I cannot believe that the holidays are now behind us. It seems as though, as I get older, the holidays arrive much faster than ever and are gone in the blink of an eye. I remember, as a child, those 14 day Christmas vacations always seemed as though they lasted weeks and weeks. Now, at 22, they seem much shorter. Nevertheless, they are not any less special than they ever were. It is even the opposite. Growing up, I remember my mom spending hours in the kitchen cooking up a storm for the five of us for Christmas and New Year's eve. Some of her classics included (and still include to this day):
A Russian layered salad called "Shuba" with beets, smoked fish, potatoes, and carrots
Turkey with her amazing stuffing (which is probably the only thing that does not make it to Christmas day!)
Mini blinis (pancakes) with cream cheese, capers, and smoked salmon
Bacon wrapped dates stuffed with blue cheese
As my passion for food developed, I started participating in the year's largest meals, mainly making desserts. Since I love to try all types of recipes, the desserts vary from year to year, but they always include some classic cookies (ginger, chocolate, thumbprint...), a Christmas yule log, and a cheesecake. I usually try to prepare the Christmas and New Years menu one week in advance; I do a bunch of research to find new recipes that involve new techniques or flavours that I do not regularly cook with.
Here are some of the sweet treats I prepared during this holiday season, as well as the links to where I found the recipes. Note that none of the cakes I made lasted long enough to take a photo of them but I will share some links at the bottom of this article as well.
Chewy Molasses Spelt Cookies with Candied Ginger
Recipe from Oh She Glows.
Chocolate Espresso Thumbprint Cookies
Recipe from Half Baked Harvest.
Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies
Recipe from Food.com.
Honey Caramelized Banana and Pomegranate Seeds Chia Pudding
During the holidays I had the incredible chance to work for an awesome company: Heavenly Organics. They produce 100% Organic, Raw, Pesticide, and Antibiotic Free Honey as well as deliciously decadent Chocolate Honey Patties. Not only are their products delicious, but the brand itself is also incredibly inspiring. It is a fair trade company, working with farmers in India, helping them to earn a living by offering them ethical job opportunities and selling their organic goods.
With their products, I created 6 recipes all to be featured on their Instagram feed. The one below is a Honey Caramelized Banana and Pomegranate Seeds Chia parfait. Click here to discover the recipe on Heavenly Organics' feed.
Improvised Plum "Crescents"
Before the holidays even started, I knew I wanted to make a cranberry chocolate bread. Therefore, when I saw that Donal Skehan (my new favourite food YouTuber) published a video named White Chocolate and Cranberry Edible Christmas Wreath I knew I had to make it. Unfortunately, for some reason I have yet to put my finger on, my dough did not rise. However, thanks to my incredibly ingenious and creative mom, we created these improvised plum crescents. To do so, we rolled out the dough into a very thin rectangle, cut it up into triangles, and used leftover homemade plum jam as a filling. After baking, we dusted them with some powdered sugar. Surprisingly, these little crescents turned out delightful, so much so that they were gone within a day! This was the proof that any mistakes that are made in the kitchen can be turned into wonderful holiday miracles.
Chocolate Cappuccino Cheesecake (I cut the sugar from 1 cup to 1/3 cup)