Mini Banoffee Pies


Date Published: April 12th, 2021 | Last Updated: April 12th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: desserts
Serves: 16 pies | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 2 hours

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Banoffee = banana + toffee. If you love bananas, caramel, and cream, then you’ll love banoffee pie. I don’t remember where or when I first had it, but I do remember it was love at first bite. The first time I heard of this pie was actually in an episode of Little Britain when Marjorie from Fat Fighters shamed Tania for bringing banoffee pie for the group and puts it in her own handbag instead 😂.

This recipe uses dulce de leche as the “toffee” which is essentially caramel but made with both milk and sugar instead of just sugar. I’ve used Arnott’s Granita biscuits as the pie base but it’s also commonly made with a graham cracker base (it’s just nearly impossible to find graham crackers in Australia). Feel free to use pre-made whipped cream for the topping but I find fresh whipped cream nicer and easier to control the sweetness (and it’s also super satisfying turning a liquid to a whipped “solid”).

This recipe is SUPER easy BUT it does take time to make so plan ahead if you’re making this for a party. Most of the time that goes into this recipe is just waiting for the condensed milk to caramelize into dulce de leche in the oven. Grab a book or put on a movie while the oven does most of the work for you! The rest of the recipe is basic. Just blend up the biscuits with some butter and honey, bake for a few minutes, then top with the dulce de leche, chopped bananas and cream. Done!

A banoffee pie is usually served as an actual regular-sized pie, but since it’s usually just Toby and I on the road and we never have the space to store a whole pie (nor be able to eat it all on our own), so when I bake I like to bake for the entire hospital staff. I always find whole pies and cakes difficult to serve to a big busy team on the go when you have to fuss with plates, forks, knives, storage and the dishes afterwards so I’ve developed a smaller two-bite version with not cutlery required. Feel free to make this into a full-sized pie. Just follow the instructions as-is, but press the base into a pie dish instead of cupcake liners.

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • Dulce de leche:
    • 1 can (397g) condensed milk
  • Biscuit Base:
    • 1 package (250g) Arnott’s Granita biscuits
    • 125g unsalted butter, melted
    • 2 Tbsps honey
  • 2 bananas
  • Whipped Cream Topping:
    • 2 cups (500ml) thickened cream
    • 5 Tbsps granulated sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar (optional – but it helps the cream set better and last longer)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 180˚C (350˚F).

Make the biscuit base: Place the Granita biscuits in a food processor and pulse until completely crumbled. Then add in the melted unsalted butter and honey and continue to pulse until all combined.

Line a muffin tray with cupcake liners (or tart shells if you’ve got them) and place a large heaping tablespoon of the biscuit mixture into each cupcake liner. Press the biscuit mixture firmly into the pan. You can use a 1/4 cup measuring spoon to help you press it down.

Bake in the oven at 180˚C for 8-10 mins until golden brown. Remove gently and let it cool completely.

Make the dulce de leche: Pour the entire contents of the condensed milk into a glass* pie dish or a heavy tray and cover with aluminum foil. Place it in a larger tray and pour boiling water in the outer tray until the inner tray is half submerged in water. Bake for 90 mins (still at 180˚C) until the condensed milk is a caramel brown colour. Mix it around and smooth out any large lumps.

* This will still work with a metal pan (as pictured above), but the metal pan won’t be heavy enough to submerge in the water and will float on top of the water instead. A glass dish will be heavy enough to submerge in the hot water. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t have a glass dish and your pan floats. The flavour will be similar but the dulce de leche will be thicker and not as smooth. Flavour will still be similar – you can just cover any lumps with extra bananas or cream :).

Make the whipped cream topping: While the dulce de leche is cooking, make the cream by adding together the thickened/heavy cream, sugar, vanilla extract and cream of tartar (optional) in a mixing bowl. Whip until you get stiff peaks (be careful not to over whip). Refrigerate until ready to assemble.

Once the bases are cooled and the dulce de leche is ready, assemble the pie: Granita base + spoonful of dulce de leche + banana slices + whipped cream. Remove the cupcake liners before serving. Done!

Tip: If the dulce de leche is difficult to spread out, you can warm it up a little by re-submerging your tray in a warm water bath, or dip a spoon in a little oil and smooth it out in the pie.

Summarized Recipe:

Mini Banoffee Pies

Date Published: April 12th, 2021 | Last Updated: April 12th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: desserts
Serves: 16 pies | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 2 hours

Ingredients:

  • Dulce de leche:
    • 1 can (397g) condensed milk
  • Biscuit Base:
    • 1 package (250g) Arnott’s Granita biscuits
    • 125g unsalted butter, melted
    • 2 Tbsps honey
  • 2 bananas
  • Whipped Cream Topping:
    • 2 cups (500ml) thickened cream
    • 5 Tbsps granulated sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar (optional – but it helps the cream set better and last longer)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180˚C (350˚F).
  2. Make the biscuit base: Place the Granita biscuits in a food processor and pulse until completely crumbled. Then add in the melted unsalted butter and honey and continue to pulse until all combined.
  3. Line a muffin tray with cupcake liners (or tart shells if you’ve got them) and place a large heaping tablespoon of the biscuit mixture into each cupcake liner. Press the biscuit mixture firmly into the pan. You can use a 1/4 cup measuring spoon to help you press it down. Bake in the oven at 180˚C for 8-10 mins until golden brown. Remove gently and let it cool completely.
  4. Make the dulce de leche: Pour the entire contents of the condensed milk into a glass* pie dish or a heavy tray and cover with aluminum foil. Place it in a larger tray and pour boiling water in the outer tray until the inner tray is half submerged in water. Bake for 90 mins (still at 180˚C) until the condensed milk is a caramel brown colour. Mix it around and smooth out any large lumps.
    • *See notes above under the photos if you don’t have a glass dish
  5. Make the whipped cream topping: While the dulce de leche is cooking, make the cream by adding together the thickened/heavy cream, sugar, vanilla extract and cream of tartar (optional) in a mixing bowl. Whip until you get stiff peaks (be careful not to over whip). Refrigerate until ready to assemble.
  6. Assemble the pies: Once the bases are cooled and the dulce de leche is ready, assemble the pie: Granita base + spoonful of dulce de leche + banana slices + whipped cream. Remove the cupcake liners before serving. Done!
    • Tip: If the dulce de leche is difficult to spread out, you can warm it up a little by re-submerging your tray in a warm water bath, or dip a spoon in a little oil and smooth it out in the pie.

Chewy Soft Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies


Date Published: April 4th, 2021 | Last Updated: April 4th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: desserts, easy
Serves: 22 cookies | Prep time: 20 mins | Cook time: 8 mins

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This recipe is straight right off of the bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Chips. The first time my housemate made them I was ADDICTED. She happened to make a big batch because the PB chips were on sale (which never happens). These cookies are soft, light, and packs a punch of peanut butter chips. You can also easily substitute out the PB chips for regular chocolate chips. I decided to add the recipe to this website as a reference for myself so I don’t always have to read off the wrinkled bag and also so I can use substitutions when I don’t have the bag around. I’ve added a few notes from myself to help guide the process and also added in metric units for food scales (which makes life so much easier and less messy in my opinion!).

Btw, these cookies are soft enough to use to make ice cream sandwiches. Just skip the PB chips in the recipe, bake the cookies as normal, and when they’ve fully cooled, add a scoop of ice cream between two cookies. Yum!

This recipe is SO easy and cooks up quickly, perfect for last-minute baking for an event.

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 1 cup (180g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (35g) cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup (150g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (180g) sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cups (280g/10oz package) Reese’s Peanut Butter Chips

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 175˚C (350°F).

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, Beat together the butter and sugar until combined, then add in the egg and vanilla. Continue mixing until everything is incorporated.

Gradually add in the flour mixture 1/3 at a time, allowing everything to be combined before adding the next 1/3. Stir in the peanut butter chips.

Drop rounded tablespoons of batter onto an ungreased cookie sheet (roughly golfball-sized). Bake in the preheated oven for 7-9 minutes. Do not over bake.

The cookies will puff up slightly when baking then deflate into flat cookies when cooling.

Tip: If you want perfectly round cookies, form them into round balls with your hands before baking them instead of dropping them by the spoonful.

Tip: If you want less soft and more chewy cookies, flatten them slightly before baking.

The cookies will be very soft and fragile when they come out of the oven. Let them cool on the baking tray first until they firm up before letting them cool on a wire rack completely. Enjoy!

Summarized Recipe:

Chewy Soft Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Date Published: April 4th, 2021 | Last Updated: April 4th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: desserts, easy
Serves: 22 cookies | Prep time: 20 mins | Cook time: 8 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (180g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (35g) cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup (150g) butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup (180g) sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cups (280g/10oz package) Reese’s Peanut Butter Chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175˚C (350°F).
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, Beat together the butter and sugar until combined, then add in the egg and vanilla. Continue mixing until everything is incorporated.
  4. Gradually add in the flour mixture 1/3 at a time, allowing everything to be combined before adding the next 1/3. Stir in the peanut butter chips.
  5. Drop rounded tablespoons of batter onto an ungreased cookie sheet (roughly golfball-sized). Bake in the preheated oven for 7-9 minutes. Do not over bake.
    • The cookies will puff up slightly when baking then deflate into flat cookies when cooling.
    • Tip: If you want perfectly round cookies, form them into round balls with your hands before baking them instead of dropping them by the spoonful.
    • Tip: If you want less soft and more chewy cookies, flatten them slightly before baking.
  6. The cookies will be very soft and fragile when they come out of the oven. Let them cool on the baking tray first until they firm up before letting them cool on a wire rack completely. Enjoy!

Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf


Date Published: March 5th, 2021 | Last Updated: March 5th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: dessert
Serves: 1 loaf | Prep time: 30 mins | Cook time: 40 mins

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This is my copycat version of Starbucks’ lemon poppy seed loaf. It’s pretty much the only food item I buy from Starbucks back home. I don’t usually like loaves, but this one draws me in every time. It’s a moist fluffy cake bursting with lemon flavour topped with a lemon icing drizzle overtop. It pairs wonderfully with a coffee or better yet, a London Fog (essentially a vanilla earl grey latte). The loaf is delicious and full of lemon flavour on its own, but the lemon icing is what gives it an extra punch. If you’re not a fan of sugar, feel free to skip the icing but to me its my favourite part!

There aren’t many Starbucks in Australia and the ones that are here don’t sell this cake so I actually don’t know how close this recipe is to the ones at Starbucks since I don’t have one to compare it to, but when I have it it brings me right back to those memories – so I must be pretty close, right? Let me know what you think in the comments!

This recipe uses lemon juice. You can choose to use fresh lemons or bottled lemon juice. You’ll need lemon zest for the recipe so I tend to just use the juice from the rest of the lemon and top it up with bottled lemon juice if I don’t have enough. The lemon extract is optional in this recipe but I do find that it does have a slightly stronger lemon flavour with it.

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

Cake:

  • Dry Ingredients:
    • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
    • 2 tsps baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 Tbsp lemon zest (~1.5 lemons)
    • 2 Tbsps poppy seeds
  • 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) buttermilk (or 3/4 cup milk + 3/4 Tbsp lemon juice, sit until curdled)

Lemon Icing:

  • 1 cup (120g) powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tsps milk

Directions:

(If you don’t have buttermilk, step one should be to mix 3/4 cup milk with 3/4 Tbsp of lemon juice. Let it sit at room temperature for 10-15mins until curdled and use it in place of buttermilk.)

Preheat the oven to 180˚C (350˚F)

Grease a loaf pan and line it with parchment paper. You don’t need the parchment paper but it makes it a LOT easier to remove the cake cleanly from the pan.

In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, lemon zest, and poppy seeds (optional). Set aside.

In a mixing bowl with a whisk attachment or an electric beater, cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy (~3-4 mins).

Add in the eggs one at a time until incorporated, then add the vanilla extract, lemon extract, and lemon juice while on medium speed.

On low-medium speed, add the dry flour mixture and buttermilk in alternations: add in 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by half the buttermilk, then another 1/3 of the flour mixture, then the rest of the buttermilk, and finally the rest of the flour mixture. Allow each of the ingredients to be incorporated before adding in the next.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 mins until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 mins before removing it onto a wire rack to let it cool completely.

Tip: If the top of your loaf is browning too quickly before the loaf is cooked, you can place a sheet of aluminum foil on top to protect it while the rest of the loaf bakes.

While the loaf cools, make the lemon icing by sifting the icing sugar into a bowl, then add in the lemon juice. Mix until combined. Add in 1 tsp of milk at a time until you get the desired consistency (thick and not too runny).

If you prefer a thinner icing to make it less sweet, then add more milk. If you want a thicker one, then add less milk (or no milk at all).

When the loaf is completely cooled, slowly drizzle the icing onto the loaf or pour it down the centre and let the icing flow off the sides. Set aside to let the icing harden. Once the icing dries and sets, slice up the loaf and serve!

Summarized Recipe:

Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf

Date Published: March 5th, 2021 | Last Updated: March 5th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: dessert
Serves: 1 loaf | Prep time: 30 mins | Cook time: 40 mins

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • Dry Ingredients:
    • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
    • 2 tsps baking powder
    • 1/8 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 2 Tbsps poppy seeds
  • 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest (~1.5 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) buttermilk (or 3/4 cup milk + 3/4 Tbsp lemon juice, sit until curdled)

Lemon Icing:

  • 1 cup (120g) powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tsps milk

Directions:

  1. (If you don’t have buttermilk, step one should be to mix 3/4 cup milk with 3/4 Tbsp of lemon juice. Let it sit at room temperature for 10-15mins until curdled and use it in place of buttermilk.)
  2. Preheat the oven to 180˚C (350˚F)
  3. Grease a loaf pan and line it with parchment paperYou don’t need the parchment paper but it makes it a LOT easier to remove the cake cleanly from the pan.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and poppy seeds. Set aside.
  5. In a mixing bowl with a whisk attachment or an electric beater, cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy (~3-4 mins).
  6. Add in the eggs one at a time until incorporated, then add the vanilla extract, lemon extract, lemon zest, and lemon juice while on medium speed.
  7. On low-medium speed, add the dry flour mixture and buttermilk in alternations: add in 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by half the buttermilk, then another 1/3 of the flour mixture, then the rest of the buttermilk, and finally the rest of the flour mixture. Allow each of the ingredients to be incorporated before adding in the next.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 mins until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 mins before removing it onto a wire rack to let it cool completely.Tip: If the top of your loaf is browning too quickly before the loaf is cooked, you can place a sheet of aluminum foil on top to protect it while the rest of the loaf bakes.
  9. While the loaf cools, make the lemon icing by sifting the icing sugar into a bowl, then add in the lemon juice. Mix until combined. Add in 1 tsp of milk at a time until you get the desired consistency (thick and not too runny). If you prefer a thinner icing to make it less sweet, then add more milk. If you want a thicker one, then add less milk (or no milk at all).
  10. When the loaf is completely cooled, slowly drizzle the icing onto the loaf or pour it down the centre and let the icing flow off the sides. Set aside to let the icing harden. Once the icing dries and sets, slice up the loaf and serve!

Luxe Banana Bread with Espresso Mascarpone


Date Published: Feb 9th, 2021 | Last Updated: March 26th, 2021
Author: Abby | Category: dessert
Serves: 1 loaf | Prep time: 30 mins | Cook time: 1 hr

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To be honest, I was never a huge fan of banana bread but every time I make this recipe I get rave reviews. I never knew banana bread was loved by so many people! No matter how big the loaf turns out, there’s never any leftovers. Although banana bread has grown on me over the years, the only way I like to eat it is toasted with some salted butter over top or alternatively I’ll add in a couple handfuls of chocolate chips to the batter and get a more decadent chocolate banana bread. If I’m feeling really fancy, I’ll make myself espresso mascarpone to top it off. My favourite part about making this recipe is eating the freshly baked crunchy toasted edges right as it comes out of the oven.

This banana bread recipe makes a beautiful moist loaf every time, packed with banana flavour. It’s the best way to use up over ripe bananas that have been sitting on the counter for a little too long.

IMG_4673
Yoke and I at the dog lovers show

This original recipe came from a good friend of mine, Yoke. She used to make banana bread all the time in vet school (and still do). When I was in NYC a couple years ago for a vet externship, I stumbled across a random little Aussie café called Two Hands and went in for a coffee. I saw a “banana bread with espresso mascarpone” on the menu and knew I had to try it. I still didn’t love banana bread at this point, but I do love anything that’s coffee-flavoured and the combination of these two got me excited. When it arrived, it was the most beautiful serving of banana bread I had ever seen. It was a nice thick slice of banana bread with a healthy serving of the espresso mascarpone, drizzled with a bit of maple syrup and sprinkled with puffed buckwheat. This was hands down the single best banana bread I’ve ever had. The different flavours mixed so well together – it blew my mind. I was determined to recreate it when I got back to Australia and who best to ask for a good banana bread recipe than Yoke? That’s when I started making this banana bread. I don’t always make it with the espresso mascarpone because a few of my friends aren’t fans of coffee, including Toby, (sometimes I wonder how we’re still together 😜) but if I’m feeling indulgent I’ll make a small portion for myself (recipe adapted from GoodFood.com). I do like to add in the chocolate chips to jazz it up otherwise.

*I haven’t had a chance to take any photos with the espresso mascarpone yet, but its coming!

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Edit: I found the recipe for the Two Hands banana bread posted on a website a couple years after I started making my version. I haven’t tried making it their way, but if anyone’s interested, here’s a link to their recipe: https://camillestyles.com/food/two-hands-nyc-banana-walnut-bread-with-espresso-mascarpone/

Ingredients you’ll need:

Banana Bread:

  • Dry Ingredients:
    • 3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Wet Ingredients:
    • 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
    • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
    • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
    • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
    • 2 tsps pure vanilla extract
    • 3 large overripe bananas, mashed (= ~ 1.5 cups mashed)
    • 1.5 cups (360ml) buttermilk, at room temperature (or 1.5 cups milk + 1.5 Tbsp lemon juice, left for 30mins until it starts curdling)
  • + optional: 180g chocolate chips or chopped semi-sweet chocolate
  • + optional: chopped walnuts

Espresso mascarpone:

  • 500g mascarpone
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla bean, cut in half lengthways, seeds scraped)
  • pinch cinnamon
  • 100ml espresso coffee
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar
  • Maple syrup (for drizzling)
  • Optional: sprinkle with some chopped pecans, walnuts, pine nuts or puffed buckwheat

Directions for Banana Bread:

Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a loaf pan (9×13 inch).

(If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make it now at this stage by adding milk with lemon juice and letting it sit for 20-30mins until it curdles while you prepare the rest of the recipe.)

In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

Peel the overripe bananas and mash them. Set aside.

In another bowl, use a mixer and beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add in the white and brown sugar to the bowl and continue beating until creamed together. Beat in the eggs and the vanilla until combined, then fold in the mashed bananas.

With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients to the wet in three additions alternating with the buttermilk, allowing each to be incorporated before adding the next. Do not over mix. The batter will be slightly thick and a few lumps is OK.

Optional: If you want to make chocolate banana bread, you can stir in the chocolate chips at this stage into the batter. OR if you’d like to add walnuts, now is the time to stir it in.

Chocolate chips optional

Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan. Feel free to sprinkle walnuts over. Bake for 45mins to 1hr (depending on your oven). The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. 

*Tip: If you find the top of the cake is browning too quickly in the oven, loosely cover it with aluminum foil and continue baking.

When the cake is done, remove it from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool completely before serving. Serve on its own or follow the instructions for espresso mascarpone below!

Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The cake also freezes well up to 3 months. Just thaw and serve when ready to eat.

Optional: Directions for Espresso marscapone:

  1. Combine all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and use a stand mixer to blend everything together until smooth and creamy. Do not over whip or else it will split. Keep the mascarpone cold at all times. Serve on top of banana bread with a drizzle of maple syrup and a sprinkle of puffed buckwheat.

Summarized Recipe:

Luxe Banana Bread with Espresso Mascarpone

Date Published: Feb 9th, 2021 | Last Updated: March 26th, 2021
Author: Abby | Category: dessert
Serves: 1 loaf | Prep time: 30 mins | Cook time: 1 hr

Ingredients:

Banana Bread:

  • Dry Ingredients:
    • 3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Wet Ingredients:
    • 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
    • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
    • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
    • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
    • 2 tsps pure vanilla extract
    • 3 large ripe bananas, mashed (= ~ 1.5 cups mashed)
    • 1.5 cups (360ml) buttermilk, at room temperature (or 1.5 cups milk + 1.5 Tbsp lemon juice, left for 30mins until it starts curdling)
  • + optional: 180g chocolate chips or chopped semi-sweet chocolate
  • + optional: chopped walnuts

Espresso Mascarpone:

  • 500g mascarpone
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla bean, cut in half lengthways, seeds scraped)
  • pinch cinnamon
  • 100ml espresso coffee
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar
  • Maple syrup (for drizzling)
  • Optional: sprinkle with some chopped pecans, walnuts, pine nuts or puffed buckwheat.

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a loaf pan (9×13 inch).
  2. (If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make it now at this stage by adding milk with lemon juice and letting it sit for 20-30mins until it curdles while you prepare the rest of the recipe.)
  3. In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
  4. In another bowl, use a mixer and beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add in the white and brown sugar to the bowl and continue beating until creamed together. Beat in the eggs and the vanilla until combined, then fold in the mashed bananas.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients to the wet in three additions alternating with the buttermilk, allowing each to be incorporated before adding the next. Do not over mix. The batter will be slightly thick and a few lumps is OK.
  6. Optional: If you want to make chocolate banana bread, you can stir in the chocolate chips at this stage into the batter. OR if you’d like to add walnuts, now is the time to stir it in.
  7. Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan. Feel free to sprinkle walnuts over. Bake for 45mins to 1hr (depending on your oven). The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. 
    • *Tip: If you find the top of the cake is browning too quickly in the oven, loosely cover it with aluminum foil and continue baking.
  8. When the cake is done, remove it from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool completely before serving. Serve on its own or follow the instructions for espresso mascarpone below!

Storage: Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The cake also freezes well up to 3 months. Just thaw and serve when ready to eat.

Optional: Directions for Espresso marscapone:

  1. Combine all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and use a stand mixer to blend everything together until smooth and creamy. Do not over whip or else it will split. Keep the mascarpone cold at all times. Serve on top of banana bread with a drizzle of maple syrup and a sprinkle of puffed buckwheat.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting


Date Published: Feb 8th, 2021 | Last Updated: Feb 8th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: dessert
Serves: 24 cupcakes | Prep time: 20 mins | Cook time: 20 mins

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Pumpkin spice is all the rage back home especially in the autumn season – and for good reason! It’s a mix of warm spices that usually includes cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice that just seems to comfort you on a cold day. In Canada I would often get a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks early in the morning and head out on an autumn hike enjoying the leaves change colour while sipping on my latte – it was the perfect combination. You can put pumpkin spice in just about anything: scones, lattés, whipped cream, cakes, cookies, and….. cupcakes! I’ve even seen them incorporated into dog treats (no idea why). These cupcakes are delicious on their own as a moist fluffy pumpkin cake (similar to a carrot cake) paired with a coffee, or if you’ve got a sweet tooth it’s even better topped with the cinnamon cream cheese frosting. You can choose to bake these as cupcakes in a muffin pan as I have in this recipe or put it in a bundt cake pan or cake pan and bake it as an entire cake and top it with the frosting to make it a little fancier for afternoon tea.

These cupcakes turn out fluffy and moist every time – the secret is using vegetable oil instead of butter!

This recipe is adapted from AllRecipes. I’ve halved the sugar from the original recipe because the cinnamon frosting is quite sweet on its own and is more than enough sweetness when paired together. If you’re making this as a cake on its own without the frosting, feel free to add in a little extra sugar (I’d increase the white sugar from 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup). When I make this recipe, I usually buy the pre-made pumpkin spice mix from Clubhouse but you could just as easily make it yourself in a big batch (see recipe below). Unlike North America, canned pumpkin purée is actually very difficult to find in Australia so if you can’t find any in your local shops, you can make it yourself by baking your pumpkin in the oven with some olive oil until soft, peel it, and mash it up.

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • Dry Ingredients:
    • 2 1/4 cups (400g) all-purpose flour
    • 3 tsp pumpkin spice
      • If you don’t have pumpkin spice:
        • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
        • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
        • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
        • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
        • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 Tbsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Wet Ingredients:
    • 1/2 cup (160g) vegetable oil
    • 1/2 cup (115g) white sugar
    • 1/3 cup (78g) brown sugar (or 1/3 cup white sugar + 1 tsp molasses)
    • 2 eggs, room temperature
    • 3/4 cup milk
    • 1.5 cups (420g) pumpkin puree
  • Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting:
    • 1 (226g/8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
    • 1/4 cup (57g) butter, softened
    • 3 cups (400g) icing sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions:

(If you don’t have canned pumpkin puree, cook your pumpkin in the oven and put it in the blender as step #1)

Mix together the dry ingredients: flour, pumpkin spice, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375˚F (190˚C).

In a separate large bowl, combine your wet ingredients: vegetable oil, white sugar, and brown sugar. Add the room-temperature eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to blend into the butter mixture before adding the next. Stir in the milk and pumpkin puree after the last egg.

Gradually add the dry ingredients into the batter one cup at a time while mixing. Allow the ingredients to mix together before adding the next cup. Once you’ve incorporated all the dry ingredients to the wet, your batter is ready for the oven!

Line your muffin tray with liners, or grease them if you’re not using liners. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups and bake in the preheated oven until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle (about 15-20 minutes). Cool in the muffin pan for 5 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.

While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting by beating the cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Add in the vanilla extract and ground cinnamon. Beat in the icing sugar a little at a time until incorporated. Spoon the frosting into piping bags and frost the cupcakes once they’re cooled. Done!

*Tip: If you find your frosting a little running, refrigerate it for 20mins and it should firm up.

Summarized Recipe:

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

Date Published: Feb 8th, 2021 | Last Updated: Feb 8th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: dessert
Serves: 24 cupcakes | Prep time: 20 mins | Cook time: 20 mins

Ingredients:

  • Dry Ingredients:
    • 2 1/4 cups (400g) all-purpose flour
    • 3 tsp pumpkin spice (see recipe above if you don’t have the spice mix)
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 Tbsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Wet Ingredients:
    • 1/2 cup (160g) vegetable oil
    • 1/2 cup (115g) white sugar
    • 1/3 cup (78g) brown sugar (or 1/3 cup white sugar + 1 tsp molasses)
    • 2 eggs, room temperature
    • 3/4 cup milk
    • 1.5 cups (420g) pumpkin puree
  • Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting:
    • 1 (226g/8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
    • 1/4 cup (57g) butter, softened
    • 3 cups (400g) icing sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Mix together the dry ingredients: flour, pumpkin spice, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375˚F (190˚C).
  3. In a separate large bowl, combine your wet ingredients: vegetable oil, white sugar, and brown sugar. Add the room-temperature eggs one at a time while mixing, allowing each egg to blend into the butter mixture before adding the next. Stir in the milk and pumpkin puree after the last egg.
  4. Gradually add the dry ingredients into the batter one cup at a time while mixing. Allow the ingredients to mix together before adding the next cup. Once you’ve incorporated all the dry ingredients to the wet, your batter is ready for the oven!
  5. Line your muffin tray with liners, or grease them if you’re not using liners. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups and bake in the preheated oven until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle (about 15-20 minutes). Cool in the muffin pan for 5 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.
  6. While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting by beating the cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Add in the vanilla extract and ground cinnamon. Beat in the icing sugar a little at a time until incorporated. Spoon the frosting into piping bags and frost the cupcakes once they’re cooled. Done!
    • *Tip: If you find your frosting a little running, refrigerate it for 20mins and it should firm up.

Salted Chocolate Caramel Bars (Caramel slice)


Date Published: Feb 1st, 2021 | Last Updated: Feb 1st, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: desserts
Serves: 24 squares | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 30 mins + 1hr of cooling time

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These salted caramel bars are f*cking AMAZING. No lie. I first stumbled upon the original recipe from Nagi from RecipeTinEats about a year ago and have made it at least a dozen times since. I’ve made a few slight adjustments over time but it’s mainly similar to the original. These bars ALWAYS get rave reviews. I like to bring them to work when Toby and I start new jobs at a new clinic to make a good first impression – I should call them “First Day Caramel Bars”, ha!. Our current practice manager called them “DIVINE!” – true story. The recipe is pretty easy and straightforward, but because there are 3 layers involved, it does take a little extra time – but it’s worth it!

I’ve occasionally seen caramel bars sold back home in Canada here and there in cafés and I never thought too much of them, but since moving to Australia, I see them everywhere! They’re pretty much a staple in every Australian bakery. They’re called “caramel slices” here, something I still don’t quite understand since when I think of a slice, I think of something in a triangular form such as pie, cake or pizza, not squares 🤷🏻‍♀️. Some people in America call them “Millionaire’s Shortbread” – maybe because they’re so rich and creamy. Whatever you want to call these – bar, slice, shortbread – just know that they’re delicious AF. I’m not usually a huge fan of the ones in bakeries, but I could eat these all day.

These bars have a delicious crunchy crispy coconut shortbread base with a soft caramel centre made with condensed milk and topped with a layer of salted milk chocolate. Fair warning, they can be pretty sweet so if you’re not a huge fan of sugar, then I’d recommend cutting down the sugar in the caramel layer by a quarter or a half.

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • Base layer:
    • 1 cup (150g) all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup (45g) desiccated coconut
    • 1/2 cup (80g) brown sugar, loosely packed (or 1/2 cup white sugar + 1/2 Tbsp molasses)
    • 125g unsalted butter, melted
  • Caramel layer:
    • 125g unsalted butter, roughly chopped
    • 1/2 cup (80g) brown sugar (or 1/2 cup white sugar + 1/2 Tbsp molasses)
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 can (395g/14oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • Chocolate layer:
    • 200g dark or milk chocolate, chopped
    • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
    • Salt flakes (for sprinkling on top)

Directions:

Make the base: Preheat the oven to 180˚C (350˚F). Combine all the ingredients for the base together in a bowl (flour, coconut, brown sugar, butter). Line a baking tray (20cmx20cm or 8″x8″ – brownie pan size) with baking paper and press down the batter into the pan until evenly spread out. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 180˚C or until the surface is golden brown. Remove to cool.

Make the caramel: In a saucepan over LOW-MED heat, melt the butter. Once the butter is melted, add in the sugar and vanilla. Whisk until it becomes a homogenous mixture. Continue to stir until it comes to a simmer then add in the can of condensed milk and continue mixing until it’s a thick homogenous mixture. When it comes to a simmer again, turn off the heat and pour the mixture over the base layer. Tilt the pan to spread it evenly. Bake for 10-12mins at 180˚C until the top turns golden brown. (Note: the caramel will bubble in the oven – this is normal.) Take it out of the oven and set aside until the surface is cooled (you can put it in the fridge to help it along).

Make the chocolate: Place the chocolate and coconut oil in a bowl and microwave 30 seconds at a time stirring in between until you get a smooth melted chocolate spread. Pour this over the cooled caramel layer and tilt the pan until evenly spread. Refrigerate for half an hour and sprinkle salt over the top layer when the chocolate is nearly set. Then continue to refrigerate for another half hour or overnight until ready to serve. Cut into squares and enjoy!

*Tip: If you sprinkle the salt too early when the chocolate is still warm or liquid, the salt will dissolve. If you sprinkle the salt too late after the chocolate has set, the salt won’t stick.

Cut into squares and enjoy! Done!

Summarized Recipe:

Salted Chocolate Caramel Bars (Caramel Slice)

Date Published: Feb 1st, 2021 | Last Updated: Feb 1st, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: desserts
Serves: 24 squares | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 30 mins + 1hr of cooling time

Ingredients:

  • Base layer:
    • 125g unsalted butter, melted
    • 1 cup (150g) all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup (45g) desiccated coconut
    • 1/2 cup (80g) brown sugar, loosely packed (or 1/2 cup white sugar + 1/2 Tbsp molasses)
  • Caramel layer:
    • 125g unsalted butter, roughly chopped
    • 1/2 cup (80g) brown sugar (or 1/2 cup white sugar + 1/2 Tbsp molasses)
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 can (395g/14oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • Chocolate layer:
    • 200g dark or milk chocolate, chopped
    • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
    • Salt flakes (for sprinkling on top)

Directions:

  1. Make the base:
    1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C (350˚F). Mix all the ingredients for the base together in a bowl (melted butter, flour, coconut, brown sugar).
    2. Line a baking tray (20cmx20cm or 8″x8″ – brownie pan size) with baking paper and press down the batter into the pan until evenly spread out.
    3. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 180˚C or until the surface is golden brown. Remove to cool.
  2. Make the caramel:
    1. In a saucepan over LOW-MED heat, melt the butter.
    2. Once the butter is melted, add in the sugar and vanilla. Whisk until it becomes a homogenous mixture.
    3. Continue to stir until it comes to a simmer then add in the can of condensed milk and continue mixing until it’s a thick homogenous mixture.
    4. When it comes to a simmer again, turn off the heat and pour the mixture over the base layer. Tilt the pan to spread it evenly.
    5. Bake for 10-12mins at 180˚C until the top turns golden brown. (Note: the caramel will bubble in the oven – this is normal.) Take it out of the oven and set aside until the surface is cooled (you can put it in the fridge to help it along).
  3. Make the chocolate:
    1. Place the chocolate and coconut oil in a bowl and microwave 30 seconds at a time stirring in between until you get a smooth melted chocolate spread.
    2. Pour this over the cooled caramel layer and tilt the pan until evenly spread.
    3. Refrigerate for half an hour and sprinkle salt over the top layer when the chocolate is nearly set. Then continue to refrigerate for another half hour or overnight until ready to serve.
      • *Tip: If you sprinkle the salt too early when the chocolate is still warm or liquid, the salt will dissolve. If you sprinkle the salt too late after the chocolate has set, the salt won’t stick.
    4. Cut into squares and enjoy!

Fudgy Brownies to Impress


Date Published: January 17th, 2020 | Last Updated: January 17th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: dessert
Serves: 1 tray | Prep time: 20mins | Cook time: 25mins

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One day Toby wanted to make brownies for work. We can’t remember exactly what the occasion was for or if it was for a specific person, but I remember googling a recipe for him and stumbled upon the one from Tasty.co. The brownies came out fantastic and were a big hit. We’ve since made it at least half a dozen times and made some minor changes along the way. Because brownies are so sugary and fatty in nature, we pretty much only make these for other people and sneak a couple of squares for ourselves. These are now Toby’s go-to baked goods to bring to any occasion and make an impression – they get rave reviews every time!

The recipe takes a couple of steps but is overall pretty easy to make. The hardest part is trying not to eat them before they cool completely!

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 112g + 112g (4oz + 4oz) chocolate chips or chopped semi-sweet chocolate
  • 3/4 cup (95g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (30 g) cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cups (180g) unsalted butter, melted or softened
  • 1 1/4 cups (250g) sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 180˚C (350°F). Line an 8-inch (20 cm) square baking dish with baking/parchment paper.

Weigh out two bowls of chocolate chips (112g each) and melt one bowl in the microwave 20 seconds at a time until it’s just melted (without cooking it). Set the other bowl of chocolate aside.

In a medium sized bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl or stand mixer, whisk the butter and sugar until combined, then add in the eggs and vanilla and continue to whisk until its somewhat fluffy and lighter in colour.

Next whisk in the melted chocolate (make sure it’s not too hot or else it will cook the eggs).

Sift the flour/cocoa powder/salt mixture into your batter and use a spatula to fold the ingredients together – don’t over mix it otherwise the brownies will be denser and cake-like.

Fold in the unmelted chocolate chips and pour the batter in the prepared baking dish.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean (the less you bake it, the more fudgy your brownies will be). Let it cool completely then slice. Enjoy!

Summarized Recipe:

Fudgy Brownies to Impress

Date Published: January 17th, 2020 | Last Updated: January 17th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: dessert
Serves: 1 tray | Prep time: 20mins | Cook time: 25mins

Ingredients:

  • 112g + 112g (4oz + 4oz) chocolate chips or chopped semi-sweet chocolate
  • 3/4 cup (95g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (30 g) cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cups (180g) unsalted butter, melted or softened
  • 1 1/4 cups (250g) sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C (350°F). Line an 8-inch (20 cm) square baking dish with baking/parchment paper.
  2. Weigh out two bowls of chocolate chips (112g each) and melt one bowl in the microwave 20 seconds at a time until it’s just melted (without cooking it). Set the other bowl of chocolate aside.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl or stand mixer, whisk the butter and sugar until combined, then add in the eggs and vanilla and continue to whisk until its somewhat fluffy and lighter in colour.
  5. Next whisk in the melted chocolate (make sure it’s not too hot or else it will cook the eggs).
  6. Sift the flour/cocoa powder/salt mixture into your batter and use a spatula to fold the ingredients together – don’t over mix it otherwise the brownies will be denser and cake-like.
  7. Fold in the unmelted chocolate chips and pour the batter in the prepared baking dish.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean (the less you bake it, the more fudgy your brownies will be). Let it cool on the bench completely then slice. Enjoy!

Cinnamon Rolls


Date Published: Dec 27th, 2020 | Last Updated: Dec 27th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: dessert
Serves: 12-16 rolls | Prep time: 1hr 30mins | Cook time: 20mins

Jump to recipe |

A co-worker of mine one day was talking about how her goal over the weekend was to make cinnamon scrolls then raved about how amazing her first Cinnabon experience was in America. We then both agreed how ridiculous it was that Cinnabon decided to open up its first shop in Australia in Brisbane. Not Sydney. Not Melbourne, but Brisbane. Really??? Nothing against Brisbane, but it just seemed like a random place to open their first shop in the country. Our chat had me craving Cinnabon for the rest of the day. Unlike back home in North America, cinnamon rolls are not a common thing to find here – it’s actually near impossible and the only way to have it is to make it yourself (or go to Brisbane). I’ve made this recipe a few times in an attempt to recreate the ones at Cinnabon. It’s not exactly alike, but it’s pretty close! This recipe is adapted originally from All Recipes.

This recipe is not difficult to make, but there are a few steps to it which make the recipe look really lengthy and difficult, but I promise its not. You essentially just need to make the dough, roll it out, spread butter and cinnamon sugar, roll it up, bake it, then spread icing over top.

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • Dough:
    • 2.5 tsps (8g sachet) dry active yeast
    • 1 cup warm milk
    • 1 tsp white sugar
    • 2 eggs room temperature
    • 1/3 cup (76g) melted butter or margarine
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/2 cup (110g) white sugar
    • 4.5 cups (720g) flour (bread flour is best, but all purpose flour will do)
  • Cinnamon Sugar Filling:
    • 1/3 cup (76g) butter, softened
    • 1 cup (230g) packed brown sugar (= 1 Tbsp molasses + 1 cup white sugar)
    • 2.5 Tbsps ground cinnamon
  • Icing:
    • 85g (3oz) of cream cheese, softened
    • 1/4 cup (55g) butter, softened
    • 1.5 cups (195g) confectioner’s/icing sugar
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    • a pinch of salt

Directions:

Note the frothiness at the top when the yeast has been activated

Make the dough: In a large mixing bowl, activate the yeast by dissolving it in warm milk with 1 tsp sugar. Set this aside for 5-10 mins until it turns frothy.

Mix in eggs, butter, salt and sugar to the bowl. Add the flour in gradually until you get a smooth dough and knead it into a ball. Place the dough ball in a lightly greased bowl covered with a tea towel and set aside in a warm place until doubled in size (~1hr). (Don’t have a warm place? Click here to see how I proof my dough in the oven).

While the dough is proofing, make the cinnamon and brown sugar mix by mixing the two together. Set aside.

Assemble the roll: After the dough has doubled it size, knead it out on a lightly floured surface to get the air pockets out. Divide the dough in half.

Using a rolling pin, roll out one dough ball into a square until you get a rectangle about 2-3mm thick.

Spread half the softened butter over the dough and then sprinkle half of the cinnamon-brown sugar mixture on top. Use your rolling pin to lightly roll over the dough so the cinnamon sugar is gently pressed in.

Roll up the dough semi-tightly from left to right so you’re left with one long roll. If you find the centre of your roll thicker than the edges, gently roll it out until it is roughly the same thickness. Cut up the dough into even 3cm thicknesses and place on a lined baking tray. Repeat with the other half of the dough.

Bake the rolls: Preheat the oven to 200˚C (400˚F). While the oven is warming up, cover the rolls with a tea towel and let it rise in a warm place until the oven is ready. Bake on the middle rack until golden brown (~15-20 minutes).

Make the icing: While rolls are baking, combine all the icing ingredients in a large mixing bowl: cream cheese, butter, sugar, vanilla, salt.

Finish it off: Once the rolls are cooked, flip each roll upside down so the gooey cinnamon filling re-coats the inside. Spoon any extra melted filling over the buns. While the rolls are still hot, spread half the icing over the rolls. Once rolls are cooled, spread the other half of the icing over them. Serve warm. Enjoy!

Notes:

  • You can freeze the uncooked dough quite well and bake them separately for a quick snack or freeze them cooked and microwave when ready to eat.
  • Keep in an air tight container for 2-3 days at room temperature or in the fridge if longer or in warm humid conditions.

Summarized Recipe:

Cinnamon Rolls

Date Published: Dec 27th, 2020 | Last Updated: Dec 27th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: dessert
Serves: 12-16 rolls | Prep time: 1hr 30mins | Cook time: 20mins

Ingredients:

  • Dough:
    • 2.5 tsps (8g sachet) dry active yeast
    • 1 cup warm milk
    • 1 tsp white sugar
    • 2 eggs room temperature
    • 1/3 cup (76g) melted butter or margarine
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/2 cup (110g) white sugar
    • 4.5 cups (720g) flour (bread flour is best, but all purpose flour will do)
  • Cinnamon Sugar Filling:
    • 1/3 cup (76g) butter, softened
    • 1 cup (230g) packed brown sugar (= 1 Tbsp molasses + 1 cup white sugar)
    • 2.5 Tbsps ground cinnamon
  • Icing:
    • 85g (3oz) of cream cheese, softened
    • 1/4 cup (55g) butter, softened
    • 1.5 cups (195g) confectioner’s/icing sugar
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    • a pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Make the dough: In a large mixing bowl, activate the yeast by dissolving it in warm milk with 1 tsp sugar. Set this aside for 5-10 mins until it turns frothy.
  2. Mix in eggs, butter, salt and sugar to the bowl. Add the flour in gradually until you get a smooth dough and knead it into a ball. Place the dough ball in a lightly greased bowl covered with a tea towel and set aside in a warm place until doubled in size (~1hr). (Don’t have a warm place? Click here to see how I proof my dough in the oven).
  3. While the dough is proofing, make the cinnamon and brown sugar mix by mixing the two together. Set aside.
  4. Assemble the roll: After the dough has doubled it size, knead it out on a lightly floured surface to get the air pockets out. Divide the dough in half. Using a rolling pin, roll out one dough ball into a square until you get a rectangle about 2-3mm thick.
  5. Spread half the softened butter over the dough and then sprinkle half of the cinnamon-brown sugar mixture on top. Use your rolling pin to lightly roll over the dough so the cinnamon sugar is gently pressed in.
  6. Roll up the dough semi-tightly from left to right so you’re left with one long roll. If you find the centre of your roll thicker than the edges, gently roll it out until it is roughly the same thickness. Cut up the dough into even 3cm thicknesses and place on a lined baking tray. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
  7. Bake the rolls: Preheat the oven to 200˚C (400˚F). While the oven is warming up, cover the rolls with a tea towel and let it rise in a warm place until the oven is ready. Bake on the middle rack until golden brown (~15-20 minutes).
  8. Make the icing: While rolls are baking, combine all the icing ingredients in a large mixing bowl: cream cheese, butter, sugar, vanilla, salt.
  9. Finish it off: Once the rolls are cooked, flip each roll upside down so the gooey cinnamon filling re-coats the inside. Spoon any extra melted filling over the buns. While the rolls are still hot, spread half the icing over the rolls. Once rolls are cooled, spread the other half of the icing over them. Serve warm. Enjoy!

Notes:

  • You can freeze the uncooked dough quite well and bake them separately for a quick snack or freeze them cooked and microwave when ready to eat.
  • Keep in an air tight container for 2-3 days at room temperature or in the fridge if longer or in warm humid conditions.

Soft Ginger Cookies


Date Published: Dec 27th, 2020 | Last Updated: Dec 27th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: dessert
Serves: 22 cookies | Prep time: 20 mins | Cook time: 10 mins

Jump to recipe |

Happy holidays everyone! I know I’m a bit late to the party, but ’tis the season for baking! As usual, I’ve been ramping up my baking just before Christmas as gifts for people, work snacks, or party munchies. It’s been a crazy year and the holidays can be especially tough, so whether or not you celebrate, I hope you at least had some extra time off from work. Toby and I have been spending Christmas back on the farm with his parents and there is definitely no shortage of food here! Traditional Czech Christmas is celebrated on the 24th so on Christmas Eve his mom made fish fillets with a prawn cocktail and potato salad. Then on Christmas day she made a roast turkey and we made roast veggies harvested straight from the garden to go with it. For Boxing Day, we invited our friends over for a party and made beer butt chicken, rosemary roast lamb, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and broccoli salad. There will be plenty of leftovers to last us all at least a week. I don’t think I need to eat for another 2 days!

I’m currently doing relief work at 3 different clinics in the northern regions of Melbourne and not to toot my own horn, but these cookies have been a big hit at all three clinics over the past week. They’re pretty easy to make and you end up with a lot of cookies in one batch – warning, they do require quite a bit of sugar in the recipe but who’s actually counting calories through this season? These soft ginger cookies are perfect for the festive season.

Recipe adapted from: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/17165/big-soft-ginger-cookies/

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • Dry Ingredients:
    • 2 1/4 cups (350g) all-purpose flour
    • 2 1/4 tsps ground ginger
    • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Wet Ingredients:
    • 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened
    • 1 cup (230g) white sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 1 Tbsp orange juice
    • 1/4 cup (85g) molasses
  • 1/2 cup white sugar for coating

Directions:

Preheat oven to 175˚C (350F).

Combine the dry ingredients: In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.

Combine the wet ingredients: In a large bowl, beat together the butter and 1 cup sugar. Add in the egg, orange juice and molasses. Mix until combined.

Gradually add in the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients mixture. You should end up with a semi-firm sticky dough. If your dough is too soft and sticky to work with, put it in the fridge for 20mins for it to firm up.

Pour the remaining 1/2 cup sugar on a plate for coating. Shape the dough into golf ball sizes and roll each one in the sugar. Place each ball on an ungreased baking tray. Don’t place them too close together because they spread out in the oven! Bake for 8 to 10 mins in the preheated oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

Notes:

  • Pro-tip: it’ll be easier to get your molasses out of the measuring cup by greasing it first with a drop or two of oil.
  • They expand quite a bit so you can make them smaller if you like smaller cookies to commit to.
  • If you prefer them crunchier, flatten the dough balls slightly before baking them.

Summarized Recipe:

Soft Ginger Cookies

Date Published: Dec 27th, 2020 | Last Updated: Dec 27th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: dessert
Serves: 22 cookies | Prep time: 20 mins | Cook time: 10 mins

Ingredients:

  • Dry Ingredients:
    • 2 1/4 cups (350g) all-purpose flour
    • 2 1/4 tsps ground ginger
    • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Wet Ingredients:
    • 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened
    • 1 cup (230g) white sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 1 Tbsp orange juice
    • 1/4 cup (85g) molasses
  • 1/2 cup white sugar for coating

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 175˚C (350F).
  2. Combine the dry ingredients: In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Combine the wet ingredients: In a large bowl, beat together the butter and 1 cup sugar. Add in the egg, orange juice and molasses. Mix until combined.
  4. Gradually add in the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients mixture. You should end up with a semi-firm sticky dough. (If your dough is too soft and sticky to work with, put it in the fridge for 20mins for it to firm up.)
  5. Pour the remaining 1/2 cup sugar on a plate for coating. Shape the dough into golf ball sizes and roll each one in the sugar. Place each ball on an ungreased baking tray. Don’t place them too close together because they spread out in the oven! Bake for 8 to 10 mins in the preheated oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

Notes:

  • Pro-tip: it’ll be easier to get your molasses out of the measuring cup by greasing it first with a drop or two of oil.
  • They expand quite a bit so you can make them smaller if you like smaller cookies to commit to.
  • If you prefer them crunchier, flatten the dough balls slightly before baking them.

Crème Caramel (Egg Custard Pudding)


Date Published: August 5th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 5th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: dessert, asian
Serves: 4 | Prep time: 5mins | Cook time: 50mins

Jump to recipe |

Crème caramel is a Delicious (capital D intended) dessert with a custardy delicate egg base topped with a caramel syrup. I find this dessert especially addicting because it just melts in your mouth and it’s not too sweet so you don’t feel like you’re overloading yourself by having too many (at least that’s what I tell myself). You only need a few simple ingredients to put this together and although it’s a pretty easy recipe, it can be a little finicky at times so if you’re making it for the first time so I recommend you read through the step-by-step guide with the photos to help you along. The recipe is pretty wordy because I’m trying to describe everything as best as I can to minimize room for error, but once you start making it you’ll see it’s not difficult at all! (A video tutorial is on my to-do list so keep your eyes peeled.)

There are so many different names for this dessert that I had trouble picking a title for this recipe. I settled on crème caramel which is probably the most common name it goes by. Other common names are flan, purin (Japan), caramel custard, caramel pudding…etc. This dessert has been widely adapted around the world and with so many variations of flavours, sides, toppings, and cooking methods. Some bake it, others steam it; some use condensed milk, others use cream; some prefer a higher egg content, others prefer a higher dairy content; some prefer the texture stiffer, while others aim for delicate silky smooth…etc.

I grew up in Taiwan knowing it as ‘egg pudding’ (it HAD to be the Uni-President brand) and it was one of our favourite desserts. You can buy it from any convenience store and it came packaged in a plastic cup with a foil cover and a little plastic spoon. It was always a treat when mom would buy some for us and the dark brown caramel part at the bottom was gold. It’s also widely popular in Japan and they pride themselves on having their ‘purin’ to be silky smooth and creamy (kind of like a panna cotta or silken tofu). I’m pretty sure I ate at least 1 or 2 every day when I was in Japan because it was THAT good. This recipe is based on the Japanese version (adapted from Chopstick Chronicles) and I’m using evaporated milk to achieve the creamy flavour.

You can serve this dessert hot or cold, in a cup or inverted on a dish. My favourite is to refrigerate it overnight and then eat it directly out of the cup so I can scoop up the caramel syrup with every bite! I find the texture to be silkier and the flavours to be creamier when served cold. If you’re looking to impress, it looks much prettier inverted on a small plate.

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • Caramel:
    • 70g granulated sugar
    • 50ml water
  • Pudding:
    • 3 large eggs
    • 60g granulated sugar
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 300ml milk – whole milk is better but light will work
    • 100ml evaporated milk – can use regular milk if you don’t have it, just won’t be as creamy

Equipment:

  • 4 small ramekins (or any small bowl/cup that can withstand heat on a stove)
  • A pan with a lid (the pan should be deep enough that you can fit the ramekins in with the lid on)
  • A small saucepan for the caramel
  • Dry tea towel
  • Whisk

Directions:

Grease 4 small ramekins with either butter or any neutral oil (ie vegetable/canola oil). Set aside.

Note: you don’t need to use ramekins if you don’t have one. Any cup/bowl will do as long as it can withstand heat on the stove.

In a small saucepan (ideally one with a white base so you can see the colour changes easily – we just moved onto the farm and unfortunately there are only black base pots here for the photo), make the caramel by combining the sugar with water over MEDIUM heat and swirl the mixture around until the sugar has dissolved. Let the mixture simmer until it turns into an amber caramel colour (15-20mins). Do NOT stir during this process. Gently swirl it to even out the colour changes if needed. Stirring will cause the sugar to stick to the sides of the pot and crystallize (like in the photos above – I didn’t learn about this until it was too late!). Don’t worry if you accidentally stir the mixture and get crystals (I do it all the time. I feel like I have an impulse to stir anything that’s been on the stove for a while). Your caramel will still turn out fine.

This is the longest step and you must be patient. The mixture will first start bubbling as the water evaporates and once the colour starts changing, the bubbles will disappear and you’re left with a thick caramel – but don’t take it off the stove until you get that deep amber colour like the photo above. Once the caramel starts changing colour, the colour changes will happen faster so watch it closely so it doesn’t burn. If you take off your caramel too early, the colour will be lighter and the overall pudding will be too sweet since the caramel hasn’t caramelized enough. The darker it is, the more robust the caramel flavour (and slightly more bitter) – but be careful not to take it too far and burn it.

While you’re waiting for the caramel, you can make the pudding filling (but keep your eyes on the caramel so it doesn’t burn). In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, 60g sugar, and vanilla extract until combined.

In a separate bowl, combine the milk and evaporated milk and microwave for about 1-2 mins until it’s warm (you don’t want it hot otherwise it will cook the eggs!). Add this milk mixture to the egg mixture gradually while whisking. Strain to remove any clumps.

Once the caramel is ready, quickly distribute it evenly into the 4 ramekins. The caramel hardens very quickly once it’s off the stove and will make it very difficult to pour into the ramekins if you let it cool. Try to swirl the ramekins as you pour so the caramel evenly coats the bottom of the ramekin. Don’t worry if the caramel hardens in the ramekin before you get to swirl it evenly – it’ll even out when it cooks (just try not to have a giant clump of caramel in the middle). Distribute the egg milk mixture evenly over the caramel into the ramekins.

Place your ramekins in a pan and add about 2cm of water into the pan around the molds. Turn the heat on high and when the water boils, wrap the pan lid with a dry tea towel (this avoids condensed water from dripping on your puddings) and put the lid on. Turn the heat down to LOW-MED (#3 on my induction stove) for 15mins then turn the heat off and leave it to steam for 15mins (do not open the lid during any of this process otherwise the steam will escape!)

Note on cooking time: it can differ greatly depending on what you put the pudding in (ie a glass mold will be faster to cook than a thick ceramic ramekin). These times are based on ramekins, so adjust as needed. It may be a bit of a trial and error at first. If you’re using a glass jar or a container with thin walls, check the mixture after 5 mins of cooking on low-medium heat. If it’s still very liquidy, then bring the water back up to a boil then cover with the lid and cook on low-med heat for another 5 mins and recheck. Keep doing this until the pudding looks slightly thickened, then bring it up to a boil and cover and cook for another few mins on low-medium heat and then turn heat off and let steam for 15 mins. I’ll admit figuring out the correct cooking time is the most finicky part of this whole process, but once you figure out what works best for you, it’ll be easy next time.

After 15 mins, the pudding should be set with a good jiggle (but not liquidy!) – a toothpick should be able to stand up on its own when you poke it. Take the ramekins out of the pan and allow it to cool. Refrigerate it for at least an hour (preferably overnight), then serve. You can either serve it in the molds or cut around the edges with a butter knife and invert the molds onto a plate and serve upside down (tip: if you sit the ramekin in hot water for a few minutes before inverting, it’ll melt the caramel and you’ll get more syrup released when you invert). You can also serve this dish warm, but I find the creamy flavours more prominent when served cold.

Summarized Recipe:

Crème Caramel (Egg Custard Pudding)

Date Published: August 5th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 5th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: dessert, asian
Serves: 4 | Prep time: 5mins | Cook time: 50mins

Ingredients:

  • Caramel:
    • 70g granulated sugar
    • 50ml water
  • Pudding:
    • 3 large eggs
    • 60g granulated sugar
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 300ml milk – whole milk is better but light will work
    • 100ml evaporated milk – can use regular milk if you don’t have it, just won’t be as creamy

Equipment:

  • 4 small ramekins (or any small bowl/cup that can withstand heat on a stove)
  • A pan with a lid (the pan should be deep enough that you can fit the ramekins in with the lid on)
  • A small saucepan for the caramel
  • Dry tea towel
  • Whisk

Directions:

  1. Grease 4 small ramekins with either butter or any neutral oil (ie vegetable/canola oil). Set aside.
    • Note: you don’t need to use ramekins if you don’t have one. Any cup/bowl will do as long as it can withstand heat on the stove.
  2. In a small saucepan (ideally one with a white base so you can see the colour changes), make the caramel by combining the sugar with water over MEDIUM heat and swirl the mixture around until the sugar has dissolved. Continue to simmer the mixture until it turns into a deep amber caramel colour (15-20mins) (see notes above for tips). Do NOT stir the mixture. Gently swirl it to even out the colour changes if needed.
  3. While you’re waiting for the caramel, you can make the pudding filling (but keep your eyes on the caramel so it doesn’t burn). In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, 60g sugar, and vanilla extract until combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the milk and evaporated milk and microwave for about 1-2 mins until it’s warm (you don’t want it hot!). Add this milk mixture to the egg mixture gradually while whisking. Strain this mixture to remove any clumps.
  5. Once the caramel is ready, quickly distribute it evenly into the 4 ramekins. Try to swirl the ramekins as you pour so the caramel evenly coats the bottom of the ramekin. Distribute the egg milk mixture evenly over the caramel into the ramekins.
  6. Place your ramekins in a pan and add about 2cm of water into the pan around the molds. Turn the heat on high and when the water boils, wrap the pan lid with a dry tea towel (this avoids condensed water from dripping on your puddings) and put the lid on. Turn the heat down to LOW-MED (#3 on my induction stove) for 15mins then turn the heat off and leave it to steam for 15mins (do not open the lid during any of this process otherwise the steam will escape!)
    • Note on cooking time: it can differ greatly depending on what you put the pudding in (ie a glass mold will be faster to cook than a thick ceramic ramekin). These times are based on ramekins, so adjust as needed. It may be a bit of a trial and error. If you’re using a glass jar or a container with thin walls, check the mixture after 5 mins of cooking on low-medium heat. If it’s still very liquidy, then bring the water back up to a boil then cover with the lid and cook on low-med heat for another 5 mins and recheck. Keep doing this until the pudding looks slightly thickened, then bring the water back up to a boil and then cover and cook for another few mins on low-medium heat and then turn heat off and let steam for 15 mins.
  7. After 15 mins, the pudding should be set with a good jiggle (but not liquidy!) – a toothpick should be able to stand up on its own when you poke it. Take the ramekins out of the pan and allow it to cool. Refrigerate it for at least an hour (preferably overnight), then serve.
    • You can either serve it in the molds or cut around the edges with a butter knife and invert the molds onto a plate and serve upside down. You can also serve this dish warm, but I find the creamy flavours more prominent when served cold.
    • (Tip: If you sit the ramekin in hot water for a few minutes before inverting, it’ll melt the caramel and you’ll get more syrup released when you invert)