Pull out all the stops for Santa this year, starting with a batch of cookies that are ALMOST too good to share.
For a shift from standard royal icing, we've topped these sugar cookies with marzipan, a mixture of sugar and almond paste, which is easy to roll out and adds rich flavour.
Get the recipe: Marzipan Star Cookies
Drop cookies make a fuss-free base for these delightful sandwiches, as there's no rolling out or cutting required.
Get the recipe: Minty Swirl Sandwich Cookies
A crunchy chocolate topping adds a whole new level of deliciousness to the winning combo of chocolate and peanut butter.
Get the recipe: Peanut Butter and Chocolate Crunch Cookies
A creamy, sweet and nutty filling takes these cakey chocolate cookies to a whole new level.
Get the recipe: German Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
Slice-and-bake cookies are great for time-pressed cooks because there's no rolling or cutting out shapes—simply form the dough into a log, chill and slice.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Almond-Slice-and-Bake Cookies
Buttery shortbread gets a warm hug from spiced gingerbread dough in this mash-up of two favourite holiday cookies.
Get the recipe: Two-Tone Gingerbread and Shortbread Cookies
Store a log of this oatmeal raisin dough in your freezer so you can enjoy freshly baked cookies at a moment's notice.
Gooey marshmallows and melted dark chocolate give these soft thumbprint cookies the irresistible flavour of the classic campfire treat.
Get the recipe: S'mores Thumbprints
Sesame seeds add the perfect amount of savouriness to these otherwise sweet cookies.
Get the recipe: Apricot Sesame Thumbprints
A buttery coconut filling takes these chocolate cookies into extraordinary territory.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Almond Coconut Thumbprints
Stuffed with a creamy cookie-crumb filling, these soft chocolate cookies are a cocoa lover's dream.
Get the recipe: Cookies and Cream Sandwich Cookies
Get creative when painting the glaze onto the trees. Windswept cedars, bending pines and evergreen boughs dotted with tiny bobbles look wintry and festive.
Get the recipe: Painted Tree Cookies
No ugly sweater party is complete without these themed cookies!
Get the recipe: Ugly Sweater Cookies
These colourful wreaths may look intricate, but all you need is a piping bag with a small star tip to give them their realistic look.
Get the recipe: Festive Wreath Cookies
White sprinkles give these stockings a fluffy-trim effect.
Get the recipe: Stocking Cookies
Every bite of these easy-to-make cookies will melt in your mouth.
Get the recipe: Classic Whipped Shortbread
Two buttery chocolate chip cookie doughs—one with an extra hit of chocolate—are baked together to make these scrumptious cookies.
Get the recipe: Two-Tone Chocolate Chip Cookies
These soft and cakey molasses cookies are rolled in coarse turbinado sugar for a pleasant crunch and an extra hit of sweetness.
Get the recipe: Big Fat Molasses Cookies
These festive drop cookies are both chewy and crisp.
Get the recipe: White Chocolate Sprinkle Cookies
Christmas colours add holiday flair to these giant cookies.
Get the recipe: Festive Canvas Cookies
We've added a subtle blend of spices to basic shortbread for extra festive flavour.
Get the recipe: Spiced Ombre Snowflake Cookies
These chewy, mildly spiced cookies are covered in a pretty crunchy coating. They may appear soft when they come out of the oven, but they will firm up as they cool.
Get the recipe: Chewy Spiced Double-Chocolate Cookies
Carbs can be healthy! Credits: Getty Images
No matter your craving—pizza, pasta, chocolate—we've got a healthy carb substitute that's good for you.Low-carb diets affect our mood and energy for a reason—carbohydrates are the most important source of energy for our bodies. But our carb carvings aren’t just biological, they’re a learned response in the brain, says Christy Brissette, a Toronto-based registered dietitian and president of 80 Twenty Nutrition. "Research has shown that when we give in to our cravings over and over we map an automatic response in the brain." The good news is you can create a new, healthier pathway with nutritious alternatives that satisfy your carb cravings without any negative side effects like low energy or weight gain. Here are a few handy suggestions.
Make a homemade veggie pizza using whole wheat pita and low-fat mozzarella or ricotta cheese. "It's already personal size so there's no chance of overeating," says Brissette. Spread tomato sauce on your pita (if desired), and top with finely diced veggies and cheese. Bake until crisp, melted and irresistible. Carb-curving bonus: Eating whole wheat carbs can lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease. Try this recipe: Double Mozzarella and Spinach Pita Pizzas.
Chocolate chia pudding couldn't be easier to make. "Just add skim milk or a milk alternative, cocoa powder and your choice of sweetener to chia seed, stir it up and put it in the fridge," says Brissette. The chia seeds absorb all the liquid, take on the cocoa flavour and gel into pudding consistency, she adds. Carb-curving bonus: Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and protein, which will help keep you feeling fuller longer. Find out more about chia seeds.
Prepare your own sweet potato fries. Cut up sweet potatoes, toss in olive oil, add a dash of salt and bake until crispy, says Brissette. The salty, sweet, rich treat will more than satisfy your fix. Carb-curving bonus: Sweet potatoes contain more fibre and fewer total carbs than white potatoes. Try this recipe: Baked Herb Sweet Potato Fries.
"My latest obsession is 'nice cream'," says Brissette. "Take a frozen fruit, bananas work well, and add skim milk or a milk alternative like almond milk until the drink is the consistency of ice cream. It really helps kick sweet cravings." Carb-curving bonus:Fresh fruit is fibre-rich, which provides "bulk", slowing digestion and making you feel full longer. Try this recipe: Pineapple Berry Smoothie.
Spaghetti squash makes a great substitute for pasta noodles, says Brissette. Just steam, separate the strands with a fork, and add your favourite pasta sauce. Carb-curving bonus:You'll get a host of vitamins from the squash, including vitamin A, vitamin C and beta-carotene. "If you're craving lasagna, I use sliced zucchini in place of the noodle," adds Brissette. Try this recipe: Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Tomatoes.
Make your own popcorn with olive oil spray and sprinkle with salt and herbs, or, for a cheesy hit, add nutritional yeast. "You can buy nutritional yeast in bulk stores and health food stores," says Brissette. "It's just like sprinkling Parmesan cheese flakes onto your popcorn." Carb-curving bonus:Nutritional yeast is rich in B vitamins such as riboflavin and niacin. "Plus, it gives you a ton of flavour without a ton of fat," adds Brissette. Find out how to make popcorn the old-fashioned way.
Eat a handful of your favourite nuts along with one or two squares of dark chocolate. Nuts won't trigger the same serotonin release that carbs do, says Brissette, but they will keep you satisfied. "Just make sure you stick to a handful because nuts are high in calories." Carb-curving bonus: The natural fats in the nuts and protein will curb your appetite while the dark chocolate will satisfy your sweet craving. Find out everything you need to know about nuts.
Photography by Jeff Coulson Credits: Photography by Jeff Coulson
A few quick tips that will help you create a beautiful artisanal cheese board that will wow a crowd.
From coast to coast, Canadians are making some seriously world-class cheese.
Hit up your local cheese shop and get to know our country’s offerings, then showcase your favourites on an artisanal cheese board that reflects your style and taste.
The ideal cheese board should include three or four types of cheese: hard, semi-firm, soft and blue.
To please many tastes, consider including both cow’s and goat’s milk cheeses.
Add dried fruit, such as cranberries and apricots, as well as fresh figs, sliced pears and a selection of good quality crackers and crusty bread.
Check out our tips for creating an impressive charcuterie board.
©iStockphoto.com/YelenaYemchuk Credits: ©iStockphoto.com/YelenaYemchuk