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April 28, 2013


Okay, so before we get going onto the recipe for this delicious flat bread, I should probably specify that I am no Naan expert!

I have no idea how close this recipe comes to a traditional Naan flat bread.  I most certainly haven’t cooked it up in a Tandoor oven, but I do know it has a similar taste and texture to the Naan I get from a local Indian restaurant.  This Naan tastes fantastic served up with butter chicken and basmati rice, or your favorite spicy curry dish!

Naan Bread makes 8 recipe from Avocado & Bravado

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting and rolling
  • 1/4 cup oil (I’ve used both canola and olive oil with good results)
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • oil or ghee, for frying  *ghee is clarified butter

Whisk the yeast and sugar into the warm water and let sit for 5 minutes until the mixture begins to foam up.  To the yeast mixture, add the oil, yogurt and beaten egg.   Mix the flour (with the salt) in one cup at a time and knead until the dough is smooth, but not sticky.  *this can be done by hand, or in a stand mixer using the dough hook attachment

Set the dough in a well-greased bowl, covered with plastic wrap in a warm place to rise until doubled in bulk.  About 1 hour.

Gently deflate and transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and divide into 8 equal parts.  Roll each piece of dough out fairly thin.  Between 1/8-1/4″

Cook the bread in a frying pan very lightly coated with ghee or oil over medium-high heat.  When the bread starts to develop air bubbles and begins to brown, flip and cook on the other side until golden brown (about 1 minute/side)

Serve warm.



Teeny Tiny Coconut Fudge Tarts

April 14, 2013


These teeny tiny, fudgy, coconutty, one bite wonders are the result of April’s Secret Recipe Club assignment.

The recipe comes from Heather at Join us, Pull up a Chair.   Heather’s tiny tarts were made by folding pastry, topped with filling into little bundles but I switched things up a little bit by cutting 1 1/2 inch rounds of pastry and tucking them into miniature muffin pans before filling with coconut fudge.

You could also go ahead and make these a little bit bigger, they were pretty easy to put together but they were quite tiny…perfect size for a tea party!

Tiny Fudge Tarts makes 3 dozen recipe from Join us, Pull up a Chair

  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla

for the coconut fudge filling:

  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg yolk  *I used the whole egg
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ cup cocoa
  • ½ cup finely chopped nuts or flaked coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a food processor, combine the flour, salt and butter.  Pulse until the mixture is crumbly,  Add the water and vanilla while pulsing until the dough comes together.

Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface and cut into 1.5″ circles.  Press into miniature muffin/tart pans.

Combine all of the filling ingredients and mix until well incorporated.  Place a small spoonful of filling inside each tart shell and bake for about 15 minutes until the pastry is baked and the filling looks set.

Cool before removing from the pan.

To take a peek at what the other secret recipe club members have been up to this month, check out the link collection below!


A Birthday Cake for Nan

April 7, 2013


It’s my Nan’s birthday and I volunteered to make her birthday cake.

 After so many years of sewing, knitting and being ultra crafty I thought she would appreciate a cake with all of those things.

The cake is a white cake (I used a box mix and added extra vanilla) the cake is filled with Bavarian cream and frosted using a basic vanilla buttercream.  The decorations were made using Marshmallow fondant, Wilton food colouring and a lot of LOVE

You can find the method for making your own marshmallow fondant here.


My favorite part of this cake has to be the little spools of thread!  Patterns were created on the “fabric” by placing small  fondant cut outs on a flat piece of fondant and rolling thin using a rolling pin.  All those years of playing playdough with children has a preschool teacher is sure coming in handy 🙂  The ball of yarn is two cupcakes frosted together before being wound with ropes of grey fondant.

There was some cake leftover so I mixed it up with the leftover frosting to create cake pops for the kids that matched the theme of the cake.


I can’t wait for great Nan to get a look at her birthday cake!



Chinese Coconut Buns (aka Honey Buns)

April 3, 2013


So lately I’ve been thinking about these Chinese coconut buns (or as I’ve always known them, “honey buns”)

These buns are rich, sweet and filled with a mixture of coconut, butter and honey that seems to almost melt into the bread dough and leave a dense layer of sweet coconut filling.

Whenever we get a chance to visit Victoria, we stop at the Bakery in China town to bring home bean buns (for my dad) and we often scoop up some sweet buns.  The place is a tiny hole in the wall and I have a feeling I don’t want to know what the kitchen looks like but they sure do make amazing sweet rolls!

bbq bakery

(photo from

These rolls will never be quite as good as the real thing from the Victoria BBQ House Bakery but they will sure tie me over until I can have the real thing!

The recipe I used comes from Jun-Blog, it was the best looking recipe I could find and it actually used honey as an ingredient, many I searched contained no honey at all!


Chinese Coconut Buns (Honey Buns) makes 12 recipe from Jun-Blog

  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup unsalted, melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 to 3 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt

for the filling:

  • 1 cup shredded, dried coconut
  • 3 tbsp melted butter
  • 5 tbsp honey
  • 1 egg yolk (reserve the white for egg wash)

to finish:

  • reserved egg white mixed with 1 tsp water
  • sesame seeds

Begin by dissolving the yeast and the 1 tsp of sugar in the 1/4 cup of warm water.  Let this sit until the yeast bubbles so you know it is active. (I often skip this step and add the remaining ingredients right away but as I was starting a new package of yeast I wanted to be certain it was active)

If using a mixer, add the eggs, sugar, melted butter (that has been cooled) and milk to the yeast mixture and begin mixing using a dough hook.  Mix the salt into the first cup of flour and add flour one cup at a time, mixing it in until you have a soft, but not sticky dough.  I only needed to use 3 cups.

*You can also easily mix and knead this dough by hand.

Set the dough aside in a bowl greased with vegetable oil, cover and allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

While the dough is rising you can assemble the filling.

Pulse the shredded coconut in a blender or food processor until it is quite fine.

Mix the coconut with the melted butter, honey and egg yolk.

Set the filling aside.

Once the dough has risen, remove it from the bowl on to the counter and divide it into 12 equal pieces.  For each piece, using a rolling pin or your hands, into a 5X3″ rectangle.

Place about 1 and 1/2 tbsp of filling down the middle of each pice of dough, lengthwise.

Fold the dough over and pinch the seams to seal.  Tuck each end underneath pinching to seal in in place….you should have dough that resembles a twinkie shape 🙂   Place rolls about an inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cover to rise for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Brush the tops of the rolls with the egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

*I stacked two baking sheets together to create a pocket of air under the pan so the bottoms of the buns wouldn’t become too browned.

Bake for 15- 20 minutes or until golden brown.  After 18 minutes I popped them under the broiler for a minute so they would brown up nicely on the tops.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!



No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

March 28, 2013


My mom used to often make these No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal cookies when I was a kid and I have really fond memories of them!  I do however, tend to have a tough time making these cookies and having them turn out just rights.   A mixture of sugar, cocoa, butter and milk is brought to a rolling a boil and you let it boil for 1 minute.  I believe in the past my mistake has been not letting this mixture boil quite enough which results in a chewy cookie, rather than more of a firm, candy like chocolate.

This time these cookies came together flawlessly and because we were having a little bit of an easter gathering with friends I decided to make a small thumbprint in the centre of each cookie and fill with Jelly beans to create nests.    So yummy and so cute!

No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies makes 24-30 cookies

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar (I used a mix of brown and granulated sugar)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup nut butter (I like Almond butter)
  • 3 1/2 cups quick oats

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter.  To the melted butter, whisk in the sugar, milk and cocoa powder.  Let this mixture come to a rolling boil (not just boiling, but a very bubbly, hard rolling boil) and set the timer for 1 minute.   After 1 minute of hard boiling, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla and the nut butter until smooth.  Stir in the oats and working quickly, drop by large tablespoons on the prepared baking sheets.  Let cookies cool and harden up.

If making nests, use wet fingers to make a small thumbprint in the centre of each cookie and place Jellybeans in the middle.


Happy Pi (3.14…..) Day! Apple Galette

March 14, 2013

Did you know that today is Pi Day??

Here’s a little snippet from Wikipedia:

Pi Day is an annual celebration commemorating the mathematical constant π (pi). Pi Day is observed on March 14 (or 3/14 in month/day date format), since 3, 1 and 4 are the three most significant digits of π in the decimal form. In 2009, the United States House of Representatives supported the designation of Pi Day.[2]

Let’s celebrate this momentus occasion by eating PIE 🙂

This was a delicious dessert and super easy to put together.

Apples, golden brown pastry, and sweet almond frangipane!

The recipe for this Galette comes from David Lebovitz’s book “Ready for Dessert”  I don’t think there’s a single recipe in this book that I wouldn’t want to give a try.

To Link up to the original post and find the recipe just give a click HERE

Chocolate Swirl Brioche Buns

March 11, 2013


So many layers of buttery brioche and chocolate!


I couldn’t have asked for these rolls to turn out any better.  The recipe for this chocolatey enriched bread comes from my Secret Recipe Club assigned blog, C Mom Cook.  Shelley’s blog is full of so many wonderful recipes and I aspire to create a sourdough starter and create so many of the wonderful looking recipes she has that use a sourdough starter….sourdough chocolate chip cookies?!?

What caught my eye right away though were the gorgeous swirly chocolatey brioche buns!

I wouldn’t say that these were difficult to make but they definitely had a good number of steps and take some time and patience.

First step is making a sponge,

next you mix the dough with the sponge and it gets quite tough, then you work the butter in, I found that this was much easier to knead by hand than in my kitchen aid, the machine sounded like it was really working hard so I finished kneading by hand.

The dough then needs to chill, you have to make the chocolate layer/filling and let that chill over night as well.

Next there is some folding and rolling of dough (I hadn’t cooked my chocolate filling enough so it was pretty gooey when I assembled the buns but aside from the mess they still turned out pretty good.)

After this, you slice, rise the buns and then bake!



The finished product is not too sweet, and if they last longer than a day in your house they slice and toast up beautifully!

Chocolate Swirl Brioche Buns recipe from C Mom Cook (from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice)

for the sponge:

1/2 cup bread flour (i used all purpose)
2 teaspoons yeast
1/2 cup milk, lukewarm

for the dough:

all of the prepared sponge (above)
5 large eggs, slightly beaten
3 cups bread flour (I used all purpose flour)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature cut into small cubes.

Chocolate Filling

2/3 cup milk
2 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
6 tablespoons flour
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons butter

To make the Sponge, whisk together the flour, yeast and milk and cover with plastic wrap.  Set aside for 45 minutes.

To the sponge, mix in the eggs, sugar, salt and flour.  The dough will be quite tough to mix once everything is combined.  Knead this for 2 minutes and let the dough rest for 5 minutes to develop the gluten.

Once rested, gradually work the cubed butter in by kneading about 1/4 cup at a time.   Once the butter is incorporated into the dough, add the next bit until eventually all of the butter has been kneaded in to the dough.    Continue to knead the dough until it is quite soft and smooth, this may take some time (6-10 minutes)

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and stretch and roll the dough into a large rectangle.   Give the dough a spritz of oil and cover with plastic wrap.  Chill for 4 hours or overnight.

While the dough is chilling you can also prepare the chocolate filling.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk to a boil.  In a bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg whites.  To the sugar/egg white mixture, mix in the flour and cocoa.  The mixture will be quite thick.

Once the milk is boiling, slowly whisk small amounts of milk into the bowl  of chocolate mixture to temper the eggs.

Once the milk has been combined to the chocolate mixture, transfer everything back to the pot and whisk over medium heat until the mixture becomes very thick (think chocolate pudding)  Remove from the heat and stir in the butter.

Line a small pan (half the size of the dough chilling on the sheet pan) with plastic wrap.   Spread the chocolate mixture over the plastic wrap and chill until set.

To Assemble: (Shelley’s blog has great photos of this  if you’re more of a visual learner, *I also copied some of her direction word for word for folding the dough…it’s a bit difficult to describe any other way!)

Remove the dough and the chocolate from the fridge.

Place the chocolate on top of the dough and fold the dough over the chocolate, pinching to seal the seams. ( If your chocolate is runny, spread it on the dough and try to make sure you have no air bubbles when you fold it over….it will get messy!)

Roll this into a larger rectangle

*Roll the filled-dough into a long rectangle, then each edge into the middle, then fold the dough in half, so you will see four edges on the folded side. This is called a tour double.

*Repeat this procedure again, rolling the folded dough into a long rectangle once again, then folding another tour double.
Roll the re-folded dough once again into a long rectangle (about 12″ x 8″).
Starting from a long side, roll the dough up onto itself to form a log.
Using a sharp knife, or dental floss, cut the log into 12 rolls.
Place rolls cut side up in a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Cover with plastic wrap or a lint free towel and set aside to rise until doubled in bulk 45-60 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Bake rolls 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
Click the link to view the other great submissions from Secret Recipe Club Group B members!
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