Anna Skinner, Current in Westfield, Current in Fishers and Current in Geist editor
I know this will come as a shock to most of you, but I am no baker or cook (gasp). I absolutely do not excel at anything more complicated than minute rice and frozen, pre-cooked veggies.
My mom is a different being, entirely, so I sought her wealth of knowledge after the Current Publishing editors decided to share some of our favorite Christmas recipes this season. Mom always sends me home with a bounty of cookies or fresh-baked goods whenever I visit. She bakes dozens of these cookies every holiday season and they are heavenly.
White Chip Orange Dream Cookies
2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 to 3 teaspoons grated orange peel
2 cups Nestle’s White Morsels
Optional: 2/3 cup of roughly chopped macadamia nuts (these should only be optional if you have a nut allergy, because my mom added these nuts for the first time this year, and they took the cookies to the next level.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar in a separate mixing bowl until creamy. Beat in egg and orange peel. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in the white morsels. Drop the dough in rounded tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the edges are a golden brown. Let stand 2 minutes, then place on wire racks to cool. Once cool, devour them all in one sitting. No, I’m kidding, don’t do that. Of course, I’ve never done that.
Sara Baldwin Schatz, Current in Zionsville editor
Every Christmas morning for as long as I can remember, my mom wakes up before the rest of the family to make monkey bread. It’s a gooey concoction comprised of biscuits, sugar and butter and baked in a bundt pan. The bundt pan she uses is shaped like snow-capped mountains, which adds a festive touch. Monkey bread pairs well with coffee and the pull-apart texture lends itself to sharing and nibbling while we open our stockings in front of the fireplace.
Christmas Morning Monkey Bread
2 large packages Grand’s Flaky Layers Buttermilk Biscuits
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup melted butter
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray the bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray and sprinkle some chopped pecans at the very bottom. Drizzle butter over the nuts then sprinkle a pinch of brown sugar over top. Mix the cinnamon and sugar together in a bowl. Roll the biscuits into 1-inch balls and place in a large Ziploc bag. Pour 2/3 of the sugar mixture over the biscuits and shake the bag to coat evenly. Drop the rolled biscuits into the pan one layer at a time, adding nuts, sugar and butter between each layer. Pour the remaining nuts, butter and sugar over top. Bake for 40-45 minutes. While the bread is cooking, mix the icing ingredients in a stovetop pan on low until evenly combined. As soon as the bread comes out of the oven, flip the pan upside down onto a festive tray, removing the pan slowly. Drizzle the icing over top of the bread.