Baker’s Solstice Countdown: December 21: Mom’s Gingerbread

This is a perfect bake for Winter Solstice Night. This gingerbread is dark as the longest night and full of warming spices to make you think of the heat of the returning sun. It has a surprisingly light, delicate texture, even after it has completely cooled. It is very hard to only eat one piece.Continue reading “Baker’s Solstice Countdown: December 21: Mom’s Gingerbread”

Baker’s Solstice Countdown: December 20: Liisa’s Salmon Christmas Pie

The whole family loves this pie, which was a relief the first time I made it, because I didn’t tell them what the filling was until after they had eaten it. I love this pie for its appearance, its flavor, and how easy it is to make. The potato pastry is forgiving of the mostContinue reading “Baker’s Solstice Countdown: December 20: Liisa’s Salmon Christmas Pie”

Baker’s Solstice Countdown: December 19: Finnish Christmas Stars

These are a project, but they are worth every minute spent on them. The pastry is easy to mix and handle, forgiving of some abuse, and yet bakes up light, layered, and delicately crisp. The prune filling is fruity and pleasantly sweet, far more than the sum of its parts. I’m not sure whose ideaContinue reading “Baker’s Solstice Countdown: December 19: Finnish Christmas Stars”

Baker’s Solstice Countdown: December 18: Christmas Cake (Joulukakku)

Here is an unassuming little cake, awaiting its star turn tomorrow, when it becomes a Finnish Christmas Cake. I learned of this Finnish traditional cake in Beatrice Ojakangas’ book, The Finnish Cookbook, but the cake recipe is my own. I adapted my mom’s buttermilk cake to add some Finnish flair, with lots of freshly groundContinue reading “Baker’s Solstice Countdown: December 18: Christmas Cake (Joulukakku)”

Baker’s Solstice Countdown: December 17: Pulla (Finnish Cardamom Coffee Bread)

This recipe’s success relies heavily on the freshness of the cardamom you use, which is why I encourage you to get cardamom pods instead of ground cardamom. Ground cardamom loses its flavor very quickly, so if you have a jar of ground cardamom that has been around for a while, you want to open itContinue reading “Baker’s Solstice Countdown: December 17: Pulla (Finnish Cardamom Coffee Bread)”

Baker’s Solstice Countdown: December 16: Peppermint Kisses

Although these are not as pretty as I had hoped, they are absolutely delicious, crunchy at the start, then immediately chewy, but not sticky, and perfectly minty. Next time I make them, I might put the easy-to-manage meringue mixture in a piping bag with a star tip, to get a shape that’s a bit moreContinue reading “Baker’s Solstice Countdown: December 16: Peppermint Kisses”

Baker’s Solstice Countdown: December 15: Star-Topped Mince Pies

These are another easy, tasty version of a traditional holiday pie, that allows you to have just a small perfect bite, rather than an overwhelming slab on a plate. The crust is very forgiving, and the filling can be a store-bought mincemeat blend, but Ms. Lawson has provided a not-exactly traditional recipe for a filling,Continue reading “Baker’s Solstice Countdown: December 15: Star-Topped Mince Pies”

Baker’s Solstice Countdown: December 14: Mom’s Caramels

I had never made my mom’s caramels before. I didn’t even have the recipe. They were just one of those things only my mom ever made. When I moved to the East Coast, I didn’t take the recipe with me because it makes a remarkable number of caramels, more than The Husband and I couldContinue reading “Baker’s Solstice Countdown: December 14: Mom’s Caramels”

Baker’s Solstice Countdown: December 13: Aunt Hanna’s Cookies

These cookies are an everyday Finnish cookie, that I decorate with green and red glazed cherries for the holidays (inspired by Beatrice Ojakangas’ suggestion in The Great Scandinavian Baking Book). They have become one of my favorite cookies, because they are not terribly sweet, and are a nice change from all the sugary treats aroundContinue reading “Baker’s Solstice Countdown: December 13: Aunt Hanna’s Cookies”

Baker’s Solstice Countdown: December 12: No-Bake Wreaths

This is another recipe from a homemaking/parenting magazine from years ago. Despite the look of them, and the “kid-stuff” list of ingredients, these crispy, sweet, cornflake and marshmallow wreaths are delightful. Rather than the sticky, chewy consistency of puffed rice marshmallow bars, the cornflakes take on a light glaze of marshmallow, and provide relief fromContinue reading “Baker’s Solstice Countdown: December 12: No-Bake Wreaths”