Christmas Goodies and Concoctions
What’s your favorite holiday treat? Coconut macaroons or peanut brittle bars? This book includes those recipes and everything in between. The author loves baking cookies and giving them as gifts, so she struggled to whittle down the list to 50 recipes. These easy-to-follow directions yield mouthwatering results. Before you get started, read the first five chapters for tips and ideas, such as instructions for freezing dough, how to pack and mail your homemade goodies, and the basics for hosting a cookie-decorating party. By Lisa Zwirn, 2008, $16.95. Visit harpercollins.com.
The Gingerbread Architect
If you can’t spend Christmas seaside, then at least bring the shore to you with a Cape Cod or South Beach Art Deco house―a gingerbread house, that is. Complete with recipes and blueprints for 12 awe-inspiring homes, this book guides you through each step of the building process. In case you can’t find required ingredients, the resources section lists national and online suppliers. By Susan Matheson and Lauren Chattman, 2008, $22.50. Visit randomhouse.com.
Seriously Simple Holidays
From essential kitchen equipment to wine-and-cheese pairing notes, this book outlines ways to simplify your busy holiday schedule. Each recipe aims to cut preparation time and streamline cooking methods so hosts can enjoy the party, too. Full-page color photographs accompany recipes. By Diane Rossen Worthington, 2007, $24.95. Visit chroniclebooks.com.
The All-American Christmas Cookbook
This compilation of favorite family recipes from coast to coast includes one dish from every state. Traditional fare―Maine’s lobster chowder and Alabama’s pecan divinity―pair with innovative delights such as Hawaii’s pineapple–macadamia nut loaf cake with pineapple sauce. A two-page spread for each state details the recipe’s origins, ingredients, and recipe steps, along with vintage images from the early and mid-1900s. A menu planner breaks down recipes by category to help you choose courses. By Georgia Orcutt and John Margolies, 2008, $16.95. Visit chroniclebooks.com.
Kids in the Holiday Kitchen
Include kids in the holiday merrymaking this year by inviting them into the kitchen to help. Full of catchy recipe names, such as Sleigh Rider Cider (apple-raspberry spiced cider) and Incredible Edible Ornaments (cupcakes), will have your little ones wanting to bake all the treats. Take a break from cooking to craft homemade gifts: Santa’s Suds (decorated soaps) and Happy Hellos (greeting cards) make unique, memorable gifts for family and friends. By Jessica Strand and Tammy Massman-Johnson, 2008, $16.95. Visit chroniclebooks.com.
To help ease holiday stress, this book offers more than 150 pages of party-planning timetables, easy decorations, and dependable recipes. The make-ahead tips are especially handy for large dinner parties. Chapters, divided by course, begin with general information about equipment, ingredients, and serving suggestions. By Rick Rodgers, 2007, $15.95. Visit harpercollins.com.
Peterson's Holiday Helper
Toast the holidays with one of these spirited concoctions. More than 50 recipes for occasion-appropriate drinks, served with a dash of humor, help keep you in good spirits during the holiday season. Find comfort in the No School Swizzle as your kids wreak havoc on the house, or mix up an Emergency Ginerator after stringing yet more outdoor lights. By Valerie Peterson, 2008, $16.95. Visit randomhouse.com.