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Baking Ahead For The Holidays
Entertaining Ideas
Ingredients

Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Kwanza, Natale, Chanukah or the Winter Solstice, why not make the upcoming holiday season easier for yourself by baking some goodies ahead of time and tucking them away in your freezer for get-togethers or parties. Baking ahead means you have more time for you—to enjoy some pampering or just relaxing—and it can even help you stroke some friends off your gift list, when you give them some of those delicious sweets. Just put an assortment into a decorative tin or basket, wrap with some clear cellophane, and tie some festive ribbons to complete the gift; you’ll have a welcome holiday gift in no time!

Produce Depot is a great place to pick up your baking ingredients, including nuts, dried fruits and a great selection of dairy products that will ensure you end up with melt-in-your-mouth sweets for the holidays. Whether you want to enjoy the treats yourself or share them with others, now is a great time to head to the store with your baking list and get started. Put on your apron and some festive music and let’s get baking!

Below are some recipes that are easy, delicious and freeze well.

Raisin Oat Cookies

This recipe is an oldie that has been revised and is low in fat, high in fiber and chewy and moist. Simply put—these cookies are yummy!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
  • ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup reduced fat butter, or margarine that is not fat free
  • ¼ cup buttermilk or ½ cup non-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup Thompson or dark raisins

Aunt Pedge’s Shortbread Cookies

These cookies were a favourite of my Aunt Pedge and they melt in your mouth—they are a delicious, decadent shortbread!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound butter, softened
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup icing sugar
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • Coloured sugar for sprinkling

Lemon Icebox Cookies

These cookies taste like a lemony snap and you just can’t stop once you start eating them.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • grated rind of half lemon
  • juice of half freshly squeezed lemon
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt

Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Bars

Chocolaty, chewy and scrumptious! These bars can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week, although they won’t last that long.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cups hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1 ½ cups chocolate chips
Instructions

Raisin Oat Cookies

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 325 F. In a medium bowl, combine oats, flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix well. In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, butter or margarine, buttermilk or yogurt and the vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until ingredients are well blended. Add the oat mixture to the brown sugar mixture and stir well until the dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in the raisins. Fill teaspoonfuls of dough and roll them into balls. Place the balls two inches apart on a large cookie sheet that has been lightly greased or a non-stick cookie sheet. Flatten cookies with a fork and shape a little so they are rounded. Dip the fork in cold water to prevent it from sticking to the cookies. Bake for 13 to 14 minutes, until the tops of the cookies are just slightly dry. Do not over-bake! Remove from tray immediately and let cool. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Aunt Pedge’s Shortbread Cookies

Instructions

In a bowl, mix butter, sugar until well blended. Add the flour a little at a time and mix first with a spoon, then work it by hand until you can combine the mixture into a ball. Divide this dough into four portions. Roll each portion into a log about 1 ¼ inches in diameter. Roll in waxed paper to facilitate rolling. Chill in the refrigerator for an hour so that it helps to retain the shape and makes it easier to slice dough. Slice chilled dough into ¼ inch rounds. Place rounds on ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with coloured sugar and bake at 325 F for 10 to 12 minutes. Do not over-bake. Makes about 6 dozen.

Lemon Icebox Cookies

Instructions

In a bowl, cream together butter and sugar; beat in egg, lemon zest and lemon juice. Set aside. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually blend the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture. Divide the dough in half. Shape dough into a log about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap or wax paper and chill thoroughly about 2 to 3 hours until dough is very firm. With a sharp knife, slice dough into 1/8-inch thick rounds. Place on non-stick cookie sheets and bake in a 375 F oven for 8 to 9 minutes. Keep an eye on these and don’t over-bake them. Let cool for a few minutes on baking sheet; remove to racks to cool completely. Makes about 4 dozen.

Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Bars

Instructions

In a large bowl, cream together butter and shortening; beat in granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt; blend the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips. Mix well. Chill dough in refrigerator for about 20 minutes. Using your finger tips, spread the dough evenly into greased 15 x 10-inch jelly roll pan. Bake in oven at 375 F for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and still slightly under baked in the center. Let cool slightly in pan on rack; cut into bars while still warm. Let cool completely before removing from pan. Makes about 42 to 50 bars. *** To toast the hazelnuts, spread them onto a baking sheet and bake at 350 F for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden and fragrant. Transfer hazelnuts to a clean tea towel. Fold the tea towel over and rub vigorously to remove skins. Let cool and then chop coarsely.

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