This rhubarb… it just won’t stop. My own patch is becoming more impressive than I expected, but the stalks are still small and spindly (my theory is that it’s because I coddle and water it, and rhubarb thrives on neglect), but when I sigh with envy over friends’ enormous red plants with umbrella-sized leaves, I remember that the thin stalks are perfect for chopping and stirring into scones, muffins and cakes that resemble the surface of the moon. And lemon bars! Which everyone I know adores, and are made even better, if you can imagine it, with a scattering of pink rhubarb over the base before you add the filling. Double tartness! I make these with cranberries and coconut at Christmas, and it’s one of our favourite things.

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My old friend Mairlyn (the friendship is old, not the people in it) was in town a few weeks ago, and we got together to record a podcast (her episode will be up soon!), which was a blast because Mairlyn is hilarious and fun and we could have recorded 6 hours of conversation with no trouble at all. Unfortunately my face hurt from laughing and she had to get to the airport, and so I sent her off with a batch of her own high-fibre Chocolate Fudgy Brownie Bites. It’s the first recipe I made out of her latest book, Peace, Love and Fibre, and one I’ve made two or three times since – despite the very healthy-sounding ingredient list, these are chewy and chocolatey and divine, and I started making them for W’s lunchbox. Though we’re at the end of lunchbox season, camping/hiking/road trip season is right here, and regardless of the time of year, we all need more cookies in our lives.

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I will never outgrow Easter egg hunts. Nor will I ever tire of Nanaimo bars, even though their sweetness level is high enough to turn off a lot of grown ups. How to bump them up a notch? combine the two – hide a few Cadbury’s Easter Creme Eggs in the middle frosting layer. I did this for the Eyeopener this week. Oh yes.

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We all seem to want more protein in the morning, don’t we? Without necessarily committing to bacon and eggs… or even to Greek yogurt or anything more substantial than something that can be grabbed and nibbled with coffee. I tend to like carby, sweet-ish things with my coffee, and I feel like biscotti has more potential then it’s often given credit for. It feels so 90s to me – those big glass jars of awkwardly long cookies, often dunked lengthwise in waxy chocolate, on the counters of coffee shops that were just starting to multiply. I think some people decided that biscotti should be hard, and as such let them sit out forever, hardening. But in my mind they should be crisp and not an effort to bite into without softening them first in your coffee.

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You guys! This was one of my favourite cookies of the holiday season, and I wanted to share it with you while there are still baking days before Christmas. (Although, I’m a firm believer of the entire Yuletide season being a time to celebrate – we’re all so busy leading up to Christmas day. The Yuletide this year runs December 21-January 1. Perfect, right?0 So rugelach seems super finicky, but I’ve kind of discovered it’s an easy way to make fancy-looking cookies without a whole lot of effort. You roll the dough, which is this beautifully soft sugar cookie dough made with butter and cream cheese, into circles and spread them with apricot jam or Nutella or in this case, tahini, and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and/or chopped nuts and/or chopped chocolate, cut the dough into wedges and roll them up, and they’re really perfect for making when you have little hands in the kitchen.

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I’m all set. Well, mostly. I have to start this post with a huge thank-you to Virtual Vino, a small Calgary company that operates out of Rocky Mountain Wine, Spirits & Beer, which is next door to Long & McQuade, so I’m always poking around while Mike shops for drum skins. I ordered and picked up all this wine last week, after discovering last year that doing so made December far easier, and saved a ton of time and money. But what I really appreciate is that they’re familiar with what I do, and they reached out and asked if I could help spread the word about they do by doing more of what I do—coming up with some holiday food ideas to share with you guys-and they would sponsor it. Because what I do it fits so well with what they do – curate good wines and package them up in fun six-packs you can peruse online, order at an amazing discount (the kindContinue reading

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I have never made a batch of hamantaschen, those triangular cookies closesly associated with the Jewish holiday of Purim, and although I’ve always been familiar with them, I can’t clearly recall eating one before today. Traditionally filled with thick poppyseed paste, date, prune or apricot preserves, they could contain just about anything — I’ve come across versions filled with marzipan and sprinkles, Nutella, and hazelnuts and apricots with a browned butter cookie base. You could, in fact, fill these hamantaschen with just about any sweet filling that could be contained by the edges of the cookie and would stand up to the heat of the oven — fruit compote, sweetened cream cheese or pie filling. Hamantaschen is like the cookie version of a galette, with sugar dough rolled and cut into circles, then folded over whatever filling you happen to come up with. (I used some blackberry jam from last summer, and some thick date filling I made in the same way I would toContinue reading

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I’ve made this a few times over the years, and like that it’s sort of half cookie half pie, yet called a gâteau. I made it when I have a glut of homemade jam in the house, or all-fruit mincemeat in December. This year I seem to have a surplus of blackberry jam in my freezer, so pulled some out to use in this big sweet sandwich, with jam spread between pieces of buttery cookie-pastry and baked as one giant cookie-pie, and served in thin wedges. You can nibble these out of hand, like a cookie, or serve them on a plate topped with a scoop of ice cream, like a far fancier dessert. The fact that it’s called a gâteau Basque rather than a big cookie-jam sandwich just makes you feel so much more sophisticated as a cook. Most gâteau Basque, named for the region in France, is tucked into a shallow tart pan, but I figured a) less than 50% of the populationContinue reading

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I realize I’ve been dishing up a lot of sweet stuff lately – I promise we do eat real food too on occasion. You know what a fan I am of those rainbow peanut butter marshmallow squares – last time I made a batch W loudly wished they had been chocolate peanut butter, only the very best flavour combination ever, and so of course I obliged. It’s easy – just swap the butterscotch chips for chocolate, which I’m far more likely to have around anyway. And ever since a friend singed hers on the stovetop last Christmas, creating these irresistibly tasty crispy bits, I’ve imagined them with a slight crunch from a handful of cereal. Which turned out to be a Very Good Idea.

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