Treats Filled With Cheer for a Magical Time of Year
by The Pillsbury Editors
When the holiday rush sets in (earlier and earlier every year), the prepared food section of the baking aisle becomes a home baker’s savior. Cake mixes, bagged candies and ready-made frosting as well as refrigerated cookie dough, pie crusts and breadsticks make irresistible shortcuts for whipping up dessert or hostess gifts for holiday gatherings. Yet it’s also appealing to conceal the reliance on store-bought preparations and turn out unique creations that not just anyone with a mix and a pan could put together. That’s where Holiday Baking comes in. Relying on a range of prepared products, the recipes add in fresh produce, cheeses and seasonings to put a new spin on holiday classics. Most of the fun lies in the presentation, and vivid pictures inspire artistic strivings.
Recipes for Halloween and Christmas sweets prove especially kid-friendly. There’s the Great Pumpkin cake (which takes its pumpkin shape from a bundt pan) and an array of cookies in delightful Christmas shapes like snow globes, ornaments and ice skates. But there’s something for the adults, too: pumpkin pound cake with walnut sauce and eggnog crème brulee will appeal to more mature palates. Though sweets dominate, there are some savory treats as well like Thanksgiving cornmeal sage scones and New Year’s crescent-crab purses. Alternative winter festivals including Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are not left out; directions for making cookie cutouts particular to those holidays are included. Though the book is organized by holiday, many of the recipes are interchangeable. Sweet potato pie and quick red velvet cake for Kwanzaa, for example, make tempting desserts for Thanksgiving and Christmas, respectively. To keep the baked goods fresh, tips for mailing and storing prove useful (did you know that storing crisp cookies with soft cookies will make the crisp ones soft?). With simple instructions and helpful hints throughout, Pillsbury follows through on its promise that Holiday Baking is “almost as easy as turning on your oven.”