Tag Archives: great-canadian-cookbook

Our New Favourite Dessert of the Summer: Nanaimo Bar Popsicles

The Nanaimo bar is one of those great Canadian desserts with a name that does not at all describe the deliciousness of what is actually in the bar itself (a sweet coconut and graham cracker base, topped with custard-flavoured buttercream and finished with a thin layer of chocolate ganache).

Well, skip the grocery store. We’re giving the humble Nanaimo bar a refreshing summer makeover just in time for Canada Day. This fudgy, creamy and decadent popsicle recipe consists of three main components that pay homage to the iconic dessert: a chocolate custard base studded with crushed graham cracker pieces and toasted coconut flakes, a vanilla custard centre and a dark chocolate drizzle.

Nanaimo Bar Popsicles

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 12 hours (includes freezing)
Servings: 6-8 bars (depending on size of popsicle mold)

Ingredients: 

Vanilla Custard Layer
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 Tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp vanilla

Chocolate Layer
1/3 cup (50 g) dark chocolate, chopped
Crushed graham crackers
Toasted coconut flakes

Chocolate Drizzle
1/3 cup (50g) dark chocolate, chopped
1 Tbsp coconut oil

Directions: 

1. Combine milk, cream and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes until it reaches a gentle simmer. Remove saucepan from heat.
2. Whisk egg yolks, cornstarch and vanilla in a heatproof bowl until well combined.
3. Slowly stream in the hot milk mixture over egg yolk mixture while whisking constantly.
4. Return mixture to saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 6-8 minutes or until custard thickens and coats the back of a metal spoon.
5. Once custard has thickened, transfer the custard into two separate bowls to cool, with 1/3 of the custard in one bowl and 2/3 of the custard in the other (we will be reserving the smaller portion for the chocolate layer).

6. While custard is cooling, place chopped dark chocolate for the chocolate layer over a double boiler. Once chocolate has melted, using a rubber spatula, fold the melted dark chocolate into the reserved smaller portion of the custard.
7. Allow custard to cool before transferring to popsicle molds. Place a piece of saran wrap directly on the custard to prevent a ‘skin’ from forming on top of the custard.

8. Once custard has cooled, transfer custard into popsicle molds. The vanilla custard layer goes in the mold first, taking up the majority of the mold. A thinner layer of chocolate custard goes on top of the vanilla layer.
9. Insert the popsicle sticks, cover and freeze overnight.

10. When popsicles are ready to be served, melt the remainder of the dark chocolate and add coconut oil to create the chocolate drizzle.
11. Drizzle unmolded popsicles with chocolate and sprinkle with crushed graham cracker and toasted coconut flakes. Serve immediately.

Can’t get enough of this Canadian sweet treat? We have 10 more tasty Nanaimo bar recipes that are calling your name, plus 50 red and white desserts to celebrate Canada Day.

split-pea-soup-feature

The Lip-Smacking History of Split Pea Soup in Canada

When the first chill creeps into the air, the knee-jerk reaction for many Canucks is to get soups simmering on the stove. While we love our minestrone and hearty stews, it’s hard to beat dipping your spoon into a steaming bowl of split pea soup.

This classic stick-to-your-bones soup has been a  Quebecois favourite for over 400 years. For good reasons, too: pure comfort made from easy-to-preserve ingredients.

“Split pea soup is made of yellow split peas, ham hock, vegetables, and thyme, and it’s usually served with bread,” says Ottawa Chef Marc Miron, who is an expert on the dish. “Split pea soup is a dish that can be served as a starter or as a main.”

split-pea-soup-parkersGet the recipe for Parker’s Split Pea Soup

But where exactly did this hearty soup come from in the first place? Miron has an inkling, based on his own extensive research tracing the roots of “habitant soup.” Although he’s headed up kitchens around the world and cooked for celebs like Chef Gordon Ramsay and the Rolling Stones, this busy chef was drawn to explore the history of this delicious Canadian dish.

“It’s a beautiful staple in the Canadian cuisine, not only in Quebec,” says Miron.

The soup’s origins are murky, but Miron believes today’s recipe is likely a distant relative of soup made aboard explorer Samuel de Champlain’s ships from France. On long journeys, the ships would be stocked with ingredients that preserve for lengthy times, such as vinegar, honey, cheese, rice, legumes, and salted meats and fish.

“All of those ingredients were on board that they made soup with,” says Miron. “It was probably not the split pea soup as we know now. But it was a [salted] ham-broth with some peas in it and some vegetables.”

As more habitants – or Canada’s first settlers – arrived from France and landed on Canadian soil, the soup served on ships gradually evolved and came to include game meats, pork, and locally grown ingredients.

“The habitants depended on the forests for their meat, but they farmed pigs along with vegetables, fruit, peas, and beans,” says Miron. “Soup was always part of the meal. Looking at the setup of the table, the spoon would always be there for the soup. They had to get creative with it: basically finding out that the peas matched very well with the ham hock.”

Whether called habitant soup or soupe aux pois cassés or split pea soup, this early settler soup with many names became a staple item on the menu for Quebec’s settlers. For starters, it was a filling and nutritious meal that helped them survive harsh Canadian winters.

“Going through the winter, times were pretty hard,” says Miron. “Pea soup is something that gave them everything from vegetables to legumes to protein. It’s a meal by itself.”

Most habitant farmers also had bread ovens, partly explaining why today’s version of the soup is usually paired with a slice of warm, crusty bread.

“Bread is always part the tradition,” says Miron. “When times were rough for the habitants, you needed a full meal and bread provided for that.”

Of course, the original habitant-style soupe aux pois cassés has changed over the centuries, swapping out salted meats for ham hock, but the soup has become a Canadian classic that has spanned generations.

“My grandmother is 96 and she told me that pea soup was served every Friday,” says Maxime Constantin, the owner of Cabane à sucre Constantin in Quebec where they serve a mean bowl of split pea soup. “So it’s become a traditional meal served in every family.”

In terms of regional variations, Miron says that most recipes still “respect the basics,” adding split peas and vegetables to the soup. The wildcard that he’s witnessed in the culinary world involves the broth.

“The consistency in the soup is where you see the most difference,” says Miron. “Some have it more ‘brothy,’ and some have it thicker.”

As the dish became popular across the country, dry and canned versions of the old school recipe popped up, with the first emerging in the late 1800s, according to Miron.

“They did an instant pea soup around 1867,” says Miron. “When you invent a soup dry, it’s because it’s popular.”

Pig-and-Pea-Soup

Get the recipe for Split Pea Soup.

If you’re not in a hurry, skip the ready-made varieties, and try your hand at creating a homemade batch of delicious split pea soup. There’s the traditional recipe for Québécois-Style Pea Soup made with unsmoked ham hock, but also Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup using a smoked turkey leg, leeks, and green split peas. Or follow Ina Garten’s recipe for Parker’s Split Pea Soup, which uses chicken stock instead of ham hock.

Short on time? Whip up a batch of Chef Michael Smith’s recipe Speedy Split Pea Soup using dried split peas, bacon, and frozen peas. Or if you’re not in a rush, try his more traditional recipe for Pig and Pea Soup with a ham hock broth.

For a soup with a zing, there’s this recipe for Split Pea and Ginger Soup from The Burnt Tongue in Hamilton, Ont. A warming soup with a kick of ginger spice, this dish is hearty to the core without being too heavy.

The food experts have a few tips for making split pea soup at home. At Cabane à sucre Constantin, Maxime Constantin regularly cooks up a colossal cauldron of pea soup that serves 700 people at their family-owned sugar shack. His secret to soup success? Soak the peas overnight.

“At the start, you have to soak the peas a night before,” says Constantin. “After we roast the piece of pork with carrot and onion, we add broth and peas. It has to boil about 2 to 3 hours until the peas are soft.”

For Miron, making split pea soup is a two-step process, which starts with the broth and then the soup. While the other ingredients are important, “the ham stock has to be very good.”

“It’s like roasting a chicken – the leg doesn’t cook the same way,” says Miron. “So I always de-bone and cook it separately. The pea soup is the same. To do a good ham stock, you would need 2-3 hours, depending on the size of your ham hock, to make sure the meat is cooked and falls off the bone.”

Once the broth is complete, Miron adds vegetables and chunks of ham to the rich, flavourful stock, and simmers the concoction on the stove for 30 to 45 minutes.

No matter which split pea soup recipe you choose or how you cook the broth, take pride in the fact that you’re slurping up a Canadian classic that been trending since the days of Samuel de Champlain. Now that’s definitely worthy of a Canadian Heritage Minute!

Persians-roll

The Sumptuous History of the Thunder Bay Persian Roll

If ever in you’re in Thunder Bay, Ont. there’s one thing you absolutely must do: treat yourself to a Persian.

No, it has absolutely nothing to do with the Middle East. In Thunder Bay, a “Persian” is an oval-shaped pastry that’s fried and frosted with pink berry icing. It’s a local delicacy with deep roots in this Northern Ontario town.

“It’s similar to a cinnamon bun,” says Danny Nucci, owner of the legendary Bennett’s Bakery and The Persian Man in Thunder Bay. “What makes it different from anything else is the icing on top. It’s not overly sweet. But it gives you a good feeling.”

Thunder Bay Persian

This prized pastry was first created in the 1940s by Art Bennett, the original founder of Bennett’s Bakery (formerly called “Art Bennett’s”). As the story goes, he named the sweet treat after John Joseph “Black Jack” Pershing, an American World War I General who allegedly visited his bakery while he was making the dough. As a result of this memorable meeting, Bennett dubbed his now-famed pastry a “Persian.”

“General Black Jack Pershing happened to make his way to Thunder Bay and pull into Bennett’s Bakery,” says Nucci. “He and Art Bennett were talking, while Art was producing a newly formed product. They hit it off and he named it after him.”

Since then, Thunder Bay locals have been raised on these Persian doughnuts, even hosting eating competitions and selling them for community fundraisers. They’ll tell you that it’s a “must-eat” dish if you’re in town. Today, Bennett’s Bakery sells the dessert at their popular coffee shop, The Persian Man, as well as in packs of four at local grocery stores.

“The formula hasn’t changed, the recipe hasn’t changed,” says Nucci. “So it’s still the same goodness that you used to get since its conception in the mid-1940s.”

Thunder Bay Persian

Credit: The Persian Man
https://www.facebook.com/399721353422346/photos/a.399722726755542.90459.399721353422346/1041271555933986/?type=3&theater

But what exactly makes a Persian so special? The original recipe remains under wraps, so we can only speculate about its irresistible ingredients. But some claim the signature pink icing is the clincher.

“It’s a berry icing,” says Nucci. “A lot of people pick up Persians with icing on the side. What they do is put ‘em in the freezer and then put the icing in the fridge, and then have one as needed.”

There’s also an old school “toasted” version of the Persian. Back in the day, some Thunder Bay restaurants would toast the doughnut, adding butter and icing on top, and a lot of locals still adhere to this tradition in the kitchen.

“You take a Persian in half,” says Nucci. “Toast the cut halves in the frying pan until they’re golden, and put a little icing on top halves and flip over to caramelize the icing. There may be some toasted Persians still being sold in Thunder Bay restaurants.”

Regrettably, since Art Bennett’s original recipe remains a secret to this day, we’ll never know what exactly makes the Thunder Persian so dang delicious. Today, it’s been inherited by the Persian Man in Thunder Bay, who continues to use this classic recipe to make their cherished pastries.

“I got the recipe from working at the shop,” says Nucci. “Juliet Bennet ended up selling the bakery to my dad and his two cousins in 1962. It’s a secret, especially the dough product itself. There’s no set ingredients in the listing on the bag product.”

But don’t despair: instead, try your hand at making the doughnut in your home kitchen with this recipe for Thunder Bay Persians. Biting into the light-as-air fry bread and creamy icing, you can salute General Pershing and baker Art Bennett for gifting this doughy delicacy to the world.

Annie Sibonney’s Comforting North African Shakshuka

Ever since we were little, my twin sister has always been willing to cook, and I’ve always been willing to eat. No one was surprised when Annie Sibonney became a chef (and Food Network host ), while I became a journalist who writes a lot about food. Though we pursued different interests and have even lived in separate countries over the years, sharing food together brings us back to our roots.

Growing up in a French Moroccan home, one of the most cherished food memories from our childhood is shakshuka, an impressive North African dish of eggs poached in a bubbling, fragrant stew of tomatoes and spices. This was the dish that got everyone out of bed in our house. It’s the kind of one-skillet meal that connects everyone around a table. It’s cutlery-optional. All you really need is a perfectly crusty loaf of bread for sopping up the sauce and the rich, runny egg yolks.

Shakshuka-ready-on-a-table

Photo by Claire Sibonney
Claire Sibonney

Shakshuka is wildly popular throughout the Middle East for breakfast or brunch but can stand on its own for any meal of the day. With its heady aromas of garlic, onion, paprika and cumin, it’s the kind of dish that gets people’s attention.

Eggs simmered in a spicy sauce is so simple and satisfying that it’s eaten in many iterations around the world—from Italian eggs in purgatory to huevos rancheros in Mexico and menemen in Turkey—all of these dishes involve a little magic as the resulting meal is so much more than the sum of its parts.

Some people add feta, olives, sweet bell peppers or even potatoes to shakshuka, but for purists it’s not necessary. Although a bowl of labneh—Lebanese strained yogurt—or olives on the side never hurt.

More than anything, it’s a dish that’s meant to be shared—the bigger and louder the gathering, the better. When it’s served, the shakshaka pan (Annie uses a cast-iron bottom of a traditional Moroccan tagine here) is placed in the centre of the table and the portion closest to you is yours. One of the only rules of sharing shakshuka: never dip your bread into someone else’s yolk, even if it’s your twin sister’s!

annie-sibonney-with-Shakshuka-ingredients

Photo by Claire Sibonney
Claire Sibonney

North African Shakshuka Recipe

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients:
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling over the final dish
2 pounds ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped (or 28 oz canned whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand)
1 medium onion, finely sliced
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small green chili pepper such as jalapeño or serrano, seeds removed and finely chopped
4 large eggs
1 ½ Tbsp sweet paprika
1 tsp hot paprika or substitute with ground ancho powder, optional
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 cup water, plus more if necessary
salt and pepper to taste
1 handful of roughly chopped cilantro or parsley leaves, or a mix of both

Shakshuka-ingredients

Photo by Claire Sibonney
Claire Sibonney

Directions:
1. Heat a medium-sized heavy skillet, such as cast iron over medium heat. Add the olive oil and sauté the onions until they have softened but not browned. Add the garlic, chili pepper and spices and stir for 1 minute, just enough for the kitchen to smell wonderfully aromatic.
2. Add the chopped tomatoes, water and salt to taste and increase the heat to high for 1-2 minutes, stirring the mix so that the tomatoes start to break down into a sauce and comes to a bubbling simmer. Reduce heat to medium once more. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
3. The sauce should have a pungent flavour and a deep-red colour from the spices. Cook for an additional 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, being careful not to scorch the sauce. Add more water if necessary to maintain the consistency of a rustic pasta sauce.
4. With the back of a large spoon, make room for each egg in the pan by creating little wells in the sauce. Carefully crack the eggs one at a time into a small bowl, making sure to keep the yolks intact.
5. Gently tip in your eggs, one at a time into the sauce, making sure to leave enough space between them. Season each egg with a little more salt. Cook for 10-13 minutes longer at a gentle simmer, rotating the pan constantly (do not stir!) to poach the eggs evenly in the sauce. The shakshuka is ready when the egg whites are set and cooked but the yolks are still bright, golden and velvety. Sprinkle the chopped cilantro and parsley over the finished dish with a liberal drizzle of olive oil.
6. For an authentic family-style meal, serve the shakshuka in its pan at the centre of the table and don’t forget plenty of good quality crusty bread to soak up the tomato sauce and to dip into the decadent yolks.

claire-and-annie-sibonney-eating-Shakshuka

Photo by Masumi Sato

Looking for more fresh summer recipes? Try our 40 Fresh Tomato Recipes.

 

A Saskatoon Musician’s Easy Saskatoon Berry Jam Recipe

There is an especially fun dynamic between the two women standing in the kitchen. Musicians Alexis Normand and Allyson Reigh are two-thirds of the popular Western Canadian band, Rosie and The Riveters. The trio is made up of equally talented singers, instrumentalists and songwriters.

Being a triple threat is a feat in and of itself, of course, but being able to cook on top of that trio of skills would make Normand the quadruple threat of the talented bunch.

“She’s always cooking while we’re on tour, it doesn’t matter what city we’re playing in,” says Normand’s bandmate, Reigh as she measures sugar for the Saskatoon berry jam they’re about to make. “She’s one amazing cook.”

saskatoon-berry-jam-on-toast

It’s clear that Normand is the foodie of the group. Growing up in Saskatoon, her grandmother was an avid cook and passed down a love of the kitchen to her mother, which she has also come to embrace whether she’s at home or on the road.

Her speciality? Making big batches of Saskatoon berry jam that she cans, labels and brings on tour. Family, friends and fans alike have come to love the edible keepsake that pays homage to her prairie roots.

“It’s a really hot item, people love it,” says Normand as she adds the Saskatoon berries to the pot. “It’s funny, though, because they aren’t as ‘Saskatchewan’ as you would think. I learned that after travelling across the country, that you can find Saskatoon berries in abundance [in B.C. and Alberta too], but there, they’re called Saskatoons. That’s where I’m from and making this jam this is a family tradition!”

Alexis-Allyson-tea-and-toast

Like most jam recipes, Normand’s family recipe for Saskatoon berry jam only calls for a few ingredients: berries (fresh or frozen, though frozen is the most easily obtained year-round), sugar and a bit of water. You can feel free to add some lemon zest or a few drops of vanilla if you’d like, but good quality Saskatoons don’t need much to make a lasting impression.

“There’s always something to be said about giving someone an item that’s homemade. It’s someone’s time that they’re gifting you, really. That’s the really nice thing about it,” she says.

One big misconception about making jam at home is that you need to make a dozen jars and can them. Normand does make big batches before she goes on tour, but her small-batch recipe is just as good, and easily lasts a couple of weeks in the fridge.

“Nothing about this process is hard, but when I was younger I was under the impression that it was challenging. I think people just need to try it once,” says Normand. “You cook down the ingredients, you put it in jars, cool it down and it tastes delicious! It doesn’t get any better or easier than that, does it?”

saskatoon-jam-complete

Simple Saskatoon Berry Jam Recipe

Makes: 3 Cups
Total Time: 25 Minutes

Ingredients:
4 cups Saskatoon berries (fresh or frozen)
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
¼ tsp grated lemon zest (optional)
¼ tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Directions:
1. Place ingredients in a medium pot and bring to a simmer on medium-high heat.
2. Reduce to medium heat and let cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Transfer to a heat-safe container and allow to cool to room temperature.
4. Cover and place in refrigerator to use as desired. Will keep for up to 2 weeks refrigerated.

Make the most of Saskatoon season with these Sweet and Savoury Saskatoon Berry Recipes.

460x307-winning-butter-tarts

Meet the Winning Bakers of Ontario’s Best Butter Tart Festival

It was the sweetest day of the year for Diane Rogers. The baker and owner of Doo Doo’s Bakery in Bailieboro, Ont. took home not just one, but the three top prizes at Ontario’s Best Butter Tart Festival, held in Midland on June 9.

The award-winning baker beat out more than 60 competitors to win first place in both the professional traditional and fusion competitions, plus took home ‘Best in Show’ with her stunning strawberry-rhubarb butter tarts. The annual one-day festival, which is a butter tart lover’s dream come true, saw more than 60,000 people descend on the town of Midland, eager to satisfy their sweet tooths. Not only is this a chance to taste tarts from the best bakeries, it is home to the ultimate annual baking competition. The top professional and home bakers enjoy the sweet taste of butter tart baking victory.

diane Rogers

Diane Rogers of Doo Doo’s Bakery took home three of the top prizes in Midland’s Best Butter Tart Festival on Saturday, June 9, 2018. Photo by David Hill.
Photo by Rodrigo Moreno

And Rogers is one of them. In 2016, she swept the professional, non-classic category, taking home first, second and third prize with her tarts. Yet, despite the accolades, the award-winning baker wasn’t confident that she’d bake a winning batch this year. Doo Doo’s placed 12th in last year’s competition, which had Rogers wondering how her tarts really measured up.

After going back to the drawing board, Doo Doo’s reclaimed its title and more this year. The classic, plain butter tart is simple, but judges found it to be simply the best.

“I’m a purist,” the self-taught baker said. “I like them plain.”

Rogers used the classic pastry and perfectly sticky-sweet tarts as a launching pad for the creation that earned her both top prize in the fusion category, plus Best in Show. Taking advantage of fresh strawberries and seasonal rhubarb, Rogers baked the award-winning batch at midnight the night before the competition.

“I’ve kind of got a knack for pairing flavours with butter tart filling,” Rogers said. “We’re always experimenting in our kitchen – even down to the last minute.”

best in show midland butter tart festival

The Winner of Best in Show at Midland’s Best Butter Tart Festival, Saturday, June 9, 2018. Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Butter Tart from Doo Doo’s Bakery in Bailieboro, Ont. Photo by Rodrigo Moreno.

The sweet and tangy tart was so good,  that as soon as the judging ended, a crowd descended on her booth before Rogers even heard that they’d won.

“I call it Butter Tart Christmas because that really is what it is,” she said. “It was fun, it is always lots of fun.”

While the winning strawberry-rhubarb creation wasn’t among the thousands of tarts Doo Doo’s sold that weekend,  fans can taste the award-winning tart at their bakery and cafe. Butter tart lovers can also seek them out at the Cobourg Farmers’ Market and the Peterborough Market.

While Rogers has had years of competition under her belt, Tonya Louks thought the festival would just be a fun weekend away. The amateur baker from Welland, Ont. is usually one to shy away from the spotlight, which is why she never expected to be crowned champ of the traditional amateur competition on Saturday.

“I thought I didn’t have a chance, but you just never know,” said Louks, who has been making butter tarts for her family for years. Armed with a family-filling recipe passed down from her husband’s great-great-grandmother, she’s perfected her thin, flaky crust and studded her tarts with raisins for a mouthwatering treat her family raves about.

Tonya-Louks-butter-tart

Amateur baker Tonya Louks’ award-winning traditional butter tart. Photo by Rodrigo Moreno.

“My family kept bugging me to enter and I said ‘you are all biased,’” said Louks, who relented after her family insisted she share her tarts with the world. Even though she made it through the first round of the competition with ease, she was worried how her thin crust would stand up against the competition, who had thicker pastries.

“You never know what the judges are going to like or not like,” said Louks, who was excited to see The Baker Sisters as part of the judging panel.

With the surprise win under her belt, Louks is already getting requests from friends and family, who want a bite of her award-winning treats. While she isn’t taking orders, she’s definitely taking inspiration from this year’s winners and from the variety of tarts available at the festival, including some impressive gluten-free tarts and ‘puptarts’ she brought home for her dog.

Looking to try some tasty tarts? Hit the road this summer and discover 10 Butter Tart Spots to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth.

trail-mix-in-a-bowl

Snacking Just Got a Little More Canadian with Butter Tart Trail Mix

Cottage canoe rides, road trips, relaxed barbecues and outdoor summer concerts all have one thing in common: they’re better with snacks! We’ve come up with a healthy staple trail mix that takes less than 5 minutes to make, along with a few fun Canadian twists to tickle your fancy and tantalize those taste buds, no matter where the summer takes you. Get out there and hike, paddle, cruise, grill and sway to your heart’s content – we’ll bring the snacks

four-trail-mixes

Basic Canadian Trail Mix Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Makes: 3½ cups

Ingredients:

1 cup roasted salted or unsalted almonds
1 cup roasted salted or unsalted cashews
½ cup roasted salted or unsalted sunflower seeds
½ cup roasted salted or unsalted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
½ cup dried cherries

Directions:

1. Mix together almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, pepitas and cherries. Serve. Store airtight at room temperature, up to 1 month.  

nanaimo-bar-trail-mix

Take all your favourite flavours of Nanaimo bars into the woods with you by making some chocolatey trail mix. Not a fan of coconut? Our original trail mix is simply satisfying.

Nanaimo Bar Trail Mix Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Makes: 4 cups

Ingredients:

1 cup roasted  walnuts halves
1 cup toasted, shaved coconut
¾ cup dark chocolate chunks
½ cup roasted salted or unsalted cashews
¼ cup roasted salted or unsalted sunflower seeds
¼ cup roasted salted or unsalted pepitas
¼ cup dried cherries   

Directions:

1. Mix together walnuts, coconut, chocolate, cashews, sunflower seeds, pepitas and cherries. Serve. Store airtight at room temperature, up to 1 month.  

butter-tart-trail-mix

The choice is yours: candied pecans or candied bacon? There’s no wrong answer! Both our tasty butter tart trail mix and sweet and savoury bacon mix are satisfying.

Butter Tart Trail Mix Recipes

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Cooling Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Makes: 3½ cups

Ingredients:

¼ cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp water
2 tsp salted or unsalted butter
1 cup pecans
1 cup roasted salted or unsalted cashews
½ cup roasted salted or unsalted sunflower seeds
½ cup roasted salted or unsalted pepitas
½ cup raisins

Directions:

1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment and set aside.

2. Melt brown sugar, water and butter in a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add pecans and cook, stirring occasionally until the mixture foams and the pan starts to look dry, about 5 minutes. Spoon onto prepared sheet and cool completely, about 10 minutes.

3. Mix together candied pecans, cashews, sunflower seeds, pepitas and raisins. Serve. Store airtight at room temperature, up to 1 month. 

Candied Bacon Trail Mix Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Cooling Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Makes: 4 cups

Ingredients:

6 strips bacon
⅓ cup brown sugar
1 cup roasted salted or unsalted almonds
1 cup roasted salted or unsalted cashews
½ cup roasted salted or unsalted sunflower seeds
½ cup roasted salted or unsalted pepitas
½ cup dried cherries   

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Fit a rimmed baking sheet with a cooling rack. Spray rack with cooking spray. Set aside.

2. Place bacon in a shallow dish and sprinkle with brown sugar, turn to coat, pressing sugar onto bacon to adhere. Place on prepared cooling rack on baking sheet and bake 20 to 25 min, or until golden and crispy. Set aside to cool. Once cooled, crumble or roughly chop.

3. Mix together almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, pepitas, cherries and bacon. Serve immediately.

More bites this way with our Best Road Trip Snacks made for traffic jams and car singalongs.

10 Butter Tart Spots to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Butter tarts are a uniquely Canadian dessert with a history as rich as the country itself.

If you’ve never experienced the glory of these treats, they’re delightful pastries filled with a sticky, sweet, buttery filling. Raisins or pecans are popular additions to the filling while some bakers get creative with fruit, candy, or other unique variations.

Invented in Ontario, the province is also home to award-winning tarts and even has a festival that has transformed the dessert into a full-day experience. If you’re on a quest for butter tart bliss, here are 10 of Ontario’s top spots to indulge in this tasty national treat.

Ontario’s Best Butter Tart Festival (Midland, ON)

The ultimate destination for butter tart buffs, Ontario’s Best Butter Tart Festival takes place in Midland June 9, 2018. With more than 60 vendors and over 150,000 tarts for sale, it’s the perfect place for the entire family to try baked goods from across the province. Home to Ontario’s Best Butter Tart competition, bakers enter their finest classic and contemporary creations, and a panel of expert judges selects the best of the best! Another highlight of the day is the Butter Tart Trot, which includes a family-friendly fun run, as well as a 5k, 10k and half marathon.

Maple Key Tart Co. (Locations in Toronto and Northumberland County, ON)

Rachel Smith and Jean Parker, hosts of Food Network Canada’s The Baker Sisters, have been baking tarts since childhood when they helped their mother with her butter tart business. After they became mothers themselves, they co-founded their boutique butter tart company, taking their mother’s award-winning recipe and making a few tasty tweaks. Their rustic, handcrafted tarts are made with locally-milled flour and vegetable shortening and are available in four varieties: classic, raisin, pecan, and maple walnut. Jean and Rachel are judges in the “Traditional Butter Tart” category at Ontario’s Best Butter Tart Festival this year, plus they’ll be taking part in a meet and greet.

The perfect buttertart ❤️ #buttertartfestival #themaidscottage

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The Maid’s Cottage (Newmarket, ON)

Three-time winners at Ontario’s Best Butter Tart Festival, sisters Pam and Debbie got a young start helping their mother, Jackie, sell tarts and other baked goods on their front lawn. As word spread about Jackie’s baking, she opened their first shop on Main Street in Newmarket, and expanded to a larger location nearby a year later. Jackie sadly passed in 2003, but Pam and Debbie have continued the tradition, making their famous butter tarts from a secret family recipe.

Bitten on Locke (Hamilton, ON)

Rebecca and Erica at Bitten conquered the cupcake game before venturing into butter tarts just over a year ago. They researched a number of recipes from cookbooks, friends and family to come up with a base for their tarts, and spent many delicious months adjusting it until they landed on their current formula. Their traditional flaky pastry is made with lard and includes one secret ingredient that really sets them apart. While their cupcakes venture on the wild side, this duo considers themselves butter tart purists, offering only plain, raisin or pecan tarts.

Nana B’s Bakery (Merrickville, ON)

Owner Anne Barr created the award-winning Maple Rhubarb Apple butter tart that took first place in the Pro All-Ontario Ingredient category at last year’s Ontario’s Best Butter Tart Festival. Anne’s tarts are proudly made with ingredients sourced locally, in Eastern Ontario, and while her bakery is popular with locals, it is also a destination for day-trippers, boaters and cyclists alike. Nana B’s is committed to helping keep the environment beautiful, reducing and recycling as much as possible, and sends its used vegetable oil to a local garage for biodiesel conversion.

The Sweet Oven (Barrie, ON)

This Barrie Bakery owned by Becky Howard and her family is known right across the country for their handcrafted tarts. Each tart is made from scratch from the highest quality ingredients and baked on site. With more than 20 flavours to choose from, there is something to please every palate. They have the classics like pecan and raisin, but chocolate chip, peanut butter, English toffee and their signature tart raspberry are other popular picks.

In honour of #TeamCanada and how proud they’ve already made us #pyeongchang2018

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Carla’s Cookie Box (Toronto, ON)

Carla’s love of baking started as a kid while making traditional Italian cookies with her mom. As an adult, she started her butter tart journey at the request of her son after sifting through recipes from friends. None were quite right, so she experimented until she landed on her own recipe. Her handcrafted tarts are made in small batches, sometimes with help from her husband and kids, using the freshest maple syrup, flour, eggs and butter from Ontario farms and businesses. In addition to traditional fillings, she dabbles in fun flavours like Nutella Swirl and Pina Colada.

Doo Doo’s Bakery (Bailieboro, ON)

It was a bittersweet beginning for Diane Rogers’ butter tarts. Newly widowed and raising a teen and a toddler; she started her late-night baking sessions while the kids were sleeping. A self-taught baker, she developed her signature pastry by experimenting with an old recipe. Her soft, hand-rolled pastry is made in small batches with the finest ingredients. The light, flaky tarts have a jelly-like filling that’s not overly sweet with a good filling-to-crust ratio. Diane’s best ideas still come at night, so that’s her favourite time to prepare for a competition or event.

Betty’s Pies and Tarts (Cobourg, ON)

Over 40 years ago, Betty sold homemade baked goods from a converted garage, using a butter tart recipe handed down from a bakery she worked at. Betty retired in 2001 and sold the business to Nancy Coady, who first moved it to Port Hope and then to its location on Highway 2. Current owner Ali Jiggins worked at Betty’s through high school, and after university, bought the bakery from Nancy. Ali still uses Betty’s award-winning recipe with a few tweaks. They have a slightly heavy crust with a runnier filling, and comes in unique flavours like PB&J and raspberry-coconut.

13th Street Winery and Bakery (St. Catharines, ON)

13th Street Winery and Bakery is owned and operated by Karen and Doug Whitty, with Karen’s sister, Jo, as head baker. Their butter tart recipe was given to Jo by an old neighbour, which had been passed down for three generations before ending up in her hands. The filling is hand-mixed, measured into pressed pastry, and then baked until caramelized on top and runny on the inside. Raisin or pecan is available daily along with seasonal flavours like heart-shaped chocolate butter tarts for Valentine’s Day. Drop by on the weekends, when they feature pancake breakfast-inspired bacon butter tarts.

Have a favourite butter tart spot? Tell us in the comments below!

lumberjack-breakfast-sandwich

The Lumberjack Breakfast Sandwich Delivers All Your Faves In One Bite

Behold, the Lumberjack Breakfast Sandwich! All the parts of a hearty start to the day — eggs, toast, sausage, bacon, pancakes and hash browns — in one nifty, stackable, portable package. (Don’t forget the napkins.)

lumberjack breakfast sandwich

Layers of breakfast meats, a hash brown patty and fried egg are interspersed with a key structural piece: the pancake. Akin to a traditional clubhouse, this middle starchy tier serves as both a condiment layer (douse it in syrup for a salty-sweet combination, slather simply with butter or spike with hot sauce for kick), while also soaking up those runny egg yolk, sausage and bacon juices.

After breakfast, you’ll be ready to tackle the woods…or a nap on the couch. Which would, again, be completely understandable.

Lumberjack Breakfast Sandwich

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
16 slices cooked bacon
4 cooked hash browns, prepared according to package directions
4 cooked pancakes
16 uncooked breakfast sausages
4 large eggs
8 pieces of toast
2 Tbsp butter, more as needed
maple syrup, for serving
hot sauce, for serving
ketchup, for serving

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 200ºF.
2. On a large baking sheet or large ovenproof dish, add bacon, hash browns and pancakes. Keep warm in oven while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
3. Remove the sausages from casings; discard casings. Take 4 uncased sausages and squash them into 1 thin patty, just slightly larger than the piece of bread you will be using for toast. Repeat with remaining uncased sausages for a total of 4 patties. In a large skillet, fry patties over medium heat, flipping once, until browned and completely cooked through, approximately 5-7 minutes. Transfer cooked patties to oven with other ingredients to keep warm.
4. Using the same pan with residual sausage patty fat, or a clean one with a bit of melted butter swirled around the bottom to reduce sticking, fry the eggs sunny side up until the whites have completely set and the yolks are cooked at the edge but still runny. Season eggs with salt and pepper.
5. To assemble, building from the bottom up, start with 1 piece of toast, buttered, if desired. Top toast with 4 slices of bacon, 1 hash brown, 1 pancake that has been dressed to your liking (with maple syrup, butter and/or hot sauce), 1 sausage patty and 1 fried egg. Top your stack with a second piece of toast. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make 4 sandwiches. Serve with maple syrup, hot sauce and ketchup. Enjoy!

Looking for more Canadian dishes? Try our 10 Perfect Peameal Bacon Recipes.

S'more Pops

Get All the Flavour Sans Campfire with Fudgy S’mores Pops

Toasty, chocolatey s’mores are great for cool summer nights by the campfire. We love the Canadian flavours of graham crackers, chocolate and golden, toasted marshmallows so much that we created a whole new s’mores inspired treat. This one is for hot summer days by the lake or pool. Fudgey, frozen pudding pops are covered with toasted meringue and dipped in graham crumbs to create the ultimate summertime snack when there’s no campfire nearby.

S'more Pudding Pops

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes + 8 hours
Makes: 6 pops

Ingredients:
3 cups prepared chocolate pudding
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar, divided
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup water
3 egg whites
1 cup graham cracker crumbs

S'more Pops

Directions:
1. Divide prepared pudding into 6 popsicle moulds. Let freeze for minimum 8 hours.
2. To make the meringue, heat 1 cup sugar, cream of tartar and water over high in a small sauce pan. Let the sugar fully dissolve and the mixture reduce slightly, about 4 minutes
3. Meanwhile, beat egg whites to soft peaks in an electric mixer. Add remaining sugar and whip.
4. While the motor is still running, pour a stream of the sugar mixture into the egg whites along the side of the bowl. Careful not to pour directly into the whisk or the hot sugar mixture with splatter.
5. Whip until peaks are stiff and mixture is cool, about 10 minutes.
6. Place graham crumb in a small bowl.
Place a baking tray in the freezer.
7. Working quickly, spoon meringue on both side of one pudding pop. Using the back of the spoon, make swoosh patterns in meringue coating.
8. Dip the top of the pop into graham crumb to coat the top inch.
Using a kitchen torch, toast both sides of meringue until lightly golden. Avoid torching graham crumb.
9. Place pops on baking sheet set in freezer and repeat with remaining popsicles.
10. Keep in freezer until ready to serve. Or enjoy immediately.

S'more Pops

Craving more s’mores? Try our delectable Nanaimo S’mores.

Easy Peasy Muffin Tin Strawberry Shortcakes

Growing up I always thought strawberry shortcakes were composed of, well, cake. Why would someone call it a shortcake if cake was not the starring ingredient? While there are versions that pair strawberries with cake, these fluffy, flaky biscuits are made in a large muffin tin, which give each one a crisp, clean edge. Once they’re ready, they’re sliced and filled with a bright, glossy strawberry mixture. I made a basil whipped cream for these shortcakes for an earthy note, but you can easily opt for the classic, plain (and delicious) whipped cream.

Muffin Tin Strawberry Shortcakes with Basil Whipped Cream

Makes: 10 individual shortcakes

Ingredients:

Baking Powder Biscuits:
3 cups flour
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1/2 tsp salt
4 Tbsp baking powder
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1 1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
Coarse sugar

Strawberry Filling:
1 clamshell strawberries, hulled, halved, quartered if large
1/2 cup apple jelly

Basil Whipped Cream:
1 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup basil leaves, torn (optional)
*If preparing basil whipped cream, infuse basil into whipping cream at least 3-4 hours ahead of time.

Muffin Tin Strawberry Shortcakes with Basil Whipped Cream

Directions:

Baking Powder Biscuits:
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a large muffin tin.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, vanilla, salt and baking powder.
3. Using a pastry blender or a fork, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs of consistent size. The butter should be pea-sized bits throughout the mixture.
Stir in milk until dough starts to form a ball.
4. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1-inch thickness.
5. Use a circle cookie cutter to cut out the biscuits. Note: When cutting biscuits with a cookie cutter, do not twist the cookie cutter once you have cut into the biscuit dough. This will “seal” the edges of the biscuit and prevent optimum rising!
6. Place each biscuit into a muffin tin cavity. Brush the top of each biscuit with heavy cream and sprinkle on coarse sugar.
7. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 – 22 minutes, until tops are golden.

Muffin Tin Strawberry Shortcakes with Basil Whipped Cream

Strawberry Filling:
1. In a microwave safe bowl, warm apple jelly.
2. Toss strawberries in apple jelly until all pieces are covered. Set aside.

Basil Whipped Cream:
1. Heat cream over medium temperature in a small saucepan until it just starts to simmer. Remove from heat and toss in basil leaves.
2. Allow mixture to sit at room temperature about 30 minutes, uncovered.
3. Pour the cream through a mesh strainer into a small bowl to remove the leaves.
4. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours before using.
5. Once chilled, pour basil whipping cream into the stand of a standing mixer. Whisk until stiff peaks form.

Muffin Tin Strawberry Shortcakes with Basil Whipped Cream

Assembly:
1. Before assembling, warm the biscuits lightly if they have cooled.
2. Split shortcakes and divide strawberry and whipped cream among bottoms. Close with shortcake tops.
3. Serve warm.

Muffin Tin Strawberry Shortcakes with Basil Whipped Cream

Looking for more tasty treats? Try these 36 Strawberry Desserts to Celebrate Summer.

Roti

The Tasty History of Roti in Canada

Here’s some good news for Canadians from coast to coast: you don’t have to travel 11,000 kilometres across the ocean to get your roti fix.

“Everywhere we go [in Canada], there is a roti shop to be found,” say Marida and Narida Mohammed, co-owners of Twice De Spice. Born in Trinidad, Marida and Narida Mohammed sisters grew up eating this delicacy on a daily basis, calling it the “equivalent of what sliced bread is to Canadians.” But with a gazillion and one ways to make and eat this warm, chewy flatbread, what exactly is “roti?”

Mona's Roti in Toronto

Mona’s Roti in Toronto.

“In the [Indian] subcontinent, ‘roti’ is a generic word for bread and is often a synonym for chapatti,” says Richard Fung. “In Trinidad, [the word] is used generically also: Indo-Trinidadians eat sada roti, alu puri, and paratha, also known as ‘busupshut.’ Dal puri [generally refers to] what Canadians call ‘West Indian or Caribbean roti.’”

Fung should know: he grew up eating roti in Trinidad and produced Dal Puri Diaspora, a documentary exploring the roots of roti in Trinidad, India, and Toronto. Eating his way across the “roti trail,” Fung’s film showcases just how diverse the dish can be.

Many food historians believe that this ancient flatbread originates from the Indian subcontinent, where even today, no meal is complete without a side of roti.

“In India, puris are deep fried — so what we call dal puris in the diaspora might perhaps more correctly be a dal paratha,” says Fung. “The cooking method and the ingredients (white flour, split peas) are the results of conditions on the plantations.”

The dish began to reach all corners of the earth in the 19th-century, when indentured workers from India introduced the recipe to southern Caribbean colonies of Britain and the Netherlands. Over the decades, the dish gradually garnered its own Caribbean flare.

“Caribbean roti is a large flatbread made with white all-purpose flour and stuffed with ground, seasoned split peas and cooked on a griddle,” says Fung. “In its commercial form, it’s wrapped in a style similar to a burrito around curried meat or vegetables.”

Cooking roti

Roti being cooked on a tawah at Mona’s Roti in Toronto.

Much like the origins of roti, the roots of roti in Canada are a bit fuzzy. With waves of immigration in the 1960s, the wrapped roti from Trinidad arrived in North America, where it was popularized in big cities like Toronto and New York and became known as “Caribbean” or “West Indian” roti.

“A lot of people migrated [to Canada] from [Caribbean] islands and Guyana,” says  Marida and Narida. “Coming to Canada and the U.S., they brought their culture here to North America. As it travels, it changes and the spice levels.”

According to Fung, Ram’s Roti Shop was the first roti eatery in Toronto, opening in the 1960s (now closed) and serving Indian-style roti. Today, roti restaurants are scattered across the Greater Toronto Area, and there are plenty of choices for hungry hordes eager to sink their teeth into this satisfying dish.

“Toronto has a huge West Indian population,” say Marida and Narida. “In the Caribbean-populated areas like Scarborough, West Etobicoke, Brampton, and Mississauga, you’re going to find a roti shop tucked in somewhere.”

While Marida and Narida name Ali’s Roti and Drupati’s as being among their favourites in Toronto, you can also mosey over to Mona’s Roti — a Scarborough eatery visited by Great Canadian Cookbook host Noah Cappe and that’s famed for serving mouth-watering roti. Here, the bread is stuffed with a slew of delicious fillings, such as tasty curries (chick peas and potato, chicken, goat and shrimp), stews (beef and king fish) or veggies. The chicken curry is a best-seller!

Mona's Roti in Toronto

Mona’s Roti in Toronto.

Of course, Toronto isn’t the only place to enjoy this delicious dish. As  Marida and Narida say, no matter where you go in Canada, you’re bound to find “a roti shop tucked away somewhere.” Featured on You Gotta Eat Here, snag a spot at Calabash Bistro in Vancouver, where you can indulge in six types of Caribbean-style roti. A must try is the goat curry wrapped in a fresh busup roti served with organic mixed greens.

Plus, it’s impossible to tire of eating this favourite dish. There is no shortage of chefs across Canada who are making endless and ever-evolving variations on roti. As Fung points out, some Toronto chefs are adding new flavours and ingredients not found overseas.

“Immigrants directly from the subcontinent began marketing rotis with fillings typical of North Indian cuisine, such as saag panir or butter chicken,” says Fung. “Places like Mother India Roti and Gandhi sell hybrid rotis that one wouldn’t find in India or the Caribbean, but are very much a result of an encounter in Toronto.”

Marida and Narida are kick-starting “dessert roti,” which they predict will be “the next big thing.”

“You can never go wrong with Nutella and bananas with whipped cream on any kind of warm bread,” they say. “Sweet rotis — that’s a trend that we’d like to put out there!”

Try making your own roti at home with these tasty recipes.

Spring Appetizer: Crudités with Preserved Lemon Guacamole

Spring is perfect for al fresco dining; the outdoors providing a bright, natural setting for any dishes you’re serving. Next time you are entertaining, rather than spending hours on prep, try a simple yet impressive crudités platter. Typically filled with fresh, seasonal vegetables and a dipping sauce, this stunning appetizer is sure to delight your guests.

Guacamole-and-crudite-portrait-1

Creamy, crunchy, spicy and tangy, this guacamole has got it all going on. Finely diced preserved lemon brings both a hit of salt and a good dose of acidity to this perfectly balanced dip. A rainbow of spring produce alongside the guacamole makes this vibrant appetizer the star of any spread.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Guacamole crudite prep-1

Ingredients:
3 firm-ripe Hass avocados
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 of a preserve lemon, rinsed
1/3 cup minced sweet white onion, such as Vidalia
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Assorted spring vegetables, such as baby carrots, snap peas, young asparagus and radishes

Guacamole-mixing-1

Directions:
1. Cut each avocado in 1/2 lengthwise. Remove the pit and discard. Scoop the flesh out of the peel with a soup spoon and place in a medium bowl.
2. Pour the lime juice all over the avocado and then mash them to a pulp. I like to use a pastry cutter for this job; a fork works just fine, too.
3. Finely mince the entire preserved lemon (rind and pulp) and remove any seeds you encounter. Add to the mashed avocado, along with the minced onion, cilantro, salt and pepper. Mash everything together, then taste the guacamole and add additional seasoning if desired. Since we are not serving this dip with salty tortilla chips, I find a little extra salt in the guacamole goes a long way.
4. Scrape preserved lemon guacamole into a serving bowl. Garnish with a fine dice of preserved lemon rind if desired. Serve immediately with a platter of spring vegetable crudités.

Guacamole-and-crudite-final-1

Jos Louis Cake

How to Make a Giant Jos Louis Cake

Before red velvet became all the rage, Canada had the humble Jos Louis. A red velvet cake sandwich with a creamy marshmallow-y filling and milk chocolate coating, this portable snack was one of my favourite lunchbox desserts in the 80’s.

So what could be better than a Jos Louis? A giant Jos Louis! This cake, inspired by an iconic Canadian snack, is sure to delight both kids and adults with its delicious and nostalgic flavour.

Jos Louis Cake

Giant Jos Louis

Prep Time: 1 hour 30 min
Total Time: 1 hour 30 min
Makes: 12 servings

Ingredients:
1 box red velvet cake mix, baked in two 9-inch round cake pans

Marshmallow Icing:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 x 198 g jars marshmallow creme

Chocolate Glaze:
1 1/3 cup milk chocolate chips
1/3 cup whipping cream

Jos Louis Cake

1. Use a serrated knife to cut the domed top off one of the 9-in. round cakes. Place cake on a platter. Leave the second cake as is.

2. To make icing, beat whipping cream in a large bowl with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form, 2 to 3 min. Beat in butter and icing sugar until very stiff, 1 to 2 min. Fold in marshmallow creme until just combined. (Icing should not be runny.)

3. Spread marshmallow icing over cake layer on platter to the edges. Top with second cake layer. Place cake in freezer for 10 minutes.

4. To make glaze, microwave chocolate chips and whipping cream for 30 seconds. Stir until chocolate is melted. Let the chocolate cool slightly.

5. Pour glaze over top of cake. Use a metal spatula to spread the glaze over top and sides of cake. If chocolate pools at the bottom of the cake, use your spatula to scrape off excess chocolate. Refrigerate cake for 1 hour or overnight.

6. Slice and enjoy!

Coffee Fudge

How to Make Two Types of Canadian Fudge

Full of classic Canadian flavours, these easy fudge recipes taste like the real deal, with very little effort. Inspired by the popular Canadian coffee order, the “double double,” drive-through lovers will adore this delectable dessert. Every bite tastes like a sweet and creamy sip of coffee! We also have a sweet and simple maple fudge, which can be made with or without a little crunch by adding chopped walnuts or pecans.

To package them as gifts from the holidays, simply wrap each square using parchment paper, twist the ends, and tie each side with a pretty ribbon.

Canadian Coffee Fudge

Canadian Coffee Fudge

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 3-1/2 hours
Makes: 36 pieces

Ingredients:
2 tsp instant coffee powder
2 tsp boiling water
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
350 g good-quality white chocolate, finely chopped
2 tsp vanilla extract

Canadian Coffee Fudge

Directions:
1. In small bowl, whisk together instant coffee powder and water until coffee is dissolved.
2. In large heatproof bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk, white chocolate, vanilla extract and coffee.
3. Place bowl over saucepan of hot water, making sure the water isn’t boiling. Heat chocolate mixture, stirring often, until smooth.
4. Scrape into 8 x 8-inch baking dish lined with parchment paper. Using offset spatula, smooth top. Refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours.
5. Cut into 36 squares.

Easy Maple Fudge

Easy Maple Fudge

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 3-1/2 hours
Makes: 32 pieces

Ingredients:
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
300 g good-quality white chocolate, finely chopped
4 tsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp maple extract

Directions:
1. In large heatproof bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk, white chocolate, maple syrup and maple extract.
2. Place bowl over saucepan of hot water, making sure the water isn’t boiling. Heat chocolate mixture, stirring often, until smooth.
3. Scrape into 8 x 8-inch baking dish lined with parchment paper. Using offset spatula, smooth top. Refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours.
4. Cut into 16 squares. Cut each square in half, diagonally, to form triangles.

Looking for more fantastic treats? Try our 12 Melt-In-Your-Mouth Fudge Recipes.

Pate

How to Make Party-Worthy Paté

Paté is an elegant and super-easy appetizer to make for a holiday party. These three simple recipes will wow your guests and make you look like a star in the kitchen, without spending the whole day cooking.

One version is vegan, another vegetarian, and the third is for the meat lovers at our soirée. Pair with crackers, toast, cheese and charcuterie, and you have a homemade appetizer spread everyone can enjoy, no matter their dietary restrictions.

Pate

Lentil Walnut Paté

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Makes: 2 cups

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups cooked Puy lentils
2 tsp rosemary, finely chopped
4 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted

Directions:
1. Heat oil in a large pan over medium high. Add in onion, garlic and salt then fry until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add in lentils, rosemary, mustard and honey and continue to cook until lentils are dry and beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
2. Scrape mixture into a food processor with walnuts and pulse until smooth. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, serve warm or at room temperature

Creamy Mushroom Paté

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Makes: 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients:
1 14 g package of dried porcini mushrooms
1 Tbsp butter
3 shallots, sliced
1/4 cup white wine
3 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
1/2 tsp salt
3 sprigs thyme
1/2 cup soft goat cheese

Directions:
1. Place dried mushrooms in a small bowl. Pour 1/4 cup of very hot water on mushrooms and allow to soak until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain any excess water.
2. Heat butter over medium high in a large pan. Add in shallots, and fry until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add in porcini mushrooms then pour in white wine. Cook, stirring often until liquid has evaporated. Add in cremini mushrooms, salt and thyme, and cook until mushrooms are dark brown and dry, about 20 minutes.
3. Remove thyme sprigs and discard. Remove pan from heat and scrape mixture into a food processor with goat cheese. Pulse, scraping down sides until mixture is smooth and even. Season with fresh ground pepper and more salt if necessary.

Chicken Liver Pate

Chicken Liver Paté

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Makes: 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients:
1 lb chicken livers, cleaned and patted dry
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, divided
3 sprigs thyme
2 shallots thinly sliced
1/3 cup brandy
1/4 cup heavy cream

Directions:
1. Season chicken livers with salt.
2. Heat a large pan over medium heat and add 1/2 the butter. Once butter is melted and foaming, add shallots and thyme then sauté until translucent and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add in chicken livers in a single layer. Fry each side for about 1 minute. Livers should be nicely browned on the outside but still pink on the inside. Add in brandy and stir until liquid is almost completely reduced, about 1-2 minutes.
3. Remove thyme sprigs and discard then scrape contents of the pan into a food processor. Pulse until mixture becomes a smooth paste. 4. Pour in heavy cream and remaining butter. Pulse, scraping down the sides until mixture is uniform. Adjust seasoning with salt. Place pate in a jar or glass bowl and cover with plastic. Allow to cool in the fridge in order to set before serving, minimum 2 hours.

Looking for more tasty bites? Try our 40 Make-Ahead Holiday Appetizers.

Canadian Style Irish Coffee

A Canadian-Style Irish Coffee to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a Canadian-ified version of the classic Irish coffee cocktail. This twist is spiked with our patriotic Canadian whisky and a drizzle of maple syrup then topped with maple-laced whipped cream, of course.

Canadian-Style Irish Coffee

Canadian-Style Irish Coffee

Total Time: 10 minutes
Makes: 1 cocktail

Ingredients:
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 Tbsp + 1 tsp maple syrup
2 oz Canadian whisky
1 dash Angostura aromatic bitters, optional
4 to 6 oz hot strong coffee, preferably good-quality

coffee

Directions:
1. Using a whisk, electric mixer or stand mixer, whisk whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Whisk in 2 Tbsp maple syrup. Set aside. If making ahead, whipped cream will keep well, covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days.
2. Add whisky, maple syrup and bitters to a heat-proofed mug. Pour in coffee. Top with a dollop of the maple whipped cream.

Whisky

Looking for more patriotic libations? Try one of our 10 Sensational Canadian Cocktails.

Le Roy Jucep Poutine

The History of Poutine: One Hot Mess

When it comes to poutine, three things are certain: it was invented in Québec, it’s best made with fresh cheese curds and it’s undeniably delicious. What’s less clear is who first made it, and when.

The very history of this palate-pleasing, artery-clogging French Canadian masterpiece is a hot mess, peppered with colourful characters and laced with a distracting array of secret sauces and gooey melted cheese curds.

Jucep Poutine

Two Québec restaurants in the region south of Trois-Rivieres claim to be first to serve up the now-iconic dish. Café Ideal, later re-named Le Lutin Qui Rit (The Laughing Elf), has the earliest claim. Story has it, the Warwick, Qué. café was serving poutine — or something quite like it — as early as 1957. But detractors suggest that even if Café Ideal served it first, their piping hot bag of fries and fresh cheese curds was missing a key ingredient — the gravy, known in Québec as ‘sauce brune.’

The more widely accepted claim to serving all three key ingredients together comes from Drummondville’s Le Roy Jucep, once owned by the late Jean-Paul Roy. Le Roy Jucep holds the trademark as “l’inventeur de la poutine” but just like their menu, which offers 23 options for cheesy, sauce-smothered fries, their origin story comes in several flavours. Some say it was an out-of-town customer who first asked his waitress to toss fresh cheese curds — widely available in the dairy-rich region — onto his plate of fries and gravy. Others claim the culinary ménage a trois was a frequent off-menu request from the diner’s regulars – so frequent that Roy decided to make it an official menu option around 1965 or 1967.

Le Roy Juce

Le Roy Juce, is one of a few restaurants claiming to be the birthplace of poutine.

“Whoever’s the first human to put cheese, gravy and fries on a plate, we’ll never know for sure,” says Charles Lambert, Le Roy Jucep’s third owner and current protector of the diner’s secret sauce recipe. “[But] the first restaurant to write the letters P-O-U-T-I-N-E on a menu is for sure Le Roy Jucep. And that represented fries, cheese curds and gravy.”

According to Lambert, in the mid-60’s wait staff grew tired of writing “fries, cheese curds and gravy” each time a customer ordered the increasingly popular dish, and decided it needed a name. Lambert has a few ideas for how the now famous moniker came to be. “Poutine” was regional slang for “pudding,” and another way of saying “mix” or “mess” — both appropriate adjectives. Moreover, one of Le Roy Jucep’s cooks went by the nickname “Ti-Pout,” so “poutine” was a name that honoured both the dish and its maker.

Café Ideal’s name story is a similar, albeit saltier tale. Popular history has it that when Eddy Lanaisse, reportedly the first customer to ask for cheese curds with his fries, made his request, owner Fernand Lachance exclaimed, “Ça va te faire une maudite poutine!” or “That will make a damned mess!”

On that point, at least, we have accord: poutine is a mess, but damned if it isn’t delicious.

Can’t get enough poutine? Try these delicious 9 Fun Facts About Poutine.

Maple Taffy

How to Make Maple Taffy on Snow

How to Make Maple Taffy on Snow

Design by Alexandra Tanner
Alex Tanner

Maple syrup is a sense of pride for many Canadians and rightly so. We produce 85 percent of the maple syrup that the world enjoys on their pancakes, waffles and crêpes. And here in Canada, we get to enjoy one quintessential Canadian experience — eating the oh-so-delicious taffy on snow.

Charlie Temple knows the joy of serving up the delicious golden sticks of taffy to visitors to Temple’s Sugar Bush in Ferguson’s Falls, Ont. Each year, he opens up his sugar bush and restaurant to the public, serving up lots of syrup and sharing the sweet secret to making liquid gold.

“It’s magic,” says Charlie, who’s been making syrup since the 1970’s. “The liquid pours out the trees and becomes the most wonderful tasting stuff.”

As guests walk through the trails in Temple’s 80 acres of sugar bush, they’ll see the criss-cross of tubes collecting sap from the trees each spring. As the days get warmer and warmer, the sap starts flowing from sugar maple trees and travels down the tubing to the boil house. There it’s boiled for hours until thick and golden. It takes about 40 litres of sap to produce just one litre of syrup.

Every year, visitors are excited to witness the process first-hand and learn how one of Canada’s favourite foods is harvested from the forest.

“Even for me I’m still awestruck by the whole process,” says Charlie.

Looking for more sweet ideas? Try these 20 sweet and savoury maple syrup recipes.

Great Canadian Breakfast Sandwich

The Great Canadian Breakfast Sandwich

If brunch has taught us one thing, it’s that Sunday mornings were made for indulgence. So why not indulge in the most Canadian way possible; with a Great Canadian Breakfast Sandwich?
Peameal bacon plays the starring role, but like every Canadian knows, no breakfast is complete without maple syrup. This is why we’ve sandwiched smoky Canadian cheddar, peameal bacon, eggs, apple and a maple-mustard sauce between a warm, homemade maple biscuit.  Breakfast doesn’t get any more Canadian than this.

The Great Canadian Breakfast Sandwich

The Great Canadian Breakfast Sandwich

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Makes: 4 sandwiches

Ingredients:

Biscuits:
1 cup 35% cream
3 Tbsp maple syrup, plus more for brushing
2 cups flour
2 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter

Sandwich:
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
4 tsp canola oil
8 slices peameal bacon
4 large eggs
75 g smoked cheddar, thinly sliced
1 gala apple, thinly sliced

Maple Biscuit

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. In a small bowl, combine cream and 3 Tbsp maple syrup. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, stir flour with baking powder and salt. Using your hands, work in butter until mixture becomes crumbly. Gradually add cream mixture, stirring until dough comes together. Turn out dough onto a floured work surface and gently pat or roll into a 1/2-inch thick disc. Using a 3 1/2-inch round cutter, stamp out rounds and place on baking sheet, 2 inches apart. Brush tops with maple syrup. Bake until golden, about 10 to 12 minutes.
4. In a small bowl, stir mustard with 2 Tbsp maple syrup. Set aside.
5. Pat bacon dry using a paper towel. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tsp oil then bacon, cook until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Wipe pan clean and add remaining oil. Crack eggs into pan, breaking yolks if desired. When whites are almost set, cover and cook 30 seconds more.
6. To assemble, cut 4 biscuits in half. Smother both halves with maple-mustard mixture. Top bottom half with cheese, bacon, egg and apple slices. Sandwich with remaining biscuit half.

Looking for more delicious breakfast ideas? Try one of these 10 Great Canadian Breakfasts.