Holiday recipes to tempt your sweet teeth

Try out these desserts from Nunavut and Nunavik


In the lead-up to the holiday season each year, Nunatsiaq News publishes a selection of recipes from across the eastern Arctic.

This year, we hope to appeal to your sweet tooth, with family recipes for scrumptious desserts hailing from Nunavik and Nunavut’s Baffin and Kitikmeot regions.

We hope you have a chance to try at least one.

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Jean-Guy Lalonde likes to add a little sugar to his family gatherings.

That’s why he usually pulls out an old recipe for a maple syrup fondue, a Québécois tradition that goes back generations and one that brings fond memories of family from his Nunavut home.

“We do it whenever there’s a big gathering,” said Lalonde, an RCMP sergeant based in Cambridge Bay. “And we often do it [alongside] a meat fondue.”

Lalonde was recently invited to share his recipe with culinary arts students at the local Nunavut Arctic College campus.

“It’s so easy. It takes about 15 minutes and you can do it all with a microwave,” he said. “You can dip fruit in it; donuts, bread or waffles.”

“Best thing about it: put it in the fridge overnight and the next day, it becomes maple butter. You can spread it on your toast.”

Maple Syrup Fondue

• 2 cups maple syrup
• 1 cup of cream (you can use either 18 or 35 per cent cream)
• 1 egg yoke
• 3 tablespoons of corn starch

Place the maple syrup in the microwave and heat for two to three minutes, removing before syrup starts to boil.

Set aside three tablespoons of cream, and add remaining cream to maple syrup.

Mix the three tablespoons of cream with the egg yoke and corn starch.

Mix that into the hot maple syrup. Put the mixture back into the microwave for two minutes, watching that it doesn’t bubble. Stir mixture until it reaches a pudding consistency.

Serve with pound cake, donuts, fruit or waffles. Place leftovers covered in the fridge, and enjoy the mixture as maple butter the next day.

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Nunatsiaq News asked the talented bakers with the Nanook Cooking Club at Nanook Elementary School to send us their favourite holiday recipe.

They responded with a sweet and colourful treat: Christmas sugar cookies. This recipe is adapted from a recipe at

Christmas Sugar Cookies

• 1 3/4 cups (230 grams) all purpose flour
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
• 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Confectioners Frosting (optional)

2 cups (230 grams) confectioners sugar (icing or powdered sugar), sifted
1/2 cup (57 grams) butter, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons milk


In a bowl whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.

In another bowl, use an electric or hand-held mixer to beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 to 4 minutes). Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture and beat until you have a smooth dough.

Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about one hour or until firm enough to roll.

Preheat oven to 350 F (177 C) and place rack in center of oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove one half of the chilled dough from the refrigerator and, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch (1/2 cm). Hint: keep turning the dough as you roll, making sure it does not stick to the counter.

Cut out cookies using a lightly floured cookie cutter and transfer cookies to the prepared baking sheet. Hint: place the baking sheets with the unbaked cookies in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes to chill prior to baking to prevent the cookies from spreading and losing their shape in the oven.

Bake cookies for about 10 minutes (depending on size) or until they begin to brown around the edges. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. Frost with royal icing, if desired. Be sure to let the royal icing dry completely before storing. (This may take several hours.)

Frosted cookies will keep several days in an airtight container. Store between layers of parchment paper or wax paper.

Makes about 20 4-inch cookies.


In an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth and well blended. Add the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beater. Add the milk and beat on high speed until frosting is thick and smooth.

To Serve: Place small mounds of confectioners frosting on your serving plate. Cover and place in the refrigerator until the frosting is firm. Then, just before serving, gently place the decorated cookies into the frosting.

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Robbie Watt launched Watt’s Baking Shop last summer out of a kitchen in the Kuujjuaq Forum, to the delight of many in the Nunavik community.

Watt has lots of favourites, but his moist and lightly spiced Hawaiian Carrot Cake holds a special place in many customers’ hearts and bellies.

Robbie’s Hawaiian Carrot Cake

• 2 cups unsifted flour
• 2 tsp baking soda
• 2 tsp cinnamon
• ½ tsp nutmeg
• ½ tsp salt
• 3 eggs
• 1 ½ cups sugar
• ¾ cup mayonnaise
• 1 can crushed pineapple
• 2 ½ cups shredded carrots
• ¾ cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Cream cheese frosting

• 1 250-gram package cream cheese, softened
• ½ cup butter
• 1 ½ cups icing sugar
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 1 tsp pineapple juice from the can

Heat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9-inch tube pan or 13-inch by 9-inch baking dish or pan. Stir together first five (dry) ingredients.

In a large bowl, beat eggs, sugar, mayonnaise and pineapple until well blended. Gradually beat in flour (dry) mixture. Stir in carrots and nuts.

Bake for 60 minutes for tube pan or 50 minutes for baking dish/pan, or until done. Cool and remove from pan.

Cream together cream cheese and butter. Add remaining ingredients and blend well. Frost with cream cheese frosting.

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When Iqaluit-Niaqunnguu MLA Pat Angnakak isn’t busy serving her Iqaluit riding, you might find her at home serving up something sweet.

Angnakak shared a family recipe for sweet bread which offers plenty of colourful decorative garnishing options. A time-intensive treat, but well worth the effort.

Christmas Sweet Bread

• 1/2 cup warm water
• 2 tsp sugar
• 4 tsp yeast (traditional)
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 2/3 cup shortening
• 2 eggs
• 1 3/4 cup milk, warmed
• 7 cups flour
• 1 tsp salt

You will also need the following ingredients, to taste, once the dough has been rolled out:

• melted butter
• brown sugar
• cinnamon
• raisins
• green and red cherries, or other dried fruit of your choice.

Fill a measuring cup 1/2 cup full of warm water, sprinkle two teaspoons of sugar into the water and ‎stir, add yeast, then let stand ten minutes without stirring.

While waiting for the yeast, beat together 2/3 cup of shortening with 3/4 cup of sugar, add two eggs. Meanwhile, heat up 1 3/4 cup of milk‎ and pour into sugar and egg mixture. Add the yeast mixture into the egg and sugar mixture, and mix.

In a bowl, mix seven cups of white flour and one teaspoon of salt.

Add flour mixture into sugar and egg mixture one cup at a time until the dough is soft and not too sticky; if it looks too sticky, you can add flour a little at a time until you can handle the dough without it sticking to your hand.

Let dough rise for 45 minutes in a warm area of your home. It’s best to cover the bread with a little oil on top of the dough followed by wax paper or clean towel to keep the dough from drying out.

Once dough has risen punch down and divide into three equal pieces. Roll out dough into a rectangle to about 1/3 inch thickness.

Put some melted butter onto the dough, once you have spread the butter evenly on the dough, spoon brown sugar evenly on top of the melted butter. You can sprinkle ‎cinnamon and/or another spice you like on top of the brown sugar at this point, and add raisins, sliced nuts, cherries (in syrup) and/or any other dried fruits you prefer on top of the brown sugar mixture.

Once your fruit is placed on the dough, take some egg white or plain water and with a pastry brush, brush the edges of the dough before you start rolling the dough. This will seal the dough seam as the bread cooks in the oven.

Roll the dough out into a long strip, folding the edges as you roll the dough until you reach the end. Join the dough parts of the seam with egg white to make a circle.

Cut into the ring with scissors from the top, but not all the way through in intervals of two inches or so, separate and twist each section slightly so that a spiral effect can be seen, and let rise one hour.

Then put the dough into a 375 F oven for 30 to 35 minutes on a greased pan.

Once cooked and cooled you can ice the bread and garnish with red and green cherries and/or sliced nuts.

Thanks to all our recipe contributors this year. Photos courtesy of Andy Poisson, Kerry McCluskey, Robbie Watt and Pat Angnakak.

Compiled by Sarah Rogers and Thomas Rohner

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