The biggest part of the Christmas holidays is the sense of tradition and family. If you are far from your family, or spending the year with friends instead, traditions from our childhood can make us feel connected to ourselves, and loved ones near and far.

Food is a huge part of the season! Fashion bloggers Alex Grant of To Vogue or Bust and Alicia Quan of Alicia Fashionista are sharing their favourite childhood Christmas goodies that make them remember those good old days of Christmases past to get you in the mood for merry making. Start your own traditions and try one of these ladies favourite family recipes this season. Snap a pic of your kitchen adventures and tag #HolidaywiththeLadies – we would love to see what you’re doing in the kitchen for Christmas!

LWTL Christmas Cookies Alex

The ladies in my family aren’t really the domestic sort (well, with the exception of my little sister), but when Christmas rolls around, my mum goes full-force, completely taking over the kitchen to crank out dozens of dishes. Perogis (her lineage is Eastern European, if the maiden name Barabash wasn’t indicative enough), delicate Earl Grey flavoured cookies, decadent candy cane brownies and our all-time favourites…these incredible butter tarts! I like to keep my daily quota hovering around the 3-4 butter tart per day mark throughout the holiday season, so it’s all the more reason to hit the gym a bit harder! Hope you love these as much as my family and I do!

BARABASH FAMILY BUTTER TARTS

Pastry:

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • ice
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • ⅓sp salt
  • extra flour for dusting

Filling:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup melted butter (make it a bit hot)
  • 2 tbsp cream (like 10% or half/half)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup organic currants

Pastry directions:

Cut cold butter into small cubes and put into freezer to chill for 5-10 minutes.

Beat together egg and buttermilk in a bowl then add a couple ice cubes to mixture. Put mixture into fridge to chill then remove ice cubes after 5-10 minutes.

Put flour, sugar and salt into food processor and pulse to blend. Take chilled butter out of freezer and add to mixture, pulsing it several times until mixture is in coarse crumbles.

Very slowly begin to pour in chilled egg and buttermilk mixture – pulse until dough pulls away from sides and forms into a ball.

Remove whole mixture from food processor and place on lightly floured surface. Dust with flour if dough is a bit sticky. Press dough into large round, cut into two equal places and then wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour before moving onto the filling.

Filling directions:

Beat egg until light and fluffy. Add brown sugar and beat until thick. Stir in melted butter, cream, vanilla and currants.

Roll out pastry and fill tart moulds (muffin tray works). Fill tart shells about half full.

Bake at 350 F for about 30 mins or until pastry is golden and filling puffed.

LWTL Christmas Cookies Alicia

As you can see, this is just a brownie recipe that my mom found in Canadian Living back in 1989.  Somehow this recipe turned into our go-to when a dessert is needed, or those chocolate cravings take over.  I have so many fond memories of us making these together over the last 24 years and I’m super happy to keep the tradition going.  Though we enjoy these year-round, we like to use Christmas themed baking cups and topping them with mint chocolate Rosebuds or candy cane pieces to make them festive. Hope you enjoy!

BROWNIE MINIATURES

These rich moist chocolate brownies baked in tiny petit-four cups make delicious mouthfuls. A simple topping of Rosebuds, mint chocolate wafers or large chocolate chips doubles as frosting.

  • ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 3 oz. semisweet chocolate
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • 24 chocolate Rosebuds

Directions:

In saucepan over low heat, melt sugar, butter and chocolate, stirring until chocolate is just melted. Remove from heat and let cool for 1 minute; blend in vanilla and egg. Gently fold in flour just until blended. Spoon into tiny paper baking cups. Bake in 350 F (180C) oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until set. Remove from oven; set Rosebud on top of each; let cool. Makes about 2 dozen (store in airtight container for up to 1 week or in freezer for up to 3 months).

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