Treats of the season

Christmas cake in bundt form

Surely you haven’t had enough of indulgent eating and recipes? After a late start, we’re enjoying our treats spread out over the two-week Christmas/New Year’s period and sharing them with family and friends.

Uncharacteristically, we only got started on our Christmas baking about a week before the big event. I’m not a big planner, but the boys and I would normally be motivated to get started with baking fairly early in December, and my husband likes to wrestle with his mother’s Christmas cake recipe as soon as he can. I went so far as to lay in the necessary baking supplies, particularly for the family Christmas cake, but promptly forgot about it all until the big day was approaching.

Oddly for me, I’ve been in a supporting role this year, with my husband and younger son taking the main honours, although I do take credit for finally cracking the family Christmas cake. A much loved and loathed recipe that often results in a glorious outer layer and an uncooked centre, which has kept both my husband and his mother up all hours while it finished baking (or not, as the case may be), the cake is dense and flavourful. My experience with baking on our woodstove came to bear and I realized that a bundt pan would likely do the trick, by removing the devilish centre from the picture. This, along with cutting the recipe in half, also reduced the baking time, which clocked in at around two hours at 325 degrees. Success! (Note: we did the baking in the conventional electric oven this year, wanting to crack the method before switching to the woodstove, which I think we can easily plan to do next year.)

Pre-cutting lavash crackers

This season my husband was also inspired to whip up a couple of batches of crackers, which we all love and which have made multiple appearances for appetizers throughout Christmas. The first batch (being prepared in this picture) resulted in crackers that were too thick and which therefore didn’t get crispy enough for our liking. The second batch, run through the pasta bike for a really thin dough, worked a charm. I think he’s going to do one more run tomorrow as we have another batch of guests coming.

Lavash crackers with spices

These gorgeous crackers (broken into shards after cooling down) are called Lavash and are an Armenian-style cracker. They are wonderful with cheeses, dips and on their own. The recipe that we use is from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice and I’ll be detailing it in my next post.

Child rolling out Christmas cookies

Youngest son was inspired to go all out with gingerbread cut-out cookies, rolling and cutting them out for baking the first day.

Cutting out gingerbread

And frosting them the next.

Child decorating Christmas cookies

The results were sweet to look at and to eat (quite a few went missing within minutes of completion).

Frosted gingerbread cookies on a tray

Finally, we also made two batches of quick fudge this year, both of them mint-flavoured chocolate recipes. So easy to prepare, fudge is such a great Christmas treat as a little goes a long way. Cut up into very small squares, our fudge made it into gifts and is still appearing on our dessert trays.

Mint flavoured fudge with peppermint shards

I’d love to hear what treats made it to the top of your list this year.

11 thoughts on “Treats of the season

  1. Those gingerbread cookies look wonderful – my favourite cookie, too. Crackers? I have to try lavash – looks so delicious!

    Around here, we made mince pies (of course) – but only because my youngest made the pastry for me while I was at work – and I bought the mincemeat from my local baker, who makes it from scratch. Cheesy shortbread (secret family recipe, sorry) – but it’s a refridgerator cookie – you keep the rolls of dough chilled and slice of what you need to bake – wonderful for tidbits with drinks. Rum balls were my big adventure, and you could get drunk on the fumes alone from their tin, but my husband avers that they are the best he’s ever had…I also bought gingerbread sliders from my cousin – gingerbread cookies with homemade marshmallow betweent them – very yummy! And I bought shortbread when I bought the mincemeat because my shortbread always turns out tough. A friend made us home made candy much like Almond Roca, and a Dutch friend made us some sugar cake, an annual tradition. Oh, the Christmas pudding was amazing – but I bought that too – from a local lady – it was dark and sticky and I used too much brandy for flaming, so it turned a little crunchy on the outside – which I will make sure to do next year as well, since it tasted so great like that!

    1. Wow, sounds like you got to enjoy treats aplenty! I can’t believe that we managed to have a mincemeat free Christmas – it just doesn’t seem right! Cheesy shortbread sounds right up my alley, and like something I’d enjoy all year round! And a crusty outer layer on Christmas cake sounds appealing to me too, I love contrasts in texture, and Christmas cake is always grand. Yum!

  2. Good job on the Gingerbread cookies!!
    Please post your recipe for chocolatey mint fudge, also…… sounds yummy!
    I actually baked the day before Christmas Eve this year! But a day long stint got it all done! Whew, that was a little late for my liking!
    Sounds like you’re having a great Christmas season with lots of food, friends, family, and fun.

    1. I’ll pass along the kudos about the gingerbread, he’ll be really pleased. I will indeed post a link for that mint fudge recipe, it was so easy and fast, my favourite combination! Promise I’ll do that when I post the cracker recipe shortly. A day-long baking session sounds like loads of fun, and I’ll bet everyone is glad that you fit that in!

  3. Your cake looks delicious, and I can certainly relate to your comments regarding the extensive cooking time. I just finished baking a cake that took 2-1/2 hours to bake! The lavash looks delightful, and I can’t wait to hear more about it. Also, your son’s cookies look as if they were made by a pro! I’ll bet they were delicious too!

    1. Thank you Libby. What kind of cake were you baking? I’ve now posted about the lavash and hope you get to enjoy the recipe; it’s delightfully straightforward. My son is thrilled with the feedback on his cookies – thank you! They were really good.

      1. Thanks for posting the lavash recipe…I might make it today! My cake was a pumpkin fruitcake, and I just posted the recipe to our blog.

      2. I’d love to know what you think when you make the crackers! Thanks for pointing me to your yummy fruitcake, I’ve just checked it out!

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