It’s a rare for me to find one holiday recipe that I make over and over every year. I’m not against tradition, it’s just that there are so many candies, cakes, and cookies topping my favorites list that if I made each one, I’d have enough to last us right up until the next holiday season.
So I have to pick and choose.
That has started to change a little bit, though, as we’ve traveled abroad over Christmas and I’ve discovered traditional foods of other countries. It began with Danish Butter Cookies after visiting Copenhagen. I’ve made them a whopping two years in a row and I don’t see them dropping off the list anytime soon.
Since we’ve visited Austria and Germany at Christmas I’ve found a few favorites from there as well. Actually, my love of stollen started way back when I worked in a bakery and we used to make a modified version at the holidays. I’ve been searching for a good recipe ever since, but I end up running out of time to give it a try before the holiday hits.
I’m not really into the gift giving scene around the holiday season. It’s not that I don’t want to give gifts, but rather how gift giving seems to affect other people this time of year. It seems to be the number one source of holiday stress for most people I talk to — buying the right gift, buying enough gifts, having enough money to buy gifts, having time to ship and give them.
So other than a handful for close friends and a single gift for a family member chosen in a drawing, that about wraps it up for us.
But one thing I have not lost my holiday spirit for are stocking stuffers! The little thoughtful things that show up in your stocking. Or at least they used to in ours.
This year’s holiday baking list is long with a capital L.
The past few Decembers I’ve penciled in things I want to make only to have that task followed by the days disappearing and me running out of steam. So I put them off until the next year.
Well, this is the year that I’m making it ALL.
Now, most of these things are traditional recipes and the recipes of others. I checked off rugelach (a lovely apricot pistachio version from Martha Stewart Living) this past weekend. I still have stollen, lebkuchen, Danish butter cookies and panettone to get to.
Since I share mostly original recipes here, that leaves me little to post, besides a few photos. So I still feel like I should come up with at least one new holiday baking recipe to share with you.
This is that recipe. My 2016 holiday cookie.
I tend to want ice cream more during the holidays than during the heat of summer. Forget the chocolate versus vanilla debate. When I eat ice cream, I want pumpkin, peppermint stick and eggnog flavors. Everything that says – holiday season. So when late fall rolls around, so do the ice cream cravings.
As you probably could have guessed pumpkin is my favorite flavor and I thought if I was going to do a few posts about Thanksgiving worthy desserts I should go that direction. But don’t worry. I took it a bit further with a brown sugar swirl and a crunchy topping. I also decided to give no churn ice cream a try.
I’m not sure what happened this past weekend, but I had this unidentifiable voice telling me – Lori, you’ve been posting way too many Brussels sprouts and squash recipes. I think it’s time to go a little crazy with some holiday desserts.
So this week I have two ideas that will veer from the traditional pecan and pumpkin pies. The first being this pear tart.
My Thanksgiving preferences typically go in this order of importance –
√ Pumpkin pie (specifically my grandmother’s recipe)
√ Sweet potatoes
√ Brussels sprouts (yes, a vegetable!)
You can really just leave turkey off my list entirely. I’d rather dip into my calorie and carb savings account for the four options above.
I don’t have time this November to do a full Thanksgiving post series like my Thanksgiving Cooking for Two last year, but I can’t let the season slip by without sharing a few menu options. Specifically this one from my top four categories of Thanksgiving foods.
Butternut squash and I have been familiar with each other for quite some time. The standard pie pumpkin? We go way back. Even the kabocha and I have shared many moments together.
But I have to admit that the Delicata squash and I are embarking on a fairly new relationship.
To date, I think I have purchased one. As in a single squash. It’s been so long ago that I don’t even remember what I did with it.
I know it sounds crazy. With a winter squash obsession like mine one would expect I’d be an expert at working with them all.
Well, I’m getting there. It’s finally the Delicata’s time to shine.
Quick. If you make these cranberries right now they will be ready for your New Year’s Eve cocktails. And trust me. You are going to want them for your cocktails.
These tart little berries are sweetened with a syrup made of raw sugar, rich bourbon and aromatic whole spices. They take only minutes to prepare and they make a good destination for the half bag of cranberries left in the fridge that you can’t find a use for.
This warm winter drink uses local apple cider and white rum to recreate one of our favorite holiday punch, or punsch, drinks we enjoyed at Vienna’s Christmas Markets.
I never could have guessed it would be so hard to find apple cider around here. Apples are plentiful enough in the South Central Valley, but why so few people are turning those apples into delicious cider has surprised me.
Thinking back to my days in Kentucky and Indiana, the second apple season starts, the cider shows up on the shelves. Every store has at least a couple varieties both pasteurized and unpasteurized. It’s a fall and holiday staple in that part of the world.
Here I found one store with one cider and it was pasteurized. Others I’ve found have tried to pass apple juice as cider. Not a chance. I can tell the difference.
I’ve had two things sitting in my kitchen that I’ve been dying to use for almost a year now. Some shallow, 3 1/2-inch wide snowflake baking cups from IKEA and a Lebkuchen spice mix I got at a Christmas Market in Berlin.
The Lebkuchen spices are similar to those in gingerbread here in the States and I’d already made some ginger cookies. Not to mention, cookies weren’t going to help me use those baking cups. So I switched gears and baked up gingerbread cakes. They were perfect for both the cups and spices.