Thursday, December 4, 2008


No matter how busy you are, no matter how mediocre a cook you may be, there is something about Christmas that brings out the baker in all of us. Innumerable gatherings, treats for coworkers, class parties and clamoring children are all excuses for us to dig out the apron and get covered with flour and molasses. In order to inspire you on to great and glorious things, we have quite a few Christmas cookie books on the shelf for you to choose from.
Rose's Christmas Cookies by Rose Levy Beranbaum is the most comprehensive of the bunch, with a whopping 60 different cookie recipes to drool over. Special treats for gift giving, ornament-worthy cookies, fun recipes for kids and dinner party gems are some of the themes in this book. The recipes are presented in both standard measure and weight amounts and give instructions for using either a food processor (for us lazy folk) or an electric mixer (for the more traditional). [If you're the type of cook who makes cookies using nothing but a wooden spoon, you probably don't even need recipes!]
Christmas Cookies: 50 recipes to treasure for the holiday season is by Lisa Zwirn. Her cookie recipes are grouped by method (drop, rolled, hand-shaped, bar, etc.) which is nice if you are particularly adverse to certain types of cookie manufacturing. Personally, I loath making rolled cookies and will probably just skip over that entire chapter. The recipes are all simple and easy to follow, but only about a third of the recipes are accompanied by photos. Call me unimaginative, but I can't get fired up about making a cookie without a glossy color photo spurring me on to glory.
Christmas cookies, candies & cakes comes from the people at Woman's Day. If you're used to seeing the beautiful photos of cakes and sweets on the cover of this magazine (right next to the headline about losing 10 lbs in 2 weeks on their amazing thyroid diet), then you know the kind of gorgeous treats to expect. The sugar cookies are more elaborately decorated than most people have time for, but the peppermint cream puff ring is to die for. The bars in this book strike a nice balance between layers of ingredients (raspberry schnitten has jam, roasted hazelnuts and chocolate) and the ease of throwing it all into a pan to bake.
The Christmas table: recipes and crafts to create your own holiday tradition by Diane Morgan is your one-stop-resource for all things edible at Christmas. Pre-prandial beverages and appetizers, side dishes and main courses for your holiday party, food gifts, Christmas breakfast, cookie exchange parties, holiday decor and flashy desserts are all covered here. There is even a helpful chapter on what to do with all the darned leftovers. If you need inspiration for your upcoming dinner party, this is the book to grab.

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