Red Bean Challah

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I’ve been baking as a hobby for a long time now, since I was eight or so. And it never ceases to amaze me– the transformation that takes place in the oven. My heart still beats a little faster from the excitement as I turn on the oven light to check in on whatever I’m baking. Sometimes I get panicky if I see that something’s overflowing, like a bubbling pie that I forgot to put a tray under, or muffin cups that I’ve eagerly overfilled. Most of the time I can tell that something’s almost done baking… its scent starts to waft through the house.

This challah is a perfect example of that. It came together so fast that I was disappointed it was over already. Literally less than 10 minutes to measure out and combine the ingredients. After that, all the work is done by the mixer to knead the dough, and by the yeast to perform its magic to aerate the dough.

Then you weave and shape the challah– therapeutic, really– and after a transformation in the oven, you’ll quickly be rewarded with a tender, soft, light bread.

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Strawberry Pearl Yogurt Cake

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The fact that it’s now October makes the whole denying-summer-is-over a bit rougher, but a girl can dream, can’t she? Actually, I’m surprised at how many nice, sunny days we’ve gotten so far (good job, Raincouver)…I went on a quick hike just this past Sunday. That being said, the beauty of fall foliage is undeniable, especially as I walk down Main Mall on my campus. I’ve always thought it a bit Central Park-esque with its impressive trees.

Well, I’m not quite ready to usher in pumpkin spice er’thang yet, but this spiced strawberry pearl yogurt cake is a nice compromise.

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Whole Wheat Kanelbullar (Swedish Cinnamon Buns)

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Kanelbullar has always been something I’ve admired from afar, primarily for its beautiful twist. Aren’t they like the more understated, simple-but-elegant version of its American cinnamon roll cousin? In this recipe, the primary spice is cardamom instead of cinnamon, and it perfumes the dough subtly. It’s glazed twice, once before and once after baking, with a sticky runny spiced-glaze.

Be warned though, these are definitely not like cinnamon rolls in its ooey-gooey sweet goodness. I’d like to imagine these are a lot more breakfast friendly; they’re made with whole wheat flour and a modest amount of butter, they lack frosting, and are less sweet, and so overall it’s no longer a dessert masquerading as breakfast. I like that its primary focus is the spices– there’s no cream cheese frosting or icing that masks the true taste of cardamom or cinnamon, and you just get a very earthy, fragrant experience. Paired with a cuppa chai, and it’s like a warm hug from the inside.

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Blueberry Almond Buns

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More blueberry recipes coming your way as we sadly bid farewell to the last of this season’s fruit. But in actuality, not really, since we can freeze them, immortalizing its peak summer ripeness. In other news, mention of “pumpkin spice” has already started, which is not okay in my book. I guess it should be, seeing as it’ll be September in a mere few days… but summer is my favourite season, which makes fall my least favourite by default. Fall is the Mondays of seasons. The back-to-school season.

I’ve been hiking loads and baking loads, so nothing new happening around here. Except these multigrain buns, of course…

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Blueberry Lime Coconut Muffins

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I remember my first time baking with yogurt was to make Ina Garten’s Lemon Yogurt Cake. The excitement of pulling the loaf out of the oven and pouring the glaze on top, the intensity of the lemon flavour, the tender moistness unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before. The first few bakes in my life– everything pulled out from the oven was mysterious and magical and sparkly.

Fast forward a decade, and Ina’s recipe is still a mainstay for when I’m looking for an uber-moist cake/muffin.

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