Cook the Books | Recipes

30 day cookbook recipe challenge – week 3

Welcome to week 3 of my cookbook recipe challenge.    I’ve challenged myself to gather my cookbooks from their resting spots, and actually try some of the recipes within.

With Christmas parties and gatherings in full swing down under (sorry guys for those stuck in covid cancellations), this week has been mostly Christmas recipes, although there is THE most delicious dinner in amongst it, that is just perfect for my North American / European friends enduring winter.  

So without further ado, these are the recipes I’ve tried and tested this week.

 #15 Best-Ever Chewy Gingerbread Cookies – halfway through our cookbook recipe challenge

Who doesn’t love gingerbread cookies right? So this was the first recipe I was drawn to in the Betty Crocker book. This makes a LOT of cookies, which I could see from the start, so I halved it. It’s an easy enough recipe to make, and the cookies were nice. Not groundbreaking nice, just nice. I preferred the other Gingerbread cookies (from week one).

Cookbook: Betty Crocker Christmas Cookbook

#16 Butterscotch Truffles

Who wouldn’t want to eat butterscotch truffles? So how could I not make them. These are a little fiddly and messy as all truffles are, but the results are oh so worth it. I did modify the recipe slightly, and put white chocolate on the outside of mine, as I just felt that a double batch of dark chocolate would be too much for me. I made these for a Christmas tennis function, popped them in a bowl, and popped that all on this Reindeer Popp sign I made. (Let me know if you want the file for this.) It gave everyone a good laugh, and then they started swooning once they were eating the truffles.

Cookbook: Donna Hay Christmas Feasts and Treats

#17 Basic Gingerbread Cookie Dough

I know – another gingerbread recipe!  I love how Donna made hers into Christmas trees, and although I would have loved to have done that, this time I was baking for a charity, and these cookies needed to be eaten, not be a decoration.  As are most gingerbread recipes, this was nice and easy, and yum yum.

Cookbook: Donna Hay Christmas Feasts and Treats

Gingerbread cookies, using Donna Hay recipe.  Part of my cookbook recipe challenge.

#18 Parpadelle with slow cooked beef brisket

I need to confess a sin here ….. eek. In the midst of this challenge, I broke my resolve and brought a new book. I just couldn’t resist this one. I had gotten this book out of the library, and instantly saw it was one I HAD to have on my bookshelf. Aside from how the book is structured, it was the recipes that again tipped the tide, and had me with my credit card out.

And each recipe I have made from this book already has been a winner.

This recipe’s base is the slow-cooked beef brisket. But the beauty of this book is that Donna shows you a base (like the brisket), and then offers three different ways of finishing / serving it. So with the brisket, there is the parpadelle, Brisket Pot Pies, and Simple Beef and Ricotta Lasagne.

The base recipe made so much I was able to get two meals + out of it, so I made the Parpadelle the first night, and the pies next.

This was over the top delicious. For a small amount of prep work, and 3 hours of cooking, this is AMAZING! My men were in raptures about it, and I won their hearts just a little bit more when I served this. If you’re languishing in lockdown, stuck inside in the middle of a cold and miserable winter, you NEED this. This will warm both your heart, and your home.

You need this book, and you need to make this.  End.of.story.Cookbook: Basics to Brilliance, Donna Hay

#19 Chocolate Fudge Cake

As the bathroom renovation is still in full swing in our house, I have tradies in and out all day long. I like to keep them happy with good cups of coffee and tea, and sweet treats for morning and afternoon tea. Today it was Donna Hay’s Chocolate Fudge Cake. Simple to make, and oh so yummy. Somehow this cake seems to achieve a lightness your don’t expect from a fudge cake, with the intensity of flavour from something so much denser. This is a true winner, and the fact I have no photos of it is testament to that, as the builder and his crew ate the lot before I had a chance to photograph it.

Seriously, I would be so happy to do an entire cookbook recipe challenge with just this book. It’s that good!

Cookbook: Basics to Brilliance, Donna Hay

#20 Brisket Pot Pies

OK, I’m cheating slightly, because I’ve already made the brisket, and this dinner is part 2.  With so much of the delicious meat left over, it’s an easy decision to make the pot pies.  Because who can resist flaky pastry, filled with melt in your mouth beef?  Not me!  To go with the pies, I whipped up mash potatoes (in my Thermomix, the best way to make mash!), and accompanied this with a mix of steamed broccoli, asparagus, and fresh beans from my garden.  Another super hero dinner, that again took just a few minutes to prepare.  Donna Hay – thank you!  We all thank you!

And sorry, no photos, we were too busy stuffing our hungry faces.

Cookbook: Basics to Brilliance, Donna Hay

#21 Strawberry Cloud Cake

If you’re looking for a super easy, make ahead, summer stunner dessert, this is it. Seriously, 5 ingredients thrown in your mixer, turn it on and walk away for 8 minutes, and you have this amazing topping. Spread it over a biscuit base, then freeze. Voila – you simply pull this baby out of the freezer when you’re ready to serve, and stun your guests with the beauty of this cake, and throughout every delicious bite. Winner winner – thanks Annabel.

If you want to see what the mix looks like, check it HERE.

Cookbook: Annabel Langbein – The Free Range Cook

Want to see what has already been cooked throughout my cookbook recipe challenge?  First was WEEK 1, followed naturally by WEEK 2.  Stay tuned for week 4!

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