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Vegan Ginger Spiced Hot Chocolate

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My family and I always visit a local tree farm to cut the perfect evergreen for the holidays. We’ve been doing it since we were young. It has always involved a labyrinth walk through a field filled with hundreds of Christmas trees to choose from. We always have trouble finding the one that is perfectly fitting for the occasion.

Some years there is snow, other years there is rain, but no matter what the weather we always strap on suitable outdoor gear and find the perfect tree! We always finish our tradition with some hot chocolate, or apple cider. Which is where this recipe comes in super handy. Having returned from adventures around the world, I wanted to make a more interesting hot chocolate that is loaded with spices! I loaded it with WAY too many marshmallows… just because it looked cool.

I also have been baking so many things because there is always a party, and everyone loves home baking. I had some leftover gingerbread and decided to make some gingerbread sticks that could be used to dip in the spiced chocolatey goodness. It was probably the best decision I made that day.

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The other nice thing about being home for the holidays is having extra helping hands. My sister was super amazing and helped me by being the prop in my little photo shoot. These photos wouldn’t have been complete without her 🙂

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Now the hot chocolate itself is vegan, but I added marshmallows, which are not very vegan at all. If you want to make it vegan, just omit the marshmallows or find some vegan ones in the shops around Kensington Market in Toronto.

Do you have any family traditions over the holidays? What is your go to hot drink when it is chilly? Wishing you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year! Thanks for following me, and I hope to give you some more tasty treats worth making in the new year!

Anna xoxoxoxox

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Vegan Walnut Brownie Cookies + The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

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I have always loved cookie swaps. It is an excuse to make an extra big batch of cookies only to trade half of them (or more) for an assortment of other delicious cookies. These swaps always inspire me right before my big holiday bake-off! I have hosted a cookie swap in the past with friends which was awesome! But this year I went to the virtual world with the end result being three boxes of different types of fresh baked cookies delivered to my doorstep. Obviously, this is awesome.

I discovered The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap last year but missed the sign-up deadline. I didn’t want to miss it this year so I marked it in my calendar and here we are now, blogging about my experience!

I decided to work on creating a recipe that was vegan, and came up with these sandwich cookies. These cookies are a little on the cakey + delicate side, but really delicious. I used walnuts and ground them into a walnut butter, but feel free to use any nut you like. I chose walnuts because they make me think of Christmas’s spent at my grandpa’s farm where it wasn’t the holiday’s unless there was a bowl of large assorted nuts near a nutcracker.

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I tested these cookies a couple times in order to get the recipe I wanted which has a brownie texture that is just sturdy enough to handle. It is also super important to let the dough rest in the freezer over night for 1 or even 2 days. This helps to allow time for the dry and wet ingredients to settle into each other.

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One thing I forgot to add in the recipe is that I added some extra chopped walnuts to give the cookies a little extra texture.

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The best part of this cookie swap is discovering other amazing food blogs in Canada! I sent a dozen of these cookies to The Tasty Gardner, Cheap Ethnic Eats, and Forever Faith and Food. I received delicious Kris Kringle cookies from Hot Pink Apron, chocolate and vanilla biscotti from Kate’s Plate, and Cardamom Quince Layer Cookies from The Yum Yum Factor. It was a really fun time baking and discovering new blogs! I will definitely be checking out these recipe hubs from now on.

Now it is back to the kitchen to bake, bake, bake, especially now since I am inspired from all these awesome cookie ideas! Good luck with your holiday baking and hope to see you soon!

Much Love,
Anna xoxox

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Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti

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While waiting for the snow to subtly drift through the sky, I find myself occupied in the kitchen baking cookies… or biscotti to be precise.

There is really no losing when Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti is on the menu. The only thing missing is a few friends and a pot full of steaming tea.

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The biscotti was really great and did not last more then a minute past the day it was made. The cocoa made the biscotti a little more dense and not as dry because of the higher fat content.

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It is important to not get caught up in the Christmas cheer and to make every moment count! Even if it means really enjoying a good sized portion of fresh Chocolate Pistacho Biscotti. No one is judging here…

Wishing you a time of peace and happiness! I hope to give you a few more recipes for the holiday’s this year. But be sure to check out my recipe list in the above tab for many inspirational recipes for the holiday’s!

Thanks for poppin’ in and hope to see you soon! Much love,

Anna xoxox

Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti

Adopted from Martha Stewart

What you need,

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder (dutch processed)

1 tsp. baking soda

dash of salt

6 tbsp. butter (unsalted)

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 cup of pistachios

How to prepare,

1. Set oven to 350 degree F.

2. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.

3. Mix flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda in separate bowl.

4. Add a little at a time of the flour mixture to the butter/egg mixture.

5. The dough will be really stiff. I usually just use my hands near the end to get all the flour mixed in.

6. Add pistachios to the mixture.

7. Using a parchment lined baking sheet, place the biscotti dough on top. Form a log that is about 12×4 inches.

8. Bake for about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and slice biscotti into 1 inch pieces.

9. Lower the oven to 300 degrees F and return the sliced biscotti in the oven for another 10 minutes. Let cool and enjoy!