Can You Believe It's Already December?

holiday baking supplies
Where has this year gone? I noticed how quickly the summer went by -- probably because it rained the entire time -- but somehow December slipped in, unannounced. I've barely finished baking pumpkin and apple goodies, and already visions of sugar plums have started dancing in my head. Well, maybe not sugar plums but definitely cranberries, gingerbread, candy canes, and cocoa.

I'm sure you're already thinking about your holiday baking too. I have magazines and cookbooks sprawled out in front of me at this very moment. I'm not going to give anything away just yet, but I have some exciting recipes in mind that I can't wait to share with you.

In the meantime, I thought I'd dredge up some of last year's posts. My family makes tons and tons (seriously thousands -- we've counted) of cookies and candies to give as gifts every Christmas. Over the years, I've found myself at the helm of candy-making. There are some candies and cookies we make each year -- like my fudge and the ever-popular almond brickle cookies -- and then there are always opportunities for new treats to make their debuts and perhaps secure spots on the next year's list.

Christmas 2007 cookie platter
If you're looking for some new favorites to add to your holiday baking or candy-making list, check out some of these candies! (Sorry, these pictures are from before I figured out how to take better blog pictures.)

Almond Brickle

almond brickle before chocolate is melted and spread
If you try no other recipes from this list, at least try this one. I'm often told by friends to make sure I put extra almond brickle on their cookie plates.

Chocolate-Fluted Kiss Cups

chocolate fluted kiss cups
These kiss cups are the most time-consuming and probably the most frustrating of all of the candies I make, but they are also so delicious they can make you forget all the work you put into them. And to save yourself a little trouble, if you make them in holiday mini cupcake wrappers, just leave the wrappers on. Then you won't run into any issues peeling the paper away from the chocolate shells.

Hazelnut Butter Balls

hazelnut butter balls
I've only made these hazelnut butter balls two years in a row now, so they're a newer addition, but they're as loved -- at least by me -- as some of the oldies.

Lindt Pistachio and Cranberry Bark

This simple bark is festively studded with cranberries and pistachios. It's the perfect salty-sweet treat!

Swirled Bark

swirled bark
Making this swirled bark is almost as easy as tossing store-bought chocolates on a platter, but with a few extra minutes, you can make your own candy to adorn your cookie plates.

Tiger Butter

tiger butter
Tiger butter is sure to become a favorite of anyone who loves chocolate and peanut butter.

What are your holiday baking traditions?