By no means do I consider myself a “baker.” In fact, on my list of culinary skills, I would probably put baking near the bottom, perhaps just above “candy making.”
But there is something about the holidays and having grown up with a “we’ll just bake a few pies for Thanksgiving” Mom, that I tend to feel overconfident when it comes to Christmas in the kitchen.
We have several friends who have taken cookie baking and decorating to new heights, an Olympics-level of skill that I could only hope for in my wildest dreams. Jennis, Leigh-Ann, and Jennie seem to effortlessly produce art with flour, sugar, and butter and their decorating often leaves me in awe. Whether birthdays, weddings, celebrations or holidays, they constantly amaze me with the photos shared on social media. My “Groovy 70s” cookies were made by Jennis Horn and they were a highlight of my birthday party. Her Christmas cookies are always amazing, you can see more of them on her FB page here.
But I digress. I stay away from cookie baking much like I would avoid trying to create French macarons. But I have found that simple quick breads are more my style.
Over the past few weeks I’ve made nearly two dozen mini pumpkin spice breads; throw in a couple of pies for Thanksgiving and I might begin to consider a career switch. Along with a few packets of instant hot chocolate mix they have made great gifts for our neighbors.
With Christmas approaching I’m considering switching up my recipes. Flipping through my copy of The Joy of Cooking” cookbook, I found a few handwritten recipes from over thirty years ago. My sister-in-law had shared a Bishop’s Bread recipe that might be fun to try again. There is a cranberry walnut bread that sounds like it would make a great appearance on a Christmas buffet table. I would love to find something pepperminty, though I suppose I could just sprinkle candy cane pieces on a chocolate-chip bread. That sounds tasty!
Happy Holidays friends. Whatever you make, it’s better shared with friends. And don’t forget the neighbors!