Maple Ice Cream with Sweet Pastry

What greater way to celebrate Canada Day than by indulging in two of Canada's most prized possessions - Maple Syrup and what some refer to as BeaverTails! I absolutely ADORE both of these sweet heavenly treats. I figure why not put the two together for a true "fireworks" dessert.

For trademark purposes, let me clarify:  the pastry recipe found here is based on one in the book: 250 Best Canadian Bread Machine: Baking Recipes and does NOT reflect the official trademarked recipe for BeaverTails.  To be safe, from this point forward I will refer to the used recipe here as one for "Sweet Pastry".

If memory serves me correctly, I had my first real BeaverTail in the mid 90s while skating along the canal in my home town of Ottawa, Canada. Actually I was born near Ottawa in the province of Quebec. As I cannot speak a word of French I figure labeling Ottawa as my hometown just simplifies things and saves me explaining yet again why I, a "Quebecer", cannot speak the language. But I can speak the language of love and what comes to my lips when I think of love is a golden, fried and sweet beaver tail topped generously with cinnamon sugar. Pair that with a hot chocolate in the middle of February and I am yours ! Pair it with maple ice cream in the summer and hey, I can be anything you want me to be, baby.

Anyway, back to BeaverTails. In case you are not aware, Ottawa is home to the worlds largest skating rink known as the Rideau Canal. For me, the best part of the winter season isn't exactly the canal itself but rather the little food kiosks they open up along its frozen edges. Once I don my skates, I immediately head for the BeaverTails Hut. In fact, that is the only reason I will ever drag my butt down to the canal in the freezing cold with my feet jammed into a pair of ice cube skates. Such is my love of the BeaverTail.

These indulgences shouldn't end when the snow melts. We shouldn't sit back and pine away for the cold tundra to arrive again before we can sink our teeth into our favorite pastry treat. Let's enjoy such sweet pastries all year long!

During a hot, sweltering summer day nothing beats the taste of a fresh sweet pastry topped with cool and creamy maple syrup ice cream. Close your eyes and try to imagine it. Bet you can't. You have to taste it! In this case your imagination simply isn't going to do it justice. To taste it means to make it so let's get started.

Ok but wait, before we dive in I need to moan about the ice cream too. OMG! It is sooooo creamy and rich. The maple syrup gives it an incredibly sweet , almost caramely (ok not a word but so suiting) flavor. Super on its own or even with added pecans but beautifully highlighted atop a beaver tail. I am not sure if I will ever be able to go back to eating ice cream from a cone ever again.

To get started, give yourself 2 days of time from start to finish. You will want to prepare the ice cream custard the day before and let it rest in the fridge overnight. Bright and early the next day spoon it into your ice cream maker and freeze accordingly to manufacturer's instructions. Later that day it is time to fire up the bread maker. We will use it to make your sweet pastry dough. Have a candy/oil thermometer handy too because you will need to keep your oil for deep frying hovering around 350F for perfectly golden fried dough. So are you ready? Great, let's go !



*adjusted source recipe: Maple Pecan Ice Cream, Joy of Baking

3/4 cup pure maple syrup. I use President's Choice 100% Maple Syrup but any good grade one will do
2 cups half-and-half cream
5 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons fine granulated sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream (35-40% butterfat )

*adjust source recipe: 250 Best Canadian Bread Machine: Baking Recipes

1 cup of milk at room temperature
1 egg
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon butter at room temperature
3 1/4 cups bread flour
3/4 teaspoon bread machine yeast


1/2 cup fine granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon (Saigon variety is great for extra kick!)
Combine both in a bowl and have a spoon handy for sprinkling



IN SMALL SAUCEPAN, over med/high heat, combine maple syrup and half-and-half
STIR continuously until near scalding (mixture will begin to foam)
REMOVE from heat
IN LARGE STEEL BOWL, with electric hand mixer, beat egg yolks and sugar 2 minutes high speed
SLOWLY pour hot syrup mixture into egg yolks adding only a little bit at a time and whisking after each addition
PLACE bowl over a large saucepan filled partially with simmering hot water. Do not let the bowl touch the water
WHISK custard continuously until thickened and coats the back of the spoon. This can take approx. 15 minutes or longer. Do not let it get so hot it starts to boil
REMOVE from heat, stir in heavy cream and cover with cling film.
LET STAND at room temperature for 1 hour
PLACE in fridge, still covered, and let sit overnight
NEXT DAY, scoop custard into ice cream maker and freezing accordingly to manufacturer's instructions.


ADD all ingredients in the order above to your bread maker's bread pan
SET to dough cycle, press START , sit back and relax
WHEN cycle ends, place dough onto lightly floured surface and cover with a bowl for 15 minutes
IN LARGE DUTCH OVEN, heat 2"-3" of canola oil to 350F
LINE two cookie sheets with paper towel and set aside
UNCOVER dough and separate into 10 pieces
WITH YOUR FINGERS, stretch the dough into 8"x 6" ovals
PLACE one oval into hot oil and submerse with steel tongs
FLIP after 45 seconds and hold down again for 30 seconds
REMOVE with tongs and place on paper towel lined baking sheets
IMMEDIATELY sprinkled generously with cinnamon sugar mixture
REPEAT until you have made 10 beaver tails

with scoops of maple ice cream, grab a napkin, a spoon and DIG IN !

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Lakeland Lemon Cake

Recently a friend sent me a lovely little cookbook all the way from Great Britain. It is a book dedicated to English Teatime recipes and one that looked especially appealing to me was a small 7"round cake known as a Lakeland Lemon Cake. This is what I would refer to as a pound cake; dense, moist and far from crumbly. It also is best left for 48 hours before digging in so the crumb really firms up and the flavors all merge together. This lemon cake, lightly spiced with ginger and cinnamon, is perfectly fine served on its own or with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream. Traditionally it can also be divided into two layers and filled with lemon curd. Whatever your poison, you really should give this wonderful little cake a try. I am very glad I did !

You may not have a 7" cake tin handy but they are not hard to find once you start looking. In fact, I purchased mine at my local grocery store. It is high sided with a removable bottom which worked out perfectly for this cake. You could most likely bake this in a traditional 8" tin as well but keep an eye on baking time as it would be reduced somewhat.


A superb small cookbook to keep handy when teatime beckons

*source recipe: English Teatime Recipe


8oz self-raising flour
6oz unsalted butter at room temperature
6oz caster sugar
2 large eggs, beaten lightly with a fork
pinch of salt
pinch of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
grated rind and the juice of 1 large lemon
1 tablespoon milk (2% is fine)


PREHEAT oven to 325F
GREASE BOTTOM AND SIDES of a 7 inch round cake pan
LINE BOTTOM of pan with parchment paper

IN LARGE BOWL of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar 4-5 minutes MED speed
SLOWLY add eggs, blending til combined
IN MEDIUM BOWL, sift together salt, cinnamon, ginger and flour
ADD to cake batter blending til combined but do NOT over-mix
ADD lemon rind, juice and milk mixing on low speed to fully incorporated into batter
POUR into prepared pan, level top, and bake for 1 hour
REMOVE from oven and let sit in pan 15 minutes
REMOVE cake from pan and place on cooling rack. When cooled wrap with cling film or place inside covered cake platter
ALLOW to rest 48 hours before slicing


Raisin Bran Muffins

Here's an odd tidbit of info for you. I suffer from migraines. I probably get 2 a month and each time I do I get a craving. It is the same craving each and every time : muffins. Once the headache starts to subside I begin to behave like a rabid fox. I NEED a muffin. Nothing will stand in my way. And yes, I also have a craving for a specific flavor of muffin. Not any old one will do. Yesterday I had a migraine and sure enough, today I woke up salivating for a plump and juicy raisin bran muffin so much so that I dragged my worn out body (and head) to the grocery store to specifically buy All-Bran cereal.
Then I got crackin'.

I am in love with Lyle's Golden Syrup and Black Treacle. I wanted the best of both worlds jam-packed into one gorgeous muffin so why not a deep, dark and rich spiced raisin bran muffin?

I had bookmarked a recipe several weeks ago which I had found on a fellow blogger's site knowing a craving would arise when it would come in handy. Sure enough, that day arrived.

I did alter the recipe and ensured Lyle's brands stayed in the forefront. If you have not had Lyle's products then get out there and buy them! I could sit and eat the syrup or treacle with a spoon they are simply that good.

Ok, on to the muffins. I wanted large, substantial muffins and as good luck would have it, I had just purchased a giant muffin tin in the USA last weekend. It sure came in handy today. This recipe made 9 giant muffins.

So let's get started !

My preferred ingredients

This recipe produces incredibly rich and moist bran muffins

*adapted source recipe: The English Kitchen


2 cups all bran cereal
1/4 cup corn syrup (I use Lyle's Golden Syrup)
1/4 cup black treacle ( again, I only use Lyle's. If you don't have treacle, use molasses)
1 1/4 cup milk (2% works fine)
1 egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup oil (my preferred choice is grapeseed oil but feel free to use any neutral vegetable oil)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (Saigon variety is excellent here!)
1 large handful dark raisins
1 large handful golden raisins
large oats for sprinkling before baking
turbinado sugar for sprinkling before baking


LINE 12 regular sized muffin cups with paper liners or 9 muffin cups from 2 giant muffin tins
ADD water 1/2 way up to the top of any empty muffin cups to ensure muffins bake evenly
IN LARGE BOWL, add 2 cups all bran cereal
IN MICROWAVE SAFE BOWL, combine milk, syrup and treacle
MICROWAVE 1 minute 80% power
WHISK milk mixture to thoroughly combine and pour over all bran cereal
LET sit 15 minutes
IN SMALL BOWL, whisk together egg, vanilla and oil. Set aside
IN MEDIUM BOWL, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, allspice and cinnamon
POUR wet ingredients and dry ingredients into all bran mixture
FOLD together until just combined
GENTLY FOLD in raisins
WITH ICE CREAM SCOOP, fill muffin cups nearly to top of paper liner
SPRINKLE tops with oatmeal and turbinado sugar
BAKE 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean
LET cool in pans 5 minutes the remove to cooling rack.


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Cloverleaf Rolls

These lovely rolls were served at our recent family Father's Day dinner. Though I slaved over Chicken Marsala, roasted vegetables and light and fluffy mashed potatoes, it was these little rolls that stole the show !

The best part: no manual kneading required. The dough is made in the bread maker! All you need to do is divide it after it has risen and form into balls. The balls are then placed, 3 at a time, into muffin cups, then let to rise again for 45 minutes before popping into the oven.

These sweet and fluffy pull-apart rolls are perfect to serve with any meal and taste incredible topped with fresh creamy butter. If you have not eaten a cloverleaf roll before then you have no idea what you are missing!


Here they are perfectly risen
and ready for baking

Brush with melted butter right after
taking the baked rolls out of the oven

*source recipe: 250 Best Canadian Bread Machine Baking Recipes


Your beloved bread maker !
1 1/3 cups of milk at room temperature
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
3 1/4 cups bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoon bread machine yeast
butter for glazing


COMBINE all ingredients into the pan of your bread maker
WHEN ADDING THE BUTTER, break apart into small pieces with your fingers
SELECT Dough Cycle
WHEN cycles has finished, remove dough onto a lightly floured work surface
COVER with large bowl
LET REST 10-15 minutes
SPRAY muffin tin (one that makes 12 regular sized muffins) with baking spray
ON FLOURED WORK SURFACE, divide dough into 12 equal portions
ROLL each portion into 3 same-sized balls
PLACE in muffin cups
COVER with cloth and let rise 45 minutes
PREHEAT oven to 375F
BAKE 15-20 minutes until rolls sound hollow when tapped
MELT 1-2 tablespoons unsalted butter and brush across warm rolls
REMOVE rolls from tin and serve.


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British Jumbles

These cookies are so unique because of they way the batter is prepared. You mix everything together in a deep dish skillet/saucepan! They come together in a snap and bake up with another unique trait: the crust. It has a very flaky texture on top but the insides of these cookies are quite dense.

I flavored mine with chocolate chips and walnuts but I felt they lacked any true punch of flavor. Next time I would add 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon (Saigon preferred for a good flavor kick) and up to 100 grams of raisins. Give this a shot if you decide to test out this recipe yourself.

Also, if adding chocolate chips, be prepared for melting. Just fold them in gently with a rubber spatula and then scoop up into drop cookies asap before they melt any further.

To get started you will need a fair sized deep dish skillet, saucepan (large enough to hold all the ingredients) or even a small dutch oven will do. I whisked in most of the ingredients initially with my wire whisk but once you add the flour you will need to switch over to a wooden spoon. Finally, switch over again to a rubber spatula when adding your fruits, nuts, chocolate, etc.

So let's get started !

*source recipe : Jumbles, The Great British Book of Baking


125 grams unsalted butter
100 grams fine granulated sugar
50 grams light brown sugar
1 medium egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
175 grams all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
up to 100 grams of flavorings: chopped chocolate, nuts, dried fruit, etc


PREHEAT oven to 375F
LINE 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper
IN MEDIUM SKILLET with high sides, melt butter over NED/LOW heat
REMOVE from stove-top
WHISK in sugars
IN SEPARATE BOWL, whisk together egg and vanilla
ADD egg mixture to skillet and whisk until combined
WITH WOODEN SPOON, stir in flour and baking powder into skillet mix until thoroughly combined
FOLD in flavorings
DROP by tablespoon onto prepared pans leaving 1 inch space between cookies
BAKE 10-12 minutes
LET COOL in pan 3 minutes
MOVE cookies onto cooling racks and allow to cool completely
STORE in airtight container


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Blueberry Orange Muffins

I cannot get enough of blueberries lately. It doesn't hurt that they are selling at incredible prices right now in the grocery stores too. I had another large pint aching to be eaten and today I was craving a muffin for breakfast. That craving led me to this glorious recipe and in turn, a perfect Friday morning breakfast. I had a fresh muffin within 1/2 hr from start to finish.

Most people add lemon zest to blueberry baked goods and hey, I am not knocking it at all. But sometimes switching things up a bit can add a fantastic fresh take on things. Today was one of those days. Instead of lemon zest I added the zest of an orange. A wonderful flavor enhancer when paired with plump and juicy blueberries.

To top these off, I sprinkled 1/4 teaspoon of granulated sugar on each one right before baking. The result is a golden and crunchy topping that is absolutely delicious.

So let's get started!

adapted source recipe: Family Circle, Ultimate Comfort Food Cookbook


2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar plus more for topping muffins before baking
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil (canola works well - stick with a neutral flavor)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 cup fresh blueberries


LINE muffin tin with paper liners. This recipe makes 12 regular sized muffins

IN LARGE BOWL, whisk together first 7 dry ingredients
IN MEDIUM BOWL, whisk together remaining ingredients except blueberries
FOLD wet ingredients into dry ingredients just until combined
GENTLY fold in blueberries
FILL LINERS to top with batter
SPRINKLE 1/4 teaspoon of granulated sugar over top of each muffin

BAKE 23 minutes. Toothpick inserted in center should come out clean
COOL in pan 5 minutes
REMOVE and cool completely on cooling rack


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Coffee & Walnuts ...oh my !

My first taste of the renowned British favorite Coffee and Walnut Cake took place today. My life will never be the same again. Smooth, rich, creamy and wonderfully flavored with espresso. There is NOTHING better especially if you are in any way like me: a true coffee addict. I am hooked !

I researched a few different recipes that seem popular but in the end tested out Nigella Lawson's Coffee and Walnut Layer Cake recipe. Ok granted, the one I made is not a double layer cake. For this recipe I simply halved the ingredients to create an amazing single layer cake. The fact is there are only two people in my family who like the flavor of coffee and I am one of them. A single layer cake for this household would be overkill but a single cake on the other hand is just right.

I was somewhat hesitant to start off because it requires grinding of walnuts in a food processor. That means messing around with sharp blades. I tend to be a tad accident prone and having already had a slice and dice related accident earlier this week I was somewhat "gun-shy". But I stayed alert, ground the nuts and came out of it with all digits intact.

When I read through Nigella's recipe I was also very surprised to see that the cake only takes 25 minutes to bake. It contains 1/2 cup of butter and 2 eggs making it quite a dense batter. I thought it would take far longer to bake and was hoping Nigella's online recipe wasn't riddled with typos. My fear was baseless. The recipe is error-free. The cake baked up perfectly in 25 minutes and is one of the moistest cakes I have ever eaten. Topped off with a buttery swirl of coffee frosting and one has nirvana on a plate.

So let's get started !

*adapted source recipe: Coffee and Walnut Layer Cake, Nigella Lawson



25 grams chopped walnuts
112 grams fine granulated sugar
112 grams unsalted butter at room temperature
100 grams all purpose flour
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs at room temperature
1 tablespoon milk


350 grams icing sugar, sifted
175 grams unsalted butter at room temperature
2 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder dissolved in 1 tablespoon boiling water
walnut halves for decoration


GREASE an 8" round cake pan with baking spray and line bottom with parchment paper

IN FOOD PROCESSOR, grind together walnuts and sugar until combined into a fine nutty powder
IN BOWL OF STAND MIXER (fitted with paddle attachment) or large bowl if using hand-held mixer, beat butter 1 minutes MED speed until creamy
ADD SUGAR/WALNUT mix and beat 1 minutes MED speed
ADD all other ingredients blending well until thoroughly combined and smooth appearance
POUR into prepared pan and level out with icing spatula
BAKE 25 minutes
LET COOL in pan 10 minutes then remove and let cool completely on cooling rack


IN BOWL OF STAND MIXER (fitted with paddle attachment) or large bowl if using hand-held mixer, beat butter 1 minute MED speed until creamy
ADD in icing sugar and blend 2 minutes until butter and sugar come together into a heavy even consistency
ADD dissolved espresso powder and beat 2-3 minutes scraping down sides when needed

SPREAD frosting on top of cooled cake
DECORATE with walnut halves


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