Fall Caramel Apple Pie

After such a long break – we’re back with another recipe! And for the first time – it’s a pie! It’s fall. Fall = fall baking. And fall baking = pumpkin pie + apple pie. Let me also tell you, your kitchen is going to smell a m a z i n g after whipping up this caramel apple pie recipe I have for you today. It comes with all the traditional pie spices like cinnamon, all spice, etc. However, the secret ingrediant is actually ~ cardamom. This is an ingrediant all south asians swear by in their tea – which brings out the most aromatic scent and flavor. So if that’s the case , why not add it to a pie ? I had the chance to test this theory out, and to my relief, it hit just the right notes in accentuating that fall spice flavor! Here’s how you can make your very own batch of this sweet & delicious fall pie:

Ingrediants:

  • For the pie crust: 1) Pillsbury pie crust (I know ~ this is technically cheating but who doesn’t love a shortcut plus these pie crusts work just perfect) 2) 1 egg
  • For the filling: 1) 6 granny smith apples 2) 1 tsp cinnamon 3) 1 tsp allspice 4) 1 tsp ground cardamom 4) 2 tbsp cornstarch 5) 3/4 cup PC brand caramel sauce (or you can make your own) 6) pinch of salt 7) 1 cup brown sugar 8) 1 tbsp lemon juice 9) 1 tbsp butter

Instructions:

  1. Start off by rolling out the pie base into your pie tin. Allow it to cool in the refrigerator while you make your pie filling.
  2. Slice your apples into thin pieces. Add in the lemon juice – this is going to prevent the apples from browning. Combine with brown sugar, cinnamon, all spice, & cardamom. Add in the caramel sauce and toss until well coated. Finally, repeat with the corn starch and mix until well coated. Set your filling aside.
  3. Take your pie tin out of the refrigerator and coat the base of the pie with a about a teaspoon or two with cornstarch. This is going to help keep that crisp on the bottom of your pie and keep it from going soggy once we add the filling. Once coated, add your pie filling. *tip: the key here is I actually strained my apple filling BEFORE adding it to my pie. This is because overtime, your apples are going to release quite a bit of juice. This is going to a result in a soggy pie once baked. So to prevent that, let your apples sit for a bit and actually strain some of the juice before adding it to the pie base.
  4. Right before topping your pie, add a few dallops of butter to the top of your pie filling. This is going to help create that creamy center we’re going for.
  5. Once your pie filling has been added – this part is completely upto your creativity on how you’d like to top your pie! I decided to go with a classic lattice ~ but you can also cut out fall shapes , or just cover the pie whole and go for a classic star vent design.
  6. Once you’ve topped your pie, coat the top with an eggwash. I found using egg whites worked best (1 egg) for giving that perfect golden brown color.
  7. Preheat oven to 375 degrees farenheit. Bake for about 40-55 min till a nice golden brown color. *Tip ~ if you notice your crust browning too fast – cover the top with tin foil. This should prevent any further burning.
  8. Serve warm and of course topped with caramel & icecream!

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Rich Decadent French Hot Chocolate

If this winter had a slogan to it, it’d be Game of Throne’s “Winter is Coming” because it only seems to be getting colder and colder with rollercoaster weather. Thankfully, that gives an excuse to warm up with a nice hot cup of cocoa, like my recipe of thick & rich French Hot Chocolate. If you’re in need of spoiling yourself on a cheat day, or staying in on a cold winter day in need of a pick-me-up this recipe does just the trick. Here’s how you can make your own batch:

Ingrediants

  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup table cream
  • whipping cream to top
  • 1 1/2 cup whole milk (or 2/3 cup table cream 1/3 cup 2% milk)
  • 1 tsp powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp espresso or coffee powder
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. On medium heat, whisk your milk, table cream, coffee powder (or espresso) & powdered sugar. The key component to this recipe is going to be the espresso/ coffee, as well as the bitter sweet chocolate. The bitter counterparted with the sweetness of the sugar is actually what’s going to enhance the flavor of the cocoa.
  2. Just before boiling, remove from heat and add milk chocolate chips & a pinch of salt. *tip: You can also use bitter sweet chocolate if you have some, I used these two as a substitute.
  3. Place the cocoa mix back onto the stove, and keep at low heat to melt the chocolate completely.
  4. Once the chocolate has completely melted, turn up the heat to medium once more. This time, let the mix come to a boil, while stirring vigourously for about 2-3 minutes. This will help thicken the hot chocolate mix.
  5. Bring the mix off the heat and let cool while you prepare the whipped cream. It’s during this time you’ll notice the cocoa mix will thicken even more. I made my whipped cream from scratch using fresh  cream and whipped using an electric mixer for about 2 min till a perfect soft peak consistency.
  6. Add a small amount of whipped cream to your cup of hot chocolate, and top as you like. You can use chocolate shavings, peppermint candy peices, I personally topped mine with caramel sauce.

And there you have it! A perfect cup of rich hot cocoa for a cold winter day. Best served warm, of course. This winter survival essential is approved by yours truly – S.

New Year’s Shortbread Cookies: White Chocolate & Cranberry 

A happy & bright new years to everyone! This year, I decided to make a special holiday shortbread cookie, dipped in white chocolate & topped with sweet cranberry bits. Perfect for a cozy start to the new year, here’s how you can make your own batch:

Ingrediants: 

  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essense
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 1 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberry 
  • 1 cup unsalted butter 

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, whip the butter until it’s light and fluffy in texture. This can be done using a food processor or electric mixer. 
  2. In a seperate bowl, carefully measure & sift the corn starch, flour, and icing sugar. 
  3. Add in the corn starch, flour, vanilla, and icing sugar to the butter. Blend until you see no more crumbling in the dough. 
  4. Once combined, knead dough into a large round ball, and cover with cling wrap. Chill in a freezer for about 30 min. 
  5. Once chilled, divide the dough into small round balls and place onto a ungreased cookie tray. Each cookie dough portion should be about a table spoon size each. Use a fork to flatten each cookie.
  6. Bake the cookies for 13-15 min. 
  7. While the cookies cool, begin to chop your dried cranberries into tiny bits & set aside.
  8. Next, using a microwave, melt the white chocolate chips in a small bowl, using 10 second intervals to ensure the white chocolate does not burn. This should take about 45 seconds. If the chocolate burns, use vegetable oil to smoothen the chocolate mix once more.
  9. Once the cookies have completely cooled, dip each cookie into the melted white chocolate and sprinkle with the dried cranberry bits. 
  10. Chill the cookies in a fridge for atleast 30 min and you’re ready to serve!

This sweet treat is approved by yours truly – S.

      Caramel Drizzled Bread Pudding

      It’s easy to lose track of time once school & work are back in session but the moment I see Starbucks has their Christmas special drinks out, you know the holidays are fast approaching. This means it’s time to start considering holiday food, like this delicious bread pudding. I of course couldn’t choose between chocolate chips or raisins, so why not both? Here’s how you can make your own batch:

      Ingrediants: 

      • 1/2 loaf Italian Bread
      • 1 cup Milk 
      • 1/2 cup butter
      • 1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
      • 2 tsp Pumpkin spice
      • 2 tsp Vanilla essence
      • 4 Eggs
      • 1/4 cup Raisins
      • 1/4 cup Chocolate chips
      • Caramel sauce
      • 1 cup Water 

      Steps: 

      1. Soak Raisins in water for 20 min
      2. Meanwhile cube bread and fill a non stick 9 inch cake pan
      3. In a medium bowl whisk eggs & sugar. 
      4. Add in butter and whisk
      5. Add in milk and whisk
      6. Add in pumpkin spice and combine all ingrediants together
      7. Pour custard mixture over the bread ensuring all of the bread is well soaked and coated. 
      8. Sprinkle raisins and chocolate chips overtop
      9. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour
      10. Once baked, drizzle with caramel sauce and serve warm. You can also serve this with vanilla icecream!

      Approved by yours truly- S. 

        Mango White Chocolate Cheesecake: The Perfect Summer Indulgence

        Two rich flavors: mango & white chocolate, perfect individually as they are combined. So why not take these two favs and combine it into one decadant cheesecake? It’s a fresh dessert perfect for summer and sure to please a crowd. Also, because you’re already dealing with intensive sweet flavors, there’s no additional sugar needed! Here’s how you can make your own batch: 

        Ingrediants

        • 1 cup mango slices
        • 1 & 1/4 cup white chocolate
        • 1 cup cream cheese 
        • 1 cup biscuits, grinded 
        • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
        • 1/2 heavy cream, whipped
        • lime juice (1 lime squeezed)

          Instructions

          1. Grease a 12 x 4 muffin pan & set aside for later use.

            2. Grind biscuits into fine crumbs using a food processor. Set aside in a bowl. 

              3. Melt the unsalted butter & add to crumbs. This is going to serve as your crust, press 1 tbsp of the crust mix into each muffin cup ensuring a flat smooth surface. Pop this into the freezer for now while you start the cake mix.

              4. To start the actual cake mix, puree the mango & lime juice until smooth. Set this aside for later use. 

              5. In a medium sized bowl, whip the heavy cream until small peaks form. Set this aside for later use.

              6. Meanwhile, its time to melt your white chocolate, which can easily be done using a microwave. Melt the chocolate using 30 second intervals, carefully mixing inbetween. I found 2 30 second intervals was enough, with 1 tsp of vegetable oil added afterwards for a smooth consistency. Remember that vegetable oil can also fix burnt chocolate incase you overheat the chocolate.

              7. Now, combine with your whipped cream & melted chocolate into one bowl. Set aside for now. 

              8. In a seperate bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Once so, carefully combine with the whipped cream & white chocolate. Beat together for about 1 min until smooth. 

              9. Now, remember the mango purée you made earlier? Time to mix 2/3 of that into your cake mix. Keep 1/3 for later use, you’ll need it for the marbled effect we’re going for. 

              10. Pour your cake mix now into each individually greased muffin cup. 

              11. Now using the remaining 1/3 of the mango puree , it’s time to get artsy. Dab a tiny amount of the mango puree ontop of each cheesecake, and using a fork, move the purée in wave like motions to create a marbled effect. 

              12. Once complete, freeze the cheesecakes overnight or atleast 7 hours. Garnish with mango slices before serving & serve chilled.  

              And there you have it! Easy, creamy mango & white chocolate cheesecake. This dessert is approved by yours truly – S. 

              Cottage Cheese Pancakes with Homemade Blueberry Sauce

              If sundays could be described by food, it’d be soft, tender cottage cheese pancakes topped with warm sweet blueberry sauce. Theres a decadance to these two, and I’ll be covering it in 2 easy parts to make one delicious breakfast. Here’s how: 

              Blueberry Sauce

              Ingrediants

              • 2 cups of blueberries (fresh or frozen) 
              • 1 cup sugar (adjust as needed)
              • 3 tsp corn starch 
              • 1 cup of water (reduce about 1/4 cup if using frozen blueberries)
              • Lemon juice (1/2 a lemon squeezed) 
              • A pinch of salt

              Instructions

              1. Wash your blueberries and make sure there are no stems for a smooth sauce. Set aside once cleaned. 
              2. On a heated saucepan on medium heat, add your blueberries. Add the sugar and water on top. Add in a pinch of salt & your corn starch. Mix all ingrediants together and let the sauce reach a simmer. 
              3. Once the sauce is at a simmer, lower the heat and let the sauce cook, being sure to stir occasionally so the sauce doesn’t burn. This is where patience comes into play. The thicker you want your blueberry sauce, the longer you let it cook. I like my blueberry sauce thick, so I let it cook for a good 15 minutes or so. If you like yours a little more runny, 10 minutes is just fine. The sauce will thicken either way once its cooling down. Likewise, if you’re not happy with the consistency after it’s cooled down and want it thicker, cook the stove once more on the stove till it’s reached the desired consistency. Once the sauce has cooked, squeeze in your lemon juice and let the sauce cool. 

              Cottage Cheese Pancakes

              Ingrediants:

              • 1 cup cottage cheese
              • 6 tbsp sugar
              • 1 cup flour
              • 2 eggs
              • Butter & oil to fry

                Instructions

                1. Combine the eggs, sugar, and cottage cheese in a medium sized bowl. 
                2. Add in 2/3 cups of flour and fold into the mix. I stress the importance of folding because you want a dough-like consistency, not runny like store bought pancake mix. If the mix is too runny, add in 1/4 cup of flour one at a time till the mix has reached a dough like consistency. 
                3. Use the remainder of the flour & spread onto a clean board to kneed your dough. 
                4. Section off the dough into equal parts, I was able to get 13 sections. Once sectioned off, flatten the dough into round discs. Be sure to have plenty of flour on your hands and the surface as the dough can be very sticky. 
                5. Once flattened, heat up your frying pan with some oil and butter, and place each pancake in one by one. Fry each pancake on one side till golden brown before flipping over to the other side and doing the same. I found that each pancake took about 3 min per side for me before flipping. Once both sides are golden brown, remove from the pan and serve warm immediately. 

                And there you have it! One batch of sweet, tender cottage cheese pancakes ready to be topped with your very own home made blueberry sauce. Free of all the added preservatives! The sauce itself lasted me a week even though the pancakes were quick to disappear. This lovely breakfast is approved by yours truly- S. 

                Blueberry & Cardamom Infused Nicecream

                Kudos to whoever came up with the name nicecream. I mean seriously, there’s no better way (or simpler) to describe it.

                Nicecream, yet another hot topic in the world of social media and healthy eats. Who could complain though, everyone’s favourite summer treat made healthy & condensed into two simple steps?! I’m sure all about it.

                Since dessert is an easy course to experiment with, I decided to get creative on this recipe. Two of my favourites: cardamom and blueberry, fused into a fresh new flavor. The tang of the frozen blueberries combined with the pungent flavor of cardamom combine to create a refreshing new taste. An additional dash of condensed milk gives it that indulgent sweet flavor any dessert needs. Here’s how you can make your very own batch of Blueberry & Cardamom infused nicecream:

                Ingrediants:

                • 2 frozen bananas
                • 1 cup frozen blueberries
                • 1 cup yogurt
                • 3-4 pods cardamom
                • 2 tsp condensed milk
                • Ice cubes if needed

                Instructions:

                1. Break open your cardamom pods using a mort and pestol and scrape the seeds out into the blender.
                2. Blend the frozen bananas, blueberries, cardamom pod seeds, yogurt, and condensed milk for about 45 seconds until well mixed. The consistency should be thick and creamy, just like regular icecream! If the desired consistency is not obtained at first, add a 1/4 of cup of icecubes and blend once more. Serve immediately.

                And yes just like that you’re done! One batch of creamy yet light-as-air blueberry nicecream. Perfect for any hot day out in the sun or to be enjoyed at leisure. Since no additional sugars were added, you end up feeling half the guilt of regular icecream with the same great taste. Just be quick before it melts! This sweet dessert is approved by yours truly- S.

                Ombré Chocolate Covered Strawberries

                A happy father’s day to all the hardworking dads out there today on their special day! Usually when we think father’s day gifts, the typical go-to’s are ties, maybe a new shirt, or cologne, but why not bend the stereotypes with something sweet? Why not good old fashioned chocolate covered strawberries? Usually we only see these desserts come out on mothers day or valentines day, but I think fathers deserve an equally sweet treat. 

                What really baffled me about this dessert, is that you would think it’s simple and easy to make on your first try. But was I wrong. It’s hard to imagine who could screw up chocolate covered strawberries, but apparently I can. That’s why in this post, I’ll be providing hassle-free techniques to leave you with store bought quality chocolate strawberries for half the price. And you dont have to wait till valentines day to indulge on them!

                Ingrediants/ Materials:

                • Strawberries
                • Baking white chocolate
                • Red food coloring
                • Sprinkles to decorate
                • Vegetable shortning
                • Toothpicks
                • A medium bowl
                • A spoon to mix
                • A stryofoam board
                • Muffin cups

                  Instructions

                  1. Wash your strawberries. I personally washed my strawberries in salt water as its best for eliminating any germs and also enhances the taste of the strawberries. Now the most IMPORTANT STEP: MAKE SURE TO LET THE STRAWBERRIES COMPLETELY DRY.  This is crucial if the chocolate is to adhere to the strawberries. Nothing appealing about runny covered strawberries. During this same step, skewer each strawberry using a toothpick. This will make it easier later on when you’re dipping the strawberries into the melted chocolate.

                  2. After the strawberries are well dried and moisture free, its chocolate time. Using baking chocolate, break the bar up into small pieces and microwave for about 20 seconds. Its crucial that if the chocolate is not melted by this point, microwave another 20 seconds, BUT remove from heat and stir every 10 second interval so that you don’t burn the chocolate and it turns grainy. It took me about 4 intervals total to melt to a smooth consistency as shown below. If your chocolate does burn, the trick is to add a *little bit, 1 drop or 2 of vegetable shortning. This will loosen up the consistency. 

                  3. Once the chocolate is melted, its time to add your food coloring. Now in order to get the ombré effect, the key is to increase the amount of drops as you go along coating your strawberries. I started off with 4 drops of red food coloring to get a light pink color, then added 3 drops consecutively for a medium and dark shade of pink respectively, ending up with 3 different shades of pink. Take each strawberry and coat the surface with the melted chocolate. Before the chocolate dries, sprinkle your decorative toppings onto the strawberries. You can use nuts, almonds, coconut flakes, or even cover with drizzled chocolate, but I decided to stick with good old sprinkles.

                  4. Upon completion, stick each toothpick onto the styrofoam board to dry. This will prevent any chocolate from dripping off from the strawberries. Let the strawberries air dry about 15 minutes before transferring them to a refrigerator to completely cool. I personally transferred my strawberries into individual muffin cups before transferring to the fridge making them easier to store. The chocolate should be completely hardened in about 1-2 hours and ready to serve! 

                  *If not serving immediately, store your strawberries in an air-tight container for increased freshness. 

                  And there you have it! One sweet treat sure to put a smile on the special father in your life. Or even if not father’s day, there’s a guarenteed smile after one bite of these delectable treats. This dessert is approved by yours truly- S. 

                  Passport to South Asia-Creamy Homemade Pistachio Kulfi 

                  When it comes to keeping cool for the summer, there’s a couple options available out there: a) ice cream, b) popsicles, or c) a nice ice cold drink. However, if you grew up in a South Asian household like myself, then you had access to one other option, d) Kulfi. 

                  Kulfi is one of my childhood faves! Since its only found at South Asian markets where I live, it was a rare summer treat for me. But of course, with age & a handy dandy South Asian mother, you learn some tricks up your sleeves how to make your very own kulfi at home, enjoyable at anytime of year! I’ll be sharing this recipe with you guys so you too can make your very own homemade kulfi to keep cool this summer. The best part is, all it takes is just FOUR simple ingrediants. Here’s how:  

                  Ingrediants:

                  • One can evaporated milk
                  • One can sweet condensed milk
                  • One handful of pistachios (no shell), grounded
                  • 1 teaspoon of cardamom, grounded

                  Instructions:

                  1. In a bowl, combine the evaporated and sweet condensed milk.
                  2. Next, take your cardamom pods, and pistachios, and slightly microwave the two until a light golden brown color. This provides a roasted effect, making it easier to grind both the cardamom and pistachios into a fine powder. This also increases the aroma of the two, which is crucial to the overall flavor of the kulfi.
                  3. Next, using a mort and pestol, break open the cardamom pods and remove the skin, leaving behind only the cardamom seeds.
                  4. Next, use a blender to grind together the cardamom seeds and pistachios into a fine powder. Mix this powder into the bowl with the milk mixture and stir well.
                  5. Once combined, pour this mixture into either a popsicle mould, or a kulfi mold. These kulfi molds can be found at any south asian market. If not, a popsickle mold does just as well!
                  6. Allow the kulfi to freeze atleast 6 hours or overnight before serving. Garnish with pistachio powder before serving as per taste.

                  And there you have it! One creamy, cold, sweet dessert to keep cool this summer. Definately a must for any summer barbecues to finish off a long day. This summer sweet is approved by yours truly- S.

                  *Tip 1: Kulfi does not only have to be served as a popsicle. It can also be served in a similar fashion to icecream. Freeze the kulfi mix overnight in a bowl sealed with clean wrap overtop. This should give the same kulfi mix ready to be scooped and served!

                  *Tip 2: Unlike icecream or frozen yogurt, the consistency of kulfi is slighty less thick. Therefore, be sure to be weary of a faster melting time when enjoying this summer treat!

                  Smarties cookies

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                  Smarties are a childhood favourite chocolate for a lot of us. No one ever quite understood the infamous mystery behind saving the red ones for last. Likewise, nothing says reminiscence like cookies. The aroma of a fresh batch of cookies simply can’t be beat. So what happens when you fuse the two sweets together? A confectionary masterpiece. It’s a surprisingly simple and quick recipe that any inner child is bound to love. The key lies in the simplicity, here’s how:

                  Ingredients:

                  • 1 1/2 cups of Smarties chocolate
                  • 1 cup butter
                  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
                  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
                  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
                  • 2 eggs
                  • 2 1/4 cupall-purpose flour
                  • 1/4 tsp salt

                  Instructions:

                  1. Preheat oven to 375˚F (190˚C).
                  2. In large bowl, start with your dry ingredients. I’ve always found this technique to better incorporate all the ingredients: combining dry ingredients separately from the wet ingredients. Beat in the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, brown sugar and salt.
                  3. Next, work with your wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Allow the butter to soften at room temperature and once so, beat the softened butter with an electric mixer until it forms a creamy mixture. Then beat in the vanilla extract and eggs one by one into the mix.
                  4. Next, combine your wet ingredients with your dry ingredients into one large bowl, and mix for another 1-2 minutes until well combined. Once complete, I tend to knead the dough around until it forms one large ball, which makes it easier to separate into portions for the next step.
                  5. Using a spoon, scoop a tablespoon of cookie dough, knead into a small ball, then flatten the dough into a circle shape. Place all shaped cookies onto a greased baking tray. Press 4-5 smarties on the top of your cookies depending on its size. Once complete, bake the cookies for 10-15 minutes. To check if it’s completely baked, I use the toothpick technique. If you can stick a toothpick into your cookies and no dough sticks to the toothpick, its ready to come out of the oven.

                  And just that simple, you have a classic twist on the perfect bite-sized treat! These can be served as goodiebag treats, or if you’re reluctant on sharing, perfectly fine as a solo snack. Approved by yours truly – S.

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