rolling gingerbread with kids

Holiday baking with kids and a gingerbread house recap

Our weekend plans went awry when little Clara fell quite seriously sick and we were back and forth from the emergency room both Saturday and Sunday.

She is on the mend (we hope) and we are catching up on sleep and life. Maybe I’ll finally get to unpack from London and tackle my email inbox.

Not surprisingly, it was baking together as a family over the weekend that offered a respite from the stress. My mind has a tendency to head to a very dark place when these mysterious medical issues show up (it doesn’t help when not one, but four doctors misdiagnose the case) and I need a diversion. Preferably some thing with cinnamon and spice, cookie cutters and sprinkles.

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Bûche de Noël / Yule Log / Chocolate Hazelnut Roll | Simple Bites #kidsinthekitchen #baking

Chocolate Hazelnut Bûche de Noël (Yule Log)

Whipping cream into soft peeks, spreading frosting on cookies, or dusting the fruitcake with powdered sugar, holiday baking has to be the ultimate opportunity to welcome the children into the kitchen and let them stir, mix and roll alongside you.

In doing so, you are making memories together and creating traditions that just might last through generations. Perhaps it is just a simple batch of shortbread, prepared a few different ways and loved by all, or cut-out gingerbread cookies, our annual holiday cookie of choice. But whatever the recipe, make sure to include little helpers when you bake – it will have a lasting impression on them.

We recently sweetened up a Saturday afternoon preparing something extra special for our weekly Sunday dinner. It was enormous fun to make with my Mateo, which is why we decided to share it here with you.

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Naked Lemon Layer Cake recipe and tutorial | Simple Bites

Rustic Lemon Layer Cake for a baby shower

November is the season of comfort food, which for me roughly translates into coffee and cake – at least today it does.

Lately I’ve taken to retreating into my warm kitchen in the morning with a stack of the fall’s latest baking books and only emerging when I feel adequately caffeinated and something delightful is cooling on the counter. We can only eat so much, and I gift a good portion of my baking, but it is always welcome to have a little assignment.

So last weekend when a few close friends and I teamed up on an (actual, not virtual, although today’s is virtual) baby shower, I volunteered to bake the cake. I’d been thumbing through both Homemade Decadence and Butter Baked Goods dreaming of layer cakes and fluffy frosting and this was the opportunity I needed  to break out the cake pans. I chose a recipe from each book and both were so spectacular, I requested permission from the publishers to share them with you here.

The recipes can be scaled up or down, should you one day find yourself committed to making a wedding cake or just want a crumb of something sweet for Sunday dinner.  I think you’ll agree, few things in life are as enjoyable a frosted slice of cake, so read on for the tutorial, recipes and virtual baby shower you can join, too!

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TWO DAIRY-FREE PUMPKIN DESSERTS FOR THANKSGIVING

Dairy-free Spiced Pumpkin Pie and Chocolate Pumpkin Baked Doughnuts

In October, we lug home golden pumpkins and red-skinned apples from the markets and transform them into a sideboard of sweets for a Canadian Thanksgiving celebration.

The correlation between Thanksgiving baking and cooler fall temperatures is no coincidence. My kitchen begins heating up with crimped pies and tender cakes right around the time our evening walks start requiring scarves and sweaters. It’s a good balance.

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Extra-Crisp Pear Lavender Crisp | Simple Bites #dessert #pears #recipe

Extra-Crispy Pear-Lavender Crisp

This post is sponsored by KitchenAid Canada.

Local apples are not quite sweet enough for my liking yet, but fortunately we have pears from neighbouring province Ontario to tide us over.

Bartlett pears have replaced peaches on my kitchen counter and the first basket I bought fulfilled their destiny in this dessert. I’m a big fan of the super simple slow cooker apple crisp (it’s a great kitchen job for kids), but lately I’ve been craving a really crumbly topping. An extra-crisp fruit crisp.

Fortunately, one of my favourite Canadian bloggers, Charmian, recently released a cookbook titled The Messy Baker and I found just what I was looking for between its beautiful covers.

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