December 2017 A Note from Marcy
Welcome to the most festive month of baking and the December 2017 Issue of Betterbaking.com. Enjoy an incredible, crowd-pleasing, show-stopping Chocolate Chip Hanukkah Challah plus Free!! Classic Hanukkah Sugar Cut Out Cookies and New Way Famous Potato Latkes with over 28,500 Downloads, Cheese Crowns for Hanukkah and so much more! This is not baking; this is life. All brought to you by Betterbaking.com. Happy Holidays and happy baking.
Dear Bakers and Friends,
Welcome to the December 2017 Issue of Bettebaking.com. I feel like I am brimming to the point where I pretend to contain it just so I pass as a regular citizen. No one talks on the phone anymore (they text emoticons) so you can bet that happy, smiling, irrationally joyful people like me are hardly in fashion. But when I am with my baking friends, I'm in good company. December is oh-so-cozy inside and better yet, there’s no one chiding me to “go outside and play this sunny day”. Instead it’s perfectly legitimate to stay indoors and bake. And bake I do.
This time of year is also inherently nostalgic and the other day I caught myself remembering a moment some thirty years ago. I was a relative newly-wed and as was somewhat a regular thing in my early-twenties, I was between jobs. To make the task of job-hunting worst it was almost the holiday season plus I had a tenacious virus that had me in bed for days. Ten days in, I felt almost surreal. Then I saw a newspaper (!) ad saying there was to be a free Christmas baking lesson at a local department store. I don’t know what it was that made me drag myself out of bed, shower, dressed, bundle up and head across town. I was sick, job-less and feeling beyond weird but magnetically pulled to go to that baking lesson. The guest baker was Janice Murray Gill and she was a Canadian baking legend. Capable as only a Maritimer could be, Ms. Gill put her captive audience of twenty, ensconced at a baking counter between the Waterford and Wedgwood, through her Christmas baking paces.
In short time and short work, a ton of flour morphed into sweet yeasted candy canes, fruitcake, shortbread, sugar cookies and a myriad of holiday morning brunch dishes. Fascinated, I watched as she crushed candy canes with a rolling pin and sprinkled the sweet dust on dough. Cranberries were crushed to a crimson tide that decked out cranberry crumb bars and the shortbread? My goodness, she kneaded it like bread for ages and it came out uniquely tough but tender, as well as crumbly, sandy, buttery – amazing. I never saw anyone make shortbread like that. I remember finally warming up, forgetting my cold and blocked ears, and letting my down coat loop on my chair and finally removed my woolly hat. I forgot I was unemployed and nursing the flu (the chill went right out of me). I remember thinking with absolute clarity: THIS is what I want to do. It’s not a hobby I love. I want to bake as a career. Somehow, some way, I would find a way to make this happen.
And that is what I did. I went home and threw out the job clippings from the (yes) Classified Ad section of the (print) newspaper. Instead, I ordered a portable convection oven and an extra freezer from Sears. I bought fifty pounds of carrots and laid in a stock of chocolate chips and frozen blueberries (for Lawsuit Muffins which had yet to be invented). I made business cards which cost me as much as my month's rent (no Vista Print in those days either!). Happily, I also recovered from that strange cold soon after that baking lesson and when I was totally on the mend, I started to bake like a house afire or a woman on a mission. On non-baking days, I visited restaurants and cafes, toting muffin and cake samples and didn't stop until I had enough customers to keep me busy and earning. The first thing I bought was a Canada Savings Bond and a second-hand piano (which, if you read my column now know was purchased by Arcade Fire when I advertised it on Craigslist). The rest, as they say, is history. I became a professional baker, food writer, cookbook author, baking teacher and host of this baking website.
That Christmas baking lesson wasn’t the first time I knew I loved baking; that started at age six or seven. But that baking lesson on that day was the lightening rod moment of knowing exactly what I was meant to be. It was like finding extra gravity which I sorely needed at the time and has since and evermore been grateful for. Searching for your purpose on the planet? That's common and most human. Knowing what it is? Priceless.
Baking has been one of many soulmates I have and one I fall in love with it again every time I have eight good hours sleep. It’s an overdue debt but let me just say that I am forever grateful to Janice Murray Gill, wherever she may be, for sharing the magic of Christmas baking with this Jewish baker and inspiring me, as she did, did her best to keep baking legacies alive.
Happy Holidays all, be grateful, be generous, and be kind. It will never steer you wrong and your baking will be better for it.
This is not baking; this is life.
Master Baker, Author
Free!! Classic Hanukkah Sugar Cut Out Cookies
What's a holiday without pretty cookies? This is a perfect cookie dough: it's easy, rolls out like a dream, tastes buttery and crisp and is up to a whole lot of decorating.
FREE New Way Famous Potato Latkes Over 28,500 Downloads!
What's Hanukkah without latkes?
If you’ve ever visited an Ikea you’ll notice the food part is a little strange. They serve hotdogs, pizza and chips, ice-cream and a whole lot of cinnamon buns. Why cinnamon buns? I always wondered. Then I found out that Swedes manage almost a cinnamon bun-a-day with a national consumption of three hundred and sixty-one cinnamon buns per year, per person? That’s why Ikea serves them! They’re the national treat. Ikea bows to American tastes by omitting the cardamom, raisins and slathering on white fondant. By contrast authentic Swedish cinnamon buns have cardamom (but you can leave it out), pearl sugar on top (and no fondant). These are also lighter, more feathery buns and are made with less butter, less sugar, no eggs and no vanilla. They are: wonderful.
Cheese Crowns for Hanukkah
Beautiful flakey cheese crowns!
Of course you don't have to wait for Hanukkah to enjoy these flakey, delicious sweet cheese pastries. These are like mini-Danish but they're easy to make and satisfying with coffee or tea. Want to impress? Bake these! You can also add raspberry preserves if you like to the cheese filling.
Chocolate Chip Hanukkah Challah
This stops traffic - seriously it is the nicest, sweet challah you will ever make (except for Apple Challah). It's like brioche!
I brought this fantastic bread to a special tango class taught by world-wide tango legend, Pablo Veron, who graces Montreal with these classes every once in awhile. Attending dancers came from all over North America. The dancing was sublime and this challah was devoured between steps, in hearty shreds with espresso on the side. Total drama - amazing bread!
Sour Cherry Rugulah
What is more Hanukkah-ish (aside from donuts, sweet cheese desserts and latkes) than rugulah ? This dough recipe alone is worth every bite and calorie and the filling is addictive. If you don't have sour cherry preserves, use the little trick in the recipe to help you out.!
Ikea Cinnamon Buns or KanelBullar Bake a batch of these and you'll see why Ikea cinnamon buns are legendary. A perfect holiday bit of baking.
Chocolate Chip Hanukkah Challah Soooo addictive that I can't be trusted around these. Every batch I make goes out the door asap!
Each year I work on my shortbread craft, making it better than ever. Walkers? Take heed - I'm on your shortbread tails!.
Blue Ribbon Banana Bread Best Banana Bread
A perfect recipe for gift baking. This recipes makes a huge loaf so you can freeze one or gift it or make half the recipe. It bakes up like a dream, is relatively low-fat but tender, moist and fragrant –the sort of stuff that you find in big, hunky slices on the kitchen counter at midnight or at those coffee pop-up trucks where you can buy amazing banana cake, nicely wrapped in cello paper, ready to tuck into with a cup of hot coffee. Absolutely one of my best recipes.
Marcy Goldman Cookbooks Holiday Gifts!
I also take this time to remind you that my books are all for sale in print (except Holiday Cookies) and ebooks at Amazon, Chapters Indigo and orderable from your favorite independent bookstore. Remember you get 4 months free of BB with any book you purchase (just send me the electronic receipt). In the new year, any new cookbooks of mine will only come with ONE- one-month free of BB Recipe Archive access so if you want to get the 4-month deal, now is a good time to purchase any of these books. All my books are available in print or e-book except for Best Holiday Cookies which is an e-book only.
My cookbooks are available at Amazon, Kindle, Indigo, Barnes and Noble or via your favorite, local, independent bookstore (all they have to do is order it for you). The baking style in each book is quite different and each is jammed packed of baking advice I can't possibly share on the website so if you are considering a holiday gift, any of these books would be a treasure to give or receive.
Seven Great Cookbooks to Choose!
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.
- November 2017 A Note from Marcy - November 2017
- October 2017 A Note from Marcy - October 2017
- September 2017 A Note from Marcy - September 2017
- August 2017 A Note from Marcy - August 2017
- July 2017 A Note from Marcy - July 2017
- June 2017 A Note from Marcy - June 2017
- May 2017 A Note from Marcy - May 2017
- April 2017 A Note from Marcy - April 2017
- March 2017 A Note from Marcy - March 2017
- February A Note from Marcy - February 2017
- January 2017 A Note from Marcy - January 2017
- December 2016 A Note from Marcy - December 2016
- Winter 2016 BB Best Gifts Round-Up - December 2016
- November 2016 A Note from Marcy - November 2016
- October 2016 A Note from Marcy - October 2016
- September 2016 A Note from Marcy - September 2016
- August 2016 A Note from Marcy - August 2016
- July 2016 A Note from Marcy - June 2016
- June 2016 A Note from Marcy - June 2016
- May 2016 A Note from Marcy - May 2016
- April 2016 A Note from Marcy - April 2016
- March 2016 A Note from Marcy - March 2016
- February 2016 A Note from Marcy - February 2016
- January 2016 A Note from Marcy - January 2016
- December 2015 A Note from Marcy - December 2015
- November 2015 A Note from Marcy - November 2015
- September 2015 A Note from Marcy - September 2015
- August 2015 A Note from Marcy - August 2015
- July 2015 A Note from Marcy - July 2015
- June 2015 A Note from Marcy - June 2015
- May 2015 A Note from Marcy - May 2015
- April 2015 A Note from Marcy - April 2015
- March 2015 A Note from Marcy - March 2015
- February 2015 A Note from Marcy - February 2015
- January 2015 A Note from Marcy - January 2015
- December 2014 A Note from Marcy - December 2014
- November 2014 A Note From Marcy - November 2014
- October A Note from Marcy - October 2014
- September 2014 A Note from Marcy - September 2014
- August 2014 A Note from Marcy - August 2014
- July 2014 A Note from Marcy - July 2014
- June 2014 A Note from Marcy - June 2014
- May 2014 A Note from Marcy - May 2014
- April 2014 A Note from Marcy - April 2014
- March 2014 A Note from Marcy - March 2014
- February 2014 A Note from Marcy - February 2014
- January 2014 A Note from Marcy - January 2014
- December 2013 A Note from Marcy - December 2013
- November 2013 A Note from Marcy - November 2013
- October 2013 A Note from Marcy - October 2013
- September 2013 A Note from Marcy - September 2013
- August 2013 A Note from Marcy - August 2013
- July 2013 A Note from Marcy - July 2013
- June 2013 A Note from Marcy, Baker's Stash - June 2013
- May 2013 A Note from Marcy - May 2013
- April 2013 A Note from Marcy Baker's Stash - April 2013
- March 2013 A Note from Marcy - March 2013
- February 2013 A Note from Marcy - February 2013
- January 2013 A Note from Marcy - January 2013
- December 2012 A Note from Marcy - December 2012
- November 2012 A Note from Marcy - November 2012
- October 2012 A Note from Marcy - October 2012
- September 2012 A Note from Marcy - September 2012
- August 2012 A Note from Marcy Baker's Stash - August 2012
- July 2012 A Note from Marcy Baker's Stash - July 2012
- May 2012 A Note from Marcy - May 2012
- April 2012 Note from Marcy, Baker's Stash - April 2012
- March 2012 A Note From Marcy - March 2012
- February 2012 A Note from Marcy - February 2012
- January 2012 A Note from Marcy - January 2012
- December 2011 A Note from Marcy, Baker's Stash - December 2011
- November 2011 Note from Marcy Bakers Stash - November 2011
- October 2011 Note From Marcy Baker's Stash - October 2011
- September 2011 A Note from Marcy - September 2011
- August 2011 (1) Note From Marcy - August 2011
- June 2011 Note from Marcy - June 2011
- May 2011 A Note from Marcy, Baker's Stash - May 2011
- March 2011 A Note From Marcy - March 2011
- February 2011 A Note From Marcy, Baker's Stash - February 2011
- January 2011 A Note from Marcy - January 2011
- December 2010 Baker's Stash - December 2010
- November 2010 Baker's Stash - November 2010
- October 2010 Note from Marcy & Baker's Stash - October 2010
- September 2010 Note from Marcy & Baker's Stash - September 2010
- August 2010 Baker's Stash - August 2010
- July 2010 Baker's Stash, A Note from Marcy - July 2010
- June 2010 Baker's Stash - June 2010
- April 2010 BAKER'S STASH - April 2010
- March 2010 Baker's Stash, A Note From Marcy - March 2010
- 2003-2007 PAST ISSUES Note from Marcy & Recipes - February 2010
- January 2010 Baker's Stash - January 2010
- December 2009 Baker's Stash - December 2009
- September 2009 Baker's Stash - September 2009
- April 2009 Bakers Stash - April 2009
- March 2009 Baker's Stash Baking With Mom, Feminist in the Kitchen and some Retro - March 2009
- February 2009 Baker's Recipe Stash - February 2009
- January 2009 Baker's Stash - January 2009
- December 2008 Baker's Stash - December 2008
- November 2008 A Note From Marcy - November 2008
- September 2008 Baker's Stash - September 2008
- A note from Marcy - December 2007
- A Note from Marcy - February 2007 - An Oreo Love Affair
- A Note from Marcy - January 2007 - When Bakers Cook, Recipes deChef
- A Note from Marcy - December 2006 - Shortbread and Other Favorite Things
- A Note from Marcy - November 2006 - Thank Goodness for Pie
- A Note from Marcy - October 2006 - A Salute to Chocolate Chip Cookies
- A Note from Marcy - September 2006 - The Back to School Carrot Cake Issue
- A Note From Marcy - August 2006 - The Sourdough Magic Issue
- A Note from Marcy - July 2006 - The Annual BB Picnic Issue
- A Note from Marcy - June 2006 - The Bountiful Berry Issue
- A Note from Marcy - May 2006 - Pride and Pastry or Tea With Jane
- A Note from Marcy - April 2006 - The Breakfast Baking Issue and Fresh Starts
- A Note from Marcy March 2006 Passion - Gettin' Some - March 2006 - Havana A Heat Wave, Baking with A Latin Beat and The Passion Play
- A Note from Marcy - February 2006 - Memoirs of A Geisha Baking, Valentineâ€™s Sweets
- A Note from Marcy - January 2006 - The You're Toast, A Salute To Slicing Loaves and More
- A Note from Marcy - December 2005 - Bake It Forward, Gift Baking Issue
- A Note from Marcy - November 2005 - Open Hearth Hosting or Guess Who's Coming For Dinner
- A Note from Marcy - October 2005 - It All Happens for a Reason or Sometimes Bread Just Doesn't Rise.....
- A Note from Marcy - September 2005 - Baking By the Code
- A Note from Marcy - August 2005 - The Tao of Pie
- A Note from Marcy - July 2005 - The Journey of the Journal plus Twix Bars!
- A Note from Marcy - June 2005 - A Pastry Chefs Trial by Cheesecakes
- A Note from Marcy - May 2005 - The Frontier Baking Issue/Living Big in a Small Venue
- A Note from Marcy - April 2005 - When Harry Met Salad
- A Note from Marcy - March 2005 - Baking with an Irish Broque; A Romance in the Dairy Queen One Fine March
- A Note from Marcy - February 2005 - She Just Doesnâ€™t Get Him, Valentineâ€™s Day Rebuttal and Cupcakes Galore
- A Note from Marcy - January 2005 - The Art of Changing and Making Space in a New Year
- A Note from Marcy - December 2004 - The Shall We Dance or Shall We Bake, Holiday Baking Issue and an Ode to Dance
- A Note from Marcy - November 2004 - The Bread and Soup Issue and How A Canadian Became Americanized (sort of)
- A Note from Marcy - October 2004 - The Field of Dreams Issue, Baseball and the Baker
- A Note from Marcy - September 2004 - The Catcher of the Rye Issue, What Falls Away, the Sweet Taste of Forgiveness and Letting Go
- A Note from Marcy - August 2004 - Itâ€™s All Greek To Me Issue and The Evils of Multi-Tasking
- A Note from Marcy - July 2004 - The Gone Fishinâ€™ Issue/Summer in the River City, A Bakerâ€™s Musical
- A Note from Marcy - June 2004 - The All That Jazz Issue, How To Scat and Improvise in Wheat
- A Note from Marcy - May 2004 - The Bread and Roses Issue, Goddess, Feminist or Feminineâ€¦and Fudge
- A Note from Marcy - April 2004 - Waiting for Happy, or If I Won the Lotto
- A Note from Marcy - March 2004 - Meet You in the Bookstore, My Love Affair with Books
- A Note from Marcy - February 2004 - Sweets for the Sweet, a Valentine From the Baker
- A Note from Marcy - January 2004 - How To Eat Right or Resolution 2004 â€“ How Not To Diet
- A Note From Marcy - December 2003 - The Sugar and Spice Issue
- A Note from Marcy - November 2003 - How To Weather the Weather, or Keeping Cozy in Late Fall
- A Note from Marcy - October 2003 (Part 2) - They Laughed When I Got Up To Bake, Hotel School Trials
- A Note from Marcy - October 2003 (Part 1) - How I Got Into Baking, A Bakerâ€™s Beginnings Part 1
- A Note from Marcy - September 2003 - Welcome To Wheatland, a bakerâ€™s fantasy or Camelot in Flour
- A Note from Marcy - August 2003 - Notes on Homemade Krispie Kreme Doughnuts
- A Note From Marcy - July 2003 - Memories of Summer Music Camp or Baking to Birdland
- A Note From Marcy - June 2003 - How to Play Hooky in Summer, An Urban Adventure
- 2003-2009 Note from Marcy Archives
- December 2017 A Note from Marcy
- May 2017 Big Product Review Feature
- February 2009 Baker's Stash
- Karine Joncas Cosmetics
- April 2011 A Note from Marcy, Baker's Stash
- October 2008 Baker's Stash
- May 2010 Baker's Stash
- February 2009 Issue Baking by Heart Copy
- March 2009 Baker's Recipe Stash
- April 2009 Baker's Stash
- PREVIOUS NOTES FROM MARCY 2004 - 2017