HOLIDAYography: Non-Baking Baking

Hello.  My name is Melissa and I am a horrible baker.  I am a decent cook but baking is not my strong point.  Ok, that's a serious understatement.  I have tremendous difficulty measuring and reading directions.  Fortunately the hubby is quite a good baker so we have balance in our marriage.

So, if you are down to the line and you need to get some homemade sweets on the table for Christmas, here are some super easy ideas for you!

But, once a year, I do a little baking - Christmas.  It's the only time that I actually want to bake and semi-enjoy it.  Some would say that what I do is not really baking but I do put sugary things in the oven so I think it qualifies.  I like to give these things to people I work with, bring to our families, and of course the parking  attendant in my office garage to whom I entrust my car on a daily basis.  You know - the important people in our lives.

Sugar Cookies

I am  still a traditionalist and I love sugar cookies at Christmas.  I totally cheat and buy the dough.  I don't think the store bought dough is the best dough and I think it spreads a little too much, but it gets the job done.  And once those cookies are covered with icing and sprinkles, who really cares what shape they are.  This year we did all stars although I have a plethora of cookie cutters.  Elizabeth, my 4 year old, loves to help cut out and decorate the cookies.  It's a fun family activity because sometimes Jim will get into it too.  I keep the icing simple - confectioners sugar, melted butter, and milk.  Don't ask for measurements because I eyeball it.

Magic Bars

Magic bars are my favorite kind of baking.  No measuring whatsoever, seems complicated and fancy, and readily available ingredients.  I usually have everything on hand except the sweetened condensed milk.  I use the recipe for Eagle Brand (found here), but I tweak it a bit by adding butterscotch chips as well as semi-sweet chocolate.  I always make a double batch because these things are tasty and they look great on a cookie plate and they keep for more than a week.

All Recipes

Peppermint Bark

I like to balance my cookie plates with some sort of "candy".  This year I finally found a non-baking candy recipe which doesn't even require an oven - just a microwave!  I found it in the weekly newsletter from You've Got Supper, an awesome site for recipes and weekly meal plans. It took no time at all and looks totally fancy.

Let's hope everyone enjoys the cookies!  I ended up with 3 huge containers of cookies to share at Christmas with my family. 

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There you have it!