Home-baked Christmas cookies make great gifts. Photo by Miriam Diaz-Gilbert
In the spirit of the season, it's my pleasure to share with you four traditional Christmas cookies and desserts recipes that are a big hit in our home. My husband Jon and I have been making McCall's Perfect Chocolate cake over 20 years. We've enjoyed making these delicious sweets for our children, grandchildren, family, friends, and guests.
If you love chocolate, and who doesn't, you will have a hard time staying away from the melt-in-your-mouth three-layered cream-filled perfect chocolate cake slices. Love bread? Or not crazy about bread pudding? Sweet Puerto Rican bread pudding will become your favorite! Looking for a light, fluffy, and not too sweet Christmas cookie? Look no further our scrumptious Italian cookies. And children love gingerbread cookies.
So tie on your apron, preheat the oven, and start baking!
PERFECT CHOCOLATE CAKE
McCalls's Perfect Chocolate Cake is not an easy mix and bake. It's a bit of a process. Putting it together is quite a task. You must be patient but the reward is grand. And the cake weighs a ton! I was so happy to find that my paper recipe, straight out of McCall's magazine over 20 years ago, is online! Enjoy!
McCall's Perfect Chocolate Cake recipe
A scrumptious three-layered cream-filled cake. Photo by Miriam Diaz-Gilbert
PUERTO RICAN BREAD PUDDING
Here's the recipe as found in the book.
Note: I use 1 - 2 day old Italian bread. I bake my own bread. But you can buy your bread from any bakery or supermarket. I remove the crust and cut up and cube the bread the night before. Sometimes I add dark chocolate chips. You can add raisins, too. I sprinkle cinnamon throughout. I refrigerate the baked bread pudding overnight. On Christmas Day, I cut the bread pudding into squares for all to enjoy. Serve warm or cold.
Bread pudding squares. Photo by Miriam Diaz-Gilbert
Italian drop cookies. Photo by Miriam Diaz-Gilbert
I still remember baking Italian drop cookies on some Sunday nights when I was in high school. I'd take a bunch to school to share with friends during study hall. They loved them. The recipe came from my mother's best friend Sylvana. Along the way, we lost the recipe. But about fifteen years ago, another friend, who is also Italian, gave my mother her recipe. I'm pretty sure it's the same recipe that we lost.
My mother gave it to me and I've been baking Italian cookies again ever since. The cookies are as I remember them - scrumptious! The good old fashioned recipe, handwritten by my mother's friend on white lined letter paper, is today greased with cookie batter, butter, and oil stains.
Follow my mother's friend's fun and easy recipe. Use a mixing bowl. Sometimes I mix the batter with a wooden spoon.
6 eggs - beat 5 min.
1 c. sugar (I use a little less)
1 c. vegetable oil
2 tsp. flavoring (vanilla or anise or lemon, etc.)
4 c. flour (sifted)
6 tsp. baking powder
add to egg mixture
Drop by teaspoon on cookie sheets - use cooking spray or parchment paper on cookie sheet.
Bake in 350 oven for approximately 8 min. Remove when cookies are light, not tan color
Frost with confectioner's sugar mixed with water to desired consistency. Add a little vanilla or other flavoring. If you want, add food coloring.
(This is a large recipe - you cut it in half - it still makes a lot).
In 1996, I found this Domino's Sugar gingerbread cookie recipe in Parade magazine. My daughter was nine and my son was five. Now they ask me to text the recipe to them, and now my grandchildren make gingerbread cookies, too. We poke a hole in each gingerbread man before baking, place red and green M&Ms, and after they are baked and cooled, we lace them with red and green ribbon, hang some on the Christmas tree, and give some as presents to friends and family. Enjoy the dough-stained recipe.
A very festive plate of gingerbread men cookies. Photo by Miriam Diaz-Gilbert
ALL MADE WITH CHRISTMAS LOVE
Christmas is not the same without these homemade traditional desserts made with lots of sugar, chocolate, patience, tradition, and love. Happy Baking! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from our kitchen to yours.
Christmas cookies and books make great gifts.
When I'm not baking, I'm writing. I am the author of Come What May, I Want to Run: A Memoir of the Saving Grace of Ultrarunning in Overwhelming Times. You can order the book here from from the publisher, Amazon, Bookshop, or Barnes & Noble. The publisher is offering 40%. Offer expires Dec. 19. Use code JOY40 at check out.