For the Love of Food Traditions

Posted on 16 December 2010 | 9 comments | share this

Baking is hands down one of my favourite ways to spend time and if it is in the company of a loved one, even better. I spent many hours when I was little baking cakes by light bulb in my Easy Bake-ish oven and hosting tea parties with friends, family and my stuffed animals of course. I love food and I love tradition so Christmas is the perfect holiday as it involves food traditions. At our house it is handmade pierogies on Christmas Eve, my dad’s special Christmas bread on Christmas morning and of course a big turkey dinner to round it all off.

Not to mention all the traditions around baking. Many of our Christmas recipes have been baked and enjoyed for decades and some passed down from family, friends and neighbours. Recently I went home to visit family and do annual Christmas baking with my mom. There are very few places I feel more comfortable than baking with my mom in the family kitchen. I thought it would be fun to share some photos from our baking day in hopes of inspiring you to dig out an old family recipe and bake up some treats to share over the holidays.

It is amazing how many different wonderful and tasty treats can be created with a combination of butter, flour and sugar. With something as simple as shortbread, every one you ask probably has a different recipe along with a well kept secret for what makes theirs the best.  Our favourite Christmas sweets have changed over the years but the ones we baked this time around have been in the rotation for a long time.  We settled on coconut macaroons, hazelnut and almond meringue cookies and pecan diamonds.

This is the billowy batter for the hazelnut and almond meringues.  A recipe that was acquired by my grandmother from their Swiss neighbours when they lived on the farm.  These neighbours were ritualistic about afternoon tea break and were known for having the best chocolate in town, my kind of neighbours!  This cookie has moved to the top of the list of favourites over the years, passing gingerbread men, candy cane cookies, linzer cookies and dare I say shortbread?

Pecan diamonds: the perfect combination of nuts, caramel and shortbread.  I suggested maybe we cut them into small squares this year instead of diamonds, I can be a lazy cook.  As you can see we went with diamonds, tradition shouldn’t be messed with even if it means cutting on the diagonal.

The hazelnut almond meringues are rustic sophistication and very photogenic.  I am not usually much of a meringue lover as often meringues are overly sweet and dry.  But these cookies are chewy, nutty and pretty, a triple threat.  They also make the perfect accompaniment to an espresso or hot cup of tea.

We also trimmed the tree…

And a trip to Victoria would not be complete without a stop at Fol Epi to stock up on bread and organic Panetonne for the holidays.

What are your holiday food traditions?


  • Sylvia Boutilier -

    I was lucky enough to be at your mom’s this morning enjoying some of the goodies you baked this week. Thanks so much! I’m enjoying your blog very much – the photography is exceptional, and the recipes inspirational.
    ps cutting on the diagonal was definitely worth the extra trouble.

  • Thanks so much Sylvia. I am sure you ladies had a fun visit. Glad the treats were tasty and a pleasing shape. Happy Holidays.

  • Loved our time and your amazing photos of the in-production and finished product – always so creative. Thanks so much for making time for the journey – a wonderful tradition for sure and i do so love traditions and rituals. Good to know the correct decision was made on the diamonds…

  • The meringue cookies look ravishing, I may just have to get the recipe for those!

  • Ravishing, love it! Recipe is on its way.

  • Hello, came upon your website whilst looking for Thomas Haas’ chocolate sparkles recipe. Lovely website with fascinating recipes. So intrigued with your meringue cookies. Would you care to share this recipe with a complete stranger? 🙂 I just thought it would be nice to make these for my Swiss husband. Cheers…

  • Ronni Marback -

    I love your website and am wanting to try everything! I love inspiration for cooking and you have just given me that! Would you share your meringue recipe? It sounds so amazing to give at christmas for the gluten free friends.
    Thank you so much for a great website!
    Ronni Marback

  • Hi Ronni,

    Thank you so much for your kind words. Glad that you found my blog and some inspiration here. I love to share recipes but this one is a real family treasure. Not sure I am quite ready to share it with the world yet…also the recipe does have some flour in it so it is not gluten free. Perhaps I will share it on here one day but need to get my mom’s go ahead first! Happy Holidays!

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