Sunday, September 9, 2012

If the Stores are Already Planning for Christmas, Why Shouldn't I?

Last night was the first really cool night of the season. I slept with the windows open and awoke cocooned in the comforter, my counterpart similarly wrapped in a blanket he pulled off the bed in the guest bedroom. Despite the 90-degree weather we saw yesterday, it was a bracing 55 when I got up this morning.

We felt the cool air moving in yesterday after a spate of thunder showers. We picked up some chicken, gathered all the miscellaneous veg from the fridge, and set about making soup.

And I started thinking about holiday baking in earnest. I feel this is justified because I did indeed see Christmas stuff out on display this weekend. If the stores are already planning for Christmas, why shouldn't I? After all, it takes me much longer to get it together than it does them.

Depending on what type of baker you are, the holiday baking season begins at different times and requires a varied amount of planning. If you bake all the time, the end of the year is an opportunity for you to showcase your best stuff. If you only bake during the holidays but have a set collection of specialties, you can adhere to the tradition you have established.

Then there are the rest of us. We who only bake during the holidays, yet feel we need to have a new and exciting theme each year. Which means new and exciting recipes each year. Many that we are trying for the first time. Typically I start baking around Thanksgiving. Things go awry. Recipes don't work out right. I invariably end up baking chocolate chip cookies and butterscotch brownies on December 20 in the hopes of filling the cookie tins with something edible.

This year, I am getting a jump start. I have my theme - Old Timey Holiday Favorites.

I have my recipes. Most of these are from the Gourmet cookbook but also appear on Epicurious. I've added the links for the recipes I could find there:

Penuche - I will not be using the recipe from Gourmet. I tried it about a month ago and it really didn't work.
Anise-Scented Fig and Date Swirls
Chocolate Sambuca Crinkle Cookies
Five Spice Ginger Snaps
Pistachio Dark Chocolate Crisps
Ginger Honey Cookies

These are all new recipes for me, so I will need to start trial runs fairly soon and adjust my plan for anything that doesn't work out.

And, even though I am starting the holiday baking season before the autumnal equinox, please feel free to join me and provide any baking recipes you'd like to see me try. Email me at

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