The season 3 competitors on the set of Great Chocolate Showdown

Meet This Year’s Great Chocolate Showdown Contestants (Plus Some Season 3 Predictions!)

Chocolate makes everything better, which is why we’re whipping up our favourite chocolate recipes (and stocking up on cold glasses of milk!) in anticipation of Great Chocolate Showdown’s third season. When the ooey-gooey series returns, 10 new home bakers will go head-to-head in all the chocolate-based challenges you could ever dream up, as they temper, melt and swirl their way to a hopeful $50,000 grand prize.

So who are the competitors taking to the kitchen in hopes of impressing judges Anna Olson, Cynthia Stroud and Steve Hodge? Read on to learn more about them and get our hot takes on how we think they’ll do.

Amber Horn, Las Vegas
Occupation: Bartender

Great Chocolate Showdown competitors

First impression: Bartending in Vegas means you’ve got to have an outgoing personality, right? In that vein we can’t wait to see what Amber brings to Great Chocolate Showdown. We have a feeling it will be a lot of big energy and creative concoctions, maybe some with a little glitter and glam.

Our predictions: Amber’s worked in Vegas for more than 20 decades, and considering how much the city has changed, we have a feeling she’ll be able to roll with whatever twists the judges throw her way. She’s probably also used to long and late hours, which may give this competitor a leg up when it comes to some of the more gruelling challenges this season.

Bri Brown, Detroit
Occupation: Mortgage Company Team Lead

Great Chocolate Showdown competitors

First impression: Bri may be into finances now, but she’s been baking from a young age—starting with an Easy-Bake oven. The competitor has also baked her way through Betty Crocker’s Ultimate Cookie Book, which is a total feat, and her father is a chef. That means she comes to this competition armed with advice and experience.

Our predictions: Well, if there’s a cookie challenge she’s clearly going to slay it, right? But even more than that we have a feeling this home baker will dig deep to her childhood roots in order to really bring it in the competition, sharing some delicious nostalgia with us all.

Connie Kazan
Occupation:
Stay-at-Home Mom

Great Chocolate Showdown competitors

First impression: Connie grew up around her parents’ successful Lebanese pita bread bakery, so she’s definitely got a taste for delicious Lebanese ingredients and spices. They have shaped her baking style for sure, but we feel like this competitor also wants to prove herself and carve out her own space in the big, bad world of baking.

Our predictions: Connie’s drive and passion will push her to create exciting and meaningful desserts. We also think she’ll give the judges some of the most unique and inspired plates this season, and she should not be underestimated.

Evan Morgan-Newpher, Tulsa
Occupation:
Manager, Tulsa Zoo

Great Chocolate Showdown competitors

First impression: This self-taught baker has a track record of following his dreams—when he was 20 he switched from an Accounting degree to Zoology so that he could fulfill a childhood wish and train elephants. In other words, when he sets his sights on something, there’s no stopping him.

Our predictions: Evan literally works in a zoo, so that means he’ll be able to handle the chaotic twists and turns of the Great Chocolate Showdown kitchen too, right? This competitor is clearly in it to win it, and we hope that he stays cool and collected when things get tough, while also remembering not to put too much pressure on himself.

Gavan Knox, Scarborough, Ont.
Occupation:
Stay-at-Home Dad

Great Chocolate Showdown competitors

First impression: We have a feeling Gavan has seen some things in his lifetime, having lived in Ireland, England and now Canada, where he resides with his husband and two children. The competitor is all about comforting flavours with elevated twists, and one of his main influences is the architecture he’s spent years studying and practising.

Our predictions: Gavan’s big personality will make him instantly watchable, and we can’t wait to see what kinds of inspired treats he’s going to whip up. We also hope he doesn’t overdo it with the black garlic, rose water and some of his other favourite unique flavours, because when it comes to baking, a little often goes a long way.

Related: Anna Olson’s Chocolate Recipes for Every Skill Level

Ian Frias, Saskatoon
Occupation:
Finance Manager at a Children’s Museum

Great Chocolate Showdown competitors

First impression: Growing up, Ian had to rely on pre-packaged cookie dough to get his baking on, but now that he’s a little older he loves making everything from ice cream, to tarts, to fancy, cream-filled entremets.

Our predictions: Ian will draw on his Filipino roots when it comes to whipping up fun and unique treats, using unusual fruits and tea infusions to elevate the basics as he goes. We have a feeling he’ll take the judges’ feedback to heart and try to grow, all while appreciating every single minute he gets to be in that kitchen.

Lexi Christiansen, Vancouver
Occupation:
Realtor and Model

Great Chocolate Showdown competitors

First impression: This model and home baker understands that we eat with our eyes first, that’s partially how she’s cultivated a social media following with nearly 30,000 followers on TikTok. The Gen Z-er was originally nervous about posting those videos, but community engagement and encouragement have helped her grow more confident than ever.

Our predictions: Some of the other competitors might underestimate Lexi in this competition because she’s younger, but they definitely shouldn’t. We have a feeling Lexi will give us some of the prettiest plates of the season, and now here’s hoping the judges will be equally impressed with her flavours.

See More: Canadian TikTok Accounts You Need to Follow

Maile Crewdson, Maui
Occupation:
Stay-at-Home Mom

Great Chocolate Showdown competitors

First impression: This supermom has a passionate and positive attitude that she’ll undoubtedly bring with her into the kitchen. She’ll also draw on her Filipino and Hawaiian heritage to dole out some cool baking experiments, while her penchant for incorporating the beauty of nature onto her plates will lead to some pretty show-stopping results.

Our predictions: Everyone knows that moms are amazing multitaskers, so we have a feeling that Maile will be one of the cool and collected competitors when the going gets tough on this show. We can’t wait to see what she does in those tight timelines, and whether she can pull off some of those lush sceneries considering how fast these bakes go.

Shyam Rethinavelu, San Francisco
Occupation:
Fashion Stylist

Great Chocolate Showdown competitors

First impression: Shyam is hard of hearing, but as a result he says he has a heightened sense of taste and sight, which is bound to come in handy in this competition. He plans on infusing his chocolatey creations with flavours like cinnamon, coriander and citrus, and in real life he’s all about busting out complex, harder-to-master dishes like sfogliatelle.

Our predictions: They say go big or go home, but Shyam will need to hone in on the basics and not overcommit himself to impress these tough judges. However, if he does pull off some amazing baking feat under the tight constraints, he’ll certainly be the one to beat.

See More: Steve Hodge’s Favourite Unconventional Chocolate Pairings

Vince Driver, Atlanta
Occupation:
Event Coordinator, Artist, Host, Activist, Photographer, Social Media Manager

Great Chocolate Showdown competitors

First impression: Vince seems to be a master of all trades, and baking is just one of his many talents. It all started with a cheesecake that was a huge hit at a friend’s party, and since then this multitasker has taught himself how to make all kinds of yummy treats.

Our predictions: At home, Vince is all about jamming out to music while he’s baking to help keep him on track, so no one should be surprised if he busts out a song in this competition. That trick may also keep him on task when it comes to the time-tight constraints, but to be honest we just can’t wait to see him whip up some kind of chocolate-infused cheesecake in a nod to his baking roots.

Watch the season premiere of Great Chocolate ShowdownMarch 1 at 9 PM ET/PT and stream all your favourite Food Network Canada shows through STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, or with the new Global TV app, live and on-demand when you sign-in with your cable subscription.

Garlic on a table with Wall of Chefs cast members photoshopped on it

From Peeling Garlic to Fixing a Soup-Fail, These Are the Best Foods Hacks from Wall of Chefs

If you’ve ever struggled to open a stubborn jar lid, you know clever hacks are a must in any kitchen. When it comes to food hacks, the following genius ideas for saving time and adjusting flavours in the kitchen will come in handy – especially since they’re expert-approved from the chefs behind Wall of Chefs.

Roger Mooking and Hugh Acheson looking away, Photoshopped a photo of garlic

Related: Meet the Cast: Wall of Chefs Season 2

Acidic Soup Hack

Ever taste your tomato soup and it’s a bit too tangy? Chef Roger Mooking has a great recommendation – just add some diced carrots to sweeten it all up.


Related: Anna Olson’s Quick Guide for Ingredient Substitutions

Easy Peel and Store Ginger

If you’ve ever struggled with trying to peel a fresh piece of ginger, you need to watch this hack. In the meantime, put away your knife and reach for a spoon.


Salty Soup Hack

Too much seasoning in your soup or stew? Just drop a diced up potato in there and taste magic happen, says Roger Mooking. (What Roger says, we do!)


 

 

Related: Meet the Home Cooks: Wall of Chefs Season 2

Easy Peeled Garlic Hack

Peeling garlic with this hack will take this task from a chore and turn it into a good time! Thanks, Hugh.


Related: Watch More Wall of Chefs Clips 

Wall of Chefs Season 2 airs Mondays at 10 ET/PT beginning January 3. Stream all your favourite Food Network Canada shows through STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, or with the new Global TV app, live and on-demand when you sign-in with your cable subscription.

Marcella DiLonardo's butter-pecan old fashioned

Level Up Your Next Old Fashioned With This Butter Pecan-Infused Simple Syrup

A butter pecan twist on a classic old fashioned? Yes please! This is the perfect  That’s the Spirit winter cocktail to enjoy after an afternoon spent in the snow or on the ski hills. This bourbon based drink features a homemade pecan-infused simple syrup that even includes a touch of real butter. The addition of the butter is what really gives this syrup that rich, creamy and familiar flavour of butter pecan ice cream. But, don’t discard those pecans when you are done making the syrup. Enjoy them over a scoop of vanilla ice cream as an added treat. Lastly, this versatile syrup tastes amazing in espresso too!

Related: Not Drinking This Holiday? Try This Alcohol-Free Ginger-Rosemary Christmas Cocktail

Marcella DiLonardo's butter pecan old fashioned

Butter Pecan Old Fashioned

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 1

Ingredients:

For the simple syrup:
½ cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup pecans, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the old fashioned:
2 oz quality bourbon
½ oz buttered pecan syrup, or to taste
2 orange peels, divided
½ oz water
3 dashes bitters

Related: Meet Justin Hall, Estate Winemaker and North America’s First Indigenous Winery

Marcella DiLonardo's butter pecan old fashioned

Directions:

1. For the simple syrup, in a saucepan over medium heat whisk together the water, sugar and pecans. Bring to a gentle simmer and continue stirring until the sugar is fully dissolved.

Butter pecan simple syrup
2. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter. Let mixture stand for 15 minutes before straining. Set aside at room temperature until ready to use.

Related: Kick Off Cozy Season With This Apple Cider Moscow Mule

Strainer with pecans

3. To build the old fashioned, add the simple syrup, bitters and one orange peel to a rocks glass. Muddle to release the flavours of the orange.

Hands muddling an orange peel

4. Fill glass with large ice cubes followed by the bourbon and water. Stir to combine. Garnish with remaining orange peel and enjoy!

Overhead shot of Marcella DiLonardo's butter pecan old fashioned

Related: Like Marcella’s butter pecan old fashioned? Try her gingerbread martini

Okonomiyaki on a patterned plate

Okonomiyaki is the Japanese Street Food You Need in Your Life

Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き) is a Japanese savoury pancake made with flour, eggs, finely-chopped cabbage and customizable add-ins such as shrimp, scallops, bacon, chicken, bell peppers, and mushrooms. Cooked to a perfect crisp on an iron griddle, okonomiyaki is then adorned with tasty toppings like okonomiyaki sauce, Japanese mayo, bonito flakes, green seaweed flakes and red pickled ginger, each contributing to the flavour symphony that makes this dish so wildly delicious. There are also variations in the batter, fillings and toppings depending on region.

This version is based on the most popular style of okonomiyaki, originating from Osaka. I fell in love with this style of okonomiyaki when I lived around the corner from a long-standing, tucked-away gem of a restaurant called Okonomi House in Toronto. Next to experiencing the real deal in Osaka or a place like Okonomi House, making okonomiyaki at home is fun and very doable. Plus, I’m all about any recipe loaded with veggies and protein that qualify as a proper standalone meal. And just as the word “okonomi” means “as you like” in Japanese, feel free to tailor the add-ins and toppings to your taste, substituting in different proteins or making it vegetarian.

Note
The Japanese ingredients used in this dish (instant dashi powder, okonomiyaki sauce, Japanese mayonnaise, katsuobushi and aonori) can be found at most large Japanese, Chinese and Korean supermarkets.

Okonomiyaki on a patterned plate

Okonomiyaki

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes (less if cooking multiple pancakes at a time on a griddle)
Total Time: 50 minutes or less
Servings: 4

Ingredients
For the okonomiyaki batter
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking powder
1 packet (7g) instant dashi powder (optional)
¾ cup water
4 large eggs, whisked
4 cups green cabbage, very finely chopped
2 scallions, finely chopped
2 Tbsp beni shoga (red pickled ginger), roughly chopped (optional)
1 cup raw bay scallops, defrosted and patted dry, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 cup raw shrimp, defrosted, peeled and deveined, patted dry, cut into ½-inch pieces (from 6-7 jumbo shrimp)
Oil, for cooking
3 strips uncured pork belly or regular bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces

Ingredients for Japanese Okonomiyaki (savoury cabbage pancake)

Toppings
½ cup okonomiyaki sauce, warmed slightly in the microwave (For a homemade substitute, whisk together 4 Tbsp ketchup, 4 Tbsp  Worcestershire sauce and 2 Tbsp sugar)
Japanese mayonnaise, to taste
Katsuobushi (fermented smoked dried bonito flakes), to taste
Aonori (green seaweed flakes), to taste
Beni shoga (red pickled ginger), to taste

Toppings for Japanese Okonomiyaki (Savoury cabbage pancake)

Directions
1. For the okonomiyaki batter, in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, instant dashi powder (if using). Add water and whisk – it should be very thick. Add eggs and whisk to incorporate.

2. Into the batter, stir in pickled ginger and scallions. Add cabbage in gradually (it will seem like a lot of cabbage but rest assured, it is supposed to be thick with just enough batter to bind everything). Fold in scallops and shrimp.

Related: Japanese Fruit Sandos

Batter for Japanese Okonomiyaki (savoury cabbage pancake)

3. Heat skillet over medium heat and drizzle with oil. Alternatively, you can use a cast iron griddle (smooth side) to cook multiple okonomiyaki at once, just use separate pot lids for each pancake.

4. Scoop one quarter of okonomiyaki batter onto skillet and form into a circle about 6-inches in diameter and 1-inch thick. Scatter ¼ of pork belly or bacon pieces on top and cover with lid. Cook for 4-5 minutes or when the bottom is lovely and brown. Flip using two flat spatulas. Cover and cook another 4-5 minutes or until second side is brown. Flip once more so bacon side is facing up again.

Okonomiyaki being flipped in a skillet

5. Cook uncovered one minute more. Transfer to serving plate or keep warm in 200 F oven. Repeat with remaining three pancakes, reducing heat to medium-low to prevent pan from over-heating and burning the remaining pancakes.

Related: Japanese-Inspired Rolled Hot Dog Omelette

Okonomiyaki being flipped in a skillet

6. To serve, spread a layer of okonomiyaki sauce (2 Tbsp per pancake), followed by squiggles of Japanese mayo, a generous heap of bonito flakes, sprinkles of green seaweed flakes and more red pickled ginger, if using.

A closup of okonomiyaki (Japanese savoury pancake)

Love Sonia’s okonomiyaki recipe? Try her Japanese chicken curry next!

Falafel scotch eggs on a white plate

Falafel Scotch Eggs Are Crispy, Jammy Perfection


Say hello to your new favourite “Scotch” egg. These jammy eggs are wrapped in a bright and flavour falafel mixture, then fried to crispy golden perfection and topped with a drizzle of tahini lemon sauce. It makes an impressive meat-free appetizer, or try pairing it with a salad for a hearty, colourful meal.

Falafel Scotch Eggs

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Cool Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 6 eggs

Ingredients
For the falafel eggs
6 small eggs
1 ½ cups dried chickpeas, soaked in water for 24 hours and drained
¾ cup fresh parsley
½ cup fresh cilantro
½ small onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp fresh ground pepper
¼ tsp cayenne pepper

For the tahini sauce
½ cup tahini
¼ cup lemon juice
Water, if necessary

Ingredients for Falafel Scotch Eggs on a white countertop.

Directions
1. Boil eggs to a jammy consistency, about 5 minutes. Remove and place in a large bowl of ice water to cool. Once fully cooled, peel and set aside.

2. In a blender or food processor add chickpeas, parsley, cilantro, onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, baking powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Pulse for about 1 minute, scraping down the sides as necessary, until the mixture has a sandy texture. Transfer to a bowl.

Related: Green Onion Pancake Shawarma Recipe

Falafel mixture and boiled, peeled eggs in two separate bowls.

3. Lay a square piece of plastic wrap on the counter. Scoop about ⅓ cup of the falafel mixture into the center of the plastic wrap and flatten it out into a circle, about 4-5 inches wide. Place a peeled egg in the center and pull the wrap up to encase the egg in the falafel mixture. Use the wrap and your hands to smooth out the egg, ensuring there are no cracks or holes around the egg. Repeat this step for the remaining eggs.

A peeled boiled egg on a bed of falafel mixture.

4. Transfer eggs to a small baking sheet and place in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes.

Related: West Indian Egg Curry and Roti Recipe

Uncooked Falafel Scotch Eggs on a baking tray.

5. Fill a small pot with frying oil about halfway. Heat the oil to 375° F.

6. Working 1-2 at a time, carefully place the eggs in the oil to fry for 3 to 4 minutes, until crispy and dark golden. Set aside on a cooling rack and fry remaining eggs.

Fried Falafel Scotch Eggs on a cooling rack.

7. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine tahini and lemon juice. Whisk until combined, adding water if necessary, to get a sauce consistency. Set aside until serving.

8. To serve the eggs, cut in half and drizzle with tahini lemon sauce.

Falafel scotch eggs on a white plate

Love this Menu Mashup? Try these Cheesy Croque Madame Rolls Drizzled with Hollandaise next!

Chinese Pork Floss in a blue patterned bowl

Chinese Pork Floss is the Salty-Sweet Addition Your Pantry Needs

The fluffy, sandy and salty-sweet airiness of pork floss (or rousong) makes for a fascinating confection. Texture wise, pork floss carries tantalizing hints of carnival nostalgia, with a  candy-floss gossamer and sweet, meaty undertones of a really good jerky.

Although meat floss can be made with other ingredients — such as beef, chicken, fish or even vegetables for variety and religious reasons — and is used in cuisines across China, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, the type of product that you’ll see most often in Canada is the crispy pork variety.

Chinese Pork Floss in a blue patterned bowl

Buying and storing pork floss

A golden-hued collection of very thin threads, pork floss can also clump slightly in small tufts, resembling light brown sugar.  Sold in large Asian supermarkets and some big box grocery chains, pork floss comes in two varieties: pork sung (rousong in Chinese) and pork fu, which are relatively interchangeable, and can sometimes be found with additional flavourings such as seaweed or chilis. Since it is a dried product, pork floss is relatively shelf stable and easily stored in its big plastic jar for maximum freshness. Most varieties in North America are also inexpensive, with a large jar often sold for around (or well under) $10.

How to use pork floss

Once you’ve bought your pork floss home, there are a wide variety of applications for this versatile ingredient. Here are some traditional and unconventional ways to use pork floss on your plate.

A closeup of Chinese pork floss

Pair it by texture

Some pork floss connoisseurs enjoy snacking on it plain to best enjoy the meltingly soft, crisp interplay of textures with each bite. Much of the point of pork floss is that ephemeral crispness that dissolves in the mouth, so its probably not advised to get it wet too soon. Adding too much liquid or combining it with ingredients too far ahead of time transforms pork floss from fluffy and loveable to a soggy, lumpy mess and is best avoided.

Try it at home: Pork floss plays very well with mayonnaise and egg preparations, so add some meaty goodness to your next batch of scrambled eggs, or fold pork floss into hard-boiled egg yolks for devilled eggs or as a gribiche sauce for asparagus.

Pair it by flavour

The key to pairing pork floss successfully is to play off its salty-sweet nature. For those who love putting bacon in everything (including desserts!) the dark soy notes of pork floss fit the bill (one ice cream shop in Taiwan, Snow King, has been making rousong ice cream since 1979). Putting pork floss in sweet applications brings out the salty, meaty flavours, while using it in more savoury dishes will emphasize its slightly caramelized undertones.

Try it at home: Pork floss is a traditional pairing with sweet baked goods throughout Asia (more on that below), but you can take it in a different direction by stirring it into a whipped cream topping just before serving, or to deepen the complexities of a rice pudding.

Use it in baking

Although the internet is currently awash in takes on the pork floss and seaweed buns from Mooncakes and Milk Bread, pork floss plays a regular role in baked goods. In Chinese bakeries, pork floss is as ubiquitous as the chocolate sprinkles or icing sugar in a Canadian doughnut shop, and buns with sweet or savoury fillings such as salted egg can be seen in all their crispy and tender glory.

Try it at home: Use pork floss to rein in the sweetness of sugary items such as sticky cinnamon buns, or stir it into cheese biscuits or other savoury applications.

Cookies covered in rousong, or pork floss

Use it as a topping

Much like the umami-laden savouriness found in seaweed and furikake (which it is often paired with), pork floss is terrific on rice-based dishes. Served alongside a meltingly hearty bowl of congee, bibimbap or even plain rice, pork floss provides a textural contrast and a dash of meaty seasoning. Pork floss can also be sprinkled on stir-fried, braised or soup-based noodles, or pastas the way bottarga or parmesan would be used to supply a finishing hit of salt, or on top of silken tofu or steamed Chinese vegetables, such as gai lan or bok choy.

Try it at home: Provide a small dish of pork floss on the table so that diners can customize their plates to their own preferences. Think outside the bowl for anywhere you would use a finishing salt or sprinkle of crispy onions or bacon: casseroles, creamy soups or even baked beans could all benefit.

Use it as a filling

Pork floss is often enjoyed in sandwiches on its own with just a little bit of butter and cheese, but it also complements a wide variety of creamy or soft fillings. Crepes, French toast or even pancakes take pork floss further into brunch territory, while an onigiri, banh mi, omelette or Rice Paper Vietnamese Pizza can be a lunch or light dinner.

Try it at home: Tuck some pork floss into a grilled cheese or fried egg or egg salad sandwich, add it to an everything bagel with cream cheese or fold it through a tuna or salmon filling for a next-level sandwich.

Vietnamese crispy pizza filled with Chinese pork floss

Related: Getting To Know Lap Cheong (Chinese Dried Sausage)

Images courtesy of Getty and Pexels.

Seedlip's Cosnopolitan

Celebrate Dry January With This Quick and Easy No-Alcohol CosNoPolitan

Whether you’re going low-alc or full-on embracing Dry January (and beyond), this tasty, quick and easy cocktail will add occasion to any moment. Best part? You can enjoy it anytime, because it’s hangover-free.  

Related: Try This Alcohol-Free Ginger-Rosemary Christmas Cocktail

Seedlip

Seedlip’s Quick and Easy CosNoPolitan:

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 1

Ingredients: 

For the simple syrup:
½ cup sugar
½ cup water

For the CosNoPolitan:
2 oz non-alcoholic vodka alternative or an non-alcoholic spirit such as Seedlip Grove 42
1 oz cranberry juice
½ oz fresh lime juice
½ oz simple syrup
Orange peel for garnish

Related: Stock Your Dry January Bar with These Standout Non-Alcoholic Alternatives

Directions:

1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, add water and sugar. Bring to a simmer, stirring with a whisk until all the sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

2. To build the cocktail, add to a shaker filled with the simple syrup, cranberry juice, fresh lime juice and non-alcoholic spirit of choice.

3. Shake until you hear the ice change pitch, to a lighter clinking sound, and strain into a coupe glass.

4. Garnish with an orange peel and enjoy!

Related: Meet Justin Hall, Estate Winemaker at Nk’Mip – North America’s First Indigenous Winery

Tahini Honey Rice Krispie Treats on wax paper

Tahini Honey Rice Krispies Treats

If you loved Rice Krispies Treats as a kid, or even as an adult, you must make this recipe. We’ve swapped out the traditional gooey marshmallows and replaced them with a combo of tahini and honey. Then, we smothered the top in a chocolate-tahini ganache. They’re sweet, crunchy, chocolaty, nutty and so good that you will be making them again and again (and again!).

Tahini Honey Rice Krispie Treats on wax paper

Tahini Honey Rice Krispie Treats

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Freezer Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 16 bars

Ingredients
2 Tbsp butter or coconut oil
¼ cup honey
⅔ cup plus 4 Tbsp tahini
4 cups puffed rice
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Pinch of sea salt
2 tsp sesame seeds

Ingredients for Tahini Honey Rice Krispies Treats

Directions
1. Place a large pot on the stove over medium-low heat.

2. Melt the butter in the pot, then pour in the honey and  ⅔ cup tahini . Mix to combine.

3. Add in the puffed rice and stir so that the rice is fully coated in the tahini-honey mixture.

Related: Berry, Lemon & Tahini Pound Cake

Ingredients for Tahini Honey Rice Krispies Treats in a large pot

4. Butter a 6×10-inch baking dish and line with parchment paper.

5. Pour the puffed rice into the baking dish and flatten it with the back of a spatula or using the bottom of a cup.

6. Put the dish in the freezer for 5 minutes to harden while you make the chocolate tahini topping.

7. Place a small pot over medium-low heat. Add in the chocolate chips, the rest of the tahini and a pinch of salt. Continue to stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth.

8. Take the treats out of the freezer, drizzle the chocolate on top, use a spatula or a spoon to spread out evenly, then top with sesame seeds.

A baking dish of Tahini Honey Rice Krispies Treats with a side of chocolate ganache

9. Place back in the freezer for 25-30 minutes for the chocolate to set.

10. Once the chocolate is hard, remove from the freezer, slice into squares and store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Tahini Honey Rice Krispies Treats on parchment paper

Love this recipe from Tamara and Sarah? Try their Chocolate Tahini Coffee Granola next!

Close-up o-f a cauliflower roasted with cacio e pepe sauce on it

Cauliflower Cacio e Pepe is a Healthier Twist on Classic Comfort Food

Cacio e pepe deliciously demonstrates how a few basic ingredients can combine to become so much more than the sum of their parts. Cacio e pepe translates to “cheese and pepper” – and this super-popular dish is basically just that, bound together with a little water to create a silky sauce. Now, I know dairy and me don’t always agree, but this recipe manages to squeak by with just a handful of aged cheese. Here, we apply that delicious combination in a sauce for roasted cauliflower instead of the customary pasta, but this would be just as good on roasted broccoli, asparagus, or zucchini.

Close-up of a cauliflower roasted with cacio e pepe sauce on it

Cauliflower Cacio e Pepe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 5 minutes
Servings: 2

Related: 10-Minute Spicy Sauteed Cauliflower and Chickpeas

Ingredients
1 medium head cauliflower
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup freshly grated pecorino cheese

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a sheet pan with foil.

2. To prepare the cauliflower, remove the leaves and all but 1 inch of stem from the head. Place the head stem-side down on the cutting board. With a heavy, sharp knife, slice through the middle of the head to create two equal halves.

Related: Comforting Three-Cheese Cacio e Pepe in Spaghetti Squash Form

3. Drizzle the cauliflower on all sides with 2 Tbsp of the olive oil and arrange cut-side down on the sheet pan. Season with a few pinches of salt and twists of pepper.

4. Roast until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Flip the cauliflower and continue cooking for 15 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, set a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add ¼ cup water and 1 tsp black pepper and bring to a simmer. Add the butter and whisk to combine. Remove from the heat and whisk in the pecorino and remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil.

6. Top the cauliflower with the cheese sauce and serve.

Related: Coconut-Crusted Cauliflower Tacos

Book cover for Michael Symon's book

Reprinted from Fix It With Food: Every Meal Easy Copyright © 2021 by Michael Symon and Douglas Trattner. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.

Fix It with Food: Every Meal Easy, Amazon, $42

All products featured on Food Network Canada are independently selected by our editors. For more products handpicked by our editorial team, visit Food Network Canada’s Amazon storefront. However, when you buy through links in this article or on our storefront, we earn an affiliate commission.

Stacks of waffles with bananas and caramel sauce on a blue plate

Anna Olson’s Gooey Chocolate Chip Waffle Cake is What Brunch Dreams Are Made of


Who says a layer cake has to be made with layers OF cake?  This over-the-top cake is made by stacking chocolate chip waffles with a peanut butter frosting and salted caramel bananas.  This may seem like a kids’ cake, but I have witnessed mature adults turn into puddles of giddiness as they dive into a slice of this cake.

Related: These Waffle Recipes Will Make You Jump Right Out of Bed

Layers of waffle and bananas on a blue plate

Gooey Chocolate Chip Waffle Cake With Salted Caramel Bananas and Peanut Butter Frosting

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 4 minutes per waffle
Total Time: 34 minutes
Servings: 12

Related: The Best-Ever Cake Recipes From Anna Olson

Ingredients
Waffles
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp fine salt
3 cups buttermilk
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup unsalted butter, melted (warm is OK)
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Peanut Butter Filling:
2 cups cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup peanut butter (conventional or pure)
1 cup icing sugar
3 Tbsp whipping cream
2 tsp vanilla extract

Salted Caramel Bananas:
1 cup Salted Butter Caramel Sauce
4 large bananas sliced

Salted Caramel Sauce:
¼ cup water
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp white vinegar or lemon juice
1 cup whipping cream
½ cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 tsp flaked sea salt

Related: Watch More Irresistible Baking Recipes from Anna Olson 

Directions
1. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large mixing bowl.  Add the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla and whisk until combined (but a few lumps are OK).  Whisk in the melted butter and then stir in the mini chocolate chips.

2. Heat your waffle iron following manufacturer’s instructions. Have two baking trays with cooling racks placed on top, on hand. Lightly grease the iron and ladle on enough batter to fill the waffle pattern once closed (it may take sacrificing one for practice). Cook until a rich golden brown (cook time may vary, depending on the iron) and remove to cool on the rack.  Repeat until all of the batter has been used.

3. For the filling, use electric beaters or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat the cream cheese on medium high speed until fluffy.  Add the peanut butter and beat in well, scraping the bowl as needed.  Add the icing sugar and beat in (start at low speed until combined).  The mixture might seem tight at this point – add the cream and vanilla and it will smooth out.

4. For the bananas, heat the caramel slightly to soften it (but not to warm it) and toss the bananas to coat.

5. To assemble the cake, place a cooled waffle on a cake stand or platter.  Spread a generous amount of peanut butter filling overtop and arrange a single layer of bananas (dripping caramel as well) over this.  Top with the next waffle and repeat until you have 4 waffles stacked.  Finish the top with a dollop of peanut butter filling, spreading it but not all the way to the edges and top with the remaining bananas.  Use a spoon to drizzle any remaining caramel sauce over the edges, to drip appealingly.  Chill the waffle cake until ready to serve.

Related: Anna Olson’s Maple Bacon Waffle Cake

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Anna Olson, Cynthia Stroud and Steve Hodge smiling at the camera.

Great Chocolate Showdown: Meet the Judges

 

 

Great Chocolate Showdown is an ooey-gooey, decadent chocolate dessert competition series where 10 home bakers go head-to-head in the indulgent world of chocolate, vying for the grand prize in a range of creative and exciting chocolate-based challenges. In order to survive the competition from week-to-week and avoid elimination, the chocoholic dessert-makers must dazzle our panel of world-renowned chocolatiers and food expert judges with their delicious, inventive creations. In the end, three bakers take on the biggest chocolate challenge of their lives, but only one is crowned ‘Great Chocolate Showdown Champion’ and wins the $50,000 grand prize.

Watch Great Chocolate Showdown and stream all your favourite Food Network Canada shows through STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, or with the new Global TV app, live and on-demand when you sign-in with your cable subscription.

 

White bean and winter greens chili in a large pot.

This White Bean and Winter Greens Chili is an Instant Classic

A hearty vegetarian chili that features fresh winter greens and white beans. This not-so-traditional chili is loaded with vegetables and will keep you warm on the snowiest of winter nights. Use your favourite mix of winter greens; spinach, kale, chard, rapini or collards. For a vegan friendly version, simply use a dairy-free cheddar cheese and sour cream for topping!

White bean and winter greens chili in a large pot.

White Bean and Winter Greens Chili

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
2 carrots, peeled & diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper, to taste
19 oz can of white beans, rinsed and drained
28 oz can of pureed or chopped tomatoes
4 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken stock
12 ounces (about 2 bunches) of winter greens, stemmed & torn into pieces
Grated cheddar cheese, for serving
Sour cream, for serving
Crushed tortilla chips, for serving

Ingredients for white bean and winter greens chili.

Directions
1. In a heavy bottom pot over medium heat add the oil, garlic and onion. Cook until translucent, about 2 minutes.

2. Add the celery, carrots, pepper, oregano, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes.

3. Stir in the beans, tomatoes and stock. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cover and continue cooking until thickened, about 45 to 60 minutes.

White bean chili simmering in a pot.

4. Add the winter greens and continue to cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Related: This 20-Minute Tuscan White Bean Skillet is a Dinner Winner

kale in a pot of white bean chili

5. Transfer to serving bowls and top with cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips.

A bowl of white bean and winter greens chili topped with cheese and crushed tortilla chips.

Love Marcella’s vegetarian chili? Try her air fryer Brussels sprouts next!

A slice of vegan lasagna on a white plate.

The Perfect Vegan Lasagna

Layered with tangy lentil mushroom sauce, tofu “ricotta” and melty vegan mozzarella, this vegan lasagna recipe is a sight to behold.  It’s a must-have comfort food for cozy weather and has all the flavors you love about lasagna with a vegan twist. Now the real question is: do you go for a crispy corner slice, or a melty middle slice?

A slice of vegan lasagna on a white plate.

The Perfect Vegan Lasagna Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 48 Minutes
Total Time : 1 Hour, 3 Minutes
Yield: 12 servings

Ingredients
12-16 vegan lasagna sheets
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
114 g oyster mushrooms, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
227 g vegan meat patties or crumble
1 ½ cups cooked red lentils
28 oz canned tomato sauce
450 g soft tofu
1 tsp garlic powder
3 cups shredded vegan mozzarella
Chopped parsley, for garnish]

Ingredients for the perfect vegan lasagna

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil and boil lasagna sheets according to the package instructions.

2. To make the lentil tomato sauce, heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and sauté onion, garlic and mushrooms for about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then add in the vegan meat and cook for about 5 minutes. Add in red lentils and tomato sauce, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for another 5 minutes. Set aside.

Lentil tomato sauce for the perfect vegan lasagna.

3. To make the tofu ricotta, strain the tofu and press out any excess moisture using a paper towel. Crumble the tofu in a large bowl; you can use your hands or a spatula. Add garlic powder, plus salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Related: This Yummy Vegan Spinach and Artichoke Dip is the Perfect Appetizer

Tofu ricotta for the perfect vegan lasagna.

4. In a 13×9 baking dish, assemble the lasagna. Start with ½ a cup of the sauce, then layer with 3 lasagna sheets. Top with a ⅓  cup of the vegan ricotta, then ⅓ a cup of vegan mozzarella. Repeat the layering process until you have four layers. Generously top the final layer any additional vegan mozzarella.

Layering process for the perfect vegan lasagna.

5. Cover the dish with foil and bake in pre-heated oven for 30 minutes. Once baked, remove lasagna from oven, remove foil, set the oven to broil and return to the oven for another 5 minutes uncovered. This will ensure that the vegan mozzarella melts.

Related: This Cozy Weeknight Cassoulet is Given a Spicy Vegan Makeover

The perfect vegan lasagna topped with melty vegan mozzarella.

6. Garnish with parsley and serve.

The perfect vegan lasagna topped with fresh parsley, ready to serve.

Love Valerie’s vegan lasagna? Try her vegan stuffed Portobello mushrooms next!

Ingredients for parmesan broth in a glass bowl

Save Those Parmesan Rinds and Make This Umami-Rich Broth

Using leftover cheese rinds as a base for a broth that then can be used for cooking beans and making simple soups, sauces, or risotto? Amazing. You can use your rinds from Parmesan or any other hard cheese you like to curate your own signature rind broth. The ratio is a simple eight parts water to one part rind.

Note: One pound of cheese rinds sounds like a lot, but they add up fast, especially since they can last in your freezer for years. Start stashing them there for your next batch of broth or to add flavor to your next soup, sauce, or stew. Since Parmesan rinds have become such a hot flavor commodity, you can buy them at the cheese section of your local deli or grocer (some give them away for free!). Just ask at the deli where you can find them.

Ingredients for parmesan broth in a glass bowl

Parm Broth

Total Time: 1-2 hours
Yield: 6 cups

Ingredients
8 cups water
1 lb Parmesan rinds, rinsed and trimmed of any unwanted spots
1 bay leaf
½ onion
12 black peppercorns
Small bunch parsley stems

Optional Add-Ins
A few smashed garlic cloves
Aromatics e.g., celery stalks, leek, a carrot, or some fennel
Sage leaves or sprigs of thyme or oregano

Directions
1. Place all of the ingredients, including the optional add-ins, in a stockpot and bring to boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for up to 2 hours. After 1 hour, taste, and if it is to your liking, it’s done. If not, simmer up to 1 hour longer, tasting along the way.

2. Strain and let cool, then store in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Related: Don’t Toss ‘Em! 5 Delicious Ways to Use Broccoli Stems

Cook More Waste Less CookbookExcerpted from Cook More, Waste Less by Christine Tizzard Copyright © 2021 Christine Tizzard. Photography © Reena Newman. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Cook More, Waste Less: Zero-Waste Recipes to Use Up Groceries, Tackle Food Scraps, and Transform Leftovers, $30, amazon.ca

All products featured on Food Network Canada are independently selected by our editors. For more products handpicked by our editorial team, visit Food Network Canada’s Amazon storefront. However, when you buy through links in this article or on our storefront, we earn an affiliate commission.

Related: Save That Leftover Pie Dough and Make These Cinnamon Pinwheel Cookies!

Close-up of a a plate of beef bourguignon

Watch The Kitchen’s Jeff Mauro Make the Most Tender Short Rib Bourguignon


This classic French beef stew is braised in red wine and beef stock, typically flavored with carrots, onions, garlic and a bouquet garni. Jeff Mauro’s chef’s kiss? A splash of cognac. 

 

Short Rib Bourguignon Over Creamy Polenta

Active Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 3 hour, 15 minutes
Servings: 4-5 

Ingredients

Short Rib Bourguignon:
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
6 oz slab bacon, rind removed, cut into lardons
4 lbs bone-in English cut beef short ribs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lb carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally into 2-inch chunks
8 shallots, peeled and halved, leaving root end intact
2 Tbsp tomato paste
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
3 cups dry red wine
2 cups beef broth
¼  cup cognac
Bouquet garni (10 parsley stems, 6 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 bay leaf, tied together with kitchen twine)
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 lb white button mushrooms, quartered
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour

Creamy Polenta:
4 cups milk, plus more as needed
1 cup cornmeal
½  teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp unsalted butter 

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 325 F.

2. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the lardons and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and the fat has rendered, 6 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Reserve the rendered fat in the Dutch oven.

3. Generously season the short ribs with salt and pepper. In the same Dutch oven, working in batches, brown the short ribs in the remaining bacon fat over high heat, then remove to a plate and set aside. Remove all but 1 Tbsp of fat from the Dutch oven.

4. To the Dutch oven with the reserved fat, add the carrots and shallots. Cook over medium-high heat until lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook until slightly darker, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, about 1 minute. Remove about half of the carrots and shallots, and reserve.

5. To the Dutch oven, add the wine, beef broth, cognac, short ribs and bouquet garni. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cover, transfer to the oven and cook until the beef is very tender, 2 to 3 hours.

6. Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium-high heat, melt 3 Tbsp of the butter. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

7. Bring the Dutch oven from the oven to the stovetop. Remove the bouquet garni, carrots and shallots and discard. Bring the liquid to a simmer.

8. Using a fork, in a small bowl, cream together the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and flour, using your fingers if necessary to mix well. Stir the mixture into the stew. Simmer over medium-low heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

9. Serve the ribs over creamy polenta along with the mushrooms and reserved carrots and shallots. Ladle some of the sauce over the top before serving.

Creamy Polenta:

1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add the milk, then add the cornmeal gradually, whisking constantly. Add salt and pepper to taste, and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

2. Turn the heat to low, and cook, stirring often, until the polenta is very thick, but is still creamy, 30 to 35 minutes. If the polenta becomes too thick, whisk in additional milk or water, 1 Tbsp at a time, until it is the desired consistency (it should be about the consistency of porridge).

3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the butter using a wooden spoon. Taste for seasoning and serve immediately.

Tune into The Kitchen to see new episodes. Watch and stream all your favourite Food Network Canada shows through STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, or with the new Global TV app, live and on-demand when you sign-in with your cable subscription.

a butternut and bacon tart

A Brunch-Worthy Butternut and Bacon Tart

Rarely are tarts seen alone. We tend to bring them to the table in the company of other small dishes for a summer lunch: radishes on a dish of ice; a coarse, piggy terrine; a bowl of leaves and herbs; or a wedge of cheese. And yet they can be a main dish, if the filling is substantial and it is served with generosity. In the spring of 2018, I made a tart that would pass as a principal dish.

Satisfying enough to be offered as you might a pie, with a single green vegetable on the side. The result was a saffron-hued butternut and bacon tart, served with nothing more than a big blue and white bowl of peas at its side. The recipe hit the spot and I have been making it ever since.

Note: In theory, there is little need to peel the butternut squash, but I do here. The skin, however tender, seems at odds with the gentle texture of the tart filling. Add as much water as you need to make the pastry easy to roll, but it is worth remembering that the less water you put in the less likely it is to shrink in the oven.

a butternut and bacon tart

Butternut and Bacon Tart

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Chill Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients
For the pastry
⅜ cup butter
1 cup plain flour
1 egg yolk
4 Tbsp Parmesan, grated
1-2 Tbsp water

For the filling
1 butternut squash (about 500 g)
8 strips smoked bacon
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 eggs
1 cup whipping cream
¼ cup milk
Handful parsley, chopped

To finish
2 Tbsp Parmesan, grated

Directions
1. Make the pastry: cut the butter into small dice and rub into the flour with your fingertips until it has the texture of soft, fresh breadcrumbs. Alternatively, reduce to fine crumbs in a food processor. Add the egg yolk, the Parmesan and the water, a tablespoon at a time, stopping when you have a firm, even-textured dough. Set the oven at 375° F.

2. Peel the squash, halve lengthways and discard the fibres and seeds (you should be left with about 350 g). Then cut the flesh into short wedges, each weighing roughly 35 g. Place the pieces in a steamer basket and cook over boiling water for 8–10 minutes until soft. Cut the bacon into pieces the size of a postage stamp then fry in the oil in a shallow pan until the fat is translucent and just starting to crisp. Remove from the heat.

Related: A Veggie-Packed Crustless Quiche Recipe

3. Beat the eggs, cream and milk, season, then add the chopped parsley. Place an 8-inch round tin with a removable base on a baking tray and line with the pastry, making certain you have pushed the dough deep into the edges and that there are no tears or cracks. Chill for 20 minutes in the fridge.

4. Line the pastry case with baking parchment and baking beans, then bake for 20 minutes. Remove the beans and return the pastry case to the oven for 3–5 minutes or until the pastry is dry to the touch.

5. Lower the heat to 355° F. Place the pieces of squash in the pastry shell, then scatter over the crisped bacon. Pour in the custard and dust the surface with the grated Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes or until the custard is just set. Remove from the oven and leave to cool until just warm (when tarts such as this are at their most delicious).

A Cook's Book cover by Nigel SlaterExcerpt from A Cook’s Book by Nigel Slater ©2021. Published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

A Cook’s Book: The Essential Nigel Slater with over 200 recipes, $40, amazon.ca

All products featured on Food Network Canada are independently selected by our editors. For more products handpicked by our editorial team, visit Food Network Canada’s Amazon storefront. However, when you buy through links in this article or on our storefront, we earn an affiliate commission.

Related: Save That Leftover Pie Dough and Make These Cinnamon Pinwheel Cookies!

Best non-alcoholic alternatives

Stock Your Dry January Bar with These Standout Non-Alcoholic Alternatives

Going low-alcohol or alcohol-free this Dry January? Fear not, we are far beyond the sugary “mocktail” alternatives of yesteryear and gone are the days where non-drinkers were forced to miss out on the social component of clinking cocktails. 

Today’s low-alcohol, non-alcohol and alcohol-free industries have evolved and the space is full of innovative craft spirits that introduce the much-needed complexity familiar to craft cocktails aficionados, the world over. Make room on your bar cart: here is the ultimate guide to the best tried and tested craft alcohol alternatives available in Canada. 

Related: Not Drinking? Try This Alcohol-Free Ginger-Rosemary Cocktail

Seedlip's fleet of non-alcoholic spirits

Seedlip Distilled Non-Alcoholic Sprits

Seedlip entered the non-alcoholic scene four years ago, but its origin story stretches much further back. It starts in 1651 to be exact, which is when physician, John French, published The Art of Distillation, documenting his non-alcoholic recipes. It is also the time period when the founder Ben Branson’s own predecessors in Lincolnshire started farming, hand-sowing seeds using baskets called seedlips – the brand’s namesake. Spending two years to tinker and perfect Seedlip’s award-winning distillates, Benson eventually launched three original non-alcoholic spirits, each with their unique flavour profile: The herbaceous Garden 108, the aromatic Spice 94, and the newest citrus-forward Grove 42. What sets Seedlip apart is that it isn’t outright emulating any of the traditional spirits (such as rum, gin or vodka). It is instead introducing an original non-alcoholic spirit to compliment a whole new range of cocktails (so much so that Seedlip published its own cocktail recipe book, titled The Seedlip Cocktail Book). You can also download a free ebook Seedlip Recipes at Home, full of recipes as well here

Related: The Top 10 Food Trends of 2021, According to TikTok

Lyre's London Dry Spirit

 

Lyre’s Impossibly Crafted Non-Alcoholic Spirits

If you have particular favourites when it comes to traditional spirits, Lyre’s offers the greatest range of award-winning non-alcoholic expressions that pay homage to popular and time-tested boozy classics. Practically any traditional cocktail can be recreated with Lyre’s fleet of distillates. From absinthe– and amaretto-style spirits to coffee liquor– to triple sec– and vermouth-like options, Lyre’s selection is impressive (13 in total), and the folks behind the brand have clearly done their homework; even the alternatives to rum come in varieties of White, Dark or Spiced Cane style. The Australian brand’s cheeky branding will introduce a level of levity to the occasion, ensuring “everyone can enjoy the mirth and merriment of a soiree or shindig,” whether they are expecting, are a designated driver, or are choosing to go low-alcohol or to forego alcohol altogether for some other reason. Its “Seize the night, embrace the day” motto will keep you functional the morning after, and there are no artificial colours, even though its options are  doppelgangers to their inspirations (see Lyre’s Malt take on bourbon). 

Related: Pinterest Predicts These Food Trends Will Be Huge in 2022

Lumett's non-alcoholic beverages

Lumette!

Aiming to illuminate your drinking experience, British Columbia’s Lumette! was born out of desire to combine a love of natural ingredients with cocktail culture. The delightful result is a  trio of distilled alt-spirits named London Dry, Bright Light and Lumrum. They are handcrafted using a bounty of premium botanicals and traditional distilling methods, and yield delicious renderings that are great additions to low- or zero-proof cocktails. Bright Light brings forth notes of juniper, citrus, rose, mint, cucumber and grand fir. Lumrum on the other hand hits warmer aromas of molasses, cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. With London Dry you’ll get juniper, and a citrus forward burst of flavour. 

Related: These Sisters Are Changing the Dessert Game with Their Stunning Gluten and Dairy-Free Vegan Cakes

Sobrii 0-Gin and 0-Tequila against a copper still and bar tools

Sobrii Distilled Non-Alcoholic Spirits

Another Canadian favourite on this list, Sobrii was started in 2017 by Bob Huitema as he pursuit a great-tasting cocktail that didn’t contain alcohol. Growing up on a farm near Stratford, Ontario, Huitema brought his experiences in the food and beverage industries in pursuit of Canada’s first non-alcoholic gin. The result was Sobrii 0-Gin, and soon after Sobrii 0-Tequila followed. Huitema achieved this using natural botanical distillates and extracts with no sugar, no sweeteners and no artificial flavours. It’s “0 calories, 0 sugar, 0 hangover.” The former folds in juniper berry, coriander, all spice, star anise, Canadian ginseng while the latter echoes the familiar taste and heat of tequila by infusing agave with spicy jalapeno, hot blackpepper, savoury coriander and Canadian ginseng

Related: Cold-Busting Citrus Smoothie That’ll Save You When Sick Season Hits

CEDER'S Distilled Non-Alcoholic

CEDER’S Distilled Non-Alcoholic

Evoking the sense of “everyday escape,” CEDER’S is meticulously created in Sweden with rare botanicals found in the Cederberg Mountains of the Western Cape, South Africa. Aimed at being “perfect for those times when you want to opt out without feeling left out,” the brand has won awards with its four options titled Classic, Pink Rose, Wild and Crisp. Classic centres on juniper and is fresh and forward, Pink Rose includes rose and hibiscus and is a beautiful addition to any cocktail glass visually, Wild will expand your horizons with rooibos and buchu flavour, and Crisp is refreshing – crediting pristine Swedish water in its list of ingredients. 

Related: 12 Foods That Can Help Lower Blood Pressure

FLUÈRE Drinks in Raspberry Blend

FLUÈRE Drinks

Latin for “flow”, FLUÈRE (pronounced flew-air) seeks to bring cocktail aficionados the experience of drinking alcohol without the alcohol. It does so with its four original blends: Original Blend (Gin), Raspberry Blend (Pink Gin), Smoked Agave (Mezcal) and Spiced Cane (Rum). The brand is inspired by the Romans, as they travelled and experimented with herbs, spices, and botanicals that they picked up along the way. FLUÈRE distills all botanicals individually in a copper pot using hydrosteam distillation, promising to get the very best out of each branch, leaf and berry.  For example, the ingredients the brand lists feature coriander seeds from Casablanca, the best juniper berries from the Himalayas, lavender from Provence, and lemon peel from the Mediterranean. The Spiced Cane blend Hints of dark roasted coffee, cocoa, liquorice, tonka beans and toffee, with a touch of sugar cane and molasses, evoking fine Caribbean rum. It is warm, complex, and full of character. The Original Blend has a unique afterbite and lists juniper and lime peel to give a bright and fresh character, while lavender and coriander add a satisfying herbal finish. The Raspberry Blend boast complex yet balanced taste, including fresh distilled raspberries, adding smoothness and slight sweetness to the nose. The brand also offers a 5 per cent pledge back for ocean cleaning projects.

Related: 18 Healthy (And Tasty) Smoothie Recipes That’ll Keep You Full

HP Juniper

HP Juniper

Proudly made in Quebec, award-winning HP Juniper is the province’s first-ever non-alcoholic spirit brand. Patrick Cool and Valérian Roy created the non-alcoholic gin-focused line out of a fierce passion for this classic spirit. The award-winning creations come in Classic Gin and Floral Gin variety and tap into the duo’s existing expertise in the beverage industry space (in 2017 they also launched the world’s first Gin Ale – a beer brewed gin-style). Distilled in a copper still, the sugar-free spirits are made with gin aromatics such as juniper berries, as well as yuzu lemons, organic cucumbers, cinnamon, lemongrass, eucalyptus, rosemary, and coriander seeds. Its Floral Gin blend uses rose, hibiscus, eucalyptus, cucumber flowers, and juniper berries.

Related: 12 Canadian TikTok Food Accounts You Need to Follow

ROOTS Divino with a mixologist in the background preparing a cocktail

ROOTS Divino

Craft aperitif from Greece, ROOTS Divino is a non-alcoholic vermouth based on wine and focused on reviving age-old recipes “using earthy and elemental flavours.” The brand was started by two brothers in 2013, whose own family tradition of distilling spirits goes as far back as 1850. Fast-forward to 2022, and ROOTS Divino now includes zero-proof craft aperitifs with a story to tell. Absinthe wine (vinum absinthium) or vermouth as we call it today, got its origins in ancient Greece with Hippocrates back around 400 BCE, when the father of medicine fortified and infused wine with wormwood and other botanicals such as artemisia (absinthe) for more medicinal purposes. ROOTS Divino leans into the typical vermouth maceration process before diluting the result, while maintaining the “heart” of the blend, with its distinct aromas and flavours. Its Aperatif Blanco is fresh and sour with rosemary, thyme and wormwood, while Aperitif Rosso is bittersweet with notes of bitter orange, gentian and wormwood.  

Related: Advice From a Cheese Master: How to Buy, Store and Eat Cheese

Stryyk Vodka Bottle alongisde a fig and a fig martini

Stryyk

Rolling out in 2018, Stryyk’s NOT G*N, and NOT R*M were created to not only mimic but rival their alcoholic counterparts. And they come deceptively close. They are the brainchild of Alex Carlton, bar world vet with more than two decades of experience tinkering in the beverage world. And he wasn’t alone. The process was carefully finessed under the watchful tutelage of some of the UK’s most renown bartenders, and soon after NOT V*DKA joined the lineup. Adding to the fleet of available spirits geared at health-conscious hedonists, Stryyk macerates botanicals with ethanol and water before passing the solution through a moderised steam distillation process. They then blend, filter and cut back the resulting spirits so they are under 0.5 Alcohol By Volume (ABV). The spirits are ultra low in calories, carbs, have no sugars, or artificial flavours.

Related: This Popcorn Shop is Destigmatizing the Ex-Con Label, One Kernel at a Time

Fleet of Sexy AF Spirits

Sexy AF Spirits

Award-winning, Sexy AF Spirits is Alberta’s first non-alcohol, plant-based spirit. Founded by Jo-Anne Reynolds following a girls’ trip where she was underwhelmed by the options available to those who opted not to drink, she sought to fill the void. Reynolds wanted a solution that was 100 per cent alcohol-free, sugar-free, was natural, and that tasted great in cocktails. Sexy AF Spirits achieved its goal by infusing botanical extracts into the end product, making each blend 33 per cent of botanicals by volume. This makes Sexy AF Spirits the strongest entirely alcohol-free spirit available in the market. The results have won Global-Plant Based Certified Sexy AF multiple double-gold awards. Sexy AF features six varieties: Spiced Yum, ViirGiin, AperTease, Triple Sexy, Amar-oh, and Friski Whiski. Of these six, the last four have won San Francisco World Spirit Competition Double Gold awards.

Related: Flavour Trends to Watch For According to the Latest Flavour Forecast

Tuscan Tree Non-Alcoholic Aperativo Spirit

Tuscan Tree Non-Alcoholic Aperativo Spirit

Made in the style of a classic Italian aperitif, UK’s Tuscan Tree’s non-alcoholic aperativo spirit is made using a traditional copper pot still to produce individual distillates. These are then removed before blending and bottling. Tuscan Tree makes Tuscan Blood Orange aperitif and you can find it through Club Zero in Canada. It includes juniper peel and berry, cardamom, pimento, cascarila bark, gentian, rhubarb root and more. It’s flavour combination is ideal for an Italian spritz, non-alcoholic negroni, or simply paired with tonic water.

Related: Why We’re Drawn to Comfort Baking in Times of Stress, According to a Psychologist

Silver Swallow

Silver Swallow

Created by two Ottawa entrepreneurs, Silver Swallow is the first non-alcoholic (with 0.5 per cent alcohol) champagne-inspired premium kombucha on the market in Canada. The brand gets its name from the rare organic white tea it uses, which is hand-picked in Yunnan, China. Available in Ontario and Quebec, the luxury kombucha is meticulously brewed in Canada. The beverage stands up to sparkling wine at any special occasion, and is light and well-balanced with a delightful, complex finish. You’ll taste notes of clover, wildflowers, honey and tropical fruit (it pairs well with fruit, seafood and cheese).

Related: Metis Herbalist and Educator Lori Snyder on Urban Foraging and Food Sovereignty

Acid League Proxies Holiday Pack

Acid League Proxies

While Ontario-based Acid League was created by food scientists to offer a wide range of living vinegar-based products to foodies, its Proxies line of limited-edition non-alcoholic wines deserves a spot on this list. Many non-alcoholic wines can be a big, disappointing miss, but Proxies eschew this trend and reinvigorate the idea of non-alcoholic wines. Complex and interesting, you will enjoy them on their own merit. Its range layers blends of juices, teas, spices, bitters and more. There are plenty of options to choose from, but its Holiday Proxies set features a seasonal triumvirate of festive options: Fruitcake, Linger and Truffle. The latter actually folds in the prized Alba white truffles to evoke the finish of aged red wines. It’s fruity and fresh and will keep you exploring its combination of earthy-fruity layers, sip after sip. Linger is a dark rosé inspired by classic holiday cranberry sauce, while Fruitcake combines dried fruit and baking spices in a bright Riesling with pineapple, and orange zest.

Related: Meet Justin Hall, Estate Winemaker at Nk’Mip – North America’s First Indigenous Winery

TÖST Sparkling White Tea on a table with people gathered in the background

TÖST

TÖST was created to offer delicious-tasting beverages that can be enjoyed at any time, anywhere, and by everyone. Whether used as mixers, or enjoyed on their own, they are refreshing, light, delivering a sense of elegance to any occasion. Choose from TÖST’s Sparkling White Tea (cranberry and ginger) and Rosé (ginger and elderberry), both of which are dry (not too sweet), sparkling, sophisticated and have an engaging aroma. 

Related: We Tried the Our Place Perfect Pot — Find Out If It’s Worth the Hype

Fever-Tree Mixers

Fever-Tree Mixers

If you like your cocktails, you know mixers matter. Fever-Tree offers a fleet of premium and diverse mixers that are not only incredibly nuanced and flavourful, but also ramp up the complexity of any cocktails you create using the spirits noted above. In Canada, you can choose from 16 flavours (and spare yourself by not checking out what’s available elsewhere because you’ll instantly want to try the other flavours too). Locally, you can choose from Premium Tonic Water, Refreshingly Light Tonight Water, Refreshingly Light Cucumber Tonic Water, Elderflower Tonic Water, Mediterranean Tonic Water, Aromatic Tonic Water, Lemon Tonic, Premium Ginger Ale, Refreshingly Light Ginger Ale, Premium Ginger Beer, Refreshingly Light Ginger Beer, Spiced Orange Ginger Ale, Smoky Ginger Ale, Club Soda, Sparkling Sicilian Lemonade and Sparkling Pink Grapefruit (you can find out more about Fever-Tree’s Canadian offerings here). Pair these with your alt-gins for a classic Gin and Tonic, a zero-proof vodka for a martini, or a Moscow mule and so much more. 

Related: The Top 5 Kitchen Utensils Every Home Cook Needs

All products featured on Food Network Canada are independently selected by our editors. For more products handpicked by our editorial team, visit Food Network Canada’s Amazon storefront. However, when you buy through links in this article or on our storefront, we earn an affiliate commission.

a mug of adaptogenic hot chocolate

This Healthy Hot Chocolate Recipe Will Blow Your Socks Off

A velvety, delicious beverage to keep you warm and cozy, this is not your average hot chocolate! Featuring adaptogenic spices like superfood chaga and ashwagandha powder, it’ll nourish you with its calming benefits (both are known to reduce stress and anxiety) while also boosting your immune system.  Plus, it’s dairy-free and low in sugar thanks to the use of unsweetened almond milk and monk fruit sweetener. Bottom’s up!

a mug of adaptogenic hot chocolate

Adaptogenic Hot Chocolate

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients:
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
1-2 squares dark chocolate
2 Tbsp monk fruit sweetener
1 tsp chaga powder
1 tsp ashwagandha powder

Ingredients for adaptogenic hot chocolate

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over high heat and whisk continuously until the hot chocolate starts to bubble. Remove from heat and serve. Top with dairy free whipped cream if desired. 

Related: These Sisters Are Changing the Dessert Game with Their Stunning Gluten and Dairy-Free Vegan Cakes

A pot of adaptogenic hot chocolate

Related: How to Make Oat Milk 5 Ways

Leftover turkey dinner waffles on a plate

Turkey Dinner Waffles Will Be Your Favourite Way to Eat Holiday Leftovers


There’s nothing better than leftovers after a turkey dinner with all the fixings, that is until you remix those leftovers into a Turkey Dinner Waffle. Featuring a light and fluffy potato waffle with bits of stuffing throughout, slices of warm leftover turkey, homemade cranberry maple syrup, and then dipped in gravy, this Menu Mashup might just outdo Ross Geller’s iconic Moist Maker Sandwich.

Leftover turkey dinner waffles on a plate

Turkey Dinner Waffles

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Yield: Serves 4-6

Ingredients
Waffles
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
3 Tbsp butter, melted
¼ cup milk
2 large eggs
2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
½ tsp salt
½ tsp fresh ground pepper
2 cups leftover stuffing

Cranberry Maple Syrup
½ cup cranberry sauce
¼ cup maple syrup

Assembly
2 cups of leftover turkey, warmed up
½ cup turkey gravy, warmed up
1 green onion, thinly sliced

Ingredients for leftover turkey dinner waffles

Directions
1. Preheat waffle iron.

2. In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.

Related: Turkey Dinner Hand Pies Are the Leftover Hack You Need

3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together butter, milk and eggs. Mix in the mashed potatoes then sprinkle in the dry ingredients. Season with salt and pepper, then stir until just combined.

Mashed potato waffle batter in a glass bowl

4. Grease the waffle iron with butter (if necessary). Scoop about ½ cup of batter onto the waffle iron and arrange a few spoonfuls of stuffing on top. Close the iron and cook the waffles until golden brown. Keep warm in the oven while making remaining waffles.

Related: This Epic Karaage Chicken and Green Onion Waffles Recipe is Sweet, Spicy and Savoury

A mashed potato and stuffing waffle on a plate

5. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, stir together cranberry sauce and maple syrup until simmering. Set aside to cool.

6. To assemble, top a waffle with a few pieces of leftover turkey. Drizzle with cranberry maple syrup and garnish with green onions. Serve with gravy on the side for dipping.

Leftover turkey dinner waffles on a plate

Love Philip and Mystique’s turkey dinner waffle? Try their cheesy Croque Madame rolls next!

I Tried Ina Garten’s (The Barefoot Contessa’s) Engagement Chicken

If you can’t seem to scroll through social media without seeing proposal pictures and engagement announcements, you’re not alone.

For couples who are talking about marriage, there’s a pretty good chance your significant other might pop the question someone soon. According to Wedding Wire, forty percent of marriage proposals happen between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day. 

And if you’d like to speed up the proposal process, the might be a recipe that can help you.  The secret weapon?  Ina Garten’s Engagement Roast Chicken.

A whole roasted chicken on a vintage plate

Why is it Called Engagement Roast Chicken?

Legend has it that in the 1980s, a fashion editor at a magazine shared Ina Garten’s lemon and garlic roast chicken recipe with her assistant. The assistant made the dish for her boyfriend, and he proposed a few weeks later. The newly engaged assistant shared it with three more of her colleagues, who also got proposed not long after making the roast chicken dish.

Related: Ina Garten’s Best Chicken Recipes

A close up of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry holding hands in their engagement photo

Meghan Markle and Engagement Roast Chicken

The myth of this chicken recipe made headlines again in 2018 when it became the centre of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s engagement story. Prince Harry told the BBC how the proposal happened during “just a standard typical night for us.”  According to Markle, the two were roasting chicken when he got down on one knee and popped the question. 

Related: I Tried Meghan Markle’s “Filthy, Sexy” Zucchini Pasta Sauce — Here’s How It Stacked Up

And since the Duke and Duchess are known to raise their own chickens (who could ever forget the shot of their chicken coop named  “Archie’s Chik Inn” during Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey?) we think it’s a sentimental part of the story for the couple, as well.

Emily Blunt and husband John Krasinski

Meghan and Harry aren’t the only A-listers to find their happily ever after making the famous engagement roast chicken. As reported by CNN, Emily Blunt also spoke up about Ina Garten’s iconic roast chicken in a 2021 in an iHeartMedia podcast interview, saying that it’s the recipe that helped her win John Krasinski’s heart. “Oh my God, it’s divine,” said Blunt. “It’s really sticky and yummy.”

The ingredients to make engagement roast chicken

My Tips for Making Ina Garten’s Famous Engagement Roast Chicken

1) Add Lots of Herbs
I recommend adding thyme and rosemary to the dish, which will add extra flavour to the recipe. 

Related: Ina Garten’s Best Party Dinner Recipes to Impress Guests

2) Use a Meat Thermometer
Yes, I’ve been living without a meat thermometer for this long! Purchasing a digital meat thermometer gave me the confidence that the chicken was cooked perfectly.

3) Chicken Broth is Just Fine
I know homemade chicken stock tastes much better, but premade chicken broth worked well for me. Sorry, Ina!

A closeup of the engagement roast chicken sauce

4) The Sauce is the Best Part
The wine, garlic, butter, and natural juice of the chicken makes for a mouthwatering sauce that is by far the highlight of the dish.

5) Make This Recipe For Your Third Date
Cooking roast chicken for a third date is a great way to impress any potential partner. I find that seeing how a person acts in the kitchen is actually a great insight into how they are as a partner, and what they bring  (or don’t bring) for a side dish or a dessert tells a lot about an individual’s personality. The best part of all? You don’t need to watch the chicken so closely, giving you some extra quality time together.

Related: Ina Garten’s Best Sunday Night Suppers

I Made The Barefoot Contessa’s Engagement Chicken

As someone with both a crush on Prince Harry and John Krasinski, I couldn’t help but wonder: Could Ina Garten’s engagement chicken recipe work for me, too?

Believe it or not, I was able to make the famous engagement chicken without messing it up. And I have to admit, I was really proud of myself (and no tears!).

While the chance of me getting engaged anytime soon is as likely as becoming a NASA astronaut, roasting a whole chicken is actually a lot of fun. The aromatics of the garlic, onions, and extra sprigs of rosemary makes your home smell like a dream. 

Unless you really don’t know your oven settings, I don’t see how this is a meal you can mess up, even if you’re really nervous. I also love how the recipe is easy to memorize, and the ingredients are all staples you likely already have in your kitchen.

Whether you’re looking for a love like Ina and Jeffery, who have been married for fifty-two years, or you just want to impress your date who may look a Prince Harry in your eyes, engagement chicken is must-try dish for every beginner chef and hostess.

Watch the video


For more inspiring recipes, watch Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics and stream all your favourite Food Network Canada shows through STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, or with the new Global TV app, live and on-demand when you sign-in with your cable subscription.

Images Courtesy of Getty Images and Angela Serednicki. 

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