A rich, decadent chocolate lava cake that’s made without flour so it’s naturally gluten free! The perfect dessert for the holidays or date night in.
It’s been a while since you’ve seen a cookbook review around here, and there are a number of reasons. For one, it takes a really long time to test a cookbook, and make enough recipes so that I feel comfortable giving you a review.
But the Canadian Living slogan is “Tested Till Perfect” — and I had to know, ya know?
So far, I’ve made 3 recipes from The Ultimate Cookbook from Canadian Living, and they’ve all been spot on. These Flourless Chocolate Lava Cakes I’ve already made twice, and I also made the Sticky Toffee Cake and the Pineapple-Glazed Ham. I have a bunch of other pages marked and have no doubt that I’ll be adding to my list of sampled recipes very soon!
I was really interested in trying these Flourless Chocolate Cakes first, because my brother-in-law was recently diagnosed with Celiac disease and I’m always on the lookout for great, naturally gluten-free desserts. I shared the recipe with my sister immediately after baking them, with the only explanation being, “keeper”. They’re easy, and they come out perfectly. And besides, chocolate.
Sticky Toffee anything is maybe my favorite dessert of all time (but I mean, really — can I pick a favorite?) and this is my new go-to recipe for Sticky Toffee Cake. It’s so moist, and has that rich, deep date flavor and is just…. wow.
The Pineapple-Glazed Ham recipe I used for my first ever real ham! Since we have a small family, I’ve never really had a need to cook a full ham, but I wanted to try it this year because we love ham. I was a little nervous about how it would turn out, but it couldn’t be simpler (or more delicious!).
On my to try list? The easy No Knead Sandwich Bread recipes, Basque Roast Chicken, and Sugar Pie.
Here’s an overview of my thoughts on the book.
Things I love:
- It’s a comprehensive (read:huge) book. There is a recipe for pretty much anything you’d ever need, which I guess is why it’s called The Ultimate Cookbook.
- It includes nutritional information for all of the recipes. I’m not exactly sure whether I blame these 10 extra pounds on the baby or the blog, but it is really nice to see the nutritional information for recipes! It seems like a rare thing these days.
- It speaks to my Canadian heart. Recipes for Butter Tarts, Nanaimo Bars, Tourtiere, Date Squares, “Canoe Paddle Doughnuts” (known to me as BeaverTails) stir up my fierce pride in the Canadian culture and it’s incredible culinary traditions. I can’t wait to dig into them more deeply!
- The recipes are “tested till perfect”. From my first few experiences with the recipes, I believe this to be true. Obviously I can’t speak for all of them.
Things I’d love to see:
- More photos. This is really, honestly, the only thing that stuck out to me. I understand that when you have a cookbook with 450+ recipes, to include a photo of all of them might be crazy. But I do really love to see a photo of what I’m making.
I think this is a really solid, thorough resource to add to your kitchen library. I made my first 3 recipes in maybe the first week I had it, and I feel like it’s destined to be that book on the shelf that gets dog-eared, and stained, and passed on 30, 40, 50 years with my scribbles all over it, just as it should be.
*Note: The total time listed in the cookbook says 3 hours, which must be an error. These lava cakes will take you 30-40 minutes and no more!
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Flourless Chocolate Lava Cakes and a review of “The Ultimate Cookbook” from Canadian Living
- 340 grams bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chopped
- 1/2 cup butter cubed
- 1 vanilla bean
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 6 eggs
- 6 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder sifted
- pinch of salt
- 340 grams strawberries diced
- whipped cream optional
- In a heatproof bowl over hot (not boiling) water, melt chocolate with butter, stirring until smooth. Halve vanilla bean lengthwise; using tip of sharp knife, scrape seeds into chocolate mixture. Stir to combine. Discard vanilla bean pod or save for another use. Remove chocolate mixture from heat.
- Whisk sugar into chocolate mixture. Whisk in eggs and egg yolks, one at a time. Whisk in cocoa powder and salt. Pour into 12 greased 6-oz (175mL) ramekins; place on rimmed baking sheet. (Make ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours; add 5 minutes to baking time.)
- Bake in 425 F (220 C) oven until edges are set and centres are slightly jiggly when tapped, about 15 minutes. Let cool for 3 minutes. Run knife around edges of cakes; turn out onto plates. Garnish with strawberries, and whipped cream (if using).
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