Jan. 1, 2013: THE COOKBOOK DRAWING IS NOW OVER. Thanks for participating. THE WINNERS, RANDOMLY CHOSEN FROM COMMENTERS BELOW, ARE "MOLLIE" and LOUISE DONALDSON. Winners, please go to the Contact tab (in red bar at top), and send me an e-mail with your address so I can send you your copy of SIMPLY SENSATIONAL COOKIES. CONGRATS!
All over the country and around the world, avid home bakers, including me, are happily gearing up for the holidays. We're pulling out favorite recipes, assembling ingredients, and already firing up our ovens. We simply have to bake this time of year.
The oh-so-charming sugar cookies at top right are the creations of my cookbook colleague and friend, Sandra Gutierrez, author of The New Southern Latino Table. Look carefully and you'll see amongst the angels and gingerbread peopole some pretty iced jalapeno-shaped cookies; Sandra says they've been in the family repertoire since her girls were young. (The cookies just below and at the bottom feature only dye-free fruit icings recipes here and green tea icing here, and are ones I'm preparing for my grandchildren.)
The gingerbread houses were fashioned in the kitchen of my baker friend Maria Springer. She specializes in the rightly famous Viennese pastries of her homeland and hosts a huge make-your-own gingerbread cottage class for kids and their parents at her home every year.
The biscotti, below right, are from the kitchen and blog of my cookbook author friend Domenica Marchetti. Yes, of course, she's Italian! And her latest book is The Glorious Pastas of Italy.
Bunky Cooks, Gwen Pratesi .
(She made them from a recipe from my Simply Sensational Cookies.)
For all of us baking is an integral part of our holiday celebrations. For me personally, rolling, cutting out and decorating sugar cookies brings back vivid recollections of getting ready for Christmas in my mother's kitchen. For my husband and son, the heady aroma of my mother-in-law's family famous spiced Lebkuchen call to mind the many dozens she lovingly prepared for them over her eighty plus years. Continuing to bake their treats helps us keep our memories of them strong.
To encourage you to join the round-the-world baking tribe, I'm holding a random drawing and giving away two copies of my new book Simply Sensational Cookies. I'm proud to tell you that it has been on number of this season's cookbook gift lists, including the Washington Post's "Cook the Best Books" roundup and NPR's "Top Ten Holiday Cookbooks" list.
To enter, just mention below in the comments section your own favorite cookie or holiday baking memory and "like" my Nancy Baggett Bakes Facebook page here by Dec. 31. Check back here for the announcement of the winner on Jan. 1 and for details on the winners receiving their books. (For more decorated cookies and tips, go here; for my video on the best way to roll out dough go here; for a good sugar cookie recipe, go here.)
If you are now in the mood for more cookies, you can hear NPR's All Things Considered host Melissa Block talk and eat heirloom molasses cookies and with me and a guest listener here; two recipes including one of my faves from Simply Sensational Cookies, my Glazed Double Ginger Molasses cookies, are posted with the story.