Basically: Bars

I made it through another recipe with almost all the ingredients! I am enjoying this project so much, I can’t even!! Every Sunday morning another recipe pops up in my inbox and I read the entire recipe first. Then I read it again thinking about the ingredients. This week was Tahini Billionaire Bars. First off, Tahini is a weird ingredient for me. I have used it in hummus but that is about it. It isn’t sweet so using it would tone down the sweetness in the butterscotch. Apparently, you can use any nut butter as long as it is unsweetened. Fair enough. After tasting this, I would substitute peanut butter but this is really good as is, just super sweet. Cut the bars smaller than they call for because it was just too much sugar. It tastes like you can eat the whole piece but then it gets to be too much and you lose interest about halfway. Maybe that’s just me, maybe not. I will let you decide.

The first step was making the shortbread. I didn’t have sesame seeds so I made it without. I have to confess, this layer was an ORDEAL. The dough kept sticking to my hands as I pressed it into the sides, it became too soft. I suppose I could have stuck it into the freezer to chill it but it was a Tuesday night and I didn’t want to be at this for hours. So I swore and smooshed. The recommendation was for a 9 x 9 pan but spreading was thin, the corner was overdone. You can’t tell with the other layers tho and my family eats anything.

The second layer was problematic too. I started it WAY BEFORE the bottom layer was cool and out of the oven. HA, so much for reading the instructions twice. I have made butterscotch before so I dived in with a lot of arrogance. (The difference between butterscotch and caramel is brown versus white sugar – the more you know!)

The butterscotch was perfect, I could have added all the cream from the one cup container, it could have taken it. Now I have a 1/4 cup of cream in my fridge and keep forgetting to use it in my coffee. I let the caramel cool slightly while I waited for the shortbread to come out of the over, reversed I know but too bad, so sad.

I added the butterscotch and put the two layers in the fridge for an hour. Too hot, I know but whatEVER, stop judging.

After an hour, everything was firm and cool to the touch. I kept it in the fridge while I melted the chocolate. I didn’t have the fancy bittersweet 60% blablabla… WE ARE IN ISOLATION PEOPLE! So I used my standard chocolate chip use in cookies chocolate. It was fine. Good enough for snacks, good enough for this. Back into the fridge for 30 minutes and then I cut into them. That was the hard part (Other than the crust layer) These suckers need a firm hand and a sharp knife. Use a serrated knife and saw. I didn’t. I cut, I didn’t crush it like they said it would happen, but I didn’t use boujee chocolate so maybe that was the difference. I cut this into 16 squares, then after tasting, I cut into 32 rectangles. Trust me. I also didn’t sprinkle sesame seeds all over the top because WE ARE IN ISOLATION PEOPLE! And I didn’t want to go to the bulk barn for just that. Hopefully, I have the stuff for the next recipe, I heard a rumour it has carrots and carrot juice. Where the heck will I find carrot juice??? Wish me luck. Meanwhile, I nailed it this week in spite of the problems. Judge for yourself and imagine tiny little sesame seeds all over the top.

Theirs vs Mine

They taste as good as they look. What are you making this week?

Basically: Biscuits

I think this may be my last week to bake something new from a recipe for a while. I couldn’t get all the ingredients for this week’s Sour Cream and Onion Biscuits. I had a 3/4 of a cup of greek yogurt. I needed 1 and 1/4 cups of sour cream. There wasn’t any at the store, nor was there plain yogurt. I did have milk and vinegar, so my plan was to supplement fake buttermilk. Molly Baz, the recipe creator did a few instagram stories talking about substitutions. Past experience told me I could use milk or yogurt, but there was a tang to sour cream that seemed important to this recipe, so I added a tablespoon of vinegar to 3/4 cup of milk. I ended up with slightly more dairy than the recipe called for but I did that because milk is obviously looser than yogurt.

I followed the rest of the recipe except I didn’t have 8 scallions, only 5. Life in the time of rations. This was fine, and maybe the next time I make this I will still use 5 scallions because it was more than enough. The batter came together very nicely. Using a light hand to not over beat makes a massive difference.

Everything came together quickly and I turned it out onto a cutting board for easy clean up. The next step was to fold or laminate into thirds using a bench scraper. I don’t have one. I thought about buy one because I have want one for a very long time. All things considering, it didn’t seem to be the time to spend needlessly on tools that could be substituted. So I used the back of my chefs knife. It works fine. The dough is sticky so flour up your hands and work quickly.

I also don’t have a kitchen ruler, but back in my quilting days, I measured different parts of my hand so I could do quick measurements in a store when buying fabric. I know from my thumb knuckle to the tip is one inch. The span of my hand from pinky to thumb when fully stretched is 8 inches. This recipe needed the dough to be 8″ x 4″ I was all over that. I folded three times. Then I cut it into eight pieces.

By leaving them squarish and not round, there are no scraps to rework and the less you work the dough, the less gluten you create therefore leaving everything tender. I used the knife to cut them away from the board, I should have lightly floured the surface but didn’t and it was still fine. You were supposed to use parchment because it prevents spreading but in the instagram story, Molly Baz used a silpat liner, so I used mine. I don’t like using single use things very often.

I basted them with melted butter and sprinkle a bit of sea salt over the top. I would skip the salt. It isn’t a secret that Molly Baz likes salt. These don’t need the extra. Plus Who can get flaky salt in Edmonton? Seriously – if you can, tell me where.

I put them in the oven for 22 minutes, I could smell them at 20 minutes and took them out. It was on the cusp of over browning. They were perfect at 20 minutes. Watch your closely. The recipe said between 18 – 22 minutes.

You can tell where I dripped butter. These things are the flakiest most tender biscuits I have ever had. The flavour reminds me of sour cream and onion chips. Happily I love those. The flavour is strong and fantastic. I will always make these agin once the stores get back to normal stock levels.

This is what Basically’s look like versus mine. In spite of the substitutions, I think I nailed it.

Basically: Brownies

Brownies are, without a doubt, my dad’s favourite chocolate treat. I didn’t share these with him. I will likely make him his own pan for Father’s Day or his birthday because these didn’t last long in my house.

The half-way recipe for Basically is Camouflage Chocolate Fudge Brownies. These are rich and fudgy and cheese cakey and easy. They are rated as a level two Basically recipe but that is because of the number of steps. More doesn’t mean hard.

I needed a win this week because the shortbread from last week was a fail. It tasted good, but the method and ugliness made it a flop.

I have entered into a habit of opening my email Sunday morning in bed to read Basically. I read through the recipe twice because squinty sleepy eyes miss stuff. I had everything but the cream cheese. I miss those carefree days of having everything I need in the pantry. I went to the store early and bought cream cheese, some bread, things for lunches…because as soon as you say “I am going to Sobeys”, the entire house wakes up as yells, “CAN YOU PICK UP SOME….” So much for a quick trip.

I got home, made lunch, cleaned the kitchen THEN I began at about 3:00 p.m. Sheesh…

I prepped the pan, then added cream cheese to the double boiler to soften. It didn’t soften well. I have better luck in the microwave, but the rule was to follow the instructions EXACTLY to see what new insights I learn. I learned that cream cheese softens better in the microwave about 25 seconds at a time.

I whisked together all the ingredients and divided it into two bowls, one plain and one with cocoa powder. This tasted just like cheesecake. That is a win! I love cheesecake but never have it.

The next part was weird. 10 Tablespoons of butter. Why can’t we just do grams or one half cup + (whatever the measurement is?). The other tricky part is butter comes in 454 gram bricks here, not sticks. WTF(udge) is a stick? Glad you asked, I asked Google.

Butter Measurements When looking at a standard stick of butter1 stick or 1/2 cup butter is equal to 4 ounces, or 113 grams.

Basically (see what I did there?) one pound of butter is 454 grams. How do you measure out 10 tablespoons? I also asked Google.

5/8 cup butter141.8 gram10 tbsp
Crimeny crickets. That is not easy so I pulled out my scale and weighed out 141.8 grams of butter. Into the double boiler that went.

The strange part was all the ingredients went in. I didn’t melt the butter first. I think it would have been easier to do it that way. But I followed the instructions and poured the sugar, cocoa, coffee and salt into the double boiler, stirred it up and it became awful then glossy, just like it said it would. Then I stuck my (CLEAN) finger in it to see if it would scaled it – still part of the directions. (Honestly, I learned this step from my mom. Stick you pinky in there to see if it’s hot enough, especially for tomato soup – weird tangent but here we are) Second time the charm and it was too hot, just like the recipe called for.

I added the chilled eggs and flour – this was stiff but came together lovely. I scooped out 1/2 of batter, forgot to leave it in a warm spot by the stove… Poured the rest into the prepared pan.

It was thick. I smoothed it out into the corners with my offset spatula. Then I dollopped the other two cream cheese mixtures on top in a random pattern. Finally adding the reserve brownie mixture which was stiff and cold by this time making the process laborious. But it worked out.

I baked it or 25 minutes in a preheated 325F oven. It was floppy but set. Do not expect it to be like cake, its not. It is more like fudge. The chocolate filled the house and it smelled so good! I let it set and cut it into 16 pieces. After tasting one later when it cooled I realised my error and should have cut it into one piece. One is all you need. But I shared it out and it lasted until Wednesday. Damn….it was really good.

This is Basically’s and the other is mine. I think it was a complete success!

Next week is Sour cream and onion biscuits. Oh…yeah….

Basically: Focaccia

I cheated. I know I swore to uphold the recipe and follow the instructions EXACTLY but I didn’t. I added a touch more flour than it called for because I am a bread baker and learned from a grandma (not mine) who knew by the feel when the dough was ready. I will explain in a minute.

The Basically recipe arrived a day early because this bread takes hours to rise and proof and rise again. You can find this recipe here.

I read the recipe through and was happy I had everything I needed in my pantry, including the yeast (bonus, it hadn’t expired yet!). It began with proofing the yeast and feeding it honey. All the things I do to start my bread. I waited patiently for it to bloom. It begins to get foamy and bubbles up to the surface.

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I love the smell of bread yeast. It’s sweet and fragrant just like homemade bread. I weighed out the flour and added it to the yeast liquid. I mixed and it did not form a shaggy dough. It was still gelatinous like gak. I knew something was wrong. I reread the measurements, I got those right. I KNEW this was wrong. It didn’t look like their photo nor did it feel like bread dough. It was GAK.

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ALL WRONG! I wondered what the heck was happening and I think there may be a difference in measures – Canadian vrs American. Plus I am at a high altitude and their recipes are for sea level…well, I am a touch higher by 2500 feet, so I made the executive decision to add more flour. I incorporated about a 1/8 of a cup. Still not shaggy but workable and it looked more like their images. I added it to the oil, just like it said too. THIS LOOKED LIKE TOO MUCH OIL! Oh well, too late.  The dough looked right just swimming in oil. It could be because of the shape of my bowl, but fingers crossed and I hoped it would turn out okay. I had doubts about its ability to rise.

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It told me to put it into the fridge for about 24 hours. I took a sneak peek at 11:00 p.m. before bed.

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I had hope! it was rising! Now we wait…

The next morning I pulled it out and it had risen more and was sticking to the top of the plastic (serious guilt at this point for using single-use plasitc. I am going to purchase a silicone lid for my bowls.). Seriously, use a large bowl for the rise.

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I prepared the pan and dumped a tbsp of oil in the bottom – weird but I think this will give it the fried bread texture.

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I used the fork method as directed but it is fooling no one. This is kneading with forks. I prefer the hand method but this is a no-knead bread.

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I turned it out into the pan and poured the leftover oil over the top. I popped it into the warm oven with the heat off so it could prove.

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The wait began. I left it in for about four hours, maybe slightly less. It spread and filled the pan. This surprised me because I haven’t had bread dough spread like this before.

It sprung back too quickly so I knew it hadn’t finished proving. But. FOUR HOURS!!! So I preheated the oven to 450F and baked it for 30 minutes. I expected the texture to be smooth because nothing seemed correct.

I finished it off with melted garlic butter but four cloves is excessive for a family with garlic allergies. I used a half clove and it was perfect for us. The crumb was light and airy. I was gobsmacked. It was perfect. This was a very easy bread recipe, it just needed a lot of wait time. Definitely a keeper. In spite of the stress and doubts, it turned out perfectly. This is theirs. I think I nailed it.

Let me know how it worked out for you!

Edmonton Tourist: Little Brick

After enjoying the Café Bicyclette winter patio last week, I wanted more. So, I invited a friend to try out the Little Brick winter patio.

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It wasn’t ready for patio lovin’ and I wanted a fire so we went inside and found a spot next to the fireplace.

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It was very nice and extremely warm. It was lovely!

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I decided not to have eggs, that is my go-to breakfast. I chose french toast and this version was so pretty! It was bread pudding topped with swiss meringue sitting on a berry compote and topped with pretty flowers. Seriously, flowers on any plate make it so appetizing for me and I sit there looking at my food as if it is art.

My friend had the eggs benedict, also incredibly beautiful.

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Their eggs are always perfection, done with the sous vide method. We each had a hot beverage, me with a latte and her with a chai.

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Breakfast was lovely and we lingered for two hours nursing our food and our drinks. The conversation turned to travel and we spoke about where we’ve been and where we are going. There was a tiny bit of career talk – not work but chat about our careers and how we got here. Honestly, it was one of the more interesting conversations that is only usually saved for my university buddy. It was a complete delight! Finding people you can connect with over food and coffee is such a treat. As an introvert, I fear long conversations will exhaust me, but that wasn’t the case. I think the key is to find someone who is interesting and isn’t emotionally depleting is the key.

We only left because she had an appointment at 12:30, and they needed the table but not once did we feel rushed. The atmosphere, food and conversation made Little Brick a complete delight. I recommend bringing your bestie or someone you want to get to know better and enjoy breakfast by the fire. Hopefully, the patio will be open. If it’s not, there are several different rooms to choose from, each equally charming.

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Get out and explore your city!

Edmonton Tourist: Winter Patios

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There are a couple of places in Edmonton that offer winter patios. Two are standouts for me, Café Bicyclette and Little Brick. Both offer roaring fires and delicious coffee. I am more of a coffee girl than a cocktail girl, so the winter patios that offer alcoholic libations are off my list. If you happen to know of other yeg winter patios, please drop a comment in the box below or shoot me an email and let me know.

I had a medical appointment early in the day that required the hubs to drive and chauffeur me around. After I finished I suggested we head to a winter patio because it was only -14C and was warming up! He is always game for any of my hair-brained schemes so he obliged.

We arrived just after 11:00 am and the thermometer had risen to -10C, perfect for a fire but when we looked at the patio it was empty. He asked me if I still wanted to go or did I want to try Little Brick? I had not had coffee yet and I said, let’s get some coffee and maybe a bite to eat.

We walked into a jam-packed house of people speaking French and eating brunch. Café Bicyclette is located in Edmonton’s French Quarter and as French as the hubs is, I speak more of the language than he does and my French is limited to cereal box and hockey French.

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He looked at the menu and said I think the Pain Perdu French Toast -I agreed as I usually do. Rarely we have different things and I suppose that is what happens to couples to live together for a quarter-century, you kind of morph into the same being with the same likes. Their coffee is some of the best in the city but I noticed they get it from Ace, a local coffee roaster. I really need to get there and have it live and in person. (Hey Dad…we need to have a date!)

We placed our order at the counter and they gave us a number so they could bring our meal out to us. I asked them what are the parameters for the patio to be open because I always seem to miss it. Francois replied, oh, I can open it up for you! So he went in the back and send out someone else to start the fire and get the sofa cushions for us. We stood at the high bar while we waited. Our coffee arrived and I sipped and watched.

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When the cushions were out, we grabbed a few wool blankets from the box at the door and joined the fellow outside. The woodsmoke was lovely. I am not a rookie to outdoor winter fires. Insulation is the key. Place a blanket under your bottom, one behind your back and neck and one over your legs. We stayed there until close to 1:00 p.m.

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I drank my coffee and the french toast arrived. I cut it all at once like I am 3 so I wouldn’t have to fuss on my lap, springing my dinner all over the floor. I love eating here. There is a lot of traditional French Candian fare, their poutine is some of the best in the city. I have had crepes and croissants but this french toast was likely the best thing I have ever eaten here. If I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life, this would be it. Event the watermelon mint salad was over the top delicious.

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The patio is charming with old wooden windows defining the space. We sat alone by the fire until the end when a gal and her dog stopped to enjoy the fire. You could see the remnants of the Flying Canoe Festival, (the ice slide and ice sculptures on the outdoor bar.).  I was content to stay longer but the hubs was cold. He caught a chill and became hypothermic…. reluctantly I agreed to go.

I was so pleased to know the staff was happy to open the patio just by asking. I will make sure I ask the next time it appears closed. I think I will make my way to the Little Brick next and invite a friend who just celebrated her 50th birthday. She seems the type who likes to sit outside and enjoy a fire.

There is a website that lists local winter patios. Check out Winter City Edmonton for all the info. Here is what I found. Maybe I will explore more patios before spring comes.

Winter Patio Locations

Get out and explore people!

 

Basically: Cookies

The Basically Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Cookie test went off without a hitch and boy, did I learn a few things. I am a decent baker and my family loves what I make. I (humbly) brag that baking is my superpower. But wow… way to make me feel like I am a rookie Basically… Let me tell you what happened.

But first, you can find this week’s recipe here.

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The very first thing the instructions say is to read through the recipe so there are no surprises. I learned that from my mom when I was 10 and starting out as a rookie. It is super important in this recipe because you need to chill the cookie dough for two hours. This isn’t a quickie.

The second thing I did wasn’t in the recipe but I have watched enough Bon Appétit to know that room temperature eggs are important. I have never ever EVER used room temp eggs until this recipe. I put 3 eggs in a bowl and covered them in hot tap water while I melted the butter. It took about 5 minutes. While it was melting, not browning, I weighed my flour.

I had a scale that I received as a gift from my ex. To weigh my food. This was the beginning of my eating disorder. I have used the scale for cooking but I know the scale was a cheap thing and worked well enough for Weight Watchers but it isn’t precise. I bought the scale the BA test kitchen recommended on Amazon and it arrived two days later in a snow storm. I also purchased an oven thermometer. This was eye-opening as well, but I will get to that later.

Where were we? Right, the scale. It has a tare feature which is essential. I put the bowl on the scale, set the tare (which means it cancels out the weight of the bowl and the other ingredients so you can precisely measure the next ingredient), filled and levelled 1 cup of flour like Martha Stewart taught me. I needed 125g of flour. My one-cup measure was 150g.  25g MORE THAN I NEEDED. Ohhhkaaay… scooped out the extra flour. until it read 125g. Set the tare and added the buckwheat flour along with the rest of the dry ingredients. Set this aside.

Normally I would mix the wet ingredients and then sift the dry overtop. But I followed the instructions exactly as written. That meant separate bowls for everything. I put a new clean bowl on the scale, tossed in my melted butter. set the tare, added the sugars and whisked. This was also new for me. I would normally pull out the Kitchen Aid stand mixer and over beat until light and fluffy. The instructions called for 30 seconds of whisking. I set the timer and began. at the 15 sec mark, I thought I was done. but the timer said otherwise, so I kept going. It made a huge difference. It went from combined to glossy. This is the point where I thought I had whisked enough – nope.

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I added one egg and mixed until combined, then added the yolks one at a time.

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Here is what I learned about room temperature eggs.

  1. They are easier to separate, the white breaks free almost instantly.
  2. They break up like a dream.
  3. They combine almost instantly without the extra fuss of smashing the yolk to break the membrane.

Room temperature eggs make a huge difference!

Then I folded in the flour and gently combined to minimize gluten production. The batter felt light and delicate, never have I ever had delicate cookie batter. I folded in the coarsely chopped chocolate (I never would have bought good bittersweet chocolate before either. WOW is the only adjective that fits.)

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The batter is still wet at this point but is said to chill for two hours. I put a plate over the top of the bowl (please stop using single-use plastic) and popped it into the fridge.

Two hours later…

I hung the oven thermometer in my oven and preheated it 350F. When the oven reached the temperature I checked the thermometer.

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Ummmm yikes. I did some more reading and the thermometer recommended I wait for two cycles of the oven before checking again. My oven clicks as the elements turn on and off. I waited…

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Hoorah! I don’t know what I would have done if it didn’t work. Notice the elements are off and not red.

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I rolled the cookies as directed and added bonus chocolate to the cookie balls.  I didn’t use parchment because I am trying to reduce my use of single-use items. I put two sheets into the oven as directed and set the timer for 4 minutes. After four minutes passed, I switched the racks in the oven and checked the thermometer. Leaving the door open for a few short seconds dropped the temperature back down to 300F! Did everyone but me know oven temperatures were fickle? I pulled the cookies out at the 4-minute mark and decided they needed two more minutes because they were still wet looking.

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This was the point where you were supposed to sprinkle more salt. My kosher salt is not delicate nor do I have flaky salt. I live in Canada and don’t have the same brands the BA test kitchen suggested, Morton’s or Diamond salt, my salt would have been chunky so I omitted the extra salt. Good thing too. These cookies had enough salt/sweet contrast for me.

I had enough batter for two more cookies. So this time I baked them for eight minutes without opening the oven to achieve the soft chewie cookie. It worked! The cookie was much lighter in colour with two minutes less.

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But look at the oven temperature!

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When I bake my cookies I place one tray in at a time and keep the oven closed at all times. My first tray is 10 minutes, then I reduce the time, the last tray is 7 minutes. So I instinctively knew my oven was not consistent. It is 20 years old. After I replace my roof shingles, I think this is the next new purchase.

I learned so many new things! Not all sugar is created equal unlike what Chef Michael Smith said. Dark brown sugar will react differently to baking soda than light brown sugar. Plus it has a deeper molasses flavour. If that is what you want, do it! But the science of the dry ingredients changes, so be aware. Room temperature eggs are where it’s at and give your oven lots of time to preheat.

To recap, these are mine on the left and Basically on the right. The buckwheat gives an earthy nutty quality that is fine but not my favourite. I love the bittersweet chocolate more than I thought I would and the sweet/salty ratio is delicious! Would I make these again? Absolutely. These are not a snack cookie, its a one and done for dessert kind of cookie and the recipe only makes one dozen.

 

 

The recipe teaser for next week looks like some sort of quick bread. Perhaps banana bread. I am here for it! Let me know if you made this and how it turned out fo you.

 

Edmonton Tourist: Ritchie Market

I first went to the Ritchie Market a few years ago for a private function. Beira had just opened and we went for breakfast and enjoyed a special cask to celebrate the end of a beer run. The food was beautiful and the beer was delicious. Tiny little flowers dotted the plate – I wish I still had the photo. When I was there, Transcend wasn’t open yet and Acme Meats just started. this place was cute and charming.

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Fast forward to today, Biera is still going strong, Acme Meats had people lined up, Transcend coffee roasters were packed and the new kid on the block was all white and shiny and pretty.

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Little Duchess has now opened on the south side.

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Little Duchess isn’t as large as the location on 124 street, but it had all the things I look for in a great patissier, croissants, macarons, cookies and scones. They don’t bake onsite – but neither does its larger sister. Everything is baked offsite at their kitchen in the garment district so everything is EXACTLY THE SAME. They even have a small Provisions section, just like the other location.

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The hubs ordered a pain au chocolat and I had a raspberry white chocolate scone. We walked over to Transcend and decided against their amazing coffee because I already had a pot that morning, and we both ordered hot chocolate.

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If you didn’t know, Transcend is some of the best coffee in the city – likely because they are roasters. Fresh roasted locally is the next level in coffee. It is so good, but so is their hot chocolate. It is not overly sweet and they mix it by hand.

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They even place their signature leaf on top.

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Paired with the scone, I was in heaven.

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The hubs had demolished his croissant before I could grab a pic.

Acme meats were thriving and one day I think I will stop and bring something marvellous home. We joked about them only selling Road Runner.

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After our treats, we walked around the neighbourhood to see what was around. Did you know that Doughnut Party just opened a second location here? Perfect for us south siders. We each picked up a doughnut for home. It was a decadent day.

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Raspberry Earl Grey for me and Double Chocolate Brownie for the hubs.

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Before we hopped back into the car, I noticed Kind Ice Cream – I wasn’t really sure where it was but now I know how close it is to home! I will be back for SURE.

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This is exactly what this neighbourhood needed. I wish I was so lucky to live here.

What interesting places are near you? Get out and explore your city!

Basically

I am a rabid fan of the BA Test Kitchen. Chris Morocco and Carla Lally Music are, in my opinion, WIZARDS. They are magic and I basically worship them. The kitchen has a myriad of other chefs and I watch ALL of their segments each week, but I get super excited when Carla does back to back or they blindfold Morocco and he has to figure out just by taste and touch what the hell is in the recipe and recreated. That man is a SUPER TASTER. I follow all of them individually on Instagram and have chatted with Morocco on occasion (I squeal like a teenager when he replies to me) I am a super fan.

I learned a lot about cooking from my mom and baking from my aunty Mary Poppins (not her real name but her cookies were the best thing EVER). When I had a young family, I learned the science of why things are done a certain way from Martha Stewart. Humblebrag – baking is my superpower. Pies and cookies and my strength. I understand the science and I have a feel for it. I also love to bake. It is fun, relaxing and very satisfying.

Last week Basically ( a section on Bon Appetite magazine that basically teaches new cooks how to do it) announced they are doing a 10-week baking series.

Excuse me?

Ten weeks/Ten recipes of basic baking recipes to teach someone how to do it plus start out easy and work your way to something complicated.

This intrigued me.

Bon Appétit usually cooks and bakes with ingredients that I don’t tend to have on hand in my pantry. Sometimes I will go and gather ingredients to give the recipe a try. I am never disappointed. I decided I wanted to try this baking series and see what I can learn and how complicated do they make things. For example, am I going to have to dirty every single bowl in the house to make a cake? Are there tools I don’t have that they recommend? Like yes to all the questions I have. I am not so sure following their instructions – even if there are videos – is going to be a snap. But I am willing to try because I think it will be fun plus I need to try new foods, stuff that is healthier with less sugar etc. I have decided to take you along with me for the ride.

Today (Sunday, February 9, 2020) Basically dropped the first recipe. Buckwheat Chocolate Chunk Cookies. It told me a needed a few tools that I didn’t have. I decided to buy a new scale (mine has been brought to the mudroom to weigh out Captian’s food), and an oven thermometer. My oven is 20 years old and this past holiday season was a struggle to get the cookies right – I knew I needed a thermometer. I suspect 350 is actually 325 and that just won’t do. I am heading to the Bulk Barn to buy buckwheat flour – definitely an ingredient I don’t have. I am also going to look at their kosher slat. Mine is course – I will see if there is finer salt or maybe flaky salt for the cookie tops post-bake. I have everything else.

When Basically announced this series was coming, they gave a few other recipes to try to tie over my excitement. It’s like they knew me. I landed on Lemon Pound Cake to test to see if I might find this a fun project.

I followed the instructions exactly.

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I brought my butter to room temperature by putting it under a warm bowl.

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I zested the lemons without getting any pith in the bowl.

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I used a HAND MIXER – this I didn’t love. I prefer my Kitchen Aid stand mixer. The motor is going on my hand mixer so it may die before the series is over.

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Mine

I made the glaze even though I normally wouldn’t have. I did everything the way they told me to and I think I recreated the cake perfectly.

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Basically’s

My peeler needs to be replaced, it wasn’t as sharp as it needed to be but seriously – they look pretty close to identical.

My family ate two pieces each – so it passed the taste test.

Catch up with me next Sunday to see how the cookies went. If you are doing this with me – comment below or over on Facebook. We can talk about problems and successes.

WE CAN DO THIS!