My Christmas Baking and Happy New Year

Christmas is gone but the holidays are still here. Both in Italy and in Sweden we consider the festive period over only by the 7th of January. No idea of how it is in the rest of the world. How is it?

This year we chose not to go to Italy to celebrate Christmas, so I could, among other things, bake and enjoy my own home. I had actually planned to start baking around the 10th of December but work got so hectic that I could not put my hands on any dough until the 23rd.

I was still able to do my “can’t live without” Christmas baking which were, as you probably have already guessed from the picture, Swedish ginger cookies – pepparkakor – and a very Italian panettone.

It was the first time I made pepparkakor dough. Previously I only dared using store-bought one (here it is possible to find the dough ready to be rolled out). The home-made dough needs a little preparation, as it has to rest in the fridge overnight, and requires a little extra work compared to regular cookie dough, as it is very hard to roll (and it breaks easily if softened). But in the end I managed to make quite a huge amount of pepparkakor to enjoy until the end of the holiday season.

The making of the panettone was quite an adventure, too, and even more so, as the moulds (ordered in November) arrived on the 23rd – and it takes 2 whole days to do the “quick” version of the panettone (!!!).  Well, I am one stubborn person and I get even more stubborn when it comes to my favorite hobby, baking. So I did it anyway and ended up with finally putting the panettone in the oven while cooking our Christmas eve dinner. A total delirium :-)

Not posting any recipe as I guess everyone can find tons of ginger cookies recipes on the net and, due to the rush, I also have not written down all the (many) changes I made to the original panettone recipe. However, if any of you feels like trying my version of either recipe, just write to me and I will gladly make the extra effort of remembering what I have done.

Anyway. This was my Christmas baking. What was yours?

CONSIDERATIONS: I wish you all a wonderful end of the old year and a great start of the new one, hoping you spent a nice Christmas with your families (or friends). Oh…. and, against all odds, the panettone really came out wonderful and I look forward to repeat the experiment again. Soon? Well… let’s see what 2012 will bring, hopefully some good energy and some extra time for baking. PS: I apologize for not being regular in posting and commenting on others’ blogs… trying to minimize the time spent on my pc and maximize the time spent with my lovely family. But I am still here and I intend on keeping this going also next year. Happy New Year!!!

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  1. Meg

     /  December 29, 2011

    My Grandma always used to make Pepparkakor cookies around Christmas-time. I’ll have to try them sometime :)

  2. I have seen panettone for sale here in the supermarkets but have never trusted it (I am so spoiled to my own baking that I almost can’t eat any store-bought baked goods). I have never tried it, and I think I will have to make it myself b/c I want my first impression to be a good one and don’t want to get a bad opinion b/c of a purchased loaf. What recipe did you base yours off of, or do you know of a good one I can try? I will bookmark it for next year. Your goodies look very nice! And I’m glad you were able to do this much, despite your hectic schedule with work and having to wait until Christmas day to bake the panettone. Myself, I didn’t have as much time for baking as I would have liked (never do-lol), but I did finally make my very first fruitcake, which is a Christmas tradition that most Americans gag at, but that’s because they don’t make it themselves! I have never liked fruit cake, but mine was good! It was a very long process (two months) but worth it and next time it will only take one month since I now have a fruit starter in the freezer to use to candy the fruit next time. Making the fruit starter took a month, then using it to candy the fruit took another month, but I got three fruit starters out of the process so I’m good to go for next year! Sorry for the very long comment! I understand taking some time to enjoy your family, that is so important! I’m taking a break myself and will be announcing it soon.

    • hi there Veronica. you are right to be suspicious with store bought panettone. most exported brands are not that great. but if you can get hold of a “Balocco” or “Tre Marie” industrial panettone, you may like it. They taste is very close (but of course not quite) to the panettone made fresh in professional bakeries.
      hum… you may be surprised in hearing this, but panettone and pandoro are the only Italian cakes that are still made with sourdough. I know you do not like it, so I googled a yeast-based recipe for you to try:
      no idea if it works, though. my base recipe (which I changed quite a lot) was the traditional Italian method and was in Italian. Hopefully, I will be able to post my version of it in English long before 2012 Christmas holidays.
      wow… 2 months?!? and I thought 2 days were a long time. what is this fruit starter exactly? is it something fermented? (yum!) hope you will post about it soon. and hope your break will be more like slowing down than a total break. don’t want to miss you and your posts, woman! :)

  3. When we lived in Miami, Florida, many people celebrated until the 7th of January. Here in New Hampshire they don’t tend to do that as much. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Your holiday baking seems to have been a success.

  4. Still baking away I see! :) I’ve missed you. Love your plate!


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