Little Tree, Big Tradition, Bigger Treat


Originally Posted: December 19, 2012

If you were to say the phrase "I'm looking for a Charlie Brown tree"... at least 9 folks out of 10 could totally picture it.... a way beyond modest tree...spindly and frail are the branches, with plenty of bare spots.  A real underdog of a specimen.

Well, that's what we wanted for a lonely woodstove-less hearth in our house - so a few years ago, the sidekick and myself journeyed to my cousin Steve's camp to find ourselves the 'perfectly far-from-perfect' tree.  We found one and a whole lot more.  We started what has become a Christmas tradition.

Their little cabin is a cozy retreat and Steve's wife Charlotte is the greatest cook - this year's menu included her awesome chili - to warm us on the chilly day

This year their oldest son Shane and daughter-in-law Samantha joined us on the journey (their little dog Lilly stayed behind) . Another one of my traditions each year is the family scarf - ie. every single person in the family living here there and everywhere - gets the same scarf... (this was last year's - and yes that's the New Brunswick tartan - very Christmassy!)

Tree Tradition2

Mission accomplished - now it's back to the cabin for my Christmas In a Bowl dessert (recipe below).

Tree Tradition2

We love finding a tree  with...oh let's say...inner beauty and then giving it a place of honour in our house.  More than anything though we love having a holiday tradition that includes spending time with family - that's the real magic of Christmas. sb

You know that old saying "necessity is the mother of invention"... well that pretty much describes how this dessert came to be.  Spontaneous dinner guests  led to me piling a whole bunch of Christmas stuff guessed it... a bowl.

Christmas in a BowlSo you know assembly is a snap with just a few festive ingredients - you'll have a crowd pleasin' treat.  You'll need...

- Candy Cane Ice Cream (I like the Presidents Choice version because it comes with shards of dark chocolate)

- Cocoa Brownies (see the simple recipe below)

- Chocolate sauce (heated to just warm)

- Smashed up PEPPERMINT candy cane bits (any other flavoured variety just isn't a candy cane...FACT!!!)

- Marshmallows (big or little - your call)

Good Housekeeping BakingThis recipe is a 'one bowl' variety made with pantry staples - so if you've got a midnight hankering or you're in a rush to make something this is a great go-to.

I found it in the WONDERFUL - "Good Housekeeping Baking" book page 31 and I've lost track of how many times I've made them.

ALWAYS ALWAYS a hit...with a cup of tea, a glass of milk or with all the Christmas business listed above piled on top.

1/2 cup butter (or margarine) 1 stick (I use butter)

1 cup of sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup of coarsely chopped walnuts (optional) (we're nut free so I naturally I don't use them and it's great without)

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease 9" x 9" metal baking pan.

2. In 3 - quart saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Remove saucepan from heat. With wooden spoon, stir in sugar.

3. Stir in eggs, 1 at a time and then add vanilla until well blended.

4. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt: stir flour mixture into saucepan until blended. (Stir in nuts at this point if you're going to use them.

Christmas in a Bowl5. Spread batter evenly in the prepared pan. Bake for 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted 2 inches from centre of the pan comes out almost clean.  Cool completely on wire rack.

6. When cool, cut into 4 strips, then cut each crosswise into 4 pieces



  1. Merry Christmas to you and your family Stephanie! And thanks for sharing your recipes...I can't wait to try them 🙂

    Comment by Danielle — December 20, 2012 @ 10:48 am

  2. Thanks so much Danielle - for the comment and for always being such a big support of Sea and be Scene. I'm very grateful to you. Wishing you all the best for the holidays and the happiest of New Years too! xosb

    Comment by sbeaumont — December 20, 2012 @ 3:30 pm

  3. Thanks you for this recipe, as I work from home now I will be the hit with the family with this one.

    Comment by Ron MacNeil — December 20, 2012 @ 3:37 pm

  4. I love this website, keep up the great work :). Happy New Year too!

    Comment by Danielle — December 20, 2012 @ 8:51 pm

  5. Thanks for dessert Stephanie, it was awesome.
    All you mint chocolate lovers out there should try this great recipe. You won't be disappointed.

    Merry Christmas!

    Comment by Steve & Char — December 21, 2012 @ 8:39 am

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