Tag Archives: dessert

Basic Mille Crêpe Attempt

When we said this mille crepe was basic, we didn’t mean drinking Starbucks and listening to Taylor Swift. It’s a classic mille crepe recipe made up of layers of crepes filled with vanilla custard cream in between.

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Mille crepe literally means “a thousand crepes” in French. It’s like a cake, but it’s made with very thin layers of crepes instead. It was something that was on my baking/cooking bucket list for quite a while now, but I didn’t want to attempt making it until I tried a store-bought one. I wanted to make sure I knew what a good mille crepe was supposed to taste like!

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A few weeks ago, I finally got to try the mille crepe from Millie Creperie at Kensington Market. It definitely lived up to the positive reviews I’ve heard about their crepes. Their mille crepe had the right amount of sweetness with a creamy filling. The filling tasted like pastry cream mixed with some whipped cream. Now that school’s over and I’m on the verge of unemployment, I figured it’s about time I try making a mille crepe.

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I used this recipe as a reference for making the cream filling. I highly recommend using vanilla beans or vanilla bean paste for the cream; it makes a huge difference! I also increased the amount of sugar because I felt that the cream wasn’t sweet enough. As for the crepes, I stuck with my go-to crepe recipe. I love the addition of using a citrus zest to the crepe batter as it adds a subtle flavour to the crepe. I tripled the amount of the crepe recipe and added about 3 tablespoons of sugar for a sweet crepe. That yielded me about 16 crepes. I used 15 crepe layers for the mille crepe because I messed up the last crepe. I nibbled on it while dipping the crepe with the remains of the cream filling stuck on the bowl. It was delish.

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I was initially going to leave the crepes plain with a dusting of powdered sugar, but I ended up garnishing the mille crepe with strawberries and cream.

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Verdict: I really enjoyed the cream filling and it tasted similar to the mille crepe I tried at Mille Creperie. However, I felt like there wasn’t enough cream or perhaps the cream dried up after leaving the mille crepe in the fridge overnight. I’ll have to tweak the crepe-to-cream ratio next time I make a mille crepe again.

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Matchachoco recommended I make a matcha mille crepe next time (of course she would), so that’ll be my next mille crepe attempt!

‘Til the next blog post,

– Ricelessasian

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Birthday Cake

Happy New Year everyone! 🙂

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Last week, I decided to spoil myself to an extravagant, over-the-top 3 tiered cake for my birthday this year. I don’t usually make cakes; honestly, I’m more of a fan of French pastries like double-baked almond croissants and macarons. However, I came across fellow Vancouverite Coco Cake Land’s cake and I was immediately hooked! Both her and Katherine Sabbath are bakers that we follow on Instagram who create unique and stylized cakes that are one-of-a-kind. I wanted to feature this cake because it’s a very visual, youthful and eye-popping cake which made me super duper happy to bake and eat!

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Wishing you an amazing year of good vibes, yummy eats, and a healthy journey ahead!

See y’all in 2015,

-matchachoco

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Vanilla Layer Cake (makes three 6-inch x 2-inch round cake layers)
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

2 cups cake flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups of sugar
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups buttermilk (I used 1 ¾ cups of 2% milk with 3 tbsp. of fresh lemon juice)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Butter all sides of three 6-inch round cake pans generously and line only bottoms with parchment paper.
  3. Prepare “buttermilk” by adding fresh lemon juice to the milk. Stir to combine and set aside for 15 minutes.
  4. Sift together both all-purpose and cake flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
  5. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla.
  6. Add eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition.
  7. At low speed, beat in the milk mixture and add in the flour mixture, alternating with dry and wet mixtures (ending with the dry). Mix until just incorporated.
  8. Pour batter in each pan (half way) and spread evenly with a spatula. Drop pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles.
  9. Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes, until the cakes are golden brown and test doneness with a toothpick . Make sure there are no crumbs on the toothpick (a denser cake is desired for clean cutting).
  10. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the pans.
  11. Invert onto separate plates to cool and set aside the layers of cakes.

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Peanut Butter Frosting (makes enough for one – 3 layer cake)
Adapted from Coco Cake Land 

Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup of smooth peanut butter
2 cups of icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp. of milk
Pinch of salt

Directions

1. Using a stand or hand-held mixer, beat the butter and peanut butter on high speed for 1 minute.
2. Add the icing sugar, vanilla , salt and milk, beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minute.
3. Remove the first cake layer from the cake pan. Frost generously with peanut butter frosting. (Repeat for 2nd and 3rd layers).
4. Spread the frosting on the outer sides and smooth out the entire cake with an offset spatula.

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Chocolate Glaze
Adapted from Coco Cake Land 

Ingredients

½ cup dark chocolate, broken into pieces (I used Trader Joe’s 70% cacao Dark Chocolate bars)
¼ cup unsalted butter, diced
1/8 tsp of pure vanilla extract
1 tsp of whole milk

Directions

1. Fill a small pot with water and boil. Place the butter, chocolate, and vanilla in a heatproof glass bowl on top of the pot. Stir slowly until melted. Remove from stove and slowly stir in the milk (try to avoid curdling).
2. Set aside to cool for 20 minutes.
3. Pour glaze on top of the peanut butter frosting. With the assistance of an offset spatula, spread glaze to the edges of the cake and slowly let the chocolate drip on only a few sides of the cake.
4. Let cake set for 20 minutes.
5. Decorate the cake with meringue kisses, chocolate bark or sprinkles.
6. Serve immediately or cover and wrap the cake in saran wrap to prevent drying up in the refrigerator.

For the pretty chocolate bark decorations and cute meringue kisses, follow Coco Cake Land’s easy peasy recipes here and here!

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Pomegranate Greek Yogurt Cheesecake

Happy first of December! Where did the year go? It’s been a real whirlwind especially since it’s a busy time for us with school and other extracurricular activities. Ricelessasian and I have been a little bit MIA lately, but we hope to post more during the break.

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I’ve been meaning to make this recipe for a long time now – just waiting for the perfect timing to feature this holiday dessert. Recently, a new Greek yogurt cream cheese product was released in quite a few supermarkets and I was pretty intrigued to try it.

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Pomegranate fruits are lovely to consume this time of year; their peak season is in the Fall and Winter. They’re so beautiful and unique. Yes…the seeds are a pain in the ‘arse’ to remove, but the vibrancy of the red seeds makes them super festive to top on any sweet or savoury dishes! Research compiled by Zarfeshany et al. (2014) suggests that pomegranate consumption is associated with inhibiting cardiovascular diseases and lowering the risk of cancers such as prostate and breast cancer, due to their antioxidant properties.

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This Bon Appetit recipe was overall pretty flexible – you can bake the cheesecake or refrigerate it. It’s really up to your personal preference! Due to time constraints, I decided to bake the crust. I also opted to bake the cheesecake instead, leaving out the gelatin. Instead of making one 9-inch cheesecake, I decided to made two 4.5-inch smaller cheesecakes. The nutritional information is also included which helps you keep track of how much you’re indulging in. Typically when I bake regular cheesecakes, my limit is probably 2 small slices and then I give the rest away to my dear taste testers (aka family & friends) 😉

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I think this is a great and healthier alternative to regular or light cream cheese. However, the flavour was quite distinct. I’m a fan of greek yogurt, so the tanginess didn’t bother me too much.

It’s no secret that we love cheesecake! We featured it previously before and will likely do so again in the future. Matcha cheesecake anyone? 🙂

What do you think about greek yogurt as a substitute for regular cream cheese? Will you give it a try too this holiday season?

– Matchachoco

Raw Vegan Blackberry Bars

What’s more exciting than the gorgeous weather we’ve been having this summer?

BERRY season!

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British Columbia has had a robust season of berries this summer, which calls for making some delicious raw vegan blackberry cheesecake bars!  After Ricelessasian blogged about the raw vanilla cheesecake recipe in our previous post, I was interested in highlighting another guilt-free recipe on our blog before the incredible blackberry season comes to an end 😦

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I lost count after eating 3 bars myself. Being home in Vancouver, I was able to give away the rest to my family and friends or else I would probably gain a lot of weight. Too bad I also couldn’t mail them to Ricelessasian who lives in Toronto (stay tuned for more bi-coastal postings…hehe). Even though these bars are considered “healthy” because they contain healthier fats like nuts (walnuts and cashews) instead of animal fats, it doesn’t mean they’re necessarily much lower in calories. I still enjoyed these more than the traditional New York Cheesecake because they weren’t too rich and I had the flexibility of eating more than one bar without feeling guilty!

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I noticed that the bars I made were less smooth and were grainier than the one in this recipe. Though the texture wasn’t too unpleasant, many blackberry seeds ended up being stuck in my teeth! Next time, I will use a stronger blender like a Vitamix to blend all the ingredients together instead of a food processor. I would also recommend refrigerating the blackberry bars overnight or a day before eating them so that the texture is just right! I think even freezing them would be an amazing frozen treat in the summer.

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Hope you’re enjoying a fruitful summer as well,

-Matchachoco

Not Your Typical “Cheesecake”

Guess what’s the main ingredient we used for this “cheesecake” dessert?

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Nope, there’s no cream cheese or any type of cheese used for this recipe at all. This recipe is nuts…literally. It’s mainly made of cashews and walnuts! I’ve been seeing this vegan cheesecake recipe online for a while now, so I finally decided to do my own take on it. While UCL is not a vegan blog, we’re pretty open minded to trying a variety of different recipes. After all, it’s always exciting to try something new!

Technically, this isn’t even a real cheesecake. While this recipe does try to mimic the flavour of cheesecake,  I wouldn’t say that it tastes exactly like cheesecake. But to be honest, I personally like the taste of it 😛

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The “cheesecake” layer was made with cashews, lemon juice, honey, and vanilla bean paste, all blended together until a smooth consistency was achieved. Of course the honey can be substituted for maple syrup or agave nectar for a strictly vegan version. I added a bit of chopped fresh cherries to the “cheesecake” to fill more space. The crust was made with crushed walnuts, dates, and a little bit of salt.

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Most recipes call for coconut oil to help stabilize the “cheesecake”, but I find that the recipe still works even if you don’t use it; just don’t thaw the “cheesecake” for too long.  I think what really ‘makes’ this recipe is the vanilla bean paste (and nope, it’s just not the same taste as vanilla extract!) and the smooth consistency of the blended cashews. You have to blend the cashews really well. There’s also the lemon juice which provides a tangy component to this dessert, reminiscent of cheesecake. While this isn’t a low-fat recipe, the good part about this recipe is that you’re getting the ‘good fats’ from the nuts. I wouldn’t recommend eating it all in one sitting, though! Portion is key, or share with a friend 😛

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I finished the “cheesecake” with some pureed strawberries. Another option would be to blend the fresh strawberries with the cashews instead to make a strawberry version. You can also use a combination of different fruits or make a chocolate version. Go nuts with it!

– Ricelessasian

Update: I realized it’s a lot easier to blend the ingredients when I doubled the recipe, so I doubled the amount of ingredients in the updated recipe.

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Basic Vanilla Cashew Based “Cheesecake” *updated* (makes 4 servings)

Adapted from every other raw vegan “cheesecake” recipe I’ve seen on the Internet

Ingredients

“Cheesecake” layer:
1 cup raw cashews
2 tsp. vanilla bean paste
Juice of half to one whole lemon (depends on how sour you want it to be)
2-3 tbsp. honey (or agave nectar or maple syrup)
Water
8-10 fresh cherries, chopped (optional)

Crust:
1/2 cup raw walnuts
4 medjool dates
Pinch of salt

Sauce:
Pureed strawberries (can be sweetened with a little bit of honey or dates if you want it to be sweeter)

Directions

  1. Before blending the cashews, soak cashews in water for at least 1 hour. This step will help ease with the blending process. Drain the cashews from water before blending.
  2. Using a food processor, process walnuts, dates, and salt, just until you get a coarse crumb consistency. Press this mixture to the bottom of two dessert rings or four cupcake liners on a baking tray.
  3. Blend cashews, vanilla bean paste, lemon juice, and honey using the Magic Bullet or a strong powered food blender. Blend until you get a smooth consistency. TIP: If you have difficulty with blending, add some water, but add as little as you can. Pour the mixture on top of the crust. Add chopped cherries while pouring the mixture.
  4. Freeze “cheesecake” overnight. To remove from dessert ring, wipe sides of dessert ring with a warm wet towel. You should be able to remove the “cheesecake” easily by slowly pushing it downwards along the ring. If you used cupcake liners, you can just peel the cupcake liners off. Let the “cheesecake” thaw for about 1-2 minutes before eating. Ideally, the “cheesecake” should still be frozen when you serve it, but not rock solid frozen. Finish with a drizzle of pureed strawberries.

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Frozen Chocolate Covered Banana “Dibs”

These taste just like banana split!

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I saw this idea as I was browsing through Instagram and I thought that these would be a great snack to have around in the freezer (also because I wanted to make use of the bananas I have at home before they become overripe). They remind me of those bite-size Dibs frozen dessert but these are made with fruits instead :D.

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I thought of adding freeze dried strawberries to the idea. Although the freeze dried strawberries were intended to be used as a garnish, I was pleasantly surprised that its addition would result with something reminiscent of banana split. If you can’t find freeze dried strawberries, crushed nuts would also work. Better yet, top these treats with both freeze dried strawberries and crushed nuts for the ultimate banana split flavour! I know I would have if I only thought of that idea before taking the photos :P.

Just going bananas,

– Ricelessasian

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Frozen Chocolate Covered Banana “Dibs” 

Ingredients

1 banana
~ 100 g  chopped dark chocolate
Chopped freeze dried strawberries and/or chopped nuts

Directions

  1. Prepare baking tray with parchment paper. Chop banana crosswise into 20 pieces.
  2. Using a ramekin or a small deep bowl, microwave chocolate every 30 seconds, mixing the chocolate in between until it has fully melted.
  3. Using two forks, dip chopped banana pieces one at a time into the melted chocolate. Place chocolate covered banana pieces on top of the parchment paper. Top with a generous amount of freeze dried strawberries while the chocolate has not yet set.
  4. Freeze until the bananas become frozen.  Do not thaw; these taste better frozen!

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Mock-jito Mock Ice Cream (Dairy-free and Vegan)

I love avocados! Avocados have a wide range of culinary uses, ranging from sweet desserts to savoury dishes. One of my favorite recipes with avocados is an avocado milkshake made with condensed milk. Sometimes I would play around with the consistency, and I would get something similar to an avocado ice cream. Yes, I know it’s a very decadent treat, so this time I opted for something relatively lighter…enter vegan mojito avocado ice cream sans the alcohol!

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Now, I don’t have an ice cream maker and I don’t drink, so this was the result.  Though Matchachoco does not prefer the taste of alcohol, on certain occasions and festivities, Matchachoco thinks it’s good to enjoy a drink to celebrate with everyone (secretly, she just wishes she is Italian). For the record, that’s a virgin mojito drink on the photo, because I like my drinks just like my olive oil…extra virgin.

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Lame jokes aside, I think avocados make a good vegan ice cream base because of its creamy texture. Technically it’s not really ice cream because there’s no cream in it, hence the “mock ice cream” name. I find it interesting that I couldn’t taste the avocado in this recipe, so it’s worth a try if you don’t like the taste of avocados. What’s also nice about this recipe is that you don’t need an ice cream maker. The recipe is similar to making smoothies, but you get a very thick smoothie.

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The result is a refreshing mock mojito flavour using a mock ice cream base. Enjoy!

– Ricelessasian

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Mock-jito Mock Ice Cream (makes about 1 1/4 cup)

Ingredients

2 small avocados
¼ cup sweetened soy milk + ½ cup sweetened soy milk for blending (or milk, if not dairy-free or vegan)
10 mint leaves, chopped
2-3 tbsp. lime juice (depends how sour you want it to be)
1 tsp. lime zest
2-3 tbsp. sugar

Directions

  1. In a food processor, blend avocados, lime juice, lime zest, mint, sugar, and ¼ cup of soy milk.
  2. Pour mixture in an ice cube tray and freeze for a couple of hours.
  3. Once frozen, blend the frozen avocado cubes in the food processor, gradually adding the remaining ½ cup soy milk until you reached your desired consistency. Add more soy milk if needed. If the ice cream is too runny, place ice cream in the freezer for a few minutes then stir the ice cream with a spoon.

Some notes about the recipe:

  • This ‘ice cream’ hardens when you freeze it again.
  • You might have to add more sugar if you’re not using sweetened soy milk. Do note that the blended avocado mixture will become less sweet and less sour after it is frozen.
  • You can also use agave nectar to sweeten it instead of sugar. Agave nectar is sweeter than sugar, so don’t put the same amount of agave nectar as much as the amount of sugar used in the recipe.
  • I personally prefer using milk over soy milk for this recipe because it tastes creamier with milk.

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Matcha Christmas Tree Cupcakes

O’Christmas tree, o’christmas tree…

It’s our favourite time of the year! For UCL’s first Christmas post, Ricelessasian and I decided to make our signature Matcha Chocolate Cupcakes…with a twist of course!

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Besides the natural green colour matcha provides, we love using it because it gives a subtle hint of tea flavour when used in small quantities. It’s a versatile ingredient that goes well with anything really, even mixed in oatmeal! I usually buy my premium matcha powder from Ten Ren Tea shop and it lasts for at least a year, which gives me plenty of time to make them frequently for birthdays or other events.

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To fit the theme of Christmas, we piped the cupcakes frosting into the shape of a tree and everything else fell into place. Honestly, half of the fun was going with Ricelessasian to Bulk-barn to buy all the neat little decorations – the tiny gingerbread men, the miniature snow-flakes and the red glitter! We had a blast shopping for what decorations would be on our ‘Matcha tree’ so much that we were giddy when we left the store!

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For the chocolate cupcake base, we used the same chocolate cupcake recipe from our Ghostly Halloween cupcakes.

For the matcha frosting,  the frosting has to have a fluffy, stable consistency so it can be piped into a tree. We recommend using an American buttercream, Swiss meringue buttercream, or Ermine frosting recipe. Omit the vanilla flavouring and add matcha powder 1 teaspoon at a time to the frosting recipe according to your liking. The frosting we used for the photos is Swiss meringue buttercream.

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To give the cupcakes a snowy effect, we sprinkled them with powdered sugar.

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We’d love to hear what you’re baking this holiday season! Feel free to leave us a comment 🙂 Keep posted for our upcoming entries this month and the exciting things that are store for us in 2014!

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Happy holidays and as always, happy baking,

-Matchachoco

Dessert Trends Patisserie à Toronto

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On a rainy and humid summer day, Ricelessasian and I decided to visit and sample some of the pastries at Dessert Trends. Actually, it was so impromptu that we didn’t even know if it was open or not! We thought we would take the chance anyhow. Luckily, it was open and so the dessert madness begins!

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Featured here are: Chocolate & Almond Opera Cake and Passion Fruit Parfait

Passion Fruit Parfait was by-far our favourite of all the desserts we tried. The passion fruit mousse was light and airy, not like traditional Western desserts. It also didn’t taste as sweet as other types of mousse we’ve tried before, which could be attributed to the freshness of the natural fruit flavour itself.

Chocolate & Almond Opera Cake – divine layers of goodness!

The opera cake takes technique to perfect its many layers of cake base, ganache and almond crunch. The contrast in textures of smoothness and crunchiness made it that more appealing bite-after-bite. It was Ricelessasian’s first time eating opera cake so she didn’t really know what to expect! She thoroughly enjoyed it because it wasn’t too rich.

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Chocolate Mousse cake with un très petit macaron! How cute is that? We were more impressed by the little macaron than the cake itself. I thought that the dark chocolate mousse was nothing too special – it tasted similar to that I’ve tried in most Asian/French patisseries in Vancouver. Though this cake base lacked fluffiness and was quite dense. We liked the zebra stripe design though – a little inspiration for our future labs!

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I sneaked a photo of Ricelessasian while she was busily taking photos of all the amazing desserts. (Hopefully this sees the light of day!)

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The beautiful decor at Dessert Trends Bistro is like nothing else in Toronto. Looking out through the glass windows, we actually could have imagined ourselves at a patisserie in Paris. Everything from the colour palate of the restaurant to the high walls and ceiling made it an exquisite space to be in.

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The aftermath of the White Chocolate ‘Egg’ that was the container for the Passion fruit parfait. We were very impressed with the stability of the white chocolate – how could it hold the Passion fruit mousse without breaking? Ricelessasian and I took a good few minutes to hypothesize about it.

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Beyond anything else, we enjoyed each other’s company – having an afternoon of Blood Orange Tea (fancy!) and treating ourselves to something special.

Ricelessasian and I are not affiliated with Dessert Trends. We were recommended to try this from our friend. It did not disappoint!

-Matchachoco

Address:

Dessert Trends Patisserie
154 Harbord St.
Toronto, ON

Cut the Crêpe

Oh, crêpes! We love them for their versatility. You can have them as breakfast for dinner, dessert, a midnight snack…really any time of the day feels ‘right’. We’ve tried a few darn good crêpe places and were inspired by the amazing flavour profiles of both the sweet and savoury ones. We discovered that a good crêpe batter really is everything! It’s the foundation for enhancing all the other ingredients in the crêpe. Nobody likes a soggy crêpe or an overly crispy one, am I right?

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We LOVE this recipe so much and think it’s a great recipe to share with friends and family! It also allows everyone to gather around the kitchen and create their own personalized crêpes to their liking. Good excuse for a crêpe party, if you ask us 😉

-Matchachoco

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Useful cooking tools: Offset spatula and crêpe pan. A non-stick regular pan will also work, but the crêpe pan will ensure a neat circular crêpe. The offset spatula will allow you to flip the crêpe a lot easier than using a regular spatula.

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Crêpe Batter (makes about 6  9.5″ crêpes)
Recipe from unknown source. It’s the ‘go-to’ crêpe batter recipe Ricelessasian’s  family uses.

Ingredients

1 cup flour
1 1/4 cup milk (whole milk, 1%, 2%, or skim milk)
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp butter, melted
1/2 tsp lemon zest

Note: For a sweet crêpe variation, add a little bit of sugar, about 1 tsp. We usually don’t add sugar to the  crêpe batter when we use a sweet filling because this batter tastes good enough :).

Directions

  1. Blend all the ingredients in a food processor. Blend just until all the ingredients are fully incorporated; don’t over mix.
  2. Refrigerate the batter for at least 1 hour. This is an important step, so don’t skip this part.
  3. Grease crêpe pan with oil or butter and heat over medium heat. Once the  crêpe pan is hot enough, pour the crêpe batter. Spread the crêpe batter into the pan with a swirling motion. Do this quickly as the  crêpe batter will cook very fast once it hits the pan.
  4. Allow the crêpe to cook in the pan. When the corners of the  crêpe are starting to separate from the pan, flip the crêpe using the offset spatula. Add crêpe filling.
  5. Fold the crepe using the offset spatula and serve on a plate.

Crêpe batter can be refrigerated for 1-2 days.

Crêpe filling Ideas

Veggie savoury crêpe: mozzarella cheese, grape tomatoes, baby spinach, salad dressing

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The mozzarella cheese melts beautifully into the the hot crêpe! The crêpe was drizzled with homemade salad dressing.

Matchachoco’s ‘go-to’ salad dressing :
Combine 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard, and 1 tbsp liquid pasteurized honey. Add some lemon zest for better flavour.

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Savoury breakfast crêpe: Add scrambled eggs.

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Sweet Nutella crêpe: Spread Nutella over hot crêpe and add sliced bananas. Drizzle folded  crêpe with Nutella and top with French vanilla ice cream.

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Ice cream filled crêpe: Fill crêpe with ice cream when the crêpe has cooled. Top crêpe with fruits.

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Note: We found that cooled crêpes dry out faster when they were made with skim milk. For better results, use whole, 1% or 2% milk.