Christmas Traditions, Part Two

The first year we were married, I was real serious about trying to start some traditions that were just ours for Christmas. I tried new recipes and got a bit stressed about it – I thought it was so important to hurry up and start some traditions ’cause that was one of the most special things about the Holidays for me. What I have realized since then is that some of the best traditions just happen…if you give it a few years. ๐Ÿ™‚ Here are some of our favorite Christmas baked goods – some are from my family’s baking list, some from Jeremy’s – and a few of our own!

Since I don’t eat much sugar, I’m real picky about what I choose to splurge on at Christmas. It must have chocolate, and if the treat contains peanut butter as well, then it’s worth the splurge!
Yesterday I made Peanut Blossom Cookies, and I hope to get a batch of Buck eyes made, as well. Those peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate are my absolute favorite, and I will use Xylitol in them so they won’t be too naughty. ๐Ÿ™‚

I usually make a large batch of biscotti from this recipe – Orange Almond Biscotti. I drizzle them with melted chocolate – so much fun! Not everyone is a fan of biscotti, but both my brother and my Italian brother-in-law crave them! They each get a package wrapped up in cellophane tied with Christmas ribbon.

Each year I make another cookie that isn’t my especial favorite, but it’s especially for giving away – Mexican Wedding Cookies are my mom’s favorite. I always make her a batch, which she gets all to herself! Jesse helped make them this year – he loves the mixer!

Here is Jesse helping to make Beppe’s Christmas cookies.

Another favorite recipe is my mother’s Spiced Cranberry Bread. Unfortunately, this recipe has about as much sugar as flour! As much as I love it, I knew I couldn’t indulge in too many slices of this unless I adjusted the recipe. So I sweetened it with honey, used 100% whole wheat flour, and soaked the batter overnight as I usually do when I make baked goods, and it actually turned out well! It has a completely different consistency than Mom’s loaf (still good, just different), but the same distinct flavor. I am satisfied – and have eaten a whole loaf myself this week! ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s my adjusted recipe (The original remains a family secret! :))

Spiced Cranberry Bread
Beat together
1 c. honey
1 stick butter
2 Tbsp. yogurt or vinegar

In another bowl, combine
2 c. fresh ground whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. salt

Beat into honey and butter mixture, cover, and let set on counter 8 hours or overnight (to let the enzymes begin to break down the wheat flour, making the loaf lighter and easier to digest.)

The next day, stir in
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 Lb. fresh cranberries
1 c. raisins

Pour into two greased 9x5in. loaf pans and bake at 350 for aprox. 50 min – till browned and center bounces back when pressed lightly with a finger.

For Jeremy I also make pressed spritz cookies, a Holden family favorite. But I don’t have a cookie press or a working oven right now, so I went up to my in-laws yesterday and spent all day making and baking and decorating cookies with them! It was a yummy day – thanks, guys! ๐Ÿ™‚

So, what recipes to do you pull out at Christmas time? What particular cookie shape or flavor says ‘It’s Christmas Time!’ at your house? I’d love to hear – I still have some sugar and butter left, and just might try a new recipe if you really make my mouth water! ๐Ÿ™‚

6 responses to “Christmas Traditions, Part Two”

  1. Traci Avatar

    I make full assortments of candies to hand out as gifts. Homemade marshmallows, peppermint patties, peanut butter fudge, oreo truffles, caramels.. mmmm… I honestly can’t eat much of it or else I’d be overwhelmed. But I do make sure to try at least a piece of each kind so I know what I’m gifting to people, lol… you know, for quality purposes and all.

  2. Kinsleys5 Avatar

    I just did my buckeyes a few days ago, but I adjusted the recipe this year after I saw a new idea on They had Buckeye Bars, and while I used our traditional recipe (which uses rice krispies and more peanut butter than theirs), I used the idea of pressing them in a pan & pouring on the chocolate. They aren't as “cute” but it did take a lot less time than rolling them into balls & dipping them. And they taste just as good!

  3. Abbey Avatar

    We always make sugar cookies. It is such fun to decorate them together!! Dad usually makes peanut butter bon-bons!! They are soo good but I’m trying not to eat alot of sweets this year because you know Rachel’s wedding is a few weeks after Christmas!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Kateri Avatar

    I just posted my favorite Christmas cookie recipe on my blog. Definitely has WAY too much butter and sugar, but have always been a hit every time I served them. I always make these and cream cheese stars (will be baking those tomorrow–I mixed the dough up this evening.) Hopefully I will get the recipe for the stars up on my blog tomorrow. I’ve made the stars two years in a row to hang on our Christmas tree, and will be doing that this year too. It is fun to read about your traditions. I’m sure it’s so much fun to do Christmas traditions with little children.

  5. rahraht Avatar

    Comment II – I just emailed you a question about the bread.

  6. rahraht Avatar

    Just gotta say…Delft Ornaments!?! Beautiful!!I really like that new page header!!!I sawa a Delft computer on your cousin (?) Corrie’s blog. Finally someone is realizing how ugly computers look! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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