Hot Chocolate Cream Puffs

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I can't believe Christmas is just four days away! It seems like it was November just a few days ago… I guess when you're working as much as I am, the days seem to blur together. My days are all very much the same - wake up, go to work for 12 hours, come home, eat something (anything, really. Instant noodles have been my dinner for the first time since, well, last Christmas), and go right to bed. Aaaaand wake up and do it all again! I used to be so excited for Christmas, it was my favourite time of the year. I would figure out gifts in October, decorate in November, listen to Christmas music all throughout December, and wrap my gifts weeks in advance.

It's December 21st and I only bought gifts last week, they're not wrapped yet, my decorations went up in mid-December, and I think I've listened to Christmas music twice. Honestly, I can't wait for Christmas to be over so I can relax and sleep! But at the same time, I still love Christmas and I really wish I could have more time to enjoy it.
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Orange Cranberry Morning Buns

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So, let's say that you had some croissant dough lying around. You then took this croissant dough and sprinkled sugar on it and rolled it up. Then, after it was baked, you filled it with with a fruit sauce and rolled it in even more sugar, because why the hell not. Sounds a little crazy and kind of over-the-top, right?

Well, it may be crazy and over-the-top, I'll give you that, but it's delicious.
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Chai Apple Pie

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What's the holiday season without an apple pie? The smell of warm spices and slowly cooking apples just makes your home seem so cozy and inviting. Taking time out of your busy Christmas schedule of parties, shopping, and work (or for me, just work) to go through the steps of making a pie from scratch really helps to slow things down. You forget the world outside and all those things that you have to do and just focus on little things like the temperature of the dough or cutting the apples. 
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Snowflake Sugar Cookies

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It's Christmastime!!!!!!

Well, technically it's still November 30th but that's close enough for me. I am batshit crazy over Christmas, even though it is the busiest time of the year for me in terms of my job as a pastry cook. So, I kinda hate Christmas 'cause it means 12 hour days every day, but I also love it so so so much because, well, it's CHRISTMAS!!
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Homemade Vanilla Extract

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Today's post isn't really a recipe but I think that it's something that not everyone knows but should know. Vanilla extract is dead easy to make! It's simply vanilla beans and vodka, or another type of hard alcohol such as rum or bourbon. You let it sit for several weeks and that's about it. It's cheaper than buying extract (especially if you make big batches!) and you also end up with vanilla seeds in your homemade extract, which always adds a fancy touch to any dessert.
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Dark Chocolate, Passion Fruit, and Hazelnut Layer Cake

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It's my birthday!!!

It is 3:30 in the morning and I am getting ready for work, which will probably be a 12 hour day because we're in Christmas production mode and that shit is crazy. If you're a long term reader of this blog, that sentence may sound awfully familiar to you because I said almost exactly the same thing when I posted this chocolate cake for my birthday last year. Except last year, it was 6:30 am instead of 3:30 am. Not much has changed.
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Honey and Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée with Sautéed Apples

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If I could make crème brûlée for every post, I'd be pretty happy. I love custards of any kind. Ice cream, pot de crème, crème brûlée, pastry cream, crème anglaise, french buttercream, the list goes on and on. There's something about the creamy smooth feeling of custards that I can't get enough of. I work in a place that makes a damn good crème brûlée, which I have for lunch every so often and I make crème brûlée at home. And last night, I went for dinner with some coworkers and for dessert, I ordered crème brûlée. One of my coworkers asked me why I would order something that I can easily make at home or have at work. And I replied, "Because I like crème brûlée. I want to eat crème brûlée, so I ordered it. And this is a delicious crème brûlée."
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Apple Cider Loaf

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Back when I was in university, over 4 years ago, before I had any notions of starting a blog, let alone going into the pastry industry, I followed one blog. I didn't know about any others and to be honest, I can't remember how exactly I stumbled across this one blog. That blog was A Cozy Kitchen.

I checked that blog every. single. day. And she posts every few days, which is just ridiculous. I went through the recipe archives and read every post there was to read. I would be taking notes on my laptop in my classical archaeology classes and in any spare minute that the professor wasn't talking, I simply typed in the letter "a" and it was autofilled to my favourite blog. I was obsessed.
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Double Baked Almond Croissants Two Ways - Pumpkin Pie and Chocolate Hazelnut

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Have you ever had a double baked almond croissant? You might have seen them in bakeries or patisseries and thought to yourself, "I am going to get me one of those things". If not, you really should try one. 

From a business standpoint, doubles (as we call them in our kitchen) are a great way to use up unsold croissants from the day before. However, our doubles are so popular that we purposely bake more croissants than we need (sometimes up to 60 more per day) just so we can make them into doubles. We keep ours traditional - just almond cream and almonds. Classic, you know? But at home, I like to mess around with flavours and create something new and different. That's how the Pumpkin Pie Double Baked Almond Croissant and the Chocolate Hazelnut Double Baked Almond Croissant came about. It's a heck of a long name, I know, but what can you do.
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Chocolate Brioche Wreaths

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I know that I sometimes post some pretty complicated and difficult desserts on this blog. I work as a pastry cook, so making a 4 component dessert at home is pretty straight forward for me. Things that can sometimes scare a home baker, like making caramel or tempering chocolate, are as easy as can be for me. I don't mean to brag, but I'm trying to say that I know the stuff I put on here is not always easy for everyone to make.

Except these. These are easy for everyone to make.
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Milk Chocolate and Passion Fruit Marshmallows

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I love marshmallows, but only in hot chocolate. And only if they're homemade. Okay, sometimes I make hot chocolate with a mix that has tiny little marshmallows already in it, but they're really small so it doesn't count. 

But seriously, homemade marshmallows are infinitely better than store bought and they're easy and don't even require a whole lot of ingredients! And you can customize the flavour to almost aaaanything.

Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Pumpkin Custard Pie

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Next week is Thanksgiving (for us here in Canada) and while my family and I don't usually get too into celebrating this holiday, I know that some people go nuts for it, like I go nuts for Christmas. And while holidays are not usually the time to stray away from the classics, I think this pie is a great alternative to the traditional pumpkin pie!
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Hazelnut Mousse with Caramelized Hazelnuts

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Caramel and nuts (along with warm spices) are the flavours of fall and winter to me. Warm, comforting, earthy, and cozy flavours that evoke thoughts of thick sweaters, scarves, and steaming mugs of tea. The berries that packed a punch of flavour and brightness have come and gone with the warm, sunny days and nuts, caramel, apples, pears, and chocolate take a front seat to comfort you on a rainy afternoon. Hazelnuts appear fairly often on the blog in the colder months because they're one of my favourite flavours, no chocolate needed.
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Vanilla Crème Brûlée Macarons

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I see a lot of "fusion" baked goods around the internet. You know, the "cheesecake brownie loaf" and the "cookie cupcake" and the "pie ice cream milkshake". Sometimes, they go too far and the combos are just a bit ridiculous. I prefer to keep my brownies as brownies, my cookies as cookies, and my cheesecakes as non-existent because I don't like cheesecake.

But trust me when I say that these crème brûlée macarons are the best fusion dessert ever.
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Peach Pie

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Have you guys seen the Netflix show Chef's Table? If the answer is no, you need to fix that right now. Because it is so good. It's basically a bunch of mini-documentaries of some of the best chefs in the world and their restaurants, lives, philosophies on food, etc.

As someone who works in the food industry, I find chefs and line cooks to be fascinating. Pastry cooks and line cooks are two very different people that do two very different jobs, so their world of blistering hot kitchens and orders coming in every minute and expediting food is new and thrilling and scary. I know that the world of kitchens is completely different to what the customers experience, so I love seeing their behind-the-scenes.
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Lavender Honey Ice Cream with Raspberry Swirl

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The last ice cream post of 2015! Unless I decide to make a winter ice cream, which may happen… Ice cream is best enjoyed in the summer, fall, winter, spring, morning, afternoon, evening, alone, with friends, and every time in between. There is no bad time for ice cream.

Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Cherry and Peach Galette

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There's something pretty magical about nature and the fruits that come into season around the same time. Peaches and cherries go together so well and they're in season at the same time. Peaches and blueberries, same thing. Strawberries and rhubarb, the classic spring combo. Apples and pears, the fall duo. Do they go so well together by accident or have we been conditioned to like them together simply because they are both around at the same time? 

These are the things that keep me up at night.

Just kidding, that would be my anxiety-filled self-doubts about work and life and my future.
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Cherry Pistachio and Almond Tarts

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It's been three weeks since my last post! I wish I had a real excuse for my absence, like a vacation or my oven broke or my camera died, but it was really just a lack of time... I'm enjoying summer while I can, you can't blame me for that! Although there is the constant nagging in the back of my mind saying, "You should post something this week! You really should!". 

Whatever, nagging voice, get outta here.
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Brown Butter and Peach Brioche Bun

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I always have a hard time thinking of something to make with peaches because to me, peaches are best enjoyed exactly as they are. I'm talking fresh as can be, juice dripping down your wrist as you bite and slurp at the soft flesh, and sucking on the pit to get every last bit of deliciousness that you can. That is how I want to eat my peaches, 9 times out of 10.

But sometimes, I do want to do a bit more with them. You don't want to mess with them too much or you lose that delicate texture and flavour. 
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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S'mores Custard Cake

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Every summer, I have to make a s'mores dessert. There's just something about the summer and the warm weather than makes me crave that graham cracker-chocolate-toasted marshmallow combo. Theres just no beating it. 

Way back in 2013, it was a s'mores tart. Last year, it was s'mores cream puffs. This year, I think I may have really outdone myself with this s'mores custard cake. I don't even know if I can make another s'mores dessert that isn't this cake because this is the pinnacle of s'mores reincarnations.
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Strawberry and Vanilla Bean Jam

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Well, this is the fourth and final recipe from my giant haul of strawberries that I bought a few weeks ago (the previous three being strawberries and cream pavlova, roasted strawberry and balsamic vinegar ice cream sandwiches, and strawberry financiers). Finally, we have reached the end of the strawbaggedon. 

Except maybe not, because I froze a bunch of strawberries because I just couldn't handle any more strawberries desserts at the time. But they'll be back.
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Strawberry Financiers

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Aaaand the strawberry saga continues. First there was the strawberries and cream pavlova, then there was the roasted strawberry and balsamic vinegar ice cream sandwiches, and now there's strawberry financiers. And there's still one more strawberry recipe to post next week (hint: it's jam). This is what happens when you get 2 kilos of strawberries. Strawberry everything.
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Roasted Strawberry and Balsamic Vinegar Ice Cream Sandwiches

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Whoever thought of making ice cream into a hand-held treat surrounded by two delicious cookies is a straight up genius. It's tough to take something already so awesome like ice cream and make it even more awesome. But ice cream sandwiches are proof that it can be done.
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Raspberry, Mint, Lime, and White Chocolate Tart

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Summer is in full swing here and hopefully everywhere else! That means cold and fresh dinners, sunburns (just me?), and fruit! Fruit everywhere! Pretty much every berry is coming into season right now and it's almost too much for me. I feel like a kid in a candy store! 

A few weeks ago, I came into possession of about 6 lbs of strawberries and then went buck wild with making strawberry everything. So the next few weeks are going to be filled with strawberry recipes. But for now, it's all about these tiny little raspberries and their amigos - lime, mint, and white chocolate. 
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Strawberries and Cream Pavlova

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I almost didn't put this recipe up because it's just too easy. I could've done so many fancy things with this pavlova (strawberry fluid gel, meringue shards, diplomat cream, and strawberry powder were all thoughts floating around in my mind), but I didn't. Sometimes, all you need is a few fresh strawberries and some sweetened whipped cream.
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Tomato Bruschetta on Homemade Bread

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You know those recipes that aren't really recipes? This is one of them. I'm pretty sure there's a million "recipes" for bruschetta out there with different ratios of tomatoes to basil, but this is just my version. Nothing too fancy, just good homemade bread, ripe tomatoes, and fresh basil. This is my absolute favourite way to enjoy tomatoes - no cooking, no fussing, no worries. 
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Mascarpone, Rhubarb, and Vanilla Bean Verrine with Oat Streusel

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This is a super great dessert for spring and summer dinner parties, for many reasons - minimal oven time, simple, fresh, and perfect to make ahead. Not that I would know anything about dinner parties because I don't even have a dining table in order to have people over for dinner, but I can imagine. Or, even better, for a picnic! Instead of glasses, make them in jars and keep them in the cooler and the streusel in a separate container. Once again, not that I would know because I don't have a cooler. 
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Strawberry Cream Puffs

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There's a farmers market that happens every Saturday right near my apartment. It's one of my favourite things about summer - fresh veggies and fruit, local honey, homemade breads, all kinds of stuff! It's a great little market and always has awesome fresh produce. But I work on Saturdays now and I usually get off around 2 or 3pm. The market closes at 3pm and everything is usually cleaned out long before then. So you can imagine how excited I was when I went to the farmers market at 3:05 pm and there were still a few punnets of strawberries left!!
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Rhubarb Danish

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I'm loving all the rhubarb desserts that I've been seeing on blogs and around Pinterest lately. Rhubarb pies, rhubarb muffins, rhubarb cakes, rhubarb crumbles, rhubarb drinks, rhubarb everything!! Except… not many rhubarb danish (danishes?). Everyone knows that rhubarb goes great with flaky pastry, but it's usually a pie pastry. With a little help from King Arthur Flour, I stepped it up a notch and paired rhubarb with uber flaky croissant dough to make one kickass flaky-fruity-sour-sweet-crunchy-creamy pastry.
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Passion Fruit Mint Sorbet + Sorbet Float

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It seems like spring took its sweet time getting here but summer is already chomping at the bit. Or maybe everyone is just so excited about the nice weather that we're getting a little ahead of ourselves. We're already looking forward to the next season, don't you think?

I'm still settled in with the spring flavours (rhubarb and strawberries - hello!) around here and I think I may have created one of the most refreshing darn things ever. Super bright and tangy passion fruit, herbaceous and refreshing mint, together in one smooth icy treat!
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Strawberry Lime Cupcakes

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Is it strawberry season yet where you are? Here in Vancouver, we're still getting California strawberries, even though it's basically mid-May! I'm hoping to see local ones in the market sometime soon, but in the meantime, I can still get super awesome and fresh strawberry flavour without waiting!

Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Raspberry Rhubarb Pie with Lemon Buttermilk Ice Cream

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The first pie of the year! And the first ice cream of the year! I couldn't help but include both in the same post because after all, what's pie without ice cream? And this pie and this ice cream were made for each other. Both are sweet with a punchy tangy note to remind you that HEY - the sun is out, the birds are singing, and it's light out until like 8pm, holy crap.
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Coconut, Pineapple, and Passion Fruit Layer Cake

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I don't make cakes very often, especially not layer cakes. I never really liked layer cakes as a kid because they were always dry, flavourless, and kind of boring. The cakes at my friends birthday parties always looked so delicious and I would always have some, but the minute the cake entered my mouth, it would suck up all the moisture, I'd be struggling to swallow it, and all I wanted was a glass of milk to wash it down. So I learned early on that cake = dry, no ifs, ands, or buts. 

I have since corrected that in my own cakes, but I still prefer mousses and custards to a cake. Unless it's a mousse cake, then HELLO - that's all me.

This cake, however, is not like most cakes. This cake is moist and almost custardy in texture, then I went and put passion fruit curd in between the layers for even more custardy-ness. This cake will never dry out your mouth or have you reaching for a glass of milk. This cake is all you need.
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Strawberry Passion Fruit Macarons

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Weekend mornings are my favourite mornings, especially now that a sleep-in for me means a 7am wakeup (not sarcastic)! Early morning work shifts have their upsides. 

I like waking up when the sun is just getting warmed up and the streets are quiet except for a few people walking around and a maybe a car or two. I slowly make my cup of tea, plop myself down on the couch, and start browsing food blogs. Nowadays, I crack the window open a little bit to breath in a bit of fresh air and hear everyone start their days, draw the curtains completely away from the window to let in aaaaall that spring sunshine and delight in the buds coming in on the trees right outside my window. Soon, when I look out my window, it will be filled with vibrant green leaves instead of bare branches.

I'm a winter girl - I like my sweaters and my blankets and my cozy fires, but the change from winter to spring is always a welcome sight. It's like a breath of fresh air in a stale, stuffy room. 
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Raspberry and Vanilla Bean Mousse Cake

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Do you ever think of an idea for a dish, maybe one that's a little more complex than your usual so you're kind of worried about messing it up big time, but then you totally pull it off and it's exactly what you imagined?!

I did that.
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Lemongrass and Kaffir Lime Leaf Mousse with Mango Coulis

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Again with the tropical flavours! I'm sorry (not really) but they're just so darn good. Even though it's still miserable and rainy and a little cold here, I want bright and fresh and light in my desserts! And I know that New York had snow the other day and some people are still shovelling their driveways, but the calendar says it's spring, so I'm going with that.
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Earl Grey and Dark Chocolate Cream Puffs

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I love tea. I've always loved tea. I drink tea every single morning and have done since I was a little kid. Back then, I used to drink it out of brightly coloured plastic cups. Now I drink out of an actual mug, but everything else is basically the same. I like my routines, probably a bit too much, and my morning tea routine hasn't changed in about 12 years.
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Kalamansi, Coconut, and Passion Fruit Verrines

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Recently, I've been drawn to the tropical and exotic flavours of Asia. This may be because the flavours are somewhat new to me and therefore exciting. It may be because during these cold months, I need something to brighten up my days.

Or it may be because I am going to the Philippines in 5 and a half weeks and I can't stop thinking about it!!
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Multigrain Seeded Bread

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I think this may be the very first healthy recipe on this blog. I mean, this is a dessert blog so you better not be coming here looking for any healthy recipes in the first place, but it's nice to be surprised once in a while. This bread is a hearty loaf filled with all kinds of seeds and oats. There is a ton of texture in this bread, along with a nutty flavour from the toasted white sesame seeds. This bread would be wonderful alongside a big winter stew or topped with a fried egg or even just slathered with some good quality butter. 

Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Passion Fruit, White Chocolate, and Hibiscus Plated Dessert

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This is what "playing around in the kitchen" means to me.

Plated desserts are not something I know a lot about, at all. I learned a little bit about them in school, but I work in a patisserie, not a restaurant, so I've had zero real world experience with them. Plating is hard, man! You can see a plate and think, "Oh man, that's so beautiful, that doesn't look too hard to do" but then you try it yourself and it just seems....clunky and awkward. But it's still a lot of fun to come up with ideas, draw them out, and execute them!
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Salted Caramel Macarons

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Ever since I made my first batch of macarons, I've loved them. I love making them, I love eating them, I love thinking of flavours for them. They're so versatile - you can put just about anything in between two macarons and it's still a macaron!

I've made quite a few macarons on this blog and I thought I would round 'em all up in one post! A macaron party!
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Lemon Cream Puffs

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Originally, I wanted these to be Meyer lemon cream puffs. Last year, I remember seeing Meyer lemons everywhere - at least until I decided to make something with them, then they magically disappeared from the stores. This year, I was going to buy Meyer lemons as soon as I saw them, no matter what. This year, I would have Meyer lemons! 

Aaaaaand nope. I didn't see one Meyer lemon. Granted, I didn't really get out much during December because of work and I tend to frequent only 3 or 4 grocery stores in my area, but still! Nothing! But I did find fresh passion fruits (!!!) last week, so there will be something coming up in the next few weeks with those.
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Brioche Doughnuts with Brown Butter Pastry Cream and Maple & Vanilla Bean Glaze

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Sometimes, you just want a doughnut. And not just any doughnut. If you're going to eat fried dough, you might as well go big or go home. 

Use a dough with a ton of butter - brioche. 

And don't just make a regular pastry cream - add brown butter. 

And the pecans - more brown butter. Butter everywhere. 

When I say go big or go home, I mean it.
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Passion Fruit Millefeuille

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Passion fruit tends to be one of those ingredients that makes the amateur baker think, "Oh, well, I'd never be able to find passion fruit anywhere so forget that recipe." Unless you live in the southern hemispheres, where actual real passion fruits are found (insanely jealous of you southern folk), passion fruits are not something you tend to see in a local market. The first time I tried a passion fruit was in pastry school, actually, just last year. It's a pity because passion fruit is a wonderful flavour - bright, tangy, sweet, tropical, and just a tiny bit floral. 

So you should be very excited when I tell you that getting your hands on good quality passion fruit purée is not as difficult as you might think!!! 
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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Blood Orange Tarts with Caramel Meringue

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I hope everyone had a pretty solid holiday and new year! I hope you managed to fit in some "me" time into all that family time. Despite only having a couple of extra days off work, I squeezed in a good amount of family time and an equally good amount of "me" time. But the break is over and I'm back!
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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The Best of 2014

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I know I should've made this "Best of 2014" list before 2014 actually ended, but I don't think anyone is going to mind. 

Not every single recipe that a blogger puts up is going to be the best thing they've ever made. That's just how it is. Hopefully everything they put up is good and tasty, but there's always those extra special recipes that just send it out of the park. It's hard to distinguish which is which based solely on photos. I mean, I can tell you that "this thing is the best ever, oh man, wow!" but you don't really know for sure. 

The past year, I've made some really good things. I can proudly say that every recipe I have put up in 2014 is one that I'm proud of. But these are the tastiest of the bunch, hands down.  

I present, the Best of Hint of Vanilla 2014!
Posted by : Megan Voigt
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