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December 2014 A Note from Marcy

 

Butter cookies, shortbread, Hanukkah rugulah and more. It's beginning to look (and smell) a lot like the holidays. Free Sugar Cookie Hearts, free Caramel Chocolate 7-Layer Magic Bars and other bakery treats. The complete recipes are at www.betterbaking.com.


Dear Bakers and Friends,

I know, I know – how could I feature a photo of Danish Butter Cookies as the December art for BB? But it’s one of my personal traditions. I buy the tins more for the look than anything else (and they’re also great to store your own baking in). But it’s my thing. The first week of December, I make a Costco run and get a couple of tins of cookies – one Danish Butter Cookie and one of imported chocolate cookies –those delicate, chocolate-enrobed, elegant little cookies that are perfect with tea. I think I invest in all this as much for the tins as for the tradition. Then I buy one or two wooden crates of imported clementines (one for eating and one for making clementine marmalade with, a recipe that’s in the new cookbook…just sayin’). Then I tote home a box of Lindt Truffles, Black Magic Milk Chocolates and sometimes a Terry’s Orange Chocolate thingie. I might also get mints and wine gums. Then it’s onto the décor.

My living room gets spruced up with white and gold poinsettias which is my way of saying Happy Hanukkah with seasonal florals. Of course, with the many menorahs that get dusted and displayed, there’s no mistaking it’s Hanukkah in this house. And in case anyone forgets it’s ‘that time of year’, I go overboard with all manner of scents, from cinnamon incense, to oranges and vanilla beans simmering on the stove, to Bath and Body 3-wick candles in pine, vanilla and apple, all lit, first thing every morning from December lst on. I figure, if you’re going to live in Cold, Cold Canada (or Buffalo), and it’s cocooning time, you might as well do it right.

But I think what I love best about the holidays is I get to bake for me, for fun and for the sheer, unadulterated joy of it. Plus no one whines about gluten, butter or sugar in December or chides me for making them lose their discipline. In December, it’s like everyone is finally voting on the right ticket - my ticket – the one the butter stains on it. That said, if you are diabetic, gluten-intolerant, allergic to nuts or chocolate, I do understand. Moreover, if you lived with me, I would do my utmost to create treats exclusively for you.

Welcome everyone to the December Issue of BB. I’ve been baking (and cooking ) many new things but with the new cookbook just launched, time flew and those amazing things will have to have their debut in January. Although, given they’re really decadent things (Buttermilk Salted Caramel Sticky Buns, Crack Oatmeal Pie, Tollhouse Cheesecake Bars, Cinnamon Puffs – a concept so good and easy, it takes baking to a new level), I might have to wait until February. As you can appreciate, January (in food publishing) always seems to be about whole-grains, spa food and anti-oxidant cuisine. Actually, I’ve created a special Kale Salad so you can count on me to do my part. I am full of good intentions.

So for now, I am sharing some seasonal classics, such as butter cookies and rugulah. I could also take this occasion to remind you the Winter Section of The Baker’s Four Seasons is almost a cookbook in itself but that would be overtly self-promoting.  I could also remind you that the recipe archives (over 2500 recipes and increasing daily) is bursting with baking for the holidays, for gifts and for festive meals. There's Hanukkah sides and briskets, fruitcakes, shortbreads, biscotti, savoury dips and cold-weather cuisine galore. Just go exploring.  Or check out the Table of Contents to see all the recipes in the new cookbook or the book itself at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Bakers-Four-Seasons-Marcy-Goldman/dp/0986572497/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1417403926&sr=1-1

The book is in print and should be available via Kindle, as well as Itunes, Scribd, Oyster, Google Play so you can get the book as an ebook for any device you have. That said, this is a HUGE book - it's 8 1/2 by 11 inches and over 300 pages. It's beautiful, unique and honestly, a labour of you-know-what, sweat and tears I felt impassioned to do. I can't wait to hear what you think of it.

For now, the print edition is only available via Amazon.com. (Amazon changed the rules for self publishing authors and I was unable to get it in Amazon.ca or Indigo for my fellow Canadians). That said, it is also available for any bookstore (Barnes and Noble, Chapters, Indigo or Indie bookstore in your town) to special order for you. (Don't forget, with Kindle however, there is Book Match - i.e buy the Kindle version and get the print book at a huge discount)



http://www.amazon.com/Bakers-Four-Seasons-Marcy-Goldman/dp/0986572497/ref=sr_1_1_twi_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1417435486&sr=8-1&keywords=the+baker%27s+four+seasons

2014 has been quite a year and mostly a good one. I had two different web firms promise me a new site and as you can see, that didn’t eventuate. But I did get a new BB logo designed and now have a wonderful (and unused) Wordpress template that is in storage. I also had a beautiful new Mail Chimp template designed which is on hold until I have a new site but it’s always fun to have a fancy mailer you can’t use…yet.  Happily,  I published a book of poetry (and sold 4 copies), got A Passion for Baking back in print, and published my baking opus, The Baker’s Four Seasons. I'm also working on a new baking series and that novel is coming along. (hint: it's about a divorced cookbook author with three sons who also tangoes).

2014 was the year I also figured out the perfect diet (stress), new tonics (Monday hot yoga, Sunday afternoon tango and roasted buckwheat tea – oh the joys of anti-oxidants), found warm, wearable winter boots that put Ughs to shame (La Canadienne), and sussed out how to upload an Ebook to Google Play. I consulted for a new restaurant (stay tuned), found out I can indeed write in Starbucks (if I’m on deadline) and discovered that if you do one thing at a time, the odds of being both efficient and hyper ventilating less are increased many fold. Who knew? But to that end, I highly recommend Jon Kabat Zin’s Body Scan Meditation on You Tube or any of his books. Speaking of books, I also discovered while the Ipad, Netflix and Suits (for me) are a wonderful combination, I still prefer paper books versus Ipad reading. Call me old-fashioned but when it comes to books, I prefer to turn pages (and using a lilac leather bookmark) versus tapping a screen.

To keep things short and sweet, let me just say, thanks for baking with me for 17 merry winter issues of BB. I create and maintain this site, as I do my cookbooks, for you. It started as a 'why not try this' adventure to some baker/writer journey that is still unfolding.

Just so you know, I take my guests (readers, visitors) seriously as I honour my own friends and family. When I create a recipe, I am hoping it will knock your socks off, or cheer you up, or make you shine or feed your family well or uplift anyone lucky enough to be a baker’s friend.  That's also why I chose to stay in the publishing game and self-publish, as boggling as it is. I am simply unable to leave a party while I am still having fun. No one puts baker in the corner (!). When someone asks me if a writer’s life features too much solitude I have to say: no. Because you, my gentle readers (and bakers), are always in my mind’s eye. I know where you travel because I travel the same road less taken too. Other authors I speak to emphasize social media and advise me about what one has to do to keep traffic high and attention tight. These folks want Tweets, clicks, hits and tons of peeps. I prefer a village, I choose instead, to honour a tribe that is a hug and a cup of sugar away and that tribe, my betterbaking.com friends, would be...you. So thanks for hanging out and baking with me and please know, this newest cookbook is as much yours as it is mine.

With warm wishes for the holidays, happy baking, and sweet times,

Marcy Goldman

Master Baker, Author
www.BetterBaking.com
Est. 1997

Nielsen Massey Heart of Vanilla Shortbread
A wee touch of vanilla transforms this classic shortbread into vanilla/sugar butter nirvana. Cut in hearts for a festive spin. Dollar stores also sell heart shaped cookie tins, which are perfect for packing up a batch of these.


FREE Sugar Cookie Hearts Over 3344 Downloads
A gorgeous sugar cookie filled with raspberry jam or apricot preserves. Can’t beat a pretty heart.


FREE Caramel Chocolate 7-Layer Magic Bars
What you don't know about shortbread is a lot or did you think Walker's had dibs on the best shortbread on the planet? Read on.....
Melted Butter Hanukkah Rugulah
These are quintessential, heavenly rugulah which shreik Happy Hanukkah but do double duty at the Christmas Cookie exchange.

FREE New Way Famous Potato Latkes Over 15,935 downloads - need I say more?
Come on, make this the year you TRY a new potato pancake recipe. I promise you it's just as good, if not better, but your family won't disown you.

FREE Famous Coca Cola Brisket Over 1627 Downloads
A perfect Hanukkah brisket as a main dish for a family gathering.

Chocolate Mandarin Tea Blend
A decadent tea for the holidays - lovely to serve and a great gift.

Brown Sugar Fudge
A delectable confection that is far too rare these days. Fold in marshmallows, pecans and maple sugar chunks to push this over the top.

Apricot Brandy Fruit Cake Over 4561 downloads
A now legendary fruit cake for apricot lovers and people who think they don't like fruit cake.

Blueberries and Cream Shortbread
This is a beautiful cookie and one that takes well to additions of dried cranberries or dried sour cherries.
 
FREE (Free) Walker Shortbread Techniques
If you love shortbread (and Walkers), you need to read this.

 Nielsen Massey Heart of Vanilla Shortbread
Guilding the lily with the world's finest vanilla.


  

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Previous Monthly Essays from A Note From Marcy:

Essays to tickle your funny bone, wake up your inner baker, twinge on your heartstrings, or make you smile and say, ‘I’ve know the feeling; I know the place”. If you missed an essay, or a season in baking or inner sensibility, we invite you to stroll through our archived Notes From Marcy.

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