Week two!! I know, you’re super excited, I can feel it from here. The air is practically palpable with your barely contained exuberance. Just breathe, we still have two more weeks after this one, so reserve at least some of your enthusiasm for future posts 😉 .
I know I said last week that I was travelling across the country west to east, so I’m sure many of you are feeling incredibly insulted now that I’ve clearly skipped over the prairie provinces entirely. To you, I humbly apologize, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles so to speak. In my defense, I only have four weeks, so somewhere had to be dropped. Thus, for the purposes of this themed month, everywhere west of Ontario is considered “west” (yes, I’m apparently incredibly Ontario-centric like that). For those of you who are now getting up on your soapbox about how people seem to ignore every province outside of Ontario, you will be incredibly pleased at how difficult it was to come up with/ find an Ontario-originating dessert. Because we super suck, and apparently Ontarians seems to treat creating their own unique culture in the same way that Homer Simpson went about creating his first website (by the way, can you tell I’m a Simpsons fan? They seem to be making their way into a number of my posts recently. Sorry, not sorry 😉 ):
I actually very seriously considered dropping Ontario entirely (because Saskatoon berry pie or something anyone?!!). However, a) I live here, so I felt a at least a modicum of responsibility to represent, b) an incredibly large percentage of the population of Canada lives here (according to the 2016 census from statscan it’s 38.5%. I think it’s just because everyone wants to live where I do 😉 ), so it also seemed misrepresentative to exclude it, and finally (and most importantly), c) not finding something turned this into a challenge, and I refused to be bested. (Note: for those of you who want to say “Beaver Tails Amber, how could you forget about Beaver Tails!!!!????”, I did not forget about Beaver Tails, but I’ve made them before, so I didn’t want to have to repeat, so they were stricken from the list).
Discoveries made about Ontario and dessert origins after an incredibly long search? Coffee Crisp (which in case you live under a rock and didn’t realize this) is of course a Canadian-only (and thus of Canadian origin) chocolate bar. What I didn’t know however, was that the first factory to produce them came out of Toronto!!! (According to Wikipedia anyway. This same article interestingly informed me that, despite what I thought, the original incarnation of this chocolate bar was actually born in the UK in the 30’s, it’s really only the coffee variation that’s uniquely Canadian. But…you know, whatev’s, I’ll take it!). Can I get a “What, What???!!!”? Other exciting discovery? The first published recipe for Butter Tarts came straight outta Barrie. Boo-ya!!
For every other region that I’m doing this month it was actually difficult to make a choice on what to make because there were so many options (well…the Nanaimo bar seemed like the obvious choice for out west, so I suppose that one wasn’t too hard). Anywho, now I just needed to decide which one to do. With only two choices you would think this would be easy. My decision-making skills however (or lack thereof), unfortunately paralyzed me with indecision (for some reasons, sometimes having only two choices makes it harder to make a decision, isn’t that weird?). So, what’s a girl to do? I mean, I’m on a schedule here, I can’t take until December to decide what to make for a Canada Day themed month! Decision? As per usual with me, no decision. Why not combine them together???!!! I thus bring you Ontario squared – the Coffee Crisp butter tart. Was this a good decision? Let me put it this way, Kevin wasn’t really eating sugar that week, and my bookclub wasn’t going to be at someone’s house, so I didn’t really have anyone else to eat them. I tried to make less (just 8) and figured I’d freeze a couple. Foolish, foolish dreamer Amber. They were all gone four days later (and that was WITH incredible attempts at self-control) and I heartily regretted not making more.
Though there is much heated debate about whether or not to include raisins in Butter Tarts, I’m most definitely in the raisin camp, so these include raisins. If you hate them (which might make me grape-ly disappointed in you 😉 ), feel free to omit. Although omitting them will also exclude some of the coffee-ness since I soaked my raisins overnight in Kahlua (feel free to use strong brewed coffee instead for an alcohol-free version). But, you know, if you’re ok with being totally wrong and having a completely subpar Butter Tart, who am I to judge you? 😉 .
Apparently traditional Butter Tarts are basically corn syrup and brown sugar. In the interest of upping the Canadiana, I replace a large chunk of the corn syrup with maple syrup (best decision ever by the way). Next, I topped these with some vegan maple wafer cookies that I happened to find (which was a huge stroke of luck, I thought I’d have to make my own – which you are of course welcome to do – but in the interest of laziness, I was super excited to find these). The final coup de grâce? A coffee glaze drizzled over the top. Not to toot my own horn (toot-toot!), but I must admit that coffee added to Butter Tarts is the perfect combo. They’re typically incredibly sweet, so adding a bit of a bitter element as well as the slight crunch from the wafer cookies just took these over the top and into the stratosphere of extreme decadence.
I know Canada Day is over now, but feel free to celebrate all month long with these babies, because they’re “wahfer thin” 😉 . Ok, no they’re not, but seriously, make them anyway.
Yield: 12 tarts
Crust (or use pie crust recipe of choice):
- 1 1/4 cups pastry flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup coconut oil (in solid form – chill in the fridge a little if you need to)
- 2 tablespoons cold vegan butter
- 1 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 3-5 tablespoons ice water
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons corn syrup or agave
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 vegan egg
- 1/4 cup softened vegan butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup raisins (optional, but I love raisins in butter tarts. I also soaked mine overnight in kahlua (or you could also do coffee) – but that’s also optional 🙂 )
- 1/4 cup filling
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoons instant coffee powder (to taste)
- 1 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon icing sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons maple flakes (optional – I just saw them at the bulk food store and thought they’d add a certain extra Canadiana and texture to these)
- roughly chopped vegan wafer cookies (store bought or homemade is fine. Or if you don’t care about being vegan, you could just chop up some coffee crisp bars and sprinkle them on top too)
- Lightly grease and line the bottom of 12 muffin cups with parchment (I forgot to line mine with parchment, and some of them stuck to the bottom, so I strongly recommend this).
- Sift the flour and baking powder together in a medium bowl. Stir in sugar and salt.
- Add the solidified coconut and vegan butter in pieces to the dry ingredients coatings the pieces with flour. Work the pieces into the flour with your fingers, breaking up the pieces more if need be (you don’t want any pieces that are larger than a pea).
- Add the vinegar to the ice water. Add the water/vinegar mixture to the dry ingredients a small amount at a time, mixing between additions. You don’t want to add any more water than necessary, so only add as much as you need to for the dough to slightly hold together when pinched.
- Gather the dough into a ball and flatten into a disc. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.
- While this the dough is chilling, make the filling by whisking all the filling ingredients, except the raisins, together in a small bowl.
- Preheat oven to 425F. Remove dough from the fridge and roll it out and cut out 4 inch rounds with a cookie cutter before pressing dough into muffin tin. Alternatively, grab a small, golf-ball sized ball of dough and press it into each of your muffin tins, pressing the dough up the sides until a hollow tart shell is formed.
- Spoon about 1-1/2 teaspoons of raisins into the bottom of each tart (if using), then fill tart shell 3/4 of the way up with filling. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the filling for making your mocha glaze.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until center is really bubbling and tart shells are browning. They will still look totally liquidy, but they will set up as they cool.
- While tarts are cooling, make your mocha glaze by whisking or stirring together your reserved 1/4 cup of filling with instant coffee powder, cocoa and icing sugar.
- Remove tarts from the oven and allow to cool for a couple of minutes before gently running a knife around the sides to make sure they don’t stick to the tin. Allow to cool completely before removing.
- Drizzle the top with glaze and sprinkle on desired amount of maple flakes and vegan wafer cookies.