12 Days Of Christmas Guest Blog: Holiday Baking

Tammie is among the best cooks I know not to mention so generous in spirit and love... actually I think that is why her goodies are so delish. Her baked goodies are to die for and when I fell in love with molten cakes she scoured the earth to find the perfect recipe for me.

I am proud to present you with Tammie! If you have any questions please comment and leave your email address. Happy baking and keep that lovin coming from the oven!
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When I think of the holidays, I think of family, love, happiness, gratitude, lots of noise, varied levels of chaos, and of course...food. Coincidentally, it just so happens that I love to cook, and especially to bake!

There is always some baked goody that will transform most adults back to a happy moment in their past. To see the delight in the face of a grown man because he sees a plate of Snickerdoodles. “I haven't had Snickerdoodles since I was a little boy. My Grandma used to make them for me. I forgot how much I loved these!”

I just love getting all of the ingredients ready, and putting everything together. Over the years, I have learned how to adjust ingredients and still maintain the texture of my baked goods. I really love to experiment with flavors. I also love making the pies, cakes and cookies I make pretty. I cut little apples out of the top crust of my Apple Pies, sprinkle cinnamon sugar on them, then put them back in place.

Nine years ago, a patient gave me a cookbook as a gift (Best gift ever from a patient)! It was a fundraiser type cookbook that contained several recipes that she and her relatives had contributed. I decided to try her Banana Bread recipe. I thought I would take it with me to the family Christmas gathering at my Sister in law’s house (Along with other goodies of course)! Little did I know that this recipe made EIGHT medium sized loaves! So there I was with a bumper crop of Banana Bread, still warm, and it is time to go. I covered the pans with foil, placed most of them in my pie basket, loaded the others in with the rest of our goodies, and we set off. After the visiting, grazing on finger foods, and presents for the little ones, people are starting to go. I tell everyone, “I have Banana Bread! Everybody take one before you leave.” I was very surprised at how excited everyone was. Especially the Aunts. It was Aunt Thressia who explained when she hugged me goodbye. “Mom used to make Banana Bread for everyone every Christmas before she became unable to get around well enough to do her own cooking.” Grandma had passed away in July. I had never had her Banana Bread, but now I make it every year. I make it because for some members of our family, it tastes like Christmas, and love.

Here are a few go to tips for your holiday baking:

1. Always spoon your flour into the measuring cup, never dip it. (You could end up with too much flour resulting in dry, crumbly baked goods.)
2. Use the right flour for your recipe. All purpose is not the same as Cake Flour.
3. Buy the BEST quality flavorings you can find. Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste is the best stuff ever! Imitation banana and imitation coconut TASTE like imitation fruit!
4. The reason to use room temp eggs in a cake is to make the cake fluffier. If you forgot to set them out, your cake will be fine, just a little shorter and slightly denser.
5. Baking times vary with ovens. Watch your goodies (test cakes that look done) and figure out how close your oven is to the cooking time in the recipe.