Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Talk to Me – Holiday Baking

I enjoy baking a few dozen cookies every year from scratch for the holidays, but this year I want to make a bunch of different treats to pass out to family and friends as an extra holiday gift.  Every year I make the same standard cookies/treats and this year I want to try a few new things.  The good thing is that this time of year you can find many cooking magazines with recipes in it that I would like to try and of course Food Network has a plethora of ideas …..but I also want to hear what other people like. 

See, I am not picky when it comes to pretty much any foods out there, except for desserts.  I admit it; with desserts I am a bit finicky.  I don’t like cooked fruit or jams in desserts; I HATE raisins or any dried fruit for that matter in my desserts; I don’t like nuts in baked goods except for peanuts (but only in things like fudge, not in cookies); I don’t like things too sweet or really gooey; I don’t like things with too many “extra” ingredients (think simple like cupcakes, brownies, snickerdoodles, chocolate chip cookies are my favs); I can’t stand things with weird consistencies like custard or tapioca.  Ok, I could keep going, but you get my point.  So when I bake I typically just bake things I like. (My hips thank me for that)  But since I want to give these out this year I thought I should buck up and make all sorts of cookies and baked goods……so I need suggestions!  And I am talking anything….cookies, muffins, cupcakes, pastries – whatever!  So to get those creative thoughts going, here are a few questions.

1) What are your favorite baked goods during the holidays (This can be anything)?

2) Is there something you make every year that you must have?

3) Is there something someone in your family makes every year that you love?

4) What are your favorite cookies? (List as many as you want…I need ideas!)

5) What are your least favorite cookies?

6) Favorite memory or story regarding baking or desserts during the holidays?


  1. 1) OMG- I am so obsessed with all cookies, gingerbread, meringues, snickerdoodles, rum balls, orange balls, walnut tea cookies, 7 layer bars, lemon bars, and our family makes anise cookies on mom's side and Hungarian pastries on dad's side. NEED TO HIT TREADMILL.

    2) Yes, see above.

    3) My one aunt makes a peanut brittle that is clear with these specialty peanuts. Incredible.

    4) See above!

    5) Just cutouts. So boring.

    6) I love love love making gingerbread houses.

  2. What about popcorn balls? My grandma makes them every year for Christmas. They're messy, but pretty easy, and she always uses food coloring to make some red and some green, so it's very festive. :)

    I don't have a recipe, but I think the ingredients are basically just popcorn, corn syrup, salt, sugar, peanuts and food coloring. You mix everything together, use your hands to mold it into balls and then stick them in a Ziploc bag.

    I think it's great that you're doing this for your family! :)

  3. 1) Favs - I love the cookies. Soft sugar cookies with icing, WIN!

    2) Must have - my mom makes rum sticks. OMG my mouth is watering now.

    3) Family love - my mom makes Maid of Honors as a family tradition. It's something that her mom made.

    4) Fav cookies - anything sugar. I also like thumbprint cookies, with just that little bit of jelly in the middle. I also dig no-bake cookies, but those aren't really Christmasy. I also like cinnamon so anything with cinnamon is great.

    5) Least faves - I hate nuts and coconut so I dislike cookies with nots or coconut.

    6) Fav memory - My mom had made Maid of Honors for her entire family for as long as I can remember. Her mother died when I was two, and she overtook the Maid of Honors duty at that time. No one else in her family makes them because it's her thing. It's not Christmas without the Maid of Honors. And they are like a coveted, special thing - you can only have one or two.

    Gosh darnit I AM GETTING INTO CHRISTMAS!!! :)

  4. Mmmmm!
    I can't do normal baked goods anymore. *sigh*

    1. my mom's cut out Christmas cookies. I love sugar cookies with lots of frosting and lots of sprinkles. oooh and red hots!

    2. see #1

    3. usually by ourselves, so me (#1)

    4. Russian tea cakes, #1, chocolate chips, snickerdoodles, turltes ( I got these in Louisiana, basically a pecan sandy with a dollop of chocolate frosting)

    5. Ginger snaps

    6. making cookies with my mom while listening to our Christmas records. Loved the crackling of the vinyl and the smell of the cookies baking. Heaven!

  5. I LOVE baking!!!

    My favs are russian tea cakes (either made the traditional way or with mini chocolate chips) and these raspberry oatmeal bars that my SIL makes. I hate jams in cookies too, but for some reason, these are amazing.

  6. What a *fun* post!

    1. I adore spritz cookies, pumpkin rolls and those little thumbprint cookies. (Baked jam. You'd hate 'em.)

    2. I must have those thumbprint cookies. And chocolate pie.

    3. How sad is this? NO!

    4. My favorite cookies are oatmeal raisin and I love those damn thumbprint cookies.

    5. I hate ANYTHING with coconut. I loathe those no-bake cookies. BOO.

    6. I think my memory is a generic one - just loved the time we'd all take as we baked and talked and baked and talked. Fun stuff.

    Let us know what you end up baking!

  7. You ladies are great! Love reading people's favorite cookies.

    I forgot to put my answers :)

    1) I typically only eat fudge and buckeyes during the holidays.

    2) I have to make sugar cookies with frosting every year. I bake them not so much because they are the best cookies ever, but to me they just ARE a part of the holidays and should be around!

    3) My mom is an amazing cook/baker! So pretty much anything she bakes each year I love. I will say that her peanut butter cookies with kisses and her snickerdoodles are awesome and my absolute favorites!

    4) Snickerdoodles, chocolate chip bars , M&M cookies, and peanut butter kisses.

    5) I hate those thumb print cookies with fruit/jam in the center. I also do not like peppermint flavored cookies.

    6) My mom has always baked from scratch, so I have many memories that involve baking with my mom. From helping to roll out the dough for pies, to eating the leftover pie dough (mmmmm), to licking the beaters after making a cake. But this time of year I have to say making the snickerdoodles and peanutbutter kiss cookies is my favorite. I got to help roll the snickerdoodle dough in cinnamon sugar and then press the balls down with a cup! I also got to unwrap the kisses (while eating a bunch of them) and putting them on the peanut butter cookies. I can’t wait till the day when I can do that with our kids!