Oh Sweet Day!


November 20, 2015 by Fanny | 5 Comments


My first time making baklava was years ago when my sister-in-law told me she’s a huge fan of this Middle East dessert. Considered how she’s never liked to eat dessert, I was quite surprised that she would like this because baklava is notoriously sweet. My first attempt totally proved that!

Being said that, I do understand why baklava can be highly addictive. Layers of crisp phyllo sheet alternate with spiced nut mixture, then the whole thing is soaked in syrup made with honey and lemon. Such a decadent treat!


The ultra paper-thin phyllo sheets are very fragile to handle as they break very easily. But I would say baklava is pretty forgiving about this. As long as you are able to put everything together even when the sheets fall apart inside the layers, it won’t affect the wonderful taste.

Ingredients (about 36 diamonds/squares):

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 (16 oz/about 24 sheets) package phyllo dough, thawed by package instructions
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
3 cups walnuts, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 


To make the syrup, combine sugar, water, honey and lemon juice in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat or until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to low and cook without stirring for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 13″ x 9″ baking pan.

Trim phyllo dough to fit the baking pan. (I cut my pastry dough in half vertically, so each sheet fitted my pan perfectly. And I had 48 sheets after cutting.)

Place one phyllo sheet in the prepared pan and lightly brush with butter. Repeat with 9 more sheets until you have 10 sheets in the pan.

Mix walnuts and cinnamon. Spread 1 cup of the nut mixture on the butter sheets.

Repeat 2 more times. And finish with 10 buttered sheets.

The order is: 10 sheets / 1 cup nuts / 10 sheets / 1 cup nuts / 10 sheets / 1 cup nuts / 10 sheets

Use a sharp knife to cut into diamond or square shapes all the way to the bottom of the pan.

Bake for about 50 minutes until baklava is golden and crisp.

Remove baklava from oven and immediately spoon sauce over it. Let it sit for 4 to 6 hours or even overnight uncovered at room temperature. This helps the syrup to penetrate the layers.

Beyond Pumpkin Pie: 7 Thanksgiving Pumpkin Desserts

November 17, 2015 by Fanny | 5 Comments


This same time every year, it’s pumpkin time. It’s the seasonal imperative to embrace everything pumpkin. No matter how much you’ve already made or eaten pumpkin related food, you will still get to it tirelessly. It’s holiday favourite that almost everyone loves. And there is no getting around it – you are making a pumpkin dessert AGAIN for Thanksgiving.

We had our Canadian Thanksgiving last month. That dessert table was what I came up with – pumpkin cheesecake, apple shortbread pie and chewy ginger cookies. No. I didn’t go all crazy and created everything pumpkin. But I can assure you at least one of your guests will not be happy if there is none.

Good news is pumpkin is pretty versatile to use when it comes to desserts. Bottom line: you can never be wrong putting a pumpkin pie on your dessert table. I am here to share some “what elses” – cheesecake, streusel muffins, macarons, donuts and bread to squeeze in between pies. I hope these recipes will have you covered with ample inspiration on the dessert front.

Check out Beyond Pumpkin Pie: 7 Thanksgiving Pumpkin Desserts

by Oh Sweet Day! at Mode


Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Spiced Cake with Maple Glaze

Pumpkin and Cream Cheese Muffins with Walnut Streusel

Pumpkin Cake with Dulce de Leche Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Spice Macarons

Baked Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Spiced Donuts

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Pecan Crust

Easy Celebration Chocolate Ganache Cupcake

November 13, 2015 by Fanny | 6 Comments

IMG_8173_webThese cupcakes are nothing new, I admit. I’ve made these for baby showers and girls’ night party. Sometimes I top the cakes with chocolate buttercream, raspberry buttercream, marshmallow frosting


These cupcakes are versatile, delicious, chocolatey, soooooooo simple to make and crowd pleasing. Just a little decoration or garnish, they will become some very expensive and fancy looking treats. Such a go-to dessert when you need to whip up something really quickly for a party, pot luck gathering, or even late night dessert craving call.


Ingredients (12 regular sized cupcakes):

Chocolate Cake
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup boiling water
Chocolate Ganache
100 grams dark chocolate, cut into small chunks
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon corn syrup


To prepare cupcake, preheat oven to 350F. Grease muffin tin or line with muffin liners.

In a large bowl, mix together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Crack in the egg, spoon in the sour cream, and pour in the oil and the vanilla. Mix with a wooden spoon until just combined.

Pour in the boiling water, and slowly mix until smooth and liquidy.

Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups, about halfway full. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely.

To prepare ganache, place the chocolate, heavy cream and corn syrup in a medium heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Stir the mixture using a wooden spoon until melted and smooth, about 5 minutes.

Grab each cupcake with its bottom, dip cupcake in the ganache to coat the top, let excess drip off. Place cupcakes in refrigerator for 10 minutes to set the ganache.

Garnish with sprinkles.

Pumpkin Spiced Cake with Maple Glaze

November 9, 2015 by Fanny | 10 Comments


If you are not a cake-making person, this recipe is for you. Well, if you are not a cake-making person, but you want to attempt it, and if you like pumpkin, then this recipe is for you.


This one-bowl recipe makes very moist, flavourful and delicious pumpkin cake filled with fall spices fragrance. I made loaf cakes here. But it can be a single cake layer topped with cream cheese frosting, dulce de leche, whipped cream, or this maple glaze.

Ingredients (one regular loaf or 3 mini loaves):

Pumpkin Spiced Cake
1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purposed flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt 
Maple Glaze
2 cups powdered sugar 
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoon maple syrup


Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a regular sized loaf pan or three mini loaf pans.

In a large bowl, lightly beat the pumpkin, eggs, oil and vanilla.

Sift in flour, sugars, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt. Mix with a spatula until moistened.

Pour batter in pan(s).

Bake 50 to 55 minutes for a regular loaf, 20 to 25 minutes for mini loafs, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool completely.

To prepare the glaze, mix powdered sugar, cream and maple syrup together. Whisk slowly until slightly thickened and pourable.

Spoon glaze over the cake(s) and decorate with sprinkles if preferred.

A fire truck party without the fire

November 5, 2015 by Fanny | 5 Comments

Dear Ethan and Maya,

Last month we planned a fire truck party for your birthdays. How innovative! Thanks to your aunt Karin who unintentionally bid for and won this party package during a charity auction. “Unintentionally” because she almost forgot about it until a week before our originally booked skating party, she called, “So a bunch of fire fighters will come to your house with a fire truck, kids can take a ride on it, and they will cook for the families.” I was all, “Oh yeah! Fire fighters in their uniforms making hot dogs? Bring it on!”




Only the thought of going on a real moving fire truck already blew your minds. And you were literally mentioning it in every other sentence the whole week leading to the party. Especially you, Maya, who kept saying that the party was tomorrow. While that’s adorable at some point I kind of had to wonder if you’re just being hopeful or had no concept whatsoever as to how time works. Because every time I told you, no, it’s days later you’d say, “Right. That’s tomorrow.”










Mini Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Spiced Donut

November 3, 2015 by Fanny | 6 Comments


This Halloween my seven-year-old son decided to dress like “himself” which required no costume, while my five-year-old daughter chose to be Minnie Mouse. So uncool of her, I know! But at least we only had to spend money on one costume this year.

Then people started to tell us that our son has grown up. And I was like, “Really? He’s just seven!” I still have a hard time articulating what I should feel about it. But considered that kids only wear their Halloween costumes once or twice a year, and costumes are not cheap, we were pretty happy about our son’s smart choice!


Now Halloween is over. Mountains of candies are going to be consumed over the year or years. What we had to quickly deal with was the pumpkins that we used to decorate. We had a pretty warm fall this year. The two giant carved pumpkins at the door had started to show signs of rotting. I picked a few small sweet ones inside the house, steamed and pureed them for these pumpkin spiced donuts. What’s so awesome about this one-bowl recipe is that it’s quick and easy, and the donuts are so moist, fragrant and flavourful. They could be mini muffins too if you don’t have donut pans. Just use whatever you have. It doesn’t really matter what they look like, because afterall it will turn out to be absolutely delicious!


Ingredients (36 mini donuts):

Pumpkin Spiced Donut
1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purposed flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cinnamon Sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350F. Grease mini muffin pans.

In a large bowl, lightly beat the pumpkin, eggs, oil and vanilla.

Sift in flour, sugars, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt. Mix with a spatula until moistened.

Carefully spoon batter in the donut pans only filling half way full.

Bake until risen and lightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.

Mix sugar and cinnamon to make cinnamon sugar.

Coat each donut with cinnamon sugar.

Perfect Cheesecake

October 30, 2015 by Fanny | 8 Comments


It takes a bit of practice to manage to make a good cheesecake. I have experienced cracked surface, under-baked filling, soggy crust… My all-time failure is water bath. I just don’t seem to be able to get it done without ending with leaking. Extremely frustrating!


So I gave up using water bath. Instead I bake the cheesecake on the centre rack on low heat, with a shallow pan full of hot water on the low rack in the oven. I found it really helpful to maintain the moisture level in the oven, and the cheesecake will come out perfect – my kind of perfect, which is dense, rich, velvet and creamy.

I keep an very close eye to the baking process when it’s almost done, making sure the edge of the cheesecake is a little puffy while the centre is still wet and wobbly. This is the right time to turn off the oven, leave the cheesecake in it to finish the cooking and let it cool slowly. This gently cooling will help prevent the cheesecake surface from cracking.


Ingredients (8-inch cake):

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 packs 8-ounce cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup heavy cream 
2 eggs, room temperature
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar 


Preheat oven at 350F. Grease an 8-inch spring form pan.

Make the crust by mixing all the crust ingredients together in a food processor or with a fork.

Press the mixture onto the bottom of the spring form pan. Bake crust for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool. Turn down oven temperature to 300F.

To prepare filling, beat cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, sour cream and heavy cream on medium speed until smooth in a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Then add eggs, one at a time, and mix until well blended.

Pour the filling over the cooled crust. Tap the pan on counter a few times to release all the air in the batter.

Position rack in the centre of oven and place cheesecake on it. Place a shallow pan full of water on the lower rack in the oven.

Bake for an hour, or until the edge of the cheesecake is puffed but the center is still wobbly and wet looking.

Turn off the oven with the door slightly opened, let the cheesecake sit in the oven to cool completely, at least an hour.

Chill for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight.

To prepare topping, mix sour cream and powdered sugar until smooth. Spread the top of the cake with the sour cream mixture.

Chill in refrigerator before serving.

Skeleton Cake Pop

October 27, 2015 by Fanny | 10 Comments


My two children share the same birthday month – October. So it’s become a ritual that every year when it’s close to their birthdays, I will come up with some Halloween treats for them to bring to school.

My 5-year-old daughter requested these girly monster cake pops. I made these for my son last year. And what I did this year was simply change the colors. My seven-year-old son specifically wanted skeleton cake pops. Something scary, something less childish. So here we go, “adult-ish” skeleton cake pops. Except it’s nothing “adult” about it. I would say these skeleton cake pops look cool. That’s all!


Halloween is for fun, for being adorable, for being outraged! Let’s get the party started. Check out these Halloween fun treats.

Halloween Monster Cake PopsHalloween Spider Whoopie Pies | Skeleton Cake Pops (recipe below)

Halloween Cupcakes | Owl Cake | Halloween Cake Pops

Mini Baked Donuts | Halloween Owl CupcakesHalloween Monster Cake

Untitled-1 web

Ingredients (about 45 pops): 

Chocolate Cake
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup boiling water
Chocolate Buttercream
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 bag white Candy Melts
half bag black Candy Melts


To prepare the cake, preheat oven to 350F. Grease and line an 8-inch square cake pan.

In a large bowl, mix together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Crack in the egg, spoon in the sour cream, and pour in the oil and the vanilla. Mix with a wooden spoon until just combined.

Pour in the boiling water, and slowly mix until smooth and liquidy.

Pour batter in the prepared pan, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cake cool in pan for 15 minutes. Then invert it onto a greased rack. Let cool completely.

To prepare buttercream, beat butter for a few minutes in a standing mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Add powdered sugar and turn the mixer on low, beat until the sugar incorporates with the butter. Add vanilla, heavy cream and cocoa powder, beat on medium speed for another 3 minutes, or until buttercream becomes light and fluffy.

To assemble cake pops, prepare two cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.

Break the cooled cake into a few big trunks by hand, place them into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on medium speed until the big pieces turn into crumbs.

Add frosting gradually into the cake crumbs and blend until the mixture becomes a dough, about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of frosting.

Use a small cookie scoop, roll dough into evenly sized balls and place them on the prepared cookie sheets. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Melt small amount of white Candy Melts in the microwave gradually, 10 second intervals and stirring in-between. Dip one end of a lollipop stick in the melted candy and insert into the cake ball. Repeat until you are done. Refrigerate again for 15 minutes.

Remove the cake pops from the refrigerator. Melt all the white Candy Melts in the microwave. Dip each cake pop in the Candy Melts and gently tap off excess. Place cake pop onto a piece of wax paper. Let it dry completely. Repeat with the remaining cake pops.

Place the black Candy Melts in a microwavable Ziploc bag. Microwave on high for 20 to 30 seconds to completely melt the Candy Melts. Push the melted candy toward one corner of the bag. With a pair of scissors, snip off a very small opening, and start piping the skeleton face on each cake pop.

Chewy Ginger Cookie

October 23, 2015 by Fanny | 10 Comments

IMG_8305_webThis was my fifth time making these cookies this month. Yes! One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Really crazily delicious cookies there that totally get me addicted. And the strange thing is that I am not even a big fan of ginger cookies! How absurd does it sound?!

These cookies are chewy and tasty. The spices are perfectly infused. The cookies spread very nicely when they bake yet they stay in very good shape. Such down-to-earth cookies that have the power to impress everyone, including those who are not into ginger cookies!

One thing about the baking time, the perfect duration for my cookies is 11 minutes. A minute less the cookies will become too soft, while a minute more they will be too crispy. And I’d rather these cookies a bit softer.


I came across this recipe via Pinterest. I don’t remember why I pinned it and finally got to make these babies. But such a big wonderful surprise! Thanks Sue.


Ingredients (around 36 cookies):

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon all-spice


Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and a cup of sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Beat in egg and molasses until thoroughly incorporated.

In a bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt and spices.

On low speed, add flour mixture until just combined.

Form the dough into tablespoon-sized balls. Roll in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar to coat.

Place onto the prepared baking sheets. Leave two inches apart between cookies.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and cool completely.

To Ethan – Seven years old

October 22, 2015 by Fanny | 3 Comments

Dear Ethan,

Today you turn seven years old.

Exactly seven years ago, my first child was born. And you started second grade now. Where in the hell did the seven years go? And when did my baby get so big?


So second grade. I just have to let that sink in for a second because the memories I have of holding you in the earliest days of your life and thinking OH MY GOD, HOT POTATO! are distinct. So are the memories of your first few years where you refused to believe that food was not going to burn your stomach, because every time I brought food to your mouth, you whipped your head around like I was forcing a pair of scissors in to cut your tongue off.

The night before the first school day, I had your backpack and outfits ready in your room. The next morning you woke up and came to my room, and I said, “Hey, just change and get ready for breakfast.”

You shook your head and emphasized several blinks, “JUST change?”

“Yes,” I said. “Just change.”

“But what about brushing my teeth? You’re going to send me to school with dirty teeth?!”

“Wait, what?” I asked.

“You said JUST CHANGE. What about my teeth? Am I supposed to brush my teeth?!”

“When I said JUST CHANGE that meant your teeth and your backpack and everything. It’s a whole package.”

“WHAT DO YOU MEAN PACKAGE? Like something comes in the mailbox?!”

I held my mouth shut tightly for a second to gain my composure because I suddenly remembered what a nightmare it could be to get you dressed before school every morning. And this wasn’t so much a nightmare as it was DAMN! I feel like I’m having a conversation with a person who has just smoked an entire joint.

I put my hands on your shoulders, kneeled down and said, “Please go put on your shirt, pants and then socks. Then brush your teeth. After that, get your backpack. Finally, go to the kitchen and eat your breakfast.”

This made so much more sense to you NOW THAT YOU WERE SOBER and you said, “OK! I thought I didn’t have to brush my teeth.”


The second morning you told me that you just wanted me to let you out by the front door because you were in second grade and didn’t need someone to walk you to class like a first grader. That morning I kissed you goodbye at the front door before I walked your sister to her classroom. Off you ran like you’re on rocket fuel. And just like that, another major milestone in the view of your giant pack swinging around on your back. I am the mother of a second grader.


One thing about second grade is how it has made you even more serious about doing math. When you knew that you were going to a class with a bunch of third graders, your first reaction was, “So I will start doing grade three math! I hope it’s not about addition and subtraction anymore!”

Your teacher ran to me one day during pick up and told me, “You know, I had to give Ethan more work. He finished his so quickly! It struck me! Such a smart kid!”

I am sure you can easily breeze through math during your school years. The real beast is French. You are doing almost 100% French in school. You can read and understand basic French, which is pretty awesome. And you’ve been doing dictées since grade one with no problem. Every day you come home from school, and you are all ready to practice. Except this year the vocabularies given to you to practice every week are getting more and more complicated. I have never learned French. So when you have a hard time spelling those words correctly, I cannot help you. I have to tell you to reread and memorize those words and then brace for the heavy exhale that will shake the floor and rattle the windows. When you think you are ready but realize you miss one little x in “soixante” after your fifth practice and yell, “IT’S SO UNFAIR!” I can totally comprehend your pain while a loop of your dramatic, irritating sobs serenades you for eternity. And I just want to let you know that I will be doing this with you all along. So you are not alone.


Ethan, I’ve started to see the child inside of you that is sometimes shaded by pre-adolescent anxieties and a somewhat sophisticated repugnance toward parents. You don’t necessarily think you are smarter than I am, although you most definitely are, you just think that a lot of the minutia I have to do as a parent is really stupid. Like why do I have to remind you to sit properly when you eat? Why do you have to clean up? Why does it matter if your runners are wet? None of that is going to help you solve real world math problems, so what is the point?

THE POINT? The point is my mother was pretty harsh on me when I was a kid. And I think I have a heritage to uphold, YOUNG MAN.


As I am writing this letter, I look over next to my computer and see a photo of you that I took when you were not even one year old. I don’t even know how to articulate what I feel when suddenly you became so big and so smart. The magnificent way you taught yourself how to read and how to do math. The brilliant way you get very self-motivational to learn and practice and then learn and practice more.

You are my firstborn child, Ethan, the person who has shaped and informed every last second of the last seven years of my life and thereby transforming the entirety of it.

Parenthood is really hard, the hardest thing you will ever take on if you choose to do so as a human being. And without hesitation I will tell you that never have I entertained the idea that seven years without being a mother could possibly be even half as rewarding. There hasn’t ever been a “what if?” Because that would have to begin with “what if I never had ‘you who is my everything’…”