Photo by Ainsley Thurgood/Photo Assistant

Four delicious recipes you can try this holiday season

I know the holiday season is here when I begin to see Christmas Pillsbury cookies at Fortinos. During my first year at McMaster University, my friends and I went through over a dozen boxes of Pillsbury cookies and it was always an intense battle to get our hands on them at the grocery store. I still remember the smell lingering in our communal kitchen all throughout December finals. 

I’ve never been much of a baker myself but during the pandemic I have been cooking and baking more fresh food. This year I’m especially looking forward to making winter holiday treats for my family and friends. I’ve gathered below a few beginner and budget-friendly recipes from friends and fellow Mac students.

The Recipe: London Slices

The Chef: Una Pasagic, a human behaviour student, shares her Bosnian family holiday recipe.

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 300 grams all-purpose flour
  • 200 grams unsalted, room temperature butter
  • 120 grams sugar
  • Two egg yolks
  • One teaspoon baking powder
  • Zest of one lemon/ orange

 Filling:

  • Four egg whites
  • 200 grams sugar
  • 210 grams coarsely ground walnuts 
  • Apricot or strawberry jam

 *Allergy warning: walnuts

Directions:

Dough:

  1. Mix flour and baking powder in a large bowl.
  2.  In a separate bowl, whip butter and sugar together until slightly fluffy.
  3. Add the butter and sugar mixture to the large bowl with flour then combine the ingredients by hand.
  4. Add yolks and zest to the bowl then combine ingredients by hand.
  5. Set dough aside to make filling.

Filling :

  1. Whip egg whites and sugar until fluffy.
  2. Fold in 150 grams of walnuts.

Assembly:

  1. Spread the dough onto a large rectangular baking sheet pan. The dough should only cover the base and does not need to go up to the sides of the dish.
  2. Spread a layer of jam, enough to cover the surface of the dough.
  3. Add the layer of filling and top everything with 60 grams of walnuts.
  4. Bake at 375 ˚F for a maximum of 25 minutes.
  5. Let it set after removing it from the oven.
  6. Once set, cut into rectangular pieces and serve.

The Recipe: Vegan brownies

The Chef: Emma Sood, a student studying psychology, neuroscience and behaviour, shares her favourite vegan dessert recipe.

Ingredients:

  • One stick of butter
  • One teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • One tablespoon of flaxseed meal

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F.
  2. Line a muffin tin with a paper liner.
  3. Prepare flax eggs by mixing 1 tablespoon of flaxseed meal and 3 tablespoons of water stirred to a smooth, gel-like consistency in a small bowl and let it rest for a couple of minutes.
  4. Melt vegan butter in a mixing bowl. After stir in flax eggs, brown sugar, vanilla extract, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder. Whisk to combine.
  5. Add all-purpose flour. You can fold in chocolate chips, nuts or fruits at this point. 
  6. Scoop the batter into the muffin tin until three-fourths full and bake on the middle rack for around 24 minutes. It could be a little less or more. Look to see if the brownies start to pull away from the sides of the tin.
  7. Remove from the oven and let the brownies rest for a couple of minutes. Enjoy!

The Recipe: Toblerone cookies

The Chef: Subin Park. This is a recipe I learned from a friend. You can never have too many chocolate chip cookies!

Ingredients:

  • 30 grams Toblerone
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • ½ cup sifted icing sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¼ cups flour

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 ˚F
  2. Coarsely chop one chocolate bar into quarter-inch pieces (approximately 1/3 cup). Set the remaining chocolate bar aside.
  3. In a mid-sized mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until smooth. Gradually beat in sugar until light and fluffy. 
  4. Beat in vanilla and salt.
  5. Using a wooden spoon, stir in one cup of flour until just mixed.
  6. Stir in remaining flour and chopped chocolate bar pieces until mixed.
  7. Scrape dough into an ungreased eight-inch square baking dish. Lightly flour fingers then pat mixture into an even thickness. 
  8. Use a fork to pierce the dough in one inch increments.
  9. Finally, chop the remaining chocolate bar and sprinkle over top of the dough.
  10. Bake on the lower rack at 300 ˚F until the edges are deep golden and the centre is pale golden for 35 to 40 minutes.
  11. Remove from the oven and immediately cut into 16 squares.
  12. Cool completely in the pan. Once cool, store in an airtight container in a cool place or refrigerator for up to two weeks.

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