Category Archives: Foods

Mmmmmm pie.

I can count the number of pies I’ve made on my fingers. I’m hoping to include toes soon. In spite of my low number I really do love baking pies. I have a beautiful pie plate that needs more use. So in honour of Thanksgiving this past weekend I baked an apple pie for one of the three dinners I have attended/will be attending (2 down, one to go).

I couldn’t remember what recipe I used for my last crust, so I hashed together a new crust recipe! Based entirely off the proportions for good ol’ Barefat’s “Deep Dish Apple Pie”. Except I replaced the shortening with DUCK FAT and the water with VODKA.

Let me explain a few things for you, in case those last two ingredients make you question my sanity (it’s ok, I totally understand). I’m big into the idea of animal fat over shortening. I mean shortening has its place, I’m sure. It makes for flakey things, and I use it when I need to. It’s just, believe it or not, way creepier than animal fat. The process you go through to render fat from various vegetables? That shit shouldn’t happen man. It just shouldn’t. But animal fat? That is a much more reasonable and natural process. Just embrace it and pretend you’re European, or a cowboy, or whatever. The extra bonus of animal fat is that the exceptionally attractive butcher will explain to you all the differences between the animals. Lard (pig fat) is the cheapest of animals fats, and is good for use in sweet or savory pies. Beef is ok too, but should really only be used in savory crusts. Chicken tastes SUPER chicken-y, so not such a good plan. Duck, ah yes duck, it’s the most expensive (other than goose I’d assume, or polar bear, but I’m not THAT fancy…. yet), but it is exceptional for all types of crust. OH, THE TASTE! So I use duck fat. It smells a little woody, but it’s soft and easy to work with. And you can freeze it.

My choice of vodka as a substitute for water is not based on my love of a good tipple, no,  but instead: SCIENCE. The problem with water is that when it meets flour it gets gluttony, or something, and makes for a tougher, less flakey crust the more you work with it. Using vodka means you can have a wetter dough which is easier to work with, without sacrificing flake. Go team vodka!

People, my pie-hating sister ATE ALL THE PIE. This crust is THAT good. So I will share it with you.

Duck Fat Vodka Pie crust:

This recipe will make a bottom crust and a top crust.

Make sure all your ingredients are very cold, but not frozen.

1 ½ sticks of good unsalted butter, cubed

1/3 cup duck fat, splodged (it doesn’t really cube as it’s so soft, like all our fatty bits!)

3 cups of flour

1 tsp salt

1 tablespoon white sugar

½ cup of ice cold vodka (I like to pour myself a glass on the rocks and measure it out from there)

1 egg and a splash of milk for the eggwash, keep separate.

  1. Pre-heat oven to 415 F (an odd number but it worked). Stick a tin foil lined baking tray on the lower rack to catch all the tasty juices that will inevitably ooze out of your pie. This way your kitchen won’t smell like it’s on fire. Maybe.
  2. Whisk all dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  3. Throw butter and duck fat in with the flour and cut in with two knives, continue until it’s a bowl full of pea-sized floury buttery bits. I usually get impatient and start using my hands. This works especially well if you are a vampire, or have naturally cold hands.
  4. Slowly pour in the ice cold vodka, and work into dough with your fingers until it’s all just combined.
  5. Divide dough into two disks, and put in fridge for 30mins, or forever. It’s up to you.
  6. After you’ve made your filling, or washed your hair, or whatever, roll out the dough until it looks like a big enough circle to fit into your pie plate with some over-hang. THEN (here’s a handy tip), fold it in half (or into a quarter triangle guy) and place it in the dish, and then unfold in the dish. This avoids breaking it to a billion pieces. SMART. Press gently into the dish.
  7. Pile in your filling! I used a cinnamon spiced apple filling and piled it in HIGH, but do whatever makes you happy! Peaches, plums, pears, whatever!
  8. Do the same but with the top! I cut out ADORABLE hearts, but if you don’t want to be barf-tastic, just make some slits with a knife, or whatever. Your pie is like a puppy, it needs to breath! So make some breathing holes.
  9. Eggwash your pie! Dip a brush into the eggwash you made, and then paint the top of your pie with it. I forgot this step, but I just did it 45mins into baking. It worked out fine.
  10. BAKE! I baked mine for about 1h 25mins, the crust was a delicious golden brown and the juices were bubbling and gurgling and leaking on to the tray below nicely. I’d start checking in about 45mins in, if your top is getting too golden for your liking, place some tinfoil on top!


1 Comment

Filed under Foods

D’OH: a doughnut, a female with a doughnut, RAY: the guy who buys me doughnuts?


I’ve had a mild obsession with doughnuts all my life. Which intensified after I started watching Dexter. There’s just something about those adorable pink boxes filled with DELICIOUS yeasty rings of glory. So I went to Tim Horton’s more often in an attempt to satisfy my cravings. But it just wasn’t doing it for me. Then the season ended and my needs waned. Years later, and a mere month ago, I went to New York with the wonderful boyfriend, and I remembered that Americans love their doughnuts, and what better place to find a delicious doughnut than New York?

Through a series of fun friend-fueled happenstances I ended up at a vegan BBQ on a rooftop in Brooklyn asking a friend of a friend where to find good doughnuts, and she recommended this place called Dough. It’s on the corner of Layfayette and Franklin in Brooklyn, and about a 30 minute walk from my friend’s place. That night I dreamt that I didn’t get to go to the doughnut store before we left Brooklyn. It was pretty much the WORST DREAM OF MY LIFE. It needed to not come true, because I WAS GOING TO EAT ME SOME DOUGHNUTS.

So I dragged my gracious friend and my tired and sweaty WB on a pilgrimage in the 30+ heat for these doughnuts. And I’d do it again. Oh I’d do it again if it was a billionty degrees and I had no shoes and had to piggyback everyone and they were both crying and throwing pebbles at me. At $2 a doughnut some may balk at the price point, but not only are these babies gargantuan, but I’d happily pay $5 for the pleasure of shoving them in my face-hole.


I have never tasted a better doughnut in my life. It was like eating a cloud. A delicious, sweet, beautiful baby cloud.

These doughnuts were the closest thing to perfection I have ever encountered. A simple, beautiful, fluffy, yeasty doughnut with glaze. My glaze was blood orange flavoured. The tartness of the blood orange melded beautifully with all the sugar required to actually make a glaze, and it just enveloped the giant, soft doughnut so perfectly.


I finally understand!

omg the best doughnuts i have ever ingested

So, as you can tell I became a woman obsessed, with doughnuts forever on my mind, waxing lyrical about my brief encounter with these supernaturally-delicious, fried circles of joy.

And as a side-effect I have ruined my pallet for all other inferior doughnuts. It’s like going back to Starbuck’s coffee after upgrading to, well, anything else. It’s just gross and disappointing. So the fate of my eternal happiness now falls in my own hands, I must make my own doughnuts. A daunting task for two reasons, the first being the last time I tried to fry anything I set my kitchen on fire, and the second being I have no idea what ingredients make for a good doughnut. There were so many different recipes out there I had no idea where to start, it confused me. Some called for potatoes, some for buttermilk, others for super simple dough ingredients. It took me a while before I went back to my favourite baking blog, remembering that she too had a doughnut quest, and I used her recipe that she found in Gourmet magazine.

And HOT DAMN are these some fine doughnuts. And totally fun to make! I didn’t burn down my kitchen at all. Though I’d recommend NOT frying anything minutes before 15 people show up to your non air-conditioned apartment in 30 degree weather… WOW was it ever steamy at my place.

Here I am wearing my fabulous present from Dave and Joanne with my doughnuts. How apropos.

 more doughnuts less libraries!

Some tweaks are needed here and there I think, but I’m super happy that I am on my way to finally finding the perfect doughnut.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm doughnuts.


Filed under Foods

A Very Blustery Day

Hey interwebs! It’s been a while. My apologies. I’ve been busy, or uh, something.

Anyhoo, it’s a crappy day out, and as it often happens the weather proved itself to be a bit of a prophetic fallacy. So to counter the malaise I decided to bake a ridiculous batch of cookies (heffalump and woozle free)!


The goods:

The selection above comprises of a giant Hello Kitty chocolate given to me by my generous roomie, shredded coconut, caramel Hershey’s Kisses, and Easter theme M&Ms.

Hello Kitty needed some alterations before being added to the cookie dough, which luckily coincided with my need to smash something. Look at that shit disturber winking at me. I WILL SMASH YOUR FACE.




Then voila! Happiest cookie dough EVAR:

Here’s the recipe for my world famous (Canada and England, that’s worldly famously enough, right?) and aptly named “Fuck You Cookies”:

In one bowl combine:

1/2 cup melted unsalted butter

1 lightly beaten egg

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1tsp vanilla extract

In a larger bowl combine:

1 1/4 cups flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

Pour wet ingredients into dry, and combine. Add in whatever the hell you want and combine! Then refrigerate for at least an hour. You can also freeze this mofo for days/weeks/months and it’s still good. ALSO the dough, holy wow, just eat it.

Then after an hour (I wrote this while waiting, and made dinner like a bowss), preheat oven to 325. On a greased baking sheet, roll out cookies into whatever size you want. I believe the original recipe (from a book called “Kids Can Cook”) stated “walnut size balls” (tee-hee). But whatever floats your boat, these babies are versatile!

Bake for 7mins! Or rather, check in at 7mins… Take out, well, whenever you think they are done! I usually wait until just seconds before the edges go golden brown, cos I like my cookies gooey! These babies took close to 20min, cos well, they’re biggies.

COOL (totally optional), EAT (mandatory), ENJOY (unavoidable)!


My balls. Slightly larger than what I normally go with, which is usually the size of a very large red grape. But today: PLUM SIZED. Awwwyeah.

So the caramel Kisses exploded a bit, but guess who cares?


Leave a comment

Filed under Foods

Hey BlogTO, this review kinda sucks!

So instead of leaving a trolling comment about this article beneath it, I have decided to create an entire blog post ranting about people’s perceptions of baked goods. This article, I think, extols everything wrong with how people often perceive baked goods.

Guess what kids? Your expectations are WAY TOO HIGH.

As a girl who often bakes, and often bakes well (though I of course have huge kitchen-based car crashes), I don’t know why you think that every cookie, cake, pie or cupcake should taste like an edible, chocolate-covered, gold-flecked version of Ryan Reynolds or Scarlet Johansson, but you do. In fact I am fairly certain that you have never actually tasted anything even remotely close to what you expect every time you take a bite out of something. You know why that is? Because your food expectations are false!

Remember that slice of pizza you had in Montreal after you went to karaoke? It was just plain cheese and is was $2. Your then-boyfriend paid for it cos you had no cash on you, and some dude started singing “Independent Woman” at you as a joke. Yeah that was a good night. And that pizza was the BEST SLICE EVER. You know why? It had nothing to do with the pizza, and everything to do with the moment in time. That pizza tasted so good, because the night was so amazing, and it will never ever be equaled, no matter how you try.

Eating, for most, is a communal and emotional experience. The tastes on your tongue are as important as the company you are sharing them with, and the mood and emotions filling your soul. A particular wine (J Lohr’s Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon, mmmmm) has never managed to taste as wonderful as it did that first night I tried it. And it never will, and it has nothing to do with the wine’s quality. I mean it’s still delicious, and one of my favourites, and I’ll happily kill a bottle, but it lacks the magic of that night I discovered it.

Baked goods, I feel, suffer the most from this myth of perfection. It’s because warm, sugary, buttery baked things are intrinsically linked to our childhood. Every so often as adults we will indulge in something and it will bring us back to a moment in time. And it will be magical. But that fleeting memory has now become what is expected every time you cram a cupcake in your mouth, and it just doesn’t work that way. So instead of enjoying the splendor of a cookie, as it stands, we perhaps unknowingly, want to feel something; some emotional connection masked as an expectation of a “taste explosion”, and thus are left disappointed with a perfectly good treat.

This drives me nuts.

Now, I’m not saying a baked good can’t taste like crap, and be totally disappointing. Sadly, that happens more often than I’d like. And excuses do not need to be made for dry cake, bad icing, or any other disaster that happens. But people all too often expect to be completely blown away every single time they eat something. That just isn’t going to happen. It is impossible. Every time you up your standards unrealistically you are leaving yourself prone to more and more disappointment. Sometimes a chocolate chip cookie will inevitably just taste like a chocolate chip cookie, and it’s not something to be disappointed about. Sometimes a cupcake will just taste like a cupcake. But sometimes, sometimes you will come across something that brings you back to a moment in time, and if you are lucky, you will get to relive it, and revel in its glory. And it is then, and only then, that the average cookie will be elevated in status, and it probably has little to do with the greatness of the cookie itself, but more the memory the taste recalls.

I am also not trying to say that there is no such thing as a phenomenal baked good out there that is supremely excellent in its own right. Because there most certainly is. But these are few and far between. They are like great works of art, rare and wonderful, and a pleasure to be experienced. But it is when one is blind to the fact that this is the exception, rather than the norm. The majority of our lives will be spent eating average, good or even great baked treats. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. And each treat deserves to be recognized as delicious in its own right, rather than being compared to something that so few can achieve, or a memory of something that is hard, if not impossible to recreate.

So, in conclusion “Guest Contributor”, I’m sorry your expectations were unrealistically high. I’m sorry that you placed too much weight in the fact that the displays were lack luster, and not up to par. And I’m sorry that none of these amateur cupcakes stood out for you. It must be a hard life tasting 14 different cupcakes for fun. A hard life indeed. How about, instead of coming out of this event so incredibly jaded and disappointed, you shift your way of thinking to something along the lines of: Isn’t life great that you live in a world that has an event where you get to eat 14 mini cupcakes.

Because, really, if you think about it for a second or two, that is mind-blowingly wonderful.

And while you are here, this should remind you how awesome shit is:

Leave a comment

Filed under Foods

Sugar sugar doo doo doo doo doo doo…

Just like most department stores, I have gotten ahead of myself and am in semi-full-on Christmas mode. Kinda. Mostly just in the way that I have started making dough for all the Christmas cookies I plan on gifting this holiday season. I have two in the freezer, and should have two more by nightfall. Yes, I am that insane. But when you bake seventy-kajillionity cookies, it’s handy to get a head start, regardless of the fact it’s not even Hallowe’en, that’s how stupidly ahead you are.

I am currently searching for an acceptable roll-out sugar cookie recipe to cinnamon up. I want to use one of my many many cookie cutters, and make a fabulous cinnamon-sandwich cookie-creation of electrifyingly colossal caliber. Basically, it’s gotta taste like everything you ever loved exploded in your mouth, with extra butter and sugar, but in a good way. So I’m browsing the interwebs, and I remembered that the Food Network website exists.

Fuck I love that website. And not for the reasons you’re thinking, no, but for the comments section. You see I live in a beautiful bubble. A bubble where people mostly aren’t idiots. And every now and then I like to burst this bubble by reading the comments that follow exceptionally delicious and simple recipes by superstar chefs. Now, I haven’t baked any of these cookies yet so I can’t personally vouch for them, but they are freaking sugar cookies. It’s not that complicated. They aren’t particularly exciting. Even my old roommate who only ate hot dogs and bags of Wonder bread (together, of course) can bake sugar cookies (shaped like Klingons!). So people, if he can do it, you all can. Also, if a recipe doesn’t work out, it’s probably your fault (though there are some sketchy recipes out there), but don’t get so freaking angry about it (like that time when I neglected adding any/all rising agents to my cake batter! Whoopsie-doodle!). There is so much unnecessary hate in this world, stop creating more because you probably just suck.

Here are some of my favs collected from Nigella’s and Alton Brown’s recipes (I’m leaning towards Alton’s myself, but I may veer completely off track and do a chewy sugar cookie instead, oh the decisions!):


Seriously, “until pale and moving towards moussiness”? “mix gently but surely”?
“tinged a pronounced gold around the edges”? Talk about trying TOO hard. It’s just a cookie recipe, and a poor one at that. Spend more time tasting what you recommend and less time with your thesaurus ‘Nigella’….(and I am sure your real name was like “Mary”.

This one is great because the author hates words more than the actual cookies.


The cookie was awful, it had no taste, I read the reviews prior to baking, I even added an additonal quarter cup sugar, used salted butter AND added an additonal 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, it still didn’t have much flavor, the only thing that saved the cookie was the frosting, we used the Betty Crocker in a can, it was easy for the kids. The batter however, did not change shape, it was right on, that was perfect. Next time, I will definately add more flavor to the dough.

I liked this one because in spite of the cookies being terrible (even after her exceptionally well thought out changes), she still gave out a 3/5 mark. Not bad!


it was really easy to make but I left them in the fridge for like 5 extra hours I didn’t think that would matter but it did i could not even roll them out they fell apart. they were like a rock trying to roll out

Common sense clearly eludes this critic. Thaw the dough un peu perhaps, then roll? Non?


This is the worst cookie recipe ever!!!!
Dry, dry, dry dough. Impossible to roll out.

And right below this review:

This cookie recipe is horrible! The dough was to sticky to work with and the powder sugar only made them hard. Maybe I did something wrong but in my opinion this was not good eats ;(

Ya think?


And finally my favourite, we all hate being made a fool in front of family and friends but nothing says disappointment like ALL CAPS!!!



So in conclusion, bake on my foolish friends, bake on and please leave your fabulously angry reviews for my enjoyment!

Bake on and continue asking questions about substituting margarine in browned butter recipes, or whether you can use a hand mixer instead of an electric mixer or whether you should add an extra egg to compensate for removing the chocolate chips (wtf?!?!?!?).


Bake on my friends, bake on.

1 Comment

Filed under Foods

Baby don’t you cry, gonna make a pie

For Christmas this year Santa (Mrs S Claus to you) gave me an Emile Henry pie plate. For those of you unfamiliar with fancy-pants pie plates, this plate is the shiz. Mon amie Emile set up shop in 1850 making enamelled ceramic bake-ware. It’s beautiful. It’s chip resistant. Adaptable to extreme temperatures. Basically, it’s a baker’s wet dream. Santa bought me the lovely “Le Grand” 30cm (that’s right baby!) pie dish in blanc. At first I thought about exchanging it for something more flashy, perhaps a cerise or fraicheur, but in the end I decided that the white was traditional and classic. And besides, flashy never calls you back.

This glorious dish has been sitting on my bedroom floor since Christmas, with only the warm, fluffy body of the cat occasionally napping inside its wavy walls. And last week it was time for me to pop this plate’s cherry, or rather apple. Caramel apple.

Now, let me let you in on a secret. I don’t bake pies often. I experience trepidation when it comes to creating a pie crust. It’s a lot of pressure. It needs to be flakey, buttery, crispy but not too crispy, not quite sweet and most certainly not salty. There’s much to be balanced, and I’m the kind of girl that falls down the stairs a lot. Add to that the labour intensive process of cutting cold butter and shortening into flour, and making sure everything is the right temperature, and then rolling it out nicely. Baking, as I’ve often been told, is a chemistry, and I stopped taking science after grade 10 Biology. So as mean a cake I can bake, and as awesome a cookie I create, it’s all magical instinct, and not a lick of science. This horrifies some of my more by-the-book and scientifically inclined baking buddies; their mouths often agape as I guesstimate the amount of sugar to pour in and accidentally throw in an extra egg or five. But, it all works out in the end. For me at least, probably something to do with my weekly blood sacrifices to the Gods of Baking.


So I decided to bake a caramel apple pie. This will be the fourth or perhaps fifth pie of my illustrious baking career? I can’t quite remember. I decide to use the crust recipe from my first ever pie. It’s a Barefat Contessa recipe for a deep dish apple pie. And when Barefat says “deep dish” that chick means it. This pie heaves more than a mermaid nailed to the front of a pirate ship. I made this pie in the heady days of autumn or winter 2007. I baked it to show off my mad housewife skillz to the guy I was smitten with and seeing at the time. The pie filling of that particular pie is a shit tonne of Granny Smith apples, lemon zest and juice, orange zest and juice, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, and some sugar. It’s a refreshingly tart pie. But one of the best pies I’ve ever made. So jackass tried some of my beautiful heaving pie, and says to me “Sometimes it’s nice when apple pie tastes like apple pie, and not like, you know, other stuff.” So after I ripped out his tongue and punched his teeth out, I asked him to write down what he meant by that ridiculous statement. Basically he meant he doesn’t like lemons. Or oranges. Or spices. Everyone else loved my pie. Even Dave who had only recently heard of an avocado loved my pie. It was a damn good pie. Jackass can suck it.

Right, back to present day. So I’m looking up this recipe on the Food Network’s website and for some ridiculous reason I decide to read the comments. I figured, as this was such an AWESOME pie, there would be a big puddle of praise: “Oh Barefat you win again!” “I ate this pie up like a BOWSS” “It was like a party in my mouth, and everyone was in love!” Or something similar. I mean it’s a great pie, and the internet is all about praise right? Bah hah hah sorry, I went too far with that last sentence.

No my friends, the internet is all about free speech, which as it turns out is all about bitching people out. Which is EXACTLY what I’m about to do. Yay interwebs!

So I present you with some of my favourite comments:

You know what? My boyfriend didn’t like the pie either, but guess what got thrown out? NOT THE PIE. Oh and the crust crumbling all over the place? Yeah, YOUR FAULT! Not the recipe. I dunno what you did, but you did it wrong. Stupid bint.

Too much zest? THROW IT AWAY. Makes sense to me. FACE PALM. ~Insert crude joke about confused husbands and pie~  Can’t get the taste out of your mouth INDEED. Twit.

Incidentally the soft and mushy-ness is YOUR FAULT. Also, I wish your ugly face wasn’t so soft and mushy either. Blockhead.

Oh JoJo, it’s such a shame you threw out $6 worth of apples instead of covering them in 75 cents of COOLWHIP and EXTRA SUGAR, you unpalatable fiscally irresponsible fool!!! Also you suck at ENGLISH.  Dunce.

The moral of the story is my caramel apple pie worked out just how I wanted it to. The crust, stolen from its citrus-infused counter-part, held up beautifully, and the sickly sweet caramel, was sickly sweet, but the Granny Smith’s still tasted like apples. And to all you foolish fools whose palates have been destroyed by too many Ho Ho’s and Passion Flakey’s, don’t, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS BAKED, throw out your “tart” pie, just put some freaking ice cream on it. Was your childhood some how devoid of things NOT coated in sugar? Have you ever just eaten an apple before? Surely you had sourballs and sour keys growing up? But seriously, don’t throw out your pie, just freaking SUCK IT UP.

How’d you like them apples?



Filed under Foods

The Baker Bot’s Annual Christmas Quagmire

Every year for Christmas I bake cookies for my friends and family. It started off with just baking the chocolate chip cookie recipe that I’d been baking since I was eight. Then I upped my offerings and added in Snowball cookies, the recipe for which I found, oddly enough, in my December 1998 Seventeen magazine. Shortly after moving back home to Canada my Mom bought me the Insane Cookie Extravaganza edition of Martha Stewart Living, and well, I’ve gone a little batshit. How can I NOT bake EVERY SINGLE recipe ever? Frankly, it’s pretty much impossible. So now I need to cut down my list: Pick the cookies.

It’s the hardest thing I do each year.


Last year I baked:

Daryl’s F-You Triple Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Snowball Cookies

Gingerbread Unicorns

Mint Chocolate Sandwich Hearts

White Chocolate Sandwiches

Peanut Butter Surprises

Stained Glass Window Cookies

Chocolate Crackles

Oatmeal Applesauce Drizzle cookies

Raspberry Shortbread Bars

My Mom’s Chocolate Shortbread

Icebox Cookies


Yeah, maybe this year I’ll pare it down a little? Or maybe I’ll just add more? It’s so tough! I’ve had requests for something lemon-y and something with nuts. And I want to do chocolate dipped red velvet cake balls! I’m thinking I’m going to personalise my cookie boxes more this year. Instead of cramming a few of everything in each person’s box, everyone will have their box tailored just for them!

I guess I’ll start making and freezing excessive amounts of cookie dough this weekend!

So many cookies, so little freezer space!



Filed under Foods