Holiday Baking, Foodie Gifts and Recipe Sharing

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It’s my favorite time of year. Baking time! The holiday season is the one time of the year when I get to bake as much as I want and then subject all of my neighbors and friends to eat it all. It’s also the time of year when there are many social events and potlucks where we need to bring something to share.

I have a few standards that I look forward to making every year, but I also like to try new things and expand my list of favorites. I’ve put together this collection to share with you what my holidays (and my friends’ and neighbors’) is going to taste like this year. So, without further ado – here are some holiday baking ideas.

Bring something to share

As much as I love to cook and subject others to eat what I make, sometimes this simple little line in an invite can really throw me for a loop. My problem is what do I pick? Bring only one thing? Or a couple? Sweet or savory? Finger foods or fancy?

This year I’m going to go with simple and different. I found this Cheesy Pretzel Dipping Sauce recipe and tested it out at our neighbor social last weekend. It was awesome! For the first time ever people turned up to my party early. Fortunately, this recipe was easy to prepare in the last 20 minutes I thought I had before the party while chatting with the early guests. Quick, easy and good all work for me.

I also really like this Chipotle and Rosemary Roasted Nuts recipe. It’s easy to make and convenient to eat while standing by the snack table, deep in conversation with a holiday beverage in the other hand.


Cookies, cookies, cookies

Continuing a tradition we’ve adopted from my husband’s family, we bake cookies and deliver them to our neighbors on Christmas Eve. I generally make three to five different cookies and the husband makes toffee.

I found this Basic Butter Cookie dough recipe years ago and have a tattered printout in my recipe binder. But then when I got an iPad I immediately loaded it with the Epicurious app (iOS, Android, B&N Nook Color, Windows Phone, Kindle Fire).

Now I make Spiced Icebox Butter Cookies, Jelly Bowl Cookies and my frosted cookies without ruining my recipe printouts.

Oh and if you have never made the Oreo Cookie Balls, this is a recipe you have got to try. The first time I made it and took it to a social function, there wasn’t one left. It’s fun to make with the kids too. And while you have your hands in the sticky dough, enjoy this super fun video.

Truly decadent

I absolutely love the Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cakes recipe and so does my daughter. She has me save a few pieces aside from each batch just for her. The husband doesn’t like things too sweet so I make this Pumpkin Trifle just for him. I don’t mind making this recipe at all because fresh-baked gingerbread has to be one of the best things on this planet.

Lots to go around

When I’m running short on time, but have a large group to please, I turn to our trusty Caramel Corn recipe. Unfortunately, I can’t share my recipe with you as I acquired it from a friend’s family under strict orders to keep it secret. This Caramel Corn recipe looks pretty close and should do the trick for the crowds you want to please. Be careful though, it’s impossible to just eat a little bit.


Gift ideas for foodies

As I was contemplating my Christmas list this year, the one thing I realized I don’t have in my pantry is a quality peppermill. I found this Unicorn Magnum Plus Peppermill and instantly added it to my list. The name alone had me excited.

For the Thanksgiving holiday we were at my sister’s house in Indianapolis and their new, highly enviable gadget was a Ninja blender. And it was as cool as they made it out to be. They made smoothies for all of us and even my “I don’t eat vegetables” daughter enjoyed her smoothie loaded with kale and fruit.

Another great gift is a coffee grinder for spices. I got my husband one of these a couple years ago for Christmas and he’s been using it for everything. Even his beer brewing. This year he has a dehydrator on his list. We really need a larger pantry.

A must-have for anyone who likes to cook is an iPad or tablet case with a stand. It makes it so easy to read recipes and of course quick access to search in case you need a substitution or want to consult another source. Make sure you check out the OtterBox tablet cases with stands for iPads, Kindles, and Samsung tablets.

Sharing great recipes

You know it happens every time. You bring something to a party and everyone asks for the recipe. My friend and I even asked every person at a party until we found the owner of a dish that we just had to make so we could get the recipe from her. There are lots of recipe apps, but if you have the Recipe Box app you can easily store, share and collect recipes from the web. My sister keeps harassing me to use it more which I will most certainly do because she has some great recipes I want to add to my repertoire.

However you like to celebrate, enjoy the baking season in your kitchen. I’m off to find my apron and get busy.

About the author


Is a west coast gal who has settled down in Colorado. She loves to write, cook and play outdoors. If you don’t find her at work, she’ll probably be out riding her bicycle, at the pool with her kids or curled up on her couch with her face buried in a book.

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