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Food Friday: Holiday Baking 12/13/19

Deanna Fox

Today on the show, Food Friday favorite Deanna Fox returns with her holiday baking tips and recipes. WAMC's Ray Graf hosts.

The number to call with your questions is 1-800-348-2551. You can also email voxpop@wamc.org. 

Cookie dough rolled out and cut into stars
Credit Deanna Fox
A work of art, in progress

Granny’s White Sugar Cookies
Makes 75-90 cookies


  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 6-7 cups all-purpose flour (enough to easily roll-out the dough, plus more for dusting)

Dissolve the baking soda into the milk. Cream the sugar together with the shortening, then add the eggs. Add the milk, then the dry ingredients, using enough flour to make the dough come together. Cover in plastic wrap and chill for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Roll out the cookies and cut into desired shaped. Bake on a well-greased or parchment-lined baking sheet for 8-10 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for a minute, then transfer to a wire rack. Decorate as desired.

Buttercream Frosting
Makes 2 cups


  • 2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ cup soft butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk

Beat all ingredients together for about 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add more milk a tablespoon at a time if the frosting is too stiff.

Royal Icing
Makes 3 ½ cups


  • 3 ounces pasteurized egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar

Combine the egg whites and vanilla and beat until frothy. Add confectioners’ sugar gradually and mix on low speed until sugar is incorporated and mixture is shiny. Beat faster until the mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks. Add food coloring if desired. Transfer to a piping bag and use immediately or store in an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Chocolate and Almond Biscotti
Makes about 40 pieces


  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 cup almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and kosher salt and stir to combine. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time and mix until combined. Add in the almond extract and chopped almonds and stir well.

Slowly add in the flour/cocoa mixture and stir well to combine. Divide the dough in half and form each half into a log into a 12-inch long log, flattened slightly. Place the logs of dough on the prepared baking sheet with plenty of room between them. Bake for 25 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 8-10 minutes.

Cut each long into 15-20 even pieces on a diagonal, then place each slice cut side down back on the baking sheet. Bake for an additional 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely before serving.

Hot Cocoa
Makes 92 one-cup cocoa servings


  • 3 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • Whole milk, for serving

In a large bowl, combine the sugar, cocoa, and salt, and whisk to combine. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.

When it's time to make cocoa, warm up 1 cup of whole milk on the stove (or in a microwave-safe mug) until steaming. Add 2 tablespoons of the hot cocoa mix, and stir to dissolve. Multiply using the same ratio for larger batches - keep it warm in a slow cooker on the "warm" setting for ready-to-serve cocoa.

Deanna Fox is an award-winning food journalist who travels the world in search of good stories about food. She has been published and featured in magazines and newspapers on four continents, including the Times Union, New York Times, Washington Post, Eater, The Guardian, Salon and more. She is also the owner of Albany Cooking School, which offers fun and informative classes for cooks and bakers of all ages and abilities. Her website is Fox On Food and she can be found on social media @Deanna N Fox.

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