Bakers Journal

Unique spins on classic holiday recipes

November 18, 2022
By Kirk Borchardt, Industry Chef, Ardent Mills

Keep your charcuterie board colourful by adding a mix of fruit, dips, cheeses and even some sweet treats for added flair. Photo: Ardent Mills

Celebrations are in full swing this holiday season as your customers gather with loved ones to honour old and new traditions. However, as bakers and chefs look to incorporate creative twists on classic table staples, holiday decadence this year will be anything but traditional.

Consumers are hungry for foods that not only taste great but also make them feel good. Delicious gluten-free and keto-friendly recipes are more popular than ever, largely for their perceived nutritional qualities and surprisingly familiar flavours. Expect to see health-conscious choices, bold flavour profiles and colourful spreads around the table this holiday season.

Spice up your dessert menu

The dessert table is naturally everyone’s most anticipated stop at any holiday party – so this year, expect sweet treats to incorporate unexpected updates to favourite classics. Eggnog-spiced cheesecake or ginger-spiced crème brûlée are two of our favourites as they are equal parts unique and delicious. Using non-traditional fruit like lychee and persimmon is another way to add a more international flavour profile to a fruitcake or pudding dish. Adding an element of surprise to your desserts such as a puffed quinoa topping in place of rice is fun for both you and your guests, bringing in a different look and taste.

Your favourites, gluten-free

With one-third of Canadians looking for gluten-free foods (Canadian Celiac Association), this year, expect gluten-free twists on holiday classics. With readily available 1:1 cup swap options, it has never been easier to cater to gluten-free diet preferences while keeping family traditions alive.

Ingredients worthy of the nice list

Cooking for loved ones is even more enjoyable when you’re using ingredients that have a perceived healthy halo. An ingredient rising in popularity this year is chickpeas. Chickpeas can easily be incorporated into desserts like cinnamon apple cake by blending whole chickpeas or gluten-free pumpkin muffins by substituting traditional flour with chickpea flour. Additionally, chickpea flour as a standalone ingredient is higher in protein and fibre than whole grain flour, with the added benefit of fewer calories. The possibilities are endless, and crafting recipes that may offer added nutritional benefits is a wonderful way to spread joy at any gathering.

Trade traditional carbs for quinoa

Substituting quinoa for traditional grains has been a favourite among cooks as keto-friendly and gluten-free diets continue to gain momentum. Holidays are of course the time to be indulgent, but quinoa – which is higher in fibre than traditional flour – is a perfect ingredient to consider mixing into your menu this year. This ancient grain also pairs well with roasted vegetables like butternut squash or brussels sprouts to make a warm hearty salad or stuffing.

Jolly and bright spreads

Making your table spread look good is just as fun as making sure it tastes good! Charcuterie boards have long been a popular dish on the table as they are a fun way to get creative with ingredients and design. Keep your board colourful by adding a mix of fruit, dips, cheeses and even some sweet treats for added flair. You can always add easy to make gluten-free crackers for an added crunch and new textural component.

For many, holidays are when dietary needs and preferences of all types come to the same table to share in cheery and joyful celebrations centred around delicious meals. Make your menu special this year by trying a new recipe or adding a spin on an old favourite. Your customers will thank you for it!


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