We decided to have some fun with that beloved carol, “The 12 Days of Christmas,” sharing a recipe from some of the Higgins Insurance staff.
Ingredients for 40 servings
- ½ cup butter(115 g), softened
- 2 cups creamy peanut butter(480 g)
- 3 cups powdered sugar(480 g)
- 3 cups crispy rice cereal(75 g), more for garnish
- 2 cups chocolate chunk(340 g), preferably dark, for coating
In a large microwave-safe bowl, add the butter and peanut butter. Microwave for 1 minute.
Using a fork, stir together the melted butter and peanut butter until smooth. Microwave additional 20 seconds, as needed.
Add the powdered sugar and rice cereal to the bowl. Gently mix together until fully incorporated.
Using your hands, roll the mixture into approximately 30-40 1-inch balls (2 ½ cm). Place them on a wax paper-lined baking sheet and freeze for 15 minutes.
In a small microwave-safe bowl, add the chocolate chunks. Microwave for 60-75 seconds, stopping to check and stir every 30 seconds.
Drop the frozen balls in the melted chocolate one at a time, use a fork to roll around to ensure an even coating. Place back on a wax paper-lined baking sheet.
Garnish with additional rice cereal while the chocolate is still warm. Chill until the chocolate has set.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onions
- 2 pounds lean ground beef
- 2 pounds lean ground pork
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground all spice
- 1 teaspoon dried savory
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons Knorr brown sauce mix
In a large dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add onions and stir for 5 minutes.. Add the beef and pork, stirring to blend. Cook until no longer pink.
Season with salt and pepper to taste, allspice and savory.
Allow the mixture to cool. Remove any excess of fat and place in a food processor. Pulse to finely chop the meat. Return to dutch oven.
Combine water, Worcestershire and brown sauce mix powder. Stir well to dissolve. Add to meat. Mix and heat to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
Taste the mixture and season if necessary. Cool for 30 minutes or longer.
Divide meat between 3 pastry lined 9 inch pie plates.
Cover with top crust, trim, crimp edges to seal and cut steam vents. Bake for 10 minutes in 425 oven.
Reduce to 350 degrees and bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden.
Note: Meat pies freeze well unbaked. Cover the ready-made pies with foil. and freeze.
1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey
For the Brine:
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
1 gallon heavily iced water
For the Aromatics:
1 red apple, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage
- Two to three days before roasting: Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.
- Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.
- The night before or early on the day you’d like to eat: Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.
- Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.
- Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey’s cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.
- Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.
Cannelloni is one of my favourite childhood dishes. My mother would make it in large batches and freeze it for easy dinners. It’s easy, yet delicious and is hearty enough to warm you up on a cold winters night without leaving you with a heavy feeling.
500g ricotta cheese
300g frozen chopped spinach, thawed*
300g ground turkey
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbs garlic
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
2 tbs fresh parsley, finely chopped
200g box oven-ready cannelloni**
2 650ml jars of pasta sauce***
Special equipment: 2 9×9 inch baking pans (1 9×13 inch pan can be substituted)
*Thaw spinach in a colander. After spinach is thawed, drain by pressing spinach against the walls of a colander to squeeze out as much water as possible.
**Make sure you get the “oven-ready” cannelloni pastas. If you get the regular cannelloni, you will need to boil the pasta before starting.
***Don’t use chunky pasta sauce, as it will not have enough liquid. I personally prefer the Classico Fire-roasted Tomato & Garlic Pasta Sauce.
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Cook the ground turkey with all of the spices in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir constantly to prevent any large pieces from forming. Once fully cooked (you haven’t seen any pink meat for a few minutes), drain any excess liquid.
In a large bowl mix the cooked turkey, drained spinach and ricotta in a bowl until fully incorporated. Meanwhile, place about 1/3 a jar of pasta sauce in the bottom each of the 2 9×9 inch baking pans.
Stuff each cannelloni with the turkey mixture, being careful not to crack the pasta. Stuff as full as you can while keeping the pasta intact. Lay each stuffed cannelloni in two lines in the 9×9 inch baking pan. Once one pan is full, start filling the other pan.
Once all of the cannelloni have been filled and placed in the pans, divide the sauce between the two pans and evenly coat all of the pasta.
Bake for approximately 45 mins or until pasta is soft. Serve 2-3 cannelloni per a person. Serve topped with freshly grated parmesan.
When freezing either divide into individual serving sizes or freeze the whole dish. If freezing the whole dish, reheat in a 200F oven for 1/2 hour. Add 1/2 jar of pasta sauce when reheating to add extra moisture.
Everyone needs a treat over the Holiday Season, and is there anything better than fudge?
This Toblerone Fudge is the easiest treat you will make this Christmas and anyone who likes chocolate will fall in love with it!
- 3/4 cup canned evaporated milk
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 bar (400 g) Toblerone Swiss Milk Chocolate, broken into pieces
- Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper, with ends of paper extending over sides.
- Bring milk, butter and sugar to a full rolling boil in a large saucepan on medium heat, stirring constantly.
- Boil for approximately 5 minuntes, stirring constantly.
- Remove from heat.
- Add Chocolate and stir until completely melted.
- Pour into prepared pan.
- Refrigerate for 2 – 3 hours or until firm.
- Use paper handles to remove fudge from pan and then cut into squares.
- Keep refrigerated.
Cook the sweet potatoes: Peel and chop sweet potatoes, cook until tender. Drain.
Season and mash: Butter, sour cream, nutmeg, brown sugar, and salt add flavor to the sweet potatoes. Mash the potatoes chunky or smooth – your choice!
Brown sugar Topping: Mix up flour, brown sugar, pecans, cinnamon/nutmeg, salt, and softened butter. This is what makes this recipe special! Sweet, salty, buttery, crunchy bites that are spread all over the sweet potatoes.
Assembly: Spread the mashed sweet potatoes into the bottom of your baking dish. Top with marshmallows and pieces of Pecan topping.
Bake: 10-15 minutes in the oven is all this needs. Just enough to get the potatoes hot, the marshmallows toasted.
If you’ve never had this dish before, I know it might sound strange, but trust me, it totally works! The toasted mini marshmallows really do make the sweet potatoes taste better!
This recipe can be made a few days ahead. Assemble and heat in the hour or so leading up to dinner.
- Assemble the cooked and seasoned mashed sweet potatoes in a casserole dish and refrigerate tightly covered for up to 2 days (without any topping).
- Prepare the topping (without the marshmallows) and refrigerate that separately for up to 2 days.
- Before serving, bring the topping to room temperature. Heat the potatoes (without any topping) in the oven until heated all the way through (30-ish minutes depending on the size of your casserole dish). Once the potatoes are warm, sprinkle on the marshmallows and candied topping and return to the oven for 10-15 minutes, until the marshmallows are toasted. Serve!
3 – 4 Large Sweet Potatoes – peeled and chopped
2 Tbsp Butter
¼ Cup Sour Cream (1/4 Milk can be used for a thinner consistency)
1/2 tsp Nutmeg (adjust this to your preference – start with ¼ tsp and then add if desired)
2 – 3 Tbsp Brown Sugar
Salt to taste
4 Tbsp Butter (softened)
¼ Cup Brown Sugar
¼ tsp Salt
½ tsp Cinnamon and/or Nutmeg
½ Cup Chopped Pecans
Mini Marshmallows to cover the dish
Mashed sweet potatoes:
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 2 or 2 ½ quart casserole dish (preferably a rectangle or oval so there’s a decent surface area for the topping. I use an 8×11) and set aside.
- Place the sweet potatoes in a large pot, cover with water, and boil until tender (about 7 minutes, depending on the size). Drain really well and return to the pot. Add butter, milk, cinnamon, brown sugar and salt to the potatoes and mash until smooth. Use a hand mixer, if desired, to make them extra smooth. Taste the potatoes and add additional seasonings, if desired.
- additional seasonings, if desired.
- Transfer the mashed potatoes to the prepared casserole dish. Place in the oven until heated through (if they’re already warm it will only take a few minutes). While the sweet potatoes are heating, prepare the topping.
- In a medium bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt (I use a fork or rubber spatula to stir and mash the mixture), then mix in pecans.
- Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven. Top with half the marshmallows, then sprinkle half the streusel over the marshmallows (pinching pieces together with your fingers). Top with the other half of the marshmallows and sprinkle the remaining streusel over the top. Place back into the oven for 8-15 minutes, until the topping is bubbly and golden brown (keep an eye on it so the marshmallows don’t burn). You can also place it under the broiler very briefly to add a little more color to the marshmallows. Note: the longer it is in the oven the more likely that the marshmallows will begin to melt. Allow to sit at room temperature for several minutes before serving.
Chocolate Cherry Bombs
- 1 Devil’s food chocolate cake mix
- ½ cup or more prepared dark chocolate frosting
- 1 jar stem-on Maraschino cherries, drained and dried on paper towels
- 1 lb good quality dark chocolate
- Prepare cake mix according to directions (mine was 3 eggs + 1/3 cup oil + 1 cup water), bake 30-35 minutes until it passes the toothpick test.
- Once it is cool enough to handle, crumble the whole cake into a large mixing bowl.
- Stir the frosting into the cake crumbles. Add more if needed, until the mixture holds together when you scoop Tablespoonfuls and roll them into balls.
- Press a cherry into each ball. Enclose the cherry completely with the cake until only the stem pokes out from the middle of the cake ball. Roll around in the palms of your hands again to make sure the ball holds together.
- Repeat with all the remaining cake balls and Maraschino cherries.
- Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave at 50% power, stirring every 30 seconds and removing when there are still a few pieces of chocolate visible. The residual heat will melt the rest of the chocolate, so keep stirring until it is smooth.
- Dip the cake balls in the chocolate, using the cherry stem as a handle.
- Tap against the sides of the bowl to remove excess.
- Place on parchment or wax paper until dried.
1 ¼ cup flour
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 cup milk
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar and baking powder.
In another bowl, beat together the egg, milk and vegetable oil.
Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and still until combined (lumps are ok!)
Heat oiled frying pan over medium heat then pour ina bout ¼ cup of batter spreading it out evenly.
If the batter is too think to pour easily, add a little more milk to thin it out.
Cook the pancake on one side until bubbles appear on top and then flip it over cooking the opposite side until golden brown.
Top with berries or syrup
- 2¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1¼ cups granulated sugar
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar (light brown sugar will work, too)
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2½ teaspoons cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking pan with parchment paper or a non-stick baking mat.
- In a bowl, mix together dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, salt, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon; set aside.
- In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (hand-held mixers work too), cream together butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Next add vanilla extract and eggs one at a time, mixing after each. Scrape down sides of the bowl as necessary.
- With mixer on low-speed, gradually add the bowl of dry ingredients and mix until incorporated, do not over-mix though.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in freezer for 15 minutes to chill. Can also place in the refrigerator if you plan on making the cookies later.
- To make the cinnamon sugar, mix sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.
- Measure about 1½ tablespoons of dough, roll into a ball and then roll in cinnamon sugar and place on prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes (mine baked for 9). Every oven is different so it may take up to 15 minutes for your cookies to fully bake through. I suggest starting at 10 minutes and then watch them from there. However, you do not want to over bake as snickerdoodle cookies are known for their soft and chewy texture. Cookies will look puffy when they are done, remove from oven and let cool slightly on baking sheet then move to cookie sheet to cool completely. Cookies will flatten a little as they cool
Christmas Gumdrop Cake
1 cup Butter
1 ¼ pkg Cream Cheese, Softened
1 ½ cup White Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1 ¾ cup Flour
1 ½ tsp Baking Powder
2 cups Gumdrops cut & floured
2 tsp Lemon or Orange rind
In a large bowl cream butter, cream cheesed & sugar
Add vanilla and lemon/orange rind.
Add eggs 1 at a time – beat well after each one
In a separate bowl sift dry ingredients.
Mix with above mixture
Stir in gumdrops last
Bake @ 300 in a greased tube pan for 1hr & 20 min or when cake tester comes out clean.
Warm and sunny and filled with tropical flavours.
Ingredients (makes 24 Balls)
- 1 packet Philly cream cheese – softened
- 1 Can Crushed Pineapple – drained
- 2 1/2 Cups Flaked Coconut
- In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and pineapple.
- Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Roll mixture into 1-inch balls. Roll in coconut.
- Refrigerate overnight.
1 lb of butter
2 cups white sugar
2T corn syrup
1/4 cup of water
1 1/2 cups of ground almonds
3/4 pkg of milk chocolate chips
Melt butter in a heavy pan
Add 2 cups of sugar
Dissolve butter and sugar over medium heat
Add 1/4 cup of water
Boil till candy thermometer reaches 290 F
Remove from stove add 1 and 1/2 cups of ground almonds..stir well
Pour into a regular size cookie sheet..spread out evenly.
Spinkle chocolate chips on top.
Wait a few minutes..spread chocolate over candy then sprinkle a few tablespoons of ground almonds over chocolate.
Keeps in fridge for a month.