One of my family's Christmas traditions is to bake treats for our friends, neighbors, teachers, and just about anyone else who crosses our path on a regular basis. You know how you have certain traditions that just "make" the holiday for you? Well, for me, one of those "BIG" traditions is baking. A Christmas season without baking cookies and other goodies would be like not putting up the tree...not singing Silent Night at the Christmas Eve candlelight service...not watching a single Charlie Brown, Grinch, or It's a Wonderful Life....
Yep, holiday baking is near and dear to my heart. From the time that my sisters and I were old enough to stand at the kitchen counter until we all married and started baking in our own kitchens, my mom and "us girls" would spend a couple of days before Christmas in our warm, cozy kitchen together, making the recipes and assembling giant trays of treats to deliver to friends and neighbors. I can still remember the usual line-up: Date Balls, Mexican Wedding Cakes, Buried-Cherry Cookies, Peanut Butter Blossoms, Peanut Butter Balls, Crazy Candy Hash, Chex Mix and/or caramel corn, and something with Fruit Loops, mini marshmallows, and white chocolate coating (I can't remember what it was called now). On top of these, we tried out new recipes each year too.
These days I bake with my daughters. Today kicks off our annual cookie baking effort. The gingerbread dough is chillin' in the refrigerator as I type this, just waiting to be rolled out and turned into cute little ginger-people.
I realized this morning that there are only 14 days until Christmas. Just in case you haven't started your holiday baking, or if you're still looking for that perfect treat to add to your Christmas cookie trays or teacher gift bags, here are 14 links to recipes from my collection of holiday favorites. One for every day! : )
1. Caramel Corn. I love this recipe. Put it in a tin or bag and tie with ribbon. Give me caramel corn over fruitcake any day!
2. Caramel Puff Corn.(For those who loves the taste of caramel corn, but despise the seeds. Also, better for your loved ones who find themselves in the throes of orthodontia) Puff corn is super easy...you can even make it in your microwave.
3. Oreo Truffles. I realize that I made these for Easter last year (hence the lavender sprinkles in the picture), but they're perfect for Christmas too.
And now a couple of recipes for those of you just dying to use your mini-muffin pan this holiday season:
4. Pecan Tarts
5. Gingerbread Cookie Cups with Cream Cheese Frosting
Moving along to these beauties...
6. Red Velvet Whoopie Pies
7. Cherry Almond Fudge. Love this fudge recipe!
8. Cranberry Orange Scones. A tin filled with these, an assortment of teas, and wrapped up with a pretty tea towel would make for a lovely gift.
9. Peppermint Stick Cocoa. This one was a HUGE hit last year. The perfect cocoa to warm up with after an afternoon of sledding!
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite holiday BAR COOKIES....
10. Apricot Pecan Bars
11. Cranberry Blondies
12. Streudel Bars. These double as an excellent addition to Christmas morning breakfast.
And finally...the traditional cutout cookies:
13. Gingerbread Cookies
14. White Velvet Cut-out Cookies
Happy Baking and Happy Holidays!
To share your favorite recipes and holiday baking traditions and see what other readers are baking up this month, click on the Facebook icon in my top left-hand sidebar and join the conversation!