holiday 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Easy peasy Devil’s chocolate pumpkin puree cupcakes Easy peasy Devil’s chocolate pumpkin puree cupcakes

    Easy peasy Devil’s chocolate pumpkin puree cupcakes

Easy peasy Devil’s chocolate pumpkin puree cupcakes

This is going to be a short post because the ingredient list is short too: cake mix and pumpkin puree. Look, I know cake mix is not ideal. But sometimes, I need to make cupcakes quickly and I need a quick chocolate fix. So when I saw this recipe on Pinterest, I thought I’d try it. I have no recipe to link to, so pay attention ok? Dump the cake mix in a bowl, then dump 15 oz of pumpkin puree into the same bowl. Mix. Pour into the prepared cupcake tin and follow the baking instructions on the cake mix box. Now, if you want the tops to be smooth, these won’t smooth out by themselves in the oven as you would except. You’ll need to pat them down with a small spatula or spoon. As you can see in the pic, I didn’t do that, and the tops […]

  • Pumpkin bread with dark chocolate and pecans Pumpkin bread with dark chocolate and pecans

    Pumpkin bread with dark chocolate and pecans

Pumpkin bread with dark chocolate and pecans

  When I saw this recipe come across the wires at work from The Associated Press, it had me salivating. By the time the holidays have rolled around, I’ve usually made at least two or three pumpkin-based desserts so I had this high on my “To Do” list despite the fact I was heavily pregnant at the time I made it, and in no mood to tend to any housework. In any case, I figured this would be quick to whip up as it was a one-bowl recipe and I was right. If you’re like me and you always have a can or two of pumpkin puree, this should be a cinch to prepare. Within a few minutes of mixing (provided you have the ingredients measured out on your counter ahead of time), I had two loaves ready to bake. I froze one and served the other to some company. […]

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  • The case of the curious Christmas cake pops The case of the curious Christmas cake pops

    The case of the curious Christmas cake pops

The case of the curious Christmas cake pops

  Christmas is well behind us, I know. I can’t even use Armenian Christmas as an excuse (it falls on January 6) but I think this post on cake pops still merits a read for those of you, seasoned or newbie, who are considering making these. While I have always dismissed suggestions cake pops were the new cupcakes, I also followed this trend from a distance. I concede I thought they were a charming novelty.I skulked around on Bakerella’s blog but I wasn’t sure I’d have the patience to make some of her more complicated creations, nor did I want to. But then I started seeing some simpler designs that I thought I’d be able to recreate. And when I volunteered to make desserts for my Christmas Eve dinner, like I always do, I thought it might be a good time to try my hand at cake pops. I’d be […]

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  • Dark chocolate Buche de Noel with meringue mushrooms Dark chocolate Buche de Noel with meringue mushrooms

    Dark chocolate Buche de Noel with meringue mushrooms

Dark chocolate Buche de Noel with meringue mushrooms

  This is the single, proudest moment I’ve had as a baker this holiday season. I really thought I lost my baking mojo until I produced this whimsical Buche de Noel. I’ll admit I’ve made quite a few cheesy treats over my time. I like the glitz and the glam and the glitter and the flashing lights. I like the red and the green and the cartoon-type figures that please my toddler. But a Buche de Noel, a traditional dessert served at Christmas, is for me evocative of a fallen log in a snow-dusted forest. It’s untouched, it’s pure. It’s a quiet, delicious moment undisturbed by the usual din and racket. It’s indulgent simply because it takes so long to create something that disappears in just a few minutes.Making a Buche de Noel has been on my baking bucket list for a long time. I used to Google “Buche de Noel” […]

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  • White-Chocolate Cherry Shortbread White-Chocolate Cherry Shortbread

    White-Chocolate Cherry Shortbread

White-Chocolate Cherry Shortbread

  This recipe caught my eye on Pinterest with the simple caption: “Apparently, the best Christmas cookie ever.” “Best” piqued my interest, and “ever” drove it home.  How could I possibly ignore the recipe for the best Christmas cookie ever? So I decide to make it on a whim and take it to my friend’s house as my contribution to her annual cookie swap. I had already made a couple of other kinds of cookies but this one seemed like it would be my show-stopper.Besides, I have never been able to truly master shortbread, and I thought this might be the recipe to change my unlucky streak. Not quite. This is a pretty cookie yes, but it’s also a high-maintenance one. Unlike classic shortbread, it’s delicate and doesn’t hold its form well.   What really bothered me though, and I swear I’m not this insecure about everything, is that no […]

  • Canadian Living’s Really Good Rum Balls Canadian Living’s Really Good Rum Balls

    Canadian Living’s Really Good Rum Balls

Canadian Living’s Really Good Rum Balls

  I considered not blogging about this recipe because I’m not crazy about this photo and I’m a big perfectionist. But, I’m also a realist and these rum balls were such a hit they’re all gone, and I can’t bear not to share the recipe with you. I’m not making them again just for the photo, sorry. I never used to like rum balls, but over the last couple of years I’ve developed a soft spot for those gigantic tennis ball-sized rum balls I can get at mom-and-pop run Italian bakeries.Those are cake-based, though, and these are not. But here’s a fun factoid. My colleague, who has chef’s training, told me you should stay away from rum balls in bakeries because they’re made of the cake scraps the pastry chefs don’t want to toss out. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing? You be the judge. Either way, these rum […]

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