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  • Winter Wonderland Birch Tree Chocolate Cake Winter Wonderland Birch Tree Chocolate Cake

    Winter Wonderland Birch Tree Chocolate Cake

Winter Wonderland Birch Tree Chocolate Cake

I had plans to make some sort of pecan cheesecake this year, because of the huge bag of pecans I scored at Costco, but once I saw the picture of this cake, I knew I had to make it happen. This is one of the desserts I took along to Christmas Eve dinner this year (alongside pumpkin gingerbread trifle, tiger tea cakes, and drunk blondies) and I started on the process several days in advance. Throwing all my plans to keep things simple to the wind, I knew I had to make sure I could source some things first. I found the trees at my local dollar store in the Christmas village accessories section and the white moose at Loblaw Superstore (it was originally an ornament). The recipe called for three layers of cake baked in a 6″ round pans. I didn’t have them so I ordered two 6″ x […]

  • Cinnamon roll cheesecake Cinnamon roll cheesecake

    Cinnamon roll cheesecake

Cinnamon roll cheesecake

Everyone loves that cinnamon bun smell, and I think this is what I was after when I made this cheesecake. Typically, my go-to dessert for a Christmas-time feast is a cheesecake; it’s indulgent and rich so you feel like you’re celebrating with every slice. When I’m taking a dessert to a holiday party I aim for flavours that appeal to every denominator. Have you ever met someone who didn’t like a cinnamon bun? I didn’t think so. Have you ever met someone who felt like they got enough frosting with their cinnamon bun? Again, I didn’t think so. Feed that need with this cheesecake. Recipe found here. Substitutions: None, but if you didn’t use whole milk, it shouldn’t be the end of the world. Would I make this again? Yes, it was absolutely delicious. And although the end result was similar to the one in the blog, I don’t love […]

  • Christmas tree shortbread cookies Christmas tree shortbread cookies

    Christmas tree shortbread cookies

Christmas tree shortbread cookies

I realized recently when I was scrolling back in time on my blog that there are so many desserts I’ve made but not posted here, so my goal over the holidays is to publish some of my more recent creations. Which leads me to these Christmas tree shortbread cookies…I have to admit shortbread isn’t my forte. And yet whenever I try a shortbread that’s absolutely amazing the recipe is no different from any of the variations I’ve tried. So the truth is I don’t have high expectations for when I make shortbread and I’ll typically make it when I want to keep things simple. I decided to make this recipe more so for the canvas on which to decorate with my kids than to try to master shortbread. I was aiming for a similar look to the original, which you can find here, but I quickly gave up that idea […]

  • Christmas cookie swap: cinnamon roll cookies, gingerbread butterscotch, Danish salted butter cookies Christmas cookie swap: cinnamon roll cookies, gingerbread butterscotch, Danish salted butter cookies

    Christmas cookie swap: cinnamon roll cookies, gingerbread butterscotch, Danish salted butter cookies

Christmas cookie swap: cinnamon roll cookies, gingerbread butterscotch, Danish salted butter cookies

Every year, my good friend Jenn invites a group of like-minded professional women to her lovely home for my favourite event of the year: her cookie swap. The invite list comprises a curated group of her friends; some of us are more into baking than others, others more into cooking, one of us is an expert cookie decorator, but we all love to eat — and talk. And talk we do, all the while standing around a buffet table of cheese and charcuterie, or banh mi sandwiches, or homemade sushi. Savoury to offset the sweet.  The afternoon passes quickly and I drive home on a sugar high, my heart full and with a take-home container overflowing with dozens of cookies. The cookie swap is usually the event that launches the holiday season for me. Looking back, last year I was feeling ill enough that it may have been wise to skip the cookie […]

  • Madeleines au miel Madeleines au miel

    Madeleines au miel

Madeleines au miel

When it comes to madeleines, I’m extremely judgmental. This could be because I learned to make madeleines at a French pastry-making class and they’re best served, in my humble opinion, fresh out of the oven. They’re delicious the next day, perhaps, soaked in some tea or coffee. But their value drops considerably in my eyes once a few hours has passed after they’ve cooled. By the time you’ve purchased it at a store, chances are, it’s been a few hours, if not days. Depending on where you buy them of course. I recently tried some from what’s supposed to be the best patisserie in Toronto and I was unimpressed. This isn’t the first time I’ve blogged about madeleines. I make them quite often, especially because I’m so picky about the ones I’ve purchased at even the best pastry shops. I even have a couple of different molds. But when my […]

  • Pioneer Woman’s Lemon Bars Pioneer Woman’s Lemon Bars

    Pioneer Woman’s Lemon Bars

Pioneer Woman’s Lemon Bars

The craving hit me like a ton of bricks. I needed lemon bars with a buttery shortbread crust and I needed them immediately. These are one of those things that bakeries don’t always get right. Either they have been sitting out too long, or they are divine and I finish every last crumb and I still haven’t had enough. So, I decided to make them myself. These are one of those desserts that it’s worth making yourself because it only takes a small investment for a huge return. Also, how beautiful are these stunning lemons? I have to admit I was so bowled over by the tangy, buttery result that I didn’t take the right pictures. Because these bars are so decadent, a little square goes a long way. Feel free to freeze half the batch for a later date. Here’s the recipe. Substitutions: I used Meyer lemons which aren’t […]

  • 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 […]

  • Bonnie’s holiday tart Bonnie’s holiday tart

    Bonnie’s holiday tart

Bonnie’s holiday tart

I’ve known Bonnie Mo since our Ryerson University days, back when she was Bonnie Malott and we were journalism school undergrads. We kind of fell out of touch after tying the knot and having children, as one does, but I always kept with her career on social media – with increasing attention when she began writing for Food Network Canada and developing recipes. She’s the real deal.  You can check out her website here. So when I saw her Instagram post for her holiday tart, I knew it was going to have to be a last-minute addition  to my holiday menu. 🎄 Caramelized onion, hot pepper raspberry jam, pancetta & brie. The Holiday Tart makes its annual appearance. A photo posted by 🐝Bonnie (@bonniemo) on Nov 20, 2015 at 4:12pm PST And even though I was near-crazed, like I always am at that time of year, with the amount of food I […]

  • Candy cane cream cheese cherry coffee cake Candy cane cream cheese cherry coffee cake

    Candy cane cream cheese cherry coffee cake

Candy cane cream cheese cherry coffee cake

I’m no Sandra Lee, otherwise known as Food Network’s Semi-Homemade host, who Anthony Bourdain once famously characterized as low-hanging fruit. But I do enjoy taking a shortcut every now and then. And if anyone wants to question me on that: I haven’t slept in 6 years, I’ve got two rambunctious kids, a career, and a house to keep somewhat-clean. So don’t judge me. Because when the holiday season rolls around and it’s my turn to bring something, I never get asked to bring the fruit plate or the veggies and dip. It’s always for me to bake something. And that’s ok, because I love to bake and feed my family and friends. It’s my way of showing love. But when I can’t make everything from scratch, Pinterest is really my go-to reference. And I must admit that whenever the cream cheese, cherry pie filling and crescent rolls trifecta makes an […]

  • Spiced chocolate cupcakes with eggnog buttercream Spiced chocolate cupcakes with eggnog buttercream

    Spiced chocolate cupcakes with eggnog buttercream

Spiced chocolate cupcakes with eggnog buttercream

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who love eggnog and those who don’t. If you don’t love eggnog, you might love this spiced chocolate cupcake with eggnog buttercream anyway. It’s chocolatey without being cloying and has just the right amount of spice to remind you it’s Christmas but you’re not being hit in the face with it. For me, there was no question. I love eggnog and so this recipe was a no-brainer. I have a confession to make, though. I made this for last year’s Christmas Eve get-together, which was a big fuzzy blur, because it was soon after the ice storm that had us camped out at my brother-in-law’s home and it’s a wonder I was able to make anything at all. But I knew I’d be really disappointed if I didn’t bake anything, and fortunately I was able to make it happen – […]