Pecan Shortbread Cookies

December signals the start of cookie baking season for me. Every week there's some kind of festivity happening whether it be a cookie exchange or a pot luck party. This is a great time for me to try out new recipes or decorating techniques but at the same time I fall back on tried-and-true recipes for the cookie traditionalists in my life. Here's a recipe that perfectly suits that crowd; it's not too sugary and is a great update to classic shortbread. Although it looks fancy and deceptively difficult to make, the hardest part is actually not eating them all before the party!

Adapted from The Toronto Star
• 3/4 cup pecans, chopped and lightly toasted
• 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons of room temperature butter
• 1/2 cup icing sugar
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
• 1/4 cup turbinado sugar or other coarse brown sugar
  1. Beat together butter, icing sugar, vanilla extract and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Gradually mix in the flour by adding it in 3 additions.
  3. Stir in the chopped pecans.
  4. Roll the dough into a 15" log, wrap with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge until firm. For my cookies, I gave my log flat sides to create a square cookie. TIP: If your dough mixture is crumbly and difficult to roll, sandwich your dough with plastic wrap and shape into a log by pressing it into shape with your hands.
  5. When the dough is well-chilled and firm enough to slice, brush the outside with the beaten egg yolk and sprinkle with turbinado sugar, ensuring to evenly coat the surface. TIP: The egg yolk may be substituted with a brushing of milk or cream. The goal of this step is to give your cookie golden edges.
  6. Slice into 1/4-3/8" thick slices and place 1" apart on a parchment-lined baking pan.
  7. Bake in an oven preheated to 350°F for 15-17 minutes or until edges are golden brown. The centre of the cookie will still be pale. Makes 30-40 cookies.

100 Mile Store

The original reason I ever ventured into Creemore at all is the 100 Mile Store. Years ago one September, I was in search of kiwi berries and I read online that this store was a source. Unfortunately I had no luck during my visit but I found a new reason to add Creemore on my map of favourites. The mantra of this retailer is to only carry goods that are located within a 100 mile radius. Visiting it again this year, it was great to see how much this store has grown; shelves are filled to capacity with local dry goods, baskets hold incredibly fresh produce (where else can you find garlic with the green stalks still attached?!) and there's even a cabinet filled with handmade chocolate. A cabinet of chocolate. Start the car!


176 Mill Street
Creemore, ON
L0M 1G0

Creemore Kitchen

After making the drive to Creemore you'll probably want a bite to eat before you head back home, this is where I recommend Creemore Kitchen. It's a relatively new restaurant with a made-from-scratch seasonal menu that focuses on local and fresh ingredients. We had their organic fried chicken with biscuit (one of their signature dishes), fresh house made burger and fish sandwich, all reminiscent of delicious home cooking. One of my favourite features of this restaurant (other than their country-charm-meets-minimalist-modern decor) is their bakeshop which offers cakes by the slice, giant meringues, fresh coffee and locally produced sweets. Looking at the photos below is making me want to go back and try their weekend brunch!


134 Mill Street
Creemore, ON
L0M 1G0

Day Trip: Creemore, Ontario

Creemore is a small town about an hour and a half north of Toronto which is the perfect distance for day tripping -- close to the city but far enough to feel like an escape into the country. The town itself is situated along Mill Street which is where you will find several restaurants, quaint shops as well as the historical Creemore Springs microbrewery (be sure to pop in for their hourly tour and a free beer sample!). The drive to Creemore is made all the more pleasant if you drive up scenic Airport Road instead of taking the highway and for those who love to eat/support local, Creemore has a farmer's market every Saturday morning. Maybe I'll see you there!


Stayed tuned for more posts about Creemore!
For more info visit

No-Churn Lime & Coconut Ice Cream

With summer in full swing I've been on a bit of a homemade ice cream kick. Here's a recipe that combines lime and coconut, two flavours that pair so perfectly together they should nominated as the official taste of summer. A note about the coconut milk in this recipe, read this post from the kitchn for tips on how to get the most cream out of your milk.

• 3/4 cup heavy cream, chilled
• 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk, chilled
• 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
• 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
• 1 teaspoon lime zest (optional)
  1. In a cold bowl, combine the heavy cream and coconut milk and mix on medium-high speed until it forms medium-stiff peaks. 
  2. With a spatula, gently fold the condensed milk, lime juice and lime zest into the whipped cream until well incorporated.
  3. Freeze for 6 hours then scoop, serve and enjoy!

No-Churn Strawberries & Cream Ice Cream

It's strawberry season here in Ontario and we've been buying big baskets of them every weekend at the farmer's market. They're always so delicious on their own but because they are truly local produce they get picked at the peak of ripeness which means we only have a few days to eat them before they start to go bad. That's where no-churn ice cream comes in; it's a great way to use up the last remaining berries and it's miles above artificial-tasting store bought ice cream. This recipe is sweet and creamy with bursts of fresh, tart strawberry flavour...I'd like to say it tastes like summer.

Strawberry Burst Ingredients
• 1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
• 1/4 cup water
• 3 tablespoons sugar
  1. In a medium pot, bring all three ingredients to a boil.
  2. Continue boiling until strawberries have cooked down into an almost jam-like consistency.
  3. Cool completely before using for ice cream. 
Ice Cream Ingredients
• 1 1/4 cup heavy cream, chilled
• 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
• strawberry burst mixture
  1. In a cold bowl, whip the cream on medium-high speed until it forms medium-stiff peaks. 
  2. With a spatula, gently fold the condensed milk into the whipped cream until well incorporated.
  3. Pour half the mixture into a freezer-safe container. Drizzle dollops of the strawberry burst mixture over the cream, reserving half of it for topping. Pour in the remaining cream mixture and repeat the strawberry dollops. Swirl a knife or chopstick through the mixture to distribute the compote throughout (it also makes it look pretty). 
  4. Freeze for 6 hours then scoop, serve and enjoy!

Oven Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Did you know you can make grilled cheese sandwiches in the oven?! I didn't either until I tried it and let me tell you it is AWESOME. The bread gets extra crispy on the outside, it stays gooey soft on the inside and it's less greasy than when you make it in your a pan. And since you're using the oven, you can make several sandwiches at the same time versus flipping one at a time on the stovetop. Mm, mmm melty goodness!


Ingredients (feel free to substitute your own ingredients)
• white bread
• butter
• smoked provolone cheese
• charcuterie (I used coppa ham, prosciutto & salami)
  1. Construct the inside of the sandwich by layering the cheese and charcuterie on a slice of bread. Top with another slice of bread.
  2. Spread butter on the outside face of each sandwich.
  3. Bake in an oven pre-heated to 425°F. After 6-8 minutes, flip the sandwiches and bake for another 6-8 minutes so the other side gets a chance to brown. 
  4. For extra brown crispiness, you can put it under the broiler for a few seconds.
  5. Serve with a pickle or some potato chips.

2-Ingredient Nutella Brownies

Just like the Microwave Chocolate Cookies I posted earlier this month, I didn't believe it was possible to shortcut brownies. I had to try it for myself and guess what? It works! The result is a moist, slightly fudgey and dense brownie with a crispy top. If you're looking for a rich chocolate brownie experience this recipe probably isn't for you but if you're looking for a quick fix this recipe is awesome. I also think this recipe would work great as a flourless chocolate cake baked in a springform pan. Just dust with icing sugar before serving and voilà, instant fancy dessert!

Adapted from the kitchn
• 1 cup Nutella
• 4 eggs
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. 
  2. With an electric mixer, whisk the eggs for several minutes until they are voluminous and pale yellow in colour. (This is the secret to getting a cake-like texture, the fluffier the eggs, the better.)
  3. In a microwave, heat the Nutella at short intervals until the mixture is just warmed and the texture is almost fluid.
  4. Whisk spoonfuls of the warm Nutella into the eggs until everything in combined.
  5. Pour into a buttered baking pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean and the edges pull away from the pan.
  6. Allow to fully cool before serving. (Unlike regular brownies, this recipe tastes better cooled.)

Coconut & Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding

I'll be the first to admit I was late to jump on the chia seed bandwagon. I'm so late I should probably be running after said wagon. This superfood is usually served for breakfast and Pinterest is chock full of recipes for soy or almond milk pudding but personally I really enjoy chia seed pudding as an afternoon snack and it's super delicious with coconut milk. Coconut milk adds a natural sweetness and when you pair it with fresh fruit it's like a tropical getaway for your mouth.

• 2 tablespoons chia seeds
• 1/2 cup coconut milk (I use Coconut Dream)
• shredded coconut
• strawberries, sliced

Mix chia seeds with coconut milk and allow to soak for 20 minutes or overnight in the fridge. (After the first 5 minutes of soaking give it another stir to make sure all seeds get soaked.)

Just before serving, top with shredded coconut and strawberries.

Happy Father's Day

What better way to celebrate dad than with a gourmet burger fresh off the grill? I promise he'll appreciate it a lot more than a bottle of cologne. Gourmet burgers don't need to be intimidating, think of some of your favourite flavours and go from there. Here are a few burgerspirations to get your tastebuds started:

Crispy Quinoa Burger with Sweet Potato Fries - Half Baked Harvest
Mexican Burger - Simply Delicious
Smoked Gouda & Bacon Burgers - Food & Wine
Siracha & Cheddar Burger - Baker by Nature

Golden Honeycomb Candy

Honeycomb was a favourite of mine growing up (hello Crunchie bars!) and I never knew you could make this at home until Nigella Lawson showed me the way. Nigella lives on the edge and makes this without a candy thermometer so the first attempt is always a bit tricky but once you recognize the signs of readiness it's really easy to make. Honeycomb is delicious on it's own...I dipped mine in chocolate to recreate the candy bar of my youth. Totally awesome.

• 1/2 cup white sugar
• 4 tablespoons corn syrup
• 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  1. Mix the white sugar and corn syrup together in a pot.
  2. Place the pot over medium heat and let the mixture melt. Do not stir while on the heat (it's one of those cardinal rules of candy making).
  3. Once the mixture is bubbling and caramelized into a golden brown, take it off the heat and quickly mix in the baking soda. The mixture will become very voluminous and turn a pale golden colour.
  4. Quickly pour the mixture into a small shallow pan. Silicone or aluminum pans work the best because of their flexible walls. If you use a hard metal or glass pan ensure it is lightly greased.
  5. Allow to cool before cutting or smashing into shards. 

Baked Cake Donuts

Home baked donuts are a fun treat to bake and they're so much healthier than their deep-friend counterparts. A good baked donut recipe is hard to come by as most end up tasting like muffins, but the recipe below is different because it produces a moist, fluffy, cake-like donut. I've also included a basic recipe for a coffee shop-style glaze that is limited only by your culinary imagination. So get out there and go nuts for donuts!

Donut Ingredients
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 3/4 cup white sugar
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 cup buttermilk
• 2 eggs, beaten
• 2 tablespoons butter, melted
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Add in the milk, eggs, melted butter and vanilla. Mix until just blended and no more dry flour remains. 
  2. Lightly grease a donut pan and fill each donut hollow 3/4 full. The batter is quite thick so a piping bag may be helpful with this step.
  3. Bake for 8-10 minutes in an oven preheated to 400ºF. The donuts are ready when they spring back to the touch (note, these donuts do not brown so take care not to over bake.)

Icing Ingredients
• 1 cup icing sugar
• 2 teaspoons corn syrup
• 2-3 teaspoons milk
  1. Mix all the ingredients together, add more milk if absolutely necessary.
  2. Spread icing on cooled donuts and allow to dry for at least an hour.
Icing Options
Chocolate: Add 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder.
Extracts: Add 1 teaspoon of your choice of flavouring (vanilla, almond, mint, etc.) and reduce milk quantity accordingly.


The Ultimate Cookie Guide

Ever wonder what happens when you substitute white sugar with brown sugar? Or all-purpose flour with cake flour? Or maybe you're just looking to bake a really awesome chocolate chip cookie. Look no further because OZY has created a Coles Notes version of how to achieve your ideal of the perfect cookie by looking at the science behind baking. If you're looking for something a little more comprehensive and in-depth, check out Tessa's two-part analysis on Handle the Heat. Looks like I have a lot of delicious baking ahead of me!


Photo: Handle the Heat

The New Nude

There's something so trendy and fresh about understated nude nails elevated with a pop accent. I'm loving these runway looks with metallic striping or minimalistic colour blocking in darks and neons. Totally nailed it.


Photo source: Tomboy KC, Pretty Prudent, Makeup and Beauty Blog, Refinery29

Modern Kokeshi

How adorable are these modern kokeshi character dolls by Handmade from beechwood, each doll has its' own unique personality, my favourites being the ones created in the image of an influential fashion icon. Pictured below are Andy Warhol, Anna Wintour and of course Coco Chanel. Visit's Big Cartel page to see the full cast of characters. C'est très chic.


Microwave Chocolate Cookies

A single-serve cookie made from scratch. Baked in a microwave. For real.

This recipe comes courtesy of my favourite vlogger Eugenie Kitchen. While I had some reservations about microwaving cookie dough, I tried it purely out of curiosity. My conclusion: this recipe is genius. It has a "real cookie" taste and it's perfect for those moments when you want a fresh cookie but don't have the time or desire to bake a whole batch. The recipe is so quick and easy I ended up baking three different cookies: traditional milk chocolate chunk, peanut butter chip and dark chocolate covered cherries with flaked coconut. This is possibly the best (or most dangerous!) thing to happen to your microwave.

Watch the original Eugenie Kitchen tutorial here or continue below for written instructions.
• 2 tablespoons flour
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
• pinch of baking powder
• pinch of salt
• 1 tablespoon butter, melted
• 1 teaspoon milk
• your choice of toppings
• parchment paper (optional)
  1. In a small bowl sift together the dry ingredients.
  2. Add the melted butter and milk and mix well until it forms a ball.
  3. Place the ball of dough on a microwave-safe plate lined with a square of parchment paper and flatten slightly.
  4. Using a low power setting, microwave for 10 seconds. Check your cookie and microwave for another 10 seconds. Repeat these 10 second intervals until the cookie is evenly cracked across the surface (in other words, nuke until it looks like a cookie).
  5. Remove from the microwave and sprinkle on your toppings while the cookie is still hot.
  6. Allow to cool completely before eating.

Gold Plated

Some might consider it tacky but I'm really loving the resurgence of gold cutlery. I love how they can work with everything from airy neutrals to bold, saturated hues. Simple gilded elegance at it's best.

Gold Cutlery
Gold Cutlery
Gold Cutlery

Photos: Cupcakes and Cashmere, Oh Happy Day, Pinterest


Cinemagraphs have been kicking around for a few years now but each time I see one I'm just as amazed as the first time. Created by Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg, these images are essentially ultra-sophisticated animated gifs, reminiscent of the moving photographs described in Harry Potter. In their fashion series, Beck and Burg have managed to created hauntingly beautiful images that hold your attention and keep you in awe. See the complete collection and more on

 photo CINEMAGRAPHS-01_zps50ed6f1f.gif
 photo CINEMAGRAPHS-02_zpsa1af446d.gif
 photo CINEMAGRAPHS-03_zpsf4f0416f.gif

The Meringue Girls

UK-based Alex Hoffler and Stacey O’Gorman are the masterminds behind my current culinary obsession: meringues. One look at their visually stunning candy-striped "kisses" and you'll see why. The dynamic duo, better known as the Meringue Girls, met while working in a restaurant kitchen and unsatisfied with their jobs, set out to do better. With the aim of starting the next big trend in sweets, their rainbow saturated confections have paved the way for TV appearances, book deals as well as a new standalone bakery on London's Broadway Market. Their inspiring entrepreneurial spirit show that dreams -- sweet dreams he he -- really do come true.

The Meringue Girls
The Meringue Girls
The Meringue Girls

Photos: Meringue Girls

Breakfast Vols-au-Vent

Vol-au-vent is French for "puff of wind" or "windblown" which describes the nature of this flaky puff pastry base. Usually you see vols-au-vent as bite-sized morsels used for appetizers or desserts but I went off the beaten path and used them to make a delicious breakfast. Squares of pre-rolled puff pastry are cut, folded into fancy tarts and par-baked before getting filled with egg, diced ham and green onions. All the comforts of breakfast in one fancy package.

Breakfast Vol-au-Vent
• 1 sheet of pre-rolled frozen puff pastry
• 4 eggs
• 1/4 cup diced ham
• 1/4 cup shredded cheese of your choice
• greens onions for garnish, sliced
• salt and pepper to taste
Cut your puff pastry sheet into four even squares and assemble as shown in the photo below. Prick the centre with a fork in Step #4. Bake in an oven preheated to 425ºF for 10 minutes until risen and just beginning to brown. Remove from oven.

Breakfast Vol-au-Vent

Crack an egg into each pastry shell being careful not to break the yolk. Top with cheese, ham and a sprinkling of green onions. Add salt and pepper to taste. Return to the oven and bake for another 5-10 minutes until the egg whites are no longer transparent and the pastry is golden brown.

Breakfast Vol-au-Vent

Serve warm with a salad, scones and tea for a lovely afternoon brunch.

Breakfast Vol-au-Vent for afternoon brunch.