• Dulce de leche thumbprint cookies with sea salt Dulce de leche thumbprint cookies with sea salt

    Dulce de leche thumbprint cookies with sea salt

Dulce de leche thumbprint cookies with sea salt

If I had to summarize my last 12 months of baking with two ingredients, I’d have to say they were: dulce de leche and sea salt. So, despite the fact I’d already picked my contributions for the annual cookie exchange I love to attend, I simply couldn’t resist adding this to my roster at the last minute when it popped up online. To be honest, I thought I would be mixing Nutella and dulce de leche somehow but the recipe calls for Nutella to be used in half the batch and dulce de leche to be used in the other half. Since I had so much dulce de leche, however, I simply used it on all the cookies. As I mentioned this was one of my three types of cookies I took to my friend’s annual cookie swap: The others were the pecan pie cookie, and a chocolate chip cookie I’d never tried before. […]

  • Bon Appetit’s holiday party mix Bon Appetit’s holiday party mix

    Bon Appetit’s holiday party mix

Bon Appetit’s holiday party mix

I’ve been making David Lebovitz’ sweet and spicy party mix every year since I first discovered it in 2011. This year, I thought I’d try something new, something that looked a bit more festive. So I painstakingly tracked down all the ingredients listed in the recipe to make Bon Appetit’s Party Mix.  No, Bugles and roasted peas (not the wasabi variety) are not that easy to find. As for Terra Stix, forget it. I think they may actually be discontinued because the high-end grocer that can usually source everything told me the supplier hadn’t been bringing it for a while. Truth be told, I don’t really know why I made this, I barely touched it. But it seemed to go down well at work, if you like savoury, crunchy, salty party mixes, this will go down well. The garlic, Dijon, Worcestershire sauce mixture adds an unexpected kick, and it was welcome, […]

  • Pecan Pie cookies Pecan Pie cookies

    Pecan Pie cookies

Pecan Pie cookies

This is a bit of an odd recipe. At first glance I thought it would be the easiest out of my three contributions to the cookie exchange this year. It turned out to be the biggest disaster, in fact, but I was able to save it. I tried to double the recipe as you don’t exactly get enough of cookies out of one pie crust, and maybe that’s where things went wrong. Still, I decided to blog about it for two reasons: One; using ready pie crust as the base for a cookie is a game-changer; two; because I was able to dial it back when it went so spectacularly wrong. You can find the recipe here but be sure to read my notes below before you embark on this one… Substitutions: I used Tenderflake frozen pie crust instead of making my own pie crust. The trick is to take it out […]

  • Homemade Samoa cookies Homemade Samoa cookies

    Homemade Samoa cookies

Homemade Samoa cookies

I’m tired, way too tired, to get creative here so I’ll cut to the chase: Shortbread crust, caramel, coconut, chocolate. Need to know more? I didn’t think so. These are Samoa cookies, also known as the cookies I will never make again. While the idea of rolling out cookies and letting your kids use cookie cutters sounds wonderful in theory, it is anything but. By the time their sticky little hands cut out the cookies with the 1,543rd cookie cutter they settled on, the dough is too warm. So, you end up throwing it out. But I digress. This was a several day, multi-hour process. Worth it? Yes, they turned out extremely well. But I will never take so many hours to make them again. If you have children who are grabbing at you demanding milk, no cold water, no freezing water! Or need you to moderate an argument, or make […]

  • Chocolate espresso tart Chocolate espresso tart

    Chocolate espresso tart

Chocolate espresso tart

I’m rather late in blogging about this because I’ve already made it several times. It’s been such a hit that I went to buy the rectangle-shaped tart pan as seen on the photo of Canadian Living because I knew I’d make it again. And it’s not one of those items sitting in my cupboards slowly gathering dust, I’ve actually used it to make this delectable tart, and I’ll likely make it again soon. In fact, selfishly, half the reason I’m blogging this is so I don’t lose the recipe for it. Sorry for the less-than-stellar photos, but the problem with this tart is that it never seems to hang around long enough for me to take a great picture. And believe me, these photos don’t do it justice. It’s beautiful in its stark simplicity but if you prefer to jazz it up a bit, some fresh raspberries will do the […]

  • Alton Brown’s Over the Top Blueberry Muffins Alton Brown’s Over the Top Blueberry Muffins

    Alton Brown’s Over the Top Blueberry Muffins

Alton Brown’s Over the Top Blueberry Muffins

One of my oldest childhood memories is my dad taking me to a bakery near our old apartment in Scarborough, Ont., when he bought bread on Saturdays, and treating me to a freshly baked blueberry muffin. I still remember the smell of the bakery and the taste of that warm muffin. This must be why I’m not a big fan of fruits in baked goods of any kind, but I’m a sucker for blueberry muffins. And whenever I’m having a particularly stress-filled morning, and need a bit of a quick comfort, I reach for a muffin. That doesn’t bode well for my perpetual diet, I know, but sometimes I make a huge batch like this and freeze most of it. If you know Alton Brown from television, you know he’s not your typical celebrity chef. He’s much more cerebral than the rest and uses science to explain what works and what doesn’t. […]

  • Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

    Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

For the second year in a row, I took my two sons – and my dad – apple-picking just north of the city. The landscape is beautiful, everyone feels very self-sufficient and productive after bringing home the fruit they picked themselves, and there’s some grandpa bonding time too. This year, however, I was a bit more prepared. I knew I would need to pull some more apple recipes out of my hat because the apple sauce I made lovingly last year with the leftover apples just sat there taunting me. So when I saw this recipe for Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars on Pinterest, I knew I’d be making it. I’m not really an apple pie kind of girl, to tell the truth. But… the salted caramel sold me. Substitutions: None Would I make this again? No, because, it was delicious when it came out of the oven but kind […]

  • Chai spice biscotti Chai spice biscotti

    Chai spice biscotti

Chai spice biscotti

There is so much to love about biscotti. You need to double bake it so it’s nearly impossible to get the consistency wrong, it stays fresh longer than your average cookie, and best of all, it’s the perfect biscuit to dip inside your morning coffee. But I like my biscotti to be either old-school Italian, with some pistachio or a hint of lemon, or to have some kind of modern twist, like this recipe from Chatelaine. The usual chocolate almond biscotti don’t interest me. But this biscotti was absolutely delicious. It hit all the right notes with me, slightly savoury and peppery while finishing on a sweet note. The result is a completely unexpected taste sensation that you’ll crave time and time again – particularly for anyone who loves Indian flavours like I do. Substitutions: None, but I tried to grind some of the spices in my small marble mortar […]

  • Drunken blondies with pumpkin spice morsels and butterscotch chips Drunken blondies with pumpkin spice morsels and butterscotch chips

    Drunken blondies with pumpkin spice morsels and butterscotch chips

Drunken blondies with pumpkin spice morsels and butterscotch chips

“The Back In The Day Bakery Cookbook” is one of my most beloved titles. I have dozens and dozens of cookbooks, and this one is the kind I reach for when I am looking for the ultimate recipe. So when my good friend and kindred spirit, Jenn, brought me a bag of pumpkin spice morsels I knew I had to use them in something fantadiddlytastic. I’m hit or miss when it comes to brownies, either they are too cake-y or too dry. Or cookie-like. They rarely hit the mark with me, so I usually choose to indulge my allotted calories elsewhere. But – a blondie? I can never resist a blondie. And this one is something special. The recipe below has been modified from the Drunk Blondies recipe from the Back In The Day Bakery Cookbook. Ingredients: 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon fine sea […]

  • Homemade Butterfinger Candy Bar Homemade Butterfinger Candy Bar

    Homemade Butterfinger Candy Bar

Homemade Butterfinger Candy Bar

Did you know, that there is a use for all that candy corn that’s left over after Halloween? Yup, and you just might want to buy extra, after reading this blog post, just to make this recipe. And if you don’t have any pantry like I do, I’m sure a bulk food store will stock some. Once you have it in hand, you’re halfway there. You’ll need some candy corn, chocolate or dipping chocolate and peanut butter. I must admit that I wish I took greater care when dipping the candy bars in the chocolate or that I made a greater effort to cut them all to the same size, but I was somewhat rushed because my kids were around and probably demanding something – urgently. I must admit, it did cross my mind, that if I tried too hard to make them look perfect, I was defeating the purpose […]