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'Tis the Season for Baking

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  • Mother and Child baking cookies

Jennifer, Clemens Mill | December 1, 2020

When it comes to Christmas treats, everybody has a favourite. At my house, the favourite is the peanut butter ball. My mother-in-law gave me the recipe long ago, and we make them every year. To me, they taste like Christmas with their magical combination of peanut butter, maraschino cherries, and pecans, all encased in a hard shell of chocolate. You’re probably thinking right now of your favourite cookie, maybe it’s the shortbread cookie, or the Empire, perhaps the Nanaimo bar, or cheerful gingerbread? There are so many to love. And whatever that favourite may be, it probably has great memories to go along with it.

Early December, when the snow is falling, is the perfect time for the baking season to begin. I usually start with my traditional cookies, the ones that never fail me, and then if I have time left I try a new recipe that’s been trying to wiggle its way into my repertoire. Some of my favourite bakers that I would highly recommend are Barry Parsons, Rose Murray and Anna Olson. You also can’t go wrong with the Taste of Home cookbook collection, known for being simple and good. Or have a look at our complete list of Christmas cookbooks or online magazines and choose one that makes you want to preheat your oven.

For anyone who wants to try their hand at baking Christmas cookies, I would recommend the following shortbread recipe, which is a melt-in-the-mouth winner, and favourite of many:

½ cup cornstarch
½ cup icing sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
¾ cup softened butter

Mix the cornstarch, icing sugar and flour in a bowl. Blend in the butter with a spoon until a smooth dough forms. Shape into 1" balls and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with a fork. Decorate with nuts or coloured sprinkles if desired, and bake in a preheated 300-degree oven for 15-20 minutes or till edges are light brown. Cool on a wire rack.

After Christmas dinner, in the glow of the candles, bring out your plate of glorious home baked cookies to everyone’s delight. As Frank Sinatra said, “You can't find that at the automat.”

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas.

Cover of Set for the Holidays cookbook by Anna OlsonCover of Rock Recipes' Christmas cookbookCover of Rose Murray's Canadian Christmas Cooking cookbookCover of Taste of Home Christmas Cookbook