BY RICHARD MOOREY
December is right around the corner and although stores have had Christmas paraphernalia out and on the shelves for what seems like months, the real holiday season, for me at least, doesn’t actually kick off until the calendar rolls over to Dec. 1.
Now I’m not against getting a bit of a jump on the holiday season but I just can’t warp into holiday mode in the beginning of October.
Once we hit December, it’s definitely time to start enjoying some of my holiday favourites.
There are so many great holiday baking recipes out there from gingerbread and rum balls to yule logs and caramel bread pudding. There is no end to all the traditional recipes and new favourites.
It’s really no small wonder that our waistlines don’t grow more than they do during the holidays.
While there are so many eats to love with the cornucopia of indulgences and sugary marvels at this time of year, everyone has their own favourites and must-have holiday treats.
For me there are a few Christmastime flavours that really make the season though, with tongue teasing tastitude. Flavours like eggnog, coffee, praline, pecans, citrus and butter - lots and lots of butter! - are this chef’s must-have flavours of the season.
Of course these tastes aren’t hard to fall in love with and easily fit into the delicious and decadent recipes that will most certainly have your friends and family clamour for more.
So while I’m sure you have a list of your own favourite holiday treats, whether they be nostalgic sweets that your mom used to make or new favourites that you discovered in your latest copy of that foodie magazine, this week I wanted to introduce you to a few of my must-have Christmas favourites.
For me these recipes incorporate some of the best flavours the holidays have to offer, with rich and luscious classics and are sure to have a place on your holiday favourites list too.
Chef House Holiday No Bake Eggnog Cheesecake
Graham Cracker Base:
3 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 tbsp. melted butter
2 tbsp. brown sugar
16 oz. softened cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup eggnog
1 tsp. rum extract
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
16 oz. heavy whipping cream
In a mixing bowl add the melted butter and sugar and combine thoroughly. Press mixture into the bottom a parchment lined spring-form pan, then refrigerate crust for 30 minutes.
In a mixer using the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and sugar until creamy. Add in the eggnog, rum extract, nutmeg and cinnamon and combine.
Whip heavy cream until stiff peaks form and gently fold the whipped cream into the eggnog cream cheese mixture.
Spread evenly into crust.
Refrigerate at least 2-3 hours before serving.
Chef House Black and Tan Pecan Pie
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups corn syrup
1 tsp. finely ground Wolfhead coffee black and tan espresso
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups pecans, coarsely broken
1 cup of brewed Wolfhead coffee black and tan espresso
1 unbaked deep dish pie shell (homemade or store bought)
Preheat oven to 350F
In a bowl soak pecans in espresso for 10 minutes, drain away espresso and set pecans aside.
In saucepan, heat finely ground espresso, sugar and corn syrup together, bring to a boil for 2 minutes and set aside to cool slightly.
In large bowl beat eggs lightly and very slowly pour the syrup mixture into the eggs, stirring constantly.
Stir in butter, vanilla, and pecans and pour into crust.
Bake for about 50 to 60 minutes or until set. Cool completely and enjoy.
Chef House Orange Citrus Shortbread Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup superfine granulated sugar
1 orange finely grated for zest and juice
1 tsp. orange extract
2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. coarse orange decorator sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F
Blend together butter, superfine sugar, zest, juice and extract in a mixer bowl until combined. Sift flour into butter mixture and blend until mixture forms a soft dough.
Spoon tablespoons of dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Press the tops with a fork and bake for 10 - 12 min. Remove from oven and sprinkle immediately with decorator sugar if desired.
Cool and enjoy.