Tuesday, December 6, 2011


This cookie post also appears on POPPYTALK on my baking column, "BAKE O'CLOCK" !

These rascal-ish cookies are very simple to prepare and holiday-ish in flavour - peppermint = holiday, right? These cookies have a rich, fudgy consistency and are best eaten with a tall frosty glass of milk or hot tea. Or, bag these up in some sort of cute packaging and present as a holiday gift to a loved one, or co-worker! Cookies make a delightful homemade present! I love the contrast of the dark chocolate cookie with the milk chocolate middle, with that fudgy minty-ness. Quit asking people to choose which they like better! Dark? Milk? Why not both, in one cookie!?



1 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups of granulated sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon of pure peppermint extract
1 3/4 cups of all purpose flour
1 1/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon of salt
2 bars of nice fancy milk chocolate (or Lindt milk chocolate chunks - I used Lindt Piccoli "Extra Au Lait" couverture chocolate, but that might be too crazy fancy to find. Plus, how many names can one milk chocolate have? Piccoli, AND Extra Au Lait? AND couverture? seems crazy).

Make it!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper (if so desired). Makes 2 dozen cookies.

1. Using a stand mixer or handheld beaters, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, like an angel's soft, cloudy bed!
2. Add the eggs one at a time until incorporated.
3. Add pure vanilla extract to combine.
4. In a medium bowl, sift the dry ingredients to combine.
5. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture until combined.
6. Using a small ice cream scoop or your clean bare hands, dole out 1 inch balls onto parchment-paper covered baking sheets, a dozen per sheet.
7. Break up your chocolate bars into nice little squares. Place a square in the middle of each ball and push down with your finger.
8. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, depending on how hot your oven gets! Turn the pans once halfway through. Leave to cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes before transferring to cooling racks (or your mouth).

Rammerjammer these into your mouth (or daintily nibble away on one like a little cheese mouse) and enjoy!

'Til next time,

xo Lyndsay

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Cutting Board Craft and Brunch Birthday Party!

I can't seem to do normal things for my birthday party. I always like to make it into a food competition or have a food theme of some kind. This year for my birthday, I went for something slightly different... Lately I've been seeing all these beautiful, rustic wooden cutting boards everywhere. They look so lovely for displaying cheese and fruits, or in food photography. So I decided I wanted to try and make my own wooden cutting board... and since I was going to research it, why not turn it into a craft party or sorts, so others can enjoy the process and make something for themselves too?? Fun, right!? The only not-so-cool part about hosting a brunch on my birthday was spending quite a bit of time and effort in preparing all the food. Next time I will only invite four people over, instead of twenty...! Aiyahh!

For brunch, I made spelt flour Belgian waffles, buckwheat pancakes, a breakfast potato casserole with aged cheddar and sour cream, oven-roasted hashbrown potatoes, pumpkin muffins with a cinnamon sugar topping and milk chocolate chunk cookies (my current favourite). We had a cheese board with rye bread and olive-oil baguette crostini, orange juice and fresh berries, yogurt and maple syrup for waffle toppings.

I found a lovely piece of teak at the local wood store, along with a weird off-cut piece of Madagascar ebony in the "exotic woods" section. I invited guests to bring a piece of wood to sand and oil into a lovely cutting board! Rich sanded down the ebony into the smoothest jumbo wonky piano key - it looks so shiny and black, perfect for a sushi display or a weird ice cream photo shoot! My teak wood piece turned out so nice, I really love it! My favourite cutting board was my friend Shira and Scott's, a great piece of character wood with a few silvery paint splotches on it, sanded down and oiled. They faux-aged some painted handles they found at the hardware store and attached them to the sides - perfect, super-cool looking cutting board!

Some people ate waffles and chit-chatted the afternoon away, others sliced and sanded wood, sanding down to super smooth finishes, and rubbing butcher block oil in to soak up, brighten and enliven.Cutting boards and cutting-board makers!

My teak cheese board!

And my fave cutting board of the day: Shira and Scott's awesome cutting board, aged, sanded and oiled to perfection! Man, that's going to look good with a loaf of bread and some cheese on it! Nice work, buddies!

Til next time, trompe chomp interweb world!

xo Lyndsay

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Loco dingo pie-o'clock-o.

I did go a little bonkers in pie-making this past Sunday but it was all done with love in my heart and relaxation station on my brain. Seriously, I know many people might think that spending the day making 3 different crusts and coring and slicing apples and sautéing sweet onions, leeks and carrots and rolling out dough and chilling dough and poking little fork holes in bottoms of pie crusts, slicing figs, running many a vegetable along my trusty mandolin slicer... etc... might be a drag and a half. But for me, it was a pleasant day of non-cakes where I could have fun trying to develop a new skill in the kitchen, trying out some yummy-sounding recipes and monkeying around in Pie Land.

Veggie pot pie filling, pre-gravy

Pies cooling!

Table set for dinner. New Fog Linen tablecloth and placemats! Love!

Getting ready to slice on in.

Sliced in! Caramelized onion, goat cheese and fig tart with balsamic reduction.
So easy and so yummy!

Cutting in to Mr.Veggie Pot Pie.

Not so great lighting. Oh well!

A fun and casual-times evening with pies and pals!


1. When making the precious pie dough, I find it's best when the ingredients barely come together and still appear crumbly. There are few ingredients that make up a pie dough but if those ingredients interact poorly, they can really affect the consistency of the crust! Barely touch the dough with your hands and watch your ice water. Less is more, only add a little at a time until it barely comes together.

2. Really do all those crazy things recipes call for when making pie dough, ie chilling it for the right amount of time, and chilling the pie in the freezer before it goes into the oven. It's amazing what a little stone-cold-chillin' does for a pie.

3. Don't be scared to try a pie! Like anything, pies get better with practice! I have made some seriously sucky pies and some pretty darn good ones! No biggie! No sweat!


Classic pate brisee pie dough for the apple pie. (except I add a heaping tablespoon of sugar to my dough instead of the little teaspoon because I prefer the dough to taste a little bit sweet)

Veggie pot pie with cashew mushroom gravy. You can really use any vegetables in this. The kicker is the delicious grated parmesan garlic butter crust.

Use the pate brisee recipe for this but omit the sugar. So simple and so delicious goat cheese onion tart with figs and balsamic!

Apple pie! I ditched the nutmeg and cloves.

And my recipe for maple pumpkin pie, found on Poppytalk!

Happy pie making! xo Lyndsay

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Mushroom picking is alive and well in the Pacific Northwest where I live, and every year for the past few years I've wanted to go mushroom picking for the matsutake pine mushroom - a beautiful mushroom grown where you would find pine trees, prized for its distinct, strong aroma. My friend Cindy has been going mushroom picking with her family since she was a child, and her dad is the secret mushroom man with decades of mushroom picking under his belt. So with a little secret knowledge punched into an iPhone, our little mushroom picking crew set off towards the mountains on a crisp Fall morning in October. While we sadly didn't find our special mushroom this time, we had a blast exploring the forest and its many mushroom varieties... and enjoyed a mushroom-themed hotpot for dinner!

Cindy's dad explaining where he used to go to pick mushrooms.

Our trip mascot, the adorable and hilarious baby Saya!

Into the woods we went. How beautiful our province is...

Mushrooms galore! These were golden in colour with a slick slime accumulated on its pretty ruffly top. All I could think of was the story of Babar the elephant, and how his parents died of eating poisonous mushrooms...

Upside down mushroom reminded me of a round pancake slug clinging to a branch.

False matsutake! We thought we found one.
Sadly, our area seemed to be picked over for the pine mushroom!

Lovely looking brown-capped mushrooms, but again we couldn't identify it so didn't want to end up a like a green-skinned poisoned elephant.

This was a disturbing/hilarious little find - a greyish... okay, "dink" mushroom!

THESE WERE CRAZY! They looked like they were a movie prop, light pink mushrooms with oozing red blood-like jelly. I looked this up when we got home and it's called the Bleeding Tooth Fungus. Interestingly enough, this mushroom isn't even toxic - scientists have even discovered this horrifying little shroom holds some antiobiotic properties.

A little bridge in the forest.

Sadly, no pine mushrooms for us on this trip! I must've seen over 20 varieties of other mushrooms. I think I'm mushroom crazy now. However, back at the cabin...

The reading of the dog book - Cindy looks up dogs, her partner Marc chops wood!

A nice roaring fire, with wood on deck...

...and dinner prep begins! Cindy is the master hot pot chef, which is a giant boiling pot of tangy broth housing a myriad of delicious ingredients. Items continue to be added to the broth, cooked in the broth and served right out of the soup.

We may not have picked our pine mushroom, but we brought plenty of our own - enoki mushroom strands and shiitake mushrooms...

Shredded shards of seasoned seaweed.
I like to eat this by itself, so thin, delicately crunchy and yummy!

Must have greens.

And finely grated-to-a-pulp daikon (Japanese radish), to be mixed with homemade ponzu sauce for the bottom of each soup bowl.

The broth bubbling along...

The broth cooking up the mushrooms, greens, udon noodles and tofu!

Baked sweet kambocha squash, to be used for gyoza filling.

Pan fried, handmade kabocha squash gyoza!

Super soup - hot pot party!

I'll have a side of gyoza, please! A beautiful end to a beautiful day with good friends.
Til next time, mushroom lovers! xo

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