I don’t know if it’s the snow on the ground, the cold temperatures or Target having the cutest holiday items in the entire world in their stores right now, but I am super excited for Christmas this year. I’ve been doing my best not to put on the Christmas tunes, put up my Christmas tree, and watch my favourite Christmas movies like Elf and Home Alone. After all, it’s still only November. I’ve always been a firm traditionalist and start these activities no earlier than December 1. I may have to break my rules this year – starting with featuring my first holiday baking item – these delicious Gingersnap Cookies!
Claudia came over this week to teach me how to make more of her holiday baking family favourites. These Gingersnap Cookies were high on her list to share with me. She actually adapted the recipe from her coworker (Linda), as they were a total hit at their workplace not too long ago. When I told Claudia that I wasn’t a huge Gingersnap cookie fan, she reassured me that these cookies would be worthy of my daily caloric intake. I have to admit Claudia was right (but really, when isn’t she?). These, my friends, are the perfect combination of all my Gingersnap Cookie wishes – chewy, soft, and not too heavy on the ginger or molasses flavour. I highly recommend these delicious beauties for your holiday baking line up.
Two weeks ago I ventured to New York City with my best friend Denise for a quick 4-day vacation. NYC is by far my favourite city in the entire world. The hustle and bustle, lights, and delicious restaurants and bakeries on every corner is what I love most about the city. But after this latest trip, I have a whole new reason. On my last night in NYC, Denise and I ventured to Rockefeller Centre to see the infamous Christmas tree all lit up. Well, to make a long story short, it wasn’t lit up (apparently they turn it off at 10:30pm to conserve energy). I’m not going to lie – I was very disappointed. Mainly because I had been there for 3 nights already and this was my last opportunity to see the tree lit up before we departed the next day. While I was pouting and feeling sorry for myself, I decided to make the most of the evening and take some photos of my surroundings.
As I was taking the photo above of 30 Rock, I heard a very familiar (and male) voice. I turn around to see my boyfriend, whom I thought was back at home in Winnipeg, standing there in the middle of Rockefeller Centre with a bakery box in hand. After the initial shock of seeing him wore off, he tells me to open the box.
A proposal to rival all proposals. I was speechless but had enough strength to say “Yes”. And how could I not – besides it being the most amazing proposal ever, those red velvet cupcakes were the most delicious I have ever tasted – thanks to Tribeca Treats!
In honour of the holiday season, and the most important day of my life thus far, I wanted to bake and share a recipe that I love this time of year. These Egg Nog Cupcakes are dense, moist and sweet. Also, how can you possibly say no to egg nog buttercream icing?! Even if you aren’t a true egg nog fan, you will enjoy these.
I’m not going to lie…one of the reasons I love the holiday season is the 12 Days of Cookies emails I receive from the Food Network. Just when you think you’ve seen all the Christmas baking recipes there is, another one lands in my inbox and become nearly giddy. Yeah, I probably could use a hobby besides baking. But who has the time?!
I finally found time in Claudia’s busy retirement schedule (I swear she’s busier now that she doesn’t work full time!) to fit in some quality baking with her for this blog. Last night she came over and we decided to try a couple new butter cookie recipes we have been eyeing. This one was the big hit. You really cannot lose when you incorporate cream cheese into the dough and dipping the cookie in chocolate! These are a nice twist on the traditional holiday butter/sugar cookie. The cream cheese makes the cookie a little denser and the chocolate adds a nice sweetness. Because the dough needed to be chilled, Claudia decided to make the dough prior to us getting together, so I do not have any pictures of these steps. I figured combining all ingredients into a bowl didn’t really require visual representation anyway.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “I ate three times my body weight in holiday baking a mere month ago. Why would I want to bake and eat any more – especially when my New Years Resolution is to eat healthy?!” I hear what you are saying and feel the same way. Except when I am faced with these amazing chocolatey treats (like last night when I went over to my parents for dinner) and throw all my good eating intentions out the window.
Claudia has made these little treats for Christmas for as long as I can remember. I don’t know how it’s possible, but I seem to fall further and further in love with them every year. They are probably one of the simplest desserts to make and fulfill even the biggest chocolate cravings. Sweet with a hint of salty, these crunchy gems are a must try. You will thank me – I promise!
For as long as I can remember, Date Squares (aka Matrimonial Cake) were always on Claudia’s Christmas baking list. I’ll admit that when I was younger I didn’t fancy them too much and chose holiday desserts on the table that had a lot more chocolate on them. But as I get older (and wiser of course) I have grown to absolutely love them. The buttery crumbly layers and the sweet date filling makes this the perfect recipe for your own holiday baking list.