All the fun, stress, and busyness of the holiday season has hit in full force! Every year I hope to tame the wild beast that is the holiday season. I think this year will be different, easier somehow, and I’ll be more organized. I’ll have time to focus on what really matters. Then it comes roaring in, like it does every year, and I do my best to doggie paddle through the storm of shopping, decorating, planning, wrapping, to-do list checking, etc.
I love the holiday season. I really do. But I don’t truly feel like I can start enjoying it until everything is decorated and the presents are wrapped. Am I alone in this?
Thankfully, I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. The decorating is done. The shopping is nearly done. The wrapping is halfway done. The Christmas cards might make it out on time. And now, finally, I can focus on the parts of the season that I love so much: the cooking, the baking, the giving, and the celebrations with friends and family. And, of course, the eating!
So, today, I want to talk recipes and cooking, especially baking. Holiday baking is my favorite tradition. As a kid, my Mom and I would make sugar cookies and decorate them every year. It’s one of my favorite childhood memories. As an adult, I love baking and bringing cookies to the neighbors. Last year, we gave cookies to our mailman and the trash collectors, and I think that might become our new tradition. It was fun to see their surprised expressions. I’m trying to think of other people to surprise with cookies. Our doctors? Heaven knows they deserve a medal during this hectic flu and cold season.
As for recipes, I don’t have a standard list of recipes that I make each year. It keeps changing. When the kids were younger, I stuck with kid-friendly recipes. Some years I want gingerbread and some years I don’t want to bother with it. Sugar cookies are a must but I don’t have a go-to recipe.
Here are a few recipes that have caught my attention recently that I’m thinking of trying this year. I feel like all of these recipes are a new spin on a traditional recipe.
Easy Graham Cracker Toffee cookies – We love toffee cookies made with Saltines – they’ve been a favorite the past couple of years – but I’m curious how it’d taste with a graham cracker instead. Trader Joe’s has thick, cinnamon-y graham crackers that I think would be pretty delicious as the base for this cookie. I will report back!
Chocolate Covered Pecan Bites – The name says it all. Yum!
Lemon Bars with Olive Oil and Sea Salt – This recipe sounds different enough that it’s probably delicious. I’ve found that usually to be true with recipes – the weirder, the better. Plus, even chocoholics like me need a break from chocolate and I think something citrus-y would be the perfect addition to my cookie boxes.
Salted Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies – I have a thing about salt and dark chocolate, so this recipe has my vote. Apparently it has the vote of many people because it was included in the Real Simple’s readers’ all-time favorite recipes list.
I’m sure I’ll be adding a few other ideas to the list in the coming days, but this list is my starting point.
What about you? What do you usually bake during the holidays? Any new recipes catch your attention? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas!