Category Archives: Baking

Chocolate-Mocha Brownie Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon hot coffee
  • 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour (or plain flour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (I used sea salt)
  • 1/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, (add more if desired)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Line 2 cookie sheets or baking trays with parchment paper (baking paper).
  • In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, white sugar, butter and vegetable oil. Beat in egg and vanilla until fully incorporated.
  • Add the flour, baking powder, and salt; stir the dry ingredients first before mixing them through the wet ingredients until a dough forms (do not over beat). Fold in the chocolate chips.
  • Scoop out 1-2 tablespoonful of dough and place onto prepared baking sheets. Press them down as thick or thin as you want your cookies to come out. 
  • Bake in hot preheated oven for 10-12 minutes. The cookies will come out soft from the oven but will harden up as they cool. (Be careful not to over bake as they will dry out.)
  • Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

2 1/2 cups (312g) all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. EACH ground cloves, ground ginger, ground nutmeg

1 cup (240ml) vegetable oil

1 1/4 cup (250g) packed dark brown sugar

1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar

4 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3 large carrots, grated (about 2 cups)

1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, drained

1 cup (125g) chopped walnuts (optional)

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces (224g) cream cheese, softened

½ cup (115g) butter, softened

1 cup (360g) icing sugar, plus an extra ¼ cup if needed

1 tsp. vanilla extract 1/8 tsp. salt

Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a 9×13 inch pan.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and other spices. Set aside.

Stir the oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract together in a medium bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until combined. Fold in the grated carrots, pineapple, and walnuts.

Spread batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes. Baking times vary, so keep an eye on yours. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove the cake from the oven and set on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely

Make the frosting: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy. Add 3 confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and salt. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then switch to high speed and beat for 2 minutes. If you want the frosting a little thicker, add the extra 1/4 cup of icing sugar. Spread the frosting on the cooled cake. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving. This helps sets the frosting and makes cutting easier.

Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for 5 days.

Helping out during a pandemic

I love baking and cooking. It’s one of my passions. Definitely the reason I went back to school, culinary school, in 2005 to get a diploma at a culinary institute here in Ontario. I was very proud of myself for accomplishing something I had wanted to do for decades, and dove into the restaurant business. Alas, working in restaurants was definitely not my forte but it did not damper my passion for cooking and baking.

Fast forward to 2013, and I was living in Calgary Alberta when the worst natural disaster in Canada happened. The floods of 2013 were disastrous for Calgary and I wanted to do something to help out. I racked my brain for something different that I could do, I wanted to raise money for the relief fund and finally I came up with an idea – a cookbook! I was running my own catering business out there, and I thought what a better way to raise money then to create a cookbook of my favourite baking recipes and sell it for charity. It turned out to be a big success and I was so happy I was able to contribute to my adopted home city during a crisis.

So now the pandemic is wreaking havoc with everyone’s lives, and once again, I thought about volunteering somewhere or helping in some way, and then I realized, I have accumulated many recipes and have many great friends and family members who I was sure would want to help by providing me with recipes. This time, I decided that Food Banks Canada would be the charity I would donate the proceeds to. So far, I have made over $300 for this charity, and I have just begun. It is so rewarding to do something good and I am so incredibly grateful that I have the means to do this. I am very fortunate to be where I am, and I am so thankful for the many great friends and family who helped me and encouraged me throughout this project.

So why not try some new skills in the kitchen and keep safe at the same time!

If you won the lottery….

If you won the lottery – let’s say $5,000,000 (Canadian – since it is tax free winnings!) – what would you do with the winnings?  Would you travel ?  Pay off debts and save?  Would you do something you’ve never done before, or maybe go somewhere you have always dreamt of seeing?

how-to-get-to-one-million-dollars

I have dreamt of what I would do.  Pay off my debts.  Save some of it.  Give some away.   And then travel – to all of the exotic places I have always wanted to see.  Bali.  Fiji.  Australia and New Zealand.  Take an African safari.

african-safari-sunset

Then I would come back to Canada and make my one big dream finally come true.  I would open a cafe.  One that specializes in pastries – homemade by me, with coffee on the side.  People could come in, sit down, and talk about their travels.  That’s the dream that keeps me going.  One day it will happen – and even without lottery winnings, I know I will succeed in having that cafe!!

So what would you do if you won the lottery?