Dear Fellow Bakers and Friends,
It’s hard to believe but it’s just a few short weeks away until the holidays. This always presents me with a bit of a quandary. As I publish the first of each month, I try and plan recipes that make sense in the beginning of the month but also later on. Honestly, it’s not easy being timely or relevant as well as seasonal. So this being said, I’ll likely be back before the year is done with some more recipes and I’ll also have our annual Best Gifts feature coming up soon. I’ve been working with some great products I’d love to share with you.
So without much further ado, and without much of a note rife with wisdom or life observances, I’ll just offer you the nitty gritty of flour and butter in the December recipe quartet.
When is a cookie not a cookie? When it’s a bickie. These are Scottish-born buttery cookies with a raspberry jam layer, and topped with a white or pink glaze and maraschino cherry half, tucked into the center cut-out where the jam pokes out. These are a classic Western Canadian treat is hall-of-fame good. Great weekday or holiday fare.
There are these cakes that are just so good that just one bite reminds you why you love baking – heck: why you love life. This is a velvety, moist cake with a tart and sweet fruit layer of cranberries and blueberries. One of my readers wrote in and raved about this cake and it reminded me that it is indeed spectacular.
Ice Cream Dough Rugulah
This sumptuous dairy-rich rugulah dough is my new go-to rugulah dough and it’s honestly magical. The dough is especially supple to work with and yields delicate, pastry-like rugulah. Any filling will do but I like it best with sour cherry jam, brown sugar, cinnamon and ground walnuts. Just make sure you use a great vanilla ice-cream that is rich and creamy and not lite.
This is one hot and trendy cake. It took me three tries to get it right so that each element tastes amazing. Moist cake, silken white chocolate ganache, gentle bergamot flavor. This cake features all the elements of an Earl Grey Latte (whipping cream, vanilla and Earl Grey tea) in a cake. It’s a keeper and true celebration cake. Make it, invite friends over and stream Downton Abbey.
I know it's probably been a busy time for all of you as the year winds down. In fact that's all you hear when you talk to people. Ask anyone, 'how have you been?" and you'll get "busy, busy!". I think busy is the new (pretence) at happy or 'ok-ness' but don't be fooled. Busy without a pause can get old. And numbess is not the new joy.
Remember a few months ago, I spoke about 'enough being plenty". And then I wrote about wanting too much (hoarding) and then paring down (purging) ? Well, now, with the snowflakes floating outside my window as I write this note to you, I think the new theme of the moment should be: savouring. Savouring is not about too much or too little; it's about taking a breath and appreciating. So I hope that's what you do when you meet an old friend while holiday shopping or hear your favorite song just when you need it most or when you have that first bite of Earl Grey London Fog Cake. The only way to prolong special moments is to savour them because like Black Friday deals, they're gone before you know it.
Happy baking, see you again soon and welcome to the holiday kitchen of Betterbaking.com.
Master Baker, Author