I’m so getting into the idea of cookie swapping this year, even though it’s going to look completely different than years before- but I love that we’re all so focused on figuring out creative ways to share, and to do the things we love, and to connect with people we love. And of course we’re all baking more than ever.

I’m always up for an excuse to bake (pandemic or not), so this year I’m taking part in Redpath’s Share the Sweetness Virtual Christmas Cookie Swap. Looking through their recipe database, I came across one for Nanaimo Bar Thumbprint Cookies and couldn’t not make them. They have all the right flavours of a Nanaimo bar, only in cookie form-and they may be less intimidating, and perhaps more shareable as a cookie vs a bar. (At least you don’t have to worry about cutting these cleanly.)


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Let me preface this post by saying I did not come up with the giant cinnamon bun- it is a thing, like the skillet cookie or Texas doughnut, that has existed for awhile, and I’ve been meaning to make one for eons. Mary Berg had one in her first cookbook, Kitchen Party, that came out last fall, and Anna Olson has one in her latest, Baking Day, which came out last week. That was the reminder- flipping through her book and then talking to Anna last week when we filmed a thing together, and she suggested leftover doughnut dough could be turned into a cinnamon bun. And so I did it- and then another. And then another.
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This isn’t the most stunning morning-after photo of what was (and still is) a delicious chocolate cake-the light was far better last night than it was when I nibbled it with my coffee in the early morning light. But it’s a simple, delicious cake that could become your go-to if you have frequent birthday cake obligations.

This weekend was the first two of a week of family birthdays (which wraps up with mine on Friday), and because one of them was my sister, and I knew her favourite part would be blowing out candles with her grandkids, a double chocolate, quick to bake single layer cake that could be served straight from the pan and accommodate plenty of sprinkles seemed like just the ticket.

And look at that ganache!!
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I am guilty of mostly buying turkey on those two occasions a year that call for them, but was inspired to experiment with more individual cuts last year, and was presently surprised at the result. It turns out, a turkey breast or thigh is ideal for making shawarma—loaded sandwiches of marinated meat traditionally cooked on a rotisserie and sliced onto soft flatbreads, then loaded with chopped cucumber, tomato, purple onion and pickles, and drizzled with garlicky yogurt, tahini, or both.


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I’ve made two blackberry-plum friands in the past three days, and eaten 1 3/4 of them myself, with a spoon, straight out of the baking dish. A friand is a dense, chewy almond cake, this version studded with juicy fruit, from Ottolenghi’s Simple- I had it out for a virtual book club, and when I got home from picking up a farmers’ market box (from the Bridgeland Farmers’ Market), which had plums and blackberries bigger than my thumb in it, I took it as a sign.
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I’m growing potatoes again this year, in a few condos (collapsable vinyl containers and a two dollar plastic laundry basket-it doesn’t look as terrible as it sounds) in the back. I adore potatoes in all their forms, but particularly now when you can pick up small new ones at the market, or dig them out of your own dirt.

A year ago, Dirty Food went to print, and in it a fairly classic technique for boiling, crushing and roasting potatoes topped with garlicky oil and Parmesan cheese. It’s one of my favourite things to do with potatoes, and one of the most versatile, if you consider how many flavours you could add to the oil or sprinkle over the spuds as they roast.
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Late summer is the best time for baked fruit desserts like cobblers and crisps, but one of my favourites is the lesser-known pandowdy – sort of a cross between a crisp and a pie, with a pastry lid on top, but none underneath. It’s infinitely easier to assemble than pie, with no need to stress over removing a clean slice, and let’s face it – the golden top is the best part of the pastry anyway. Best yet, you can streamline the process by using frozen puff.

I made a video earlier this summer as part of the Redpath Baking School summer session.


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It’s that time- Saskatoons are ready for picking on shrubs along my street, at the dog park and along the riverbank… as always, I find myself rooting around for an empty coffee cup or other vessel to fill as I walk. I rarely manage to pick enough for pie, but almost always find enough for a batch of tarts-these are simple, made by simmering berries, sugar and cornstarch and spooning the mixture into pre-baked tart shells. Blueberries work just as well if you want to combine the two, or in case you don’t have access to saskatoons wherever you are.


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