Those of you who have been visiting me over the years will know that I have a bunch of cookies that I make every year before Christmas. Some of them are recipes inherited from my late mother-in-law, and some are recipes I know certain people really like, and some are recipes I like. Some years I do a TON of baking, and other years I do the bare minimum, and one year – the year my mom passed away, six years ago – I didn't do any.
This year I was finally truly looking forward to baking. Didn't have all the time I could have used, but I got a fair amount done and I'm happy with that.
Here are links to the German cookies I baked this year:
Each of those posts is from 2008, with a link to the posts I did in 2007 that include the recipes.
I also like to make biscotti. Mostly because I like to eat biscotti. I've got a basic biscotti recipe that I start with, and then I play around with the flavors.
One year I made Biscotti with Candied Ginger, Mini Chocolate Chips, and Almonds, and another I've also used white chocolate chips and candied ginger with lemon zest, using that same basic recipe.
This year I poked around in the pantry to see what I had and came up with three new variations:
Maple Pecan Espresso Biscotti.
For these, I subbed 2/3 of a cup of maple syrup for the cup of sugar in the recipe, and used pecans and espresso morsels. To me, they taste like a lazy breakfast.
Cinnamon Apple Almond Biscotti
I used Bourbon instead of vanilla, and then used dried apples and almonds and cinnamon. Very tasty. Next time I'll chop the dried apple into smaller pieces, but otherwise, I'm happy with this. I don't really notice the bourbon, so I don't think it's really imperative.
I don't know what to call these. They're kind of my "healthier" version. I subbed a cup of oats for a cup of the flour, used orange zest and orange juice for the flavor, and used a mix of golden raisins, nuts, and seeds (sunflower, chia, and hemp). They're crispy and I love the orange flavor. I wanted to use dried cranberries but didn't have any (the bag I'd seen in my pantry was actually dates, and I've realized I don't like dates all that much).
I just finished decorating the last of the butter cookies. I'd done the tiny ones with the usual brush stroke of egg yolk across them, like Bill's mom used to do, and gave myself some snowflake and assorted star shapes to decorate as well. I only used melted chocolate, white royal icing, tiny pearly balls, and blue sugar sprinkles.
Here they are, just hanging around waiting for the sugar paint to dry…
And that's about it!
Well, I made these, too -
They go by many names. Mexican Wedding Cookes, Russian Tea Cakes, Snowballs, and so on. My sister really likes them, so I call them "Those Cookies that Meredith Likes."
What are you baking? And do you make the same things every year, or do you mix it up?