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Favourite Holiday Recipes

The North Pole

Ingredients:  4 ounces vodka 2 ounces Kahlúa (or more to taste) 4 tablespoons chocolate syrup 1 teaspoon vanilla 3 teaspoons molasses 1/8 teaspoon ginger 1/2 cup heavy cream or whole milk whipped cream, candy canes and gingerbread cookies, for serving (optional)

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the vodka, Kahlúa, chocolate syrup, vanilla, molasses, and ginger. Shake until combined well. Strain into 4 glasses. Top off each glass with heavy cream. Dollop with whipped cream and garnish as desired. DRINK!

Skor Bar Squares

Ingredients: ¾ cup butter ¾ cup brown sugar 1 ½ cups flour 2 tbsp margarine 1 can condensed milk 1 pkg chocolate chips 1 pkg Skor chips Mix butter, brown sugar and flour; press into 9 x 13 inch foil lined pan. Bake at 350 F. for 20 – 25 minutes. Heat margarine and condensed milk for 10 minutes until thickened. Pour over crust. Pour chocolate chips over the squares and bake 2 minutes until glossy. Spread evenly. Pour Skor chips over and press lightly. Cool and cut.

*Tip: score the bars before they are completely cooled so they are easier to cut when they are fully cooled.  

Cocoa Cranberry Coconut Cookies

½ cup butter 1 cup brown sugar 2 eggs 1 cup cocoa 1 cup shredded or flaked coconut 1 cup dried cranberries

 Mix all together and add more cocoa if mixture is too soft to form drop cookies. Bake on parchment lined baking sheets at 350F for about 10 minutes until set. Remove from baking sheets as soon as possible.

Grain and Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

2 cups peanut butter (any kind) 1 cup brown sugar 2 eggs 1 cup chocolate chips

 Mix peanut butter and sugar together until smooth. Add 2 eggs and stir until mixture is stiff or firm enough to roll into balls. Stir in chocolate chips. Roll into balls. Place balls on ungreased cookie sheet and flatten with fork. Bake in preheated 325F oven for 12-15 minutes, or until golden and firm. Careful not to over-bake or the bottoms will burn.

 Other types of nut butters (almond, cashew, etc), other sweeteners (white sugar, honey, maple syrup, etc), and other add-ins (raisins or dried cranberries, chopped dried fruit, chopped nuts) can easily be substituted.

Bourbon Balls

2 cups finely crushed cookie crumbs (ie. Oreos) 2 cups finely chopped almonds 2 cups icing sugar  1/4 cup bourbon 1/4 cup corn syrup 

In a bowl, mix all of the above. Form dough into 1-inch balls. Roll them in a coating of icing sugar. Cover and refrigerate 5 days before serving. 

Chocolate Mint Sparklers

1 cup butter (softened)  3/4 cup sugan  3/4 cup packed brown sugar 2 eggs 1 tsp mint extract  1 3/4 cups all purpose flour  1 1/4 cups cocoa powder 2 tsp baking soda 1/4 tsp salt 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips or mix of white and semi-sweet chocolate chips 3/4 cup sugar in the raw (natural turbinado sugar)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Beat butter and sugars until creamy in a large bowl using an electric mixer. Beat in eggs and mint extract. Add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt, mixing until incorporated. Add in chocolate chips. Roll dough in 1" balls. Roll balls into natural turbinado sugar. Place on prepared baking sheet, 2" apart. Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes. Cookies should still be soft in the centre. Let cool on baking sheet 1-2 minutes. Remove, cool on wire rack. 

Chili Roasted Nuts 

1/4 cup white sugar  1.5 tsp salt 1/4 cup honey 3/4 tsp cayenne 1 lb unsalted mixed nuts (~4 cups)

Preheat oven to 325F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper & lightly oil. In a bowl, mix sugar & salt. In a large pot, melt honey with cayenne. Add nuts & stir to coat. Spread nuts in a single layer on the parchment paper. Bake 10-15 minutes. Let cool slightly then add to bowl with sugar/salt mixture. Toss to coat. Discard paper and transfer nuts to cookie sheet to cool. Store in an airtight container. Great for host/hostess gifts (or to eat yourself). 

Honey Moon Squares

Crust: 1 1/3 cups flour 1 tbsp white sugar  3/4 cup butter

Combine flour and sugar. Cut in butter until mealy textured. Press firmly into bottom of lightly greased pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. lower over to 300 degrees. 

Filling: 2 eggs  1 cup brown sugar  1 tsp. vanilla  1 cup shredded coconut 2/3 cup pecans, chopped 3 tbsp flour  1 tsp baking powder pinch of salt

Beat eggs gradually adding sugar and vanilla. Sift flour, baking powder and salt and add to sugar mixture. add remaining ingredients. Spread over crust and return to oven. bake at 25 to 30 minute unitl top is set and lightly brown. 

Butter icing:  1/4 cup butter 2 1/2 cups icing sugar  3 tbsp milk or cream  1 tsp vanilla 

Cream butter. Add icing sugar alternately with cream and vanilla until spreading consistency is reached. Spread over cooled squares.

Get-Ahead Gravy

Ingredients: 2 onions 2 carrots 2 sticks of celery 2 rashers of higher-welfare smoked streaky bacon 2 fresh bay leaves 2 sprigs of fresh sage 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary 2 star anise 10 free-range chicken wings olive oil 60 ml sherry or port , optional 4 tablespoons plain flour 2 tablespoons cranberry sauce

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Peel the onions, wash the carrots, then roughly chop with the celery and bacon. Put the veg, bay leaves, sage, rosemary and star anise into a sturdy high-sided roasting tray, then scatter the chopped bacon on top. Break the chicken wings open, bash with a rolling pin to help release extra flavour as they cook, then add to the tray. Drizzle with oil, season with sea salt and black pepper, toss, then cook for 1 hour, or until tender.

Remove the tray from the oven and transfer to a low heat on the hob. Really grind and mash everything with a potato masher, scraping up all the goodness from the base of the tray (the longer you let it fry, the darker your gravy will be). If you want to add sherry or port, now’s the time to do so; just leave it to cook away for a few minutes. Gradually stir in the flour, then pour in 2 litres of boiling kettle water. Simmer for 30 minutes, or until thickened and reduced, stirring occasionally.

When the gravy is the consistency of your liking, pour it through a coarse sieve into a large bowl, pushing all the goodness through with the back of a spoon. Taste and season to perfection, cool to room temperature, then pour into containers or bags and pop into the fridge or freezer, ready to finish off on Christmas Day.

If frozen, take the gravy out to defrost when your turkey goes into the oven.When the turkey’s perfectly cooked, remove it to a platter to rest for up to 2 hours, covered with a double layer of tin foil and a clean tea towel. Skim away most of the fat from the tray, cool, and place into a jar in the fridge for tasty cooking another day. Pour your Get-ahead gravy into the tray with the rest of the turkey juices. Bring to the boil over the hob and scrape up all those sticky bits from the base. Have a taste, then stir in the Cranberry sauce to balance the flavours.

Once your gravy is piping hot, carefully strain through a coarse sieve into a pan, then leave it on the lowest heat until you’re ready to serve. Skim away any fat that rises to the top, and add any extra resting juices from the turkey before serving.

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