Ready, Set, Celebrate!

Now that Halloween has passed we’ve all inevitably started talking about the holiday season. (Here in Canada we celebrate Thanksgiving a little earlier, so there’s really nothing else to look forward to during the month of November.)

This is the time of year when everyone’s schedules start filling up with celebrations and social events. Unfortunately, each of those events come with its own set of tasks that make people start feeling frantic instead of festive. There’s just so much to do. A friend of mine put it very eloquently: “I love Christmas, but there’s just so much s@&! to do!”

Planning is kind of my thing, so I often share how I organize my holidays on the blog: here’s how I get a head start on Christmas cards, how I plan my gift shopping and my Boxing Day strategy. If you really have the drive to plan far ahead, you may find this post on cleaning up after the holidays useful.

For the past couple of years I’ve carried out the Swedish tradition of baking seven different cookies at Christmas time. Here’s what’s been in my arsenal so far: Traditional Swedish Gingersnaps, Maple Butter Cookies, Jam Slices, Vanilla Horns, Rugulahs, Orange Crunch Cookies, Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, Midnight Mints, Butterscotch Confetti, Date Pecan Bars, Chocolate Roll, Pineapple Log, Marshmallow Roll, Butterscotch Bars etc. (Stay tuned- in the month of December I’ve got seven brand new cookie recipes for you I think you’re going to love.)

I love writing about the holidays and all the kindness it brings out in people, but I realize for some there can be a dark side of the season. A couple of years back I had a very difficult Christmas so I channeled that energy into writing a blog post about being alone during the holidays– and how you’re really not alone if you feel that way. (You may also want to check out this post if you’re feeling down.)

And if that isn’t enough holiday goodies for y’all then you’re in for a treat- for the next six weeks or so I’ll be sharing more of my favourite holiday recipes, some fantastic Christmas gift ideas and some of my secrets for staying sane during this busy time of year.

Don’t worry if even reading this post is giving you the shakes; this holiday season, we’re all in this together!

Holiday celebrations can be fun, but only if you can ensure that things go smoothly. While there are never any guarantees when it comes to social gatherings, there are still plenty of ways to get your holiday game on. Click here to read more of them, or click here or here to read about some of the other best practices I’ve been trying to put into my place in my life.

Do you have any tips on how to survive the holidays? Save us by commenting below or email your suggestions to keepingbusyb@gmail.com

Baking with B: 7 Days of Christmas Cookies: Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

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There used to be this coffee shop down the street from my apartment that used to have not only amazing gelato and lattés, it also had one of my favourite treats ever. For a not-quite-vegan like myself, I was shocked to learn that these babies have no dairy in them whatsoever.

Chocolate crinkle cookies: great around Christmas time, great around any time. They look crunchy because of the way the broken cookie crust outer layer, but the inside is moist and dense and chewy and oh-so-good. Excuse me while I wipe the drool off of my screen.

Buying all these cookies was becoming kind of a problem for me, so I did some searching until I found this recipe from clockworklemon.com. They’re the closest I’ve come to finding a recipe that matched the ones they make in the café so now I can make them at home just to make things a little easier on my wallet.

Vegan-Friendly Chocolate Crinkle Cookies (makes approximately 24 cookies)

3/4 c. sugar

1/3 c. vegetable oil

2 tbsp corn syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 c. soy milk

1 tbsp ground flax seeds

powdered sugar and granulated sugar

4 oz (about 1/2 a cup) semisweet chocolate chips, melted

1 1/4 c. + 2 tbsp all purpose flour

2 tbsp cocoa powder

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

In a bowl, mix together sugar, oil, corn syrup, vanilla, soy milk, flax seeds, and melted chocolate until smooth. Sift in the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Mix until thick dough forms. Chill the dough in the fridge for 15 minutes. In the meantime, pour granulated sugar onto a plate and powdered sugar on another. When dough is ready, roll into balls approximately the size of a tablespoon and roll them in the granulate sugar, then the powdered sugar. Place cookies on a parchment-lined cookie sheet approximately 2 inches apart and bake at 325F for about 14 minutes. Let cookies cool on tray about five minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

B’s Tip: Soy milk not your thing? I substituted for almond milk and it tasted just fine. You could also could try rice milk- let me know what works for you!

If you’re doing something for Santa, why not make these to serve with a glass of milk? Or maybe he’d like them after a light lunch, with his favorite espresso-based drink? Soy lattés are my poison of my choice. I mean his poison of choice. I mean…whatever.

Happy baking!

B

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I’m counting down Christmas by sharing some of my favourite holiday cookie recipes with you! This is the last day I’m posting my cookie recipes, but for more inspiration, you can check out more of my baking here. For even more recipe inspiration check out my Pinterest full of food eye candy that will have you licking your computer. Promise.