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Holiday Baking Made Easy

3 recipes you can make in a jiffy
Holiday Baking Made Easy: Main Image
Since baked goods are relatively inexpensive to prepare, even folks on a tight budget can afford the basic ingredients

There’s something about the smell of freshly baked cookies and breads wafting from the oven that makes the holidays special. And since baked goods are relatively inexpensive to prepare, even folks on a tight budget can afford the basic ingredients. But if your to-do list doesn’t leave you time for the classic labor-intensive recipes, which involve dough rolling, cookie cutting, and decorating, don’t fret. With the following three recipes, you’ll have a plate of delicious holiday treats before you can say “yum!”

Get spicy

Who doesn’t love a spiced quick bread? This one includes pumpkin and cranberries for extra holiday cheer. To make Pumpkin Cranberry Quick Bread:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In one bowl, mix wet ingredients and sugar: 2 eggs (beaten slightly), 1/2 cup canola oil, 1 cup canned pumpkin, and 2 cups unrefined cane sugar.
  • In another bowl, mix dry ingredients: 2 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour, 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 3/4 tsp cloves, 3/4 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp baking soda, and 1/2 tsp salt. Gradually add wet ingredients to dry. Stir in 1 cup chopped cranberries.
  • Pour batter into two greased and floured loaf pans and bake for 1 hour.

Dream on

If you’ve ever swooned over dream bars at a bakery, you’ll be amazed how easy they are to make at home. To make Dream Bars:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • In a bowl, mix 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs with 1 stick melted butter.
  • Line 13x9-inch glass baking pan with parchment paper. Press graham/butter mixture into pan.
  • Pour 1 12-oz can sweetened condensed milk over crust. Sprinkle 2 cups chocolate chips, then 1 cup chopped nuts, then 1 cup flaked coconut over crust.
  • Press down firmly with spatula and bake 25 minutes.

Leave your mark

It wouldn’t be the holidays without one traditional cookie recipe. This one requires no rolling, cutting, or decorating and is great to make with kids. To make Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a bowl, cream 1/3 cup unrefined cane sugar with 2/3 cup butter until light and fluffy. Beat in 2 egg yolks, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and 1/2 tsp salt. Gradually mix in 1½ cups whole wheat pastry flour.
  • Shape dough into 3/4 inch balls.
  • Place balls 2 1/2 inches apart on greased cookie sheet. Press center of each ball with thumb, fill each thumbprint with 1/4 tsp raspberry jam, and sprinkle with chopped nuts.
  • Bake 8 to 9 minutes.
Sara Lovelady is a freelance writer based in Ashland, Oregon, who grew up making gingerbread men, fudge and divinity with her family every holiday season.

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