Happy Holidays - Holiday Baking!

It is that time of the year again - when homes everywhere are adorning beautiful Christmas trees dazzling with twinkling lights, cherishing family memories over the years as pretty ornaments. Love and laughter of friends and family is everywhere. And the tiny kitchens and ovens become stars of the homes churning out wonderful dishes and wafting beautiful baking aromas that are so reminiscent of the holidays!

When my daughter turned two, we started an annual Christmas Eve cookie baking tradition - we don't have many traditions in our house, but we have that one and we have been on it year after year. As a toddler, all she could do was lick the dough and be the eager taster - but now, she helps select recipes, makes dough and takes charge of decorating half the batch. 

Life gets soo busy and stressful year around that I have really come to cherish these small pleasures and tiny moments of baking together on Christmas Eve!

We rarely bake cookies otherwise in the whole year, so it's something we both eager look forward to just as December rolls in.

This year we made 3 cookies:
  1. Simple sugar cookies which we decorated with icing. 
  2. Gingerbread cookies
  3. For grown-ups of the house, a fresh batch of almond biscotti to dip into afternoon tea or coffee.
Of the three biscotti's were my favorite. I skipped almond liquor but instead added almond extract. It came out wonderful. At baking times of 35-10-15 mins, the biscotti were not super hard - a pleasure to dunk in but also could it on it's own too. I'll definitely be making these again and again!

I made only one change to the gingerbread cookies recipe. I really avoid to buy large portion of an ingredient, when only a little bit is used in a year - so in the spirit of limiting waste, I substituted molasses with dark honey we bought from farmer's market the day before. It turned out just fine.

This year we also experimented a lot with icing decorations - specially using unique patterns by mixing colors using toothpicks. A cookie then becomes only but an empty canvas to express yourself with colors - as my daughter called it, it's just like painting!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all my friends and readers!