Happy Puppy House Dog Cake

happy puppy house cake
happy puppy house cake

I made myself a friend! He is a Happy Puppy House dog cake aka cakey loaf pup. He has a nice Pochacco-like face! My wicked cool friend Amanda turned me on to these hilarious, simple cakes that just have the BEST most comforting faces. The cakes have a loaf-like vibe, and they often post pics of the pets that inspired the cakes. I tried to find ONE measly photo of the cakes cut, but I couldn’t – I just love seeing a cake being cut!

happy puppy house cake

Want to make a pup?

I made this ol’ Happy Puppy House dog cake using a 7 inch round three layer chocolate cake frosted with vanilla buttercream – then I halved the cake, plopped it down onto my Xenia Taler bamboo party plate and then frosted away! First I made a crumb coat, then placed it in the freezer to chill for about fifteen minutes. Then I applied the final coat of vanilla buttercream and gave it a gentle smoothing with a cake bench scraper. I put the cake in the freezer again while I prepared the coloured buttercream.

happy puppy house dog cake

Rainbow Time

To add rainbow paint-like smears to your Happy Puppy House cake, make sure your white frosted cake is well chilled. Add a few tablespoons of buttercream into three small bowls and tint each a different colour. Using a small offset spatula, add smears of coloured buttercream, then use your cake bench scraper to smooth it flat. I used a tiny amount of black fondant to make the kawaii face, but you could use cut up candy or you could pipe the face using buttercream! This rainbow pup is plant-based – I used my favourite Miyoko’s butter for the buttercream. Hot tip about Miyoko’s – look for it on sale, then purchase in bulk like a maniac, like me, and freeze it!

If you like rainbow animal cakes, you may enjoy my OG rainbow caticorn cake – when two animal species join together to create something extra wonderful. Maybe you like cabbage cakes – this one by one of my faves, Sprinkle Bakes, is very a-peeling. Happy baking, cake pals! xo Lyndsay

Frog Cake Jabba The Hutt Mash up

frog cake jabba the hutt
frog cake

Sometimes I’m old and anti-internet, and then sometimes I AM COMPLETELY CHARMED by something as ridiculously cute as this frog cake from Oracle Bakery. There is something so gentle and sweet about two plump dollops of green buttercream dressed up as froggy buddies, just chilling on a mushroom-festooned cake. It’s definitely got a “don’t worry, be happy” childlike vibe that is soothing to my tired little mind.

oracle bakery style frog cake

I wanted to make a “Star Wars cake meets Oracle Bakery frog cake” mash-up for Star Wars Day – and since I have a light obsession with Jabba the Hutt, he seemed like the right little buddy for Frogman. After a bit of light googling, I found this wonderful YouTube vid by Tipo’s Homebakes showing the whole shebang on how to make Oracle Bakery’s frog cake. Super helpful! I used my biggest open circle tip I could find to make the frog and Jabba. I used smaller Wilton #5 round tips to pipe the outlines of the 2-D mushrooms, and used a #10 to pipe the shroom stems and caps on the top of the cake!

FUNGI TIP:

For the 3D mushrooms, I piped all of the mushroom caps onto parchment paper and froze them for ten minutes before placing them on top of the stems. I used pre-coloured black fondant for the eyes-n-smilez, because I had some in my pantry and I didn’t feel like making a tiny amount of black buttercream… :P You could certainly use melted dark chocolate though! I used little candy sprinkle pearl things for the caps, too.

FROG TIP:

I piped Froggo and Jabbo on their own parchment paper strips and froze them in carbonite, too! Freezing them will make them much easier to handle and place onto your cake, especially if you, like me, piped about a dozen green buttercream literal turds before you found the frog shape body you were looking for. I also used an offset spatula to smooth my frog bod and Jabba’s tail addition.

slice of vegan chocolate cake

For the cake, I made the dark chocolate cake from Food 52’s Genius Desserts cookbook! The recipe is by plant based yogurt guru (yoguru?) Anita Shepherd and it’s got a secret ingredient… it’s green… no, it’s not frogs. It’s avocado. ^__^ The cake turned out fluffy and super moist, and I decorated it with a simple vegan buttercream. I think next time I’ll add more cocoa powder and some melted chocolate to the cake to really amp up the choco-flavour.

buttercream frog with buttercream jabba

Look at these besties!! (Or maybe lovers? Who am I to judge.) Of course, at the last minute, smart husband suggested Grogu on the top of the cake eating frog eggs, which would have been pretty darn clever and cute. Maybe next year??? xo Lyndsay the Hutt

Pizza The Hutt Cake

pizza the hutt cake

May the Schwartz be with you! Pizza the Hutt cake looks kinda gnarly, I know. But he’s made of vanilla cake, vanilla buttercream and white chocolate drips to emulate oozing cheese. To make Pizza the Hutt, I used two 6 x 3 inch round cake pans and my “sportsball” pan that I’ve used a zillion times but never to make a sports ball. It’s been Jabba the Hutt, Homer Simpson and many other cakes! Still haven’t gotten around to my Bibb Fortuna cake but maybe someday. For now, though:

Make Pizza The Hutt!

pizza the hutt cake crumb coat

This looks like a giant tongue to me. Yucky!! I used the domed up trimmings of the cake layers and mixed it up with some frosting to make a “cake ball” of sorts, except I shaped it into a triangle like a cake onigiri, chilled it in the freezer for about ten minutes to set, then plopped it on top of the cake layers to give it more of a triangular pizza head. I used a wooden skewer to hold it into place while I built it up with red buttercream.

white chocolate ganache drip
making the cheese drip

After power chilling the frosted cake, I then made some white chocolate ganache. Once the ganache was cooled enough that it was thick and gloopy, I used a spoon to add some melted cheese-looking drips to Pizza the Hutt.

pizza the hutt cake

I used some fondant I had kicking around to make mushrooms, olives and green pepper shapes! I grated some white fondant using a box grater for even more “cheese.” I found some white sprinkles in my pantry too so literally threw them at Pizza the Hutt cake, hehe. I thought about making pepperoni as well but decided I was cool with Pizza being vegetarian. Ha. I tried many different face with this grease-laden pizza faced friend. I decided to roll with kawaii face because Steph liked it the most! It’s been a hot pizza minute since I’ve made something like this so I needed outside some trusted opinion. But here’s the original Pizza the Hutt face which I think has a creepier, funnier and grosser face:

pizza the hutt cake

Jabba the Hutt cake of yesteryear!

jabba the hutt cake cococakeland
pizza the hutt cake

Who wore their Hutt better? Happy Star Wars Day! xo Lyndsay

Easter Cakes Round up

easter cakes
bunny cake cover star coco cake land
easter cakes

Powered by bunnies! Coco Cake Land Easter cakes round up, and a few Easter dessert recipes too! A few weekends ago Teddy and I made matcha green tea sugar cookies with white chocolate drizzle, from a recipe card sent to us by the wonderful CBC Great Canadian Baking Show finalist Colin! He was Teddy’s fave contestant, and thanks to the internet, we were able to reach out and say hi. He kindly offered to send Teddy a recipe card and note in the mail! Cute! We used our trusty Miffy cookie cutter to make some adorable bunny cookies. The photos weren’t so adorable because my iPhone camera is cracked, so I won’t be featuring them here. But you can imagine with your imagination! :P

bunny cake
easter cakes

Here’s how the bunny cake comes together! You can make your bunbun friend furry or smooth and add a whole bunch of crispy chocolate mini eggs on top, like this Flower Crown Bunny Cake!

easter cakes

These pink bunny cut up cakes would make a very good individualized Easter dessert option. You know, the pandemic and sharing food and all.

slice of cream pie - cococakeland.com

Or just simply fuggedabout bunny things. How about a banana coconut cream pie??

coffee toffee strawberry chocolate cake recipe

Or one of my favourites, a little bit wacky but totally scrumptious Coffee Toffee Strawberry Chocolate Cake. Cram in all the flavours.

Eggies flower crown easter bunny cake

We’re making carrot cake for the weekend! I’ve been working on a plant based recipe which is top notch moist. I kinda love adding vegetables and fruit to baking. We’ve been on this “Live 5-2-1-0” kick for Teddy. Eat five servings of fruit and vegetables (carrots in cake or muffins, zucchini hidden in chocolate loaf cakes, or spinach in morning smoothies!), two hours max of screen time (bwahaha), one hour minimum of physical activity a day and… ZERO sugary drinks! The last one is very easy considering Teddy gets one Mountain Dew on his birthday, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-style. And he barely drinks it… too bubbly. He actually likes to wait until it gets flat in the fridge and then has teeny sips of it over the course of many weeks. IDEAL!

abstract buttercream painted cake

Wishing you a casual, low stress and delicious week/weekend – if you celebrate Easter, I hope you’re able to connect with family and friends in a meaningful and safe manner. If you celebrate Easter in the consumerist candy way, may the big Bunny rain down many a chocolate egg in your direction. xo Lyndsay

Salty Caramel Peanut Butter Snacking Cake

salty caramel peanut butter snacking cake
salty caramel peanut butter snacking cake

Comfort me with snacking cakes. Even better – comfort me with this salty caramel peanut butter snacking cake! When I first saw mention of Yossy’s latest brilliant book Snacking Cakes, I just knew it would be the emotional eating tome of Covid 19. I think we all knew we loved snacking cakes but we didn’t quite know the term for it – a simple, single layer cake with an easy to make frosting or glaze, perfect to whip up on a random Wednesday to make a dragging day feel a little more special.

Snacking Cakes by Yossy Arefi

Snacking Cakes is the perfect comfort for our pandemic-shattered minds, a cookbook page-turner to relax the anxious old noggin – it’s like you’re being hugged by Yossy’s calming, beautiful photos of softly tender-crumbed cakes.

salty caramel peanut butter snacking cake

After picking up my copy at my fave local indie bookshop, an hour later I was in the kitchen whipping up this salty caramel peanut butter snacking cake because after looking at Yossy’s dreamy photos of this lushly crumbed, fudgey-caramel-iced cake with snowflakes of flakey sea salt, I JUST HAD TO HAVE A PIECE. It came together in a flash, and suddenly our little family’s day felt exciting with a special dessert awaiting our weeknight dinner! A note about peanut butter: use non-fancy peanut butter for this, ie something like Kraft or Skippy (the junky delicious kind of PB!)

Salty Caramel Peanut Butter Snacking Cake

8 slices

For The Peanut Butter Cake

  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, well shaken
  • 1/2 cup neutral oil, like canola or grapeseed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

For The Caramel Frosting

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • Flaky salt, to finish (optional)

Make The Cake

Position a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter or coat an 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick spray. Line the pan with a circle of parchment paper cut to size. 

  1. In a large bowl, whisk the brown sugar and eggs until pale and foamy, about 1 minute. Add the peanut butter and whisk until smooth. Add the buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and kosher salt. Whisk until smooth andemulsified.
  2. Add the flour, baking powder, and baking soda and whisk until well-combined and smooth.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, tap the pan gently on the counter to release any air bubbles, and smooth the top of the batter with an offset spatula.
  4. Bake the cake until puffed and golden, and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes depending on your oven. Set the pan on a rack to cool for about 15 minutes, then turn out the cake onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Make the Frosting

  1. Melt the butter, brown sugar, cream, and water together in a saucepan set over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil and cook for 3 more minutes. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool for 3 minutes, stirring once or twice to release the heat.
  2. After 3 minutes, whisk in the kosher salt and confectioners’ sugar until smooth and slightly thickened.
  3. Spread the icing over the cooled cake and sprinkle with flaky salt, if using.
  4. Let the icing set for about 20 minutes before slicing the cake. Store the cake, covered, at room temperature for up to three days.

 

snacking cakes baking book

I truly liken Snacking Cakes to be like the Smitten Kitchen of cake books – a book you’ll grab over and over again because the recipes are not only simple but tried and true. The day after I made this PB cake I made the buckwheat banana cake and spread it with a lemon glaze, also delicious! Gift yourself this book, and you’ll be gifting yourself the comfort of snacking cakes for you and your loved ones for years to come. PS, Yossy’s first book is one of my favourites too – Sweeter Off The Vine, all about baking with seasonal fruits! I’m going to log roll in snacking cakes now, byeeee! Happy baking, friends.  xo Lyndsay

Milk Tea Buttercream Cake

milk tea buttercream cake

Happy Lunar New Year!

Thank you to Wilton Cakes for sponsoring this post, and for their desire to diversify their content while continuing to include collaborators of colour! In partnership with my friends at Wilton, I made this milk tea buttercream cake to celebrate the Lunar New Year! The cake is infused with milk tea flavour from all angles – it features a milk tea cake soak, a tea-infused buttercream and even steeped milk for the cake batter! Admittedly, after I frosted and decorated the cake, I sat down and dunked a bunch of leftover cake scraps into the creamy milky tea soak leftovers and chowed down, haha.

milk tea buttercream cake

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year for our family is usually a big feast of delicious delights at my mom and dad’s place with lots of laughs and heaps of dishes. Crisp iceberg lettuce laid out for sang choy bao, shiny noodles representing long life, piles of soft white char siu and veggie bao, and a dessert table heaped with glistening sesame balls, steamed glutinous rice cake and apple tarts from New Town Bakery. Crisp, red laisee bags containing “lucky money” are placed into the eager hands of our children. This year, due to the stinkin’ pandemic we’re hoping to do a laisee and treats exchange at a nearby park.

homemade nian gao year cake

What are your favourite treats to eat to celebrate Lunar New Year? For the first time, I made my own nian gao following this simple recipe (pictured above), whisking together the thick batter and steam-cooking it on the stovetop. I love the soft, warm pieces when freshly steamed, but I especially love the sweet, chewy and browned pieces after a good fry-up in a sautée pan. I wrote about some New Year traditions (don’t wash your hair! All your good luck for the year might go down the drain!) and how to celebrate with Lunar New Year desserts over on the Wilton blog!

fried nian gao cake
gin duey sesame balls
almond cookies

Milk tea buttercream cake

Now on to the cake recipe. You can use either loose black tea, or good old grocery store tea bags for this cake (just snip the top of the tea bags and empty the contents) – the most important tool however is a fine mesh strainer for straining out the leaves once steeped. We will be steeping a milk and melted butter mixture for the cake. We will also be making a milk tea soak to soak into the baked cake layers once cooled. Finally, we will be making a tea-steeped butter for the Swiss meringue buttercream! We’re going to do a lot of steeping, but it will be well worth it. MILK TEA FLAVOUR BLAST!

milk tea cake soak
milk tea buttercream cake
milk tea cake slice

Milk Tea Buttercream Cake

12-16 lucky slices

For The Cake

Cake recipe adapted from RecipeTin Eats fluffy vanilla cake
  • 2 cups all purpose flour (300 grams)
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature (50 grams each – 200 grams)
  • 2 cups granulated white sugar (300 grams)
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (115 grams)
  • 250 ml whole milk
  • 1/8 cup loose black tea of your choice (16 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

For The Milk Tea Soak

  • 1 354 ml can of evaporated milk
  • 1/8 cup loose black tea of your choice (16 grams)
  • ¼ cup sweetened condensed milk

For The Milk Tea Buttercream

Recipe adapted from the Layered cake book by Tessa Huff 
  • 2 cups unsalted butter at room temperature (454 grams)
  • ¼ cup loose black tea of your choice (32 grams)
  • 1 ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup plus two tablespoons egg whites (150 ml)
  • 11/2 teapsoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons steeped milk mixture

Make The Cake

Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Butter three 7×2 inch round pans and line with parchment paper circles.

  1. In a medium bowl, sift together the all purpose flour, baking powder and salt.
  2. Start the steeped milk and butter mixture: place a small saucepan on the stovetop and heat the milk and butter together until liquefied and hot, but not boiling. Add the loose tea and steep on low for five minutes.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk together the eggs and white sugar on medium high speed until tripled in volume and light yellow in color, about five to seven minutes.
  4. When the egg mixture is whipped, add the flour in short bursts on low speed to incorporate, careful not to overmix.
  5. Pour the steeped tea hot milk mixture, vanilla extract and vegetable oil into a medium bowl. Carefully add two cups of the egg batter into the milk mixture, whisking to combine. Add this mixture slowly back into the rest of the egg batter on low speed until just combined, scraping down the bowl if needed and doing a few folds with a spatula to finish.
  6. Distribute batter evenly into the three prepared cake pans.
  7. Bake for 23-25 minutes until tanned and golden, and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with moist crumbs. Be careful not to overbake.
  8. Note: while the cake is in the oven, begin to prepare the Swiss Meringue Buttercream steeped butter. In a small saucepan set on the stovetop over medium heat, melt one cup of butter with the ¼ cup of loose black tea leaves. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for five minutes, steeping the tea in the butter. Remove from heat, and allow to steep for five minutes further before straining butter through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Little flecks of tea may remain but not to worry. Refrigerate the melted steeped butter for 20 minutes or so to firm it up to the consistency of room temperature butter. It may appear to be a shade of green at this point but will change to light tea colour once whipped.
  9. Let cake cool completely before frosting.

Make The Milk Tea Soak

  1. In a small saucepan set on the stovetop over medium heat, combine the evaporated milk and loose tea leaves until hot but not boiling, a low simmer.
  2. Steep the leaves for ten minutes in the milk then strain into a liquid measuring cup. Add 3 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk, or more to taste.
  3. Set aside to soak cake layers and use for Swiss meringue buttercream.

Make The Buttercream

  1. Place the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, whisking to combine. Set the bowl on top of a medium saucepan filled with a few inches of water on the stovetop – creating a bain-marie to gently heat together the egg whites and sugar, heating on medium-high heat, whisking throughout, until mixture registers 160F (70C) on a candy thermometer.
  2. Carefully remove the bowl from the saucepan and place back into stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg white mixture on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stop the mixer, and swap out the whisk for the paddle attachment.
  3. With the mixer on low speed, add the tea-steeped butter and other cup of butter a tablespoon at a time. Add the vanilla extract, increase the speed to medium high and beat until thickened and silky smooth. Add the steeped milk mixture, one tablespoon at a time, continue beating another minute to incorporate.

Assemble The Cake

  1. I used a gold 10 inch round cake board for the cake to add some Lunar New Year flair. Place a cake board or plate on your cake turntable. Add a dab of buttercream to the center and add the first cake layer. Using a serrated knife, evenly level your cake by trimming off dome shape. Using a spoon, evenly soak the first layer of cake with around six tablespoons of steeped milk mixture.
  2. Fill your first layer with milk tea buttercream.
  3. Trim the second layer, and carefully soak the top and bottom of the cake layer with the milk tea mixture. Place cut-side-down on top of the first layer. Repeat with the third layer.
  4. Using an offset spatula, frost the entire exterior of the cake, using a cake bench scraper to smooth your first layer of buttercream. Chill the cake in the fridge or freezer for 15 minutes to set. Frost the cake with a second layer of milk tea buttercream, using the cake bench scraper to smooth to your liking.
  5. Time to decorate! Fill a piping bag fitted with a large multi-pronged open star tip such as Wilton 6B with remaining milk tea buttercream. Decorate the top and sides of the cake with alternating drop stars with fresh red raspberries or any other red berry, along with gold foil chocolate coins. Place a gold ball dragée sprinkle on top of the piped drop stars or dust the cake with gold sprinkles. You could also decorate with mini sesame balls, mini almond cookies or edible gold leaf.
  6. The Milk tea buttercream cake is best enjoyed fresh, but it can be covered well and refrigerated for up to three days. Bring cake to room temperature to enjoy!

lunar new year cake

milk tea cake slice

milk tea cake slice

Fluffy, soft cake slices fragrant with milk tea, layered in not-too-sweet buttercream and bursting with milk tea flavour! Hope you enjoy this cake. Wishing you a happy Lunar New Year – many wishes for good health, prosperity and good luck for the year of the Ox! BYYYYYEEE 2020. xo Lyndsay

Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies Are Your New Old Fave

toffee chocolate chip cookies
toffee chocolate chip cookies

Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

Toffee chocolate chip cookies are everything you need to emotional eat your days away into weight gain oblivion. What is your favourite type of chocolate chip cookie? Flat, crisp and chewy? Puffy, soft and cakey? I’ve been making cookies for … decades? Haha… they are so comforting to me, like a baked miniature chocolate pooled crispy chewy pillow. I just want to snuggle up to a million cookies.

toffee chocolate chip cookies

Kate of Rage Bake’s toffee chocolate chip cookie is my usual fave to bake up, eat myself and gift away. But recently, I made Erin of Cloudy Kitchen’s chocolate chip cookies and it also encompasses everything I love about a CCC. Puddles of chocolate, a beautiful sandy texture which I’ve been looking for forever, a gentle ripple of crispy and chewy, flakes of Maldon sea salt to balance the sweet. SANDY TEXTURED COOKIES! I love em. I always thought it was the role of some grainy flour that was causing that mouthfeel, but now I see it was TURBINADO SUGAR all along. Rev up your sugar collection – the addition of raw sugar might make your cookie life.

plate of cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookie Hacks

In my many years of home baking chocolate chip cookies, I’ve gathered some little hacks along the way. Here are my top chocolate chip cookie hacks!

One: I like to pan-bang, but with these cookies, just one slam after they’re out of the oven will do. I just drop the cookie sheet onto the stovetop from about an inch. The cookies ripple outward and flatten.

Two: I am anal cookie retentive about roundness. I use a small offset spatula and gently pat the cookies back into a round shape, should they be a little too oblong or football-like in appearance.

Three: Once my cookies are baked and out of the oven, I like to squash down any puff that may have occurred in the cookie baking. With the same offset spatula, I give my cookies a gentle squash-down before adding my sprinkle of Maldon flaky salt to finish.

Four: High quality chocolate is gonna upgrade these babies to outer space territory. I used Callebaut 811, which you can find in block or “callet” form (their version of chocolate chips). The callets melt into layered chocolatey pools, unlike a typical grocery store chocolate chip, which will keep its general form.

Five: Using a scale to measure ingredients will ensure you don’t over puff or over sugar your cookies. Exactitude can be fun!

reshaping cookie into round shape

That’s me, patting my cookies back into roundy territory. Many thanks to the brilliant, cat-loving baker Erin of Cloudy Kitchen, who came up with this recipe! All I did was dump in half a bag of my favourite toffee bits.

callebaut callets cookie

Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 dozen

For The Cookies

  • 225g Unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 170g Dark Brown Sugar
  • 100g Granulated / White Sugar
  • 50g Raw / Turbinado Sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 300g All-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 350 g good quality dark chocolate in chopped or callet form
  • 100 g toffee bits
  • Flaky Sea Salt such as Maldon for finishing

Make The Cookies

Preheat the oven to 350°f / 180°c. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. 

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars on high speed until pale, light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract, scraping down the sides of the bowl when necessary.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. With the mixer off, pour the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl. Pulse for a few seconds to gently combine and not cause a flour dust storm, then mix on low just to combine, ten or so seconds.
  3. Add the chocolate and toffee bits and pulse a few times to combine the dough without over mixing.
  4. If you want large round cookies, use a 2 tbs retractable cookie scoop to dole out even balls of cookie dough. I also used a 1 tbs scoop for some of the cookie dough to make them perfect kid’s lunchbox size! Place on parchment paper lined cookie sheets, leaving room for the cookies to spread. You can freeze any leftover dough balls and save to bake later.
  5. Bake the cookies between 11 and 14 minutes, depending on your oven (mine has a fan so I used a slightly shorter baking time) until cookies are lightly golden. Remove from oven, pan-bang as noted above if desired, reform any cookies with an offset spatula back into round shapes if desired, then sprinkle each with a generous pinch of flaky sea salt. Note: you can let the dough rest for an hour, as per Erin’s recipe in the fridge, to help hydrate the dough and develop flavour. Or, you can be a hungry cookie pig and bake them off straight away with similar amounts of deliciousness.

toffee chocolate chip cookies

What’s your go-to chocolate chip recipe, or favourite cookie hacks? Erin has a really great one, using a circle cookie cutter that’s slightly larger than your cookie, and “scooting” them into perfect round cookie shapes. Cookie hacks are like the Photoshop of chocolate chip cookies. No cookie looks that perfect on its own straight outta the oven!? Some of my other favourite cookie recipes are this brown butter chocolate chip cookie, this bonkers rye-cranberry chocolate chip poppyseed cookie, and this brilliant, simple vegan chocolate chip cookie that is a crowd favourite, vegan or not. Happy baking, sweet pals! xo Lyndsay 

Pieometry Lemon Tart

My baking pal Lauren Ko busted out a pretty spectacular pie book this past fall – Pieometry! Her pie designs are so precise, geometric and modern, and the recipes are total bangers – like cardamom coffee cream tart, or pumpkin black sesame pie, or basil lemon! Or, go the savoury route – tomatillo short rib pie, or a caramelized onion and potato tart. You getting hungry yet? Not only is the cookbook loaded with incredible recipes, step by step photos and pie basics, it is also beautiful to look at – you’ll be proud to have this one on your coffee table!

My wonderful mom turned 76 this month. I was hoping to have her over for her favourite fancy pizza, but alas, gathering restrictions were renewed again. However, pitch and putt golf is currently allowed – so we masked up and got in some winter casual golf instead! The THWOCK of a golf club clocking a golf ball into the air sure is a satisfying sound, hehe. It was a muddy and chilly affair, but there was no one else on the golf course and we laughed and sloshed our way through nine holes and had a blast. Rich described my golf look as “longshore fisherman” but I prefer “longshore fisher person”.

I made my mom this bright and cheery Pieometry lemon tart – as high tea lemon tarts are one of her favourite treats! It was very simple to make – I followed Lauren’s instructions for her cookie shortbread crust, made the lemon curd filling on the stovetop, filled the crust with the curd, baked it again for a few minutes to set. While the tart was setting, I whipped up some meringue using the leftover egg whites from the curd, piped it onto the cooled tart and then brought out the old handheld kitchen blowtorch to toast it up. Finished it with fresh raspberries for pops of colour! The recipe in Pieometry is called “Life of the Tarty” and is a lemon basil curd, but I omitted the basil this time around!

Lemon Meringue Tart

12 slices

For The Shortbread Crust

  • 1 cup (142 grams) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (57 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick/113 grams) unsalted butter at room temperature, cubed

For The Lemon Curd

  • 1 cup (198 grams) granulated sugar
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 cup (237 milliliters) fresh lemon juice, from about 8 lemons
  • 4 large eggs plus 4 egg yolks
  • 6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, cut into cubes

For The Meringue

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • pinch of salt

Make The Crust

  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
  2. Combine the flour, powdered sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Rub the butter into the flour mixture by smushing the cubes with your fingers, working until a homogenous dough forms. The resulting dough should be smooth and supple.
  3. Press the dough into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, using your palm to flatten it into an even layer. Place the tart on a baking sheet to catch any butter drips that occur during baking and to provide stability as you transfer the tart shell in and out of the oven.
  4. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool completely.

Make The Lemon Curd

  1. Lower the oven temperature to 350ºF.
  2. Combine the sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl and massage together, making sugar very fragrant.
  3. Pour the sugar into a 2-quart saucepan. Add the lemon juice, eggs, egg yolks and salt and whisk to combine. Cook over medium heat so mixture is warmed through. Add the butter gradually and stir until all the butter has melted. Continue cooking over medium heat until mixture is thick enough to coat a spatula, 5 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently and scraping the corners of the saucepan. Remove from the heat and strain the curd through a fine-mesh-sieve.
  4. Keep the baked tart crust in the tart pan on its baking sheet. Pour the curd into the tart crust and smooth the surface using an offset spatula.
  5. Bake the tart for 5 to 10 minutes, just to set the filling. The edges should be solid while the center retains the slightest of jiggles.
  6. Cool completely before adding meringue.

Make The Meringue

  1. Set the metal bowl of your stand mixer fitted on top of a small sauce pan filled a quarter full with water, making sure the bowl does not touch the water.
  2. Place on stovetop and heat the water to a gentle boil on medium heat.
  3. Add the egg whites and sugar to the bowl, whisking to combine.
  4. Continue to heat the egg white mixture until a digital thermometer inserted into mixture reads 160ºF.
  5. Carefully remove the metal bowl from the saucepan and place into stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
  6. Whisk the mixture on low speed for one minute until frothy. Add a pinch of salt.
  7. Increase the speed to medium-high speed and whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  8. Fill a piping bag fitted with an open star tip with the meringue.

Assemble The Tart

  1. Pipe drop stars or a decorative border on top of the cooled lemon curd tart. You can fill the entire tart or leave some bright yellow tart visible.
  2. Using a handheld kitchen blowtorch, toast the meringue until lightly browned. You may also broil it in the oven, but watch it like a hawk – 30-60 seconds, or until toasted brown.
  3. Finish the tart with fresh raspberries if desired.
  4. Extra meringue can be piped onto a parchment covered baking sheet and baked for one hour at 200º until crispy and dry.

pieometry lemon tart

Keep the tart refrigerated until serving! We made parfaits with the leftover lemon curd, baked meringue and raspberries, with scoops of frozen yogurt. Never trash your leftover fillings, frostings and accoutrements! Haha. If you want to pick up a copy of Pieometry, order it through your local indie bookstore – they could definitely use the support during these Covid times. And… Happy birthday, Mom! Glad you could have a fun day despite the ding dong pandemic. xo Lyndsay