Christmas Tradition: Baking
Is baking a Christmas tradition for you? Baking Christmas cookies is a big part of my childhood Christmas memories. Crisp sugar cookies, buttery almond crescents, hearty oatmeal date cookies, and more are some of my mom's baking staples for this season.
Baking began towards the middle of December in the evenings and on Saturdays. Often the sugar cookies were cut and baked, then frozen until we could spend time decorating them. Bells, camels, and trees are the shapes I remember most. When we go to my parents' place over Christmas, we're almost certain to be served a plate of beautiful sugar cookies.
My mom and her sister Marty used to try new recipes, as well as the old favourites. One year they made tiny fruits from almond paste mixed with jello powder, I think. The jello provided both colour and flavour to the marzipan. They were pretty, but fiddly, and I don't think they were ever made again.
Today I made Rugelach, a recipe given to me by my sister. I prepared the dough a few days ago, and chilled it. Today has been dark and grey, with intermittent drizzle: a good day for filling the house with warm buttery smells.
Another year, my mom tried a new recipe for Frying Pan Cookies. The name was very uninspired and turned out to be a sticky confection of dates and Rice Krispies. That was another recipe that never made it to the good list.
Today I made some Chocolate Date Nut balls - no Rice Krispies in these, and I think they are pretty good. There is no added sugar and they whipped up quickly in the food processor. No flour, either, so they are gluten free.
Decorating the house is another tradition. I've been puttering away at it. The tree will go up next weekend as we like a real tree and we like it to last at least to New Year's. The nativity is set on the china hutch and I switched to red and white dishes on the upper shelves. A beaded garland drapes over the light fixture above the dining room table, hung with tin stars.
What are your traditions for Christmas? Do you bake the same things, and/or do you try new recipes?
Linking with Mosaic Monday, hosted by Angie of Letting Go of the Bay Leaf.