Best Ever Cottage Chocolate Chip Cookies
Mom's Christmas Chocolate Roll
For years, I have been asked for the recipe for my "best ever" chocolate chip cookies. Well, here it is. The secret is to slightly underbake them, which keeps them chewy and tasting a little bit like that raw cookie dough we all secretly love. My sister-in-law Amanda has stolen the torch for making the best batch - I suppose they are a bit of a craft. My mom has to hide these from my husband or they disappear in seconds.
MAKES 4 DOZEN
Creamy Winter Tomato Soup
This is my mom's version of a Yuletide log, a Christmas tradition at the Magwood table. It's far more casual than the usual fancy version, and so delicious. Now that our family numbers ten adults and ten kids, she may need to make three! The chocolate sauce comes from a cookbook of my great-grandmother's.
Elena's Curried Corn Chowder
This pantry soup is so quick and so comforting, but tastes like it took you hours. It's also good cold.
SERVES 4 TO 6
Elena Embrioni, my vital recipe tester and contributor, makes wonderful soups—hearty and full of flavour. Like me, she doesn't typically write her recipes down. This corn chowder started with a soup of hers I love in her Southern Accent cookbook—a Cajun-style soup. After many variations, we added creamed corn and put tomatoes in at the end. The result is a cozy comfort meal in a bowl.
Simple Sole Meunière
This recipe is inspired by a photo from Sara Foster's Fresh Every Day. This is an easy and pretty dish, colourful and unexpected.
SERVES 4 TO 6
Apricot & Cranberry Buttermilk Scones
Pan-fried with lemon is how my dad used to cook his freshly caught Georgian Bay bass. Later I discovered this was an age-old classic French dish. The first time I made this for my kids, I was nervous they wouldn't go for it, since they were so used to baked fish sticks. But Fin fell in love with it, and it immediately went on his "Fin's Dinners" list.
Lemon Poppyseed Muffins
For almost ten years, these scones were a favourite dish café item. Former dish chef Elena popularized them, and she still makes the best!
MAKES 8 MEDIUM SCONES.
Candied Parsnip Fries
I got hooked on Starbucks' lemon poppy seed loaf after my workouts, which unfortunately completely defeated the purpose of the exercise. And so began my hunt for a slightly healthier lemon poppy seed creation, which ended with this recipe. To revert to a less healthy but equally delicious version, add some cream cheese to the glaze and ice the cooled muffins.
MAKES 12 MUFFINS
Mac & Cheese
When parsnips are roasted, they become so sweet and caramelized from their natural sugars that I always want to call them "candied."
SERVES 4 TO 6
Carrot Soup In a Mug
We tested this recipe more than any other in this book, or so it feels. The goal was the perfect mac and cheese for kids as well as adults. My sister-in-law Amanda's mom, Wendy, gave us her recipe, and we loved her tangy mayo addition, and I took direction from our kids, whose favourite (until now!) was a prepared mac and cheese with big chunky croutons with paprika. This recipe has just a touch of spice, but feel free to add a bit more cayenne. The penne noodle won, and the key is tons of sauce.
SERVES 8 TO 10
This is the first soup I remember making. The original recipe came from my mom's friend Lynn Pady. Not only is it delicious, it's quick and easy, the kids like it and I always have the ingredients on hand.
When I held a competition for the "best" granola, so many people contributed great recipes that I just couldn't make up my mind. This recipe combines the best of my age-old granola and my friends Kara's and Ebie's versions. My seasoned recipe tester Chef Elena Embrioni stepped in with her final tweaks.
MAKES 12 CUPS (3 L)