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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Peaches & Cream Pie

by byn on September 5, 2017

in Pies, Tarts & Pudding

Peach Slice

I first made this pie way, way back in my pre-blog baking days. It was probably around 2004 or 2005, and while I don’t remember if I made my own pastry or not, I definitely know that I made it with canned peaches. After making Rhubarb Custard Pie in 2014 and Blueberry Custard Pie in 2015, I knew a redux of this Peaches & Cream Pie was going to happen. And it was going to happen with fresh, delicious, juicy, Ontario peaches.

Peaches & Cream Pie

I didn’t do any baking with peaches last year, so I was excited to pick up a big basket of them at the start of Labour Day weekend. I made my favourite pastry, lovingly peeled and sliced a bunch of peaches and mixed them into a creamy filling, and made a nice crumbly topping. It baked up perfectly, held a nice crimp in the crust (metal pie plate FTW!) and was absolutely delicious. Even though this ended up being the only pie I baked this summer, it was a total stunner.

Inside

Peaches & Cream Pie

Source: a piece of paper in my old pre-blog recipe binder, no clue where it came from!

Ingredients

Pastry

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cold, cubed
  • 1/2 cup ice water

Filling

  • 3/4 cup sour cream (or plain greek yogurt)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 6 peaches, peeled and thickly sliced

Crumble Topping

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, cold and cubed

Directions

  1. For crust, add the flour, sugar and salt to a big bowl, and whisk together. Add the butter, and use a pastry cutter to cut it in, until the butter is the size of peas and the mixture is crumbly. Start by adding 1/4 cup of cold water, and stir together with a spatula until the dough starts to come together. Add more ice water a tbsp at a time, until all the floury bits are incorporated. Knead the dough very briefly with your hands until it all comes together, then shape into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Stick it in the fridge to chill for about an hour.
  2. For the filling, whisk together the sour cream, sugar, flour and almond extract. Gently stir in the peaches and chill until you’re ready.
  3. For the crumble topping, stir the flour and sugar together, then cut in the butter with a fork (or use your fingers) until crumbly. Chill until you need it.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425°. Roll out the dough on a well-floured counter, then gently add to your pie plate, trim the edges and crimp them. Pour in the peach filling, and crumble the topping over it until covered. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350° and bake for another 35 minutes. Keep an eye on it, I had to cover mine with foil about halfway through so it wouldn’t get too brown.

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CC Frose
The highlight of this month was a WILDERNESS ADVENTURE to Jasper for Danielle’s wedding! I spent a couple days in Edmonton too, so I have some recommendations to share, after I share what else was up this month:

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Poop Emoji Cupcakes

by byn on August 23, 2017

in Cakes, Cupcakes & Icing

Poop Emoji Cupcake

Yes, dear reader, it has come to this. When I texted my niece to see what kind of cake she wanted for her 10th birthday, all I got back was a line of poop emojis. I quickly did a google image search, and sure enough, they are all over the internet. I sent her back a picture, and it was a done deal.

Poop Squad

This couldn’t be easier, but if you have a poop emoji loving person in your life, here’s how I did it:

  • Baked up a batch of My Favourite Chocolate Cupcakess in brown liners (which I buy from Golda’s, they’re my fave)
  • Frosted with chocolate frosting (can’t give the recipe I used a recommendation yet), using a large round tip for maximum poop-iness
  • Added two large round candy eyes, which I bought at Michael’s, per Danielle’s recommendation
  • The smile is a bright white Wilton candy melt (also bought at Michael’s), cut in half

The birthday girl was super excited when I took the lid off my cake carrier, so that’s another win in the books for Auntie Robyn!

Birthday Girl

Charlotte’s Previous Birthday Cakes:

  • 9th (Caramel Banana Cake)
  • 8th (Minecraft Cake)
  • 7th (Balloon Bouquet Cupcakes)
  • 6th (Castle Cake)
  • 5th (Rainbow Cake)
  • 4th (Blue’s Clues)
  • 3rd (Big Greeny-Blue Cake)
  • 2nd (Elmo)

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When I sat down to write this post about my friend Francis’ 1st birthday party, I realized I’ve documented all the major events leading up to this milestone: his parents’ engagement party, his mom’s wedding shower, and of course his baby shower!
  1. Preheat oven to 375°, and line a 9×13″ pan with parchment paper or foil (spray with non-stick spray if using foil).
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon zest (if using).
  3. Add the cold cubes of butter, and cut into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or a fork. When the mixture is crumbly, and the butter is the size of peas, add the whisked egg and stir to combine.
  4. Add half of the dough to the pan, and press into an even layer. Set the other half of the dough aside.
  5. For the filling, stir the blueberries, sugar, cornstarch and lemon together in a medium bowl, then pour over the crust and spread evenly.
  6. Crumble the remaining dough over top of the blueberries.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes until crumbs on the top are starting to brown, and the blueberries are bubbling. Cool completely and cut into squares.

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July on Planet Byn {2017}

by byn on July 31, 2017

in Monthly Recaps

Canada Day Cupcakes

Most of this month was dedicated to baking and preparing for a very special 1st birthday party, which I’ll write more about next week, but here’s what else was going on in the meantime:

  • Canada Day was a pretty big deal this year as we celebrated our 150th birthday. To me this just meant I told my parents we should have a BBQ/pool party and that I would make Maple Cupcakes (brown sugar cupcakes with maple buttercream) for dessert. I stalked this True North sprinkle mix from the girls at GlamPop, when they were up at the Yorkville Farmer’s Market back in June. Totally worth it!
  • Jenny had us over for a BBQ/pool party (theme of my month I guess?) and I seriously still can’t stop thinking about the burgers she made us plus her trademark S’mores Bar! My contribution to the day was this super quick and easy Mexican Street Corn Salad, which was even more simple because I used frozen corn. Need to make it again with the fresh stuff before the summer’s through.
  • Our old friend Chuck Hughes was at the Saks Food Hall in The Bay, and my friend Erin and I went down to check him it out. He has a new line of antipasto, vinegars and olive oil, which we got to sample, before chatting with Chuck for a while. I reminded him I had baked cookies for him before, and he said he remembered me, so let’s just pretend it’s true!
  • Jenny, Heather and I hit up Debrodniks Donuts in Kitchener on our way to visit Christina and they were just the right amount of squishy (in a good way), with some fun flavours. Our only complaint (and this is nitpicking) is that the filled doughnuts didn’t have enough filling. Still worth a visit if you’re in the area.
  • Kristine and Mae came over for Frosé Trials: Part I on my balcony, but because we were dashing out to a concert, I felt as though I didn’t let it churn for long enough in my ice cream maker to maximize the slushiness factor. Need to continue to work on this for the rest of the summer.
  • So many of my friends share my obsession with the Bachelorette, and case in point, most of my Monday nights this month were spent at other people’s houses watching Rachel’s journey to find love. My work girls and I had a “Do You Accept this Rosé” night, where we ordered pizza, drank wine and I brought these Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies for a treat. My friend Jen and I watched with a throwback meal from Axia, where we probably ate once a month for a stretch of a few years in the early ’00s. Finally, Lydia had me over tonight and made the most amazing prosciutto, pear, blue cheese and arugula flat bread pizzas before we settled in for The Men Tell All.

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

  • Summer Movie Season is just peak Byn happiness, and this month I saw Spiderman Homecoming which is an absolute joy. I also saw Baby Driver because my podcast boys wouldn’t stop talking about it, but it was just okay for me.
  • I tore through Into The Water this month, from the author who wrote The Girl on the Train. It was a bit confusing at first, but then I couldn’t put it down until I figured out what happened. I also read The Fall of Lisa Bellow, which I was obsessed with for a few days. The ending was a disappointment though, so I can’t give this one my recommendation.
  • Turns out Party of Five is on Netflix, so I was sucked down a hole of angsty teen drama, combat boots and plaid shirts for few weeks. I remember watching the show in high school, but never saw the last couple seasons while I was in university, so I’m trying to make my way through to see how all the Salingers ended up.

Flashback!

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Strawberry Cheesecake Parfaits

This is the only recipe that was on my strawberry agenda for this Summer. I’ve flipped past it in The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook so many times, but it wasn’t until Danielle made them a couple months ago and sent me a picture that I became obsessed. She made them in little mason jars, and I just had to copy her.

These parfaits consist of three layers: lightly cooked strawberries, a cream cheese/whipped cream mixture, and crumbled digestive cookies. I actually went with homemade graham crackers instead, as I’m currently in the middle of extensive homemade graham cracker trials this summer (#bakingnerd).

It was about halfway through assembling these when I realized something. I was basically recreating my Signature Dessert of Summer Sixteen, in parfait form. If it ain’t broke, right?

These were totally delicious little gems, and the perfect summer treat for when Kristine came over for dinner.

Strawberry Cheesecake Parfaits

Source: The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

Yield: 4 parfaits, in little 1 cup mason jars

Ingredients

Strawberries

  • 4 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon (about 1 tbsp)

Cheesecake Mixture

  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup whipped cream

Graham Cracker Crumbles (Note: (I would totally make and use the crumbles from this recipe next time)

  • 8 graham crackers
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

Directions

  1. Mix the strawberries, sugar and cornstarch together in a medium saucepan. Let sit for 15 minutes, then bring to a simmer over medium heat. Let bubble away for 2 minutes, then pour strawberries into a shallow bowl or onto a plate. Set in the fridge to cool while you make everything else.
  2. For the cheesecake mixture, beat the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. In a separate medium bowl, beat the whipping cream until it holds stiff peaks, then fold it into the cream cheese mixture. Stick in the fridge until you need it.
  3. For the crumbles, put the crackers and the sugar into a ziploc bag and smack it with a rolling pin until nice and crumbly.
  4. One extra optional step – if you want you can strain the strawberry mixture at this point, and add 1/4 cup of the juice to the creamcheese mixture. It turns it pink, and gives it a bit of a strawberry flavour. But I think I would save myself the extra dishes/time and just leave it next time.
  5. To assemble, add alternating layers of the strawberries and cheesecake mixture to the jars, separating each layer with crumbs. Chill for half an hour before serving. YUM.

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Margarita Cupcakes

by byn on July 11, 2017

in Cakes, Cupcakes & Icing

Margarita Cupcakes

One of my favourite things to do with my co-workers is go to Lone Star for Fajita Fridays. It doesn’t necessarily take place on Fridays, and we don’t always eat fajitas, but there is one constant: CHEAP MARGARITAS. It’s truly the best.

My friend Shane had all of us over to the patio in his building for a BBQ before the Canada Day long weekend, and I knew right away I had to make these Margarita Cupcakes as a tribute to our tradition. They’re a pretty standard vanilla cupcake recipe, but both the batter and the icing get spiked with lime juice, lime zest and tequila. I also added a sprinkle of flaky sea salt right before we ate them, to mimic the salted rim of a margarita glass.

I know I just finished talking about how I don’t like tart/creamy things, but in these the combo was working for me! They were totally amazing. One of the girls ate two, and another took home the leftovers and then declared they’re her favourite cupcake OF ALL TIME. This is a keeper.

Margarita Cupcakes

Source: Brown Eyed Baker

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Ingredients

Cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 limes, zested and juiced
  • 2 tbsp tequila
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs

Icing

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 5 cups icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp tequila
  • 2 tbsp lime juice

+ tequila for brushing onto the cupcakes

+ extra lime zest and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt for finishing

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325° and line a cupcake pan with liners.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a measuring cup, whisk together the lime zest and juice, tequila, vanilla and buttermilk.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs.
  5. Add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk mixture in two additions, mixing each time until just blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times to make sure everything is getting incorporated.
  6. Divide batter among cupcake liners and bake for about 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Let cool for 10 minutes, then remove cupcakes to a cooling rack and brush a little bit of tequila on to each one. Let cool completely before frosting.
  8. For frosting, add all ingredients to a large bowl, and mix slowly until everything is combined, then whip at high speed until nice and fluffy. I used a large open star tip to pipe the icing onto the cupcakes and sprinkled with lime zest. Add a sprinkle of sea salt right before serving.

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June on Planet Byn {2017}

by byn on June 30, 2017

in Monthly Recaps

Dafna & Byn

I swear there were a couple nights this month where I almost wore flannel PJs to bed, so I won’t say that Summer has fully arrived here, especially since it won’t stop raining. Here’s what I got up to in this pre-Summer state:

  • Nicole came over for dinner and I made everything out of Barefoot Contessa’s newest book Cooking for Jeffrey. We had: Aperol Spritzes (LOVE), Parmesan & Chipotle Popcorn (LOVE), Spicy Sweet Potato Empanadas (too much orange zest), Maple-Roasted Carrot Salad (LOVE, although this is a pretty basic salad) and Raspberry Rhubarb Crostata (too tart for me, this is why you normally only see rhubarb with sweet strawberries). Love Ina, and so much more to make out of this book!
  • My niece and nephew had their joint birthday party fam jam and their ‘Auntie Robyn Baking Requests’ were plain sugar cookies and Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie, respectively. I had to switch up the sugar cookies a little bit though, and used this Rainbow Funfetti Cutout Cookie recipe, and stamped out hearts, stars and butterflies. They turned out SUPER cute (forgot to take a pic!).
  • I randomly went to Craft two Saturdays in a row this month (once before a concert, the other time in a spur-of-the-moment, post-funeral need to not be home alone) and both times had the same Mushroom Swiss Burger that also has crispy onions and truffle aioli on top. That thing is to die for.
  • For Father’s Day this year, instead of cooking like I normally do, we took my Dad to Sotiris, after hearing amazing things about it from my sister-in-law Tara. It was INCREDIBLE! We had dolmadakia (stuffed grape leaves), spanakopita (feta and spinach stuffed pastry) for our apps, and then gyros, chicken and pork souvlaki dinners. Everything was totally amazing, the service was lovely and we just had the best time.
  • After last month’s success with Sweet Jesus, I dragged my workplace proximity associates down to Brookfield Place, where the Bar Ape truck was parked every Wednesday in June. Bar Ape is dishing up gelato bars, and I had the flavour of the week which was Ontario Strawberry & Balsamic Vinegar, dipped in dark chocolate. It was tangy and sweet, and showcased the strawberries in such a unique way (kind of reminded me of this way back play back).
  • The Town Square in Downtown Oakville is showing movies outside every Thursday night this Summer, so Kristine and I went to see My Best Friend’s Wedding (it holds up!). Her request was for Sweet & Salty treats, but since apparently Pretzel M&M Cookies are strictly for Champagne & Cookies ONLY, I made these Kitchen Sink Cookies instead. I used crushed sea salt potato chips, pretzels, M&Ms and butterscotch chips as my mix-ins. Couldn’t stop eating them!
  • This month ended in such an amazingly fun way! My friend Dafna, who I met through our Baked Sunday Mornings group, was in Toronto for a quick visit! I got to show her around St. Lawrence Market and all my favourite little hidden places where I find my Valrhona chocolate and obscure spices, and then we went to XO Bisous for a bunch of treats, including a torched-to-order S’more and homemade Oreo. We hadn’t seen each other since the Baked Occasions launch party in New York, so it was great to catch up and geek out over all our current baking obsessions. I can’t wait to go to San Francisco some day so Dafna can take me to Tartine heaven!

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

  • Rich People Problems came out this month — it’s the sequel to Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend. It was SO GOOD! I didn’t want it to end! I read another fantastic book this month, which was Saints for All Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan. I just love her books, and this one was no exception. Highly recommend both of these ones.
  • Wonder Woman lived up to the hype and MORE! I am totally obsessed and want to go see it again. Gal Godot is a total goddess, and your boy Chris Pine has jumped to the top of the Hollywood Chris Wars!
  • Do we even need to talk about how amazing The Bachelorette is this season? I love Rachel, and I can’t wait to see who she ends up with! My friends from work are having a “Do You Accept This Rosé” watch party next week and I can’t wait.

Flashback!

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