What foods do you like to bake this time of year? Are there any that are traditional to you?
I like to bake anything apple or pumpkin. I drink gallons of mulled cider (ok, not exactly baking). The most traditional thing I'll make is Thanksgiving pies, which I've been in charge of for the past 10 or so years. My mom will mail me cookies made from our old family gingerbread cookie recipe (at least, she'd better!). She always makes turkey shaped cookies, and uses a recipe that's pretty much the same as it was 350 years ago- yeah, we're very old-school. They unlike any other gingerbread cookie I've had, incredibly mellow and soft, almost cakey.
After Thanksgiving, we'll get into Christmas cookies! I'm still working on the to-bake list. In January, I'll get into Christmas bread- I have to get inspired by all my mom's fresh loaves while I'm home for the holidays to actually make my own. (hers is usually better, but mine's definitely good enough). The Christmas bread is definitely a tradition, though, it's a very old Danish recipe my ancestors kept with them when they came to the US.
Well, ok, speaking of tradition... but this has nothing to do with baking. In my family, even more important than the turkey on TG day are Grandma's peanut butter-stuffed dates. These are simply plain old dates, sliced open and stuffed with a dab of peanut butter, then rolled in sugar (or not, for the diabetics). It's the simplest thing ever, and there's really no reason to have them only at Thanksgiving, but we do only eat them at Thanksgiving.... and by eat, I mean devour. Grandma usually uses 3 tubs of dates, and 8-10 of us will finish them off in just a few minutes. And every year I wonder, why can't we have these at other holidays? It's not like dates are out of season at other times. But, that's the way it is. I'm looking forward to some peanut butter dates :)