We hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season! We recently shared a delicious meal along with our favorite sweet treats at our holiday party. As we indulged in our favorite desserts we shared our favorite holiday traditions and recipes. We thought we would share with you and give you some baking ideas. We hope your holidays are filled with many smiles, laughs and treats!
Photo by Christa-Taylor Photography
I have many favorite holiday traditions, but where I grew up in Seattle there is a tradition called Snowflake lane and it is the coolest experience. It’s an evening performance full of music, lights, dancers, drummers, your favorite wintery friends, and there is even fake snow! We go every year with family and friends and it is so magical. Of course I also love our small family traditions like my cousins baking cookies together a week before Christmas and our 5 hour (we have a huge family!) unwrapping process on Christmas morning. We go in a circle from youngest to oldest and just enjoy our time together.
My favorite holiday recipe is Candy Cane Cookies
cup butter or margarine, softened
teaspoon peppermint extract
cups Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
teaspoon baking powder
teaspoon red food color
tablespoons finely crushed peppermint candies
1-Stir together 1 cup sugar, the butter, milk, vanilla, peppermint extract and egg in large bowl. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Divide dough in half. Stir food color into 1 half. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.
2-Heat oven to 375ºF.
3-Stir together peppermint candy and 2 tablespoon sugar; set aside.
4-For each candy cane, shape 1 rounded teaspoon dough from each half into 4-inch rope by rolling back and forth on floured surface. Place 1 red and white rope side by side; press together lightly and twist. Place on ungreased cookie sheet; curve top of cookie down to form handle of cane.
5-Bake 9 to 12 minutes or until set and very light brown. Immediately sprinkle candy mixture over cookies. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
Growing up, my family moved around quite a bit so we didn’t have many Holiday traditions that stuck with us through it all! However, my sister and I always convince our parents to allow us to open one gift under the tree each on Christmas Eve and we also try to make it to the movie theaters as a family! On Christmas, we stay in our pajamas as long as possible, have a big homemade breakfast spread, open gifts, relax by the fire, have a big crab and steak dinner, then go on a big family walk with all of the dogs. Now we like to end our day with a glass of delicious wine and play card games - Super relaxing day which is totally appreciated this time of year!
Try out this recipe at your next holiday gathering!
Orechiette Pasta w/ Pancetta in a Cream Sauce.
3/4 pounds orecchiette
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, smashed
3 tablespoons pine nuts
3 ounces sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped
5 scallions, thinly sliced
10 ounces frozen chopped broccoli, thawed, drained, and patted dry
Accompaniment: grated parmesan
Cook orecchiette in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (2 tablespoons salt for 6 quarts water) until al dente.
While pasta cooks, heat butter and oil with garlic in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until garlic starts to sizzle. Add nuts and cook, stirring, until pale golden. Discard garlic and stir in pancetta and scallions, then cook 1 minute. Stir in broccoli and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper and cook over high heat, stirring, 4 minutes.
Reserve 1/2 cup pasta-cooking water, then drain pasta and stir into broccoli mixture. Add some of reserved water to moisten if needed.
Photo by Erica Hartman Photography
This holiday season will be the first one as a family of 4 (puppy dog included), so there will be many new traditions to start and memories to make! In lieu of gifts for my husbands side of the family we have decided to do a family activity together whether it be a cozy night in with a puzzle and hot cocoa or a fun night out looking at the magical zoo lights (which is what may or may not of kickstarted the arrival of my son last year), whatever it may be we like to focus on being together with family and that usually involves eating a lot of delicious food!
Here is a recipe for one of my favorites, pumpkin cheesecake
2 cups gingersnaps, finely crushed
1/4 cup butter, melted
4 pkg. (8 oz. each) Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup sugar (regular or coconut sugar)
1 boxed (16 oz.) organic pumpkin puree
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. vanilla
Heat oven to 325°F. Mix the crumbs and butter for crust and press onto the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.
Mix the cream cheese and sugar until blended, then add the pumpkin, spice and vanilla.
Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low. pour onto the crust.
Bake approx 1 hour and 30 minutes, the center will be almost set. To prevent cracking put a small oven safe bowl with a little bit of water under the cheesecake in the oven.
loosen cake from rim, let cool before removing rim entirely, refrigerate for 4 hours
Enjoy with some whipped cream and cinnamon on top!
My husband and I recently got married and moved to Portland, so we have lots of new traditions to start! Last year on Thanksgiving, we spent the day hiking, and ended our adventure with a couple of pints around the fire. We might have to make that a yearly tradition - it was so fun!”
Here’s our favorite recipe (not really holiday-related, but super delicious):
Combine in a ziplock bag:
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup of milk
1 Tbs of lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
Let marinate for a few hours
Breading and Baking:
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 package Good Seasons Italian Dressing mix
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Mix cheese, dressing mix and garlic powder
3. Remove chicken from marinade and coat with dry mixture. Place in shallow baking dish.
4. Bake 20 to 25 min or until chicken is no longer pink in the center.
Photo by Jennifer Alyse
Growing up in a mountain town, I had many favorite Christmas traditions that involved the snow. My father gave our family the tradition of opening our gifts on Christmas Eve. As a kid this was very exciting because while my cousins and friends had to wait an entire night to open their gifts I stayed up late playing with my new toys. We would go to church, run up the stairs and see what Santa had left for us to open! We would finish the evening with a delicious dinner and tasty pies. As I have gotten older I love decorating the tree, baking cookies and snuggling by the fire watching my favorite movies, like The Holiday.
My favorite recipe is Snowball cookies. I started making these with my mom and grandma at an early age, and still enjoy the tradition.
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake almonds in a single layer in a shallow pan 6 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Cool completely (about 20 minutes). Reduce oven temperature to 325°.
2. Process almonds in a food processor 30 seconds or until finely ground.
3. Beat butter at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until creamy. Gradually add vanilla and 1 cup powdered sugar, beating well. (Dough will be crumbly.)
4. Combine flour, salt, and almonds; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended.
5. Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls, and place 2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
6. Bake at 325° for 12 to 15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets 2 minutes. Transfer to wire racks, and cool 10 minutes. Roll cookies in 1/2 cup powdered sugar.
One of my favorites recipes to make, and it beats any packet hot chocolate!
1 1/2 cups of Whole Milk
1/2 cup of Heavy Cream
½ cup of Bittersweet Chocolate, chopped
2/3 cup of Milk Chocolate, chopped
1 tbsp of Sugar
1/4 tsp of Vanilla Extract
½ tsp of Instant Espresso Powder
Whipped Cream, optional
1) In a small sauce pan, add the milk and cream. Cook together over medium heat until the mixture is almost at the boiling point but making sure not to let it boil.
2) Take it off the heat and add the both kinds of chopped chocolate along with the sugar, vanilla and espresso powder. Let sit for one minute and then whisk, put the mixture back on the heat to let it get a bit hotter and serve in a large mug with some whipped cream.
My ULTIMATE Christmas tradition is going caroling on Christmas Eve. As long as I can remember, I would be part of a group of youth and we would get all bundled up and go caroling to local church members homes. It would range between 5-10 homes, and we would carol all night long! We would sing a song outside, then the family would welcome us in. There was always food and sweets prepared for us, so we would indulge in that and then sing some more songs! I now have my own caroling group of about 30 friends. We usually pick 4-5 homes to go to, and we tend to hang out more and have fellowship with the homes we go to. It is one of the best nights of the year, and everyone looks forward to it. I will keep this tradition going until I can!
Every year my family’s tradition is to have an extra special Christmas Eve dinner. The menu is the same, but we never tire of it. In fact, it’s so delicious that I dream about it all year round. It’s turned vegetarians into meat-eaters, and when I was pregnant my one birthday wish was for Christmas Eve dinner. We get a Prime Rib from Gardner’s [this is a tradition for 34 years now], and along side the Prime Rib we enjoy football-sized twice baked potatoes, a big green salad, and a green vegetable [usually brussels sprouts]! Yummy! For years now, I’ve been contributing with dessert. I’ve always been the baker and dessert maker in our family! It took a lot of different desserts, but we finally have an absolute favorite and I’ll be making it for the fifth consecutive year this year !
White Chocolate Tiramisu Trifle, enjoy!
1 750-ml bottle dry white wine
2 cups pear juice or pear nectar
1 1/4 cups sugar
12 whole green cardamom pods, crushed in resealable plastic bag with mallet
4 1-inch-diameter rounds peeled fresh ginger (each about 1/8 inch thick)
2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
5 large firm but ripe Anjou pears (3 to 31/4 pounds), peeled
White Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse:
7 ounces high-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Perugina), finely chopped
1/3 cup poire Williams (clear pear brandy)
1/4 cup water
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 8- to 8.8-ounce container mascarpone cheese*
1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
3 3-ounce packages soft ladyfingers,** separated
2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup minced crystallized ginger
White chocolate curls
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
For spiced pears:
Combine first 6 ingredients in large saucepan. Stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Add pears and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer until pears are just tender when pierced with knife, about 35 minutes. Transfer liquid with pears to large bowl and refrigerate until cold, about 3 hours.
Using slotted spoon, transfer pears to plate. Boil poaching liquid in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat until slightly thickened and reduced to generous 1 1/2 cups, about 15 minutes. Strain into 2-cup measuring cup; discard spices in strainer. Cool. Cover and chill pears and pear syrup until cold.
Combine white chocolate, pear brandy, and 1/4 cup water in top of double boiler set over simmering water. Stir until smooth (mixture will be very liquidy). Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; discard bean. Transfer white chocolate mixture to large bowl; gradually add mascarpone, whisking until mixture is smooth. Cool mascarpone mixture until barely lukewarm.
Using electric mixer, beat 1 cup cream in medium bowl until peaks form. Fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture in 4 additions. Cover and chill white chocolate mousse until set, about 3 hours. DO AHEAD: Pears and mousse can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.
For trifle assembly:
Cut pears lengthwise in half and remove cores and stems; cut halves lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
Arrange ladyfingers, rounded sides down, in single layer in bottom of 12-cup trifle dish (about 8 inches in diameter and 5 inches deep), covering bottom completely (using about 15 ladyfingers). Drizzle 5 tablespoons pear syrup evenly over ladyfingers. Using small offset spatula, spread 1/3 of white chocolate mousse over ladyfingers, making layer slightly thicker around outer edges of dish to allow mousse to be more visible (center of mousse layer will be thin). Starting at outer edges of dish, place pear slices in single layer with curved edges against sides of dish atop mousse, covering completely. Repeat layering of ladyfingers, syrup, mousse, and pears 2 more times. Cover with fourth layer of ladyfingers (some ladyfingers and pear slices may be left over). Drizzle ladyfingers evenly with 5 tablespoons syrup. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate trifle and remaining pear syrup separately.
Using electric mixer, beat 2 cups whipping cream in large bowl until soft peaks form. Add 1/4 cup pear syrup and beat until stiff peaks form. Working in batches, transfer cream to large pastry bag fitted with large star tip. Pipe rosettes all over top of trifle, mounding slightly in center. Sprinkle with crystallized ginger. Garnish with chocolate curls. DO AHEAD: Can be made 6 hours ahead. Keep refrigerated.
Sift powdered sugar over trifle just before serving.
* Mascarpone is an Italian cream cheese; sold at many supermarkets and at Italian markets.
** Available in the bakery or bread section of some supermarkets and at specialty foods stores.
Photo by Honeysuckle Photography
The Holiday season is my favorite time of year- I get giddy just thinking about all the lights, ornaments, Christmas music, and family gatherings! I am so excited to start traditions with our 10 month old this year. Although he may not remember this year, I can’t wait to see him light up about the joy of Christmas in the years to come! A few of my favorite traditions are going to get a Christmas tree, decorating the tree and going to Zoo Lights! This year we went to the Macy’s Holiday Parade Downtown and I think that will be added to a favorite as well!
I love to bake any chance I get, so it’s hard for me to pick just one recipe! My favorite recipe of the moment is Grand Central Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies! I can’t have dairy, so I always substitute the butter for Earth balance butter and sometimes even switch out the flour to Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Flour Baking Blend and a little Xanthan Gum to make it gluten free! Seriously, gluten free, dairy free or regular, these are out of this world delicious!
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
-recipe from The Grand Central Baking Book by Piper Davis and Ellen Jackson
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 ounces, or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
1 cup (7 ounces) packed light brown sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups (9 ounces) rolled oats (old-fashioned oats)
1 cup (6 ounces) bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks
1 cup (6 ounces) milk chocolate chips or chunks
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Measure the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and whisk to combine. (Put the dry ingredients through a fine-mesh sieve if the flour or baking soda is clumpy.)
Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar on medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until lighter in color and fluffy. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl several times during the process.
While the mixer is running, crack the eggs into a liquid measuring cup and add the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low, then slowly pour in the eggs, letting them fall in one at a time incorporating the first egg completely before adding the next. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl once during the process.Gradually add the dry ingredients (in 2 to 3 additions) with the mixer on low speed. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl once, to fully incorporate the butter and sugar. Combine the oats and chocolate in the same bowl used for the dry ingredients, then add them to the dough with the mixer on low speed, mixing just until everything is well distributed. Often it’s easier to finish mixing by hand using a stiff rubber spatula.
Scoop the dough into balls the size of ping-pong balls (about 1.5 ounces). Arrange the dough balls on the prepared pans, 6 per pan, then press into 1/2-inch-thick disks.
Bake for 10 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time. The edges of the cookies should be golden brown, while the centers will appear blond and slightly underdone. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets.
Happy baking and happy planning!
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year,
The Champagne Family