Sweet

vanilla-glaze-drip
Rum Vanilla Extract and Butter Rum Shortbread

The vanilla extract on the left is full of seeds and has a whole pod in the bottle. The vanilla beans on the right are fresh, fragrant and supple enough to knot. Both products are Really Horrible. Seriously. They're from Really Horrible Enterprises located in Ottawa, ON. I...

Homemade Graham Crackers - TheMessyBaker.com
Classic Snacks Made from Scratch – Graham Crackers

These quotes wrap around the bulkhead in Casey Barber's kitchen. I like that she's not afraid of orange, or irreverence, or figuring out how to get the cream filling inside a homemade Twinkie®. Her book, Classic Snacks Made from Scratch: 70 Homemade Versions of Your Favourite...

Aebleskivers
Eager for Aebleskivers

These Danish treats are aebleskivers (or aebelskivers or ebleskivers or ebelskivers). Their pronunciation is equally elusive. Some say "able-skeever" while the Danish pronunciation is more "able-skewer" with a lilt I can't nail down. Literally translated, the word means "apple slices" since the traditional form has...

Chocolate pots de creme for two
Messy Valentine’s Day
Chocolate pots de creme for two The astute among you will notice the subtle change in the header. Although the domain name remains the same, Christie's Corner has been replaced by The Messy Baker. Baby steps, Charmian. Baby steps. The new domain name and layout are coming. Just slowly. There's a lot of tech involved and that always takes more time and chocolate than I imagined. My eyelids are quivering and I'm not sure if that's from hours of staring at a computer screen or fuelling myself with caffeine and cocoa beans. Regardless, stay tuned for changes. I don't normally celebrate Valentine's Day, but am going to make an exception this year. I've been sitting on some news and think Valentine's Day is a great chance to share the love. The Messy Baker is going to arrive in bookstores in Spring 2014. Yes, that's later than originally planned, but it's going to be published in Canada via HarperCollins Canada and the US / rest of the English-speaking world via Rodale. I'm still in shock. Anyway, let's celebrate with chocolate. I've two recipes for you. One is a newly created, ultra-decadent, romantic French dessert scaled down for two. The other is a healthy, family-friendly treat for those with real kids or just a very persistent inner child. It's one of my favourites and courtesy of Mairlyn Smith. So get out the baking chocolate, find a few extra dish cloths to mop up the spills, and say I love you with food.
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Improvisation
Black Forest Chocolate Bundt Cake Recipe - The Messy Baker I think I've created a new, never-heard-of-before dessert. Bundt Trifle. Not because I'm trying to be different or start the next food craze, but because my imagination plays tricks on me. I had wanted to make a trifle in one of those clear, straight-sided dishes that shows off all the layers. I knew my mother had one. I just knew it — as in Bet-Real-Money-on-It knew it. I could see it clearly in my head. I could even tell you where it was stored. So I phoned my mother and made arrangements to pop over and pick up the bowl. When I arrived, my mother handed me the cut-glass bowl with sloped sides she uses every year for the Christmas trifle. "Thanks, Mom. But I want your other trifle bowl." There was no other trifle bowl.
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Buttermilk Scones | 2 Make-Ahead Options
Buttermilk scones with two make-ahead options - TheMessyBaker.com My shoulder's ache, my fingertips have callouses, and the daylight hurts my eyes. But The Messy Baker is written, filed electronically and a 292-page, double-spaced paper copy is beating up all the Christmas cards as it pushes its way to HarperCollins in Toronto. I have promised myself I will not obsessively check the tracking number until Wednesday —the earliest realistic delivery date. Wednesday noon? All bets are off. In the process of the Last Big Push, I broke a personal record or two. Not only did I write more words than the not-so-great NaNoWriMo novel of 2009, all were coherent (relatively) and spelled correctly (or at least recognizably). In addition, I am now officially the household champion of The Most Consecutive Days Spent Unwashed & in Pajamas — Without a Raging Fever or Knee Surgery Category. Until now, that title was held by my husband during the panic-infused finishing stretch of his recent book. I used to take comfort in my leaf green house robe. Now it reeks of hysteria and is stained with writer's tears. A Messy Robe for a Messy Baker. Everything is unfolding as it should.
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Hazelnut Sandwich Cookies
Removing the skins from toasted hazelnuts in preparation to make hazelnut sandwich cookies - TheMessyBaker.com Hazelnuts. Filberts. Cobnuts. This tasty kernel goes by many names. I'm going to add one more to its repertoire and dub it the "hasselnut." Because of the bitter skin, hazelnuts require a bit more work than pecans or walnuts. They need to be roasted and then rubbed with a clean kitchen towel before being added to baked goods. Some may think hazelnuts are being divas, but I think they're just a bit shy. After all, you can rub and rub and rub and they will never completely reveal themselves. Perhaps this bashful nature is why they hide behind so many aliases?
Pumpkin-Diptych
Fear Not: Gingersnap Pumpkin Pie with Candied Pumpkin Seeds
Gingersnap Pumpkin Pie - TheMessyBaker.com If I could eliminate one emotion. It would be fear. I'm not talking the "Don't go down that dark alley" kind of fear where your Spidey senses are tingling for good reason. I'm talking the joy-crushing, "This not going to work" kind of fear. The type that keeps you from trying something outside your comfort zone. The type of fear that prevents you from offering to bake the Thanksgiving pie, even though you know the host will be busy battling the bird. The type of fear that has you making the same dish over and over and over again because you don't want to upset the apple cart — even though no one has  so much as bumped that cart for such a long time its wheels have sunk deep into the ground. Well, this is for the Pastry Paranoid and the Apple Cart Dwellers.
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Spirited Fruit (and Sangria)
Spirited fruit preserves - TheMessyBaker.com I am not to be trusted. I head to the Farmers' Market with a clearly written list and rock solid resolve. And what do I return with? Way more items than intended and a feeling of panic. Where will I store all these plums? When will I have time to make pear jam? Should I freeze, can or hide the peaches? Of course, things fall apart when I toss tomatoes designated for preserving into a salad or gobble a handful of blueberries because they are too perfect for anything else but in-the-moment indulgence. You cannot imagine my relief -- your maybe you can-- when I stumbled up  a couple of preserving methods that are as flexible on quantity as I am about my shopping list. The methods are outlined in the ever-so-handy Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving (Robert Rose ©2012).
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Instant Strawberry Frozen Yogurt
Instant Strawberry Frozen Yogurt - TheMessyBaker.com This frozen yogurt has four ingredients. Four healthy ingredients. Yet it tastes like something you'd treat yourself to after a hard afternoon of gardening. Or in my case, after a hard night's sleep. I had it for breakfast the other day instead of my usual smoothie. And I don't feel guilty in the least. I'm sure my neighbours wondered why I was sitting on the patio eating ice cream first thing in the morning. But I wasn't. Really. I was eating Instant Strawberry Frozen Yogurt. Even the cat was envious. (He's a big yogurt fan.) The recipe comes courtesy of Camilla Saulsbury, creator of the decadent Chocolate Basil Muffin and the take-a-breathalizer-before-you-drive Butter Rum Pound Cake. Based on her two previous books, I thought she was all about the sweets. Turns out she's all about moderation. She's extremely active and stays fit by practising the classic 80/20 ratio to her eating. Don't get too excited. The 80% applies to  healthy food. Fortunately, with Saulsbury this can be quite delicious.

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