This year, however, my friend Helen is in the UK showing her new babies off to their English grandparents. On Monday she gathered her ex-pat schoolfriends at a pub in Oxford for lunch, so I seized the opportunity to do some baking and palm the results off on other people's thighs.
I made cranberry cream cheese snickerdoodles, using this recipe, and adding 100g dried cranberries to it. I also, for a little festive sparkle, dusted a little red edible glitter on top of the cinnamon sugar topping. Mine didn't spread out as much as the picture, or as much as the last time I made them, maintaining a sort of rock-cake shape. However, they were delicious, like a fruit-filled cinnamon doughnut.
I also made Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's jam thumbprint biscuits. These got their festive pizazz from the jam I used. I had a jar of cherry & kirsch conserve left over from July's Forging Fromage challenge. I'd found it too sweet to eat as jam, but as a boozy, mincemeaty filling for a cookie it was absolutely ideal. My other variation to the recipe was that as I was 25g short of butter (how does one run out of butter?!) I made up the quantity with cream cheese, left from the snickerdoodles.
I thought both these cookies were extremely successful, but Paul maintains that the jam thumbprints are superior. The little bit of lemon zest in the cookies really complements the mixed peel in the conserve. He thinks they are so successful, in fact, that I might have to make another batch just for us. So you know they are good.