Oh, how I love lighting up the Christmas tree and twirling around the kitchen in a pirouette of holiday baking!
 
Now that I’m no longer a professional baker, I enjoy getting into a slightly-obsessive production mode for the sweet appetites of my co-workers and family members.
 
The topper is the Orlando family recipe for Cuccidatis, which takes all day to make the seven or eight dozen yield whether you have an enlisted crew to help or not!
 
These traditional Italian cookies (pictured below) are stuffed with dried fruits, nuts, chocolate and ground orange peel and wrapped in a cookie dough. To grind up the filling we break out Grandma’s ancient meat grinder, and the cookies are finished with a lemon icing and sprinkles. (I’m really not sure at what point in the twentieth century the rainbow sprinkles got added, and this has always perplexed me.)
 
Does anybody else make these?

 
My newest favorite is making homemade marshmallows! Last year I made Betty Crocker’s Peppermint Marshmallows, and this year I made Vanilla. I think my next experiment will be making Irish Cream marshmallows!
 
Here’s the recipe from Betty Crocker.com
 
Butter for greasing
1/3     cup powdered sugar
2 1/2     tablespoons unflavored gelatin
1/2     cup cold water
1 1/2     cups granulated sugar
1     cup corn syrup
1/4     teaspoon salt
1/2     cup water
1     teaspoon pure peppermint extract
8     to10 drops red food color

 
  1. Generously grease bottom and sides of 11×7-inch (2-quart) glass baking dish with butter; dust with 1 tablespoon of the powdered sugar. In bowl of stand mixer, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water to soften; set aside.
  2. In 2-quart saucepan, heat granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt and 1/2 cup water over low heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved. Heat to boiling; cook without stirring about 30 minutes to 240°F on candy thermometer or until small amount of mixture dropped into cup of very cold water forms a ball that holds its shape but is pliable; remove from heat.
  3. Slowly pour syrup into softened gelatin while beating on low speed. Increase speed to high; beat 8 to 10 minutes or until mixture is white and has almost tripled in volume. Add peppermint extract; beat on high speed 1 minute. Pour into baking dish, patting lightly with wet hands. Drop food color randomly onto top of marshmallow mixture. Pull table knife through food color to create swirl pattern over top. Let stand uncovered at least 8 hours or overnight.
  4. Dust cutting board with about 1 tablespoon powdered sugar. Place remaining powdered sugar in small bowl. To remove marshmallow mixture, loosen sides from dish and gently lift in one piece onto cutting board. Using sharp knife greased with butter, cut into 1-inch squares (11 rows by 7 rows). Dust bottom and sides of each marshmallow by dipping into bowl of powdered sugar. Store in airtight container at room temperature up to 3 weeks.

     

Please share your holiday baking ideas with us, or maybe a recipe!