Christmas

Burnt Caramel Nut Brittle by The Messy Baker.
Burnt Caramel Nut Brittle

I've decided to change the idiom from "watching paint dry" to "waiting for sugar to caramelize". It doesn't roll off the tongue, but it's a fair description of the process. This recipe for Burnt Caramel Nut Brittle calls for deeply caramelized sugar. While it doesn’t...

Ingredients for Sugarplums by The Messy Baker
Last-Minute Sugarplums

I always assumed sugarplums were plum-shaped candies made of marzipan and dusted in sugar. When I asked friends and family for their theories, guesses ranged from holiday jellies to booze-soaked prunes. We had never seen, let alone tasted one. To us, these Christmas confections existed only in Clement Clarke Moore’s poem...

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Sticky Toffee Pudding

When I first saw the The Dirty Apron Cookbook by David Roberston (Figure 1 © 2014), I wanted to run home and make the ravioli pictured on the front cover. They looked rustic enough to give me hope, yet exuded artisanal confidence. I knew they wouldn’t disappoint. Besides,...

Zdena's Walnut Crescent Cookies, a classic Czech treat — TheMessyBaker.com
Zdena’s Walnut Crescent Cookies

The Canadian Food Experience Project - The Christmas Edition - Walnut Crescent Cookies In our family, Christmas changes little, year to year. Once the New Year arrives and the decorations are packed away, all Christmases Past roll together into a single, hazy holiday scenario to be...

Caramel Apple Icebox Trifle
Caramel Apple Icebox Trifle

The holidays are rushing in and the panicked questions have begun. With crazed eyes and shaking voices, friends ask me for easy holiday recipes to take to a party or serve their own guests. They always say "easy" with extra emphasis, pausing before and after...

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Crispy Chocolate Rice Squares

Swag. It used to mean some sort of garland or window dressing. But times have changed. Ignoring the Urban Dictionary's profanity-laced first definition, I pieced together other entries and conclude it's an overused term meaning one's personal style or attitude. I think it's the new...

Mushrooms Rockefeller makes a decadent appetizer - TheMessyBaker.com
Mushrooms Rockefeller

I got myself into this and I'm going to get myself out. I did not, repeat not, acquire a one-trick pony of a pan. I could point you to the Indian, Thai, Korean and Japanese variations of the aebleskiver, but really, they're all just spins on batter...

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Cumin Carrots with Cilantro Vinaigrette

Fool me once, shame of you. Fool me twice (a dozen times), shame, shame, double-shame on me. It took years, but I learned my lesson. No Newspaper Recipes. None. Do not clip them for me. I will throw them out. Do not make them for...

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Rum Vanilla Extract and Butter Rum Shortbread

The vanilla extract on the left is full of seeds and has a whole pod in the bottle. The vanilla beans on the right are fresh, fragrant and supple enough to knot. Both products are Really Horrible. Seriously. They're from Really Horrible Enterprises located in Ottawa, ON. I...

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Buttermilk Scones | 2 Make-Ahead Options
Buttermilk scones with two make-ahead options - TheMessyBaker.com My shoulder's ache, my fingertips have callouses, and the daylight hurts my eyes. But The Messy Baker is written, filed electronically and a 292-page, double-spaced paper copy is beating up all the Christmas cards as it pushes its way to HarperCollins in Toronto. I have promised myself I will not obsessively check the tracking number until Wednesday —the earliest realistic delivery date. Wednesday noon? All bets are off. In the process of the Last Big Push, I broke a personal record or two. Not only did I write more words than the not-so-great NaNoWriMo novel of 2009, all were coherent (relatively) and spelled correctly (or at least recognizably). In addition, I am now officially the household champion of The Most Consecutive Days Spent Unwashed & in Pajamas — Without a Raging Fever or Knee Surgery Category. Until now, that title was held by my husband during the panic-infused finishing stretch of his recent book. I used to take comfort in my leaf green house robe. Now it reeks of hysteria and is stained with writer's tears. A Messy Robe for a Messy Baker. Everything is unfolding as it should.

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