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Planning for Christmas Baking

Posted by Hallee on Dec 12, 2012 in Holiday fare |
As I write this, it’s December 13th and we have just under two weeks to prepare for our Christmas baking gift giving. This is a tradition my mother taught me, and something I look forward to and plan for every single year.
I love giving my friends delicious homemade treats as a Christmas gift. I used to do it while I worked full time, and would spend and entire Saturday and most of a Sunday baking and cooking and cleaning and mixing. Over the years, I’ve learned how to space the work out so that it’s not so frantic and exhausting.
However, I found myself writing a book during peak holiday planning time instead of planning, prepping, and blogging for/about Christmas baking.  So, here it is, a week later than usual, but still on time to make amazing gifts in the coming weeks:

Candy

My fudge recipe was given to my grandmother in 1946. A friend brought a plate of fudge to a Christmas party at church, and wrote the recipe down on the back of a church bulletin. The only thing that I changed was to remove the margarine from the recipe and replace it with half butter and half coconut oil. This fudge is amazing — it’s even better with homemade marshmallow cream.

We call this Captain Crunch Candy. I don’t know what the original name was, or where my mother got the recipe. However, I remember eating this every single Christmas of my life. It’s amazing and a favorite in our goodie baskets we make for friends.

This year I tried my hand at a layered Jell-O recipe.  The Christmas Jello Stars were so festive and so good.

Cookies

Now that Gregg is home, he is in charge of making Gregg’s Gingerbread Cookies. He will make them at night, and have the dough ready to go the next morning. This is a huge batch – plenty for Christmas gift giving, or for a gingerbread house decorating party. We use Gregg’s Quick & Easy Royal Icing when we decorate them.

I grew up making Traditional Sugar Cookies at Christmas time. My mom would have them baked and ready for when I came home from high school, and I would decorate them with Buttercream Frosting – colored all different colors. We had a variety of sprinkles and imperials. I’d pull out my decorating tips and bags and spend hours on Christmas trees and angels, making each one perfect. The flavor combination of the sugar cookie and frosting is wonderful, and they are always so pretty in gift baskets.

Kaylee tried a new recipe last year – Engaging Eggnog Cookies. She sandwiched the cookies with Engaging Eggnog Icing. They were so yummy and will now be part of our Christmas gift baskets.

I love my spritz cookie press. You can bake a pan of spritz cookies in no time. I have a butter recipe and a chocolate recipe. I like to make the wreaths and dip them in white or dark chocolate, then sprinkle them with Christmas imperials. The Christmas trees are also awesome to make – just sprinkle them with green sugar and you’re good to go.

I also came across this tip on how to decorate Christmas sugar cookies.

Breads

I love making miniature loaves of breads for my gift baskets that I hand out to friends and families. Two recipes that are a must each year are Shannon’s Banana Bread and Delicious Cranberry Nut Bread.

This year, I will also be making loaves of my Whole Wheat Honey Oatmeal Bread.

Cakes

I have a miniature bundt cake pan set. I make Heavenly Red Velvet Cakes and just drizzle them with mascarpone cheese frosting.

And a new try this year: Red Velvet Cake Roll.  Heavenly.

Something the kids have loved in the past, and that I’ve taken to Kaylee’s school for her Christmas parties all through elementary school are my Santa Cupcakes and Reindeer Cupcakes. They are way easier to make than they look.

Once you have your lists made, go ahead and stock up on the supplies. A lot of the cookies and breads can be made ahead of time and frozen.

During the remaining weeks leading up to Christmas, I’ll be making breads, cakes, candies, and cookies, getting ready to put the baskets together.

Do you give homemade treats as gifts? What are you making for Christmas?

 

Hallee


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