Tag Archives: holiday baking

Team Buddy featuring Buddy Valastro, as seen on Buddy vs Christmas, Season 1.

Cakes, Cookies or Pies? Buddy Valastro Reveals His Ultimate Holiday Treat

Christmas is kind of a big deal at the Valastro residence. Sure, this holiday season may look a little bit different than Christmases past as a result of the pandemic, but in a typical year Buddy and his wife Lisa go all-out when it comes to their holiday dinners. Would you expect anything less from the Buddy vs. Christmas personality?

In previous years the couple has hosted all of their extended family, which adds up to more than 100 festive people. Typically Lisa cooks (prime rib, eggplant parm, lasagna, shrimp, lobster and more), while of course, Buddy does the desserts. But don’t let him fool you — he doesn’t necessarily whip up 100 mini pastries or elaborate cakes at home for the occasion.

Related: Buddy vs. Duff: See Buddy Valastro and Duff Goldman’s Most Epic Cakes

“Well, I’m not gonna lie. I don’t want to take credit,” he tells us. “I just bring like a slew of stuff from the bakery. We bring cakes and pies and cookies and lobster tails and pastries. And you know, we still love cake. After all these years and all these holidays and all these desserts, we still love cake.”

 

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While cake may be a year-round hit, Buddy adds that Christmas feels like an especially great time to indulge in pasties. He and his family specifically dive into Italian classics like cannoli and lobster tails (AKA sfogliatelle) because, let’s face it: when else do you have as much room for dessert as you do come the holidays?

“As big as the meal is that my wife makes, I swear it is just as important when we eat dessert,” he laughs. “No matter how stuffed everyone is — ‘oh, I can’t get up, I’m so full’ — they wind up all eating dessert. Every single one of them.”

Related: Ina Garten’s Best Desserts for the Holidays

For those fellow dessert-lovers out there, the host adds that around the holidays Carlo’s Bakery typically offers a red-and-white sponge cake that’s festive and crowd-pleasing — and they have a few other goodies in store for December too. This year that’s extra exciting for Canadians since the shop has expanded into Canada. In fact, Buddy says his Oh Canada Baby! cake would be the perfect thing for Christmas dessert this year.

“That would be a great Christmas cake on anyone’s table because it’s pretty and it’s delicious,” he says. “It’s also made with love. I want the Canadian people to know this is only the beginning of the plans for Canada because every time I come there fans are just so receptive and great. I’ve always felt so loved there and now it’s time for me to do some more in Canada.”

Related: Buddy Valastro’s Coolest Celebrity Cake Creations

For now Canadians can catch Buddy in his latest holiday-themed series, Buddy vs. Christmas. In each of the four episodes the baker and his team come together to face off against highly specialized artists (Broadway set designers, expert glassblowers and more) to see who can create the best life-sized Christmas displays to be presented at high-profile events.

 

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“These four creations are some of the best work — I was so blown away by what we did,” Buddy reveals. “When you see what we made, it’s just to another level. This was less about a competition because we’re all artists. Whether you’re a glassblower or whether you’re a brick artist and you make Legos or you’re a Broadway set designer or you’re someone who does animatronics in the windows, we’re all using different art forms to express our medium,” he continues.

“I love Christmas. My house is like the Griswolds at home with the decorations and stuff. And I gotta tell you, we just turned it on for this. It’s really cool.”

Watch Buddy vs. Christmas Mondays at 10EP 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.

Glass of milk next to pile of chocolate eggnog sandwich cookies

These Chocolate Eggnog Sandwich Cookies Will Surely Get You in the Holiday Spirit

I can’t help but get excited when I start to see the store aisles fully stocked with sweet eggnog, as it signals the most magical time of year! And what better way to get in the holiday spirit than whipping up a batch of these Baking Therapy chocolate eggnog sandwich cookies? They’re chocolatey, soft and filled with a creamy eggnog frosting. Put on your favourite holiday playlist and get baking.

Glass of milk and stack of chocolate eggnog sandwich cookies

Chocolate Eggnog Sandwich Cookies

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Bake Time: 8 to 10 minutes
Total Time: 33 to 35 minutes
Servings: 15 cookies

Ingredients:

Chocolate Cookies
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cocoa powder
¼ tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 ½ sticks butter, room temperature
1 ½ cups dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk

Eggnog Filling
1 ½ sticks butter, room temperature
2 cups icing sugar
3 Tbsp eggnog
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients for chocolate eggnog sandwich cookies on kitchen counter

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar for about 1 minute. Add the egg and egg yolk, one at a time, and beat together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Related: 20 Best Edible Gifts Under $20 That’ll Make Anyone’s Holiday Sweeter

3. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined, scrape down the bowl again and mix for another 10 seconds. Using a 1-inch cookie scoop, scoop balls on the lined cookie sheet. Round out the cookie balls by rolling them between the palms of your hands. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes to chill.

Chocolate eggnog sandwich cookie dough rolled into balls on baking sheet

4. Place the cookies 2 inches apart and bake for 8-10 minutes until the cookies have spread and tops begin to crack. Let cool on sheet for 2-3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate cookies cooling on baking tray

5. While the cookies are cooling, whip up the frosting: in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the butter until airy, about 2 minutes. On low speed, gradually add the icing sugar. Add the eggnog, nutmeg and vanilla extract and whisk on high for 1 minute until light and fluffy.

6. Transfer filling to a piping bag with a star or round tip. Pipe the filling on the bottoms of half the cookies, place another cookie on top to create sandwiches.

Glass of milk next to a pile of chocolate eggnog sandwich cookies on wire cooling rack

Like Sabrina’s chocolate eggnog sandwich cookies? Try her sticky toffee pudding and pumpkin pie squares with candied pecans.

Your New Favourite Shortbread: Petits-Beurre (French Butter Cookies)

If you’ve travelled in France, you might be familiar with the ubiquitous Petit-beurre cookie. It has been around since 1886, when it was invented by Louis-Lefèvre Utile in Nantes. The cookies are still imprinted with his initials (LU) and are the best-known product of all the Lefèvre Utile range. This recipe is the closest I can get to my store-bought favourites.

Butter Cookies (Petits-Beurre)

Active Time: 45 minutes
Chilling Time: 1-3 hours
Bake Time: 11- 13 minutes
Servings: 50 cookies (approx.)

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups (225 g) all-purpose flour
½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp fine sea salt
½ cup (113 g) cold salted butter, cut into small cubes
¼ cup (60 mL) heavy (35%) cream

Read: 20 Delicious French-Canadian Dishes to Make at Home

Directions:

1. Place the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse a few times to combine.

2. Add the cubed butter and pulse until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

3. Add the cream and continue to pulse until the dough comes together. The dough will be fairly soft.

4. Gather the dough into a ball, divide in half and form each half into a disk. If you don’t want to use it immediately, you can wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days. Roll each disk between two sheets of parchment paper until it’s 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick. Keeping the dough flat and between the two sheets of parchment, place it in the fridge for 1 to 3 hours.

Read: These Classic French Dishes Are the Definition of Comfort Food

5. Preheat the oven to 350˚F (175˚C). Line two large baking trays with parchment paper. Remove one of the rolled-out pieces of dough from the fridge and allow it to sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes.

6. Cut out cookies using a rectangular cookie cutter that measures 2 1/2 x 2 inches (6 x 5 cm). Place the cookies on the parchment-lined baking trays. They will not spread, so you can place them fairly close together—just make sure they are not touching.

7. Repeat with the second sheet of dough.

8. Place one tray in the top third of the oven and the other in the bottom third of the oven, and bake for 11 to 13 minutes, switching the trays from the top to bottom rack and turning them from front to back halfway through the bake, until the cookies are golden around the edges but still pale in the centre.

9. Remove the cookies from the oven and, using an offset spatula, immediately place them on wire racks and allow to cool completely. You can store these in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

For more irresistible baked goods, check out these 20 make-ahead options for your holiday bash, Anna Olson’s very best cookie recipes, or our most popular cookies of all-time.

Excerpted from In the French Kitchen with Kids by Mardi Michels. Copyright © 2018 Mardi Michels. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

The Most Delicious Chocolate Babka With a Healthy Twist for Your Hanukkah Party

Babka is an extremely popular Eastern European Jewish dessert, and for good reason. Imagine eating pools of gooey, delicious chocolate alongside crunchy toasted nuts that have been swirled and baked inside a warm, slightly crusty loaf of bread – that’s babka. Obviously, bread + chocolate = two of the best foods on the planet, so it only makes sense to marry them together in baked form. You can also create babka with raisins or cinnamon (or both), but our preference is for chocolate, so we devised a healthy-ish version of the classic. We swapped out white flour and white sugar for more nutrient-rich ingredients – but you won’t taste the difference, scout’s honour! We recommend making a second loaf to ensure leftovers (this version is healthy enough for breakfast, after all).

Delicious Healthier Chocolate Babka Recipe

Servings: 1 loaf
Prep Time: 1 hour + 6-14 hours rising time
Bake Time: 40-50 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours

Ingredients:

Dough
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
1 package or 2 tsp instant yeast
½ tsp maple syrup
7 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature, diced into cubes
1 large egg, room temperature
3 Tbsp coconut sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp sea salt
2 ½ cups spelt flour

Chocolate Walnut Filling
⅓ cup unsalted butter, cubed
½ cup coconut sugar
100 grams dark chocolate 70% or higher (approx. 1 chocolate bar), roughly chopped
¼ cup raw cacao powder or cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
½ cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped

Syrup
½ cup water
½ cup coconut sugar

Directions:

Dough
1. In a saucepan, gently warm the almond milk, so it’s warm to the touch but not too hot. Take off the heat and add in the yeast and maple syrup. Allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes until it becomes frothy and foamy. If it doesn’t foam up, your yeast may have died or the milk was too hot.

2. Next, combine the dough ingredients by hand, or using a food processor or electric mixer with the hook attachment (we chose the food processor). Whichever method you decide, mix together the butter, egg, coconut sugar, vanilla and salt. In the food processor, pulse on low for about two minutes until the butter is creamy.

3. Gradually begin to add the flour, 1 cup to start. Pulse in the foamy milk-yeast mixture along with remaining flour until the dough comes together to form a ball. If the dough isn’t coming together, add more flour, starting with 1 Tbsp at a time. If it’s too dry, add water 1 Tbsp at a time.

4. Knead the dough by hand on a lightly floured surface or using your electric mixer for about 8-10 minutes, until the ball of dough is smooth and not sticky.

5. Place the kneaded dough in a bowl that’s been lightly oiled or buttered (so the dough doesn’t stick) and cover with a towel or beeswax/plastic wrap. If you can, refrigerate for 6 hours up to overnight. If you don’t have that time, let it rest in the warmest place in your kitchen for an hour, but overnight is best.

Filling
1. Melt the butter in a saucepan, then stir in the rest of the ingredients, except the walnuts, until the mixture is silky and smooth.

Assembly
1. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a rectangle, approximately 22 x 12 inches. Once rolled out, spread the filling evenly over top, you don’t need to leave a border. Then sprinkle the walnuts all over.

2. Starting from one side, begin rolling the dough into a long log, like you’re rolling up a tortilla or a yoga mat; then stick it in the freezer for 10 minutes (this will help with slicing the dough in the next step).

3. Remove the dough from the freezer and slice the rolled dough log in half lengthwise.

4. Place the two slices right next to each other with the chocolate insides facing up and make an “X” shape (the “X” should be right in the middle). Twist both sides over each other, like a braid or a rope. Place in a bread pan that’s been buttered and covered in parchment paper, you may need to fold it a bit more or squish it into the pan. Cover the babka with a towel and let it rest for 1 – 1 ½ hours so it can rise further.

5. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and bake for 40-50 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean (unless it punctures a chocolatey area).

6. While it’s baking, prepare the syrup by combining the water and coconut sugar in a saucepan, bring to a boil, then simmer for 4 minutes and whisk until the coconut sugar is completely dissolved. Allow to cool completely.

7. When the babka is out of the oven, generously brush the syrup over the top to help lock in moisture and create a glossy finish.

8. Gently remove the babka from the pan, slice and enjoy. Babkas also freeze remarkably well, so you can make several batches for other occasions.

For more festive recipes, try these 15 delectable Hanukkah doughnuts, plus the only dishes you need for a Happy Hanukkah.

Harry Eastwood’s Top 7 Baking Tips for a Marvelous Holiday

There are few things in this world that excite The Big Bake: Holiday judge Harry Eastwood more than baking during the holidays.

“I am an absolute, unabashed Christmas junkie all the way,” she says with a laugh. “I’ve even already started wrapping up some presents and putting them on the top shelf in my office.”

Famous for her unique approach to vegetable cakes (more on that in a minute), the British-born, Paris-based chef and cookbook author knows more than her fair share about holiday baking.

So, as the talented teams on The Big Bake: Holiday continue to wow us with their festive cake creations, we took the opportunity to catch up with Harry to learn more about her top tips for healthy holiday desserts – including cake baking tips for beginners.

Related: Our Top 100 Holiday Cookie and Square Recipes


Harry on the set of The Big Bake: Holiday episode Santa on Cakecation

Plan Ahead

Although it may seem fairly obvious to prep in advance, Harry points out that it’s often one of the easiest mistakes home bakers make – and one that can result in high levels of stress and burnt baked goods. “I’m a big proponent of planning,” she says, “and by planning what I really mean, if I’m cooking a cake on Friday my list of ingredients would be done at least a day or two beforehand so I have time to make sure that I have everything I need. It’s very depressing to start a cake and discover that you’ve got only half the amount of sugar you needed.” So, forget that Santa wishlist: the most important list you’ll need this holiday season is the one organizing all your must-have ingredients. Check!

Budget Your Time

Another cake baking tip for beginners is something that comes with practice – and a whole lot of patience. “Don’t hurry it,” Harry says about getting your bake on. “The thing about cakes, above anything else, is [the realization] that you’re not in charge. The ingredients and the cake are in charge and that won’t bend just because you have a dentist’s appointment. So, budget the time for it.”

Related: Harry Eastwood Takes You Through the History of Cakes

Divide and Conquer

There are two stages of baking, according to Harry: one is the actual baking of the cake and the other is the icing and adding any additional decorations. Remember: there’s no reason why you can’t ice and decorate your masterpiece the next day, so there’s no need to rush through the entire process in a couple hours. “It’s like writing a letter by hand, the joy is always in doing,” she says. “Racing to finish it is dangerous and it would be such a shame to lose the joy of [baking].”

Kitsch for the Holidays

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, so don’t be afraid to have a little fun and infuse some of your own personality into your creation. Adding a little colour and texture can easily elevate your cake to the next level, so embrace it! “I’m not afraid of kitsch,” Harry says. “I love making my own [cake] toppers. I love that candy cane stripe; it’s so easy to mix into cakes. You can smash them up and make patterns on top. Everything is an excuse for a story at this time of year, so go nuts on the decorations because it’s such a joyful wow-factor.”

Related: The Perfect Holiday Cookie, According to Your Zodiac Sign


Harry Eastwood on set with host Brad Smith and judge Eddie Jackson

Swap in Some Veggies

If you’ve got root vegetables on hand and you’re looking to make an epic sponge cake that has some real moisture to it, Harry suggests swapping out some of the more common ingredients for some of those sweet veggies. “I think vegetable cake is so underrated just because it’s healthier,” she says. “But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t taste good! If you have a vegetable cake with buttercream icing on top, I defy you to tell the difference.” Bonus: since the holidays are all about indulging in your favourite treats, you’ll appreciate having at least one healthy(ish) dessert. It also comes in handy if you’ve got a few picky eaters on your hands. “Zucchini is probably my favourite ingredient to add into cakes because it’s very easy to introduce without anybody having a clue,” Harry says with a laugh. “The point of a vegetable cake is that people don’t know it’s a vegetable cake so you need to do something which just effortlessly swaps it in. If you’ve succeeded at that, then you’ve done a good job. You’ve nailed it.”

Simple Substitutes

Bid adieu to butter this holiday season. “You definitely don’t taste the butter in a sponge cake, you taste the buttercream [icing],” Harry points out. “It’s the easiest ingredient you can lose without noticing so long as you replace it with a healthy fat, like ground nuts, because there needs to be a balancing act with what you put in.”

Related: Anna Olson’s Quick Guide to Ingredient Substitutions

Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment

You don’t have to wait until you’re a seasoned pro before you can start experimenting in the kitchen. “I’m a big fan of a recipe I wrote a little while ago which is for a sesame tahini white chocolate blondie,” Harry says. “That in itself is a show-stopper. I love offering something unusual around Christmastime.”

For more holiday fare, you can get your bake on with these 20 easy make-ahead Christmas cookies for your holiday bash and Anna Olson’s Ultimate Holiday Cookie Hacks.

An Overnight Gingerbread French Toast Bake for the Perfect Winter Morning

This comforting, fragrant French toast bake is the best way to wake up on Christmas morning. It can be prepared the night before and baked fresh the next day. Just a little bit easier than standing over a griddle and individually frying each slice of French toast! The egg mixture features traditional gingerbread spices (which scents the whole house as it bakes) and the cranberry adds a hint of tartness. For best results, use a day old loaf of bread as it soaks up the liquid better.

Overnight Gingerbread French Toast Bake

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes
Serves: 8

Ingredients:

1 loaf country bread, cut into 1/2 thick slices
8 large eggs, whisked
3 cups whole milk
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1 pinch black pepper
1 pinch fine salt
1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped (optional)
1/2 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen
Powdered sugar, for serving
Maple syrup, for serving

Directions:

1. Grease a 9×12 baking dish. Arrange the slices of bread in two rows, overlapping each other.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, black pepper and salt.

3. Pour mixture evenly over the bread, gently pressing the slices down to soak up the liquid. Sprinkle with pecans and cranberries. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to bake.

4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. If bread begins to brown too quickly, cover the top with foil and continue baking.

5. Serve warm with a dusting of powdered sugar and a drizzle of maple syrup.

We’ve got more easy, ultra-appetizing holiday brunch recipes to bookmark this year, from these 25 standout dishes that’ll feed a crowd to healthier recipes guests will still devour (especially after a night of indulging).

These Christmas Cookie Trees Are the Prettier (And Easier!) Version of a Gingerbread House

Stacked anywhere from four to 14 cookies high, these Christmas Gingerbread Trees are festive and fun. Their 3D shape allows them to stand tall on any dessert table, or could be used to decorate individual place settings at your holiday feast. Much quicker and way less complicated that assembling an entire gingerbread house, these cookie trees come together rather easily during this busy time of year. Featuring homemade gingerbread cookies, the festive treats taste just as good as they look, too!

Gingerbread Christmas Cookie Trees

Bake Time: 8 to 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 2 dozen, 4 to 5 cookies per tree (depending on size)

Ingredients:

Gingerbread Cookies
3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cloves
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup molasses
1 to 2 Tbsp water

Royal Icing
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 ½ Tbsp meringue powder
3 Tbsp water, plus more to thin
1/2 Tbsp light corn syrup
¼ tsp vanilla extract or lemon juice (optional)

Directions:

Gingerbread Cookies
1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt and all of the spices together. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter and brown sugar until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the corn syrup and molasses and mix until combined.

3. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients in two additions. Mix until combined. If the dough seems dry, add in the water and mix until the dough comes together to form a ball.

4. Gather the dough and form into a disk. Wrap the disk in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

5. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature until it is soft enough to roll out (5 to 10 minutes). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or non-stick baking mats. Set aside.

6. Dust a clean work surface lightly with flour. Roll out the dough until about ¼-inch thick and cut out with various sizes of star cookies cutters.

7. Baked the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the edges turn slightly golden. Repeat with the remaining dough.

8. Completely cool the cookies on a wire rack before decorating.

Royal Icing

1. Place the confectioners’ sugar and meringue powder in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Gently stir to combine. Add the water and mix on medium-low until combined. Turn the mixer up to medium-high and continue to mix until stiff peaks form, 5 to 8 minutes.

2. Add the corn syrup and vanilla or lemon (if using) and mix to combine. If the icing is still rather thick and clumps together, add more water (a teaspoon or two at a time), until the icing holds stiff peaks.

Assembly
1. Thin the royal icing with water until the desired consistency is reached (for piping, it should resemble the same consistency as toothpaste). Decorate the tops of the cookies, as desired.

2. While the icing is still wet, build the Christmas Gingerbread Trees by stacking the smaller stars on top of the larger stars. Use a dab of icing in-between cookies to secure as needed. Attach a small star to the tops of each tree.

For more holiday baking inspiration, these watercolour snowflake sugar cookies are here to dazzle, along with our top 100 holiday cookie and square recipes (bring on the sugar rush!).

Make Your Home Hygge with Scandinavian Cardamom Buns

Cardamom buns are a Scandinavian specialty widely available in cafés and bakeries in Nordic regions like Sweden and Denmark. I think of them as a more twisted, texturally interesting, tender-to-the-tooth cinnamon bun with spicy floral notes and eye-catching beauty. The cardamom-spiked dough, filling and glaze bring hygge vibes and cozy winter appeal to your kitchen, perfect for fika (the Swedish coffee break), a lazy winter weekend or your holiday brunch spread.

The cardamom buns I enjoyed in Scandinavia use whole black cardamom seeds in the dough and filling, which I’ve found in some specialty food stores and online. The whole seeds add candy-like crunch and big, bold cardamom flavour, but they are harder to track down, so I’ve developed this recipe with ground cardamom. Just make sure your ground cardamom is as fresh as possible for the biggest bang for your buck. This recipe is all about the spice, and as fragrant as it may be raw, it does dissipate during baking — don’t be afraid of the large amount used in this recipe. 

Scandinavian Cardamom Buns

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Rise Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Bake Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
Makes: 15 to 20  

Ingredients: 

Dough
1 cup, plus 1 Tbsp whole milk, heated to 110°F
2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast
3 ¼ cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
⅓ cup dark or light brown sugar
1 Tbsp ground cardamom
Pinch, kosher salt
75 g salted butter, room temperature
Oil, for greasing bowl 

Filling
65 g salted butter, room temperature
⅓ cup dark or light brown sugar
1 Tbsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract 

Glaze and Sugar Sprinkle
¼ water
¼ cup light or dark brown sugar
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp to 1 Tbsp granulated sugar

Directions: 

Dough
1. Place warmed milk in a heat-proof bowl and sprinkle over yeast. Allow yeast to activate for 10 minutes while you prepare the dry ingredients.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together flour, brown sugar, cardamom and salt. Fit mixer with the dough hook, turn on low and slowly add milk and yeast. With the mixture running, add pieces of the room-temperature butter until incorporated, and then turn to medium-low speed. Knead on medium-low speed for 5 minutes, until the dough is springy but still soft.

3. Transfer dough to a large oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth and allow to proof in a warm area of your kitchen away from drafts for at least 1 hour, up to 1 hour 30 minutes.

Filling
1. Cream all filling ingredients in a medium bowl until combined. Set aside.

Assembly
1. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Sprinkle a clean surface with additional flour and turn out dough. Flour rolling pin and roll into a rough rectangle approximately 13 inches by 21 inches. Evenly spread over filling using an offset spatula all the way to the edges.

3. Using a ruler or by eye, cut into 15 to 20, ¾-inch- to 1-inch-wide strips, from long edge to long edge.

4. With the filling facing towards your fingers, wrap each dough strip around two to three fingers, three to four times, creating twists and small layers in the dough as you go for a taller bun, leaving a small strip to fold between your fingers and tuck in the bottom of the bun to secure. Repeat with remaining dough and spread formed buns evenly out on the prepared baking sheet, leaving room to expand.

5. Cover baking sheets with a clean damp kitchen towel, place away from drafts and allow to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Baking and Glazing
1. Position oven racks to accommodate two baking sheets with good airflow. Preheat oven to 425ºF.

2. While buns are proofing, for the glaze, combine water, brown sugar and cardamom in a small saucepan over medium heat until brown sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Set aside.

3. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through, top to bottom and vice versa, until tops are golden brown and buns are bubbling in the centre. Do not over- or under-bake. Immediately after they come out of the oven, brush with all of the glaze and sprinkle with sugar. Allow to sit for at least 5 minutes, then enjoy warm or room temperature, storing loosely covered for up to 12 hours (see Notes for make-ahead option).

Notes:
1. The baked cardamom buns are best the day they are made, but can be frozen (once cool and the glaze is set) for up to 1 month. Defrost at room temperature or in a low oven.

2. Prepare the dough and filling the day before up until rolling (after the first proof; stopping before Assembly in directions). Cover each bowl tightly or transfer to airtight containers and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Bring to room temperature before rolling, filling and forming.

Stay cozy Scandinavian-style with more hygge recipes, and whip up a batch of these colourful Swedish Christmas cookies.

How to Make Glistening Watercolour Snowflake Sugar Cookies

Are you ready for the holiday season? We sure are, and these watercolour snowflake sugar cookies are bringing the shine and shimmer for a dose of festive magic. Whether served at a cookie exchange or dessert buffet, the elegant treat’s marble-like icing and glistening edges are unique, while still being incredibly delicious. The best part? Just like a snowflake, each cookie design is quite literally one-of-a-kind. To simplify the recipe you can also skip the glitter; the watercolour effect is sufficiently stunning on its own.

Watercolour Snowflake Sugar Cookies

Bake Time: 15 to 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 to 6 hours

Ingredients:

1 recipe sugar cookies – cut and baked into snowflakes
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 Tbsp meringue powder
6 Tbsp water, plus more to thin
1 Tbsp light corn syrup
½ tsp vanilla extract or lemon juice (optional)
gel food colouring
sanding sugar, sprinkles, or sugar pearls (optional)


Directions:

Icing
1. Place the confectioners’ sugar and meringue powder in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Gently stir to combine. Add the water and mix on medium-low until combined. Turn the mixer up to medium-high and continue to mix until stiff peaks form, 7 to 10 minutes.

2. Add the corn syrup and vanilla or lemon (if using) and mix to combine. If the icing is still rather thick and clumps together, add more water (a teaspoon or two at a time), until the icing holds stiff peaks. Use immediately, or cover by pressing a piece of plastic wrap directly to the surface of the icing.

Decorating
1. Split the icing in half. Place half in a mixing bowl and cover the remaining icing tightly with plastic wrap. Set aside.

2. Thin the icing in the mixing bowl with water, a tablespoon or two at a time. Mix the icing and water together until smooth and the icing becomes a consistency that is slightly thicker than honey. It should be fairly thin, but still thick enough to cling to the cookies. More water may be added as needed if the icing does not settle smoothly on the cookies.

3. Dip a toothpick (or the tip of a knife) into the gel food colouring, then swirl the colour on top of the thinned icing. You may mix multiple colours together, if desired.

4. Dip the entire top of a snowflake cookie into the surface of the icing. Give the cookie a small twist, then lift. Gently shake the cookie to allow some of the excess icing to fall back into the bowl. Turn the cookie right-side-up and place on a piece of parchment paper or wire cooling rack. Gently tap the bottom of the cookie to release any air bubbles and/or to help the icing settle. Allow the icing to completely dry, at least 4 hours.

5. Continue with the remaining cookies, adding more swirls of food colouring as needed. The more you dip and swirl, the more the colours will blend together.

6. To add the sprinkle border, thin reserved icing with water until it is the consistency of toothpaste. Place sanding sugar or sprinkles in a shallow bowl. Fill a piping bag (or a zip-top bag with the corner snipped off) with the icing and pipe around the edges of the dried watercolour cookies. Flip and dip the cookie upside down into the bowl of sprinkles. Gently press so that the sprinkles stick to the icing. Allow the cookies to dry right-side-up. Note that it is important for the watercolour icing to be completely dried first, or the sprinkles will stick to the surface of the cookie.

7. Once dried, store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week or so.

For more show-stopping holiday baking recipes, make these stunning stained glass sugar cookies or try your hand at these double-decker chocolate cherry snickerdoodles!

Three Easy No-Bake Vegan Chocolate Truffles to Please the Foodie in Your Life

Chocolate truffles are one of the easiest candies to make at home. There’s no candy thermometer or boiling sugar to contend with; and they come together with just a handful of pantry ingredients. This chocolate truffle recipe is vegan, with rich coconut milk and oil taking place of traditional heavy cream and butter. And because the holidays are about going all-out when it comes to sweets, three options are given for festive panache. The no-bake base gets glammed up with gingerbread, fruitcake and coconut flavours, delivering a texture and taste to please any giftee. For parties, hosting gifts or family get-togethers, this big-batch recipe makes enough to share.

Trio of No-Bake Vegan Chocolate Truffles

Prep time: 30 minutes
Chilling time: 7 hours
Makes: 80 (approximately 26 of each flavour)

Ingredients:

Vegan Chocolate Truffle Base:
600 g dairy-free semi-sweet or dark chocolate, finely chopped
6 Tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch, salt
2 cups coconut milk, well shaken (avoid light or reduced fat options)

Gingerbread Truffles:
⅓ Vegan Chocolate Truffle Base
⅓ cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped (plus some for garnish, if desired)
1 Tbsp molasses
⅛ tsp ground allspice
⅛ tsp ground cinnamon
⅛ tsp ground cloves
⅔ cup cocoa powder (for rolling)

Fruitcake Truffles:
⅓ Vegan Chocolate Truffle Base
⅓ cup dried fruit or raisins, chopped
2 tsp dark rum
1 tsp orange zest
¼ tsp almond extract
1 cup toasted walnuts, finely chopped (for rolling)
Note: omit walnuts and almond extract for nut-free recipe

Coconut Truffles:
⅓ Vegan Chocolate Truffle Base
1 ½ cups unsweetened desiccated coconut, cooled

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, add chocolate, coconut oil, vanilla extract and salt. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat coconut milk until steaming around the edges, just before a boil. Remove from heat and pour into chocolate mixture. Allow it to sit undisturbed for 5 minutes, then whisk well.

2. Divide truffle base between three medium bowls or pans. In one bowl containing ⅓ of the truffle base, add all the gingerbread truffle ingredients except for the cocoa powder for rolling. Stir well to combine. In the second bowl containing ⅓ of the truffle base, add all the fruitcake truffle ingredients except the walnuts and stir well to combine. In the third bowl containing the final ⅓ of the truffle base, add ½ cup of unsweetened desiccated coconut (leaving one cup for rolling) and then stir well to combine.
3. Label and refrigerate all three chocolate truffle bowls for at least 6 hours until firm (or up to 1 week if covered).
4. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and roll each truffle into a 1 to 2 tablespoon-sized ball and add to baking sheet.
5. For the gingerbread truffles, roll in cocoa powder and gently press in a piece of additional crystallized ginger if desired. For the fruitcake truffles, roll in chopped walnuts. For the coconut truffles, roll in the additional coconut.
6. Refrigerate truffles until firm (about 1 hour) before transferring to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1 month. Serve chilled.

Looking for more dairy-free holiday sweets? Check out these 25 decadent holiday vegan desserts!

Roger Mooking's Cooking and Cream Napoleon

A Show-Stopping Strawberries & Cream Holiday Dessert

You can’t have a holiday dinner without a festive dessert, and Food Network Canada Chef School’s Chef Roger Mooking shows you how to make a red and white towering masterpiece that will woo your guests this season.

 

Plated desserts look ultra-impressive and are more festive than pie or cake, but can seem daunting to create at home. With a few pro techniques to make your star ingredients shine, this may be the easiest, show-stopper of a dessert you’ll ever whip up. Quick gourmet touches, like vanilla bean in the whipped cream (fridge-cold for full volume!), orange zest in the strawberries (balance that tang!) and sliced almonds in the pastry (turn up the texture!) transform ordinary ingredients into extraordinary elements.

With this recipe, contrasts are key. Almond flour (almond meal) is sprinkled evenly over each layer like falling snow, adding a nuanced nutty note and an intriguing texture. This dessert isn’t just about layering visually, but layering tastes and textures, too. It’s these small details that set this dessert apart, showing guests they’re as special as what’s on the plate.

 

Chef Roger Mooking’s tips for handling and storing leftover phyllo dough are smart and simple. Why not put those extras to good use and prepare other festive recipes that use phyllo dough this season, like baklava for your cookie tray and spanakopita triangles for your cocktail party?

We love the festive red and white theme with the strawberries, a fruit that you can get year-round, but Chef Roger Mooking encourages us to step outside of the box. Even if the fruit you choose isn’t in season, that little bit of sugar he adds ensures that off-season fruit tastes in-season, every time. The sugar here is also key to macerating the strawberries for a no-cook sauce with the perfect amount of sweet, syrupy juices.

Roger Mooking's Cooking and Cream Napoleon

When the components of your holiday trifecta are ready to be assembled, a sneaky chef trick, smudging a bit of the whipped cream mixture on the plate before you add the first layer, keeps your tower from tumbling. Bring it to the table with confidence!

Up the elegance with this recipe for Chef Roger Mooking’s Cookies and Cream Napoleon.

Need an impressive holiday main for guests? Try Lynn Crawford’s Seafood Risotto laden with crabs and scallops or Mark McEwan’s tender Ricotta Gnocchi served with a luxurious Gorgonzola cream sauce.