Baking Our Way Through The Holiday Season
Unable to enjoy many of our normal holiday traditions, we had to come up with something different this year.
I love the Christmas season, and I say that with a lot of fervor. I love the decorations, smells, ugly sweaters, and activities with my family.
I grew up in a family that embraced Christmas traditions. We enjoyed the enormous holiday lights display in the town. We always decorated lots of cookies. And on Christmas Eve, we would gather at my aunt’s house for a meal of oyster stew and topped off the evening with a recitation of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” by one of my cousins.
Moving to a suburb of Chicago opened up a whole new world of holiday traditions with my own children. Every year, we would go to the Christmas Around the World tree display at the Museum of Science & Industry, and the lights display at the Arboretum. We would have an elaborate breakfast with the Grinch through the park district. We would gather with friends for cookie exchanges or other holiday parties.
This year, because of COVID-19, our holiday merriment had to look different.
Sure, I could still decorate the house, and our Elf on the Shelf arrived (though he had to spend 14 days quarantined in a mason jar). The Arboretum still had the lights display, but it was a drive-through instead of the wondrous stroll through the trees in a normal year. But we couldn’t do any gatherings with friends and had to give up our other activities. Because in the past, we’ve usually had something to look forward to every weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I had to get creative this year.
My older two kids — ages 11 and 8 — love The Great British Baking Show. LOVE IT. Can’t get enough GBBS. And while we don’t have a lot of baking skills in this house, I thought it would be fun for us to use baking to bring some joy to the holiday season.
So I chose four recipes — one for each weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I had to plan our grocery delivery around the ingredients we would need that week. And each Saturday, we spent part of the day working on baking. Our selections were as follows:
- Fruit, nut, and chocolate bread — a…