And Let The Holiday Baking Begin…

I love this time of year. I have never been one to get caught up in the craziness of it all. I am a minimalist and I try not to overindulge when it comes to shopping. I like to keep things simple. But there is one thing that I love to do and that is to bake.

It comes back to my childhood when right around the beginning of December, the pastry shop and everyone in my family would start to gear up for all the seasonal baking that would happen all month long. Turron, intricate marzipan figurines, tarta de ponche and many other petits fours and cookies. All of them heavy on almonds and labor. Lots of labor.

We would help in any way we could and I vividly remember sitting down peeling kilos and kilos of raw almonds that my grandmother would blanch in-house. Something they do to this day. Blanch, peel and grind the almonds to make their own almond meal.

So now when Thanksgiving comes around, I start to get excited for all the baking. The old Gourmet and all the Martha Stewart magazines provide so much inspiration. Love browsing through past issues and getting inspired.

Here is an assortment of things we are baking. Mesquite meringue cookies with chocolate cream, pistachio and raspberry layered shortbreads, almond and raspberry linzers, milk jam cookies and many more.

And finally, Arielle is the winner of last week’s book giveaway. Please email me so I can get your address. Thanks everyone for sharing your family recipes.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

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85 Responses to “And Let The Holiday Baking Begin…”

  1. What gorgeous cookies! Now I am drooling…



  2. Laken says:

    All of these look perfect!

  3. cat song says:

    wowww. please share recipes!! :)

  4. roomtobreathe says:

    They look amazing! Yum!

  5. Krystina says:

    Absolutely gorgeous cookies.

  6. Angharad says:

    Linzer cookies have so much appeal to me – they look just like what we call “Jammy Dodgers” in England! I believe it’s exactly the same concept. I’ve never made them myself but I’d love to try – what linzer cookie recipe are you using?

  7. lucy says:

    what beautiful cookies, j love these little stars

  8. Jenn says:

    Beautiful cookies! Love the linzer cookie and how you placed the little cut (window) off to the side. Your meringue cookies look super cute as well.

    Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Baking!

  9. Gorgeous cookies ! Plz, share the recepies !!!

    Happy Thanksgiving !

  10. We share some of the same memories; I first started baking with my Grandma Lizette and many years later still include her and my favorite cookie in the batches that I make.

    I started several years ago making everything I give for holiday gifts. Cookies, breads, caramel sauce, candles and last year some wonderful cranberry liqueur. I know the recipients look forward to my gifts as much as I enjoy making them.

  11. They all look divine Aran! I do have a soft spot for those almond and raspberry linzers though! Muy bien!

  12. Gorgeous array of cookies. I hope my dessert table looks half as good as yours will!

  13. I would frame that first photo and stare at it all day long. You are so talented in every way.

  14. I love this season for the same reason, it really gives you plenty of excuses for baking. Also the weather helps to bring you in the right mood.

    Your cookies are beautiful to look at; I will use them as inspiration for sure.

  15. whisk-kid says:

    I’m so excited for this, too! It looks like your’re off to a good start; everything looks wonderful so far!

  16. I love that offset flower in your biscuits. How original.

  17. Those little meringue cookies are too cute!! Love holiday posts!

  18. Elisabeth says:


    You have a beautiful blog!
    But do you not share all your recipes ?

  19. Nisrine says:

    Aran, they all look amazing. I wouldn’t know which one to begin with if I wanted to bake holiday cookies. I agree that Martha Stewart’s magazine is such an inspiration.

  20. Elisabeth- I share most of my recipes. Some
    I must keep because they are to be published elsewhere bit most of them are here. I will be sharing these cookie recipes in the weeks to come.


  21. Such a lovely photo! I wish I could bake as beautifully as you.
    And I so miss Gourmet magazine! The cookie article from December 2008 still totally blows me away.

  22. D. says:

    You have such an inspiring blog! Really looking forward to new cookie recipes this Christmas..
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  23. Anja says:

    Love your blog! Absolutely beautiful colours!

  24. Te ha quedado precioso!
    Ojalá pongas las recetas.

  25. these look so wonderful. would love to baking with this holiday season!

  26. so pretty & inspiring….i think i am going to have to make my shortbread w lemon zest in my antique wooden thistle mould quick smart! Is it just me or is christmas approaching very fast!?

  27. Ohhh, I’m loving the awesome photos, just wonderful.

  28. I am drooling..!! what a pretty picture :)

  29. I really like how rustic the twine and hang tags bring.. they will make wonderful gifts… brings back memories of me and mum baking up a storm for the holidays and then gently getting them ready to give as a gift…

    I’m sure your receivers will fell super special.

  30. Beautiful cookies! I love it. And the photos are all so adorable. I would love to try those cookies.

  31. Ohhh I’m especially excited to see your pistachio and raspberry layered shortbreads…will you be posting that recipe?? If not, would you email it to me at….beautiful pictures once again!

  32. a. maren says:

    yum! i can’t decide what is more beautiful, the food or the photographs. i guess they go hand in hand, though. have fun baking! love that you’re using mesquite.

  33. Merce says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Aran !!
    Gracias por estas delicias, me encanta tu presentación…eres una artista! precioso y muy dulce.
    Un abrazo

  34. Um…drool…coudja’ have a cookie giveaway. Just thinking out loud.

  35. Sini says:

    Beautiful little cookies! Can’t wait for the recipes to come so I can TASTE them ;)

    Have a lovely Thanksgiving!

  36. Manderley says:

    Que ricas las galletas y las fotos son preciosas!

  37. giozi says:

    Wow, me han encantado no sólo los dulcesitos si no la composición de las fotos, qué colores, cuántos detallitos tan bien escogidos. Preciosas fotos !!!
    Un abrazote y ya mañana gran cena, no?

  38. ilaura says:

    Nice pics!! These cookies look really amazing!!

  39. Mónica says:

    Tienen una pinta sensacional.
    Las fotos, como siempre, increibles.


  40. Tasha says:

    Those cookies are so beautiful they don’t even look real. They look like something Alice in Wonderland would snack on, which is always my determining factor in deciding whether or not a cookie is perfection. Amazing!

  41. They look so appetizing! And your pictures are beautiful as always.
    I will start my holiday baking probably next week–maybe some cookies too,but it will be mostly about cakes.

  42. love those linzer cookies! they’re adorable!

  43. The red and white string, the cupcake liners, the little meringue kisses: the holidays are here! A lovely reminder.

  44. Ivana says:

    Me encanta esta epoca, se respira algo especial y además pasear con el frio, oler a madera quemada… me chifla!
    tus sugerencias son excepcionales, como siempre!!!

  45. Lourdes says:

    Everything looks so delicious and yummy! Even the non-edibles! Thanks!

  46. Giada says:

    bellissimo post e fotografie, complimenti!

  47. Kirsten says:

    These all look divine – especially the meringues with the creme filling! MmMmm I just baked up a batch of honey-lavendar cookies that are sooo good! Here is the link if you want to check it out:



  48. Mesquite meringue and milk jam cookies? These sound so delicious! I can’t wait to hear more.

    Thanks so much for the gorgeous and inspiring photographs!

  49. PheMom says:

    I just got so excited for the holidays! Your pictures just look so sweetly, subtly festive. I was just thinking about you and hoping you are feeling better. Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow!!


  50. Fragolina says:

    Woww, amazing cookies, I love baking in Christmas time. And do different kind of sweets. These cookies look great for Christmas. Beautiful pictures.

  51. So Beautiful! My mum also would blanch and grind her almonds to make almond meal, but not for cookies but for the Typical Norwegian kransekake decorated patriotically with tiny Norwegian flags

  52. Jun says:

    Good idea for holidays. The photos are even better!!!

  53. Aran,
    It is that time of year. I also make small cookies and love how they look so much. Of course, they must taste delicious, too… but, your artistic placement and colour referencing is so soothing. You need to see posters of your work. It is just gorgeous.
    PS Glad to hear the recipes will be rearing their heads as that is what I do: cook (bake)!

  54. Martina says:

    These look so delicilous and just looking at these photos makes me happy! You’re a great stylist too!

  55. Oh my xmas cookies! They all look so delectable! :D

  56. Felicidades Aran, me encanta tu blog, tus recetes y sobre todo tus fotos, tienen una luz y sensibilidad muy especial. Que tengas unas bonitas navidades :)

  57. Gosh…if only I could have these pictures for my wallpaper, I`d never leave out my room!..definitely my favorite colors all in one! Thanks for sharing such wonderful photos!

  58. Daphna says:

    Wow, Everything is so beautiful.
    I really love your Blog. It’s such an inspiration.

    thank you!

  59. So beautiful….LOVE IT and the cookies, yum!!!! xxx

  60. Tina says:

    Love the photos, it looks so sweet!

  61. The cookies look great. You have a nice blog. The Bavarian Christmas linky party is now open-won’t you come and join us at

  62. Beautiful pictures, Aran. Happy Holidays and happy baking :)
    Heidi xo

  63. they all look great…I need to redeem myself after my bad crunchy pie crust for turkey day! cookies are more my thing like biscotti!! :)

  64. Ale says:

    The photos are beautiful as usually :-)

  65. WOW…Absolutely gorgeous cookies!!!

  66. Anonymous says:

    Magnifique! J’en prendrais bien un de chaque!

  67. It ‘s always a treat for the eyes and the palate … visit you! You are a magical person! :)

    A big kiss and good Monday!

    P.S. Tomorrow will be a guest on my blog! ;)

  68. Christmas time is fantastic for food. The planning, organising, strategising, and best of all cooking.

    I really enjoy cooking for other people and will be having a lovely Christmas buffet on the 17th December. For this I am looking forward to using some of your recipes.

    Are you going to include any party food ideas?

  69. i only feel that the christmas season has started once the baking begins. well done!

  70. Rizwan says:

    I am having a cup of tea with my PC can i have one of these plates you make me hungry thanks for good recipe
    Pegasos world

  71. Natasha says:

    Mmmmm, everything looks and sounds delicieux!!

  72. Junglefrog says:

    I love christmas baking and cooking too! And your christmas cookies are just perfect!

  73. Ash says:

    oh my these cookies are adorable!! I must try making some!!

  74. Ritu says:

    I always close my diet diary and cancel my order to diet to go to enjoy these types of delicious foods at the year end

  75. Anis says:

    Hi Aran, I’d like to make these milk jam cookies can you please tell me where can I find the recipe you used for the cookies dough ?
    Many thanks

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