Monthly Archives: November 2011

Week # 11 – Salted Caramel Nut Brittle

Chef Jonathan’s Part:

I’m going to re-title my recipe for this week: Salted Caramel Not-So-Brittle. My one flaw this week was not having a proper candy thermometer to test the doneness of the caramel sauce. I was going purely on sight and this was not enough. Nevertheless, it still tasted amazing! I also used walnuts instead of macadamia nuts, and I sprinkled fleur de sel on top! Yum, this is the most delicious salt in the world. If you ever find it in a specialty store, buy it!

Karen’s part:

*Warning!* once this stuff has cooled, you will stand at the counter and eat the whole pan if you don’t have any self-control!

Macadamia nuts are my most favourite nut in the world.  That’s why I couldn’t pass up this recipe that I found in a grocery store holiday magazine/cookbook.  This brittle is easy to make and exceptional to eat.  My one recommendation is that you have a candy thermometer to use. And, that you wait the alloted time to take if off of the stove.  I made this candy twice.  The first time I was too anxious and it was a bit sticky the next day.  This time I waited the exact time and it’s perfect!

One other note:  I added more salt than 1 tsp.  Salted caramel and salted chocolate are my favourite snacks right now; the more the better in my book!  Other than that, I followed the recipe as written and I’m pretty sure it won’t last long and I’d better take some to work to give to my co-workers.


The recipe:

“Salted Caramel Nut Brittle.” Inspired/Sobey’s Grocery Stores Fall 2011: 32. Web.

Week #10 – Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cakes

Karen’s Part:

This week’s recipe is a nice twist on pumpkin pie.  It’s a Paula Deen recipe called: Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cakes.  If you’re looking for something different, here it is.

I’ve made this recipe twice in a week.  I followed the recipe exactly each time with one exception:  I used a spice cake recipe instead of a yellow cake recipe.  Not that I’d EVER question Paula, but I just thought that with pumpkin, a spice crust might be nicer.

This is an easy recipe to make.  My only complaint is that it never seems to finish cooking in the middle.  Both times I kept it in longer than recommended but I’ve finally had to remove it from the oven so the cake part won’t burn.  I’m open to suggestions if anyone tries this.

It tastes like pumpkin pie but looks like a cake. I think you’ll appreciate something new in the way of pumpkin.  Give it a try!

Chef Jonathan’s Part:

Planning the recipe out, I decided to change the recipe a bit and make a 9X9 square cake, rather than the recommended 13X9. So, I made the cake crust verbatim, but I halved the filling ingredients to fit the new pan. This was nice, because it was smaller, but there was also too much cake in the bottom for my liking. Next time, I would make two 9X9 pans using the recipe verbatim. I didn’t have much trouble with this recipe, except for the cooking time. I raised the baking temp from 350 to 375, and it should’ve only taken 30 minutes, but it ended up taking 50 minutes, at which point I turned off the oven, kept the cake in the oven and let it dry out a bit. This seemed to actually bake the cake the rest of the way, but shouldn’t be a necessary step. I love the taste and texture of this cake, it does taste like pumpkin pie with a twist. I would recommend this recipe, but keep in mind the baking time and plan accordingly.

The recipe can be found at:

Deen, Paula. “Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cakes Recipe : Paula Deen : Food Network.” Food Network – Easy Recipes, Healthy Eating Ideas and Chef Recipe Videos. Web. 20 Nov. 2011. <;.

Week 9 – Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Karen’s Part:

The best cookies I’ve ever made are my chocolate chip cookies.  I probably won’t post the recipe because it’s my secret 🙂  The 2nd best cookies I’ve ever made are the ones from this blog.  They’re called: Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies and they are to die for!  I made the recipe as written with one exception.  When I went to grab my box of semi-sweet chocolate, I found that all I had on hand was unsweetened chocolate.  Too lazy to run to the store, I started digging through my cupboards to see what I might have on hand. That’s when I spied my chocolate Easter bunny from my husband that I had never eaten.  It was a true cookie miracle!  I took him down, unwrapped him and when I found he was still fresh I chopped him in to pieces and put him in the cookies.  Voila!  He was marvelous and so were the cookies!

My one hint is to make sure they cool before removing them. They are very moist and tend to break apart easily.   Enjoy!  We sure did!

  (Jonathan and I didn’t plan the “cookies and milk” photo. We both did it without the other knowing about it 🙂  )

Jonathan’s Part:

I’ve never been very good at baking cookies. I’m better at decorating or sprinkling designs on them. So, this week was a challenge for me, but I found this recipe surprisingly easy. I very much dislike cutting up chocolate, not sure why this is, but I tried using my food processor to do this task. I would highly discourage this. It was extremely loud, and it didn’t end up chopping the chocolate into small enough pieces, so I ended up chopping it by hand anyway! My only criticism was the consistency, it seemed as though when I took the cookies out of the oven they weren’t done. But once I let them cool, they were very gooey and delicious! I received many compliments on these at a family gathering this weekend, and I highly recommend them.


“Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies Recipe at” Welcome. Web. 13 Nov. 2011. <;.

Week 8 – Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Chef Jonathan’s part:

I was looking forward to this week’s blog, because I very much enjoy making dips like this one. There were a few changes I made though. Instead of boiling both the spinach and artichokes, I just boiled the spinach, and then I threw it in the food processor to puree it into a paste. I added the artichokes to it, then added the rest of the ingredients. I also used fresh artichokes, instead of frozen, and I put some of the marinade in with the dip, it added a nice flavour. I also put it in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, to let it all warm up together. It was a nice addition to lunch, but it would also be a nice appetizer, or even a snack.

Karen’s part:

To be honest, I wasn’t thrilled with this week’s recipe.  I’ve had better artichoke dip from my friend, Darlene, than from Alton Brown.  I think one of the big differences is that he recommends using frozen artichokes.  I used the ones from a can but I know Darlene uses the ones from a jar that have been in herbal oil.  I also found that there wasn’t enough “kick” for me.  I didn’t add the garlic powder because I was out, but it wasn’t that much, anyway so I’m not sure it would have made a difference.

Sorry,Alton.  I probably won’t make this one, again.  I’ll go back and get Darlene’s recipe!

Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip


  • 1 cup thawed, chopped frozen spinach
  • 11/2 cups thawed, chopped frozen artichoke hearts
  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder


Boil spinach and artichokes in 1 cup of water until tender and drain. Discard liquid. Heat cream cheese in microwave for 1 minute or until hot and soft. Stir in rest of ingredients and serve hot.

Brown, Alton. “Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip Recipe : AltonBrown : Food Network.” Food Network – Easy Recipes, Healthy Eating Ideas and Chef Recipe Videos. Web. 06 Nov. 2011. <;.