Holiday baking season is here! For many of us, that means satisfying our sweet tooth and spending time in the kitchen while baking family recipes, and possibly trying out something new (many times with our littlest helpers). This season we have some tips and ideas to make your baked goods the best so you can spread your sweet holiday cheer!
Santa’s favorite late night snack is also one of the home-baker’s favorites to make. During the holiday season we love to let our inner pastry artist shine and cookies are the best medium. Even for the non-creative, with a few tools and the right icing, your cookies can be on par with any professionals. Dust off your holiday cookie cutters and start with a basic sugar cookie dough. Always make sure that the butter and sugar are mixed until they are light and fluffy. The mixture should be white before adding the other ingredients. This will help your cookies be firm on the outside and chewy on the inside. From this basic recipe you can transform the cookies into jelly-filled thumbprints, or use Red Hots, sprinkles, or melted chocolate for easy decorations. For the artists, decorate with fancy frosting!
Another versatile dough, like this oatmeal-vanilla, is ideal for the non-decorating bakers. This dough can be split into quarters, allowing you to make varieties of cookies: anything from chocolate chip, to pretzels and yogurt chips!
Christmas cakes are the best way to finish a holiday meal. The decorator-friendly coconut cake is a wonderful option for a home baker as it can easily cover up any baking flaws and coconut gives a snowy look easily embellished with a sprig of holly. Home-bakers also do well with tortes, logs, and decadent cheesecakes–these are all easy to dress up without fancy tools, frostings, or pastry experts. We also like covering a basic cake recipe with fluffy homemade meringue, use food coloring for a festive touch. For the more experienced, try this cute igloo cake or this towering tree cake.
Other Holiday Sweets
During the holiday season we find ourselves walking away from work, parties, stores, and friends’ houses with sweets of some kind. Chocolate fudge, peppermint bark, and cookies are always great traditional treats. For unique treats, we like chocolate covered dried fruit, pie pops, or homemade marshmallows–perfect over a holiday fire or to top hot coco. Marshmallows can also be placed into a tin with chocolates and graham crackers for a thoughtful S’more kit.
Happy holiday baking!