Trays of Christmas Dainties

Tuesday 20 December 2022


Christmas Tray of Dainties

Back in the day (and I am dating myself here), long about this time of year various ladies' groups would put on teas.  They were a great way of the organization earning funds for their charities.  Members of the organization would be asked to donate a pan of squares or sweets.

These pans of squares and sweets would then be divided into plates or trays of what were called "Dainties," with a variety of squares being put onto each plate. 

Plate of Dainties

I also remember this being done for Christmas teas, and other occasions such as Wedding or Baby Showers. Any time a group of women would be getting together for a special occasion to celebrate one milestone or another.

In the springtime here in the Valley there is something which is called the Apple Blossom Festival.  Its been going on since long before I was born.  Each town picks a capable young women to be the Princess of that town and then the princesses of all the towns are presented Teas all through the valley throughout the festival, culminating with the crowning of the Apple Blossom Queen at the Saturday night ball.

You can almost guarantee many trays and plates of Dainties will be served!  

plate of dainties

You would find such delectable bars such as Nanaimo Bars on these plates.  Aso popular would be Oh Henry Bars.  

I thought it would be fun today to share some of my favorite squares which I have baked through the years.  Some of which would be very pretty on a Dainty tray.  I was inspired by a box of Dainties that I picked up at the shops. 

Plate of Dainties

I could not resist buying a box of them. I have popped them into the freezer now and we will enjoy them on Christmas eve along with some fruitcake, mince pies and wedges of a good cheddar while we play some games and just enjoy each other's company.

I wish I had time to make a bunch of dainties for the occasion, but alas, time is running out on me, and these will have to suffice. I may be able to get my mother's Feather Squares done now and some shortbreads. It just wouldn't be Christmas without them!

I may have time to bake a few of the pther recipes on offer below, but I also have my Tourtiere, Nuts and Bolts, and some other odds and sods to make before the holiday. Every year I say I am going to start earlier, and every year I somehow find myself falling behind. I think it's that way with us all!  Tell me I'm not wrong!

Mom's Feather Squares

MOM'S FEATHER SQUARES - When my mother had these in the oven, we knew Christmas was just around the corner. We only ever got them at Christmas.  With their delicious buttery cake base, jam filling and toasted coconut meringue topping, they delighted us with every mouthful!

Sugared Date Squares

SUGARED DATE SQUARES - These delicious date squares are very easy to make.  Filled with loads of crunch, from rice crispies and sweetness from the dates, I find them incredibly moreish. On their own they are lovely but cut into small squares and rolled in icing sugar they become melt in the mouth delectable!

Mars Bar Squares

MARS BAR SQUARES - Melted mars bars, plenty of crisp rice cereal, melted chocolate on top. If you can melt chocolate, you can make these lovely squares.  Seriously, they are that simple! Rich and delicious, I find them to be incredibly moreish. I can never eat just one and I am guessing you won't be able to either! 

Cherry Cake Squares

CHERRY CAKE SQUARES - These are a blondie type of a bar with a pretty basic batter.  Dense and chewy, and filled with lots of candied cherries. Topped with a rich buttercream frosting and halved candied cherries, they look really pretty on a dainty tray. They are delicious!

Classic Date Squares

CLASSIC DATE SQUARES - With their oaty crumble topping and base and sweet sticky date filling, these have always been a family favorite. Again, they were only something my mother would bake for us at Christmas, and we looked forward to them each and every year! 

Sweet Marie Slices

SWEET MARIE BARS - These delicious bars taste just like the old chocolate bar they used to make called the Sweet Marie Bar. Like the chocolate bar, they are chock full of crunchy-ness, and chewy-ness, and peanuty-ness, and scrummy-ness . . . with just the right amount of chocolaty-ness to make them incredibly moreish, can't put me down . . . addictive-ness . . .

Flash in the Pan Chocolate Squares

FLASH IN THE PAN CHOCOLATE SQUARES - This is a lovely and moist chocolate bar/cake.  Not too sweet, but with just the right amount of chocolate flavorIt is more like a cake than a bar. I don't think you could call it a brownie, unless you are wanting a very cake-like brownie. I like to top each square with a walnut half before baking.  You could frost if  you wished.

Queen of Pudding Cakes

QUEEN OF PUDDING CAKESDelightful little cakes.  Perfect for parties!  It's a one bowl method cake so it's perfect for little hands to help with.  They will also enjoy topping the finished cakes with those dainty crisp meringues.  

Strawberry Jam Tray Bake

STRAWBERRY JAM TRAY BAKE - These boast a flaky short crust pastry bottom.  This is topped with sweet strawberry jam. I like to use the seedless jam. A cake batter is baked on top and then once baked a decorative glaze is applied. Delicious!

Chocolate Raspberry Pie  Bars

CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY PIE BARSWith these squares, you end up with a crisp and buttery brown sugar, almost shortbread-like crust. That is topped with a sweet milk chocolate filling, cookie dough crumbles, semi-sweet chocolate chips and fresh raspberries. What's not to like about that! Not a heck of a lot I say!  Not a heck of a lot!

Walnut Meringue Bars

WALNUT MERINGUE BARS - what you have here is a square with a beautifully moist caramel flavoured cake base. Brown sugar keeps it moist and gives it that lovely caramel flavour. I would say it is very similar to a blondie base. This gets topped with a delectable brown sugar and walnut meringue. Together the two are undeniably delicious!

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  1. Thank you Marie! These look so lovely I don't know which one to try first.

    1. You are very welcome Jeannine! Thank you! Happy Christmas! xo

  2. I wish I'd read this weeks ago! They all look to die for, so delicious! I definitely saved it in my pocket to revisit in more detail. After all, they'd be delish any time of year!

    Merry Christmas, Marie. I hope your holiday is beautiful.


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