Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies

Almond Chocolate Chip CookiesSo many times, I've almost bought a cute little cookie jar to keep on the counter - Target had one a few years ago that I seriously contemplated - but I don't make cookies often enough to really warrant keeping a container around just to store them.  A cookie jar is a bit of a one-trick pony, like a garlic press, which I also don't own, because why would I want another gadget to take up valuable space in the kitchen drawers when a knife chops garlic just fine?

I daydream about cookies.  As much as I love to bake and decorate (and taste) cakes, it's a cookie that I want in the afternoons with a second cup of coffee, so it's really a good thing that we don't often have them in the house, or I'd probably eat cookies every day...

Apple Cinnamon Streusel Cream Cheese Muffins

Apple Cinnamon Streusel Cream Cheese Muffins
It didn't really feel like winter yet, not to me, at least, until yesterday.  In the winter months, Colorado is prettiest when it snows, because when the snow melts, everything is dry and brown until spring, so I prefer winters here to be white.

We've had a few scattered snowstorms over the past couple of months, although, disappointingly, not for Christmas.  Other than that, the days have been sunny and mild.  I suppose it's better for our heating bill, but just as I was longing for a gray, gloomy, chilly day, the snow came...

Blueberry Orange Muffins

Blueberry Orange Muffins
Muffins are probably my favorite breakfast food, and have been since I was little.  They're simple, sweet and cakey, which is probably why I like them so much.  And although there's something to be said for the delayed gratification of fancier breakfasts, I love making quick breads, since they're ready with minimal fuss, 20 minutes or so after mixing up the batter.

During Christmas vacation, each morning I made something special for breakfast, cinnamon rolls filled with homemade peach jam, waffles arranged like Christmas trees and dusted with powdered sugar, homemade pop tarts, pumpkin coffee cake, and these muffins...


Butter Pecan Pound Cake

Butter Pecan Pound Cake
When Christmas is over, I feel a little let down, while at the same time relieved to take down the tree and decorations and tidy up the house.  With Christmas put away, everything feels clean and uncluttered, which is exactly how a new year should feel...

Candy Cane and Cookie Forest Christmas Cake

Candy Cane and Cookie Forest Christmas Cake
If you have not seen Elf, then I hope you will immediately stop everything you're doing and watch it.  It's one of my favorite Christmas movies, and for this year's Christmas cake, I was inspired by the candy cane forest he travels through to find his dad in the city.  In addition to the candy canes, I also dipped Oreos in white chocolate and sprinkled them with red, green and white sugar to create a whimsical little forest of candy canes and cookies on top of my cake.

The cake itself was an eggnog cake, moist and fragrant, and frosted with eggnog buttercream which I tinted a pale pink... 

Peppermint Bark Pops

Peppermint Bark Pops
How beautiful are these little peppermint bark pops?  Shaped like an old-fashioned sucker, you might even call them Christmas lollypops.  As time (and baby napping) allows, I've been baking and freezing little treats for Christmas.

We have an assortment of cookies that I've packaged up into pretty polka-dot boxes for a few neighbors, including shortbread cutout cookies with almond-flavored royal icing (the shortbread being my favorite), spice bars with cream cheese frosting, salted caramel-stuffed chocolate chip cookies, and brown butter ginger molasses raisin cookies.

We also have white chocolate dipped Oreos, soft vanilla bean salted caramels, jars of dark and spicy apple butter, and lots of nuts in their shells for snacking.  And for Christmas Day, there will be eggnog cake with bourbon vanilla buttercream and chocolate cream pie...

Christmas Tree Napkins

Today, I have a fun and easy little project for you to dress up your holiday table - napkins folded into Christmas trees.  I picked up these plaid cotton napkins at World Market yesterday, but you can stick with solid green napkins for your trees, or play around with the color and pattern...