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: Vanilla Horns

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Out of all the cookie recipes I have posted in this past week, this is probably the simplest cookie ever. People will be amazed when you tell them that it doesn’t even have sugar in the dough, so feel free to indulge as much as you like.

Vanilla Horns (makes approximately 36 cookies)

2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. butter, softened

1 tbsp vanilla extract

granulated sugar

Cut the flour, butter and vanilla together until granular. Knead lightly together. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

When you are ready to bake your cookies, preheat the oven to 350F. Roll dough into logs that are approximately 3 inches thick and that are slightly thicker in the middle. Bend into crescent moon shapes (these are the horns!) Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake in the center of the oven for approximately 12 minutes.

Once the vanilla horns are out of the oven, let them cool off slightly (but not too much!) and dip them in the sugar until they are covered. Let cool off on a cooling rack.

B’s Tip: To make it easier to dip the cookies, use a soup bowl or a rimmed plate to hold the granulated sugar. You may even want to set cookie in the sugar and sprinkle more over top using a tea spoon to ensure even coverage.

Even though they aren’t that sweet, these cookies are so buttery and melt-in-your-mouth good you won’t even notice. The simple decoration using granulated sugar makes these cookies look as if they’ve been dusted in the lightest sparkle of snow. Just beautiful!

Happy baking!

B

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I’m counting down Christmas by sharing some of my favourite holiday cookie recipes with you! I’ll be posting a different Christmas cookie recipe every day for the next seven days so you can follow along in my family’s baking tradition, and have more cookies to add to your Christmas baking arsenal! 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.