First Christmas cookie recipe of the season: Grandma's simple shortbread

First Christmas cookie recipe of the season: Grandma's simple shortbread

Hi, friends! It's been a while. It's that time of year. I am making it up to you by sharing a cookie recipe. My husband and I have already begun making Christmas cookies, and I have already begun my annual ritual of eating at least two per day. 

This is one of those recipes I make every year, because it holds a special place in my Christmas-loving heart. They are the cookies my Grandma Stark was famous for.

Fruit pie or nut pie? Make one of each for Thanksgiving: Salted Caramel Chocolate and Cranberry-Strawberry Crumb

Fruit pie or nut pie? Make one of each for Thanksgiving: Salted Caramel Chocolate and Cranberry-Strawberry Crumb

Sometimes you want a fruit pie: squishy and jammy and best eaten when still warm, dollop of whipped cream slowly sliding off the hot pie (more on that below). But sometimes you want something richer, sturdier, chocolatey-er. I was determined to find a great pie in that category this year, maybe a nut pie like pecan, perhaps an all-chocolate French silk number,  or something full-on coconut.

What I discovered was a loaded pie that sounds like it should be Way Too Extra, full of (deep breath) coconut and caramel and chocolate and pecans. But it works, and it's exactly what I was looking for. It's also really easy to whip up at the last minute, for Thanksgiving or any time of year.

Turn leftover pie crust into this Brussels Sprout, Walnut and Goat Cheese Tart

Turn leftover pie crust into this Brussels Sprout, Walnut and Goat Cheese Tart

HALP I AM DROWNING IN PIES.

Recently, I made four pies in the name of crust testing. Shortening + butter or all butter - which is best? I learned I prefer all-butter, but adding some shortening does make the crust easier to roll out and braid. Yes, I said braid. Because the next phase was testing crust decorations, all in the name of producing a stunner that could go on the cover of this week's Tampa Bay Times food section. With all that under my belt, I turned to personal pies, the ones that I wanted to serve this Thanksgiving.

But this post is not actually about pie. It's about what to do with any leftover crust you will inevitably have if you're making your own. Try a tart!

Here's what I'm making for Thanksgiving

Here's what I'm making for Thanksgiving

Happy One Week Till Thanksgiving! Also know as How Is It Already the Middle of November, Why Isn't It Colder Florida You Are Lame, Can My Fridge Fit a 16-pound Turkey, etc.

There's a lot going on. I'm trying to nail down my final Thanksgiving menu right now, so I can start prepping. My husband and I are going to my parents' house, but I'm in charge of menu coordination. Everyone pitches in on the sides; hubs does the turkey. I always get overwhelmed, usually about 45 minutes before the turkey needs to come out of the oven. Making lists helps! So here goes.

Make this Three Cheese Bread now, use it in a bunch of ways for Thanksgiving

Make this Three Cheese Bread now, use it in a bunch of ways for Thanksgiving

I feel like a majority of my life is spent trying to convince other people that making bread at home is easy and something everyone must do. Do you think I have a better shot at this, now that it’s the holiday season? Well, let’s give it another try. 

Making a loaf of homemade bread now can have a lot of payoff come Thanksgiving Day (9 days!). Take this Three Cheese Bread, which could be cut into cubes and used as the base for stuffing, sliced and used to make sandwiches with the turkey leftovers, or cut into squares and served with some honey butter right on the Thanksgiving table.