The holidays are upon us, and we head into the kitchen to show those around us how much we love them — by cooking for them, of course. Whether it’s an elaborate dinner, a delicious cake or even some simple cookies, cooking for folks says we care about them. And the holidays are the perfect time to do just that.
My Perfect Red Velvet Cake is a labor of love. This quirky Southern classic takes a little time to put together, but the end result is worth every second. The delicious cake gets its signature flavor from a little cocoa powder and buttermilk. While vinegar might seem like an odd cake ingredient, the acid helps give the cake a little extra lift by reacting with the baking soda. It also helps give the crimson confection an even brighter pop of red color. The recipe makes a 2-layer cake, so to make the stunning cake on the cover and seen on page 33, I simply doubled the recipe for both the cake and the frosting.
I’m a big fan of the sugar cookies at one of those national decorated-cookie chains, so when my dear friend Christy Jordan of SouthernPlate.com shared this recipe telling me these tasted just like them, I knew I would be a fan. These are the perfect chewy sugar cookies and are amazingly easy. The hint of lemon extract is exactly what makes them taste like the famous ones and doesn’t really taste like lemon once it’s all mixed in. These are great rolled in holiday colored sprinkles, like the picture above, but are perfect any time of year!
Looking for a cake but don’t have time for all the layers and fuss? The Eggnog Pound Cake might be just what you need. It has tons of great eggnog flavor with a hint of nutmeg for that extra kick. It’s quick, easy and will no doubt be appreciated by those on the receiving end.
The Pecan Thumbprint Cookies are another easy cookie perfect for spreading holiday cheer! I added finely chopped pecans to a classic thumbprint cookie dough to give them even more flavor. You can top them with your favorite jam, jelly or preserve. I made these with strawberry jam, blackberry jam and orange marmalade and loved how deliciously different each one was.
Regardless of what you make, taking time to make a treat for your neighbors, family and friends is what this season is all about. This Christmas, my wish is for you to pull your family closer, hold them longer and squeeze them tighter. And no matter where it is or who you’re with, I hope you find your way home this holiday season.
Merry Christmas, y’all!