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Birds Art Life
About Bonnie

When Bonnie Stern started her cooking school in 1973 she wanted people to have more fun in the kitchen, eat more healthfully and nourish their families and friends with delicious food. That goal has never changed. Bonnie is still sharing her love of cooking in everything she does.

Bonnie is an award winning author of twelve best-selling cookbooks and writes weekly in the National Post. She offers a wide variety of corporate services, cooking classes and unique book clubs where authors actually attend and dinner is included. Bonnie is the recipient of the 2007 Premier’s Award.


January 2017

For me, ‘hygge’ is the defining word for this year. Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) is the Nordic concept of making people feel at home, sharing moments with friends or family (or yourself). Kirsti Svenning of Visit Oslo says it often involves home cooking, candles, nice surroundings, reading a book by the fireplace with a glass of wine or a cup of tea or roasting hot dogs around a fire at -10C. It’s the opposite of fancy. In my mind, hygge is home cooking applied to all aspects of life.

As for other food related trends look for Persian, Middle Eastern, Eastern European, French and South American cuisines; ingredients that are local and sustainable; artisanal foods; empanadas; home sous vide machines; steakhouses; upscale vegetarian and vegan restaurants (eg Planta, Toronto); street food; chef-driven casual restaurants (eg Flock, Toronto); family style service in restaurants; house made sodas, seltzers and bitters; cocktails that look like dinner; healthier prepared meals; healthier kids' menu at restaurants; meals in bowls; more special diets – vegetarian, vegan, paleo, sugar-free, grain-free, gluten-free, lactose-free, soy-free, nightshade-free; clean eating; gut health; affordable cuts of meat; sustainable seafood; purple vegetables (eg cauliflower, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, potatoes, carrots, beets, red onions, cabbage, kalettes); seaweed; turmeric; fermented foods; ricotta cheese; meal kits; sour dough breads; gluten free; artisanal bakeries; diners; farmers markets; supermarkets trying to be more like farmers markets; and food waste reduction.

When it comes to nutrition I still believe it’s simple - all you really have to remember is to eat (not drink) more fresh fruits and vegetables. Eat less processed foods. And cook more.

If you love to read, and that’s hygge too, check out our books clubs below. The authors always attend, speak about their books, lives or writing styles and then we all have dinner together.

Wishing everyone a healthy, happy and hyggelit new year.

Delicious Wishes,



Bonnie's Book Club
Bonnie's Book Club is a labour of love. Nothing pleases Bonnie more than to have the opportunity to bring readers and writers together in a truly unique way that offers the rare opportunity to meet some of the country's leading authors, discuss their work and enjoy a delicious meal inspired by the book.

Drawing on her degree in English and her passion for food and cooking, Bonnie Stern invites you to a literary feast you won't soon forget - Oprah's book club never tasted this good!

*Small print: All registrations must be paid in full when registering. Please check your schedule carefully before registering. Cancellations can be accepted only up to 14 days before event date, a $50 charge (plus HST) applies to cover the administration fee and cost of the book. At any time you may send someone in your place for no additional charge. It is the attendee’s responsibility to mark their calendar with the date, time and location of the event.


KYO MACLEAR: BIRD ART LIFEIn January, Bonnie kicks off the new year with an absolutely remarkable new book that explores the beauty and mystery that life offers in the most unexpected places. The Book Club is very pleased to welcome Kyo Maclear as she discusses her profound memoir Birds Art Life. This exuberant and life-affirming meditation on creation and life – a field guide to all things small and significant – is going to be one of the most talked about books of the spring season.

For Vladimir Nabokov, it was butterflies. For John Cage, it was mushrooms. For Sylvia Plath, it was bees. Each of these artists took time away from their work to become observers of natural phenomena. In 2012, Kyo Maclear met a local Toronto musician with an equally captivating side passion--he had recently lost his heart to birds. Curious about what prompted this young urban artist to suddenly embrace nature, Kyo decides to follow him for a year and find out.

A distilled, crystal-like companion to H is for Hawk, this memoir celebrates the particular madness of loving and chasing after birds in a big city. Intimate and philosophical, moving with ease between the granular and the grand view, it celebrates the creative and liberating effects of keeping your eyes and ears wide open, and explores what happens when you apply the core lessons of birding to other aspects of life. In one sense, this is a book about disconnection - how our passions can buckle under the demands and emotions of daily life - and about reconnection - how the act of seeking passion and beauty in small ways can lead us to discover our most satisfying life. On a deeper level, it takes up the questions of how we are shaped and nurtured by our parallel passions, and how we might come to cherish not only the world's pristine natural places but also the blemished urban spaces where most of us live

Birds Art Life follows two artists on a yearlong adventure that is at once a meditation on the nature of creativity and a quest for a good and meaningful life.

Date: Monday January 23, 2017 (Limited seats available)
Time: 6:30pm to 9:30pm
Location: Rose and Sons
176 Dupont Street, Toronto
Fee: 165 + HST (includes dinner, beverages, gratuity and a copy of Birds Art Life sent out as soon as possible)
Advance registration only: Bonnie Stern 416 484 4810



EVA STACHNIAK: THE CHOSEN MAIDENThe last time Eva Stachniak appeared at the Book Club, Bonnie had to add a second sold-out evening to accommodate the overwhelming demand. In February, Eva Stachniak returns with her eagerly-awaited new novel The Chosen Maiden.

The Chosen Maiden is the lush, sweeping story of a remarkable dancer who charts her own course through the tumultuous years of early twentieth-century Europe. Beautifully blending fiction with fact, the novel plunges readers into an artistic world upended by modernity, immersing them in the experiences of the era's giants, from Anna Pavlova and Serge Diaghilev to Coco Chanel and Pablo Picasso.

From their earliest days, the Nijinsky siblings appear destined for the stage. Bronia is a gifted young ballerina, but she is quickly eclipsed by her brother Vaslav. Deemed a prodigy, Vaslav Nijinsky will grow into the greatest, and most provocative, dancer of his time. To prove herself as her brother's equal in the rigid world of ballet, Bronia will need to be more than extraordinary, defying society's expectations of what a female dancer can and should be.­

The real-life muse behind one of the most spectacular roles in dance, The Rite of Spring's Chosen Maiden, Bronia rises to the heights of modern ballet through grit, resilience and fervor. But when the First World War erupts and rebellion sparks in Russia, Bronia—caught between old and new, traditional and ground-breaking, safe and passionate—must begin her own search for what it means to be modern.

“Carefully researched and capaciously imagined, Eva Stachniak's new novel tells the story of Bronia Nijinska, a gifted dancer and choreographer oftentimes overshadowed by her prodigy brother Vaslav Nijinsky. More than just an absorbing historical account of an avant-garde artist, The Chosen Maiden is a fully-realized tale of family, love, loss and enduring resilience." Cathy Marie Buchanan, New York Times bestselling author of The Painted Girls.

Date: Monday February 13, 2017
Time: 6:30pm to 9:30pm
Location: To be announced
Fee: 165 + HST (includes dinner, beverages, gratuity and a copy of The Chosen Maiden sent out as soon as possible)
Advance registration only: Bonnie Stern 416 484 4810


ELAN MASTAI: ALL OUR WRONG TODAYSMany people already know Elan Mastai from his critically-acclaimed film The F Word (released as What If in the United States). The film, which starred Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan, Adam Driver and Rafe Spall, is a fresh, funny and wise look at the great dilemma that two friends face as they wrestle with the desire to take their relationship to the next level. The film received glowing reviews and established Mastai as an exciting new voice in the world of film. (The film was also shot in Toronto and is a glorious love letter to the city.)

Now one of the hottest screenwriters is also one of the most exciting young novelists to emerge in recent years. In March, Bonnie welcomes Elan Mastai to the Book Club as he launches his novel All Our Wrong Todays, a wild, wonderful, funny, poignant and wise tale about the lives we live and those that might have been.

You know the future that people in the 1950s imagined we'd have? Well, it happened. In Tom Barren's 2016, humanity thrives in a techno-utopian paradise of flying cars, moving sidewalks and moon bases, where avocados never go bad and punk rock never existed...because it wasn't necessary.

Except Tom just can't seem to find his place in this dazzling, idealistic world, and that's before his life gets turned upside down. Utterly blindsided by an accident of fate, Tom makes a rash decision that drastically changes not only his own life but the very fabric of the universe itself. In a time-travel mishap, Tom finds himself stranded in our 2016, what we think of as the real world. For Tom, our normal reality seems like a dystopian wasteland.

But when he discovers wonderfully unexpected versions of his family, his career and - maybe, just maybe - his soulmate, Tom has a decision to make. Does he fix the flow of history, bringing his utopian universe back into existence, or does he try to forge a new life in our messy, unpredictable reality? Tom's search for the answer takes him across countries, continents and timelines in a quest to figure out, finally, who he really is and what his future - our future - is supposed to be.

All Our Wrong Todays is about the versions of ourselves that we shed and grow into over time. It is a story of friendship and family, of unexpected journeys and alternate paths, and of love in its multitude of forms. Filled with humor and heart, and saturated with insight and intelligence and a mind-bending talent for invention, this novel signals the arrival of a major talent.

The novel has already become an international publishing sensation. US rights for the book sold for seven figures in a heated auction, and international sales for the book stand at 25 countries and counting. Film rights to the book rights have been purchased by Paramount Pictures, and Mastai is already hard at work on the screenplay.

Date: Monday March 27, 2017
Time: 6:30pm to 9:30pm
Location: To be announced
Fee: 165 + HST (includes dinner, beverages, gratuity and a copy of All Our Wrong Todays sent out as soon as possible)
Advance registration only: Bonnie Stern 416 484 4810

Book Club Locations
Rose and Sons 2 x
Rose and Sons 6
Rose and Sons 7
Rose and Sons 4
Rose and Sons
Rose and Sons 5
Rose and Sons 1

Rose and Sons

It isn’t just me that loves Rose and Sons. The line-ups have become legendary at Rose’s cozy hip diner on Dupont.

176 Dupont Street
647 748 3287

Corporate Services

Corporate culinary events are a great way to host a corporate function. Great food always brings co-workers and staff together. People have fun, learn a lot and take home delicious memories.

Events are customized to meet your location, schedule, objectives and food preferences. Bonnie works with nutritionists, food producers, restaurants, etiquette experts and authors to create exciting programs.

All events will be planned and hosted by Bonnie personally.

Corporate Cooking Class
Private Cooking Class

Bonnie Stern has worked with various food manufacturers, grocery chains, restaurants, chefs, health professionals as well as cookware manufacturers, etc., offering a wide variety of corporate services, such as:

Corporate culinary events
Corporate family dinners
Market Tours
Recipe development
Private cooking classes
Product consultation
Menu consulting for parties
Fundraising events

For detailed information,
please call: 416 484 4810

Bonnie's Cookbooks
Friday Night Dinners (Paperback)

Friday Night Dinners

Bonnie's latest cookbook with her favourite menus, recipes, photos and stories. Over 170 delicious recipes for every occasion - holidays, barbecues, fast suppers and fabulous feasts - and Bonnie makes sure you can make fantastic meals and still enjoy the food and fun with everyone else. You'll want to use this book every day of the week.

Published by Random House of Canada, 2010, 320 pages, paperback


Bonnie Stern's Essentials of Home Cooking
Bonnie Stern's
Essentials of Home Cooking

Winner of the 2004 International Association of Culinary Professionals Award. A beautiful cookbook filled with Bonnie’s personal favourites - dishes that reflect the way we are cooking today.

Published by Random House of Canada, 2003, 208 pages, paperback

This wonderful compendium is a must for every kitchen featuring over 300 favourite recipes from the bestselling Simply HeartSmart Cooking, More HeartSmart Cooking and HeartSmart Cooking for Family and Friends, as well as 75 brand-new recipes to add to your HeartSmart repertoire. Many of the classic recipes have been fully updated to incorporate current food trends and new nutritional information.

Published by Random House of Canada, 2006, 480 pages, paperback.

Cuisiner au goût du cœur
Cuisiner au gout du coeur
Published by Trecarre, 2006, 512 pages

A very special collection of over 150 mouth-watering recipes including soups, spreads, salads, hors d'oeuvre, pastas and much more. Complete with presentation, entertaining, menu planning tips and over 50 detailed illustrations.

Published by Random House of Canada, 1990, 176 pages, paperback

Over 120 recipes for decadent cakes, pies and pastries, scrumptious cookies, creamy mousses and ice creams – A collection of recipes from a master that stand the test, and tastes, of time.

Also provided are elegant decorating tips, helpful information on equipment and ingredients, and black-and-white illustrations throughout demonstrating basic techniques that will make these recipes absolutely no-fail.

Published by Random House Canada, 1998, 214 pages, paperback

News And Events
A MID-WINTER FEASTThis January, February and March, join some of the city and country’s best chefs for five phenomenal nights of food and conviviality. Each night features a unique culinary collaboration by up to eight different chefs from Toronto and across Canada.

Net profits from Chefs for Change will help Community Food Centres Canada to support vibrant, food-focused organizations that bring people in low-income communities together to grow, cook, share, and advocate for healthy food for all.

For more information click: Chefs for Change


January 27 to February 9, 2017

Delicious prix fixe menus created by some of Toronto's best chefs and unique ticketed culinary events. Winterlicious is one of Toronto's most anticipated culinary celebrations and offers something for everyone.

For more information click Winterlicious 2017

Tip: Look at the menus offered for Winterlicious and check that they are representative of the restaurant's normal menu. That way you will know if it is a place you will want to return to.


Many of you have asked me what happened to my weekly column in the National Post on Saturdays. Mystery solved - it has moved to Thursdays. Thanks for the love!

My columns are also available online at National Post


Our upcoming culinary tour to Israel is full. Thanks for your support. To be on our emailing list for future trips send a request to
(if you are not already on the list).

Restaurant Recommendations and More
Greta Solomon
1118 Queen Street East
647 347 8640

This tiny charming French restaurant is a great addition to the Leslieville area.

Val d’Isere
1581 Bayview Avenue
416 485 1581
We loved the hearty Austrian-Swiss food at this pop-up from Otta Zapotocky of L’Avenue bistro across the street. We’ve had so many tasting menus and sharing plates lately, we didn’t realize how much we loved having our own dinner! Pork hocks, goulash, spätzle, schnitzel, apple strudel and more.
184 Ossington Avenue
416 519 6996
A pizza take-out in the front and an Italian-ish restaurant in the back made it an instant success. Good food but I have to say, even though it makes me sound old, it was so noisy and dark. So dark that even young people had to use their flashlights to see the menu.
169 Niagara Street
416 703 4222
Dinner is great at this wonderful restaurant but Sunday lunch is the best way to spend an afternoon. The holiday menu was decadent and so delicious.
Moderate to Expensive
1221 Bay Street
647 348 7000
Vegan food going upscale and mainstream in this high-end, no hippies in sight, gorgeous restaurant.
Mile Ex
6631 Rue Jeanne-Mance
514 272 7919
We loved our lunch at this Mile Ex neighbourhood restaurant. If I lived in the neighbourhood I would be there all the time. Thanks Helene Laurendeau for sharing.
378 Avenue Victoria
314 750 7534
We had a great meal sitting at the bar at Antonio Park’s famous Japanese hotspot. Watching chef prepare our dinner was as good as the food.
Moderate to Expensive
Olive & Gourmando
351 Rue Saint-Paul West
514 350 1083
Breakfast, lunch and bakery are all great. Salads are supposed to be delicious but I have never gone beyond the poached-egg-on-your-face panini.
Bouillon & Bilk
1595 Boul St. Laurent
514 845 1595
This chic, modern restaurant lived up to its reputation and the Danish style food was delicious. Business lunch.
Joe Beef
Rue Notre-Dame Ouest
514 935 6504
This restaurant has a feeling of hospitality that few restaurants achieve - even though that’s supposed to be a restaurant thing! Generous spirit, large servings, intense flavours, knowledgeable staff, delicious wine, service – unmatched.
Montreal Plaza
6230 Rue St-Hubert
514 903 6230
Fun and exciting.
Moderate to Expensive
Fairmount Bagels
74 Ave Fairmount West
514 272 0667
This is what Montreal bagels are all about. Eat them hot as soon as you get them.
3895 Boul St-Laurent
514 842 4813
This is what smoked meat is all about. If you have never been here it is a must – even if you just get a take-out sandwich from next door and eat it standing at the back.
Featured Recipes
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast or instant yeast
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted (at room temperature)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (or half whole wheat)
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • CRISPY, BUTTERY, YEAST-RAISED WAFFLES I am having a waffle moment and these are my all-time favourites. This recipe, from Marion Cunningham’s The Breakfast Book is sensational. The batter contains yeast but they are so easy to make – no kneading necessary. Serve them with savory toppings like bacon and poached eggs, or sweet toppings like berries and ice cream or even just maple syrup.  Although the recipe says to refrigerate the batter overnight sometimes I make it and refrigerate one to two hours only and it still tastes great.


    1. Dissolve sugar in water in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle yeast over top and stir in. Set aside for about 10 minutes until bubbly. Whisk in milk and butter.

    2. In another bowl whisk together flour, sugar and salt. Stir into yeast mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. (It will be bubbly.)

    3. Just before making waffles whisk eggs and baking soda into batter. Use 1/2 cup batter for each waffle and arrange on a rack set over a baking sheet as they are done. Serve immediately or keep warm in a preheated 200F oven.

    makes about 12 waffles

  • 2 lbs small Yukon Gold potatoes, cleaned and halved
  • 2 bunches carrots, trimmed and cleaned, halved lengthwise
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and sliced
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary, oregano or thyme leaves (or 1/2 tsp dried)
  • 3 lbs chicken pieces
  • 1 lemon sliced
  • 1 tbsp barbecue spice rub (or a combination of 1 tsp each smoked paprika, kosher salt, sugar and 1/4 tsp cumin)
  • 4 oz baby arugula or kale
  • SHEET PAN CHICKEN AND VEG Sheet pan meals are the new one pot dinners. The trick is to include vegetables that take the same time to cook as the chicken. Sweet potatoes, squash, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower would work well too. Chicken is cooked if an instant reading meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken reads over165F.


    1. Toss potatoes and carrots with half the oil, salt and herbs. Spread in a single layer on a rimmed sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Arrange sliced onions on the baking sheet and brush with some of the oil and sprinkle with salt.

    2. Toss chicken pieces with the remaining oil (add a bit more if necessary) and the spice rub. Nestle the chicken pieces, skin side up, and the lemon slices in the vegetables.

    3. Roast in a preheated 400F oven for 30 to 40  minutes or until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender. Serve on a bed of arugula.

    makes 6 servings

  • 2 lbs Brussels sprouts, preferably a combination of regular, purple and flower sprouts (sometimes called kalettes)
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

  • dressing:
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS AND KALETTESPurple vegetables are the trend this year. If you can find them – use them. Potatoes, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, asparagus and lots more come in purple. Kalettes (sometimes called flower sprouts) are still a bit hard to find but they are beautiful and taste like the combination they are – Brussels sprouts and kale.


    1. Trim all the sprouts. Cut large ones in half.

    2. Toss sprouts, olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme and maple syrup. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

    3. Roast in a preheated 400F oven for 20 to 30 minutes.

    makes 6 servings

  • 4 lbs boneless short ribs (or chuck) cut into large chunks
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 large onions (about 2 lbs), sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 sweet red peppers, peeled and diced
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds, ground
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 3 cups beef or chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • SHORT RIB GOULASH This version of goulash is as simple to make as a stew but uses large chunks of boneless short ribs. Chuck also works well for this. (You can also ask the butcher to cut short ribs on the bone, about 6" long, sometimes called 'English cut'. Tie the meat to the bone before cooking as it sometimes separates off when it is tender.) Serve on pasta, rice or mashed potatoes. Serve with roasted broccoli if desired.


    1. Season beef with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large deep skillet. Brown well on all sides, in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan. Set meat aside and return pan to heat.

    2. Add onions and garlic to pan and cook gently about 10 minutes. Add red peppers, paprika, caraway and cayenne. Cook one minute.  Sprinkle with flour. Cook about 2 minutes.

    3. Add tomato paste and stock. Bring to a boil, scraping up solidified juices stuck to the bottom of the pan. Return meat to pan. Cover with a piece of parchment paper directly on the meat. Cover with lid (or aluminum foil).

    4. Cook in a preheated 350F for 2 hours or longer until very tender. If sauce is too thin, remove meat (cover with aluminum foil) and cook sauce, uncovered, 15 minutes or until some liquid evaporates and sauce thickens.

    5. Re-add meat to sauce, heat thoroughly, season and sprinkle with parsley.

    makes 8 servings

  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 leek, white and light green part only, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 lbs carrots, cleaned and cut into chunks
  • 1 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes, cleaned and cut into chunks
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

  • brown butter:
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • CARROT AND SWEET POTATO MASH WITH BROWN BUTTER Brown butter is a chef’s secret ingredient. It adds a special nutty taste to everything it is used on. I had it recently in a white root vegetable mash at The Edible Story in Toronto and now I use it in all my ‘mashes’. Save any extra brown butter to use in cookies or to spoon over roasted fish.


    1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan. Add leeks and garlic and cook gently until tender but not brown - about 5 minutes. Add carrots and sweet potatoes and combine well.  Add water, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Simmer gently, covered, 20 minutes or longer until vegetables are very tender.

    2. Mash with a masher (do not puree) until vegetables are coarsely mashed. Cover and reserve.

    3. Meanwhile gently melt butter in a medium saucepan and cook on medium low heat until butter browns and smells nutty. This could take 20 to 30 minutes. Stir 4 tbsp brown butter into the mash and salt and pepper to taste.

    make 8 servings

  • 4 medium apples, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped (eg Golden Delicious or Honey Crisp), (4 cups chopped)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 sheets phyllo pastry (approx. 12”x18”)
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts, optional
  • 2 tbsp coarse sugar - optional

  • vanilla bean whipped cream:
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 tbsp vanilla bean paste*
  • APPLE STRUDEL WITH VANILLA BEAN WHIPPED CREAM My husband always says comfort starts with an apple dessert. And this is his new favourite. Buttery, crispy, apple-y – seriously perfect. And easy to make. (If you have never used phyllo it will be easier the second time.)

    Hints for using phyllo pastry:
    - package of phyllo should be opened just before using. Have everything else ready
    - use one sheet at a time and keep the remaining sheets covered with heavy plastic wrap (I use a cut- open ziplock bag) Phyllo pastry is extremely thin and dries out quickly.
    - if phyllo sheets have broken up, patch together with the butter. It will still work well in the end but will take a bit more time.
    - reroll and wrap leftover phyllo. It will keep in the refrigerator for months.

    *If you don’t have vanilla bean paste, use 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract and 3 tbsp sugar.


    1. In a large bowl combine apples, brown sugar, cinnamon and flour.

    2. Arrange a sheet of parchment paper on a large heavy baking pan 12”x 18”or use a smaller baking sheet and make the strudel on the counter and then lift onto the baking sheet in one or two pieces). Have melted butter in one bowl, and breadcrumbs mixed with sugar and walnuts in another bowl. Arrange one piece of phyllo on parchment (the longer side should be horizontal). Brush with butter, sprinkle with crumbs. Repeat until all 6 layers are stacked. Arrange apple mixture across the bottom of the pastry in a strip. Roll up gently, using the parchment paper to help you start rolling but DO NOT roll it into the strudel!. Leave ends open or folded under.

    3. Cut 8 to 10 slits through the top layer of pastry, in serving size portions, to make slicing easier after. Brush top with any extra butter and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake in a preheated 425F oven 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350F and bake 25 to 35 minutes longer or until apples are very tender and pastry is browned and flaky. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Store at room temperature covered lightly with aluminum foil – it will stay crisper than if you refrigerate it.)

    4. Whip cream lightly and stir in vanilla paste. Serve with dessert.

    makes 8 to 10 servings

  • 3/4 lb pitted dates (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

  • butterscotch sauce:
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, chopped
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt (eg Maldon)
  • vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or whipping cream
  • STICKY TOFFEE PUDDING CAKE WITH BUTTERSCOTCH SAUCE This is a beloved dessert. But don’t tell anyone there are dates in it. (Some people still do not like dates and it ruins the dessert for them even though they want to like it. I don’t understand.) It can also be baked in a 9" spring form pan and cut into wedges - bake longer - 30 to 40 minutes or until firm in the centre. (I often make this with Cup4Cup gluten free flour and it turns out perfect.) Top with helvah cotton candy if desired (available at Middle Eastern stores, eg Ararat).


    1. Combine dates and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Add baking soda and allow to stand 5 minutes. Puree date mixture. Cool.

    2. Cream butter and sugar in a small bowl with an electric mixer. Beat in eggs one at a time. Combine flour with baking powder and salt in another bowl. Gently fold into batter alternately with dates. Transfer to 12 regular sized muffin cups or ramekins that have been buttered or sprayed.

    3. Bake in a preheated 350F oven 15 to 20 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.

    4. Meanwhile, make butterscotch sauce by combining sugar, cream and butter in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer gently 5 minutes until slightly thickened. Add vanilla and salt. With a fork or skewer, prick holes in cake and drizzle about 1/4 of the sauce over the top and allow to sink in. Cool cakes 10 minutes and then invert onto serving plates. Pour remaining sauce over cakes. Serve with ice cream, whipped cream or just drizzle with whipping cream.

    makes 10 to 12 servings

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