Spongebob

When my nephew started telling me that he wanted Krabby Patty Cupcakes for his birthday this year, I had no idea what he was talking about. I looked to my brother for guidance and his explanation started with “Well, you know how Spongebob is a fry cook?” and the answer to that was a resounding no, as I’ve never actually given much thought to the occupation of this cartoon sponge (and clearly I’ve never seen an episode before!).

Turns out Spongebob works at Krusty Krab, flipping burgers all day, and those burgers are called Krabby Patties. When Joel and Matthew were looking up Spongebob birthday cakes, they came across Krabby Patty Cupcakes, and I accepted this challenge, as it’s my duty as an awesome Aunt to make all birthday cake dreams come true (see list of Matthew’s previous birthday cakes below).

Close up

Here’s how I did it:

  • For the burger buns, I baked two dozen vanilla cupcakes (recipe from The Joy the Baker Cookbook), being careful not to overfill the tins. I didn’t want an overflowing dome on the top of the cupcake, and wanted them to closely resemble slider buns. I actually tested a few first to make sure I was getting the shape I wanted. (I also made these a week in advance and froze them). Before assembly, I cut each cupcake in half horizontally, then using a pastry brush, brushed the top of each cupcake with a little bit of water, and sprinkled them with sesame seeds.
  • For the burger patties, I baked three pans of brownies (I only own one 8×8 pan, so just did one batch each night leading up to the party). Once totally cooled, I used a 2 1/2″ round cookie cutter to stamp out my patties.
  • For the ketchup, mustard and relish, I made a full batch of My Favourite Buttercream, split it into three bowls, and used my Americolor gels to tint them red, yellow and green. I added the icing to piping bags (no tips) and just snipped off the end.
  • To assemble, I put a small dollop of icing on the bottom of each brownie and used that to secure it to the bottom of each bun. I drizzled each of the icing colours on the top of each brownie, then added the top bun, pressing down gently.

For extra fun, I also made sugar cookie fries, but the recipe was a disaster, so I won’t repeat that here (they spread everywhere and I had to slice them into fry shapes). However, they still looked super cute because I put them in these cute baskets. I also added some sugar to a little spice shaker and labelled it “salt” and I put the leftover red buttercream into a squeeze bottle and labelled it “ketchup”.

Sugar Cookie Fries

I can’t even explain how big of a hit these were, and my other brother was legitimately confused when he walked in and saw the set-up (“We’re having sliders for dessert?”). Classic.

Slider Central

Matthew’s Previous Birthday Cakes:

  • 7th (Minecraft Checkerboard Cake)
  • 6th (Lego cupcakes – not blogged – they were vanilla cupcakes with Lego block candy on top)
  • 5th (Wrecking Ball Cake)
  • 4th (Front-End Loader Cake)
  • 3rd (Dumptruck Cake)
  • 2nd (School Bus Cake…reigns supreme as most popular post on Planet Byn)

{ 0 comments }

Mushroom & Chard Quesadillas

This post goes out to my friend Weedy. She was telling me at Christmas how she loves Planet Byn for easy, weeknight dinner inspo, and name-checked these Thai Sloppy Joes as one of her favourites. I remember thinking I needed to blog more of these types of recipes, but then here we are in May, and I haven’t done a really good job in following through on this.

I think the problem is that I cook different things for dinner every week, and rarely go back to re-make things, in my never ending quest to cook every recipe on my Pinterest Boards (Spoiler Alert: this will never happen).

Anyway, I made these quesadillas for the first time back in January, and knew they needed to make it up here. I would say I’m almost 85% vegetarian at home now, basically doing a reverse Meatless Monday thing (i.e. I might eat meat once a week), so I’m always on the look out for tasty meals full of veggie goodness.

These quesadillas use a whole head of Swiss Chard, plus a pound of mushrooms, and some spices and cheese of course, to keep everything glued together. They get baked in the oven, so they get SUPER crispy, because nothing’s worse than a soggy quesadilla. You can dunk them in sour cream, guac, salsa, or all three, and the leftovers also pack up okay for work the next day (we have a toaster oven at work for re-toasting…as you know, I wouldn’t touch my office microwave with a ten-foot pole).

So here you go, Weedy! Try these and let me know what you think!

Side note: It is next to impossible to take an attractive photo of these. File under: ugly but delicious!

Mushroom & Swiss Chard Quesadillas

Source: Annie’s Eats

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 lb white mushrooms, washed and sliced
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or grated with a microplane
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 bunch Swiss Chard, ribs removed, greens cut into 1″ strips
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar (I used white wine vinegar)
  • 4 oz cheese, grated (I used white cheddar, it was in my fridge already)
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh cilantro
  • 4 x 10″ flour tortillas
  • extra olive oil for brushing the pan

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°, and line a large baking sheet with tin foil. Brush a thin layer of olive oil onto the tin foil.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and saute for 5-8 minutes until starting to soften nicely. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and saute for another 5-8 minutes until the mushrooms cook down and the juices have evaporated.
  3. Add the garlic, coriander and red pepper flakes, and stir to combine. Add the Swiss Chard and cook until it wilts down.
  4. Remove from heat and add the vinegar, cheese and cilantro. Spread the filling on half of each tortilla (I usually only have enough for three, but perhaps I’m overstuffing them) and leave a small border so the filling doesn’t ooze everywhere when it starts to bake. Fold each tortilla over and press down gently. Place the quesadillas on the baking sheet, and brush the tops lightly with oil.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes, then flip carefully (so the filling doesn’t fly out, learn from me) and bake for 5-10 more minutes until golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes before slicing.

 

{ 0 comments }

Black Forest Cupcakes

This week’s Baked Sunday Morning recipe is for Black Forest Cupcakes, but I actually made these about three and a half years ago while I was testing for Baked Occasions! Personally, I’m not a huge fan of Black Forest cakes, due to childhood encounters with them at birthday parties, but I was interested to see the Baked Boys* take on them.

Traditional Black Forest cake is a combination of chocolate cake, cherry filling, whipped cream and chocolate shavings.  This recipe doesn’t stray too far from that formula, just swapping in 7-minute frosting for whipped cream. One interesting addition, which didn’t make the final version of the recipe in the book, was 1/2 tsp of freshly ground black pepper to the chocolate cake. It wasn’t subtle either – I brought them to a party and all my testers commented on it. I felt it was too overwhelming. For the filling, I suppose you could also make your own cherry preserves for this recipe (here’s a recipe from way back in the Planet Byn archives), but I just used a jar of Bonne Maman.

My favourite part of this recipe was the frosting. I’ve struggled with this type of 7-minute or marshmallow frosting over the years, and this is the first recipe that worked for me! It’s now my go-to for any recipe that calls for it.

These were much better than the dreaded sheet cake from when I was a kid! You’ll love them if you’re a Black Forest fan.

You can find the recipe here!

More Baked Sunday Mornings here!

*Last week Renato announced he’s moving on from Baked to pursue other opportunities! Good luck Renato! I can’t even begin to describe the happiness you’ve brought me through your books over the last ten years. It’s not an understatement to say that recipe testing for Baked Occasions and attending the opening of Baked Tribeca was a highlight of my life, and has brought so many amazing people into it (see you in July, Dafna!). Wishing you all the best!

{ 3 comments }

Spring Quinoa Salad

I had my besties over for brunch this past weekend, and I was so happy with my menu planning and excited to write about it here! My friend Aoife has a few restrictions (no gluten, dairy or eggs) but nothing that prevented me from whipping up a totally delicious brunch (in my humble opinion!).

While I usually go with quiche as a brunch centerpiece, instead I made this bright, fresh salad. The base is quinoa, and you add in peas, chopped almonds and few handfuls of arugula (or other fresh greens of your choice). The dressing is just olive oil, fresh lemon juice and honey, and it’s so simple and perfect. This is also an ideal brunch dish because all the salad components can be made ahead of time, and then tossed with the dressing right before everyone arrives.

Bestie Brunch

To round out our brunch I also made:

  • roasted sweet potato and yukon gold hash from Oh She Glows Everyday
  • thick cut bacon that I baked in the oven until crispy
  • fresh berries (made me long for summer farmer’s markets!)
  • these Maple Cinnamon Oatmeal Breakfast Bars (because I like to have a carby baked good at brunch, and these were quick and easy using gluten free oats)
  • MIMOSAS of course!

Everything was totally easy, and it was so good to catch up and get some cuddles in with Aoife’s baby Nolan. If only it wasn’t 7 degrees outside, and we were actually having Spring weather!

Spring Quinoa Salad

Source: Pinch of Yum

Ingredients

Salad

  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted, unsalted almonds
  • 3 cups fresh greens (i.e. arugula, baby spinach, shredded kale)
  • optional add ins: 6 slices bacon, cooked and chopped, 1/2 cup crumbled feta, 1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs (i.e. basil)

Dressing

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 big lemons)
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Cook quinoa in your preferred way (mine is in the rice cooker with 2 cups water), and set aside to cool completely.
  2. Fill a small saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Shut off the heat, then add the peas and cover for 3 minutes. Drain and add to the quinoa.
  3. Stir in the almonds, fresh greens and any other add ins.
  4. For the dressing, add all ingredients to a small mason jar with a lid, and shake until combined. Pour over the salad and toss until evenly coated. Let sit for 30 minutes or so at room temperature before serving.

{ 0 comments }

April on Planet Byn {2017}

by byn on April 30, 2017

in Monthly Recaps

Easter Treats

  • This month kicked off with a super fun and cute baking project! I made the treats for my friend Kristine’s niece’s 1st Birthday party. Her sister requested four dozen vanilla cupcakes (I used the recipe from Joy the Baker’s first cookbook) with vanilla icing (I used My Favourite Buttercream) and I ordered the Flamingo sprinkle mix from Sweetapolita to go with the colour scheme for the party (pink and gold). I also made a batch of brownies topped with chocolate ganache and more sprinkles. I was so happy with how everything turned out!
  • I took a short vacation to Cuba, which was so relaxing and restorative, but it’s true what everyone says about the food there: it sucks. Kristine and I did discover a new fun cocktail though, which I’m going to blog about soon.
  • While we were waiting for our flight home we discussed in detail what the first thing we wanted to eat was when we got back, and the verdict was SWISS CHALET. So satisfying. I also got a bag of the Chalet Sauce chips, and they were just okay. Nothing super exciting that I’m dying to have again (I have very strong feelings about all categories of potato chips, so this was a big deal for me).
  • For Easter this year, my Mom hosted, but I brought the same amazing stuffing that I made back at Thanksgiving. Honestly, I could just have a plate of turkey and stuffing with gravy and be so happy. Dessert was this pretty cake I blogged about last week!
  • I made a pre-Easter trip to Cake and Loaf, so I could try their infamous Creme Egg Brownie (pictured above). It was good, and not overly sweet like an actual creme egg, and I will definitely attempt to recreate it next year. My favourite treat was the little mini chocolate cheesecake with crushed Mini Eggs on top, it was to die for.
  • My foodie friends and I went to Square One last weekend to try Jamie’s Italian and it was a total BUST. Everything we had was just meh. Total disappointment, sorry Jamie Oliver. Better to go to Scaddabush, which is right nearby.
  • My friend Sarah got a new job, and was adamant that she didn’t want any fuss on her last day. I tried to respect her wishes (i.e. didn’t plan a big lunch or surprise meeting) so instead I made her a #drakeoncake (this recipe) and we had a private party for two in my cubicle. She loved it, and I shared the rest of the cake with our co-workers.

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

  • I read a bunch of books this month that I recommend. Today Will be Different, is a quirky book by Maria Semple, that I recommend if you liked her other one, Where’d you go Bernadette. Your Perfect Life was a fun beach read, if you’re fan of body-swapping comedies (such as Freaky Friday or The Change Up). I Let You Go got off to a slow start, but turned out to be a pretty twisty, creepy read, must read if you liked Gone Girl and The Girl on The Train. All Grown Up is a quick one, but I really like this author, and ended up liking this too. I also read Difficult Women, but just found it just made me sad; proceed with caution on that one.
  • Obviously I saw Fate of the Furious on opening weekend. It made me miss Paul Walker, but I loved Charlize as the villain and love Jason Statham and The Rock in anything.
  • Raptors are in the playoffs again! I almost had about five heart attacks during the first round, but they made it through and Game 1 against Cleveland is tomorrow!

Flashback!

{ 0 comments }

Easter Cake

Last year’s Easter Cake was a work of art, in my humble opinion. Three layers of marble cake with Nutella filling, speckled buttercream frosting and cute little chocolate nests with mini eggs on top. I mean, come on. It doesn’t get much better than that. I couldn’t decide what to make this year, and I think it’s because I knew I wouldn’t be able to top that cake. At the very last minute, I decided on a lemon blueberry layer cake, hopefully to help usher in Spring, which hasn’t fully arrived here yet.

I used a recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction, and while it was good, I was disappointed because the layers were SUPER thin, like less than 1″. Once I stacked them up, things were looking pretty short and squat over here, and I was worried there wouldn’t be enough to serve the 13 hungry people at my family’s Easter dinner. I also love the drama of a nice TALL cake, because I’ve definitely been brainwashed from watching too many cake decorating videos on Instagram.

Pretty Swirls

Speaking of those videos, my newest Instagram obsession is Milk and Water Baking Co., who’s doing just the absolute cutest decorating technique with pastel swirled icing. For my first time decorating in this style, I made a half batch of My Favourite Buttercream, divided it equally into four bowls, and dyed it pink, yellow, turquoise and purple with my Americolor gels. I used four different shape and size piping tips, and just kind of played around until I liked the way it looked. I loved the way it turned out! Next time I’ll try swirling the colours together.

After all was said and done, this cake was a HUGE hit, and a few peeps around the table said it was the best ever. It was super hydrated, nice and lemony, and I loved the burst of blueberries. I’d definitely make this again, but double the entire recipe for a nice tall cake.

Lemon Blueberry Inside

Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake

Source: Cake from Sally’s Baking Addiction, Icing from Annie’s Eats

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1 cup (2 sticks butter), room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • zest & juice from 3 lemons
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries tossed with 1 tbsp flour

Icing

  • 10 oz cream cheese, cold
  • 6 tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 3 1/4 cup icing sugar
  • 4 tsp clear vanilla extract (or just regular if you don’t have clear)

Directions

  1. To make the cake, line three 8″ or 9″ cake pans with parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and both sugars for about 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix again until fully incorporated.
  3. Add the flour, baking powder and salt, and mix on low speed until just combined.
  4. Add the buttermilk, lemon zest, and lemon juice and mix again until just combined.
  5. Gently fold in the blueberries with a spatula by hand.
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the three pans and smooth out with an offset spatula. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool for 30 mins or so in the pans, then invert onto cooling racks. Cool completely before frosting.
  7. For the icing, whip the cream cheese and butter together until combined. Add the icing sugar and vanilla and whip again until smooth and fluffy. Don’t overmix!

 

{ 0 comments }

March on Planet Byn {2017}

by byn on March 31, 2017

in Monthly Recaps

St. Patrick's Day

This was a pretty low-key month for me, especially since we had super cold wintery-weather, and my hibernation mode was still in effect. Here’s what was going on in the kitchen:

  • It was my friend Jen’s birthday and I made these Black Bottom Cupcakes for her little celebration. They’re chocolate cupcakes with chocolate chip cheesecake centres. I haven’t made them for years, and this reminded me how good they are. Must make again!
  • I went to Lavelle for a birthday dinner, and despite a super obnoxious hostess, had a great time. I had the most delicious creamy mushroom soup with truffle oil as a starter, and then their heritage pork chop for dinner, which was good, not great (in my opinion). Should have had steak frites which is my usual go-to anytime I’m somewhere with French food. Lavelle has a pretty chill vibe, and it’s fun because it’s on the roof, so you get nice views of the city. I’d definitely go back for a cocktail (just one, ‘ cause they’re like $28 each).
  • On St. Patrick’s Day I was over at my friend Heather‘s house, and she gave me this Rhine Stone Cowboy to drink (pictured above) which I actually really liked! She’s literally becoming a Beer Sommelier, so she can totally match-make you to the beer of your dreams.
  • The best dinner I made this month (besides these Mini Beef & Guinness Pies) was a batch of Smitten’s Everyday Meatballs, and this Spinach & Parmesan Orzo from Table for Two.

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

  • I couldn’t take the FOMO of not watching Big Little Lies, especially since I loved the book so much and my hair idol Reese Witherspoon was producing and starring, so I subscribed to HBO Canada. I don’t regret it, I’m totally loving it, even though I know how it’s going to end. The last episode is on this Sunday!
  • HBO Canada also comes with On Demand, so I watched a season of Girls that I missed, and Issa Rae’s show Insecure which I’m OBSESSED with! Kristine is trying to convince me to catch up on Game of Thrones so I can watch the new season this summer. I may try, if only so I finally know what Chris & Andy are talking about during their podcast.
  • Didn’t read that much this month after I got home from Florida, but did read What was Mine, as recommended by Danielle, which I liked, and You Can’t Touch My Hair, which was so great.
  • I went to see Beauty & The Beast and had to physically restrain myself from not singing the songs out loud. It was so great, especially if you were a kid in the ’90s and had the VHS copy of the cartoon version in the puffy white case and watched it 1,000 times like I did.

{ 0 comments }

Levain Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies

At the beginning of last year I declared it The Year of the Chocolate Chip Cookie on Planet Byn, and then promptly proceeded to make a grand total of two versions in all of 2016 (#typical). It may take me forever, but I’m still committed to this worthy cause of trying all the cookies recipes I listed on that post.

Let’s pick back up with Levain Bakery‘s Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies which are well known for being absolutely gigantic and delicious. Unfortunately, I missed Levain on BOTH of my trips to NYC in 2014, but a few months later my co-worker brought some back for me. He told me he was going to New York for the weekend and had innocently asked if I needed anything, and I was like “If you’re serious, I do, and here’s the address of this bakery”. I requested a chocolate chip walnut, dark chocolate chocolate chip and dark chocolate peanut butter chip cookie (they also make an oatmeal raisin one).

Huge

They were outstanding! First of all, they look like scones, that’s how big they are. They’re super thick, although not cakey or dry, and I wouldn’t necessarily describe them as chewy. It’s kind of tough to explain. But I knew I needed to see if I could make them myself.

There are tons of copycat recipes floating around online, and after originally seeing them on Smells Like Home, I went down a black hole of looking at all the versions, some with subtle changes or additions here and there. I went with the recipe on Cookie Madness.

Profile

Some curious things about this recipe. You start with COLD butter, which goes against all my natural cookie baking tendencies. You also use bread flour, which is odd, except your girl Christina Tosi also does that in her Compost Cookies, so I guess they’re on to something. Also like the Compost Cookies, the dough must rest for a few hours (or overnight) before baking. As for the size, some recipes say 4 oz of dough per cookie, others 6 oz, so I actually baked a few of each with some 5 oz ones thrown into the mix too.

So after all that, what’s the verdict? Pretty freaking close if you ask me. The appearance, taste and that hard to define texture are all on point. I’m not the biggest fan of nuts in my cookies, but I will say the walnuts are key here to the Levain-style experience, so don’t leave them out.

Cookie Scones

I’m so encouraged by this, I want to try the dark chocolate cookies too! Luckily Annie has a recipe for those ones right here!

Quick note: This recipe is measured by weight, so you’ll need a kitchen scale for accuracy.

Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies

Source: Cookie Madness (originally found on Smells Like Home)

Yield: 8-12 huge cookies

Ingredients

  • 376 grams bread flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, COLD, diced into small cubes
  • 168 grams brown sugar
  • 100 grams sugar
  • 2 eggs, COLD, lightly beaten in a separate bowl
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped dark or semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter until it starts to come together. Add the brown sugar and sugar and mix until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  4. Fold in the chocolate and walnuts. I actually used my (clean!) hands to knead the dough in the bowl a bit to get everything to come together.
  5. Line a baking sheet or plate with parchment paper, and use a kitchen scale to portion out 4oz, 5oz or 6oz of dough, depending on if you want your cookies to be big, gigantic or enormous. Don’t roll them into balls, but leave them with a rough appearance. Cover the sheet/plate with plastic wrap and chill for 3 hours or overnight.
  6. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375° and line another baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake for 18-22 minutes, depending on how big the cookies are. Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

{ 0 comments }

Carrot Loaf

by byn on March 23, 2017

in Cakes, Cupcakes & Icing

Carrot Loaf
When Spring and Easter are on the horizon, there are three things I’m drawn to baking with that are all out of character for me: coconut, lemon and carrot. There is never any other time during the year when I’m interested in any of these ingredients in my desserts, but something about each of them is bright and fresh and I get into it. It helps bridge the gap when we’re just sitting around waiting for RHUBARB SZN to begin.

I never crave carrot cake, especially since the great wedding cake making of 2006, but this Carrot Loaf has been calling my name for a while ever since Smitten posted it. Was I drawn to it because of the optional Cream Cheese Icing Schmear? I mean, yeah, obviously. I also feel like you really only ever see Carrot Cake in cake or muffin formation, so this is a nice change.

Cream Cheese Schmear

This loaf is super hydrated, and has a few interesting additions: apple cider and olive oil. I was unwilling to purchase a 1L or 2L jug of apple cider though, so instead I got a fresh pressed apple juice, which my local Metro has just started to sell (along with many other varieties of pressed juice, so trendy Metro!). The olive oil adds a nice flavour too, although you probably wouldn’t notice it if I didn’t tell you it’s in there, and you could just use neutral oil if you’re not into it (i.e. vegetable, canola, grapeseed). One more thing: there are no nuts or raisins in this, which I prefer.

This was a hit with my co-workers and one even asked for the recipe, so there you go.

Carrot Loaf

Source: Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2 1/3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp (or a big pinch) cloves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup apple cider or fresh pressed apple juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups grated carrots

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° and spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray.
  2. In a big bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, brown sugar, eggs, apple cider/juice and vanilla, then stir in the carrots.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir with a spatula or spoon just until just incorporated.
  5. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for about an hour or until a toothpick/skewer poked into the middle comes out clean.
  6. For the optional cream cheese spread: whip together 4 oz cream cheese, 2 tbsp butter (both at room temperature), 6 tbsp icing sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla.

{ 1 comment }

Mini Beef & Guinness Pie

When Danielle and I went to London, we ate the most delicious savoury pot pies on our first pub night there and I’ve been waning to make my own at home ever since. I finally did it last week, due to the combined forces of Pi Day (3.14….get it???) and St. Patrick’s Day.

My go-to pot pie situation is usually Chicken Pot Pie, and I’ve made so many variations over the years. None of them got blogged for some reason, so here’s a quick break to list some of my favourites:

Instead of another chicken variation, I made cute little Mini Beef and Guinness Pies. I used this recipe from Elly that I’ve had bookmarked for about two years: a rich beef stew with mushrooms, carrots and celery, plus a can of Guinness*, braised low and slow for a couple hours. The only change I made was to use 1 lb of beef instead of two, but I kept all the vegetable and liquid measurements the same. I made a double pie crust recipe, and used little disposable 6″ pie plates. When all was said and done I had four mini pies, but probably could have squeaked out five if I re-rolled my pastry scraps and rationed the stew better.

Beef Stew

In London our pies were served with mashed potatoes, gravy and a pea/carrot/leek mixture, but I just went with a fresh green salad and it was perfect. I’m assuming these pies freeze well unbaked, so I have a couple tucked away to eat later.

*I find Guinness revolting otherwise, but it’s great in here!

Mini Beef & Guinness Pies

Source: Elly Says Opa

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil

1 lb (or 2lbs if you want it extra beefy) stewing beef

2 medium or 1 large onion, sliced

2 carrots, peeled and sliced

2 celery stalks, sliced

8 oz cremini mushrooms cleaned and sliced

4 garlic cloves, grated with a microplane

2 tbsp flour

1/2 tsp dried rosemary (or 1 tbsp fresh if you have it)

12 oz Guinness

1 1/2 cups beef broth

+ salt & pepper

+ a double crust recipe of your favourite pie dough OR store bought OR puff pastry

+ 1 egg whisked with 1 tbsp water (egg wash)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a dutch oven or other ovenproof pot with a lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat, and add about half the beef, seasoning with salt and pepper, and browning on all sides. Remove to a bowl and repeat with the other half, adding a bit more olive oil to the pan if needed.
  2. In the now empty pot, add the onions, carrots, celery and mushrooms, and cook for about 5-8 minutes, until veggies are softened. Stir in the garlic and rosemary, then stir in the flour until everything is evenly coated, and let cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add the Guinness and beef broth, plus salt and pepper, and stir. Bring to a boil, then cover with a lid and place in the oven, and let braise for about 2 hours. I’m assuming you could also do this in a slowcooker instead of the oven, probably for 6-8 hours or overnight (on low).
  4. Once cooked, let cool FULLY before making the mini pies.
  5. Roll out your dough and cut it into about 7″ circles to line the bottom of your mini pie plates (or just make one big pie in a regular pie dish). Portion out the stew into the pies. Cut smaller circles of dough out for the tops of the pies and crimp the edges over to seal. Use a knife to cut a few vents into the dough so steam can escape. At this point you can wrap the pies with a layer of plastic wrap, and then tin foil, and freeze.
  6. To bake, brush the egg wash over the top of the mini pies, which will help them brown.
  7. Bake in a 350° oven for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.

 

{ 0 comments }