I’m pregnant – third trimester pregnant. Due right around Christmas. And I’m hungry. I don’t know if it’s the promise of fall and all those lovely Hallmark movies I’ve been watching as my due date nears or nesting, my hormones and my appetite, but I’m ready to bake. And not just a roll of chocolate chip cookie dough. Although, those are good in a pinch. I mean really BAKE. So here is my baking bucket list (along with the recipes) for this fall and winter as I get ready for the big arrival (and I’m not talking about the fat man in the red suit).
Bonus: Most of this can be frozen at some point in the process so it’s easier to pull out and bake later. Double Bonus: Bake large batches and gift to neighbors, co-workers, your mailman, UPS and Fed Ex guys and gals.
Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies
These are a hit with everyone. I usually save these for December baking, but I broke down and baked a double batch back in July when all 30 members of my department were in town for training. They went fast. I follow a standard recipe for chocolate chip cookies but substitute one stick of butter with one block of cream cheese and add 1 ½ x vanilla with an extra sprinkle of brown sugar. They come out fluffy, soft, chewy and delicious!
Tip: take them out of the oven before they turn completely brown. The cream cheese means they will still look light but will be baked.
I’ve tried many different recipes over the years and the one I love (and is easiest for me), is Paula Deen’s. The recipe is easy to follow, and I love to make these using different holiday shaped cookie cutters. I also have used the last of the dough to make half a dozen “ginger balls” – rolling the dough into a small ball and baking them with the rest of the cookies. These come out soft and amazingly delicious. In years past, my nephews and nieces have enjoyed decorating these cookies for me and I’ve been known to stay up past my bedtime frosting and decorating cookies to give to family, friends and co-workers.
Tip: purchase squeeze bottles like these from Wal-Mart or Target and use to frost and decorate the cookies.
The only recipe I’ve tried for banana bread came from my Southern Living magazine. Would I be a true southern gal if I didn’t pull at least one recipe from Southern Living? It’s pretty easy and I can substitute with healthier, organic ingredients if I’m feeling guilty about my eating habits. A slice of banana bread, scrambled egg whites and a BIG cup of coffee make for a great breakfast during the week.
The Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls
I tried making these for the first time in early September. Inspired by my fellow blogger & friend Rebecca, I bit the bullet. The recipe looks and sounds intimidating but if you break it up into steps, it’s easy and you have cinnamon rolls from scratch in just a couple of hours! I will never buy another can of cinnamon rolls from the store again. If you are going to make the full batch from The Pioneer Woman’s original recipe, freeze it or give them to friends and family!
Tip: purchase round aluminum pie or cake pans with covers to store and bake in. You can pop the cover on, wrap in foil and freeze as well.
My aunt is the queen of Ooey-Gooey’s, but I’ve tried my hand at them a few times. These are delicious, refreshing and addicting. They are easy to bake and they make for a great treat at holiday parties, office potlucks, and family gatherings.