Growing up with parents that have sweet tooth’s and enjoy working in the kitchen has its benefits for everyone in the family. Especially when your Dad craves my Mom baking, she is always happy to please him with his favourites! Which mean us kids got to reap the benefits too! One of my Dad’s favourites are my Mom’s blueberry muffins, and there is no question why he loves them… they taste like cake! They are light airy and bursting with fruit. You can use any fruit that you’d like but blueberry is the most popular in our family.
This recipe came from Edna Staebler’s More Food That Really Schmecks. If you are familiar with Edna and her famous books on Mennonite cooking then you will know that she does desserts very well too!
These muffins are best served the day of, and nothing beats warm muffins served right from the oven!! The tops of the muffins go a little sticky once you put them into an airtight container and I find they can dry out pretty fast. Although we don’t have too much of a problem in our house as they never stick around long enough!
Here I’ve made strawberry rhubarb and blueberry muffins. You can have fun mixing up the fruit and trying different combinations, a mixed berry muffins would be lovely too!
The most important thing to remember when making muffins is you never want to over mix the batter!! Especially when you are adding fruit, as you’ll be mixing the batter a little extra to make sure you incorporate the fruit into the batter. All you want to do is fold the fruit in a few times.
Recipe: makes 10-12 muffins
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup melted stirling unsalted butter
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 1 1/2 cups pastry flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 cup blueberries (or your choice of fruit)
- Preheat oven to 375˚F
- Fill a muffin tin with paper cups, set aside
- Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, add the egg
- In a separate bowl whisk flour, baking powder and salt together
- Add dry ingredients into the butter and sugar mixture alternating with the milk just until combined *DO NOT OVER MIX
- fold in your berries
- Spoon batter into muffin cups and bake for 15-20 minutes
Hope you enjoy these muffins as much as my family and my Dad does. Even though you don’t need it, my dad smothers them in butter too!! I recommend Stirling Whey Butter, full of rich butter flavour!!
A Canadian favourite.. butter tarts! Whether they’re runny: or thick; filled with nuts or raisins; or fall apart in your hands; butter tarts are always a popular sweet. The rich, buttery maple flavour is what ‘us’ Canadian’s have come to recognize and love in a butter tart. I grew up with my Grandma’s all time best butter tarts (to this day I haven’t tasted a butter tart that has even come close to her’s). Sadly after she passed the responsibility was left to me, since I was the only one she had shown her recipe to. But I could never get it right!! And that’s one of the reasons that drove me to take baking classes at George Brown College! To this day I still feel the pleasure from the family to get it just like Grandma’s. Baking is funny sometimes, we could all sit down with the same recipe but results may taste and look different. Sometimes you just have it and sometimes you don’t! My Grandma had a knack for pastry, she didn’t even need a recipe!
Butter tarts can be overwhelming to make and a bit messy. That’s why I wanted to share this easy version of butter tarts made into squares. I find the recipe straight forward, easy and mess free, and they taste just as good as a butter tart (except Grandma’s). They have a buttery shortbread crust topped with that rich, maple like filling that we all love!
You can play around with the recipe too, make them as runny as you’d like by baking them less, or thicken them up by baking them longer. You can add favourites like raisins, currants, or toasted pecans tp make them your own.
I hope you enjoy baking these.. whether you have it or not, it sill can be fun to play in the kitchen!
For the crust:
- 2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
- 4 Tbsp. granulated sugar
- 1 cup Stirling Churn 84 butter
For the filling:
- 4 eggs
- 2 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup Stirling unsalted melted butter
- 1/2 cup raisins, pecans (optional)
- 2 Tbsp. vinegar
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- Mix first three ingredients in food processor or mixing bowl with a pastry cutter until crumbly.
- Press into greased or covered with parchment 9x12” baking pan.
- Bake the base at 350 degrees for 10 - 13 mins.
For the filling:
- Beat eggs and brown sugar with until well blended.
- Stir in remaining ingredients and mix well.
- Pour over base.
- Bake 25 - 30 mins. until set.
Cut into small squares as they are very rich. Store in an airtight container…if there are any left!
My friends and family mean the world to me, and they are my biggest supporters in my business. They are the reason my business developed and has become what it is today. Hence my logo 'Simply Sweet, Baking for Friends'!
It’s not often I get to see all of my friends, with busy schedules, growing families and distance to hold us back. But every few months we make time to plan a get together, and what’s better than a picnic in the park?
Planning a picnic is fun and easy, as long as everyone contributes to the meal. Have each person in charge of bringing one or two snacks and a game with them (I brought ‘pick-up sticks’). Add a blanket, a picnic kit of plates and cutlery and voila!!
I wanted to make a cake that was light and refreshing but didn’t want to make anything too elaborate as I’d have to carry it around. I ended up with the sweetest bundt cake made from fresh grapefruit! It was a big hit with the girls!! I brought little boxes with me for leftovers and everyone got an extra piece to take home :)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon grapefruit zest
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
3/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup grapefruit juice
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon grapefruit juice
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Grease a bundt pan with oil then dust with flour or a 9×5-inch loaf pan
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, rub the sugar and zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and fragrant.
- Add the eggs to the bowl with the sugar mixture and beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and the whisk leaves a trail.
- With the mixer running, add the milk, then the oil and finally the vanilla.
- With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients, beating just until combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for another 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached.
- While the cake is baking, make the syrup: Combine the grapefruit juice and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then continue to simmer for 1 minute.
- When you remove the cake from the oven, transfer to a wire rack (still in the pan). Immediately use a skewer to poke deep holes into the cake (about 3/4-inch apart). Brush the cake with the syrup, pausing as necessary to allow it to soak in. Keep brushing the cake until you’ve used all of the syrup.
- Let the cake cool for 10 minutes after you’ve brushed it with the syrup, then turn it out onto the cooling rack. Allow to cool to room temperature.
- To make the glaze: In a medium bowl, stir the confectioners’ sugar and grapefruit juice together until the glaze is smooth – it should be thick but with a pourable consistency.
- Drizzle over the cake allowing the glaze to drip down the sides. Let the glaze set before serving.
Happy Picnicking !!
It’s time to celebrate Canada and there’s no better way to do it than to be by the lake, doing everything Canadian like canoeing and camping. And enjoying in some of ‘our’ favourite cuisines; Canadian maple syrup, and butter tarts to name a few of my favourites!!
There are some recipes that I like to keep to myself, and this is one of them!! It’s rich and flavourful and a little different than your typical cakes! But, in the spirit of being Canadian I will apologize to you for holding back, and am happy to share one of my favourite ‘Canadian Maple Syrup’ recipes with you now ;)
Maple Walnut Cake
- 1 cup Stirling unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp maple extract
- 21/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp groung ginger
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 3/4 cup Canadian maple syrup
Maple Butter cream Icing:
- 1 cup Stirling Unsalted Butter, room temperature
- 5 cups icing sugar
- 1/4 cup whipping cream
- 1/3 cup Canadian maple syrup
- 1 tsp maple extract
- Preheat your oven to 350˚F
- Line two 9inch round metal can pans with parchment paper, and grease the sides
- In a large bowl beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add eggs one at a time then maple extract
- In a separate bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and soda, ginger and salt together
- Add the flour mixture to your butter mixture; alternating the flour mixture with the buttermilk and maple syrup. Make 3 additions of dry ingredients and 2 of the buttermilk and syrup, just until blended
- Scrape into the two pans
- Bake in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean, let cool on a rack
- In a bowl melt butter, maple syrup together and 1 Tbsp of water
- Whisk together and add walnuts to coat
- Spread out on a baking sheet and toast walnuts at 325˚F for 10 minutes, turning walnuts to re-coat and toast for an additional 10 minutes. Let cool
- Reserve approx. 12-15 walnuts to top the cake, finely chop the remaining walnuts
Maple butter cream icing:
- In a bowl beat butter until fluffy, gradually add in sugar
- On low speed add your cream, maple syrup, and extract
- Adjust icing as needed, add more butter for a softer and lighter taste, icing sugar to thicken the icing, and cream to make icing more pliable for icing the cake
Putting the cake together:
- Trim cake as necessary to make flat discs, leave in two layers for a two layered cake or cut layers in half for a four layered cake. Brush off crumbs
- On a cake stand or cake board, add a little icing so your first layer will stick to the bottom. Add cake layer
- Ice your first layer, then add a layer of candied walnuts
- Add second layer, and repeat (continue adding layers if you are doing four layers) for the top layer, ice the entire cake as well as the sides
- Add the candied walnut halves around the edges of the cake
This is a very rich cake so a little goes a long way! It will definitely feed a party of 16-18 of your closest friends. And would pair perfectly with Kawartha Dairy Vanilla Ice Cream!
Happy Canada Day!!
With summer comes fresh and local produce, picked right from your back yard or bought from your local markets! I love being able to use local ingredients from neighbours and/or venturing to the markets to stock up on fresh fruit and veggies. Rhubarb is in season right now and it’s perfect to pair with strawberries or apples. Last weekend I ventured out to Eastcliff Farm in West Grey to put on a Farm to Table event. I couldn’t think of a better dessert to serve than tart and sweet Rhubarb Crumbles, all locally sourced from neighbouring farms and friends!
Rhubarb pairs nicely with more than just strawberries. I like it baked with apples and butter, brie cheese and honey, caramel sauce with ice cream, in custard, in pastries with raspberries, even topped on pork as a chutney.
For the event I did two kinds of rhubarb crumbles, your classic strawberry and rhubarb, and the other I mixed with macintosh apples! The best part of these little guys is the buttery crumble on top. I used brown sugar and Stirling butter (Churn 84 with higher butter fat), and it was the perfect combinations to pair with the tart rhubarb.
- 500g Strawberries
- 400g Rhubarb
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
For the crumble:
- Preheat oven to 350˚F
- Place 12-15, 4oz ramekins on a cookie sheet with a lip (so they don’t slide off the pan)
- Cut strawberries into halves, and slice rhubarb into 1/2 inch pieces (you want to keep the fruit the same size so they bake evenly). Place in a large bowl
- Add sugar and flour to fruit, stir well.
- Mean while make your crumble. Mix flour and brown sugar in a large bowl.
- Cut butter into chucks and place in flour mixture. Using a pastry cutter, cut butter into flour until butter resembles small pea size crumbs. Using your hands rub the butter together to make sure the flour, sugar and butter are mixed, to form crumbs.
- Stir your fruit mixture again (the fruit should be getting juicy)
- Fill the ramekins full of fruit and its juices, top with lots of crumble
- Bake for 30-40mins until fruit is soft and crumble has browned. You can broil the top of the crumbles to crisp them up too.
Variation: Rhubarb Apple Crumble; Subsitute the strawberries for Macintosh apples. Add 1tsp of cinnamon to the crumble.
With summer comes longer days, hot sunshine, and the chance to spend more time outdoors. Okay it’s not summer yet, but it’s close!! Last week we had a few beautiful days, and it was absolutely lovely! It was definitely a long winter and it was nice to spend some time out side enjoying the warmth of the sun. The first thing I did was fire up the bbq, make a fresh light salad and called some friends to join in on a picnic.
Recently I read an article in the Toronto Star about Chef Brad Long and his signature salad with a browned butter vinaigrette. It sounded delicious, a little different, and I love butter so I had to give it a try. I didn’t follow the recipe exactly (basically because I wanted to use up what I had in my fridge) but the results were absolutely delightful.
It’s strange to describe a salad as crisp, fresh, yet melt in your mouth. Yet that’s exactly how it tasted. I found a little goes a long way so you don’t need to use a lot of the vinaigrette, which means I had a lot left over and have been using it for other salads and even on pasta!
As I mentioned I altered the recipe, but the results were lovely. You can reference back to Chef Brad here to see his recipe. His recipe calls for salted butter, but, honestly as a baker I rarely use salted butter. I opted to use my favourite butter from Stirling Creamery, which is their Whey Butter. The butter gave the salad a flavourful and rich depth.
For the Vinaigrette
- 8 tbsp (125g) Stirling Whey butter
- 2 tsp (5 mL) minced shallot
- 3 tbsp (45 mL) white wine vinegar
- 3/4 tsp (4 mL) honey
- 1/4 tsp (1 mL) dijon mustard
- In medium saucepan, melt butter over high, watch closely as it foams, falls and foams again while the solids start to brown and smell like toasted hazelnuts. This may take 3 to 5 minutes depending on your stove.
- Remove from heat as soon as the butter browns so it doesn’t burn.
- Place shallots in medium stainless steel bowl.
- Place fine-mesh strainer over bowl. Slowly pour butter through strainer, being careful as it will foam; discard solids (little browned bits).
- Let cool 5 minutes. Whisk in vinegar, honey and mustard.
This vinaigrette must be served warm. If not using immediately, transfer to a glass jar and refrigerate up to 2 weeks. Reheat when you’re ready to use it.
For the Salad
- 2 carrots red and orange
- 1 large parsnip
- About 6 oz (170 g) mixed salad greens and micro greens (about 12 cups/3L loosely packed) I also added Kale
- About 1/4 cup (60 mL) cold cooked quinoa
- About 1/2 cup (125 mL) raw pecans, toasted
- 1 pear, thinly sliced with skin on
- About 1/4 cup (60 mL) dried whole cranberries
- About 2 oz (60 g) crumbled goat’s cheese
- Fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- Peel and trim carrot or other roots. Using vegetable peeler, shave into long, extremely thin strips. Transfer to bowl of ice water until curled and crisp, about 10 minutes. When ready to use, drain and pat dry.
- In large mixing bowl, combine roots, greens, nuts, fruit, cheese and parsley.
- Add 1/4 cup (60 mL) vinaigrette. Toss well.
- Mound on serving platter. Serve immediately.
Makes about 4 large servings.
This will definitely become a staple salad and vinaigrette for the summer! I promise you’ll love it!!
Still haven’t figured out what to bake your Mom this Sunday for Mother’s Day? No need to stress, I have the perfect (and easy) cake for you that looks beautiful and tastes delicious… promise!
This Cookies and Cream cake is also known as the the chocolate log cake that you may be familiar with. There are 3 ingredients in the entire recipe and it’s fun to assemble. I made my own Chocolate cookies/wafers but you can buy them from the grocery store.
Instead of making the cake into a log I placed the cookies/wafers into a circle then layered with whipping cream, and continued this step until I ran out of cookies. I ended up with a beautiful cake, then topped it off with fresh raspberries!
Yup that’s it; chocolate wafers, whipping cream, and raspberries!! I told you it’s fast, easy, and I promise everyone will love the cake.. best of all Mom will be impressed.
- 2-3 boxes of Chocolate Wafers (buy as many boxes as you’d like, it depends on how high you want the cake)
- 1 litre of Whipping Cream
- 2 small containers of Fresh Raspberries
- Whip whipping cream until stiff peaks form ( I added one tsp of vanilla and 2 Tbsp of icing sugar for more flavour)
- On a cake stand, spread out whipping cream into a circle
- place chocolate wafers into a circle form on top on whipping cream, starting from the inside working your way out
- Add a layer of whipping cream on top on the cookies
- Repeat until you run out of cookies and end up with a layer of cream on top
- Refrigerate over night or serve 4-5 hours later (it’s best to let the cream soak into the cookies)
- Add Raspberries to the top of the cake when you’re ready to serve
Happy Mother’s Day to all the beautiful, caring and loving Mother’s out there!
love Simply Sweet
This bread is perfect to share with your friends on a lazy Saturday morning. It’s filled with cinnamon and sugar and it’s best served warm from the oven. The smell alone will wake any sleepy visitors in the house, and will be sure to impress!
I will warn you now, once you start pulling apart the sheets of bread, you won’t be able to stop until it’s all gone!! It is simply irresistible!! Pair with a fresh fruit salad, a pot coffee and you have the beginnings for a sweet little brunch.
- 2-1/4 tsp. (1 envelope) active dry yeast
- 3 Tbsp. warm water
- 3 cups bread flour, separated
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 large eggs
- 4 Tbsp Stirling Whey butter
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 3 Tbsp. Stirling Whey butter, melted
- In a small bowl, combine yeast and 3 Tbsp of warm water. Let sit until foamy, approx. 5-8 minutes. Meanwhile in a small saucepan, heat milk and butter until butter is just melted.
- In another small bowl, whisk together eggs and set aside.
- In a large bowl combine 2 cups flour, sugar, and salt. Set aside.
- Remove mixture from heat and add water and vanilla. Let cool to 115-125 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Add milk mixture and yeast to dry ingredients and combine well.
- Add the eggs and mix until fully incorporated.
- Add the remaining cup of flour and mix well.
- Place the dough in a large greased bowl and let rise (proof) in a warm place, until doubled in size approx. one hour
- While the dough is rising, combine the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small bowl.
- Melt your butter and set aside.
- Grease and dust with flour a 9x5 inch bread pan and set aside.
- Deflate (punch down) the dough and knead until smooth. Let rest on the counter for 5 minutes.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll your dough until it is approx., 12x20 inches wide/long.
- Use a pastry brush to spread butter evenly over the dough.
- Cover completely with sugar and cinnamon mixture
- Slice the dough vertically into six equal parts and stack those slices on top of each other.
- Slice the stacks into six more equal parts, leaving you with six stacks of six squares.
- Layer the dough slices into the bread pan like a flip book.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Let rise for approx. 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
- Bake in center rack for 26-30 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before you remove from the pan. Run a butter knife around the edges to release bread.
Tip: When placing the stacks of dough in the bread pan make sure to leave room for the dough to expand. I used the extra dough stack and made a mini loaf. I found the mini loaf’s bread was lighter because it had more space to grow.
Tip: I also brushed the top of the bread with the left over melted butter and sprinkled more sugar and cinnamon on top. You can omit this part, but I couldn’t resist :)
Get the girls together and pop open a bottle of bubbly, bring out the tray of cupcakes and let the party begin. There is no better way to celebrate a bride to be, then with a room filled with your best friends and sweets of course ;)
Last month I had the pleasure of working on Becky’s Bridal shower, her theme for the day was as simple as love itself… 'Love is Sweet'
With bursts of pink and white we filled the table full of Becky’s favourites desserts and much more.
With a guest list of 70 women, the table was stocked for every kind of sweet tooth imaginable. The ends of the table were filled with jars of candy like, strawberry bonbons, saltwater taffy, watermelon rings and a ‘LOVE’ dish full of jelly beans.
In the the centre of the table was the featured cake (vanilla buttermilk with raspberry icing), designed to resemble sweet little rosebuds. Keeping the table asymmetrical, the rest of the desserts mirrored one another with chocolate cupcakes and vanilla icing, rosewater meringues, heart shaped sugar cookies, lemon shortbread squares and vanilla marshmallows.
Overall it was a beautiful day. It’s so nice to be part of someone’s journey of special moments that they will treasure for a life time. Congratulations Becky on finding love.
Love Simply Sweet
Spring, summer, fall or winter; galettes are always a good idea! These cute individual galettes can easily change to from season to season by just changing the filling.
Everyone loves apples so it’s an easy choice and you can always find lots of apples to choose from at the markets. I drizzled warm caramel sauce over the galettes but for more of a summer dessert you could add vanilla and caramel ice cream! Yum!
Galettes are like pies but are more forgiving and less stressful. Making galettes are fun and easy, there are no rules as how they are supposed to look and it’s okay if the pastry rips. The more rustic, the better the galette looks, not like a pie!
When choosing apples for baking make sure you don’t buy apples that will turn into applesauce! You want to stick to Cortland, Spartan, McIntosh, or Golden Delicious. I used Spartans in this particular recipe.
- 4 spartan apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 2 tbsp milk
- turbinado sugar for sprinkling the galettes (optional)
- Arrange 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
- For the pastry- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and salt
- Using a pastry blender or two knifes, cut cold butter until coarse crumbs form (see image below)
- Stir in water all at once just until mixture begins to come together, adding up to 2 tbsp more water if needed. Do not add too much water!
- Divide pastry into 6 discs; wrap and refrigerate for 20 min
- Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, toss together peeled, cored and sliced apples, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg (TIP: sprinkle with lemon juice if apples are turing brown)
- On lightly floured surface, roll out each disc into approx. 7-inch circles
- Arrange apples in a flower like form in the centre of the circle leaving approx. an inch and a half of pastry
- Lift pastry edge up and over the apples leaving the centre uncovered (see image below)
- Using a pastry brush, brush the edges with milk and sprinkle with turbinado sugar
- Bake in bottom third of 375°F (190°C) oven, until pastry is golden and apples are tender, 25 to 30 minutes
- Let the galettes cool slightly still on the pan but on a cooling rack.
You can make these galettes ahead of time and freeze them up to a month, just let them defrost at room temperature and reheat in the oven at 300°F for approx. 10 minutes.
Who doesn’t love caramel sauce?
Believe it or not it’s not hard to make your own, and this fool proof recipe doesn’t take long to make and will last for about a month in the fridge - that’s if you can keep it that long!!
Caramel Sauce is a nice treat to have around the house and it’s such a versatile topping to spruce up any sweet. You can drizzle it over ice cream sundaes, apple pies, chocolate cake sprinkled with sea salt, or add it to a cheese plate with fresh apples, nuts and cinnamon, yum!!
- 1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
- 1/4 Cup White Sugar
- 1/4 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
- 2 Tablespoons Stirling Unsalted Butter
- 1 Cup Whipping Cream
- 2-3 Tablespoons Rum
- In a small bowl mix together the cornstarch and sugars
- In a medium sauce pan melt butter
- Add sugar and cornstarch to the melted butter, stir with a wooden spoon
- Add whipping cream, stir well and bring to a boil.
- Boil for approx. 30 seconds, while stirring
- Remove from the heat, stir in Rum
Serve immediately or let cool and transfer to a glass jar with lid and store in the fridge for 1 month. Reheat as needed.