Saturday, December 11, 2010

365 Ways to Prepare for Christmas

Weekly Trip to the Library for Nannies and Au Pairs

From simple solutions to sophisticated scenarios, 365 Ways to Prepare for Christmas by David E. Monn provides straightforward tips on how to do holiday shopping, entertaining, decorating, gift wrapping, cooking, and more.

There are think-ahead strategies designed to keep you out of the trenches the week before Christmas; dozens of ways to involve the whole family in easy-to-do holiday dinners (from buffet to sit-down); and dozens of imaginative yet easy-to-create gifts, wraps, decorations, and party favors.

Some of the recipes include: flavored vinegars and condiments, Chocolate Applesauce Cake, festive pasta dishes, jar cakes for gift-giving, and complete menus for everything from a Holiday Cocktail Party to a Christmas Eve Open House.

The book shows how to dry spring and summer flowers for holiday bouquets, make easy ornaments such as Paper Snowflakes, and many different types of garland.

There is a place to record gift, card, and party guest lists, a template to create individualized gift tags, and a host of recipes both new and traditional.

I also love that the book features a concealed wire "O" binding allowing it to lie flat when opened for easy use.

Here is a sample recipe which is my favorite Christmas recipe year after year for Almond Christmas Wreath Bread found on page 154. I often bring this bread as my hostess gift when attending winter holiday parties.

Almond Christmas Wreath Bread

Prep: 15 minutes Stand: 2-1/4 hours Bake: 20 to 25 minutes Makes: 1 loaf

1 envelope (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup warm milk
3 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons softened butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
3-1/2 cups flour
Almond Filling (recipe follows this recipe in the book)
2/3 cups powdered sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add milk, honey, butter, salt, cardamom, eggs, and lemon zest. Beat until well blended. Gradually mix 3-1/4 cups of flour. Turn out onto a floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 10 to 15 minutes, adding remaining flour as necessary if dough sticks. Place in a clean large bowl, cover with a damp kitchen towel, and let rise until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours.

2. Grease and flour a cookie sheet. Punch down dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough into a 9- x 30-inch rectangle, Sprinkle filling to within 2-inch of edges. Starting from a long side, tightly roll up dough. Moisten edge with water and pinch to seal.

3. Using a floured knife, cut roll lengthwise in half. With cut sides up, twits ropes around each other to form a single piece. Slide onto a cookie sheet and shape dough into a circle. Pinch ends to seal.

4. Let rise uncovered, until dough is light and almost doubled, about 45-minutes. Fifteen minutes before end of rising time, preheat oven to 375 F.

5. Bake bread 20 to 30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cook on a rack.

6. In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon water. Stir together until smooth and well blended. Drizzle glaze over cooled bread.

For Almond Filling:
See page 155 of 365 Ways to Prepare for Christmas by David E. Monn

Stop by tomorrow for Product Review Sunday and again next Saturday for another Weekly Trip to the Library.
What is your favorite holiday recipe?


Meghan H said...

I most enjoy just making Christmas cookies with my charges. Be it sugar cookies or gingerbread doesn't matter. I love the fun of rolling and cutting and decorating, then watching them eat them with hot chocolates that's my favorite holiday recipe.

Heather said...

Scotch-a-Roos which are rice krispy treats with chocolate on top. They are so good.
Nanny, Housekeeper, Chef, Personal Assit, and Household Manager Heather

Anonymous said...

EggNog Cookies

2 and 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 and 1/4 cups white sugar
3/4 cups salted butter, softened
1/2 cup eggnog
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large egg yolks
1 Tbsp ground nutmeg
1. Preheat oven to 300'
2. Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg
3. Mix well with wire whisk and set aside
4. Cream sugar and butter with electric mixer until forms a grainy paste
5. Add eggnog, vanilla, and egg yolks and beat at medium speed until smooth
6. Add flour mixture and beat at low speed just until combined -- do not over mix!
7. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets -- 1 " apart. Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg.
8. Bake for 23-25 minutes or until bottoms turn light brown -- transfer to cool, flat surface immediately.

AuPairDebbie said...

Mint Snowballs
1/2 Cup Icing Sugar
1/2 Cup Shortning
1/2 Cup Butter
1/2 Tsp Peppermint Flavouring
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 Tsp Salt
Cream sugar, shortning, butter, and extract thourghly. Measure flour WITHOUT sifting into wax paper, add salt and blend well. Now add dry ingredients to creamed mixture. Mix well. Form into one inch balls, place on cookie sheet and cook in 400F oven 8-10minutes. Cool on rack. Dip tops in icing, pink and green, then in coconut. Yield 4-4 1/2 dozen.

Anonymous said...

6 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups of milk
Dash of powdered nutmeg

Blender method: Blend eggs, sugar, salt with 1 cup milk until light and smooth. Add mixture to rest of milk and stir. If you don't have a blender you can mix by hand or with a egg beater or mixer. I pour it all into a container and just shake it.
Nanny Mindy

Anonymous said...

Oh above recipe is my egg nog recipe. Mindy

Anonymous said...

By Tamara L
Madison WI

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter two baking sheets. Onto a piece of wax paper, sift the flour and salt. In a medium-size bowl, with an electric mixer on high, cream the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Blend in the vanilla.

2. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour mixture, then the pecans. Dust your hands with a little of the confectioners sugar and roll the dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on the baking sheets and bake for 25 minutes or just until light brown.

3. Transfer to racks to cool for 15minutes, then roll in the powdered sugar. These cookies keep well in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Do not freeze them.

Diane said...

My mom's bourbon ham. Haven't a clue how she makes it but boy is it great.

Michelle said...

Rum cake and christmas cookies!

Steph 6 said...

Mix together thoroughly:
1 cup soft margarine
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
Sift together and stir in:
2 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
Chill dough for 1 hour. Roll into balls the size of small walnuts. Roll in mixture of 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon.
Place about 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake until lightly browned.. but still soft. These cookies puff up at first, then flatten out with crinkled tops.
Temperature: 400 degrees
Time: Bake 8 - 10 minutes

Anonymous said...

Christmas cookies and making gingerbread houses are my favorites.
Lisa, NY NY

lovebeingananny said...

Any Christmas cookies are my favorite thing to bake and eat! The best are some my Grandma used to make that are similar to rugelah (?Spell) But I love many hoiday desserts I haven't a clue how to make and am thankful to receive baked goods every holiday season!