4 simple tips for throwing a picnic with Bourisin (#ad)

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This post is sponsored by Boursin. As always, my opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting brands that keep me cooking!

Oh Hi friends! I am so excited to be partnering with Boursin to share a few of my favourite picnic tips with you. I am so excited for the long Summer evenings to come, which just beg for you to go eat outside.

1) Keep things simple. That means, limit the amount of food you bring, stick with bite sized items, and fruit or veggies that don't need cut or peeled. Stick with the basics, and nothing too gooey or fussy. I'm all about bringing as little as possible, and creating as few dishes as possible!

2) Choose a couple things that will elevate your meal from just the basics. For me, that means bringing Boursin Cheese along. I'm kind of in love with it. It has the best flavours, an incredible texture, and it's also made with 100% Canadian milk (which makes this Canadian farm girl so happy). It's easy to spread or crumble on crackers or bread, and it also so simple to wrap back up in its foil package if you don't finish it all (yeah right...haha). I also used prosciutto, sun-dried tomatoes, and a few fresh herbs from my garden as toppings to make the baguette a little more sophisticated without a lot of effort.

3) Find the perfect location. We held our picnic in my family's apple orchard, where we were surrounded by fruit trees, and the only sound around was the wind and the birds. You want it to be beautiful, but not too far away from where you park. Nobody wants to lug everything 10 km from the car.

4) Use an insulated tote! It's not shown in the photos, but an insulated tote is a lifesaver on a picnic. Keep your cold things cold, and your food safe before and after eating. Picnic baskets are so cute, but not always the most practical items. I always try and balance beauty with practicality, and this might mean packing the food in an insulated tote, and the blanket, bread, etc, in a cute basket. Freeze half of your water bottles or juice that you bring as well, and they'll act like ice packs for the rest of the food, and stay cold throughout the afternoon as well.

There you have it!  I hope you find some time this Summer to have a picnic with a few friends, it's a bucket list item for sure!

brownie crinkle cookies

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I can't stop looking at these cookies.  And I can't stop eating these cookies.  Actually, I can, since they're all gone already.  Ha!  Need to make a new batch asap.

I had seen these brownie crinkle type cookies floating around the internet for a few month now, and had them on my (endlessly long) "to bake" list for a while.  They're just so darn beautiful, and they looked like the dreamiest, chewy chocolate cookie ever.

This recipe is very slightly adapted from Edd from The Boy Who Bakes (who you should definitely be following...duh), and they turned out exactly as I had hoped.  They're chocolatey, fudgey, brownie-like, and have the prettiest crackled top.  

Now, I won't lie, these cookies are a tiny bit fussy.   But don't be scared!  They're just pretty time-sensitive, and it really makes  a difference if you're not prepared.  So, make sure your oven is pre-heated, your pan is prepped, and all of the ingredients are measured out before you start!  

Edd shared all the ingredients in grams, and I've added cup conversions here.  Please note that using a kitchen scale and grams is truly the best way to bake, especially with flour!  Kitchen scales are super cheap, and are a life-saver in the kitchen.  I've been using them more and more, and will hopefully start sharing both here on the blog!  

Anyhow, back to cookies.  Go make these and I dare you not to eat them all yourself!


brownie crinkle cookies

recipe: slightly adapted from Edd - The Boy Who Bakes
yields: 10-12 large cookies

ingredients:

1 heaping cup (200g) dark chocolate (around 65-70% cocoa solids), chopped into chocolate chip sized pieces
1/2 cup (125g) unsalted butter, diced
2/3 cup (150g) caster sugar/superfine sugar/granulated sugar*
1/2 cup (100g) light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1 cup (130g) plain flour
3 tbsp (22g) cocoa powder (dutch processed)*
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
optional: flaked salt for decorating

*Use dark chocolate that has at least 70% cocoa content due to the reduced sugar content compared to lower cocoa chocolate

*I used granulated sugar instead of caster sugar and they turned out great.

*Edd says not to use "natural" cocoa powder, and to use dutch processed.  My package didn't say either of those things, and they turned out wonderfully.  He mentions that dutched cocoa is darker and has a more intense flavour, so I'll be on the lookout for that in the future.

directions:

As stated above timing is super important for these cookies, so be sure that your oven is preheated to 350 degrees F, your baking trays are lined with parchment or silpat mats, and all of the ingredients are measured out.  The batter thickens incredibly quickly, so you want to get the cookie dough onto the pans and into the oven as quickly as possible.  If you have a giant pan, or can fit two pans in your oven without stacking them, then cook them all in one batch, as that's ideal for getting the best, shiny, crinkle tops.  Otherwise, scoop all of the cookies immediately, and then bake the pans separately.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate together on low heat, stirring constantly.  This can also be done by using a double boiler if you're worried about burning the chocolate.  Once melted, set aside.

In a large bowl, use the whisk attachment for your stand or hand mixer, and whisk together eggs and both sugars on medium-high for exactly 5 minutes.  Reduce speed and slowly pour in chocolate mixture.  Mix until combined.

In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients together.  Switch from a whisk to a paddle attachment on your mixer, and slowly add dry ingredients to the wet.  Mix until ingredients are just barely combined.  Use a spatula to scrape down sides and bottom to ensure all of the ingredients are incorporated.  Use an ice cream scoop, or simply a spoon, to drop large balls of dough onto your prepared pans.  Now, the dough will be pretty gooey, and should look similar to brownie batter.  It should be wetter than your average cookie dough, but shouldn't spread too much on your pan.  Leave a few inches between each cookie as they will spread quite a bit.  Sprinkle with flaked salt, and immediately place in the oven.  

Bake for 10-12 minutes.  The cookies should come out of the oven crinkled and domed, and will collapse a bit as they cool.  This makes for the fudgey, delicious centers.  Allow the cookies to cool on the baking trays for at least 20 minutes since they'll be very soft and will break if you move them prematurely.

These are best served slightly warm on the first day, but will keep several days in an airtight container, or for several weeks in the freezer.


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rhubarb galette


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Here we go with another rhubarb recipe!  This one involves the easiest pastry dough ever, and is perfect for when you don't quite feel like committing to an entire pie.  It's quick, it's easy, and it's delicious.

We're talking about a rhubarb galette!  Simply make the dough, chill for an hour while you get the rhubarb filling ready and preheat the oven, and then put it all together.  I chose to make a fancy pattern on top, but it tastes the same whether you do that, or simply dice the rhubarb.  Galettes are so perfect for those long, warm summer nights, and I look forward to eating many while sitting on my patio!


rhubarb galette

recipe by: Kelsey Siemens
yields: one large galette, or two smaller galettes

ingredients

Pastry

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled

2 tsp vinegar

1/4 cup minus 2 teaspoons of very cold water

Rhubarb Filling

3 cups rhubarb

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

3 tablespoons flour

Topping

1 beaten egg - for the egg wash on the pastry dough (substitute milk if you'd prefer)

coarse sugar - to sprinkle on the pastry (optional)

directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and brown sugar.  Add cubed, cold butter, and cut into small pieces using a pastry cutter, or simply a fork.  The pieces of butter should be about the size of a pea once you're done.

Note:  Another method that works well is to freeze your butter first, and then simply use a cheese grater to grate it into the flour mixture.  Both methods work well.

In a liquid measuring cup, add 2 teaspoons of white vinegar, and then top with very cold water until it reaches the 1/4 cup mark.  Pour water over the flour mixure, and stir together.

Lightly flour your work surface, and dump pastry dough onto it. Carefully work the dough with your hands until it just comes together, but there are no blobs of flour anywhere.  We don't want to overmix here, or melt or butter by touching it too much with warm hands.

Form the dough into a flat, round disc shape, a couple inches tall, and wrap in plastic wrap.  Place in the fridge and allow to cool for at least half an hour, and up to a week.

While dough is chilling, slice rhubarb into 1.5 inches pieces. The goal is for them to have similar lengths, widths, and depths, so I trimmed mine accordingly.  If you don't want to make the pattern I did, simply dice rhubarb into half inch cubes.  Toss rhubarb with sugar, cinnamon, and flour mixture.  

Remove dough from fridge, remove plastic wrap, and place onto a lightly floured surface.  Roll out the dough into a circle until it's about 1/8 of an inch thick.  You can trim the dough into a perfect circle if you'd like, or leave as is for a more rustic look.  Alternatively, you may split the dough in two or three before rolling out for several smaller galettes.

For rhubarb pattern: separate rhubarb from sugar mixture, and sprinkle the sugar mixture onto the bottom of the galette, be sure to leave 1-2 inches clear from the edge where you'll be folding the dough over.  Start placing rhubarb onto the galette.  I started from the middle, and placed rhubarb at right angles to each other, creating an arrow pattern.  Hard to explain, but experiment with it and see the photos above. 

For a simple galette, dump the rhubarb and sugar mixture onto the middle of the pastry dough, leaving 1-2 inches of space around the edge for folding.

Fill a tiny bowl with water to use for helping the dough stick together.  Fold a section of the dough up over the rhubarb, it should be a few inches long.  Carefully fold the section next to it over, and wet two fingers and wet the pastry where it has folded over, and gently press together.  This keeps the galette from coming unfolded.  Repeat folds all around the dough.

Place in the fridge for 15-30 minutes before baking.  This helps to ensure that the butter in the dough is nice and cold, which is what gives you that nice flaky crust!

Remove galette from the fridge, brush the pastry dough with a beaten egg using a pastry brush, and sprinkle with coarse sugar to give it an extra sparkle.

Bake at 400 degrees F, for 15-25 minutes, until crust is evenly golden, and rhubarb has started to bubble.  Remove from oven, allow to cool for a few minutes, and serve.

*Best served the same day, but will keep for several days.


Happy galette baking!

rhubarb pistachio coffee cake

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Oh hey friend!  Are you ready for all the rhubarb recipes?  I'm obsessed.  100%.  It's one of my very favourite flavours, and I love that it's one of the first crops of Spring.  There's just something about the bright pop of red, and its wonderfully tart flavour that I am completely enamoured with.

P.S. Type "rhubarb" in the search bar for all my old recipes!

We grow a bunch of it on our farm, which means I'm incredibly lucky to have an endless supply throughout the Summer.  Rhubarb cake, galettes, and more....here we come!

Today we're talking about coffee cake.  Coffee cakes are no fuss, and have a great pay off.  They're the kind of cake you whip up an hour before company comes over, and then you demolish the entire thing while your friends discuss how talented you are.  Just kidding....but maybe not.  They're your best friend, and this one is no exception!  Perfect for a warm spring day, a rainy spring day, pretty much....any day of the week.  Cozy flavours of cinnamon and sugar complement the star of the show, rhubarb!  I added in some pistachios on top, which get deliciously roasted, and add a fun texture and wonderful flavour as well.

Enough about that....now go on and make one for yourself!


rhubarb pistachio coffee cake

recipe: adapted from my great grandma Enid
yields: one 9-inch round cake

ingredients:

recipe from: My Great Grandma Enid!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter

1 1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup sour milk (mix 1 cup milk with 1 tbsp vinegar/lemon juice - let stand for 5 minutes before using)

1 tsp baking soda

2 cups flour

1 1/2 cup rhubarb, chopped

Topping:

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup roughly chopped pistachios
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Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9-inch round spring form pan (alternatively use a 9x13 baking dish and reduce baking time to 30-35 min).

In a large mixing bowl, use a hand or standmixer to cream together butter and sugar on low.  Add in egg and vanilla, and mix on medium-low until light and fluffy.

Add in sour milk, and mix on low until combined.  Gradually add in flour and baking soda, and mix on medium low until just combined.  Stir in rhubarb pieces with a spatula.

Pour batter into the prepared pan, and top with cinnamon and sugar mixture.  Sprinkle pistachios around outer edge.  Slice thin strips of rhubarb and arrange on top if desired.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 50-60 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes before running a knife around edge of cake, and carefully removing the outside of the springform pan.

Serve warm on the same day, top with powdered sugar if you'd like. (Keeps several days, but tends to get a bit soggy).

*Note: sometimes the rhubarb pieces on top can make the cake seem soggy, so don't insert the toothpick into one of them!


Happy rhubarb baking!