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All The Sweet Things by Renée Kohlman and published by Touchwood Editions is full of Renée’s heartwarming stories, over 100 recipes, and did you know that she photographed her entire cookbook with an iPhone? That’s quite impressive for a 320 page cookbook! What I love about this book is that Renée shares recipes for a few classic Canadian baked goods, some of which I am unfamiliar with or I’ve never heard of, like “Chocolate Matrimonial Cake” (on page 52–53) and “Puffed Wheat Cake” (on pages 56-57). The latter, apparently, is very popular in rural parts of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. I had no idea this was a thing. I’m not even sure I’ve ever eaten puffed wheat, to be honest. I’ve dog-eared the page for later because I am intrigued. I think it’s high time I start baking more Canadian treats and discovering all the great recipes my country has to offer, and Renée’s book has many of these. But obviously, I had to start with the peanut butter cookies.
All The Sweet Things is organized into chapters that are focused on the different types of baked goods: like Cookies and Bars, Tarts and Pies, Custards and Puddings, etc. And within each recipe, the instructions are quite clear. Ingredients are given in cups only. No weight conversions are offered here. Most of the ingredients she uses are readily available, and in the few recipes with an ingredient that perhaps not every reader might have, she offers a substitution.
I tested several recipes from this book, as I always do before writing a review, specifically the Dark Chocolate Banana Rye Muffins (page 96), the Brown Butter Lemon Poppy Seed Madeleines (page 234), and the Double Peanut Butter and White Chocolate Chunk Cookies (page 54). My favourite was Renée’s recipe for Double Peanut Butter and White Chocolate Chunk Cookies which made these perfect, giant chewy peanut butter cookies with white chocolate chunks, the kind of cookies I dream of with a lovely balance of salty and sweet. These cookies are heftier than the classic peanut butter cookies I made years ago. One thing I noticed when I baked from All The Sweet Things: some of the recipes have a lot more salt than I’m used to, so if you are baking from this book, be aware, especially that Renée bakes with Maldon salt a lot, and I found that my “flaky salt” equivalent yielded overly salty baked goods in some cases. When it came to the Dark Chocolate Banana Rye Muffins on page 96, I was careful to reduce the salt quantity because I was a little worried about adding a whole teaspoon of coarse salt to the muffin batter. The muffins I made had a lovely texture and crumb, and I really enjoyed that they were not sweet at all (there’s just some mashed banana and a little maple syrup in the recipe). They make a good afternoon snack with a whole grain, bittersweet chocolate flavour, a lovely accompaniment to my afternoon cuppa. I froze the extra muffins I made and I’ve noticed they defrost really well.
You can buy All The Sweet Things by Renée Kohlman on Amazon, and be sure to visit Renée’s blog sweetsugarbean. In the meantime, here is the recipe for chewy peanut butter cookies with white chocolate chunks. This makes thick, chewy peanut butter cookies that with a nice salty-sweet balance. If you share them with friends or colleagues, these cookies will make you very popular.
Chewy peanut butter cookies
- 230 grams unsalted butter 1 cup, softened
- 520 grams all natural, unsweetened smooth peanut butter room temperature
- 300 grams granulated sugar 1 1/2 cups
- 200 grams light brown sugar 1 cup
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tbsp whole milk (3.25 % fat)
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 313 grams all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp fine kosher salt
- 100 grams white chocolate chunks
- 80 mL chopped nuts I used toasted almonds
- In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter, peanut butter, and sugars. Beat for 2 minutes on medium–high, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed with a spatula. Add the eggs, vanilla, and milk, and beat again on medium–high for another 2 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides as needed.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and the salt. Dump this dry mixture into the mixer bowl and mix everything together on low until combined. Stir in the white chocolate chunks and the chopped nuts with a spatula or a wooden spoon, by hand. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Chill 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
- Scoop 1/4 cup (~50 gram scoops) of chilled dough onto parchment lined sheets spacing 3 inches apart. You can only fit 4 cookies on a sheet pan at a time (depends on size of sheet pan of course). Flatten cookies with the palm of your hand so it's 1/2 inch high, then press with fork to make criss cross pattern on top of each cookie.
- Bake 1 sheet at a time for about 10 minutes or so until edges are set and very lightly browned. Remove pan from the oven and let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheet.
- This recipe was reproduced/adapted with permission from Touchwood editions. The original recipe is called "Double peanut butter and white chocolate chunk cookies" and can be found in All The Sweet Things by Renée Kohlman on Amazon.
- Calories calculated for 1 cookie.
- For the white chocolate chunks, I used a bar of Lindt White Chocolate, like this Lindt Excellence on Amazon or this Lindt Classic Recipe on Amazon.
I won this cookbook in a giveaway, and Touchwood Editions sent it to me. I chose to review the book on my blog. Thanks for supporting the authors that inspire me to create content for Kitchen Heals Soul. As always, please know that I wouldn’t work with a sponsor nor recommend a product if it wasn’t worth it.
Janice Lawandi is chemist-turned-baker, working as a recipe developer in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. She studied pastry at Le Cordon Bleu in Ottawa and cooking at l’Académie Culinaire. She has a BSc in Biochemistry from Concordia University and a PhD in Chemistry from McGill University. Visit janicelawandi.com to see my portfolio.