November 21, 2015

Baking Workshop with Canola Oil

Watch out EVOO, Canola Oil is back with a vengeance. Canola oil was always something I grew up cooking with, until Rachel Ray came into the scene & she was all "throw a dash of evoo in there" "add a little drizzle of evoo here" And all of a sudden, EVOO was everywhere. But how about we all go back to our roots & love canola oil the way we love Drake.
This past weekend I was invited to a canola oil-inspired farm to food experience. What the heck does that mean? It means the awesome peeps from Canola Eat Well thought I was awesome enough to be invited to this awesome home and eat awesome baked goods all made with awesome oil.  

I mean, check out this gorgeous home. This B&B called Olde Bridge Place is just a few clicks away from St Jacobs Farmers' Market and Elora. The workshop was actually held in the owners personal home.  I can easily imagine myself frolicking through the grass all day long and drinking tea with my pinky up here. It's exactly what I would like The Avocado Farm to be when it grows up. 
Our host for the afternoon was Dee Brun (the owner of Olde Bride Place) and cookbook author of "The Messy Baker" Charmian Christine. We had the opportunity to cook six different recipes; Chocolate Chip & Walnut cookies, Cranberry Pistachio Baklava Pockets, Poppy Seed Bars with Citrus Icing, Crostoli fried in canola oil, Dark Cherry Brownies, and Mini Rum Cakes with Pristine Gourmet Canola (pictured below). 
I grew up in Alberta where you could drive for hours and only see fields and fields of yellow. So canola oil is definitely my jam. 

What I didn't know, was if you replace canola oil with any solid fat that needs to be melted in a baking recipe it becomes healthier (without affecting flavour). You're essentially substituting high saturated fats with canola oil.  

So, you can basically eat as much a you want and still live it up. Just kidding. But it's still much healthier than the alternative - and still keeps your cookies, cakes, and baked goods moist. This was something Charmian taught me, cause I was all "Dude, where's the butter?".  I guess I'm choosing canola oil from now on because it’s local, healthy, & versatile. Did that sound cheesy? I just get excited when I learn new ways to eat more & stay healthy. 
Lets get down to the fun part - the eating! I don't show up to a party unless I know I am going to be fed, and Dee + Charmian definitely delivered! I love a good smorgasbord of sweet & salty.
I'm all about that quality control. No seriously, I was learning tips and tricks left and right I had to make sure the end result reflected what I learned. Clearly Sid (Did I mention they let me bring twinsie along? We were a Belly Monster baking machine!) and me were incredibly focused students all afternoon. 
I've been a long time sweets eater but never a sweets maker, so thank goodness they partnered us with a professional like Charmian whose philosophy is "approachable, inspiring, from-scratch cooking" Key word approachable - she managed to get us making baklava and rolling dough! 

After all the eating, and baking, and more eating we got a chance to see canola oil in its truest form. These little seeds make canola oil! Everyone got a chance to crush these little bad boys too check out the golden goodness inside. Out came this yellow oil, obvi not the stuff you cook with but it was pretty damn cool.

I spent a lovely afternoon learning how to use canola oil to deep dry, brush phyllo dough, use it to make brownies & cookies & bars. AND the whole time knowing I was making a "healthier choice" which, I hate to admit, needs to happen way more often in my life. If you're looking to pick up a copy of The Messy Baker - you can do so here. Three words of encouragement: Piglet Muffins with Caramelized Bacon. Okay maybe that was more than three. 

I ate, baked, laughed. I even got a chance ogle someone else's beautiful home. All in a typical Sunday for the Hungry Gnome! 




This was a sponsored post. All pictures provided by Jeffrey Chan Photography. Opinions, sass, witty one liners provided by me. 

3 comments:

  1. You were a Belly Monster baking machine! It was so much fun baking with you for the holidays, I can't wait to see what you bake next!

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  2. So great to meet you! Love your post and Happy Baking...oh and eating!

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  3. Thank you from a Canola Farmer for using and promoting this terrific Canadian product that is local, fresh and supports so many farm families across this great land!

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