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Bring on the cookies, cakes, and pies

IT CAN’T BE denied—the best part of the holidays is the food. The smell of turkey roasting in the oven, salads spiced with oranges and pecans, and, of course, desserts aplenty. Nothing beats your mom’s home cooking, but why wait until Dec. 24 to get your fill?

Traditional sugar cookies

These cookies are classic and always fun. No matter how old you are, there is something absolutely exhilarating about decorating your very own edible Christmas tree or star with multicoloured icing and sparkly sprinkles. With very few ingredients needed, this recipe is extremely simple. Just combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, butter, sugar, one egg, and vanilla. Find some awesome cookie cutters and enjoy.

Cranberry loaf

This is a traditional recipe usually passed down from generation to generation and is an absolutely wonderful way of starting off your Christmas morning. It contains cranberries, pecans, orange juice, and grated orange zest. This refreshing combination paired with a steaming cup of coffee makes the perfect breakfast for the holidays.


No, not the insect. While these cookies may look like they have eight legs, they taste as delicious as cookies come. By melting chocolate and butterscotch chips and combining them with peanuts and chow mein noodles, you get a wonderful and surprising holiday treat.


These cookies are an old favourite, and don’t involve an oven! Melt butter, sugar, milk, and cocoa in a pot. When it’s boiling, add in vanilla, oats, and coconut. Stir quickly because the mixture will dry within a few minutes. Spoon out the batter and put it on a cookie sheet to dry. They are addictive like nothing else. Ten times better than macaroons, and 10 times less mess to clean up.

Shortbread cookies

Shortbread cookies are absolutely necessary during the holidays. Basically made of flour, butter, and sugar, these are classics. Don’t forget to put a fork flat-side down to make markings on the top of the cookies—it doesn’t add anything to the taste, but it makes them look fantastic. And if you really want to kick it up a notch, place a piece of Toblerone chocolate in the centre.

Fruit cake

Some holiday recipes just can’t be altered, and this is one of them. Use one and a half pounds of dried fruits (apricots, figs, candied cherries, raisins, cranberries, currants), one cup of chopped nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts, or pecans), orange and lemon zest, and, of course, some brandy. Perfect to finish off a Christmas feast—plus, who says the rest of the brandy has to go to waste?

—Katherine DeClerq