Starbucks copy-cat: Bacon Gruyere breakfast bites

Over the years I’ve tried many versions of egg breakfast bites that try to rival the deliciousness of the sous-vide bacon gruyere bites from a certain Seattle-based coffee overlord.  I’ve never been able to recreate the texture or taste and I was about to buy a sous-vide machine but wanted to try one last time to do them in the oven.  I think this time I did it.

Materials you’ll need:

  • silicone muffin tray (I got mine from amazon)
  • 9.5 x 12 cake tin (2 inches deep)
  • tin foil

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/3 cup 18% cream
  • 1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
  • 2 strips of thick-cut bacon (cooked)
  • pinch of sea salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • 1/2 shallot , finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 tbsp chives (optional)
  • Vegetable oil (to line muffin tray)
  • Warm tap water (for water bath)

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 325C
  • Cook bacon, chop into small pieces and set aside to cool
  • Put eggs, cream, salt, pepper and (if you want) shallot/chives into a blender
  • Pulse for 1 minute until all ingredients are combined and a froth has formed
  • Grease muffin tray with vegetable oil

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  • Place silicone tray into 9.5×12 cake tray
  • Pour egg mixture into each mold (will fill about 3/4 full)
  • Equally divide grated cheese into each mold
  • Equally divide chopped bacon into each mold
  • Pour warm tap water into cake tray until it reaches the lip of the silicone muffin tray

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  • Loosely cover cake tray with tin foil and carefully place in oven. Cook for 40 minutes
  • Remove tinfoil and cook for additional 3 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and place silicone tray onto wood cutting board to cool for 5 minutes

Egg bites pop right out and are ready to go in all their fluffy/delicious glory!

These will now be making a frequent appearance in my lunch bag to bring to work for breakfast instead of stopping and spending $5 at Starbucks.

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Sticky Toffee Pudding

One of my favourite desserts when it appears on a menu is sticky toffee pudding, particularly when travelling in the UK.

I’ve always wanted to make this dessert and on a vacation day over Christmas holidays, it seemed like a good time to try.  Shout out to my fellow chef Samantha for going on this adventure with me!

The sauce: 

  • 2 1/2 cups 18% cream
  • 1 tbsp spiced rum
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup blackstrap mollasses
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup granulated sugar

The cake: 

  • 6 ounces pitted dates, preferably Medjool (about 7-8 dates)
  •  1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup spiced rum
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions:

Sauce:
  • In a medium saucepan, combine 1 1/4 cups of the cream with the butter, rum, molasses/syrup and sugar; bring to a boil. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until a deep amber caramel forms, about 30 minutes. Carefully whisk in the remaining 1 1/4 cups of cream.

Cake:   

  • In a small saucepan, simmer the dates in the rum/water over moderately low heat until the water is nearly absorbed and the dates are soft, about 15 minutes. Transfer the dates and any liquid to a blender and puree until very smooth.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly butter four 1/2-cup ramekins. In a small bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter with the brown sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla, then beat in the date puree. At low speed, beat in the dry ingredients. Spoon the batter into the ramekins and smooth the tops. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean; let cool slightly.
  • Using a small serrated knife, trim the tops of the cakes level with the rims of the ramekins. Unmold the cakes and invert them onto a wire rack. Slice each cake in half horizontally. Wipe out the ramekins and spoon 1 tablespoon of the toffee sauce into each. Return the bottom layers of the cakes to the ramekins, cut side up. Spoon another tablespoon of the toffee sauce into the ramekins and top with the remaining cake layers. Spoon another tablespoon of the toffee sauce over the cakes and spread evenly. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until the toffee is bubbling around the edges.
  • Let the puddings cool for 5 minutes, then run a thin-bladed knife around the insides of the ramekins; invert each pudding onto a dessert plate. Rewarm the remaining toffee sauce and spoon some around the puddings. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

This recipe yielded 4 puddings and LOTS of sauce.  Leftover sauce meant trying something else so this morning I added 1 tbsp of sauce to my latte and oh my… was that a great decision.

 

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Tomato bisque

B0379C0F-0775-48B9-8500-015137C2766BWith the days growing shorter, and the temperature dropping, i felt the need to make some soup.

This recipe was loosely based on several recipes but really, I just made it up as I went along and took note of it along the way.

Makes about 6 generous servings

Ingredients:

  • 5 large tomatoes
  • 2 bottles of strained tomatoes (I got mine from Farm Boy)
  • 1 small can of herb/garlic tomato paste
  • 3 spanish onions
  • 5 cups of vegetable stock
  • 6 stalks celery
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil leaves (chopped)
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 tbsp dried basil
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp dried rosemary
  • 2 tbsp dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp dried marjoram
  • 1 tbsp of garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp sea salt

Preparation:

  • remove skin/core tomatoes and give them a rough chop and set aside
  • chop celery, garlic, basil. set aside
  • heat up french oven on stove top to medium-high heat
  • dice onions and then drop onions and 1/4 cup of butter into french oven.
  • Stir onions until they are cooked (do not brown).
  • Once onions are done, add garlic and celery and remaining butter
  • Stir for 5ish minutes until everything is thoroughly cooked
  • Add tomatoes, strained tomatoes, tomato paste, basil and olive oil
  • Stir well and then add vegetable stock and white wine vinegar
  • Add in spices and season as needed with additional salt/pepper until your taste preference is achieved
  • Simmer over medium heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  • add parmesan cheese and stir well
  • Hit with an immersion blender, or if no immersion blender, take out in batches and run through blender until desired consistency is achieved.
  • Serve with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkled parsley and of course, a really good grilled cheese (pictured is a sourdough with monterey jack and havarti)

Enjoy!

Chocolate meringue cookies

And the Oscar goes to….

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These cookies. Crispy on the outside, fudgey and chewy on the inside. *drools*

I’m heading out for an Oscar party this evening and wanted to bring something decadent and delicious, but also something that wouldn’t take up several hours of my weekend to make.

I found this recipe here

Made a few adjustments, as I usually do,  and damn, these cookies fit the bill.  Also? They’re gluten free!

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 ½ cups PC chocolate chunks
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla paste
Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line 2 large baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper.
2. Mix sugar, cocoa, and salt in a bowl. Stir in chocolate chips. Set aside.
3. Whip egg whites and vanilla until they start to form soft peaks.
4. Fold in dry ingredients until batter is just moistened. (Do not overbeat batter or it will stiffen.)
5. Drop batter by heaping teaspoonful onto baking sheets in evenly spaced mounds.
6. Bake cookies until tops are lightly cracked and glossy, about 13-14 minutes.

7. Let cool and then transfer to wire racks  using a spatula to cool completely. Careful, they may be soft and fragile.
8. Serve same day, or place in air-tight container for later.
Will make about 15ish cookies
Hooray for Oscar parties and hooray for these cookies!
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Brown butter salted chocolate chip cookies

It’s a bit of a February-blah kind of Sunday so I decided to try something new.

Making brown butter for first time:

 

Inspiration for this recipe was found here, though I made a few tweaks of my own.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 cup salted caramel chips
  • 1 package of Farm Boy milk chocolate drops
  • Flaky sea salt

Instructions:

  • Make brown butter and set aside to cool.

  • Take salted caramels chips and run through food processor until they are finely chopped.

  • Whisk flour, baking soda, chopped caramel chips and kosher salt in a bowl.

  • In a separate large mixing bowl, pour brown butter in and mix brown sugar and granulated sugar. On medium speed, beat until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add eggs and vanilla and then slowly mix in dry ingredients. Once throughly mixed, fold in chocolate drops.

  • Let dough sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes to allow the flour to hydrate. Dough will look very loose at first, but will thicken as it sits.

  • Preheat oven to 375°

  • Portion into “ping pong ball” sized dough balls and place on a silpat or parchment-lined baking sheet. Space evenly and do not flatten.

  • Sprinkle with sea salt.

  • Bake cookies until edges are golden brown and firm but centers are still soft, 9–10 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Accurate representation of me trying these cookies once they were cooled:

Cranberry Sauce

In a few days time, we’re hosting our first family Thanksgiving dinner. We’re going to have 12 people gather round and feast on some deliciousness that I will be cooking up.

I’ve always wanted to make my own cranberry sauce, and I was looking for things to do this week that could be prepped ahead of Sunday’s dinner, so tonight – Cranberry sauce was made.

What you need:

  • 12oz bag of fresh cranberries (give them a wash before use)
  • 1/2 cup of very pulpy orange juice
  • 1 tbsp of lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup of white sugar
  • pinch of sea salt
  • a splash of cognac

Directions:

  • In a large saucepan, combine orange juice, lemon juice, water, cognac and sugar.
  • Bring to a rolling boil and add cranberries and salt
  • Stir cranberries frequently until they start to burst (takes about 10 minutes)
  • Once they start to burst, mix for 1 minute then remove from heat
  • Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool
  • Sauce will thicken as it sits
  • Give a stir to fully combine and then transfer to mason jars and  put in fridge
  • Since there’s no preservatives, I would use it within a few days time

What are your favourites to serve with a Thanksgiving dinner? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

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Ontario fresh fruit cobbler

IMG_8754When friends give you rhubarb from their garden and the farmers market brings you fresh Ontario cherries and strawberries… you have to do something with them.

I love free-styling in the kitchen when I’m presented with ingredients I know will mesh well together, but I don’t neccesarily have a recipe to go on.  So I made this up as I went and oh man, did it turn out well.  *DISCLAIMER* sometimes the free-styling goes horribly wrong.  Not with the one, but it was touch and go for a while when it wasn’t baking in the middle. Read on… 

Here’s what I came up with –

Filling :
– 6 stalks rhubarb, washed and chopped into small pieces
– 1 quart of strawberries, washed and halved
– 1 quart of cherries, pits out, washed and halved
– 1/4 cup cornstarch
– 1/2 cup lemon juice
– 1/2 cup caster sugar (super fine white sugar)

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Cobbler (cake): 
– 2 cups all purpose flour
– 2 tsp baking powder
– 1 tsp sea salt
– 3/4 cup turbinado sugar
– 2 tsp pure vanilla
– 1 1/4 cups milk
– 3 tbsp cold butter

Prepare:

Preheat oven to 350C

Take your prepped fruit and put in large mixing bowl. Mix in lemon juice and sugar and then toss in cornstarch. Set aside

In large bowl, take flour, baking powder, salt and sugar and mix well. Slowly incorporate milk until full mixed.  Stir in vanilla.

Cut butter into 6 equal squares (1/2 tbsp each) and place into your baking dish evenly. (I used a casserole dish with a lid)

Pour cobbler mix over butter.

Pour fruit mixture over cobbler mix

Put in oven, uncovered, for 30 mins.  Check at 30 mins mark, if brown on top but still uncooked in middle, put lid on and bake for additional 20 mins until you can draw a knife out cleanly

Serve with vanilla ice cream as a dessert OR bring it to work and eat it cold as a treat after lunch.

 

Vegan Sprinkle Sugar Cookies

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I wanted to try this recipe as someone I’m visiting tomorrow is veggie/vegan. There is also a nut allergy, so I couldn’t use anything with nut butters in it.

Thanks to my now 50 mins commute home with lots of wifi on the subway, I read several recommended vegan blogger sites this week and settled on trying these cookies.

Shout out to theMostlyVegan.com for this recipe! I made a few tweaks here and there, but the core of this recipe remains.

Makes approx 16 cookies.
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp flaked sea salt
  • 4 tbsp sprinkles (I used CakeMate sprinkles as they are made with carnauba wax instead of beeswax)
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup Turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 cup safflower oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the sprinkles to the flour mixture and toss to coat, set aside.
  2. In a mixer, stir together sugar with oil, water, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla until smooth and incorporated.
  3. Add wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir until well combined. Cover and chill dough in fridge for 1/2 hr.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Use a Silpat or Parchment paper lined cookies sheets. Remove dough from the refrigerator and use a cookie scoop. Press down gently on the mounds with a spoon to flatten slightly. Fill one sheet with 12 cookies and use remaining dough on second sheet.
  5. Bake for 9-13 minutes. The cookies should rise a little bit and be lightly browned on the bottom
  6. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the pan for 2 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Repeat with remaining sheet.
  7. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.