Holiday Cookie Tins and Freshly Baked Bread

Dear Friends,

It's that time of the year again - the time for giving gifts. Now. Before you totally collapse into a seething ball of stress, whimpering on the floor and calling out "traffic jam!" - let me comfort your poor delicate sensibilities. We've got a whole host of perfect -and easy- gifts for those incredibly tough-to-shop-for friends or relatives.

In all seriousness though - this is actually a really fun time of year in the bakery. I can't remember when exactly we started making our tins of fancy holiday/Xmas cookies (see how I did that?), but every year at this time, we get together and work our tails off as a team to get them out.

First, baker Tino makes most of the doughs on the overnight shift. Tiny ginger snaps and mocha walnuts are scooped. Spritz cookies get poked with the blunt end of a Sharpie and filled with raspberry jam. Checkerboards must be rolled out and layered together in their classic alternating pattern. The point is, tray upon tray upon tray of these dainty little cookies are painstakingly pieced together and then moved to a rack that goes in our walk-in sized rotating convection oven.

Once they are out of the oven and cooled, the cookies get iced and decorated in all different manners. Then we sort tray upon tray upon tray of cookies into tiny paper muffin cups before loading them into tins of three dozen (small) and five dozen (large) cookies. Lastly, we run out to our front counter to you - our eager gift giving guest. Three to four of us work a rather long day to put together twenty to twenty five of each size. And tomorrow, we'll get up and do it again.

The real point is, they're gorgeous, made by hand from scratch, and they make a terrific gift - but, they are often in short supply as we can only make so many per day. If you know that you'll want one on a specific day, we recommend placing an order in advance with our online ordering system.

We've also got our wonderful cranberry breads (we only make these in December and January when fresh cranberries are in season) that we can send directly to your out of town loved ones and giftees. Texas French Bread will pack and ship out loaves of cranberry bread on December 14th this year (expected arrival date on or before December 18th). Order a loaf to be shipped here.

Also available in the shop this year are a couple of old favorites that we've revived: the marble pound cake, and our take on Nancy Silverton's chocolate sour cherry bread.

Finally, as some of you who've joined us for dinner in the last few weeks are aware, I've begun making a sour rye "pain de compagne" that our staff has jokingly begun to refer to as "Murph Bread." The bread is naturally leavened and made from a terrific combination of flours that are very freshly milled at a small cooperative in Utah called Central Milling. I'm really excited about it.

I'm only making a few loaves per day and it generally comes out of the oven around five in the afternoon so we can use it for that night's bread service. So come join us for dinner this weekend. Sometimes we have one or two available to purchase if you ask nicely, but let's keep that under wraps.

bon appetit,