Category Archives: Breakfast

Apple Pie Cookies

Why oh why must there be something called the flu?  And why must have it hit me so hard?  I am generally very healthy, I usually only get sick one a year and it’s with a minor cold – you know the stuffy nose, sore throat thing…ya well, not this year.  Needless to say, I have been absolutely down and out with a horrible flu for the past week and even as I write this post I am not 100%.  I still have no voice (CH is really enjoy this…) and I still have a horrible cough that keeps me up at night.  The good news is that my energy levels are back to somewhat normal, and I am hungry again.   When I’m not hungry…you know there is an issue.

In any event, I made these cookies a few weeks ago – for a football party actually.  CH and I were sitting on the couch and I was trying to decide what to bake to bring to our friends place.  I was scrolling through my GR and up came Annie’s post for these cookies…it lead to a girlish-like shreak for CH, exclaiming “YOU MUST MAKE THESE NOW!”.  So, I made sure I had everything I needed, which I did because these are so simple, and the plan was in motion.

Let me tell you, these were quite simple to make and CH even helped, which was really nice but caused a few confusing moments…let’s just say he should stick to reading legal documents, especially when it comes to ingredient measurements! In any event, a few steps backwards, a few steps forwards these cookies were in the oven and CH was beaming with excitement.   I could hardly get them out of the oven before he was chowing-down on a “taste-test” one, and then a “quality-control” one, just to make sure they were all the same. I think the “quality control” step was repeated a few times, but they were quickly packaged up and put away so that we actually had something to bring to our friends place.

These cookies were a huge hit, they are little apple pie deliciousness’.  Although I was challenged many times that they were “Apple Pies” or “Pocket Pies”, I remained insistent that they were Apple Pie Cookies – even if Annie’s husband challenged her too!  Nonetheless, they are a perfect sweet treat and a lot of fun to eat.  They would be welcomed at any type of event, and I loved Annie’s idea of bringing them to a family meal with a few other choices – that way, you get a small taste of many yummy items!


Apple Pie Cookies

Yield: Annie says 24, but we got more like 18 because they were larger!
Prep Time:  20 minutes + 1 hour resting time (dough)
Cook Time:  25 minutes

Apple Pie Cookies

  • 2½ cups (313 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. (25 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. (4 grams) salt
  • 2 sticks (8 oz. or 1 cup) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
  • ½ cup very cold water
  • 2 large apples, whatever variety you prefer for baking
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup (67 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. (2 grams) ground cinnamon
  • Dash of grated nutmeg
  • Water
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon of water
  • Sugar, for sprinkling

Additional stuff

  • A couple baking sheets covered with parchment paper
  • Rolling pin, pastry brush (for egg wash), fork (for crimping and dipping) and sharp knife (to make slits)
  • Round cookie cutters – you’ll need two – as you want to make sure there’s at least a 3/4-inch different in the sizes, as you’ll need the extra margin to crimp your dough.


To make the pie dough, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of your stand-mixer and stir to blend. Using the whisk attachment on medium-low speed, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture is coarse and the largest pieces of butter are no bigger than small peas. Switch to your beater blade and add in the water and mix gently just until the dough has come together in a a cohesive ball and all of the dry ingredients have been moistened. Try not to over-mix.  Form the dough into a disc and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for at least 1 hour.

When you are ready to make your cookies, preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.

Peel the apples and remove the core.  Dice the apples into 1-inch by 1-inch cubes. Place the apple cubes in a bowl and toss with the lemon juice. In another small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and whisk to blend.

To assemble the cookies, transfer half of the chilled pie dough to a lightly floured work surface (keep the other half chilled). Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out very thin, about 1/8 to ¼-inch thick. Use the larger cookie cutter, cut out rounds of the pie dough. Transfer the rounds to the prepared baking sheets.  Brush the rounds lightly with water (this will help the pies seal).

At this point, add the diced apple to the cinnamon-sugar mixture and toss to coat. Place about 1.5 TBSP of apple on top of each dough-round.

Remove the other half of the chilled pie dough to a lightly floured work surface and use a rolling pin to roll the dough out very thin, about 1/8 to ¼-inch thick. Use the slightly smaller cookie cutter, cut out rounds of the pie dough.

Layer the rounds of dough on top of the diced apple and gently press the edges to help seal. Repeat this process with the remaining dough and apple slices.

(Smitten Kitchen likes to crimp them together by hand, but I found this hard to do, so I did it while they were on the baking sheet).

Crimp and seal the edges of the mini pies with the tines of a fork, dipping in flour if needed to prevent sticking.

Lightly brush the tops of the cookies with the egg wash.

Use a small paring knife to cut tiny slits in the top of each cookie. Sprinkle with additional sugar, if desired.

Bake for 25-28 minutes or until light golden brown.

Recipe from Annie’s Eats, originally from Smitten Kitchen



Filed under Bread, Breakfast, Desserts

What’s Baking: Butternut Squash Cinnamon Buns

Has winter officially hit where you live?  It has here (or it did, and is gone again as of today!).  Toronto has been experiencing a VERY mild winter so far, with hardly any snow, very mild temperatures and almost no winter jackets required. However, that changed in early January and rather abruptly if you ask me.  One day, I was rocking my cherry red rain jacket, feeling at home in this rather “Vancouver” like winter weather, and the next day we were slammed with -25 degrees.  Talk about reality shock.

Melissa of I Was Born to Cook chose the absolute perfect theme this month for What’s Baking – “Your Favorite Snowday Treat”.  I can’t claim cinnamon buns to be my favourite sweet treat, but they are definitely warm, gooey, welcoming and perfect for a day when you are stuck inside with a few extra hours to spare in the kitchen.

Now, as you read in the title, these aren’t your usual cinnamon buns and they feature a rather unique ingredient – butternut squash.  I’ve had a recipe bookmarked for a long time (and when I say bookmarked, I mean bookmarked, not this Pinterest thing that took off about 6 months ago!)  However, the one big thing I did change was the unique ingredient – the recipe called for Sweet Potatoes…but when I went to make them, I realized I was out of sweet potatoes.  So, I decided to take a chance and replace it with butternut squash.

Let me tell you – it worked.  It worked oh so well.  The butternut squash did not alter the texture or taste that much, but I felt so much better knowing that this usually sinful treat has 2 cups of a healthy ingredient.  I also loved that the butternut squash adds moisture and a touch of color to the buns, and it also replaces a lot of the sugar in a traditional recipe.

These were hands-down a winner.  They took a little work, and a little faith in my baking skills because you have to adapt the flour amount a little due to the moisture levels of the butternut squash, but they turned out beautifully.

Definitely give these a try if you are looking for a little weekend project, with a absolute delicious (and healthy!) result. *See below for nutritional info*


Butternut Squash Cinnamon Buns

Yield: 24 rolls
Prep Time: About 1 hour, not including roasting the squash and dough rising time
Bake Time: 15-18 minutes
Cinnamon Buns
  • 1 cup milk, warmed
  • 4 teaspoons yeast
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 cups cooked butternut squash, pureed (recipe below)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 5 – 51/2 cups all purpose flour, depending on how much water content your butternut squashes have
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2.5 TBSP cinnamon
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 6 TBSP butter, softened
  • 1 egg for egg wash + additional sugar for sprinkling

Icing  (optional but totally recommended)

  • 4 oz of cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla


*see below for instructions on how to cook butternut squash*

In a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast and honey over the warmed  milk. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.

In the bowl of your stand-mixer fitted with the beater blade, place the pureed butternut squash and beat in the egg, oil, and 1 cup of flour – mix until smooth and well incorporated.

Add the yeast mixture to your stand-mixer and stir on medium speed until thoroughly blended. Mix in the rest of the flour, 1 cup at a time, blending thoroughly after each addition. The dough should be slightly wet and sticky, but not so much that you can’t form it into a ball, you may not need all 5 cups of flour, or you may need more than 5 cups – use your judgement.

Remove the beater blade, replace with dough hook and knead for 8-10 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic.

Form the dough into a ball and transfer to a large oiled bowl. Cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm spot for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.

On a floured counter top, cut the dough in half and roll each into a ball. One at a time, roll each ball into a 16-inch by10-inch by 1/2-inch rectangle.

To make the filling, combine the cinnamon, vanilla and sugar in a small bowl.

Spread half the softened butter evenly over the rolled-out dough and sprinkle half the cinnamon sugar evenly over the dough. Tightly roll the dough, lengthwise and turn seem side down. Cut into 12 equal slices and place cut-side up on a pie dish – about an inch apart, as they will spread as the rise.

Repeat with other half of dough.***

Cover the pie dishes with clean towels and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 20 minutes.

Heat the oven to 400˚F. Brush the tops of the cinnamon buns with an egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, until lightly golden. You don’t want to over bake these or they will dry out.

Remove from oven and top immediately with cream cheese icing.

Serve warm.  Store leftovers, covered, in the fridge. Zap in the microwave for 25 seconds when you want to enjoy.

*** You can do all of the steps up until this point, then freeze the dough until you want to use. The day you want to enjoy cinnamon rolls in the morning, all you have to do is pull the frozen dough out the night before, cover with a towel and let stand over night. In the morning you just preheat the oven and pop them in. Easy-peasy.

Recipe Adapted from So Good and Tasty

Nutritional Info:  Amount Per Serving (1 Cinnamon Bun) – without icing
Calories: 165
Calories from Fat:  37
Total Fat: 4.1g
Saturated Fat: 2.1g
Total Carbohydrates: 28.5g
Dietary Fiber: 1.4g
Sugars: 6.7g
Protein: 3.7g
Vitamin A 27%
Butternut Squash
  • 1 medium butternut squash


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Wash and thoroughly dry the butternut squash.  Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  You will know it’s ready when you can slide a butter knife through the stem without any resistance.

Remove from oven, place on a plate and allow to cool.  When cool enough to handle, cut squash in half, remove seeds.  Then, using a spoon, remove all of the flesh and place in a bowl.  Mash with the spoon, or puree with a stick-blender.


Filed under Bread, Breakfast, Healthy, Vegetarian and Vegan

Smoked Salmon “Bennies”

I love brunch, and always have.  Why?…I don’t quite know. Maybe it’s just relaxing and savouring my morning coffee, instead of chugging it down while I reply to the next “OMGosh-Urgent” email during the work-week.  Maybe it’s that I have an excuse to make something a little more gourmet on weekends, when I know CH will be home and his meal won’t go in the fridge.  Whatever it is, I love brunch and this recipe explifies why.

I love smoke salmon, and again, hailing from BC we’d have it quite often.  I remember in my elementary school days, my Mom would pack my lunch for me and I loved the days when it included a bagel with the smoked salmon cream cheese. Yumm!  I also love candied salmon, but that’s a whole other story for another day (and perhaps another recipe to try at home!).

On a whim (well, it was an inspired whim, which you will see soon!), I picked-up some from smoked salmon from the market.  CH and I enjoyed half of it on Friday night and then on Saturday we had two beautiful pieces leftover.  I was considering just toasting up an English muffin and serving it with cream cheese , but then (as per above) I was inspired by the time I had available.  I decided to poach some eggs (a skill I have yet to perfectly master), and combine in with CH’s favourite green – arugula – and this is how the dish was born.  I topped it with some fried capers, which added a nice crispy texture and a touch of saltiness.

I put “bennies” in quotes because it technically isn’t one without the hollandaise – but to be honest, this dish didn’t need it.  With the richness and creaminess from the egg yolk and cheese, it’s a perfectly balanced dish (but if you love hollandaise, feel free to add it – Pioneer Women has a great recipe that makes it fairly easy to prepare at home).  Either way, it’s gourmet and delicious.

I may have to buy smoked salmon more often as this dish was definitely well received in our house.


Smoked Salmon “Bennies”

Yield:  2 servings (2 eggs benny each)
Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes


  • 4 eggs (to be poached or fried)
  • 2 English muffins, split & toasted
  • 4 generous tablespoons of cream cheese (or 3 TBSP of goat cheese with 1 TBSP plain yogurt – our favourite), divided among the 4 halves
  • 4 small handfuls of arugula
  • 2 slices of smoke salmon (approximately 50 grams), cut in half (4 pieces)
  • handful of fried capers (recipe below)


Follow Smitten Kitchens directions on how to poach eggs (she writes it much clearer than I ever could).  Link is HERE. 

You can also fry your eggs, by heating cooking spray or oil over medium-high heat and cook the eggs sunny side up, until the yolk is at your preferred doneness.

While you are poaching your eggs, toast your English muffins either under the broiler or in a toaster.  When they are ready, spread your cream cheese (or goat cheese) on top.

When you are ready, assemble by placing the arugula on-top of the cheese, next the smoke salmon and then the eggs and capers. Season with S&P and enjoy.

Enjoy with your morning coffee or a fun mimosa!

A JBean Cuisine original recipe (inspired by many restaurant brunch visits!)

Fried Capers

  • 4 TBSP of capers (from a jar)
  • 4 TBSP olive oil

Remove capers from the jar and place on paper towels.  Dab gently to remove all of the excess moisture.

In a small frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  When it’s almost at the smoking point (be careful & watch it closely), add the capers and fry until crisp and slightly golden brown.

Remove the capers from the pan and place on a clean piece of paper towel to drain off excess oil.  Allow to cool slightly and then serve with your favourite dish – such as above.


Filed under Bread, Breakfast, Healthy, Mains