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Baking and the broken hearted
By RITA DeMONTIS, National Food Editor
CANOE - Lifewise Updated: addthis

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, Last Updated: 2:30 PM ET


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Erin Bolger, author of the refreshingly irreverent - and totally delicious - The Happy Baker: A Dater's Guide to Emotional Baking (Trade; $28.95). (Supplied)

    Another Valentine's Day looming darkly on the horizon - and no love in sight?

    Admit it, there's more than one cynical single soul who thinks February 14 is totally overrated. Hearts and flowers, chocolates and poetry - say what?!

    If anyone knows romance gone array, it's Erin Bolger, author of the refreshingly irreverent - and totally delicious - The Happy Baker: A Dater's Guide to Emotional Baking (Trade; $28.95). Sort of like Sex in The City meets My Name is Earl, Bolger's cookbook/mental health break for the broken-hearted is bright, breathy and hits the spot in the emotional wasteland we call love.

    Bolger (whose book was recently named by the New York times as one of the best cookbooks of 2010) has discovered the secret to keeping a smile on your face while braving the minefield of modern dating - yummy, homemade baked goods.

    Erin knows how to turn heartbreak into kitchen inspiration.


    "Dating is hard enough, so I figure your emotional baking shouldn't be," says Bolger, who grew up in a village of 900 before heading to the big city (Toronto) and a successful career as a professional make-up artist and now cookbook author.

    "Most people might wonder what (my makeup work) has to do with writing a chick lit cookbook, but baking has come naturally to me as make-up atristy has...when you've got passion, anything is possible."

    Her book has gone gangbusters within months of printing, and this Valentine's Day, Bolger will host The Happy Baker web series on FoodNetwork.ca. "It's taken years of dating, many bottles of red wine and many hours of listening to Coldplay to make this book possible."

    Because - yes, Bolger's had her heart stomped on more than one occasion, and her delightful cookbook plays homage to this with candor, wit and a series of great recipes that are easy to create - and certainly go a long way in healing a broken heart.

    "I'm single, not dead!" laughs Bolger. "And Valentine's Day isn't just for couples."

    (For more info on The Happy Baker and Erin Bolger, check out Thehappybakerchick.com.)

    - - -

    Chapters in the Happy Baker include:

    THE EARLY YEARS: A look at the first kiss, first relationship and first breakup. (Recipe: There's a First Time For Every Cornflake Crunchie)

    THEY BREAK IT, YOU BAKE IT: The relationship gets harder, the baking gets better (Recipe: The Big Hurt Cheesecake)

    THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE FUGLY: From Internet dating to speed dating, dating hexes, matchmaking and the ever-popular computer break-up. Yep - she's survived 'em all. (Recipe: Speed Dating Quickies)

    SINGLE & SASSY - WHAT'S A GIRL TO DO?: Stories to help you through it. (My Eggs Aren't Getting Any Younger Creme Brulee)

    - - -

    Who needs a man on Valentine's Day biscotti

    A perfect replacement for a date.

    1/4 cup (50ml) sugar
    3 tsp. (15ml) cinnamon
    3/4 cup (175ml) butter, softened
    1 cup (250ml) sugar
    2 eggs
    1 tsp. (5ml) vanilla
    2 1/2 cups (625ml) all-purpose flour
    1 tsp. (5ml) EACH cinnamon and baking powder
    1/2 tsp. (2ml) salt
    1 cup (250ml) flaked hazelnuts (roasted in a 325F/160C oven for 5-7 minutes)

    Blend sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl to make cinnamon sugar. Set aside.

    Preheat oven to 350F (180C). In a medium bowl, mix together butter and sugar until light and fluffy; beat in eggs and vanilla.

    In a separate bowl, sift the rest of the dry ingredients; mix into wet mixture. Stir in hazelnuts. Dough will be thick.

    Shape dough into two separate logs. Place logs on lined cookie sheet and flatten out 3/4-inch thick logs. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake for 30 minutes until set. Remove from oven and cool. When cool enough to touch, slice loaves into 1/2-inch slices. Place slices back on cookie sheet and bake for an additional 5-78 minutes per side. Let cool.

    Wow I'm still single in the city munchies

    The ideal simple snack when you want something sweet and salty.

    1 270g bag of milk chocolate chips
    1 370g bag of corn chips, crushed

    In a large saucepan over low heat melt chocolate chips. Remove from heat; stir in crushed corn chips.

    Drop by teaspoon or melon baller on a lined cookie sheet. Let cool in fridge. Can be stored in freezer in freezer bags.

    This story was posted on Wed, February 9, 2011

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