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Last weekend, I came across a recipe in the Guardian for a banana cake made with just the banana peels – an intriguing way to address food waste. I’ve made a *lot* of banana bread in my lifetime, and generally my strategy is to toss overripe bananas into the freezer whole, and then pull them out to thaw in a bowl when it’s time to bake. (If I’m in a hurry, I cover them with warm water to help them thaw more quickly.)

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Oat milk has been gaining popularity in a big way, in part because so many formulations are made especially for baristas, with extra additions that help them foam and froth, and the slightly nutty, grainy flavour pairs well with coffee. We talked about the increasing number of options out there and tasted a few non-dairy milks on last week’s Eyeopener. But if you want to make your own oat milk, it’s easy: simply blend a 1:3 ratio of rolled (old-fashioned or quick) oats to cold water in a blender, add a pitted date (for a bit of sweetness that mimics the lactose in milk) and a pinch of salt if you like, blend for 20-30 seconds, and strain. Don’t let them soak, or your milk could get gummy — and the same thing can happen if you over-blend. Just put the oats and water in the blender and go. (Don’t try steel cut—they’re too hard to blend.) I like to double strain — pour itContinue reading

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This was the trickiest of the lot, but perhaps the most satisfying to crack. The cheddar Mmmuffins had a slightly sweet, cakey texture, and were brilliant orange. My initial tests were tasty but missing the mark… it wasn’t until a CBC listener messaged me with a tip: back in the eighties, working at a different chain eatery, she used powdered cheddar when making the muffins. I added about half a pack of the cheese mix from a box of KD and voilà—extra cheesiness, but also that intense orange colour that acts as a visual cue, making them taste even cheesier. You could, of course, use extra-old white cheddar here—and you could omit the powdered cheese… just expect them to look a bit different.

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I think I’m most excited about these – I remember them clearly, yet never thought to make a butterscotch-pecan muffin since. I used the same base as the chocolate chip muffin, swapping out brown sugar, adding chopped pecans and Skor bits (which I think are more accurate than the butterscotch chips some have suggested – though those would be tasty too!) – and a streusel on top. I baked some batter right away and some that sat for awhile and saw a similar, though not as dramatic, difference in the rise compared with the chocolate chip. If you’re looking for higher peaks, let it sit for awhile (just on the counter) before you bake them.. but they’re pretty fantastic just baked right away.

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Here we go!!! I decided, after seeing my friend Caitlin Green lament the Marvellous Mmmuffins of her youth, to try to recreate them in my own kitchen. Mmmuffins kiosks brought mega muffins to the masses from 1979 until peoples’ tastes for muffins started to wane around the turn of the millennium – they were in their heydey in the eighties, when malls were also the place to be. The taste and texture of the chocolate chip, butterscotch-pecan and cheddar varieties are burned into my consciousness. I started with chocolate chip. Peoples’ memories of these seem to differ – many recall them having a crunchy, sugary lid, and I remember them being pale-ish and sticky on top. My theory (and I don’t know this- I haven’t seen the actual formulation) is that a high fructose sweetener was used in the batter – fructose has humectant properties, and draws moisture from its surroundings. (It could also have been that they were a bit underbaked at the locationContinue reading

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Seeing as it’s the first week of July, and traditionally the air is filled with the deep-fried smells of Stampede, and half my calories are typically consumed in the form of mini doughnuts, I thought I’d post a recipe here. I did a virtual midway food class yesterday, and people were thrilled to have the ability to turn out actual cinnamon-sugar mini doughnuts in their own kitchens. This is the sort of thing you become known for – I want to be the aunt/grandma/friend who makes mini doughnuts to eat warm when you’re sitting in my kitchen or on my patio.

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Let me preface this post by saying I did not come up with the giant cinnamon bun- it is a thing, like the skillet cookie or Texas doughnut, that has existed for awhile, and I’ve been meaning to make one for eons. Mary Berg had one in her first cookbook, Kitchen Party, that came out last fall, and Anna Olson has one in her latest, Baking Day, which came out last week. That was the reminder- flipping through her book and then talking to Anna last week when we filmed a thing together, and she suggested leftover doughnut dough could be turned into a cinnamon bun. And so I did it- and then another. And then another.

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As happens every year, I get into the habit of frying things during Stampede week, when I’m obligated to make at least one batch of corn dogs and mini donuts. For weeks after, I start seeing everything in the kitchen as potential for the deep-fryer – could it be battered? will it be crispier fried than roasted? I’m often asked what to do with the oil once I’ve used it, and the answer is: I use it again, and again (so long as I’m not cooking things that flavours the oil, like fish) and then once I’m in the habit I refresh the oil and the frying pot sits on my stove and gets used for much of the summer. When you think about it, it beats turning the oven on when it’s 30 degrees.

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