I love to bake. Everyone in my family and at work know me as "the baker" in the family. Naturally, I put my baking skills to use around the holidays to create baskets of yummy baked goods for my loved ones. This year I decided to give my sweet treat baskets a theme: Sweets from Around the World.
I have already made Greek butter cookies. Here is the recipe I used. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/greek-butter-cookies/
I will be making scones. Here is a recipe I like. http://britishfood.about.com/od/cakesandbaking/r/scones.htm
I will be making peppermint meringues (very festive for the holiday). http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/peppermint_meringue_cookies/
Taiwanese pineapple cakes. Here is an adaptation of traditional Taiwanese pineapple tarts that I like. http://www.eatthelove.com/2011/02/pineapple-cakes/. Since I live in Vermont and know I can't find winter melon (whatever that is) I started trolling the web for alternatives to winter melon (as it is an essential ingredient in this recipe). You can substitute winter melon with the white rind of a watermelon (the part between the red, yummy meat of the melon and the green skin.) I also use this part of the melon when making watermelon pickles (another A-M-A-zing recipe I will share at a later time).
Alfajores (Latin American cookies). Here is the recipe I want to use. http://www.christmas-cookies.com/recipes/recipe469.alfajores.html. I will sprinkle the top of each cookie with green or red sugar crystals to make them a little more festive.
Each sweet treat basket will have an orange in it. My mom used to put an orange in each of our stockings every year (my brother, sister and I). I always wondered why so I decided to research this tradition. Here is what I found. http://www.ask.com/question/meaning-of-orange-in-christmas-stocking. I was also told that giving the gift of an orange served as wish of good health for the next year for the recipient. Whatever the root of this tradition is, I like it and I will continue it with my own children.
I am very excited to give these yummy gifts to my friends and family. We'll see how people like them.