Christmas desserts

  • Salted Caramel Eggnog Fudge Brownies Salted Caramel Eggnog Fudge Brownies

    Salted Caramel Eggnog Fudge Brownies

Salted Caramel Eggnog Fudge Brownies

Full disclaimer, I’ve been sick for about two months with various ailments and I’ve been less ambitious with my baking this year, which means I’m relying on a lot of tried-and-true goodies. These bars, which I made for a couple of potlucks last year, had a fantastic yield and were a big hit. So, I decided not to blog about it right after the fact, instead I decided to keep my blog for a more timely holiday post. Apologies for the fuzzy photo that doesn’t show clean lines. I nearly decided to skip the post because I didn’t have a great photo. Truth is, whenever I make something for a potluck for a group of people, I’m either scrambling to make it, or store it in a transportable container, so the photo often suffers. I decided to make this recipe because I never met a salted caramel recipe I didn’t like. I also, similarly, […]

  • Holiday pavlova wreath Holiday pavlova wreath

    Holiday pavlova wreath

Holiday pavlova wreath

If you’re like me, you’ve already made your list for your Christmas baking. You may even have started to put some in the freezer for later this year. And if you’re really like me, you can’t help but keep your eyes peeled for new recipes that might strike your fancy. If you’ve already made your list, you may want to make room for one more – this pavlova wreath. Not only does it have a lovely presentation, you can make the meringue in advance. Even better, you can even make the sugared cranberries in advance. Just don’t rush yourself when it is time to make it. You can find the recipe here. Word of warning: If you’ve never made a meringue before, you may want to try your hand at it before taking this as your contribution to a holiday party or if it’s meant to be show-stopping dessert at a multi-course […]

  • Homemade Samoa cookies Homemade Samoa cookies

    Homemade Samoa cookies

Homemade Samoa cookies

I’m tired, way too tired, to get creative here so I’ll cut to the chase: Shortbread crust, caramel, coconut, chocolate. Need to know more? I didn’t think so. These are Samoa cookies, also known as the cookies I will never make again. While the idea of rolling out cookies and letting your kids use cookie cutters sounds wonderful in theory, it is anything but. By the time their sticky little hands cut out the cookies with the 1,543rd cookie cutter they settled on, the dough is too warm. So, you end up throwing it out. But I digress. This was a several day, multi-hour process. Worth it? Yes, they turned out extremely well. But I will never take so many hours to make them again. If you have children who are grabbing at you demanding milk, no cold water, no freezing water! Or need you to moderate an argument, or make […]

  • Chocolate Raspberry Forest Cake Chocolate Raspberry Forest Cake

    Chocolate Raspberry Forest Cake

Chocolate Raspberry Forest Cake

This ain’t no Black Forest Cake recipe. Just saying, before you freak out… ‘Cause anytime I tell someone I Black Forest Cake I’m met with horror and disgust. Am I really the only thirty-something in North America who will admit to loving Black Forest Cake? Hands up if you’re with me… *Crickets* Anywho, let’s move on. But before we do I need to warn you: this is one heckuva multi-layered, multi-step cake. Give yourself some time. I decided to make this for the holidays and it’s a good thing I started a few days early because there is no way I would have completed this in one day, or even two days. I wanted to try this for Christmas as it would be a refreshing alternative to those typical flavours we encounter over the holidays: pumpkin, spice, peppermint, peppermint. And to be brutally honest, I just wanted to make those […]

  • Christmas Magic Cookie Bar Christmas Magic Cookie Bar

    Christmas Magic Cookie Bar

Christmas Magic Cookie Bar

“How do you say… De-groovy? How do you say… De-gorgeous? Oh la la, la la la la la la……..” Yes, this magic cookie bar recipe evokes, for me, the psychedelic, over-the-top music video for Dee-Lite’s Groove is in the Heart. (Which is also coincidentally the first album I ever purchased back when cassettes were still a thing.) If you still jam to this song like I do, or want to relive the music video for yourself, scroll down to the very end. Anywho, this dessert reminds me of this video because there is nothing quiet about it. Nothing subdued. It is pure, in-your-face, sugary sugar. So if colours and processed sugars offend you, I’ll look for you in the boring aisle. I made this for our annual Christmas Eve party. I usually like to try something new and this is one of three things I will be taking, alongside Paula […]

  • Candy cane heart cupcake toppers Candy cane heart cupcake toppers

    Candy cane heart cupcake toppers

Candy cane heart cupcake toppers

You know those teeny candy canes that you never seem to know what to do with? I always seem to have hundreds lying around. If you don’t trim your tree with them, or eat a few every day for the month of December, they just end up in the trash. I decided to put them to good use one year, and I am only getting around to posting a blog about it now. If you’re like me and want to contribute to the holiday-time potlucks but feel pressed for time, this is a neat trick. Here’s how you do it: Preheat the oven to 300F. Line waxed paper or parchment paper on a couple of cookie sheets. Arrange the mini candy canes in the shape of hearts. Place the hearts in the oven for 3 minutes. Depending on your oven you may need to do a couple minutes more or less. It’s […]

  • Donna Hay’s flourless chocolate cake Donna Hay’s flourless chocolate cake

    Donna Hay’s flourless chocolate cake

Donna Hay’s flourless chocolate cake

I made this flourless chocolate cake for our annual cousins’ Christmas get-together after my cousin, the host, requested a dessert that was gluten-free. I was a bit hesitant as I’d made a flourless chocolate torte before that I wasn’t too crazy about. You can read that blog post here. But the new recipe I found was different enough, and by Donna Hay whose recipes I love and trust, so I decided to give it another shot. Besides, I really wanted to use my cake stencils and my last attempt hadn’t gone so swimmingly. You can find the recipe here. The result? A decadent, dense but creamy chocolate concoction. And one I’d make again. If you need a gluten-free dessert, this one comes together quite nicely and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a flavour combination people like more than hazelnut and chocolate (Nutella, anyone?). If you’ve never had a flourless cake […]

Chocolate, hazelnut and caramel thumbprint cookies

I think these thumbprint cookies are among the loveliest cookies I have ever seen. I’d been holding on to this recipe for months, planning to make it for this year’s cookie swap at my good friend Jennifer’s house. The other cookies I took were the sparkle cookies I’ve blogged about recently. (I must say, here that I think the sparkle cookies ended up being more popular than these ones, but I prefer these myself). Despite the fact I try to stay away from multi-step recipes after having kids, this one worked to my advantage because I was able to do a couple of steps, leave the cookies and come back to them later. However, you want to be careful to allot yourself a good amount of time near the end when you top the cookies with the caramel, then the chocolate, then the hazelnut. You don’t want to let the […]

  • Frosty peanut butter cup Christmas trees Frosty peanut butter cup Christmas trees

    Frosty peanut butter cup Christmas trees

Frosty peanut butter cup Christmas trees

These small peanut butter cup Christmas trees were one of those Pinterest projects that looked really, really easy. In fact, I thought the hardest part would be sourcing the specific sized peanut butter cups I would need to make these. That turned out to be the easy part, maybe because there were oodles of fun-sized candy bars left over after Halloween, but I had no trouble locating them. Instead, I realized when I followed the Pinterest instructions someone had written that they led me astray. If you do a quick search you too will find instructions telling you to melt white chocolate or white candy melts. But when I tried that, the consistency was just not right. The Christmas trees ended up looking sloppy and I couldn’t control the piping because the chocolate was too hot. And then if I waited any longer, it cooled down and didn’t pipe easily […]

  • The ultimate cookie swap addition: Chef Michael Smith’s Sparkle Cookies The ultimate cookie swap addition: Chef Michael Smith’s Sparkle Cookies

    The ultimate cookie swap addition: Chef Michael Smith’s Sparkle Cookies

The ultimate cookie swap addition: Chef Michael Smith’s Sparkle Cookies

If you’re like me and attend a holiday cookie swap every year, these sparkle cookies should be in your repertoire. I purchased Michael Smith’s latest book and when I got to the back of the book, the desserts section, I was rather somewhat taken aback to read that the sparkle cookies were among the best he had ever baked. Really? Ever? They seemed nice enough, but… best? But Michael Smith, to me, is one of those voices I unreservedly trust. His recipes are always perfection and turn out beautifully. On a more savoury note, I have also made several other recipes from that book “Back to Basics” and they were all A+. If you are a fan like I am, you might know he has many of his recipes online, but not all of the ones in his latest tome are readily available – so, yes, buy the book! As […]