It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Break out your stand mixer, your 10-pound bag of flour, and the good cinnamon, because it’s time to bake! It’s my opinion that any cookie you eat at Christmas is automatically a Christmas cookie, but I understand the need to make things extra festive at this time of year. Most Christmas cookbooks, however, are not very interesting.  Bunch of boring recipes with a red and green cover slapped on the front. Christmas Baking is a nice departure from the usual. Cookies, bars, cakes, breakfasts, beverages, snacks, an entire chapter of frostings, garnishes and decorations, and a conversion chart at the end. Whew!

I tried the Cereal M&M Cookies because I was curious about them. I love putting cereal in my cookies. The recipe also calls for a cup of vegetable oil in the batter which I hadn’t ever done before and I wanted to see what would happen. There was also more flour in the recipe than I usually add. This was the result: a complete loss of butter flavor in the final cookie, and honestly I can’t see the reason for that. The cookies also didn’t get that beautiful golden brown color, they stayed pale. However, the dough was soft and easy to scoop, and if you like those Lofthouse Cookies you get at the grocery store you will probably like these.

The Cookies and Cream Party Mix was easy to put together and very tasty. If I were to do it over again I would add some chopped pretzels because I love the salty/sweet combo, but this recipe was a hit with my son. For my gluten-free kid I swapped out regular Oreos for the Glutino version and used Nestle white chocolate chips which are gluten-free.

There’s a lot more to work through in this book: the Grasshopper Brownies look great, the Malted Milk Chocolate Truffles would be a lovely gift for someone, and I am definitely planning on baking up the Overnight Butterscotch Breakfast Rolls, although I’m skeptical about using butterscotch pudding mix for the flavor. Likewise on the Raspberry frosting recipe that calls for pure maple syrup. I don’t know how that’s going to go. Maple isn’t a flavor that generally disappears or gets paired with raspberries.

I suspect that as you work through this collection you’ll find new favorites as well as a few flops. It could be worth a purchase to find those gems that you’ll use again and again. And it’s beautifully photographed and presented, and pretty enough to give as a gift for your favorite baker.

Happy holidays, and happy baking!

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