‘Tis the season for joy, and food. Holiday baking is the one time of year we ease off the diet and savor special meals and other treats which only come around once every twelve months. Whatever we bake this month we take the time to embellish, add some extra flourish. We put in the effort to add a little extra love to our daily meals. I don’t know about you but as much as I like the old standards I love to learn what others are making and enhance my holiday baking repertoire. To begin this exchange, here are twelve easy and yummy things (online recipes I’ve used) you can bake for the holidays. Please share one of your favorite holiday baking recipes on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #12daysofbaking, this might be fun!
Meringue Kisses If you wanna impress people, these super easy little puffs of meringue will do the trick. I’ve made them since I was a teenager. Here is the exact same recipe from Yum Taste. The key is low temp, long bake.
On the topic of meringue and impressing people, this Chocolate Mousse Meringue Cake will do. The recipe from Lick My Spoon is light, chocolatey and can make a great showstopper dessert even if you only layer meringue, chocolate mousse, forget the exterior meringue decor and plop bunch of sliced strawberries on top. It really isn’t difficult, the chocolate mousse is awesome!
Pfeffernuise Cookies with pepper in them? Yes and they are wonderfully yummy without being too spicy. Don’t bother trying to pronounce it, just bake them, again, easy-peasy and people love them. Bare Feet In The Kitchen has a tasty and easy recipe. OMG these are addictively good, if you flatten them a bit as I did they are less of a ball and they will be more crunchy.
Spritz are probably the simplest sculptural cookie one can make. There are dozens of recipes, but this one from Serious Eats is the best one I’ve found. The only change I make is to separate the dough, add gel colors (red and green), then fill the cookie press with both colors and enjoy the artistic results. Notice a how the spritz below flatten out, low quality butter, up your game. More on butter in a moment.
Men StockingsOh gosh can I say that? Screw it, gingerbread people alright? Doesn’t matter, I make gingerbread stockings or leaves at Thanksgiving. they are much easier to decorate than gingerbread men. This gingerbread recipe isn’t too hard or too soft and the lemon icing is nice, though I don’t use it at Christmas.
Chipotle and Rosemary Roasted Nuts Addiction alert, these spicy little devils are hard to stop eating. They make great gifts too! This is one of my favorite recipes from Ina at Barefoot Contessa. An oven and baking sheet are required, I’m putting it on my baking list.
Money Bread We made this when I was young but until the latest issue of Bon Appetit showed up in my mailbox I’d forgotten all about it. This Monkey Bread will be great grab-and-go snack during the holidays.
Popovers Popovers are another wow item, they aren’t difficult but nobody seems to make them. Oh but they are so delicious. Harvarti-Dill Popovers are a delightful savory addition to any holiday table. (You aren’t still serving rolls are you?) Plain popover are great for breakfast with a nice strawberry compound butter, mmmmm. A tip for making popovers, heat the pan in the oven while you are heating the oven.
Traditional Sugar Cookies I’ve used the same recipe from the Betty Crocker Cookie Book my mom had when I was a child. (This page is no longer still attached but, its on lockdown so I’ll never loose it.) Important tip, you can’t use butter in this recipe. I’ve tried, they come out too soft and just don’t taste right. Close your eyes and use margarine. Land O Lakes gives the best results.
Let’s talk butter for a second. After my whirlwind trip to Scandanavia this spring, I’ve upped my butter game in the kitchen. Do it, the results are amazing. Call me a snob but I only use real European Butter, its gotta say product of anywhere but North America. Even for beurre blanc and other sauces which include butter, better butter delivers superior flavor.
Ciabatta Bread This ciabatta bread recipe from Leite’s Culinara is primo, full of great tips and tricks to get it right. Bread is fun to bake over the holidays because you can give it away so you don’t end up eating it all, it can happen. Homemade bread is so yummy. I learned this bread at CIA Boot Camp, this is really an easy bread, if you follow the recipe, measure precisely and have patience.
Doughnuts and DonutsI will travel far and wide for a good doughnut, making them put’s you in control of what kind of crazy fun flavors you can make. Warning: you can loose hours on Pinterest searching for doughnut or donut ideas. Yeast or cake, baked or fried, there are tons of recipes but I’m partial to my grandmother’s fry cakes.
Aebleskiver or Danish Pancake Balls You do need the right pan for this, but once you make pancake balls your family will be begging for them. We serve them with homemade jam or real maple syrup.