Posts Tagged ‘Coffee’

Cranberry Almond Biscotti

December 23rd, 2010

Boxing Day coffee and biscotti

I haven’t done much in the way of Christmas baking this year.  I had plans to make shortbread, gingerbread, sugar cookies, maybe even some chocolate bark, but none of those came to pass.  The one thing I’ve managed to get in the oven is a double batch of biscotti.  I like to give these cookies as gifts and I also like having enough around so that I can enjoy a nice slow coffee break on the mornings when I don’t work.  My two no-fail recipes come from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking book.   She’s a cookie goddess – I’ve never had a recipe of hers fail.

1/2 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups white flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar for 3 minutes.
Add the eggs and continue to mix on medium-high speed for another 2 minutes until very smooth.
Mix together the dry ingredients, then slowly blend into the creamed mixture.
Stir in the almonds and cranberries by hand.
Turn the soft dough out onto the counter and form into a log.
Split the log in two, then flatten out each half on the baking sheet until it’s about an inch and a half thick.
Bake for 15 minutes then remove from oven to cool for 30 minutes.
Lower the oven temperature to 300°F.
Slice the logs into 3/4 inch pieces and arrange cut-side-up on the baking sheet.
Bake for another 15 minutes.
Allow to cool completely before packing in an air-tight container.

Duchess Bake Shop in Edmonton

June 7th, 2010

Duchess Bake Shop

I made a fantastic discovery while in Edmonton this weekend: The Duchess Bake Shop.

Elevenses at the Duchess Bake Shop

I spent my Sunday morning looking for just the right spot to have some elevenses, and happened upon a review of Duchess on Urbanspoon that looked extremely promising.  After a quick drive over to 124th Street, I was not disappointed.  I managed to snag the last little table along the side of the shop and sat down with a big old latte and a dark chocolate croissant.  Not as flaky as the pastries I used to eat in Paris, but for a Canadian croissant, this was downright spectacular.  The dusting of cocoa on the top was an especially nice touch.

Pies and cookies

The pies and cookies in one of the display windows kept calling to me…

Cakes and macarons

But it was the macarons that won out.  I took a sampler box back to my friends’ apartment, where we saved them for a light post-dinner dessert with tea.  Unlike the pain au chocolat, there was nothing lacking with these macarons.  The flavours were strong but not artificial and the texture and size were perfect.  If I lived in Edmonton, I would probably visit this sweet little cafe on a weekly basis.

Duchess Bake Shop on Urbanspoon

Making Coffee the Old-School Way

April 14th, 2010

My city was hit with a massive spring snow storm yesterday night.  The power was knocked out across the grid, leaving us without electricity, water or heat.  The good part of all this was that the library declared a snow day, so I didn’t have to go to work.  The bad part was when 10am rolled around, and we wouldn’t be able to get coffee from our usual drip machine.  The electric coffee bean grinder was also out of commission.

Enter some 19th century technology:

How to make coffee without any power

My mom and I took turns twirling the handle of the old Peugeot coffee mill while my dad boiled water on the barbeque’s propane burner.  We poured the hot water through a filter over the coffee pot and once it had drained through, we sat back and enjoyed our snow storm brew.

Simple pleasures

June 3rd, 2007

As much as I love Halifax’s restaurant and market offerings, it’s really good to be back in my hometown. I know exactly where to go for the best of everything, and it’s easy to figure out precisely where to go to satisfy a food craving.

Today, I woke up freakishly early for a Sunday morning, let the dog outside, and made myself some espresso. My favourite espresso (barring Illy) is from Cupper’s, and is locally roasted by a coffee expert named Al. He’s been supplying our city with brilliant bean blends for the past 10 or 15 years. It’s the only coffee we drink at my house.

I also toasted up a bit of raisin bread from Luigi’s bakery. Luigi’s is part of an Italian restaurant, and them make two kinds of crimp loaf – raisin and mixed fruit. The mixed fruit is my favourite, but they’ve started to make a whole-wheat raisin variety, and it’s just the perfect thing on a breezy summer morning. I’m not as happy with the rest of their pastries – they don’t taste as good as I remember from when I was a kid – but this raisin toast is to die for. They make it in long, ripply tubes (think an old coffee tin) and it’s the perfect match for a bit of honey bought at the farmer’s market.

The best part about this morning’s breakfast? The family’s still sleeping, so I’ve got the house to myself. Life is grand.

Latte-Da Espresso and Pastry Bar – Claresholm, Alberta

August 9th, 2006

Coffee and Eccles cake, VW style

Before I leave for Halifax this fall, I plan to visit as much of my corner of Alberta as I can. There are lots of little places I want to visit (or re-visit) before I head out East, since I’m not sure when I’ll be back, or for how long. I’m planning to do some road-tripping next week, so you can expect to hear a lot about the places I eat while I’m on the road. Any recommendations for restaurants, markets, farms, etc. that are South of Calgary would be greatly appreciated.

On a recent Ikea-supply-gathering trip to Calgary, I stopped for breakfast at Latte-Da Espresso and Pastry Bar in Claresholm. (1 hour South of Calgary, 1 hour North of Lethbridge) Latte-Da is located on the far South end of the city, in an building that was once a car wash and gas station. While this probably doesn’t sound promising, this cozy local coffee shop serves up the best coffee in the city, along with fresh pastries and cookies. I went with the Eccles cake, and it was equal in taste to my English grandma’s version, and bigger, to boot. ;)

Latte-Da also makes fantastic soups and sandwiches, which I had a chance to sample when they catered a library training session I took part in over a year ago. Everything tastes like it’s fresh off the farm, and the prices will make you glad you skipped out a pricey Calgary lunch. My small coffee and pastry cost me just $2.50, and I’m betting you could get a yummy, filling lunch for about $5.00.

If you’re heading down highway 2 this summer, make sure you stop by!

Latte-Da Espresso & Pastry Bar
4416 1 St W
Claresholm, Alberta
Telephone: (403) 625-2588

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