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30 Day cookbook recipe challenge – week 1

I’m a little obsessed with cookbooks. There, I said it, that’s the first step in getting over an addiction isn’t it? Admitting it?? But it’s not just cookbooks, it’s actually recipes.

I pour over magazines, taking photos of my favourite recipes, saving them to make later. And I have quite a few (ok, that’s an understatement, I have a LOT). The magazines come and go, so I’m pretty good at trying out those recipes.

But my cookbooks – they just seem to be a collection. They almost never get looked at, except perhaps to look up an old favourite. I haven’t tried anything new out of one of my cookbooks in years, and to be fair, most of them are just gathering dust and taking up a lot of room. (Which I hear about from the fisherman every so often).

So in November, I’m challenging myself to try one new recipe a day, from those very said cookbooks. Yes, I’m dusting them off, and taking them for a spin. #30recipesin30days I’m also using it as a good opportunity to try out a few holiday recipes – to see if there’s anything I want to add to our Thanksgiving or Christmas table, or to share beforehand at one of the many functions we host.

I’d love you to follow along with me. Copy a recipe I make (& recommend) or try a recipe from one of your unloved cookbooks. Don’t forget to share below.

So here goes … my 30 day cookbook recipe challenge

#1 Gingerbread Cookies with Royal Icing

I am a sucker for gingerbread cookies – although they don’t have to be in the shape of a gingerbread person! 🤣 And whilst I love eating them, I also love making them, and sharing that experience with my kids, and my nephews and nieces. It’s been something I’ve done for years, and I hope they all have fond memories of making these cookies with me.

Although I think I’ve perfected my own recipe, I’m always willing to try another one – because who knows if it could be better. If you’ve never made your own, you should definitely give it a go, as they’re very easy to make. The mixture itself is super quick to put together, but you do need to chill it in the fridge before you roll it out. As a tip, because this recipe does make a large amount, break off a third of the mixture at a time to roll it out. Leave the rest in the fridge chilling, or it could warm up to much (which will make it sticky when rolling).

Gingerbread cookies - 30 day cookbook recipe challenge

These were very nice cookies, slightly soft and chewy.

Cookbook: Betty Crocker’s Christmas Cookbook

#2 French Onion Soup

Who doesn’t love a hot soup on a cold day? Well …. we’re in the middle of a hot spring here in NZ, but that didn’t deter me from making this soup for dinner. I LOVE french onion soup, and haven’t made it in years. It’s not actually something you find too often on a menu in NZ, so I was really excited to see the recipe in this book.

I loved also that it was made in the crock pot, as I had a busy day out, and was able to start in the morning before I left, and get hubby to do step two to continue it. My verdict – delish! If you’re a french onion soup fan, you should definitely make this. Really easy, and super YUM.

Cookbook: Half Baked Harvest Super Simple

#3 Coconut Banana Muffins

Another recipe from Super Simple, and I needed to make these as I had several over ripe bananas to use. Nice and easy to make, and I should note there’s no sugar (honey is used instead). The muffins are great, beautiful light texture. I would change up the streusel topping a little though, and use coconut thread or dessicated coconut instead of the flaked coconut. (The flaked just seemed to big and not so easy to eat. And (shhh) I’d throw a little brown sugar in the struesel too (I mean, you can’t have streusel without sugar right?!).

Coconut banana muffins - cookbook recipe challenge

Cookbook: Half Baked Harvest Super Simple

#4 Garlic-Herb Roadhouse Rolls

It was a rainy miserable day, so making some hot bread rolls for lunch seemed like the perfect thing. Who wouldn’t be comforted by hot bread coming out of the oven, and immediately slathering it with butter?!

As with most bread recipes, you need to plan and start this a few hours before you make it. Sadly, for me, I didn’t achieve much rise in these, so you’re not going to get a ‘winning’ photo from me.

The plus was that they tasted good – the herbs in them were a nice addition. But they were quite sweet, I’d be tempted to cut out quite a bit of the sugar, especially as it didn’t seem to make any difference to the yeast rising (in my case).

I am going to try these again, amending the method a little to see if I can get a more successful bun out of them.

Cookbook: Betty Crocker Christmas Cookbook

#5 Bourbon and Maple Chocolate Truffles

We have a winner! OMG YUM. Very easy to make, all of the time in making these is in forming them. Which really isn’t that long, and it’s a nice process. We don’t have ‘heavy’ cream in NZ (perhaps that’s thickened cream??), so I used normal cream, and my truffles are VERY soft. It makes them divine to eat, but a little troublesome to roll. And I think I’ll need to be serving them straight from the fridge.

Making truffles is a messy but delicious job
Rolling your truffles is a little messy – but you do get to lick your hands when you’re finished!

Definitely something to add to the menu for any special occasion, and I’ll be adding these to my Christmas sweets platter. The added bonus is that you can make them up to 3 weeks ahead – always a winner in holiday season.

PS. I changed out the bourbon for brandy, as I don’t own any bourbon.

Cookbook: Holiday Cookies by Elisabet der Nederlanden

#6 South American Alfajores

I fell in love with Alfajores while in Argentina. Whilst the cookie is nice, I’m a sucker for caramel, and it seems that Dulce de Leche is a national dish in Argentina. Seriously, it’s in EVERYTHING, and even sits on the breakfast table.

I was really excited for this recipe, it uses cornstarch which usually makes a really soft melt in the mouth cookie. It also includes brandy in the cookie – I’ve never used alcohol in a cookie base before.

The verdict – yum (but ….). They’re not the melt in the mouth texture I was hoping for, so for me, they didn’t meet my expectations. BUT, the dulce de leche in the centre does help lift them. My guests were pretty happy with them, and making them happy is always a winner for me.

#7 Lemon Butter Cod

I thought I’d better cook a dinner (you know I have to throw one in every now and then!), and I really liked the look of this recipe. Plus, it’s asparagus season downunder right now, so perfect timing. I used a local fish (gurnard) instead of the cod. This was an easy and really yummy dinner, I’d definitely make it again. One of my kids girlfriends was with us for dinner, and had never eaten asparagus because she was worried about the ‘asparagus pee’. Her words afterward was that it was ‘potent’!! Glad we could give her this first!!!

Cookbook: Half Baked Harvest Super Simple


So there you go, week 1 done. I’m super happy to have one delicious dish to add to my Christmas sweets platter, and a new fish dinner to add into the repertoire.

Wonder what next week will bring – stay tuned!

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One Comment

  1. These are all great ideas! I’m inspired to get out my old cookbooks.

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