Homemade for the holidays

Four easy holiday recipes appropriate for any festive occasion

Peppermint mocha macarons will not disappoint the lucky recipient.
Peppermint mocha macarons will not disappoint the lucky recipient.
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The holiday cookie in a jar recipe is visually appealing and easy to make.
The holiday cookie in a jar recipe is visually appealing and easy to make.
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Homemade treats make memorable gifts, perfect for letting someone know you care. If you dread the mall crowds and long lineups, homemade desserts are a thoughtful alternative that even the glitziest store-bought gifts struggle to match in the charm department. A parcel of baked goodies adorned with ribbon is the perfect solution for those with whom you are too acquainted to just get a card and not familiar enough to buy a gift. Make sure to leave enough time to make and wrap your treats.

Festive cake pops

Cakes on a stick have been incredibly popular lately and for good reason. They’re conveniently bite-sized and visually appealing, making a perfect treat for gifts. If you’re short on time, you can take advantage of premade or leftover cakes and cupcakes. Cake pops can be decorated and personalized, so don’t be afraid to show off your creativity.

Ingredients
• A cake of your favourite recipe (red velvet, vanilla, etc)

• 1 can buttercream icing or homemade recipe

• Lollipop sticks

• 12 ounces white chocolate

• Colored icing, sprinkles and

decorative trimmings of

your choice Makes approximately 15 cake pops, depending on size.

Preparation

Completely cool your cake. Crumble cake finely with hands into a large mixing bowl. Mix in buttercream icing with electric mixer on medium until mixture is moist and easy to squish into balls.

Refrigerate for one hour. Take bits of cake mix to roll into smooth, ping-pong sized balls. Place onto parchment lined baking sheet.

Coat lollipop sticks in a little extra icing (this will help them stick to the cake balls) and stick one into the end of each ball. Place tray in freezer for half an hour or until firm.

Melt white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl or over boiling water (double boiler method). Remove cooled cake balls and dip into chocolate until covered. Decorate to your liking and stick into a block of Styrofoam to prevent flattening. Wrap only when hardened.

Peppermint mocha macarons

These little ganache-filled cookie sandwiches are perfect for someone who loves to eat with their eyes. Macarons might seem like an ambitious recipe, especially in a student kitchen, but it’s surprisingly easy. The particularly festive colour and flavour combination — green shells and mint chocolate
ganache — will be perfect for sharing over tea and lattes this holiday season.

Ingredients

For the macarons

•¾ cup almond flour
• 2 large egg whites
• ½ tsp cream of tartar
• 1 cup icing sugar
• ¼ cup granulated sugar
•Green food colouring
•Piping bag or ziplock bag

For the filling

• ½ cup whipping cream
• ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate
• 1 tbsp unsalted butter at
room temperature
•Extract of peppermint
•Piping bag or zip lock bag
Makes 40 macarons.

Preparation

For the shells

Preheat oven to 160 C (325 F).

Sift together almond flour and icing sugar. Mix until combined and sift mixture once more to remove lumps.

Whisk together egg whites until soft peaks are formed. On a high speed, add granulated sugar and whisk until stiff peaks form (for approximately five minutes).

Gently fold egg whites, along with flour mix and three or four drops of food colouring until the mixture looks uniform and shiny.

Transfer shell batter into a piping or zip lock bag with a ½ inch opening snipped into
a corner.

Pipe the shells onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Lift the baking sheet and let it drop approximately one foot above countertop. This funny maneuver will help form the famous crinkly bottom of macaron shells.

Bake for five minutes and allow to cool untouched for five minutes on wire rack.

For the filling

Heat up whipping cream in a saucepan without bringing to boil. Place chopped semi-sweet chocolate into bowl and pour heated cream. Allow mixture to sit for a minute before stirring in approximately two to four drops of peppermint extract. Stir until mixture forms a smooth ganache.

Allow ganache to cool for about a half hour in fridge. Stir in butter until well mixed.

Assembly

Fill piping bag and put a loonie-sized dollop of ganache onto a shell. Sandwich with another shell. Refrigerate for at least two hours before wrapping.

Gingerbread truffles

Chocolate is versatile. When moulded into lumpy shapes, it can be used as a whimsical stocking stuffer. This recipe can also be a holiday classic by forming the truffles into balls instead of
coal shapes.

Ingredients

• ¾ cup whipping cream
• 1 tbsp maple syrup
• Salt
• Ground cinnamon
•1 ½ cup semi-sweet
chocolate chips
•½ cup finely crushed
gingerbread cookies
• 2 cup dark chocolate
• Cocoa powder for dusting

Preparation

Heat up whipping cream, with maple syrup, salt and cinnamon on medium to low heat (without bringing to boil) for approximately eight minutes. Allow to cool for half an hour
in fridge.

Place chopped semi-sweet chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for three minutes until melted, pausing every 30 seconds to stir. Add cooled cream mixture and crushed gingerbread cookies. Place back in fridge for
15 minutes.

Remove chocolate filling from fridge and spoon and mould a ping-pong sized amount into coal shape with the help of a picture. Use latex gloved hands to prevent body heat from warming up
the chocolate.

Place moulded chocolates on a parchment lined baking sheet and place back into fridge to chill for one to two hours.

Heat dark chocolate with the microwave method.

Prepare a bowl of cocoa powder. Dip cooled chocolate shapes into melted chocolate and immediately roll in cocoa powder to coat. Place on baking sheet and let sit for at least one hour
before wrapping.

Holiday cookies in a jar

There’s something incredibly nostalgic and homemade about an old-fashioned mason jar and beautiful layers of brown sugar and snow-white flour. Not only are these cookies in a jar quick and easy to make but it’s a gift that will make a huge impression on whoever is lucky enough to receive them.
Ingredients
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup instant oats
½ tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Makes 36

Preparation
Spoon or funnel each ingredient into a 1 quart mason jar which can be purchased at any dollar store.
Attach these directions to the jar.
Directions
Pour cookie mix into a bowl and stir to combine. Beat in ½ cup melted butter, 1 egg and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Spoon on to parchment-lined baking sheets and bake at 190 C (375 F) for eight to ten minutes. Cool and serve.

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