Gobble gobble and a Ho ho ho, my lovelies!
I don't know what it is about this time of year that makes me want to bake non-stop. I'm not even kidding. I get home every day with the urge to try some random recipe or to make something that looks festive. As you may have heard by now, I grew up in a house where culturally, the Holidays were very Latin heavy. Food in general was always Latin heavy. The extent of our holiday goodies was flan, natilla, tres leches, and turron. If you don't know what those are, look it up! They're almost all some conglomeration of sweetened condensed milk, eggs, and sugar... what else could you need?!? Absolutely delicious and I PROMISE, if you're good, I'll share my ever so coveted flan recipe for New Years...
Any hoot- As tasty as those treats are and as much as I love making them, I'm actually referring to making more main stream Holiday goodies! Cakes, pies, cookies, you know- things with names my lovely readers can actually pronounce!
A little back story as we try to understand why I love Holiday baking so much!
**This is the part where you all go "Yay! A story!**
I have a teeny tiny immediate family. I have one sister, my mom is an only child, and my dad has one brother. From my one uncle I have my one aunt and my only 2 first cousins. Extended family goes on for days and days but when you're talking Christmas morning, that's what I've got. I have always loved this and I've never felt even remotely like I was missing out. I got the huge family for things like Noche Buena (Cuban Christmas Eve) and then the actual holiday was always just the little group of us with now just the Grandmas from either side.
And I think that is perfect!
Because of this, I've always felt very close to my immediate family and I adore them.
(My memories of childhood activities could fill a blog all on it's own...
but let's focus on this blog one post at a time shall we?)
Enter my Tia Rachel.
My favorite, though only, aunt is easily my inspiration for all of my baking endeavors. She, though she has always tried her best, is not Cuban nor is she a fluent Spanish speaker. And I love her all the more for it! I've always loved the fun and diversity she adds to family gatherings...
Let's all take a moment to acknowledge that I just referred to my non-Spanish speaking Aunt as adding diversity to our holidays... Sure did grow up in Miami... ohhhhh boy.
She's also where I learned to use all my nonsense words. Scooby-dop, neener neeners, and my favorite, my nickname from her, Pachina. I think we all have one, but this is the aunt that would always have some fun crafty project up her sleeve and every sprinkle known to mankind for holiday cookie decorating! She also had a chocolate/candy business for a while and I always looked forward to getting the peppermint bark. I would hoard it from the rest of the family! I later found out my sister doesn't even like chocolate and peppermint, but that's entirely beside the point!
Now I, in turn, find it almost impossible to pass up another container of fun sprinkles or the opportunity to try and make some random pie or cake. Especially at the Holidays, I think of her a whole lot.
I love you, Tia!!
In honor of the holidays and my unwavering love for all things sweet and delicious this time of year, I decided to dedicate an entire Window Shopping Spree to Holiday baking!!
...I should also point out that this Window Shopping Spree is comprised ENTIRELY of Williams-Sonoma goodness... What can I say? Williams-Sonoma is quite possibly my favorite place to window shop. So jump on the band wagon people!! I walked in yesterday and my heart about melted from the warmth I got looking at the wonderful goodies. Le sigh... Someday I will walk in there every season and go to town. And I will throw amazing holiday parties with the lovely things I buy there! And everyone will be
jealous so happy to be there...
1. Pie crust fancy pants cutters- Plain crusts are boring! But when you jazz them up with these festive shapes, people get so impressed! And they're so easy to use. Pretty much, I just like playing with them a whole lot.
2. Holiday sprinkles- Not only are these adorable embellishments for any sweet treat, they stack with all your other Williams-Sonoma sprinkles! So you can keep them organized and even display them neatly. My heart!
3. Star cookie cutters that make a tree- I'm always so proud of my names for things... This is such a simple concept but how cute would that look in a table scape and then, oh hey! We can eat the tree!
4. Cookies that become a holiday scene- Basically, you use the cookie cutters to make the puzzle pieces that come together to make that adorable Holiday scene. How stinking cute is that? Another great way to dress up the table with edible goodies!
5. Pumpkin Quick bread- You should all know, I get so sad when the season for this mix ends. I try to nab as much as possible so it lasts me a little longer... It's my favorite and I use it as one of the things I bring to any get together during this time of year. Go buy some- so easy and so delicious!
6. Fancy-Festive Hot chocolate mix- UMMMMMMMMMMM- I know, total shocker that I would be obsessed with these, right? Not like I have a blog named after the product or anything... Oh wait. These need to be in my kitchen immediately if not sooner.
In fact... I think the holiday spirit and these gorgeous mixes have inspired me to host my first giveaway here at Cup 'a Hot Chocolate... I think it's safe to say everyone should keep their eyes and ears open in case something pops up in the next week or so... :)
So do you guys catch the baking bug this time of year at all? What are your favorites or go to recipes? I LOVE trying new things, so let me know!
I would also like to apologize for any amount of time you may waste today on the Williams-Sonoma website because of this post... It's only fair if I went down, you all go down with me!
**Don't forget to follow on here and head over to my twitter page so I can keep you updated when I get new fun posts up...Especially if, oh I don't know, a give-away were to come up some time soon...**