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Will frolic for food


Baking tips 101| The Adventure Of My First Pie (Vegan)

hello darlings!

I am not sure how I can describe the joy I feel as I write this post! What is the special occasion? I finally baked my first pie...ever! Because fall is everywhere else (except here in the tropics) my Canadian soul craves for apple filled, cinnamony, and nutmegy  things. As a result, I decided to ignore this Caribbean heat and slave away in the kitchen to make a pie. I've always loved pies but the opportunity (or the effort) to learn always seemed to pass me by due to the fact that I lived close to a great bakery in Montreal that provided opportunities in excess for me to satisfy my sweet tooth. 

Then, when I moved to a small town in Tennessee, my pie obsession grew and I thought to myself "with all these great bakers around me I will surely learn how to bake some goodies." Alas, it did not happen. So, after contemplating the idea during the summer I decided that this Fall I would teach myself to bake a pie. I had these moviesque visions of how it would be: Flour flying in my sunbathed kitchen as I prepared to roll my perfect crust mix with my beautiful new rolling pin (one that I still did not own until the day before). I looked forward to the great smell of a still-undetermined flavor filling up the whole house. Just an overall baking utopia.  However, I had also heard countless times that a pie crust was hard to nail and just the  idea of not getting it right and wasting all that time made this "pie crust virgin" a little intimidated not to mention the fact that our oven is sometimes only semi-functional. I feared that I would put all this work into something that could potentially turn into a disaster and I wasn't sure that my heart could take it. Now I know it's not that serious, but for some reason I acted as if the queen of England was coming to dinner and I need to make her a perfect pie. No queen, no dinner, just my husband and I overly excited over dessert. 

I decided to bake my pie on a day my husband would be home, that way I would at least have his moral support. After a careful research, I settled on this Vegan Apple Pie recipe that I adapted. After buying all the ingredients, I realized that I was still missing a pan and a rolling pin so I sent my husband on the hunt. Being the supportive husband that he is, he not only bought what I asked but he got a little carried away and bought me a high-end, ceramic rolling pin (he said it should last long enough for our grandchildren to use as well), a pan and he even got me a very useful and practical baking mat. It's wonderful because it has all the measurements and metric conversions that this Canadian sometimes needs, a diagram showing how far I should roll the crust according to the size of the different pie pans. Basically, it was a perfect beginner's tool for a pie rookie like me. 

The big day
That morning, after putting my hair in my legendary "Val-bun", like my friends call it, I  laid out all my ingredients on my huge dinning table. Armed with tutorials on three different gadgets, I got to work. There was defintely flour everywhere, however, it was not as glorious as I had imagined.

The crust
I learned that there are 2 important secrets to a good crust: chilled chunks of butter and small amounts of iced water that you spoon into the mixture gradually. I mixed the dry ingredients and when the time came to press the butter unto the flour, I became unsure of what that meant. It was probably the excitement of it all that was making my vocabulary knowledge a bit cloudy. I panicked and frantically looked for a youtube tutorial in which I could get a 101 level course of how to do it.

Note that I had to make dough for the crust twice, because the first batch was crumbly and worked perfectly for the bottom crust but did not roll well for me to put on the top part. I faced the setback with courage and grace and decided to start the whole process again and make a second one, which by the way, came out perfect (and yes, I did my happy dance, the same one I do when I get snail mail). 

The filling
After I decided on the recipe I would follow, it became obvious that I would use apples for the filling. I mean, I'm such a beginner that I wasn't even sure which way to cut the apples. Thanks to the beautiful pictures from the recipe I followed, I was able to quickly figure it out. From the couch my assistant (AKA husband) cheered me on, and passed by from time to time to take pictures of the process and judging from all the apples wedges that he snuck around to eat, (wedges I was keeping for the filling) it was good. 

The glaze 
A few minutes after I finished the pie and it was finally in the oven, my mother-in-law sends a text asking if I had put an egg in my glaze. For a split second I panicked again because I was like "oh no" I missed an ingredient, but then I remembered that my pie was 100% vegan, so no eggs! When the time came to put the glaze on the pie, my husband was overly excited so he offered to help me apply it. He dealt with our crazy oven, getting it to work perfectly and kept a close watch on it during the whole cooking process to make sure it behaved as it should. He truly is the cutest assistant ever!

Unfortunately, we weren't able to eat our pie right after it cooled because we had a special event that evening that we had to attend. So after a beautiful night, we came back and shamelessly enjoyed a big piece of pie. All the work that is put into that pie becomes worth it the minute you take that first bite. Yesterday, on National Coffee Day I savored a piece of pie with my morning coffee and wondered why I waited so long to do this. 

Just like pie, some things in life need to be dreamt of first,  but we also need to take a step towards making them a reality. A dream without any action will always only stay a dream. So today I encourage you, to take ONE step towards your goal (even if it's clumsy and imperfect like my pie) and tomorrow take another one and just keep going. 

There you have it! The tale of the my clumsy but rewarding baking beginnings. XOXO



Guest Post: Chocolate Dipped Tahini Cookies

Hello darlings!

Today I am so excited to introduce "the" wonderful Renee from Will Frolic for Food blog. She has the dreamiest, yumiest 
Instagram account and spends her days cooking healthy, clean, vegan recipes and she owns a chocolate company as well (how cool is she?). I invited her to share with us one of her own recipes (she had me at chocolate dipped, dulce de leche cookie sandwich), that can be added to your special Valentine's day dinner. I hope you enjoy this post and her photography as much as I do.

Hello there! Renee here from Will Frolic for Food. I found this beautiful recipe for sesame cookies from Half Full Travel and had no choice but to make them and dip them in chocolate. I had a little baggie of black sesame seeds around from some truffle experiments earlier in 2013; Other than sprinkling them on morning yogurt, I've had no use for them. I'm really digging the play of the black seeds with the white. It breaks up the monotony of an all-white sesame cookie world, amiright?

Sitting in the parking lot of my local hippie grocery store, I rack my brain for flavors I'm craving. This is how I come up with recipe concepts, really. Thinking deeply whilst half-in half-out of the drivers seat, door flung open, fingers tapping at my lips. I rifle through the recipe box in my brain, flipping through the sheets of taste-memories category by category: sweet, bitter, sour, savory, salty.  Lately, a lot of my cravings and obsessions have centered around blood oranges, kumquats, brussel sprouts, and tahini. Maybe it's the bitter cold that turns my thoughts to bitter foods. Although I'm always thinking of ways to soak them in honey or maple syrup, it seems.

So these are bittersweet. More sweet than bitter, but still retaining that distinctive sesame bite I so love. Just slightly floral, via blood orange zest. Creamy, dark, crumbly. I consider these a winter cookie, meant to be eaten with gusto whilst burritoed within three or four layers of blankets. For Valentine's day, these mold perfectly into little hearts and hold their shape when baked. Once rolled in sesame seeds and flattened slightly with the palm of your hand, use your fingers to shape them into hearts. Bake & dip in chocolate as usual. They're also great with coconut dulce de leche smooshed in a sweet, caramelly, tahini cookie sandwich. Hope you enjoy!

♥ Chocolate Dipped Tahini Cookies (Gluten Free, Vegan) 

Adapted from Half Full Travel makes about 20 small cookies

1 cup (256g) tahini3/4 cup (130g) evaporated cane sugar 1/2 small orange, zested (I used a blood orange)1/2 cup (40g) coconut flour 1/2 cup (80g) gluten free all purpose flour2 tsp baking powder1/4 tsp salt1 cup (150g) mixed black and white raw sesame seeds

Preheat your oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, rub together orange zest and sugar to release the oils of zest. In a separate large bowl, stir together the tahini and sugar/zest. In a medium bowl, mix coconut flour, gluten free all purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. Bit by but, add dry mixture to the wet mixture. Stir until combined. Roll the dough into 1"-1.5" balls and coat each one in sesame seeds. Place on baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until they become slightly golden brown around the edges. They will still feel squishy to touch on top, but they solidify as they cool. Let rest out of the oven for about 10 minutes. Dip in chocolate, and enjoy with a spot of tea. 

♥ For the chocolate3.4 cup dark chocolate, chopped (or chocolate chips)3 tbsp coconut oil

In a double boiler, melt coconut oil. Add chocolate, and let melt for about 5 minutes. Stir together. Pour into a bowl, and let cool five to ten minutes before dipping your cookies. 

Bon Appetit!

♥ Check out Renee's blog Will Frolic for Food & her chocolate company Frolic Chocolate. You can follow Renee on InstagramTwitterFacebookPinterest,  & Google+.

P.S You can still participate in my birthday GIVEAWAY