Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Vanilla Passion Fruit Cake

The last week has been... intense.  My brain is completely fried from tests and papers, and there's still so much left.  Reeeallllyyy looking forward to the next few weeks being over so I can have a mini summer vacation with the little one.
Fortunately (for things other than my cellulite collection) one of my favourite ways to destress is baking.  And I got the opportunity to last Thursday for my Mom's birthday.  Although she said she didn't need a cake, I needed to make a cake.  So it was done.

We have differing tastes in desserts, but can agree on one thing: passion fruit.  We've both spent time in Australia, and how can you survive Australia without developing a undying love for passion fruit?  It's everywhere and it's delicious!  Even if the insides remind me of frog eggs.
Passion fruit is not the easiest to find, but they were luckily at Kin's Farm Market in a mall across the street from my home.  I picked up 6, and made a wonderful vanilla cake, with a layer of passion fruit and lemon curd as the filling, and a passion fruit glaze.  


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Peanut Butter, oatmeal, and chocolate?  Please.  It does not get much better than this.

Peanut butter is one of my all-time favourite things ever.  And miraculously enough, I'm not allergic to it... yet.  But a friend of mine does not feel the same way.  At all.  So Tara, I apologize for all these PB posts.  I would be chronically ill if you had a cooking blog mainly devoted to mayonaise.  Ugh.  I cannot even fathom.

But anyway, it's safe to say I have a lot of PB recipes bookmarked, and I was filtering through them the other day and noticed I had several PB oatmeal chocolate chip cookies saved.  (Not so) Oddly enough, they all turned out to be the same recipe from the always delightful Brown-eyed Baker.  And they all claimed these cookies were the perfect trifecta of dessert heaven.  I felt like this was fate.  I had to make the cookies.

I can assure you these claims of cookie perfection are true.  Mid-way through making the dough I started to get the tingles from a cookiegasm.  (Don't act like you don't know).   I sensed they were going to be incredible and they did not let down.  The blend of PB, oatmeal and chocolate is perfect and subtle, without one overbearing flavour.  And they stay moist and chewy-- what's better than a moist and chewy cookie?!

I definitely recommend doubling the recipe.  Or tripling...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Raspberry Lemonade Squares

Summer has officially arrived in Vancouver!  I celebrated this week by making some Raspberry Lemonade Squares.  
Okay, so the summer weather arrived sometime last week, but it came with such a vengeance it was far too hot to put the oven on.  Although the change in weather is lovely, summer is not my favourite season.  I dislike the leather seats my body likes to stick to in my car, allergies, being too hot to bake, allergies, and my current semester.  

Oh, and allergies.

But let's focus on the good, non?

There are so many fresh, seasonal fruits available, and when I saw the seemingly endless amounts of local raspberries at the market, I couldn't help myself and thought of making these bars instantly.

They turned out perfect, if not a little messy.  The recipe recommended lining the pan with parchment paper for easy post-baking removal, but I am lazy and did not.  Mistake.  Big crumbly mess everywhere.  I highly recommend the recommendations.  Because if you're like me (ie impatient with your glutton) you will go into a frenzy and want need one right away.  Because the smell is ridiculous.  And the texture and taste are perfection-- a shortbready base, not too sweet, with a tart raspberry lemon topping.  They're almost enough to make me love summer.

What's your favourite summer recipe?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Double Chocolate Banana Raspberry Muffins

I don't know why I always make muffins with such ridiculously long names, but the latest installment are some Double Chocolate Banana Raspberry Muffins.
The story of these is much the same as other muffins: I have bananas that need to be used up, and I want muffins.  This time I also had raspberries to use up.  I was going to make plain old banana raspberry muffins, but everything is made better with chocolate, right?  I tweaked this recipe a little bit to include whole wheat and reduce the sugar, mainly so I could justify eating more in one go.  They certainly aren't dieter's muffins, but I'm no dieter.  

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Snickerdoodle Blondies

Who needs brownies when you have Snickerdoodle Blondies?  

When I first started frequenting baking sites a few years ago, I was bombarded with recipes for Blondies.  I had no idea what the hell they were.  And since most contained coconut or tree nuts, I sort of passed them by without giving them much thought.  But then last week I had a pathetic Eureka! moment when I realized that blondies are -- and brace yourself for this -- brownies without chocolate.  Get it?  Blondies?  What a shocking revelation.  I like to think the concept was just so unexciting that my brain didn't want to make the connection.  Because what's a brownie without the chocolate?  Pointless, that's what.

But I figured there was no harm in trying them anyhow.  I posted on twitter asking for favourite recipes, and searched some of my best resources.  I had some great responses and now have a few recipes to try in the future. 

Since I recently discovered Snickerdoodles, I knew they might be able to win me over to the blondie side. So I settled on making Snickerdoodle blondies.
I admit: they won me over.  They're dense and chewy with the perfect hint of spice.  They're basically like eating a giant, thick Snickerdoodle, which is fine by my standards.  And although I didn't have any nutmeg (a problem that will never happen again), they were delicious without.


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