It’s the season of baking and giving. While there is no dearth of recipes out there for holiday treats, I thought I’d gather some of my favorites up for you here. I hope you enjoy!
Granola Bars and Jam Bars
These Homemade Granola Bars With Nuts and Seeds are quick and easy, especially if you choose not to bake them (which is why I like to make these in the summer so I can skip the oven and still end up with a tasty treat).
These Oatmeal Applesauce Bars are featured in my fourth cookbook, the Food In Jars Kitchen, and are full of fiber and protein. The applesauce can be subbed with other fruit sauces, butters, or purees.
While granola bars are sturdy and akin to the bars you buy in stores, jam bars are more of a cross between granola bars and baked oatmeal layered with jam. Both are suited for travel and gifting, but the granola bars will always be more durable.
To make jam bars of any kind, you press two-thirds of a simple, crumbly dough into a baking pan pan, spread it generously with jam, and then distribute the rest of the dough on top.
Crunchy, fruity, and not too sweet, this Jammy Oatmeal Pecan Bar recipe can work as bars or cookies, breakfast or midday snack. Similarly, these Jam Bars from the cookbook Tartine All Day are flavored with vanilla and almond extracts, bound by nut butter, and tempered sweetness with lemon juice and salt
Meanwhile, this Jammy Baked Oatmeal is a heartier and can act as a full meal; it’s packed with protein and fiber, pairs great with yogurt, and is perfectly portable if you want to take it on the go.
These Persimmon Oatcakes are also great for a grab-and-go; they are somewhat of a cross between baked oatmeal and a muffin top, with a moist crumb and luscious persimmon flavor.
Cookies are an inevitable and joyous holiday experience; baking them and allowing the aroma to fill the house, swapping them at parties, and, of course, indulging. If you haven’t noticed, I typically use whole wheat or oat flour in my recipes as opposed to white; if I have the opportunity to add fiber or protein without skimping on flavor, I’ll take it. For instance, these Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies are as sweet, buttery, and tender as the classic.
For something similarly nostalgic yet sweeter, these Classic Cut-Out Sugar Cookies, will fit the bill.
If you’re searching for a cookie more dramatic in flavor, these Ginger Spice Delights are spiced with ginger and orange zest, kept moist with applesauce, and pair with any tea, coffee, or holiday cocktail. These Salted Rye Cookies are buttery, sandy, and also great to dunk in tea.
These Jan Hagel Cookies are based off a traditional Dutch Christmas recipe that creates a charming cookie akin to almond shortbread and cooks in 10 minutes or less!
If you have a surplus of preserves, try utilizing them in this Classic Thumbprint Cookie recipe I use organic sweet butter to make these lightly sweetened cookies truly indulgent; my favorite pairings are apricot jam, fig jam, or sour cherry preserves. Likewise, these Granola Cookies are crunchy, chewy, satisfying way to use up some fruit butter and aging granola on hand.
For a fancier looking dessert, try this variation of my Grandma Bunny’s Meringue Cookies; I chose to flavor them with vanilla, but you can alternatively add 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, some tiny chocolate chips, or 1/4 cup crushed candy canes to dress up the recipe.
Muffins and Scones
Muffins and scones are great gifts for those who don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but still take pleasure in a baked good. The following hand-held delights are all simple, blank slates for whatever you choose to pair them.
Chocolate Applesauce Muffins and Oatmeal Fruit Muffins, made with the dried fruit of your choice, are two of my favorite recipes; both use applesauce to provide moisture and lend a bit of healthiness.
Conversely, these Oatmeal Muffins are made moist with yogurt and lightly spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg; they’re a perfect base for any sort of jam or fruit butter.
One of my go-to recipes are these Cream Scones from Dorie Greenpan’s book Baking: From My Home to Yours; they are a buttery and dependable vehicle for any sort of jam, dried fruit, or drizzle topper. Ideal for after holiday breakfasts and brunches.
If you are looking for versatility, these Cornmeal Muffins could rock either sweet or savory fixings; top with strawberry jam, fill with blueberries, or pair with chili and soups.
Similarly versatile are these Lemon Buttermilk Muffins, which are an adaptation of my Yogurt Olive Oil Cake (I merely swapped the yogurt for buttermilk and the orange for lemon). They have a firm but tender crumb, ideal for when you only have one hand to spare and are constantly on the go.
Whatever you choose to bake, make sure that it’ll be delicious!