That time of year is upon us again.

The hustle and bustle, the long line ups, the holiday parties, the gift planning, the meal planning, the cookie exchanges, the parades, the holiday markets, the wrapping, and the entertaining all while continuing your regular life. Ugghh…I am exhausted just writing that.

What I find helps me is pre-planning whenever I can. If I can get it done ahead of time I feel so much less pressure and that means more time to enjoy the holidays. One thing for sure you can do ahead is the baking.

I remember when my son was little and the holidays were approaching, he would ask, “is it time to make the logs yet?” Anyone besides us probably wouldn’t know what he meant but I knew he was referring to the cookie dough logs we would roll up and freeze ahead of time and have ready to bake at our convenience. It’s funny how he would forget homework but was always aware of the ready-to-bake cookies in the freezer.

Anyways, I enjoy reflecting on those family holiday traditions; it’s a good way to alleviate some of that stress we all feel this time of year. Try to remember it’s not about the things or stressing ourselves out to the point we don’t enjoy ourselves, it’s about being with family and friends and making memories…and cookie logs.

The recipe I am sharing with you is not a cookie log as most people have a slew of cookie recipes but something that will help you on those busy mornings, for when company stops in to visit, and it’s especially nice on Christmas morning with a hot cup of coffee sitting back enjoying the gift exchanges and not having to slave in the kitchen.

This recipe for scones is not my original recipe but one I have altered over the years to suit the occasion. My latest version is orange date scones made with eggnog but the base is the classic recipe from The Joy of Cooking cookbook. This book is golden and I recommend everyone have a copy. A nice holiday gift perhaps?

Orange Date Scones

  • Preheat oven to 450º. Sift together in a large bowl:
  • 1-3/4 cups of flour
  • 2-1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt

Cut in ¼ cup of cold butter using a pastry blender until the size of small peas, or use a hack I use all the time by grating it on a food grater. Add the zest of one large orange and ½ cup of diced dates.

Beat in a small bowl two large eggs, reserving 2 tbsp for brushing on the scones before baking. To the eggs, add 1/2 cup of eggnog and the juice of the large orange.

Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and combine with just a few strokes being careful not to handle the dough too much. On a floured surface, pat into an 8”round and cut in to 8 equal pieces. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, brush with the remaining egg and sprinkle with nutmeg sugar (about 1 tbsp of sugar and ½ tsp of nutmeg). Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Enjoy!

Make a bunch ahead and seal in an airtight freezer bag and freeze for up to a month. Just remove from the freezer and let defrost then pop them in the toaster oven or enjoy at room temperature with butter and a hot beverage.

Here are some other variations but feel free to use your favourite combinations. Orange and chocolate, cranberry and white chocolate, maple walnut, candied fruit peels and rum flavouring, coconut and lime, pistachio and dried apricots.

Happy holidays from our home to yours. We hope you enjoy a stress-free wonderful holiday with family, friends, and, of course, food.