Decadent, delightful and downright delicious
Just in time for December, my wonderful assistant Jean and I are sharing some of our favourite seasonal recipes – think of it as our gift to you!
These bite-sized Nanaimo bars made into truffles will disappear very quickly. Fortunately, this recipe makes about forty, so you can hide a few for yourself. A little fiddly but this three-step process is well worth it, and they make a great hostess gift.
6 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp milk
4 Tbsp vanilla custard powder
2 ¼ cups sifted icing sugar
Cream butter, then combine milk and custard powder and add to butter. Mix in icing sugar. Mixture should be fairly stiff. Refrigerate half an hour. Then roll into small balls about the size of a large grape. Place on a foil-lined cookie tray and refrigerate.
2/3 cup butter
5 Tbsp white sugar
½ tsp vanilla
5 Tbsp cocoa
2 cups graham wafer crumbs
1 cup coconut
½ cup chopped nuts
Place softened butter, sugar, cocoa, vanilla and egg in a bowl. Set bowl in pan of boiling water. Stir mixture until butter has melted and is the consistency of custard. Mix wafer crumbs, coconut and nuts together. Add to the cocoa mixture.
Take a level teaspoon (5ml) of crumb mixture, press flat in the palm of your hand and wrap around the truffle centres. Put in the freezer for 1-2 hours (or overnight).
1lb (500 g) good quality chocolate
Melt chocolate in a double boiler over hot water. Be careful to stir and watch that water doesn’t boil, as chocolate should not be really hot. If you do this chocolate will stay smooth and glossy.
Dip each truffle in chocolate. Using a slotted spoon or a seafood cocktail fork, lift truffle out of chocolate. Tap gently to remove excess chocolate and place on foil- or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Refrigerate until set.
Cranberry Blackberry Sauce
Sweet and sour and so, so pretty!
3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup blackberry jam (or jelly)
½ cup apple juice
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
Place all ingredients in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally to incorporate the melting jam with the other ingredients. Gently simmer for 20 minutes or until the cranberries are tender and just beginning to fall apart. Cool to room temperature, cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta in Balsamic Vinegar
This is another family favourite that makes it to our Christmas table every year; the recipe serves about 4 to 6 people.
1 lb Brussels sprouts
2 slices pancetta, quarter-inch thick and diced into half-inch pieces
2 tsp butter
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
½ tsp sugar
salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
Remove tough stems and any wilted outer leaves from sprouts. Cut in half lengthwise and steam until just tender. Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add diced pancetta and sauté until just crisp. Add balsamic vinegar and sugar; stir until sugar is dissolved. Add sprouts and toss until well-coated with pancetta-vinegar mixture. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
Bon appétit and the happiest of holidays to you and yours!