Sprinkle Loaf

And it’s not even my birthday! I saw this sprinkle loaf on Jenn’s Instagram last month and have been thinking about it NON-STOP ever since. I felt like it was everything good about Christina Tosi’s birthday cake without all the steps, wrapped up into a convenient loaf formation.

The recipe comes from Bake from Scratch Magazine, and it is genius as written, but I have a few small notes:

  • I personally prefer smaller, mini loaf cakes and breads. Mainly because I find when you fill a loaf pan almost to the top with batter, it takes almost a full hour and half (sometimes more!) to bake through, and I definitely get overbaked bottoms and edges. So I split my batter into two loaf pans, meaning a shorter bake time, plus one loaf for me, and one to give away to my co-worker for her birthday.
  • I followed the gospel according to Molly Yeh when it comes to funfetti type things, and used artificial clear vanilla extract. Not only does this not dye your crumbs and loaf brown, but it also lends a nice birthday cake/box mix undertone to the whole thing.
  • I usually get so frustrated when my sprinkles bleed when folding them into cake batter (Exhibit A here, I didn’t even take a picture of the inside of this cake since I was so annoyed), so I tried something new this time. I tossed the sprinkles with a bit of flour before I folded them into the cake batter and it worked like a charm!
  • I doubled the birthday cake crumb so I would have a full batch for each of my loaves. I would take a bit more care to gently press it into the cake next time I make this. It kind of exploded everywhere when I tried to slice it, but that just meant more birthday cake crumbs for me to snack on!

This loaf is a true gem of a recipe, and I can see myself making this over and over again!

Sprinkle Loaf with Birthday Cake Crumb Topping

Source: Bake from Scratch Magazine

Yield: two loaves

Ingredients

Birthday Cake Crumb Topping

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 1 tsp vanilla (clear if you have it)
  • 2/3 cup rainbow sprinkles

Sprinkle Loaf

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs + 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla (clear if you have it)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup rainbow sprinkles, tossed with 1/2 tbsp flour

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325° and line two loaf pans with parchment paper so you can easily remove the loaves later.
  2. For the birthday cake crumb topping, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Use a pastry cutter (or fork) to cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients, until you have a mix of big and small crumbs. Stir in the vanilla, then stir in the sprinkles. Stick in the fridge to chill while you make the cake.
  3. For the sprinkle loaf, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and yolk one at a time, mixing well after each one. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla, and mix until combined.
  4. Add the flour and salt and mix until just incorporated, then add the sprinkles, and GENTLY fold in with a spatula.
  5. Divide the batter between the two loaf pans, and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Grab the crumb topping from the fridge, divide in two, and sprinkle over top of each loaf. Gently press to adhere.
  6. Bake for 1 hr and 15 minutes, checking for doneness with a toothpick starting at the 1 hr, 5 minute mark. Let cool completely (ha! as if I could wait that long) before slicing.

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Rhubarb Cheesecake Blondies

by byn on June 22, 2017

in Bars & Squares

Rhubarb Cheesecake Blondies

Of all the baking I’ve done with rhubarb over the years, one of the things I’ve never paired it with is chocolate, and I wasn’t about to start now. I just don’t feel like that’s a good match AT ALL, which is why I swapped out the brownie layer of these squares for a blondie. Everything else I was on board with.

Dollops

You have a quick blondie layer, which gets topped with a simple rhubarb mixture, plus sweetened cream cheese. After a quick swirl (the most fun, and pretty much why I wanted to make these) you pop them in the oven.

Pre-Bake Swirl

These went over very well with my co-workers, and while I did appreciate them, I overlooked one major factor when I made these. I just don’t like things that are TART and CREAMY at the same time (i.e. lemon meringue pie, key lime pie, creamsicles). Not really sure why that didn’t occur to me here, but alas, I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel Pinterest, because it feels like I’ve made every rhubarb recipe on the internet.

I redeemed myself by making my go-to favourite summer breakfast, and plan to make one of these this upcoming long weekend.

Rhubarb Cheesecake Blondies

Source: Blondies from Smitten Kitchen, Swirl from Canadian Living

Ingredients

Rhubarb Part

  • 2 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Cheesecake Part

  • 4oz (1/2 pkg) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 tsp cornstarch

Blondies

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions

  1. For rhubarb, add the rhubarb and sugar to a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until it starts to bubble, then turn down heat and let simmer for 10-15 minutes, until rhubarb starts to break down. Pour into a shallow bowl and stick int he fridge to cool while you prepare everything else.
  2. For the cheesecake part, mix all ingredients until smooth and combined with an electric mixer. Set in the fridge to chill a bit.
  3. Preheat oven to 350° and line a 8×8″ square pan with parchment paper or foil, and spray with non-stick spray.
  4. For blondies, melt the butter and brown sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the egg and vanilla and stir to combine. Fold in the flour and salt with a spatula, then pour into the prepared pan.
  5. Add alternating dollops of the rhubarb and cheesecake mixtures on top of the blondies, as pictured above. Use a knife to gently swirl the dollops together.
  6. Bake for 40-45 minutes until set. Chill completely before slicing.

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Rhubarb Almond Shortbread Squares

Every year when Winter seems to be dragging on forever, I start researching rhubarb recipes, so I’m ready to go when Spring finally arrives. So when I got a text from my friend Erin one weekend at the end of May asking if I wanted any rhubarb from her garden, I automatically knew what my first recipe on deck would be.

These squares have a shortbread base, almond filling, and a pretty rhubarb pattern on top. You don’t have to arrange your rhubarb in a chevron/ombré style for these, but I wanted to try it out and it looked SO pretty before it went into the oven.

Pre-Bake

Unfortunately it doesn’t really stay exactly as cute once it’s baked, but they taste amazing and got rave reviews from my Mom and her friend Janet! My only note/reminder on these is to pick stalks on the thin side, that are the same width from top to bottom – this will make your chevrons match up well.

Rhubarb Almond Shortbread Squares

Source: Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

Base

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cold or room temp is fine

Almond Layer

  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted and cooled
  • 6 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 tbsp butter, cold or room temp is fine, cut into cubes
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract

Rhubarb

  • 4-6 stalks rhubarb, cut on the diagonal into 1 1/4″ pieces lengthwise, then cut in half horizontally

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° and line a 8×8″ square pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor, add the flour, sugar and salt and pulse to combine. Add the butter, and process continually until a dough forms (about 1 minute). Add the dough to the pan and press into an even layer. Bake for 15 minutes, then cool until room temperature (slightly warm is okay).
  3. For almond layer, add the almonds, sugar, flour and salt to the food processor (don’t bother washing it!), and process until the almonds are finely ground.
  4. Add the butter and process until combined, then the egg and almond extract and process again until fully mixed in.
  5. Spread the almond layer over top the cooled crust.
  6. Arrange your rhubarb into a pretty pattern (I organized mine on a cutting board first) over the almond layer, and sprinkle with a couple tsp of sugar. Bake for 45-55 mins, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

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Peanut Butter Butterscotch Chips

I can’t believe we’re down to the last few recipes in Baked Occasions! Most of them are cookie recipes since the Baked Boys included a “12 Days of Cookies” section for Christmas, and we need to catch up.

Peanut Butter Stack

This week we mixed up these Peanut Butter Butterscotch Cookies, which are just a straightforward peanut butter cookie with butterscotch chips mixed in, with a sprinkle of sea salt. I switched it up just a tiny bit, because I saw these “sea salt caramel chips” at my grocery store that I wanted to try. They actually taste exactly like butterscotch chips, so it didn’t end up being a twist on the recipe after all.

Caramel Chips

Overall, these were tasty, but baked up so flat for me. I wasn’t sure if it was because it was a super humid day out today, but I didn’t have the patience to try chilling the dough before baking. I know my co-workers will eat them up anyway.

You can find the recipe here!

More Baked Sunday Mornings here!

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May on Planet Byn {2017}

by byn on May 31, 2017

in Monthly Recaps

Sweet Jesus

Here’s what was happening on Planet Byn this month:

  • At this point, I’m basically 85% vegetarian, so I was excited when my friend Alexis suggested Boon Burger in Burlington for lunch. This place is entirely vegan and has not one but FOUR different types of burgers (i.e. mushroom based, chickpea based, etc.) which is pretty amazing. Then there are 20+ different toppings combinations you can get, plus a bunch of different sides. They even have vegan soft serve! I ended up going with the Backyard BBQ Boon Burger and a side of sesame fries. Need to go back to try something else!
  • We had a 36-hour heat wave in the middle of the month, so I introduced my workplace proximity associates to Sweet Jesus (pictured above). I had the Cookies Cookies Cookies & Cream this time and devoured it! They also now have a cup option, which is so much less stressful and messy than dealing with a cone.
  • Heather, Jenny and I did a little Stateside shopping over the long weekend at our usual stops: Target & Trader Joe’s. Jenny had also heard that there was a specialty grocery store nearby selling pints of JENI’S SPLENDID ICE CREAM, so we had to go and verify. Welp, we found them, but the price was NOT right, at $11.99 a pint. That’s US dollars too. I was very conflicted, and ultimately left it behind, but will build it into my budget for our next shopping trip. The FOMO is too great!
  • I went to a wedding reception party last weekend (Congrats Christine & Daryl) and all the food was from Cava (they’re friends with the chef!). Picture long tables with cheeses, bread, olives and grapes, plus passed trays of tapas-inspired eats, including the most delicious fries with cheese sauce and crispy fried sage. Now imagine my face when dessert came out, which was just huge platters of the most delicious cookies: chocolate chunk, ginger molasses, shortbread…and I stopped myself there, but there were a few more kinds including a blueberry pistachio one that is now in my freezer. Just loved this idea! Reminded me of Champagne & Cookies!
  • I’m still working my way through Oh She Glows everyday (you can see more over here), and this month I made a couple of the smoothie bowls from the book. This trend needs to die, in my opinion. There is nothing satisfying about eating a smoothie like a bowl of soup. PASS.

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

  • I finally cancelled HBO since Big Little Lies is long gone, but I watched the miniseries The Night Of before I lost the channels. It was SO good, like one long episode of Law & Order, showing all aspects of the case, from the detectives to the lawyers to the suspect dealing with life in prison. I also binged on Season 2 of Master of None the weekend it came out, and loved it all, except the last two episodes. Allora!
  • Lainey has been recommending The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas for a while now, and I finally got it from the library. This is a YA novel about a teenager who witnesses her friend being shot and killed by a police officer. It was so interesting and thought-provoking, and like nothing I’ve ever read. Highly recommend this one.
  • Honestly my one true obsession this month was trying to get tickets to The Weeknd, and I finally did thanks to StubHub and the Jack family. It was so worth it (heh heh, get it), and Drake showed up at the end for a couple songs!

Flashback!

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Old-School Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I already have an Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe that I love, but I was still looking forward to trying the Baked Occasions version this week. This is a pretty standard cookie recipe, with a few exceptions:

  • Instead of adding the rolled oats whole, you grind the majority of them up in a food processor first
  • Interesting additions of cinnamon, molasses and bourbon
  • Combination of butter + shortening // all-purpose flour + bread flour (which to be honest, I ignored because I didn’t have any shortening or bread flour at home)
  • Rest period of 8 hours or overnight for the dough (I actually left mine in the fridge for a couple days)
  • Sprinkle of flaky sea salt before baking

My only tip for this recipe, as for all cookie recipes that require chilling, is to scoop the dough BEFORE chilling, instead of after, as it always gets too hard for scooping after being in the fridge.

Stacks

Overall, I liked these, and the cinnamon and molasses gave them just a hint of a gingerbread vibe. They were super chewy, but mine baked up a bit flat for my liking. The holiday we made these for is Teacher Appreciation Day, so I froze a bunch of cookies to deliver to some of my favourite teachers next time I see them.

You can find the recipe here!

More Baked Sunday Mornings here!

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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)

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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.

 

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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!

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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.

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