The Most Wonderful Time of the Year…BAKING!

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November 30, 2012 by Melissa

Chris and Lucy decorating spritz cookies last year

Chris and Lucy decorating spritz cookies last year


Oh, December, season of giving and charity, Santa and Frosty, snow and long nights…and baking lovely cookies and candy. Our list of must make goodies grows by leaps and bounds each year, especially now that we have girls with egg allergies. Now on top of the cookies and cakes, divinity and marshmallows, I make fruit jellies and fudge, caramel corn and brittle.  To make matters more complicated this year, the computer I held a few of my tried and trusted recipes on crashed and burned over the summer so now I don’t have my favorite recipe for snickerdoodles or kiss cookies.

So here’s a few of the things that have made the list this year:

Fruit Jellies – this recipe is from Everyday Food magazine and was a big hit last year with my daughter, Lucy. It’s eggless and you can make it in a ton of different varieties. I think we’re trying apricot and blackberry this year.

Caramel Corn (from Real Simple magazine) – a great recipe that didn’t last an afternoon the first time I made it. Plus I now have an air popper to make this a little more healthy. Right? Caramel corn is good for you?

Almond Spritz cookies (from Williams Sonoma) – spritz cookies are my husband’s specialty in our house. This is the best recipe we’ve found that comes close to the spritz cookies he remembers having as a kid and came with the spritz press we bought:

-8 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature

-6 Tbsp sugar

-1 egg

-1/2 tsp vanilla extract

-1/2 tsp almond extract

-1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 400. Combine butter, sugar, egg, and extracts in bowl of electric mixer. Beat on medium until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes, scraping down sides as needed. Reduce speed to low and add flour a little at a time, beating until well blended. Pack dough into cookie press and fit with desired disk. Press out onto ungreased baking sheets, 1 inch apart, decorate with colored sugars or whatever suits your fancy. Bake until firm, 10 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool. Makes 36 cookies.

Classic Sugar Cookies (again from Real Simple) – even though my youngest can’t have these (still a little touchy on baked goods with eggs), both girls will have fun decorating these. Doesn’t everyone? We have icing and sugars and sprinkles and candies to put on these and have a bunch of different cookie cutters. We’ve also experimented with different extracts and have found coconut, almond, and and peppermint do well. I kinda want to try rum extract for kicks.

Gingerbread Snacking Cake (from Bon Appetit magazine) – can you tell that I’m a recipe hoarder? Now, I prefer to blame the pregnancy for this odd craving but it’s there and it’s strong. I can’t wait to make this and will either make the lemon whipped cream or will make a cream cheese frosting for it. I haven’t decided and baby hasn’t given a preference. I love when the house smells like gingerbread but the cookies are too hard for me (I’m a chewy cookie girl) and cake is, well, it’s cake. I shouldn’t have to justify why that’s good.

Fudge (from Toll House) – I don’t remember who recommended this recipe to me but I love a recommendation so I’ll try this one this year. This one’s for my girls who love chocolate and it doesn’t have eggs. Win win.

What are you making this year? What should we try at my house? I’m always up for a good baking recipe, especially this time of year so do share your favorites. And, again, if you have a great snickerdoodle recipe, please send it my way. I’m desperate! And pregnant! Not a good combo…

I’ll post pictures and will give reviews of these recipes as we make them.

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