Well it’s been quite the year. They usually are.

At this time last year, I was in Italy about to ring in the new year in the hills outside of Ascoli Piceno.

This year, I am home with family, gathered around the table eating and drinking. The comforting things.

While I had my share of New Year’s Eve outings when I was younger, I’ll be honest, I never enjoyed them all that much.

I just wanted to get it over with so I could get home.

On New Year’s Eve, I prefer to be home, with my family close by. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the holiday, it’s just that while there is much to celebrate in what lies ahead, there’s also another year gone by.

For me, this night has always been bittersweet.

This has been an odd holiday season for me. Many of the traditional markers of the season for me have been missed, some unintentionally and some on purpose.

One of the unintentional ones was not baking my Toblerone cookies for Christmas.

I always bake Toblerone cookies at Christmas. Always.

So I baked them for New Year’s Eve.

I hope that wherever you are on this eve, that you are safe and in good company. I hope that whatever wrinkles or worries the year that is almost gone brought to you, that they were far outweighed by moments of laughter and smiles.

I hope that if you did not bake a lot in 2012, that you will bake more in 2013.

Bake more. Laugh more. Love more.

Happy New Year’s Eve.

Toblerone Cookies
(Makes 40 to 48 cookies depending on size)

2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup fruit sugar (also sometimes labelled as superfine sugar)
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1 large Toblerone bar, cut into small and large pieces, with large pieces reserved for tops of cookies
icing sugar for dusting

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
3. Beat butter with an electric mixer until very light (about 5 minutes).
4. Gradually beat in the fruit sugar (about 2 minutes).
5. Sift together the all-purpose and rice flours.
6. Add flours to butter mixture and mix until combined.
7. With a wooden spoon, mix in the smaller Toblerone pieces.
8. Drop large spoonfuls of dough onto the cooking sheet.
9. Place one large piece of Toblerone on each cookie.
10. Bake for 20 minute (or until lightly golden).
11. Once cool, dust with icing sugar.