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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Linzertorte- Austrian Jam Tart

Most of my recipes for the holidays have some sort of family history. Either it's something my mom made when I was a child, or something that a relative would bring to the table every year.

The Linzertorte, however, is an exception. I have no idea when and why I started to make it, but I absolutely adore this dessert.

A Linzertorte is actually an Austrian dessert named after a city in Austria. It's a super easy tart to make because the pastry is pressed into the tart pan instead of rolled and the filling is jam. It's not too sweet but just sweet enough because of the jam, and the subtle spices, hint of lemon and nuttiness make it a perfect holiday dessert (or if you are my husband, you eat it for breakfast too!).

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Ginger Spice Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

A few years ago, my mom introduced me to these amazing Crisp Ginger Spice Cookies as an alternative to gingerbread cookies. They are crispy and delicious... kind of a cross between gingerbread men and gingersnap cookies. Ever since my mom discovered these, they have made a regular appearance in our Christmas cookie trays, and this year was no exception.

These cookies are really easy to make because they don't require rolling or cookie cutters. The dough is pressed into a loaf pan or rolled into logs and frozen. Then they are cut thin and baked.

When I arrived home this holiday season, I once again found myself enjoying these fantastic cookies. Then, it hit me.  The long, rectangular shape reminded me of something-- ice cream sandwiches!

So, I decided to turn these cookies into my favorite frozen dessert! I used white chocolate ice cream, but of course, you could use vanilla, peppermint or whatever kind of ice cream you prefer. In this case, I added the ice cream, squashed the 2 cookies together, and ate it, but you could also make the sandwiches and wrap them in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for a future frozen treat.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Nanaimo Bars

Nothing says the holidays like Nanaimo bars. They are rich, creamy, nutty and the perfect after dinner treat. 

Nanaimo bars originated when a housewife submitted the recipe to a cookbook in the early 1950's. The bar was made in Nanaimo at many of the coffee shops and became very popular with tourists, who called it the Nanaimo bar.

How it became a Christmas tradition? I have no idea, but in our household, they always seem to appear around the holidays, when all of our favorite sweet treats find their way to the table. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Mom's Best Hashbrown Casserole Recipe- Reinvented

My mom has a staple hashbrown casserole recipe. This delicious side dish finds its way onto every table when she is entertaining, and if it's not there, you can bet that someone will notice.

It's creamy, cheesy and yummy. Oh, and did I mention that it is the simplest side dish around? It is so easy to make and it's a definite crowd pleaser. Can't go wrong with that!

Well, today I decided to reinvent this famous side dish. I wanted to keep it just as yummy, but perhaps a little healthier. Maybe this version will make an appearance at our family dinners without any special occasion at hand!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Nutella, Cranberry & Chocolate Cookies

With less than 1 month to go before Christmas, it is time to get baking!

I am usually a cookie traditionalist. I like my Christmas shortbread, thumbprint cookies and other classic Christmas cookies that my mom used to make at Christmas time. 

However, I always like to try something new as well and make new traditions. In this case, I was also looking for an easy drop cookie that could become a staple year round.

These fudgey, delicious Nutella cookies combine everything I like about Christmas (cranberries and nuts), with the creamy yummy spread we love.... Nutella. They are super simple to make and since they are drop cookies, you can put away the rolling pins, cookie presses and the like and easily make these cookies in an hour.

When they are warm, they are fudgey and delicious, and when they are room temperature, they are equally decadent. (oh, and they are delicious frozen too for those of you who LOVE frozen cookies like me!).

Monday, December 3, 2012

Pulled Pork Quesadillas

A few months ago, I made Pulled Pork with Crispy Pork Crackling for the first time. Since then, I have made it on a number of occasions both when entertaining, and just for my husband and I to have for dinner.  And while pulled pork is incredibly delicious, it is also quite rich. So you can imagine, how much of that pulled pork we had left when it was just made for 2!

So, what I got into the habit of doing was pulling the pork, then putting it in tupperware containers and freezing it. I then pulled it out later for salads, sandwiches, and, my favorite, quesadillas.

I absolutely love quesadillas because they are quick and easy, but satisfy all those cravings for something warm, cheesy, flavourful and of course, easy to share. As long as you have the tortillas and some cheese, you can really put anything into them and they become great snack or a fast meal on the table.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Classic Christmas Shortbread

And so the Christmas baking begins! First on the list are classic Christmas shortbread. My mom made these every year and I love them!

So often, when Christmas comes rolling around, we seek out new and fun Christmas cookie recipes, but for me, there is something to be said about the classics.  It would be difficult for me to let a Christmas pass without these particular shortbread cookies.My mom used to make loads and store them in cookie tins sealed tight with wax paper in the freezer. Then, I would sneak down to the basement chest freezer and eat them, one by one. Yes, they taste fabulous right out of the freezer. They are crunchy, then just melt in your mouth! In fact, I prefer eating them out of the freezer than fresh!