Archives for November 2016

7 festive hot and cold beverages for the holidays

As I write this post, a steaming cup of honey-sweetened roasted apple tisane perches on my desk, brewed from a couple of withering Cortlands plucked from my cold room stash.

It’s infused with ginger and a little tumeric because I’m fighting a mild cold, and the fragrant tisane is just the tonic I need to stay warm and hydrated while I work. ‘Tis the season for comforting hot drinks – and a few sparkling ones too.

Yesterday we had guests for Sunday dinner, and I served my classic winter sangria with slices of clementine and pomegranate seeds. This weekend my annual cookie swap is happening and I’ll be mixing up big pitchers of spiced eggnog and sparkling apple cider punch. And on the coldest days this week, I’ll have a fragrant pot of hot apple cider waiting for the boys when they arrive home from school.

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Favourite Cookbooks of 2016

We had our first snowfall this week and instead of melting into slush, it stuck around to transform our world into a winter wonderland. Suffice it to say, I’ve had that song stuck in my head for the past four days.

There’s nothing quite like an abrupt switch from fall to winter to get one thinking about Christmas. Thinking about gingerbread and orange pomanders, cookie swaps and gift giving. Today, I’m here to help with the latter in the form of a cookbook-specific gift guide.

I’m not much help in recommending anything else, really, and so year after year, I give you my personal picks, in hope that a title will catch your eye – for yourself or a friend.

Last year I had so many favourite new cookbooks, that I had to split them up into Canadian and International titles. This year, I’m cramming everything into one post, so bear with me.
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How to make croutons from leftover stuffing

So you’ve probably heard of making stuffing or dressing out of croutons – but have you considered the reverse?

Why not turn leftover cubes of herb-scented stuffing into crispy croutons for topping soups and salads? I’m here to introduce you to this recent revelation I had in the kitchen, in hopes that you’ll put your leftover stuffing to good use this week – or after Christmas dinner.

Trust me, these buttery sage stuffing croutons are the ideal topping to your turkey noodle soup. I mean, what could be a better flavour pairing?

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Pumpkin-Olive Oil Bread recipe from The Vanilla Bean Baking Book

This week has been unusually busy for me and I’m five days away from a big deadline with my next book, so I am taking a break from recipe development.

That is sometimes how the business of blogging goes: freelance work and publishing projects ebb and flow, occasionally taking precedence over blog posts.

However, I can promise that I have big plans for the holidays and you are sure to love what is coming. New recipes, round-ups, cookbook recommendations, and perhaps even a giveaway or two are all in the works – just as soon as I make that pesky deadline.

To break up the long work days, Clara and I play in the kitchen together on an occasional baking project, like this lightly-spiced pumpkin olive-oil bread. Today’s recipe comes from a new cookbook I am thrilled to tell you about…

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Marmalade Pecan Pie with coconut sugar, bourbon and a hint of chocolate

All year long, we bakers turn out a variety of layer cakes, brownies and cookies, not to mention sticky fruity crisps and cobblers, but come November our thoughts turn to pie.

Perhaps we are prompted by the lackluster weather and barren landscape, or maybe it is because November a slower month, and we are able to make time in our busy lives for rolling pie crust and dedicating ourselves to the art of pie.

Pie can’t be slapped together like a loaf of banana bread or a batch of chocolate chip cookies; it requires more effort, yet yields richly rewarding results.

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