Embracing Everything Emma

Enjoying Life One Baby Step at a Time…

Christmas Baking December 20, 2012

As many of you know, I love Christmas and all that comes with it. One of my favorite things is all the FOOD. Oh, the food. There are endless parties to attend and even more food to eat. We are big fans of food and big fans of giving it, too. There are a lot of times we give people food as their gift. For me, that’s a winner! I wanted to share with you some of the recipes we use as gifts for Christmas and hope it helps as you finish up those last minute details. If you’re done with all your gifts, even better! Kick back and make some of these for yourself! Oh, and I’ve put all the recipes at the bottom. You can thank me later.

Zucchini Bread-- Photo by Stacy Makes Cents

Zucchini Bread– Photo by Stacy Makes Cents

Zucchini Bread is by far my favorite food gift to give and one of my favorite things to make. I have tried a lot of different recipes but the one from Stacy Makes Cents is by far my favorite. The only thing different that I do is I use shredded zucchini I have in the freezer (I rarely use freshly shredded) and after it thaws, I pour the zucchini and all the water in the bag into the mixer. All that extra moisture makes it taste SO…moist. I also let it thaw in a bowl so if the bag leaks, I still get the excess water. You’re welcome. Oh, and I also add chocolate (carob) chips because they taste good, too.

Lemon Blueberry Loaf- Photo by Sweet Pea's Kitchen

Lemon Blueberry Loaf- Photo by Sweet Pea’s Kitchen

Lemon Blueberry Bread is a favorite gift to give. I found this recipe in a Martha Stewart magazine and tweaked it a little. I doubt I’ll be making it this year because I forgot to buy blueberries to freeze when they were in season. I’m not a big fan of blueberries this time of year- I feel like they don’t taste as good and they’re EXPENSIVE. If anyone finds a good sale in the next 4-5 days, please hook me up!


Chocolate Kefir Bread is to die for! This is for those of you who have bought into the kefir fascination. Along with our smoothies, we like to put kefir into a lot of things including some of our breads. Let’s not lie- this bread is seriously dessert. I just feel better eating it when I focus on the kefir. What’s not to like about chocolate mixed with probiotics? This recipe came from Stacy Makes Cents, also. Can you find a pattern here?

Gingerbread Cookies- Photo by Skinny M's

Gingerbread Cookies- Photo by Skinny M’s

This year, I found a few new recipes to try. We normally make Gingerbread Cookies but I found a whole foods recipe that really looks good. I say why not? I vowed that I would not buy molasses just for cookies. So I found another recipe that calls for it. That makes more sense, right? We will be whipping up the Pioneer Woman’s recipe for granola bars for Christmas morning. Oh yes we will. I will also hold the nuts so Emma can partake in this experience. I’m a nice mom, huh?

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies- Photo by Stacy Makes Cents

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies- Photo by Stacy Makes Cents

Another recipe I was dying to try was an Oatmeal Cranberry Cookie one.  I searched high and low and didn’t find ANYTHING I liked. Booo! Those are the worst kind of days. I mentioned it to Stacy and she suggested using her Oatmeal Raisin recipe and substituting the cranberries instead of raisins. I’m so glad I’m friends with her. Whatever would I do? We went ahead and make these last night to test them out and Oh. My. Gosh. So good! JR convinced me to add some carob chips. Brilliance! We were in heaven!


While we were busy last night making gifts, making dinner, baking cookies, washing clothes, putting up the tree, watching “White Christmas and MORE, we decided we should make some Homemade Hot Chocolate to treat ourselves. It was so simple and so good- better than any store bought stuff I’ve ever had. It took just as much time as it takes for water to heat up so we weren’t spending any additional time and now I knew exactly what was going into it. We took this recipe and modified it without the cayenne pepper. We’re not that brave yet.

I hope you find some of these recipes helpful this holiday season and are able to enjoy some for yourselves as well as give some to others.

What are some of your favorite recipes at Christmas?

Zucchini Bread- Adapted from Stacy Makes Cents

1 quart size bag frozen zucchini (usually 1 large or 2 medium)

1 2/3 cups sucanat

2/3 cup coconut oil, melted

2 tsp vanilla

4 large eggs

3 cups whole wheat flour

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp baking powder

½ cup raisins

½ cup carob chips


Preheat oven to 350°. Grease bottoms only of 2 8-inch loaf pans.

Mix zucchini, sucanat, coconut oil, vanilla, and eggs in a large bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients except carob chips and/or raisins. Stir them in and then divide between pans.

Bake loaves for 50-60 minutes. Cool ten minutes in pans on wire rack.

Loosen sides of loaves from pans. I use a knife for this. And wait until they’re completely cool! Otherwise, it will stick like crazy. Seriously.

Wrap and store at room temperature up to 4 days or in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.


Blueberry-Lemon Loaf- Adapted from Martha Stewart

2 cups whole wheat flour

½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

¾ cup low-fat buttermilk
(or kefir!)

1 tsp vanilla extract

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
(use a fresh lemon, please)

Zest of 1 lemon
(see? Another good reason to use a fresh lemon)

½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sucanat, divided

2 large eggs

2 cups blueberries


Preheat oven to 350°F and grease 4 (5 3/4″ x 3 3/4″) loaf pans. Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Combine buttermilk or kefir, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons lemon juice in a small bowl.

Beat lemon zest, butter, and 3/4 cup sucanat until mixed well. Add eggs one at a time and mix well. Add flour mixture in 3 sets, alternating with buttermilk/kefir mixture; fold in blueberries.

Divide evenly between loaf pans and bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

While cakes are baking, combine remaining 1/4 cup lemon juice and 1/4 cup sucanat in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sucanat dissolves and syrup thickens, which will take about 4 minutes.

Remove cakes from oven and transfer to a wire rack; brush tops of cakes with lemon syrup and let stand for 15 minutes. Remove cakes from pans, and cool completely.

Store cakes in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 days.


Gingerbread Cookies- Adapted from Skinny M’s (Skinny Moms)

3/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1 egg

1 cup sucanat

1/4 cup molasses

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves (I will NOT add cloves but wanted to give you the option)

¼ tsp nutmeg

¼ tsp sea salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together oil and sucanat. Add egg and molasses then mix in spices, baking soda and salt. Add flour last and mix well. You may need to add up to 1/2 cup more flour to get a good dough consistency. Roll into golf ball sized balls. Roll in sugar in you want. Place on cookie sheet and press down gently with hand to flatten. Bake for 8-10 minutes and 10-12 minutes if you like them crunchy. Let cool for 3-5 minutes before removing from pan to cooling rack.


Chocolate Kefir Bread- Adapted from Stacy Makes Cents

1 cup sucanat

½ cup butter, softened

2 eggs

1 cup kefir

1 ¾ cup whole wheat flour

½ cup carob powder

½ tsp baking Powder

½ tsp baking Soda

½ tsp salt

1/2 cup carob chips (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom only of an 8-inch loaf pan. In a large bowl, combine the sucanat and butter, mix well. Add the eggs and mix well. Add the flour and kefir. Add the carob powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Blend just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in the carob chips. Do not over-mix. Pour into the greased pan. Bake for 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes before removing from the pan and put on a wire rack. Cool the bread completely before serving.

Store in the refrigerator if not eaten immediately. It will go bad. I repeat, it WILL go bad.


Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies- Adapted from Stacy Makes Cents

1 cup butter, softened

1 ½ cups sucanat

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1 ½ cups whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 ½ tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

3 cups rolled oats

1 cup cranberries

½ cup carob chips (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine butter and sucanat. Mix until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla. Stir well. Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Stir only until combine. Do not overmix. Stir in rolled oats, cranberries, and carob chips until mixture is completely combined. Drop by tablespoons (or more- I did more) onto ungreased cookie sheets. I also used parchment paper so I wouldn’t have as much to clean. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool for 1-2 minutes on cookie sheet. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.


Mexican Hot Cocoa- Adapted from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures

2 cups milk (I used whole milk but you can use coconut milk, almond milk, etc)

3 oz carob chips (this measures to ½ cup FYI)

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla

Dash of cayenne (optional) I left this out- we weren’t brave enough yet


In a small saucepan bring milk to a simmer over medium heat.

Whisk in chocolate and continue to cook until chocolate is melted completely.

Remove from heat and whisk in cinnamon, vanilla and cayenne (optional)

Pour into coffee mugs and add any additional garnishing (sprinkles, whipped cream, etc)


One Response to “Christmas Baking”

  1. […] or maybe even FREE! Let me advice you here to offer a little more than a “thanks!” A plate of cookies or brownies are always […]

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