Wednesday 28 March 2012

Individual Pineapple Upside-Down Cakes with Coconut Whipped Cream

Should you bring these individual pineapple upside-down cakes to the office potluck, Mr. Draper may want to see you in his office and ask you huskily to close the door. In the spirit of Mad Men's return and inspired by a post by my blogging friend Jen from Juanita's Cocina, I've reinterpreted this retro dessert table staple into a single-serving mini-cake that has the ability to unfasten garters and deliciously fill out pencil skirts with its caramelized bottom. Paired with a  mound of coconut whipped cream, these little cakes are comfortingly dense and undeniably seductive. 

Wednesday 21 March 2012

Chewy Gingersnap Cookies with Candied Ginger

My friends have told me that my ginger cookies have positively changed their lives, and discerning palates have labelled them no less than "The best cookie I've ever eaten." One bite and they are intoxicated by the burst of flavour and the love baked into every chewy crumb. These cookies have such charisma, they have received fan mail and requests for the recipe have cluttered my inbox. They boast a golden crust that has the obligatory snap, but the snap yields to the soft, chewy, candied-ginger-studded centre - a combination that in my experience has lifted spirits, cemented friendships, gotten jobs and removed clothing. Picnics love these cookies - as do bake sales, study sessions and work breaks. No matter where you bring them, they are sure to lift the mood with their gingery, buttery perfection.

Wednesday 14 March 2012

Scones for Gail Simmons

Last night I met the lovely Gail Simmons (Top Chef judge, host of Top Chef - Just Desserts and Special Projects Director at Food & Wine Magazine) - she's eloquent, she's inspiring, she's Canadian. This talented lady from Toronto started out with four simple words as inspiration for what to move towards after graduating from a degree that left her uninspired: Eat. Write. Travel. Cook. Now she does exactly that for a living and I wondered how? How does one go from career indecision to a career in delicious? I picked up a copy of her new book, "Talking with my Mouth Full: My Life as a Professional Eater" and devoured it, hoping for an answer, and got one - hard work, humility, perseverance, a dash of good luck, and a willingness to do what is necessary. In Gail's case she earned her Top Chef judging credibility by interning at Toronto Life Magazine and writing for the National Post, attending culinary school, getting seasoned working the line in NYC kitchens (Le Cirque & Daniel), and doing countless hours of legwork researching and testing recipes as Jeffrey Steingarten's (Vogue's food critic extraordinaire) assistant - which she did despite knowing she did not care to be a chef! 

Wednesday 7 March 2012

Meyer Lemon Cupcakes with Fennel Tea Frosting

Cupcakes - those tempting little cakes that send  icing to slowly cascade down their tops in a way that begs fingers to scoop and be licked, tongues to circle around and gather the excess along the corrugated terrain of the wrapper. The paper is seductively peeled back to reveal a moist cake, in this case flavoured with Meyer lemon and slightly perfumed with fennel tea - an excellent match. Meyer lemons are a new ingredient to me, and I was thrilled to discover bags of them in stock both at my local grocery store and the neighbourhood green-grocers. Meyer lemons are sweet, like an orange, with less of that acidic tartness other lemons have. Inspired by a few tea-infused desserts I've read about lately, I wanted to marry my favourite herbal brew with the sweet indulgence of a citrus cupcake.