Baking your way through a new holiday tradition

Growing up my sister and I met another family at school and quickly became inseparable. We made it through new schools, different classes, the crazy teenage years and through university. The eldest daughter was a bridesmaid and the youngest daughter sang at my wedding. Despite all the changes in all our lives, we’ve still remained close and always get together over the holidays.

After nearly 20 years, this has to be one of my favourite traditions of all time. Each year we pick a date, several recipes and have a marathon baking day that normally lasts an entire afternoon and evening. This year it felt so different to me because there’s a new generation taking part in the tradition. After catching up, my friends mom mentioned that when we started baking together she was my age – I lost it. I don’t know what it was that made me so emotional, probably the fact that these people have been family for almost as long as I can remember.

I’m normally a pretty emotional person, happy or sad, it’s easy to see on my face how I’m feeling. I went through all the recipes, helped prep and bake, but I couldn’t shake the feeling of disbelief that I was sitting in on a tradition that my mom did with her kids. It might seem silly but one day I hope that I can pass on the same tradition to my son and grandchildren, if I’m lucky enough.

Step 1

We always start the afternoon with pizza and pasta from our favourite local restaurant, plus some wine for good measure. It’s important to get organized before starting or you’ll have chaos in the kitchen.

Step 2

Since we picked our recipes and got all the ingredients before our baking day, all we had to do was divide up the tasks. If you’re doing several recipes take turns doing the dishes, it’s funny how many measuring cups you need when you’re making a bunch of recipes.

Our Favourite Recipes:

  1. Sour Cream Coffee Cake
  2. Lemon Loaf
  3. Millionaire Bars
  4. Shortbread
  5. Chippit Squares
  6. Pecan Balls
  7. Gingerbread Cookies
  8. Cinnamon Roll
  9. Mint Chocolate Cookies
  10. Cranberry Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Step 3

We try to prep and schedule each recipe so we can get as much in the oven as quickly as possible. We normally try to make the recipes that take the longest to bake first and, while that’s cooking, we prep all the others.

Step 4

Dishes, dishes and more dishes. We’ve got the cleanup down to an art at this point – we have a couple people drying, putting things away and packing up all the treats in containers.

Step 5

My personal favourite part of the whole evening – the taste test. Once we’ve finished everything for the night we normally pick our favourite treat and sit down with a nice cup of tea.



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