Monthly Butter Challenge: The Dream Slice

Interview conducted & written by

The past year has held a lot of change, including a big move into the city and a return to the world of full-time employment, and while all of these new adventures were welcome additions to our lives somewhere along the way I lost my food writing mojo. Looking for inspiration, it was while I was flipping through the pages of Rosie Daykin’s Butter Baked Goods book that I came up with the idea of baking my way through each of the heavenly looking recipes. There are a lot of baking challenges in the blogosphere, but there was just something oh so charming about Butter that inspired me and made me want to make (and eat) everything in its pages.


The first recipe we tackled was The Dream Slice. Described as the Butter Café’s most popular bar, I thought this was as good a place to start as any. And I was right. What a fun, tasty treat to kick things off! There are three separate elements involved in this recipe but the instructions are straightforward and approachable, even for those who may be just picking up their whisks for the first time.



A shortbread type base is quickly baked off before going back into the oven with a filling of walnuts, maraschino cherries (I used cherries that were naturally coloured – no chemicals here folks!) and coconut, and once cooled a topping of whipped buttercream icing is spread overtop as the finishing layer. Voila. Guaranteed to make your taste buds happy, The Dream Slice was easy to prepare and served up beautifully, perfect for that afternoon tea party or baby shower or simply eaten out of the pan at night after the kids and hubby are asleep. Not that that would ever happen. Ever.



So here we are – the first month of this exciting new challenge and I am happy to say I’m in fine company!

Tina from The Pink Spatula was the first person I mentioned the monthly challenge to, and once she said she was ‘in’ I knew this was going to be fun.

Dream Slice - Pink Spatula

Kimberley from has previous experience with the Butter book and jumped right into the monthly challenge with tasty results!

Dream Slice - Pinksiren

Christina also kept us company this month and had the following to say:

Delicious bars that I would probably never have made on my own accord. 
They taste nothing like you would imagine with the ingredients listed. 
Everyone who tried them loved them. The crust was easy and turned out 
lovely. I will definitely make these gems again!
Dream Slice - Christina

And finally, I’d like to give a shoutout to Deborah who was having ‘one of those days’ in the kitchen while attempting this month’s challenge. You know those days – where nothing seems to go right? But she’ll be back for next month!

Want to join in on the fun? Pick-up a copy of Butter Baked Goods and send me a photo of that month’s recipe challenge or send a link to your blog post. Recipes reviews must be posted before the 20th of each month. To get things started, the wonderful folks over at Random House of Canada are providing five lucky readers with a giveaway copy of Butter Baked Goods! To be eligible for the draw, simply leave a comment below telling us what your favourite treat to bake happens to be. Winners will be announced during next month’s recipe roundup. Good luck!

Next Monthly Butter Challenge: Ooey gooey Saturday Morning Cinny Buns (page 53). Don’t forget to send your pics or blog post links before August 20!

INTERVIEW – Rosie Daykin (Butter Baked Goods)

Interview conducted & written by

Attention bakers! Looking for some culinary excitement in your life? Why not join our monthly Butter Baked Goods cookbook challenge and bake your way through this beautiful book one recipe at a time. Each month we will be baking a recipe and comparing notes until all of the delicious treats have been made.

Described as a pink-and-pistachio slice of heaven, the Butter Baked Goods bakery first opened its doors in Vancouver in 2007 and owner Rosie Daykin’s childhood dream of owning a bakery came true. Famous for their homemade marshmallows, this bakery now has two locations in my stomping grounds. Last year’s release of a compilation of Butter’s favourite recipes has met with much success and just flipping through the pages you can see why. The whimsical look and feel of the cafe is carried throughout the book, with a variety of recipes ranging from muffins, cookies, bars & slices, cakes, cupcakes, pies and tarts as well as a variety of confections. Wanting an excuse to bake pretty much everything from this book, I came up with the idea of a monthly challenge and hope you join in on the fun!

To kick things off I had the opportunity to ask author Rosie Daykin some questions.

Butter Image 1Butter Baked Goods (published by Random House of Canada, $35 CDN) is a compilation of recipes from one of Vancouver’s favourite bakeries.
Photo courtesy of Random House of Canada 

Rosie DaykinYou first opened Butter Baked Goods in 2007. What was the inspiration behind starting your own bakery?
A love for baking. Just as simple as that. I wanted to spend my days doing something I loved that I hoped would bring others the same enjoyment.

Six years later, what made you decide to publish a cookbook?
It seemed like a natural extension and evolution to the work that I was doing at Butter. I enjoyed the idea that Butter could reach far and wide so people could enjoy our treats even if they couldn’t make it to Vancouver and I love the creative challenge of it all.
Photo courtesy of Random House of Canada

Butter is a gorgeously illustrated cookbook. When you first came up with the concept for this book did you have an idea of what you wanted it to look like?
I wanted the book to feel and look exactly as Butter does. I wanted the reader to feel as though they were walking through the doors of Butter.

Butter is a collection of classic, nostalgic style baking recipes. There seems to be quite a trend around classic/nostalgic baking. Why do you think that is?
I don’t see it as a trend so much. I see it more about a desire for simple pleasures that are very achievable in an ever changing world moving at warp speed.

Define the art of old-fashioned family baking.
The “art of old fashioned baking” sounds a little intimidating to me. I think it is more about simple ingredients used to create memorable moments with family and friends.

The bakery’s marshmallows have earned a reputation as being some of the very best gourmet marshmallows in North America. What makes them so special?
Our marshmallows are truly hand made, from start to finish. Right down to the little bow that is tied on every bag. Just like the goodies we produce at Butter everyday, nothing is automated. Things that have had human touch are special like no other.

Your recipes are designed to be approachable for everyone from the experienced baker to baking newbies. How did you accomplish this?
It is the only way I know how to bake. Many of my recipes are the very ones I have been making since I was a little girl. They are simple and straightforward, just like me.

What’s your favourite recipe in the book?
Oh that’s a bit of a Sophie’s Choice! How could I possible choose just one of my recipe children? Though the Peanut Butter Marshmallow Slice is pretty damn fine.

You have no formal pastry training. To what do you attribute your baking success?
Practice, practice and practice. No better way to learn than by throwing yourself in and digging your way out.

In the book you say success “breed confidence and confidence is a baker’s secret weapon.” What are your top tips for baking success?
Remove all self doubt from your mind and if it doesn’t work out the first time just get back on that horse and try it again.

Our first recipe challenge is the Dream Slice – what should we make next?
The Dunbar is pretty delicious but a pie is always a good challenge.

In your book you say that your theme song would be The Cape by Guy Clark; “life is just a leap of faith, spread your arms, hold your breath and always trust your cape.” What’s your next leap of faith?!  
I just planted my first vegetable garden and fingers crossed I’ll have something to show for it come summers end.

Any final advice/words of encouragement for our merry band of bakers?!
Just enjoy it and remember to share your treats.

Interested in joining our monthly Butter Baking Challenge? Leave a comment below!

Butter Baked Goods - Cover Image - HIGH RES

Butter Baked Goods is available for purchase through our online store or at local bookstores. For more information on this cookbook please visit Random House of Canada

To read more of our interviews with professional and celebrity chefs, please visit the Sound Bites section.

COOKBOOK REVIEW: Veggie Burgers Every Which Way

Niki Shewfelt
Review written & photographed by Niki Shewfelt

Veggie Burgers Every Which Way is available for purchase through our online store or at local bookstores. For more information on this book please visit The Experiment

Veggie Burgers Every Which Way

When I first picked up Lukas Volger’s Veggie Burgers Every Which Way (published by The Experiment, $12.68 USD), I was not sure I could really enjoy a cookbook featuring only burgers. I mean, how many burgers can a person eat anyhow? I was wooed by the colorful cover, and the photos inside quickly inspired me to add veggie burgers to my weekly menus, as well as nudge me into making my own burger buns, from scratch. This book will definitely be the only burger book your family will need – even for those carnivores looking for a new palate-pleasing experience. I promise, you will not miss the meat in these recipes.

finished burgerburger cookingsalad

read more »

Meet Contributing Writer Niki Shewfelt

Niki ShewfeltI once read that a person’s personality can be summed up by the types of reading material they have on their bedside table. Currently, mine is stacked with two Vegetarian Today magazines, one Simply Living magazine, a vegan cookbook, an inspirational running book and a gripping teenage fiction novel, all compliments of my local library.  After a brief encounter with a suspicious lump six years ago, I made an at-the-moment weekend decision to switch our family to a vegan lifestyle. Over an eggplant and cashew-cheese lasagna, roughly two months later, my husband casually inquired, “Wondering and not complaining, but… we eat meat anymore?”  (Currently on his bedside table: 3 coaching and leadership development books, a history of the middle ages, a Christian nonfiction about father and daughters, and the sequel to my teenage fiction novel).

With two competitive-swimming teenagers, our active vegetarian/vegan household seems to be continuously fueling up, keeping me in a constant search for wonderful new menus to create. I receive inspiration from recipes which blend balanced, whole foods without the hassle of being considered fussy. Rarely follow recipes to their entirety, my family is rather used to enjoying their meals “in the moment” (or disliking them in this same way), as they are rarely duplicated.

Please give Niki a warm welcome to the CookThatBook family! We are excited to have her join our team in the position of resident vegetarian cookbook reviewer. If you have a question/comment for Niki, please email her c/o Inaugural cookbook review coming soon!

Monthly Miettes: Crème Fraîche Scones

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Miette (recipes from San Francisco's most charming pastry shop)

Kicking off our return to Monthly Miettes, Aimée from Food, Je t’Aimée tasked us with making Crème Fraîche Scones. Apparently, these scones are no longer sold at Miette bakeries but due to popular demand the recipe was included in the cookbook. Crème fraîche is added in order to provide the dough with a slight tang to compliment the lemon zest, and also to keep the scones nice and moist. Delicately treating the dough along with the stipulated technique of freezing the scones prior to baking gives these Miette favourites their famed flakiness.

Ingredients for Crème Fraîche Scones

I was excited. My hubby loves scones and I had promised the girls a special tea party for their teddy bear picnic. The stage was set for success. Unfortunately things don’t always go as planned…

Too Dry!

Crème Fraîche Scones

Right off the bat I knew the texture of the dough was off. I mixed the dry ingredients with the butter until it looked like cornmeal, but after adding the crème fraîche and heavy cream the dough was still too dry. The recipe says it should look “undermixed and crumbly” but with 3 ½ cups of flour with a mere 1/3 cup each of crème fraîche and cream there just wasn’t enough liquid. So I added more cream. And then some more. But despite the additional liquid when I pressed the dough into the pan I quickly decided it was nothing more than a hopeless mess.


Frustrated at yet another flawed recipe in a book that continues to underwhelm me, I cut my loses and dumped the dough.

But scones had been promised and scones were expected so scones there would just have to be!

Crème Fraîche Scones (recipe from epicurious)

In the end I found a fabulous recipe on epicurious which turned out so well I am adding it to my collection of family favourite recipes. Served with strawberry jam and some Devon cream it was pure heaven. As for the Miette recipe, I hope the other blogger have more success. I’m not ready to give up on this book! Let’s hope next month’s results are better.

For more information on Monthly Miettes or if you’re interested in participating, please visit Food: Je t’Aimée 




Muffin Monday: Maple Apple Muffins

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Maple. Apple. Cinnamon.

These three flavours are cast in lead roles for this week’s muffin recipe, and the results are definitely worthy of a curtain call!

The original recipe hails from The Sweet Chick, and is a straightforward recipe that blogger Carole created specifically for her daughter who wanted to bake apple cupcakes. Despite the initial inspiration to make cupcakes, purists can rest easy knowing that this recipe is not one that blurs the line between cupcake and muffin. There is no denying its muffiness in terms of texture and lack of icing.

Maple Apple Muffins

The oatmeal/cinnamon/brown sugar/butter topper provides a nice crunch to the muffins without being overwhelmingly sweet. To heighten the flavour of cinnamon in the topping I decided to add cinnamon chunks, something I highly recommend trying with this recipe. The bits of apple softened beautifully after baking, and the Greek yogurt kept the interior nice and moist. Basically think apple pie in the form of a muffin.

Muffins don’t get better than this my friends!

For the original recipe we used in this week’s Muffin Monday, please visitBaker Street

Maple Apple Muffins

Don’t forget to visit Baker Street’s site and be sure to check out what the other food bloggers have baked up this week!

Muffin Monday is an initiative by Baker Street. A culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week. Drop in a quick line to join her on her journey to make the world smile and beat glum Monday mornings week after week.

COOKBOOK REVIEW Vegetarian Entrees That Won’t Leave You HUNGRY

Review written & photographed by Jordan A.R.

Vegetarian Entrees That Won’t Leave You HUNGRY is available for purchase through our online store or at local bookstores. For more information on this book please visit Thomas Allen & Son.

Vegetarian Entrees That Won't Leave You HUNGRYLukas Volger’s book Vegetarian Entrees That Won’t Leave You Hungry (published by The Experiment, $17.95 USD) confronts a prevailing misconception that, without meat, a meal lacks the power to fill you up. Not only does Volger provide recipes that prove the heartiness of vegetarian cuisine, he does it without any pomp. An approach I found refreshing. His writing is both honest and friendly, offering easy to follow recipes that also encourage you to try a few twists of your own.

Throughout the book are scattered little tutorials on subjects that vary from soups and dressings to hosting dinner parties and cooking just for one. The eclectic list of recipes guarantees that you’re bound to find something you’ll want make, whether it’s homemade paneer, kimchi, pizza, or just a simple salad.

Bulgur Salad with Kale & FetaCassoulet with Tomato-Roasted Carrots & ChardRiesling Poached Pears



Cookbook review written & photographed by Stay-At-Home-Chef

Good Food to Go (cover image)Good Food to Go is available for purchase through our online store or at local bookstores. For more information on this book please visit Random House of Canada Ltd. 

For some reason I always find it difficult to get back into the swing of things after the winter break, especially when it comes to packing school lunches. The initial excitement and lunchbox creativity that heralded the arrival of September has completely worn off and I find myself searching for inspiration. Luckily this year I knew just where to turn!

Good Food to Go (published by Random House, $19.95 USD) is one of those books that you will turn to again and again when searching for new, healthy lunch ideas for your kids. Visually it comes across as quite unassuming, but don’t let the lack of book ‘bling’ deter you from adding it to your cookbook collection. Just look at my copy – completely littered with sticky notes and folded over page corners.

Good Food To Go

When it comes to packing kids’ lunches, there are a lot more pressures compared to when I was a child. For example; healthy homemade food, BPA free environmentally friendly containers, everything must be nut-free, oh and yeah your kids have to actually like the food. Talk about a tall order for busy parents!

Good Food to Go contains great advice on how to get your kids more involved in packing their own lunches, effectively utilize leftovers, helpful meal planners to prevent getting into a lunch rut, and a great list of pantry essentials. I love the sidebars littered throughout the book that include lots of interesting nutritional facts/information, food preparation tips, and suggested ingredient variations and substitutions. The information is well researched by authors with years of training and experience in nutrition and pediatrics.

The book is divided into the following sections: Getting Started, Vegetables & Fruit, Sandwiches, Picnic-Style Lunches & Snacks, Soups, Super Salads, Encore Performances (leftovers), Baked Good & Desserts, and After-School Snacks. I must admit that I found the index to be quite frustrating to navigate, as it is structured around themes so when searching for a particular recipe it was often difficult to find. Also, Good Food to Go closely follows Canada’s Food Guide, so be prepared to have that particular agenda promoted throughout the literature. That being said, if you happen to follow a vegetarian/gluten-free/dairy-free lifestyle it is easy to make the necessary adjustments.

The authors argue that the fast paced culture of North American family life in combination with easy access to cheap, processed food continues to result in poor eating habits and a steady increase in health related concerns such as child obesity.

I couldn’t agree more.

As we continue to work extended hours and cram even more extracurricular activities into our children’s already over scheduled lives, it can become difficult to find the time to prepare healthy home cooked meals.

Scary stuff. Perhaps that’s why the thing I love most about this book is that it provides readers with practical, affordable, and easy strategies for packing nutritious lunches within the confines of our already busy schedules and tight budgets.

I have come to rely heavily on this book as a source of inspiration when it comes to food for my kids. All of the recipes I have tried so far have turned out wonderfully, and as I prepare to return to the world of full-time work I know I will reach for this book often.

Cinnamon Loaf (slice)Fruit Filled Jell-O FingersToasted Whole Wheat Pita Chips & Homemade Hummus



Food & Wine Magazine: November Cover Recipe

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As part of my culinary New Year’s resolutions, I have committed to creating each month’s cover recipe from Food & Wine Magazine. Joining me once again this month is our resident wine expert Kendall Harris of Wine2Three, who provided a fun pinot noir suggestion to pair with this delightful Herb-Roasted Turkey. 

Want to join in on the fun? We’d love the company! Pick-up a copy of the latest issue of Food & Wine and get cooking. Be sure to send me an email at to let me know you made the cover recipe, and if you’re a blogger don’t forget to post a link to your post in the comments below.


Herb-Roasted Turkey with Wild Mushroom Gravy

Rating: 4 out of 5 (classic roast turkey, easy to prepare)

Initial Thoughts: Giddy up!

THE TEST: Throughout the year as I make each cover from Food & Wine Magazine, my mind flits over to the November issue and the predictable turkey dinner. Prior to embarking upon this monthly challenge, I had never tackled a whole turkey. Now – three years later – I have several turkey dinner notches in my belt. But despite past successes, the idea of making a full turkey dinner always makes me nervous.

Once I saw that November’s Herb-Roasted Turkey with Wild Mushroom Gravy was developed by David Tanis (New York Times columnist, award-winning cookbook author, past chef at Chez Panisse), my anticipation grew. The recipe is part of a feature article highlighting a California-style Thanksgiving feast at a Napa Valley ranch. The photos are stunning and the meal looks incredible! In fact, I’ve bookmarked each and every recipe for the future.

Preparing this turkey is dead simple, making it the perfect recipe for the holidays. In order to maximize flavour, butter seasoned with sage, thyme and garlic is rubbed inside the cavity. Additional sage and thyme are placed inside the bird before the neck flap is plugged with half an apple. The turkey is then rubbed with olive oil and placed on top of celery, onion and carrots. Honestly, this is the easiest turkey recipe I’ve tried and would be great for any home cooks suffering from turkey anxiety. You can’t go wrong. Although please ensure you have a digital meat thermometer on hand. Trust me – it makes life so much easier.

THE RESULTS: The turkey emerged from the oven smelling incredible and looking perfectly golden and crisp all over. Cue oooo’s and ahhhhhhs!

We let the meat rest for an hour, which helps to retain all of those lovely juices and frees up the oven for any side dishes that still need to be cooked. Because I knew that Mr. Spock and the kids would have split the instant I even said the word ‘mushrooms’, I decided to skip the wild mushroom gravy. But let me tell ya the drippings made fantastic gravy even without the fungus.

This recipe is one that I will be making again for Christmas Day, as it is simple to prepare and full of fantastic turkey flavour that is slightly sweetened from the roasted veg. When I do make it again, I am going to brine it for a day or two to really infuse it with maximum flavour. This recipe by Anthony Sedlak happens to be one of my all-time favourite poultry brines.

Despite my usual turkey related anxiety, this meal turned out to be amazing. And having dear friends whom we don’t get to see nearly enough gathered around the table was perfect. It was an evening of good food, great company, and waaaaay too much wine! Having everyone together in the kitchen pitching in with the preparations (whether making gravy, providing carving commentary, or reading stories and practicing demi-plié with the kids) highlighted the importance of community in our lives, and was a good reminder about the true meaning of the holidays.

This month, our resident wine expert Kendall Harris of Wine2Three had everyone abuzz with her suggested pinot noir pairing! Our guests were all pleasantly surprised by the heavy, smokiness of this particular wine. I will definitely be picking up a few more bottles for the holidays! As far as the turkey was concerned, there were a few people who would have preferred a more traditional crisp white to drink alongside the poultry but the majority of the table loved the way in which this wine brought out and deepened the contrasting flavours of the entire meal. And had I made the wild mushroom gravy, there is no doubt that the woodsy taste of the mushrooms would have paired perfectly with the pinot.

Cover Recipe:
Herb-Roasted Turkey with Wild Mushroom Gravy

The mission of Food & Wine Magazine is to find the most exciting places, new experiences, emerging trends and sensations in the culinary and wine industries. From travel and entertaining to luxury and design, this magazine brings an energetic and stylish take on food and wine. For more information on Food & Wine Magazine, please visit


Wine Pairing by Kendall Harris of Wine2Three

Pairing wine with a Thanksgiving meal can sometimes be challenging – so many different types of food being prepared, so many different flavours, not to mention different people with different palates! A classic food-friendly wine that has become a reliable Thanksgiving recommend is Pinot Noir.

Pinot Noir is a thin-skinned grape, so the resulting wine is a lighter bodied wine, perfect with turkey meat. Also, Pinot Noir displays wonderful berry flavours that harmonize deliciously with the cranberry sauce present at many Thanksgiving tables. Finally, because of its nice level of acidity (which makes your mouth water), it’s an excellent food wine, and won’t overwhelm the meal with big strong sweet fruit flavours (like an Australian Shiraz).

Pinot Noir is called “the heartbreak grape” because winemakers have a tendency to fall madly in love with this varietal. It can be a challenging grape to work with; for example the thin skin of the grapes make it vulnerable in the vineyard and requires more TLC than other varieties. You may also remember the character Miles waxing poetic about Pinot Noir in the movie “Sideways,” one of my favorite wine movies!

I recommend this Leyda Pinot Noir from Chile because it’s absolutely delicious and much of Chile’s grape growing is done under organic or almost organic conditions. Because of that country’s climate, the kinds of pests and mildew problems that plague winemakers around the world don’t show up on Chilean soil. This Leyda Pinot Noir also happens to be well priced, so pick-up a few bottles. At a big holiday dinner, quantity is sometimes just as important as quality!


Kendall Harris is a wine blogger who shares her adventures in the wine world as Wine2three on Twitter & Facebook. She has an Advanced Certificate from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) and is passionate about sharing her wine knowledge with others. “Like” her page on Facebook for fun, informative wine posts! 

Muffin Monday: Eggnog Snickerdoodle Muffins

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Ah. The holidays. Gotta love the level of indulgence this means for Muffin Mondays! This week Baker Street gave us a fun recipe for snickerdoodle muffins by Culinary Concoctions by Peabody.

As the name suggests, these muffins are a twist on traditional snickerdoodle cookies which are similar to a sugar cookie but are rolled in a cinnamon sugar mixture instead of granulated sugar. Crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside, these cookies use simple ingredients but come up big in the flavour department. Unfortunately no one seems to know how they came by such a peculiar name.

Wanting to dial up the holiday theme with these muffins, I ended up replacing the 1¼ cup sour cream with eggnog. I also added ½ tsp of eggnog extract to help boost the flavour (but feel free to leave out if you wish). I also decided to use nutmeg instead of cinnamon, and mixed together brown sugar and nutmeg to sprinkle overtop of the muffins prior to baking.

These little beauties turned out wonderfully! Lovely and crisp on the outside, perfectly moist interior, and the flavour of eggnog really was perfect with this style of muffin.

Happy Muffin Monday!

Don’t forget to visit Baker Street’s site and be sure to check out what the other food bloggers have baked up this week!

Muffin Monday is an initiative by Baker Street. A culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week. Drop in a quick line to join her on her journey to make the world smile and beat glum Monday mornings week after week.