Baking and cooking are holiday essentials, whether you’re the person preparing the food or eating it — or both. For those of us who spend the holidays in the kitchen, baking and cooking presents an opportunity to feel good about ourselves by providing for loved ones. The best part is that you don’t have to be a culinary professional to plate a satisfying dish, and we have cultivated a list of recipes to help you build a delicious holiday menu.
Benefits of Baking and Cooking with Family During the Holidays
Why are baking and cooking so popular around the holidays, to the point that they’ve become generations-spanning traditions for many families? The answer is simple once you understand the benefits that baking and cooking can spread amongst friends and family.
- It brings people together. The holidays are about gathering together and the kitchen often acts as a hub of activity, bringing multiple generations together to connect and work together for something as simple as preparing a pan of cookies.
- It’s an opportunity to learn something new. When you have multiple generations in one space together, they generally have much to teach one another. That’s especially true in the kitchen, where older generations are able to impart the basics of baking and younger generations can remind them that fun is an essential ingredient to baking.
- It is a shared experience. Unless you are preparing an entire holiday meal by yourself, teamwork is critical to the success of any gathering. It’s a chance for multiple generations to work together, from bringing dishes to preparing foods in the kitchen.
Easy Christmas Cookie Recipes
No holiday is complete without cookies. In fact, cookies are an opportunity to get creative and flash your festive spirit. If you are looking to whip up a batch for friends and family — or even for yourself — we have a handful of simple recipes to get the cookie dough balls rolling.
Classic Sugar Cookies
Sugar cookies are a blank canvas waiting to be decorated with frosting and sprinkles. This sugar cookie recipe produces four dozen delicious morsels.
- 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 ½ cups white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix together flour, baking soda and baking powder in a small bowl.
- In another bowl, mix the butter and sugar until smooth, then beat in the egg and vanilla. Gradually blend the dry ingredients from step one to this mixture.
- Once mixed, roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into small balls and place on a baking sheet.
- Bake 8-10 minutes at 375 degrees until cookies are golden brown.
Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies
Chocolate and peanut butter. The perfect combination, as this recipe proves.
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- ½ cup creamy peanut butter
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 36 unwrapped chocolate kisses
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Beat ½ cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, peanut butter, butter and egg together in a large bowl until well blended.
- Stir in flour, baking soda and baking powder and mix until dough forms.
- Shape dough into one-inch balls and roll in a small amount of sugar.
- Evenly space balls on a cookie sheet and bake 8-10 minutes until golden brown.
- Immediately press one chocolate kiss into the center of each cookie.
You can’t go wrong with gingerbread cookies — as long as you follow the recipe. Full of flavor and easy to bake, these can be used for everything from a simple snack to a gingerbread house.
- ¾ cup butter, softened
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- ¾ cup molasses
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Mix butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, approximately 5-7 minutes. Add egg and molasses to mixture.
- Combine flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in small bowl. Gradually add to wet mixture and mix well.
- Cover dough and refrigerate until easy to handle, about 4 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Roll dough to approximately ⅛ inch thickness and cut with cookie cutters. Place each shape one-inch apart on baking sheet.
- Bake 8-10 minutes until edges are firm.
Holiday Meal Ideas
You don’t have to be a chef to prepare a quality holiday meal. If you’re looking for inspiration, try any of these easy recipes and you’ll be well on your way to preparing your own feast.
Mashed potatoes make the perfect accompaniment to just about any meal, and no holiday feast is complete without them. Try this recipe for buttery, creamy potatoes.
- 4 pounds of potatoes (russet or Yukon gold work best)
- 3 cloves of garlic
- ⅓ cup melted, salted butter
- 1 cup milk
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Peel and quarter potatoes and place in a pot of cold, salted water.
- Add garlic and bring to a boil. Cook uncovered approximately 15 minutes until tender. Drain well.
- Heat milk on the stove top until warm.
- Add butter to potatoes and start mashing. Pour heated milk in gradually and continue mashing until potatoes reach a creamy consistency.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve!
This simple cranberry sauce recipe is certain to be requested year after year.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
- Rinse cranberries in cold water, discarding any damaged berries.
- Combine water and sugar in saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
- Add cranberries to the saucepan and heat until boiling. Reduce heat and simmer approximately 10 minutes or until most of the cranberries have burst.
- Remove the saucepan from heat and let cool. Once at room temperature, chill in the refrigerator until sauce thickens.
Brussels Sprouts With Bacon
Every holiday meal needs a vegetable. Brussels sprouts may be an unconventional choice, but this simple preparation may even win over the pickiest of eaters.
- 1 pound of Brussels sprouts, halved
- 4 strips thick-cut bacon
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ large white onion, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cook bacon in skillet until crispy. Remove and roughly chop.
- In the same skillet with the bacon fat, melt the butter.
- Once melted, add onion and Brussels sprouts, stirring occasionally 8-10 minutes until sprouts are golden brown.
- Season with salt and pepper and add bacon to skillet. Stir and serve immediately.
Herb Roasted Turkey Breast
If you’re fretting over the thought of preparing an entire turkey, you can rest easy. This turkey breast recipe gets right to the good stuff and simplifies the whole process.
- 1, 6-7 pound turkey breast
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons dry mustard
- 1 tablespoon rosemary
- 1 tablespoon sage
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 cup dry white wine
- Preheat the oven to 325. Place turkey breast skin side up on a rack in the roasting pan.
- Combine garlic, mustard, herbs, salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice to make a paste.
- Spread half the paste on the skin and the other half on the meat underneath the skin.
- Pour the wine into the bottom of the roasting pan.
- Roast the turkey in the oven for 1 ½ to 2 hours until the skin is golden brown and the internal temperature is 165 degrees.
- Cover with foil and rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Carve and serve with the pan juices.
The Holiday Season at Edgemere
At Edgemere, we like to celebrate our residents all year round, but we love to celebrate the holidays, as well. That means ensuring our dining venues offer chef-prepared meals that live up to what our residents have come to expect around the holidays. Events and activities are also essential to community life at Edgemere, where we work to provide engaging events and activities, especially around the holidays when times can be tough for older adults.
If you’d like to learn more about Edgemere or see for yourself what makes our community so special, please complete the form below or call us at 214-265-9100.