It’s no secret that I’m more than slightly obsessed with Outlander. (When I love something, I love it all the way. It’s a fun way to live, really.) What I don’t normally talk about on this blog is my love of cooking, but trust me when I say that my Kitchen Aid mixer is as precious to me as Sawny is to Jamie. It’s just too big to fit in my sporran. Also, I don’t have a sporran.
Naturally, when the Outlander Kitchen cookbook was released last summer, I fangirled harder than Dougal Mackenzie at a Bonnie Prince Charlie rally. Professional chef and hardcore Outlander fan Theresa Carle-Sanders, who has been creating Outlander-inspired recipes on her website, outlanderkitchen.com, since 2011, has brought together the perfect companion piece to satisfy the hungriest JAMMF (and jam) lovers. In case you’re thinking that 18th century highland cuisine may not be the most appetizing, let me assure you that this cookbook is so much more than parritch and oatcakes. The Outlander series covers multiple time periods and several locations around the globe, and the recipes in the Outlander Kitchen are inspired by a wide range of food-filled passages and beloved characters from the novels. The book is filled with clever tie-ins (Stephen Bonnet’s Salted Chocolate Pretzel Balls, anyone?), gorgeous pictures, iconic Fraser moments, and mouth-watering dishes, and is an absolute must-have for Outlander fans.
Over the past several months, I’ve been cooking my way through Outlander Kitchen, and I thought it might be fun to share my culinary adventures with you. I have yet to try a recipe in the book that I didn’t flat-out love, and if you love to cook (and eat!), I strongly recommend that you visit outlanderkitchen.com and buy the book!
The Mackenzies’ Millionaire’s Shortbread
Baking is my jam (pun intended), and shortbread is pretty much my favorite thing on the face of the planet, so obviously the first recipe I had to try was the Mackenzies’ Millionaire’s Shortbread. It’s got a layer of buttery shortbread, a layer of homemade caramel, and a layer of chocolate. It’s almost like a homemade, cookie-like Twix bar. Seriously, what could be better? Every time I’ve made these bars, people have gone insane in the membrane over them, and since I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ll never be able to replicate my Scottish grandmother’s perfect shortbread, this has become a regular staple in my baking rotation.
Roger and Bree’s Pizza
Full disclosure: As much as I love to cook, working with yeast has always made me a little nervous. So many things can go wrong. What if my dough doesn’t rise? What if it sinks or is tough or consumes my entire day only to end up inedible? Still, this girl loves her pizza almost as much as she loves her Roger Mac, so Roger and Bree’s Pizza was an absolute must-try. I first made this recipe on the night of the Outlander season 2 finale (Roger and Bree’s debut definitely called for Roger and Bree cuisine), and it was actually not at all difficult in addition to being truly delicious. I now make this pizza all the time (and have watched a few YouTube videos of how to best stretch your pizza dough) and enjoy sending my friends pictures of every pizza I make, especially when they’re extra hungry.
Stephen Bonnet’s Salted Chocolate Pretzel Balls
Having tackled my fear of yeast (and now stocking yeast in my kitchen), I couldn’t resist giving Stephen Bonnet’s Salted Chocolate Pretzel Balls a try. I love salt. I love chocolate. I love pretzels. I do not love Stephen Bonnet, but there really could not be a more perfect treat dedicated to the stinking bugger. This recipe was admittedly a little daunting to me because there are several steps that go into these delicious delights, but Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser would never let a little alkaline bath deter her, so why should I? (It’s just baking soda and water! What’s scary about baking soda and water?!) I’m going to be honest – the entire time I was making these things, I kept saying to myself, “These will never come out right. These will never come out right…” and when I opened the oven after the final step and saw what looked and smelled like real pretzels, I almost died.
Okay, maybe not died. But I did turn to Riggins the Beagle and say, “AHHHH!” He was the only one around. He was very excited for me. He was also very excited about the delicious smells wafting from the oven. Sadly, he couldn’t have any because of the chocolate filling, which was warm and gooey and everything you could imagine wanting in the middle of your pretzel.
The cookbook clearly states that these are best eaten the day of, which is true, but when I popped the leftovers in a low oven for five minutes, they were still out of this world. And now I’m excited because I have a homemade pretzel recipe that I can do so many things with! Pretzel rolls! Soft pretzels with cheese! Cinnamon sugar pretzel twists! The possibilities are endless!
Well, maybe not endless, but I’ve at least thought of three so far.
Mrs. Graham’s Oatmeal Scones with Clotted Cream
Tea time is my favorite time of day, and I love having something sweet and delicious to go along with my favorite China White Peach. This was my first attempt at homemade scones, but I knew Mrs. Graham wouldn’t let me down. That lady is a wealth of depth! The scones, it should be no surprise, were delicious and will definitely be served should I ever decide to host a tea party. Or the next time I have an Outlander marathon (which, let’s be real, will probably be this weekend.) They were also outstanding toasted up just a bit the next day!
Honestly, if you love Outlander, love to cook, and love delicious food, this should be a no-brainer – you need Outlander Kitchen in your life. So if you can tear yourself away from your adventures in Lallybroch or stop watching Caitriona Balfe’s mesmerizing scene at the Culloden battlefield for just a moment, check out outlanderkitchen.com and be sure to buy the book. Your taste buds and tummy will definitely thank you.