Buying Holiday Treats Instead of Baking Doesn't Make You a Scrooge

panettone
WORST holiday bread ever

Ah, the holidays -- time to get out my credit card! And not just for the annual avalanche of toys for my son. I'll also probably shell out for a few of those classic holiday treats I can't make. 

I want to make one thing clear: I am 100 percent pro DIY. Well, 90 percent. Make it 80. The point is, cooking brings me JOY. I love trying new recipes -- even when I fail. But after years (I mean YEARS, people, I am old) of trying new things, I have a pretty good idea of my limits. Hence, my lovely list of foods I'm much better off buying than making myself.

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Holiday breads. I don't know what it is -- I must have some sort of evil negative force field around me that causes all yeast breads to collapse into super-dense flour baseballs. I am the ANTI-YEAST. Or something. But I cannot pull off those beautiful, sweet, ambrosial holiday breads. Not challah. Not panettone. Just about any bakery will do better than I can.

Fudge and caramels. I still remember the time I tried to make salted chocolate caramels. I was going to give them away as gifts! But I used a meat thermometer instead of a candy thermometer. And then I accidentally dropped the thermometer into the cooking caramel. And then I ended up with grainy, gooey sludge. The goop sat in a jar in my cupboard for two years to remind me to BUY my candy instead.

Peanut brittle. Or pecan brittle, or almond brittle, or any other brittle. Holy crap that stuff scares me! All that hot, sticky melted sugar -- ugh, what a painful mess! And how do you keep from burning the sugar? I know, that candy thermometer. Ugh, why is the candy thermometer so intimidating to me? 

Eggnog. EggNOT! Year after year I collect eggnog recipes. And year after year I end up just buying it instead. Why? Because the stuff at the grocery store is plenty delicious. And also because I just don't want to be in touch with exactly how fattening eggnog is. Ignorance is bliss!

Are there special holiday treats you'd rather buy than make?

 

Image via Adriana Velez

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