The days between Christmas and New Year's Eve always make me feel a little fuzzy-headed. What am I supposed to be doing again? There are no more presents to wrap and I've actually had a chance to put my feet up! Perhaps I should embrace this small respite, because 2018 holds a big change for us. We've purchased new (old!) house, which you can read a little about here. I'm so excited about this new adventure, and over-the-moon that I will have my own little studio in which to bake and photograph sweet things. It's a dream come true, really!

I'm raising a toast to all of this newness with these little Champagne Gelées, which are so simple to whip up. They are sweet and boozy, and your reward for making it to the bottom of the glass is a chocolate truffle!

Merry Christmas Eve, friends! I hope you've enjoyed my daily posts as much as I have enjoyed baking and sharing them. My final advent treat is yet another shortbread cookie recipe, but one can never have too many if you ask me. These were my husband's favorite this season. He loves all things toffee, and even though these cookies don't have an ounce of toffee in them, the toasted bits of coconut may trick you into believing they do.

Yesterday I woke up with a powerful craving for red velvet cake, but with all the gifts to wrap and tidying to do, I knew I wouldn't have time to create a fancy layer cake. I decided to make a bundt cake because it's quick, and I'd have an hour to do other things while it baked.

Wow, talk about tasty! A thick layer of cream cheese filling runs through the center of the cake, and it tastes like a cross between vanilla custard and cheesecake! It is lovely inside and out - what more can I say?

We're just days away from Christmas! Are you ready? I've not wrapped a single present yet, but I have been making scores of cookies. These Lemon Sparklers have been a crowd favorite with their crunchy exterior and cake-like interior. The dough is rolled in coarse sugar and as they bake, they puff and crackle in the oven. They glitter like jewels and look extra-pretty stacked on a serving plate.

I've been hesitant to try my hand at homemade mincemeat, and now I'm not sure why. Perhaps it was mention of suet in many recipes (and I haven't been acquainted with that ingredient since this 2010 post!). Or maybe it was the seemingly endless list of dried fruits to procure. I'm happy to report that I found all the ingredients needed at my local grocery store, and it's not difficult to make! It's also SO satisfying to check that item off of my baking bucket list!

If there were ever an opportune time to make this bread, it is now.  First of all - it's Christmastime! And this bread was named for the season by our Scandinavian neighbors. I've been told that Norwegians cannot imagine a Christmas season without Julekage. (Is this true?) Second, at the end of the baking day you'll have three gorgeous golden loaves, which means one to keep and two to give.

I'd almost decided to forgo our tradition of panettone French toast this year and make these panettone muffins instead, but I've reconsidered. This bread deserves more than just one appearance at our table this month. It's only available to us in December, which makes it even more special to enjoy while we can.

Last week I purchased a loaf studded with candied citrus and dried cranberries. I felt it was destined for traditional French toast, until I remembered a favorite recipe for baked french toast.

I was inspired to make these funny guys after reading about nisse (or tomtar) from Scandinavian folklore. These little fabled creatures have long white beards and pointed caps, and they are associated with winter and Christmastime. In older versions of lore most nisse are benevolent, but if they are mistreated then trouble is not far behind. Modern versions of nisse are said to bring Christmas presents in Sweden and Norway, like Santa Claus!

These delicious salty-sweet squares are a wonderful hybrid of dark chocolate brownies and peanut butter candy. They are studded throughout with roasted salted peanuts which give them texture and crunch. The hardest part about this recipe? Waiting for the bars to cool so you can slice and eat them!

Eating divinity candy at Christmastime is a tradition here in the south, and it seems like everyone has a beloved family recipe. The recipe I use is not a family heirloom, but is from a 1987 Hershey's cookbook that is filled with vintage recipes. Like all divinity recipes, it uses simple ingredients, but it can be temperamental to make. Similar to meringue cookies, divinity should be made on dry days with low humidity. Too much humidity will prevent the candy from setting.

When the weather is cold and dry and my hair has enough static electricity to stand on end, I know it's the perfect low-humidity day for making meringues. It's not hard to whip up a big batch, and I'd been dreaming of pink, green and red cookies for a few days. I piped them in all shapes and sizes, and used white nonpareils for texture on some of them, too. All piled together they remind me of Christmas tree ornaments.

There must be a million different melting snowman treats on the blogosphere, so when my friends at Food Network approached me to make a melting snowman cake, I wanted it to be something fresh and different. I'd never seen a melting snowman bundt cake, so that became the plan. One bundt cake turned into two stacked high, so we ended up with a double bundt cake that will feed the masses at your next holiday party!

Rumor has it that today is National Cocoa Day! I'm not sure that pink strawberry hot cocoa was what they had in mind when the holiday was created, but that's okay. It's delicious and makes a super cute gift-in-a-jar.

I look forward to purchasing a big loaf of panettone on December 23rd, because it makes really delicious and special French toast for Christmas Eve breakfast. This year I'll be breaking that tradition because I've found something even better! These panettone muffins are divine and they hold all the distinctive flavor panettone is known for. I'm hooked!

This is one recipe that I've been meaning to add to my recipe index for ages. Back in October I asked my Facebook friends what kind of traditional holiday sweets they cook up in December. My Ohioan friend Tina said "It's not Christmas in Ohio without buckeyes." That made me reflect upon the last time I had them, which was almost too long ago to recall! I added them to my advent list that very moment.

Stirring up a batch of bubbling mulled cider is one of the coziest ways to get into the holiday spirit. Last year my mother-in-law gave me an ornament filled with mulling spices that she found at a local Christmas market. It was a lovely little thing to get, and so useful! I knew it was something I'd like to give because I enjoyed receiving it so much.

I recently had a wow moment when I first sampled whipped shortbread. It has the buttery flavor you'd expect from Scottish shortbread, but none of the denseness. These cookies are much more delicate with a texture that practically melts in your mouth. After making my first batch I kept urging anyone in close proximity 'YOU HAVE TO TRY THESE' which was really bossy but I felt it was in their best interest.

Bûche de Noël is one of my favorite traditional Christmas cakes to make because it is equal parts delicious and beautiful. It's a holiday centerpiece you can eat! I've made a few different versions over the years including 2015's Mulled Wine Stump de Noël, a Mint Chocolate Cheesecake Yule Log in 2013, and as far back as 2009 (my first year blogging!) with a step-by-step version that still sees a lot of traffic each December.

I'm happy to add another flavor to the list with this Black Forest Swiss roll. Tart black cherry plays well with dark chocolate sponge cake, and whipped vanilla buttercream tips to lighter side and gives the cake balance.

Bags of pfeffernüse cookies start appearing in the seasonal aisle at my local grocery store around December 1st, and it's a welcome sight. I've yet to try a scatch-made version of the cookie (it's on my list) because I always go a little overboard purchasing my favorite ready-made variety. This year I bought a literal armload, so with such a surplus I've been incorporating them into some of my favorite recipes. Like this one!

My little cousin Hannah is participating in a 4-H Christmas cookie competition, so she came over last Saturday and we had a baking day. We put our heads together and came up with these eye-popping green and red sandwich cookies, which I think is a winning recipe no matter the official outcome.

During assembly, Hannah commented 'they kind of look like macarons except these are waaaay easier to make!'  Never a truer word spoken, my friends.

I look forward to holiday entertaining all year long, but the stress that sometimes comes with being the hostess with the mostest is very real. That's why I rely on recipes like panna cotta which you can throw together in minutes and store in the refrigerator until party time. This eggnog version could not be easier because it's made with your favorite prepared eggnog!

This was my first time making kringle. The recipe I bookmarked included a headnote explaining how it symbolizes Danish hygge - the comfortable, good life. This intrigued me. Doesn't everyone want to taste the comfortable, good life? (Yes!) The recipe was spare with instruction and offered no step pictures, so I almost didn't make it. I didn't know what kind of end result to expect! After researching many different kringle recipes online, I decided that I could read between the lines well enough. I'm so glad I forged ahead!

Say hello to my new favorite Christmas tradition. It is a glorious pastry that makes a nice breakfast or afternoon pick-me-up. It has several steps but it's not too hard to make, and I'm including all kinds of instructions and visual cues (a video!) so you can make it at home, too.

Like clockwork, December arrives and the desire to make fudge is almost as strong as my craving to eat it. I think fudge is a perfect metaphor for December: intense, sweet, rich. Multum in parvo, translated 'a great deal in a small space'.

That's exactly how I'd describe this cranberry-orange fudge which is packed with strips of fat sticky orange peel and tart dried cranberries. The fruit is suspended in creamy white chocolate candy, and slicing it into squares is real neat. You get a different cross-section design of orange peel and cranberry with each piece.

My list of treasured Christmas traditions is extensive to say the least and probably reads something like Buddy the Elf's to-do list, so thank heavens I don't have to choose a favorite. However, I'll admit that gingerbread house-making is waaaay up there, near the top!

This year Wilton invited me to create a gingerbread house using their ready-made gingerbread kits and decorations. What a treat! Having all the pieces ready to assemble made the process so efficient and I could focus all my creativity on decorating, which is my favorite part.

'Tis the Season to be Jolly!

And 'tis the season for the annual Sprinkle Bakes Advent. That means 24 consecutive days of treats, which always makes December a little more special here than any other month. This year I'm focusing on beloved Christmas traditions. Going forward you can expect to see delicious treats inspired by seasonal flavors, with a little winter folklore in the mix.

I'm kicking things off with a cookie that very well may be Santa's favorite - gingersnaps! This version is crisp around the edges, chewy in the center and it has a secret ingredient that makes it absolutely crave-worthy.
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