Beet-dyed devilled eggs

IMG_7997 (1)If you’re celebrating Easter this weekend, I hope it’s a good one!
As an easy appetizer that’s always a crowd-pleaser, I made some devilled eggs. I dyed them in beet juice to add some extra colour to the dish. I love the result!
There are many ways to do this, and I feel like they all work. I boiled a pot of beets the day before, removed the beets and saved the pink water.  Once my eggs were hard-boiled and peeled, I just put them in the pot of pink water (made sure they were covered) and added 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar to it. About an hour later, the dye had sunk in. Perfect for Easter, but I think I’d make this at any point during the year for a potluck or a dinner.

IMG_7992IMG_8001

Galentine’s Day Jam and Nutella Straws

I’m so happy that we live in a time where we can take a holiday (that is normally exclusive and can be a bummer to many) and turn it into something fun, lady-positive, and delicious. Kudos to Leslie Knope and the writers of Parks and Rec for making it a thing.  For tomorrow’s Galentine’s Day Brunch, I made these puff pastry straws. Super easy to put together, yet decadent enough for a special occasion. Definitely go well with too much coffee and awesome friends. Original recipe from Sprinkle Bakes.
IMG_79381 package puff pastry (2 sheets)

1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam

Flour for dusting

Powdered sugar for sprinkling

“Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment and set aside.” Personal tip: use cooking spray on top of the parchment to avoid peeling jam-encrusted pastry bits later on.

Allow puff pastry to thaw as directed on the package.  Dust work surface with flour and lightly dust rolling pin with flour. Roll out puff pastry until about 2″ larger on each side.  Cut crosswise into two rectangles.

Heat 1/4 cup of jam in microwave for 15-20 seconds, just enough to loosen the consistency.

With a pastry brush, coat one piece of puff pastry with half the jam.  Cover jam-coated piece with the remaining plain piece of puff pastry and gently roll together with rolling pin – not too hard, or your jam will squish out.”

strawsSlice into long strips and twist, then place on parchment lined pan.   Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Let cool before removing from the pan.  Sprinkle generously with powdered sugar.

IMG_7904“Repeat process with second sheet of puff pastry.”  For added variety, I used Nutella diluted with a bit of melted butter on the second batch. Thanks, Sprinkle Bakes!

IMG_7959

Potato chips dipped in chocolate + toffee bits

chocolate dipped chips littlekokomo.com

I swear I’ll post something healthy soon, but for now let’s just indulge ok? Besides, these guys are meant to be shared and savoured, so portion size is very much under control here. I saw this a while ago on Joy the Baker, and decided to take it to the next level by adding bits of Skor toffee on top. Toffee bits are pretty much crack for someone with a sweet tooth, by the way.
IMG_6923Here’s what i used: 
-1/2 a bar of dark chocolate broken into small chunks. Chocolate chips could work too.
-about 2 handfuls of Ruffles regular potato chips (try to get a bag that hasn’t been crushed)
-Skor Toffee bits
-a drop of vanilla (optional)
-a tsp of coconut oil (optional)
-parchment paper
-a small pot and bowl to fit in it
chups1chocolate dipped chips littlekokomo.comPour some water into the pot, about 1/4 full. Add the bowl (metal or glass) on top, creating a bain-marie (a.k.a. double boiler). Add the chocolate pieces, turn the heat on low and stir frequently. This method is key for melting the chocolate without burning the bottom. Once melted, add the vanilla and coconut oil, stir. Carefully dip chips and place them on parchment paper, adding the toffee bits while the chocolate sets. You can put them in the fridge for 15 minutes or so, just not too long or the chips will start to get soggy. Enjoy (in moderation!), xo.
chocolate dipped chips littlekokomo.com

My go-to lemon squares recipe

lemon squares littlekokomo.com

Lemon squares are the kind of treat I crave year round. They brighten up dull winter days and are equally refreshing when a heat wave hits in the summer. I’ve been using this Smitten Kitchen + Barefoot Contessa recipe for a few years now and they never fail to turn out AMAZING. Please be warned: like most good things, they require quite a bit of prep time, so make sure you have the energy and nothing to do for at least an hour. I like the tartness of regular lemons, but you can also try this with meyer lemons, or adding a little lime juice to mix it up. Here is Deb Perelman’s recipe, with a few slight variations (I mainly cut back on the sugar):
lemon squares littlekokomo.comFor the crust: 
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

For the lemon layer: 
6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup flour

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet.

For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into the greased baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill for about 15 minutes.
lemon squares littlekokomo.comBake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until just golden. Let cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes, (you can keep the oven on).

For the lemon layer, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, just until it’s set (make sure the centre isn’t too gooey). Let cool to room temperature. Cut into rectangles and dust with confectioners’ sugar using a fine mesh sieve. Enjoy!
lemon squares littlekokomo.com

Illustrated Recipe: Mushroom Paté

I’m extra excited to share my latest illustration, mainly because it’s a recipe by an awesome and inspiring friend of mine. Danielle Levy is a nutritionist based in Montreal who has taught me so much about health and food and how they are related. I went to get a consultation from her a few years ago after having been on antibiotics for about 9 months. My immune system was hit pretty bad, my skin was developing rashes non-stop, my energy was low and I had frequent heartburn. Doctors didn’t seem to listen to my issues at the time, but rather prescribe me more antibiotics which just added to the unhealthy cycle. Danielle helped me turn things around gradually while still maintaining a positive relationship with food. Food is, after all, one of the greatest pleasures in life, right?

I encourage you to check out her nutrition blog here to see her inspirational posts and recipes!

My favourite cappucino cookies

IMG_1711Come to think of it, I should just change the title to “My Favourite Cookies in the World”. Especially lately with all the spring rain. What’s better on a rainy day than drinking ridiculous amounts of coffee? The answer is eating coffee-flavoured cookies from Joy the Baker. Think of the best frappucino you’ve ever had, and then picture it in edible form.

I’ve made these more than any other cookie recipe, and usually like to freeze a portion of raw dough and save it for another day. Before you commit to making this amazing treat, just consider:
-This recipe requires a mixer (mine isn’t fancy, has no paddle attachment and does the trick just fine)
-You need to chill the dough for at least 45 minutes (I did it overnight)
-They taste best underbaked (10 minutes in the oven for a soft cookie)
-Make sure your espresso powder is well ground up (no chunks), either through a fine-mesh sieve or with the back of a spoon
-Do not forgo the parchment paper! Or grease the hell out of your baking pan. A burnt cookie is a sad cookie.

Here are Joy the Baker’s instructions paired with my (less pretty) photos:

Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons instant espresso or coffee powder
1 cup white chocolate chunks (chips are good too)

“Place racks in the center and upper third of the oven and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Set aside and we’ll preheat the oven after we chill the dough.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and instant espresso powder.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the butter mixture with a spatula.  Add the egg and egg yolk and beat on medium speed until mixture is fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes.  Beat in the vanilla extract. Stop the mixer and add the dry ingredients, all at once to the butter mixture.  Beat on low speed until just combined.  Stop the mixer, add the chocolate chunks and fold together with a  spatula until well combined.  Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 45 minutes.

IMG_1677

Into the fridge you go!

Just before you’re ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Scoop cookie dough by the heaping tablespoonful onto the prepared baking pans.  Bake for about 12 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges.  Remove from the oven, allow to cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.”

IMG_1688IMG_1685IMG_1694

Super Energy Snack: Coconut oat chocolate chip granola bars

I’ve spent an unhealthy amount of time searching for the perfect homemade granola bar recipe. Ironic, isn’t it? I knew what I wanted: something chewy, with shredded coconut and chocolate chips, but that was still filling and gave me an energy boost, not just a sugar rush. Finally, I found it, and it all made sense: the recipe was made by one of the chefs who cooked for the employees at Google. Of course, they need brain food to stay energized and really really focused! But, um, don’t we all?

From personal experience, here are a few occasions where these bars have been shared and enjoyed: staff meetings, study sessions, after a workout, breakfast on the go, second breakfast, on road trips, satiating a cranky sibling during a long drive… I’ll stop there.  Try this one out, you’ll never want store-bought granola bars again.

**I always double the batch, because they keep well and always seem to go fast. If you want to try the original portion, see this source.

Coconut-Oatmeal Bars with Chocolate Chips
Makes 32 small squares
From “Food 2.0” (DK Publishing; $25) by Charlie Ayers

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups rolled oats (I’ve been using quick oats without any issues)
1 cup unrefined light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 cup dried, unsweetened, shredded coconut
1 cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
¾ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon natural vanilla extract

IMG_0990

Instructions (from Charlie Ayers): Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly oil and 9X13-inch square baking pan and set aside (I use virgin coconut oil).

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a mixing bowl. Stir in the oats, brown sugar, coconut, and chocolate chips. Stir together the melted butter, egg, and vanilla, then add to the flour mixture and stir until just blended. Avoid mixing more than needed. Transfer to the prepared pan and level the surface.

Bake until slightly risen, golden, and just firm to the touch, about 25 minutes. Put the pan on a rack and let cool before cutting into triangular or rectangular bars or squares.

IMG_0991 IMG_1062

Enjoy! And see you tomorrow when I post a DIY craft somewhat related to this!