A Baker's Field Guide to Christmas Cookies (R&G)

Do you enjoy holiday baking? I love to bake anytime of the year but I just loath Holiday treats! Nothing beats a great shortbread or gingerbread recipe. I love snowballs and rum balls and peanut brittle. I love making snowman or snowball cakes and cupcakes. I love anything holiday treats.
This year I have added another Christmas baking recipe book to my growing library thanks to our friends at Thomas Allen & Son Ltd. We reviewed A Baker's Field Guide to Christmas Cookies by Dede Wilson. Let me tell you when we received the book my daughter and I immediately went through it picking out all the yummy treats we would love to make.

This book is great for novice bakers as there is a chapter at the beginning on How to Use This Book. This includes a key to symbols used throughout the book to let bakers know - dough freezes well, cookies keep well, fun to make with kids, quick to make and sturdy enough to mail (even though I have been just told you can't mail food with Canada Post).

The chapters go into telling the baker what the ingredients are that you will need, equipment, how to double or halve a recipe, freezing, forming and cooling cookies and more great tips. It has a wealth of information to teach any level baker how to make great cookies!

Once you get into the recipe section you will notice each takes up two pages. First page is the name and a picture of the cookie/bar. Then it will tell you the type of cookie or bar, maybe it is a molded or rolled cookie. Then you will have Habitat - where it originated. A nice description of the cookie, field notes and the life span of the cookie/bar follows. Some recipes also include a Good Cookie Tip, this is hints on working with the recipe.

The one recipe that I kept going back to was the Cranberry Snowdrift Bars. I love Cranberries and especially at Thanksgiving and Christmas. These bars are a mix between a shortbread and meringue with a tart cranberry filling. YUMMY!

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling and topping:
1 cup whole-berry cranberry sauce, not jellies (such as Ocean Spray Whole-Berry Cranberry sauce)
2 large egg whites
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Coat an 8 inch square baking pan with nonstick spray.
2. Whisk flour and salt together in a small bowl.
3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add sugar gradually, beating on high speed until light and fluffy. This may take as long as 8 minutes. Do not rush; mixture should be almost white in color. Beat in vanilla. Add about one-third of flour and mix on low speed. Gradually add remaining flour, mixing just until blended. Pat crust in an even layer in baking pan. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or overnight. Wash and dry beaters of mixer.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake crust until completely dry to touch and a pale golden brown, about 40 minutes. The edges will be a bit darker. Place pan on rack to cool 5 minutes, then spread cranberry sauce evenly over crust using a small offset spatula or back of spoon.
5. To make topping, whip egg whites until foamy in a meduim clean, grease-free bowl with a mixer on high speed. Add cream of tartar and whip until soft peaks foam. Add sugar gradually, whipping until stiff but not dry peaks form. Beat in vanilla. Spread meringue evenly over cranberry layer. Use back of a teaspoon to make peaks and swirls in meringue.
6. Bake until meringue is a light golden brown, about 25 minutes. Place pan on rack to cool. Cut into 20 bars (4x5).

"Cranberry Snowdrift Bars taken from A Baker's Field Guide to Christmas Cookies by Dede Wilson, 2003, Thomas Allen & Son Ltd, $12.88." 

We love this book and can't wait to make more delicious easy recipes for the Holidays and year round.

Win It:

Thomas Allen & Son Ltd. is giving one Canadian Coupon Mom reader their very own copy of A Baker's Field Guide to Christmas Cookies.  Enter to win your copy today! This giveaway is open to Canadian residents. This giveaway will run only until December 6th,2011 and the winner will need to respond by the morning of December 8th for the copy to be received before Christmas. Good Luck!

~*Disclaimer: This post was written by Canadian Coupon Mom on behalf of Thomas Allen & Son Ltd. All opinions are honest and my own.*~


  1. I am always looking for new baking ideas especially for gift giving. I would love to have this cookbook for my collection.

  2. I need new ideas all the time. Sometimes my memory doesn't always work, and it's nice having a reference to jump start the imagination.

  3. I would love to win as I love baking and enjoy finding recipes for new treats to make.

  4. I would ove to win this because I collect cookbooks and I dont have this one. It would be fun to add some new cookies to my christmas baking.

  5. I love to bake at Christmas and I am always looking for new recipes to try this book would be perfect for me :)

  6. my daughters and I love to bake and this book sounds like it has some yummy recipes.

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

  7. I would love to win this cook book because i love to try new recipes

  8. I like to bake cookies with my daughter. We use a lot of box mixes right now. I would like to bake more from scratch with her.

  9. I'd love to win this book because I need to make some Christmas cookies that aren't sugar or birds nests this year!

  10. I'd love to win as I LOVE to bake as am always looking for some great new recipes! :-)

  11. I would love to win this book because I like to bake and try new recipes.

  12. I am a terrible cook but would love to make some treats for christmas.

  13. My mom & I love to make cookies together for Christmas, so this book would give us some new recipes to use!


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