I love having people over for brunch and when I do, I enjoy baking something special. When I came across this recipe for French toast scones in a pamphlet for Robin Hood Flour I knew I had to try them. Scones are one of my favourite things to make for brunch. I've made them with lemon and poppyseeds, scrambled eggs and bacon, and blueberries. All delicious flavours, but these French Toast Scones are one of my favourites. I made the batter the day before, took it out to come to room temperature while I was at my son's hockey game, and baked them 20 minutes before my guests arrived. The glaze can be made in advance and kept in the fridge. My children loved the scones so much they took the leftovers to school the next day.
If you’re looking for a great holiday gift to give someone who loves to bake, collect beautiful cookbooks, or both, let me tell you about "Desserts From My Kitchen" by Lesley Stowe. It’s a beautifully designed dessert cookbook that has so many delicious looking recipes. I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the book launch and even sample some of the desserts from the book.
Upon entering the home of Lesley’s sister-in-law I was greeted by waiters with savoury appetizers and drinks. Unfortunately those recipes aren’t in the book, but the wonderful desserts I tasted are included - and there are plenty of them to boot.
Of all the desserts I tried, my favourite were the butter tart bars. Picture the most decadent butter tart, cut in the shape of a triangle, oozing with creamy caramel goodness. The shortbread crust was perfectly buttery and crumbly.
The white chocolate hazelnut cookies were also too good to be true. These cookies melted in your mouth and had just the right amount of crunch. White chocolate and hazelnuts go so well together, especially in a cookie!
One of my favourite dessert presentations was the white chocolate brioche pudding with port and dried cherry sauce. I loved how they were served in individual ramekins. These bread puddings were so good I didn’t want them to end!
Lesley, a chef, ran a highly successful catering and food store in Vancouver and now has several cookbooks already published. Now she has decided to share some of her amazing dessert recipes in this gorgeous cookbook.
If the name Lesley Stowe sounds familiar to you it’s because she is the inventor of Raincoast Crisps. Those delicious crackers sold in the dark purple and green boxes with dried fruit, nuts and seeds in them, are the perfect accompaniment to a cheese platter. There is even a recipe in the book for ice cream sandwiches made with raincoast crisps. How good does that sound?
"Desserts From My Kitchen" is a great book because it combines fast and easy desserts like chocolate chip cookies and buttertart squares with fancier ones when you are feeling more ambitious. The recipes are adaptable and can be played down if you want to make a recipe more plain. I left the caramel chunks out of the chocolate chip cookies and they still turned out amazingly well. There is a whole chapter dedicated to dinner party desserts when you are looking for that perfect plated dessert and holiday favourites that includes tons of cookie recipes. I love it when a cookbook includes specific chapters like that. There are also recipes for ice-cream, cheesecakes, a key lime pie and lots of tarts. The book ends with a recipe for a dog biscuit which is so sweet and thoughtful, if you are a dog lover like me!
Even if you don’t love baking, but enjoy looking at beautiful food photography this book is for you. The photography is outstanding with dark backgrounds making the pictures dramatic and tempting.
I can’t wait to get started on trying out some more recipes from "Desserts from My Kitchen." After making the butter tart squares next it will be a tough decision. My dog might have to wait a bit longer before I get to the dog biscuits!
Here is the recipe for the chocolate chip cookies with caramel chunks. As I mentioned before I left out the caramel chunks and still thought it was one of the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever made. I recommend refrigerating the cookie dough for at least half an hour before baking with it.
Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until well combined. Stir in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chocolate and caramel chunks if using.
Using a small ice-cream scoop or a tablespoon, drop dough on prepared baking sheets, spaced about 4 inches (10 cm) apart. Bake in a preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until golden. Remove from oven and cool completely on the baking sheets before serving.
Makes 2 dozen cookies
From Desserts From My Kitchen by Lesley Stowe
Header Image Source: courtesy Lesley Stowe