Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Holiday Baking

I have had a tradition of baking for the holidays since I was in high school. I used to bake with my mom but she has since retired from our tradition. Most years I do it all myself but this year my sister wanted to help. I usually bake about 11 or 12 different things, then divvy it all up to give away. I like to give goodies to my close friends, co-workers, neighbors, and my mailman. Oh, and the kids' teachers.

This year I made 11 different things. I keep a 3-ring binder with my favorite holiday recipes inside. I printed them up on holiday stationery and put them in page protectors so I can wipe them off if they get dirty. I usually make the same things each year but sometimes change one or two things out. I did that this year. I took out some Chocolate Pixies and the Chocolate Truffles and substituted Candy Cane Cookies and Lemon Drop Cookies. I don't think I'll do the lemon cookies again....too soft and wet from the glaze. Tasty, though. I love getting feedback from my friends as to which goodies they like best.

Here's a favorite:

These yummy Florentines have a wonderful, buttery crust and the filling has more butter, honey, and almonds. Super yummy! Sorry, I cannot share this recipe. I am sworn to secrecy! My mother would kill me.

My kids love my sugar cookies. I used to bake them from scratch but I have to make so many that this is the one thing I don't bake from scratch any more. I buy the sugar cookie mix at Costco and make the entire 6 batches in the box. My secret is that I add 1/4 tsp nutmeg to each batch. Then I make up some Royal Icing and decorate the cookies. The trees take the longest because they are filled. I have to wait until the outline dries, the filling dries, then add the yellow garland and "ornaments". When I get done making everything, I have to package it all up right away or my kids will eat all the sugar cookies before I can give them out.

Here's a picture of all my goodies packaged up and ready to be delivered. I swear my list of recipients gets longer and longer every year. Would you believe I have people on my list that have been receiving my goodies since high school?

Notice the cute little tags I made for the goodie packages! I used the A Muse Clear baking set. The great thing about using an acrylic set is you can bend the sentiments. I bent mine to match the curve of the circle I punched out. The fabulous ribbon you see was purchased at Packaging Specialities in Overlake (Bellevue). They have the BEST packaging solutions around!
In case you are curious, here's my list of goodies I made for this year:
Cranberry bars (like Starbucks Cranberry Bliss bars)
Butterscotch Shortbread Bars
Sugar Cookies
Candy Cane Cookies
Lemon Drop Cookies
5-Minute Fudge
New Wave Rocky Road
Caramel Balls
Sugared Date Squares
Pecan Tassies
Hope you enjoyed looking at the goodies. I have more pics I can share if you want to see them.
My little guy has been home sick with strep throat the last two days. I'm really hoping he feels well enough to go to school tomorrow, that is....if it doesn't turn to a snow day. We are supposed to get a good snowfall in the wee hours of the morning. I really need this horrible weather and ice on the roads to go away. I'm not done Christmas shopping and the weather is impeding my ability to get it done. I have never been so unprepared for Christmas before! It's making me panic!


Unknown said...

Love all your goodies novell! I just finished 4 batches of choc. chip and oatmeal choc chip. Phew. Still have haystacks and rice crispies to go and they need to be done by friday! how on earth did you back ALL that? =) good job!

Elena said...

I love hearing other baking stories. I have do the same thing but have a big party for all our family and friends to come and eat. I just finished my last ones yesterday, but I don't know how I'll package those (chocolate covered marshmallow cookies). Did you pack those in buckets? So cute! Every year I think that I'll remember to buy some cookie boxes in bulk and every year I forget until it is too late. We need to have a recipe swap!

Unknown said...

novell your treat baskets are so yummy looking!! some lucky people are going to be soooo happy!!

Becky Rusher said...

WOW, Novell! Your goodies look delish! And the packaging is so cute!

Joyce said...

You have been a busy little baker! I used to bake for the holidays but not as much since I had kids (too busy). If you ever decide to share the Florentine recipe, count me in because those were super yummy last year!

I'm behind for Christmas too and this weather is not helping! Stay warm and drive safely.

Linda said...

How do I get on the list? ;) Your goodies look absolutely delicious! And thank you for the bending sentiment tip...I would never have come up with that on my own, but it makes so much sense! Merry Christmas, my friend!

Denise ~ Paper Ponderings said...

Well shucks...I was looking forward to trying that recipe. They look incredible!! If you want to deliver some this way, let me know and I'll give you my addressÜ

Laura said...


Anonymous said...

wow all those flicks look ubber delish...tfs..and yes stay safe out there and yes i agree this weather is also hindering my christmas shopping...Liann

Lori Barnett said...

lots of good stuff for the sweet tooth! Everything looks fantastic. Great packages! :)

Dawn said...

Don't panic, Novell! Just knock one thing at a time off your list. Wish I was on your list, love freshly baked goodies and I don't bake. Your packages look so yummy!

melissa said...

YUMMY!!!!! That all sounds delicious--& your containers are the cutest! :)

Rhonda said...

YUM!!! I haven't eaten breakfast yet and I'm thinking I'll skip it and eat dessert instead!!

These are amazing! Those Florentines and Sugar Cookies look delicious! What a clever tip for those sugar cookies!

I love to make treats and have a list of things I plan to make in the next week. We'll see how many I actually get done. You're amazing!!

It's great that your list gets longer each year, just means you have more friends each year!!

Cute tags and ribbon!!

Anonymous said...

These are sooooo cute and I love how you packaged them. Would you mind sharing your recipe for icing? I have tried and tried different recipes and they won't harden.