I suspect that December is my favourite time of year to get into my kitchen and bake because I can gift all the goodies to my friends and family after trying out the tidbits myself. There’s nothing better than baking up a few dozen cookies, satiating your sweet tooth with a handful, and then getting the remaining temptations out of your house.
December is always filled with spreading holiday cheer and visiting friends and family, both of which usually require an arsenal of baked goods in your freezer at the ready. It’s also a time when our to-do lists are the longest they will be all year, the weather is frightful, and stress levels can be high.
To help pave the way for an easier baking experience for you this year, here are three simple and delicious classic holiday recipes that are sure to garner rave reviews from your loved ones – one cookie, one square and one cake that are always on my holiday dessert platters.
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Makes 4 dozen cookies, prep and cook time 4½ hours
½ cup (120 mL) vegetable oil
110 g unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
2 cups white sugar
2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup powdered sugar
Mix together theoil, melted chocolate, white sugar and vanilla in a large bowl.
Stir in the eggs one at a time, incorporating each thoroughly before adding the next.
Whisk together theflour, baking powder and salt. Stir into the wet mixture until combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
Preheatyour oven to 350º F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Scoop the dough intoteaspoon size amounts, rolling each into a ball. Drop each cookie dough ball into powdered sugar, rolling around to make sure that they are coated well. Place on the baking sheet 5 cm apart.
Bake 10-12 minutesuntil the edges are firm and the middle has just set. Immediately remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack.
Walnut Cherry Slice Bars
Makes 25 squares, total prep and cook time 1 hour
1 cup all purpose flour
2 Tbs powdered sugar
½ cup salted butter, very soft
1½ cups brown sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
2 Tbs flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ cup medium coconut
¾ – 1 cup candied cherries cut in half
½ cup chopped walnuts
Pre-heat your oven to 350° F.
Whisk together the flour and powdered sugar. Using a pastry blender or two knives criss-cross, cut the butter in until it is small, coarse crumbs
Press the mixture into the bottom of a greased 9 X 9 pan and bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove the pan from oven then turn the oven down to 325° F.
Combine the filling ingredients, then pour over baked cookie base.
Return the pan to the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes.Let cool in the pan before slicing
Gum Drop Cake
Males one cake Total Prep and cook time 80 minutes
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup white sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
2 tsp (10 mL) almond extract
2½ cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbs cornstarch
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup (240 mL) whole milk
2¼ cups of mini gumdrops, chopped if large
Cherry Icing Glaze
1¾ cups icing sugar
1 tsp (5 mL) almond extract
2 tsp (10 mL) melted salted butter
2-3 Tbs milk, add until desired consistency is achieved
Pre-heat your oven to 350º F.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter andwhite sugar until smooth.
Add in the eggs,one at a time, beating after each addition until fully incorporated. Add in the extracts and mix thoroughly.
Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.
Add one third of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture,beat in completely. Add in one third of the milk, beat in completely. Repeat steps until flour and milk are used up, ending on milk. Fold in the gum drops.
Spray a 10-inch Bundt pan with cooking spray, then spoon batter into the pan, spreading out evenly.Bake in the oven for 50-65 minutes OR until a cake tester inserted comes out clean. Cool completely.
Whisk together icing ingredients until smooth and the pour over the cake.Slice and serve!
Karlynn Johnston is a cookbook author, professional blogger, baker and recipe maker, and can usually be found fluffing her culinary feathers on her award-winning website, thekitchenmagpie.com.