baking · holiday

Holiday Baking ROUND-UP!

(insert banjo tune here)

What better excuse is there to flour up the kitchen like the holidays??

Pecan Caramel Tart

I saw the most mouthwatering photo of a pecan caramel tart, beautifully dusted in snowy powdered sugar in Homemade Winter by Yvette van Boven. I thought it’d make the perfect gifts for the sweetest neighbors we happen to have, but I had to trial run it first.

img_1732(sans powdered sugar)

It tasted pretty comforting and delicious but I thought it needed a few personal tweaks and then I got lazy to try it again so.. pass. Maybe next year.

Sugar Cookies

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A classic, am I right? A classic made even better with a recipe adapted from Bake at 350’s Perfect Every Time Cut Out Cookies recipe, since there’s no waiting for room temperature butter or for the dough to chill! Huzzah! Plus, they rise nicely and don’t spread out and morph your cutouts!  Quick and easy… and tasty to boot! I hadn’t made sugar cookies in probably close to a decade.. but with Isla being the perfect age to decorate some, it was time. Baked these one night and let Isla and her friend decorate them the following morning — happy kiddos + a messy kids table = success!

Ginger Scones

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I love this recipe for ginger scones that I learned from The New School of Cooking in Culver City. The scones are fluffy, not too sweet with a little kick of ginger in the glaze, and have a great mouth feel. The absolute best enriched biscuit flavor — and I mean, I’m not even a big fan of ginger so that says a lot. These are easy to make and better than the bulk packs from the store, so I thought I’d bake and box them up for the neighbors! Quite delightful. 🙂

Chocolate Chip Cookies (for Santa)

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I asked Isla what kind of cookies we should bake for Santa and received a resounding “CHOCOLATE CHIP!” as a response… so ta-da!  My go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe is found in Sur La Table’s The Art and Soul of Baking, except I don’t add the nuts since I like my chocolate chip cookies with just the chocolate part.  I normally like to mix in milk (or semi-sweet) chocolate chips/chunks with dark chocolate chips/chunks.. but I saw a bag of Guittard semi-sweet chocolate chips at the store and just opted for that since 1) Guittard chocolate is so so so good and 2) I didn’t need a bunch of extra chocolate chips around the house anyway.  I baked these on Christmas Eve.. and since I had some short ribs braising in the oven at the time, I had to bake them on the bottom rack… dun dun dun!  They turned out pretty ok — slightly crunchy on the outside and softer towards the center, albeit a little browner on the bottom as well.  Santa ate them all, so I guess he must’ve liked them too. 😉

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

I only took a blurry snapchat of these so the photo’s not that good — sorry!!

Confession. I don’t even like cinnamon rolls. My husband loves cinnamon rolls… and I mean LOVES. Loves them so much that he once worked at a Cinnabon when he was in high school. I use Alton Brown’s recipe for overnight cinnamon rolls and they taste way better, no offense Cinnabon. I haven’t even tried any other recipe because hubs loves these so much. Sometimes I make sticky buns, which I like better, but he always requests these cinnamon rolls instead. I only make them on Christmas, like, every other Christmas.

Devils Food mini-cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

No photo because I just forgot. Ha!

Recipe again from Sur La Table’s incredibly reliable The Art and Soul of Baking.  Baked these for Isla’s school holiday program dessert potluck!  The tart and sweet cream cheese frosting helped accentuate the chocolatey goodness!  Mini-sized since it was a potluck and there were a ton of other tasty-looking desserts present!!

….

So not a ton of adventurous baking — mostly just classics involved, but that’s ok because with the new decorations in the house and the company we had on the way, it helped make my holiday a little simpler and less stressful. 🙂

Hope everyone had a great baking holiday — what did you all bake??

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