I’m a believer that booze make desserts better. Whether it’s beer, wine, or spirits, there is just something about the richness and flavor they add to things like cookies and cakes.
Around the holidays, my go-tos are bourbon and rum. For these cookies, I went with rum. Gold rum. Jamaican gold rum, to be exact.
I had orange jam leftover and I thought the best way to put it to use would be pairing it up with some cookies.
It’s been a while since I’ve had an epic holiday baking season. I’ve been thinking back on the timeline.
2012 – We were driving across the country to move to California.
2013 – Small apartment kitchen.
2014 – Larger kitchen, but still a rental.
2015 – Same. And settling in after another move.
2016 – Big kitchen, new house, but I was photographing a cookbook for someone else while working on my own.
But now it’s 2017. I have a brand new kitchen. Not to mention an oven that has been OFF for months due to the summer heat.
I’m ready. It’s about to get real.
Today I’m sharing one of my favorite recipes from my cookbook, Food on Tap: Cooking with Craft Beer! I’ve lost count of how many batches of these I have made. Flavored with holiday ale, they have spiced, citrus notes that I can’t get enough of. They make the perfect cut out cookies any time of year!
Over a month has passed since my cookbook published. It’s been a whirlwind of questions, answers, outreach, event organizing, and even a podcast interview (link coming soon)! It has all been amazing.
At the same time, it left me with two overwhelming feelings.
Gratitude and mental exhaustion.
I was not prepared to feel either of these to the extent that I have over these past few weeks.
Let me explain.
A few years ago, I posted about a really great pumpkin dish I had when we were living in southern Brazil. Pumpkin is used there year round, and not solely associated with fall and the holidays as it is in the U.S. So I’d often find it on the lunch buffets, a popular business dining option during the week.
So this dish I speak of combined roasted pumpkin and Gorgonzola cheese. It was the best combination with the sweet pumpkin and pungent cheese.
I made it the same way that I could guess it was made there, but ever since that encounter I’ve envisioned a more exciting and luxurious version. Perhaps one with a different winter squash, fit for the holiday table.
I finally got around to acting on those visions this year.
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.