Bread Illustrated’s Flour Tortillas: You’ve Never Met a Tortilla Like This Before

Here’s what nobody tells you when you decide to become a bread baker:

You will never be able to go back store bought bread.

I mean any kind of bread.

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Take tortillas, for instance. I acknowledge that my words ooze of bread snobbery, but I just can’t stomach spending $5 on a pack of bland, dry tortillas, when I know I’ve got all the ingredients needed to make my own delicious, flavourful ones at home.

Except, of course, making bread is time consuming. Mixing, waiting, weighing, rolling, and cooking 12 individual flour tortillas is painfully slow compared to the quick-and-easy route of store bought.

It’s a baker’s curse!

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I’ve actually made the flour tortilla recipe from Bread Illustrated many times before, but for some reason, I’ve never posted about it. I decided to document the process during my most recent bake.

The Bread Illustrated recipe calls for simple ingredients: all-purpose flour, salt, water, and vegetable shortening. I use butter instead, and it works perfectly well.

Although they take a bit of time to whip up, the process of making tortillas is actually very easy – you don’t even need a stand mixer.

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Using your hands, you rub the butter (or shortening) and flour together, kind of like you do when making pie dough, only there is way less butter so it kind of feels like you’re not doing it right. Everything comes together when you add in water and mix it all together. Even though I measured things out by weight, not volume, I found myself a little short on water, so I added a couple of tablespoons to make a nice lump of dough come together.

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Next, you knead the dough for half a minute or so and divide it into 12 equal pieces. I’ve always just roughly eyeballed the pieces but this time, I actually measured them out so that they all weighed the same 2 ounces. You absolutely don’t have to do this (in fact, I suggest skipping it unless you’re a contestant on the Great British Bake Off: Tortilla Week).

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The 12 pieces get rolled into little uniform balls, then you cover them with plastic wrap and pop them in the fridge for at least 30 minutes and up the 3 days. I kept mine in for a couple of hours.

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The next step is where it gets a little tedious. You roll each ball of dough out between two layers of parchment paper until they become flat little tortillas.

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One by one, the tortillas get cooked in a non-stick pan with a bit of vegetable oil – just one minute per side, but multiply that by 12 and you’re standing there for nearly half an hour. I made the most of my time by rolling out each piece while the tortilla before it cooked over the stove top.

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If you’ve only ever experienced the store bought tortillas, I promise this will change your life. As with many basic breads (English muffins, dinner rolls, etc.), I have trouble describing just how good these are – the best way I can explain it is that they actually taste like something. They’re good enough to eat alone, especially if you heat them up a bit. We ate ours with Chicken souvlaki and homemade tzatziki – a meal more suited to pitas, but that tasted wonderful with these tortillas.

Bake these at your own risk – once you start, you’ll never be able to go back to the store bought stuff.

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Dorie’s Cookies’ Chocolate Oatmeal Biscoff Cookies

Christmas was very good for me this year. In addition to plenty of quality time with many of my favourite people, I was also lucky enough to land some pretty swell gifts, including a few tantalizing cookbooks. Among them was this one:

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Meet Dorie’s Cookies. Yes, a cookbook exclusively about cookies – I LOVE it! In fact, this book contains more than just your traditional cookie: it has brownies, bars, madeleines, and lots of other nice things – but everything is generally cookie-like in nature and, by golly, the recipes looked darned good.


I’ll get back to Dorie and her cookies in a moment – but first, I want to talk about Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter.

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I adore Trader Joe’s (please, oh please, let us have TJ’s in Canada one day), and I have often heard about the infamous cookie butter, but I’d never tried it myself. Before Christmas, I did a cross-border run to the Bellingham Trader Joe’s and I picked a jar on a whim to give to my friend, Jessica. I’m not sure why I had the inclination to do so – I’ve never talked about the cookie butter with Jessica, but she shares my affinity for delicious treats and I figured if it was something I wanted, it was something she’d probably like. As I wrapped it with her other gifts, I’m not going to lie: a tiny part of me wanted to keep it for myself.

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Golden Retrievers not included.

You can probably guess what happened. Jessica gave me Trader Joe’s cookie butter for Christmas, too. No joke. The weirdest part is that this is not the first time we’ve gotten each other identical Christmas gifts. I am so, so grateful for our friendship and our ability to read each other’s minds.

After finally tasting the cookie butter, I can tell you that the rumours are true: it is absolutely delicious. It’s a sweet, gingery spread the texture of smooth peanut butter but with slightly crunchy morsels, and it is dangerously addicting. I loved it – but aside from eating it out of the jar with a spoon, I wasn’t sure how to use it.


Now back to Dorie’s. As I flipped through the recipes, tackling the impossible task of deciding which to conquer first, I came across this one for Chocolate Oatmeal Biscoff Cookies. After a bit of research, I discovered that Biscoff is the exact same thing as TJ’s cookie butter. Boom: I had my first recipe.

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This is a wonderful, weird recipe that uses all kinds of good stuff: the gingery cookie butter, of course, but also oatmeal, cocoa powder, and chunks of chocolate. I knew I couldn’t go wrong.

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One of my favourite sights. (Stained cutting board and all.)

I love cookies because, generally, they are pretty easy to make. (I’m sure that will come back to haunt me as I tackle some of the more complex recipes in this book). This one is no exception: whisk the dry, cream the butter and sugar (and cookie butter), add an egg, add the dry stuff, then add the chopped chocolate.

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I should note here my New Year’s resolution for baking: I hereby vow to ditch measuring cups, where possible, and to solely rely on my food scale instead. I know – I should have been doing it this way all along. Now, I will.

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This recipe directs you to stash the dough in the fridge for a couple of hours before baking. I read the preamble stuff in this book and my takeaway is this: if Dorie writes out a specific instruction (like pop the dough in the fridge), she does it for a reason – don’t ignore her. Another tip I liked: after preheating the oven, leave it alone for an additional 10 to 15 minutes to get it nice and hot. Since cookies don’t bake for long, the right temperature makes a big difference.

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I used an ice cream scoop to produce uniform mounds of dough, then, as directed, I rolled each into a ball and squished it a little flat with the bottom of a jar. The instructions said to space the cookies about an inch apart, which ended up being about right – I had a few that spread to touch, but most kept to their own nicely.

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Dorie says to let the cookies cool for 3 minutes before transferring them to a wire cooling rack. When I tried at the 3 minute mark, they were still too soft. I let them sit about 10 minutes total before moving them.

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These cookies taste not quite like any cookie I’ve ever had before. The oatmeal gives texture, but I wouldn’t call them an oatmeal cookie. The cookie butter is almost undetectable flavour-wise – they don’t taste like the gingery cookie spread, but there is a little something in them that’s different that would be hard to put your finger on if you didn’t know the ingredient list. The cookies are definitely chocolatey – just the right amount.

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If you follow the directions exactly, as I did, you’ll end up with an absolutely perfect cookie consistency: firm but soft and chewy, just begging to be paired with a glass of milk. Best of all, my final product looked identical to the picture in the cookbook itself – always a good sign.

Based on my first batch of cookies from Dorie’s Cookies, I have a strong feeling I’m going to have quite a nice time baking my way through this book. More cookies coming your way soon!

Sea to Summit, Winter Edition

A few months ago, I waxed poetic about the fantastic Sea to Summit trail that winds from the bottom of the Chief up to the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola.

I put in a good three or four solo autumnal Sea to Summits until the rainy season set in, the days got shorter, and the motivation dissipated. But this past weekend, it was so beautiful and perfectly sunny – in the middle on January, no less – that I felt I would be insulting the Squamish weather gods if I didn’t go outside and enjoy it while it lasted.

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January 14, folks!

(Sure enough, the forecast says rain, rain, and more rain for the next little while.)

Although we had a good chunk of snow over the holidays, sun and rain have washed away most of it. I spied a few Sea to Summit hikers on Instagram and determined that it was probably in fine shape for hiking, so I laced up my trail runners (and threw my spikes in my running vest) and headed up.

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A quarter of the way – dry, dry, dry.

The trail was actually busier than I expected. Not only was it a weekend (and a stunning one at that), but it was “Social Sunday” on the Sea to Sky Gondola – meaning live tunes, board games, and pancakes (I think. I didn’t actually go into the lodge at the top on this trip, but I get the promotional emails.)

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Still, it was relatively quiet. Though I passed a few groups of happy hikers, I felt like I had the trail to myself most of the time.

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I didn’t need the spikes for a long, long time. For the bulk of the way, the trail ranged from completely clear to pretty clear. Any snowy bits were sparse and easy to plod through. The lower three quarters of the trail were maybe a little wetter than usual, and there were streams where I hadn’t noticed them in the summer.

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Things started to get snowier where the trail splits into the logging road portion towards the top. I popped on my spikes, though it is debatable whether or not I really needed them.

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There were some slippery spots where I was glad to have them, but there were also rocky bits were I had to tread lightly, trying not to wear out the metal. There were also lots of wet sections – some you could detour around, others that required you to walk right through. My feet got pretty wet, but it was close enough to the top that I didn’t really mind.

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I leapfrogged with another solo hiker for the final stretch of the trail, who had been out with friends but opted to run ahead of them to burn some energy. I can relate – while I love heading outside with buddies, sometimes it’s nice to just power up solo to clear your head and get your heart rate up.

So, there you go. This isn’t a groundbreaking post, but I thought that there may be a few people out there contemplating hiking the Sea to Summit who might like a trail condition update. Of course, things are likely to get a lot wetter with the rain coming our way – and if it’s cold enough, we could get more snow, especially at higher elevations. In fact, I would be perfectly fine with some snow higher up – I’m dying to do some snowshoeing this winter.

Bobbette & Belle’s Fleur de Sel Caramels: From Chaos to Caramel

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I had the brilliant idea to make fleur de sel caramels from my Bobbette & Belle cookbook and to give them out at Christmas time.

This, despite my fear of candy thermometers and all things candy making.

I just love caramel, and I knew that deep down, I had what it takes to make delectable, chewy, soft caramels. And it turns out that I did – I made many incredible morsels of caramel that certainly held their own against the fancy schmancy ones that sell for like, $12 for 6 pieces. But the road to tasty caramels was not an easy one.


Here is the truth: this post does not have very many pictures of the actual baking process. There are three reasons why:

  • When I decided to make the recipe, Cedric wasn’t home and I didn’t realize that he had taken the camera – which, to be fair, is his camera – until I was already underway.
  • It was already dark out and the non-natural lighting in my kitchen is super harsh and makes for ugly pictures.
  • Most importantly, the process was so chaotic that even if I’d had the camera and the lighting had been natural and perfect, there’s no chance that I would have had the time (or non-sticky hands) to snap pictures.

So let me tell you the story of the fleur de sel caramels using mostly my words.


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While the Bobbette & Belle recipe did ultimately produce some fine caramels, the directions were a little off. Step one is to spray a 10-inch square baking pan with cooking spray and to line it with parchment. Now, I don’t have a 10-inch pan – but I do have two slightly smaller ones, so I prepped them both. Looking back, if you only used a single 10-inch square pan, you would end up with INSANELY thick caramels. Pro tip: use two pans.

The next step appears to be very simple: you mix sugar, cream, corn syrup, and butter (all my favourite superfoods) into a saucepan, let it boil, stir constantly, and let the whole thing heat to 248 – not 245, not 250 – degrees Fahrenheit. But here’s where Bobbette & Belle confused me a little: they say to use a medium saucepan.

I put the ingredients into my medium saucepan, but everything already almost came to the top of the pan. I knew that once the mixture was boiling, it would likely overflow – a bigger pot was needed.

I have two other pot options: a big old spaghetti pot and a blue Le Creuset dutch oven. The former was presently in the fridge holding some leftover chili (specifically, the Oh She Glows vegan chili – soooo good), so I transferred the ingredients from the medium saucepan to the blue Le Creuse pot.

I turned on the element, set up a candy thermometer, and grabbed my digital thermometer for back up, then let nature do its thing.

Eventually, the mixture started to bubble – my cue to start “stirring constantly”, as per the instructions. As I mixed, the contents of the pot (as I predicted) started to rise. And rise. And rise.

My thermometer wasn’t remotely close to 248 degrees – yet I was quickly running out of space in my pot. As it approached the lip of the pot, I realized that if I didn’t act VERY soon, the whole thing was going to overflow.

I now had a predicament. The medium saucepan would be too small – I needed the big spaghetti one in the fridge. But in order to use it, I would have to take it out of the fridge, toss the leftover chili, and wash and dry the pot. This would entail taking the currently boiling pot off the heat and taking a break from constant stirring. Surely pausing a recipe midway would not be a good thing.

But what choice did I have? Just as the mixture starting to bubble over (and smoke like crazy), I turned off the now-sticky element, moved the pot, and started the process of preparing the spaghetti pot.

Long story short, I poured about half of the contents of the blue pot into the spaghetti pot, temporarily dismantled the smoke detector, and set both of the pots up on clean elements. I now had to juggle stirring both pots while constantly checking the temperature of each to ensure I caught it at just the right time. The candy thermometer was reading much colder than the digital one, so I kept dipping the digital one in and out of the pots – which caused strings of sticky caramel to streak across my kitchen and my clothes.

The race was on to see which pot would reach 248 degrees first. I sincerely hoped they both wouldn’t hit the temperature at the same time because there was no way I could pour two pots of bubbling caramel into two pans at once. Luckily, the blue pot hit 248 just before the spaghetti pot. I abandoned the spaghetti pot momentarily, stirred in a bit of vanilla and salt into the blue pot, then poured its contents into the first prepared baking tin. I sprinkled some fleur de sel over top, then returned my attention to the spaghetti pot, which was rapidly creeping up on 248.

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I took this photo with my phone – you can see hints of the chaos happening in my kitchen.

Once both pans had been filled, my kitchen looked like a total, utter caramel-covered war zone. While the caramel set (it needs to be cooled for 2 to 3 hours), I scrubbed the kitchen back to its original state of cleanliness. At last, it was time to cut the caramel.

The slabs of caramel are transferred from baking pan to cutting board. This is actually pretty easy, as the Bobbette & Belle instructions tell you how to make a parchment cradle of sorts. The knife gets sprayed with a bit of non-stick spray (good caramel hack!), then the chopping begins.

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Another poor quality phone photo – but mmm.

I was relieved to feel my knife glide easily into the caramel – I hadn’t overcooked it, and the fact that it held together solidly meant that I likely hadn’t undercooked it, either. Success!

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Then, the tedious part: wrapping the caramels. I cut small squares of wax paper and, one by one, wrapped each individual piece. At first, I tried wrapping them kind of like a present, but then I switched to a salt-water-taffy-esque twisted wrap. This recipe makes about a hundred caramels – that’s a lot of wrapping.

When my weary joints had twisted the last caramel, I placed them into little boxes and stored the boxes in a sealed Ziploc freezer bag. I didn’t freeze them – I just left them at room temperature. The recipe states that they can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks and, in my experience, that is spot on.

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I came. I caramelled. I conquered. The caramels were delicious and my recipients savoured each and every sweet-and-salty bite. But man, these were a beast to prepare. If you dare make them yourselves, be warned: you’re going to need a bigger pot.


I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Bread Illustrated’s Skillet Pizza

It’s been nearly a year since I first cracked open the pages of the Bread Illustrated cookbook. In that time, I’ve made a few different pizza variations. There was the fluffy, cloud-like thick-crust Sicilian-style pizza. There was a thin-crust flatbread style pizza. There were the calzones, which I ended up baking a second time with a proscuttio/cheese mix that was delicious.

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My most recent pizza attempt was for a recipe that seemed to be too easy to be true: skillet pizza. This recipe is in the first chapter of the book, “Starting from scratch” – a.k.a., foolproof recipes that just about anyone can do. As such, I had somewhat low expectations. I didn’t expect it would measure up to the other (very delicious) recipes I’d tried. As it turns out, I was pleasantly surprised.

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The skillet pizza dough is simple to make and doesn’t take much time. There’s no stand mixer required – instead, you pulse together bread flour, yeast, salt, olive oil, and some ice water in a food processor to form the dough. I used a whole wheat bread flour, which made for a delicious crust.

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The dough is then kneaded together by hand, then left to rise for a couple of hours. The recipe includes an easy tomato sauce recipe (which I bungled by forgetting to drain the liquid from the canned whole tomatoes – it was salvageable, luckily) and recommends simple toppings: some fresh mozzarella and fresh basil. You could probably add a little more, but this isn’t a super hearty crust and the bake time is pretty quick, so I think going heavy handed on the toppings could easily result in a sad, soggy pizza. I erred on the conservative side and stuck to the recommended toppings, and it was quite tasty.

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Cedric was eating a chocolate chip banana muffin and wanted it in the shot…

The uniqueness of this recipe is how the dough is baked. The recipe yields two smallish (11 inch) pizzas. You roll out each piece – the dough rolls very easily, by the way – and put it in an olive oil-coated skillet. You cook it on high on the stove top for 3 minutes (make sure the sauce doesn’t dribble out, or it could get a little burny), then pop it in a hot, 500 degree oven for 7 to 10 minutes.

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My timing was a little off for the first pizza, and the oven wasn’t entirely done preheating when I popped the pizza in, so I finished it off with a couple of minutes under the broiler before serving it.

Tip: Don’t forget that the handle of the skillet will be BURNING HOT. I very nearly forgot – that would have been disastrous.

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We drizzled our pizzas with some Nona Pia’s balsamic reduction (straight outta Whistler) and dug in for an unexpectedly delicious – and very easy – pizza dinner. The pizzas were sort of personal-pan sized. I ate about three quarters of one, while Cedric ate one and the rest of mine.

Bread Illustrated keeps on surprising me – just when I think I’ve baked all the best looking recipes, an unexpected hit emerges. Three cheers for skillet pizza!


I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Bobbette & Belle’s Sticky Toffee Pudding with Hot Bourbon Toffee Sauce: SO, SO GOOD

Here’s my sticky toffee pudding anecdote:

I have written before about my first Whistler job, which was hostessing at a now-closed restaurant. This job was fun for so many reasons, not the least of which was  the sticky toffee pudding scraps. You see, this restaurant served only one dessert: sticky toffee pudding. But oh, how it made an incredible sticky toffee pudding. The only thing I liked better was the Schinkenspeck flatbread, but I digress.

Every so often, one of the servers would flag me down and tell me I was needed in the kitchen. Sometimes, I really was needed in the kitchen – but other times, there was a plate full of the edges of a freshly baked batch of sticky toffee pudding. IT WAS THE BEST!

That’s actually only just one of many sticky toffee pudding stories that I have.  I have quite the collection of stories because I really, really love sticky toffee pudding. And yet – until recently – I had never made the dessert myself.

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Chopped dates – a.k.a., a massacre of cockroaches

For years, I was scared of the fact that sticky toffee pudding uses dates – and lots of them. I don’t like dates, so the fact that one of my favourite desserts was made with one of my least favourite ingredients was unsettling. Does anyone else think that dates look like cockroaches? I just don’t like them. So I opted for the “ignorance is bliss” approach and let other people make sticky toffee pudding for me.

So what spurred the sudden decision to overcome my fear of dates and finally bake my own batch of STP? Well, I wanted to do some cozy, winter-time baking. I offered Cedric three different recipes from my Bobbette & Belle cookbook that felt wintery, and of the three he picked the sticky toffee pudding. That was the sign I needed to finally give it a try.

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This blog post is not brought to you by Starbucks, believe it or not.

Making sticky toffee pudding isn’t difficult, but it is a little time consuming. First, you need to mush the dates. This involves cooking 25 dates (that’s how many were in my 1.25 cups of chopped, pitted dates) with some water in a saucepan, then adding some instant coffee power mixed with hot water and allowing the dates to mop up all the liquid. I had to go buy a whole box of instant coffee powder just for the one measly teaspoon required in this recipe, but I didn’t dare skip it. In other news, expect a few coffee recipes in the near future.

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Once the dates are near-mush (this took me about 15 to 20 minutes total), you let them cool and work on the batter. You cream some butter with white and brown sugar, then add some eggs. The now-room-temperature dates get added to the mix, then dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, a whopping 4.5 tsps of baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg) get mixed in until they’re juuuuust incorporated. Side note: is this the first recipe in the history of baking that doesn’t call for salt?

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Side note: while I baked this, the sun went down and so the lighting in the photos from here on out is pretty bad. Sorry – I can’t help that the days in winter are so darned short!

Once everything is combined, it forms a thick brown batter. The recipe calls for either one big 9-inch square pud or 12 ramekins for mini puddings. I only have a 12 x 12 square pan, so I used that.

As with most Bobbette & Belle recipes, this one takes longer to cook than the suggested time. The recipe told me it would require 30 to 40 minutes in the oven; it took me 55 until the middle was cooked through. The edges puffed up high and the centre was a little sunken in, but since I wasn’t making this recipe for any particular occasion, I wasn’t worried about looks.

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(Let’s be honest – I’m almost never concerned about looks with my baking. Maybe that’s a flaw. But taste is what I’m after.)

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While the pudding was cooking in the oven, I set off to make the Hot Bourbon Toffee Sauce. This starts with a mixture of butter, sugar, and cream (how can you go wrong) that melts in a saucepan, eventually coming to a boil and bubbling on. It says to remove the pan from the heat when “the sauce is slightly thickened”. I wasn’t sure how to interpret this. My sauce didn’t feel super thick, but I felt like I was letting it bubble for quite a while and I didn’t want to burn the toffee – something I’ve found in the past can happen all too quickly. Off the burner, I added in the final two ingredients: some vanilla and two tablespoons of bourbon.

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Mmm… sauce pool

I stabbed some holes in the pudding and poured in a good half of the sauce. Because my pud dipped in the middle, the sauce ran down and accumulated into a puddle of deliciousness. I brushed the sauce to the edges and it all got soaked in.

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Cedric and I tucked in while the pudding was still warm, scooping plenty of extra sauce on top.

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IT TASTED AMAZING. I have never had a bad sticky toffee pudding, and this one was certainly restaurant caliber. We ate our squares in silence, savouring every bite. The bourbon in the sauce gave it a super tasty kick – definitely don’t skip this ingredient, even if you have to go and buy a whole bottle of bourbon for two mere tablespoons (guilty!) A scoop of Lucia Gelato’s Vanilla KO would have been amazing, but the pudding held its own even without ice cream.

It’s safe to say that this definitely won’t be my last time making sticky toffee pudding. Here’s to many more pudding memories to add to my repertoire!


I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

The Official 2017 Magee Running Awards

My goal is really to get outside, explore the local trails, stay healthy and injury-free, and gain a little confidence on running trails.

This is a self-quote from a blog post I wrote nearly a year ago, where I laid out my running plans for 2017. I mostly succeeded in my overall goal, though I failed a little on the “stay healthy and injury-free” side of things – but I’m exiting 2017 in one piece with seven races under my belt (or, more accurately, my running vest). I’d call that a win.

To cap off a season of running, races, and physio visits, I thought I’d get a head start on award show season and celebrate some of my greatest (and not so greatest) running moments of the year.

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Best Race Swag

Overall, this was a positive year for race swag. There was good swag (hats!) and less good swag (so many – too many – drawstring bags), but one race’s swag really stands out: 5 Peaks Alice Lake.

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I didn’t even run this race, but as a volunteer, I got to take home a pair of the neon orange running glove/mitten combos that has become a staple of my winter running wardrobe. Two mittened thumbs up for 5 Peaks Alice Lake!

Best Event to Volunteer At

I volunteered at several races this year (even a mountain biking one!), but the Squamish 50 takes the cake. I volunteered at the package pick up for the 50k, and it was unbelievably well organized. There vibe is positively electric and it was fun matching race bibs with IDs from around the country, continent, and indeed, world. A+ experience.

Best Runner’s High Moment

My spirits were never higher than they were as I finished the Comfortably Numb race in June. I’m not sure why I loved this race so much – I wasn’t particularly fast and there was nothing really out of the ordinary, but I loved running point-to-point on unfamiliar trails, and cruising downhill for the second part of the race was just so, so fun.

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I loved this race and I hope to run in again in the future.

Most Humbling Race

The Squamish 50 23k KICKED MY BUTT. The horrible extra hill detour I took from accidentally veering off course certainly didn’t help.

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This was just a tough race for me – the toughest I’ve ever run. I still can’t figure out if it was because I undertrained or was just having an off day (it happens), or if it is due to the tricky terrain and unforgiving uphills towards the end. I finished the race feeling extremely humbled.

Most Satisfying Race

The Squamish Days 8K was a personal favourite. I love this small local race – it’s a straightforward out-and-back road race and I squeaked in under the 40 minute mark.

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For someone who tends to sit comfortably on the slower side of the middle-of-the-pack in trail runs, it’s fun to be able to run a fast race on the roads. I’m proud of this one!

2017 Trail of Distinction Award

After exploring many of the trails around Alice Lake and Garibaldi Highlands, I proclaim Roller Coaster the recipient of my favourite trail award. I don’t know what it is – it winds so perfectly, meandering up and down (but mostly down) through the beautiful woods without too many death traps to trip over. I love it!

2017 Trail of Terror Award

The first few months of 2017 consisted of awful icy patches, but no section terrified me as much as the bridge by the waterfall on Covenant. On one bitterly cold run, we almost wiped out as the slanted wooden slats were transformed into a wipe-out zone of black ice death. Even in perfect conditions, I STILL cross this bridge with great caution and hesitation.

Best Food

Hands down, the tastiest and most random finish line food were the Hot Buns Cinnamon Buns at Comfortably Numb. Hey – maybe they had something to do with my runner’s high?

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Most Satisfying Impulse Race

I initially only had 3 races on my agenda for 2017, but I signed up for another 4 races on relatively short notice. My last race of 2017 was the Boundary Bay Half Marathon. Just shy of two months out, I decided to take a break from trail running to focus on roads for a bit.

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My training wasn’t pretty (see: injuries and more gym time than running time), but the race ended up being a lot of fun and gave me the extra push I needed to end the year on a good note.


As 2017 comes to a close, I’ve started thinking about my running goals for 2018. I haven’t solidified anything yet, but I already know it’s going to be a tricky year. I’ll be away for some of the big races of the year (including Comfortably Numb and the Squamish 50), but my goals include trying a few new races, running a road race in another province, and enjoying many sunny days on the trails enjoying the smell of hot trees (my favourite smell ever).

Happy trails!