Enjoying Holiday Comforts

Season‘Tis the season to be baking…and I can safely say that flour and butter accounted for at least 50% of my holiday expenses. I love the traditions of holiday cookies – they’re simple, elegant, and nostalgic all at once. As a kid, December was time of homemade cookies and treats, courtesy of Mom…today, I am admittedly a bit crazier than my Mom when it comes to baking. So for this season, I thought would put my obsession towards a good cause. I baked over 300 cookies for a Bake-A-Thon Benefit, and donated all proceeds towards Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute – I managed to raise $350 for the cause 🙂 I wanted to give all of you a “taste” of this season’s treats…
BerryThumbprints1Here is the first – classic Thumbprint Cookies. I LOVE this cookie…in fact, I can safely say it’s one of my favorites. The cookie itself is not too sweet, and the filling can be basically whatever flavor you choose: strawberry, peach, raspberry, or even boysenberry! They are a cinch to make, and come together in no time – you can choose to either fill them before or after baking (though I prefer the cookies baked with jam, personally). Click HERE to see the recipe for this holiday classic!
PeppermintThese next cookies were quite the surprise – I was dying to give this recipe a try. Yet when I realized they weren’t quite as “holiday-like” as the others, I gave them a minty twice and made Peppermint Brownie Sandwiches. I had some chocolate ganache leftover from a previous cookies recipe, and couldn’t bare to throw it away. So I made these little sandwiches, and sprinkled crushed peppermint candies on top.
ChocolatePeppermint1The result was a perfect little sandwich of chocolatey goodness with a minty finish. The cookies themselves are quite sturdy, making them perfect for sandwiches. You can basically use whatever fillings you like: Nutella, peanut butter, ice cream…basically let your creativity (or appetite) take flight! Click HERE to see the recipe for these chocolatey little sandwiches!
PistachioCranberryIceboxThis third cookie is lovely – they are not too sweet, and totally adaptable based on your own tastes. The original recipe for these Icebox Cookies calls for cranberries and pistachios, but you can pretty much use whatever add-ins your heart desires: pecans, chocolate chips, even rum-soaked raisins! Just be sure to have extra dough prepared, because these little bites go fast – click HERE to see the recipe for these delectable holiday treats!
StepdadEvery household has its own “soundtrack” for the holiday season – at my own home, you can expect carols and lots of brass music (courtesy of a stepfather, pictured above, who has a true love for all things brass). One of his favorites? German Brass  – arguably one of the strongest brass groups out there. Because it was and still is one of his favorites, listening to this ensemble is just as nostalgic for me as holiday cookies. To similarly give you a “taste” of my visit home this holiday season, here is the German Brass performing Antonio Vivaldi’s Violin Concerto in D major, RV 230 (featuring the unstoppable Matthias Höfs). It’s worth saying that it’s in a different key than the original…silly brass players 😉 Whatever your holiday traditions may be, I hope all of you had a beautiful holiday – enjoy the music!

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