The holidays are nearly here, and you know what that means! We’re going from spooky treats of Halloween to festive treats for the hustle and bustle of the winter holidays. Whether you’re celebrating Hannukah, Christmas, or The Winter Solstice, these treats are perfect for your holiday gatherings. Each treat includes a tasty recipe, so you can make all of them in the comfort of your home.
Here you’ll find delicious butter tarts, succulent shortbread cookies, and much more. But enough blabbering…let’s get to the good stuff! Here are five classic Canadian holiday treats and their recipes.
1. Butter Tarts
Canadians love butter tarts, and it’s no surprise once you taste one. These delicious, bite-sized treats are filled with buttery caramel goodness, and will leave everyone at your next holiday gathering in awe of your amazing skills. Butter tarts are best served warm, and you can change any part of this recipe to suit your personal needs. The recipe itself comes from here.
You’ll need to make a pastry with:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup cold butter, cubed
¼ cup cold lard, cubed (or substitute butter)
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
And also, a filling…
½ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup corn syrup
1 large, room-temperature egg
2 tablespoons very soft butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Pinch of salt
⅓ cup currants, sultana raisins, chopped walnuts, or pecan halves
Make the pastry: In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Use a pastry blender to cut in the butter and lard until the mixture is in very fine crumbs. In a 1-cup measuring cup, use a small whisk or fork to combine the egg yolk, lemon juice, and enough ice water to come to ⅓ cup. Gradually drizzle over the flour mixture, stirring briskly with a fork until the pastry holds together. You may need to add a little more ice water to gather up the last of the dry bits. Press into a disc, and wrap and chill until firm. Let stand at room temperature to soften a little before rolling.
Make the filling: Preheat the oven to 450°. In a medium bowl, mix together the sugar, syrup, egg, butter, vanilla, lemon juice, and salt until smooth.
On a floured surface, roll out the pastry to a ⅛-inch thickness. Using a 4-inch round cookie cutter, cut out 12 circles, rerolling scraps if necessary. Fit into muffin cups. Divide the currants among the pastry shells. Spoon the filling over the currants until three-quarters full.
Bake in the bottom third of the oven for about 12 minutes, or until filling is puffed and bubbly and pastry is golden. Let stand on a rack for a minute; immediately run a metal spatula around tarts to loosen. Carefully slide the spatula under the tarts and lift out to cool on a rack. The baker gets to eat all the tarts that break in transit, or give them as a reward to favourite people.
You can freeze them for a month, or store in the fridge for up to a week. Warm to serve.
2. Nanaimo Bars
Nanaimo bars are another Canadian favorite that you simply must have your next gathering. They’re made with custard filling, chocolatey topping, and a crumb crust. This recipe comes from Canadian Living, and is one of the best!
First, you need to make the crust:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup finely chopped walnut
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup butter melted
1 egg lightly beaten
Then, the filling:
1/4 cup butter softened
2 tablespoons custard powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups icing sugar
2 tablespoons milk (approx)
And the topping…
4 oz semisweet chocolate chopped
1 tablespoon butter
4. The Best Holiday Treats: French Macarons
Macarons, Macarons, Macarons! And no, we’re not talking about the French prime minister, Emmanuel Macron. These delicious stuffed cookies are a classic, and are sure to warm the hearts and bellies of anyone in attendance at your next holiday party. Let’s get started with this delicious recipe from Food Network.
1 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup almond flour
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup superfine sugar
2 to 3 drops gel food coloring (see below)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla, almond, or mint extract
Assorted fillings (see below)
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F using the convection setting. Line 3 baking sheets with silicone mats. Measure the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour by spooning them into measuring cups and leveling with a knife. Transfer to a bowl; whisk to combine. Sift the sugar-almond flour mixture, a little at a time, through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, pressing with a rubber spatula to pass through as much as possible. It will take a while, and up to 2 tablespoons of coarse almond flour may be left; just toss it.
Beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt with a mixer on medium speed until frothy. Increase the speed to medium-high; gradually add the superfine sugar and beat until stiff and shiny, about 5 more minutes. Transfer the beaten egg whites to the bowl with the almond flour mixture. Draw a rubber spatula halfway through the mixture and fold until incorporated, giving the bowl a quarter turn with each fold. Add the food coloring and extract. Continue folding and turning, scraping down the bowl, until the batter is smooth and falls off the spatula in a thin flat ribbon, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch round tip. Holding the bag vertically and close to the baking sheet, pipe 1 1/4-inch circles (24 per sheet). Firmly tap the baking sheets twice against the counter to release any air bubbles.
Let the cookies sit at room temperature until the tops are no longer sticky to the touch, 15 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the humidity. Slip another baking sheet under the first batch (a double baking sheet protects the cookies from the heat).
Bake the first batch until the cookies are shiny and rise 1/8 inch to form a “foot,” about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. Repeat, using a double sheet for each batch. Peel the cookies off the mats and sandwich with a thin layer of filling (see below).
Tint the batter with 2 drops neon pink gel food coloring; flavor with almond extract. Fill with seedless raspberry jam (you’ll need about 3/4 cup).
Tint the batter with 2 drops mint green gel food coloring; flavor with mint extract. For the filling, microwave 3 ounces chopped white chocolate, 2 tablespoons heavy cream and 1 tablespoon butter in 30-second intervals, stirring, until smooth. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon mint extract and 1 drop mint green gel food coloring.
Tint the batter with 3 drops royal blue gel food coloring; flavor with vanilla extract. For the filling, mix 4 ounces softened cream cheese and 3 tablespoons blueberry jam.
Tint the batter with 2 drops violet gel food coloring; flavor with almond or vanilla extract. For the filling, mix 3/4 cup mascarpone cheese, 2 tablespoons honey, and 1 teaspoon ground dried lavender.
Tint the batter with 2 drops lemon yellow gel food coloring; flavor with vanilla extract. For the filling, press 3/4 cup pineapple jam through a sieve, discarding any large pieces.
5. Yummy Holiday Treats: Layered Fudge
Who doesn’t love chocolate fudge? Especially when it’s layered with all manner of yummy flavors! This holiday season, make yourself the envy of the part with this delicious holiday treat from What’s Cooking by Kraft Canada.
2 pkg. (225 g each) Baker’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate
2 cups canned sweetened condensed milk, divided
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 pkg. (170 g) Baker’s White Chocolate
Line 9-inch square pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides; grease foil. Microwave semi-sweet chocolate and 1-1/2 cups milk in medium microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min., stirring after 1 min. Stir until chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is well blended. Add vanilla and nuts; mix well. Pour into prepared pan. Refrigerate while preparing the top layer. Place white chocolate and remaining milk in a medium microwaveable bowl. Microwave on HIGH 2 min., stirring after 1 min. Stir until chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is well blended. Pour over the fudge layer in pan.
Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm. Cut into 40 squares to serve.
These holiday treats are perfect for all of your gatherings. Each recipe is simple and tasty—enjoy!