Chocolate Peanut Butter cookies

Chock full of peanuts and chocolate, these cookies are a delicious end of day snack. Pair them with sliced fruit and watch them disappear once children, and their friends, return from school.


When my friend Aileen offered her all-time favourite peanut butter cookies recipe, I knew that I was in for a real treat. They have a rich, shortbread texture that are best enjoyed with a glass of milk or a cup of tea. You can substitute butter for the coconut oil if you want something lighter.


Bake these cookies until they’re golden on the edges and look almost uncooked when pulled out of the oven. If you prefer them crispier, leave a batch in the oven a few minutes longer, until the edges have browned.


*Carla’s Tip*: Stay close to the oven when you bake these cookies as they can brown quickly (I learned this the hard way!). Also,though all-natural peanut butter is great for toast, it’s not the best for baking. Use Skippy, or another creamy and consistent peanut butter.

Chocolate Peanut Butter cookies

  • Servings: ~30 cookies
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  • 1 1/4 cups (300 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
  • 1/4 cup butter (60 mL) butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) coconut oil (or other oil)
  • 3/4 cup (185 mL) brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (250 mL) peanut butter, creamy
  • 1 egg,room temperature
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) chocolate or peanut butter chips


  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) granulated sugar (optional)


  1. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter, oil, sugars and peanut butter until well combined. Add egg and vanilla, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. Gradually add the flour mixture until no visible white streaks can be seen. Stir in chocolate or peanut chips.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until cold.
  5. Portion the cookies–about one heaping tablespoon per cookie–rolling each into a ball. Place remaining granulated sugar into a small bowl and coat each cookie thoroughly.
  6. Place onto a greased baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches (5 cm) between cookies. Using a fork, slightly flatten cookies, making a criss-cross pattern.
  7. Bake in the middle rack of a preheated 375F (190C) oven for 8 to 10 minutes, until cookies are golden around the edges, but still soft in the center. Remove from oven, and let cool on baking sheet 1 to 2 minutes.




Fish wrapped in Prosciutto with Pine Nut Sauce

Truta com Presunto em Molho de Pinhoes

Trying to get more fish in your diet? Here’s an easy recipe with crispy prosciutto, tender fish, and a dash of rich pine nut sauce.


It’s a salty, fragrant Portuguese classic.Wrapping the fish in a thin layer of prosciutto seals in the fish’s moist juices and enhances the flavour. The pine nut sauce adds a touch of decadence and is a great match for the salty fish and prosciutto. Grab a bottle of chilled, Vinho Verde and you’re in for a treat.


From the north of Portugal (where it’s presunto thank you very much), this recipe is traditionally made with cold water fish, but I like it with any firm, white fish. Try rock fish, European sea bass or even salmon. Trout fillets, skinned and deboned, also work. My favourite is sea bass.

*Carla’s Tip*: Buy the freshest fish possible.The eyes of the fish should be completely clear, never cloudy or sunken.The flesh should be firm, spring back when touched, and smell fresh with no strong odour. Gills should be bright red.

Fish in Prosciutto

  • Servings: 1-2
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  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) olive oil (approx)
  • 1 1/2 lb (750 g) 1 whole fish, cleaned and trimmed
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 to 4 thin slices of prosciutto
  • 1/2 lemon, sliced and cut into wedges (optional)

Pine Nut Sauce (optional)

  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) butter
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) pine nuts


  1. Line a baking dish large enough to hold the fish with parchment paper. Grease with about 1 Tbsp (15 mL) olive oil.
  2. Using a sharp knife, make 3 shallow diagonal cuts about 1/4 inch (6 mm) deep along both side of the fish. Season both sides and cavity with salt and pepper. Tuck half of the parsley into the diagonal cuts and the cavity of fish.
  3. Rub 1 Tbsp (15 mL) of olive oil around and inside of fish. Wrap prosciutto around the body of the fish; secure with toothpicks or butcher’s twine, to hold prosciutto in place. Place fish onto prepared baking dish and and pour about 1 Tbsp (15 mL) of oil over fish.
  4. Bake in a preheated 450F (230C) oven for 10 minutes per 1-inch (2.5 cm) thickness of fish.
  5. Halfway through cooking, carefully turn the fish over with a lifter and sprinkle with remaining 1 tbsp (15 mL) of oil. Bake until the fish flakes easily when pierced with tip of sharp knife or fork and prosciutto is crispy.
  6. To make the pine nut sauce. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil and butter just until the butter is melted. Add the pine nuts and cook until the pine nuts begin to brown, stirring frequently, about 1 to 2 minutes. Keep warm.
  7. Transfer the fish to a serving platter and, remove and discard the excess parsley (if desired) , and pour the warm pine nut sauce (if using) overtop, garnish with parsley and lemon slices (if desired



Italian Apple Cake

Torta di Mele

When my mother first arrived to Canada, over fifty years ago, olive oil was difficult to find and very expensive. As a result she substituted vegetable oil in most of her recipes. Not until olive oil became readily available in Canada did she reintroduce her much loved oil into her baking. Nothing beats the moist and tender results that olive oil imparts in this family favourite. Olive oil, common in Italy where this recipe comes from, adds an unexpected rich texture and flavour.


Use regular olive oil in baking, higher grade, expensive cold pressed olive oil loses its healthy benefits during baking.


Although apples are the easiest to use in this recipe (they’re available year-round), I often add plums, peaches and/or blueberries when they’re in season.


If you’re feeling decadent, add a scoop of ice cream to your finished cake. Alternatively, you could blend mascarpone cheese (1/3 cup) with sugar (3 tbsp) and amaretto (2tbsp) to taste for an Italian touch.

*Carla’s tip*: Bring buttermilk and eggs to room temperature before baking for a consistency that will allow them to blend easier with other ingredients and will make a lighter cake. Use a variety of apples, easily found at your local grocer’s, for a contrast of  taste and flavour.


Italian Apple Cake

  • Servings: 4-6
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  • 5  apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1 cup + 1/4 cup (310 mL) granulated sugar
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon (approx)
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) olive oil
  • 3/4 cup (185 mL) buttermilk
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) almond or vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cup (435 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tsp (10 mL) baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
  • 4 eggs
  • Sifted icing sugar



  1. Grease and line a 11 x 7 inch baking dish with parchment paper. Combine the apples, 3 Tbsps (45 mL) sugar, lemon juice and zest, stir to combine and set aside.
  2. In a bowl, combine olive oil, buttermilk and almond extract. In a second bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a third bowl (last one, I promise!), beat  the eggs and 1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar until the mixture thickens.
  3. Add both the flour mixture (bowl #2) and the oil mixture (bowl #1) to the egg batter (bowl #3). Add a little bit from each, alternating slowly to evenly mix everything.
  4. Pour half the batter into the baking pan. Top the batter with half the apple pieces. Add the remaining batter to this, and top everything with remaining apples.
  5. Sprinkle remaining 1 Tbsp (15 mL) granulated sugar over top. Bake in preheated 325F (160C) oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until tester inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  6. Let the cake cool in the baking pan for 10 minutes, then transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely. Carefully run a knife around the edge of the pan. Turn out the cake and remove the parchment paper.
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature with a dusting of icing sugar. Sweetened mascarpone topping or ice cream are optional