Sneak Peek! Homes for the Holidays | A Holiday Wreath + Chocolate Almond Batons

Today we're thrilled to share with you a sneak peek of the 12th annual Meet the Kids Help Phone – Homes for the Holidays 2016. The event which happens this coming weekend (November 26 and 27/16) here in Vancouver is a seasonal self-guided home tour and fundraiser where five local home owners, designers, retail stores, florists, and countless volunteers come together to create beautiful holiday decorated homes to help inspire attendees to create their own holiday magic. The proceeds benefit the Kids Help Phone Line. All photos by Janis Nicolay.

We have three sneak peeks to share with you courtesy of photographer Janis Nicolay.  To kick things off we're featuring a few behind the scenes from designer Francesca Albertazzi and Emma Kelly. The theme of their home is "Enchanted Holiday Delight". Francesca and Emma have collaborated with Rosie Daykin of Butter Baked Goods offering up a delicious recipe of Chocolate Almond Batons (see below) along with Full Bloom for a beautiful Holiday Wreath idea (also below).

Stay tuned for more sneak peeks this week from Home for the Holidays, and for more information on where and when you can see these homes, click here for tickets and details.

Chocolate Almond Batons
by Butter Baked Goods
Makes: Approximately 2 dozen. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup icing sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup almonds, finely chopped
2 cups chocolate chips
1 tablespoon butter

Instructions after the jump!

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and beat to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the vanilla and almond extract and beat again. With the mixer running on low, slowly add the flour, baking powder and salt and beat until combined.
Remove the dough from the mixer and shape into a log. Cut the dough into 24 even pieces and
roll each piece into a little log approximately 1/2” wide and 3” long. Place each cookie onto the prepared cookie sheets about 1/2” apart. Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for approximately 10 to 12 minutes or until they are firm to the touch and lightly golden brown on the bottom.

Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool slightly before transferring them to to a cooling rack to cool completely.

In a double boiler or a small pot placed over boiling water, melt the chocolate chips and butter. Dip each end of a cookie in melted chocolate and then the chopped almonds. Place the finished cookies on a piece of parchment until the chocolate has set.

DIY Holiday Wreath
by Full Bloom

We're loving these holiday wreath ideas using a collection of traditional and untraditional flowers and greenery. Orchids, cedar, lavendar, orchids, cotton and holiday greenery —the sky is the limit.  Check out all the ideas below!

All photos by Janis Nicolay.  Designed by Francesca Albertazzi and Emma Kelly. Baked goods from Butter Baked Goods, flowers from Full Bloom. For more information on Home for the Holidays, where and when you can see these homes, click here for tickets and details.

Jan Halvarson

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