Category: vanilla

Wild Things (Chia Pudding)


Basic Chia Pudding*
RAW, VEGAN! original recipe by allison sklar

what you’ll need

4 tbsp ground chia seed
1 cup unsweetened almond milk**
2 tbsp agave nectar
1 tbsp vanilla (optional)
**Note: soy, coconut or hemp milk would work too, all yielding different flavours.

how to do it

whisk all ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl.
allow mixture to sit and thicken, about 10 minutes.
Serve immediately, or refrigerate and keep for later.

*This is a basic recipe. On it’s own, it has a very mild flavour. For added flavour and pizzazz, I recommend incorporating one of the following variations:

BANANA – Add one pureed banana to the mixture

CHOCOLATE – Use chocolate almond milk instead of unsweetened. Reduce agave nectar by 1 tbsp. Top with cacao nibs.

TROPICAL – use coconut milk in place of almond. Add 2 tbsp shredded coconut, and 1/4 cup crushed pineapple.

BERRY – Add in the puree of about 1/2 cup of your favourite berries. Add 1/4 more ground chia seed if pudding becomes too watery.



Petits Délices (vanilla pots de creme with brown sugar caramel)


Mouth watering. Impressive. Unbelievably simple. Creamy. Refreshing. Amazing. 
Need more adjectives? Try out the recipe and come up with your own! Thanks to Lisa over at Bites of Sweetness for her inspiration. 

Vanilla Pots-de-Creme
with Brown Sugar Caramel

what you’ll need
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup whole or 2% milk
6 large egg yolks
1/4 cup honey
1 tbsp vanilla extract
seeds from one vanilla bean (optional, but worth it)
1/3 cup brown sugar
6 tbsp water
 how to do it
In a medium saucepan, bring the milk and cream to a simmer. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks, honey and vanilla until thickened. Slowly pour the warm cream into the yolks while whisking to temper the yolks. Continue pouring a little at a time until well blended, then transfer to a large measuring cup.
Evenly pour the mixture into ramekins, place in a deep roasting pan and fill the pan half way up the sides of the ramekins with water. Bake for 30-35 minutes until they are only a little wobbly (only one or two ripples when you shake the pan.)
Leave to cool in pan, then remove ramekins and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. If refrigerating longer, allow to fully cool and then cover with plastic wrap.
Caramel sauce: Heat brown sugar and water in small saucepan over medium heat until mixture begins to bubble. Stir often with a heatproof spatula until desired consistency is reached. Pour over cooled pots-de-creme and serve. 

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap (Cinnadoodle Cookies)






This year, I had the most wonderful opportunity to participate in the 2nd annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. I was the lucky recipient of a box of absolutely addictive cinnamon swirl cookies from Dana over at Hot Pink Apron. I also received 2 boxes of chocolate chip “World Peace” cookies (from two different bloggers, and one huge coincidence!) IF YOU SENT THESE TO ME, PLEASE CONTACT ME! I’d like to link to you on my blog, and I’ve somehow lost the folder that I had put your letters/contact info into! 

So when this whole swap started, I felt as though the pressure was on for me – make something amazing that I haven’t yet blogged? Generally, if I’ve made something amazing in the past, it’s been blogged in a Montreal Minute. Except for one thing – my Cinnadoodles! Vanilla-almond cookies coated in cinnamon sugar. You read that correctly. Vanilla. Almond. Cinnamon. Go ahead, wipe the drool off your chin. This is some seriously good stuff. The main reason that I haven’t yet blogged these addictive little buggers is simply ’cause they haven’t lasted more than 24 hours in my apartment! I actually had to package and hide the boxes that I was sending away in fear that they’d be gobbled up before I awoke the next morning. 

A little note that I discovered while baking for the challenge: this recipe does NOT multiply well. I’ve made it countless times, and it’s always worked for me, but the first attempt at tripling it, was the biggest baking flop I’ve had in a long time. So please, go and make these, they are delicious and cute and perfect with tea or all on their own. But don’t alter the measurements. (Oh, but if you must, triple all of the ingredients, except the flour – use 2.25 cups.)

Oh, and did I mention how they’re oh-so-seasonally appropriate with their super sparkly crispy outsides and ooey gooey almondy insides? Well they are. Which also makes them the perfect gift. I truly hope that my three recipients appreciated them as much as I enjoyed mine!



Cinnadoodle Cookies
an original recipe by allison sklar

what you’ll need
1/2 cup olive oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg

1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp coarse ground sea salt

For the coating: 1/4 cup semi-coarse ground sugar mixed with 1/4 cup ground cinnamon

how to do it
Preheat oven to 400F. Combine oil, sugar and egg. Using electric mixer, beat until light in colour. Add extracts, mixing well. In seperate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Slowly fold in flour mixture into sugar and oil mixture. Dough will be very sticky. Refrigerate mixtue for about an hour, or overnight. Once it is cold, form into walnut-size balls and roll generously in sugar coating. 

Place the cookies a few inches apart on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake 8 minutes. Cool on pan for 1 minute, then transfer to cooling rack.

Move Over, Martha!

I’ve had the most splendid week in the kitchen and I must tell you ALL about it! I began my cooking extravaganza by making my very first buttercream icing. Fun to work with, easy to make, lovely to look at, but unfortunately, not so lovely to eat. I just don’t see the appeal of eating something that tastes like a stick of butter. Deciding then to stick with familiar classics, I made the absolute best banana cake in the history of the world. Marie Antoinette, eat your heart out. My friend Lisa, an equally exuberant foodie, suggested that I pipe some butter down the centre of the cake to create a perfect “crack.” Simple trick, fabulous results. Not only did the cake look fantastic, it had an extra hint of buttery flavour throughout. Perfection. However, my ultimate kitchen success came last night when I stirred up a delightfully velvety vodka sauce – caramelized onions, crushed garlic, plum tomatoes, fresh basil and a splash of vodka to enhance all of the flavours. By special request, I served a baked brie wheel as an appetizer, smothered in a slow-cooked peppered cranberry sauce. But the ultimate show stopper was the dessert – a layered vanilla, chocolate and salted caramel mousse, as pleasing to the eyes as it was to the palate! Two things about this mousse were most exciting: the first was the creation of the caramel. As simple as you can get, this rich caramel was created by simmering sugar and a couple of tablespoons of water over HIGH heat. Yes, high heat surprised me, and scared me, as I do not own a “heavy bottom” saucepan, so I decided to put my lovely Lagostina’s life on the line. It worked like magic! As the sugar began to dissolve, a lovely cotton-candy aroma filled the air, and then, almost instantly, the colour morphed from a silvery white to an amber yellow. At this point, I poured in the heavy cream and WHISH! An unexpected bubbling and sizzling happened, and the amber yellow transformed to a deep perfect caramel colour. While I waited for that to cool, I prepared my mousse base, which consisted solely of egg yolk, vanilla, sugar and milk. Gently folding whipped cream into the base and slowly adding the flavourings created sweet toothed bliss.

Vanilla, Chocolate and Salted Caramel Mousse Cups
recipe adapted from Tartelette

What you’ll need:
for the caramel
½ cup sugar
2 tbsp water
½ tsp kosher or sea salt
¼ cup heavy/whipping cream (35%)
2 tsp unsalted butter

for the vanilla mousse base:
4 egg yolks
¼ cup sugar
1 cup whole milk
½ vanilla bean, or 2 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp powdered gelatin dissolved in 3 tbsp water
1 cup heavy/whipping cream (35%)

for the chocolate:
¼  cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips

How to do it:
Prepare the caramel first, as it will need to cool to room temp.
Place the sugar and water in a small/medium heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Continue to cook just until light amber color.  Watch it the entire time, the colour changing process happens VERY quickly and you must remove it from the heat immediately at this point. Once it it removed slowly stir in the heavy cream (watch it bubble!) and then add butter, stirring constantly.

Prepare the mousse base as the caramel is cooling:
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until very pale. In the meantime, in a large saucepan set over medium heat, bring the milk and the vanilla bean (split open and scraped over the milk) to a boil. Slowly pour the milk over the yolks, whisking constantly. Make sure you do not pour too quickly, as this will cook the eggs. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan over medium low heat and cook until the cream coats the back of a spoon. Add the softened gelatin and stir until melted completely into the cream. Let cool to room temperature.

Whip the heavy cream to soft peaks and fold it into the cooled cream base. Divide the base into three equal portions. One portion is the vanilla mousse.

For the caramel mousse: fold a little bit of one portion of the mousse base into the caramel. Slowly add the rest of the base, folding lightly. If you find the mousse is too watery (as mine was), whip a little more cream and fold it in until you reach your desired texture.
For the chocolate mousse: melt the chocolate chips in the microwave for one to two minutes on high. Add the allotted mousse base to the melted chocolate chips and fold.

Layer the three mousses into glass serving dishes as demonstrated in the photo. The caramel mousse should be on the top as it is the lightest. Garnish with a sprinkling of cocoa or chocolate shavings. Freeze for an hour, then serve, and succumb to heaven in your mouth. (Can also be frozen for future use, just remove from freezer and thaw for 15-20 minutes before you serve it.)

Sweet Nothings

One of my favorite desserts is a simple pleasure: plain vanilla cupcakes. In search of the perfect little cupcake – moist, slightly dense but still fluffy, slightly sweet, rich vanilla flavour – I have tried countless white cake recipes. After combining the best of the best and tweaking it to my liking, I’ve perfected my very own recipe. I’ve aptly named it the “Best White Cake Ever.” Tastebuds everywhere tend to agree.

This cake comes out light and fluffy, but it is packed with buttery flavour. And, it’s versatile – want almond cake? Add a couple of drops of extract, and voila! Matcha cake? Add a tablespoon of matcha to the dry ingredients. Fruity cake? Add whatever little fruits or  berries yor heart desires. The possibilities are endless – but at the end of the day, the savvy baker will remember that vanilla is the finest of the flavours.

The Best White Cake (or cupcakes) Ever.
an original recipe by Allison Sklar

what you’ll need
• 1 cup white sugar
• 1/2 cup butter
• 2 eggs
• 2 tbsp vanilla extract
• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 cup milk

how to do it
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Flour a 9×9 inch loaf pan or line a muffin pan with paper liners.
Cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder, add to the creamed mixture and mix well.
Stir in the milk until batter is smooth. Pour (or spoon) batter into the prepared pan.
For cake: bake for 30 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven.
For cupcakes: bake 20 to 25 minutes. Cake is done when it is slightly golden on the top.