Tag Archives: Holidays

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.

Tea- and Orange-Brined Roasted Turkey

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.

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:


Watch Girl Meets Farm 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.

Host Kristin Chenoweth, as seen on Candyland, Season 1.

5 New Releases to Watch on STACKTV with Amazon Prime This December

The holidays are one of the most delicious times of the year – and while 2020 is making us reimagine typical festive traditions, you can always count on Food Network Canada as a source of inspiration, no matter what you’re craving. Here, we’ve rounded up an all-new selection of holiday shows featuring your favourite faces and enough delectable recipes to fill your stockings twice, plus classic shows that you’ll love watching any time of the year! Watch Food Network Canada on STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels all December long.

Buddy vs Christmas

Who Should Watch: The family whose Christmas tree has been up and decorated since November

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

Fan favourite Buddy Valastro returns for a brand new competition, this one decidedly more nice than naughty. It’s a completely new side of Buddy, as he’s pushed outside of his cake-creating comfort zone to compete against talented artists and design magical, holiday-inspired creations.

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

Feasting With the Stars

Who Should Watch: Anyone missing big holiday get-togethers with family and friends

Geoffrey Zakarian, along with his family and celebrity friends, is sharing his treasured traditions and festive recipes with you in this one-hour special that’s the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit.

Restaurant Impossible: Revisited

Who Should Watch: Restaurant renovation aficionados

Robert speaks with Jennifer Kerzie outside of the restaurant, as seen on Season 17 of Restaurant Impossible

In these special episodes, host Robert Irvine heads back to previously visited failing restaurants to check in with the owners and discover their progress since the initial visit and see how things have changed.

See More: 20 Canadian Food Causes That Need Your Help This Holiday Season

Candy Land

Who Should Watch: Nostalgic board game lovers

Host Kristin Chenoweth, as seen on Candyland, Season 1.

The classic board game is brought to life in Candy Land, hosted by Kristen Chenoweth! Competitors travel around the board, plucking ingredients straight out of the game and building their sweet masterpieces along the way. You’ll be transported directly into a childhood fantasy with this sweet new series.

Christmas Cookie Challenge

Who Should Watch: Santa’s cookie bakers

Wide view of Host Ree Drummond and Host Eddie Jackson, as seen on Christmas Cookie Challenge, Season 4.

Eddie Jackson and Ree Drummond are back hosting a new season of this sweet competition. In each episode, five bakers compete to find out if their holiday cookie-making skills are worthy of Santa’s nice list (plus a cool $10,000 prize).

Related: From Bakers to Grill Masters, Holiday Gifts Perfect for the Food Lover in Your Life

Sfenj doughnuts on colourful tablecloth

Sfenj AKA Moroccan Doughnuts: Your New Fave Hanukkah Dessert Using Just 5 Ingredients!

Sfenj, derived from the Arabic word for “sponge,” are crispy and chewy doughnuts made with unsweetened, sticky yeast dough that is risen until light and fluffy, pulled into rings and fried until golden. They’re a breakfast staple in Morocco and other Maghrebi countries and often eaten by Sephardic Jews during Hanukkah, symbolizing the oil that fuelled the holiday miracle. Sfenj should be served piping hot and can be enjoyed plain, drizzled with honey or dusted with sugar. They’re simple to make at home, only require the most basic ingredients and don’t contain any eggs or milk — so you can add them to your list of best vegan recipes too.

Sfenj dougnuts on colourful tablecloth

Sfenj Moroccan Doughnuts With Honey and Sugar

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Rest Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 50 minutes
Servings: 12 to 15 doughnuts

Ingredients:

Doughnuts
3 tsp dry active yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
1 ¾ cups lukewarm water, divided
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp sea salt
Vegetable oil for frying

Topping
Honey (optional)
Ground cinnamon (optional)
Granulated or icing sugar (optional)

Sfenj doughnut ingredients on kitchen counter

Directions:

1. Dissolve the yeast and sugar in ½ cup of lukewarm water and set aside to bloom for 10 minutes.

2. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the yeast mixture with flour and gradually add 1 ¼ cups of lukewarm water until it forms a sticky dough. Then add the salt and continue to knead for about 10 minutes, which will make the dough springy and elastic. A stand mixer with a hook attachment is ideal for this, but you can also mix by hand, working the dough vigorously. The dough should still end up very sticky and loose.

Related: You’ve Been Making Couscous All Wrong. Here’s the Right Way to Prepare It

3. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let the dough rise for 2 to 3 hours, until light, airy — and they double or triple in size. (To speed up the rising time, put dough in the oven with the light turned on).

4. In a high-sided pan or pot, heat 1 to 2 inches of vegetable oil on medium heat until hot, measured on a candy or deep-fry thermometer between 360°F to 370°F. (A Dutch oven works great for this because it maintains a consistent temperature and its heavy weight anchors it to the burner, reducing the risk of accidents when deep frying). If you don’t have a thermometer, you can test the temperature of the oil with the handle end of a wooden spoon. If you see lots of little bubbles form around the wood, your oil is ready to fry in.

Related: Cozy Jewish Comfort Food Recipes

5. Keep a small bowl of cold water handy for wetting your hands before you shape each doughnut. Lightly punch down the dough to deflate it. Pull off a piece of batter about the size of an egg. Use your thumb to make a hole in the centre of the dough and then pull gently to form a doughnut shape. (Don’t worry about getting them perfect, they will puff up nicely in the oil).

Woman shaping sfenj doughnut dough

6. Carefully put the doughnuts one at a time into the pot of hot oil and don’t overcrowd them. (A good rule of thumb is 3 to 4 doughnuts at a time). Fry the doughnuts for 1 to 2 minutes until golden brown on the bottom and puffed on top. Then flip carefully with a slotted spoon or metal tongs and cook on the other side for another 1 to 2 minutes, until even in colour and golden brown all over.

Sfenj doughnuts frying in oil

7. Remove the finished doughnuts onto a cooling rack lined with paper towels to drain the excess oil. Serve piping hot or warm, either plain, drizzled with hot honey or dusted with cinnamon or sugar — and preferably accompanied by a glass of Moroccan mint tea.

Sfenj doughnuts being dusted with sugar

Like Claire’s sfenj recipe? Try her upside-down apple cake or comforting mujadara recipe.

Anna Olson smiles while icing a cupcake with her Anna Olson Kitchen Disposable Icing Bags

Anna Olson’s Top 10 Baking Tools for the Holidays

Holiday baking season is here and having the right tools on hand will help lead you to success. These are my top gadgets to make this holiday season less stressful. Remember, “stressed” spelled backwards is “desserts!”

Related: Anna Olson’s 50 Ultimate Holiday Desserts

1. Offset spatula

This tool becomes an extension of your hand as you use it to lift cookies off of hot trays, loosen cakes delicately from their pans and frost cakes with precision and panache. The spatula I use in Bake is my own. I’ve had it for about 10 years and I’d be lost without it!

Food Network Canada Editor Pick: Anna Olson Kitchen Long Offset Spatula,  HBC, $10.

Hands mixing a batter with a black silicone spatula with various baking tools and ingredients laid on the table around the bowl

2. Silicone spatula

I prefer the curved spatulas for effective folding and stirring and for getting every last bit of batter out of a bowl. Silicone is heatproof so it can be used to stir pastry creams and sauces on the stove.

Food Network Canada Editor Pick: Allwin Housewares Silicone Spatula 3-Piece Set, Amazon, $12.

3. Oven thermometer

This may sound trivial but a thermometer placed inside your oven is a valuable and inexpensive tool that can save you frustration and prevent spoiled baked treats. You’d be amazed how many ovens don’t sit at the correct temperature the entire time your goods bake. Just because your oven “dings” or displays the temperature doesn’t necessarily mean it is accurate. If you discover your oven temperature is far out of range by 10 °C or more, a repair person can recalibrate it.

Food Network Canada Editor Pick: Pecula Oven Thermometre, Amazon, $12.

Related: Anna Olson’s Top 5 Vegan Baking Substitutes

Anna Olson poses in her kitchen while icing a cupcake

4. Disposable piping bags

Gone are the days of fabric piping bags that never quite come clean or that only fit your largest piping tip. Most cake supply and even craft shops will carry disposable piping bags in an assortment of sizes. They can be reused if you wish and are fully recyclable. You can even buy really small ones, which are perfect if you’re hosting a cookie decorating party.

Food Network Canada Editor Pick: Anna Olson Kitchen 100-Pack Disposable Icing Bags, HBC, $18.

5. Ice cream scoops

I rely on an assortment of sizes, not just for scooping ice cream. They are great for portioning perfectly consistent cookies and dropping muffin or cupcake batter into tins with less mess.

Food Network Canada Editor Pick: Chee Mong Ice Cream Scooper Set, Amazon, $29.

6. Candy thermometer

The world of confectionery and chocolate work requires a precision that only a candy thermometer can offer. The difference between the thread stage and the soft ball stage of boiling sugar is only a few degrees and a candy thermometer takes the guesswork out of it. There are traditional models and also digital probe thermometers – both work equally well. If you have an induction cooktop I recommend the traditional model because the magnetic energy of the induction can interfere with the digital reads.

Food Network Canada Editor Pick: Taylor Classic Candy Thermometer, Amazon, $17.

Related: From Easy to Advanced: Anna Olson’s Chocolate Recipes For Every Skill Level

7. Fine rasp

Savoury kitchens use this fine grater for garlic and Parmesan but I value it for finely grated citrus zest, mincing ginger without any fibres, grating nutmeg and for chocolate. Now there are models with larger grates, so you get chocolate curls, not just shavings.

Food Network Canada Editor Pick: Starfrit Zester/Grater with Protective Cover, Amazon, $10.

Yellow Citrus Juicer on a marble table with freshly squeezed juice and lemons

 

8. Bar citrus juicer

Lemon, lime and orange juice figure prominently in desserts and I always use freshly squeezed juice. A bar juicer is and fast and convenient way to extract the most juice and it’s easy to clean.

Food Network Canada Editor Pick: Chef’n FreshForce Citrus Juicer, Amazon, $33.

9. Measuring tape

This may seem trivial but a fabric measuring tape is immensely handy in a baker’s kitchen. I can verify how thick my dough is as I roll it and I can measure the circumference of a piece of fondant before I lift it to cover a cake. Plus, I can ensure that my squares are all cut to the same size.

Food Network Canada Editor Pick: Edtape Measuring Tape, Amazon, $6.

10. Cake wheel

If you are getting serious about baking this will be a tool you’ll want to invest in. A cake wheel spins on its base, making seamless frosting simple and detailed piping less. Professional cast-iron cake wheels can be pricey but there are other more affordable options. You can even purchase a lazy Susan that can function as a cake wheel.

Food Network Canada Editor Pick: Anna Olson Kitchen Glass Top Cake Turntable, HBC, $44.

For more festive recipes from Anna Olson, try her Triple Gingerbread Bundt Cake and Hot Chocolate Nanaimo Bars.

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

Homemade marshmallows with hot chocolate

Cozy up With a Cup of Hot Chocolate Topped With Homemade Peppermint Vanilla Marshmallows

These Baking Therapy homemade peppermint vanilla marshmallows are soft, fluffy and they melt into the perfectly gooey topping on your hot cup of cocoa. Try different flavours like coconut or almond and make a big batch to gift over the holidays. Once you try homemade marshmallows, there’s no going back to store-bought!

Homemade marshmallows with hot chocolate

Peppermint Vanilla Marshmallows With Hot Chocolate

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Rest Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes
Servings: 16 marshmallows

Ingredients:

Marshmallows
¾ cup cool water, divided
6 tsp gelatin
2 cups granulated sugar
⅔ cup light corn syrup
½ tsp salt
½ tsp peppermint extract
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
¾ cup icing sugar

Hot Chocolate
2 cups coconut milk
2 cups almond milk
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

Homemade marshmallows ingredients on kitchen counter

Directions:

1. Line a 9×9 square pan with parchment paper and grease generously with neutral oil or spray. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, add ½ cup water, sprinkle over gelatin and let sit for 5 minutes.

Related: Coffee and Hot Chocolate Recipes to Warm Your Belly This Fall

3. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring to a boil sugar, corn syrup, ¼ cup water and salt. Once the mixture starts to boil, let bubble for 1 minute. Remove from stove and transfer to a bowl with a spout.

4. With the mixer on medium-low, slowly stream in the hot sugar liquid. Once the liquid is in, turn the mixer to high and whisk for 10 minutes until the mixture is nice and fluffy. Whisk in the peppermint and vanilla extract.

Homemade marshmallows gelatin in mixing bowl

5. Transfer the marshmallows to the square pan, making sure to brush any tools you use with oil to avoid sticking. Smooth out the top using an offset spatula. Finally top the marshmallows with another sheet of greased parchment paper and let set for at least 2 hours at room temperature.

Homemade marshmallows batter

6. Remove the marshmallows from the pan. Brush a sharp knife with oil and slice the marshmallows into 16 squares, making sure to brush the knife with oil after every cut. Dust the marshmallows generously with icing sugar, making sure to cover every surface.

Homemade marshmallows cut on table

7. For the hot chocolate, in a medium saucepan on medium-high heat, whisk together coconut milk, almond milk, maple syrup, vanilla and salt. Once the mixture is hot, add the chopped chocolate and whisk until melted. Continue to heat, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens.

Homemade marshmallows with hot chocolate

Like Sabrina’s peppermint vanilla marshmallows recipe? Try her gingerbread doughnuts or her chocolate eggnog sandwich cookies.

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.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Buddy Valastro (@buddyvalastro)

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.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Buddy Valastro (@buddyvalastro)

“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.

Baked brie with nuts and dried fruit

This Baked Brie With Nuts and Dried Fruit is the Perfect Holiday Appetizer (or Easy Dinner Idea!)

With five minutes of prep time, this incredibly easy appetizer is a favourite around the holidays — or any day for that matter. You don’t even need to splurge on a fancy Brie, a budget choice is just as delicious with every sweet and savoury bite. And while this holiday recipe calls for walnuts or hazelnuts, as well as cranberries or cherries, feel free to add in whatever nuts and dried fruit you prefer. Almond and pecans are always tasty, alongside apricots or figs. You can also swap out the herbs for a strip of orange or lemon zest too.

Baked brie with nuts and dried fruit

Baked Brie With Nuts and Dried Fruit

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

200 g double cream Brie
3 Tbsp packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp butter
2 sprigs thyme or rosemary
½ cup toasted walnuts or hazelnuts
¼ cup dried cranberries or dried cherries

Baked brie with nuts and dried fruit ingredients on table

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Place the Brie in a small oven-safe skillet or a parchment paper-lined baking tray. Score the top with a paring knife for the cheese to quickly warm. Bake until softened and slightly puffed all around about 15 minutes.

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

2. While the Brie is in the oven, make the topping: combine the brown sugar, maple syrup, butter and thyme in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a low boil; cook, stirring until brown sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute. Stir in nuts and dried cranberries.

Making baked brie with nuts and dried fruit

3. Immediately top warm Brie with hot pecan cranberry mixture and serve with crackers and fresh fruit if desired.

Tip: If using a heat-safe small skillet or ceramic dish, the Brie will stay warm for up to 15 minutes. It can also be reheated in the microwave until warm, about 30 seconds. If you’re a fan of toasted nuts, feel free to toast them before adding to the brown sugar mixture. Do so over medium heat, stirring until lightly browned, 3-5 minutes.

Serving of baked brie with nuts and dried fruit

Like Soo’s baked Brie recipe? Try her Chinese scallion pancakes or pan-fried pork chops with roast cabbage wedges.

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