Do you participate in a holiday cookie swap? I loooove trading holiday baking. It’s the best way to sample all the treats of the season! I especially love sampling all the different shortbread recipes – last year I tasted a rosemary shortbread that was really amazing. Chocolate cookies are always a hit at a cookie swap. Make them double chocolate and add a hint of espresso – and you might just be crowned the favourite baker of the year.
Podcasts are having their heyday right now – it seems like everyone and their dog is starting a podcast and I love it! I listen to podcasts in the car, instead of turning on the radio, while I’m getting ready in the morning, at the gym, and at work (when I’m not doing something that requires me to be super focused). It’s such a great way to be exposed to new ideas and learn a lot! There are so many podcasts targeted to food bloggers (and for bloggers and food lovers separately!) These are my favourites.
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies are a classic. They were a cookie that often graced the shelves of my childhood home. They make me think of riding my bike with training wheels, water balloon fights with the other kids on our street, our woodshed where I would play “pioneers”, and our old swing set. They also make me think of the other foods I loved as a child: Cheese Whiz and Pizza Pops. (EWWW!)
This recipe is for Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies that are perfectly spiced with cinnamon and will fill your house with warm aromas. Curl-a-blanket-around-yourself aromas. Too soon? I know, I know, it’s not Fall yet! But we’ve had some cool nights lately, and I can’t help but think about all the amazing smells and tastes of Fall.
I learned to bake when I was very young – I can remember spending countless hours with a little apron tied around my pudgy belly standing on a chair propped against the kitchen counter stirring cookie dough. Cookies were the first thing I learned to make, and my favourite, of course, was Chocolate Chip.
My repertoire soon expanded beyond Chocolate Chip, and I graduated to following a cookie recipe on my own, even if I still needed help with baking them in the oven. I started experimenting by adding oatmeal or coconut or white chocolate chips. But still, my favourite cookie as a child was plain old Chocolate Chip.
While I don’t often bake Chocolate Chip now as an adult, I do love the nostalgia of the smell and taste of a classic Chocolate Chip cookie. I’ve upped my game in this recipe by chopping up a good quality dark chocolate bar instead of using any old chocolate chips – and using good quality chocolate makes all the difference. Bake these Chocolate Chunk Cookies until the edges just begin to brown and the middles are still soft – that way the cookies will be perfectly chewy in the middle and slightly crunchy on the edges.
I received 5 new cookbooks for Christmas and I’ve been devouring them like a delicious feast, reading and sticky tagging so many recipes. I can’t wait to get into the kitchen and start cooking them all! However, we’ve had a unexpectedly stressful start to our new year, which, without going into any detail, has suddenly resulted with my step-daughter living with us for a full 3 weeks.
So instead of lingering over a glass of wine and slowly cooking new recipes for dinner together with J after work, we are in full-on parent mode – which means quick kid-friendly dinners that can be ready before 6:00pm. We’ve been eating a lot of quesedillas, homemade pizza, pasta, Greek chicken wraps – anything that can come together quickly!
After being sick for the past week, and not drinking any alcohol or eating anything sugary in attempt to speed my recovery, now all bets are off. Every day more goodies arrive at the office, tempting me to eat them, and now our house is stocked with goodies too – these shortbread cookies and tonight I made a ridiculously indulgent square – stay tuned for that recipe later this week.
Why is it that it’s acceptable to overindulge in sweets in December and then we’re made to feel so guilty about it once January rolls around? Headlines about eating healthy and starting new diets are already popping up – but what about this for a crazy idea – what about if we practiced a little more moderation in the holiday goodie department, and then we wouldn’t feel guilt-tripped into buying that gym membership on January 1?
These Melting Shortbread cookies are a must-bake for me every holiday season – it’s my grandma’s recipe, one that my mother grew up with in her childhood. My mom specifically requested that I bring these over for Christmas dinner this year. They’re a wonderfully crumbly melt-in-your-mouth shortbread cookie – and they freeze well. Mine are currently in the freezer until I take them out on Christmas Eve! To be honest, the fact that my Christmas baking is in the freezer is the only thing holding me together!
What are your holiday baking traditions?