It has long been an office tradition to bring in baking and exchange recipes over the Christmas season, and this year we have decided to share some of our favourite recipes with you
We hope these recipes will fill you up with Christmas cheer!
My family has many well-loved recipes and every single one of them is packed full of nuts—toasted pecans, almond flour, walnuts and peanut butter galore were the norm in my family for the first few decades of my life. We didn’t have a nut allergy in the family until my nephew was born, at which point it was time to find some new Christmas recipes. This one, adapted from a recipe I found on Canadian Living, has quickly become a favourite. You can find the original recipe here
1 cup (175 mL) butter, softened
1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
1/4 tsp (1 mL) rum extract
2-1/2 cups (625 mL) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2 mL) nutmeg
1/4 tsp (1 mL) cinnamon
1 pinch salt
1-1/2 cups (375 mL) icing sugar
2 tsp (10 mL) rum extract (or to taste)
2 tsp (10 mL) water
1/4 tsp (1 mL) nutmeg
In large bowl, beat butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, vanilla and rum extract. Combine flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt; with wooden spoon, stir into butter mixture in 3 additions. Divide in half; flatten each slightly. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until chilled. (Make ahead: Refrigerate for up to 1 day.)
On lightly floured surface, roll out each half of dough to 1/4-inch (5 mm) thickness. Using knife, cut out 2-inch (5 cm) rounds with 3/4- x 1/2-inch (2 × 1 cm) rectangle on top to resemble neck of ornament. Place, 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart, on parchment paper-lined or greased rimless baking sheets. (Make ahead: Store in airtight container for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1 month.)
Bake in top and bottom thirds of 375°F (190°C) oven, rotating and switching pans halfway through, for about 10 minutes or until golden on bottom and edges. Let cool for 1 minute on pans. Transfer to racks; let cool completely. Decorate with icing as desired.
Sift sugar into a bowl and stir in the rest of the ingredients. Add more water until desired consistency has been reached. Spread over cookies.
My mum has had this beat up recipe book for forever, I think it was passed down from her mom. Every year we would make cookies cut out in different shapes. When I was about 10 or 11, I was tired of listening to Christmas music and jingle bells, so on December 23, I watched the Nightmare before Christmas and made sugar cookies in Halloween shapes instead to break the Christmas mold. This is what I’ve done the weekend before Christmas almost every year since then!
Makes about 5 dozen cookies:
2 cups butter
1 3/4 cups white sugar
4 eggs, well beaten
5 cups flour
pinch of salt
1 tsp. baking soda
4 tsps. cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla
Cream butter, add sugar and eggs, beat well. Sift dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture. Roll out on board or table. Cut in any shape desired. Bake at 350 degrees F. When cooled, decorate as desired!
_The first time I made nougat, it came out absolutely terribly. My candy thermometer was broken and I didn’t realize it; the result was a rock-hard brick of candy. I wasn’t about to let it go to waste so I smashed it into bite-sized pieces and served it anyway. My gracious family tried to eat it anyway. Since then, nougat has become one of my favourite recipes, but not a Christmas goes by without my family mentioning the first nougat disaster. _
One of my go-to nougat recipes is this one from Martha Stewart. Usually I substitute dried cherries and pistachios instead of almonds.
For the Mazetta
2 large egg whites, room temperature
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup sugar
For the Nougat
1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups whole raw almonds, skin on
1. Begin by making the mazetta: Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites until stiff; set aside. In a 1-quart saucepan, combine corn syrup, 1/4 cup water, and sugar. Clip on a candy thermometer. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes. Wash down sides of pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to remove any sugar crystals.
2. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until temperature reaches 242 degrees (soft-ball stage), 15 to 20 minutes. Remove sugar syrup from heat. Beating constantly on medium speed, slowly pour hot syrup into egg whites. Continue beating for 3 to 4 minutes until syrup is incorporated. Use immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to make the nougat.
3. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with vegetable-oil spray; set aside. Place mazetta in a large bowl; set aside. In a 2-quart saucepan, combine corn syrup and sugar. Clip on candy thermometer. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, 5 to 10 minutes. Wash down sides of pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to remove any sugar crystals.
4. Over medium-high heat, cook to 280 degrees (soft-crack stage), 12 to 15 minutes, without stirring. If heat is too high it can boil over, so watch carefully. Remove from heat; let stand for 2 minutes. Without scraping pan, pour syrup over mazetta. Working quickly, stir with a wooden spoon until almost smooth. Stir in butter, vanilla, and salt. Mix until butter is incorporated. Stir in nuts. Scrape into prepared pan, and smooth the top; you may spray your hand with vegetable-oil spray and run it over the warm candy to smooth it. Let stand at room temperature, uncovered, until firm, 4 to 6 hours.
5. Spray a large cutting board generously with vegetable-oil spray. Unmold nougat from pan onto sprayed surface. Cut nougat into 3-by-1-by-3/4-inch pieces or other desired shapes. Wrap each piece in cellophane or waxed paper.
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