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Pinterest inspired Easter Treats

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Originally published April 2012

I don’t think I am alone in the craze that is pinning on Pinterest.  Most of what I have pinned/liked have been recipes.  I was inspired by two pins this Easter, mainly because I am addicted to Cadbury Mini Eggs and needed to use up the kilogram bag I had.  Also being a 4 day weekend for me, I actually had some time to bake.

First up was the easy recipe from The Happy Baker: Mini Egg Shortbread cookies.  I only had one problem with the recipe, it did not give  an idea of how much one batch would make, so I doubled the recipe.  75 cookies later…..

Everyone at work loved them, and because it is shortbread, I can easily freeze them to eat throughout the year. They were the right texture and the chocolate was a nice crunch without  overwhelming the cookie.

Next up was a picture I saw, and after some digging, found out it was from the Peeps website; a cake made to look like a sunflower.  I did a chocolate fudge double layer cake with chocolate buttercream (real butter!) and raspberries in the middle.  This did not turn out quite how I hoped as I thought that having the Peeps upside down would look better.  Unfortunately, I could not secure them and turned them right-side up (which is actually how they were supposed to be once I looked back at the website again). This made the end result messy, and being just a little bit of a perfectionist at times, did not make me feel that I had done a good job.

That being said,  there was just enough left at the end of the workday so that @WineGuyTO could have a slice 🙂

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Tasty Tours of Toronto

Looking for a gift for that hard to buy friend? Well if they like sweets or chocolate, consider a Tasty Tour.  I participated in two different tours last year, both of which I bought for myself and two friends as Christmas presents (it actually took us all year to coordinate and book a date!).

First up was the Trinity Bellwoods Chocolate Tour in the spring.  I don’t want to give away all the locations we visited, but I was happy to start my tour at Le Dolci! As always, Lisa was a gracious host.  My friend and I had actually gotten there early and enjoyed a lemonade on the patio.

Other stops included a patisserie, an Asian grocery and a chocolatier.  At each stop, the owner would give us some explanation of their product and then we would taste a specific item.  At our last stop, we even got to see and taste a cacao bean.

You may recognize this spot.

You may recognize this spot.

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Cacao bean

Cacao bean

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The second tour was of Kensington Market Sweets Tour.  We actually started in Chinatown and learned the changing history of Kensington Market. Again, I don’t want to give away any of the stops specifically, but the sweets we tasted were very international.

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Chinese egg tart

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Pastries in the Chinese bakery.

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Churros!

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mmm, marshmallows

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Lebanese sweet

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The tours are between $30 and $35 a tour per adult (children are $10 and $15, under 7 free!) plus HST.  Each tour has a guide who not only knows the history of the area but also of the individual shops.  It is not a lot of walking either, even though you do meander through the neighbourhoods.  Our guide each time had much historical information, of the neighbourhood and what we were eating, and I learned many new bits of information.  I enjoyed both my tours though I found that our “tastes” were small in some shops. It actually inspired me to create our Beer Tour of Montreal!

**I was not asked to write this review or was compensated for the tours.  The tours of my two friends were bought by me as presents, and I paid for my own tours.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Daring Baker Challenge March: Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake

Out of the oven!

Recipe Source: Jamie found this recipe on a piece of yellowed paper in her dad’s collection of clipped out and hand-written recipes from the 1970’s, no source, no date, and she tried the recipe and it was brilliant!

Blog-checking lines: 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.

I was intrigued by this month’s challenge.  I couldn’t remember if I had ever tried to make something by hand with yeast (I don’t count my bread maker).  I had a “Fat Friday” coming up – where 1 colleague feeds the office- so I was in.

I found the recipe easy to follow, even the kneading!  I did both with Ria’s garam masala, cashews and chocolate chips.  My second cake (above) looked much better, i.e. rounder.  The cake itself is chewy and moist, though I didn’t have the obvious layers of filling that could be seen when sliced.  No matter, the office loved it and the second one was nice as breakfast in bed the next morning.

 

Milk and butter heating up

Ready for kneading

Cashews, chocolate chips on meringue base

All rolled up

Ready for the oven

 

 

Making Whoopie….pies that is.

I have really felt like baking lately.  My problem is that there is only two of us in the house and we really don’t need to have of lot of dessert.  Problem solved: bake at my parent’s and share with them.  Today is my parent’s 40th wedding anniversary, so we are visiting for the weekend and what would be better than making whoopie….pies?

I had found a promising recipe and then someone neither bookmarked it or could find it in my browser history again, so a-searching I went.  I settled on this one by Erin Cooks.  Hers looked good, had good comments and wasn’t complicated.  The only change I made to the instructions was to use my Silpats.

Here is my batter (please excuse the pics, first time doing food and not my camera), looked good.

I thought I was portioning out the batter in 1 tbsp like instructed but my first ones were huge!  They really flattened out though still cakey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All the rest I made much smaller.  I let them cool on racks for about 2 hours before icing with Martha Stewart Buttercream.

In between, I switched over to making Lemon Whoopies (because my mom is allergic to chocolate so this way she can have some too!).  I used a recipe originally attributed to Joy the Baker and found here.  These turned out just like the photos, though I am still not happy about the flatness.

I will definitely make these again, but would love some feedback on how to make them more cookie shape (i.e. rounder on top and not so flat).  I want to experiment with flavours too, peanut butter, berries and maybe Nutella in time for Nutella Day on Feb. 5th.

 

 

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