Sugar Free Blueberry Crumble Cake

I have never baked anything sugar free before, but my boyfriend’s Dad is diabetic and I wanted to bake him something for part of his Christmas gift. I wasn’t 100% sure where to look for recipes, so I started at all.recipes.com and hoped that I would find something that wasn’t too challenging and I did – Sugar Free Blueberry Crumble Cake!

Ingredients:

3/4 cup butter melted and cooled

1 cup milk

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cup Splenda

2 teaspoons baking powder

3 cups all purpose flour

1 3/4 fresh or frozen blueberries

1 1/2 cup brown sugar substitute

 

Ingredients for the Crumble:

3/4 cup flour

1/2 cup butter softened

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

 

Directions:

The nice thing about this recipe is that you don’t have to use a mixer, you can just mix by hand. It’s rather easy to make, and it doesn’t take long at all.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour, or spray your 9×13 pan. This recipe does make a lot.

Take a large mixing bowl and mix melted butter, milk, eggs, vanilla and your Splenda. Then add in your flour and and baking powder. Stir everything until it’s just blended. After that fold in your blueberries. Spread your mixture evenly into your pan.

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Take out a smaller mixing bowl (we’re making the crumble now!) and stir together the brown sugar substitute, 3/4 cup of flour, and cinnamon. Mix it well. Next added in the softened butter and mix with a fork or your hands until the mixture is crumbly. Once it is, sprinkle it over the cake mixture that’s already in the pan.

Bake for 35-40 minutes. Check with a toothpick or if you have it, one of those medal testers, and once it comes out clean it’s ready!

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This is best served warm, but it’s tasty either way.

 

 

Sunday Baking: Apple Pies

Two weeks ago my girlfriends and I went apple picking.

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It was my first time going and I picked and bought 26 apples. It was a lot of fun, and I got all excited about everything that I was going to make. I also bought while at the farm this fantastic apple peeler, slicer and corer. It is now my favourite piece of kitchen equipment that I own. It seriously cuts down the prep time for making apple crisp (one of my favourite things to make, and something that I definitely did make last week).

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This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving, and so yesterday I made 2 apple pies for the first time and used up the rest of my apples from apple picking. ¬†Now, full disclosure, I did not make the pastry for these pies. I most definitely bought them. I don’t have a rolling pin (adding that to the shopping list), but I wanted to make pies.

For all that I didn’t have to make the pastry, I was still apprehensive about making the pies. I’ve never made pies before, and I know that they can be super difficult to make.

For the pies, I used this recipe from 12 Tomatoes.

Filling:

8 cups cored, peeled, sliced apples
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for top of crust
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
splash of water

Even though I was making 2 pies, I decided to do the filling for each pie separately. I thought that there would be less chance of me everything up, which turns out was not the case.

Once your apples are sliced, peeled and cored put them aside. Then in another bowl, you mix the sugar, brown sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir that up until everything is mixed together well, and then add in your apples. Mix it until the apples are all covered with the sugar mixture.

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Then you pour the apple sugar mixture into your (in this case) premade store bought pastry shell. I found that I ended up with too many apples for the first pie, it started to look a bit like a mountain and the second pastry shell wasn’t deep enough to go on top and seal.

After you pour your apple sugar mixture into the pastry shell, chop up 2 tablespoons of butter into little pats and put them on top of the apples. Then in a little bowl you crack open an egg and separate out the egg white and the egg yolk. Discard the egg white, and stir up the yolk, and add a splash of water. Once that’s done, take a little brush, or if you don’t have one of those use a spatula, and brush on the egg mixture around the lip of the pastry. (It took me until the second pie to figure out the spatula thing because I don’t have a brush. That is also going on the shopping list.)

Then in a little bowl you crack open an egg and separate out the egg white and the egg yolk. Discard the egg white, and stir up the yolk, and add a splash of water. Once that’s done, take a little brush, or if you don’t have one of those use a spatula, and brush on the egg mixture around the lip of the pastry. (It took me until the second pie to figure out the spatula thing because I don’t have a brush. That is also going on the shopping list.)

Next, take your second pastry shell, flip it over, and cover your pie. Press down on the edges so that the pie is sealed. You can take a fork and make little indentations around the edges to give it some flair (or if you are more creative than I am, go to town with your design). Make sure though you poke some holes in the top of the pie so that the steam can escape.

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Finally you take the rest of your egg mixture and brush it onto the top of your pie. Then you take a tablespoon of sugar and sprinkle it onto the top.

Then you just bake at 375 degrees for 50 minutes.

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This is what mine looked like at the end. They actually exploded a little bit in the oven and then spilled over. I think it might be because the shells weren’t deep enough or maybe I didn’t make deep enough holes in the top?

Also another full disclosure: The pie on the left I forgot to add the egg yolk to the top of the pie and then sprinkle sugar on the top until about 20 min into baking, so I took it out and did it and then put it back in. The pie on the right, I totally forgot to add the little butter pats to the top of the apples. My friend Natalie though assured me that it would still taste fine. We’ll see how this goes. I’m taste testing it on my family today and tomorrow ūüėČ

5 Things: best birthday gift, portraits, pumpkin bread & books of course!

So, last week I totally missed my 5 things. Life got busy, I fell behind in my blog schedule etc. Thus, this week combines two weeks worth of 5 things.

As always, I got the idea for 5 Things from Emily of Cupcakes and Cashmere. An awesome lifestyle blog that you should follow.

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For my Dad’s 60th birthday we got him a flight on a Lancaster Bomber. There are only 2 left in the world that fly – one is in England, and one is in Hamilton Ontario at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. It was an hour long flight and he had a blast. It might have been the best birthday gift ever. I’m just sayin’.

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This is my new tote bag from Indigo¬†that I absolutely love. My cousin actually got it for me because she spent over $30 in the store and thus the tote bag dropped in price to $6.99. Can’t go wrong with that. I also finished Cream of the Crop, which was hilarious. I will be writing a blog post about that soon. And currently I’m reading The View From the Cheap Seats. I actually have to finish it by Monday (I have 300 pages left to go) because it’s due back to the library by then. Challenge accepted!

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Doug and I went to Ottawa earlier in the week. We were visiting a friend of mine and his family. My friend and his wife teach in Costa Rica and they (and their gorgeous year and half year old daughter) came to Canada for a month to visit family and friends. It was fantastic seeing them, plus Doug and I got our first weekend away together, which was fun.

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In Ottawa we went to the National Gallery of Canada to see the¬†Vig√©e Le Brun exhibit. It was spectacular. ¬†Above is a portrait of Marie Antoinette in full court dress. There are 4 portraits of Marie Antoinette and dozens of others in the exhibit. It’s definitely something that you should go see if you’re able to.

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This is a new recipe! Doug’s mom gave it to me, and it’s a recipe for pumpkin bread. She had made 2 loaves when we went to visit on our way home from Ottawa, and so I tasted pumpkin bread for the first time. Delicious. I was also given the second loaf to take home. I’m so excited to make my own!

Sunday Baking: Peach Crumble

Friday night was a Girl’s Night, and I brought the dessert. Now, my girls are fantastic at being my taste tasters and when I decided that I would give peach crumble a try, they were all onboard for tasting it and letting me know if it past muster (and yes, it did).

I got this recipe from Three Times a Day, which is published by House of Anansi Press, and actually started out as a blog in French (the blog is still active). A French publisher published the book in French, and House of Anansi Press published it in English. It’s a gorgeous book, and the recipes are wonderful. The story behind the book is also incredible.

Ingredients

For the Filling:

3 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp cornstarch

1 tbsp pure maple syrup

A pinch of salt

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

4 cups peaches, pitted and cut into cubes

 

For the Crumble:

1 cup butter, melted

1 cup quick-cooking oats

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup brown sugar

Before you do anything else, I found the best thing to do was cut up the peaches. It takes the most time, and once that’s done you’re smooth sailing on everything else.

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I used a square cake pan, put you can also use a round one – you don’t want it too big though because the bottom layer of this is just peaches, so you don’t want them spread out too far.

Once your peaches are cut, and you’ve got your pan ready and greased then preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Get a large bowl and mix the sugar, cornstarch, maple syrup, salt and cinnamon. Once that’s done¬†slowly add the peaches to the bowl mixing as you go¬†until all of the peaches are in the bowl and mixed well with the other ingredients.

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Then pour the peaches into your greased pan so that they’re evenly spread throughout the pan. Scrap out any extra mixture that’s in the bowl and put on top of the peaches.

Next take another bowl and mix the melted butter, quick-cooking oats, flour, and brown sugar. Once that’s all mixed well scoop it on top of the peaches so that it’s evenly distributed.

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Bake it for 40 minutes or “until the crumble is golden brown and the filling is bubbling beautifully.”

I just love that phrase, “bubbling beautifully,” don’t you? It brings to mind such a joy of cooking. I also might have taken out my peach crumble and noted to my boyfriend that it was indeed “bubbling beautifully,” and was extremely happy.

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It’s a rather quick and easy dessert recipe that tastes amazingly good. Definitely one that I’m going to be making again.

Sunday Baking: Apple Crisp

Apple crisp is one of my favourite deserts – mostly because it’s apple. I love me some apples. Anyway, for this particular apple crisp you will need:

6 large apple

cinnamon

1 cup oatmeal

1 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon flour

2 tablespoons cold butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and grease a pan. Then peel and slice your 6 large apples.

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Next you layer your apple slices in your pan, and top with cinnamon. I did it so that the apples were covered (not drowned or anything but covered) with cinnamon.

In a separate bowl mix 1 cup of oatmeal, 1 cup of brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of flour. Once that’s all mixed, crumble in 2 tablespoons of cold butter. (Truthfully, for the first pan I did, I didn’t mix it all in a separate bowl. Tasted okay still, just didn’t have that evenly spread throughout taste I was looking for. I rectified myself on the second pan). Then you evenly put the mixture on top of the cinnamon covered apples.¬†IMG_2311

Bake uncovered for 45-60 minutes, until a knife goes through the apples easily.

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Once that happens you’re done and you can eat your delicious creation! Can’t eat it all at once? No problem! Save it in the fridge and just microwave it when you want a piece. It’ll still taste amazing.

Sunday Baking: Lemon French Macaroons

Yesterday I had a girls day with two of my girlfriends (Natalie and Shannon) and we made Lemon French Macaroons from Sweet & Savory by Shinee. Not one of us had made them before, and truthfully I had never actually eaten one before either, so it was something new for all of us.

We had some trepidation about making them as Natalie had heard that they were rather temperamental to make. The good thing is that along with the blog post is a YouTube video about the trickiest part of the making of macaroons which is the folding of ingredients. Shannon handled the folding of the ingredients and she did a fantastic job as the batter turned out wonderfully. 
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We did realize after we baked the macaroons that we should have maybe baked them on a lower temperature for longer so that they didn’t turn out quite so well done.¬†IMG_2100We made a lemon buttercream filling for the macaroons, which tasted amazing, and was much easier to make in terms of finicky-ness than the macaroons. When put together though, they looked and tasted amazing!

IMG_2101We came to the conclusion that we would definitely make them again, but if we were going to serve them for a party or something we would have to double the batch because it doesn’t really make too many.

Overall, a great girls day and a very fun time (and tasty time) baking something new.

 

Sunday Baking: Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

This is my¬†first Valentine’s Day with a boyfriend since I was 14. I’ve known for a little while that one of his favourite baked goods is chocolate chip banana bread, so today seemed like the perfect time to make it.

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I got the recipe for this chocolate chip banana bread from the book Let’s Do Brunch: Sweet & Savory Dishes to Share with Friends by Brigit Binns, which I was originally looking through at my friend Tori’s place, and then which I promptly bought.

The recipe is easy to follow, and it didn’t take long to actually make, but it did take rather long to bake. I found was that while the recipe said that it would take about an hour to bake, I found that it took about an hour and 25 minutes.

I’m wondering if it took so long because of the chocolate chips? The recipe called for 1 cup of chocolate chips but I feel like that might have been too many. I think I might try only half a cup of chocolate chips next time.

That is just me being a little nit picky however because the boyfriend really liked it. He actually sent me a picture of what is left of the loaf just a little while ago:
IMG_2072He ended up bringing in to work with him for the night shift and shared it with the rest of the guys. Apparently they all liked it, so that’s good.

For my gift he got me these lovely roses and some tea from David’s Tea. What can I say he knows me well ūüôā

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However you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day I hope that you have a lovely time ūüôā