Crispy top brownies

I love crispy top brownies.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with regular brownies, but there’s something about the extra crisp and texture that puts them over the edge for me.

I recently made a mistake on a batch of brownies, and it led to the creation of this recipe. Best un-mistake ever, because they turned out to the best brownies my husband said I’ve ever made. Win!

So before I forget what I did… here’s the recipe.

– 1-1/4 cup white sugar
– 3 eggs
– 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
– 1/3 cup of all purpose flour
– 3/4 cup of cocoa powder
– 1/3 teaspoon of salt
– 1/3 teaspoon of baking powder
– 6 oz. melted unsweetened dark chocolate
– 3/4 cup melted butter, cooled

1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Line your baking dish with parchment paper. I usually use a square (9″x9″) or rectangular baking dish (11″x7″).

2. Beat the sugar with the eggs until they are light yellow (about 5-8 minutes) in a large bowl or stand-mixer.

3. Add the vanilla extract and mix until combined.

4. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder.

5. Melt the chocolate on low to medium-low heat in a saucepan. Careful not to burn it. Stir until melted.

6. Add the dry flour mixture to the sugar-egg mixture in two to three batches and mix each time until just combined. Careful not to overmix.

7. Add the melted chocolate to the mixture and mix until just combined.

8. Add the melted cooled down butter to the mixture until just combined.

9. Pour the batter into your baking dish (11″x7″).

10. Bake in the oven for 35-45 min. The top will be crispy when done, and come out nearly entirely clean when you put a toothpick in. It’s good to have them just a touch underdone for an even chewier, fudgy texture.

11. Let the brownies cool on a rack for about 5-10 minutes, or in the pan.


Toddler coconut flour birthday cake with yoghurt frosting


For our little guy’s second birthday, I wanted to make him another healthy birthday cake, but this time, since he was older, I could go with one that was a little sweeter than the nearly unsweetened version I had made last year by Betty at Oh Everything Handmade. (Great first birthday smash cake recipe, by the way. Highly recommend.)

In my quest for a new recipe, I stumbled across the fantastic Honey Oat Cake recipe by Amy at Yummy Toddler Food.

Sadly, I wasn’t able to find oat flour and also didn’t have time to grind some up in time for all the festivities, so I changed things up and used coconut flour with a bit of rice flour (to help stabilize the coconut flour) instead. Below is my modified recipe based on Amy’s original recipe. Note that the portions in my cake recipe are a bit more than in her recipe, as I needed to make a larger cake for daycare.

Ingredients (serves about 8-10 people): 

  • Cake:
    • 1-1/4 cup of coconut flour
    • 3/4 cup of rice flour
    • 1 tablespoons of coconut palm sugar
    • 1/3 teaspoon of salt
    • 1-1/3 teaspoon of baking soda
    • 6 eggs
    • 2 cups of milk
    • 1/2 cup melted butter, slightly cooled
    • 3/4 cup honey
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Frosting:
    • 1 500g tub of plain Liberté Greek Yoghurt
    • (Optional) 1 block of plain cream cheese
    • (Optional) Food colouring

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Peach vanilla panna cotta

PannaCottaOne of my favourite desserts is the classic Italian panna cotta. It’s a great dessert that’s light in texture and rich in flavour. I never feel heavy after eating it, making it my kind of dessert. The best part, it’s very easy to make and the prep time is fast. That said, it does require a longer time in the fridge for the gelatin to set, so if you’re making it to serve for dinner – it’s best to make it either the day before or early enough in the day for the dessert to set.

Ingredients: (serves 6)

Fruit jelly top:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 peaches (or other fruit – see below for portions), halved or sliced and pitted
  • 1 packet of gelatine powder (equivalent of 1 tablespoon)

Panna Cotta layer

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3-3/4 cream
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 packets of gelatin powder (equivalent of 2 tablespoons)


  1. Heat up water and sugar in a saucepan until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Add peach halves (or other fruit) and simmer on medium-low heat until the fruit is soft.
  3. Remove the peaches (or other fruit), remove the skins (keep the fruit water).
  4. Take 1/4 of the peach water and add the tablespoon of gelatin in gradually while stirring to avoid clumps. Set the gelatin mixture aside for about 5 minutes – it will thicken.
  5. Pour the gelatin mixture into the rest of the fruit water on low heat and mix until it’s dissolved.
  6. Grease a baking pan and place your peach halves or slices (or other fruit) into the bottom of the pan. I like using a silicone loaf pan. The silicone is flexible, making it incredibly easy to pop the panna cotta out of the pan once it’s set. If you’re using peaches, plums, or pears, place them cut side facing up (uncut side down on the pan) – it makes for a better looking panna cotta when you’re done.
  7. Pour the fruit water over it. Place the pan into the fridge for it to start setting.
  8. Stir in the 2 tablespoons of gelatin powder into the 1/3 cup of water gradually (so it also doesn’t clump) and set it aside for around 5 minutes to set.
  9. Heat up the cream and sugar on medium-low heat and bring it to a simmer. Add the vanilla extract and stir to mix it in.
  10. Add the gelatin-water mixture and stir until it’s all dissolved.
  11. Cool the mixture in the fridge for around 15-20 minutes or until it’s cooled to about room temperature.
  12. Check to make sure the first layer has set. When it has, pour the panna cotta mixture into your baking pan over the fruity layer.
  13. Put the pan back in the fridge to set. It will take around 6 hours to set fully.
  14. Once the panna cotta has set, it’s ready to serve. Tip your baking pan upside down on a serving dish. It should pop out fairly easily.

Note, if you prefer to use canned fruit instead of fresh fruit, use the syrupy water from the can and add water to it until it reaches 1 cup. No need for the 1/2 cup of sugar at the start of the recipe. Just set the fruit aside and pour the syrup-water mixture into a saucepan and let it simmer for 1 minute. Follow the rest of the recipe from step 4.


Other fruit options:

  • 3 plums, halved or sliced and pitted
  • 2 apples, sliced and cored
  • 2 pears, halved or sliced and cored
  • 1/4 pineapple, sliced
  • 1/2 cup of raspberries
  • 1/2 cup of blueberries
  • 5-6 strawberries, halved or sliced

Recipe adapted from Donna Hay.

If you could taste summer, it’d taste like this

On our way out to a local lavender festival a few weeks ago, my hubby-to-be, his momma, and I stopped for a picnic in the park. The highlight: her famous strawberry pie. It’s always been a favorite for his family, and now I can say that it’s definitely one of mine too. In a phrase, if you were to personify “summer” in a dish – this would be it. Fresh, sweet, slightly tart, and incredibly simple – this homemade strawberry pie is summer on a plate, and to die for.

Here’s my version of her incredible pie.


Shortbread pie crust (prepared in advance):

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons of caster sugar
  • 150g of cold butter, chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons of iced water


  • 6-8 cups (1.5-2 quarts) of fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 1.5 cups of whipping cream

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Golden Regency Restaurant

My girlfriend and I recently stopped by the Golden Regency Restaurant at Pacific Mall for dim sum. The restaurant was bustling with people when we and our growling bellies arrived – which is always a good sign.

We were immediately seated, and quickly got our order in of many of our favorite dim sum dishes. Before long, the dishes started to arrive and soon our small two-person table was overflowing with food: pan-fried turnip cakes, steamed beef balls, an assortment of dumplings, steamed sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaves, Chinese donuts wrapped in rice noodles, egg tarts, and mango pudding. Everything was fantastic.

Then came another dim sum cart. The kindly lady offered us a selection of other delicious looking desserts. Despite our full bellies and the food laden table, we agreed to try a new dish we’d never heard of before: a green tea pancake.

This pancake is the reason I decided to write this post. It is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten – and almost rivals the incredible cat fish that once took my breath away in Reykjavik, Iceland. At first, the flavour is moderately sweet, with a subtle hint of green tea in a bean filling. All of this encased in a sesame-covered, pan-fried glutinous rice cake. However, a few moments after your first bite, the fuller aroma hits you. A beautiful, floral flavouring that lingers in your mouth. Delicate, aromatic, and delicious.

If you have the chance to visit The Golden Regency Restaurant, I highly recommend you try this dessert. It’s like nothing else I’ve ever eaten.

The Golden Regency Restaurant is located at:
4300 Steeles Ave E
Markham, ON L3R 0Y5
(905) 948-8811

Tiramisu made easy

Before trying my hand at this dessert, I always had it in my mind that it was a daunting task that came with a disclaimer. Everyone had a different version: only egg whites, no eggs, heavy cream… and the list goes on. Where to start?

This is my quick version (of many!) that has been a lifesaver when I’ve needed a sweet fix:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 container (275 g) mascarpone
  • 24 savoiardi (ladyfingers)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups brewed coffee
  • shaved dark chocolate, for garnish

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