Chocolate Desserts Cookbook Series

Chocolate Desserts Made Easy and Delicious - Volumes 1, 2, 3, and 4

Denise invites you to click to explore her Urb’n’Spice Chocolate Desserts Cookbook Series

Chocolate Desserts Made Easy and Delicious – The Series:

Hello!  Thank you for dropping by!  Did you know that Urb’n’Spice has a series of cookbooks?  The books are all about Chocolate Desserts and include Book One – Cakes; Book Two – Cookies, Brownies and Squares; Book Three – Pies and Tarts, and due to popular demand, Book Four – Gluten Free Chocolate Desserts!

This post is to provide you with more detailed information about my books in the series, “Chocolate Desserts Made Easy and Delicious.”  I am quite proud of these books – it was a bucket list goal to write a cookbook after slowing down a bit from an amazing career as a pastry chef and chef.

There are two ways to get a bit more information:  You can click on any of the book covers (you will see these on the right of my blog page) to get detailed information.  Or, you can click on the link provided below.  The books link to my Amazon (Canada) page and if you wish to purchase a copy – well, I thank you!  This will enable me to continue to share recipes and information with you on this blog.   I appreciate your support very much!

These recipes have been created, collected and treasured from my career.  They have been lovingly tested and retested until they were perfect – for you!  I have a group of special folks that I call my taste testers – they enjoyed their ‘work’ throughout my process of baking, testing, tasting and writing these books.  I hope you enjoy reading them too!

Thanks for visiting – I am so glad that you did.  Please feel free to leave a comment or question.  I love to hear from you!


Book One:

Chocolate Desserts Made Easy and Delicious – Cakes

Book Two:

Chocolate Desserts Made Easy and Delicious – Cookies, Brownies and Squares

Book Three: 

Chocolate Desserts Made Easy and Delicious – Pies and Tarts

Book Four:

Chocolate Desserts Made Easy and Delicious – Gluten Free Chocolate Desserts


Or just CLICK on any of the book covers on my blog page 

Thanks for visiting!  I am really glad you are here!

“Yours, in all things flavourful”

Denise  Paré-Watson

The  Urbnspice  Chef


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Here are the links:


Website:        Urbnspice

Author Page:  Denise’s Author Page




About me:

Facebook:  I Love Chocolate page

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New Gluten Free CookBook by Nicole Hann

New Gluten Free CookBook by Nicole Hann

Nicole Hann has done it again!

I just reviewed Nicole Hann’s latest cookbook , hot off the press.  It is called, “Gluten-Free Small Bites – Sweet and Savory Hand Held Treats for on the Go Lifestyles and Entertaining.”  From a chef’s perspective, I find all of Nicole’s books excellent, accurate, with informative descriptions and with recipes that I trust for my family, friends and clients.  I am having fun with her latest book and after being chosen by Nicole to be part of her launch team, I have also had fun perusing the book before its publication date of October 25th.   



It will be enjoyable to “cook” my way through this cookbook with tastings for family and friends.   I appreciate the fact that she has given options for baking some of the small bites rather than deep-frying; as well as the options for making most of the recipes into recipes suitable for larger appetites.  Even though I seldom eat or make deep fried foods,  Nicole’s newest book has changed my thinking in a big way.  Yesterday, I happily purchased the mini deep fryer that is mentioned in Nicole’s book.  There is something intriguing about making a small batch of crunchy delicious appetizers or small plate items and only using one litre of oil.  One of the first recipes I will try is the Cheddar Hush Puppies (pictured below).  


I highly recommend this book.   It will be an excellent reference book for my cookbook collection although I know it will be on my kitchen island most of the time  – near at hand.  For more information:

Chilly Day Soup

Chilly Day Soup



Chilly Day Soup

I love this time of year.  There is a chill in the air meaning our daily walks require more of a brisk pace.  Soup is always a menu possibility, and many folks who know me well know that I will likely have my large Dutch oven simmering on the stove with a seasonal potage, chowder or bisque.  Today, it just seems like vegetable soup is in order due to an abundance of gorgeous Okanagan produce from our Naramata trip this week.


Gorgeous Produce of the Okanagan

Gorgeous Okanagan Produce

Milk Chocolate Torte with Almond Praline Crust


CHEF TALK:  I love this cake on so many levels!  It is a gluten free, grain-free and egg-free option.  It is easy to make, and it is unbaked!  You can make it ahead of time and it freezes beautifully.  It can also be served frozen.  What more can I say, except that I often make these into 12 individual portions using my pastry rings (my favourite way to make desserts).

Milk Chocolate Almond Torte with Praline Layer


Makes:  1 – 9 inch spring form pan or 12 generous portions



7 oz. natural almonds, sliced (200 g)

2 oz. granulated sugar (55 g)

4 oz. butter, unsalted, melted (115 g)


10 oz. good quality milk chocolate, melted (150 g)

¾ cup butter, unsalted (160 g),

4 oz. granulated sugar (170 g)

1 cup whipping cream (250 ml)

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract (5 ml)


  1. Line the bottom of the spring form pan with parchment paper.
  2. Melt the chocolate slowly in a bowl, which is set over a pot with 1 inch of barely simmering water (bain-marie).
  3. Praline Layer:  Toast the almonds and allow them to cool.  Process them in a food processor until there are some fine particles with some coarse particles (for texture).
  4. Mix the ground nuts together with sugar and add the melted butter.  Pour and press this into the bottom of the spring form pan.  (You may reserve a little of this praline layer for the garnish on top of the cake).  Chill the praline crust while you are making the filling.
  5. Filling:  In a mixer, beat the softened (room temperature) butter and sugar until light colored and airy (creaming).  This will take several minutes.
  6. With the mixer on low speed, add the warm chocolate slowly into bowl of the mixer containing the blended butter and sugar.
  7. Slowly pour in the whipping cream (un-whipped) and the vanilla extract.  Pour the filling on top of the chilled praline layer.  If you have reserved some of the praline layer, sprinkle on top of the filling.   Chill until firm.
Milk Chocolate Cake with Praline Layer

Milk Chocolate Cake with Praline Layer

TO SERVE:  Serve with raspberry coulis and fresh berries, if desired.  If you are serving the cake frozen, let it come to room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving.


LEARNING TIPS:  Extracts; Toast Your Nuts; Parchment Paper; Bain-marie; Creaming; Cutting the Cakes

Collage.Facebook # 3 Timelines

Urbnspice Confitures, Compotes and Jellies

Urb’n’Spice Confitures, Compotes and Jellies

Let me tell you a little about the Urb’n’Spice kitchen. There is often a gently simmering bone broth, a recipe or two in development stages, a course outline on the writing desk, cookies baking in the oven or jar labels being printed off for Urb’n’Spice jams and jellies. It is a busy place where my background as a chef, pastry chef, administrative and office technology are extremely useful in putting together high quality products and training.

Caramelized Onion and Roasted Garlic Confiture 

I have been making confitures (jams), jellies and preserves since I was a little girl helping my Mom preserve food from our market garden. There was something inherently satisfying looking at shelf upon shelf of multi coloured jars brimming with preserved fruit and vegetables, jams, jellies and sauces. I will always fondly remember the spicy fragrances of chilli sauce and apple butter simmering away on the stove.


Patio Delights by Urb’n’Spice

Patio Delights by Urb’n’Spice

It is that time of year when everyone seems to be spending more time on the patio or deck enjoying a glass of wine and dining alfresco.  It certainly is a past time that we enjoy very much.  It is also a wonderful opportunity to share appetizers with friends and family.

I had the pleasure of teaching a course at Vom Fas Oils, Vinegars and Spices in Kelowna using their wonderful products.   My teaching challenge was to create recipes using whatever Vom Fas Oils, Vinegars and Spices that I wanted – creating a menu for Patio Delights was fun!

It went something like this:


“Patio Delights by Urb’n’Spice”


Denise Paré-Watson – Urb’n’Spice Chef/Pastry Chef


Fig and Prosciutto Appetizer

Fig and Prosciutto Appetizer

Gluten Free Tips and Techniques

Gluten Free Tips and Techniques

Featuring a recipe for Gluten Free Italian Almond Macaroons

The Confident Kitchen Series

We all have gatherings of every kind: from book clubs to cookie exchanges, birthday celebrations to holiday open houses and seasonal events. One of the questions I am often asked is “what can I make my gluten intolerant or gluten sensitive guests”?

This is a question that sometimes makes dinner hosts and event organizers very nervous. This article will focus briefly on some tips and techniques that I have developed during my culinary career regarding gluten-free products and recipes.

Thankfully, there are many options now available in grocery stores for gluten-free products. As a chef who has had to develop recipes for clients who are gluten-free or for my daughter who needed to focus on a gluten-free/grain free diet, my job has been made much easier by companies such as “Bob’s Red Mill” or Udi’s Gluten Free products. Their products, whether in flour or meal form or prepared products are widely available at our local grocers and natural food stores.


Gluten Free Entrees?

Some of the dishes that I have created were adapted from dishes that I have previously made for gluten tolerant guests. For example: a herb and bread crusted rack of lamb was modified by toasting brown rice in the oven, grinding it to a powder and substituting this powder for the fresh bread crumbs. The results were excellent! We have also used this ‘rice powder’ to lightly coat a fish fillet in a classic preparation called “Meunière”.


What would you do if you wanted to make meatloaf for a gluten-free guest? Have you seen the packages of dehydrated vegetable flakes in the stores? You can rehydrate these gluten-free vegetable flakes with hot water or broth, let them absorb the liquid, puree the mixture, and then use this flavourful paste as a substitute for bread crumbs which you would normally use in a meatloaf or meatballs. You will enjoy the taste of the gluten-free meatloaf even more than the original recipe. This happened in our family.

Sabayon and Dutch Almond Cake


Gluten Free Desserts?  

Many options are also available for gluten-free desserts that will be enjoyed by all of your guests. There are numerous flourless cake recipes now available. Or, have you heard of sabayon? It is an elegant dessert which is sometimes called zablagione. It is a lovely thick sauce that can be made ahead and spooned over fresh berries and served with gluten-free cookies. The recipe is included in this article: Italian Almond Macaroons, would make an excellent accompaniment.



Makes about 80 cookies( approximately 1.5” in diameter)



1 1/2 cups sliced Almonds (140 g)

1 cup sugar, separated into ¾ cup & ¼ cup (218 g)

Egg Whites from two large eggs (60 ml)

Salt, a pinch

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice.

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 teaspoon Almond Extract

Sliced Almonds – As required, to coat the macaroons (you will need another 3 cups of sliced almonds, approximately)


  1. Oven 325oF. Line cookie sheet with baking parchment.
  2. Combine sliced almonds and ¾ cup of the sugar in a food processor and process until very fine. Set aside.
  3. On another tray, place sliced almonds for coating the cookies. Crunch almonds with your hands slightly to break into smaller pieces. Set aside.
  4. In mixer, beat egg whites with salt and cream of tartar until they barely hold a soft shape. Add extracts.
  5. Gradually add remaining ¼ of sugar, and beat on high speed until whites hold a firm, straight point and are quite stiff.
  6. Add the whipped whites all at once to the ground almond mixture, folding in the whites and almonds together until they are incorporated.
  7. Using a small cookie scoop, drop cookies directly into the sliced almonds. Gently turn the cookies to coat them thoroughly with the sliced almonds
  8. Place onto the baking sheet about 1.5” apart. Bake for 7 – 9 minutes.
  9. Do not overbake or the cookies will be crisp instead of chewy. The almonds should be nicely toasted and the meringue should be only lightly colored.
  10. Transfer to a rack to cool. Store. Dust lightly with icing sugar, if desired. The cookies will freeze well.

Check out some of the delicious Bob’s Red Mill Recipes from Bob’s Red Mill. I encourage you to explore these companies and learn about their commitment to sourcing and providing the purist grains available (Gluten Free Resources)

Further Articles:

Sabayon recipe

Gluten for Punishment




Gluten Free Chocolate Desserts

Gluten free dessert garnish


To Gluten Freedom!

Happy Baking from Denise – The Urb’n’Spice Chef


French Canadian Pea Soup with Smoked Sea Salt

French Canadian Pea Soup with Smoked Sea Salt  

French Canadian Pea Soup by Urb'n'Spice -



CHEF TALK: While spring is fast approaching, the evenings are cool and comfort food is still very much a part of the daily menu. This recipe for French Canadian Pea Soup is one of my childhood favourites. It is easy to make, nutritious and inexpensive which in these times of ever-increasing food costs is a most welcome addition to the menu.  This soup also freezes very well.  For the freezer reserve, ladle 4 portions into 1 quart FoodSaver pouches and place them flat on a  baking tray.  Place a label with date on the top of the pouch.  Once they are frozen, line them up with all of the other soups in the freezer reserve and pat yourself on the back! 

CHEF TIP:  Once the soup is finished cooking, remove several ladles full of the chunkier bits and set this aside (this will be your soup garnish).  Puree the other half of the soup and ladle a portion into large heated  soup bowls.  Then garnish the soup with the chunky half of the soup.  Sprinkle with  smoked sea salt and fresh parsley as well as a drizzle of good olive oil.  Place crispy bacon or pancetta on top (as shown in the photograph) and serve hot – this  French Canadian Pea Soup is now elevated to company status!   Serve with chunks of excellent sourdough baguette and enjoy!


Talk to Chef

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to a great service called, “TalkToChef.”  


Their purpose/objective is to provide expertise by chefs to assist cooks and homemakers everywhere to obtain quality on-line support in preparing meals, meal plans and dealing with every day issues and concerns that arise when feeding their families and friends.  

As a Red Seal Chef and Pastry Chef, I am excited to be a part of “TalkToChef” as one of their culinary consultants who can provide support to you whether it might concern a recipe interpretation, techniques and tips to make life easier, planning a meal, food budgeting, food health concerns or any other culinary question that you might have.

My experience and training in Classic French Culinary and Pastry as well as gluten-free cooking has prepared me to support you whatever your questions might be.  I am very excited about this amazing opportunity to share my passion for teaching and sharing information with you.  It also expands my reach to students everywhere, which makes me very happy.  I receive emails daily from students wondering when and where I am offering classes.  As a Chef consultant with Talk to Chef, I am able to provide assistance no matter where you are!  

I hope you will spread the work about this great service – tell your friends about TalkToChef – I think it will be a wonderful way to connect with you.  


“Yours, in all things flavourful”

Denise  Paré-Watson

The  Urbnspice  Chef

Phone:      778-477-4253







About me:







Lavender Rose Mini Cheesecakes

Lavender Rose Mini Cheesecakes

When I develop a recipe, there is often something pertinent behind its creation that has inspired me.  Here is the story behind the creation of this little cheesecake.  


Lavender Rose Cheesecake

Every one has fond food memories and for me, growing up in a large French Canadian family, I have many precious memories. Family gatherings were frequent and boisterous affairs – full of the happy chatter of young children playing and the elderly family members speaking in typical friendly and demonstrative manner.  Our extended family included many aunts and uncles, cousins and friends. One of my Mom’s sister’s is aptly named Rose and she was famous for bringing her famous Poppy Seed Cake to every family gathering.  We all looked forward to having a little slice of this heavenly cake.

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