Dec 25, 2017 Dec 22, 2017
Merry Christmas, Everyone!
This is my Christmas Wreath Bread made into a braided loaf. I used the same recipe, braided it, and just tucked in the ends and baked it as a loaf. I love it so much! It’s beautifully sweet, has no butter, and it’s ready in about 2 hours. I make this braided raisin egg bread throughout the year, sometimes with just a little glaze…
Sometimes, I leave it plain for toasting…
I also made a whole wheat version, substituting one cup of whole wheat flour for one cup of white flour.
It’s not quite as soft but still delicious and healthier.
So it’s not just for the holidays. My Christmas Wreath Bread recipe is so versatile, you can make it all year, in different shapes, and even whole wheat. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Dec 16, 2017
Everybody loves getting my homemade caramel corn for Christmas but this batch is for me. Why shouldn’t I give myself a Christmas present? It’s not like I would eat it all in one day! I could. But I won’t. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 😉
I hope all of your baking turned out and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas. – Jenny Jones
Dec 9, 2017
Guess what? I decided to try making my sugar cookies with whole wheat pastry flour and they turned out perfect! In fact, you will not be able to tell the difference. I wish I had tried this sooner but I only make these Christmas cookies once a year.
I used whole wheat pastry flour combined with all purpose flour and now these healthier sugar cookies, which already have half the butter and less sugar than most recipes, are even better. Since I give a lot of these as gifts, I prefer to use a cookie press – it’s so much faster and it makes smaller cookies so you can give more.
I’m not the best at adding sprinkles but I do recommend a very fine ground sugar if using a cookie press. A more coarse sugar will roll off the cookies but one that’s finely ground will stick. If you want to make my healthier Christmas sugar cookies even healthier, I hope you’ll try the whole wheat version. I even simplified the process so these homemadce sugar cookies are a breeze to make. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Nov 29, 2017
My Christmas snowball cookies look fancy but they are so easy, even an amateur cook can make them. There’s no mixer required because this recipe is so simple. You just put all the ingredients into a bowl and combine with your hands. After a brief stint in the fridge, you just shape them into balls and bake. They are actually pecan balls so you must be sure to toast the pecans first. It really adds so much more flavor to these powdered sugar cookies.
They make a beautiful presentation so I often give them as a homemade Christmas gift. But they don’t just look good. These pecan balls simply melt in your mouth and every time I serve them or gift them, people ask for the recipe. And here’s some even better news. You can make them ahead and freeze! Gotta love that: Easy make-ahead Christmas cookies! Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Nov 23, 2017
I’ve been giving homemade treats as Christmas gifts for years. It’s easy to buy gift cards but taking time to make something for a friend or family member is more meaningful and always brings a big smile. Making someone homemade caramel corn or cookies or granola bars gives them something they can not buy anywhere because nothing store bought will ever taste as good as homemade.
The best homemade gifts are ones that travel well and keep well. That’s why I choose caramel corn, sugar cookies, granola bars, and biscotti. Everyone’s favorite is my caramel corn and if you’ve ever tasted this homemade caramel corn, you’ll see why – it’s absolutely fantastic!
Granola bars are the next most requested gift, again because you can’t buy a granola bar anywhere that even comes close to how good these are. Biscotti is a more exotic and unexpected gift because it takes more work to make these Italian cookies but my recipe for double chocolate almond biscotti will make a coffee lover very, very happy. They are so delicious!
Sugar cookies are not an unusual gift but my recipe uses less butter and less sugar than most and these festive holiday cookies simply melt in your mouth. Nothing store bought will ever taste as good. I can’t wait to start making all of these holiday gifts. Some will be mailed and others delivered in person. If you want to give and receive joy this Christmas, I hope you’ll consider giving some homemade treats as gifts. But be prepared: They will ask for them again next year! Click below for the recipes. – Jenny Jones
Homemade Caramel Corn
Healthier Christmas Sugar Cookies
Double Chocolate Almond Biscotti
Aug 18, 2017
Wishing all my American friends and visitors a Happy Thanksgiving. And for all those committed to cooking all day for friends and family, like I am… good luck! It’s a challenge but very satisfying once you’re all done and putting away leftovers for tomorrow.
I already made my simple stuffing, gravy, cranberries, and pumpkin pie yesterday. Today it’s the turkey, mashed potatoes, and green beans and of course real whipped cream for the pie. My best wishes to everyone for a wonderful Thanksgiving.
I have much to be thankful for and never take my good fortune for granted. – Jenny Jones
Dec 14, 2016
A 106-year-old fruitcake has been discovered in an old explorer’s hut in Antarctica and it looked and smelled edible! I’ve always heard that properly stored fruitcakes can last for years but whoa! This fruitcake was wrapped in waxed paper and tucked into a tin box and most likely came to Antarctica with an English expedition in 1910. The cake survived much better than the tin box, which was badly corroded. It had a very slight rancid butter smell but other than that, they say the cake looked and smelled edible! The freezing cold in Antarctica had a lot to do with the cake’s survival.
A century old cake notwithstanding, any fruitcake needs time to “age” and should be started early. The aging period can be from 2 to 4 months. Sugar acts as a preservative and alcohol kills bacteria and prevents mold. Many fruitcakes are soaked in alcohol and those can actually last for years if you periodically add more alcohol. You do this by wrapping the cake in a towel soaked in brandy or wine and then covering tightly and keep it refrigerated. It’s generally recommended that soaked fruitcake should be consumed within two years.
I don’t have a recipe for fruitcake but there are lots of good ones to be found and it is a long standing tradition to give fruitcake as a Christmas gift. Not everyone likes this very dense and rich cake so if you make one, don’t be surprised if it gets re-gifted to you five years later! 🙂 – Jenny Jones
Nov 15, 2016
If you’re looking for Christmas gift ideas I can tell you from experience that everyone I know loves to receive homemade goodies. Cookies, breads, cupcakes, biscotti… you can hardly go wrong. And then there’s homemade caramel corn. OMG! This is a gift that everyone absolutely loves! It’s super crispy, light, and so delicious! That’s what I give every Christmas and people start asking me in October if I’m making caramel corn again this year. That’s because there is no store-bought product that even comes close. And my recipe is simple. You don’t need a candy thermometer or any fancy equipment.
I just pop the corn in the microwave (my paper bag method) and stir in an easy syrup (made in five minutes) with butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and corn syrup (this is not high fructose corn syrup – they are not the same). Then you stir it up and bake it. I don’t make it for myself very often because I can’t stop eating it. So it’s a Christmas treat for me too. If you want to feel like Santa Claus next week and see big smiles on happy faces, give homemade caramel corn. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Jul 1, 2016
If you’ve ever cooked an entire Thanksgiving turkey dinner then you know it’s all about surviving. As far as I’m concerned, anyone who does it all from scratch deserves a one-week cruise in the Bahamas! I do it all from scratch: the turkey & mashed potatoes, the gravy, the stuffing, cranberries, green beans, and pumpkin pie. How do I survive? By doing everything I possibly can… in advance.
That includes the pumpkin pie, the fresh cranberries, the stuffing, and even the gravy. I make my gravy in advance and just stir in some of the turkey drippings before serving. To make the best gravy and stuffing, I need a good stock so here’s how I schedule my prep:
One week ahead: I bake my easy white bread with 1 Tbsp. sugar and dry it to make cubes for the stuffing. The dried cubes keep well for days but they must be completely dry.
Two days ahead: I make turkey stock using two turkey wings. I rub them with oil, salt & pepper, and roast them on a sheet at 375° F for an hour. Then I put the wings and drippings in a soup pot with about 8 cups of water and all the same veggies & spices as my chicken soup. I cook it for 3 hours, strain, cool & refrigerate. Then I skim the fat off the top before using. Oh, I take the meat off the wings for snacking – it’s delicious! I also cook the fresh cranberries.
One day ahead: I bake my pumpkin pie and make my gravy and stuffing.
Obviously, not everyone wants to work this hard so a store bought loaf of white bread is fine and you can use chicken stock (Swanson’s unsalted in the carton is good). Some people like to crisp the stuffing in the oven but I prefer it soft. It feels more like it was cooked inside the bird that way. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Our fourth of July is almost here. It’s a time for fireworks, fun, and food… especially food. And what could you make that would be as exciting as the fireworks? This is it, baby! My fresh strawberry cake. It’s one of my most popular recipes and now that strawberries are in season, you won’t need a loan to bake this delicious dessert.
It’s Independence Day. So declare your independence from store bought sweets and make this beautiful, show stopping, fresh strawberry cake. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones