Cherry Chocolate Chunk Brownies<br>Photography by Jeff Coulson Credits: Cherry Chocolate Chunk Brownies<br>Photography by Jeff Coulson
Bars and squares make a fun addition to any cookie exchange.
A thick layer of creamy mint icing is sandwiched between a crumbly chocolate cookie base and smooth dark chocolate ganache in these irresistible squares.
Get the recipe: Mint Chocolate Squares
The decadent flavour of butter tarts in the form of easy-to-make squares.
Get the recipe: Butter Tart Squares
The pride of Nanaimo, B.C., these bars have a crumb base layered with a creamy custard filling and a chocolaty topping. Best served at room temperature, the bars keep well refrigerated or frozen.
Get the recipe: Classic Nanaimo Bars
Enjoy these Australian squares just as they are, or dip them in a mug of hot cocoa for the ultimate treat. While they're traditionally made with sponge cake, our version uses easy-to-make chocolate pound cake instead, making them a sinfully indulgent dessert for chocolate lovers. To retain their moistness, store the squares in the fridge.
Get the recipe: Double Chocolate Lamington Squares
Sweet-tart cranberries are cooked with a hint of orange to make an easy jam-like filling, then sandwiched between layers of crisp almond pastry. Freshly ground almonds are crunchier than the storebought ground variety, so whirl whole nuts in a food processor for the ultimate nutty crust.
Get the recipe: Cranberry Almond Squares
The inside-out version of this classic square offers a classy white chocolate top with a rich dark chocolate centre. Use a vegetable peeler to make the chocolate shavings.
Get the recipe: Reverse Nanaimo Bars
These layered bars are like three desserts in one! Using a candy thermometer ensures you have the right consistency of caramel (not too soft and not too hard).
Get the recipe: Gooey Peanut Butter Squares
If simplicity is your style, look no further than these six-ingredient squares, made with ingredients you'll likely already have on hand. If you prefer, use seedless raspberry jam instead of strawberry.
Get the recipe: Crumble-Topped Jam Squares
A smooth and silky no-bake filling comes together in a matter of minutes for this easy crowd-pleasing treat. Be sure to top the squares with peanuts quickly, before the chocolate sets.
Get the recipe: Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cheesecake Squares
Each layer of these bars is a delicious treat on its own; together, they become the star of any goodie tray. To make them gluten-free, be sure to use oat flour that's labelled as such. If you choose not to use pasteurized egg whites, whisk a fresh egg white until frothy and measure out one tablespoon.
Get the recipe: Sugared Pecan Fudge Squares
Vanilla wafer cookies, raspberry filling and white chocolate lighten up the traditional colour – and flavour – of the classic Nanaimo bar.
Get the recipe: Pink Berry Nanaimo Bars
Classic pecan pie gets a bite-size makeover with these crunchy pecan-packed squares. Toothsome shortbread is the perfect base, adding a delightful contrast. Chill the squares before cutting for a smooth, easy slice.
Get the recipe: Honey Pecan Pie Squares
Trust us, these easy-to-make squares will be the hit of your holiday parties and family gatherings. Wrap them in cute little boxes and hand them out as hostess gifts at all of your festive get-togethers.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Toffee Hello Dollies
Sweet glac? cherries and vivid pink icing give these sumptuous brownies a nostalgic retro look. Make them a couple of days ahead, then spread on the fruity icing just before serving.
Get the recipe: Cherry Chocolate Chunk Brownies
Sweet butterscotch squares hide a layer of crystallized ginger and velvety milk chocolate. These are pretty when packaged as gifts and are the perfect holiday treat to add to a bake sale.
Get the recipe: Ginger Butterscotch Squares
Thinkstockphotos.ca Credits: Thinkstockphotos.ca
Photography by Sarah Gunn Credits: Photography by Sarah Gunn
Personalize gifts for the holidays and make your own custom wrapping paper like this lovely floral lace design.
You will need:
- Stencil like this one from Royal Design Studio
- Acrylic craft paint
- Foam roller
- Small paint tray
- White craft paper (you can buy it by the roll at art supply stores)
- Painter’s tape
1. Roll the craft paper onto a flat surface. Place the stencil over it, along an edge, and tape in place with a small amount of tape. If you find the tape is tearing the paper. Tape on the table or floor outside the edge of the paper instead.
2. Apply a small amount of craft paint to the roller and roll over the stencil.
3. Keep moving the stencil, taking care to align the pattern and continue rolling paint over it.
4. Allow to dry. The paper may appear lumpy, but it will dry flat.
Natural beauty products can get a bad rap when it comes to efficiency and price point, but these brands offer all-natural wonders that really do the trick and won't break the bank.
While most of us understand the benefits of switching our diets from over-processed fast food to fresh fruit and veggies, many people have yet to embrace natural skin-care and makeup. This is partly because of the myth that natural products don’t work as well as synthetic formulas, and that when they do, they’re incredibly expensive. Let us put your mind to rest. We’ve found 11 affordable natural products from brands that specialize in good-for-you skin care and makeup. The best part? We tested them, so we know they really work.
Frank Body body scrub
Frank Body is an Australian company that bases its line of skin-care essentials off of one ingredient: coffee. The high caffeine content in the brand’s body scrub stimulates blood flow, which targets cellulite, stretch marks, psoriasis, varicose veins, acne scarring and a host of other skin issues. (Don’t just take our word for it. Check out the Instagram account devoted entirely to Frank feedback here.) The scrub also includes good-for-you ingredients such as sweet almond oil, vitamin E and sea salt, which help soothe and heal skin. This is a wonder product that makes skin feel soft and smooth.
Frank Body Original Body Scrub, $16, frankbody.com.
Consonant Skincare deodorant
Deodorant has been a hot health topic for a while, but most all-natural sticks don’t work as well as our usual drugstore buys. Luckily, Consonant Skincare has developed a deodorant that’s all-natural and reasonably priced—and that works. The Dealkalizing Deodorant uses ingredients such as cocoa butter, baking soda, aloe-leaf juice and arrowroot powder. The best part? You won’t find any aluminum or propylene glycol here.
Consonant Skincare Dealkalizing Deodorant, $14, consonantskincare.com.
Bite Beauty lipstick
Lipstick that’s good enough to eat? Almost. Bite Beauty is committed to the idea that what goes on your lips should be good for you and look good on. That’s why the company’s lip products include natural and organic ingredients that protect and nourish lips. (Think organic fruit bitters, manuka honey and vitamins A and B.) The latest line of lip colours is inspired by natural ingredients that give each lipstick a mouth-watering citrus flavour, edible oils, and remarkable benefits.
Bite Beauty Limited Edition Amuse Bouche Lipsticks, $30 each, sephora.ca.
If the eyes are the windows to the soul, you definitely don’t want to be getting synthetic junk in them. Ilia’s organic mascara is one of the best natural mascaras out there. With an improved formula and new colours, Ilia’s mascara offers length and fullness to your lashes without harsh ingredients.
Ilia Mascara in Nightfall, $31, beautymark.ca.
J.R. Watkins body oil
J.R. Watkins has been around since 1868 and has been committed to natural ingredients for almost as long. Although best known for its Vegetable Oil Soap, we favour the brand’s Body Oil Mist. Hydrate your skin with natural oils and vitamin E in one of three great scents; we’re partial to Coconut Milk & Honey for a lighter approach to fall. The best feature of this body oil has to be its quick drying time—a must for busy schedules.
J.R. Watkins Body Oil Mist in Coconut Milk & Honey, $9, jrwatkins.com.
Province Apothecary exfoliator
Most skin-care experts agree that exfoliation is a great way to slough off dead skin and help cell turnover, but many exfoliators are too abrasive for delicate facial skin. Which is why Province Apothecary’s Regenerating + Stimulating Exfoliator is so great. Made with oatmeal, lavender and green tea, this exfoliator comes dry so you can mix it with other natural ingredients depending on the season and your skin’s needs. Have dry or sensitive skin? Mix with oil. Oily skin? Mix in yogurt. Or you can mix with water for stimulating exfoliation. Province Apothecary is has released a brow serum that includes coffee and argan oil, which helps encourage sparse brows to grow thicker and stronger.
Province Apothecary Regenerating + Stimulating Exfoliator, $38, provinceapothecary.com.
Odacité is at the forefront of natural and organic skin care, and its products offer big results. Our favourites? The facial serum concentrates. You can expertly tailor your skin regimen to your needs with 18 different options targeting skin concerns such as hyperpigmentation, sagging, deep wrinkles and fragile capillaries. Simply pick your serum, then add one to three drops to your daily moisturizer. Each serum is made with fresh natural ingredients and works hard to heal your skin. After test-driving the Jojoba Lavender Serum Concentrate (which targets clogged pores), skin was noticeably clearer after only a couple of days, making this product a must-have.
Odacité Pure Elements Jojoba Lavender Serum Concentrate, $39, thedetoxmarket.ca.
Tata Harper Fortifying Body Lotion
The Tata Harper brand gives a new meaning to organic beauty products. The luxury brand is known best for its efficacious skincare offerings and beautifully scented products. This lotion delivers on powerful anti-aging benefits to the entire body. The lightweight product feels like a serum and helps reduce the appearance of spider veins, tones with a trio of rose extract and helps minimize cellulite. Not to mention it's crazy hydrating, without leaving behind any sticky residue.
Tata Harper Fortifying Body Lotion, $90, beautymark.ca.
Lush face masks and skin tint
Lush Fresh Face Masks are so fresh they must be stored in the fridge. Everything from the product to the packaging is sustainable. Try the Rosy Cheeks Face Mask, which helps soothe and calm skin. Made with calamine and rose oil, this mask cleanses, nourishes and calms without leaving skin dry. After one use, redness is subdued and pores look visibly clearer. We also have to mention Lush’s skin tint, which works wonders as a foundation on its own or when you mix it with your regular moisturizer. This tint creates a your-skin-but-better look and feels like you’re wearing nothing on your face.
Lush Rosy Cheeks Fresh Face Mask, $13, lush.ca. Lush Colour Supplement in Light Pink, $17, lush.ca.
Pai face cream
Pai Skincare provides organic solutions for sensitive skin—meaning the products are gentle but work hard. Take the Geranium & Thistle Rebalancing Day Cream. This cream with essential fatty acids, geranium oil and thistle oil (which is rich in omega-6s) helps clear congested skin and balance oil. Say goodbye to your oily T-zone without starving your skin of moisture. Because it dries quickly to a matte finish, the cream is also a great base for makeup.
Pai Skincare Geranium & Thistle Rebalancing Day Cream, $64, paiskincare.com.
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