Let the baking begin!

It wasn’t my intention to slip off the radar right before Thanksgiving, the official start of holiday baking season. I just love this time of year, when there is a light dusting of flour over everything in the kitchen, the whir of the mixer becomes the soundtrack to evenings and Sundays spent in the kitchen and it’s perfectly normal to have five pounds of butter in the refrigerator at any given time.

And most importantly, when it’s not only acceptable but highly recommended that you randomly break out into song and dance while you measure, knead, stir and whip. The dogs think I’m nuts, I’m sure, but they’re used to it.

Waiting, wondering what my next moves will be.

Waiting, wondering what my next moves will be.

But traveling and then being sick for so long really set me back time-wise. I had wanted to share a few pie recipes including some pointers for making pie and tart pastry but found myself scrambling just to get the three pies I made done in time for dinner.

Brown butter apple pie.

Brown butter apple pie.

(I think the photo of this pie the only shot I took during that whole six or eight-hour baking spree. Bad blogger, bad!!)

And now it’s December, suddenly, and it’s time to start the annual Holiday Baking Extravaganza. I have been thinking about this approximately since October (Extravaganzas of this magnitude don’t happen by themselves!) and I’ve got a pretty solid plan of attack. I’m normally not a very organized person, but now that I’m a working-for-the-weekend kind of gal with limited available time for cooking and baking, I think it’s going to be much easier to get it all done if I’ve got a plan.

Slice and bake Margarita cookies, always a good idea.

Slice and bake Margarita cookies, always a good idea.

Ideas are continuously brewing and lists are still being made for various parties and gatherings, homemade gifts and other treats. I can’t share them all with you right now, as to not spoil the surprise for those of you who might be on the receiving end of such gifting, BUT here are a few perennial favorites that will likely be crafted over the course of the next three weeks:

Boozy, boozy nog. Watch out, it'll sneak up on ya.

Boozy, boozy nog. Watch out, it’ll sneak up on ya. It already got that owl there.

Boozy eggnog
Coffee walnut toffee
Adult caramel corn (spicy!)
Margarita cookies
Bacon jam (yes, for real) Martha has a slow cooker recipe I want to try this year!
Chocolate peppermint bark
Mexican wedding cookies (I double this recipe and add 1 tsp. vanilla extract)

A few recipes I haven’t tried yet, but want to:

Buckwheat butter cookies with cocoa nibs
Bourbon sea salt caramels
Chocolate torte with poached figs (I might use this or this cake recipe instead of the one here)

What sort of holiday food plans do you have this year? Are there certain recipes you make every year? What is your favorite holiday treat?

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