Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Baking Bonanza

I have been having a great time doing holiday baking. We usually start in November and do one kind of cookie a week, storing them in the freezer. Whenever we have a Christmas event or friend drop by, I just open the freezer and assemble a cookie plate!

Lets see what's on this year's plate:

1. Mxyl chose chocolate cherry cookies. These are easy: make chocolate chip cookies, but add 1/2 c. cocoa after you cream the sugar. We also add cherry extract at that point, but you could skip it if you can find cherry chips at Target. We did extract and red cherry chips and white chips and chocolate chips, but then, we're not really into understated.

2. Klenda chose candy cane cookies. We added peppermint oil instead of almond extract. This is one of my favorites from childhood - I remember shaping them with my sister! As it turned out, however, they weren't what Klenda wanted.

3. Klenda actually meant the chocolate chip cookies where you crush candy canes and put them in the batter when you add the chips. Since I now can make chocolate chip cookies in ten minutes, in my sleep, with one apron tied behind my back, that was an easy yes.

4. Leena chose chocolate chocolate chip mint with candy canes (are you detecting a theme, here?) These are chocolate chip cookies, but you add 1/2 cup of cocoa after you cream the butter and then add peppermint oil. The finished cookies are frosted with buttercream frosting (we added more peppermint) and topped with crushed candy canes. Very pretty.

I wonder if my kids are super into candy canes or do they just like baking projects that involve smashing things with hammers...

5. Zorg chose meringues. I love meringues... We have to make another batch...

6. I chose these lovely caramel oat bars. I drizzle them with chocolate and cut them into diamonds. So pretty! So tasty! Probably a billion calories a piece!

7. We made some Jello spritz cookies, but not a lot made it into the freezer. If cookies using a hammer are popular, cookies using a "gun" cause stampedes. We made raspberry ones. I used some cream cheese for part of the butter with the idea it would be like raspberry cheesecake, but I used a touch too much and they were a little too tart. Still very yummy, and a good looking one for the plate.

8. I also made eggnog cookies for the Emperor. Not flashy, but one of his favorites. I used eggnog extract to boost the flavor.

9. OK, this is getting silly, but a dear friend told me her favorite was shortbread...

10. And then I made fruitcake... I tried it last year because it turned out that my Mom likes it. I never liked it, but have discovered that what I don't like about fruitcake is the corn syrupy glaceed fruit. Made with dried fruit and home made orange peel candy, it is really quite nice.

And I think that's it! You know except for cinnamon rolls and that kind of stuff...

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