I love giving homemade gifts and ’ll be baking up a storm over the next week leading up to Christmas. I hope to fill platters and gift boxes with all sorts of holiday goodies including coconut macaroons, Norwegian pepperkaker cookies, chocolate almond toffee, peppermint bark, chocolate icebox cookies, sunflower brittle, and whatever else I can manage.
Earlier this week I was restocking my pantry in preparation for this baking marathon, and was impressed to see a good representation of North Dakota agriculture among the baking staples I use daily, including soybeans (almond bark, vegetable oil and shortening), canola (vegetable oil and shortening), sugar beets (white, brown and powdered sugar), wheat (flour), corn (corn syrup), sunflowers (seeds for brittle) and dairy (milk, buttermilk, cream, butter, condensed milk).
We all have an idea of what “buying local means,”often accompanied by images of beautiful, fresh summertime fruits and vegetables. But these baking staples are every bit as local, made from crops that are grown right here in North Dakota, and dairy products that are processed right here in Fargo, made with milk from local farms.
In this year of incredible challenge for our farmers, I am humbled to know that my baking addiction is made possible through their efforts to produce quality food that is affordable, easy to find and local – even in the dead of winter.
I’ll be sharing one final recipe with you next week before 2019 comes to a close and am hard at work planning a host of topics to explore together in the new year. As always, if you have questions or topics you’d like to explore, I’d love to hear from you. We all have food in common, and I look forward to a year filled with conversation, good food and new friends.
Best wishes for a very Merry Christmas and happy holiday season!