Category Archives: Recipes

Tom Douglas Dahlia Bakery at Books to Cooks

Books to Cooks is the one stop Vancouver shop for all books related to cooking, wine, beer and spirits,  and a frequent stopover for chefs promoting their latest projects.  A fixture in the Seattle restaurant, Tom Douglas, recently came by to promote his latest cookbook, Dahlia Bakery Cookbook, based on one of his many spots, Dahlia Bakery.

Douglas is charmingly raw and doesn’t hold back when it comes to discussing everything from the reality of the culinary world to politics.  There was many a laugh.

The book itself is a gorgeous work of practical art with recipes including the famous doughnuts with cinnamon sugar and mascarpone and his show stopping coconut pie that Obama himself (or Barrack as Douglas referred to him) can’t live without when he’s in town.

He started the morning with Grandma Douglas’s Schnecken, German sticky buns filled with lots of buttery goodness.

Dahlia Bakery Cookbook

Dahlia Bakery Cookbook

Dahlia Bakery Cookbook

Dahlia Bakery Cookbook

Dahlia Bakery Cookbook

He also had some peanut butter sandwich cookies ready for us and sent us home with additional pastries.  I can’t wait to delve into the book.  The two recipes are below.

Dahlia Bakery Cookbook

Dahlia Bakery Cookbook

grandma douglas’s schnecken

Makes 12 to 14 schnecken

My family has made these schnecken for most every holiday for as long as I can remember. schnecken, which means “snails” in German, are basically pecancinnamon buns. Once the schnecken were turned out hot from the pan and the top of the buns covered with gooey pecan caramel, the real struggle began— fighting my seven siblings for first crack at our favorite piece. it might have been the first time i realized that my rotundness and arm length gave me a distinct advantage over my sisters as i groped for the warm center of this classic cinnamon pull-apart. After the center pieces were gone, i went for the ultra- caramelized golden brown corners. It’s convenient to prepare the schnecken to the point of forming the rolls and setting them into the prepared pan a day ahead. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and store them, unbaked, in the refrigerator overnight. When you are ready to bake the schnecken, remove the pan from the refrigerator and set it in a warm place for about an hour. Then bake as directed in the recipe. Kosher salt is coarser than table salt. If you are substituting table salt, cut the quantity in half.

special equipment: 9 × 13- inch Baking Pan


1⁄2 cup (1 stick/4 ounces/113 grams) unsalted butter, plus more for the bowl and pan

1 cup (8 1⁄2 ounces/242 grams) milk

5 tablespoons (2 1⁄4 ounces/63 grams) granulated sugar

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

1 1⁄2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk

3 to 3 1⁄2 cups (13 1⁄2 to 15 1⁄2 ounces/383 to 439 grams) all- purpose flour as needed

sugar- pecan topping

3 ⁄4 cup (1 1⁄2 sticks/6 ounces/170 grams) unsalted butter

3 ⁄4 cup (4 1⁄2 ounces/128 grams) packed brown sugar

1⁄4 cup (3 ounces/85 grams) light corn syrup

3 ⁄4 cup (3 ounces/85 grams) chopped pecans

cinnamon- sugar filling

4 tablespoons (1⁄2 stick/2 ounces/57 grams) unsalted butter

1 cup (7 ounces/200 grams) granulated sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1. To make the dough, melt the 1 ⁄2 cup butter in a small saucepan over medium- low heat. Add the milk and sugar and heat just to lukewarm (about 110°F), stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour the warm milk mixture into a bowl. Stir in the yeast. Allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes, then stir in the salt.

2. Beat the whole egg and egg yolk together and add to the yeast mixture. Stir in the flour 1 cup at a time until you have a sticky dough. Scrape the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead for about 5 minutes, until you have a nice smooth dough. Butter a large bowl. Place the dough in the prepared bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Put the bowl in a warm place and allow the dough to rise for 2 hours, until tripled in volume.

3. Meanwhile, brush a 9 × 13- inch baking pan with some melted butter (or spray it with vegetable oil spray). To prepare the sugar- pecan topping, melt the butter with the brown sugar and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium- low heat, stirring to combine. Remove from the heat and spread the mixture in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with the chopped pecans.

4. Punch down the dough and turn it out of the bowl onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead for a minute, then use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll the dough into a rectangle about 15 × 12 inches and 1 ⁄8 inch thick. To make the cinnamon- sugar filling, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium- low heat and allow it to cool. Brush the butter thoroughly over the surface of the dough. In a bowl, mix together the sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over the melted butter. Roll the rectangle up, like a jelly roll, along one long edge.

5. Slice the log of rolled dough into 1- inch- thick slices and arrange the slices, cut sides up, in the prepared pan. Cover the pan with a piece of plastic wrap (you can spray the plastic wrap first with vegetable oil spray to be sure it doesn’t stick to the dough) and allow it to rise in a warm place for about 40 minutes.

6. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the schnecken until golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. Check them occasionally during the baking time, and if they seem to be browning too quickly, loosely cover them with a sheet of aluminum foil.

7. Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes. Turn the schnecken out of the pan while still warm by inverting the pan over a large platter or baking sheet. Serve the schnecken warm.

peanut butter sandwich cookies, aka “the nora ephron”

Makes about 24 sandwich Cookies (3 inches in diameter)

This may be the most sought- after cookie recipe in the book, the cookie that makes it into Seattle

Metropolitan magazine’s food lover’s guide year after year. Once, when director, screenwriter (When

Harry Met Sally), and novelist Nora Ephron was in town, she stopped by the dahlia Bakery and bought a few of these cookies. Later she e-mailed me, saying this was her all- time favorite and asked for the recipe. Naturally, I sent it to Nora along with a big package of cookies. When I asked Nora if I could name the cookie after her in my cookbook, she said, “Are you kidding me? This may be the greatest cookie ever ever ever.” a sandwich cookie takes more effort than a drop cookie, because you have to make both cookies and filling. In addition, this recipe involves a chilling step and requires the cookies to be double- panned. But the results are worth it for the best- textured peanut butter cookie with the creamiest peanut filling. After arranging the scoops of cookie batter on a baking sheet, slip another baking sheet underneath to double- pan so the cookies bake more slowly and evenly. Since you can bake only eight cookies per baking sheet, and the cookies must be double- panned, you’ll have to bake them in batches. Be sure to let the baking sheets cool thoroughly before reusing them. We use two different peanut butters in this recipe. Skippy creamy peanut butter makes the filling smooth and creamy. Adams crunchy peanut butter, which like other natural peanut butters must be well mixed before using to incorporate the oil, has just the right almost- runny consistency and crunchy bits of peanuts to give the cookies the perfect texture. To re- create our peanut butter sandwich cookies, we suggest you use the same or similar brands. We prefer moist brown sugar from a resealable plastic bag rather than from a box. This recipe requires a 2- hour or longer chill of the shaped cookie dough, so plan accordingly. the amount of salt in the filling is a perfect balance to the creamy peanut

butter, but if you are substituting table salt for the kosher salt called for in the recipe, be sure to cut the amount in half. this recipe was inspired by the Bouchon Bakery.

special equipment: electric Mixer, 1- ounce ice Cream scoop (optional But recommended for the Most uniform Cookie sandwiches)

peanut butter filling

1 1⁄2 cups (14 ounces/400 grams) creamy peanut butter, such as skippy

6 tablespoons (3 ⁄4 stick/3 ounces/ 168 grams) unsalted butter, softened

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon kosher salt

peanut butter cookies

1 1⁄2 cups (8 ounces/227 grams) all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder

1 2 ⁄3 cups (51⁄4 ounces/99 grams) rolled oats, such as Quaker old fashioned

1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 sticks plus

2 tablespoons/111⁄4 ounces/320 grams)

unsalted butter, softened

1⁄3 cup (31⁄2 ounces/125 grams) crunchy natural peanut butter, such as adams, well mixed

3 ⁄4 cup (5 1⁄4 ounces/150 grams) granulated sugar

2 ⁄3 cup (51⁄4 ounces/150 grams) packed brown sugar

2 large eggs at room temperature (see “how to Bring ingredients to room temperature,” page 12)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. To make the peanut butter filling, combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl using a whisk.

Cover and chill the mixture until you are ready to fill the cookies.

2. To make the peanut butter cookies, in a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder (see “How to Sift,” page 13). Stir in the oats and salt. Set the dry ingredients aside.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, chunky peanut butter, and sugars and cream on medium- high speed until very fluffy and pale, at least

3 minutes, scraping down the mixing bowl as needed.

4. Turn the mixer to medium- low and add the eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate each egg and scraping down the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the dry ingredients on low speed in 3 to 4 additions and mix until just combined. Do not overmix. Remove the bowl from the mixer and scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula, going all the way to the bottom of the bowl to mix in the dry ingredients well.

5. Use an ice cream scoop to portion all the cookies in 1- ounce scoops (or use about 1 heaping tablespoon per cookie), placing the scoops on a parchment lined baking sheet (see “How to Scoop Muffins, Cookies, and Cupcakes,” page 74). You should have about 48 cookies. (You can place all the cookies close together for the chilling step— you will space them for baking later.) Chill the scooped cookies for at least 2 hours or longer.

6. When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 375°F. Arrange 8 cookies, spaced evenly apart and staggered, on each parchment-lined baking sheet. (Note: Do not flatten the cookies; they will flatten as they bake.) Set the baking sheet inside another baking sheet to double pan and place it in the oven. Bake until evenly golden, about 12 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the cooking time. If you have 2 double- panned pans in the oven at the same time, also switch them between the racks. Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before removing the cookies with a metal spatula. Allow the cookies to cool completely before filling them.

7. To make a cookie sandwich, turn one cookie flat side up and spread with a little less than 2 teaspoons of filling. (If you have a 1- ounce scoop, you can slightly underfill it to portion the filling or underfill a tablespoon.) Top with another cookie, flat side down, pressing gently. Repeat until all the cookies are assembled into sandwiches.

Eggnog – National Eggnog Month – Vancouver takes it seriously

Wow Vancouver!  You’ve gone all out with your eggnog.  No longer is this just a creamy overly-sweet item in the dairy section of the market.  It’s popping up in everything from bread to ice cream.

Creme de la Crumb – Eggnog Pecan Scones

Bel Cafe – Eggnog Latte

Cupcakes – Eggnog Cupcake

Shaughnessy Restaurant at Van Dusen – Eggnog Creme Brulee

Chocolate Arts – Eggnog Ice Cream

Earnest Ice Cream – Rum and Eggnog Ice Cream

Vancouver Pie Hole – Eggnog Pie

Bella Gellateria – Eggnog Ice Cream

French Made Baking – Eggnog Macarons

Kitchening – Eggnog Macarons

Lucky’s Donuts – Coconut Snowball filled with Eggnog Pastry Cream (thanks for the tip Sean’s Adventures in Flavourtown

Cocoa Nymph – Eggnog Chocolate Truffle

Butter Baked Goods – Eggnog Marshmellows

Eggnog Recipes


Eggnog Fudge

Sweet Potato Eggnog Pie

Eggnog Cheesecake Bars

 Saveur Eggnog Recipes

Quang Dang’s Recipe for Wild BC Herring Barigoule


6 pieces Wild Pacific Herring, filleted and trimmed
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
3 lemons, zested and juice separated
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 white onion, finely minced
2 cups smoked bacon, finely diced to match onions and carrots
2 cups extra virgin olive oil
2 fresh bay leaves
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 large carrots, diced brunoise
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup white wine
3 Tbsp flat leaf parsley, fine chiffonade
3 Tbsp chives, chopped

Lay the herring fillets onto a parchment lined baking sheet skin side down. Combine the salt, sugar, pepper and zest of one lemon. Evenly sprinkle the fillets with the salt mixture and then transfer to the refrigerator for one hour. After one hour rinse off the excess salt mixture and pat dry with a paper towel.

Preheat a medium sized saucepan over medium. Add a splash of the olive oil and then the diced bacon and render until the bacon becomes crispy. Add the onions, garlic, carrots, and bay leaf and then sweat until the onions become translucent. Be sure to stir frequently to prevent too much caramelization. Add the wine and the vinegar and reduce by half. Then add the remaining olive oil and bring to a simmer. Place the herring fillets into the vinaigrette skin side up, making sure there is enough olive oil to cover the surface of the skin. Bring to a simmer and then remove from the heat. Allow to sit for 15 minutes, then add the fresh herbs and finish with lemon juice. Enjoy!

Pumpkin – The Seasonal Bacon

Pumpkin – The New Bacon – News headlines rang out this week declaring pumpkin the “it” ingredient du jour.  Well then.  This may just be the case as pumpkin is seasonal and has always been an essential part of fall menus.  And these days it seems pumpkins gone on a marketing blitz and it’s not just pies and soups where we see this tasty squash, but a whole whack of items; everything from pizza to milkshakes.

Doing a survey of what our local chefs and bakers are doing with this big orange globe, we’ve come across the following so far and will continue to add as we hear of more pumpkin news!  Follow #pumpkinisthenewbacon on twitter for more.

Marina Restaurant – spiced pumpkin tiramisu with espresso crème anglaise, salted seed brittle

West Restaurant –  pumpkin flan with spiced cake, caramelized pear and orange chiffon

Beta 5 – pumpkin caramels

Xoxolat – pumpkin truffles

Chef Hamid Salimian Diva at the Met – pumpkin caramel pudding, praline, yam ginger ice cream…..

Thomas Haas – pumpkin pie with cinnamon chantilly with white chocolate (picture by Erin Ireland)

Urban Tea Merchant – pumpkin mousse cup

Sweet Obsessions –  pumpkin maple cheesecake AND deep dish pumpkin pie with paté briseé crust and candied walnuts

Kingyo – pumpkin carbonara udon and pumpkin maple cake

Erin Ireland’s  To Die For pumpkin banana bread

David’s Tea – pumpkin spice chai tea

Cartems – pumpkin spice donut

La Baguette – pumpkin danish

Soirette – pumpkin cheese cake and pumpkin macaron

Cobbs – pumpkin scones

Cupcakes – pumpkin cupcake with cream cheese frosting

Lucky’s Donuts – pumpkin old fashioned donut

Earnest Ice Cream – pumpkin spice ice cream

I ate this before getting a proper picture as I couldn’t help myself (note though it is a mini-pie).

The Pie Hole  – bourbon pecan pumpkin pies

Bel Cafe – spiced pumpkin cheesecake – cranberry and raspberry compote and bruleed at the top

Chef Ned Bell at Yew Restaurant + Bar at  the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver – pumpkin & portobello salad with venturi shultze balsamic and Parmesan

Chef Alex Tung at Burnaby’s Cotto Enoteca – Neapolitan pizza w/roasted pumpkin, Sloping Hill pancetta, housemade ricotta, chili flakes, fonduta, crispy sage, toasted seeds

Kingsway’s French Made Baking – pumpkin macarons

Bella Gellateria  – pumpkin gelato

Cin Cin – cinnamon cream on a caramelized puff pastry with pumpkin gelato

AND even fast food chains jumped onboard

Starbucks – pumpkin loaf, pumpkin scone, pumpkin spice latte, pumpkin cream cheese muffin

Jack in the Box – pumpkin shake (sip carefully as its 800 + calories)

Pringles – pumpkin pie spice potato chips

Pop Tarts – frosted pumpkin pie pop tarts

Eggo Waffles – pumpkin spice waffles

Pumpkin Beers

Granville Island


Central City

Parallel 49

Howe Sound


Red Racer

Pumpkin Cocktails

Shaun Layton L’Abattoir – Zacapa 23, pumpkin syrup,Becherovka,whole egg,nutmeg, old fashioned bitters

Hamilton Street Grill – Harvest Salad

If you’ve got some pumpkin at home, there’s tons online to inspire you!  Here’s some of the sites I source inspiration from.

A Taste of Home



Cooking Light







Chef Dale MacKay’s Toasted Cheese

At Vancouver’s PNE this year, fair-goers will have the chance to sample Armstrong cheese with Chef Dale MacKay.  Here’s his recipe for a stellar cheese sandwich.


Olive-Tomato Spread
½ roasted garlic clove
3½ oz (100 g) black olives, pitted
6 medium semi-dry tomatoes
5 tbsp (75 mL) olive oil
10 leaves fresh flat leaf parsley
¼ zest of 1 lemon
butter, to taste
8 slices multigrain bread
9 oz (255 g) Armstrong Marble Cheddar, divided



  1. To roast garlic, first cut bulb in half, across its equator, and rub 1 tsp (5 mL) of olive oil on both sides.  Then wrap in aluminum foil and place in oven for 45 minutes at 525°F (275°C). The garlic should be soft and light golden brown in colour when it comes out of the foil. Reserve one clove for the olive-tomato spread and refrigerate the remainder. The roasted garlic will keep for up to a week.
  2. To make the olive-tomato spread, combine roasted garlic, olives, tomatoes, olive oil, parsley and lemon zest in a food processor until a light, chunky texture is achieved.
  3. Lightly spread butter on both sides of two slices of bread. On the inside of one slice, evenly spread a small amount of the olive-tomato mixture.
  4. Grate ¼ of the cheese on the bread with the olive-tomato spread and top with the second piece of bread to close the sandwich. Place the buttered sides down in a frying pan on low heat until both sides are crisp and golden brown. Repeat to make 4 sandwiches. Cut in half and enjoy!

Kraft Peanut Butter Truck Hits Town

The Kraft Peanut Butter Truck #KraftPBTruck  is travelling across Canada this summer and will be in Vancouver on July 1, 2012 at Canada Place.  Check out where the truck is stopping next at or on the Kraft Peanut Butter Facebook page at

Kraft sent some samples of PB S’More, PB Belgian Waffle, PB Thai Dip with Veggies, PB & Pretzels and two local consumer creations, PB + Jam Delight, Tropical Peanut Sensation, to me along with my request, Noodles with PB Sauce and I had a rather peanut buttery week!

Are you a peanut butter lover?  I think I’ll be cooking up some more Asian-peanut noodles over the weekend.

Peanut Noodles with Chicken 

Peanut Sauce:

  • 14.5 oz chicken broth
  • 5 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp chili sauce
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  •  16 oz chicken breast, cut into strips
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 8 oz rice noodles, ramen or soba
  •  3/4 cup green onion, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 1/4 cups cup shredded broccoli slaw or cabbage
  • 1 cup bean bean sprouts
  • 8 tbsp chopped peanuts
  • 1 lime, sliced
  • cilantro

For the peanut sauce: Combine 1 cup chicken broth, peanut butter, chili, honey, 2 tbsp soy sauce, ginger, and 3 cloves crushed garlic in a small saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat stirring occasionally until sauce becomes smooth and well blended, about 5-10 minutes. Set aside.

Boil water for the noodles cook pasta according to package instructions.

Season chicken with salt and pepper, sriracha, lime, garlic, ginger and soy sauce.

Heat a large skillet or wok until hot. Add oil and sauté chicken on high heat until cooked through, about 2-3 minutes; remove from heat and set aside.

Add 2 cloves crushed garlic, scallions, carrots, broccoli slaw and/or bean sprouts and salt, sauté until tender crisp, about 1-2 minutes.

Drain noodles and toss with peanut sauce and additional chicken broth if needed to loosen the sauce. When chicken is cooked, toss with noodles.

Divide noodles and chicken between 6 bowls, top with sauteed vegetables, bean sprouts, chopped peanuts and garnish with cilantro and lime wedges.



A Year in Lucy’s (Waverman) Kitchen – Spiced Cauliflower Soup

As I waited in line a Chapters to purchase some Christmas gift certificates, the bastards had strategically placed inticing books within an easy reach.  I already have over 300 cookbooks (I’ll count and photograph soon), but there’s always something I find that I absolutely need.  It’s an obsession.  I had to discuss at length during my therapy session last year, how I would clear my shelves of the last 15 or so years of Bon Appetit, Gourmet, and various other publications.  Seriously.  And they’re online, right?  But there’s something special about a book in your hand.  Something to flip through at night while CSI drones on in the background.

So this time I was drawn to A Year in Lucy’s Kitchen, a cookbook by the Saturday contributor to the Globe and Mail, a great culinary talent with a knack for good writing.  The book is divided into months of the year and although I do know what’s in season, I though it would be a good incentive to try some different dishes each month, following Lucy through the year.  So here goes the first in a series (please pray to the time gods for me).

PS – Please be patient with my photography as I stumble through my cameras’ manuals and try to figure out how on earth to make something look good without spending hours on the setup.  Thanks.

Spiced Cauliflower Soup with Spinach

5 cups small cauliflower florets
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp fround coriander
1/2 tsp ground fennel seeds
4 cups chicken stock
3 cups baby spinach
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt and peooer

Preheat oven to 450 F
Toss cauliflower with oil, cumin, coriander and fennel and spread on a baking sheet. Roast, turning once for 20 minutes, or until cauliflower is tender and browned.
Add cauliflower and stock to a pot and bring to a boil. Cover, redcue heat to low and simmer for 10 mins
Add spinach and simmer for 1 minute or until wilted.
Puree soup and add lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Results?  I’d make it again.  Easy and tasty.

Modifications – Firstly I added some leeks, as I had them on hand and they were on the outs, so I had to use them up or risk wasting.  I put them in with the cauliflower when I roasted it.  I also added a bit of extra olive oil for flavour.
I didn’t read the instructions thoroughly so cut the florets in too large a piece, so I had to compensate by roasting and cooking a little longer.
I couldn’t find baby spinach so I added the regular and cooked for 5 minutes instead and all was well.

The lemon is a great touch. It brightens up the soup.  The dish is full of flavour and very filling for something with lower calorie count that’s packed full of nutrition.  Had this for dinner with cheese toast.  (a great way to use up an aging cauliflower – just shave off any brown/gray spots).

Roasted Cauliflower – cut smaller than I did so it takes less time and you get a better roast on a larger surface.