Making Dough — Cookbook Review … and I made Croissants

When I first got the e-mail to review this book, I thought it was a joke. I thought it was spam … but i wanted it to be real soooo badly that I provided all of the required information, and remained hopeful.


When the book Making Dough by Russell Van Kraayenburg showed up at my door step, again, I thought it was a joke. Hah, me? – review a cookbook, an actual cookbook with amazing pictures, and recipes, test out, and give my opinion on someones labour of love – stepping into their shoes and experimenting with their baking journey. Me, are you sure?!?!  

I knew i had a great task at hand.

I was honored.


So first, thank you Quirk Books, Pinguin Random House Canada and Russell … can I call you Russel, like we’re friends?!?!

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I cracked open the book, loving the sound of that spine cracking and the smell of fresh pages. In the most ironic possible way … the book was “recipes and ratios for perfect pastries” hahaha … good joke. Remember how I’m crazy scared of pastries … again, was someone playing a joke on me?!?!

I thought though, this was my chance, this would actually be a true test of this book. I’m not a dainty baker, ask me to dump cake batter in a pan and bake it, done — ask me to scoop out cookies on tray suuuuurrreee … ask me to make a soufflé-fra-li-lah … yea, no, not happening. I normally put pastries/ doughs under that “ soufflé-fra-li-lah” category.


As I skimmed through the book, divided by 12 key dough recipes I realized, I’m actually a big huge liar … I’m not actually scared of pastires, according to Russell’s book, I’ve actually made tons of pastries!! Scones, done it – Biscuits, nailed it … and the idea that Gnocchi is a type of Pate A Choux excited me … I thought, you know what, I can totally do this.

And then I decided to make croissants.

And not just any old kind of croissants, but poolish croissants – promised as a more “yeasty flavoured” croissant.

Review of the book:

My first reaction was, its beautiful. I flipped through the pages drooling and intrigued by recipes like Bourbon-Maple Glazed Cheddar Bacon Biscuits, Blueberry Mascarpone Hand pies and Salted Caramel Eclairs topped with Salted Caramel Popcorn … 2 words: I.DIE.  I knew it would be tough to narrow down exactly what I was going to bake.

As I continued reading, I realized this wasn’t just a cookbook – and in fact if I were to give it an alternate title – I would call it “ The Theory of Dough” the time, patience and detail included in each of the steps, the explanations included in how your dough should look as you progress through a recipe, the attention to explaining each component of your masterpiece it definitely gave me a new perspective on baking.


Quite often, baking is compared to science – and I suppose it is ( although i was NEVER good at science) Russell’s book is a true testament to the science of baking. I wouldn’t say it’s overly technical, but it is extremely detailed. I would deem it a baking textbook, one that every ambitious baker should have on their shelf. There is a lot to learn, and Russell makes it easy to do so.

I would definitely refer Making Dough to a seasoned baker; while the steps included are clear and easy to follow – I found that a lot of the required tools ( a kitchen scale, candy thermometer, marble slab) just aren’t tools a home bakers like myself have on hand ( hehe … this could DEFINITELY be a hint to that Santa!!). I also found it challenging to work with weight measurements as opposed to cups, tablespoons and teaspoons.


For those who are new to the baking game, I think this book could serve as a great method to learn the ins-and-outs of how to be a great baker … I would definitely package this book with a couple items – a food scale, thermometer, pastry brush and ruler … hhheeellllloooo foodie gift basket!! 

Baking from the book:

First … look what I made!!

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Croissants are NOT an easy feat – I must say, this recipe has taken my baking ambition to a whole new level. I’m going to deem this a win, as a first time try but honestly, I probably won’t be making croissants again in a while.


They.take.SO.long. either that, or I just lack any sort of patients!! The result was a flakey pastry and buttery center – worth the 26 hours …. Mmmm … for the smell of my home; yes – for how they actually turned out, not so much. I must have done something wrong ( and it’s very possible …) my croissants were heavy, not light and fluffy as I hoped. They also baked a lot faster than the suggested 45 minutes. While the tops were golden brown, the bottoms were toasted – not burnt, but definitely more cooked than probably necessary.

Baking from the book was relatively easy – the instructions provided are clear, and detailed. One thing that definitely stood out ( and maybe this was based on the recipe that I choose) I continuously had to flip back and forth to reference other information; as well, as I mentioned before, some of the tools required, I just didn’t have and I ended up improvising.


There are a ton of other recipes I would like to try. Overall, I would say Making Dough is a keeper – ideal for any seasoned baker as a Christmas present; and a new adventure for novice bakers such as myself.


Triple Whammy Cookbook Giveaway * Win Win Winnnnnerrr

Win, Win, Winnnnaaa.

We have ourselves a winnnnneerrrr sugar pies


*cue the fireworks and marching band*

But first I have to say something really really really important. And it’s about YOU. So you’ll want to listen up.

I want to THANK YOU for the tremendous amount of entries in the Triple Whammy Cookbook Giveaway. 67 – That’s a HUGE deal to me!! I swear only my mom read this blog, to know there are so many more … it means the world to me. So thank you a million times over, to the moon and back – – twice.

… with a cherry on top, an extra scoop of ice cream and sprinkles.

Really – – it’s HUGE and I’m both thankful and humbled. You kids rock my socks.

Also, it was great fun reading all of your entries. I hope you all get to fulfil your bucket list goals … some of you are well on your way and I wish you the very best of luck!! I can’t wait to comment on each of your entires – – and I will.

Now… I think I’ve made you wait long enough 😀  

The Winner of our Triple Whammy Cookbook Giveaway is, number 47!! 


Woooohoooo … Please check your e-mail, as I have sent you the details about how you will be receiving your brand-spankin new cookbooks!! Something tells me your Monday just got a little sweeter. Trust me when I say, these cookbooks are PHENONMENAL … I’d love to hear what you end up making!! If possible, take pictures and send them to me.

… speaking of which – I’m thinking about starting a Sugar wall, where I post pictures that you guys send me of all the goodies you make. – Let me know what you think.

Well cupcakes, that’s all for today – – if you didn’t win this time … stay tuned. I have a funny feeling there will be another one … very soon 🙂

Have a delicious week my loves


My Little Happy Place and a Triple Whammy Cookbook Giveaway

I’m sitting here writing today’s blog post from a very special place…

My kitchen.

Yes – I just said My kitchen. Now, I’m sure you’re not surprised, as most food bloggers hold their kitchen near and dear to their hearts.

It’s their playground of butter, sugar, flour – where creativity takes wind and they become a culinary magician.

My kitchen – – it’s a big deal.

Except today … my kitchen, isn’t Mama and Papa LTSL’s kitchen – – it’s actually

MY kitchen.

That’s right cupcakes – – I BOUGHT A KITCHEN!! … of course, there is an entire condo attached to it – – but none of that matters (… much).

Being that I celebrated a very significant birthday this year, I wanted to do something really special for myself. I had been saving and saving … I tossed around a million and one ideas of what to do and then I realized, all along this has been my dream.

By no means do I feel like I’m getting old or into that phase where everyone begins to mention the “M –word” *gag* , in fact many have claimed I’m extremely young to have my very own condo ( that looks so weird seeing it in writing :D)  – – but before settling down I have a bit of a to do list that I want to get done.

 It’s a list that comprises of things that I need to do for myself – before I can share my life with someone else … lucky for me Mr. LTSL gets it.

He just gets it.

The list covers everything from travel, to career opportunities to owning my very own condo.

And so – – I did it 😀

And I love it.

And it was HARD work – – remember when I said I needed some time away from life, let’s just say things were not going as smoothly with all of my condo plans. But now, that is well behind me and I sit here in my clubhouse 🙂

This is a big deal for me, it reminds me that hard work does pay off – it reminds me the importance of family and the necessity of being independent and chasing your dreams.

But there’s big things for you too!! Because I love you all – – and know that the support I have received from you is irreplaceable – – I’ve got some goodies to thank you!! 

You know how I’ve been carrying on an on and on about the amazingness that is Joy Wilson – – I’m sharing the love and her coolness ( seriously, it’s far too much for me NOT to share her … I secretly – not so secretly – want to be her BFF and drink brown butter for the rest of my life)

Also, all the cool kids are playing with Amy Atlas’s Book – – so hhheerrreee yooouuu go. If you look up design genius in the old dictionary you’ll see a picture of Amy. She’s cute huh? Well her book rocks my socks from here to the moon and back…. twice.

Last – – sit down for this one – I’ve had this cookbook on pre-order since the lovely Lindsay said she was releasing a cookbook. I counted down the days until it hit the shelf and when the package arrive I did the msn banana dance (you know the one I’m talking about). I’ve looked through this book drooling and dreaming about


I have nightmares that the cookie monster and I will fight over the goodies that I conjure up when this book and I make sweet sweet love.

You want it.

You need it.

Here. You . go.

Please note anyone / everyone can enter.

Please leave a separate comment for each step that you take

Please also provide a valid e-mail address for me to contact le winner.

It’s easy-peasy … there are 5 different steps to take to get these babies in your hands.  You can do just one – or every single one 🙂

You will have until Midnight on Friday June 22, 2012

1)      Answer the following question “ what is one thing on your personal bucket list that you would like to accomplish and when”

2)      Answer the following question “ what was your first big purchase?”

3)      Follow @LivinLovinSweet on twitter

4)      Subscribe to the Living The sweet Life Blog

5)      Tweet the following  ” OH MY CUPCAKES!! Gimme Gimme Gimme … I want to win The @livinLovinSweet triple whammy cookbook giveaway: ‎ “

Good Luck Cupcakes, have a lovely weekend 


Thank You for being SO Fantastically-Amazing :)

Why Hellooo there Good Looking,

Guess what?











… yepp, everything you see there, can be yours 🙂

Dear You,

I need you in my life. I’m over joyed when you comment on my blog. I fall head over heels for you, when you talk food to me on twitter – – and when you actually make the recipes I ramble on about – – for the love of cupcakes, I pretty much want to kiss you !! *I won’t just in case things get a little creepy …. *

To thank you for being such a fantastically-amazing-cool reader, following me on twitter and being SO INCREDIBLY supportive of The Living The Sweet Life Blog it’s about time that I do something for you!!

You have been able to make my dreams of being a foodie come true. How many other people do you know that has the chance to cook/bake , and then share all the happiness with you?!?!

I now have an avenue to share my silly antics, complain when life just isn’t so sweet – experiment with my baking and – – the best part of it all …. we’ve become pretty spanky friends!!




seriously … thank you times a million-billion times over to the moon and back!!

It’s the little things you do that make me feel so special;

It’s when you comment on a blog post.

It’s when you retweet me 

When you follow me on twitter.

It’s the e-mails you asking questions about a recipe, and letting me know your family just fell in love with a new dish.

It’s the pictures you send me. I especially loved the ones of your kids scarfing down cookies ;).

….. do you realize how much this ALL means to me?!?!

– put it this way, if I could reach through the computer screen and give you a hug – I would.

If I could send you a hundred dozen cookies, it would happen in a second. 

I truly love you and appreciate the fact that you read my blabber – – I know sometimes (all the times) I may seem a little loopy,  and yes I suppose I maybe an obsessive peanut butter eater – – it’s possible that may I have a cookie problem – – but at least we can share all of these “special” quirks together ;).

And so, I thank you!! But it doesn’t end there …. I want to send you one dozen cookies.

Roasted Almond Dark Chocolate Chunk Coconut Cookies aka RAD Triple C

cookies to be exact … I also want you to have a copy of

The Treats Truck Baking Book

because this book is ohhh soooo sweeeeetttt!! If you’re in need of a sweet treat – – this is your go to book!!

and last but not least, how can I expect you to spread the sweetness without a little bit of baking equipment?

I’ve got

Fancy-Pants Measuring Spoons

for you 🙂

You know you want it 


I want to give it to you!!

I promised when I got to 100 twitter followers, I would host this contest – – now there are 134 of you sugar-muffins that have joined in on all the fun. If I haven’t already said thank you ….









You’ve got 4 chances to win this little package – – please leave me a comment and letting me know you’ve done each of the following:

1) Let me know, How do YOU live the sweet life?

2) Follow me on twitter @LivinLovinSweet

3) Retweet the following ;

“I’m so spanky & deserve to win @LivinLovinSweet ‘s very 1st giveaway ( ) because I live a damn sweet life”

4) Subscribe to The Living The Sweet Life Blog

Contest open to all in North America and will run from today to the end of day Sunday April 29th 2012.

* Don’t forget to leave a comment once you’ve done each of the above* 

Good Luck Sweethearts – this is for all the love you’ve shown me.

I promise the continue sprinkling sugar across the land, sending sweetness far and wide 😉