Chewy Gingerbread Cookies

Moist and chewy gingerbread cookies spiced with ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. I love these cookies anytime of the year. These are a very nice change from the children's standard chocolate chip cookies and are a cinch to make.

They are especially nice with a lemon frosting. Or feel free to add butterscotch chips to the batter for added depth of flavor!

For dessert these are wonderful as ice cream sandwiches. Just dollop a scoop of vanilla ice cream on bottom of one cookie and sandwich together with another. Roll ice cream sides in chopped nuts for an added crunch!



1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 large egg yolk at room temperature
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch of salt


PREHEAT oven to 350F
LINE two cookie sheets with parchment paper
IN LARGE BOWL, CREAM butter, sugar, molasses and egg yolk with electric hand mixer on medium speed 2 minutes
SIFT in remaining dry ingredients
BLEND until combined and starting to clump together
SHAPE into 2 inch balls
PLACE ball on cookie sheet and press down with bottom of a glass to 1/2 " thickness
BAKE 11 minutes
TRANSFER cookies to cooling rack and allow to cool to room temperature before eating.


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Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake

Today I will share with you some photos and my feedback on my first Daring Bake's Challenge.

The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake.

This was my first Daring Baker's Challenge and I enjoyed every minute of it !

First off I made what I would refer to as a brioche type dough as per the challenge recipe instructions. It came together beautifully and was very easy to work with, in fact, easier than most cinnamon bun doughs I have had the pleasure to create in the past.

The only dough addition I made was I added 1 teaspoon of pure almond extract to the dough along with the other wet ingredients. It was worth it because the final result was amazing! It was a wonderful compliment to the filling.

I didn't alter the meringue at all - stuck with the original recipe to a T.

Now to the filling: I decided to go with chopped maraschino cherries and dark chocolate. And finally, I drizzled this gorgeous wreath with a cherry infused icing. A perfect way to top it all off.

My entire family swooned when they ate their first bite. It was referred to as " something you would buy in a lovely Parisian pastry shop." The best compliment of all !


Makes 2 round coffee cakes, each approximately 10 inches in diameter
The recipe can easily be halved to make one round coffee cake


For the yeast coffee cake dough:

4 cups (600 g / 1.5 lbs.) flour
¼ cup (55 g / 2 oz.) sugar
¾ teaspoon (5 g / ¼ oz.) salt
1 package (2 ¼ teaspoons / 7 g / less than an ounce) active dried yeast
¾ cup (180 ml / 6 fl. oz.) whole milk
¼ cup (60 ml / 2 fl. oz. water (doesn’t matter what temperature)
½ cup (135 g / 4.75 oz.) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure almond extract

For the meringue:

3 large egg whites at room temperature
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup (110 g / 4 oz.) sugar

For the filling:

1 cup chopped maraschino cherries, drained
1 cup dark or semisweet chocolate, chopped

Egg wash: 1 beaten egg

1 cup icing sugar
1-2 tablespoon heavy cream
1-2 drops cherry oil


Prepare the dough:

In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 ½ cups of the flour, the sugar, salt and yeast.
In a saucepan, combine the milk, water and butter and heat over medium heat until warm and the butter is just melted.
With an electric mixer on low speed, gradually add the warm liquid to the flour/yeast mixture, beating until well blended. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes. Add the eggs and 1 cup (150 g) flour and beat for 2 more minutes.
Using a wooden spoon, stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a dough that holds together. Turn out onto a floured surface (use any of the 1 ½ cups of flour remaining) and knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes until the dough is soft, smooth, sexy and elastic, keeping the work surface floured and adding extra flour as needed.
Place the dough in a lightly greased (I use vegetable oil) bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rise until double in bulk, 45 – 60 minutes. The rising time will depend on the type of yeast you use.

Once the dough has doubled, make the meringue:
In a clean mixing bowl – ideally a plastic or metal bowl so the egg whites adhere to the side (they slip on glass) and you don’t end up with liquid remaining in the bottom – beat the egg whites with the salt, first on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high and continue beating until foamy and opaque. Add the vanilla then start adding the ½ cup sugar, a tablespoon at a time as you beat, until very stiff, glossy peaks form.

Assemble the Coffee Cakes:

Line 2 baking/cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Punch down the dough and divide in half. On a lightly floured surface, working one piece of the dough at a time (keep the other half of the dough wrapped in plastic), roll out the dough into a 20 x 10-inch (about 51 x 25 ½ cm) rectangle. Spread half of the meringue evenly over the rectangle up to about 1/2-inch (3/4 cm) from the edges. Sprinkle half chocolate and cherries evenly over the meringue.

Now, roll up the dough jellyroll style, from the long side. Pinch the seam closed to seal. Very carefully transfer the filled log to one of the lined cookie sheets, seam side down. Bring the ends of the log around and seal the ends together, forming a ring, tucking one end into the other and pinching to seal.

Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife (although scissors are easier), make cuts along the outside edge at 1-inch (2 ½ cm) intervals. Make them as shallow or as deep as desired but don’t be afraid to cut deep into the ring.

Repeat with the remaining dough, meringue and fillings.

Cover the 2 coffee cakes with plastic wrap and allow them to rise again for 45 to 60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

Brush the tops of the coffee cakes with the egg wash. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until risen and golden brown. The dough should sound hollow when tapped.

Remove from the oven and slide the parchment paper off the cookie sheets onto the table. Very gently loosen the coffee cakes from the paper with a large spatula and carefully slide the cakes off onto cooling racks. Allow to cool.

Mix all Glaze ingredients together in a shallow bowl until smooth. Drizzle over warm cake.

These are best eaten fresh, the same day or the next day.
Let's be honest - it won't last more than a day !

Lemon Tart

This lovely and decadent treat starts out with a sweet and crumbly shortbread crust. The filling is tart but creamy at the same time thanks to the addition of cream cheese. The finishing touch of piped whipped cream is its crowning glory. A wonderful to way to end a meal!


Getting ready for juicing!

Ready for the oven


Source: Bon Appetit Magazine



1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup icing sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter


5 ounces cream cheese at room temperature.
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (two medium sized lemons will do)
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest


1 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon icing sugar
1 package of Whip It (whipped cream stabilizer)


PREHEAT oven to 425F
GREASE 8-9" tart pan with removal bottom*.
*I use a cooking spray and grease sides and bottom thoroughly

SIFT together first 3 dry ingredients into a medium bowl
GRATE butter with wide side of grater and add to dry mixture
MIX with a fork until crust holds its shape - you should be able to form it into a crumbly ball
PRESS dough into tart pan so it covers the bottom evenly and rises up to meet the edge of the pan
PRICK bottom of crust with a fork in several areas
PLACE tart pan on a cookie sheet
BAKE for 15 minutes, middle rack
ALLOW TO COOL on a cooling rack while you make the filling

REDUCE oven temperature to 350F
BLEND cream cheese with electric hand mixer until smooth and creamy
ADD SUGAR and lemon juice. Mix until combined
ADD eggs, one at a time, blending until well combined
STIR in lemon zest
POUR filling into cooled crust
BAKE 25-30 minutes, filling should be set in the middle
ALLOW TO COOL on cooling rack

IN STEEL BOWL, combine whipping cream, sugar and Whip It.
WITH ELECTRIC HAND MIXER, mix on high speed til stiff peaks form
SPOON whipped cream into piping bag and pipe with whatever tip you like.


Easter's On It's Way !

Easter is fast approaching and I am very excited about the baking possibilities that lie ahead. Festive cupcakes are definitely on the menu and I am going to be trying some new piping techniques! Expect these lovelies to be colorful and kid friendly. The recipe will be posted well in advance of this special holiday to ensure you all have plenty of time to test it out yourselves.

I also love to make carrot cake during the holidays. Easter bunnies LOVE carrots :) Be sure to try out the Carrot Cake recipe referenced here on Lemon Drop. You will fall in love with this sweet, moist cake topped with a thick and rich cream cheese frosting. For me, the icing is as important as the cake where a carrot cake is concerned and this recipe never fails to impress!

If you haven't played with candy melts yet then why not try your hand at them now? The idea of chocolate candy cups filled with chocolate mousse sounds ideal. Finish them off with tinted coconut (green for grass of course) and chocolate Easter eggs for a fun and sweet treat. Hmmm, I may just have to make these myself now too!

And of course, Good Friday and Hot Cross Buns go hand in hand. I am still on the hunt for a good recipe. I made some last year and they had the texture of hockey pucks. Perhaps I over-kneaded the dough; not sure what went wrong. In the end they had a nasty meeting with Mr. Trash Can.
But I will not give up ! I will continue on with my search and hopefully you will see the results here on Lemon Drop if all goes well this time around.

What special Easter recipes do you enjoy with your family -
be it savory or sweet?
Feel free to share your comments below.

Dulce de Leche Brownies

More hugs go out to David Lebovitz for this amazing recipe. The result is a rich and dense brownie with that moist texture that truly makes a brownie shine. In this case, the key ingredient is Dulce de Leche which is mixed into the batter.

Initially I was worried it would make the brownies too "gooey" so I only added it as a middle layer. David's recipe calls for it mixed into the middle and then again on the top. I should trust David for he does know best. The brownies were far from gooey and next time I will definitely add the second layer of that creamy, caramel delight
to the top of them as well.

This is the second recipe I have made from David's book The Sweet Life in Paris. I smiled with glee when I saw it too started out with a melted heavenly blend of chocolate and butter. I believe this was somehow missed in the 10 commandments:

"Thou shall start out all good things with chocolate and butter."

Dulce de Leche

The original recipe can be found on David's site but I have re-posted here as well.

Dulce de Leche Brownies

Makes 12 brownies

8 tablespoons (115g) salted or unsalted butter, cut into pieces
6 ounces (170g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup (25g) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3 large eggs
1 cup (200g) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (140g) flour
optional: 1 cup (100 g) toasted pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 cup Dulce de Leche (or Cajeta)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (175 C).

Line a 8-inch (20 cm) square pan with a long sheet of aluminum foil that covers the bottom and reaches up the sides. If it doesn’t reach all the way up and over all four sides, cross another sheet of foil over it, making a large cross with edges that overhang the sides. Grease the bottom and sides of the foil with a bit of butter or non-stick spray.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the chocolate pieces and stir constantly over very low heat until the chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth. Add in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the sugar, vanilla, then the flour. Mix in the nuts, if using.

Scrape half of the batter into the prepared pan. Here comes the fun part.
Drop one-third of the Dulce de Leche, evenly spaced, over the brownie batter, then drag a knife through to swirl it slightly. Spread the remaining brownie batter over, then drop spoonfuls of the remaining Dulce de Leche in dollops over the top of the brownie batter. Use a knife to swirl the Dulce de Leche slightly.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes. The brownies are done when the center feels just-slightly firm. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

Storage:These brownies actually become better the second day, and will keep well for up to 3 days.


Dulce de Leche photo: © Danelle Mccollum

Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes

These are a feast for the eyes as well as the tummy. I started off with a simple chocolate cake recipe, added chopped maraschino cherries, dark chocolate and some espresso powder to really bring out the chocolate flavor. I topped them off with a cherry infused Buttercream icing and finally, a maraschino cherry hand-dipped in dark chocolate. Who could ask for anything more?!

But the reason I decided on this blend of flavors is because my hubby is die-hard
Lowney Chocolate Cherry fanatic. I had thought about making the chocolate candy itself
but then my mind drifted to cupcake possibilities. Aren't you all glad it did?


For the cupcake batter, I opted for a fail-safe chocolate cake recipe
I have used time and time again. It yields a rich and fluffy cupcake.
I did tweak the original recipe.

Original recipe (I adapted it below) can be found at Joy of Baking




1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all purpose flour
1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
1/4 cup (25 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder, (not Dutch-processed), sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (75 grams) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup (240 ml) warm water
1 tablespoon lemon juice (or vinegar)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract extract
1/2 cup dark chocolate, chopped
10 maraschino cherries, drained and diced


1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cups sifted icing sugar
1 tablespoon maraschino cherry juice
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 - 2 drops cherry oil (more potent than cherry extract)


1 dozen maraschino cherries with stems, drained and left to rest on paper towel for 1/2 hr
1 cup dark chocolate candy melts



PREHEAT oven to 350F
LINE muffin tins with paper liners
SPRAY paper liners with cooking spray - this is ESSENTIAL because this batter likes to stick!
SIFT together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, espresso powder and salt.
ADD the melted butter, water, lemon juice, and vanilla extract.
WITH A FORK, mix all the ingredients together until well blended.
FOLD in chocolate and cherries
FILL MUFFIN LINERS 3/4 full. I prefer to use an ice cream scoop when measuring the batter so each cupcake is the same.
BAKE in preheated oven for about 23-25 minutes, or until the cupcakes spring back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted in the center of them comes out clean.
REMOVE from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.


WITH ELECTRIC HAND MIXER, whip butter medium speed 1-2 minutes
ADD sifted icing sugar and mix 1-2 minutes, medium speed
ADD juice, cream and oil.
BLEND until well combined
PIPE onto cooled cupcakes. I used a Wilton 1M SWIRL tip for the design in the photo


MELT candy coating according to package directions
DIP cherries into coating so all the cherry is covered
PLACE coated cherries on wax paper lined baking sheet
LEAVE in refrigerator 15 minutes or until set
PRESS cherries into top of cupcakes so they sit securely in center of swirled icing


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Donut Muffins with Vanilla Cinnamon Glaze

These lovely little muffins are a wonderful way to start off the morning. With the taste of an old-fashioned glazed doughnut without the deep frying.

This recipe caught my eye on the King Arthur Flour site. It isn't a new idea and has been "revamped" by many. The traditional way to top these is by dipping them in melted butter then in a cinnamon/sugar mix.

The original recipe can be found here at the King Arthur site. For a bit of a change and added moisture, try adding 1/4 cup of full-fat sour cream to the wet ingredients.

I thought a glaze would work better than the recommended butter and cinnamon sugar topping, at least where my kids are concerned. Besides, I prefer the floor as clean as I can keep it. A glaze just makes sense!

For the glaze, simply combine the following ingredients in a medium sized bowl:

  • 1 cup of icing sugar sifted together with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cream (you may need 3 if you feel it is too thick)
  • 3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter.

Blend together with a fork. Spread onto muffin tops while still warm. I just put a dollop in the center of each muffin and let it ooze down the sides. The glaze will dry and form a smooth topping as it cools.


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Featured at Ekat's Kitchen's Friday Potluck

Pain d'épices au chocolat

Thank-you David Lebovitz for your book The Sweet Life in Paris.

I haven't laughed this hard in a long time. His tales of life in Paris are nothing short of hilarious. His witty humor is refreshing and his recipes are divine. It was hard to choose which one to make first. I finally decided on Pain d'épices au chocolat (chocolate spice bread).

All good things start with either butter or chocolate. In this case, it is a combo of both ! And it keeps getting better. The addition of cinnamon, ginger and cloves turns this cake into what reminds me of a chocolate gingerbread. The only ingredient I omitted were the anise seeds because frankly, I don't like anise. Never have, never will.

Lastly, be forewarned, this is not a cake and if you are looking for a chocolate cake
then best to look elsewhere.
It is referred to as a bread for a reason.
It doesn't have a cake texture at all. It has a darker, heavier and deeper flavor.

Let's Get Started

First off, GET THIS BOOK ! You won't regret it!

This recipe starts off the way I like it - with 7 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate.

Chocolate and butter playing nicely together in the double boiler

Fresh out of the oven. I only needed to cook mine the minimum recommended time: 30 minutes

As you can see, this isn't a light and fluffy cake. You will appreciate the change.
Dense, flavorful and just downright delicious.



Recipe source: The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz
Makes one 9-inch round cake

7 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
7 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 ¼ cup flour
3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. whole anise seeds
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 large egg yolks
¼ cup honey
2/3 cup sugar


PREHEAT the oven to 350°F.
BUTTER a 9-inch round cake pan, line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper, and butter that as well. Dust the insides with a bit of flour or cocoa powder, and tap out any excess.
IN DOUBLE BOILER, or a large heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter together, stirring until smooth. Let cool to room temperature.
IN ANOTHER BOWL, sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt. Add the anise seeds.
IN THE BOWL of a standing mixer or with a handlheld mixer, whip the eggs, yolks, honey, and sugar until thick and mousselike, about 5 minutes on high speed.
FOLD half of the whipped eggs into the chocolate and butter. Then fold in the remaining egg mixture.
ADD the dry ingredients one-third at a time, using a spoon to sprinkle them over the batter and folding until the dry ingredients are just combined.
SCRAPE the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 30 t0 35 minutes, until the cake feels barely set in the middle, but still moist.
REMOVE from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes. Tap the cake out of the pan and cool completely on a rack Wrap the cake in plastic and let stand at room temperature for 24 hours to let the flavors meld.

STORAGE: Well-wrapped, this cake will keep for about one week at room temperature, or one month in the freezer.

Paired with a bold coffee or black tea and I am in heaven ! I have read other bloggers recommending whipped cream or ice cream with a slice of this as well. Sounds good to me!

Recipe also featured at
Sweet for Saturday # 8

St. Paddy's Day Cupcakes

What better way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day than with a beautiful batch of vanilla cupcakes topped with sweet green icing. Or switch it up and make green cupcakes with white icing.

These cupcakes are from two dozen I made for my son's Grade 5 class to celebrate this special occasion. We are a week early given their upcoming March Break. But really, is it every too early to have a cupcake?! I think NOT.

You can decorate these in so many ways! Chocolate gold coins, edible shamrock toppers, even cute decoration Leprechaun hats come to mind. I used little silver candy balls, finishing sugars and St. Paddy's Day themed hors d'oeuvres picks. HAVE FUN !

Topped with vanilla buttercream
and colored finishing sugar

And this is what happens when your daughter finds them when she arrives home from school !


For the cupcake recipe, I have come to love Chef Ricardo Larivee's cupcake recipe that he uses to make his butterscotch cupcakes though I do alter it somewhat. It is moist and delicious!


CUPCAKES (altered source recipe)

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs at room temperature
1/2 cup milk at room temperature
1/2 cup full-fat sour cream at room temperature
2 teaspoons green food coloring if you want green cupcakes


This is a standard, creamy and just plain delicious buttercream icing that I use all the time.

1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons light cream (5% is fine)
1 teaspoon green food coloring



PREHEAT oven to 350F
FILL 12 cupcake tins with paper liners. This batter does make more than 12. I can usually get 17 cupcakes in total.

IN SMALL BOWL, SIFT together first 3 ingredients and set aside
IN LARGE BOWL, beat butter with electric hand-mixer still light and fluffy (2-3 min, MED speed)
ADD sugar and mix 1 min MED speed
ADD eggs , one a time, mixing after each to thoroughly combine
ADD vanilla and sour cream, blend til combined
ADD food coloring if you want a green cupcake, mix blend til well combined
SLOWLY add 1/2 flour mixture to batter, mix til just combined
ADD milk to batter, mix til just combined
ADD rest of flour mixture and mix til just combined
FILL tins 1/2 full
BAKE 22 minutes
LET cool in tin 5 min then remove cupcakes and let cool 1/2 hr on cooling rack before icing


WITH electric hand mixer, blend butter 1-2 minutes MED speed
ADD icing sugar and blend 2-3 minutes until fully combined
ADD vanilla extract and cream, blend 1-2 minutes
FOR green icing , add food coloring and blend until uniform in color

FILL PIPING BAG and pipe away. I use a Wilton 1M Swirl tip for the green iced cupcakes and a Wilton 6B tip for the white iced cupcakes.

IMPORTANT: DON'T MISS MY SPRING GIVEAWAY! You could be the lucky winner!


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Featured at Ekat's Kitchen's Friday Potluck

Recipe Featured at
Sweet for Saturday # 8

My First Giveaway !

I am now ready to take the next leap as a foodie blogger and post my first giveaway!

I am very eager for spring to arrive and I thought a spring themed prize would be a great way to welcome in this glorious season.

Are you as excited as I am? GOOD! So let's get started!

The terms are pretty simple and you can increase your chances of winning very easily.

But first, lets talk about
the PRIZE!

The lucky winner will receive a brand new
Wilton Bunny Whoopie Pie Pan
just in time for EASTER !

Just fill the 12 bunny molds with your favorite whoopie pie batter and bake.
Once cooled, use any cream filler you like to make your whoopie pies.
Then decorate as you please!


Minimum requirements (1 chance to win):

  • Be a follower of this blog and add a comment to this post stating you are a follower. To follow, simply scroll down on the right until you see the Follow button in the sidebar. Then join up!
Please do ensure that you meet the minimum requirement or I regret to say that your entry won't be counted.

Additional chances to win:

  • Minimum requirements must still be met
  • Publish a post on this giveaway in your own blog and link it back to this post (+2 more chances to win)
  • Add a link at the side of your blog (sidebar) to my blog. Feel free to use any image from this post if you want to (+ 1 more chance to win)
  • Provide a link to your blog in your comment and leave the post/link on your blog for 1 more week after the giveaway has closed for compilation purposes.


Contest closes 11 PM EST, March 25th, 2011. An online random selection tool (@ will be used to select the winner. Name of winner will be announced on Lemon Drop at 12:00 PM EST, April 1st, 2011 and a request will be issued to the winner to contact me privately. The winner has 24 hours after winner announcement to contact me and claim their prize.

Good luck to all !

Welcome, Pancake Tuesday !

Today, March 8th, is Pancake Day ( also known as Shrove Tuesday), the last day before the period that Christians refer to as Lent. And what is the tradition, you ask? The tradition is to EAT PANCAKES !

Why pancakes? Because Lent is a time of abstinence and therefore Shrove Tuesday is looked upon as your last chance to dive in, indulge and enjoy all those foods you are not permitted to eat during Lent. Pancakes are one of those indulgences as they contain fat, butter and eggs; none of which are allowed during Lent.

My daughter attends a Catholic school and today they are celebrating Pancake Tuesday with a pancake lunch. If you knew my daughter personally you would know that she likes to go all out on festive occasions, today being no different. What that means is pancakes for all 3 meals. This morning though was a cheat. She had EGGOs as I slept in a bit and Dad was in charge of breakfast. Lunch is being handled by the school and you guessed it - Pancakes are on the cafeteria menu.

So this leaves me handling dinner. Lucky for me I have all the ingredients I need. I have strawberries, pure maple syrup, whipping cream and all the must-haves to make my fave pancake recipe: Ina Garten's Sour Cream pancakes.

I have tried alot of pancake recipes and none compare to Ina's version. These are thick, light and rise up like clouds. It is the addition of sour cream that makes these "da bomb". If you haven't tried them yet, then you MUST and today is a great day for you to do so !

The recipe was originally featured in the Barefoot Contessa Family Style cookbook. I have this book and I cherish it. When the pages are dog-eared and stuck together with butter, there is flour caking up in the creases, the cover is a bit torn... well you know it is very well used and dearly loved.

I top the pancakes with macerated strawberries, maple syrup and a dollop of vanilla-infused whipped cream for the crowning glory. For side dish choices I like ham, bacon, sausage - all 3 work very well.

So go ahead and indulge tonight with a pancake dinner. You deserve it!

RECIPE as posted on the Food Network

Banana Sour Cream Pancakes*

*Feel free to omit the bananas if you want to - I do. The only other alteration I do is add 1/4 tsp of cinnamon to the batter.

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • Unsalted butter
  • 2 ripe bananas, diced, plus extra for serving
  • Pure maple syrup


Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, milk, eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones, mixing only until combined.

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat until it bubbles. Ladle the pancake batter into the pan to make 3 or 4 pancakes. Distribute a rounded tablespoon of bananas on each pancake. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until bubbles appear on top and the underside is nicely browned. Flip the pancakes and then cook for another minute until browned. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel, add more butter to the pan, and continue cooking pancakes until all the batter is used. Serve with sliced bananas, butter and maple syrup.

Photo courtesy of © Olga Nayashkova |

Flavours of Prince Edward Island

Yesterday my hubby brought this cookbook home for me and I am thrilled ! This book, for lack of a better word, is BEAUTIFUL. Let's first start by saying I adore Prince Edward Island. Always have and always will. In fact, my long term goal (or maybe even short term if I play my cards right!) is to relocate there permanently. The island is a dream; filled with green rolling hills, bordered by gorgeous red dunes that meet the sea. And the people? The nicest I have ever met!

Now back to the cookbook.

Flavours of Prince Edward Island - a culinary journey
~ Jeff McCourt, Allan Williams & Austin Clement

The photos alone reeled me in immediately and then I saw the recipes. Wow ! There is just so much here aching to be tested out in my kitchen (and digested by my tummy) . I cannot wait to get started. As my blog is baking specific, I won't be sharing my results of the gorgeous pot roast recipe that greets you early on in this book but you can bet your bottom dollar my family will be enjoying it for Sunday dinner !

There are several sweet desserts in this book such as Warm Blueberry Brown Butter Cakes
(which makes me want to lick the page) and a Cranberry and Coconut Tart that leaves one daydreaming of eating a slice with a dollop of whipped cream.

After much thought, I decided to start off with a chocolate cake. Boring choice? I think NOT! This one has a special Island ingredient- one of PEI's most famous in fact and no, it has nothing to do with Anne of Green Gables!.

Later this week, I will be sharing with you tales of my baking adventure and a review when I make Chocolate Potato Cake with Red Raspberry Puddles, page 195.

The book describes it as follows: "... the potatoes made the cake super-moist and really dense." "This cake is delicious with raspberry sauce" which the authors refer to as raspberry mud puddles. Personally, the photo speaks for itself. It looks delicious. I can barely wait to sink my teeth into a slice of this !

So to summarize, so far, I love this book and without a doubt, I love PEI. Add baking and PEI together and you have my version of heaven.

My other great love that tops my list: My family = my two beautiful girls, my handsome boy and of course, my dear sweet man. But truth be told, I think I love my man a little bit more now because he bought me this book :)

STAY TUNED for the Potato Chocolate Cake Recipe Review

St. Paddy's Day Mint Thins

Drizzled in green to celebrate St. Patrick's Day but you could enjoy these any time of year and after you taste these I am quite confident you will !

I found this recipe online after looking for ideas on how to mimic those yummy Girl Guide cookies we buy boxes of each year. Now instead of waiting for my daughter to bring some home, we can enjoy them whenever we want.

These little numbers are simple chocolate wafers coated in a peppermint oil infused chocolate candy coating. A drizzle of green icing tops them off nicely.

I found the recipe here on Food Buzz as posted by In Katrina's Kitchen

I adapted it somewhat:

  • rolled the dough out between 2 sheets of waxed paper
  • reduced baking time to 8 minutes
  • used Wilton Candy Flavoring oils to add that peppermint taste - 3 drops to a bag of Dark Chocolate Candy Melts is all you need. Do NOT use artificial extracts as it will affect the candy coating consistency and you don't want that! Use oil based flavors only*.
  • For the green drizzle, I simply melted some green candy melts and put the melted chocolate into a Wilton Candy Bottle used for drizzling. You can add the drizzle right after you dunk the cookies in the chocolate and place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Then let them cool in the freezer for 15 minutes before indulging.
* For the oils, LorAnn Oils are also fantastic and top-notch quality. I found some in Bulk Barn but you can also buy them online here at the Vanilla Food Company.

This is my all-time favorite tool for dunking cookies into melted chocolate.
You can buy it where they sell candy making ingredients.
If you don't have one, simply use a fork.

And when making these, have some fun and try different cookie cutter shapes. Given the upcoming St. Patty's Day festivities, why not opt for a shamrock cutter?
Or think easter eggs shapes for April !

I didn't get a chance to take a pic of a decorated shamrock cookie but here they are fresh out of the oven. As you can see, they don't rise up as the recipe has no leavening agents. They also hold their shapes incredibly well. Basically after you cut them and prep them for the oven
they truly are "what you see is what you get" once baked.

These are great cookies that have definitely won my vote for being a staple treat around here.


My First CAKE POP !

This deserves somewhat of a special announcement; after all, it is the birth of my FIRST CAKE POP! Could it be a tad rounder? Yup, but I forgive myself - I mean, come on, it was my first stab at this. Anyway, I think I will call him George. Not sure why but it suits.

I had been reading about these cute little treats for awhile now and finally took the plunge. I had some left over frozen cupcakes in the freezer and thought, why not?

First I went out and picked up this book:

I gave it a quick read to get the basics down and then I started "cake poppin'" !

I added some vanilla butter cream icing to the crumbled cake, rolled it into 1 inch balls and set them in the freezer for 15 minutes. Then out they came, in went the lollipop stick and DUNK - right into a pot of melted chocolate candy melts. The finishing touch: sprinkles.

Easy? Yes but it does have a method to the madness. Your cake must be cool, not frozen, when dunking or it will crack when cooled. Your stick only goes in about 1/2 inch, no more! Your candy coating must be melted but not too hot or it won't set right. Plus, if it is too thick add a little bit of veggie oil. And for the type of cake, too moist and it tastes doughy so stick with a simple cake recipe !

Am I hooked? Actually, yes I am. I went out and stocked up on molds, decorations, edible markers, and a slew of candy melts. Excited to make the next batch ! Perhaps Easter treats for my kids classmates? Quite possibly! I do know that next time I will be making a homemade cake base, using flavor-infused melts and throwing in a touch of spring for good measure !

Stay tuned ...

Cinnamon Buns with Maple Glaze

Flaky, buttery, and loaded with cinnamon and sugar! In honor of maple syrup season , these ones are topped with a maple glaze.

One bite and you will think immediately of the flavor associated with Cinnabon! Now you can make your faves at home and bypass the visit to the mall.

The best thing about these cinnamon buns? The dough is made in the bread maker!


These are ready for the 2nd rising process

Fresh out of the oven

Glazed and ready to be eaten!

I use a large serving fork to help get these guys out of their baking dish



A bread maker with a dough setting
9X13" baking dish


1 large egg at room temperature
1 1/4 cups warm water (80F or 27C)
3 1/2 teaspoons oil (plain vegetable oil works best. I used Becel)
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 cups white bread flour
2 teaspoons active dry yeast (I use the type marked for bread maker use)


1/2 cup unsalted melted butter (+ 2 tablespoons, melted and set aside)
1/4 cup fine white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon


4 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup sifted icing sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon maple syrup extract
4 tablespoons heavy cream


GREASE baking dish (I melt 2 tablespoons of butter for this and brush it all over the inside of the dish)

IN YOUR BREAD MAKER, ADD all dough ingredients in the exact order as listed above.
SELECT Dough course and press Start

ONCE the dough course is complete, liberally sprinkle a work surface with flour
PLACE dough on work surface and roll out to a large rectangle (12" x 16")

Filling Ingredients: BRUSH melted butter on dough leaving 1/2 " edge on all sides
COMBINE sugars and cinnamon together in a bowl, sprinkle all over buttered area
STARTING with longest side, ROLL up dough tightly to form a log
WITH SHARP KNIFE, cut rolls in 1 1/2" slices
PLACE rolls in baking dish
BRUSH the 2 tablespoons of melted butter over the rolls
COVER with a clean tea towel and let rise in a warm area for 30 minutes
PREHEAT oven to 350F
REMOVE towel and BAKE in oven for 25 minutes.

ALLOW buns to rest in baking dish at room temperature on cooling rack for 5 minutes
COMBINE all icing ingredients and blend until smooth
BRUSH glaze over tops of warm buns

ENJOY !!!!

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