Renée Kohlman’s debut cookbook, All the Sweet Things is one that will catch your eye in a bookstore because of its beautiful cover (featuring, unsurprisingly, a lovely selection of, well, sweet things!). You’ll pick it up, flip through, drawn in by the lovely photos inside the book. Then you’ll start reading a headnote. Then another. Then another. Because, beyond the collection of over 100 sweet recipes, Renée’s book is about her stories. In fact, it reads a little bit like a storybook and if you are like me, it will find its way to your bedside table where it will be just as at home as it is in the kitchen.
Renée is a food writer from Saskatoon and fans of her blog sweetsugarbean.com will already be familiar with passion for sweet things, as well as her way with words and beautiful photos. I’ve met Renée a couple of times and was delighted to see that she’s every bit as sweet as her recipes 🙂 Her cookbook is an extension of her site and features more than 60 new recipes plus 40 blog favourites along with Renée’s signature approachable writing style. For many people, baking can be intimidating (I hear SO many people tell me that they “are not bakers”) yet Renée manages to make everything sound totally do-able (and delicious!) – her headnotes are just like having Renée right there in the kitchen with you.
The book offers a helpful list of pantry essentials as well as her own recommendations for useful tools and equipment as well as tips throughout the book for baking gluten and sugar-free. Renée covers a huge variety of baked (and non-baked) goods – Dessert for Breakfast, Cookies and Bars, Muffins and Quick Breads, Cakes, Tarts and Pies, Custards and Puddings, Pastries, “To Give Away” (Renée’s a huge fan of homemade, edible gifts!) as well as a Freezer Section featuring ice creams, sorbets and soft serve (definitely marked “to make” in my copy!). Yes, it’s a huge range of items which makes it all the more appealing. So many baking books focus on just a few types of recipes. Renée’s definitely into #ALLthesweetthings 😉
This is a book that will draw you to the kitchen to bake, then lead you to the couch with a big cup of tea as you curl up to enjoy the stories. It’s like your favourite cozy blanket or sweater – you’ll find yourself reaching for it again and again.
Speaking of comfort, how about this chocolate zucchini loaf?
This recipe was the page the book fell open to the first time I took a look inside. I loved the look of just how chocolatey it was (cocoa and chocolate for a double hit) and the fact that it had zucchini in it, well that must make it healthy (just kidding but not really!). I marked it “to make” immediately. I made this for my staffroom on Monday and they devoured it. People sought me out to tell me how good it was. It’s a great recipe to make someone for Mother’s Day. Or, you know, anyday….
Double Chocolate Zucchini Olive Oil Bread
I’m almost certain that zucchini was invented just for the purpose of turning it into delicious baked goods. Come fall, I know all too well the conflict of the zucchini bounty. You love that you have them, but you hate having just so many of them. Unsuspecting neighbours find the squash on their doorsteps or stuffed into mailboxes. And the zucchinis seem to multiply in the garden overnight. If you find yourself in such a situation, don’t freak out. Just go ahead and bake them into bread. And if you love chocolate, know that this has the one-two punch of both cocoa and dark chocolate chunks. A glass of cold milk is the perfect accompaniment.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 2 cups shredded zucchini, skin on
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks or chips
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the rack in the centre of the oven. Line a 9×5×3-inch loaf pan with parchment paper overhanging the sides. Lightly butter the paper.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and baking powder into a large bowl with the salt, cinnamon and cardamom.
- Stir in the zucchini and chocolate chunks.
- Whisk together the eggs, sugar, brown sugar, olive oil, buttermilk and vanilla in another bowl.
- Pour this into the zucchini mixture and stir just until combined.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50–60 minutes, until the bread has risen and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean but with a few crumbs clinging to it.
- Let the loaf cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then remove the loaf from the pan and let cool completely on the rack.
- Store the zucchini bread in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.
Recipe and images in this post courtesy of TouchWood Editions.
Canadian and US readers: Win a copy of All the Sweet Things! Details here.
Please note: This post contains product links from Amazon and The Book Depository which are affiliate links, meaning if you click over and purchase something, I will receive a very small percentage of the purchase price (at no extra cost to you) which goes towards maintaining eat. live. travel. write. Thank you in advance!
Disclosure: I received a copy of “All the Sweet Things” from Touchwood Editions for review purposes. I was not further compensated for writing this post.