#86) Starwberry Rhubarb Apple Jam

While I was thinking abut what to write for this post it dawned on me it is really all about generosity - the generosity of others to be more specific.

See, all the major players in this post - the strawberries and rhubarb in the jam, and the bread in the photo - were all given to me.  The strawberries and the homemade whole wheat bread are from my generous mother-in-law, and the rhubarb was a gift from one of husband's co-workers (those Rhubarb Pie Cupcakes I sent him to work with must have been ok :p).

The other "invisible" key player in this post is the food science lesson I learned thanks to Christina over at Form V Artisan.  She has a couple of posts where she generously explained the science behind making strawberry jam - all about negatively charged pectin and candy thermometers - the whole bit.  So I took what I learned from her and applied it to my own jam concoction, and I have to say, it worked out just as she said it would!

So you see, all you need sometimes to be inspired to get in the kitchen is the generosity of others!

Now on to the recipe - it was my first attempt ever at homemade jam...  I usually leave the jam making to my aunt who generously brings some to Newfoundland for me each summer.  But I decided I am a big girl now and it is time to figure out how to do it myself.  The jam has a great texture - thick, smooth, and sticky :)  Husband would have liked some more fruit chunks, but what can I say, I like smooth jam so I mashed away at the fruit while it was cooking :)  There is a touch too much cinnamon so next time (yes, there will be a next time) I will add maybe just half.  And oddly enough, the one little apple I added for extra pectin packed a lot of punch.  Next time maybe just half an apple.

So there you have it - my first ever homemade jam!  Hope you enjoy :)


2 2/3 cups rhubarb, chopped (if frozen, let thaw first)
1 cup strawberries, chopped (if frozen, let thaw first)
1 granny smith apple, peeled and chopped into small pieces
1 1/3 cup sugar (don't skimp! see this post)
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice


-Add rhubarb, strawberries, and apple to a large pot and put over medium heat.  Stir occasionally until some liquid has been released (3-5 minutes).
-Add sugar and cinnamon and bring to a boil.  Let boil for 3 minutes, then add lemon juice.
-If you have a candy thermometer, attach it to your pot and continue to boil, stirring occasionally until you get to 220F.  (If you do not have a candy thermometer, continue to boil, stirring occasionally until mixture is thick and resembles syrup - about 15-20 minutes.  You will see the bottom of the pan as you stir.)
-Transfer to sterilized jar(s) and let cool completely before refrigerating.

*I got two small jars of jam, which would be about one large jar.  If you double, triple, quadruple, etc this recipe be sure to do so precisely.


A Blog Birthday and an Epic Fail

A few days ago Sweet Treats turned 3!!! (Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Sweet Treats, Happy Birthday to you.)  So I thought it would be a cool idea to run a poll here and on our facebook page to see which one of our favourite recipes we should revisit for the occasion.  Surprise, surprise - peanut butter balls won!  (Chocolate and peanut butter - always a favourite!)

But just revisiting a recipe wasn't exciting enough.  I thought it would be really fun to put a new spin on an old favourite.  So what can you do to a peanut butter ball, I wondered...  Add BACON of course!!!
In theory - great idea.  In reality - kind of a fail.

I made the peanut butter ball filling as per usual and then added 6 strips of crumbled bacon.  I thought for sure the bacon flavour would add that nice smoky, salty layer to the peanut butter...  Um, no!  The bacon got totally lost in the peanut butter and all I was left with were peanut butter balls with added calories :(

Even though the recipe didn't work out the way I had hoped, I am still very happy that Sweet Treats has been around for three whole years and look forward to future blog birthdays.  And I am very thankful for all the readers across the world who take the time to stop by Sweet Treats every now and again.  Keep it coming - I will have new treats soon, I promise...  Strawberry rhubarb jam anyone???  Stay tuned!

Speaking of birthdays, I have one coming up very soon and can't decide what kind of sweet treat to celebrate with.  Suggestions?


#85) Rhubarb Pie Cupcakes

I may love sweet treats, but I have to tell ya, I really do love tart flavours.  Give me a bit of lemon any day!  So that's why I was so excited when one of husband's co-workers kindly gave me a big bag of fresh rhubarb from her garden.  The only question was, "What do I make?"

I could have done the ol' strawberry rhubarb combination, but that just seemed too straight forward.  Then it dawned on me that I haven't made cupcake in way too long!  So there you have it - a rhubarb pie cupcake :)

The cupcake itself is kind of heavy, due the skipped creaming step, but I wanted to mimic a tart shell you might put your pie filling in.  The pie filling is straight up rhubarb with just enough sweetness to take the edge off.  And the frosting?  OMG the frosting!  I am not great at frosting and I am not a huge fan of how overly sweet homemade frosting can be.  Also, I wanted to re-create the whipped cream you might have on a piece of rhubarb pie.  So I went on the hunt for something a little different and found 7-minute frosting.  Okay, mine took more like 14 minutes, but SO worth it!  It's like a fluffy marshmallow sitting on the top of the cupcakes.

Give 'em a try and let me know what you think :)  Oh, and don't forget to vote for our blogiversay recipe revisit to your left.  Thanks!

Rhubarb Pie Filling


4 cups chopped rhubarb
1 1/3 cups sugar (start with 1 cup and add accordingly throughout cooking process depending on the tartness of your rhubarb)
6 tablespoons flour


-Combine all ingredients in large saucepan.  Cook over med-high heat for about 10 minutes, until liquid from rhubarb moistens the mixture.  (I covered mine and stirred often.)
-Reduce heat to low and let cook until all the rhubarb pieces have broken down.  Mixture should be thick.
-Remove from saucepan to bowl and allow to cool completely.



3 1/2 cups cake flour (for those of you with AP flour - measure out all your flour, remove 7 tbsp, replace with 7 tbsp cornstarch - def worth the extra effort!)
2 cups sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup milk
4 eggs
2 egg whites
2 tsp vanilla


- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line muffin cups with paper liners.
- Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into large, deep bowl.
- Add the butter and 1/2 cup of the milk. Mix on medium speed until dough-like consistency.
- In a separate bowl, blend the eggs, egg whites, the remaining 1/2 cup milk and the vanilla. Add to the batter in 3 additions, mixing for 2 minutes on medium speed after each addition. Scrape down the bowl between additions.


-Add 1 heaping tablespoon of batter to liners.  To centre of batter add 1 1/2 tsp of rhubarb filling.  Cover filling with another tablespoon of batter (be sure the bottom batter and top batter meet to seal in the filling).
-Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until skewer comes out clean.
-Let cool completely on wire rack.

*Makes 3 dozen filled cupcakes.

7-Minute Frosting


1 1/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 tbsp vanilla (I used homemade rhubarb syrup)


-Add sugar, water, egg whites, and cream of tartar to a large double boiler bowl.  Beat with electric mixer until mixture is foamy (about 1 minute).
-Put bowl over simmering water and beat with mixer until soft peaks form (supposed to be about 7 minutes but it took me more like 14).
-Remove from heat, add vanilla, and continue to beat to thicken frosting (about 2 minutes).
-Let cool completely before using.


#84) Berry Burst Muffins

It's the last day of Canada Day weekend.  I wish I could say its been a sunshine-y weekend filled with BBQs and beers, but really its been one rainy day after another - and more in the forecast.  I feel particularly bad for husband, because he downright loves Canada Day!  Even with the rain pouring down he put not one, not two, but three Canadian flags up in your front yard :)  So to raise our spirits I headed to the kitchen today armed with some of husband's favourite flavours - berry and maple.

These cranberry muffins have a great texture and a good play on sweet and sour.  Although husband thinks the muffin could have been a little sweeter, it complimented the tart cranberries nicely. 

The crunchy maple topping wasn't as good as I had hoped.  It kind of crumbles off as you are eating the muffin.  So two options: 1) push the topping down into the batter before baking or 2) skip the topping and just sprinkle the batter with a hefty serving of maple sugar before baking.

The berry filling is delicious, but you can easily double the recipe and add more to the insides of your muffins if you want.

So give 'em a go and let me know if they brighten up your rainy day :)

Berry Filling


1 cup mixed berries (fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup water
1/8 cup sugar
1/2 tbsp cornstarch


-Bring berries, water, and sugar to a boil and let summer until about half the water has evaporated. Reduce to low heat.

-Mix together cornstarch with enough water to make a runny paste. Add to berry mixture, constantly stirring, until berry mixture begins to thicken.

-Continue to cook for 2 minutes over low heat.

-Push through a sieve and funnel into a squeeze bottle.  Let cool until needed.

Crunchy Maple Topping


1/4 cup maple sugar
1/4 cup flour
3 tbsp butter


-Mix together in a small bowl and set aside until needed.

Cranberry Muffins

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups cranberries, chopped
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar (use 1 cup if you like 'em sweet)
1 cup yogurt (I used raspberry flavoured)
1/2 cup oil
1/2 tsp vanilla


-Preheat oven to 400F.  Line a muffin tray with 12 paper liners.
-In a large bowl stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add cranberries and stir to coat (this will keep them from sinking to the bottom of your muffins).
-In a small bowl mix together eggs, sugar, yogurt, oil, and vanilla.  Add to dry ingredients, stirring just until combined.
-Divide batter between 12 lined muffin cups.  Top each muffin with maple topping.
-Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean (mine took 18 minutes).
-Let cool for 10 minutes on wire rack still in the tray.  Remove from tray and place on rack.
-Insert the nozzle of the squirt bottle into top of each muffin (as far in as it will go) and squeeze until berry filling starts to ooze out. 
-Let cool completely on wire rack.


#83) Little Lemon Pies

"A change is as good as a rest." - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930)

Changes keep life interesting, I get that. But there is too much of a good thing, right?

For the past 13 years, half of my life, I have moved 10 times. That's a lot of change. Each move has been for different reasons - following my family, moving for school, finding new job opportunities. It has been hard in a lot of ways - never really having a home, no permanent address, not to mention actually moving all of my belongings. The past couple of years have been the hardest because I am married now and have a newly purchased home, only I have been living 3 1/2 hours away, separated by a gravel highway (yeah they still exist in some corners of the world).

BUT... that is all over now because I have moved into our new home with husband permanently! No more temporary mailing addresses, no more packing up my life. I am home :)

You know what that means, right? I finally get to enjoy my new kitchen and all its fixins. Expect lots of new sweet treats over the summer, and remember, if you have any requests or suggestions e-mail me at dani@sweettreatsdani.com or find us on facebook :)

What better way to start off summer with some refreshing lemon pie? These two-bite pies are great for your next BBQ with some friends, or your next work social.

Pie Crust


1 1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1/2 cup butter
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
2 tbsp cold water


-In a medium bowl, stir together flour, sugar, lemon zest, and butter until small, coarse crumbs appear. (I used a fork for this, but it would have been easier with a pastry cutter.)
-In small bowl, combine egg yolk and water. Stir into flour mixture.
-Knead pie dough into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.

-Preheat oven to 375F. Spread pie dough into an ungreased mini-muffin pan (makes 24). Bake for 10 minutes or until golden. (They will puff up, don't worry!)
-Let cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely on wire rack.

Lemon Curd


1 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp butter
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten


-Mix cornstarch and water together in medium saucepan. Add sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly.
-Stir half of hot lemon mixture into slightly beaten eggs. Add egg mixture to saucepan. Bring to gentle boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and cook for 2 minutes.
-Pour into bowl and cover with plastic wrap (touching the surface of the curd) and chill until needed.

-Once pie shells and curd have cooled completely, fill shells with about 1 1/2 tsp of curd each. (There will probably be a little left over, but that shouldn't be a problem... Lick that spoon!!!)

***I used 2 lemons for the zest and juice in this recipe.


#82) Irish Bread Pudding

Happy New Year everyone :) I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas season with lots and lots of sweet treats and turkey!

Husband and I spent our very first Christmas in our new home this year, just the two of us... It was hard being away from our families, but we had a great Christmas nonetheless.

But just because our families weren't around doesn't mean our friends weren't :) We had a great Christmas Day dinner complete with Gingerbread Cheesecake (coming soon) and a very delicious Irish-themed New Year's Eve dinner... complete with Irish Bread Pudding and Sticky Whiskey Caramel. (I know the previous post is very similar, but consider this one a slight improvement)...

Irish Bread Pudding


1 loaf sliced cinnamon raisin bread, torn into bite-sized pieces
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 cups milk
1 375 mL can evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar


-Put bread pieces in a large glass bowl and drizzle with butter.

- Heat milk and evaporated milk with vanilla. Let cool slightly so the eggs do not scramble in the next step.

- Beat eggs with sugar. Add to milk mixture.

- Add enough mixture to bread to soak and let stand 15 minutes. (Depending on the bread you use, you may not need all the custard mixture. I had about 1 cup left over and I rolled it over into a great Whiskey Rice Pudding - coming soon!)

- Pour bread mixture into well-buttered 13x9 glass baking pan.

- Bake at 350 for 30 minutes (325 for convection) or until light golden brown on top.

Serve with sticky caramel whiskey sauce.

Sticky Caramel Whiskey Sauce


1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 tbsp whiskey


-Add sugar and half the water to a deep steel bottom pan.

-Put over medium heat. Let mixture come to a deep amber colour, watching closely - sugar can burn extremely quickly. Do not stir.

-Once you have a deep amber colour remove from heat. Add whiskey and remaining water. Stir to combine.

-Return to medium heat until the mixture is smooth once again.

-Serve over bread pudding, or just eat with a spoon :)