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Friends!! Here it is – the Nanaimo Bar Cake. I’ve been thinking about it ever since discovering Deirdre’s epic multi-tiered creation at Sweet Relief Bakery in Calgary (I put it on the 25 Best Things to Eat list in Avenue Magazine back in 2020!) and finally decided to attempt a more streamlined version at home. It turned out wonderfully-I love cakes this size, and recipes that make two, so you can give one away or tuck it into the freezer for another day. These will freeze beautifully. Enjoy!!

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I made a plant-based (vegan) Deep n’ Delicious chocolate cake for a friend’s birthday last spring, and it was pretty fantastic if I do say so myself. Baked in a disposable foil cake pan for easy door dropping and classic Deep n’ Delicious aesthetic, with frosting piped on with a star tip to complete the effect, I’ve baked this several times and it has been devoured each time – it’s wonderful, vegan or not.

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“Dirty” doesn’t have the same edgy cache it did last fall, what with all the hand washing and not touching things, but dirty blondies remain in regular rotation around here nonetheless. W has developed a habit of making these when he wants something cookie-like; they’re like chocolate chip cookies in bar form – blondies with a bit of a chocolate edge that take approximately three minutes to stir together.

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Chocolate and tahini became one of my favourite combinations last Christmas, in rugelach; this year, I came across these dense, chewy chocolate-tahini cookies in one of my favourite books of the year, a Palestinian cookbook called Zaitoun. It calls for butter and tahini, but you could go all tahini if you were so inclined, and the dough is refrigerated overnight to firm it up and develop the flavours. Generally I’m too impatient for cookie doughs that require a night in the fridge, but at this time of year I tend to plan ahead a bit more, rather than require instant gratification to satiate my usual cookie cravings.

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I’ve been making these like crazy these past few weeks, as I’ve been out celebrating and signing copies of Dirty Food – yes! It’s out in the wild! I wrote a bit about it in last weekend’s Globe & Mail. It’s slowly trickling into bookstores now… there have been issues with my decision to give it an exposed spine, which looks imperfect (enough that there was concern stores would think they were defective and send them back), but I chose because I liked the look of it, and because it allows the pages to lay flat, which I think is important for a usable book, especially in the kitchen, and particularly when it’s a smaller format than the norm.

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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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It’s time for some chocolate babka, I think. To celebrate the time of year when you can turn the oven on to warm the house. If you’re only familiar with babka thanks to Seinfeld, it’s a sweet, rich yeasted dough that some call cake—but really it’s a loaf of sweet dough with the texture of a soft cinnamon bun, rippled through with so much chocolate (or cinnamon, which is considered a lesser babka, but it’s on my list to make next—who wouldn’t love a loaf-shaped cinnamon bun?) as to make slicing the rolled log (which you do lengthwise, before twisting it into the pan) a challenge. I took babka for a spin a few times to get a feel for it, in the name of research of course—the soft, rich dough is lovely to handle, and it’s like assembling a cinnamon bun, up until the dough is filled and rolled into a log. Some of the chocolate fillings out there are crumbly, others smooth, whichContinue reading

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I know it’s the height of spring and all thoughts are turning to strawberries and rhubarb (or should be), and I just harvested armloads of same to ensure baggies of frozen rhubarb will jam (pun totally not intended) all surplus freezer space for the foreseeable future, but because there were two 11 year olds in the house today, I decided to score some points with a chocolate marshmallow pie instead. (Spoiler: it worked.) It’s been on my to-do list to make something out of Renée’s new(ish) book, All the Sweet Things, since long before it hit the shelves. It’s a gorgeous book, so well photographed and designed by the talented crew at Touchwood (who also published In the Dog Kitchen and Out of the Orchard! ahem), but most importantly it’s filled with things I actually want to make (and eat).

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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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