Wow, 2 years since my last post! How time flies…I haven’t been doing that much recipe development of my own due to some pretty rough winters. I basically turn into a ball of hibernation and binge-watching, and it’s always a relief when springtime motivation kicks back in. I’ve also recently joined instagram (@cararowlands), and sharing photos without a full blog post attached feels so liberating! Hooray for visual communication! I’ve been ogling the beautiful recipes in my new stash of cookbooks lately – Plenty More, Jerusalem, Homemade Decadence, Seriously Delish, and Top With Cinnamon – and am finally feeling inspired.
Thursday night was the launch party for Workshop Studio and Boutique’s annual Spring Trunk Sale, which is always an exciting time of year at the shops! I love to make snacks for it, and it’s always fun deciding what to make. We get a lot of people shopping the sale, so I wanted to make a recipe that could feed many without scaling it up too much – cookies definitely fit the bill. I decided on chocolate chip cookies, but I wanted to put my own stamp on them. Mini chocolate chips meant even chocolate distribution throughout a bunch of small cookies, and browned butter is just about the best thing ever (Joy the Baker recently posted a detailed step-by-step tutorial if you’re intimidated – don’t be, it’s awesome and easy!). The tannins from the tea mellow out the sweetness, so these aren’t screaming out for a glass of milk, though it doesn’t hurt to have one on standby.
I’ve been told these taste like chocolate-dipped London Fogs (thanks Maddy!). Full disclosure: I used Stash’s Breakfast in Paris tea here, which is basically Early Grey with lavender, but the title didn’t quite have the same ring. I’m a huge fan of Earl Grey and chocolate together. The danger is that now that I’ve written up the recipe, I can make this enormous batch of cookies whenever I want…Tea, anyone?
|Browned Butter Earl Grey Chocolate Chip Cookies||
After a cooking slump, I finally had inspiration the other night. There was leftover curried roasted chicken in the fridge, and it demanded a side that could stand up to the flavour. I love potatoes and wish that they could be a component of every meal, but it’s been a while since I actually featured them as a side dish. These smashed potatoes are reminiscent of Trio’s fantastic potato wedges (if you’re in Ottawa, give Trio a visit – all their food is excellent and their cocktails are delicious). We’d just returned from a trip to Anguilla, and had some wonderful curry powder from the Island Spice and Tea Shop begging to be used. I tossed the potatoes with a butter-curry powder mixture after boiling and then roasted them for a crisp, french fry-like texture. While the flesh of the potatoes was quite creamy in texture, they seemed to demand a little something extra, so I made a chipotle-curry-lemon yogurt dip to accompany them.
Smashed Curried Cilantro Potatoes
1 kg baby potatoes or fingerling potatoes
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp curry powder
2 generous pinches kosher salt
a few grinds of black pepper
a handful of cilantro, rinsed well and spun dry
Add potatoes to a pot and cover with cold water. Place over high heat and bring to a boil.
While waiting for water to boil, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Whisk the curry powder into the melted butter. Place a clean, lint-free dishtowel on the counter.
Boil the potatoes for about 13 minutes, or until fork-tender. Drain and immediately transfer potatoes to the clean dishtowel. With another clean dishtowel, press firmly but gently on potatoes until they burst. Transfer potatoes to a large bowl. Toss with butter-curry powder mixture, then season with salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle cilantro over the potatoes.
Roast potatoes for about 40 minutes, or until golden and crispy and very fragrant.
Note: Add more flavour by stirring finely grated lemon zest into the butter-curry powder mixture.
While potatoes are roasting, you can make the yogurt dip:
Chipotle-Curry-Lemon yogurt dip
1/3 cup greek yogurt
1 chipotle, minced
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp freshly grated lemon rind
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and serve alongside the potatoes.
At the beginning of October 2011, Ryan and I decided to drive to Montreal for dinner on a whim. Our ultimate (and ambitious) goal was to be able to get into Garde Manger for dinner – having only been once before and loved it, we really need to get our act together and begin going there more frequently. We drove the 2 hours to get to Montreal at 8, where we found out that we wouldn’t be able to get a table until 10 (this came as no surprise to us; it’s difficult to get a walk-in table here). We decided to try Restaurant DNA instead, where we tried the chef’s tasting menu. While the food was good, it was almost entirely challenging flavours and textures, and my palate was exhausted by the end. However, the restaurant’s breadsticks are excellent. They are long, thin and pretzel-like, served in vases. I decided to replicate them at home. Thanks to Julie van Rosendaal’s Grazing, it was easy to adapt a recipe that came close, and I’ve been making these ever since.
Spicy Cheddar Breadsticks
Adapted from Grazing by Julie van Rosendaal
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup old cheddar cheese, grated
4 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup water
coarse salt or pretzel salt, for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 400º F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Add flour, cheese, chili powder and kosher salt to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. Keep the food processor running and add the oil and water through the feed tube. Mix until blended and a dough comes together.
Scrape the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.
Roll out the breadstick dough. With a pizza cutter, cut the breadsticks into strips. Roll each strip into a long, thin snake. Place each snake on the prepared cookie sheets. Sprinkle with coarse salt and press slightly to adhere.
Bake breadsticks for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden and crunchy. Makes about 40 breadsticks.
Note: To make gluten-free breadsticks, use 1/2 cup rice flour, 1 cup chickpea flour, 1 cup corn flour and 1 tablespoon tapioca starch in place of the all-purpose flour.
This past fall, I had plenty of occasions to bake cupcakes. While I revisited my Cupcake Camp Cupcakes and my S’mores cupcakes, I wanted to add one or two more flavours to my regular rotation. Lemon meringue pie is one of my favourite desserts, and I thought to have that in cupcake form would be spectacular. When I came across this Bon Appetit recipe a few years ago, I immediately made it and loved the result. With a bit of tweaking, the cake became the basis for my Lime-Lemon Meringue Cupcakes. I made them for our annual Fancy Party back in September, and again for a mini-trunk sale on November 8. They are filled with a tart, silky lemon curd that comes together quickly in the microwave, and are crowned with spikes of marshmallowy meringue frosting that I toasted using my trusty brulée torch. The end product is bright, sunshiny, and sweet.
Lime-Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
Adapted from Bon Appetit
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
zest of 3 limes (about 1 tablespoon)
Juice of 3 limes (about 2 1/2 tablespoons)
3/4 cup buttermilk
splash vanilla extract
Bright green food colouring gel (I used Wilton’s Leaf Green) – enough to tint to the desired shade.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray or line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a large bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat to combine well. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Add lime juice and zest. Add food colouring and beat to reach desired shade of green. (Note: gel food colouring will become more vivid as it sits.)
Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk. Stir until just combined. Divide the cupcake batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the cupcake comes out clean. Let cool completely before filling and frosting.
Microwave Lemon Curd
Adapted from The Halifax Chronicle-Herald
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
1 cup granulated sugar
6 egg yolks
3 whole eggs
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, from about 3 lemons
zest of 2 lemons
6 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes
Whisk egg yolks, eggs and sugar together in a large microwaveable bowl until very pale yellow. Add the lemon juice and whisk until smooth.
Place the bowl in the microwave and cook on medium-high for 4 to 5 minutes, stopping every minute to whisk the mixture. Cook until mixture is thick, creamy and smooth. Press mixture through a medium mesh strainer and stir in the butter, one cube at a time, until thoroughly incorporated. Stir in the lemon zest. If making ahead, cover the surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. There will be more lemon curd than is needed to fill the cupcakes. It will last about a week in the refrigerator.
4 egg whites
1/2 cup corn syrup or glucose
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 tbsp water
Add egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
Place sugar, corn syrup and 2 tablespoons water in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir to moisten. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. When the temperature reaches 215º F, begin whipping the egg whites until they hold firm peaks. When the temperature reaches 238º F, remove the saucepan from the heat.
While whipping the egg whites on low, slowly and carefully pour in the sugar mixture. When all the sugar has been added, return the speed to high. Whip meringue mixture for about 8 to 10 minutes, until volume has at least doubled and mixture is stiff, glossy and opaque. The bowl should have cooled down considerably.
To assemble cupcakes
Using a small knife, cut a small cone out of the surface of each cupcake. Spoon lemon curd into the cavity until it reaches the surface.
Using an offset spatula or a piping bag, cover the surface of each cupcake with the meringue frosting. Create random spikes using the offset spatula.
With a brulée torch, toast the meringue frosting. Serve immediately.
Note: due to the lemon curd, cupcakes made ahead of time should be refrigerated. Frosting cupcakes should be done just before serving.
I feel like I must be putting good vibes out into the universe, because good things seem to be coming my way lately, and keeping me Very Busy Indeed. (For any who don’t know, I love being Very Busy Indeed.) I just started working at one of my favourite shops in town, Flock boutique (an amazing wonderland of Canadian designers that’s very dangerous for one’s wallet), and I’ll be happily box office assistant-ing at Ottawa’s Fringe Festival. In addition to this, I was selected as an Urban Craft vendor for June 2nd’s edition of the upscale craft show! A baking extravaganza has ensued.
I’ll be featuring 6 flavours of muffins at the show. Most of the recipes already appear on the blog…like this, this, and this. I’ll also have some flavours that I haven’t posted yet, but that I consistently run out of at Social Media Breakfast (and if you can’t make it to Urban Craft, the next Social Media Breakfast will be on Wednesday, June 20. aka My Birthday.) Urban Craft runs from 10am until 2pm this Saturday at the GCTC (Holland at Wellington).
I will have single muffins for $2.75, 6 muffins for $15, and 12 muffins for $27. Please stop by, say hi, and pick up a muffin!
The following is the vegan gluten-free recipe I’ll be featuring at the show. It has a lot going on, but don’t let that scare you off. The ginger and orange come through equally with the chocolate as a pleasant background flavour. The carrot purée helps keep the muffins moist. They have a texture similar to that of a brownie – this muffin makes a lovely breakfast!
Vegan Gluten-Free Carrot Chocolate Orange Ginger Muffins
Makes about 12 muffins
1 cup black bean flour
2/3 cup brown rice flour
2 tbsp tapioca starch
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tbsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups steamed carrot purée, cooled (see recipe below)
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp orange zest
1/4 cup orange juice (preferably fresh)
2 tbsp lemon juice (preferably fresh)
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup candied ginger, homemade or store-bought, chopped
Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a muffin tin with paper or silicon liners.
Use a sieve or sifter to incorporate more air into the muffins. Sift together black bean flour, brown rice flour, tapioca starch, cocoa, ginger, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. Whisk to combine dry ingredients further.
In a separate bowl, combine sugar and orange zest. Using your fingers, rub the zest into the sugar. Add the carrot purée, orange juice, lemon juice and canola oil. Stir together well.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir to combine. Fold in the chopped candied ginger.
Divide batter evenly between muffin cups. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of a muffin comes out (relatively) clean. I opt for underbaking these muffins, as I find gluten-free products tend to dry out faster.
(makes approximately 1 1/2 cups)
4 to 5 medium carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
Combine carrots and orange juice in a microwave-safe container with a lid. Microwave, covered, on High for 5 minutes. Check with a fork to see if carrots are tender. If not, cook 1 or 2 minutes longer and check again. When tender, use an immersion blender or a stand blender to purée the mixture. Let cool and it is ready to use!