Heidi Swanson recommends Sara Perry's collection of holiday goodies, Holiday Baking, in her roundup of seasonal cookbooks.
Backyard Apple Tree Crisp
4 to 6 medium baking apples of different varieties, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
Juice of 1/2 medium lemon
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Vanilla ice cream for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously butter an 8-by-8-inch baking dish or another 2-quart baking dish and set aside.
2. To make the filling: In a medium bowl, toss together the apples, lemon juice, and sugar. Transfer the apples to the baking dish and set aside.
3. To make the topping: In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, oats, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and cinnamon. Using your fingers or a pastry blender, work the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
4. Sprinkle the topping over the apples. Bake in the center of the oven until the crisp is golden brown and the apples are bubbling around the edges, 35 to 45 minutes. Remove and cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream.
Serves 4 to 6.
Boxing Day Scones with Warm Strawberry Jam
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup buttermilk
Strawberry jam, homemade or purchased, slightly warmed, for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 400'F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease it lightly and set aside.
2. Into a large bowl. sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, then lightly whisk. Use a pastry blender, 2 knives, or your fingers to cut or work the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles fine crumbs.
3. Make a well in the center of the flour-butter mixture, and add the buttermilk all at once. Stir the mixture until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Using lightly floured hands, gather the dough into a soft ball and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide into 4 parts and pat each one into a 3/4-inch-thick circle. Cut each circle into 4 wedges.
4. Transfer the wedges to the prepared baking sheet, and bake in the center of the oven until the scones rise and are golden brown, 12 to15 minutes. Remove and cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a rack. Serve warm, split and spread with warm strawberry jam. The scones are best eaten within several hours of baking.
Makes 16 scones.
From Holiday Baking by Sara Perry. Reprinted with permission from the publisher.