Free Holiday eBook | 19 Recipes for Christmas Cookies & More

Take me to the recipe

Holiday eBook: 19 recipes for cookies, candied nuts, warming drinks and more. Free. Easy to download.

From cookies to candied nuts, this free Holiday eBook has everything you need for a homemade Christmas. Gluten-free options too.

Do your favourite Holiday traditions involve food?

So much of what is special about the season is tied to the taste, smell and sharing of food that is only prepared this time of year.

Food is part of what brings us together, and it’s at the root of our most meaningful generosity. From food bank donations to gathering around the table with friends and family, the act of sharing food does more than fill the belly. It connects us with others and feeds the soul.

Free Holiday eBook | 19 Recipes for Christmas Cookies & More

If gathering around the table with family and friends makes your December sparkle I think you’ll enjoy our updated free Holiday eBook. It includes some of my favourite molasses cookie recipes and a selection of other homemade treats that are perfect for sharing.

This updated book also includes warming drinks and some new gluten-free Holiday treats (coconut macaroons and almond tuiles).

I hope that these recipes give you more ways to share during this season of giving and gathering.

Download your free eBook here:

Free Holiday eBook | 19 Recipes for Christmas Cookies & More

One more thing…

If you’re in search of family-friendly food that’s easy to prepare, healthy and tastes good, then sign up to receive blog posts by email. We’d love to send you our monthly newsletter too. It includes cooking tips, menu ideas, featured recipes and more. Here’s the link to subscribe.

 

 

 

White Chocolate Gingerbread Fudge Recipe

Servings: 36 serving(s)

Prep time: 15 minutes

Total time: 5.5 hours -9 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes

Take me to the recipe

White Chocolate Gingerbread Fudge, a quick and easy fudge recipe made with sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, molasses and spices.

White Chocolate Gingerbread Fudge, a quick and easy fudge recipe made with sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, molasses and spices. 

My dad loved fudge more than anyone I know. We used to buy it for him for his birthday and for Christmas, and since his birthday was on December 21, by the time the 25th rolled around he was well stocked. He’d tuck the tins of fudge in the armoir in his bedroom to keep it safe from my brothers and sisters and I.

White Chocolate Gingerbread Fudge, a quick and easy fudge recipe made with sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, molasses and spices.

Dad’s armoir was like a treasure trove. Along with his fudge, that’s where he kept his 1967 coin collection, his father’s gold pocket watch, a gold nugget, tiny pocket knives and other assorted stuff that fascinated us as kids. Once in a while he’d give us the tour, unpacking all of the little boxes one at a time time. I still remember the feel of my grandfather’s pocket watch in my hand; the smooth back, the weight if it and the pink cast to the gold. And I remember the pale silver coins that I loved because of the animal designs on them. The rabbit on the nickle was my favourite.

It’s no surprise that fudge reminds me of my dad. Sharing this recipe with you so close to what would have been his 85th birthday feels appropriate, almost like a gift to him. (And in case you’re wondering, he did share his hidden fudge.)

White Chocolate Gingerbread Fudge, a quick and easy fudge recipe made with sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, molasses and spices.

White Chocolate Gingerbread Fudge is never crumbly & easy to slice. 

This fudge is perfect for gift giving. It doesn’t go gritty or crumbly and is easy to slice so can easily be packaged up to give as gifts.

This recipe was adapted ever so slightly from Sally’s Baking Addiction

White Chocolate Gingerbread Fudge Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 14 ounce (396g) can sweetened condensed milk (not lite)
  • 3 and 1/4 cups (585g) white chocolate chips, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp. Crosby’s Fancy Molasses
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice

Instructions:

  1. Line an 8” pan with parchment paper, leaving a little overhang.
  2. In a medium heavy bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat, combine sweetened condensed milk and 3 cups of the white chocolate chips. Stir until the chocolate chips have melted. Stir in the tablespoon of heavy cream and the vanilla.
  3. Pour half of this mixture to a smaller saucepan and place it over medium-low heat. (Set remaining aside.)
  4. Stir in the 1/4 cup of white chocolate chips, molasses and spices. Stir until chocolate has melted.
  5. You will now have two mixtures: gingerbread and plain white chocolate.
  6. Beginning with the plain white mixture, spread a thin layer in the bottom of the lined baking pan. (If it’s too thick, rewarm before pouring into the bottom of the baking pan.) The white mixture is firmer so must be used as the base of the fudge.
  7. Drizzle some gingerbread mixture on top, followed by more white mixture and continue alternating until both mixtures are used up.
  8. Use a butter knife or wooden skewer to swirl the two mixtures together.
  9. Refrigerate until firm (about five hours) and cut into one-inch pieces. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks, or freeze (double wrapped) for up to two months.

One more thing…

If you’re in search of family-friendly food that’s easy to prepare, healthy and tastes good, then sign up here to receive blog posts by email.

Maple Molasses Candied Pecans

Prep time: 10 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Take me to the recipe

Maple Molasses Candied Pecans are the perfect hostess gift and an easy snack for guests.

Maple Molasses Candied Pecans are the perfect hostess gift or an easy snack for guests.

When you want a good nibble in a hurry, candied nuts are always a great option. They’re quick to mix up, don’t take long to bake and are so yummy.

When I was growing up we’d have a big bowl of whole nuts in the living room. It was an old fashioned sort of holiday treat that you could leave out all through December. As kids we preferred bowls of ribbon candy or barley toys but once in a while we’d sit down beside the bowl and start the slow process of snacking.

  • Maple Molasses Candied Pecans are the perfect hostess gift and an easy snack for guests.
    Maple Molasses Candied Pecans are the perfect hostess gift or an easy snack for guests.

 

You have likely noticed that the tradition continues and you can still find mesh bags of mixed nuts in the produce section of the grocery store. In this world where so much is processed and prepackaged it’s comforting to see something as simple as whole nuts are still available.

 

We have other recipes for candied nuts on this website but I have to say Maple Molasses Candied Pecans are the easiest. Pecans toast up quickly and evenly, and the whole batch is ready in under 30 minutes. Feel free to change up the spices. The recipe is adapted ever so slightly from the lovely blog The Cafe Sucre Farine.

You might also like our Gingerbread Spiced Almonds and Five-Spice Candied Nuts.

Maple Molasses Candied Pecan Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 3 Tbsp Crosby’s Fancy Molasses
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of cayenne (optional)
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 2 cups pecans (raw)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325˚F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Have a second sheet of parchment nearby.
  2. Combine all ingredients except pecans in a medium pot. Stir to combine then stir in pecans.
  3. Warm over medium heat until mixture is very runny (don’t boil) for about two minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Pour mixture onto prepared pan and spread into a single layer.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and stir well then spread out again to a single layer. Bake until deep golden brown, about 8-12 minutes more. Watch carefully so they don’t overcook.
  6. Remove from oven, stir again and then spread on the reserved sheet of parchment to cool. (Moving the pecans to a clean sheet of parchment will keep them looking tidy.)

 

6 Fail Proof Holiday Cookie Recipes

Take me to the recipe

6 fail proof cookies for your holiday cookie plate

Easy and festive recipes for the Holidays…

If you’re squeezed for time leading up to the Holidays (and who isn’t?), but still want to have a few festive sweets on hand, here are my top six suggestions for cookies and bars that are festive and easy. These are the fail proof Holiday cookie recipes that everyone needs in their recipe box.

Everything you need in a Holiday cookie recipe:

These are festive and delicious cookies that suit Holiday parties. They’re pretty enough to give as hostess gifts too, packaged with a bow (and the recipe tucked alongside).

Most of these recipes are fun to bake with children too and decorating Holiday cookies makes a wonderful family tradition.

Helpful Hint:

The helpful thing about most cookie recipes is that the dough can be refrigerated. Mix it up in the evening when you have a few minutes to spare and then bake the cookies another day when you have more time to spend in the kitchen. Cookie dough gets better with age since refrigerating your cookie dough actually improves the texture and flavour of the finished cookie.

  • Chilled cookies will taste a little sweeter and the sugars will caramelize more quickly when baked.
  • Chilling dough also helps with the texture of your finished cookies since it allows the gluten in the flour to relax.
  • Flavours, like spices, have more time to develop when the dough is chilled. If you have time, chilling your dough overnight, and up to 36 hours, can make a tasty difference.

6 Fail Proof Holiday Cookie Recipes:

Pecan Toffee Bars

A buttery toffee thick with pecans layered on a barely-sweet shortbread base. They’re gorgeous but not over the top. They’re festive and beyond delicious.

Pecan toffee bars

Whole Wheat Gingerbread Cookies

The ultimate Christmas cookie (in our house anyway) and a favourite that I decorate with my kids each year. (FUN TO BAKE & DECORATE WITH KIDS.)

whole wheat gingerbread cut out cookies

Molasses Walnut Cookies

Snowball Cookies, Mexican Wedding Cookies, Russian Tea Cookies…

These cookies go by all sorts of names but they’re all the same buttery shortbread-style cookie loaded with ground nuts and coated in powdery white icing sugar.

molasses walnut cookies

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons

Relatively easy to mix up, they add great variety to your holiday cookie plate. And at just 113 calories per cookie, they add a lower cal option to your holiday treats as well. (FUN TO BAKE & DECORATE WITH KIDS.)

Chewy Coconut Macaroons are Easy & Low Cal

Chocolate Chunk Gingerbread Cookies

Chewy spiced gingerbread cookies studded with chocolate chips or chunks. Dipping them in white chocolate makes these cookies extra festive. (FUN TO BAKE & DECORATE WITH KIDS.)

Sparkly chocolate gingerbread cookies

Peanut Butter Molasses Cookies

These are chewy peanut butter cookies that are lightly spiced for the holidays. A great recipe for kids to help out with.  We made them in an assembly line: I formed the cookie dough balls then they did the criss-cross press with a fork and placed the chocolate in the centre of each cookie. (FUN TO BAKE & DECORATE WITH KIDS.)

festive peanut butter molasses cookies

 

 

Chewy Coconut Macaroons are Easy & Low Cal

Servings: 24 serving(s)

Prep time: 25 minutes

Total time: 50 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes

Take me to the recipe

This easy recipe for chewy macaroons suits every season.

Chewy Coconut Macaroons are Easy & Low Cal

Chewy Coconut Macaroons – the one new recipe you’ll want to add to your holiday baking list this year.

They’re easy to make, low cal, low carb and delicious. They can also be made gluten-free.

I love the idea of baking oodles of cookies for the holidays. I grew up in a house where there were a dozen different kinds of cookies in the freezer by the time the holidays arrived and our basement freezer was so stuffed it had to be locked to keep it closed tight.

  • Chewy Coconut Macaroons are Easy and Low Cal
    They’re easy to make, low cal, low carb and delicious. They can also be made gluten-free.

 

Truth be told, I’m lucky if I can get even a few different kinds of cookies in the freezer in time for Christmas and I have been known to discover unbaked cookie dough in my fridge long after the holidays have passed.

One cookie that has been easy to add to my holiday baking lineup is this recipe for coconut macaroons. Relatively easy to mix up, they add great variety to your holiday cookie plate. And at just 113 calories per cookie, they add a lower cal option to your holiday treats as well.

Dipping them in chocolate is optional.

 

The recipe is adapted from the lovely  little cookbook, Classic Cookies with a Modern Twist by Ellen Jackson.

They’re easy to make gluten-free…just substitute a gluten free flour blend for the 1/2 cup flour called for in the recipe.

classic cookies with a modern twist

Chewy Coconut Macaroon Recipe

Makes 24 macaroons

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup flour (can use gluten-free)
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened coconut (fine)
  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened flaked coconut (wide)
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. Crosby’s Fancy Molasses
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • Chocolate for dipping (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Whisk together the flour, salt and both kinds of coconut.
  2. In a double boiler or a metal bowl suspended above a pot of barely simmering water, whisk the egg whites with the sugar, molasses and vanilla until mixture warm to the touch and opaque (110 F). Remove from heat and pour over the dry ingredients. Fold to combine and set aside for 15 minutes to allow the coconut to absorb some of the liquid.
  3. Preheat oven to 325 F. Form mixture into 1” to 1 ½” balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  4. Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Rotate baking sheet halfway through cooking.
  5. Let cool then dip in melted chocolate.

Nutritional info (no chocolate): Per cookie.

  • Calories: 113
  • Fat: 7.4 g
  • Saturated Fat: 6.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Carbs: 11.4 g
  • Sugar: 7.3 g
  • Sodium: 38.4 mg
  • Fibre: 1.9 g
  • Protein: 1.6 g
  • Potassium 95.9 mg

One more thing…

If you’re in search of family-friendly food that’s easy to prepare, healthy and tastes good, then sign up to receive blog posts by email. We’d love to send you our monthly newsletter too. It includes cooking tips, menu ideas, featured recipes and more. Here’s the link to subscribe.

Gingerbread Latte | An Excuse to Slow Down

Servings: 1 serving(s)

Prep time: 5 minutes

Total time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes

Take me to the recipe

Gingerbread Latte naturally sweetened with molasses

A cosy drink for chilly days…

The Gingerbread Latte is new to me. And I have to say that although I have never been drawn to flavoured coffees this new concoction has become a favourite.

Lightly sweetened with molasses and gently spiced with a lovely gingerbread spice blend, this Gingerbread Latte has become a very comforting drink. Sipping one is a way to slow down during this very busy time of year, which is a gift of sorts.

Making a Gingerbread Latte at home couldn’t be easier, although it feels like a bit of an indulgence. All it takes are four ingredients and a couple of minutes. Molasses is such an ideal way to sweeten this spiced drink. It adds flavour that complements the coffee and the spice, and molasses isn’t too sweet. So unlike hot chocolate, a Gingerbread Latte doesn’t leave you feeling like you over did it.

In this hectic week leading up to Christmas, take a moment for you, curl up in a cosy chair and enjoy a warm Gingerbread Latte.

Gingerbread Latte with Molasses Recipe

One serving

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup espresso or strong coffee
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Crosby’s Fancy Molasses
  • 1/8 tsp. or a generous pinch gingerbread spices (recipe below)
  • 1/2 cup milk

Instructions:

  1. In a mug stir together the coffee, molasses and spices.
  2. Bring the milk to a simmer, either on the stovetop or in a microwave.
  3. Froth the milk with a whisk or frother.
  4. Pour frothed milk over the coffee, sprinkle lightly with gingerbread spices and serve.

 

Gingerbread Spice Blend

  • 2 tsp. ginger
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. allspice
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. cloves

Blend spices and store in a cool, dry place.

One more thing…

If you’re in search of family-friendly food that’s easy to prepare, healthy and tastes good, then sign up to receive blog posts by email. We’d love to send you our monthly newsletter too. It includes cooking tips, menu ideas, featured recipes and more. Here’s the link to subscribe.

Easy Molasses Walnut Meringues with Gingerbread Spices

Servings: 24-30 meringues serving(s)

Prep time: 15 minutes

Total time: 135 minutes

Cooking time: 120 minutes

Take me to the recipe

Molasses Walnut Meringues duested with gingerbread spices

I’m always amazed at bakers who create extra fancy sweets, the home cooks who make fantastically elaborate cakes and fiddly candies. Decorative details have never been my strength (probably why my cooking style tends to be on the rustic side.)

Once in a while I have the urge to create something that looks extra special. That’s why this recipe for Molasses Walnut Meringues caught my eye. While I’m no expert with a pastry bag, meringue I can make, and meringue has a way of looking fancy with next to no effort.

You might be surprised at how easy it is to make meringue — a few ingredients, a good set of beaters and you’re set. Be prepared to feel very accomplished with very little effort.

These meringues have a glossy golden look to them and are very pretty on a plate filled with Christmas cookies. The taste reminds me of the sponge toffee from my childhood and the texture is similar too.

Molasses Walnut Meringues duested with gingerbread spices

The cooking time presented with the recipe is very broad because sugary things can have a mind of their own. Molasses Walnut Meringues bake in a slow oven for a long time, until they dry out, which can vary depending on their size.

Molasses Walnut Meringues with Gingerbread Spices Recipe

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup egg whites, room temperature (about 4 eggs)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • ½ cup icing sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. Crosby’s Fancy Molasses
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • Gingerbread spice blend (optional, recipe below)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 225 F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Beat egg whites on medium until foamy (about 30 seconds). Whisk together granulated sugar, salt, cornstarch and icing sugar and gradually add to egg whites.
  3. Increase speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form (about 7-8 minutes.)
  4. Using a rubber spatula fold in the molasses and walnuts.
  5. Spoon mixture into a piping bag or a plastic bag with a bottom corner snipped off.
  6. Pipe onto prepared baking sheets (in either swirls or big dollops) about an inch apart.
  7. Dust lightly with a few pinches of gingerbread spices.
  8. Bake meringues until they have completely dried out, anywhere from  1 1/2 to 2 hours depending on the size and shape you choose.
  9. Store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to a week.

Gingerbread Spice Blend

  • 2 tsp. ginger
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. allspice
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. cloves

Blend spices and store in a cool, dry place.

One more thing…

If you’re in search of family-friendly food that’s easy to prepare, healthy and tastes good, then sign up to receive blog posts by email..

We’d love to send you our monthly newsletter too. Our Molasses and More newsletter includes cooking tips, menu ideas and featured recipes. Here’s the link to our monthly email sign-up form.

Speedy No-bake Chocolate Biscuit Cake

Servings: 18 serving(s)

Prep time: 15 minutes

Total time: 75 minutes

Take me to the recipe

no-bake chocolate biscuit cake

Last minute holiday treats:

Earlier this month when I was in Halifax for work I had an overnight visit with my dear friend Lisa. She loves to bake and over the years she has shared some delicious recipes (like this Cracked Wheat Brown Bread). Well this visit she sent me home with another handful of wonderful recipes, including this recipe for Chocolate Biscuit Cake, a chocolate & cookie concoction that takes all of five minutes to put together.

The original recipe use McVitie’s tea biscuits but I have since discovered that it’s great with digestive biscuits and arrowroot cookies too.

no-bake chocolate biscuit cake

The biscuits give the bars a wonderful crispy texture and the chocolate-molasses mixture is wonderfully smooth. The raisins (or dried cranberries) add a bit of chew and brighten the flavours.

This is the perfect last-minute holiday treat. Like homemade chocolates, only easier and very pretty. Better yet, it makes a 9″x13″ pan so you’ll have lots.

Lisa’s No-bake Chocolate Biscuit Cake Recipe

  • 10 oz McVitie’s tea biscuits, digestive biscuits or arrowroot cookies
  • 1 ¾ cups chocolate chips
  • 6 Tbsp. butter
  • ½ cup Crosby’s Fancy Molasses
  • ¼ cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup or honey
  • ½ cup raisins or dried cranberries
  1. Break biscuits into pieces the size of a quarter and combine with raisins in a large bowl.
  2. Line a 9”x13” pan with parchment paper and grease the parchment.
  3. In a medium pot gently melt the chocolate with the butter. Stir until smooth, remove from heat and add the molasses and syrup.
  4. Pour the chocolate mixture over the biscuits and stir to combine.
  5. Spread in prepared pan, pressing lightly. Refrigerate until set and cut into squares.

 

One more thing…

If you’re in search of family-friendly food that’s easy to prepare, healthy and tastes good, then sign up to receive blog posts by email.



We’d love to send you our monthly newsletter too. Our Making Life Delicious newsletter includes cooking tips, menu ideas and featured recipes. Here’s the link to our monthly email sign-up form.

 

Holiday Gift Giving Idea: Sweet Spiced Candied Nuts

Take me to the recipe

sweet and spicy roasted nuts

Sweet and spicy candied nuts are great for gift giving…

When it comes to Christmas treats cookies rule in the baker’s kitchen but nuts have always been on the festive food list. In fact, I’m sure that gathering nuts for Christmas treats is a much older tradition than baking cookies.

When I was growing up there were always bowls of nuts around the house at Christmastime. They were still in the shell so you had to work for your snack. The almonds were easy, the Brazil nuts practically impossible for little hands.  I loved how bowls of nuts in the shell were so ornamental, like little pieces of beautifully carved wood.

If you’re in search of something quick, easy, and a little different for your holiday baking routine why not consider roasting nuts. They’re a delicious and easy holiday treat, something you can give as gifts and a tasty, festive snack to have on hand when visitors drop by.

Here are two spiced candied nuts recipes that I make every year. The Gingerbread Spiced Almonds recipe is a relatively new discovery while the Five-Spice Candied Nuts recipe has been in my family for almost 20 years.

Gingerbread-spiced-almonds

Gingerbread Spiced Almonds

  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp Crosby’s Fancy Molasses
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • Pinch of cayenne or a few grinds of black pepper
  • 1/3 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups raw almonds (or your favourite nut)

Click here for the instructions

five spice candied nuts

Five-Spice Candied Nuts

  • ¼ cup butter
  • 5 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp Crosby’s Fancy Molasses
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp Chinese Five Spice Powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 4 cups mixed nuts (raw)

Click here for the instructions

 

One more thing…

If you’re in search of family-friendly food that’s easy to prepare, healthy and tastes good, then sign up to receive blog posts by email.



We’d love to send you our monthly newsletter too. Our Making Life Delicious newsletter includes cooking tips, menu ideas and featured recipes. Here’s the link to our monthly email sign-up form.

 

Cranberry Almond Jingle Bars: Pretty, Festive & Delicious

Servings: 24-30 serving(s)

Prep time: 15 minutes

Total time: 45 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Take me to the recipe

 

Cranberry Almond Jingle Bars

They say you eat with your eyes as much as with your mouth.

Great looking food that is presented nicely seems to taste better since eating is, after all, a multi-sensory experience.

When it comes to holiday baking I’d say the eyes do even more of the eating since festive food is often more lovely and, well, festive looking than food served any other time of the year. Just look at your average cookie plate with all of the shapes, colours and coatings.

Holiday food is beautiful and we work hard to make it that way. Although it isn’t always hard work. Take these Cranberry Almond Jingle Bars, for example. A simple shortbread base sprinkled with the festive combo of cranberries and sliced almonds and then drizzled with a buttery toffee.   Even though the instructions look longish they really are quick and easy to put together.

Cranberry Almond Jingle Bars

The original recipe called for melted white chocolate drizzled overtop, which would be lovely. But when I was melting the white chocolate I burned it three times. So no chocolate drizzle and to be honest, they’re very rich and sweet as it is so they don’t need a drizzle.

If you want to dress them up a bit more melt 1/3 cup white chocolate chips (or about 1 1/2 squares of Baker’s Chocolate) and drizzle it over top once they have mostly cooled. Wait for the chocolate to set before you cut them into bars.

Cranberry Almond Jingle Bar Recipe

Adapted from Eyes Bigger Than My Stomach 

Base:

  • 1 cup + 4 Tbs. butter, softened
  • 6 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger

Topping:

  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup sliced almonds

Toffee Glaze:

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. Crosby’s Fancy Molasses
  • 1/2 cup butter

To make the base:

  1. Beat together the butter and sugar.
  2. Mix in the egg and vanilla.
  3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and ginger and stir into the creamed mixture. Stir just until combined.
  4. Press into a 9”x13” pan that has been lined with parchment paper. (Ensure that the parchment goes up the sides too). Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes. The base will be set, but this will bake again once the topping is added so don’t worry.
  5. Leave the oven on.

To make the topping:

  1. Combine the cranberries and almonds and spread over cooked base.

To make the Toffee Glaze:

  1. Melt brown sugar, molasses and butter over low heat. Bring to the boil and simmer for 3 minutes.
  2. Pour over the cranberries and almonds.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes at 350F   Cool completely before cutting.

One more thing…

If you’re in search of family-friendly food that’s easy to prepare, healthy and tastes good, then sign up to receive blog posts by email.



We’d love to send you our monthly newsletter too. Our Making Life Delicious newsletter includes cooking tips, menu ideas and featured recipes. Here’s the link to our monthly email sign-up form.

 

Melt in your mouth Molasses Walnut Cookies

Servings: 2 1/2 dozen cookies serving(s)

Prep time: 15 minutes

Total time: 45 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Take me to the recipe

Molasses Walnut Cookies  are a buttery shortbread-style cookie loaded with ground nuts and coated in powdery white icing sugar.

molasses walnut cookies

Snowball Cookies, Mexican Wedding Cookies, Russian Tea Cookies…

These cookies go by all sorts of names but they’re all the same buttery shortbread-style cookie loaded with ground nuts and coated in powdery white icing sugar. They’re a festive cookie if there ever was one, with their snowy coat.

This version swaps out the pecans for walnuts and replaces the corn syrup with molasses, and the flavours meld so beautifully that you’d think this was a holiday classic. And maybe it is.

The version of this cookie I grew up with were my mom’s hazelnut crescents. Even as a youngster they were the first I chose off the cookie plate and any leftovers in the freezer after the holidays were reserved for me and me alone.

molasses walnut cookies

Variety on your holiday cookie plate is a wonderful thing and these cookies are guaranteed to offer that. Dense with nuts they have a satisfying substance tucked into that buttery crumb.

The recipe offers endless variations. Try it with ground pecans or hazelnuts instead of walnuts. Add the zest of half an orange or double up on the spices.

molasses walnut cookies

Molasses Walnut Cookies Recipe

Makes 2 ½ dozen cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • Pinch of ginger and cinnamon
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ¼ cup Crosby’s Fancy Molasses
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 scant cup ground toasted walnuts (a cup of walnut pieces whirred in the food processor until crumbly)
  • About ½ cup icing sugar, sifted (for rolling baked cookies)

Instructions:

  1. Beat butter until creamy then beat in molasses and vanilla. Stir spices into flour and add in three additions. Stir in ground walnuts. Scrape dough into a ball, press into a disk and refrigerate for an hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 300 F
  3. Roll dough into 1” balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet about 1 ½” apart.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes.
  5. When cool roll in icing sugar. Or roll when warm and dust again with sugar when cooled.

One more thing…

If you’re in search of family-friendly food that’s easy to prepare, healthy and tastes good, then sign up to receive blog posts by email. We’d love to send you our monthly newsletter too. It includes cooking tips, menu ideas, featured recipes and more. Here’s the link to subscribe.

Free Holiday eBook: 20 Recipes For Holiday Cookies and Treats

Take me to the recipe

20 recipes for holiday favourites

My earliest holiday cookie memory is of Cardamom-Scented Gingersnaps. They’re so plain that you wouldn’t think they’d stand out to a child. But it isn’t the look of them that I recall it’s the smell of the kitchen while they baked. Cardamom is an exotic spice with a scent that can take you right into a Christmas storybook, to the Three Wise Men and their frankincense and myrrh.

Cardamom-Scented Gingersnaps is the cover recipe in our new Holiday eBook. This updated eBook includes 20 recipes for holiday treats, including gingerbread classics and new ideas for your cookie plate. This is a collection of recipes that I grew up with and recipes that I discovered over the past couple of years.

20 recipes for holiday favourites

*Download our Free eBook featuring 20 recipes for holiday cookies and treats*

Here’s a list of the treats you’ll find inside our new eBook:

  1. Cardamom Scented Gingersnaps
  2. Glossy Pecan Toffee Bars 
  3. Whole Wheat Gingerbread Cut Out Cookies
  4. Chocolate Gingerbread Cut Out Cookies
  5. Peanut Butter Molasses Cookies with Hershey’s Hugs
  6. Ginger Spice Molasses Cookies
  7. Fig & Apricot Newtons
  8. Truffle-Stuffed Ginger Cookies
  9. Gingerbread Coconut Thumbprint Cookies
  10. Orange Spice Molasses Cookies
  11. Pfeffernusse
  12. Gingerbread Biscotti
  13. Molasses Ginger Shortbread
  14. Chocolate Molasses Crackle Cookies
  15. Holiday Brittle
  16. Gingerbread Almonds
  17. Five-Spice Candied Nuts
  18. Molasses Cranberry Sauce
  19. Mulled Cider
  20. Molasses Eggnog

One more thing…

If you’re in search of family-friendly food that’s easy to prepare, healthy and tastes good, then sign up to receive blog posts by email.



We’d love to send you our monthly newsletter too. Our Making Life Delicious newsletter includes cooking tips, menu ideas and featured recipes. Here’s the link to our monthly email sign-up form.

 

 

Easy Chocolate Orange Gingersnap Drops for the non-candy-maker

Servings: 30 serving(s)

Prep time: 15 minutes

Total time: 75 minutes

Take me to the recipe

 

chocolate orange gingersnap drops

These are one of those festive treats that is perfect for those who can’t resist the bright holiday flavours of candied ginger, gingersnaps and dark chocolate. The people who want to nibble something that tastes unmistakeably of Christmas, and an old fashioned Christmas at that.

chocolate orange gingersnap drops

Every December I am reminded of the fact that candy making is not my thing. I love the idea of it – I grew up eating ribbon candy and barley toys made by Ganong Bros., just down the road in St. Stephen New Brunswick. My mom even shipped them to me when I was living in France so I wouldn’t miss all of our family traditions the year I didn‘t make it home for the holidays.

chocolate orange gingersnap drops

Christmas candy is a beautiful thing but my candy thermometer confidence is low so I only attempt candy about once every four years. This is not one of those years.

Hence the appeal of this holiday candy. No thermometer required. In fact there is hardly any effort required at all. You just do a little crushing, a little melting and a little mixing.

This is another outstanding recipe from the new Messy Baker cookbook.

Chocolate Orange Gingersnap Drop Recipe

Makes about 30

Adapted from The Messy Baker

  • ¾ cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1 cup roughly crushed gingersnaps (about 4 oz)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped candied ginger
  • Zest of ½ an orange
  • ½ cup butter
  • ¼ cup Crosby’s Fancy Molasses*
  • 7 oz dark chocolate
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  1. In a medium bowl combine the walnuts, gingersnap crumbs, candied ginger and orange zest.
  2. Place about 30 mini paper cups (smaller than mini muffin cups) on a sided cookie sheet.
  3. In a medium saucepan gently melt the butter with the molasses. Bring to a gentle boil, remove from heat and add chocolate. Stir until melted then beat in the egg.
  4. Pour over the crumb mixture and mix with a spatula until well combined.
  5. Drop by heaping tablespoonful into paper cups. Refrigerate until firm.

*The original recipe called for corn syrup or Lyle’s Golden Syrup. If you want to mellow the flavour a bit use 2 Tbsp. molasses and 2 Tbsp. syrup.

One more thing…

If you’re in search of family-friendly food that’s easy to prepare, healthy and tastes good, then sign up to receive blog posts by email.



We’d love to send you our monthly newsletter too. Our Making Life Delicious newsletter includes cooking tips, menu ideas and featured recipes. Here’s the link to our monthly email sign-up form.

 

Peanut Butter Molasses Cookies dressed up for Christmas

Servings: 30 serving(s)

Prep time: 10 minutes

Total time: 23 minutes

Cooking time: 13 minutes

Take me to the recipe

Peanut Butter Molasses Cookies are chewy and lightly spiced for the holidays. 

Peanut Butter Molasses Cookies

Sometimes everyday cookies can use a little decorating for Christmas. As with our homes, I suppose, a little festive touch can make the ordinary feel (or taste) a little special.

There are some cookies that I make every year: gingerbread cut out cookies, cornmeal biscotti and rugelach. That small list leaves room to add a few new recipes to my cookie plate each December.

Peanut Butter Molasses Cookies

Fiddly cookies are not my thing so a simple peanut butter cookie dressed up with Hershey’s Hugs was an easy choice. Plus it was fun for my kids to help. We were an assembly line: I formed the cookie dough balls then they did the crisscross press with a fork and placed the Hugs in the centre of each cookie.

These are a chewy peanut butter cookie and lightly spiced for the holidays. I used natural peanut butter and they worked out well but the original recipe called for regular peanut butter.  Suit yourself.

By the way, peanut butter and molasses is an epic combination. Try it on toast.

peanut butter molasses cookies

Peanut Butter Molasses Cookie Recipe

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies

Adapted from Chocolate Moosey

Ingredients

  • 2 to 2 ¼ cups flour*
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup Crosby’s Fancy Molasses
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 30 chocolate “kisses” or “hugs” (optional)**

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together 2 cups of the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt.
  3. In another large bowl, beat together the molasses, butter, peanut butter brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg.
  4. Stir in the flour mixture a cup at a time and mix until combined. (Add extra ¼ cup of flour if dough seems too soft).
  5. Shape the dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and place about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets. Press with the tines of a fork in a criss-cross pattern.
  6. Bake 11-13 minutes or until edges are firm.**
  7. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack.

*Start with the 2 cups of flour and only add the extra ¼ cup if your dough is too soft.

**If you’re adding the chocolates: When there are 5 minutes left, remove the pan from the oven and quickly place the chocolates. Return pan to the oven to finish baking.

 

One more thing…

If you’re in search of family-friendly food that’s easy to prepare, healthy and tastes good, then sign up to receive blog posts by email. We’d love to send you our monthly newsletter too. It includes cooking tips, menu ideas, featured recipes and more. Here’s the link to subscribe.

Ginger Spice Molasses Cookies & How To Use Cookie Stamps

Servings: 4-5 dozen serving(s)

Prep time: 15 minutes

Total time: 65 minutes

Cooking time: 50 minutes

Take me to the recipe

ginger spice molasses cookies

A tender molasses cookie dressed up for the holidays with festive cookie stamps.

There’s something about a tender molasses spice cookie that can make people swoon, especially at Christmastime. Most festive molasses cookies are firm or chewy, which is delicious too but sometimes it’s a treat to enjoy a festive looking cookie that has a tender crumb.

nordic ware cookie stamps

It’s also a treat to put my new cookie stamps to work. A gift from Nordic Ware these vintage cast aluminum stamps can turn a very ordinary cookie into something that suits the holidays.

ginger spice molasses cookies

I have A Pretty Life blog to thank for teaching me how to best use cookie stamps. I used to stamp my cookies before I put them I the oven and was always a bit disappointed that the design didn’t hold well, even with biscuit-like cookies. So now I know the trick – partially bake your cookies first, pull them out of the oven just long enough to press them with the stamp and then slide them back in for the final few minutes of baking.

ginger spice molasses cookies

Ginger Spice Molasses Cookie Recipe

From A Pretty Life

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4¾ cups of flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tsp ginger
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 1 cup Crosby’s Fancy Molasses

Instructions

  • In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar. Whisk in the eggs one at a time.In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, ginger and cinnamon.
  • Add half the flour mixture to the butter mixture, then the molasses and milk, then the remaining flour mixture. Mix until combined then gather the dough into a ball and cut it in two.
  • Chill the dough for an hour or overnight, if you have time.

When you’re ready to bake the cookies:

  • Preheat oven to 375 F.
  • On a lightly floured surface roll dough about 1/4“ inch thick and cut into rounds about the size of your cookie stamps.
  • Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes, remove from the oven and quickly press the cookie stamp into each of the cookies. Return to the oven for 3-5 more minutes.
  • If you’re not using a cookie press just bake your cut out cookies for 8-10 minutes.

 

One more thing…

If you’re in search of family-friendly food that’s easy to prepare, healthy and tastes good, then sign up to receive blog posts by email.



We’d love to send you our monthly newsletter too. Our Making Life Delicious newsletter includes cooking tips, menu ideas and featured recipes. Here’s the link to our monthly email sign-up form.

 

White Chocolate Truffle Stuffed Molasses Cookies

Servings: 24-30 serving(s)

Prep time: 75 minutes

Total time: 95 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Take me to the recipe

white chocolate truffle stuffed molasses cookies

Meet our prize winning cookie!

Back in the spring we hosted a molasses cookie contest with Food Bloggers of Canada, a national organization of home cooks and bakers who blog about food.

Choosing a winner was one of the joys of my job: I baked a batch of each of the five finalists and my colleagues and I nibbled our way through every single one of them until we chose a winner.

(Here are the five cookie contest finalists)

This Truffle Stuffed Molasses Cookie is the one that came out on top, made by Ashley of The Recipe Rebel blog.

It’s deceptively simple – a classic ginger crinkle cookie — but it has a white chocolate truffle tucked inside. An irresistible surprise.

white chocolate truffle stuffed molasses cookies

The original recipe calls for homemade truffles, which I did make the first time I tried these cookies. I just didn’t make them very well, and my leak rate was pretty high. If you want to give homemade truffles a try click through to the original recipe on The Recipe Rebel. The truffle recipe is part of the cookie recipe on her site.

The hardest part about making these cookies? Hiding the truffles from my kids so they wouldn’t get devoured before the dough chilled.

White Chocolate Truffle Stuffed Molasses Cookie Recipe

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup Crosby’s Fancy Molasses
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sugar (for rolling)
  • 6-8 Lindt white chocolate truffles, cut into quarters

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl beat sugar and butter until well combined. Beat in egg and molasses.
  3. Add flour, ginger, baking soda and cinnamon and beat until completely combined.
  4. Cover and refrigerate 20 minutes to an hour.
  5. Shape dough into 1 1/2″ balls and flatten the middle with your thumb. Place a truffle piece in the middle and roll the dough around it, being careful not to leave any holes or gaps for it to leak. Roll cookie in granulated sugar and place on a cookie sheet at least 2″ apart. Chill for 10 minutes, if you have time.
  6. Bake 8-10 minutes, until set. Cool slightly before removing from pan to a cooling rack.

One more thing…

If you’re in search of family-friendly food that’s easy to prepare, healthy and tastes good, then sign up to receive blog posts by email.



We’d love to send you our monthly newsletter too. Our Making Life Delicious newsletter includes cooking tips, menu ideas and featured recipes. Here’s the link to our monthly email sign-up form.

Easy and delicious Holiday breakfast recipes

Four easy and delicious Holiday breakfast ideas
Easy and delicious Holiday breakfast recipes

Oh I love holiday breakfasts. No one is in a hurry to get things on the table, no one is in a rush to finish, and there is time for another cup of coffee, and may be another.

Holiday breakfasts are for lingering.

Is that the pace at your house over the holidays?

I suspect for most the joy in lingering is all about timing. There are things that need doing first thing in the morning before you can really enjoy a long sit down.

I have friends who, as children, on Christmas morning had to eat a full breakfast before even so much as getting a peek at the tree in the living room. In our house growing up we had to wait for my eldest sister – the family sleepy head – to wake before we could all line up and file down the stairs. Now with my kids all I ask is that I have time to make myself a cup of coffee before the mayhem.

(Someday I’m sure we’ll be sipping our coffee waiting for our kids to wake on Christmas morning but for now we’re still crossing our fingers that they’ll sleep until 5:00 or so.)

Easy & delicious breakfast ideas

Since breakfast is often the most rushed meal of the day, taking a leisurely breakfasts feels a bit like an indulgence.

If that suits you just fine I have four breakfast ideas meant for lingering and suited to appetites big and small:

Molasses flax waffles:

 

molasses flax waffles

Molasses sticky buns:

Molasses sticky buns

Molasses walnut scones with vanilla glaze:

molasses walnut scones with vanilla glaze

 Blueberry pancakes:

blueberry pancakes

 

One more thing…

If you’re in search of family-friendly food that’s easy to prepare, healthy and tastes good, then sign up to receive blog posts by email. The sign-up form is on the top left hand side of this page. We’d love to send you our monthly newsletter too. Our Making Life Delicious newsletter includes cooking tips, menu ideas and featured recipes. Here’s the link to our monthly email sign-up form.

Bridget signature

 

 

Classic German spice cookies – the beguiling Pfeffernusse

 Pfeffernusse German spice cookies

 

 

I’m beginning to think that there are two Christmas cookie camps: there’s the very sweet, sometimes gooey, chocolate-usually-included camp and there is the often spicy, been-around-for-hundreds-of-years, goo-less camp.

A simplified view, I know, but the idea of special Christmas cookies covers the gamut.

For me, simple is beautiful. I love traditional cookies with complex flavours and pleasing textures, exotic spices and no food colouring.

Pfeffernusse German spice cookies

 

I eat more than my fair share of chocolates over the Holidays and I won’t turn my nose up at gooey sweets but when push comes to shove it’s the unassuming cookie on the tray that catches my eye.

Take these Pfeffernusse for example. These German Spice Cookies of my childhood are a humble-seeming biscuit that didn’t really catch my eye until I was in my 20s.

I have no German roots but my mom is an adventurous baker and was always drawn to European treats. I grew up eating Saint Lucia buns on December 13, Lebkuchen decorated with candied angelica and Vienna crescents rich with ground nuts. We devoured cardamom gingersnaps, Linzer cookies and pfeffernusse alongside shortbreads and Aunt Mary’s sugar cookies.

Pfeffernusse German spice cookies

 

This isn’t the exact recipe I grew up with though. Since pfeffernusse translates to “peppernuts” I was wondering about the “nut” bit. My recipe has lots of ground pepper but no nuts so I went hunting for other recipes and came across this version, complete with ground almonds, citrus zest and rolled in spiced icing sugar.

Slightly chewy and very aromatic these cookies became a new family favourite, especially for my 13-year-old who also has a fondness for Timbits.

 

German spice cookies – Pfeffernusse

Adapted from Chow.com

 For the cookies:

  • 3 cups flour (I used 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour and two cups of white flour)
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • ½ cup butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp. packed finely grated lemon zest (from about 2 medium lemons)
  • 2 tsp. packed finely grated orange zest (from 1 medium orange)
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup Crosby’s Fancy Molasses

For the spiced sugar:

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice

Directions:

For the cookies:

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together dry ingredients (flour through almonds).
  2. In a large bowl beat together the butter and lemon and orange zest. Add the brown sugar in three batches and mix until well combined.
  3. Beat in the egg then the molasses.
  4. Add the flour mixture in three additions, mixing until just combined.
  5. Cover and refrigerate the dough until firm, at least 1 hour.
  6. Roll the dough into one inch balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet (at least an inch apart).
  7. Bake at 350 F for about 12 minutes. (Don’t let the bottoms get too dark).
  8. Let them cool a bit then drop warm cookies into the spiced icing sugar and cool on a rack.

For the spiced sugar mixture

While the cookies are baking, sift all ingredients together into a large bowl; set aside.

To freeze, don’t roll them in the sugar mixture until they’re thawed and ready to eat.

Do you have favourite Holiday recipes that you make year after year? I’d love to hear all about them.

One more thing…

If you’re in search of family-friendly food that’s easy to prepare, healthy and tastes good, then sign up to receive blog posts by email. The sign-up form is on the top left hand side of this page. We’d love to send you our monthly newsletter too. Our Making Life Delicious newsletter includes cooking tips, menu ideas and featured recipes. Here’s the link to our monthly email sign-up form.

Bridget signature

 German spice cookies pfeffernusse

Cardamom scented gingersnaps

Servings: 6 dozen serving(s)

Prep time: 20 minutes

Total time: 26 minutes

Cooking time: 6 minutes

Take me to the recipe

 

Cardamom scented gingersnaps

Do you have any cookie recipes from your childhood that can transport you back in time?

This recipe does that for me. The smell of these cardamom scented gingersnaps baking makes me feel like I’m about five years old again, and nibbling one takes me back to the kitchen table, a few days after Christmas, drinking hot chocolate out of big red Christmas mugs.

Cardamom scented gingersnaps

The reason why I recall eating them after Christmas is because this is a giant recipe. I always cut it in half but my mom would make the full batch. That’s nine whopping cups of flour. She’d stay up half the night rolling, cutting and baking, and if it wasn’t for the fact that these are so delicious, she would never have bothered.

It’s the cardamom that does it. There is something about the scent of cardamom that makes me think it should have a place in history right alongside gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Cardamom gingerbread cut out cookies

There are no eggs in this recipe and it includes whipped cream. Don’t let that throw you off. The texture of the dough is lovely to work with and the crispiness of the cookie can’t be matched.

These cookies are lovely in their simplicity. Use your favourite cookie cutters and cut holes in the cookies before baking if you’d like to hang them on the tree.

 Cardamom gingerbread cut out cookies

Cardamom Scented Gingersnaps

Recipe can be halved

  • 1 ½ cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup Crosby’s Fancy Molasses
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 ½ tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped to stiff peaks
  • 9 cups flour (lightly spooned in)
  • 1 Tbsp. baking soda
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Beat together butter and molasses.
  3. Beat in sugar and spices.
  4. With a wooden spoon fold in the whipped cream.
  5. Whisk together flour and baking soda then add to creamed mixture in three additions.
  6. Mix until just combined.
  7. Refrigerate for at least an hour, or overnight.
  8. Scrape dough onto a lightly floured surface, divide in half.
  9. On a very lightly floured surface roll to ¼” thickness. Cut into Holiday shapes.
  10. Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 5-6 minutes. Watch closely.

Do you have favourite Holiday recipes that you make year after year? I’d love to hear all about them.

One more thing…

If you’re in search of family-friendly food that’s easy to prepare, healthy and tastes good, then sign up to receive blog posts by email. We’d love to send you our monthly newsletter too. It includes cooking tips, menu ideas, featured recipes and more. Here’s the link to subscribe.

Christmas crafts for kids: Painting cookies with tinted frosting

Decorating Christmas cut-out cookies with kids

This month’s topic for The Canadian Food Experience Project is all about regional Christmas traditions.  Because molasses is such a  part of the culinary history of Atlantic Canada, gingerbread cut-out cookies definitely have their place in our Region’s Holiday traditions.

The great fun in the tradition comes when you let your kids paint these Christmas cookies with tinted frosting…

If you’re looking for Christmas crafts for kids, painting cookies tops my list. After all, what’s better than an afternoon spent at the kitchen table painting great gobs of tinted frosting onto cut out cookies, applying candy sprinkles with abandon and listening to Christmas records?

If you asked my kids they’d tell you that Christmas cookie painting is just about the best Christmas tradition in our house.

I grew up painting gingerbread cut out cookies with my brothers and sisters. It was always an afternoon of fun, Christmas music and way too many silver candy balls.

Mom would roll, cut and bake dozens of cookie stars, angels, trees, bells and chubby gingerbread men, and as fast as they cooled we’d decorate them, using real paint brushes (reserved for cooking painting only) and varying amounts of skill and patience. My sister Martha was always the most creative. I remember her painting blue denim overalls on stars, complete with contrasting pockets and stitching. Once the frosting hardened (and believe me, it hardened) we’d hang them on the tree where they’re go stale and somehow get more delicious.

Decorating Christmas cut-out cookies with kids

Is painting gingerbread cookies a New Brunswick tradition? Haven’t a clue but among my family, eating spicy gingerbread cookies under a blanket of tinted frosting is an enduring tradition that helps to define the Holidays. Painting cookies fuels the fire of anticipation with my kids and is the most delightful family activity.

Here are two great recipes for gingerbread cut-out cookies that are just right for painting:

Whole wheat gingerbread cut-out cookies.

Chocolate gingerbread cut-out cookies.

(We use basic kids craft paint brushes with stiff bristles. )

Decorating Christmas cut-out cookies with kids

How to paint Christmas cookies with kids:

  1. Make a big batch of simple white icing
  2. Divide into four bowls and tint three of the bowls primary colours (red, yellow, blue)
  3. Let your kids mix their own secondary colours (green, orange, purple)
  4. Have on hand your choice of edible sprinkles.
  5. Have on hand children’s craft paint brushes with stiff bristles.

The rules of painting cookies with kids (in our house):

  1. There are no rules and no limits.
  2. Licking paintbrushes is discouraged but won’t get you kicked out of the fun.
  3. Wait for the frosting to harden before attempting to hang cookies on the tree.
  4. Red and green frosting swirled together makes swampy brown frosting. Don’t swirl if you don’t want brown.
  5. “The works” cookies are usually too heavy to hang on the tree.

 

These cookies are for kid consumption only.

Aside from the fact that the cookies are usually overloaded with frosting, there is a lot of paint brush licking and fingers in the frosting, so no one but their creators want to be eating them.

That of course is part of the fun. A whole tin of cookies for kids only plus those that pass the weight test so get hung on the tree (only to be nibbled like worms on a hook as they slowly go stale.)

Is cookie painting a Holiday tradition in your house?

 

Here are two great cookie recipes for extra fun painting:

Tip: If you want to hang your cookies on the tree, make a hole in the top of the cookie (using a skewer or straw) before baking. When the frosting has dried thread a piece of ribbon through the hole.

Whole wheat gingerbread cut out cookies

chocolate gingerbread cut-out cookies

 

The Canadian Food Experience Project began June 7 2013. The idea is to share our collective stories through our regional food experiences, to bring global clarity to our Canadian culinary identity.

 

Do you have favourite Holiday recipes that you make year after year? I’d love to hear all about them.

One more thing…

If you’re in search of family-friendly food that’s easy to prepare, healthy and tastes good, then sign up to receive blog posts by email. The sign-up form is on the top left hand side of this page. We’d love to send you our monthly newsletter too. Our Making Life Delicious newsletter includes cooking tips, menu ideas and featured recipes. Here’s the link to our monthly email sign-up form.

Bridget signature

20 recipes for Holiday treats in a free e-book

Festive cookies and homemade gifts - 20 recipes for Holiday treats
Have you ever spent an afternoon digging through recipe folders and books to find a particular recipe, a family favourite that you make every year?

It’s usually in one particular spot, but last year you remember saying to yourself, “I’m going to tuck it here so I don’t have to go digging through everything again next year to find it.”

I do it all the time and I swear it’s by sheer luck that I manage to find all of my Holiday recipes every December.

Festive cookies and homemade gifts - 20 recipes for Holiday treats

What I have managed to do, however, is gather my favourite festive molasses recipes together in our Holiday Book. This is a collection of 20 seasonal recipes, including classic cookies and bars, homemade gifts and finger food for Holiday entertaining.

Originally published last year (e-book only), this year’s version has been updated with new recipes that are just right for the Holidays.

This e-book has been created in a simple-to-view format. Just click to open the book, or right-click to print or download the book. No e-reader required.

Festive cookies and homemade gifts – 20 recipes for Holiday treats:

Festive cookies and homemade gifts - 20 recipes for Holiday treats

Do you have favourite Holiday recipes that you make year after year? I’d love to hear all about them.

One more thing…

If you’re in search of family-friendly food that’s easy to prepare, healthy and tastes good, then sign up to receive blog posts by email. The sign-up form is on the top left hand side of this page. We’d love to send you our monthly newsletter too. Our Making Life Delicious newsletter includes cooking tips, menu ideas and featured recipes. Here’s the link to our monthly email sign-up form.

Bridget signature

 

Glossy Pecan Toffee Bars – because the Holidays are for indulging

Prep time: 20 minutes

Total time: 1 hours 5 minutes

Cooking time: 45 minutes

Take me to the recipe

Glossy pecan toffee bars… buttery toffee thick with pecans layered on a barely-sweet shortbread base. They’re gorgeous but not over the top. They’re festive and beyond delicious.

Glossy pecan toffee bars

All that to say: glossy pecan toffee bars suit the fun and festivities of the Holiday season in both looks and taste.

I can’t believe that I was going to drizzle these bars with melted white chocolate. I would have, but the white chocolate seized in the pan when I was melting it, so was eaten by my kids instead.

The toffee-coated pecans are so glossy and pretty on their own who would want to cover them?

They are rich and sweet — one iota more of anything might make you forget about the pecans and toffee, and that would be a shame.

This recipe is adapted from Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa. She dips each square in dark chocolate and if your body can tolerate that extra layer of sweet, then go for it.

Glossy pecan toffee bars

Glossy Pecan Toffee Bars Recipe

Adapted from Ina Garten

Base:

  • 1 cup + 4 Tbs. butter, softened
  • 6 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • Pinch of salt

 Topping

  • 1 cup butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 ½ cups light brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup Crosby’s Fancy Molasses
  • 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 lb. pecan halves

 To make the crust:

  1. Beat together the butter and sugar. Mix in the egg and vanilla.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, ginger and salt and stir into the creamed mixture. Stir just until combined.
  3. Press into a 9”x13” pan that has been lined with parchment paper. (Ensure that the parchment goes up the sides too).
  4. Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes. The base will be set, but not fully cooked. It will bake again once the topping is added so don’t worry.
  5. Leave the oven on.

To make the topping & complete the bars:

  1. Combine butter, brown sugar and molasses in a medium sauce pan over low heat. Stir to combine as the butter melts. Raise the temperature to medium and bring to a boil. Boil for three minutes then remove from heat, stir in the heavy cream and pecans.
  2. Combine well with a rubber spatula then carefully pour, scrape and spread over the baked crust.
  3. Return to the oven for 30-35 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and let cool before cutting.

 

Are you a fan of pecans? Try our Pecan Pie Bars. They’re crazy delicious.

Pecan pie squares

One more thing…
If you’re in search of family-friendly food that’s easy to prepare, healthy and tastes good, then sign up to receive blog posts by email. We’d love to send you our monthly newsletter too. It includes cooking tips, menu ideas, featured recipes and more. Here’s the link to subscribe

Bridget signature