Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Time's A-Coming!

If you are like me, then you are shocked every time you look at the date on the bottom of your screen. I just can't believe that it's already December 12th! Where does the time go?!? I have been wrapping some presents these last couple of evenings and have been thinking about my Christmas baking list. Usually, I already have a plan for everything that I'm going to make, when I'm going to make it, and have usually already mentally assigned recipients for all my Christmas goodie. However, this year, I'm still just trying to accept the fact that Thanksgiving has come and gone and Christmas is just around the corner.

I love Christmas, and since I obviously love vintage things, I am constantly looking for ways to combine the two. This usually results in me thumbing through many of my vintage cookbooks for holiday recipes which I have not yet tried.  For the past several years, it seems that my baked goods repitoire has consisted of the same--albeit delicious--recipes.  And I have been in search for some time now for undiscovered "new" classics.

I recently decided to consult the internet for inspiration, and came across this cake recipe (pictured above) which was published in a women's magazine from 1952.  I haven't been much of one to include candy in a cake (or in this case, the frosting) but I have to admit that it does look rather festive.

Then, there are petite fours, which I have always wanted to make, but never quite seemed to muster up enough courage to tackle such a deceptively simple task. They are so delicate, dainty, and just a perfect presentation for any special occasion, I would love to try them. After all, hardly anything says "1950s" like tiny little cakes on a saucer accompanied by a steaming, hot cup of demitasse. I found these, which I think are not only festive but also quite 1950s in appearance.

Then there are some vintage recipes which should probably be kept in the past, such as this Fruit Cake which uses Campbell's Tomato Soup as a main ingredient. Now maybe I'm jumping the gun by just assuming that this wouldn't be very good; after all, the cake's title is prefaced by "Another wonderful Tomato Soup Cake" which implies that this is only one of many delicious tomato soup-based cakes. I do admit that the cake does look good! If ever I decide that I want to chance wasting some flour, confectioner's sugar and a perfectly good can of tomato soup, I'll try it out and make sure to report my findings.

Since cookies are a staple of Christmas baking, I have been on the look-out for new (old) cookie recipes. I usually make some form of sugar or gingerbread cookie, white chocolate rice crispie cookies, butterfingers (Mexican wedding cookies), among some other occasionally called-upon treats. While reaserching "1950s Christmas cookies" I came upon this lovely gingerbread house.

I have often thought about making a gingerbread house, but once again, this is an increadibly daunting task. Maybe I will first purchase the gingerbread house kits found in the store and eventually graduate to my own, homemade, 1950s version.  On a side note, I like how the caption at the bottom of the advertisement says "this year bake your gifts!" I don't know if baking your Christmas gifts was an as-unpopular decision as it would be today, but wouldn't it be nice if people would be perfectly content if all you gave them for Christmas was some homemade goodies, all wrapped in a bow?

Then, just when I thought the gingerbread house would be the mother of all Christmas baking tasks, I found this: a Christmas cookie tree! Who ever knew such a thing existed!?

I have to admit that it is a rather novel idea and it's cute in its own sort of kitschy way.  It just seems like an awful lot of effort to use as a centerpiece!

I will leave you with some inspiration for the traditional Christmas butter cookie, from a magazine published in 1957. After all, butter cookies are both vintage and timeless, and they offer endless possibilities in terms of flavorings, frostings, shapes and decorations.

Happy Christmas baking!

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