It's time to begin thinking about the Thanksgiving and Christmas baking we want to do, so today I thought I'd share a few mini-reviews of some of the new reads I've come across this fall. First, the 2011 Christmas with Southern Living book arrived and I just love it! The two things I most want to make are the Caramel-Pear Cake and the Baby Bananas Foster Cheesecakes. I absolutely *love* the idea of the bite-size Bananas Foster desserts—each just big enough to hold the glazed banana slice on top—and in fact these would make a great treat for a tea tray! The office Thanksgiving luncheon is just around the corner, and I'm thinking either the cake or these mini cheesecakes will be my contribution.
Christmas Cookies is a special issue from Better Homes and Gardens. As you might expect it's a winner, even though it's a bit pricey at $9.99. There are lots of pretty decorated sugar cookies, and there are also some lovely rolled, shaped and two-tone cookies. There's a great feature on thumbprint cookies and how to make variations using one simple basic dough. That's an idea I particularly like because it's such a time saver! I talked to some of my friends at work and was happy to learn they think an office-wide Cookie Exchange is a good idea. I'm going to start organizing it now!
Christmas Ideas is another Better Homes and Gardens special issue, and this one is just $5.99. I quit automatically buying these Christmas titles every year because some of the issues were starting to look alike to me, but this one had enough new ideas that I knew I wanted it. The blue-and-brown color combo is still popular, and so is the natural look with burlap and greenery. An article on "Tiny Tanenbaums" shows tiny evergreens planted in small bowls, and it struck me that teacups would work well for this idea too. There's also a cute packaging idea using paper doilies painted in bright, fun colors. That could be useful for those of us who have paper doilies left over from the year's tea parties! I know I'll be picking up more Christmas books and magazines in the weeks ahead. Do you have any to recommend?