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Ingredients 225g Medjool dates, pitted and torn in half finely grated zest from 1 tangelo juice from 1 tangelo topped with enough water to make 190mL (3/4 cup) 50g (1/4 cup) raw Muscovado sugar, optional 3/4 cup rolled oats (quick cooking or old fashioned) 3/4 cup buckwheat flour 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 125mL (1/2 cup) melted coconut oil Method Preheat oven to 400F. Line a 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. In a small sauce pan, simmer dates, tangelo zest, juice, and water over low heat until soft, about 10 minutes. Mash with spoon or spatula to a paste. Set aside. In the bowl of a food processor, combine sugar, oats, buckwheat flour, cinnamon, cardamom, baking soda, and salt in 5 pulses. Drizzle in coconut oil and pulse until mixture turn into wet crumbs. Divide 3/4 of... Continue reading
Posted Feb 9, 2016 at Dessert By Candy
Happy New Year! A fresh start means taking a hard look at some of the bad habits I developed over the past few months. I am embarrassed to admit that my previously healthy eating habit has slipped a few notches. My work schedule does not play well with preparing meals from scratch everyday so I resort to eating whatever’s in the fridge and pantry the minute I walk in the door. This usually means cheese, deli meat, bread, and lots of junk food. I am long overdue for a change. For the month of January, I will give week-long meal prep a try. On less busy days, I plan to prepare homemade easy meals that I can enjoy over a few days. The focus is on more vegetable in different varieties, lean protein, and complex carbohydrates. I am not picky on whether the items fit well within the breakfast/lunch/dinner concept.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 1, 2016 at Dessert By Candy
I have been on the road for a week now. Those who follow my Instagram feed have probably already seen my voyage from Toronto, Ontario to Houston, Texas. The idea of a cross-country road trip came to me entirely unexpectedly. With all the free time in my hand, it suddenly dawned on me last week that I could leisurely road trip my way to Texas for an inline skating race hosted by my teammate. I barely had any time to plan in detail before I loaded everything imaginable into my car and hit the road. Based on my previous shorter car travel experiences, my strategy is really quite simple. No more than 9 hours of driving everyday (any longer and it doesn’t feel like fun anymore) Visit friends as often as possible (I need a sense of purpose) Indulge in local delicacies (obviously) Detour if I see something interesting! (that’s... Continue reading
Posted Nov 1, 2015 at Dessert By Candy
Since I started working at the cafe at the beginning of 2015, blogging took a backseat. I missed writing dearly but fatigue kept me away from doing many things I love. I could barely stay awake between work duties and my athletic endeavours. I rarely cooked any meals for myself and survived on ready-to-eat things like yogurt, cheese, raw vegetable, and fruit. I felt malnourished both physically and mentally. My foray into the day-to-day operation of a coffee shop wrapped up last week. I learned a lot in the past 10 months and now it is time to regroup. I have some thinking to do to figure out where to go from here. I also have a lot of free time to attend some long-overdue chores and do things that I love. For the first time in my adult life, I am almost entirely free of commitments. This sense of... Continue reading
Posted Oct 20, 2015 at Dessert By Candy
We kicked off gelato season at the cafe a couple of weeks ago and my mind is occupied by developing recipes for gelato, sorbet, and ice-cream since. Inspiration comes to me non-stop and I can barely keep up with turning these ideas into frozen treats to enjoy. It is hard to pick favourites but I am partial to a few: miso caramel, matcha with caramelized white chocolate, cinnamon with fig compote & candied walnuts, lemon meringue, black sesame, and espresso with espresso caramel are my current top picks. With the heavy emphasis on sweets in my professional life, I crave savoury food more than ever on my time off. It doesn’t help that I am not so keen on spending long hours at my home kitchen either. I often find myself stare longingly at bags of chips in supermarket. Oooh, not good. Not good at all. I need to find... Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2015 at Dessert By Candy
I feel almost sheepish to write about the Pi(e) Day party my friends and I shared a month ago. I have been neglecting my blog for much too long thanks to a demanding work and training schedule. Plus I got very ill during my anticipated Nashville weekend. Long story short, I was busy catching up on life rather than writing about it. That doesn’t mean I have nothing worthwhile to share! As a matter of fact, I have been busy with recipe development and testing in and out of the cafe. It feels weird to realize that this is now part of my job. Good thing that it is the part I enjoy. It is an amazing feeling to know that people pay to eat what I make when they have a million different ways to spend their hard-earned money. I can’t wait to tell you more about new recipes... Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2015 at Dessert By Candy
Last Sunday Dessert By Candy turned 10 years old. It dawned on me how many things happened since the first day I took up writing and how much things changed. At the same time, I am glad that my love of cooking and writing is still the driving force behind Dessert By Candy. My blog may not be trendy nor famous but it remains my favourite place to share my stories both in and out of the kitchen. Being a part of the blogging community, I often come across tips on increasing readership, guidelines on design aesthetics, how to engage through social media, and of course how to monetize from blogging. I read them with great interest but at the end of the day, I just want to cook fun things and hope you will try it some time too. Dessert By Candy ought to be my fun place to... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2015 at Dessert By Candy
Great way to use stale croissants with many variations based on ingredient availability. The sweet bread pudding is slightly richer than the savoury strata by using more cream and fewer eggs in the custard. However, the technique is essentially the same. Variations for the savoury strata include using different combination of fillings such as: chopped grilled vegetable different types of cheese (soft goat cheese, mozzarella) addition of savouries such as olives, anchovies, roasted garlic, fresh herbs Variations for the sweet bread pudding include using: spread orange marmalade on croissant halves before chopping. Add chopped chocolate to filling. add toasted nuts or other dried fruit Ham & Cheese Breakfast Strata makes 1 9x13 pan or 12 servings Ingredients 8 stale ham & cheese croissants, frozen and no need to defrost 15 slices of ham, cut into bite-size pieces 1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese, divided 1/4 cup drained chopped sundried tomato in... Continue reading
Posted Mar 12, 2015 at Dessert By Candy
Homemade doughnuts are always worth the trouble. The freshness of a doughnut minutes after emerging from a vat of hot oil is simply incomparable. Biting into that crispy crust enveloping soft fluffy centre makes all the work of deep frying worthwhile. Every time I make doughnuts at home, I always tell myself that I should do it more often but it is easier said than done. That’s good news for my waistline. When I made my Chinese New Year snacks last week, I planned out my schedule to incorporate a batch of cider doughnuts. I bookmarked the recipe for these cake doughnuts from smitten kitchen long ago but did not have a chance to try until recently. The use of apple cider reduction drew me to the recipe initially because it ensured a strong apple flavour without excessive liquid. However, it was simply another hurdle that caused me to procrastinate.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2015 at Dessert By Candy
Thank you Josh! My family and I really enjoyed it. Worth making again and again.
Toggle Commented Feb 26, 2015 on Elusive Hokkaido Milk Bread at Dessert By Candy
1 reply
Do you know Chinese tradition celebrates lunar new year for half a month? Last Thursday we officially kicked off year of the ram but it is still not t... Continue reading
Posted Feb 23, 2015 at Dessert By Candy
Thanks Chris! The recipe as I made it would be challenging for anyone without candymaking experience. Making marshmallow involves cooking sugar syrup to 250F and slowly drizzling into whipped egg whites. Hot syrup can be dangerous for kids to work with. As for the chocolate, I tempered milk chocolate before dipping. If you use chocolate coating instead, it would be much more approachable. The graham crackers can involve kids easily. They can help with rolling out the cookie dough and stamping out with cookie cutter.
Toggle Commented Feb 21, 2015 on S’mores Valentine at Dessert By Candy
1 reply
Like many people, I feel equal parts of love and hate for Valentine’s Day. The commercialism and elevated expectations make the occasion feels disingenuous. On the other hand, I love an excuse to show my friends how much I appreciate them. It is a great feeling to know that you’re loved, romantic or otherwise! This year I made an arbitrary decision to only send valentines to my girlfriends. These gals share my good times and bad times. They lifted me up when I was down. I have every reason to show them some love. I created a special treat just for them. S’mores is such a been-there-done-that idea. Throwing graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate together and adding campfire is a recipe that sure to remind us of good times in the outdoors. Anyone can make a dessert with graham crackers, marshmallows, chocolate and call it s’mores but how many times... Continue reading
Posted Feb 14, 2015 at Dessert By Candy
Enriched bread is my guilty pleasure. Made with white flour and enriched with eggs, milk, and butter, it is the dessert of bread family. It doesn’t necessarily have the complexity of sourdough or the depth of crusty country bread. But I love its unpretentious appeal. Challah and brioche are equally tempting. I can never say no to a slice of coffee braid or chocolate babka. However, I always have a soft spot for soft pillowy Asian-style sandwich bread. I love the perfectly square slices thanks to baking in a pullman loaf pan. I love the whisper thin crust that yields to fine white crumb I can tear into threads. I love the subtle taste of fresh dairy from the famous Hokkaido milk bread variation. Although it is perfect for sandwiches, I enjoy eating it unadorned more than anything. One of the keys to Asian-style sandwich bread success is the use... Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2015 at Dessert By Candy
My ideal Valentine’s Day dessert is a contradiction. I want the decadence of chocolate but I don’t want to be weighed down by cream. I want intensity and clarity of flavour but I don’t want to sacrifice delicate balance. I want to feel like I indulge but I don’t want to show proof by means of a bulging belly. After all, I want to look good and feel great on Valentine’s Day. I thought my ideal dessert does not exist until today. I present you Dark Chocolate Bourbon Gelée & Caramel Panna Cotta Verrine. I never thought of putting chocolate and gelée together. There is homely chocolate pudding, voluptuous chocolate mousse, sophisticated chocolate pots de crème. But a gelée made of only top quality dark chocolate, water, sugar, and bourbon? I was intrigued. Of course Hervé This long ago took away my fear of splashing water on chocolate as long... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2015 at Dessert By Candy
A couple of weeks ago my girlfriends and I enjoyed an amazing dinner at Porzia, a neighbourhood Italian restaurant in Parkdale. With seven of us at the table, we ordered the whole menu without hesitation. In between catching up on latest news and plenty of giggles, we heartily enjoyed the parade of comforting rustic Italian dishes. One highlight of the evening was Trippa alla Parmigiana, a warming stew of tripe, house-made sausage, and chickpea served with a fried farm egg. This is Porzia’s signature dish and much has been written about it in local media. Even the recipe is available online! As soon as we got home, a few of us already started planning to recreate this tripe stew in our own kitchen. Tripe is not easily found in mainstream supermarket these days. Luckily, it is still a staple in Cantonese and Vietnamese cooking so a well-stocked Asian grocer probably... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2015 at Dessert By Candy
I am far from an expert on Malaysian cuisine but I enjoy it since I was a child in Hong Kong. A cosmopolitan city at heart, Malaysian restaurants are common and a popular choice for dining out in my family. After I moved to Toronto, I was disappointed that authentic Malaysian restaurants were few and far between. I missed my favourite dish nasi lemak dearly. Lucky for me, it is not all that difficult to make nasi lemak at home. The comforting coconut steamed rice dish is often accompanied by an assortment of sides that complement and contrast. The spicy sambal with fiery chillies and crunchy anchovies is my favourite. The heat is tamed by cooling slices of cucumbers and rich coconut steamed rice fragrant with pandan. Wedges of hardboiled egg nudge the dish firmly in the breakfast territory. Crunchy salted peanuts keep up the textural interest. And don’t forget... Continue reading
Posted Jan 28, 2015 at Dessert By Candy
Many of us experienced Pinterest Disappointment before. You come across an enticing pin. You carefully follow the recipe. What you end up making looks nothing like the exquisite original that caught your attention in the first place. You question your own ability and you doubt the integrity of the recipe. In the end, you feel like you wasted precious time, effort, and ingredients. Do you let out a deep sigh and move on or do you try to figure out what went wrong? I experienced all of the above when I tried to make Finnish cinnamon roll korvapuusti last week. Full disclosure: I did not follow the recipes exactly. Combining the recipe from The Kinfolk Table , My Blue And White Kitchen, and my own bread baking experience, I thought it would be a straight-forward treat for Sunday brunch. I was wrong. First, it was dough that stubbornly refused to... Continue reading
Posted Jan 12, 2015 at Dessert By Candy
One of the most important lessons for me in 2014 is the quest to keep pushing myself out of my culinary comfort zone. Cooking and baking with unfamiliar techniques, ingredients, and equipment forced me to learn many new and wonderful things. ‘Tis the season for resolution so I resolve to continue trying something new in the kitchen at least once every week in 2015. I did not waste any time and quickly found not one, but two fun things to learn. In Chinese cooking, smoking food with tea is a classic cooking technique. Unfortunately for me, the prospect of setting up a smoker indoor sounds more than daunting. Turns out, it is rather simple and clean up is a breeze. Why did I wait so long to learn? Thank you Angela Ching and her well-written recipes to demystify this cooking technique. The simplest thing to smoke is none other than... Continue reading
Posted Jan 7, 2015 at Dessert By Candy
I made a resolution at the beginning of the year to push myself out of my culinary comfort zone. In 2014, I tackled unfamiliar cuisines, challenging baking projects, and childhood favourites that I thought I could only indulge while dining out. And let’s not forget I jumped feet first into the world of confectionery! Even though every project seemed a little out of my reach at the time, I learned from both successes and failures. I am confident to say that I have become a better cook thanks to a year of learning. Let’s take a look back at some of the highlights. 10. Swedish Baking Between travels to Sweden and my fascination with goodies sold at the IKEA Swedish Marketplace, I wanted to learn more about Swedish baking. Rather than wait for my next trip to the Scandinavia, I rolled up my sleeves and recreated the experience in my... Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2014 at Dessert By Candy
Holiday celebration is often synonymous with decadent food consumption, especially for those occasions which food plays a central role. This year, I defied tradition and designed a menu for Christmas supper that did not sacrifice taste for a healthier twist. It was every bit as enjoyable and I looked forward to leftovers even as I finished the last bite on my plate. I call that a win-win situation. Healthy Christmas Supper Smoked Sturgeon Goat Cheese Spread on Pita Cracker Mushroom Pate on Seeded Cracker Arugula, Pear, Walnut Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette Roasted Boneless Leg of Lamb with Herb Crust Mint Relish Freekeh with Crimini Mushroom Garlic Broccolini Buche de Noel with Ricotta Orange Chocolate Filling and Chocolate Frosting Coffin Ridge Sparkling Pear Cider I went to the grocery store with every intention to get some Cornish game hens for my menu. Alas, not even a frozen one was in sight... Continue reading
Posted Dec 30, 2014 at Dessert By Candy
It is Boxing Day in Canada and that means another Christmas has come and gone. Updates at Dessert By Candy were few and far between in the last few weeks. First I was overwhelmed with Candy By Candy pop up shop. Once that was over, I faced the conclusion of an important chapter of my professional life. After 14 years as a software developer, I bid (perhaps temporary, perhaps permanent) farewell to the tech industry. It is scary to leave the familiar and comfortable. Most emotionally-challenging though, is the fact that I no longer see my colleagues everyday. Fortunately, my mind is already pre-occupied by some opportunities ahead. I will be more involved with the food industry and there will be lots of new things to learn. I hope to share with you more exciting news as my plans take shape. As soon as I packed my belongings from my... Continue reading
Posted Dec 26, 2014 at Dessert By Candy
When I planned for Candy By Candy pop up shop, I designed the collection based on tried and true recipes. On one hand, I knew that those were popular items I made in the past with predictable yield. On the other hand, I was bursting with creativity and wanted to try new things. It was hard to suppress that creative urge and not veer from my game plan. When I finished with all the planned recipes and still had a bit of time on my hands, this Kristlemas Special Bar was the result. I created this milk chocolate bar with Christmas on my mind. It is a twist on my popular Peanut Butter Nougat Bar. Instead of peanut butter, the fluffy nougat is packed with Nutella. It sits on top of a thick layer of tender hazelnut shortbread with hints of cinnamon and allspice. To complement this mellow flavour, I... Continue reading
Posted Dec 17, 2014 at Dessert By Candy
Last Sunday marked a milestone for Candy By Candy: my first pop up shop! The relaxed and convivial atmosphere at Stratus Vineyards’ Kristlemas Market put everyone in holiday spirits. I could not imagine a better setting for a debut. It was a busy week leading up to the market. I... Continue reading
Posted Dec 16, 2014 at Candy By Candy
I love the anticipation of counting down to the holidays but most mass-produced advent calendars contain disappointingly waxy tasteless chocolate. What if December 1st has already come and gone? It’s still not too late to count down day by day, Candy By Candy style! My Holiday Countdown Sleigh is piled... Continue reading
Posted Dec 12, 2014 at Candy By Candy