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December 22, 2014

Holiday Baking from Chef Chris Coombs’ Kitchen to Yours

Christopher Coombs, Hood Cream Chef

The holidays to me are about much more than shopping for presents and decorations. They are about cooking, sharing recipes and enjoying good food and the great company of my family and friends. My favorite memories are of my family making delicious holiday treats for everyone to enjoy around the table together.

As a child, I distinctly remember my mom and aunt in the kitchen, working hard making treats like cakes, pies and my mother’s specialty, peanut butter balls. There was always the sound of Christmas carols in the background, the taste of homemade eggnog made with Hood Cream, the beautiful sight of our newly adorned tree and the warm, sweet smell of cookies baking in the oven.

Now, I celebrate the holidays by attending various parties with friends and family. I love bringing food along with me because I find that certain dishes are great additions to these get-togethers and also make fantastic host gifts. Here are a few fun and easy ideas that will make you look like a true chef when gifting during the holidays:

I love making assortments of mini bread loaves in festive tins. These are great for parties and gifts around the office.  My favorite types of bread to bake are banana bread, lemon poppy seed bread and pumpkin spice bread.  People enjoy the variety and seem to like these much more than a fruitcake – plus they are perfect to share at work for breakfast!  Traditional popcorn balls can be revamped by using melted white chocolate to hold them together, sprinkled with another festive and seasonal favorite-crushed candy canes! I really enjoy giving all of these, but my favorite edible gift to give during the holiday season will always be my mother’s peanut butter balls.

At my restaurants during the holidays, we really enjoy creating an elevated selection of traditional holiday desserts.  An example is our bouche de noel, also known as a yule log. We add liveliness to this yellow cake dessert by rolling it with a rich chocolate buttercream frosting and then we decorate it to look like a real Christmas log with light meringue mushrooms. We also serve homemade eggnog, similar to the recipe I grew up on, that is also made with Hood Cream. This recipe can be served with or without alcohol, but always puts a smile on our guests’ faces knowing that it was made from scratch. 

With so many tasty holiday treats to make, gift and share, I hope the 2014 holiday season will be the most delicious one yet. From my kitchen to yours, Happy Holidays!

Christopher Coombs

Chef Christopher Coombs is the owner and executive chef at three of Boston's top restaurants: Deuxave, Boston Chops and dbar.

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