Butter Celebrates

Christmas is coming early to Planet Byn, and we’re celebrating the release of Rosie Daykin’s new book, Butter Celebrates! You’ll remember the Butter Baked Goods Bakery from previous gushing here (when I visited the store in Vancouver last year) and here (when we hosted a giveaway for Rosie’s first book a year ago). I was so excited when I found out Rosie had written a brand new cookbook, and that it was organized around holidays and special occasions (I have just a teensy bit of experience with books like that!).

I was obviously drawn to the Christmas chapter of the book when picking the recipe I wanted to make for today’s post (I will neither confirm nor deny that my Christmas tree is already up). First I made Yum Balls, and let me tell you those suckers are not for the faint of heart! Then I moved on to this Orange Gingerbread Cake, and it was love at first bite. Rosie writes in the book that it will fill your kitchen with the scent of Christmas, and she was right! The cake is filled with molasses, cinnamon, ginger and cloves, and bakes up into a super hydrated bundt cake, with a hint of orange flavour. My co-worker asked me yesterday if there was Grand Marnier in it, so maybe more than a hint of orange. I feel like when I make this again, I might leave out the orange, and then pour over a brown butter glaze {insert heart eyes emoji here}. You can find the recipe on Page 224 of Butter Celebrates!

Orange Gingerbread Cake

Now for the GIVEAWAY! You can win a signed, personalized copy of Rosie’s new book, Butter Celebrates, plus a whole box of treats from Butter Baked Goods!  Just leave a comment telling me what your favourite holiday is and then fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter (start by filling in your name and email address). You can gain even more entries by following the gang on various forms of social media, but that part is optional.

You can click the links below to see what my friends made from Butter Celebrates!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is open to all legal residents of Canada who have reached the age of majority at the time of the contest in the province or territory in which they reside. Void in Quebec. 

Winner must answer a skill-testing question. 

No purchase necessary to enter. 

Giveaway will run from Wednesday, November 25, 2015 at 12:01am to Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at 11:59pm. Winner will be contacted via email and name will be displayed on Rafflecopter widget. Email address will never be given out to any third party or anyone for that matter. 

Prize value is approximately $125.

*Note: I was provided a copy of Butter Celebrates at no cost from the publisher (Random House) but I think it’s pretty clear my obsession with Rosie pre-dates this review/giveaway*


Brown Butter Apple Galette

Last December I made a bold declaration on this here blog of mine: I was done with apple pie. I had finally had enough after making Saveur magazine’s Salted Caramel Apple Pie for Christmas, and was ready to put that out into the world. I often have trouble with pie in general, mostly because I can never get my crust to stay crimped properly after baking, but am willing to overlook that for delicious fillings like peach and blueberry. But somehow apple was just never for me.

My track record with galettes has been much better. I think I first remember seeing them on Sugar with Anna Olson and the Barefoot Contessa.  I loved how Ina would tell me that they’re supposed to be rustic looking, and not to worry if they didn’t look perfect. And while I can think of at least four savoury galettes in the Planet Byn archives that I absolutely love, I haven’t made a sweet one in over 10 years (it leaked all over the bottom of my Mom’s oven, I don’t want to talk about it).

Which brings us to today. The Baked boys are bringing this Brown Butter Apple Galette to the table for Thanksgiving, and I thought I’d give it a try. Note that the original recipe also includes cranberries, but I didn’t feel like buying a whole package for only a handful. I love the crust recipe (I used all butter instead of a butter/shortening combo), which mixes up quickly and easily in the food processor, and rolls out like a dream. I love that there’s no stress over fitting the crust into a pie plate or crimping the edges.

The boys include the curious step of sprinkling three tablespoons of panko bread crumbs over the galette before adding the filling. The rationale behind this is that the crumbs absorb some of the juices from the fruit and help keep the crust more crispy overall. Genius. You can take the time to arrange the apple slices in a pretty pattern, but I just poured mine on in a heap (you know, keeping with the rustic-ness of it all). The filling is a mixture of sliced apples, brown sugar, cinnamon and browned butter, which is heaven on earth that you need to experience. Once you fold the pastry up and around the filling, you brush it with even more browned butter, and give it a sprinkle with turbinado sugar.

As I’m sure you can tell by my loving description of the steps above, I freaking LOVED this galette. The crust is super flaky and buttery, the filling is tart and sweet, and I’m just all about it! I think it has something to do with the air getting all around the crust and making it so crispy. If you think about a pie, you really only get that with a bit of crust at the end. Between the Rhubarb Hand Pies and Peach Dumplings I made this summer, and now this galette, I may be ready to get rid of my pie plates!

You can find the recipe here!

More Baked Sunday Mornings here!



Butternut Squash Risotto with Balsamic & Sage

I made risotto for the first time back in 2011, and was so excited about it that I waited almost five years to make it again. That’s just what happens in my kitchen though. There’s always something new to make, so I forget about the things I made that I loved. Risotto also has such a bad rep as being time consuming, but since it’s a one-pot dish, I feel like the time you spend stirring is easily made up by only having one thing to wash.

Anyway, the last time I made risotto, it was a simple recipe from my friend Gwendolyn, with some diced roasted butternut squash folded in at the end. I actually remade that recipe a few weeks ago, and it was just as good as I remember. This recipe has pretty much the same foundation (arborio rice, onions, garlic, broth), but instead has a whole cup of puréed butternut squash stirred in, bumping up the squashiness factor, and turning the whole thing bright orange.

The toppings here are optional, but I was off work the day I made this, so I had time to spend on them. The balsamic drizzle is just balsamic vinegar and a spoonful of brown sugar that is simmered until syrupy. I was a little scared of the fried sage; first of all the leaves are furry, and second of all, who wants a whole mouthful of sage? But it turns out that when you fry it, it gets all crispy (duh), so the furriness is gone, and the flavour mellows out too, so even if you eat a whole leaf (which I did to test it out), it’s not overwhelming.

I definitely won’t wait another five years to make risotto, and I think there’s a wild mushroom risotto in my not-too-distant future.

Butternut Squash Risotto with Balsamic Drizzle & Fried Sage

Source: Love & Olive Oil (with a few substitutions)


2 tbsp olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced or grated with a microplane

1 tbsp chopped fresh sage

1 cup arborio rice

1/4 white wine (if you don’t have wine around, just use water or chicken stock)

4 cups chicken stock

1 cup butternut squash purée

1 tbsp butter

1/4 cup grated parmesan

+ balsamic syrup (1/2 cup balsamic vinegar + 1/2 tbsp brown sugar, simmered until syrupy)

+ extra parm

+ fried sage leaves (fresh sage leaves shallow fried in olive oil over medium heat for 30 seconds)


  1. In a dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, and saute until softened, 5 minutes or so. Add the garlic and fresh sage and saute for a minute. Add the rice and stir for a minute or two. While you’re doing this, add 2 cups of the chicken stock to a microwave safe glass measuring cup and heat for 2 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Add the wine (or water or stock) to the pan and stir until absorbed.
  3. Add the hot chicken stock a 1/2 cup at a time to the pan, stirring until absorbed before you add more. The whole process will take 20 minutes or so. Don’t rush.
  4. After all the stock has been added, stir in the butternut squash. Season the whole thing with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Add the butter and cheese and stir until melted. Taste and add more salt if needed.
  6. Divide into bowls and top with balsamic drizzle, more parm and sage leaves if you made them.




October on Planet Byn {2015}

by byn on October 31, 2015

in Monthly Recaps

Birthday Cake Cookies

It was actually a quiet month here on Planet Byn, which I needed after a busy September and an upcoming trip the first week of November. No new places to tell you about, but I did go to some of my faves:

  • There was Bannock to celebrate my former co-worker’s last day before Maternity Leave (always the turkey burger there, it’s the best), Drake 150 for Heather’s last day (I cried into my burger), and Lone Star (my not-so-secret love) after my co-workers and I finished the JDRF charity ride (chicken fajitas are our post-ride tradition). I got taken to Jump as a thank you for planning a networking event, and ate a really great ricotta & squash ravioli. Also went back to new fave El Caballito for some birthday tequila and tacos with my friends from work.
  • Lydia invited me over for dinner and made an amazing beef stew in her slowcooker, served with a salad on the side and fresh bread. It’s always such a treat to be invited over for a homecooked meal, and it makes me want to have people over more often.
  • Thanksgiving was great this year as usual, my Mom made all her classics, and even brussels sprouts this year! I made 4923081 cupcakes which I will write about soon. Rumour has it we’re having ham for Christmas this year, so I made sure to enjoy this dinner and lots of leftovers.
  • I wasn’t feeling well one night after work and all I wanted was a poached egg on toast, like my Mom used to make me when I was little. Problem is, Mom’s in Florida so I was left to my own devices. It only took 6 eggs, an email to my Mom, and a bunch of messages on What’s App to my foodie friends to figure it out. Here’s my main tip: ignore the internet and don’t use vinegar!!!
  • We had a Potluck at work and I brought in Cookies & Cream Rice Krispie Squares (just regular RK Squares with chopped up Oreos mixed in, and drizzled with white chocolate). Huge hit!
  • Continuing with the Oreo theme, I also made these Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies, using Birthday Cake Oreos inside and adding sprinkles to the batter, as a birthday treat for my friend Sarah (pictured up top!). Side note: Shout out to Big Fat Cupcake in Denver! Sarah had to spend her birthday there at a work conference so I had some cupcakes sent over to her hotel as a treat. She reported back that the cupcakes were delicious and sent me a picture, and they were packaged up super cute with ribbon and a Happy Birthday note.

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

  • I have long held the opinion that I can’t stand Anne Hathaway (everything is too big: her eyes, her teeth, her lips) but still went to see The Intern, and loved it.
  • I didn’t read anything new this month that I loved, but did re-read Emily Giffin’s Where We Belong and Amy Poehler’s Yes Please. Both worth a read if you haven’t already.
  • I binged Season 1 of Fargo and was obsessed. No one I know has watched it, so please do, and then we can chat. Your old friend B. Bob Thornton is all up in this show, doing nothing to help his super creepy reputation.


PB&J Muffins

I’m a little behind, as the Baked Sunday Morning crew made these muffins two weeks ago. Two things though: a) that was Thanksgiving up here in Canada and I was baked out b) there was no way I was tackling today’s recipe.

Not that I have anything against Baked Alaska, it’s just a fairly long recipe with lots of different components, and it’s not something easy to pack up and bring to work. Perfect chance instead to get acquainted with these muffins.

I am a HUGE fan of PB&J, so I knew these muffins were meant for me. The muffin itself is fluffy with a nice peanut butter flavour, but it’s not too sweet. You layer in a dollop of jam, and top with a crunchy peanut streusel. This is hitting all my trigger words. Currently trying not to eat them all.

One funny thing though. The Baked boys make these with grape jelly, which, no. I cannot endorse this version of PB&J. I used my homemade skillet jams that I made in the summer: strawberry rhubarb, raspberry and strawberry vanilla bean. They are all so good. Just use what ever you like the best.

You can find the recipe here!

More Baked Sunday Mornings here!


Apple Cheesecake Crumb Squares

by byn on October 22, 2015

in Bars & Squares

Apple Cheesecake Crumble Squares

I feel like you often hear that it’s hard to make friends as an adult. I haven’t really found this to be the case, but I work in a huge company and have switched departments twice in the past three years, so have had the chance to meet a ton of new people. While it’s true that most people you meet at work don’t really cross the line from co-worker to friend, there are some people who leap over the line and into your heart.

I met my friend Heather in 2012 when I moved into a new job and we got along so well right away. Shortly after I arrived on the scene, our entire team was in a meeting, reviewing an annual employee satisfaction survey. Everyone was bitching and complaining the entire meeting, not offering any solutions to actually improve the situation. Heather went on a brief rant about her experience and concluded it with “…and if you don’t like it here, then GET THE FUCK OUT”. Jaws dropped. It was amazing. I knew we would be friends.

A few months after this, Heather got a job in a different department, in another building on the same block. I was perplexed by the thought of losing this new friend that I was just starting to get to know. I can’t remember whose idea it was, but it was decided that we would create a standing Thursday lunch hangout, whether to run errands, go for a walk, or grab lunch.

After two and a half years of these lunches (my favourites were always the ones where we pretended to go to the Eaton Centre to run an errand and inevitably ended up in LOFT trying on clothes) a couple months ago Heather started talking about a new opportunity that had come her way. A new position that was in the field she loved, near her house and kids, and was basically her dream job. I was her cheerleader every step of the way, but deep down, slowly coming to terms with the fact our Thursday lunch hangouts might be numbered.

And of course they were. Three weeks ago Heather resigned from our company (taking her own advice from all those years ago) and I began to work through the stages of grief, somehow stuck between denial and acceptance. Everyone knows I’m a huge fan of the heartfelt, handwritten letter for life events both big and small, but somehow I couldn’t seem to write one for this occasion on the night before our last lunch together. I decided that our friendship would transcend work, left it at that, and baked these squares instead.

Four layers of Fall all up in here: brown sugar shortbread crust, cheesecake, cinnamon apples and a crumble topping. Lots going on, but still pretty quick to pull together. Everyone at work gobbled these up so fast, and I saved one for Heather, which she loved.

So it seems this is the heartfelt letter that I couldn’t write a couple weeks ago. Missed you today Heather, and every Thursday!

Apple Cheesecake Crumb Squares

Source: Brown Eyed Baker



1 cup flour

1/4 cup brown sugar

pinch salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter,cold

Cheesecake Layer

8 oz (1 block) cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 tsp vanilla

pinch salt

Apple Layer

2 apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped

1 tbsp sugar

1/4 tsp cinnamon

Crumble Topping

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup oats

1/4 cup butter, cold


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line an 8×8″ pan with foil, and spray with non-stick spray.
  2. For the crust, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or fork until the mixture is crumbly and butter is about the size of peas. Press the mixture into the bottom of the pan, and bake for 15 minutes.
  3. For the cheesecake layer, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese, sugar, egg, vanilla and salt together until smooth (I just used the same bowl as above). Pour over the crust.
  4. For the apple layer, toss together the apples with the sugar and salt and sprinkle over the cheesecake layer.
  5. For the crumble, whisk together the flour, brown sugar and oats in a small bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or fork until the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over the apples. Bake for 30 minutes, then let cool for half an hour or so before putting in the fridge to chill completely, then cut into squares.


Mini Pumpkin Muffins

Hooray! It’s pumpkin time! I feel like I showed excellent restraint in waiting until October to crack open my first can of pumpkin. Last year I was away for a lot of October, so I didn’t really make a dent into my Pumpkin Pinterest board, so I’m making up for lost time now.

The first thing I made was actually this Nutella-Swirled Pumpkin Loaf, which I sold at a Bake Sale at work to raise money for a charity ride. It was alright, but I should have trusted my baking instinct on the cloves (way too much). I then moved on to these Mini Pumpkin Muffins which I’ve only had bookmarked for about three years.

Close up

The muffin part is nicely fluffy and hydrated, but not too sweet. This is a good thing, because you then proceed to dunk them in a brown butter glaze, drizzle with salted caramel and sprinkle with toasted pecans. A nice little Saturday afternoon baking project, which I then brought to dinner to share with my friends.

Mini Pumpkin Muffins with Brown Butter Glaze, Salted Caramel & Pecans

Source: Take a Megabite



1 cup flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ginger

dash nutmeg

dash cloves

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup pumpkin

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1 egg

1/4 vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla

Brown Butter Glaze

3 tbsp butter

1 cup icing sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

3-4 tbsp cream or milk

+ salted caramel

+ toasted chopped pecans


  1. Preheat the oven to 325° and spray a mini muffin tin with non-stick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, brown sugar, egg, oil and vanilla.
  4. Add the wet mixture to the dry, and fold together until just combined. Scoop into mini muffin tin and bake for about 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan and placing muffins on a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. To make the glaze, add the butter to a small saucepan and set over medium heat. Cook until the butter melts and starts to brown, then remove from heat and pour into a medium bowl. Whisk in the icing sugar, vanilla and cream. Dunk muffin tops into the glaze and let set for a few minutes. Drizzle with salted caramel and sprinkle with pecans.



My Favourite Salted Caramel

by byn on October 12, 2015

in Candy

Salted Caramel Sauce

The favourites I’ve blogged about to date have been pretty basic recipes that I’ve made countless times (buttercream, pancakes, muffins). Today I’m getting a little more trendy with my favourite Salted Caramel Sauce. I wanted to dedicate a post to this because like the buttercream, it’s on the blog, but buried as a component of another recipe.

I used to be totally terrified of making my own caramel, after a few scorched pots and mishaps in which what was supposed to be gooey sauce turned into hard toffee. This recipe is foolproof though, as long as I follow my own advice:

  • Candy Thermometer: Use a recipe with a temperature guideline, and then use a candy thermometer for accuracy. This ensures the sugar is cooked to the correct stage. Some recipes have you eyeball it according to the colour as the sugar cooks and I’ve tried this in the past with disastrous results (see: scorched pots above).
  • Mise en Place: When I bake, I usually measure as I go, but when dealing with Salted Caramel, I measure everything in advance and set it next to my stovetop. Everything happens pretty fast once you pull the hot sugar off the heat, and you need to be ready.
  • Pay Attention: Once I was trying to simultaneously watch The Mindy Project and make caramel and you can probably predict what happened (spoiler: it involved the saucepan on my balcony in the middle of the Winter because I totally burned it and it wouldn’t stop smoking).

That’s it! Honestly, if you have a candy thermometer, prep all the ingredients before you start, and pay attention, you’re like 10 minutes away from the most delicious salted caramel sauce! The recipe below makes about 1 1/2 cups, but you can easily cut it in half if you don’t need as much. This can be used as a component of other recipes (i.e. Salted Caramel Apple Crumble Bars, Salted Caramel Shortbread Thumbprints) or to pour over ice cream or as a dip for apple slices. One last note is that you can reduce or even leave out the sea salt if you’re not into the salted aspect of salted caramel – it’s still delicious.

My Favourite Salted Caramel Sauce

Source: Two Peas & Their Pod

Yield: ~1 1/2 cups


1 cup sugar

6 tbsp (3/4 stick) butter, cut into cubes, room temperature

1/2 cup whipping cream

1/2 tbsp flaky sea salt (I have Maldon)


  1. As stated above, measure everything out first, clip the candy thermometer to a medium saucepan, and then begin.
  2. Add the sugar to the saucepan and set it over medium heat. The sugar will slowly start to melt. You can swirl the pan a bit to move things around.
  3. When the sugar is totally melted, increase the heat a little bit until the sugar starts to bubble. The magic number is 350°F. As soon as it reaches 350°F, immediately pull it off the heat. Add the butter and whisk until melted. Add the whipping cream, and whisk until combined – be careful because the mixture will bubble and steam. Add the salt, and whisk again.
  4. Let the caramel cool in the saucepan for at least 20 minutes, then transfer to a jar and store in the fridge.



My Favourite Banana Muffins

by byn on October 6, 2015

in Muffins & Scones

My Favourite Banana Muffins

In the 5 years I’ve been blogging, I can’t even count the number of times I’ve made these muffins. They are the epitome of comfort to me. My Mom made these all the time for us when we were growing up and I make them all the time now. The recipe comes from a cookbook called “Muffins Mania”, written in 1982 by “two ladies from Kitchener” according to my Mom. Legit!

You can use up your most mangled bananas and I promise they’ll be good. I’m notorious for finding black bananas in my work tote on Sunday night that have been there all weekend. Instead of throwing them out, I add them to a big plastic bag and keep a running stash in my freezer. When you need to use them, just toss them in the microwave, peel and all, and defrost for 3-4 minutes. Snip an end off with kitchen scissors and squeeze out the banana. You’re now less than an hour away from these muffins.

The other fantastic part of this recipe is you only need one bowl and a fork to mix them up, and the recipe makes exactly 12 perfect muffins. They’re so adaptable too, you can throw anything in them and they’ll be amazing: peanut butter chips, white chocolate chips, any type of nuts, toffee bits, espresso powder, bourbon, even swirls of Nutella or peanut butter.

Previous Favourites

Banana Muffins

Source: Muffins Mania


3 bananas

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup butter, melted

1 egg

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

+ anything you want to add in (my favourite addition is 1/2 cup chocolate chips)


  1. Preheat oven to 375° and add liners to 12 muffin tins.
  2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Add the sugar, butter and egg and stir with the fork to combine.
  3. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and stir in until just blended.
  4. Stir in any add-ins you have.
  5. Spoon the batter into the muffin liners and bake for 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

{ 1 comment }

September on Planet Byn {2015}

by byn on September 30, 2015

in Monthly Recaps

Summer Dinner

Mindy Kaling has said on Twitter that September should really be considered a Summer month, and I couldn’t agree more. It was freaking hot this month, and there was no way I was busting out the pumpkin. Here’s what was happening in the last month of Summer:

  • Nicole came over for dinner and I made this Corn & Basil Tart from the archives (with zucchini added this time). She brought a tomato/burrata salad, I roasted some mini red potatoes, and we ate those epic Peach Dumplings for dessert.
  • I made two snack recipes from my blog crush Kiwi & Bean and loved them both: Morning Glory Muffins & Chocolate Sunflower Bites.
  • Earlier in the Summer I went to the patio behind El Caballito, but finally ate in the restaurant proper (twice actually). Loving the beef brisket taco the most!
  • Gwendolyn was in town and unfortunately we had a disappointing brunch at the same restaurant we went to when she was here at the beginning of the year. Nothing a quick trip to Momofuku Milk Bar for some cookies couldn’t fix.
  • Made a couple dinners from the Planet Byn archives: Mushroom Stroganoff, Turkey & Feta Stuffed Peppers, Peanut Satay Dragon Bowls and Thai Peanut Quinoa Bowls (guess I was pretty into peanut sauce this month).
  • Last weekend I went to my friend from work’s wedding, and it was a 10-course Chinese banquet. There were a few things I was scared to try (shark’s fin soup, abalone) but I think I did okay. I’ve come a long way since my brother and sister-in-law’s Chinese wedding banquet, where I wouldn’t even try ANY seafood, and at this wedding I ate crab, scallops and lobster. Seafood will never be a priority in my life, but it’s nice to know I don’t embarrass myself anymore at events like this.

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

  • Mindy’s new book Why Not Me? is out, and I read it in a weekend. Everyone knows how much I love her, so it’s not really news that I totally loved this book. Also devoured Jennifer Weiner’s Who Do You Love; highly recommend.
  • I went to see Janet Jackson in concert and had literally been waiting for that moment since I got the Rhythm Nation cassette tape for Christmas in 1989 to listen to on my pink ghetto blaster. It was everything I dreamed of and MORE!
  • TIFF rolled into town, and I went to see a bunch of movies this year. My favourite was The Dressmaker, an Australian film starring Kate Winslet. It was funny, dark and quirky, and that’s kind of the fun of TIFF for me, seeing weird little movies with actors that I love, that I normally wouldn’t get to see otherwise.