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I’ve been bad. Sadly, I’ve been cooking with vegetable oil and shortening, which I recently discovered was not the best option for your heart!!

Last week, I attended a really awesome culinary workshop at the Loft on Geary, hosted by Canola Eat Well. They’re a joint partnership between Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba Canola Growers, that aims to inspire us to use canola oil in the kitchen by connecting us to the stories of Canadian farmers. I even got to speak first hand to one of them, a very lovely lady from Alberta, Jeannette (to my right in the picture below). Let me tell you I am CONVERTED! Who knew that Canola is Canadian and grown for us by over 43,000 family farmers on the Canadian Prairies?! I use vegetable oil really frequently to deep fry breaded pork chop, pork belly and chicken, but never again!!

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#CanolaConnect ladies! Photo credit: Josh Tenn-Yuk

Aaaaand here I am with my favourite thing about Christmas (it’s really the other way around…kidding)!! Also, I’m pretty sure I look 17 years old in this photo, WOW!

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Photo credit: Josh Tenn-Yuk

Sooooooo here’s the deal: Canola oil, which should be your local Canadian choice, is heart friendly because it’s a good source of Vitamin E and K, super low in saturated fats (half of olive oil) and is packed with Omega 3 fats (helps protect against heart attacks and strokes). It’s also has a pretty neutral taste, so it allows the flavours in baking and cooking to shine, AND also makes your baked goods moist. Trust me, we baked a bunch of goodies with canola oil at the workshop, and they were outstanding!!

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Kettle Corn, Coconut-Lime Blondies, and MORE!! Photo credit: Josh Tenn-Yuk

Here’s a handy canola oil baking conversion chart! I didn’t know this either but it’s awesome for deep frying (McDonald’s even uses it), because it can fry up until 468F.

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Are you a fan yet?!

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Well, you’re going to LOOOOVE these Chocolate Ginger Jewels I just baked. Chef Claire Tansey is the mastermind behind this perfect cookie, which you need to bake this holiday season. This is literally Christmas in a cookie, with the cinnamon and ginger spice giving me all the holiday feels. UGH! To-die-for!!

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At first bite it’s slightly crispy, but inside it’s super soft and chewy (thanks to the canola oil), bursting with ginger spice, warm cinnamon flavours, and extra sweetness from the chocolate (I used chopped up Valrhona chocolate feves). My eyes literally rolled to the back of my head when I first tried it because it so epic. Especially when you eat them freshly baked from the oven… it’s so dangerous! I’m going to have to work out extra hard today after the 10 cookies I just ate!!!

Don’t sleep on this recipe. It’s so easy and quick to whip up too!

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Chocolate-Ginger Jewels
From Claire Tansey

These chewy cookies combine the flavours of chocolate and holiday spices into one perfect little bite. The dough can be frozen, unbaked, for up to 2 weeks. Thaw in the fridge overnight before baking. Makes about 50 cookies.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup canola oil
¼ cup molasses
1 egg
¼ cup finely-chopped candied ginger
¼ cup mini chocolate chips
1/3 cup granulated sugar for dipping

  1. Preheat oven to 325F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or baking mats.
  2. Mix flour with baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in a medium bowl.
  3. In a large bowl whisk brown sugar with oil, molasses and egg until well-combined.
  4. Add flour mixture all at once and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Stir in candied ginger and chocolate chips.
  5. Place granulate sugar in a small bowl. Roll cookie dough into ½-inch balls. Dip each ball in sugar then place sugar-side-up on prepared sheet.
  6. Bake 7 to 9 min or until just set, do not overbake. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. Repeat, wiping parchment in between batches, with remaining dough.
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