Today we’re wrapping up Holiday B R U N C H Week here at BAKED, hoping that you’re inspired to try one (or more) of these delicious afternoon treats.
Day 1: Multigrain Banana Spice Waffles with Espresso Maple Syrup by Kelly B // Day 2: Overnight raspberry sticky buns with cardamom and ginger by Alanna // Day 3: Cranberry Clementine Loaf with Clementine Glaze by Kelly N // Day 4: Asparagus and Goat Cheese Frittata by Ashley // Day 5: Speculaas Spiced Baked Oatmeal with Pears by Sophie M // Day 6: Maple Poached Pears + Black Sesame Granola // Day 7: Croissant Bread Pudding with Bourbon, Chocolate, and Pecans by Kris
I (Sofia) didn’t get a chance to participate since my hands are tied with the little one, but I did ask the ladies at BAKED to share their best holiday hosting tips to leave you with into the new year.
Kris: Say yes when people offer to help! Whether it be bringing their favourite dessert or bottle of wine, helping to set the table, or plating the food while you put the finishing touches on your mashed potatoes, having more people involved during big (or small) get-togethers not only offloads some of your work, leaving you with more time to focus on your guests. It also has a way of making everyone feel like they’re contributing to something greater than the sum of its parts. Holidays are about family and community and helping or accepting help with a meal really highlights this. (And if no one brings dessert, serve an assortment of Christmas cookies post-turkey. This is one of my faves.)
Sophie B: Instead of trying to impress your guests with an extravagant menu or complicated dishes you’ve never made before, stick to a few of your favourite, tried and true recipes. Serve food that you’ve made many times before and that you truly, wholeheartedly love. Not only will you enjoy the cooking and prepping process a lot more, you’ll also avoid unnecessary stress by knowing exactly how the recipes will come out. For me, this brittle is almost always on the menu. I’ve made this recipe so many times, I know it always comes out amazing and is a guaranteed success.
Sofia: Have non-party food and snacks ready to go for the time that you spend preparing to make sure that you and hungry family members have something to eat the day when the kitchen is holiday production mode. It’s a little disruptive having my husband pop in to make lunch, or worse, pick at the holiday treats, when there are 10 things on the go and I’m super focused on making sure that everything’s coming together. These Smoky Pumpkin Empanadas are great to have on hand!
Alanna: One of the easiest things to prepare for in advance (that will add a classy touch to your cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages alike) is to make a flavoured simple syrup — or three — to add to your drinks. It’s as easy as mixing equal parts sugar and water, plus whatever flavouring you’d like (such as rosemary, or grated fresh ginger, or citrus peels) to the mixture, simmering for a few minutes, allowing to rest until cool, and transferring to a container. They’ll keep for weeks in the fridge, and if you’re short on fridge space towards your hosting days, can be kept on the porch — one of the perks of a Canadian winter!
If you’ve got some extra freezer space, another thing to consider is to fill a large bundt pan with water and allow it to freeze for a few days into a giant ice cube for your punch bowl (simply run it under warm water to loosen it when you’re ready). It looks gorgeous, and, due to the larger surface area of the ice, it melts very slowly, so your punch won’t get too diluted. If you’re a little tighter on space, a few days in advance, fill a few ice trays with the actual cocktail or mocktail you’re making, and freeze — another great way to keep your drinks cold without diluting the flavour too much.
Kelly N: The only way I can stay ahead of the game is to prep in advance. It’s probably cliché to say my freezer and I are pretty tight around the holidays, but I also love dishes I can make in ahead of time and throw in the crockpot or oven and forget about them. My favourite molasses baked beans recipe is just that. Prep, stick it in the fridge until you’re ready to bake, then put in the oven overnight on 250º. My baked beans are a staple at our family’s Boxing Day Brunch gathering.
Kelly B: My best advice when hosting, or at very least what works for me, is to keep things simple. Grand doesn’t necessarily mean special, so stick to uncomplicated dishes that are tried and true for your holiday table, and for the rest of the meals you’re required to cook stick to dishes that can be cooked in batches like these Multigrain Banana Spice Waffles that can be frozen and popped in the oven when needed or an effortless but posh scramble with hot genoa that will feed a crowd.
Ashley: Keeping things simple and preparing in advance are two things that save my soul over the holidays. Heck, don’t even be afraid to ask people to bring dishes and turn it into a potluck if you don’t want the stress of cooking a whole meal. My go-to recipe, especially if I want to have something on the healthier side, is my roasted veg and quinoa salad. It’s the perfect make-ahead side as it suits everyone since its vegan and gluten free.
Happy Holidays! We’ll see you back in January.
This is your last chance to enter the GIVEAWAY on our Instagram Page with our friends at FoodiePages, so head there to win a basket filled with Canadian-made, small batch food ($110 value) just in time for Holiday entertaining. Good luck!