Anna Olson's Back to Baking Book Tour & Cooking Class

 I recently had the pleasure of attending a cooking class at Well Seasoned in Langley, BC that was taught by Anna Olson herself!! Anna was touring around for the launch of her new cookbook Back to Baking and so she stopped in at Well Seasoned to demonstrate some of the recipes from her book for a small group of lucky people. This was seriously one of the most exciting and inspiring experiences I've ever had! And I got to sit right in the front row and chat with Anna on the break (yeah, I'm a baking nerd/ groupie)! So very exciting.

Anna's famous Raisin Butter Tarts

 This post just captures some of my favorite photos of the night, some baking tips I picked up and photos of the recipes she demonstrated for us. :) Hope you enjoy!

I learned that I have been committing a very, very bad baking sin during the cooking class!! I usually use salted butter in all of my baking because unsalted butter is so darn expensive up here (5-6 bucks per pound adds up pretty quick if you do as much baking as I do). But, Anna explained some really great information regarding why its important to use unsalted butter in your baking. Here are the facts:
  • Unsalted butter is fresher - salt is a preservative and therefore is added to butter to make it keep longer. Thus unsalted butter has a shorter shelf life and will always be fresher than salted butter.
  • Salt content in salted butter varies by brand and even by production batch. Therefore when you bake with salted butter, you don't really know how much salt is already in the butter and if you add any salt you run the risk of oversalting your baked goods. Consistency is key, and baking with salted butter will make it difficult to be consistent due to varied salt content.
  • Too much sodium is unhealthy - if you start with unsalted butter and add the desired amount of salt, you control how much sodium goes into your baking and therefore you control your sodium intake.
Those facts convinced me! Hope they convince you too. It sounds like unsalted butter is worth the extra money to me! :)
Raspberry & White Chocolate Rugelach

Yep, thats right, I got to sit this close to her!!

One other tidbit I took from Anna's class - tapered french rolling pins are ideal for rolling out pastry into round shapes. They're easier to work with and maneuver than the block rolling pins and the tapering allows you to put an angle on the pin while rolling that will enable you to make round shapes really nicely and easily. I will be doing a demonstration soon because I received a beautiful french rolling pin for Christmas from my brother-in-law. Stay tuned!!
Boozy apple crisp trifle

Low fat, low sugar pumpkin muffins

Anna Olson & Me
 Meeting Anna was such a pleasure - she was so personable and down to earth. I didn't really know what to expect when going to her class, but it was so great! Each time I open her cookbook I'm amazed at the quality of the recipes in the book and the variety of the recipes. She has things as easy as chocolate chip cookies and then you flip to the next section and its far more technical - think wedding cake dressed in fondant. This is a cookbook for all levels, so if you like to bake, head out and pick up one of these books for yourself!
So excited - I finally own an autographed cookbook!
Happy Baking my Friends!


  1. Hey! Just found your blog through the Recipe Link-up and am a new follower! Check out my blog and follow back :)

    Can't wait to try some of your recipes!


  2. Thanks Krista! I already followed you. :) Thanks for stopping by. :)

  3. How fun! I've never seen Anna in person (although I have been to her bakery in Port Dalhousie, ON, where I sampled many of her goodies :) I'm surprised that unsalted butter costs more there. It's always the same price as the salted here in ON. Strange. Still, when it's on sale, I buy a bunch and freeze it since I go through a lot. Bake on! :)

  4. Lucky you Jen! I so wish unsalted butter was the same price here. :) Definitely a great experience to meet Anna and one I would love to repeat... Christmas in November next year maybe?!