Have I told you that before? I really, really love to bake. If I'm stressed or out of sorts, baking is what brings me back. Of course, I love to eat what I make, but I love more to give it away. That's my thing. If you're recovering from being in the hospital, I'll bake you some cookies. Just had a baby? I'll bring you some muffins.
A few years back, we started a tradition of a Holiday Dessert Party. It started with everyone coming over for coffee one night before Christmas, and I would put out a big spread of desserts. It's evolved into a full party, where all the guests bring appetizers or drinks, and I still make all the desserts. I start baking the week before, and have so much fun making cookies, cakes, creme brulee, tarts. I always make my family's traditional cookies: pink spritz with peppermint; white spritz with lemon; and green spritz with peanut butter and almond. These are amazing and actually called Velvet Cookies. They really do melt in your mouth. I also make thumbprint cookies. My mom always put candied cherries in the middle, but I put chocolate chips or a dollop of raspberry jam.
For my husband's firefighter friends, I always make a Red Velvet Cake, although this year I made cupcakes. I also made vanilla cupcakes with ganache frosting. So simple, and so good. My favorite go-to recipe when I want to bring a dessert with a bit of "wow" to a party is my Caramel Macadamia Nut Bars. Those are to die for.
I've still got a few leftovers in the fridge. They're great for late at night. If you're interested in any of my recipes, let me know. I love to share.