake and also get a tinge of a tangy flavor. Despite all these variations which alter the characteristics and the flavor of the cake drastically, the name pound cake is still used today.

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Raspberry Swirl Pound Cake
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Rating: 5
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Servings
Ingredients
Servings
Ingredients
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly butter or line pan of choice with parchment paper. (loaf pan or a Bundt pan)).
  2. In a bowl, cream butter & sugar with an electric mixer until pale & fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add salt, vanilla & sour cream.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together flour & baking powder. Combine wet & dry ingredients, then beat on low for about a minute.
  4. Transfer about 1/3 of batter to another bowl. Add raspberry preserves & beat until combined. Add 2-3 drops red gel food color if desired. To remaining batter, add lemon juice & beat until combined.
Assembly/Baking
  1. To preferred baking pan, add a layer of white batter then alternate between pink & white batter. Use a knife to swirl the batters together but don't overdo it or you will end up without a marble effect.
  2. Bake for 60-65 minutes or until a skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean. If top browns too quickly, lightly cover with a piece of foil paper.
  3. Allow cake to cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove pan & finishing cooling on a wire rack.
Frosting
  1. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese for about 20 seconds on medium speed. Add powdered sugar & mix to combine well. Drizzle frosting over cooled cake, slice & serve.
Recipe Notes
  • My choice of baking pans were some mini Bundt pans. I thought they made a nice individual presentation.