7 Holiday Recipes

Now that my sewing and shopping are mostly out of the way, I can finally get to enjoying another of my favourite Christmas activities - baking! Here are some of my favourite recipes: some have been passed down through my family for generations, some I'm trying for the first time, and some don't require any baking at all! Have fun and try not to peck too much as you go!

1. Cherry Surprises
I've loved these since I was a kid. My mom always used red and green candied maraschino cherries and the surprise was always which colour you were gonna get.

1/2 cup butter
1 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup fine coconut
maraschino cherries (drained well)
graham cracker crumbs

Mix butter sugar and coconut.
Scoop out mixture with a spoon and place in palm.
Cover cherry with mixture (just enough so that it doesn't show through).
Roll ball in graham cracker crumbs.

2. Whipped Shortbread
This is my grandmother's recipe. It's guaranteed the lightest shortbread you've ever tasted. It melts in your mouth. I made this for my French class last year - lucky for you it's written in English this time.

1 lb butter (softened)
1 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
3 cups flour
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Sift together icing sugar, cornstarch and flour.
Beat butter until really soft.
Gradually mix dry ingredients with butter and vanilla and beat until consistency of whipped cream. This takes a lot of beating - don't get lazy!
Roll in ball or drop from a teaspoon onto a cookie sheet.
Decorate if wished with small bits of cherries or sprinkles.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

3. PEI Sugar Cookies
I haven't made these myself, but I've tasted them, and they're yummmy! I recently bought myself a new rolling pin and set of Christmas cookie cutters, so I think this recipe will be their inaugural use. Thanks for the recipe Carla!

1 cup sugar
1 cup shortening
1 cup margarine
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. salt
3 cups flour

Mix all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Place bowl in fridge for about 15-20 minutes to chill the dough to make it easier to work with. Place cookie cutters in fridge as well, as this will help (marginally) in battling against the sticky dough. Preheat oven to 375 C. Cover cookie-cutting surface, rolling pin, cookie sheet and hands with flour (you are going to need a lot of flour for this part – the dough is REALLY sticky and lots of flour is pretty much the only way to combat this unfortunate side-effect). Roll out dough to about 1/3-inch-ish thick. Dip cookie cutter in flour before cutting it through the dough. Go to town cookie-cutting – but remember, keep your hands and the rolling pin coated in flour or else the PEI Cookies might not get baked at all and the dough will just end up in the trash in an act of extreme frustration. Bake for about 10 minutes. As cookies are baked, spread them out on wax paper.

When all the cookies are cool, you’re ready to ice them. Take about a teaspoon each of shortening and soft margarine and mix together in small mixing bowl. Add milk and icing sugar until consistency is that of icing (you will use much more icing sugar than milk). Add small amount of almond flavouring.

Place desired amount of icing on cookies and then decorate with sprinkles. When finished, I dare you to eat less than five. It’ll be harder than you think.

4. Cinnamon Roll Cookies
I haven't tried this recipe yet either, but it was immediately torn from Food & Drink magazine and has been patiently waiting to be baked for a couple years now. I think this is the year to finally give them a try. They sound so delicious!

2 cups and 4 tsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 tsp. salt
3/4 cup plus 2 bsp unsalted butter, bool but not cold, cut into pieces
2 tbsp. whipping cream

1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tbsp. pure maple syrup
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour

For cookie dough, pulse all ingredients in a food processor until a rough crumbly texture.
Keep blending until dough shapes into a ball.
Divide into 2 pieces, wrap and set aside while preparing filling (do not refridgerate).
For filling, stir all ingredients together.
On a lightly floured work surface, rool out one piece of dought into an 8 x 12-inch rectangle.
Spread half of filling evenly over rectangle.
Roll up cookies dough int he stle of cinnamon rolls, fromt he long side.
Repeat with second piece of dough, wrap each and chill for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350.
Slice cookie rolls in 1/4-inch slices and lay an inch apart on baking tray.
Bake for about 15 minutes, until cookies barely start to turn golden.

5. Cookie Fudge
Possibly the easiest fudge recipe ever. I believe I snagged this one from Kraft Canada.

1 package (8 squares) Baker's semi-sweet chocolate
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp. vanilla
10 orea cookies, chopped

Microwave chocolate and milk in large bowl on medium for 2-3 minutes or until almost melted, stirring each minute. [If you don't have a microwave, like me, set up a double boiler on the stove by placing a bowl over a boiling pot of water.]
Add vanilla, mix well and stir in cookies.
Line an 8" square pan with foil or parchment paper.
Spread mixture in pan.
Refridgerate for 2 hrs or until firm.
Pull out hardened fudge using foil and cut into bite-size squares.

6. Marbled Candy-Cane Bark
My cousin Connor's favourite and my mom whips up a batch just for him every year. Isn't he special?

Two cups each of white chocolate and milk chocolate wafers (bulk)
Melt each (using double boiler or in microwave).
Pour about 3 or 4 thick strips down a cookie sheet alternating chocolate and white chocolate.
Sprinkle with crushed candy-cane and dried cranberries (and nuts, if you wish).
Swirl knife through to make marble pattern.
Refrigerate until hardened and then break into pieces.

7. Mulled Wine
Ok, this clearly isn't a baked good, but I had to throw it in here because Mike and I tried it just last week and loved it so much we drank the entire batch in one night! Don't judge. It makes the house smell extra festive and no doubt having a pot brewing next to you while you bake could make being in the kitchen for hours on end a little more bearable. You can easily modify this recipe to taste. We combined a version from Chatelaine and House & Home magazines because we prefer more spice.

1 bottle (750 mL) of fruity red wine
500-750mL fruit juice (grape, blackcurrant or mixed)
1/2 cup sugar, or to taste (depending on sweetness of wine and juice)
2 cinnamon sticks
10 cloves
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1 long strip of orange or clementine peel

Mix wine and fruit juice in large saucepan.
Heat through, but be careful not to boil.
Add sugar, spices and orange peel.
Stir until sugar has melted.
Let steep on low heat for at least 10 minutes.
Strain and serve warm.

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