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The Best Thing I Ever Ate: Holiday Edition

Posted Dec 18 2012 - 7:58pm

 

Christmas is a day of feasting for my Italian family.  We start Christmas Eve morning and do not stop eating until Christmas sadly comes to an end…on New Years Day.  As an avid baker, it is my job to delight my family with endless amounts of delicious, mouthwatering sweets.  I take pride in my baking – it is an important part of our Christmas tradition.  When it comes to my absolute favorite Christmas recipe, it is a quandary – I cannot decide.  So, with a few of my sweet-tooth tips and delectable recipes, this holiday season’s full dessert menu is sure to be irresistible!

Cookie time:

Every year, my neighbor brings my family a Christmas tin filled with an assortment of homemade cookies.  These cookies are the best cookies I have ever had in my life; I would not know how to define the week of Christmas without sitting by the fire eating Mrs. Solomon’s Christmas cookies.  Whether you know it or not, cookies are a crucial part of the holiday season.  Everyone enjoys a scrumptious cookie with a glass of milk – what’s not to love about warm, sugary sweetness melting in your mouth? 

The colorful cookies pictured above, “candy cane blossoms,” are featured in my neighbor’s cookie tin – they are a mixture of sweet, sugary, peppermint pleasure.  With a peppermint Hershey kiss melted into the middle of the warm sugar cookie dough, this cookie is sure to make all of your guests’ mouths water.  The red and green festive color combination creates a delightful presentation on any cookie tray.

Hot Cocoa Warms the Heart:

From gingerbread lattes, to hot cocoa with marshmallows, and to the traditional cold cup of eggnog, festive holiday drinks are simply divine.  My favorite holiday drink is extremely traditional, but with a twist: “candy cane kisses white cocoa.”  The name is deceiving – it is not actually white hot chocolate, but rather appears a pretty pink color when poured into your mug.  First, place the Hershey kisses and vanilla extract in the bottom of your Christmas mug.  Pour hot cocoa in, and let it sit for about two minutes, until the warm kisses are dissolved into the cocoa. Stir, and enjoy!  I found this recipe on a delicious food blog, fieldsofcake.com.

Ingredients:

▪   7 Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses (unwrapped)

▪   ½ tsp. vanilla extract

▪   1 cup whole milk

Sweet Treats Arts and Crafts:

Of course, my favorite arts and crafts pick of the season is making a gingerbread house.  This miniature gingerbread house is an absolutely adorable sugary delight to enjoy with a cup of hot chocolate, latte, or tea!  You can even snack on this instead of a Christmas cookie!  It is delicious, and makes your coffee cup look festive for the holiday season.  Line the roof with a sweet treat of your choice: frosting, crushed peppermint, or sugar.

The Holiday Cake:

If I had to choose one dessert of the season I could absolutely not live without, the winner would definitely be my baking specialty: Magnolia Bakery’s Coconut Layer Cake.  With layers of fluffy coconut frosting, smoothed between moist vanilla coconut cake slices, this recipe is simply decadent, and completely sinful.  The sprinkled coconut on top creates a snowy winter wonderland effect.  But it’s the holidays, so calories do not matter…that’s my motto. All that truly matters is who gets the first slice…and the last!

I am obsessed with the famous and glamorous cupcake shop in New York City, The Magnolia Bakery.  It is home to the best cupcakes in the world, in a cupcake connoisseur’s professional opinion.  Joan Cederbaum changed the way I look at desserts forever when she gave our family the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook over the holidays one year.  I was in heaven.  The Coconut Layer Cake was the first recipe I made from the cookbook on Christmas Day, and it was a big hit on the family dessert table.

Snacking is simply scandalous and delightful!  It is an integral part of the Holiday season, and always deserves complete respect.

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