Let The Baking Begin!!!

November 8, 2009

Every year as autumn begins and I celebrate another birthday at the end of October, I feel as if a significant season has begun. No, it is not the start of the hockey or basketball seasons, but the official start of the holiday baking season.  Although my actual baking does not really begin until early December, these days are filled with hours of dreaming, compiling my lists of new cookies to try, and going through a rigorous process of elimination as I determine which cookies will “make the cut.” Last year I ultimately baked about 1000 cookies that included 20 different varieties. There are the old “stand-bys” that family members will not allow me to change (Nancy Baggett’s Cranberry Ribbons, Maida Heatter’s Brown Butter Sandwiches, and Tish Boyle’s Tiger Caramel Sandwiches, for example), but there is still room for a few new varieties each year. I have a long list of cookies to sample before December including many from Nick Malgieri’s book, The Modern Baker and several from last December’s edition of Food and Wine Magazine.  Some of my recent trials include the oatmeal spice shortbread from Dorie Greenspan’s baking book (these are perfect and have made the cut) and “Sugar Between the Sheets,” a rugelach-like crescent in which you grind the nuts in the filling rather than keep them whole. It is from Julia Usher’s book, Cookie Swap,and the recipe is one I’d strongly recommend. I’d love to hear about any favorite holiday cookie recipes that are part of your repertoire.

Anyway, today my baking included making Pear and Cranberry Muffins from  the Sweet Melissa Baking Book. I love this recipe. I have made Strawberry-Rosemary muffins many times and trying another variation was a huge treat. As you can see from the photo, my daughter, Isabel and her friend, Sofia were quite glad that this was the Sweet Melissa recipe this week. Thanks, Jennifer, for choosing this recipe!

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Sofia and Isabel Loving the Muffins!

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5 Responses to “Let The Baking Begin!!!”

  1. Tracey Says:

    This is definitely one of the best times of the year for baking! I can’t wait 🙂 Glad the girls enjoyed the muffins. I thought they were terrific too!

  2. janels Says:

    sounds like a great plan, I love hearing about your christmas dreams

  3. Susan Says:

    I used to have cookie exchanges, but fewer and fewer friends would bake “all those cookies!”. I love baking and loved these muffins.

  4. Anne Says:

    I love baking this time of year and love that I don’t have to worry about heating the house!

    The muffins look delicious- I had the most delicious pear muffin once in Paris and haven’t found anything as good. I’ll have to try that recipe!


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