Caterpillar Bread with Honey Dijon Chicken Filling

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What would life be like without the occasion surrender to whimsy? There are certain foods, which, when you lay your eyes upon them, bring a smile to your face and a honey glow to your cheeks; the type of foods that elicit a little giggle, often punctuated with the expression “Awww!” so often used to describe ‘cute’ things. I have a reverence of sorts for foods that are as fun and artful to look at as they are delicious to eat. When it comes to creating foods that are fully of whimsy and visual interest, this is my wheelhouse. I found myself pottering around my kitchen today, bolstered by an enthusiasm to satiate my craving for some combination of bread and meat. I found myself where I find myself frequently: telling myself that a bread this cute was worth wasting a lot of carb calories on — the all too familiar refrain of the carb addict.

And so, I set out to make these cute little caterpillar breads. Don’t even try to tell me that they didn’t make you crack a smile. But I reckon I know what you’re thinking: they are tedious and time-consuming and not to be tampered with unless you have an afternoon off to do nothing but bake bread.  And to that, I say: O ye of little faith, would I dare to share a recipe with you that isn’t as simple as it is delicious? There is no food in this world that eager zealousness paired with visual acuity cannot create with ease and very little time.  

This cute bread is also a celebration of sorts. It’s my birthday today and though the last few years of my adult life have brought many changes to who I am today, I’ve retained the one trait that every woman my age should have in spades: reckless abandon in the kitchen. The sands of time have yet to rob me of my brimming and burgeoning desire to create unique foods. So follow my lead and give this daring recipe a try. This recipe is the cadillac of cute breads — right up there with ‘panda bread’ and ‘bears in tea cups’ (stayed turned for those recipes in coming weeks). An entirely unscientific poll taken in my kitchen at a dinner party some years ago, found that two-thirds of people thought cute foods are superior in taste than those foods that are made with little creativity, and so, to that end, I bring you this recipe. These cute little caterpillar breads are often filled with sweet fillings such as coconut, in local Chinese bakeries around Toronto, so the sky is the limit when it comes to what you can fill these breads with: sweet or savoury, the choice is yours to make. 

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Apple Crumble Pies

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Happiness comes in many forms; in accomplishing one’s goals, in the company of loved ones, and in the feeling you get at smelling freshly baked apple pie wafting through your home. I needed some happiness in my kitchen today and these little apple pies were the perfect haven. Now, I know what you’re thinking: the last thing the world needs is another recipe for apple pie, but I assure you that these pies redefine what you know, and traditionally accept, as apple pie. This recipe combine two of my very favourite things (pies and crumbly toppings) into one delectable little pie of flaky, sweet goodness. Most apple crumble pies have a sticky sweet mass of apples covered with a crumble topping of sugar and oats. My little creation has both a flaky pie crust base AND a crumble topping. I always was one to push the envelope.

Now, it’s a well-known fact that a small segment of the population are not fans of apple pie (yes, incredibly, it’s true) but these pies will make an enthusiast out of anyone. The principal complaint of apple pie nay-sayers is that they don’t like the tartness of apples or the chunks of apple they have to tackle just to enjoy some flaky pastry. The beauty of these pies is that the apples almost melt into the filling leaving just a hint of apple and cinnamon flavour on your tongue.

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The recipe for the pie crust is enough to make 6 small pies that are 4 inches in diameter. I doubled the recipe and put half of the dough in the fridge to use the next day but it can also be kept in the freezer for 2-3 weeks to use at a later time. And you will want to make this again.

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