Warm up to the season with Christmas baking

since I don’t have people over more at this time of year than any other, I think it’s just dangerous for me to have containers full of cookies and bars around the house.

This is not to say, however, that I don’t enjoy eating holiday baking.

When I go home at Christmas, I’m certainly happy that my mom likes to gift her shortbread, English toffee and various cookies and that it always translates to having extra around the house.

And the smell of holiday baking is some of the best aromatherapy there is.

If one is going to get into the spirit of the holiday, the reprint of Rose Murray’s Christmas cookbook is a good place to start.

First published in 1979, the book from renowned veteran food writer and cookbook author Rose Murray is now back in print for the first time in more than 10 years. The updated and revised Canadian Christmas Cooking: The Classic Guide to Holiday Feasts (Whitecap) is ready for the next generation of home cooks and bakers looking for those recipes that have stood the test of time.

The book is somewhat utilitarian as there are no photos to go along with the holiday-focused recipes.

But, at the same time, it harkens back to vintage cookbooks when it wasn’t about gloss and heavily-styled images, but simple, classic and consistently good recipes that home cooks would turn to again and again. This is a book of classics, roast goose, breads, gravies, punches and innumerable bars, cookies, puddings and fruitcakes.

Roast goose is not something I’d want to bring into the office to share with my colleagues, so I opted for a traditional chewy ginger cookie, flavoured with lots of ginger and rolled in sugar so it sparkles slightly after baking.

Partly it’s because I love ginger and this flavour is inextricably linked to the holidays but I was also intrigued by the use of lard instead of butter. (And, well, it’s because I already had lard in my fridge that needed to be used up.)

It doesn’t seem to affect the taste at all, so I suspect it really has more to do with it being a historic recipe when people used what was on hand.


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