21 Dec Home For The Holidays
If you want to be happy in a million waysFor the holidays, you can’t beat home sweet home – Perry Como
There’s a reason they make songs and films about coming home for the holidays. A reason why the roads and airports are packed this time of year. There’s something very special and comforting about pulling out the same recipes year after year, listening to the same music on repeat, watching the same movies for the hundredth time, and introducing favorite traditions, songs, and characters to the next generation. Our diets are put on (temporary) hold for the endless trays of cookies and pies, and we settle into the season – if only for a fleeting moment.
As we near the end of another year and embrace the New England winter, we’d like to take a moment to share a few of our favorite holiday traditions with you. We’d love to hear about your favorites too – please share by commenting on Facebook or Instagram.
Here are a few ways our team celebrates the holiday season:
Madison Cota likes to switch up the holiday color scheme for her tree every year – referring to it as an occupational hazard in her role as a designer. This year, the tree is all black velvet ribbons, metallics, textured ornaments, and a chunky knit white tree skirt, reflecting her style of the moment. One of her favorite unique touches is to add sprigs of baby’s breath in the tree to fill in gaps and add more texture.
Cindy Ryan’s family gathers on Christmas Eve with lots of food and fun, playing games like charades, family feud, name that tune, and Christmas trivia. The lucky winner wears a singing Santa hat!
Our favorite holiday movies:
- The Holiday
- The Grinch (Jim Carrey version)
- It’s a Wonderful Life
- National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Most memorable gift:
A few years ago, Madison compiled all of the quintessential family recipes, along with anecdotes and photos for each recipe, and created a cookbook that she gave to all of her extended family. Everybody loved it, and now whenever they’re craving some childhood comfort food they can just crack open the cookbook and recreate it themselves.
A favorite recipe:
Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt Pistachio Shortbread Cookies (source: bakerbynature.com)
1 cup unsalted pistachios, shelled
4 ounces unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
- Place the pistachios in a small bowl and cover with water; set aside for 30 minutes.
- Drain the pistachios well and place them on a paper towel to air dry while you assemble the cookie dough.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a handheld electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Add in the egg and beat until combined. Add in the flour and pistachios and beat until combined. Your dough should be stiff.
- Sprinkle 2 Tablespoons of flour over a clean work surface. Scrape the cookie dough onto the surface and gently knead it for 30 seconds. Divide the dough in half, then roll each portion of cookie dough into a log that’s roughly 2″ in diameter. Wrap each log tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or up to 5 days).
- When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat baking mat.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and place it on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, slice the logs of cookie dough into 1/4″ rounds. Place the cookies 1/2″ apart on the prepared baking sheet, and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove the oven and place the pan on a cooling rack. Cool for at least 15 minutes before removing.
- In the meantime, make the chocolate coating.
- Melt the chopped chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. If using the microwave method, place the chopped chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl. Melt in the microwave, on low power, in 15-second increments, stirring after each increment until completely melted and smooth.
- Dip each cookie halfway into the chocolate then return to the lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt or additional chopped pistachios, if desired. Allow the chocolate to set before serving. To speed this up, place the baking sheet in the refrigerator. Once set, serve and enjoy! These are really good with coffee or tea.