One of my favourite things about Christmas (and I have many) is going though my cookbooks and finding new recipes for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinners. You have to have turkey, of course, and gravy and stuffing and cranberry sauce, but the sides are equally important, and the dessert even more so.

When I received DK’s Complete Children’s Cookbook ($30.99), I was expecting to find some neat recipes my seven year old and I could make together. And I did. Lots. But I also found new cookie recipes as well as my dessert – for both nights.

I have already made the Star Cookies, which I didn’t ice because I like my cookies plain. They are delicious. I would likely use less sugar and add more orange zest. I would also try adding some orange juice to the honey.

For my desserts I plan to make the blueberry cheesecake and the chocolate tart, although the lemon drizzle cake and the ginger and pumpkin slices might also make an appearance. Not everyone likes chocolate like I do.

What I like about this cookbook is that every recipe gets a two-page full-colour glossy spread with a picture with each step as well as the finished product. The ingredient list is nicely laid out and there is also a variation or a tip to go with each recipe. Then there are the recipes themselves. Each sound delicious.

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Jamie Oliver also has a couple new cookbooks out including Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook ($37.99, HarperCollins). I was flipping through it and noticed a churro recipe. I have always wanted to try making churros. How can you go wrong? Cinnamon and dough. Yum.

I was surprised to see Oliver use self-rising flour to make his churros, which I use to make oliebollen, deep-fried deliciousness to celebrate the new year with the Dutch side of the family.

I am not sure if I made the recipe incorrectly or I don’t like churros, but I don’t need to make them again (despite really wanting to toast Titan with a churro. If you don’t know what I am talking about, you need to see Megamind with Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt and Tina Fey. Hilarious.) In Oliver’s recipe, you cool the dough for 10 minutes before dropping it into the oil for frying. When I make oliebollen the batter sits for a half a hour before it rises enough for me to cook them. This dough was too thin so I added more flour in order for churros to look like anything other then flat blobs. I wasn’t able to create stars or other shapes like Oliver did, but I did get a snowman (wish I could say that was intentional, but I would be lying). I would also add cinnamon to the batter. I really like cinnamon.

 

The cookbook is thick, with more than 350 pages of recipes and photos. My only complaint? I prefer glossy pictures in a cookbook.

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Oliver’s second cookbook Super Foods Family Classics ($37.99, HarperCollins.ca) has glossy pictures. It also has a fairly large section of tips, tricks and advice on food and nutrition to “help you and your family live well.” I like information in cookbooks so this pleases me.

There are a good variety of recipes as well including breakfast, quick fixes, pasta and risotto and health classics.

Note: Book publishers and distributors send me books, but the opinions are my own.

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