Balsamic Berries

Yes…I know…summer is slowly coming to an end.  But I’ve got something sweet to keep that summer feeling alive!  So brush away those tears, because today I bring you an easy Balsamic Berries recipe from a very special guest, PLUS…an awesome giveaway!  That’s right, you heard me – A GIVEAWAY!

What could be more fitting than sharing a recipe with you guys from none other than Gordie Johnson – the front man for great Canadian reggae-rock band Big Sugar. Umm, hello? How could I NOT feature this recipe and giveaway on a dessert blog. Even his band name has ‘sugar’ in it!

Gordie Johnson loves food and has a passion for cooking with a wide variety of recipes in his collection. I was fortunate to be able to share one of his personal recipes with you today. This Balsamic Berries recipe comes together quickly with only a few simple ingredients. Perfect for spooning over ice cream or fruit, as suggested by Gordie himself. Or if you are looking for a non-dairy ‘ice cream’ treat (as I would myself), may I suggest spooning over some Coconut Bliss? Oh so good!

As mentioned, aside from sharing with you this delish berry compote, I also have a giveaway. Thanks to eOne Music Canada, I have one copy of the new Big Sugar album Yard Style to giveaway.  Note: giveaway only open to Canadian residents.

Big Sugar: Yard Style

If you’re not the winner of this awesome giveaway (or you do not reside in Canada), have no fear! You can still purchase Big Sugar’s latest album through Amazon

Enter below for your chance to win Yard Style:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And what could be better than listening to some ‘summer-vibed’ music while preparing this berry recipe.  It’ll even keep you warm on those cold winter days.  Warning: music won’t actually keep you warm.  Be sure to bundle up when venturing out.  Or better yet, stay in and have yourself and bake-a-thon.

Pure deliciousness!
Enjoy,

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Balsamic Berries

"Here is one of my all time fav "go-to" summer desserts. The ingredients are pretty simple and usually on hand." - Gordie Johnson

Ingredients

    Berries are the main ingredient. I prefer a mix of:
  • Strawberries (hulled & quartered)
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Optional: Blueberries will also work as will Cherries (be sure to removed the stones)
  • You will also need:
  • Granulated sugar
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • A large sauce pan
  • Fresh cut strips of basil
  • A bit butter or olive oil (for the non-dairy version)

Method

  1. Saucepan on medium heat, melt butter (or oil).
  2. Add the berries to pan, as they start to sweat add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. For 3 clamshell containers of berries you might use about 1 1/2 tbsp.
  3. Sprinkle about a 1 tbsp of sugar (note: the sugar and vinegar measures may be less, depending on the ripeness of the berries)
  4. As the berries sauté , they will release their juice which will mingle with the vinegar, which will
  5. in turn dissolve the sugar.
  6. Turn the heat down a little.
  7. Be sure to stir gently as not to beat up the berries. They will break down naturally.
  8. When all ingredients start to simmer gently and thicken, you are about done.
  9. You will end up with a jammy berry compote. This can be used to spoon over ice-cream
  10. or over fresh cut fruit for a non-dairy option (strawberries or peaches).
  11. Just before serving, slice fresh basil leaves very thin and sprinkle a few strands on each serving. They will add an interesting, peppery freshness to the dish.
http://www.pastelbakery.ca/balsamic-berries/

Disclosure: I was provided with a recipe from Gordie Johnson’s personal collection and am not being compensated to feature it.  Big Sugar album (Yard Style) was provided to me by eOne Music Canada.  I am not being compensated for hosting this giveaway.

Roasted Strawberry & Whipped Cream Cakelets

I’m back, and as promised in my last post, have returned with a perfect easy to prepare summer dessert. These Gluten Free Roasted Strawberry & Whipped Cream Cakelets are such a cinch to put together. Light, fluffy and refreshing, you’ll look forward to making dessert and will even offer to bring dessert to any backyard BBQ’s you’ve got going on this summer season.

Gluten Free Roasted Strawberry and Whipped Cream Cakelets | pastelbakery.ca

While on one of my daily tours through Pinterest, I came across a recipe from Food Retro for a 4 Ingredient Sponge Cake. This definitely intrigued me. Could a cake with only 4 ingredients really be so light and fluffy? Easy to prepare…ok, I can buy that given there are only 4 ingredients, but fluffy and melt in your mouth? Guys…it totally is! I honestly could not believe just how fluffy this cake turned out! Sooo good. And with just a few ingredients needed, it’s the perfect cake to whip up when in a hurry, or if you haven’t restocked your pantry (as this happens to me quite often!). The original recipe was not gluten free, but I converted it with no problems. Love it! The taste reminded me of the lady finger biscuits used in a tiramisu. And yes, I’m way ahead of you…next experiment will be to use this cake in place of biscuits to make a gluten free tiramisu. Figured it’s a more affordable version since the gluten free biscuits used in tiramisu are super expensive over here. Of course I’ll have to wait a while on testing that recipe, seeing how it would involve using coffee and I don’t want to send baby on a caffeine episode.

Gluten Free Roasted Strawberry and Whipped Cream Cakelets-2 | pastelbakery.ca

Having tested out this cake around the same time I made these Roasted Strawberries, I thought, what a perfect and easy summer dessert it would make to combine the two. So with a little bit of whipped topping, these Gluten Free Roasted Strawberry & Whipped Cream Cakelets were born. I opted for using Truwhip whipped topping. Really, if you don’t have a dairy issue, I would think whipping up some fresh whipping cream would be pretty awesome as well. But, if I went that route, I’d probably be keeled over for a few days, cursing this fantabulous dessert. Nah, didn’t want to go there. However, on the other hand, I couldn’t bring myself to purchase a certain popular frozen whipped topping in a tub. Ya’ll know which one I’m talking about. Just looking at the ingredients made me cringe, and I couldn’t do it. Then I remembered Truwhip whipped topping. Gluten free and 100% natural? Yup. I’m in. Now, it does contain a small bit of milk, but not enough to make me react the way a full blown dairy product would. However, if you are allergic to dairy, or extremely sensitive, you will have to go with plan B (maybe whipping up some coconut milk?).

Gluten Free Roasted Strawberry and Whipped Cream Cakelets-3 | pastelbakery.ca

And what to do with the cake scraps you’ll have from making these cakelets?  I’m sure you won’t have any issues there.  If you’re like me, you’ll just devour them on their own.  Or if you have more will power, they would probably work great in a trifle.

Pure deliciousness!
Enjoy,

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Roasted Strawberry & Whipped Cream Cakelets

Bake Time: 25 minutes

Makes: 3 cakelets

A light & fluffy sponge cake filled with roasted strawberries and light whipped topping. A perfect summer dessert!

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup white rice flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 recipe of Roasted Strawberries
  • About 1/2 tub of whipped topping (I used Truwhip Whipped Topping)

Method

    For Easy Vanilla Sponge Cake:
  1. Grease a 9x13 pan; set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  3. In small bowl, combine flour and starches and set aside.
  4. In bowl of mixer (make sure it's completely grease free), whip the egg whites with 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form.
  5. In a separate medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining sugar until mixture turns a light yellow (about 2 minutes).
  6. Carefully fold the yolk mixture into the egg white mixture, using a spatula.
  7. Gently fold in the flour mixture 1/3 of a cup at a time, making sure not to over mix.
  8. Pour batter into pan and bake for 25-30 min, or until tester inserted into cake comes out clean (if using a dark pan you may find it's ready in 20-25 min).
  9. Let cool in pan for about 5-10 minutes before inverting onto wire rack to cool completely.
  10. Note: cake will deflate once it begins to cool.
  11. For Cakelet assembly:
  12. Using a round cutter (I used one about 3" wide), cut out 6 circles from the sponge cake (2 circles will be used for each cakelet).
  13. Place one cake round onto plate. Spread about 1 tbsp of whipped topping on top. Drizzle with about 1 tbsp of roasted strawberries. Place another cake round on top and repeat.
  14. Serve immediately.

Notes

Sponge cake recipe slightly adapted from foodretro.com

http://www.pastelbakery.ca/gluten-free-roasted-strawberry-and-whipped-cream-cakelets/

Roasted Strawberries

Guys…it’s STRAWBERRY SEASON!!  But sadly it’s almost over.  Luckily there’s still a few weeks left, so I’m not late to the seasonal party just yet! So if you have fresh local strawberries on hand (ok, and even if you don’t), you MUST make these Roasted Strawberries.

 Roasted Strawberries 1 | pastelbakery.ca

I’d have to say strawberries are probably one of my fave fruits, so it’s pretty sucky that strawberry season is only 2 months (at least here in Ontario). Big bummer. Yes, I realize you can find strawberries year round at your local grocer, but let’s face it…nothing is better than fresh local strawberries. So sweet and full of flavour. Of course, in the past when local strawberries started popping up in store, I’d stock up like a mad woman. Or like a crazy strawberry lady. Then what would happen? The ever dreaded over ripening. Unfortunately, I’m only one person here who enjoys these sweet berries, seeing how hubby isn’t a big fan…but I’m hoping baby will be (news here if you missed it). I’m crossing my fingers I’ll soon have someone to share fruits and veggies with! It may seem lame, but it’s frustrating when you’re one person who enjoys a variety of fruits and veggies. That means having to scarf down a bunch of produce before it goes bad. Not my kind of fun. I actually enjoy piling up my plate with a variety veggies when I eat at family/friends places. Some may see it as weird (or sad); especially when there is the option of say, BBQ’d steak or chicken, but I see it as seizing an opportunity. But back to the strawberries…

Even though I’m just one lonely fruit lover in this house, I can never resist stocking up on local strawberries given they’re only available for such a short period. But now, with this recipe for Roasted Strawberries, no berry will over ripen and turn ugly. Yes, I’m picky with my fruits appearance. It’s like superficial apple picking over here.
Seriously though, I honestly cannot believe how easy it is to make this. Super fast and only a few ingredients. In no time your house will be filled with the aroma of the roasting berries mixed with spicy cinnamon and warm vanilla. So. Good.

 Roasted Strawberries 2 | pastelbakery.ca

If you are a strawberry lover, you definitely must try this! Perfect to spoon over vanilla ice cream or Greek yogurt (as you may have seen from my Instagram). Or, if you’re looking for an easy and light summer dessert, stay tuned for my next post, using these Roasted Strawberries. I’ll be sure to post very soon before the season gives out.

Roasted Strawberries 3 | pastelbakery.ca

Roasted Strawberries with Vanilla Greek Yogurt

Pure deliciousness!
Enjoy,

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Note: when I first made these Roasted Strawberries, I covered my glass dish in parchment paper so the strawberry syrup wouldn’t stick and bake to the sides of the dish. I would suggest NOT going this route. I found it difficult to stir the strawberries without ripping the paper. On my next tries, I added a little of olive oil to the berries so they wouldn’t stick (which I’ve noted in the recipe below). This worked much better.

Roasted Strawberries

Bake Time: 20 minutes

With a hint of spicy cinnamon and warm vanilla, these roasted strawberries are irresistible! Perfect served over vanilla ice cream or yogurt.

Ingredients

  • About 1 1/2 - 2 cups strawberries (stems removed, washed & cut)
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp light olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Place berries in a glass dish and sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Toss gently to coat. Let sit for about 5 minutes (this will help the juice from the strawberries to be released).
  3. Add olive oil and stir gently to coat.
  4. Spread berries out evenly in dish and bake for 20 minutes, stirring half way through.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before using immediately. Or let cool completely, before storing in a tightly sealed jar and refrigerate.
http://www.pastelbakery.ca/roasted-strawberries/

Marshmallow Caramel Popcorn

Let me start off by saying…you MUST make this Gluten Free Dairy Free Marshmallow Caramel Popcorn. MUST.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Marshmallow Caramel Popcorn

I haven’t done much in preparation for Halloween this year. Aside from stocking up on candy to hand out to the little ghouls and goblins, and keeping up with the latest Walking Dead episodes, I am not ready this year. Other years by now, I would have watched some of my fave Halloween/scary movies, like Sleepy Hollow, Rocky Horror Picture Show or Nightmare Before Christmas. Yes, I realize the last movie falls between Halloween and Christmas, but it gives me an excuse to watch it more often.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Marshmallow Caramel Popcorn

I had wanted to make some creepy cookies, or sinful cupcakes, but nope…no time. It seems I’ve been so busy prepping/testing a special cake I will be making in a few days, that Halloween just creeped up on me (eek!). Psst…follow me on Twitter to see the progress of this special cake!

That’s why this Gluten Free Dairy Free Marshmallow Caramel Popcorn is so perfect! It is so, so, easy to make! Bonus: you can even make it in advance as it keeps well in an airtight container for up to 1 week! The subtle ooey-gooey marshmallow flavour, creamy caramel crunch and light chocolate drizzle, make it a perfect movie snack!

Gluten Free Dairy Free Marshmallow Caramel Popcorn

If you can’t tell from these pictures just how awesome this popcorn is, let’s blame it on the photos…don’t be a popcorn hater. My camera chose to be the walking dead and I had to shoot these pics using my iPhone.
And if the pics weren’t spooky enough for you, here’s a little ghost indulging in the goods. It may look like he’s spitting them back out, but really he’s using his super ghostly powers to suck them in!

Gluten Free Dairy Free Marshmallow Caramel Popcorn

So before you sit down to indulge in a frightening flick, be sure to make a bowl of this super easy Gluten Free Dairy Free Marshmallow Caramel Popcorn. Pure deliciousness! Enjoy!

Gluten Free Dairy Free Marshmallow Caramel Popcorn

Happy Halloween everyone!

Eva

Gluten Free Dairy Free Marshmallow Caramel Popcorn

Bake Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Makes: 8 cups of popcorn

This easy to make Gluten Free Dairy Free Marshmallow Caramel Popcorn is simply irresistible! Perfect for movie night.

Ingredients

  • 8 cups popped popcorn (about 1/2 cup kernels)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup dairy free buttery spread (such as Earth Balance)
  • 8 large marshmallows, or about 32 mini marshmallows
  • For Chocolate Drizzle
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (such as Enjoy Life)
  • 1 tbsp dairy free buttery spread (such as Earth Balance)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 250°F. Line a large baking sheet (or two) with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Place popped popcorn in large bowl or pot. Set aside.
  3. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt sugar, spread and marshmallows. Once fully melted lower heat to low and let simmer for about 2 minutes, keeping a close eye on it to ensure it doesn't burn, and stir frequently. Remove from heat.
  4. Pour mixture over popcorn and toss to evenly coat - it will be sticky!
  5. Spread popcorn onto prepared baking sheet and bake for 1 hour (or so), stirring every 10 min or so.
  6. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, in microwaveable bowl, melt chocolate chips and spread (about 40 seconds). Stir until smooth, returning to microwave if not fully melted. If you do not have a microwave, you can also melt the chocolate chips and spread over a double-boiler and stir until smooth.
  8. Drizzle chocolate over popcorn and let it harden before breaking into clusters.
  9. Can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week...if it lasts that long!
http://www.pastelbakery.ca/gluten-free-dairy-free-marshmallow-caramel-popcorn/

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Happy Ice Cream Day everybody! The sun is shining and it’s another hot lazy summer day. What a perfect weekend to celebrate Ice Cream Day. Did anyone else melt away in the heat wave we recently got? If so, I’ve got the cure for you: Gluten Free Dairy Free Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Vanilla Bean Ice CreamI don’t mind hot days, but when humidity levels are so wack and making it feel like 40ºC outside, well that’s where I draw the line. Let’s face it; that’s just not enjoyable weather. The other day I went out for my morning walk just before 8:30 and couldn’t believe that after 20 min I was drenched in sweat. Ugh, gross! This made me wanting a cool refreshing dessert. After all, I did deserve it after my hot walk, right?
I had been eyeing some creamy ice cream recipes online, but all required an ice cream maker (d’oh!). Yes I know there are ice cream maker free versions which use whipped up bananas as their main ingredient, however as you may recall from my recent Strawberry Banana Frozen Yogurt Pops post, I don’t get along with my blender. So as much as I would have loved to use the overripe bananas I had, I just knew it wasn’t an option. Then I came across a post from David Lebovitz showing how to make homemade ice cream sans ice cream maker. Perfect!

Gluten Free Dairy Free Vanilla Bean Ice CreamGiven a pint of store bought gluten free dairy free ice cream can run you between $6-$8 (yikes!), I think I could totally justify getting an ice cream maker. Maybe a super early Christmas gift (hint to my hubby)? Or how about Christmas in July? It could totally be a thing! I suppose until then, making ice cream by hand is the way to go.
As I needed to make this dairy free, I used a full can of coconut milk (full fat – no light business going on in here!) and some almond milk. To thicken the mixture, I used some cornstarch (I’m sure tapioca starch would also work if you don’t have cornstarch on hand).  I also added a little bit of ground cinnamon and nutmeg to add a bit of spice to the vanilla taste.  This Gluten Free Dairy Free Vanilla Bean Ice Cream is really quick and easy to make…again, no ice cream maker required! The end result may not be as perfectly creamy as when using an ice cream maker, but I was still impressed with actually how creamy it did turn out. As you can see, I still enjoyed it either way.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
And if you can resist eating it all in one sitting, it actually tastes even better a few days after being made. One thing though, is prepare to work your muscles BIG TIME, as a lot of whipping by hand is involved. Did I mention no ice cream maker is required? 
In the coming week, I plan on making another frozen treat to help keep us cool during these hot summer days. I hope to share this recipe with you as well so stay tuned! Hint: it will be chocolate-y. 
Pure deliciousness!
Enjoy and stay cool!
Eva

Gluten Free Dairy Free Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Makes: about 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 can coconut milk (400 ml)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup corn starch or tapioca starch
  • 2 tbsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar or honey
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg (optional)

Method

  1. In medium pot over low heat, simmer coconut and almond milk.
  2. Slowly whisk in corn starch, ensuring no lumps are left. Continue to simmer gently until mixture thickens slightly (about 5 min).
  3. Remove from heat, then stir in vanilla, agave and spices (if using). Let cool. I placed my pot in a bowl of cool water to help bring the temperature down.
  4. Pour into a freezer safe stainless steel or plastic bowl, cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 45 min.
  5. Remove from freezer and whisk vigorously for about 1-2 min. Make sure to scrap sides of container where ice cream begins to freeze in clumps.
  6. Cover and return to freezer. Repeat this process every half hour for up to 4 hours, or until ice cream is frozen.
  7. After last stir,pour mixture into freezer safe container with secure tight fitting lid and freeze until ready to use.
  8. You will need to take out of the freezer a few minutes before serving so it's easier to scoop.
http://www.pastelbakery.ca/gluten-free-dairy-free-vanilla-bean-ice-cream/

Strawberry Banana Frozen Yogurt Pops

So is anyone else excited the summer-like weather has finally arrived?? It seems like lately we’ve been on a swing of weather changes – hot, cold, hot, cold…but finally the good weather is here and it looks like to stay. Yeah, we may be getting more rain versus this time last year but hey, a little bit of rain on a hot day is always welcomed. Don’t you just love the smell of rain showers hitting the warm pavement? Just a sign that summer is right around the corner!
And all this warm weather made me want a cool and icy treat to munch on. I had a few strawberries, one banana and about a cup of Greek yogurt on hand, so I put it all together to make these Gluten Free Strawberry Banana Frozen Yogurt Pops.

Gluten Free Strawberry Banana Frozen Yogurt PopsNow does anybody else have the same problem I have – owning a crappy blender? This blender is supposed to ‘crush’ ice but how is that possible if it’s not even capable of pureeing a ripe banana? Seriously?! Whenever I’ve tried to make a smoothie, I always end up with lumps of fruit in my cup. I don’t get it, isn’t a blender supposed to take care of that? This thing definitely does not live up to its name of ‘CrushMaster’.
So, I knew that if I used this so called ‘blender’ to make these Gluten Free Strawberry Banana Frozen Yogurt Pops, I’d just end up frustrated, and with a lumpy mess. That’s why I made these pops using a good ol’ handy dandy potato masher. With a little bit of muscle work, I mashed down the strawberries and bananas to a non-lumpy consistency. Buh-bye ‘CrushMaster’, you have been replaced! Then you whisk in the yogurt, a little bit of honey and voila…a creamy frozen treat with minimal clean up.

Gluten Free Strawberry Banana Frozen Yogurt Pops

I used Olympic Krema Greek Yogurt coconut flavour, but you can use another flavour or plain. The Olympic Krema Greek Yogurt is by far the best Greek yogurt I have ever tried. It’s so rich, thick and creamy, with no gelatin and bonus it’s labeled gluten free, which means not having to call the company to confirm (yippee!). If I could eat unlimited amounts of dairy on a daily basis, I would go through tubs and tubs of this Krema Greek yogurt – I’m just saying.
So what are you waiting for? Go whip up a batch of these Gluten Free Strawberry Banana Frozen Yogurt Pops…quickly before the weather turns on us again! 
Pure deliciousness!
Enjoy and thanks for stopping by! Comments are always welcomed.
Eva

Gluten Free Strawberry Banana Frozen Yogurt Pops

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Makes: 6 pops

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped strawberries (about 6)
  • 1 cup chopped ripe banana (about 1)
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (I used coconut flavoured, but you can use any flavour or plain)
  • 2 tbsp honey

Method

  1. Cut up cleaned strawberries and banana into medium bowl.
  2. Using a potato masher, mash strawberries and banana until no lumps (or very few) are left.
  3. Whisk in yogurt and honey.
  4. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze for at least 4 hours before enjoying.
http://www.pastelbakery.ca/gluten-free-strawberry-banana-frozen-yogurt-pops/