(Courtesy of Keira Stogin)

 

The holidays are finally here, which means that it is time for delicious food. All of those sweet treats we’ve been trying not to make all year? They’re finally permissible to make ― without judgement. My family has several special holiday recipes. Many of these delicacies are relatively easy and affordable. Not only are they perfect for keeping in your home for your own guilty cravings, they make wonderful gifts for coworkers, friends and family.

To start off the holidays, nobody can ignore the ever-classic sugar cookie. I don’t have a specific family concoction for these, but any general cooking website features a variation of the famous treat. Be sure to make the cookies unique by using holiday cookie cutters. The recipe below is from Food Network.

Sugar Cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour

¾ tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. salt

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 Tbsp. milk

Wax paper

*Be sure to have extra flour for rolling out the dough.

Directions:

  1. Sift together dry ingredients (if you don’t have a sifter, use a spoon and lightly sift flour into the bowl).
  2. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light in color.
  3. Add egg and milk to butter/sugar mixture (beat to combine).
  4. Put mixer on low and gradually add flour.
  5. Beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl.
  6. Divide dough in half and wrap each half in waxed paper.  
  7. Refrigerate both halves for at least two hours. They can refrigerate for as long as you need.
  8. Roll the dough out about a ½ inch thick.
  9. Cut out dough in desired shapes.
  10. Space each cookie about an inch away from the other.
  11. Cook at 375 degrees for about seven to nine minutes.

 

Beer bread is easy to make, and is the perfect companion for cold weather. You can use any beer that you happen to have left over in your fridge for the bread. There is no need to break the bank buying a nice beverage for this project. Any cheap beer will do. I have had the most success with the recipe from Genius Kitchen.

Beer Bread

3 cups sifted flour

3 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

¼ cup sugar

1 (12oz.) can beer

½ cup melted butter

Directions:

  1. Mix dry ingredients and beer together (be sure to sift/spoon the flour).
  2. Pour mixture into a greased loaf pan.
  3. Pour melted butter over the dough.
  4. Bake for one hour at 375 degrees.
  5. Let the loaf sit for about 10 minutes in the pan.
  6. Take the bread out of the loaf pan and let it cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

*If you want to be cute and make this dish a gift, you can get mini loaf pans at a general store and use about a quarter of the dough and butter, per pan.

*Honey butter is definitely recommended.

 

This final recipe is my family’s very own. Almond Roca is a treasured treat of our holiday season. It’s absolute perfection for candy, toffee and chocolate lovers.

Almond Roca

2 Tbsp. water

1 Tbsp. corn syrup

1 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 cup finely ground walnuts/almonds (Almonds are expensive for most student budgets. Walnuts are delicious with this dish and happen to be cheaper.)

1 cup chocolate chips (semi-sweet is recommended, but any other will work)

Directions:

  1. Grease a 9×9 pan with butter and cover the bottom in ground walnuts/almonds.
  2. In a small saucepan, on low/medium heat, mix water, corn syrup, butter and sugar.
  3. Increase to medium heat and bring to a boil. A candy thermometer should read at 260 degrees, or use the hard crack test.*
  4. Pour mixture over the walnuts/almonds and let sit for about one minute.
  5. Cover candy with chocolate chips. (Let chocolate soften, then spread it.)
  6. Sprinkle remaining walnuts/almonds over chocolate.
  7. Let cool completely then break into pieces for serving.

*Hard crack test: Get a cold cup of water and drop a small piece of candy in it. If you hear a solid crack, then the candy is done.

Hopefully, you can use one of these recipes or gain inspiration from them. The holidays are a joyful time to share delicious foods with each other. Enjoy being creative in the kitchen and in the warmth of your home.

a.raasch@dailyutahchronicle.com

@AbigailRaasch

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