It’s baking central online at the moment – not yet at the cottage, as I’m still looking for a chance to put a belated batch of sweet mince together for the mince pies of Christmas! – but there are lots of lovely ideas out there for anyone who has a little more time.
Dan Lepard’s list of seasonal and just plain helpful tips from the experts about putting mashed potato in your bread dough for a softer crumb, making oatcakes in large quantities, keeping cookie dough in the fridge for quick slicing and baking and making bread dough in advance for better flavour are a great read.
Anyone who likes baking will love the Gourmet round up of the magazine’s favourite cookies since 1941. The introductory paragraphs for each decade give an overview of Gourmet through the years and there are plenty of amazing cookies to try making. I really like the look of the Apricot Chews (1966), Mocha Toffee Bars (1987) and the Pistachio Cranberry Icebox Cookies (2006) look right up my street.It’s a veritable feast of divinely photographed sweet things.
I know it may be summer at the other side of the world and some of the recipes aren’t exactly appropriate but Taste Magazine‘s Christmas guide is well worth checking out, especially for variations on the traditional – try out the Mincemeat and Apricot Streusel Squares if you’re fed up with the fuss of old-school Mince Pies, I’ve a jar of homemade mixed peel just waiting to be turned into Spiced Shortbread and the freezer section covers a whole lot of simple cook-ahead options for the 12 days of Christmas.