Tag Archives: Holidays

turkey dinner hand pies on a white plate

Turkey Dinner Hand Pies Are the Leftover Hack You Need

Step aside, turkey noodle soup and hot turkey sandwiches – this reimagined twist on turkey dinner leftovers is the game-changing recipe you need for the holidays. Store-bought puff pastry means you only need 15 minutes of prep time to whip these up before popping them into the oven, so you can get back to snuggling up on the couch and basking in that cozy holiday feeling. Warning: you *may* never be able to eat regular leftovers again.

turkey dinner hand pies on a white plate

Turkey Dinner Hand Pies

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 20-25 minutes
Cool Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 40-45 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients:
2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
Flour, for dusting
8 thick slices leftover roast turkey
½ cup leftover gravy, plus more for dipping
½ cup leftover stuffing
½ cup leftover cranberry sauce, plus more for dipping
1 egg mixed with 1 Tbsp water, for egg wash
1 tsp fresh thyme (optional)

ingredients for turkey dinner hand pies on a marble countertop

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375˚F.

2. On a lightly floured surface, lay out pastry sheets. Using a rolling pin, roll out dough until both sheets are roughly 10″ x 12”.

3. With a sharp knife, cut each pastry sheet into 4 rectangles, creating 8 rectangles total.

a puff pastry sheet on a white countertop cut into quarters

4. On the right side of one pastry rectangle, lay a slice of turkey. Spread 1 Tbsp gravy over the turkey. Top with 1 Tbsp of stuffing, followed by 1 Tbsp of cranberry sauce. Brush edges of the pastry with egg wash, and then fold the left side of the pastry over the right, lining up the edges as best you can. Crimp shut the open edges with a fork to seal, and use a sharp knife to mark 3 slits in the pastry. Repeat this step with the remaining pastry sheets, creating 8 hand pies total.

Related: Here’s How Long You Can Eat Your Thanksgiving Leftovers

steps for stuffing turkey dinner hand pies shown in 4 separate images

 

5. Brush the tops of the turnovers with remaining egg wash, then sprinkle with fresh thyme (optional).

Related: Use Leftover Potatoes to Make This Internet-Famous Crispy Potatoes Recipe

3 unbaked turkey dinner hand pies on a parchment lined baking sheet

6. Bake the hand pies for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and crispy.

7. Remove from oven and let cool on a cooling rack for 5 minutes.

4 turkey dinner hand pies on a cooling rack

8. Serve immediately alongside additional gravy and cranberry sauce for dipping.

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

a turkey dinner hand pie on a patterned plate, cut in half to show filling

Looking for more leftover ideas? Try these 10 Ways to Use Your Thanksgiving Leftovers, From Potatoes to Stuffing.

vegan scalloped potatoes in a glass casserole dish

The Creamiest Vegan Scalloped Potatoes with Thyme Almond Crumble

These creamy, hearty potatoes topped with crispy thyme and almond crumble are sure to be the star side dish of your next holiday meal. In the past, vegans were often forgotten or completely neglected when it came to holiday dinners, but not anymore. This dairy-free take on classic scalloped potatoes leaves out the heavy cream and butter but not the classic flavour, so you can guarantee that everyone at the table will be satisfied.

vegan scalloped potatoes in a glass casserole dish

Vegan Scalloped Potatoes with Thyme Almond Crumble

Servings: 4-6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Ingredients:
For the Scalloped Potatoes
1 cup full-fat canned coconut milk
½ cup vegetable broth
2 ½ tsp arrowroot starch or powder
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
2 pounds Yukon or russet potatoes
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed

For the Almond Crumble
½ cup raw almonds
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
¼ tsp sea salt
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed

For Garnish
Fresh thyme sprigs

ingredients for vegan scalloped potatoes on a white countertop

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and line a 11 x 7-inch baking dish with parchment paper.

2. Place a small pot over medium heat, pour in the coconut milk, broth and arrowroot starch. Whisk to combine.

3. Simmer for 4-5 minutes, whisking often, until the sauce thickens. Add a pinch of sea salt and pepper.

4. Thinly slice the potatoes into discs and toss with extra virgin olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, and thyme.

a pot of creamy "cheese" alongside thinly sliced potatoes for vegan scalloped potatoes

5. Spread half of the potato discs in an even layer on the bottom of the pan. Pour half of the sauce on top.

6. Layer the rest of the potato discs on top, and pour over the remaining sauce.

Related: This Vegan Pumpkin Soup Has a Super-Secret Immune-Boosting Ingredient

thinly sliced potatoes in a casserole dish for vegan scalloped potatoes

7. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and bake for 40 minutes.

8. As the potatoes bake, make the almond crumble. Pulse all crumble ingredients in a food processor until the almonds are small and crumbly. You can roughly chop by hand if you don’t have a food processor.

almond crumble in a food processor for vegan scalloped potatoes

9. After 40 minutes, take the dish out of the oven, uncover it and evenly sprinkle the almond crumble on top. Bake for an additional 20 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. Serve immediately.

Related: Vegan Grain-Free Sweet Potato Gnocchi with High-Protein Pesto

a closeup of vegan scalloped potatoes with almond crumble

Love Tamara and Sarah’s vegan scalloped potatoes? Try their vegan cornbread next!

tea and orange brined turkey on a serving platter

The Ultimate Guide to Turkey Cooking Times

The main event during the holidays often involves serving a perfectly juicy and succulent roast turkey to the ones you love. The last thing you want to do is present an overcooked (or worse, undercooked) bird. Even if this isn’t your first gobbler, it’s handy to have a cheat sheet on file to ensure you’re on track for dinner time. Follow the chart below for a foolproof way to roast the perfect turkey for your holiday feast every single time.

Related: The Best Leftover Turkey Recipe You’ll Ever Need (We Promise!)

Get the recipe for Tuscan Turkey Roulade

How to Roast a Basic Turkey

Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a large roasting pan, place thawed turkey, breast side up and tent with a piece of aluminum foil. Bake turkey using the chart below. Remove foil during last hour of cook time. Cook until meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 170°F.

Size of Turkey Unstuffed Stuffed
10-12lbs 3 – 3 ¼ hours 3 ½–3 ¾ hours
12-16bs 3 ¼ – 3 ¾ hours 3 ¾ – 4 ¼ hours
16-20lbs 3 ¾ – 4 ¼ hours 4 ¼ – 4 ¾ hours
20-24lbs 4 ¼ – 4 ¾ hours 4 ¾ – 5 ¼ hours


Related: How to Brine a Turkey and Why You Should Try It

turkey cut in half on a plate with green leaf garnish and orange slices

Get the recipe for Tea- and Orange-Brined Roasted Turkey

Top Turkey Cooking Tips

1. If using a frozen bird, ensure it’s fully defrosted before roasting.

2. Take your bird out of the fridge while the oven preheats. Juices will run clear when the turkey is done. Look at the juices running from the meat around the thigh bone.

3. If you’re using a convection oven, your bird will cook in 25 per cent less time. Take 15 minutes off each hour on the recommended times above.

4. After the turkey is removed from the oven, let it rest for minimum 30 minutes. The juices need to resettle into the meat.

Looking for more delicious inspiration? Here are the perfect side dishes to pair with your holiday turkey.

halloween charcuterie board with cheese, meat and fruit

How to Make a Spooky Delicious Halloween Charcuterie Board

Cheese and charcuterie, but make it spooky! This easy Halloween-inspired charcuterie board is the perfect crowd-pleaser for your gatherings this year. There’s something for everyone, from white cheddar pumpkins to BOO brie cheese to pepperette witches fingers, and so many other wicked treats.

Tip: When building a holiday-themed board, keep in mind the colours of the season, textures and shapes to inspire you.

halloween charcuterie board with cheese, meat and fruit

Spooky Delicious Halloween Charcuterie Board

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2-4

Ingredients:
1 small wheel double cream brie
3 Tbsp red pepper jelly
8 slices of your favourite cheese (we used white cheddar)
6 pepperettes
Handful pistachios, shelled
1 Tbsp honey
5 black olives, pitted
12 slices Genoa salami
1 block spicy gouda, cubed
1 large cluster of black seedless grapes
3 black mission figs, sliced in half
Handful strawberries, cut in half
2 clementines, peeled
1 cup stuffed olives
1 cup beet and sweet potato chips or crackers
6 sandwich cookies
Edible googly eyes, for decoration

ingredients for a halloween charcuterie board

Directions:
1. Grab a large circular or rectangular board and ready all of your ingredients. Wash and thoroughly dry your fruit.

2. For the BOO-Brie: Slice the brie wheel in half horizontally. With letter or shape cutters, punch out cheese on one half. Place the wheel back together and spoon jelly into the holes.

brie cheese being cut for a halloween charcuterie board

3. For the White Cheddar Pumpkins: Using your preferred sliced cheese and a pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter, punch out the different shapes.

Related: These Easy Sourdough Discard Crackers Come Together With Just 5 Ingredients

cheese slices being cut into pumpkins for a halloween charcuterie

4. For the Pepperette Witches fingers: Cut pepperettes in half. Dip pistachio in honey (to act as the adhesive) and place on the tip of the pepperette.

Related: These Pumpkin Pie Squares With Candied Pecans is the Fall Dessert You’ve Been Craving

pepperettes being prepped for a halloween charcuterie board

5. For the Black Olive Spiders: Cut one pitted black olive in half. Cut one half into 6 long pieces. Arrange the 6 long pieces on the board to resemble legs and place the remaining half cut side down for the spider’s body.

6. Place the different cheeses on the board, spaced apart. Fold the salami into quarters and place them standing up to create height. Arrange the pepperette fingers so all “nails” are  pointed outwards. Scatter the fruit throughout to add a hint of sweetness and pops of colour. Fill in any gaps with stuffed olives, chips, crackers and cookies. Add creepy googly eyes on cookies and grapes for a playful finishing touch.

halloween charcuterie board

Related: This Spooky S’mores Bars Recipe is the Perfect Halloween Treat

farm boy thanksgiving dinner 2021

We Tried 4 Canadian Thanksgiving Meal Kits, Here’s How They Really Turned Out

Whether you’re getting together with extended family or having an intimate dinner for two, the thought of making a complete Thanksgiving feast can be daunting even for the most seasoned home cooks.

Thankfully,  there are solid meal kit options on the market that can take the planning, shopping, and stress out of the equation so that you can focus on cooking (or heating up) something impressive and delicious. To help guide your Thanksgiving meal planning, we tried four of the most popular Thanksgiving meal kits on the market. Read on for our comprehensive thoughts, and see how the meal kits actually turned out compared to the pictures.

Related: We Tested 4 Popular Canadian Meal Delivery Kits. Here’s How They Compared

chef's plate thanksgiving dinner

Left: Chefs Plate’s Thanksgiving Turkey & Mushroom Sauce with Maple-Bacon Brussel Sprouts. Right: Our attempt at the meal.

Chefs Plate: Thanksgiving Turkey & Thyme Mushroom Sauce with Maple-Bacon Brussels Sprouts

Perfect For: An Intimate Dinner For Two

Price: $9.99 per serving (minimum order of two servings)

Availability: Order Canada-wide via chefsplate.com by October 7th for delivery from October 8th-15th.

Why it’s great: Roasting a whole turkey for two people just doesn’t make sense. For an intimate Thanksgiving feast, the turkey dinner for two option from Chef’s Plate is the perfect solution. With gourmet touches like truffle salt mashed potatoes and maple-bacon Brussels sprouts, this turkey dinner can double as a luxurious date night meal. Bonus: this kit is available to order for 2-16 people, so you can order it even if you’re having a larger gathering.

How it compares: Despite having Thanksgiving touches like turkey and mashed potatoes, this meal kit tasted decidedly less Thanksgiving-y than the other kits (likely because of the mushroom gravy and lack of classic flavours like cranberry sauce and stuffing). Still, it’s a delicious meal that feels subtly festive, and the maple-bacon Brussels sprouts were a real standout.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Turkey Cooking Times

hello fresh thanksgiving box

Left: Hello Fresh’s Thanksgiving Box. Right: Our attempt at the meal.

Hello Fresh: The Thanksgiving Box

Perfect For: A Crowd-Pleasing Turkey Dinner with All the Fixings

Price: $23.33 per person (boxes starting at $139.99)

Availability: Order Canada-wide via hellofresh.com by September 29th for delivery on October 7th.

Why it’s great: Hosting a crowd? Hello Fresh has you covered with their Thanksgiving Box that comes in two serving sizes to feed 6 or 10 people. If you’re looking for a complete turkey dinner with all the fixings, this is it! The kit includes ingredients for sage-roasted rolled turkey with gravy, roasted butternut squash with maple syrup drizzle, garlic-infused mashed potatoes, green beans with butter and almonds, dinner rolls with herb garlic butter, cranberry sauce with orange zest, and a dessert of graham cracker crust pumpkin pie with whipped cream.

The comprehensive instructions guide perfectly times out your cooking process, so you know exactly when to simmer that cranberry sauce mash those potatoes, all while your turkey roasts in the oven. If it’s your first time making Thanksgiving dinner or you simply do not have the energy to put together a menu and buy all the ingredients (we don’t blame you!) but still want to cook something special, this is the kit for you.

How it compares: This is by far the most labour-intensive meal kit, but it really pays off with a whopping eight dishes including dessert (and nine if you add on the vegetarian main of Mushroom and Leek Stuffed Squash). While some of the sides are more simple (like the buttered green beans) compared to the sides in the other kits, it still makes for an exceptionally satisfying complete turkey dinner experience.

Left: Goodfood’s Chicken Thighs, Brown Butter and Spiced Cranberry Sauce. Right: Our attempt at the meal.

Goodfood: Chicken Thighs, Brown Butter and Spiced Cranberry Sauce with Roasted Broccoli, Onion and Squash Mash

Perfect For: The Last-Minute Get-Together

Price: $9.98 per serving (minimum order of two servings)

Availability: Order Canada-wide via makegoodfood.ca by 12 pm EST for same day delivery in select markets by 8 pm EST from October 4th-10th.

Why it’s great: So you forgot to pick up Thanksgiving dinner fixings? No problem! Goodfood’s Thanksgiving dinner kit can be ordered for same day delivery (yes, really!) in select markets including Toronto and Vancouver so you can decide to host in the morning and have an impressive meal on the table that same evening. While this is the only kit that doesn’t offer turkey, it still satisfies those traditional Thanksgiving flavour cravings with its cranberry sauce and squash mash.

How it compares: This kit was by far the easiest to cook, coming together (as advertised) in just 30 minutes. The combination of colours between the squash, red onion and broccoli was also especially stunning and made for a really enticing plate.

Related: These Pumpkin Pie Squares With Candied Pecans is the Fall Dessert You’ve Been Craving

farm boy thanksgiving dinner

Farm Boy Thanksgiving Turkey Indulgence Dinner for Two. Right: Our plating of the meal.

Farm Boy: Thanksgiving Turkey Indulgence Dinner For Two

Perfect For: The Hands-Off Chef

Price: $79.99

Availability: Order within Ontario via farmboy.ca, by October 3rd for in-store pick up from October 8th-10th.

Why it’s great: If cooking isn’t your thing but you’re still craving the smell of roasted turkey with stuffing wafting through your home, the Farm Boy Thanksgiving Dinner is your best bet. A complete Thanksgiving meal that you can heat up in 30 minutes is a pretty wonderful experience, and this meal kit features Ontario turkey with savoury turkey gravy, cranberry ginger sauce, cranberry apple sausage stuffing, chive mashed potatoes, honey roasted carrots, maple bacon Brussels sprouts and a buttery Cranberry Pecan Tart for dessert. Farm Boy also offers their Thanksgiving Dinner in larger formats for 6-8 people priced at $169.99.

How it compares: Unsurprisingly, this prepared meal comes with the highest price tag per serving, an important factor to keep in mind. That said, the price tag is reflected in the presentation and organization: each dish comes individually packaged and beautifully arranged with straightforward heating instructions. While you can certainly remove the turkey, stuffing, mash and veggies from the packaging, we opted to keep them in the packaging because it was already so nicely plated.  Bonus: Farm Boy is extra generous with the servings of stuffing. And the dessert, a Cranberry Pecan Tart, is drizzled with dark chocolate and is simply divine

Availability: Farm Boy Indulgence Dinner for Two, farmboy.ca, $79.99. Order within Ontario by October 3rd for in-store pick up on October 8th, 9th or 10th.

Craving more Thanksgiving inspiration? See our best Crowd-Pleasing Recipes for a Holiday Potluck. 

sephardic challah bread on a linen tablecloth

This Sephardic-Style Spiced Challah is the Perfect Addition to Your Rosh Hashanah Spread

For most Canadians, challah is best known as a wonderfully fluffy, eggy, yeasty and sweet braided bread appreciated by Jews and non-Jews alike. Whether it’s enjoyed for Shabbat and Jewish holidays or as the base of custardy French toasts and decadent deli sandwiches, this golden Ashkenazi loaf has origins in Central and Eastern Europe and is popular for good reason. But there are other delightful challah traditions, including lighter, more savoury loaves favoured among Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews of North African and Middle Eastern ancestry.

Unlike the multi-stranded braided challahs, these loaves are commonly coiled into festive (and far easier) “crowns,” which, during Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), take on special meaning to symbolize the continuity of life. The flavours of these loaves are also wildly different. My Moroccan grandmother’s challah was always laced with whole spices such as cumin and caraway seeds that were mixed into the smooth and airy crumb. It was the perfect pairing for a table full of spicy, saucy and tangy cooked salads and tagines. This challah recipe takes me back to everything I loved about my grandmother’s cooking and being in her kitchen.

Note: This recipe can easily be made vegan with a couple simple swaps, outlined below.

sephardic challah bread on a linen tablecloth

Sephardic-Style Challah with Whole Seeds and Spices

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Rest Time: 3-4 hours
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 4-5 hours
Servings: One large round loaf or two small loaves

Ingredients:
For the dough
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 Tbsp cumin or nigella seeds
1 Tbsp of caraway, coriander or anise seeds
4 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and levelled, plus extra for dusting
1½ envelopes (12 grams) instant yeast
1 egg (optional), at room temperature
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
6 Tbsp canola or sunflower oil, plus extra for oiling hands and baking sheet
¾-1 cup warm water

For the egg wash and topping (optional)
Cornmeal for dusting baking sheet
1 egg, plus 1 Tbsp water
Salt to taste
Sesame or poppy seeds, for sprinkling

Ingredients for sephardic challah on a white countertop

Directions:

1. For the dough, in a skillet over medium heat, toast sesame seeds,  cumin, caraway or other seeds until fragrant (and before they start to pop), about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside to cool.

Related: Pomegranate Ginger Chicken For a Sweet and Fruitful Rosh Hashanah

Seeds and herbs toasting for sephardic challah

2. Combine all of the dough ingredients (including the seeds), then mix and knead for about 10 minutes by hand, stand mixer (with dough hook) or bread maker until smooth, soft and supple. If using egg, add ¾ cup of warm water first.

Option: For a vegan “water challah” without egg, use 1 cup of water. If the dough is too stiff, add more warm water, one tablespoon at a time, as needed. If it’s too sticky, add a little more flour.

3. Let the dough rise in a tightly covered bowl for roughly 2 hours until puffy and about doubled in size.

Dough for sephardic challah in a mixing bowl

4. Sprinkle cornmeal on a lightly-oiled baking sheet.

5. With oiled hands, gently deflate the dough and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface.

Related: Irresistible Dulce de Leche Rugelach

6. To make one large loaf, roll the dough into a 40- to 50-inch-long rope. (If you don’t have enough work space, roll it one half at a time, bending the rope in the middle.) If the dough isn’t stretching easily, let it rest covered for 5 to 10 minutes, then continue rolling. For two smaller loaves, aim for 25-inch ropes.

7. Let the rope(s) rest for 5 minutes. Form the rope into a coil, starting from one end. Tuck the second end under the finished coil.

Two coils of dough for sephardic challah on a white countertop

8. Place the coil(s) on the prepared baking sheet(s), one loaf per pan.

9. To make the egg wash topping, mix the reserved egg with 1 Tbsp water and a pinch of salt.

Option: For a vegan “water challah” version, skip this step or substitute egg wash with maple syrup or aquafaba (without water).

10. Brush dough coil(s) with a first layer of egg wash. Cover coil(s) with a large inverted bowl. Let stand for 60 to 90 minutes, until very puffy.

10. Near the end of the rising time, place a rack in the middle of your oven and preheat to 400°F.

11. Brush a second layer of egg wash onto dough coil(s) (this extra step will make the loaf beautifully shiny) and sprinkle generously with sesame or poppy seeds.

Dough for sephardic challah sprinkled with sesame seeds on a baking sheet

12. Place baking sheet in center of preheated oven (for two small loaves, place the baking sheets side by side or one at a time) and bake for 30 minutes or until the loaf is a rich, golden colour and the bottom is crispy. To check doneness, a digital thermometer poked into the centre of the loaf should read 190°F. Transfer to a rack to cool before serving or slicing.

Related: An Easy, Tender Brisket Recipe That is Sure to Impress

A golden loaf of sephardic challah on a linen tea towel

Love Claire’s challah? Be sure to try her upside-down apple cake for a gorgeous Rosh Hashanah dessert.

Festive vegan latte

We Tried 3 Seasonal Vegan Lattes at Your Favourite Coffee Shops. Here’s the Winner

Holiday latte season is one of my favourite seasons. You can indulge in the best coffee beans, but with a shot of sugary flavour and warm, frothy milk. And now thanks to an increased popularity of veganism and food allergies, plant-based milk (soy, almond, oat) is also typically on the menu.

This year I wanted to sample all of the best seasonal vegan lattes to see which one held up best. However because of the pandemic it felt like the options for such bevvies has been limited as many smaller joints have had to shut down. The good news is that some of the coffee franchises we all know and love did step up to pump out the special syrup and spices this season. And while I’m always a fan of supporting local, for the purpose of Canadian readers everywhere, here’s my hot take on the best vegan lattes from three of the more widely available cafes in the country.

Related: Coffee and Hot Chocolate Recipes to Warm Your Belly

Chestnut Praline Latte With Almond Milk, Starbucks

Available across Canada

Festive flavour: Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, perhaps? Just ordering this drink, which promises “caramelized chestnuts and spices” is enough to make me want to bust out the Nat King Cole.

Sweetness: A grande comes with four pumps of syrup, which was a touch on the sweet side. Next time I might stick with two or three.

Real talk: To make this version vegan, I omitted the whipped cream. Because of that, they also left off the “specialty spiced praline crumbs.” It doesn’t matter — I fell in love with chestnut lattes years ago. To be honest, it’s one of the first drinks my husband and I order every holiday season when they make their way to Canada.

Related: Famous Recipes We’re Making at Home, From McDs Hash Browns to IKEA Meatballs

Verdict: This year did not disappoint. While my drink was overly sweet (it took me a while to finish the whole cup) I did love how smooth and velvety it was. It also came piping hot, which was a bonus because I’m also that girl who microwaves her coffee if it’s not steaming. And as for the almond milk substitution? The syrup actually overpowered that chalky taste you can sometimes get with almond milk — and I think the drink would have been even sweeter with the regular stuff. So I’m calling this one a glorious, vegan win. Now if only they made chestnut lattes available year-round…

Gingerbread Latte With Almond Milk, Coffee Culture

Available in Ontario and Manitoba

Festive flavour: Gingerbread is kind of the ultimate holiday flavour, don’t you think? So drinking it in latte form (rather than biting into a tooth-chipping piece from the stale house my kids always insist on decorating) makes sense.

Sweetness: This one wasn’t nearly as sweet as the chestnut latte, but it definitely left me with a bit of a sugar rush.

Real talk: Full disclosure: I’m pretty picky about how I like my gingerbread. I love fresh ginger, so if we’re talking cookies, I prefer the warm and chewy kind.

Related: Our Fave Food Trends to Come out of Quarantine, From Pancake Cereal to Bread Art

Verdict: As a drink, this gingerbread latte had a pretty great balance of coffee to ginger — and just smelling it was enough to bring a warm and fuzzy feel to my hectic afternoon. But one cup was definitely enough to last me for the entire season. I’m of the camp that gingerbread is special because it’s a once-in-a-while treat. But if they made this drink in candle form? Well that’s something I’d light up all season long.

Cinnamon Toast Latte With Almond Milk, Second Cup

Available across Canada

Festive flavour: I feel like cinnamon is a year-round flavour, so I wasn’t necessarily getting a festive vibe from this drink. But it did feel special and new, especially since I got to sip it in a fully decorated cafe while my toddler nibbled on a croissant.

Sweetness: Once again this latte was slightly too sweet for my personal preference, so next time I would ask for one less pump of syrup.

Real talk: Growing up my dad used to make me cinnamon toast and it was one of my favourite breakfasts. So I was immediately excited to try this grown-up version. I sipped it while watching my kid take in the experience of having a snack at a cafe (something he hasn’t really gotten to do yet in his life, especially with this pandemic) and it just reminded me of traditions, holiday shopping and taking a timeout to savour the season. Yes, I got all that from a drink.

Related: We Tried Popeyes’ Famous Chicken Sandwich That Finally Arrived in Canada — Is It Worth the Hype?

Verdict: I appreciated that while the other cafes were happy to offer up vegan milk in any of their lattes, Second Cup specifically put a plant-based version of its Cinnamon Toast Latte on the menu. They usually make theirs with oat milk (because oats and cinnamon are another memorable combo), but in order to be completely fair to the other shops, I had mine with almond milk. That suited me just fine and it was delicious, but next time I’m there I’m definitely trying to recommended version.

Winner

While the chestnut latte was delicious and the gingerbread latte was memorable, I have to go with the cinnamon toast latte. Are you surprised? I believe the season is all about the memories we make — and to me, the drink was a mood. Add in the fact that Second Cup put effort into branding the latte as a vegan drink and it had to win — hands down.

That said, this year has been strange and weird for so many reasons. Restaurants have been struggling to stay afloat, let alone sink money into new products. So I’m calling this a tentative win for now and here’s hoping that by this time next year, we can all over-imbibe on caffeine and more holiday-themed, sugary goodness.

Photos courtesy of Amber Dowling

We also tried the KFC Cinnabon Dessert Biscuits. Are they worth the hype?

This Venison Carpaccio With Cedar Jelly and Sea Buckthorn Jam is the Perfect Appetizer

Not only does cooking reflect culture, but it also reveals the resources found in a community’s surrounding environment. I discovered a love for food as a child, later combining my passion for cooking with the desire to know the history and cuisine of the First Nations peoples better. This is the inspiration behind my dishes.

I work with foragers and hunters in northern Québec who supply me with exceptional products such as wild cattails and currant leaves. My venison carpaccio recipe, which includes cedar jelly and a sea buckthorn jam, is a great example of my cooking technique. Slices of the freshest venison are garnished with the boreal flavours of cedar and sea buckthorn, a tart vitamin C–rich berry that can be found fresh or frozen at specialty markets.

At its essence, my work is focused on adapting the traditional pantry of an ancient culture to modern tastes. For the First Nations, respect for Mother Earth is paramount. By staying in harmony with nature, my recipes permit me to rediscover forgotten flavours that long served as a cuisine of survival. The Canadian wilderness has so much to offer: spices, herbs, flowers, mushrooms and roots, plus boreal nutmeg, peppery green alder (or dune pepper), wood cardamom, serviceberry, wild celery root and the Labrador tea, a tisane of local herbs. These are the colours in my palette of Indigenous cuisine.

Venison-Carpaccio-With-Cedar-Jelly-and-Sea-Buckthorn-Jam_888embed

Venison Carpaccio With Cedar Jelly and Sea Buckthorn Jam

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

Sea Buckthorn Jam
1 lb (600 g) sea buckthorn berries, rinsed
14 oz (400 g) apples, diced
17½ oz (500 g) sugar

Venison
12 thin slices venison
2 Tbsp (30 ml) cedar jelly
2 tsp (10 ml) duck fat
Fleur de sel and freshly ground pepper to taste
Microgreens for garnish (optional)

Related: Holiday Party Appetizers Your Guests Will Love

Directions:

1. In a saucepan with splash of water, cook sea buckthorn berries over low heat until they burst.

2. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into clean saucepan then discard seeds. Add apples to berry mixture and stir in sugar. Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, skimming any foam that forms on the surface. Let cool to room temperature.

3. Place venison on serving dish. Brush each slice with cedar jelly and duck fat, then sprinkle with fleur de sel and pepper. Garnish with sea buckthorn jam and microgreens.

Published October 13, 2015, Updated December 28, 2020

Leftover turkey pizza

The Best Leftover Turkey Recipe You’ll Ever Need (We Promise!)

We’re sure you’ve come across a lot of ways to use up leftover turkey, but what about a recipe that uses ALL the holiday leftovers? Introducing the Love Your Leftovers holiday pizza! You will never need — or want — to find another holiday leftovers recipe again. You might even find yourself roasting up a turkey just to make this delicious pizza. For the carbs portion, feel free to use any leftover carb you have available, like roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes or stuffing. Add the cranberry sauce and Brussels sprouts and you’re good to go!

Leftover turkey pizza cut up on counter

Leftover Turkey Pizza Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 to 18 minutes
Total Time: 25 to 28 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb pizza dough, store-bought or homemade
Olive oil, for brushing
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup leftover turkey, pulled or diced (Not a fan of turkey, but have leftover ham or leftover rotisserie chicken? They both work too!)
½ cup mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes or stuffing
½ cup cranberry sauce
½ cup roasted Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced

Leftover turkey pizza ingredients

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Place pizza stone in the oven. Divide dough into two equal portions. Stretch and roll out dough to desired thickness.

Person kneading pizza dough

2. Generously brush the dough with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a pizza paddle.

Related: Delicious Uses for Leftover Mashed Potatoes

3. Dollop with ricotta cheese. Top with turkey, potatoes, cranberry sauce and Brussels sprouts.

Leftover turkey pizza

4. Slide pizza onto the heated stone and bake until the crust is golden, about 15 to 18 minutes. Enjoy!

Leftover turkey pizza

Like Marcella’s leftover turkey pizza recipe? Try her vegan eggnog or her cinnamon streusel muffins.

Anna Olson holds up a ceramic ramekin dessert

Anna Olson’s Genius Way to Use Up Leftover Holiday Cookies

They say one person’s trash is another person’s treasure – and this rule certainly applies in the kitchen! From pie crusts to trifles, there are dozens of creative ways to use stale cookies in sweet repurposed recipes. Use Anna Olson’s tip below for any type of cookies you have on hand, or try your hand at one of our other great recipes that make use of your sweet holiday leftovers.

Related: Shop Anna Olson’s Top 10 Baking Gadgets

Sugar Cookies


To use as a crumble topping, break up leftover sugar cookies into little pieces in a bowl. For every one cup of crumbled up cookies, add two tablespoons of melted butter and half a teaspoon of cinnamon. It’s that easy! After cooling, serve this delicious dessert as you like it – drizzled with caramel sauce, with a scoop of ice cream, or a dash of icing sugar.

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Wooden charcuterie board with a chocolate dessert salami cut into small coins

Take leftover store-bought or homemade chocolate sandwich cookies and make a rich, chocolate-y no-bake dessert (that makes a great late holiday gift!). Chocolate sandwich cookies, graham crackers and pretzels stud this dessert salami, making it the perfect recipe to use up all your leftover snacks.

Get the recipe for No-Bake Oreo Salami

Gingerbread Cookies

Milk chocolate bark studded with ginger snap cookies, cranberries and pistachios and drizzled with white chocolate

Got surplus gingerbread cookies or a smashed gingerbread house? Crushed up gingerbread cookies work perfectly in place of ginger snaps in this milk chocolate holiday bark.

Get the recipe for Gingerbread Holiday Bark

Shortbread Cookies

Vanilla ice ccream swirled with strawberries and topped with a cookie crumble

For a sweet, buttery topping, crumble leftover shortbread cookies on top of ice cream drizzled in homemade strawberry rhubarb syrup. It’ll add a little crunchy texture to your sundae.

Get the recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb & Shortbread Cookie Crumble

Anything Else!

Grasshopper pie with chocolate crust and mint cream filling and a sprinkling of chocolate cookie crumble

Instead of graham crackers, use a cookie of your choice to make a delicious pie crust. For this traditional grasshopper pie recipe, crush chocolate cookies and mix with melted butter. Press into a pan and then fill with marshmallow fluff. Delish!

Looking for more ways to use up leftovers? Check out these tasty ways to use all that leftover turkey, plus these sweet & savoury ways to repurpose pie dough.

gimlet cocktail with spruce tips

Cheers to the Holiday Season With This Apple Spruce Gimlet Cocktail

This holiday season, try a fresh take on the classic gimlet with this That’s the Spirit apple spruce gimlet cocktail — the ingredients are uniquely oh-so Canadian! The combination of apple and spruce tips lends itself to this beautiful cocktail that tastes like fresh winter’s breath. Have it with a spirit of choice or a non-alcoholic alternative (like juice or soda) to bring out all the different flavours. Plus: it’s easy to whip up!

gimlet cocktail with spruce tips

Apple Spruce Gimlet Cocktail Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 1 cocktail

Ingredients:

½ cup fresh-pressed apple juice
½ cup sugar
2 Tbsp dried spruce tips + more for garnish
Juice of 1 lime
2 oz spirit of choice (or non-alcoholic substitute)
Ice for shaking

gimlet cocktail with spruce tips ingredients

Directions:

1. Create your apple spruce syrup: in a saucepan, add apple juice, sugar and dried spruce tips. Bring all contents to boil.

2. Once bubbling, lower to simmer. Allow to simmer on low for 15-20 minutes. Remove apple spruce syrup from heat and let cool.

cocktail simmering on stovetop

3. Strain out solids through a colander or strainer into a non-reactive container. Syrup recipe can remain in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

4. In a shaker tin, add 1oz of the apple spruce syrup.

Related: Ina Garten’s Fresh Whiskey Sours Will Be Your Go-To Cocktail

5. Slice a lime in half and squeeze the juices of both halves into the shaker tin, combining with apple spruce syrup.

6. Pick your of spirit (white spirits for more herbal, evergreen qualities; brown spirits to bring out warming spices in the drink). Add 2 oz of chosen spirit in the cocktail shaker.

gimlet cocktail with spruce tips pour

7. Add enough ice to cover the liquid plus a little bit more, do not be shy. Cover the other side of the shaker tin and shake vigorously for 10 to 15 seconds until well chilled.

8. Strain into a coupe glass (or your favourite cocktail glass) and garnish with winter herbs (spruce from your garden works!). Enjoy immediately.

gimlet cocktail with spruce tips

Feeling inspired? Check out these swanky cocktail recipes for New Year’s Eve.

Holiday Dessert is Made Easy With These Cute 6-Ingredient Mini Apple Crumble Tarts

Need an easy, yet impressive holiday dessert? If you have a package of puff pastry in your freezer and a handful of other fridge and pantry staples, you’re halfway to making these simple apple crumble tarts. This version is mini-sized, perfect for individual servings to snack on during the week (it doesn’t have to be a special occasion to enjoy a homemade dessert!) or for serving at holiday gatherings. Best of all, they come together in no time at all and if you are the kind of person who likes to plan ahead, you can assemble these and freeze them so you’ll only need to preheat the oven when you’re ready to enjoy.

Mini apple crumble tarts on white tray

Mini Apple Crumble Tarts

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 12 tarts

Ingredients:

400g (or 2 rolls) frozen puff pastry, thawed but chilled
1 large or 2 small granny Smith apples
3 Tbsp butter, melted + 3 Tbsp cold butter cut into 12 pieces
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup dark brown sugar
¼ cup large flake rolled oats (not instant)
Pouring cream (optional)
Sliced or slivered almonds (optional)

Mini apple crumble tarts ingredients

Directions:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 375˚F. Lightly grease a muffin tin with butter.

2. Roll out pastry; use a 3 ½-inch cookie cutter to cut out 12 rounds.

3. Place a round of pastry into each spot in the muffin tin and gently press them into the tin. Prick the bottom of each pastry round with a fork and place the tin in the fridge while you work on the filling.

Related: The Pioneer Woman’s Irresistible Apple Desserts

4. Peel and core the apple(s) and cut into tiny cubes. Place in a medium bowl and set aside.

5. Mix the melted butter, flour, sugar and oats in a small bowl until all the ingredients are wet. Mix the apples with the crumble topping.

6. Divide the filling evenly between the pastry cups. (At this stage you can freeze the assembled tarts. Once completely frozen, you can store in them in airtight containers for two weeks. Bake from frozen — although they might take a few minutes longer in the oven).

Mini apple crumble tart in baking tray

7. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the tin from the oven and top each tart with the small cube of butter. Bake for another 20 minutes at until the pastry is golden brown, the apples are soft and the crumble is crispy.

8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes in the tins. Serve with pouring cream and some slivered almonds.

Mini apple crumble tart on white plate

Like Mardi’s mini apple crumble tarts? Try her mixed berry galettes or her French butter cookies.

salted caramel lava cakes on white plate

These Warm Salted Caramel Lava Cakes Only Require 8 Ingredients (Easiest Holiday Dessert Ever!)

Warm salted chocolate caramel lava cakes — yes, you read that right! These Baking Therapy treats are different from traditional lava cakes: picture a cross between a cupcake and a brownie. They’re chocolatey, fudgy and oozing with dulce de leche! Make a big batch and enjoy all winter long. Added bonus: this recipe requires only eight ingredients and takes just 40 minutes to whip up.

salted caramel lava cakes on white plate

Warm Salted Caramel Lava Cakes

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 10-12 minutes
Total Time: 40-42 minutes
Servings: 9 lava cakes

Ingredients:

½ cup store-bought caramel or dulce de leche
½ tsp flaky salt
1 stick butter
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 large eggs, room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour

Lava cake ingredients on kitchen counter

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Grease and line the bottoms of 9 muffin tins, set aside.

2. In a small bowl, mix together the dulce de leche and flaky salt. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and lightly grease with neutral oil. Dollop 1 heaping teaspoon of dulce de leche on the greased paper, place in freezer for at least 30 minutes.

Related: Our Favourite Decadent Chocolate Desserts

3. While your dulce de leche is cooling: in a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Once the butter has melted, turn off the heat and stir in the chopped chocolate. Mix until mixture is smooth.

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the eggs and sugar on high until doubled in size, about 4-5 minutes. Stream in the melted chocolate mixture and vanilla and whisk to combine. Fold in the flour.

salted caramel lava cakes batter

5. Once the dulce de leche is cold, lightly grease your hands and roll them into perfect rounds. Set aside.

6. With an ice cream scoop, fill the muffin tins ⅔ of the way full, reserving about ½ cup of batter. Push the dulce de leche rounds into the centre of each and top the cakes with the remaining batter.

salted caramel lava cakes batter in muffin tin

7. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes until the tops are slightly cracked. Cool in the muffin tin for 10 minutes. Wedge a knife or offset spatula to lift the cakes out, peel off the parchment. Enjoy with a scoop of ice cream.

salted caramel lava cakes with ice cream on top

Like Sabrina’s lava cakes? Try her gingerbread doughnuts or her chocolate eggnog sandwich cookies.

Neopolitan Baked Alaska Snowball is seen cracked open, with various chocolates and chocolate-covered strawberries seen inside

We Tried Mijune Pak’s New Chocolate Creations Just in Time for the Holidays

Foodie, Top Chef Canada judge, all-around champion for restaurants during the year that has been 2020… is there anything Mijune Pak can’t do? Well as it turns out the Vancouver personality hasn’t just been brightening up people’s lives with her virtual Instagram cooking classes and delightful new animated emojis these past few months. She’s also been helping fans relive their childhood memories with a new line of gourmet chocolates that are just as pretty as they are delicious.

Related: Get Mijune Pak’s recipe for a Canadian Pie-in-a-Jar

Mijune Chocolate is a collaboration between Pak and award-winning chocolatier Christophe Bonzon. The limited-edition line of bars and snowballs was inspired by her childhood memories, which is how she wound up with concoctions like Maple Syrup French Toast and Neapolitan Baked Alaska Snowballs. Fans were so pumped to try the goodies come the Oct. 20 launch date that they even crashed the pre-order website.

Luckily we got our hands on some of the festive edibles—which are available to ship across Canada—and we had a few thoughts…

Neapolitan Baked Alaska Snowballs, $18.95

Related: 20 Holiday Gifts Perfect for the Food Lover in Your Life

First impression
You know when something is just too pretty to eat? That’s probably why we had to stash our snowball in the fridge for a few days before we finally broke down and smashed it. Not only was the packaging gorgeous, but the ball itself really did look like some kind of a magical, edible snowball that had been hugged by a fairy. The brilliant pink-and-white boule was finished with snow-like ridges and a sprinkling of chocolate crumble, basically putting this season’s trendy hot chocolate bombs to shame.   

Taste
Where do you even start when you’re presented with a flurry of flavours inside one magic ball? One that you get to crack open with more enthusiasm than a Kinder Surprise Egg? Outside the snowball is made up of creamy, layered milk chocolate, vanilla bean and white chocolate, which is basically a grown-up, sexier version of the childhood favourite, if you ask us. Then inside you’ve got a ton of fun Neapolitan crisps, dark-chocolate-covered marshmallows, and two freeze-dried strawberries that are coated in either ruby pink chocolate or dark chocolate. It’s enough to send your taste buds into overdrive, but in that indulgent, the-holidays-are-here kind of way.

See More: Baked Alaskas Are Making a Comeback – and These Chocolate Hazelnut Treats Are Proof

Inspirations
Mijune was inspired to create these brilliant snowballs from her childhood memories of eating Neapolitan ice cream. And like us, she always ate the chocolate and vanilla, but left the strawberry for someone more unsuspecting. This adult version has all the creamy flavours you remember eating as a kid, but without the brain freeze. Oh, and as for those strawberries? When wrapped in a crispy feuilletine, you kind of wish there were more than just two.

Lasting thoughts
If you can get your hands on one of these rare treats (note to Mijune and Christophe—produce more, please) they make a delightful and fun gift. The only problem is that you’re far more likely to want to keep it for yourself than give it out, especially if you’re stuck at your house for the holidays and are really craving that nostalgic taste of home.

Maple Syrup French Toast, $11.95

First impression
Like the snowball, this French Toast bar comes in an understated-but-pretty package that is also elegant thanks to the gender-neutral gold embellishments. Inside, the bar is also unabashedly Canadian thanks to a swanky Maple Leaf adorning it. Ours was broken in one spot by the time we opened it, however we really loved that the bar was perforated in unexpected diagonal lines, making it so much more elegant than traditional chocolate square bars.

Related: 10 Unexpected Chocolate Flavour Pairings That Are a Perfect Match

Taste
Most people are either a fan of maple or they aren’t. And even those who fall into the former camp have to admit that too much of the treat is overkill—it is kind of sweet, after all. Enter this special French Toast chocolate bar, which tones down the sweetness by pairing the maple with a crumbly, toast-like cookie that feels just a bit rough on your tongue. It’s a fun play on texture and flavour that we didn’t even know could exist in a chocolate bar, and we’d be lying if we said we haven’t been craving more ever since licking the last little bit off our plate.

Inspirations
So many of us grew up eating pancakes, waffles and French toast on a lazy Sunday morning, so you can’t help but feel a little nostalgic when you take that first bite into this bar. As soon as it hits your tongue you’re automatically transported back to the days when you would slather butter and maple syrup over a stack and dive in unabashedly. Just thinking about it now makes us want to whip up some French toast this weekend… 

Lasting thoughts
Whether you want something sweet to go with your tea, or you’re putting together a dessert board with all of your favourite things, the Maple Syrup French Toast bar is one sweet addition. It also makes an impressive gift or stocking stuffer, especially for any Canadians out there who find themselves missing home this holiday season.

Overall thoughts
As far as we’re concerned the only downside to the Maple Syrup French Toast and Neapolitan Baked Alaska Snowballs is that they’re limited-edition runs. We’re sure Mijune and Christophe had a blast acting like Christmas elves and collaborating with these sweet treats, but now that they’ve proven to be every bit as spectacular in practice as they are in theory, here’s hoping for even more sweet, sweet collaborations between these two in the near future.

Mini baked Alaskas on kitchen counter

Baked Alaskas Are Making a Comeback — and These Chocolate Hazelnut Treats Are Proof!

Baked Alaskas are totally making a comeback and although they do look a bit intimidating, I promise you — it’s a piece of cake! These Baking Therapy mini baked Alaskas have a layer of moist hazelnut cake, topped with chocolate ice cream and engulfed in the fluffiest meringue. And as an added bonus: these little treats can be made dairy free as long as you substitute in a dairy-free ice cream. Impress your family this holiday season with these cute mini baked Alaskas.

Mini baked Alaskas on kitchen counter

Mini Chocolate Hazelnut Baked Alaskas

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Bake Time: 15 to 18 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 8 mini baked Alaskas

Ingredients:

Hazelnut Cake
1 cup hazelnut meal (store-bought or homemade — place whole hazelnuts in food processor or blender and pulse for 10-12 seconds)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
3 large eggs
½ cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup sunflower oil or any neutral oil
½ cup almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Chocolate ice cream (opt for dairy-free, if you wish)

Swiss Meringue
6 large egg whites
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
½ tsp cream of tartar

Ingredients of mini baked Alaskas on kitchen counter

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line and grease a 9 x 13 pan. Set aside.

2. Whisk together the hazelnut meal, flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk together the eggs and sugar on high until it doubles in size, about 5-8 minutes. Stream in the oil, almond milk and vanilla. Mix until well combined.

Related: Ina Garten’s Best Desserts for Cozy Celebrations

4. Fold in the dry ingredients in two batches making sure not to over-mix. Transfer to the prepared pan, give it a couple taps on the counter and bake for 15-18 minutes until the top is golden brown and a toothpick when inserted, comes out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes. Then invert, peel back the parchment paper and let cool completely on a wire rack.

5. Place a piece of plastic wrap in every other cavity of a 12-cup muffin pan, fill with chocolate ice cream, fold the plastic overtop and press to pack the ice cream in. Place into the freezer to set.

Pan filled with mini baked Alaskas on kitchen counter

6. For the Swiss meringue, in the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the egg whites and sugar over a pot of simmering water. Whisk until the mixture is hot to the touch and the sugar has dissolved. Place back on the stand mixer, add the cream of tartar and whisk on high for 6-8 minutes. The meringue is ready when it has tripled in size and the bottom on the bowl is room temperature.

Meringue for mini baked Alaskas on kitchen counter

7. To assemble, use a 3” round cookie cutter to cut out round cakes. Unwrap a chocolate ice cream puck and place it in the centre. Completely cover the ice cream and cake with Swiss meringue.

Cake of mini baked Alaskas on kitchen counter

Mini baked Alaskas on kitchen counter - assembly

8. Using a blow torch, gently toast the meringue. Enjoy immediately!

Torch browning mini baked Alaskas on kitchen counter

Like Sabrina’s mini baked Alaskas? Try her whimsical chocolate espresso yule log or her 30-minute gingerbread doughnuts.

Rainbow latkes on serving platter

Celebrate Hanukkah at Home With These Vibrant Rainbow Latkes

Although we might not be surrounded by friends and family as we light the Hanukkah candles this year, that doesn’t mean all traditions have to go out the window. Rather, they can be updated with a new vibrant spin: like making rainbow latkes. Step aside boring russet potatoes — your friends the beet, sweet potato, carrot, zucchini and blue potato are ready to steal the latke show. Rainbow latkes are strikingly gorgeous, taste sweet and crisp and are quite nutritious for you too. If you want to connect with friends and family this holiday season but aren’t quite sure how, consider dropping off a box of beautiful, colourful, homemade latkes to brighten their spirits.

Rainbow latkes on serving platter

Vibrant Rainbow Latkes

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Servings: 9 latkes

Ingredients:

Beet Apple Latkes
¾ lb beets (about 3 medium beets)
1 gala apple
2 Tbsp yellow onion
2 whisked eggs
2 Tbsp spelt flour
½ tsp sea salt

Sweet Potato Carrot Latkes
¾ lb sweet potato (about 2 small sweet potatoes)
2 carrots
3 Tbsp yellow onion
2 whisked eggs
2 Tbsp spelt flour
¼ tsp sea salt

Zucchini Spinach Latkes
2 medium zucchinis
1 cup baby spinach or spinach leaves
¼ cup yellow onion
2 whisked eggs
2 Tbsp spelt flour
½ tsp sea salt

Blue/Purple Potato Latkes
1 lb blue potatoes
½ cup yellow onion
2 whisked eggs
2 Tbsp spelt flour
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp black pepper

Rainbow latkes ingredients on kitchen counter

Directions:

1. Using the shredding attachment on your food processor, shred one veggie or fruit at a time and wipe out the food processor before moving onto the next item. For example, shred the beets, place them in a bowl, lightly wipe out the food processor, then shred the apples. Place all shredded vegetables or fruit in their own separate bowls: beets, apple, sweet potato, carrots, zucchini, potatoes and onion. If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a box grater. For the spinach, chop finely or blitz using “S” blade on your food processor.

Rainbow latkes shredded veggies

2. You will have to wring out the excess water from the zucchini and blue potatoes, otherwise those latkes will be too mushy and won’t stick together. You can do this by placing the zucchini and blue potatoes, separately, in kitchen towels or cheese cloth and squeezing the moisture out. Or you can also push the veggies down in your French press or ricer to remove excess liquid.

3. Now you can begin assembling the latkes. Within each of the veggie bowls add the correct amount of shredded onion, whisked eggs, flour, salt, pepper and any other ingredient it may call for.

Rainbow latkes ingredients in bowl

4. Combine the ingredients with your hands and then begin shaping them into latkes. We used a ¼ measuring cup — we like ours the size of a hockey puck, about 3-4 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick.

Related: Traditional Jewish Comfort Food Recipes to Try This Winter

5. If you’re baking them, preheat your oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and pour some oil on the parchment paper and spread it around. This will make the latkes crispy without actually frying them. At the 7-minute mark, flip the latkes, brush the other side with extra virgin olive oil and bake for another 8 minutes.

6. Alternatively, if you are frying them, place a pan over medium heat and add some oil. If you don’t like the olive oil taste, you can use a more neutral one. Slowly put the latkes onto the pan, but don’t crowd them, work in batches. Hear the sizzle and after about 4-5 minutes, flip and continue to fry on the other side until crisp.

7. Place the latkes on a towel or paper towel to sop up the excess oil.

8. Eat as is or serve with applesauce, labneh, Greek yogurt or sour cream.

Like Tamara and Sarah’s rainbow latkes recipe? Try their easy spatchcock chicken recipe or sumac-spiced roasted delicata.

Close-up of Mashed Potato with Goats Cheese, as seen on Barefoot Contessa: Back to the Basics, Season 15.

How to Make Ina Garten’s Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

It really doesn’t matter whether you serve turkey, ham, a turducken or even a tofurky — for many, the real star of a holiday meal is the mashed potato. Nothing beats the side dish’s creamy texture and buttery flavour, which is why we’re always looking to up our mashed potato game with cheese, buttermilk, bacon and other delightfully decadent toppings.

Close-up of Mashed Potato with Goats Cheese, as seen on Barefoot Contessa: Back to the Basics, Season 15.

Related: Ina Garten’s Coziest Holiday Brunch Recipes

Ina Garten’s stress-free, goat cheese-filled make-ahead mashed potatoes recipe will certainly become a winner at your festive table this year. These spuds are one of those amazing dishes you can make ahead, and then heat up on the day to give them a crunchy Parmesan crust. Because who doesn’t want to check off another item on your to-do list before the big day? The only real trick will be not eating them all yourself. Simple, laid back and delicious — exactly how Ina Garten believes gatherings with friends and family should be.

Ina Garten’s Make-Ahead Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients:

3 lbs large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut in 3/4-inch chunks
5 large garlic cloves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
7 to 8 oz garlic-and-herb goat cheese, at room temperature, such as Montrachet
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup half-and-half or milk
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the potatoes, garlic and 1 tablespoon salt in a large pot with enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, until very tender.

2. Drain the potatoes and garlic and process them together through a food mill fitted with the coarsest blade set on top of a bowl. While the potatoes are still hot, stir in the goat cheese, butter, sour cream, half-and-half, 4 teaspoons salt and 2 teaspoons pepper until smooth.

See More: Ina Garten’s Vegetable Sides That Will Steal the Show 

3. Pour the mixture into a 9-by-12-by-2-inch oval baking dish, smoothing the top. Sprinkle the Parmesan on top and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until lightly browned. Serve hot.

4. Make it ahead: Assemble the dish, including the parmesan, and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Bake before serving.

Watch Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics and stream Live and On Demand on the new Global TV App, and on STACKTV. Food Network Canada is also available through all major TV service providers.

Yule log finished on platter

This Whimsical Chocolate Espresso Yule Log is Surprisingly Easy to Make

It’s not the holiday season without a lot of chocolate. This Baking Therapy chocolate espresso yule log is a fun way to celebrate the holidays — and it’s surprisingly easy to make. Made with dark chocolate sponge cake and filled with a creamy chocolate cream cheese frosting, this yule log recipe is not only delicious, but it also doubles as a centrepiece!

Yule log finished on platter

Chocolate Espresso Yule Log

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Bake Time: 9 to 12 minutes
Rest Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 52 minutes
Servings: 8 to 10 pieces of cake

Ingredients:

Yule Log
5 large eggs
⅔ cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
6 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp espresso powder
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
4 Tbsp butter, melted
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup icing sugar, for dusting

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
2 ½ cups icing sugar
⅓ cup cocoa powder
4 oz dark chocolate, melted
1 tsp espresso powder
1 tsp water
¾ cup cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup butter, room temperature
3 Tbsp heavy cream

Yule log ingredients on kitchen counter

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line and grease a half sheet pan with a lip (12 x 17) with oil and set aside.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, on high speed, whisk together the eggs and sugar until the mixture has tripled in size, about 5-7 minutes.

Yule log ingredients in standmixer

3 In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

4. Add the flour mixture to the stand mixture and then stream in the melted butter and vanilla extract. Mix until just combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared sheet pan, spread the batter into one even layer. Bake for 9-12 minutes until the cake is set and when a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Yule log on baking tray

5. While the cake is still warm, run a knife around the perimeter of the pan to release the cake. Dust the top with icing sugar, place a larger piece of parchment paper and cookie sheet over top and invert the cake. Gently peel back the parchment paper. Starting with the longer end, slowly and gently roll up the cake along with the parchment paper until you have a log. Let the cake cool completely as a log, about 2 hours.

Yule log process

6. To make the frosting: sift together the icing sugar, cocoa powder, set aside. Melt the chocolate in the microwave on high in 30 second intervals, stirring after each time, set aside. Mix together the espresso powder and water, set aside. In the bowl of stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk together the cream cheese and butter until combined. Add the icing sugar mixture in 2 batches, mixing well after each addition, about 1 minute. Add the melted chocolate and espresso mix and mix on high for 1 minute. Add the heavy cream, 1 Tbsp at a time and continue to whisk on high for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.

Related: Festive Yule Logs for Your Holiday Table

7. To assemble: gently unroll the cake and evenly spread on a ¼ inch thick layer of frosting. Slowly roll up the cake again, without the parchment paper this time. Place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to chill. Once chill, slice off both ends to create clean edges. To create the yule log, slice off ⅓ of the log, then slice that log in half diagonally. Stagger the half pieces onto the longer log to resemble a branch, attach with a bit of frosting. Ice the entire cake with the frosting, leaving the ends exposed. To create the bark look, run a fork gently over top of the frosting to create ridges. Decorate with sugar-rolled cranberries and rosemary sprigs.

Yule log being decorated

Like Sabrina’s yule log? Try her gingerbread doughnuts or her chocolate eggnog sandwich cookies.

Young woman using a laptop during Christmas

How to Host a Virtual Cookie Exchange — Plus Tips on Mailing Food to Loved Ones

By this point in the holiday season, festive bakers are busy preparing for a Christmas cookie exchange party or two. Getting together in person this year isn’t an option, but you can still celebrate virtually. Here’s a step-by-step guide for hosting a virtual cookie exchange along with some tips on mailing holiday treats to your loved ones.

Young woman using a laptop during Christmas

Step One: Create Your Invitation and Guest List

First, you’ll want to make a list of bakers to include in the cookie exchange. This can be a small circle of close friends and family or a larger group for ambitious bakers. Then, create an invitation that details how many cookies should be sent to each participant and the timeline that everyone has to bake and deliver their cookies. Invitations can be sent via email or create a Facebook event instead.

Related: Double-Decker Chocolate Cherry Cookies Are Twice the Fun

Step Two: Select Your Recipe

Once the invitations have been sent out, have everyone RSVP with the type of cookie they plan to bake. Bakers should also have a backup recipe to avoid duplicates. When selecting a recipe, opt for a cookie that won’t go stale quickly, like shortbread, biscotti or these stained glass sugar cookies. You might also want to think about creating a digital recipe book to share with everyone or have each participant include a recipe card along with their cookies.

Step Three: Purchase Your Supplies and Start Baking

Check your pantry for baking supplies and make note of what you’ll need to buy for your cookie recipe as well as any parchment paper or other tools. You’ll also want to pick up seasonal cookie tins or boxes to package up the goodies once they’re ready to send. Then, set aside some time to bake your cookies. You could even make your dough in advance and freeze it, then bake them closer to when you plan to deliver or mail them.

Christmas cookie cutters, cookie dough, flour, and beaters from a hand mixer

Step Four: Mail or Deliver Your Cookies

Once the cookies are baked and cooled, divide them into batches for each person on your list. If your plan is to deliver the cookies yourself, package them up in the boxes or tins that you purchased. Line each package with parchment paper and add decorative tissue or a bed of crinkle paper for a bit of fun.

Related: Anna Olson’s Ultimate Holiday Cookie Hacks

If you plan to mail the cookies, pack them well in an airtight freezer bag or a vacuum-sealed bag before placing them in the cookie tin or box. The last thing you want is for your friends and family to receive a bunch of broken cookies, so be sure to arrange the cookies so they won’t be shuffling around too much and add padding to both the container and the bottom, top and sides of the box you’ll be shipping it in. Keep in mind timing if you want the cookies to arrive by a specific date. It’s usually best to express ship these so they’ll arrive on time and as fresh as possible.

A box of cookies with a red top, clear window on top, and twine wrapped around it

Step Five: Celebrate!

Once everyone’s cookies have arrived, it’s time for your video call where everyone can celebrate together and sample the goodies. Create a signature beverage that everyone can enjoy along with the cookies and designate someone as the DJ to play some holiday tunes by using the audio sharing feature of your video call software. If schedules can’t permit a virtual party, have each person share a video greeting with them sampling some of the cookies that participants can watch at their leisure.

A silver tray with assorted Christmas cookies including linzer cookies, chocolate snowflakes and rugelach

Finally, invite everyone who participated in the cookie exchange to make a donation to a food cause in their community. If everyone lives in the same town, have everyone chip in for a group donation.

Looking for more holiday baking inspiration? Check out these classic Christmas cookie recipes that will spread holiday cheer.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images, Unsplash, Pexels and Food Network Canada

Celebrate the Holidays With Molly Yeh’s Brussels Sprout Latkes

Our favourite Girl Meets Farm recipes often include Molly Yeh’s mouth-watering holiday staples, and this clever twist on the Hanukkah classic is no exception. Whether you’re trying your hand at making latkes for the first time or looking for a new spin on a family favourite, this quick and easy masterpiece is your best bet.

Chickpea flour, red pepper flakes, onion, garlic and shredded Brussels sprouts come together in this healthier latke recipe that will become a household favourite. Just don’t forget the homemade balsamic Dijon sour cream dip for the finishing touch!

Related:  Molly Yeh’s Spinach and Feta Rugelach Are a Savoury Twist on a Classic

Host Molly Yeh's Brussels Sprouts Latkes & Balsamic Dijon Sour Cream, as seen on Girl Meets Farm, Season 2.

Molly Yeh’s Brussels Sprout Latkes

Total Time: 35 minutes
Yields: 8 servings

Ingredients:

Balsamic Dijon Sour Cream:
1 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp kosher salt

Latkes:
4 large egg whites
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving
4 cups (about 12 ounces) lightly packed finely shredded Brussels sprouts
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup all-purpose or chickpea flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Crushed red pepper flakes
Canola or vegetable oil, for frying

Related: The Most Delicious Chocolate Babka with a Healthy Twist for Hanukkah

Directions:

1. For the balsamic Dijon sour cream: Stir together the sour cream, mustard, honey, vinegar and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

2. For the latkes: Whisk together the egg whites and lemon juice in a large bowl. Add the Brussels sprouts, onion and garlic and stir to combine.

3. Stir in the flour, 3/4 teaspoon salt, some black pepper and a few pinches of red pepper flakes.

4. Line a plate with paper towels. Heat a thin layer of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Scoop an eighth of the mixture (about 1/2 cup) into the skillet and use a spatula to pat it out into a flat pancake, about 1/2-inch thick. Cook until browned, 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Repeat with the remaining batter.

5. Remove to the paper towels, sprinkle with salt and serve with the balsamic Dijon sour cream and lemon wedges on the side.

Related:  20+ Hanukkah Decorations You’ll Want to Display All Year Long

Watch the how-to video:


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