Bake ahead for the holidays

Linda Conway Eriksson - Contributing Columnist

Our house will be full for Thanksgiving this year. Eighteen family and friends, at last count, will be seated at the big table (10), the game table in the living room (four) and a round, skirted table in the gallery (four more). It boggles the mind.

Of course, there’s always the chance for holiday orphans among our friends and our children’s friends. There’s always plenty of food, and it’s no trouble to set an extra place or two for those near and dear to us. Thanksgiving is all about being together.

I’ll have to round up all the serving pieces, buckets of flatware, and lots of drinking glasses between now and Nov. 23. Being sure I have enough of everything’s half the battle.

Since it would take a turkey the size of Godzilla to feed our crowd, I’ve been taking suggestions for alternatives. We may do two birds this year. There’s precedent for that (Thanksgiving 1972). Maybe a stuffed turkey breast, which went over well last year at Christmas, plus a bird. One grandchild suggested ditching the turkey and having big platters of fried chicken instead. Although it’s hard for me to say “no” to fried chicken in almost any situation, I’m a little too traditional for that at Thanksgiving. It’ll take some thought.

For years, I’ve asked everyone to name a side dish of the vegetable variety they want to have for Thanksgiving. Luckily, there are some duplications most years. Potato rolls are a given, as are dressing and cranberry sauce. The rest is an annual free for all.

Christmas has been our holiday for fine dining for years ever since the kids talked me out of two turkeys in a row at the holidays. Beef tenderloin has become our traditional Christmas entree, and Heather’s made lobster mac and cheese to go with it for two or three years.

And, then, there’s dessert. The consensus this year seems to be bars and cookies for dessert. Lemon bars lead the parade, as always, followed closely by Creme de Menthe brownies. For variety, how about some roll cookies? These are simple, old-fashioned and utterly delicious.


1 cup butter

2/3 cup sugar

1 egg

2 1/2 cups sifted flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla.

In another large bowl, combine flour and salt. Add to butter mixture. Mix thoroughly.

Chill dough for 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough (use as little flour as possible). Cut out shapes, place on parchment paper on cookie sheets.

Bake for 8-10 minutes in preheated oven (cookies will be slightly colored). Decorate with a dab of frosting, sprinkles, etc. or leave plain. These cookies freeze well if made ahead.

Makes about 60 two inch cookies.

Linda Conway Eriksson

Contributing Columnist

Linda Conway Eriksson can be reached at

Linda Conway Eriksson can be reached at