It’s November 11th.  The perfect date to start planning the Christmas baking!

Christmas cookies have been a tradition with us since Christmas One.  We have baked thousands of cookies a year.  Tens of thousands since getting together.  It’s been a lot of butter, flour, and fun.

But the past couple of years it hasn’t been as much fun.  It’s been almost mechanical.  The bright spot has been having Gino and Elizabeth come down and help with the special family cookies, but the others have been…  well… The Same.

We’ve just made the same cookies for too many years.

So this year, we’re doing something completely different.

First is, we’re not baking as many cookies as we have in the past.  We’re doing the family traditions with Gino and Elizabeth but everything else is going to be fresh and new.

We have a recipe for German Springerle cookies.  They are cool.  Made with carved cookie forms that are pressed into the dough and allowed to dry over night before baking.  They’re leavened with Hartshorn – bakers ammonia.  I have it in the cupboard.

And we’re making Torrone – Italian nougat.  I’ve just ordered the edible rice paper.  We also have a recipe for a chocolate version.  And we’re going to make a trio of Italian nut brittles.  And authentic English Plum Pudding.  And German Stollen.  Pinenut Pie.  Spiced Nut Tart.

We’re going to make a goodly amount of candies – something that I’ve always wanted to do, but have always shied away from.

Candy-making is just outside of my comfort zone.  It’s just not something I’ve done as much of or done as well as other things.  It really is the least-forgiving of all cooking.

But what the hell.  We’re going to go for it!  This ain’t brain surgery.  The absolute worst that can happen is we screw it up and throw it out and start over again.  I did that the first time I made the Stollen.  Totally screwed it up.  And remade it perfectly.   I’m getting pretty psyched about the whole idea!

As the new recipes are finalized I’ll add them to the Christmas Cookie pages.  And we’ll take pictures and blog about them as we make them.

I can’t wait to start!