Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Baking

Every year, I go a bit (OK, a lot) overboard with Christmas baking. The entire month of December is pretty much a write off for healthy snacking due to the kitchen counters groaning under tins full of baked goods. I consider this a good, nay a great, thing. My mom always baked up a storm every Christmas, and I have the fondest memories of helping her in the kitchen. I have a routine when it comes to my baking, just as she did, making the same things year after year. I do not bake these goodies at any other time other than Christmas, so they are always a huge treat to have. I also have tried to incorporate both my childhood as well as D's into my chosen recipes, making it nostalgic for both of us. I have also added one entirely new recipe to my routine in the past three years that I found online and fell in love with. Here is what I make every year (in no particular order):

-Shortbread (my mom's recipe)
-Candy Cane Cookies (D's mom's recipe)
- Butter Tarts (my mom's recipe)
-Rugalech (new recipe)
-Gingerbread Cookies (D's mom's recipe)
- Sugar Cookies (my mom's recipe)

We also make a sweet walnut bread, called Gibanicia, that is a tradition in D's family for breakfast every year. D and I made it on our own (without his mom's help) for the first time this week, and it turned out great!

This last picture is from our batch last year.

Today I began the cookies by making rugalech, and also made a batch of the butter tarts. Now, I have a confession to make. I normally just buy pre-made frozen tart shells for my butter tarts. It is what my mom did, and I have tried making the shells in the past and they never turned out as nicely as I would have liked. This is strange, because I make my pie dough from scratch all of the time and it turns out beautifully. I don't like my tart shells to be very thick though, so I always roll out my dough thin and then it isn't as flaky as the pie crust. I attempted today to rectify this problem and make the shells from scratch, and I had the same issues. They look nice and rustic, but they were a bit too thin now and not flaky enough. Does anyone have any tips on making tart shells?

They look so pretty, but the texture isn't great. 

I actually only baked about half of the filling that I have and will be going out tomorrow to buy some shells to make the rest of them. Oh well! Here is the rugalech:

I am in LOVE with these cookies. They are a traditional Jewish cookie that is made with a buttery, flaky, cream cheese dough filled with apricot jam, walnuts, raisins, and cinnamon sugar. They are soft and sweet and have an amazing flavour to them. I will share the recipe later, as this post is getting too long. Up next are the sugar cookies and shortbread. I will make sure to take you along with me!

What do you bake for Christmas?



  1. Ruglech are my all time FAVS!! I've never tried to make them though. My auntie has a bakery in New York City ship me two dozen for Christmas each year and I don't share a single one!

  2. These all sound amazing. I don't think I'll bother doing any baking: I'll just come to your house!

  3. They are surprisingly easy to make, Stephanie, which is great because they look so complicated and elegant! Bruise Mouse, you are always welcome here haha!