Simple Cocoa Brownie

Hello there, welcome to my blog. today I wanted to post something I made the other night that  everyone should try to bake someday when they have time.

First things first to say is that I was never much of a brownie lover in my life till baking with this recipe.

Recipe can be found in the link right here 

Now the steps on simple to follow for this recipe, way to easy that can create something so good, just by pretty much placing all the ingredients in 1 pot and mixing.


Perfect for eating at anytime of day, a soft and moist brownie that takes less then an hour to make that can also serve many others by adjusting the recipe.



Drinking Chocolate

In May of 2015 I took a short trip to Seattle with a friend, and got completely blown away by the rich food scene there. We fell in love with Pike Place Market, and went on 2 food tours – one being the chocolate indulgence tour. One of the stops was The Confectional, known for their cheesecakes. It wasn’t cheesecake that blew me away though, it was their Columbian Sipping Chocolate.

I adore dark chocolate, the darker the better in my books; this sipping chocolate was pure chocolate flavour in a one ounce cup. Super dark, and almost as viscous as molasses, I was pretty much in heaven. They served it with cayenne pepper (optional), which is a flavour enhancer for chocolate. I tried it without at first, but adding a small pinch of the cayenne really elevated the flavour to new heights.

sipping chocolate

The rich, indulgent drink I had in Seattle was definitely a modern take on drinking chocolate. Where the Aztecs would be drinking more of an unsweetened chocolate tea, North Americans have come up with a way to make it much more calorie dense. Adding dairy and sugar, a modern drinking chocolate recipe looks something like this, containing chocolate, cinnamon, milk, and sugar.

If you’re interested in more of a traditional way to make drinking chocolate, check out this video, which shows how they traditionally make it in Mexico.

Happy drinking!

~ Tierany

Chocolate Hazelnut Sourdough – Creating a Formula

I love all aspects of baking, however bread is definitely not my strong suit. But when I started thinking about competing in the Chef’s Hat competition, I knew I wanted to create something all on my own. It was a perfect opportunity to challenge my bread making ability and come up with a formula of my own, which I had never done before.

My inspiration for doing a chocolate bread came from this reddit post I saw a few months ago. I hadn’t even thought of chocolate in a bread dough before this! What a great, unique idea that contains one of my favourite ingredients – chocolate. The reddit user who posted their bread used this recipe, which contains dried fruit and walnuts.


“Sourdough Noir,” from Emilie on “the clever carrot

Turns out chocolate sourdough hasn’t been done very often, because my internet surfing for recipes to compare with was pretty dry. Most recipes have chocolate chips and dried fruit as inclusions, but I wanted the impactful, deep dark coloured loaf like the “sourdough noir.” There was one recipe that seemed to be the front runner – Chocolate cherry loaf. Chef James Bartlett of Metropolitan bakery in Philadelphia specializes in this bread, and I managed to find a few  videos of his makeup process. My friend Halsey found me a recipe for a chocolate cherry bread just like it, so I had a good base to start creating my formula from.

Instead of cherries, I wanted to have one of my favourite flavour combinations – chocolate and hazelnuts. In our NAIT formula books there is a recipe for “Rustic Hazelnut Sourdough (#52),” so I took that one and compared it side by side to the chocolate cherry loaf formula. Here are my first set of notes comparing the 2:

Bread notes 1

I knew I had to play around with the yeast levels and hydration to get the right balance, so I started with 65% hydration and 1% yeast in addition to my sourdough starter. I also decided to cold brew espresso into my water for the bread overnight since espresso is a natural flavour enhancer to chocolate. As for procedure, I did an autolyse method and retarded the dough overnight. Here is the first formula and procedure:

Choc test 1


Everything went as planned for the first go round…except I forgot to add the yeast. The levain alone did not do well overnight in the fridge, and the dough temperature was very low. The bread smelled amazing, however it was way too dense. I also got feedback that the amount of chocolate chips was a little high. A disappointing first attempt, but not a complete failure. Back to the books!


I did two more tests, keeping everything constant except for the hydration, levain amount and chocolate chip amount. I reduced the chocolate chips by 10% for both loaves, and followed the same procedure. This time I actually added the yeast though, and did not retard overnight.


Much better. The chocolate chip amount was just right, and yeast definitely helped a lot. I would have liked to retard overnight for that nice bubbly skin and better flavour development, but overall I was pleased. The formula I decided to go with was test #2, with 70% hydration and 65% levain. I ended up using that formula for our final practical assessment:


They weren’t the prettiest loaves, but they did turn out pretty good. I did not retard them overnight, and in the interest of time I ended up doing a hot brewed espresso instead of a cold brew which actually made the bread quite sour compared to the previous attempts. The sourness balanced pretty well, but I found that it was less of a chocolate enhancer and more of a hazelnut suppressor.

I still have some tweaks to do until it’s perfect, but I like the flavour of it and overall I think I achieved my goal. This bread tastes and smells amazing when toasted with a bit of butter. The Chef’s Hat competition is soon, and I intend on using test #2 with cold brew espresso and retarding overnight. Ask me later how it turns out!

If you wanted to try it for yourself, here is the formula:

Chocolate Hazelnut Sourdough

4 loaves @ 650g each

Bread Flour 820g
Water 572g
Salt 20g
Malt Powder 8g
Levain 532g
Yeast 8g
Espresso 40g
Cocoa powder 80g
Hazelnuts 328g
Dark Chocolate Chips 252g
Bread flour 220g
Water 240g
Sourdough starter 76g
  1. Cold brew espresso and water 12-24hrs before mixing. Toast hazelnuts beforehand.
  2. Prepare levain 12 hours before.
  3. Combine espresso water (drained), flour, and levain till hydrated, autolyse for 20 min.
  4. Add cocoa powder, yeast, malt powder and salt; mix for 4 min on 1st speed and 2-4 min on 2nd speed, until gluten formation.
  5. Add chocolate chips and crushed hazelnuts on speed 1 until incorporated.
  6. BFT for 90 min at room temp with 1 fold. (RDT 24C)
  7. Scale and divide, retard overnight.
  8. Proof in floured baneton for approx 1.5 hours at room temp.
  9. Bake between 425-450F for 30 min.

Thanks for reading! Happy baking,

~ Tierany

Baking Without

Although Celiac disease does not result in fatalities…not like a peanut allergy…it has a devastating effect on an individual’s health. It is for this reason that many, many chefs, books, blogs, recipes, etc…are devoted to gluten free diets. After all, who wants to live with a permanent belly ache?

When the body doesn’t tolerate gluten, but it is still continually consumed, the gluten destroys the lining of the intestines so that the body can’t attain the nutrients and vitamins that are essential to good health.





These are two of the online places to visit for ALL things about gluten-free… all things except for baking, that is.

Which is why I’m here!! I will tell you all there is to know about baking without gluten!! …well, not everything; however, I will share with you some GF recipes that are a big hit with my customers…

First of all, we need to start with a flour blend so…here it is:


1296c234_milletflour_f_1800millet flour    400g

rice floursweet rice flour  300g

1444c244_potatostarch_f_1800potato starch  300g

Combine the three flours in a cambro, shake it up (make sure you put the lid on!) and…ta da!!!! You have your gluten-free flour-blend. This all-purpose blend can be substituted into any recipe that calls for an all-purpose blend.

[the cost for this flour blend would be $177.40 for a 20-kg bag!)

Grain-free flour blend

almond flour              350 g

buckwheat flour      250 g

arrowroot   flour      150 g

potato starch            150 g

flaxseed meal           100 g

Combine the five flours in an air-tight container. Store in the refrigerator

(the almond flour may go rancid; cooler storage is a bright idea)

          NOTE: I use Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flours for convenience but buying in bulk is less  expensive.

And NOW….the fun begins!

Walnut Banana Bread

Dry blend the following ingredients:

Grain-free flour-blend     210

Baking soda                         6

Cinnamon                            5

Salt                                         3

In separate bowl combine and whisk vigorously:

          Pure maple syrup              150

          Egg                                         100

          coconut oil                          80

vanilla                                   8

banana                                 365

  (ripe, mashed)

  • Combine the two mixtures (do not over-mix)

Fold in:

Walnuts                                75

TOTAL            1002

  • Deposit into a 1 pound loaf pan or 3 mini loaf pans.
  • Bake at 375F (190C);
  • Bake until loaf is springy to the touch, the edges pull from the pan, and the top is browned; 45 to 60 minutes.

(Shauna Ahern “Walnut Banana Bread” )


gluten-free BROWNIES


  • 298g sugar; Baker’s Special Sugar or superfine sugar, if you have it
  • 113g butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
  • 64g Dutch-process cocoa or baking cocoa; we prefer the flavor of Dutch-process (“European-style”)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 113g King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour or 3 3/8 ounces brown rice flour blend*
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 170g chocolate chips, optional
  • 113g chopped nuts, optional
  • *See recipe for this blend below.


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8″ square pan or 9″ round pan; either should be at least 2″ deep.
  2. Place the sugar, butter, and salt in a microwave-safe bowl or saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring with a heatproof spatula until the butter melts and the mixture lightens in color. This step helps melt the sugar, which will give the brownies a shiny crust.
  3. If you’ve heated the sugar and butter in a saucepan, transfer the mixture to a bowl; otherwise, just leave the hot ingredients right in their microwave-safe bowl. Blend in the vanilla and cocoa, then add the eggs and mix until shiny.
  4. Blend in the flour or flour blend and the baking powder. Stir in the chips and/or nuts, if you’re using them.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it to the edges.
  6. Bake the brownies for 33 to 38 minutes, until the top is set; and a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or nearly so, with perhaps a few wet crumbs, or a tiny touch of chocolate at the tip of the tester.
  7. Remove from the oven and cool for about 15 minutes before cutting. Once the brownies are cool, cover tightly with plastic.
  8. Yield: 16 brownies.
  9. *Make your own blend
    Many of our gluten-free recipes use our King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour, which includes ingredients that reduce the grittiness sometimes found in gluten-free baked goods. Our flour also increases the shelf life of your treats, keeping them fresh longer.
    The following make-at-home blend, featuring stabilized brown rice flour, works pretty well when substituted; and it tastes better than a blend using regular brown rice flour.Whisk together 6 cups (28 1/2 ounces) King Arthur stabilized brown rice flour; 2 cups (10 3/4 ounces) potato starch; and 1 cup (4 ounces) tapioca flour or tapioca starch. Store airtight at room temperature. Note: You can substitute white rice flour for the brown rice flour if you like; it’ll make your baked goods grittier (unless you manage to find a finely ground version).

(“the bakers” Almond Flour Brownies )

Now for the beloved loaf of…<drum roll>…BREADREALLY?! without gluten? I’ve just spent a whole year studying about GLUTEN!

It is possible though. A “dough” made with gluten free flours is more like  a batter so it is treated like a quick bread. It does need to be proofed though because there is yeast in the batter.

Richard Coppedge, a renowned professional Pastry Chef, the author of “Gluten-free Baking” and instructor at the Culinary Institute of  America. He has devoted his web page to Gluten Free….

Although I haven’t tried those particular recipes yet, I have tried other recipes of his…with success! So, I challenge you to make GLUTEN FREE BREAD (that’s bread without gluten, you know?)  …and tell me about it, ok?

Nutella Cheesecake

A few years back I was discussing baking with my cousin when she told me about recipe that she had found. Its a recipe for a peanut butter cheesecake but she had discovered that it tasted delicious when you used Nutella instead of the peanut butter. Since then I have used this recipe a lot.

Nutella Cheesecake

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs or oreo crumbs

3/4 cup Butter

3 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese

3/4 cup Nutella

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons All purpose flour

1 teaspoon Vanilla

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

1/4 cup Cream (half and half)

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F

Step 1: The Crust

Melt the butter and add to the chosen crumbs until combined. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 9″ springform pan (I used 4 miniature 3-4″ springform pans and had lots leftover to use in just muffin liners)

Step 2: The Filling

Soften the room temperature Cream cheese in a mixer, add sugar

Step 3

Next add the Nutella and the Vanilla

Step 4

Add the flour. Scrape down the bowl

Step 5

Add the eggs all at once. Make sure you scrape down the bowl after adding the eggs

Step 6

Add the cream and once it is combined add the chocolate chips

Step 7

Pour the filling into the pan. Place pan in a tub of  hot water

Step 8

Bake in the tub of water for 45 min – 1 1/2 hours

When you take out the cheesecakes allow to cool in the tub of water

Chill and serve this decadent masterpiece to all your friends!