THE SALTY CHEF-FAVOURITE HOLIDAY RECIPES

Food, drink, and feasting during holidays is a time honoured and traditional way to celebrate, whether it’s Diwali, Easter, Spring Festival, Hanukkah, or Christmas. Each culture finds ways to incorporate special foods and treats into their celebrations.

The holiday season evokes images of laden tables full of meats, vegetables, breads, and desserts. From tourtiere, gingerbread houses, latkes, panettone, mulled drinks like wine and cider, to shortbreads, and everything in between, food plays a starring role in celebrations.

Across our Island, extra time is often spent this month in kitchens, ovens blazing, as holiday baking and cooking gets into full force. For some, this season is the one time of the year that homemade treats must be made, no matter what. For others, it’s a tradition that means spending time with family and friends over mixing bowls and cookie sheets (and sampling to make sure everything’s just right). We asked our Salty contributors to give us their ‘must make’ treats for the holidays, and they sent us a wide range of recipes.

From a simple mulled wine that will be great to enjoy in front of a cosy fire, classic gingerbread men, rum balls that might just be best to enjoy in moderation, simple but delicious macaroons, or a more complex divinity fudge recipe, we share these recipes with you.

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Mulled Wine

(Jessica L.Fritz)

1 bottle of dry red wine
1 orange (preferably organic), sliced
5 cloves (whole)
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
Sugar, honey, or maple syrup to taste

Preparation:

Heat wine slowly on low to medium heat. Do not allow to boil or simmer.
Let ingredients infuse for 30 minutes or longer while on low heat.
Ladle into mugs. Add a shot of rum or whisky if you like. Enjoy warm.

 

Coconut Macaroons

(Rod Weatherbie, courtesy of Paulette Adams)

5 cups sweetened shredded coconut
²/³ cup flour
¼ tsp salt
Small tin (300ml) sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Mix coconut, flour, and salt till combined. Add vanilla, almond extract, and sweetened milk. Stir till combined.
Roll into small balls and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Bake in oven for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned. Let cool completely.
Temper chocolate (half milk chocolate/half 60% dark) in a double boiler or in the microwave.
Dip cookies in melted chocolate, and set on parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Rest in freezer for five minutes. Store in fridge.

Honey Garlic Pork Ribs

(Christopher Dunbar)
My extended family have a pot luck on Christmas Eve and this is the recipe I normally bring. It’s not traditional “Christmas” except for us. Everybody seems to like it though.

5 lbs pork short ribs
¹/³ cup honey
²/³ cup soy sauce
2+ Tbsp minced garlic
¹/³ cup oyster sauce
2 ½ tsp onion powder
5 tsp sesame oil
1 ¼ tsp ginger powder
2 ½ tsp chile sauce
2 ½ tsp paprika
1 ²/³ cups white sugar
Salt and pepper

Preparation:

Combine all ingredients except the ribs in a large saucepan and simmer on very low heat.
While the sauce is simmering, in a separate pot, boil the ribs in water for one hour, until tender.
Drain the ribs and then place in saucepan and coat with the honey garlic sauce. Allow to sit for 15 minutes before serving with your favourite rice dish.

Rum Balls

(Katie McInnis)
Eat two and you may not be able to drive!

8 one-ounce squares semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (1 pkg)
60 vanilla wafers, pulverized in a blender (1 box)
1 ²/³ cups sugar
½ cup rum
¼ cup corn syrup

Preparation:

Melt chocolate, either in microwave or over low heat on the stove.
Combine pulverized vanilla wafers with ²/³ cup of the sugar.
Add melted chocolate, rum, and corn syrup to the wafer mixture. Stir until mixed.
Roll balls to about 1 inch diameter. Toss in remaining cup of sugar until coated. Put on wax paper until they dry a bit.
Store in a tightly sealed jar. These will keep for 2-3 weeks.

Divinity Fudge

(Laura Weatherbie)
This is one of my grandma’s recipes, or “receipts” as she called them. One of the secrets to good divinity fudge is very firm egg whites. Make sure your mixing bowls don’t have any oils that can compromise your stiff peaks by giving them an extra hot water wash before starting!

3 ½ cups white sugar
½ cup white corn syrup
²/³ cup water
¼ tsp salt
2 egg whites
¾-1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
¾-1 cup chopped maraschino cherries
(optional)
1 tsp vanilla

Preparation:

In saucepan, cook sugar, corn syrup & water to soft-ball stage (235° F). Set aside half.
Boil remaining syrup to the hard-ball stage (250 – 266° F).
Beat the egg whites until the peaks stand straight up when beaters are lifted from bowl.
Pour the hot soft-ball syrup in thin stream on to the egg whites, while continuing to beat.
Then pour the hard-ball syrup on to the mixture, using the same technique.
Add walnuts, cherries and vanilla: continue to beat until it gets heavy and slightly dull (may
get too heavy for some mixers). Butter two spoons and use these to drop scoops on to wax paper.
Let cool and set, up to 12 hours. Once the exterior is firm, store in airtight container.

Gingerbread Men

(Cheryl Young)

4 ¼ cups flour
½ Tbsp baking soda
¾ cup whipping cream
1 cup white sugar
¾ cup butter, softened                                                             ½ cup molasses
½ Tbsp ground ginger
½ Tbsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp cardamom
½ Tbsp ground cloves

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400°F.
Mix flour and baking soda together and set aside.
Whip cream lightly (medium stiffness) and set aside.
Cream sugar and butter, then add molasses and spices.
Blend cream into other wet ingredients.
Slowly add flour mixture. Dough will be stiff. Refrigerate dough for two hours: roll out to ¹/8″ thickness on floured surface. Cut with cookie cutters.
Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for six to seven minutes. If using a convection oven, reduce heat to 375°F and bake for five minutes.
Leave on cookie sheet for an additional two minutes after taking out of oven.

 

About Cheryl Young

A “Jill of all trades” describes Cheryl to a T. From operating her own handyperson company, to selling luxury cars, to working as a film and TV crew member, her resume is diverse. But her dream as a kid was to be a journalist and she started down that path many years ago at CBC Charlottetown. Returning to her journalism roots, she’s excited to be editing Salty’s content and occasionally writing herself.

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