Bakers Journal

Redefining festive

December 6, 2021
By Elaine O’Doherty, Ardent Mills

Bakers are looking forward to returning to beloved traditions and making new memories

The smell of cookies wafting through the kitchen, the hum of families gathering and catching up – whatever traditions you celebrate, moments like these elicit the unmistakable nostalgia and delight of the holiday season. 

After a year of celebrating from afar, baking connoisseurs and amateurs alike are looking forward to returning to beloved traditions and making new memories – from trendy holiday dessert boards to storied family recipes and more gut-healthy choices.

Charcuterie boards get a holiday upgrade

While most of us couldn’t gather in person last holiday season, we found new ways to foster a sense of togetherness. Through virtual baking and meals, we adjusted to our new normal. As we hold out hope to return to holiday pastimes and familiar traditions this year, it’s time to make up for long overdue, yet still safe, hugs and traditions – and, of course, food!

When preparing to host a holiday gathering, dessert charcuterie boards are a sure-fire way to wow and stay at the top of the nice list. Trendy options include decadent pastries paired with fruits, sweets and hot chocolate, which are guaranteed crowd pleasers. The dessert boards also score big on presentation and can cater to a wide variety of dietary needs and health lifestyles – from gluten-free pecan balls to vegan chocolate chip cookies.


Timeless recipes – with a savvy twist

There’s always something special about family recipes – scribbled on well-loved recipe cards, magazines and postcards – you can feel the generations of laughs, smiles and memories made with every bite. As consumers become more conscious of health and dietary well-being, we’re seeing a new trend with fun recipe experimentation to not only replace ingredients with plant-forward and perceived healthier alternatives but also provide unexpected benefits and unique flavour profiles. For example, combining puréed fruit and vegetables in desserts is an emerging trend, ideal for desserts like carrot or zucchini cakes. Heading into the holidays, we also expect to see more beet and chocolate cake varieties. To take ingredient savviness to the next level, try substituting a portion of your flour with chickpea or quinoa flour for added protein and unique taste. 

A Happy (and Gut-Healthy!) New Year

From Thanksgiving dinner to New Year’s Eve, we tend to (happily) overindulge – ’tis the holiday season. As we look to the anticipated New Year’s resolutions just around the corner, many are looking to get a jump-start by making healthier holiday choices. With this in mind, we expect an increased focus on fibre, the fuel of the gut’s microbiome – most Canadians are getting only about half the amount of recommended daily intake.

Found in whole grains and whole wheat, fibre is the perfect nutrient to integrate into your holiday diet. From holiday cakes to dinner rolls, smart swaps can keep both you and your gut healthy, while fuelling the gut’s microbiome to promote a properly functioning digestive tract. Fibre also provides further physiological benefits, such as stabilizing cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

As we head into the season of celebration, joy and starting anew, baking traditions will once again serve as the “reason for the season,” uniting friends and family alike to enjoy pastimes, reinvent classics and make new memories, together. / BJ

Elaine O’Doherty is Marketing Manager (Canada), Ardent Mills.

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