Bobbette & Belle Artisanal Pastries

I love supporting local business, so on a sunny morning, I took a walk down Queen Street, and made a sweet stop at the heart of Leslieville.

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I don’t live in Leslieville, I live on the Danforth, but I love going on Queen Street for a change of pace.

I had been meaning to try this super cute coffee shop for a while, and all I can say is that, I wasn’t dissapointed.

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I mean the place is just beautiful, you can even order a custom made gorgeous cake. I need to go back and get myself their recipe book, or maybe just added to my Mother’s Day wish list ūüėČ

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There is plenty of space to sit and enjoy the sunshine!

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From the decor to the coffee, the variety of pastries, cup cakes, croissants, & the service of course, this place is a definitely a must!

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I think is a great place to go with your girlfriends, or take the kids for a nice lunch!

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If you are a coffee, tea, sweets or all things pretty lover you have to make a stop at Bobbette et Belle.

And don’t forget to support your local area business ūüėČ

Besitos

Paola

 

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Are you ready for Easter?

I recently visited Homesense looking for inspiration and affordable Easter decor.

Here are some of my finds to get you in the Easter mood ūüėČ

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The store is packed with amazing items, I wanted to buy it all, but then my husband would have probably asked for the divorce, lol!

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Don’t worry I was a good girl and stayed within my budget in order to save my marriage ūüôā

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Lots of pastels colours mixed with metallics, continue to be the trend for this season.

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Hop, Hop, Easter bunnies in all sizes and colours!

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For the table, lovely plates and mugs again with a touch of metallic. Gold is very dominant still this season.

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I particularly loved the greeting cards and stationary section. I love sending and receiving beautiful cards.

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I have to admit that I have tons of decor already, so I gave myself a budget and got only the items below to add to my always increasing Easter decor collection…I cannot promise what will not go back though!

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Using our little light box to share this season’s message!FullSizeRender 11

Are you ready for Easter?

Besitos

Paola

 

Key lime meringue pies in riviera pots

This is one way to re-use your riviera yogurt pots!

I am obsessed with riviera petit pot yogurt and by now I have a collection of empty pots.

There are many other ways to reuse on their website, I will probably try some others and share them with you!

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As you will soon find out, I love baking and sweets so I decided to combine my two loves, baking and my riviera pots.

The recipe I made is pretty easy and simple, you can use it for individual pies or a regular size pie tray.

I hope it becomes your go to recipe, if you really love key lime pies!

Recipe for approx. 6-8 pots 

Graham cracker crust
  • 1¬Ĺ cups ground graham crackers
  • ‚Öď cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tbsp butter, melted
img_4953-2.jpgKey Lime Filling
  • 2 cans sweetened condensed milk
  • ¬Ĺ cup¬†sour cream
  • ¬ĺ cup¬†key lime¬†juice (you can substitute with¬†lemons or limes)
  • 1 tsp lime¬†zest

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Meringue (is optional you can use whipped cream)

  • 3¬†Egg whites (room temperature)
  • 4¬†tbsp white sugar

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Preparation

Graham cracker crust

Preheat oven at 370F.

Combine crust  ingredients until tick and coarse, place a tbsp at the bottom of each pot or on a regular size 9 inch pan. (press it slightly down if you are making individual pots) bake for 5 minutes (10 if you are making a full size pie) or until golden.

Key Lime Filling
Mix together condensed milk, sour cream, key lime juice, and key lime zest in a medium bowl and pour over each pot.
Meringue
In a large glass or metal bowl, whip egg whites until foamy. Add sugar gradually, and continue to whip until stiff peaks form and pour over key lime filling.
Bake for 10 minutes. (you can also bake pies ahead and add meringue just before serving and torch each manually).
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Enjoy!
Besitos
Paola

My Posh Guide to Paris

My Top 10 Insta locations in Paris.

Last Fall, I spent a romantic week in Paris with my hubby, celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary!

We had always said we would do something special for that date, we had even thought about renewing our vows with a destination wedding in Mexico.

However¬†things don’t always work as planned. ¬†So when we realized Mexico wasn’t an option,¬†we started planning¬†a romantic trip to Paris, which like you know, it is a great consolation price.

My mom came to visit from Mexico and stayed with our kids, so we owe her big time, we had a great time, knowing the kids were in great hands.

Our 1st stop was Montmartre by night!

This is the beautiful view of the Sacred Heart Basilica.

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“The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, commonly known as Sacr√©-CŇďur Basilica and often simply Sacr√©-CŇďur, is a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Paris, France” wikipedia.

We took a walk in Montmartre and had a couple of drinks at¬†Le Tr√®s Particulier Hotel.¬†It’s like and enchanted forest in the middle of Montmartre!

We were only able to find out about this great location, thanks to my friend Rudy (the best tourist guide in Paris).

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Our Second Stop, the Eiffel Tower, from the top you have the best city view!

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“Constructed from 1887‚Äď89 as the entrance to the¬†1889 World’s Fair, it was initially criticized by some of France’s leading artists and intellectuals for its design, but it has become a global¬†cultural icon¬†of France and one of the most recognisable structures in the world.[3]¬†The Eiffel Tower is the most-visited paid monument in the world; 6.91¬†million people ascended it in 2015″ wikipedia.

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3rd Stop, Basilique de Notre Dame, I find it so beautiful from every angle!

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“Notre-Dame de Paris, also known as Notre-Dame Cathedral or simply Notre-Dame, is a medieval Catholic cathedral on the √éle de la Cit√© in the fourth arrondissement of Paris, France” wikipedia.

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4th Stop, La Seine, best time at sunset!

14572776_10157552631745156_7616799721944346861_nIMG_0961There are 37¬†bridges within Paris¬†and dozens more¬†spanning the river¬†outside the city. Examples in Paris include the¬†Pont Alexandre III¬†and¬†Pont Neuf, the latter of which dates back to 1607″ wikipedia.14519658_10157552639890156_4965176316443254928_n

Our 5th Stop, Trocadero!

This is the best place to take an image of the Eiffel Tower!

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“Trocadero is an area of¬†Paris,¬†France, in the¬†16th¬†arrondissement, across the¬†Seine¬†from the¬†Eiffel Tower. The hill of the Trocad√©ro is the hill of¬†Chaillot, a former village”. text source: wikipedia.

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The 6th Stop, Le Musée du Louvre

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“The Louvre or the Louvre Museum is the world’s largest museum and a historic monument in Paris, France. A central landmark of the city, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the city’s 1st arrondissement” text¬†wikipedia

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7th Stop, Le Jardin de tuileries, this is the location where you see all the models and style bloggers posing for photos all the time.

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“The Tuileries Garden is a public garden located between the Louvre Museum and the Place de la Concorde in the 1st arrondissement of Paris” text wikipediaIMG_3818

8th Stop,¬†“Le Jardin du Luxembourg”, “Located in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, was created beginning in 1612 by Marie de’ Medici, the widow of King Henry IV of France, for a new residence she constructed, the Luxembourg Palace” text¬†wikipedia

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9th Stop, L’arc du triumphe

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The Arc de Triomphe de l’√Čtoile is one of the most famous monuments in Paris, standing at the western end of the Champs-√Člys√©es at the center of Place Charles de Gaulle, formerly named Place de l’√Čtoile” texte wikipedia

10th Stop,¬†Les Champs-√Člys√©es

“The Avenue des Champs-√Člys√©es is an avenue in the 8th arrondissement of Paris, 1.9 kilometres long and 70 metres wide, running between the Place de la Concorde and the Place Charles de Gaulle, where the Arc de Triomphe is located” text wikipedia

You have all the designer boutiques in the most beautifully buildings, the image below is the garden path to get to Abercrombie & Fitch.

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You will find Laduree, famous for its macaroons and pastries, best gift to bring back from Paris.

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If you have no plans to travel to Paris in the near future then just watch my favorite romantic movie Amelie Poulin and you will probably spot many of the location listed above while having a good laugh!

My advise to any couple out there is, to spend quality time with each other, just the two of you.  A night out, a lunch together, anything you can do in enjoy each others company to get out the routine.

My kids were very happy to have us back home, fully relaxed and more connected to each other. They were also very happy with all the souvenirs and gifts we brought back!

I hope you enjoyed this post, share your favourite locations in Paris.

Besitos,

Paola

Girls night in!

Having a Girls night in, is a great solution for moms to get together and have some fun!

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The concept:

Moms¬†get together with good food and good wine in an easy and relax athmosphere. No need for fancy outfits, Spanx or even makeup ūüôā

There is no judging, just moms having a good time!

Organization:

Create a Facebook or WhatsApp group or any social media of your choice, set a date and invite your friends. Since you don’t need a reservation at a fancy restaurant, you don’t need to plan this, weeks or months in advance.

We know as moms our plans change all the time, so it’s better to send the invitation with a week notice, those that can make it, ¬†just need to confirm as late as the day of the event.

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What you need:

  • A¬†host (ideally with an open kitchen)
  • Fun Guests¬†(you all need to enjoy yourselves)
  • Food (somebody does the groceries, we split the cost)
  • Wine (as much as necessary)

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The day of the event:

This time my friend Carolina, who has a fantastic home and the perfect open kitchen, offered her place to host the event.

I was the designated chef and had five sous-chefs. It is so much more fun to cook with 5 other women. While some took care of the chopping, some else took care of the the mixing, ¬†and another one did the cleaning. (I love the fact that I don’t need to clean)

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One person is in charge of taking care of the grocery list.We split the expenses among the parcipants. In case you are wondering the cost per person was under 30$ (wine and food included)

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It is not always easy to find the time on our busy schedules for ourselves, but once we all got together we were really happy that we found the time to do so!

We cooked together, we laughed and had a fantastic time. We are planing to continue with this as often as possible.IMG_5332 2

The most fun is to make everyone participate in the cooking process, we prepared every single dish from scratch, including the dessert.

Everyone leaves with the recipes and the souvenirs of a great evening!

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This is how we clean the pans

The menu 

We planned the menu in advance and ran it by everyone to make sure there were no dietary restrictions.

  • Carolina’s Salad (she combined everything she had)
  • Honey and Citrus Rack of Lamb with cauliflower and sweet potato mash
  • Chocolate souffl√©

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Don’t you love this plates?
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The Chocolate soufflé

Link to recipes

Honey and Citrus Rack of Lamb | Ricardo

Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Mash | Good Housekeeping

Chocolate soufflé | Ricardo

I hope you enjoyed this post, if you have more fun ideas don’t hesitate to share them in the comments below.

Besitos

Paola

 

 

Beauty and the Beast

Movie Time with the Kids.

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Image credit Disney

My kids and I share many passions, they are my kids after all ūüôā

Cinema is one of them. I have introduced them to all Disney classics since they were very young.

We have seen the Disney animated version of Beauty and the Beast (released in 1991) a million times! So you can imagine my excitement when I heard the new version was coming out.

I took the kids and their cousins to watch the movie, the theatre was full, we were lucky to find seats.

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Image credit filmschoolrejects.com

The movie is very close to the Disney animated version (Released in 1991), the music, the costumes and the scenography are fantastic.

Emma Watson is adorable as Belle, her character is very strong and independent. People in the village find her odd, since she is the only girl in the village that knows how to read. She is not like the other girls, she is different.

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Image credit Disney

I love how Belle’s character¬†¬†represents girls today. Not all princesses are waiting for a Prince. The message is that girls are¬†strong, do what they love, enjoy their independence and being different.

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The Beast is strong and vulnerable at the same time. The special effects used to creating the Beast’s face are fantastic, we can really see his facial features, the details of his facial performance are just amazing.

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Image credit Disney

One of the greatest¬†scenes of course is their first dance in the ballroom. I must confess that I cried (but I always do). The set is just marvellous, the lighting, the chandeliers, the floors are all beautiful and of course Belle’s dress is¬†just a dream.

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All actors do a fantastic job in owning their characters, I loved the diversity of the cast and embraced the twist the gave to “LeFou” Gaston’s sidekick (you can read gay controversy online).

The Beauty and the Beast theme song, which was originally interpreted by Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson (on the animated film), gets a new version, this time interpreted by Ariana Grande and John Legend and I have to admit that is just as amazing as the original.

New theme song here

We all came out in love with the movie, Luca and Naomi said it is their favourite movie ever!

Have you seen the movie? If so, let me know what you think.

Besitos Paola

10 Tips for middle-school interviews

This September Naomi will start 7th grade, our little girl is a big girl now!

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Part of being a big girl is preparing to go through interviews for middle-school.

The interview is just one of the steps for the admission process, but it is definitely an important and stressful one.

I did lots of research to help Naomi to be ready (as ready as 12 year old, interviewing for the first time ever, could be).

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Our personal experience

Some of the schools Naomi applied to, only required an essay and one of them required an interview.

Naomi wrote 3 different school essays for each school. She wrote about herself, her likes and dislikes, her plans for middle school, her hobbies, her family, etc.

A couple of days before the interview I thought it would help Naomi to get prepared if she had an idea of the kind of questions she would be asked. I found a couple of websites with lists of questions and I asked Naomi to answer in paper a couple of those questions.

On the day of the interview, she was a bit nervous (which is more than normal). On our way to the interview we tried to keep her calm, we reminded her that, there were no wrong answers, the goal of the interview is just for the school to get to know her.

For this interview the parents were invited, so we were there, probably as nervous as her (at least me) the interviewer was great and made Naomi feel very confortable, she was nice and friendly, so this gave Naomi lots of confidence. The interview went on for over an hour.

Most questions were addressed to Naomi and a couple to my husband and I. Naomi was fully in charge of the situation and did amazing.

Both my husband and I were incredibly proud of her, she was super confident and poised, she really surpassed our expectations. I believe the reason why she did so well, is not only because she was prepared but because at all times she was herself.

Help your kid be ready and relax by practicing a couple of days ahead of the interview but mostly remind them to be themselves! Think that the person conducting the interview has seen and heard tons of kids before, they are looking for that extra sparkle, the one that you can only give if you are really, truly yourself!

Here are 10 Tips to help your kid prepare for the interview

Top ten

  1. Research as much information as possible about the school, this will help you get an idea of what their evaluation criteria is. This will also help you answer questions like; why do you think our school is a good fit for you? (popular question)
  2. If possible talk to another parent or kid who has gone through the process.
  3. Create a questionary of possible questions and let your kid answer, you can coach them afterward on how to best structure their answers. (sample questions below)
  4. Ask your kid to list their top 5 qualities i.e social skills, team player, organized, Math skills, languages, etc.
  5. Ask your kid to write his favourite subjects and least favourite ones and explain. (this is a tricky question, better to be ready to answer).
  6. Practice with your kid, so they are more confortable during the interview. (Chances are this is the first time they are being interviewed)
  7. Advice them to pause and ask for clarification if they don’t understand the question (Tell them it is ok to pause and think about your answer).
  8. Don’t try to¬†memorize your answers, tell them to be¬†honest and be themselves (don’t over do it).
  9. Remind them that, there are no bad answers.
  10. Prepare your own questions (at the end you will be asked for your own questions).

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Sample questions

  1. Talk about yourself
  2. Describe your family
  3. What do you do on your spare time? (favourite thing aside sports and extracurricular activities)
  4. What are your top qualities?
  5. What do you enjoy most about school?
  6. What is your favourite subject?
  7. What is your least favourite subject?
  8. Describe a typical day after school
  9. Describe your favourite teacher
  10. How would your teacher describe you?
  11. What seems challenging to you at school?
  12. Describe a challenging situation you’ve overcome?
  13. Why do you want to attend this school?
  14. How did you hear about our school?
  15. Are you part of any clubs at school?
  16. Which clubs would you like to be part of at our school?
  17. What do you want to become?
  18. If you could go anywhere, where would you go?
  19. Talk about your extracurricular activities
  20. Describe your best friend
  21. How would you handle a problem with a friend?
  22. Talk about your favourite book
  23. Who is your favourite book character?
  24. If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be? (yes, they asked her that question)

    Bonus advice (during the interview):

    • Firm Handshake
    • Eye contact
    • Seat Straight
    • Be clear when you talk ¬†(practice voice tone)
    • Smile and be polite

Good luck!

Besitos Paola

Window Shopping with the kids

This weekend was family weekend in Toronto and also the warmest and sunniest weekend of all!

I made plans with a friend to take our kids out, window shopping. It was too beautiful to do anything indoors.

We headed to Queen Street East. You can find anything on Queen street, from Antiques to Arts, Vintage shops and of course numerous restaurants and gourmet shops.

Here are my coup de coeur of the day!

Home James decor, accessories & gift 

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I can assure you that you will find something for that special someone (in my case myself).

The place is filled with the most amazing items for every taste and every budget.

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My other¬†favourite shop is the Arts Market Queen’s location.

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They support local artist so they get an A+ from me and the kids, we could have easily spend the whole afternoon in here.

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If you are looking for Vintage items this is a good location for you!

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They have the greatest selection of handmade items which include, candles, beauty products, jewelry, gift cards, pottery, upsicled items and antiques.

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Luca has a passion for vintage typewriters, he was very excited to find this one!

And we close the day with our 1st ice cream seating al fresco at Ed’s Real Scoop.

You can find artisanal gelato and ice cream.

Our favourite flavours are Salted Caramel and Smores.

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’till next time…

Besitos Paola

Last minute Valentines idea for classmates under 15$ dollars. 

All you need is some treats & a printer!

Every year the kids bring treats to their classmates, nobody is left behind!

I used to bake but due to children’s allergies, bringing homemade treats is not really an option anymore, so we are limited to nut free products store bought. 

This year was no exception, Luca picked Smarties candies for his class (4th grade) and Naomi picked Mars bars for hers (6th grade).

This was all under 15$ dollars, a quick run to the dollar store and a couple of minutes to put this together. (more ideas on my Valentines Pinterest board)

Bruno Mars Card printable 

You can find more funny celeb cards on ANDPOP.com 
Smartie Pants Card printable
It is all about the fun, staying up late and working on little projects like this that make valentines special! 


Hope you enjoy this ideas

Besitos

Paola 

Everything is better with Chocolate!

Favorite Valentines Recipes

Mi-cuit au chocolate (Chocolate molten lava cake) 


I love the contrast between hot and cold so I add vanilla ice cream

I am crazy for desserts; I love sweets and I believe a meal cannot be complete without a great dessert.

My husband gets mad at me every time we to a restaurant because even if I am not hungry, at the end of the meal, I still need to have my dessert. The moment I look at the menu for the first time I go straight to the dessert list and pick mine, even before I make up my mind about what I am having as a main dish.

When I cook a nice meal at home, I also pair it with a nice dessert. I often hear from my friends that desserts are too complicated so they go for store bought, but once you realized how easy this one is to prepare you will not hesitate to include your own dessert on the menu!

This recipe can be done in advance so you can save lots of time by freezing the chocolate cakes and popping them right into the oven 10 minutes before serving. You can add some fleur de sel caramel and you will look like a real pro.

It is very easy the only trick is controlling your oven temperature (warm the oven up to the right temperature before putting the ramekins inside).

RECIPE (based on¬†Ricardo’s¬†recipe, his recipes are great):

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 tbsp. (40 g) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (115 g) unsalted butter
  • 4 oz. (115 g) dark chocolate, chopped (I use 70%)
  • 1/3 cup (50 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. chocolate powder (added by me)
  • 1 tsp vanilla¬†(added by me to coat the ramekins)

 

PREPARATION

  1. With the rack in the middle position, preheat the oven to 375¬įF (190¬įC).
  2. Generously butter and add half a tbsp. of chocolate powder to cover¬†four ¬Ĺ-cup (125 ml) ramekins. (instead of using flour I use chocolate powder)
  3. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Add the chocolate and stir until melted. Gently stir in the egg mixture. Fold in the flour.
  5. Divide among the ramekins and bake for 10 minutes.
  6. Serve immediately onto plates. The center of the cakes should be runny. Garnish with red berries and icing sugar, if desired.
Work your eggs so they are really fluffy, this will add air to your cake and bake it really bouncy
This is my go to cocoa powder, easy to find at most grocery stores
You probably have heard this before, the quality of your chocolate is very important, I use 70% dark chocolate for this recipe


FLEUR DE SEL CARAMEL¬†(because who doesn’t love salted caramel)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup (250 ml) sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) water
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) 35% cream, warm
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) fleur de sel
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) unsalted butter, diced

PREPARATION

  1. In a saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil. Cook without stirring until the mixture turns golden brown. Remove from the heat and gradually add the cream and salt. Beware of splashing. Bring to a boil and simmer until the caramel is smooth. Add the butter and stir until melted. Transfer to a bowl and let cool completely.

I hope you enjoy this, let me know how it goes for you!

Besitos
Paola