Holiday Party Baking

WooHoo! Time to do some SERIOUS baking!

My church is having a Holiday Open House today at their Upscale Thrift Shoppe (pls note: “Shoppe”, not “Shop”), and can you believe they were going to serve store-bought food!? . . . . at a CHURCH FUNCTION?! Don’t they know that serving store-bought food at a church function is a one-way ticket to hell? Well, we are not dealing with Southern folk here, so I guess it’s a case of “they know not what they do.”

To spare them all from eternal condemnation, I volunteered to bake. The lady in charge said that I could make whatever I wanted as long as it was “finger food”.  It was like a dream come true!

I started mid-week with one of my favorite breakfast bread recipes, Orange Marmalade Bread.  It turned out all gummy because I took it out of the oven too soon. I had to start over. So after work, I went to the grocery to get some more orange marmalade and a few other things, and when I got home I realized that I had indeed gotten the ‘few other things’, but had forgotten the orange marmalade!  DOH!

The next day, I finally had my head on straight, and managed to get the marmalade and make the little mini-loaves.  This bread has a beautiful fragrance  – a lovely orange aroma! I leave out the walnuts because they would interrupt all the sweet orange-ness. These are great with coffee or tea. And a nice change from the usual lemon-poppyseed bread that is served at every single reception known to man.

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Then I made the super moist Carrot-pineapple bread mini-loaves  – without any additional trips to the grocery! ;)

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I like the mini-loaf format for receptions. You can slice them about an inch thick and people can pick up a slice without it falling apart like a regular-sized loaf slice would.

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Okay, now this is one of THE BEST cookies ever.   Ginger Spice Cookies. Cheeeewwwwwwy, mmmmm.  I used black strap molasses i/o light molasses to punch up the flavor.  The black-strap also makes the cookie darker, so if you want a lighter cookie, use light molasses that the recipe calls for.  Also, I used sanding sugar to make them pretty and to get that little tiny crunch on top.  They’ll be serving hot apple cider at the Open House, so I thought these would work well with that.

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By the way, these smell SO GOOD that you won’t believe your nose. Must be the ground cloves and cinammon. The crystallized ginger gives them a fabulous chewy texture. P&S Cousin Leah – you might like these.

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Since Peanut Brittle is a holiday requirement, I made a large tin of that, too.

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And I wanted to do  another cookie, so I made another one of my favorites.  It’s a pretty cookie.  A chewy, pretty, simple-to-make cookie. Almond Macaroons.

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Last but not least, I made Brown Butter Toffee Blondies.  These have gotten rave reviews wherever I have taken them, so I hope they will be a hit at the Open House, too. They are sinfully buttery and delicious. (Is that redundant? “buttery” and “delicious?”)  The recipe calls for walnuts, but let’s not discriminate against the pecan!  These are waaaaaay better with pecans!

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I cut some of them into hearts and some into little squares. Cute! If you make these, be SURE to follow the instructions about lining the pan with paper, etc.  One time I ignored that part and they were a disaster.

If you are going to do any holiday baking and don’t know what to make, maybe try one of these! None of them are complicated, and they’re all really good. Happy baking!

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4 Responses to “Holiday Party Baking”

  1. Leah Says:

    Before I even read your recommendation of the Ginger Spice cookies, I thought those sounded reallllly tastee! I must try that recipe!

    Cousin Leah

  2. Get Stitchy with Sarah Says:

    What is your problem with walnuts?

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