It’s December and my holiday baking is in full swing. This week, I baked fig and orange sweet buns and made 8 dozen soon-to-be-on-the-blog hazelnut-orange cookies for the neighborhood cookie exchange (yes, orange plays a starring role in my holiday baking, as you will see below). I also picked up paper baking molds to try my hand at Panettone this weekend. In addition to all of this baking, there’s some annual holiday treats that I would be remiss not to bake again this year…it’s tradition, after all.
Gibassier are a Christmas morning tradition in my house. My sister and I originally discovered them during our Christmas escape to Portland in 2013. Best consumed with a steaming coffee drink, these yeasty fists of dough are subtly flavored with olive oil and orange blossom water and studded with candied orange peel and aniseed. Once they emerge hot from the oven, they are given a bath of clarified butter and coated with sugar, giving them a sandy crust worth licking from one’s fingers. If I could pop one of these in my mouth every day along with my morning cuppa, life would be grand, but for the sake of my waistline, I limit baking them to once a year.
In 2016, my sister, S, was inconsolable upon hearing I was forgoing the annual holiday Gibassier to try my hand at Christmas marzipan stollen. If this fruit-studded yeast bread didn’t pass muster, I’d receive coal in my stocking for sure. Fortunate for me, it was a holiday triumph, the downside being that sis now expects Gibassier AND Stollen each Christmas morning.
An Eccles cake is a small, heavily spiced pastry filled with currants and candied orange peel wrapped in a flaky (rough puff) pastry. The Eccles cake may have been created about 20 years before Dickens was even born, yet these are just the type of sweetmeat I imagine gracing Mr. Fezziwig’s overladen Christmas Eve party table. So, if you aren’t tired of candied orange peel after the Gibassier and Stollen, these may just be the ideal holiday treat for you.
Coffee Caramel Macadamia Pie
If you aren’t planning to make figgy pudding to finish off your holiday meal, I’d like to suggest a slice of this oh-so-sinful tart as an alternative. This pie is inspired by Hawaiian coffee-glazed macadamia nuts – a little salty, a bit sweet, with a dash of coffee to compliment the buttery richness of the nuts…all encased in a flaky pastry crust. A small slice is the ideal ending to a big holiday meal. And, no orange!