Home Cooking: Holiday Baking

When I was a kid, I had an EZ Bake oven. I used to get so excited when my mother would buy me a new cake mix at Toys-R-Us knowing that I would soon make a delicious creation with nothing but a lightbulb. Science! In retrospect, it was nasty as hell. However, it did instill in me much admiration for those who could cook. It was something I always wanted to learn but in between building a career and a life, never really had the time or motivation to pursue. 

This weekend I completed my holiday baking and it's safe to say that I have advanced far beyond the elementary tools of my childhood. In fact, most of the skill I've developed has been honed just over the past year or so at the influence of someone in my life who wanted to see me be healthy ... and thus happy. It's worked on both fronts. I have been thinking a lot about how this is the first Christmas since my father passed away where I actually feel "in the spirit", having rid my life of most of the toxicity that encourages and instigates depression. I'm sure there are many reasons for that, but food plays a role in it as well. 

As proof, I have completed my holiday baking! This year I am handing out home-baked goods as part of my gift to loved ones. I'm not sure if they will all realize the depth of gratitude proffered with this gesture; in addition to incorporating the highest-quality ingredients I can buy (organic, locally sourced, pure), this is an extension of my being, of my growth, of my love in tangible – and very delicious – form. 

 

GOOD MORNING SUNSHINE MUFFINS: 
This was the final piece I baked this weekend. It is a traditional carrot muffin (my favourite) mixed with pineapple, coconut and macadamia nut. I felt it would be a nice pick-me-up to our long, cold, Canadian winter. The recipe is a slightly modified version from the blog KitchenTreaty.com

 Good Morning Sunshine muffins with carrot, pineapple, coconut, macadamia nut and raisins (©Deborah Clague)

Good Morning Sunshine muffins with carrot, pineapple, coconut, macadamia nut and raisins (©Deborah Clague)

 Good Morning Sunshine muffins with carrot, pineapple, coconut, macadamia nut and raisins (©Deborah Clague)

Good Morning Sunshine muffins with carrot, pineapple, coconut, macadamia nut and raisins (©Deborah Clague)

 Good Morning Sunshine muffins with carrot, pineapple, coconut, macadamia nut and raisins (©Deborah Clague)

Good Morning Sunshine muffins with carrot, pineapple, coconut, macadamia nut and raisins (©Deborah Clague)

 Good Morning Sunshine muffins with carrot, pineapple, coconut, macadamia nut and raisins (©Deborah Clague)

Good Morning Sunshine muffins with carrot, pineapple, coconut, macadamia nut and raisins (©Deborah Clague)

 Good Morning Sunshine muffins with carrot, pineapple, coconut, macadamia nut and raisins (©Deborah Clague)

Good Morning Sunshine muffins with carrot, pineapple, coconut, macadamia nut and raisins (©Deborah Clague)


PEANUT BUTTER AND RASPBERRY JAM CHEESECAKE BROWNIES: 
This was one of my favourite things that I leaned how to bake and it is absolutely DIVINE served heated with vanilla bean ice cream. Recipe was taken from the book 'Flapper Pie and a Blue Prairie Sky' by blogger TheKitchenMagpie.  

 Peanut Butter and Raspberry Jam Cheesecake Brownies (©Deborah Clague)

Peanut Butter and Raspberry Jam Cheesecake Brownies (©Deborah Clague)

 Peanut Butter and Raspberry Jam Cheesecake Brownies (©Deborah Clague)

Peanut Butter and Raspberry Jam Cheesecake Brownies (©Deborah Clague)

 Peanut Butter and Raspberry Jam Cheesecake Brownies (©Deborah Clague)

Peanut Butter and Raspberry Jam Cheesecake Brownies (©Deborah Clague)


BROWN BUTTER BUTTERSCOTCH OATMEAL COOKIES: 
My favourite food blog is TwoPeasandtheirPod which is where I get most of my cookie recipes. 

 Brown Butter Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookies (©Deborah Clague)

Brown Butter Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookies (©Deborah Clague)


TRIPLE CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY COOKIES: 
Another one from TwoPeasandtheirPod that I modified slightly. 

 Triple Chocolate Raspberry Cookies (©Deborah Clague)

Triple Chocolate Raspberry Cookies (©Deborah Clague)


RICE KRISPIE SQUARES: 
This is a must for the season but I was also motivated to insta this when Kellogg's made a pledge to donate $20 to the Salvation Army with their #TreatsforToys social media giving campaign. 

 Childhood favourite, the classic Rice Krispie Square (©Deborah Clague)

Childhood favourite, the classic Rice Krispie Square (©Deborah Clague)


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