I love Christmas.  Like many people, for me Christmas is a chance to have a break, take stock of life and spend quality time with family in friends.  In recent years, my enjoyment of the festive season has heightened with the opportunity to bake – and what baking opportunities there are!

With the big day looming near (19 more sleeps!), I have not been focusing on the requisite present or Christmas card lists.  No indeed.  I have been focusing instead on baking lists.  (My priorities are pretty transparent, huh?)

I have been investigating a range of cheerful treats.  Macarons (due to my enduring obsession) is top of the list.  If lady luck is with me on Christmas Eve – when I am baking these tricky wonders – they will be included in my assortment.  Accompanying the Macaron will be a few other European cookie delights, including Palmiers, Pfeffernusse and Linzer sandwiches.  Yummy!  I can almost savour the cinnamony, spicy, peppery, jammy, and chocolately flavours already.

Complementing the cookie indulgences will be a few other rich tasting wonders.  To ensure some bite-sized snacks are at hand, I will be including some chocolate macaroon tartlets and Turkish delight into the already sugar-ladened mix.

To satisfy those more traditional tastes, I will bake a few Christmas cakes as well – for the first time, too!  My memories growing up are mostly of Lions Christmas cakes or similar purchased cakes.  Even though my mother is a fantastic baker, with so many priorities at Christmas time it was hard to cover everything.  So this will be my year.  It seems appropriate that something so traditional will be made from my first ever baking book – Women’s Weekly Cakes and Slices – which I bought in 1991.  (Great book by the way.)

In keeping with the traditional recipe selection, I will also make a handful of mince pies (request from my very English mother!).  She mumbled something about simply buying a box of Mr Kipling’s Mince Pies.  Well, I know Mr Kipling makes some exceedingly good cakes, but only home made from me!  Sorry, Mr Kipling.

With my list now completed, and a corresponding preparation and baking timetable all in order, I endeavour to accomplish all my baking tasks and the deliver the promise of a scrumptious Christmas.  Stay tuned for updates on the (hopefully) successful outcomes of each baked delight!  Bon Noël.