Slice

We’re currently going through a major change at my work. Last week, we moved to a brand new office without cubicles or assigned seating. It’s totally open, and you can sit wherever you want. There are different types of workspaces depending on what you need to do that day, for example, collaboration spaces, a quiet zone, focus rooms, etc.

Over the past 8 months or so, I prepared myself for this change by reducing my use of paper at work (the new space is paperless), embracing my headset (they took away our landlines and we now use Skype for business), and slowly taking home all my blazers, shoes and the rest of my personal stuff from my cubicle. I would say I was pretty proud of myself for embracing the coming change. But I kind of forgot about one thing.

In any office I’ve ever worked in, I’ve always kind of had a designated “treat zone” where I would set out the various baked goods I brought in. It was always a place close to my team, so even if we shared a floor with other groups, my teamies would always get first dibs just by their proximity to the treats. In the new workspace, since there are no assigned desks, and we share the space with so many other teams, there’s no way to set up a team-specific treat zone. Not to mention YOU CAN’T EAT AT ANY OF THE WORKSPACES. You can only have food in this designated “Bistro” area, but if I put my treats in there, anybody can take them! This is an outrage! Please stay tuned as I figure this all out.

Pumpkin & Chocolate Chip Crumb Cake

Anyway, I knew I needed to make something for our last day on the floor, so I brought in this Pumpkin & Chocolate Chip Crumble Cake last week. It was a huge hit, and one of my co-workers declared it the best thing I’ve ever baked (although don’t take his word for it…he barely eats sugar and never eats the treats I bring in…don’t know why he ate this one). I loved this though – nice and hydrated pumpkin chocolate chip base with a brown sugar crumble topping. I’d definitely make this again.

Pumpkin & Chocolate Chip Crumble Cake

Source: Butterlust (fantastic blog name!)

Ingredients

Topping

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Cake

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Directions

  1. For the topping, in a small bowl, mix the brown sugar and flour together until combined. Cut in the butter with a fork or pastry cutter until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in the chocolate chips. Stick this in the fridge while you make the cake.
  2. For the cake, line a 8×8″ baking pan with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350°.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix again until combined. Add the pumpkin puree and yogurt and mix in until combined.
  4. Add the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and mix until just combined. With a spatula, fold in the chocolate chips.
  5. Spread cake batter in the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer with an offset spatula. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the top. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

 

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Peanut Butter Cookies

We’re getting back to basics with this week’s Baked Sunday Morning recipe: the original Baked recipe for Peanut Butter Cookies. I’m actually pretty partial to this peanut butter cookie recipe as my go-to, but I’m always open to trying something new.

This recipe meets my main cookie criteria: slightly crispy edges, but soft and chewy on the inside. Ain’t nobody got time for a CRISPY peanut butter cookie. It’s also important to me that these cookies are not flat. Back in June we baked up these Peanut Butter Butterscotch Cookies from Baked Occasions, and they were super deflated. I like some lift to my cookies so there’s something to sink your teeth into.

The only thing I would change about these cookies is to use semi-sweet or dark chocolate in them instead of milk chocolate. I like the contrast, and found that milk chocolate is too sweet to really stand out here and kind of got lost.

You can find the recipe here!

More Baked Sunday Mornings here!

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October on Planet Byn {2017}

by byn on October 31, 2017

in Monthly Recaps

Chudleighs

October is usually my favourite month, but it fell in the rankings this year because I was knocked out with a bad cold for the first two weeks. There were a couple of super fun foodie events towards the end of the month to make up for it though:

  • Thanksgiving was a bust for me this year, because like I mentioned, I was dealing with a cold, and by that point I had lost all sense of smell. My Mom hosted this year and made the turkey, but I did a few of the same sides as last year: stuffing, mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes with pecan streusel topping. I also made homemade cranberry sauce (recipe on the bag of the bag + orange juice and zest), plus this Butterscotch Cream Pie for dessert. I had more on my list (cornbread and sausage stuffing, honey yeast rolls, pumpkin pie with praline topping), but because I wasn’t feeling 100%, I just couldn’t do it all. Next year for sure.
  • My Mom and I went apple picking at Chudleigh’s on my birthday and had a delightful time. The three varieties we picked were Fuji, Mutsu (also known as Crispin) and Ambrosia. Apparently Ambrosia is the new premium apple, and I’m a fan. It’s crispy and juicy, with almost floral undertones. I made a Breakfast Apple Granola Crisp (this recipe, but with apples) and these muffins, and ate the rest. My Mom and Dad made an apple pie, and texted me photos throughout the process. It was so cute, I teared up. My little food bloggers!
  • Last Thanksgiving while my family was all watching the Jays playoff game, I introduced my niece Amy to How to Cake It, and she’s been watching the videos ever since. So of course we had to go meet Yolanda on her book tour! We (and my sister-in-law Debbie) went to Yorkdale and got to meet Yo (and Jocelyn!) and get our books signed. Highlight of the night was Amy correcting her Mom “it’s fon-dent, Mom, NOT fon-dant”. I told Amy to pick something out of the book for us to make, but to please stick to the “Caking Your First Steps” section, instead of the “Cake it up a Notch” or “Cake it to the Limit” sections. I’ll keep you posted!
  • Next up, honestly, one of the happiest moments of the year for me: I went to see Deb on her book tour for her second cookbook: Smitten Kitchen Everyday. This deserves a whole post of it’s own, which I’ll get to soon.

Other non-foodie things I was obsessed with this month:

  • Lydia and I went to a taping of The Bachelor Canada After Show, and it was everything I hoped for and more. We got to meet Kaitlyn Bristowe (former Bachelorette in the US) and last year’s Bachelorette Canada, Jasmine Lorimer, and she was so sweet. This is honestly the closest we’re getting to Chris Harrison and the tea light thunderdome, and we loved every minute.
  • I binged on Stranger Things 2 over the course of the weekend it came out and was OBSESSED! I thought it was so great, maybe even better than Season 1! Living for Sean Astin and his Goonies joke; I LOLed for real at my TV.
  • The Ringer has this new amazing podcast called The Rewatchables where they review movies from the 90s and 00s and it’s pure nostalgia for me, and so great. Just in time for Halloween they did Scream, which I then watched on demand once I listened to it. I forgot how many times I watched this movie back in they day, which is weird because I hate horror movies. But this was a great re-watch and totally holds up. Other recent ones I liked were for Titanic, Clueless and The Departed.

Flashback!

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Cinnamon Sugar Apple Muffins

by byn on October 26, 2017

in Muffins & Scones

Cinnamon Sugar Apple Muffins

Apple picking was the last thing on my mind this September due to the sauna-like weather we were having around here. When I finally got it together to check the Chudleigh’s schedule last week, I learned that Honeycrisp season is long gone (those are my favourite variety), but Fuji, Mutsu and Ambrosia were still available to pick. In addition to a Breakfast Crisp (this recipe but with apples), I knew I wanted to make these muffins, after eyeing them on Everyday Annie for a couple of years.

There are already two pretty amazing apple muffin recipes in the archives here, but there’s always room for one more. These muffins are a little more labour intensive for a muffin recipe than I prefer, because you have to caramelize the apples, plus prepare a separate topping, but I was interested to see if the extra time was worth it.

Turns out it totally is. The muffin part is pretty virtuous with ground oats, whole wheat flour and greek yogurt, which is good, because to finish them off you dunk them in butter and roll them in a crunchy cinnamon sugar topping. So good warmed up with a cup of chai tea.

Cinnamon Sugar Apple Muffins

Source: Everyday Annie

Yield: 15 muffins

Ingredients

Cinnamon Apples

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 medium-sized apples, peeled and diced
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch salt

Muffins

  • 1 1/2 oats
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup milk (I used buttermilk)
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 egg

Topping

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted

Directions

  1. For the apples, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the apples, sugar, cinnamon and salt, and stir together. Cook until softened, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 350° and spray muffin tins with non-stick spray. For the muffins, first add the oats to a food processor and process until finely ground. Measure out 1 cup and add to a large bowl. Add the flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt and whisk together.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter, milk, yogurt and egg.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold together until just combined. Fold in the apples.
  5. Add batter to muffin tins and bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove muffins to cool completely on a wire rack.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon. Dunk each muffin top in melted butter, then into the sugar/cinnamon mixture.

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Pumpkin Quinoa Muffins

by byn on October 24, 2017

in Muffins & Scones

Pumpkin Quinoa Muffins

I know there’s no topic more boring than the weather, but it’s really messing up my baking vibes this Fall. This should be the time of year where crisp, cool breezes are coming through my open windows, a pumpkin-scented candle is burning, and I’m happily in the kitchen baking the the day away.

Instead, the warm weather we had in September has continued into October, and this weekend I had to turn on my air conditioning and went out to run errands in flip flops and shorts.

Since it’s legit almost time to start thinking about COOKIE SZN, I figured I better get my act together and get my pumpkin baking out the way, even if the weather outside doesn’t match the calendar.

Maple Spiced Almond Milk

I’ve been baking with pumpkin for so many years now that I really know what my lane is when it comes to picking things to make. I like only bread-y, carb-y type things (instead of creamy things, like pumpkin pie), and I’ve had these muffins bookmarked for a couple years. They’re perfect for a morning or afternoon snack with a cup of tea, and have a few interesting additions like oats and quinoa, in addition to pumpkin and Fall spices (cinnamon and ginger). I’ll be popping these into my tote for work snacks for the week!

Pumpkin Quinoa Muffins

Source: Family Bites

Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (or melted coconut oil)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup cooked and cooled quinoa

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° and line a muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, flour, rolled oats, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, brown sugar, yogurt, oil, honey, egg and vanilla.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold together until just combined. Fold in the quinoa.
  5. Fill the liners with batter and bake for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean.

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Milk & Cookies Cake

by byn on October 18, 2017

in Cakes, Cupcakes & Icing

Milk & Cookies Cake

My favourite thing to bake lately has been cute little 6″ birthday cakes. This is no doubt due to the endless cake decorating videos I’ve been watching on Instagram (faves: @chelsweets,  @whippedcakeco, @bakingwithblondie@karleeskupcakes). Making mini versions has been a great way to practice a few specific things (i.e. using a bench scraper to get smooth sides, perfecting the chocolate drip) without making a huge cake.

Inside

The first one I made was a coconut cake with vanilla buttercream and a dark chocolate drip, and the next one was a chocolate cake with peanut butter buttercream; both for my friends from work (bonus: smaller cakes are easier to transport to the office!).

So when it came to MY BIRTHDAY, of course I had such a hard time deciding which cake to make for myself. The other two finalists were Cookies & Cream and Funfetti, but this Milk & Cookies cake won out! I loved this concept of brown sugar chocolate chip cake layers stacked up with vanilla buttercream and crumbled chocolate chip cookies in between.

When it came to decorating, I took inspiration from another one of my favourite instagram accounts, @piepiemydarling based out of Chicago. I’m so obsessed with the look of her cakes, so I did my best to copy it here and I think it turned out great!

Milk & Cookies Cake

Source: Life, Love & Sugar

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° and line three 8″ cake pans with parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray (for my cake pictured above, I actually halved this recipe and baked it in three 6″ pans).
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
  3. In a liquid measuring cup, stir together the milk and water and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the sour cream and vanilla and mix in until combined, then beat in the eggs.
  5. Add half of the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add the milk/water mixture and mix until combined. Finally add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  6. Fold in the mini chocolate chips.
  7. Divide the cake batter equally between the pans and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.
  8. To assemble the cake, place a cake layer on a serving platter and spread a thin layer of buttercream over top. Crumble a few chocolate chip cookies overtop and press gently to stick. Dollop about a 1/2 cup or so of frosting overtop the cookie crumbles and spread evenly (this gets a little messy but it all works out). Repeat one more time, and then finish with the final cake layer. Add a thin layer of icing all over the cake, chill for 30 minutes, then finish with the final layer of icing. Decorate as you like! I did a chocolate drip, cookies, and more cookie crumbles and chocolate chips!

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September on Planet Byn {2017}

by byn on September 30, 2017

in Monthly Recaps

Paw Patrol

September was more hot and humid than any of the summer months that just passed. It definitely wasn’t time for cozy fall baking or apple picking, but instead a two tiered Paw Patrol cake, and some other fun stuff:

  • Kristine’s friends Justin and Masha asked me to make a Paw Patrol cake for their daughter’s 2nd birthday (pictured above). It was a 8” chocolate cake on the bottom and a 6” funfetti cake on the top, and I copied the design from a cake Masha saw on Pinterest. Stacking the layers stressed me out, as well as the paw prints and dog bone decorations, but in the end I was happy with how it turned out, and the birthday girl loved it.
  • I made this copycat recipe of Cactus Club’s flatbread (with this super simple whole wheat pizza dough), and halfway through I realized it was just this pizza recipe from the archives with the addition of caramelized onions and balsamic drizzle (face plant emoji). It was still so delicious.
  • Since I’m scared to go anywhere with my vegan friend Josie after CURRYGATE 2017, we finally went up to Yorkville to Planta, which is a super cute, all-vegan restaurant. Josie was so excited that she could have anything on the menu, and we ordered a bunch of things to share: queso dip, cauliflower tots, fried mushrooms, coconut ceviche and lettuce wraps. Everything was good, but it was pretty expensive, and I think I can cook just as good of a vegan meal at home with recipes from Oh She Glows.
  • Weedy has a new job in the Financial District, so Krishna and I initiated her to the area with a little craft beer crawl: Batch, Goose Island and King Taps (which has the same owners as Cactus Club). King Taps has some totally delicious apps that we shared (Bang Bang Shrimp, Crispy Potato Peels…like fancy junk food), plus pizza (we had the Forager). Tons of beer to choose from and fun music on Friday night.
  • Kristine and Nicole came over to watch the Emmys, and we had brunch for dinner (stop trying to make brinner happen, Ayesha Curry. It’s not going to happen). We had this Corn & Cheddar Strata, roasted bacon, arugula salad and Cinnamon Brown Butter Breakfast Puffs, plus Chocolate Pudding for dessert. One of my favourite things in life is that Kristine follows Smitten Kitchen on Instagram and will tag me in posts of recipes she thinks looks good with a note to “add it to my list”. Nicole sometimes does this too, so it was fun to surprise them with a few of the things they’ve commented on recently (the puffs and pudding!).

Other non-foodie things I was obsessed with this month:

  • I binged on The Handmaid’s Tale one weekend and it was so disturbing and creepy, but I loved it. I kind of felt like I didn’t get full enjoyment out of the Big Little Lies miniseries since I had read the book, so it was great to go in to this show blind, since I’ve never read the book. I was so anxious throughout the whole thing because it kept getting weirder and you could not predict ANYTHING that was going to happen. Elisabeth Moss is amazing.
  • Since I had to subscribe to Crave TV to watch The Handmaid’s Tale, I also caught up on Broad City and it reminded me how much I loved this show. I’m going to see Ilana Glazer and Phoebe Robinson (I read her book back in March) next month and it’s going to be so great.
  • Everything I read this month was a dud, and I totally hated The Woman in Cabin 10.
  • So the show Suits films at the building across the street from mine and I had FOMO for the last year or so because I never saw them taping, but I finally did! Twice actually, once at night (Harvey and Donna!) and once at lunch (Mike Ross). No Megan Markle though….
  • Speaking of MM, Prince Harry was in town for the Invictus Games, and he was IN MY BUILDING at work for a press conference. I didn’t get to see him (security everywhere, plus, you know, I had to actually work), but probably would have been arrested if I saw him in person.

Flashback!

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Loaf

Welcome to a brand new round of Baked Sunday Mornings! Since the Baked boys don’t have a new cookbook out, we’re throwing it back to their very first book, Baked: New Frontiers in Baking. I learned about this book when I started reading Smitten Kitchen and bought it sometime in 2009 or 2010. I actually blogged about a handful of recipes back in the early days of Planet Byn (i.e. Sweet & Salty CakeSour Lemon SconesMocha Fudgesicles) but in total I’ve only made about a dozen treats from this book. I’m excited to make all the recipes I’ve missed out on, but also to revisit the recipes I have made, and see how my baking skills have progressed over the past 7 or 8 years.

First up is this Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Loaf that I first made before I even had a blog. I was more than happy to make it again to kick of PUMPKIN SZN this weekend, even though it was legit the hottest weekend of the summer here, and we’re still under a heat warning.

This recipe is super easy, mixes up with a whisk and makes two perfect loaves. It’s nice and hydrated, and has the murderer’s row of fall spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ginger. My co-workers all freaked out over it, which is always a good sign!

You can find the recipe here!

More Baked Sunday Mornings here!

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Peppermint Chocolate Chip Meringues

I can’t believe this is our last recipe from Baked Occasions! I also can’t believe it’s been three years since the book came out and I went to NYC for the launch party; truly one of the best days of my life!

We’re finishing up the book with these Peppermint Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies. I actually spent the last four days making a two tier Paw Patrol birthday cake, so I was a bit baked out, but I just had to join in for the last recipe of the book.

These cookies are a simple mixture of egg whites, sugar, peppermint extract and mini chocolate chips, plus a bit of cream of tartar. They get baked at a low temperature for a long time, so you end up with that crispy outside that shatters when you bite it, plus the soft, marshmallow-like centre. I’m somehow out of red food colouring, so I just left mine plain. You can find the recipe here!

And that brings us to the end of Baked Occasions! In total I made 47 recipes from the book, which includes the ones I tested way back in the Summer of 2013! I just loved baking my way through this book, and here are my Top 10 favourites:

I was busy with other baking projects the past couple months, so I missed out on a bunch of the last recipes on the schedule, plus there were a couple I missed along the way. Here are the recipes I still want to make:

  • Black Cocoa Bundt with Butter Whiskey Glaze
  • Hot Chocolate Pudding Cake
  • Chocolate Pop Tarts with Peanut Butter and Jam Filling
  • Peanut Butter Blossoms

Next up, we’re throwing it back to the very first Baked book! I’ve made a lot out of this book over the years, but I’m excited to bake up some things for the first time. Our first recipe is a pumpkin chocolate chip loaf that’s to die for. I can’t wait!

More Baked Sunday Mornings here!

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Frosé (Frozen Rosé)

by byn on September 7, 2017

in Cocktails

Without a doubt, this is my Summer Seventeen obsession right here. While it doesn’t exactly meet the criteria of a Signature Summer Cocktail (it’s a little too high maintenance for that), I couldn’t stop making it over the past few months.

I first came across the idea of frozen rosé (also known as frosé or rosé slushies) last year on Annie’s blog, and knew I needed this in my life. This obsession was also the result of the whole “Rosé All Day” and “Yes Way Rosé” things that started popping up everywhere on Instagram over the past year. The fact that Annie’s recipe has you bust out the ice cream maker just made it appeal to me all the more.

The actual cocktail is a mixture of rosé, Aperol, simple syrup, lemon juice and water. Easy, right? And then things start to get a little more complicated.

Frose Part I
Frosé Trials, Part I was a bit of a bust. I underestimated the amount of time I needed to churn the mixture for, so it was only a little bit slushy when I poured it into our glasses. Complicating factor #1 was that it was a super hot day out, so what little slushy bits we had started to melt immediately when we went out to my balcony. Complicating factor #2 was that we were heading out to a concert and kind of in a rush, so just not an ideal Frosé experience out the gate.

Frose Part II

For Frosé Trials, Part II, I let the mixture churn way longer and it definitely got more slushy than the first time, but again started to melt pretty quickly. Definitely still delicious and fun and my friends loved it.

Frose Part III

For Frosé Trials, Part III, I actually mixed the Aperol, simple syrup, lemon juice and water the night before, poured it into a plastic freezer bag and let it freeze overnight, just to have things as cold as possible, and I knew the Aperol would stop it from freezing completely (alcohol doesn’t freeze). When it was cocktail hour the next day, I added the rosé, and it was my slushiest mixture yet (although it’s hard to see in this photo). Success!

HOWEVER, the real magic I discovered later. Because it was just Lydia and I for Part III, I had a lot of the mixture left over. I froze it overnight in the plastic bag and PEAK SLUSHINESS was achieved. My friend Jen confirmed this Labour Day weekend when she froze her entire mixture in a pitcher the night before her BBQ (she had to let it melt a bit to get it out of the pitcher the next day).

Thus I am here to conclude that while it is super fun to bust out your ice cream maker (if you have one) to delight your friends, for the best frosé, all you actually need is a large plastic freezer bag. Fun straws are not optional! I can’t wait to make this again next summer, or like in the dead of winter with a tropical inspired dinner.

Frosé

Source: Everyday Annie

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle of your favourite rosé
  • 3 oz Aperol
  • 2 oz simple syrup
  • 2 oz lemon juice
  • 4 oz water

Directions

  1. Mix everything together in a pitcher or large liquid measuring up. Pour into a resealable plastic freezer bag and set in a bowl, then put in the freezer. The mixture won’t freeze completely. Leave overnight.
  2. When it’s cocktail hour, scoop frosé mixture into glasses and you’re ready to roll.

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