This year, the holidays are going very differently for me. Usually on Christmas Eve, we usually go to three different houses, and three again on Christmas day. We visit with a ton of friends and family and share so much good food. This year, while I am totally planning on Zooming my holiday (I got all my nieces great presents and I very much need to see them unwrap their gifts), it’s just me and my husband at home. Since I will be at home this year with some time on my hands, I thought I would dedicate some of the holiday to what I like to call project baking. Project baking is baking that takes some time, that turns out something really, really special.
I have a fairly large list of what I want to make, so I thought I would share them with you, as well as links to the recipes. Some of these are a little more time consuming than a batch of cookies, others homier and humbler than what I might make to bring to my family’s holiday gatherings. No matter what I choose, though, putting one or two of these projects in my oven will make my home feel cozier and more like Christmas. Here’s hoping that if you find yourself with time on your hands this holiday season, you’ll try to make something special for yourself or your loved ones, too.
Kolaches are semi-sweet puffed dough typically surrounding a fruit filling. They originate from Eastern Europe, and according to Wikipedia, they were traditionally a wedding confection. The type I intend to make this holiday has a yeasted dough and aren’t the cream cheese dough cookies that my Hungarian grandmother makes. I have a lot of jam and preserves on hand, and I think a batch or two of these treats will be very nice to drop off to my parents and grandparents.
Babka is delicious. Like really, really good. If you don’t know what it is, babka is a Jewish braided bread that is almost cake-like. So good. You can find out more about babka here: https://www.myjewishlearning.com/the-nosher/a-short-history-of-babka/. Unfortunately, I can’t find the recipe I normally make, so I have been scouring the internet for another recipe to try. I hope one of these works!
Great British Baking Show Inspo
The Great British Baking Show is perfect TV for me. I love it and rewatch it often for baking inspiration. I just finished watching the Great British Baking Show’s holiday edition. During one of the technical challenges, Paul Hollywood had the contestants make a sausage roll wreath, featuring rough puff pastry and a delicious looking cranberry dipping sauce. I really, really want to make this, but Paul Hollywood’s recipe requires an attachment for your mixer that can grind the pork loin as well as blood pudding, an ingredient I am not sure I can even get a hold of here without some serious effort. However, I did find a recipe for his sausage rolls that has easier to access ingredients. Like most British recipes, this requires a kitchen scale. On your mark, get set, bake! And here’s hoping you have no soggy bottoms!
The recipe from the holiday special if you want to try it (and do let me know if you have a source for black pudding!) https://thegreatbritishbakeoff.co.uk/recipes/all/paul-hollywood-black-pudding-caramelised-onion-sausage-wreath/
My husband bought me two new Bundt cake pans for Christmas and I can’t wait to use them. I love Bundt cakes because they are simple and homey. Perfect for a chilly Christmas morning with coffee. I want to bake one for my grandpa as his birthday is Christmas Eve. He doesn’t like super sweet cake, and I also have an obscene amount of fresh cranberries that I need to use (They are so pretty in the store! They are only available for a short while! I love fresh cranberries, so I buy so, so many!), so a tart and cheery cranberry Bundt cake seems like the perfect solution. I intend to make sugared cranberries to fill the Bundt cake and decorate the top. It’s going to be so pretty!
However, who could say no to a lemon and pistachio cake? https://inspiredbycharm.com/lemon-pistachio-bundt-cake/
Lastly, I am making this amazing recipe for porchetta using pork belly. I can’t wait. https://leitesculinaria.com/98646/recipes-pork-belly-porchetta.html
Throw in some cranberry (of course!) Christmas themed sangria and a delicious fennel and arugula salad, and my holiday menu is all set!
Happy baking and happy holidays!