TEC Treats & Sweets! 5 of Our Editors’ Most-Loved Holiday Recipes

TEC Treats & Sweets! 5 of Our Editors’ Most-Loved Holiday Recipes

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The holidays are here again and, of course, with this special time of year comes memories of holidays past, spent with friends and family. I’m willing to bet that a lot of those memories involve food in some way, shape, or form – baking Christmas cookies with your grandmother, making potato latkes with your mom or dad, sharing a holiday beverage with friends, or preparing a special dish that warms your home…the list can go on and on.

 

Over the years, these special memories become tied to special recipes, perhaps ones that only make an appearance at the holidays. They can help us feel more connected to our families, our friends, and our communities. TEC editors are no different in that we also have special holiday recipes that we hold close to our hearts. This year, we’d like to share them with you!

 

Below you’ll read each editor’s words about why their recipe means so much to them and what makes it so special. As a bonus, we’ve created a landing page that actually includes each recipe and its instructions, so you can try some of these treats out in your own kitchen.

 

Check out the recipes here, and read on to learn what makes them so special.

 

 

Beth: Date & Rice Pudding

 

While many will be enjoying latkes, kugels, and sufganiyot on the first night of Chanukah, I prepare this delicious Date & Rice Pudding. It symbolizes to me the bridge between my non-Jewish life and my Jewish life. Before converting to Judaism, I would mark the holidays by baking a delicious rice pudding on Christmas Eve, using a recipe given to me by a foster-like mother when I was in my late teens. Today, I honour Chanukah by preparing this recipe on the first night of the 8-day festival. The recipe comes from a cookbook that a close friend gave to me when I completed my conversion. Lighting the first candle and baking this rice pudding fills my home with warmth and delicious aromas. Because it is a recipe that requires care and attention as it cooks over a few hours, attending to it brings on a sense of calm and connectedness to the holiday and to my community. In 2021, Chanukah is being celebrated from November 29 to December 6.

 

 

Lesley-Anne: Whipped Shortbreads

 

My family has a number of recipes passed down from generation to generation – the two that come to mind first are the Belford recipe for turnip puff (it’s…an acquired taste? One that I, and most of my cousins, have admittedly not yet acquired), and my grandmother’s recipe for whipped shortbreads. She made these delicate little cookies every Christmas, as did my mother when I was a kid, and now I make them every year as well. My grandmother favoured glacé cherry pieces on top; I prefer coloured sugar and holiday sprinkles, but really, no matter what you top these with, they’re always going to be delicious. They’re made purely out of butter, flour, and sugar – how could they not be delicious?

 

So, from my family to yours, happy holidays! And, I hope you try out this recipe. It’s very easy if you’re a novice baker, and these little cookies are always a welcome addition to any dessert tray.

 

 

Samantha: Homemade “Baileys”

 

I’d say that holiday meals with my family have always been a rather traditional affair. Christmas dinner when I was growing up consisted of the Canadian standards: turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, and an assortment of vegetables and desserts. Perhaps the one outlier was my grandmother’s holubtsi, something my cousin would pile high on her plate and tear into with giddy enthusiasm while I looked on in barely disguised disgust, not entirely unlike Ralphie when watching his younger brother Randy demonstrate “how the little piggies eat.”

 

Annual cabbage roll massacre aside, the one thing that really stood out for me, even at a young age, was my mom’s homemade “Baileys.” We would bring a heavy crystal decanter of it to the house of whichever relative was hosting Christmas that year, and by the time dinner was served the decanter was usually empty. At a certain age, my dad would allow me to have a small sip out of his glass, and eventually, when I was old enough to join the “adult table,” I was given a small tumbler glass of my own. (It was also around this time – for the official record, let’s say sometime after my eighteenth birthday – that I realized my mom’s “Baileys” tastes nothing like real Baileys Irish Cream, but it’s the same colour and similarly creamy, so I guess that’s where the name came from.)

 

Because of COVID-19, last year was the first time since I left Manitoba a little over a decade ago that I didn’t make it back home to be with my family for the holidays. But the homemade Baileys tradition lived on – me with my glass here in Toronto, and my parents with their glasses at home in Winnipeg, all of us a little rosy cheeked and “cheers-ing” one another over Zoom.

 

This year, my parents will be joining me for Christmas here in Toronto for the first time ever. I have most of the “Baileys” ingredients already stocked for their arrival in a few weeks, and I’m secretly hoping they bring that crystal decanter with them, just to make the holiday season feel really official.

 

 

 

Michael: Potato Latkes

 

A dish that I associate with the holidays is the potato latke. A Jewish dish served at Chanukah, the latke proves that tasty, fried, and carb-filled deliciousness can transcend all cultural boundaries. For those unfamiliar with the potato latke, it is a pancake made of shredded potatoes, fried until golden-brown. Traditionally, latkes are served with sour cream and/or applesauce, and, although potatoes tend to be the main ingredient in most latkes, other recipes include cheese, zucchini, and sweet potatoes.

 

Latkes may be a traditional Chanukah dish, but my mother used to make them on special occasions, especially at Christmas. They were a staple of my festive consumption patterns: a boy who wasn’t a fan of roast beef, ham, or turkey, latkes provided a savoury medium for the gobs of applesauce and sour cream I loaded mine with. And, since we always used to go to my grandmother’s condo on Boxing Day, I often had the opportunity to double up my holiday latke consumption there.

 

For those looking for a relatively easy and inexpensive dish, your search is complete. All that this highly rated recipe from the New York Times Cooking website requires are two potatoes, an onion, two eggs, flower, baking powder, salt, and pepper. As long as you can also provide a box grater, a knife, a stove, and a frying pan, you can get cooking. Watch out, though. These tasty potato fritters aren’t necessarily the healthiest diet option, so it’s best to reserve stuffing your face with them for special occasions like the holidays!

 

 

Ronnie: Glühwein

 

Although I grew up in Canada, I spent a little bit of time in Europe around the holidays as an adult. The first time in my life that I really felt myself getting into the festive spirit was at a Weihnachtsmarkt, or a German Christmas market. Markets like these stretch back hundreds of years, but they still have a unique ambience today, with stall owners selling ornaments, roasted chestnuts, gingerbread, and other holiday items. I can still recall the unmistakable aromas of grilled sausages and glühwein — a hot mulled wine. The name is appropriate, too: glühwein literally translates to glow-wine.

Now, we have some Christmas markets in Ontario, but licensing restrictions prevent the serving of glühwein in the traditional way at market stalls, keeping patrons warm as they shop and socialize. But no one can stop you from enjoying your drink and wandering around your own home, can they?

 

  

From all of us at TEC, cheers to the holidays! May they be festive and bright and full of good treats!