For the Love of Food Traditions
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?