12/12 Days of Christmas Baking

Brynn Lewis, Staff Writer

I first tried jam thumbprints at a Christmas baking exchange a couple of years ago. They were delicious—an instant favourite! For people who crave the awesome combination of textures and flavours that is jam thumbprints, here is a great recipe found from Canadian Living.

Jam Jewel Thumbprints

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup (150 mL) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) granulated sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) vanilla
  • 1-1/2 cups (375 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) baking powder

Coating…

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) water
  • 1-1/4 cups (300 mL) finely chopped walnuts

Filling…

  • 2-1/2 tbsp (31 mL) black currant jam
  • 2-1/2 tbsp (31 mL) apricot jam
  • 2-1/2 tbsp (31 mL) cherry jam

Directions:

  1. In large bowl, beat together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until light. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla.
  2. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder; stir into butter mixture. Roll by scant 1 tbsp (15 mL) into balls.
  3. Coating: Whisk egg whites with water until frothy. Place walnuts in dish. Using fork, dip each ball into egg whites, then into nuts to coat.
  4. Place, 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart, on parchment paper–lined baking sheets. With thumb or end of wooden spoon, make indentation in each.
  5. Bake in 350°F oven until edges are golden, 12 to 14 minutes. If necessary, press centres again to indent. Let cool on pans on racks.
  6. Filling: Spoon scant 1/2 tsp (2 mL) jam into centre of each cookie.

11/12 Days of Christmas Baking

Brynn Lewis, Staff Writer

We’re Canadians, guys—we’re practically required to like butter tarts. Along with poutine, Nanaimo bars, and Tourtière, it is one of the few dishes that can actually be classified as authentic “Canadian” cuisine. This recipe is a neat twist on the Christmas classic. The original recipe is from Canadian Living and can be found here.

Butter Tart Squares

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) salted butter

Filling…

  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) salted butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup (250 mL) packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) vanilla
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 cup (250 mL) raisins
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped walnuts

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, mix flour with sugar; using pastry blender, cut in butter until crumbly. Press into 9-inch (2.5 L) square metal cake pan; bake in 350˚F oven for 15 minutes.
  2. Filling: In a bowl, mix butter with eggs; blend in sugar, flour, baking powder, vanilla and salt. Stir in raisins and walnuts; pour over base.
  3. Bake in 350°F oven until top springs back when touched lightly, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in pan on rack. Cut into squares.

MAC’s Got Talent in Review

Aoife Jones, Staff Writer

To all the students who performed at this year’s MAC’s Got Talent, you deserve a huge round of applause for showcasing your talents to the school and being brave enough to do so. Thanks to you, MAC was able to witness brilliant musicians, singers, dancers, and (of course!) our solo magician.

Congratulations to all, but especially to our top five performers!

  • Jam Sessions with their killer vocals and wonderful medley as a band.
  • Britney and Tara’s fabulous acoustic Beyoncé medley including content from her days with Destiny’s Child all the way to her current work.
  • Katrina’s outstanding acoustic piano performance of Fiona Apple’s song, “Paper Bag”.
  • Daniele the magician’s “magical” sleight of hand act that kept the audience on their toes, convincing them to believe in the impossible—especially with his last selfie card trick.
  • Michael Bautista’s spectacular piano medley of “The History of Music” starting with classical pieces and moving through The Peanuts theme, some Michael Jackson hits, and ending off with the classic Journey song “Don’t Stop Believing.”

The students who placed in MGT will also get the chance to be showcased at a later event: Raise the Roof. Raise the Roof is a talent show between multiple high schools which not only shares the abundance of talent between them but also raises money for Free the Children, an international charity organization.

10/12 Days of Christmas Baking

Brynn Lewis, Staff Writer

Sugar Cookies

Sugar cookies are pretty universal Christmas fare—but really, there is a lot of room for inventiveness. You can cut them into different shapes, liberally douse them in multicoloured sprinkles, or smother them in icing. Maybe all three! This is another family recipe of mine that’s been a part of our Christmas traditions throughout the ages.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup cream butter
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

Cream butter and add sugar gradually. Add 3 beaten eggs and then the vanilla. Stir in flour and baking powder. Chill for 2-3 hours.

Roll to ¼-inch thickness. Cut out desired shapes. Bake at 350°F for 8-12 minutes.

DIY Holiday Gift Guide

Kristen Thomas, Contributor

Christmas is right around the corner and the one thing I know about MAC students is that we don’t exactly like…how do I put it? Spending money. Seriously, the phrase “I would do [insert fun activity here], but it’s too expensive,” is heard more often than not echoing through the hallways. So: what to do when the holiday season rolls around and you want to provide fun—yet inexpensive—gifts for your friends and family? Well, here are some easy do-it-yourself projects to give a shot.

  1. One of the best/easiest gifts is food! (Check out our 12 Days of Christmas Baking series for some amazing recipes.) Ranging all the way from fudge to sugar cookies to candy cane bark, the possibilities are endless! Stick your treat of choice in a jar with some pretty ribbon or even a Christmas themed cellophane bag and you’re good to go.
  2. If baking isn’t your thing, you could always try your hand at DIY Christmas mugs. Purchase some cheap white mugs from the dollar store and grab some coloured sharpies. Decorate the mugs with a Christmas design of your choice. Then you could stop there, but if you want to make sure the ink lasts put the mug in the oven heated at 350°F for half an hour.
  3. 10858481_803288739718135_415400406993846765_nBack to baking—but this one doesn’t even include the baking step, really. A fun gift is a “cake in a jar,” which is basically all the dry ingredients for a cake layered in a jar to look something like this…

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The nice thing about this is that it doesn’t have to be ingredients for a cake. You could use a cookie recipe or even maybe a hot chocolate mix. Simply find a recipe for a cake (or whatever you plan on using) and add the dry ingredients to the jar. Then write the recipe and other ingredients required on a festive tag and your gift is done!

  1. For the artists out there, you could try doing a hand-painted tree ornament. Again, find some cheap plain ornaments and some paint and go nuts. This gift can be really special because you can spend time on each individual ornament and personalize each one. You could go really simple or extremely complex but (as the theme of this entire post seems to be) the possibilities are endless!

So there you have it. Four fun, easy, and (most importantly) inexpensive DIY gifts. Try some of them out! (Or, I mean, you could always buy several boxes of overpriced chocolate. Your choice, really.) Happy holidays!

For tons of other ideas, visit here.

Study Tips From the Masters, Vol. 1

Michael Bautista, Staff Writer
Featuring Mrs. Sewell

MICHAEL BAUTISTA: Everyone has a different way of studying to suit their own style of learning. What study methods did you use while you were in high school or university? In what ways did your study methods help you?

MRS. SEWELL: To be completely honest, my study habits through high school were a little haphazard (I know….hard to believe, huh?). I did manage to do well in all my courses though (miraculously). It wasn’t until university when I realized that my “random” methods would not work very well and that I needed to implement a new style to accommodate for the change in difficulty level, quantity of material covered, and speed of content covered. This is when I really refined a personal study strategy.

  • I instituted a study schedule to keep up with content.
  • I started working through strategies to make connections between different sections of my notes—so that I could advance the skill of application and analysis rather than the skill of general knowledge/understanding (some call this regurgitation, and I had mastered that in high school with all sorts of memory tricks).
  • I started going to the lending library and looking for practice questions to expose myself to unfamiliar scenarios. Whoa….did that ever make a difference!

I have built a document (Best Study Practices for Exams) outlining this strategy if you would like to explore your personal study practice.

This document assists a student with bridging the gap from being able to answer knowledge-based questions to answering application/analysis-style questions (as seen on your diploma exams—in fact, 55% of the diploma is application-based).

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9/12 Days of Christmas Baking

Megan Klak, Staff Writer

Nanaimo Bars

This is another foolproof recipe from the Best of the Bridge. Delicious, and for some mysterious reason, named George.
“This recipe is older than we are! a.k.a. “George!”

Ingredients:

First Layer

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2 cups Graham wafer crumbs
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

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8/12 Days of Christmas Baking

Megan Klak, Staff Writer

Whipped Shortbread

This is a great recipe, and simple. It’s from the Best of the Bridge cookbook series, and their recipes always work! This particular recipe doubles well.

“These melt in your mouth! The secret is in the beating.”

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter (do not use margarine)
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour

Directions:

Cream butter and sugar. Add flour and beat for 10 minutes. Drop from small spoon onto cookie sheet. Decorate with maraschino cherry pieces if you wish. Bake at 350°F for about 10-12 minutes until bottoms are lightly browned. Makes about 3 dozen small cookies.

Book Reference – The Best of the Best – Vol. 1 (Page: 242), The Best of Bridge (Page: 146)

Class of 2015 Results

Victoria Chiu, Editor

For anyone who hasn’t seen the Facebook post on the class page, the results of the Class of ’15 voting sessions are as follows…

  • Rachel K. is our valedictorian
  • Rohan D. and Michael C. are our class historians
  • The grad theme is “Take pride in how far you have come. Have faith in far you can go. But don’t forget to enjoy the journey.” –Michael Josephson
  • The grad song is “The Days” by Avicii
  • How To: Survive Christmas

    Mariah Barnes, Staff Writer

    ‘Tis the season, Marauders! In less than a week all the crappy Santa Claus carols, low-budget films, and tacky lights will be worthwhile. It will be the glorious day of present-opening and face-stuffing that we’ve all been waiting for! If only that was all that Christmas entailed. Alas, many of us are housing guests or were roped into a huge family gathering with every relative you’ve ever disliked. There will be the fifteenth retelling of that crazy, embarrassing thing you did when you three, and Uncle Jim will probably be drunk before the Christmas turkey is out of the oven, and your mom will make you wear that tacky sweater Grandma got you that was too sizes too big, and you’ll do the dishes because you needed to get away from Edna and her tales of her latest non-tumorous growth. And what if you don’t have a huge family Christmas? You get to call every one of your relatives: “Merry Christmas, Grandpa, thanks for the socks,” “Happy holidays, Eddie—what? No. I’m in high school now. Yeah, it’s funny how that aging thing works,” “Aunt Beatrice, the hand-knitted calf warmers you made me are delightful,” and my personal favourite: “No, Grandma, I’m not seeing anyone right now. No, really. Yes, I’m sure.” With the guaranteed headaches that are sure to follow, here are some survival strategies that will make the holidays a little more…happy.

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