Tag Archives: Holidays

anna olson gingerbread cake with whipped cream

Anna Olson’s Make-Ahead Tip to Make Holiday Desserts Shine

The holidays aren’t just a time to break from work and to celebrate; they’re also a time to indulge in things that make us truly happy. And when it comes to desserts, what’s more indulgent than the time-old classic, whipped cream?

Light, frothy, sweet and delicate, whipped cream is an easy way to elevate any dessert, cup of coffee or bowl of fruit, instantly putting a smile on your face.

Classic-Farmhouse-Strawberry-Shortcake

Anna Olson’s Classic Farmhouse Strawberry Shortcake

This holiday, you could certainly go for the store-bought variety, but let’s face it: nothing beats fresh, homemade whipped cream. There’s a problem though—while we love the fresh stuff, we often find that in order to truly get that frothy, whipped finish, whipped cream needs to be made fairly close to serving time. Otherwise, it falls flat in the fridge, leading to a disappointing lump on your plate.

Luckily, Anna Olson has a solution. And not just any solution; with this one secret ingredient that instantly stabilizes whipped cream, you can make the stuff up to 24 hours in advance and then tuck it away in the fridge, where it’s guaranteed to hold its shape.

No one will be any the wiser that you made it in advance—maybe even while you were in your pajamas.

 

Ready to get your whipped cream on? Here are some of our favourite go-to Anna Olson recipes that—you guessed it—include whipped cream.

Key Lime Cheesecake

Classic Farmhouse Strawberry Shortcake

Classic-Gingerbread-Cake

Anna Olson’s Classic Gingerbread Cake

Classic Gingerbread Cake

Florentine Napoleon with Berries

Strawberry Meringue Tart

Still hungry? Check out these whipped cream-friendly recipes from other Food Network Canada stars:

Old Fashioned Chocolate Pudding with Whipped Cream

Ginger Snap Pumpkin Pie with Ginger Cream

Peach Upside Down Corn Cake with Bourbon Whipped Cream

Red Velvet Hot Chocolate With Marshmallow Whipped Cream

Butternut Squash Soup With Cinnamon Whipped Cream and Fried Shallots

Valerie’s Irish Coffee

Looking for more delicious holiday desserts? Try these impressive cheesecakes from Anna Olson.

giant latke cake

A Crispy, Potato Latke Cake for a Hanukkah Crowd

A fresh and delicious take on traditional latkes, this pan-fried stack of potato pancakes is made for a Hanukkah crowd. While we love crispy, salty, bite-sized latkes, this larger version is just as delicious and impressive when layered with a sweet and savoury filling of smoked fishpomegranate seeds, shaved apple, fresh fennel and sour cream.  Or customize with your favourite toppings and fillings,  such as apple sauce, sour cream or goat cheese and chives. Sliced and served family style, this beautiful golden stack means less time standing at the stove and more time enjoying your company.

giant latke cake

Latke Cake

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Serves: 8 to 10

Ingredients:
3 lbs (about 4 large) russet potatoes, peeled, grated
2 medium onions, grated
1½ tsp salt, divided
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
¾ tsp ground black pepper, divided
1 cup vegetable oil, for frying
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 large fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced, fronds reserved
1 apple, cored and thinly sliced
1 cup (about 100g) flaked smoked trout or salmon or whitefish
½ cup pomegranate seeds
⅓ cup chopped fresh parsley
1¼ cups sour cream

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 200ºF. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a wire cooling rack.

giant latke cake

2. In a large bowl, stir to combine potatoes, onions and 3/4 tsp salt. Transfer to a cheesecloth- or kitchen towel-lined colander. Let sit for 10 minutes in sink or nested in large bowl. After 10 minutes, tightly twist cheesecloth or kitchen towel and squeeze firmly to remove as much moisture as possible. Discard liquid.
3. Add potato mixture to the same large bowl and stir in flour, eggs, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.

giant latke cake

4. Heat 1/4 cup oil in large non-stick skillet over medium-high. Add 1/4 latke mixture to pan, spreading to a make a thin, 7- to 8-inch in diameter circle. Fry until deep golden on the first side, about 4 minutes, then flip fry for about 4 minutes longer, until deep golden on the second side. Remove to a plate lined with paper towel to absorb oil for 1 minute, then transfer to prepared baking sheet and place in oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining oil and latke mixture to make 4 latkes. Keep latkes warm in the oven while you prepare the toppings.

giant latke cake

5. For the salad, in a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, remaining 1/4 tsp salt and remaining 1/4 tsp pepper. Add fennel, apple, fish, pomegranate arils and parsley, tossing to combine. Set aside 1/2 cup of mixture for the final topping.

giant latke cake

6. In a medium bowl, stir sour cream with reserved fennel fronds.
7. To assemble, dollop cake stand or serving platter with 1 Tbsp sour cream mixture and then top with one latke. Top latke with 1/3 cup sour cream mixture, spreading to the edge, and then top with 1/3 of the salad mixture. Repeat layers finishing with the final latke. For the final topping, top with reserved 1/2 cup salad and a dollop of sour cream mixture. Serve immediately.

After a slice or two of latke cake, satisfy your sweet tooth with some deep fried Hanukkah desserts.

Lambrusco Sangria

Giada De Laurentiis’ Go-To Menu for Entertaining at Home

Why go out to a fancy restaurant to eat with friends when you can stay home, cook a quality meal and share a long and leisurely dinner party with your pals, instead? If you love to cook the way Giada De Laurentiis does, entertaining friends and family at home seems like a no-brainer. Unlike Giada, though, most of us scour the web for top-notch recipes and ideas in advance, stressing over how to make the perfect appetizer, main or themed cocktail.

Here, Giada shares her top tips, tricks and recipes for effortlessly elegant entertaining.

giada's holiday handbook

Before you head into the kitchen, consider the simple-is-best approach to entertaining. At least, that’s the philosophy the pros, including Giada, subscribe to. Rather than whipping out a bunch of fancy appetizers to put out for guests to munch on while she makes dinner, the chef tries to keep the number down to one or two items.

“I’m not big on making tons of appetizers, especially if I’m making dinner,” Giada says. “So I kind of vacillate between a few things. I do crostini with various toppings. [Or] I put lemon juice, a little bit of salt and some lemon zest in store-bought ricotta cheese and I top it with a variety of things such as pink peppercorns and peaches and then drizzle a bit of honey on top to finish it off.”

Simple and easy, right? Giada has a few other suggestions, like her go-to White Bean Dip with Pita Chips  or a Basic Parmesan Pomodoro Sauce served with crostini.

white-bean-dip-with-pita-chips-giada
Get the recipe for Giada’s white bean dip with pita chips. 

“I put my [Basic Parmesan Pomodoro Sauce] in ice cube trays in the freezer. Sometimes I just pop a couple of ice cubes, I let them defrost and then I heat up that sauce. I make some crostini and everybody dips it,” she explains. “I keep it super-duper simple… simplicity is the best way to go. People appreciate it.”

As for the main event, Giada is all about quality ingredients that speak to a variety of palates, like her Pan-Seared Salmon topped with a freshly prepared grainy mustard sauce, or grilled steak.

“I like to do a protein, a carbohydrate and a salad or some kind of greens. I’ll take a big rib eye and then I’ll grill it very simply with Herbes de Provence, salt and sometimes smoked paprika, put it on the grill, grill it up and then slice it over a bed of arugula and tomatoes and radishes,” she says. “For carbs I’ll make either an orzo salad or my lemon spaghetti – whatever goes better with the protein of choice.”

pan-seared-salmon-with-summer-succotash
Get the recipe for Giada’s pan-seared salmon with summer succotash. 

And what about those must-have greens?

“Sometimes I will do butter poached asparagus in a chili-lime vinaigrette,” Giada explains.

Of course, as any good host knows, a signature cocktail is always in fashion – but it doesn’t need to be complicated. In the summer months, Giada opts for an Aperol Spritz, a refreshing combination of bitter, sweet and effervescent. And in the winter, it’s a good old-fashioned sangria for her.

“I like to make a red wine sangria – I usually put berries in it, along with a little nutmeg and a cinnamon stick,” she says of her wintertime beverage of choice.

Lambrusco Sangria
Get the recipe for Giada’s lambrusco sangria. 

Sounds pretty festive to us.

“In sum, I keep it simple but very flavourful with different textures and flavours in every dish,” the host with the most says.

See more recipes from Giada’s Holiday Handbook that are perfect for entertaining.

buttertart crack candy

Saltine Cracker Toffee Gets a Maple Butter Tart Twist

Butter tarts rank with as one of the most classic and loved Canadian treats. The gooey filling and pecan crunchiness inside flaky pastry is hard to beat. These sweet, buttery flavours, combined with saltine crackers and creamy chocolate make an addictive, utterly delicious treat that’s perfect for holiday candy making and gifting. Give this sticky, sweet, crackly treat a try with dark chocolate and chopped almonds for a different take, or white chocolate and trail mix – the possibilities are endless. Deceptively easy to toss together, this will be your most-requested holiday treat, year-after-year.

butter tart crack candy

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Cool Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Serves: 24

Ingredients:
48 saltine crackers
1-1/3 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups milk or dark chocolate chips
1-1/2 cups chopped toasted pecans

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line bottom of a 17×11-inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange crackers in one layer on sheet (you may need to break some to fit), set aside.

Crack prebake

2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, brown sugar, maple syrup and salt, stirring occasionally until the mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 8 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Carefully pour mixture immediately over crackers (it does need to completely cover the crackers as the mixture will spread in the oven).

Crack choc chip

3. Bake until butter and sugar mixture has spread over crackers and bubbling, about 6 minutes. Remove from oven (rearrange crackers using a butter knife quickly if they shift at all during baking) and immediately sprinkle chocolate chips evening; let stand 3 minutes, allowing chocolate to melt. Using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon, spread chocolate evenly over cracker mixture and sprinkle with pecans. Cool for 20 minutes at room temperature before transferring to the refrigerator to chill for at least 45 minutes, or until completely chilled through.
4. Once mixture has cooled completely, break into rustic pieces. Serve. Store covered at room temperature.

For another easy candy recipe to add to your holiday cookie tin, try this festive Canadiana-themed chocolate bark.

Anna Olson’s Easiest-Ever Holiday Desserts

The sheer bustle of the holidays is enough to trip up even the most prepared party-throwers among us. So why make things even harder for ourselves when it comes to whipping up a holiday meal? Or more specifically, when it comes to everyone’s favourite part — dessert.

Whether you have last-minute guests or a big dinner party planned, Anna Olson has your back. Here are four of her ridiculously easy-to-assemble favourites that will leave all your guests impressed and satisfied, giving you way more time to actually enjoy the holidays themselves.

Super Simple Chocolate Mousse

Who doesn’t want delicious chocolate mousse in a matter of minutes? This genius recipe calls for just two ingredients, making it the perfect dish for last-minute guests. Whip some up while you’re getting dinner ready, or make it in advance and keep some on hand in the fridge. This yummy dessert will last as long as the expiry date on the cream you used to make it, which means it can be the perfect standalone dish or serve as a fancy-schmancy garnish.

Lemon Cheesecake Mousse

If it’s a cheesecake flavour you’re looking for but you find yourself low on time, this zesty mousse certainly lives up to expectations. With just five ingredients—including fresh lemon juice—and a hand-mixer doing most of the actual labour, the hardest part about this recipe is not licking the spatula every time you scrape down your cream cheese mixture.

Last-Minute Lemon Delight

Whisk up this three-ingredient, warm lemony delight and serve it over fresh fruit for any last-minute guests you find yourself hosting this holiday season. Or, add some cream to stabilize the mixture and refrigerate it for a dreamy lemon mousse later on. Heck, why not just make both while you’re at it and enjoy the best of both dessert worlds? We promise, it’s that easy.

Easy Apple Tart

Anna can’t take full credit for the deliciousness that is this easy peasy apple tart; it’s actually her husband Michael’s go-to recipe. Four simple ingredients and a half hour in the oven mean this sweet-and-savoury dish is impressive without being time-consuming. Seriously, the hardest part is probably peeling the apples.

Looking for more inspiration? Try these 4 Genius Homemade Christmas Gifts from Anna Olson.

Pomegranate Ginger Chicken

Pomegranate Ginger Chicken For a Sweet and Fruitful Rosh Hashanah

Sweet, tart and jewel-tone pomegranates are commonly enjoyed during Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year celebrations, and there are many theories about what this majestic fruit symbolizes. One explains the fruit’s (supposed) 613 seeds represents the 613 good deeds in the Hebrew Bible. Another refers to pomegranates as a symbol of fertility, representing a happy new year of unlimited possibilities. Though my favourite reason to eat these ruby-red gems is because they’re a versatile fruit that adds sparkle to both savoury and sweet recipes, all season long.

chicken-pom

In this dinnertime treasure, we pair pomegranate molasses and pomegranate seeds with fresh ginger to make a seasonally-spiced chicken bake fit for holiday entertaining. As it bakes, a mouthwatering gravy forms at the bottom the dish, which you can serve with couscous or rice to soak it all up. This recipe is perfect for any occasion, simple enough for weeknight cooking and regal enough for elegant holiday entertaining.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Marinade Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh minced ginger plus 1 (2-inch) piece thinly sliced
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt, more for serving
1 (3 lb) whole chicken broken into 8 pieces or 4 skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts, halved
1 Spanish onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/8 tsp ground pepper
Warm cooked couscous or rice, for serving, optional

Directions:
1. In a large zip-top bag, mix pomegranate molasses, olive oil, 1 Tbsp minced ginger, cinnamon, garlic and salt. Place chicken and onions in bag and massage to coat with mixture. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, up to 1 day in refrigerator.
2. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Place chicken and onions in a single layer in a large ovenproof baking dish. Discard remaining marinade. Place thinly sliced ginger in-between chicken pieces.
3. Bake until chicken is cooked through and onions are tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and garnish with fresh pomegranate seeds, parsley, additional salt and pepper. Serve with warm couscous or rice, if desired.

Add some sparkle to the rest of your plate with our best-ever holiday sides.

doughnuts strawberry

Must-Make Strawberry Cheesecake Doughnuts

Celebrate Hanukkah with a tray of classic sufganiyot, but with a truly magnificent twist. We take the traditional treat, filled with strawberry jam and dusted with powdered sugar, and amp up the taste factor. Bite into one and you’ll get a mouthful of tart strawberry preserves, plus a soft, creamy cheesecake custard. If you’re a cheesecake lover and doughnut fanatic, this recipe might change your life — or at least make your Hanukkah extra special.

strawberry cheesecake Sufganiyots

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours
Makes: 12-14 doughnuts

Ingredients:

1 cup milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 7-g packet quick-rise instant yeast
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 egg, beaten
2 1/2 cups flour plus more for dusting
1 cup cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup icing sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp milk
3/4 cup strawberry preserves
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 cup icing sugar

strawberry cheesecake Sufganiyots

Directions:
1. Heat milk in a small sauce pan over low until temperature is slightly above room temperature. Stir in sugar and remove from heat. Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer set with the dough hook attachment, add yeast and set aside until tiny bubbles appear on the surface of the milk, about 10 minutes.
2. Beat in salt, vanilla, butter and egg until smooth. Add in flour and beat on medium high speed until a smooth dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl cleanly and climbs the dough hook, about 5 minutes. Form dough into a ball and place in a well-oiled bowl. Cover with a dish towel and place in a warm place until dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
3. Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roll out dough onto a lightly floured surface until 3/4-inch thick. Using a floured 3-inch round cookie cutter, press into dough and twist to release dough. Place dough rounds on the prepared baking sheet. Re-roll dough scraps one time and repeat.
4. Cover dough rounds with dish towel and set aside in a warm place until dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
5. Prepare a baking sheet lined with a few layers of paper towel. Pour oil into a large pot until 3-4 inches deep. Set pot with a clip-on thermometer and heat until temperature reaches 350°F. Adjust heat to maintain temperature. Working in batches of 3 or 4, fry doughnuts until golden, about 1 minute per side. Remove doughnuts carefully using a spider or slotted spoon. Place on paper towel lined surface and allow to cool.
6. To make the cheesecake filling, beat cream cheese with icing sugar, milk, and vanilla until smooth. Place mixture in a piping bag fitted with 1/4-inch piping tip. Poke piping tip into the side of each doughnuts and evenly distribute filling among doughnuts until piping bag is emptied.
7. In a small bowl mix strawberry preserves with lemon zest. If there are any large strawberry chunks in preserve, remove and chop into small pieces and return to mixture. Place into the same piping bag. Return piping tip into the same hole of doughnut made with cheese cake filling. Repeat with strawberry filling, distributing mixture to doughnuts.
8. Dust with icing sugar right before serving.

Pate

How to Make Party-Worthy Paté

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

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

Pate

Lentil Walnut Paté

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

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

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

Creamy Mushroom Paté

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

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

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

Chicken Liver Pate

Chicken Liver Paté

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

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

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

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

John Catucci on Where You Gotta Eat During the Holidays

You Gotta Eat Here host John Catucci has sampled food across Canada, so when he offers his suggestions for our nation’s best spots to grab a holiday meal, we just have one question: Where?

John is full of recommendations, so put on your stretchy pants and get your Santa bellies ready, Canada, because there’s plenty of homegrown deliciousness to enjoy this holiday season.

Scandilicious (Vancouver, BC)

Mother-daughter team Anita and Kristina offer a menu of traditional Norwegian family recipes at this Vancouver hotspot, including gluten-free options.  John’s favourite is the ‘Applepieffle,’ a liege waffle topped with spiced poached apples and a gingerbread cookie spread. “It took me a while to be able to say ‘applepieffle’ without getting tongue tied,” says John, but it was worth the effort. “Apple pie + waffle = SO GOOD!”

That Little Place by the Lights

That Little Place By The Lights (Huntsville, ON)

Lasagna is a must-try at this cottage country favourite. Chef Annie’s masterpiece features of layers of succulent homemade pasta, laced with her signature Bolognese sauce and stuffed with a cheese and béchamel filling. John says it’s the best lasagna you’ll ever taste.  “Please don’t tell my Zia Felicetta, or she won’t ever make me lasagna again.”

Saturday Dinette (Toronto, ON)

Grab a seat at the counter, enjoy the rocking tunes and tuck into chef Suzanne’s massive soy-braised beef ribs, served with a hearty walnut dip. Then get back out there and finish your shopping! “Suzanne is an incredible chef and an amazing woman,” says John. “When you walk into her place, she makes you feel like you’re part of the family.”

Yellow Belly Brewery

Yellowbelly Brewery (St. John’s, NFLD)

Can’t decide between cheese pizza and chicken Caesar salad? Then just order John’s favourite, the four-cheese and chicken Caesar pizza, and you won’t have to. “I love being able to pick up my salad, in case I need to go somewhere,” says John. “I’m not going anywhere, I’m just saying it’s a nice option.”

The Satay Brothers (Montreal, QC)

Add some Singaporean spice to your season with the street food favourites at this Montreal establishment. John especially loves the pork belly buns, two steamed buns stuffed with braised pork belly, hoisin sauce, fresh cucumber, and cilantro; they’re the perfect combination of soft and crunchy textures and sweet and salty flavours. “If you’ve never had a steamed bun, do it,” says John. “Chewy, soft clouds of deliciousness stuffed with the most succulent pork belly.  Leave one out for Santa.  I’m sure he’s getting tired of all those cookies”

Still hungry? Check out the You Gotta Eat Here! map for more delicious options.

Gingerbread Cabin

The Great Canadian Gingerbread Cabin

Gingerbread houses come in all shapes and sizes, but by adding simple horizontal-striped details, you can make yours into a cozy Canadian cabin.

While this cabin looks impressive, the key to making the cute design is to pipe on the details before assembly. In fact, it’s easier to do the icing details before the cabin comes together, saving you from a wobbly icing job once the cabin is built.

Gingerbread Cabin

Worried about assembly? No need! This gingerbread dough is easy to work with and delivers strong cookies that keep their shape — no crumbling. The royal icing acts as the “glue” that holds it all together and dries super fast and super strong! Plus, we have tons of tips to ensure your cabin is built to last the holiday season.

Don’t forget to get creative! Pipe on details like windows, whimsical roof tiles, and even icicles. The best part? Adding the candy, of course! Grab an assortment of colourful candies and see where your creativity takes you. Try adding brightly coloured gummies to the roofline, use sprinkles to mimic strung-up twinkly lights, and add a green wreath to finish it off.

Gingerbread Cabin

Ingredients:

Gingerbread Cookie Dough:
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup corn syrup
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter
4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cloves

Royal Icing:
2 large egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract or lemon juice (optional)

Assembly:
Assorted candy
Shredded coconut
Assorted piping tips
Piping bags

Gingerbread Cabin

Directions:

1. Place the molasses, corn syrup, brown sugar and butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir the mixture together and heat until the butter is melted and sugar is dissolved.
2. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in 1/2 the flour until the mixture becomes thick and difficult to mix by hand.
3. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix in the remaining ingredients on low speed. Continue to mix for a few minutes to let some of the heat escape then transfer the bowl (and its contents) to the refrigerator for about 10 minutes. At this point, the dough should be smooth and pliable.
4. In the meantime, draw and cut out templates for the different sides, shapes, and roof of your design.

Gingerbread Cabin

5. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.
6. Working in 2 to 3 batches, gather the dough into a ball with your hands then pat down into a flat disk.
7. Roll the cookie dough to 1/4-inch thick, directly onto the piece of parchment or silicone baking mat that you will be baking the cookies on.
8. Very lightly dust the surface with a touch of flour and arrange a portion of your templates on top, leaving about 1-inch between template. Using a sharp paring knife, neatly trim the dough around the templates. Remove the templates and peal away any excess dough in between the pieces. Brush off any excess flour. Carefully move the parchment paper (with the cookies) to a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes. Leave to cool on the baking sheet.
9. Continue with the rest of the dough until all of the shapes have been baked.

Gingerbread Cabin

Royal Icing:
1. Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl on an electric mixer. Using the whisk attachment, begin mixing the egg whites on low speed until they begin to foam. Gradually start adding in the powdered sugar while increasing the mixer to medium-low. Once all of the sugar has been incorporated, turn the mixer to medium-high and mix until the icing is glossy and holds stiff peaks, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add in the vanilla or lemon juice, if using, and mix again for another 30 to 60 seconds. Using immediately or cover with plastic wrap.
2. When done, the icing should easily pipe out of a piping bag without too much force, but not be runny.

Gingerbread Cabin

Assembly:
1. Once the cookies have been baked and cooled, fill a piping bag fitted with a piping tip with royal icing. Decorate the larger designs on the cookies before assembling the house.
2. To create the log cabin effect, simply pipe horizontal lines across all of the sides of the house using a round tip. The lines should be about 1-inch apart. Be sure to match up the lines on each side of the house, so that when the house is assembled, the lines will be continuous. Leave spaces for any planned windows or other details.
3. For the roof design, use a small petal tip to pipe swags that mimic tiles.

Gingerbread Cabin

4. Use a small round tip to outline any small details like windows or the paneling on a door.
5. Allow all of the piping to completely dry before assembling.
6. To assemble the house, place a large cake board or serving plate on your work surface (a large cutting board would do, as well). Pipe a 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide rope of icing the length of your longest side. Carefully place the bottom of the cookie in the icing and hold until secure. The first piece is the hardest to place, but you may use the support of a drinking glass to keep it upright while the icing dries a bit, 3 to 5 minutes.
7. Continue around the house adding each side, one at a time. Pipe icing up each corner to help seal in any gaps and provide support between the sides. Allow the 4 sides to set up before adding on the roof.
8. Pipe icing on the tops of each base cookie before adding on the roof. Pipe icing across the very top to glue the 2 roof pieces together. Add more icing “glue” as needed between any of the sides and/or roof pieces. Lastly, glue on any additional pieces like a door or window shutters.
9. Once the house is assembled, decorate with candy as desired! Pipe on icicles to the roofline and add snowdrifts as you see fit.
10. To complete the look, spread any leftover icing on the cake board or serving dish. Scatter with shredded coconut and/or add a candy-lined walkway to the door!

Gingerbread Cabin

Tips for Building a Great Gingerbread House:

– Pipe on all of the details before assembling the house. This way, you can pipe when the sides and roof of the house are flat on your work surface instead piping on the walls while they’re standing.

– Always keep royal icing that’s not being used completely covered. It dries very quickly. Any icing left in the mixing bowl should be covered with plastic wrap pressed directly to the surface of the icing, then covered with a damp cloth or paper towel, but do not let any water touch the icing.

– For better, more precise piping, hover the piping tip slightly above the surface of the cookie. Do not place the tip right on top or there will not be any room for the icing to go.

– For minor fixes, use a clean, damp paintbrush to smooth out or “erase” icing. Use the tip of a toothpick to fix little mistakes, as well.

– If all else fails, add more snow! Hide any piping “mistakes” with some icicles or snow flurries.

– If the cookies puff a bit or edges become uneven during baking, quickly and gently press a ruler or straight edge to flatten out the sides right after the cookies come out of the oven.

Get in the Holiday Spirit with Must-See Specials

‘Tis the season to sit cozy up by the fire, sip on some eggnog and enjoy your favourite holiday shows! This winter, Food Network Canada sees the return of festive favourites and the launch of new specials that’ll whet your appetite for the season.

Put on your favourite ugly Christmas sweater and get merry with the return of Cake: Wars: Christmas, premiering Monday, November 14th at 9 E/P. Host Jonathan Bennett, and judges Charles Phoenix and Sherry Yard are back to find the most over-the-top holiday cake display.

A new set of pastry chefs are throwing on their aprons and getting their hands in the dough on a brand new season of Holiday Baking Championship beginning Sunday, November 6th at 9 E/P. Hosted by Bobby Deen, this baking competition is the sweetest way to celebrate this holiday season.

Get ready for the most adorable four-way cook-off ever! Cameron Mathison hosts the new series Clash of the Grandmas, premiering Wednesday, November 16th at 10 E/P. Each week, four grandmothers will battle in a series of holiday-themed challenges. But these ladies aren’t your average grannies; Fiercely competitive with undeniable cooking chops, these ladies use old-school tricks to impress the judges in the kitchen!

Celebrate all things sweet and delicious with a brand new season of Sugar Showdown . Hosted by Josh Elkin,  four holiday episodes kick-off Wednesday, December 7th at 9 E/P. 

For the first time in Chopped Canada history, some of Canada’s most humble grandmothers, bravest firefighters, most-loved celebrities and revered judges battle it out in a special series. The 4-week stunt begins Saturday, November 26th at 9 E/P with judges Susur Lee, Michael Smith, Mark McEwan and Anne Yarymowich competing for charity. The kitchen has never been hotter!

We’ve been waiting patiently all year for this! A brand new season of Top Chef premieres Thursday, December 1st at 10 E/P.  Season 14 finds new and returning chefs in a high-stakes competition set in Charleston, South Carolina. Cooks vs. Cons judge Graham Elliot joins the judges table this season, alongside veterans Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons.

For our full show lineup, visit our schedule page.

brunch ideas for kids

10 Ideas for a Kid-Friendly Brunch

Make weekend mornings more fun with these 10 scrumptious brunch ideas that kids will adore.

Pancake Snowman

1. Snowmen Pancakes
When making pancakes drop three small circles of batter in your pan so each one touches. When you flip it over you will have a snowman pancake ready to be decorated. Serve with bacon strips (to use as a scarf), berries for decorating the face, chocolate chips for the jacket and marshmallows to look like snow.

2. Egg in a Star Toast
Toast a few slices of bread. Use a cookie cutter to cut out star shapes from the bread. Place the bread in a large frying pan with butter. Fry eggs in star holes. Serve with ketchup!

3. Christmas Morning Fruit Bowl
In a large bowl mix together a selection of green and red fruit – try strawberries, raspberries, pomegranate seeds, cherries, sliced kiwis, grapes, apples and pears. Mix orange and lime juice with citrus zest and toss with fruit.

4. Reindeer Waffles
Take a round waffle that has been toasted and cut a triangle into one end (this will be the chin of the reindeer). Use scrap pieces to place at the top of the waffle to look like antlers. Use blueberries for the reindeer eyes, strawberries for a Rudolph nose and maple syrup to serve!

5. Red & Green Fruit Muffins
Make your favourite muffin recipe and mix in ¼ cup Christmas sprinkles as well as a big handful of pomegranate seeds and one mashed banana. Once you scoop your muffin batter into the tins, top with a mixture of red and green sprinkles.

6. Festive Fruit Parfaits
In tall glasses layer up yogurt, berries and granola to create a healthy, festive breakfast. Start by adding a layer of vanilla yogurt, topped with a layer of granola, sprinkle in some raspberries and blueberries and top with a small handful of yogurt. Continue layering until the glasses are full.

7. Santa Claus Strawberry Hats
Use strawberries and whipped cream to make mini Santa Claus hats. Clean and hull your strawberries. Dip the hulled end of the strawberry in cream and place on a plate or on top of brownies, muffins or pancakes. Place another dollop of cream on the pointed end of the strawberry to complete the Santa hat.

8. Cookie Cutter Pancakes
Use your favourite cookie cutter to make pancakes. Simply butter your pan and place the cookie cutter in the melted butter. Pour batter into the cookie cutter and wait until one side has set. Push the pancake out of the cutter to flip. Continue with a variety of shapes and sizes. Serve with maple syrup and sprinkles!

9. Christmas Fruit Tree
Use a large platter or cutting board to spread out chopped fruit in the shape of a large Christmas tree. Use sliced kiwis, green grapes and apples to look like the tree. Use red berries like raspberries or strawberries to string across the tree like lights. Top with a pineapple star! Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.

10. Red & Green Christmas Morning Smoothie
Make a layered smoothie by first making a red berry smoothie using milk, yogurt, raspberries, strawberries and a banana. Set aside and mix your green smoothie using milk, yogurt, celery, spinach and apples. Layer your red and green smoothies in tall glasses and serve with straws.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 clever ways to use frozen puff pastry

5 Clever Ways to Use Frozen Puff Pastry

Store-bought puff pastry is the ultimate freezer staple to have on hand to whip up quick and impressive treats in a pinch. And now that it’s sold in pre-rolled sheets, you don’t need flour or a rolling pin to get baking.

From savoury snacks to guest-worthy treats, puff pastry can do it all! So try one of these 5 clever ways to use it next time guests drop by.

Savoury Tarts

Thin Mint and Dark Chocolate Pastries
Arrange racks in top and bottom thirds of oven. Preheat to 400F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

Beat 1 egg with 1 Tbsp water in a small bowl until combined. Slice 9 thin dark chocolate mints, such as After Eight, diagonally in half. Unroll 450-g pkg thawed puff pastry sheets. Using a 2 ½-in. round cookie cutter, cut out 9 rounds per sheet. Arrange rounds on baking sheets.

Brush each round evenly with egg wash, then arrange 1 piece chocolate mint on one half of each round. Fold other half over chocolate mint, pressing edges down to seal well. Brush tops with remaining egg wash.

Bake in top and bottom thirds of oven, switching halfway through, until golden and puffed, 20 min. Dust generously with icing sugar before serving.

Mini Cinnamon Rolls
Brush thawed puff pastry sheets generously with melted butter. Sprinkle evenly with granulated sugar and cinnamon. Roll tightly from the bottom to the top to form a log. Freeze until slightly firm. Slice each log into 1-inch rounds. Arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cut-side down, and bake, following package directions, until golden and puffed. Drizzle with a glaze or top with cream cheese frosting.

Buttery Cheese Straws
Brush thawed puff pastry sheets with egg wash. Sprinkle with coarsely grated cheese, such as Gruyère or Parmesan, gently pressing down to adhere. Cut into ¾-inch strips, then twist both ends in the opposite direction to form a straw. Arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake, following package directions, until golden and puffed.

Cheaters Gingerbread Men
Using a small gingerbread man cookie cutter, cut out men from thawed puff pastry sheets. Arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake, following package directions, until golden and puffed. Whisk icing sugar with a touch of milk and ground ginger to make a glaze. Drizzle over cooled gingerbread men and let stand until dry to the touch.

Savoury Tarts
Brush thawed puff pastry sheets with egg wash. Sprinkle evenly with cheese, such as sliced mozzarella or crumbled goats cheese, then top with vegetables, such as caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms or spinach. Sprinkle with fresh herbs. Fold over edges, creating a 1-in. border. Brush border with additional egg wash. Arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake, according to package directions, until puffed and golden.

Feta and Spinach Latkes with Tzatziki for Hanukkah

Why make the same old latkes when you can mix it up a bit this Hanukkah? I’ve seen tons of recipes that use sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, zucchini but I love good and honest potato latkes. This year I stuck with potatoes and added a little Greek flavours to the mix.

Instead of a classic box grater, I tried using a mandolin with a shredding attachment to get those long strands of potato. If you have a spiralizer, give that a try too for fun, swirly latkes. Then mix it with lots of crumbled feta and spinach to give it that Spanakopita taste. Tzatziki made with sour cream is the perfect accompaniment, to these crispy treats.

Tip: Squeeze out as much liquid as possible from the latkes mix before placing them in the pan. It will make for crispier latkes that stay together when cooked. Enjoy and have a happy Hanukkah!

Feta Spinach Latkes

Serves: 15 latkes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:
1 kirby cucumber, shredded or chopped very finely
salt
1 cup sour cream
1 clove garlic, minced
1 ½ Tbsp lemon juice
800 g Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and shredded on a mandoline or box grater
½ yellow onion, grated and water squeezed out
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 255g package frozen spinach, thawed and water squeezed out well
1 ½ Tbsp flour
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 large egg
canola oil for frying
Maldon or other flaky salt to finish

Feta Spinach Latkes 1

Directions:

Tzatziki
1. Place shredded cucumbers in a strainer over a bowl and sprinkle with salt.
2. Allow the cucumbers to release some of their water for 5 minutes.
3. Squeeze out as much water as possible from the cucumbers and combine them with the rest of the tzatziki ingredients in a bowl.
4. Set in the fridge until ready to serve.

Latkes
1. Pre-heat the oven to 200˚F. Place a cooling rack onto a baking sheet. This will be to keep the latkes warm while frying them up in batches.
2. Combine the shredded potatoes, grated onion, feta cheese, spinach, flour, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
3. Whisk the egg in a separate bowl and combine with the potato mixture.
4. Heat a large skillet with 1/3” of oil over medium-low heat.
5. Fry the latkes by measuring out a ¼ cup of mix and squeezing out all the liquid and placing them in the hot oil. Flatten out a bit like a pancake.
6. Fry for 2 ½ – 3 minutes per side in batches making sure not to crowd the pan. Add more oil if needed between batches, just be sure to make sure the temperature of the oil comes back up before frying more latkes.
7. Remove the latkes from the oil and transfer to the cooling rack. Sprinkle with Maldon or flaky sea salt and keep warm in the pre-heated oven until ready to serve.
8. Serve with the tzatziki sauce on the side.