Friday, December 16, 2016

That Holiday Baking Guilt

Yes, it's that time of the year when all home chefs are expected to magically transform into bakers. That's great if they have a lot of time along with having a knack for turning their kitchen into a Keebler tree. As for the rest of us? Uh oh, here comes that holiday baking guilt.

We all feel that our families deserve the best especially around the holidays. We want them to have the best presents, the best Christmas meal, the best time ever.In other words, a nearly impossible experience only exacerbated by giving them store-bought cookies to go with that Christmas morning hot cocoa or leaving Oreos out for Santa. There are a couple of solutions here. One is the classic  Pillsbury Slice and Bakes which gives the same homemade taste without all that work. As we can all attest the chocolate chip ones taste exactly like the Toll House recipe.The chocolate is gooey, even hours out of the oven and the cookie itself has rich brown sugar taste.There is also their sugar cookie flavor which is perfect if you have little artists who love to decorate. The snaps can even be turned into sandwich cookies thanks to the addition of a super easy cream cheese filling. It's just the cheese (or Neuchatel if you want to go fancy ) confectioner's sugar and a small drop of vanilla. Roll in red and green colored sugar for a fun holiday look.

Of course the second, easiest of the easiest holiday cookie solutions is bakery cookies. Some, such as the century old B&W Bakery in Hackensack, New Jersey have an amazing array of recipes that have been passed down from the bakery's original German owners. What I love about them is that they don;t follow trends. You're not going to see anise curry cupcakes or pistachio basil macarons. These are just simple butter stars and plain almond macarons.
You can see just how home made looking the butter stars are, with just a drop of green or red sugar in the middle, affixed with a simple egg white wash or glue. They are mouthfuls of pure butter and sugar, light, crisp and delicate. B&W's macarons' are the perfect holiday cookie, too. These bite size rounds have just the right amount of sweet chewiness with the perfectly laid back taste of almonds - and nothing else. I don;t feel guilty when I serve these to family and friends as a holiday treat.To me they're a holiday tradition, Also, with the cookies already taken care of, I can concentrate on wrapping and cleaning,No guilt there, just relief that I have more time freed up.

If you;re too busy to bake, don't. There are a few alternatives to scratch cookies, from Pillsbury to your favorite local bakery.Everyone can still have tasty sweet treats and be happy. No need to suffer any regret from not making the perfect cookie.

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