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Sugar Rush

14 Dec

It’s been a week since my Holiday Cookie Exchange, and being the diligent food blogger that I am, I ate my way through my 20 cookies in order to accurately report the best cookie of the bunch- Yup, so long bikini bod. Hello, sugar addiction.

And, here’s the winner: A butter cookie wreath, drenched in red sugar drizzled with white icing and topped with festive green and red sprinkles. Did I mention this cookie bribed me with the addition of a sugar cookie Christmas tree?

God, I love the holidays

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Confectionals of a Foodaholic

1 Dec

Behold- the Quadruple Chocolate mini cheesecake from The Confectional. Aka the place I will ALWAYS go to whenever I head into Seattle.

Dark chocolate blended right into our batter with chunks of milk, white and an extra-dark chocolate added to the center for an extra chocolaty surprise. Finished with a thick chocolate crust.

Ye gods was it ever amazing…


Friday Foodie Find: Bon Chaz

29 Oct

Bon Chaz

www.bonchaz.com

426 W Hastings Street
Vancouver
, BC

604-626-7215

Monday-Friday: 7:30am-7:00pm
Saturday: 10:30am-5:00pm
Sunday: 10:30am-4:00pm

Disclaimer: I interviewed Bon Chaz owner, Michael, for one of my writing gigs and these were the juicy tidbits that couldn’t be fit into the article. All my other Bon Chaz encounters have been through either free tastings or as part of media tours.

Lately, I can’t go anywhere without running into Michael, the owner of Bon Chaz bakery. So, when I got the chance to interview Michael, I was pretty stoked to find out the story behind these unique and delicious buns.

5 facts about Bon Chaz

1.       A bon chaz is made by marrying the recipes for the Mexican concha pastry and the French brioche sweet bread. The result is a soft milk bun filled with different sweet mixes and topped with a coffee icing that hardens into a crunchy shell after baking.

2.       Fun trivia: You eat with your nose. No, seriously a person’s sense of taste is greatly influenced by their sense of smell. That’s why Bon Chaz never closes its doors. Think about it: how hard is it to resist stopping by a bakery that smells like heaven 24/7??

3.       ….And it smells that way because fresh batches of bon chaz are made constantly throughout the day. I love them best straight out of the oven after waiting just long enough to not burn my taste buds off.

4.       Bon Chaz also makes great savoury dishes from scratch. Crowd faves: Vegan sandwiches made with baguettes made in-house, and perfect winter comfort food- the Bacon Mushroom soup.

5.       The chocolate used for the Chocolate Truffle bon chaz is flown all the way in from France. So yes, the chocolate truffle is legit and delicious.

A great place to hang-out, Bon Chaz also offers free wi-fi and a shelf full of books and board games to go with your baked goods.

Foods mentioned:

Original bon chaz– $1.25ea

Chocolate Truffle bon chaz– $1.75ea

Vegan Sandwiches– $3.95ea

Bacon Mushroom Soup– $2.95ea


 

Lately, I can’t go anywhere without running into Michael, the owner of Bon Chaz bakery. So, when I got the chance to interview Michael, I was pretty stoked to find out the story behind these crazy, but delicious buns

5 facts about Bon Chaz

1. A bon chaz is made by marrying the recipes for the Mexican concha pastry and the French brioche sweet bread. The result is a soft milk bun filled with different sweet mixes and topped with a coffee icing that hardens into a crunchy shell after baking.

2. Fun trivia: You eat with your nose. Seriously- a person’s sense of taste is greatly influenced by their sense of smell. That’s why Bon Chaz never closes its doors because you can’t help but stop by a bakery that smells like heaven 24/7.

3. And it smells that way because fresh batches of bon chaz are made constantly throughout the day. I love them best straight out of the oven after waiting just long enough to not burn my taste buds off.

4. Bon Chaz also makes great savoury dishes from scratch. Crowd faves: Vegan sandwiches made with baguettes made in-house, and the Bacon Mushroom soup.

5. The chocolate used for the Chocolate Truffle bon chaz is flown all the way in from France. So yes, the chocolate truffle is legit and delicious.

A great place to hang-out, Bon Chaz also offers free wi-fi and a shelf full of books and board games to go with your baked goods.

Food mentioned:

Eclair Cupcake Recipe

26 Oct

I’m obsessed with sweets, especially cupcakes. Especially cupcakes covered in frosting and possibly sprinkles. In my quest to discover the perfect cupcake, I decided to try out a new combination: eclair cupcakes.

An eclair is a French choux pastry filled with a creamy custard (usually vanilla flavored). It seemed like a great idea to mix an eclair with a cupcake, and luckily I found a recipe online that fit exactly what I was trying to do.

I made my cupcakes for a Canada Day BBQ I was going to. I ran out of big cupcake baking cups, so I had to try out the recipe in mini version. I don’t recommend this unless you have some kind of coring tool. I found it was hard to get the right amount of cream into the mini cupcakes using just my kitchen syringe (or whatever it’s called) and a butter knife. I couldn’t get the custard in properly and the mini cupcakes almost exploded on me a few times lol

Recipe adapted from Sugar and Salt. Recipe for custard filling taken from my mama.

Vanilla Bean Custard Filling

*I recommend making this the night before so it has time to cool. Also, the flavors are always much better after having time to rest together.

2tbsp butter
1/4c cornstarch
1/2c sugar
2c milk
3 beaten egg yolks
1tsp vanilla

Vanilla bean cream before and after adding egg yolks

  • In a saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter and blend in cornstarch and sugar
  • Gradually add in milk and bring to a boil
  • Remove from heat and add vanilla beans
  • Add hot milk mixture to beaten eggs to temper, then add beaten eggs into milk
  • Return to medium heat for 2 mins, stirring constantly
  • Remove from heat and add let cool for 2 hrs or overnight

Cupcakes

1c flour
1 tbs cornstarch
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2c milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp almond extract
4 oz butter
3/4c sugar
2 eggs, separated
pinch of cream of tartar (I didn’t have this, so left it out of my version)
2 tbs sugar

Before and after baking

  • preheat oven to 350F, line your pan
  • sift together flour, cornstarch, baking powder & salt
  • in separate bowl combine the milk, vanilla and almond
  • in a separate bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. add the 2tbs sugar and beat until shiny and stiff peaks form.
  • in separate bowl cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy
  • add the egg yolks only, one at a time
  • add 1/3 of the flour mixture, beat to combine.
  • add 1/2 of the milk mixture, beat to combine
  • repeat until all of the milk and flour are added, ending on the flour
  • gently fold in the whipped egg whites.
  • spoon into prepared pan, cook for 20 minutes until toothpick is clean. Use baking cups to make taking them out easier

Chocolate Glaze

1/2c heavy cream
4 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • heat cream until you can see bubbles forming at the edge
  • take off heat and add the chocolate, let sit for a minute then stir to smooth
Putting it all together
As I mentioned, an apple corer (small one) would work best for this type of operation. Since I didn’t have one, I did my best with my little kitchen syringe.
If you use a corer: let your cupcakes cool then use the corer to make a hole in the center that you can fill with custard. Save a piece of the cupcake core that you can use to cover the hole.
If you use a syringe like me: I used a knife to carefully make a hole down the center of the cupcake. I cut into the center, wiggled it around and tried to scoop out bits of cake. This should be much easier to do with a big cupcake, but it was pretty hard with my mini ones.
  • Once you have made a hole, use the syringe to fill the center to the top with custard. Cover it with a piece of leftover cupcake.
Finally, dunk the top in your chocolate glaze and allow to harden on a rack. Place the rack either on top of a piece of parchment paper or a baking pan to catch the drippings.
Since it was Canada Day, I dusted my cupcakes with red sprinkles.

With custard filling and all finished

And voila! You can now impress your friends with this great eclair cupcake creation. Since mine were smaller, I found that it was like eating a piece of candy. Bon appetit!

A look inside

Have you tried any unique cupcake combos before? I’d love to hear them! Share your experience or recipe below 🙂

Qoola

17 Apr

Qoola

www.qoola.com

3 locations:
1116 Denman Street- English Bay
Aberdeen Centre- Richmond, BC
Metrotown Mall-  Burnaby, BC (self-serve location)

Price: $3-$10

I’m just going to go right out and say it- I LOVE FROZEN YOGURT. Ever since I was introduced to my first frozen yogurt bar in San Francisco, I was hooked. I loved the idea of getting to choose from 10 different flavors and then having a buffet of toppings to choose from. What was even better was that I could pile on as much of everything as I wanted for a fee that would’ve cost me less than a tub of Haagen-Daz (I may be exaggerating just a tad here).

Ever since then, I’ve been desperately trying to find a worthy equivalent here in Vancouver. It was only a few months later that I heard about Qoola, a new fro-yo place that had just opened up shop on Denman St. by English Bay. Branding their fro-yo as “Qoolala”, they kept everything behind a counter, so that only trained professionals could serve you (as opposed to heavy handed topping pourers like me). Nonetheless, boy was I happy! At last, I had found a place that not only served delicious fro-yog and my favorite topping of all time- MOCHI!!- but is also committed to being eco-friendly (all their eating utensils and dishes are recyclable, compostable or biodegradable, etc).

Country Vanilla Qoolala

It only took a few months after opening their flagship location, that Qoola opened another in Aberdeen Centre in Richmond, and then finally, a self-serve location at Metrotown Mall in Burnaby.

Here are some of the flavors being offered at the self-serve location:

– Country Vanilla
– Green Tea
– Mango
– Regular
-Chocolate

And the many toppings you can choose from:

Qoola toppings

Blueberries, Cap`N Crunch, Fruity Pebbles

Graham Crackers, Mango, Oreos

They also offer other tasty treats like the Q*Waffle (organic whole wheat waffle with Qoolala and toppings), Qrepe (whole wheat crepe with toppings and Qoolala) and Qrush (Qoolala blended with slush).

Top 5 Faves

  1. Green Tea Qoolala mixed with Country Vanilla Qoolala
  2. Cap’N Crunch
  3. Yogurt Chips
  4. Reese’s Pieces
  5. MOCHI! (My only problem is that half the world loves mochi too and they always seem to be sold out by the time I get there*SIGH*)

A cup full of happiness

Verdict

Best time to go if your a mochi lover like me is before 2pm, but otherwise Qoola is a treat anytime of day and any day of the week!