It’s holiday baking season and what’s Christmas without cookies? Good old St. Nick would probably have a thing or two to say about no cookies come Christmas Eve. This is one dreamy shortbread cookie recipe! …
The 3rd Cookbook Club meeting reviewed Deb Perelman’s “The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook” and I made the Coffee Toffee from the cookbook. We had 12 members present which is a really great representation of recipes from the book as it resulted in 12 different dishes being sampled. As usual, our club was ruthless in its review – which I love. I was really keen to hear what everyone thought about the book overall as I have fairly mixed emotions about it. It’s witty and funny in its writing, but sometimes the recipes can fall flat or are lacklustre. Our group was split on a final call of between 5 or 6 out of 10 overall. This overall rating means we’re happy we tried and would seek a recipe or 2 from SmittenKitchen.com in the future, but are not running out to purchase the cookbook.
This past long weekend marked my baby girl, Lucy’s 1st birthday. It was a medium-sized party, with family and friends who were in town for the long weekend. I had previously decided to host an ice cream social as Lucy LOVES ice cream. She will throw a fit if she sees anyone eating ice cream near her and they aren’t sharing it. She’s very confident in knowing what she wants at any given time 😉 What’s an ice cream social? To me, it’s a party where building something ice cream related (in our case sundaes) and being social. Everyone got to build an ice cream sundae and it was really fun watching the kids pick and choose their toppings. And, Lucy had an amazing time. She handled all the sugar and attention like a champ.
Randomly, I found a lot of ice cream related party decorations which aren’t necessary, but definitely added to the occasion. The ice cream waffle cones on the wall are from London Fields Shoppe here in Vancouver, BC (no affiliations, I love the products they carry and it is run by a lovely local family – they do ship if you’re keen to get your hands on the waffle cones). The ice cream truck and ice cream cups with wooden scoops are from Meri Meri Party Supplies which I purchased from The Cross, also local (no affiliations to either, I will say nothing but excellent things about The Cross, in particular how excellent their customer service is).
To host an ice cream social 3 things need to be lined up:
- Ice cream – there are 2 no-churn ice cream recipes below, quickly mix and freeze the night before for homemade ice cream! I also purchased a coconut milk based ice cream as I had 2 guests that could not eat dairy. If you’d like a vegan no-churn ice cream recipe, check one out here.
- Sprinkles – let’s be honest, what’s an ice cream birthday without sprinkles?
- Guests – watching everyone hum and haw about their choices was great. It sparked some good conversation and the kids were adorable!
If you were inspired by this post and host an ice social please tag me (#mykitchenlove) so I can see your photos! Any ice cream social is bound to be a party!
No-churn ice cream is a breeze to make and what better way to top it off than with a 2 ingredient hot fudge sauce?!
15 minPrep Time
5 minCook Time
20 minTotal Time
- 3 x 330 ml (10oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
- 4 cups / 1 litre whipping cream
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or high quality extract)
- 12 oz. / 340 gr. semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped and divided in half
- Take half the chopped chocolate (6 oz.) and melt chocolate using the double boil method (a small heatproof bowl set above, but not touching, a small amount of simmering water) or in short bursts in the microwave (20-30 seconds). Set aside.
- Using an electric mixer, whisk whipping cream until stiff peaks form, about 3-5 minutes. Add vanilla and mix until just combined.
- Fold in 2 cans of condensed milk. Divide the whipping cream/condensed milk mixture in half. Place half in an air tight container and freeze for at least 8 hrs, preferably overnight.
- Gently fold melted chocolate in with remaining half of whipping cream/condensed milk mixture. Place in an airtight container and freeze for at least 8 hrs, preferably overnight.
- Take remaining half of chopped chocolate (6 oz.) and can of condensed milk and place in a heatproof bowl or container (I used a glass mason jar), heat in the microwave in short bursts (30 seconds) mixing after each burst until chocolate is melted. If not serving immediately, reheat in the microwave and stir before serving (I made mine the day before).
2 Ingredient Hot Fudge Recipe is from The Pioneer Woman
5 ingredient fluffy and indulgent no-bake S’mores Icebox Cake recipe that celebrates all the good tastes of summer.
The second session of our cookbook club was another success! We reviewed Donna Hay’s The New Easy and it got generally got really good feedback (more on that later). We had over 10 members present and a couple of members made two recipes from the book; it was a feast to say the very least. I made a dessert this round since our last cookbook didn’t have any treats in it and I made a Salted Chocolate Caramel Tart as shown in the photos. Next cookbook club I’ll try to remember to my camera so I can document the event better to share with you all.
The positives about the cookbook were great photography, good combinations of ingredients, and generally easy. Personally, I think Donna Hay has some of the best food styling and photography. Her shots are clean and make really good use of negative space. Not only do I find myself wanting to make the recipes, but I generally end up saying “ooohhh, pretty” to most of her photos. The combination of ingredients is usually spot on for something new, fresh, and delicious. Her recipes are often a great starting point if you feel like adapting recipes to suit what you may have in your pantry already. Overall, the recipes we tested were easy, but not quick.
The negatives were not necessarily quick, had many unusual ingredients, and too many assumptions. The first negative of the cookbook ties into the other two. For some of the recipe members spent a lot of time hunting down ingredients that were not readily available at the local grocery store. Some of the recipes had ingredients people had never heard of and had no idea how to use again. The assumptions in the directions were a bit of a problem as the recipes were so concise sometimes the reader felt like they were left hanging not quite sure what to do next. None of the negatives were debilitating however, everyone made their chosen recipe and all the recipes were tasty overall.
For my recipe I found that the directions lacked specifications around making caramel. Since I have a sweet tooth the size of the Grand Canyon, I make caramel on the regular and was comfortable doing so with little direction. I have adapted the recipe below to make it “easier” for you all who may not be as comfortable with it (ironic given the title of the cookbook I obtained the original recipe from). I loved this tart. It wasn’t over the top sweet; it uses dark chocolate which helps balance the flavour profile well.
There was a 2-way tie for the favourite recipe from The New Easy. One was the Thai Chicken Salad with Coconut Dressing and the other was the Celery Apple Salad. The Thai Chicken Salad was hearty and would be perfect for lunches the next day if any leftovers remained. It had a great balance of flavours with coconut milk, lime and cilantro. Everyone loved the freshness of the Celery Apple Salad and how it used all of the celery (including leaves) leaving little food waste.
It looks as though our next cookbook will be Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman. I’m interested in the outcome of this next one as I’ve had this cookbook for some time. I’m looking forward to sharing our results with you!
Decadent Salted Chocolate Caramel Tart made with dark chocolate, luscious caramel and a chocolate base.
20 minPrep Time
45 minCook Time
1 hr, 5 Total Time
- 10 tbsp / 150 gr unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2/3 cup / 110 gr icing sugar
- 1/3 cup / 35 gr Dutch cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 cups / 225 gr all-purpose flour
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- flaky sea salt, to serve (garnish)
- 3/4 cup / 180 ml whipping cream
- 6 tbsp / 90 gr unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups / 330 gr sugar
- 1/2 cup / 125 ml water
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup / 125 ml whipping cream
- 4.5 oz / 125 gr dark chocolate, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180° C).
- Place 10 tbsp butter and sugar in a food processor until pale in colour and fluffy. Add cocoa, egg yolks, and vanilla, process until a smooth dough forms.
- Press dough into 26 cm loose-bottomed fluted tart tin (to about 5 mm thick on bottom and sides). Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until cooked. Set aside.
- To make caramel, place whipping cream and 6 tbsp of butter in a medium sauce pan until melted. Set aside. Place sugar and water in a large sauce pan over low heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil without stirring until dark golden brown (340°F/170°C if you have a candy thermometer, if not this took me exactly 13 minutes from when the mixture started to boil). Remove from heat and CAREFULLY whisk in the butter/cream mixture (it will bubble up and splatter). Return the pan to low heat and stir until mixture has thickened, about 5 minutes. Pour into pastry shell and refrigerate until firm.
- To make the chocolate glaze, heat the 1/2 cup whipping cream over low heat. Add chocolate and stir until melted. Pour over caramel layer and refrigerate until firm.
- Sprinkle with sea salt flakes and cut into wedges to serve.
Dark Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream, smooth, creamy and packed full of dark chocolate. 5 ingredients and no churn (no machine required!).
Fudge-like chocolate cake doughnuts, baked with a chocolate glaze and whichever topping you feel like, but definitely try the toffee pieces!
Peanut butter and jam. And chocolate! I know, I know. This tart is as good as it sounds, I promise. Since I don’t post terribly often compared to many other food bloggers, I’m a bit behind with certain flavour combinations and holidays. Enter the desire for a peanut butter and chocolate recipe. One in which I am SO excited about.
Chewy, fudgy Creme Egg Brownies come together in one bowl and are a surefire way to use up any lingering Easter treats!
Chocolate Mint Chip Bundt Cake, a classic flavour combo in bundt cake form.