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What are you baking these days? December 2012 [OLD]

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Hi there, here we go into prime holiday season baking...
Just in time for it, here comes Nancy Baggett's "Simply Sensational Cookies", which I read through this morning. There are lots of super-sounding recipes, including some that have holiday written all over them (candy cane brownies, Andes Mint cookies...various shortbreads and spice cookies for example). This one's a keeper (her International Cookie and ditto Chocolate books are very good too). I just might have to make the espresso brownies with white chocolate this weekend, along with the sempiternal bread.
What treats are showing "lovin' from your oven", to quote a certain chubby fellow, these days?

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  1. Oh dear, another cookie cookbook to get from the library for me!
    I started my Christmas baking last night.. peppermint bark and 7-layer cookies...
    I have about 5 or 6 more treats to bake over the next week, since I am doing one of by first Christmas lunch next week-end, and I want to have the packages ready by then...

    7 Replies
    1. re: rstuart

      You will love it. There are also recipes in it using prepared cookie dough, tarted up, for the harried baker.

      1. re: buttertart

        Is this a book you had, or one you got recently. I don't even know if I have it, lol!!

        1. re: buttertart

          It's on hold.. and I just picked up Carole Walter's Great Coffee Cakes etc out of the library...
          You and roxlet are both very bad influences on me!

          1. re: rstuart

            I just got it in the Good Cook bundle sale. It's new, published in Oct i think. There are a few proofreading errors that made me want to scream..."modern flare" (honestly!) and a mention of dried pineapple rings that becomes cranberry rings farther into the recipe, for example.

            1. re: buttertart

              Cookie cookbooks! Might have to get that one!

        2. re: rstuart

          How long do the bark and the 7-layer cookies keep well? Thanks....

          1. re: Julia_T

            The bark keeps for quite a while, because it's mostly chocolate. I've had seven-layer cookies sitting around for a few weeks.. they get a bit dried up, but are still edible. The key is to wrap them well in tinfoil.

        3. Reposting from the other thread...

          I had a request last night for donuts from my son. We have a standard joke in our house: my husband says HE makes great donuts, but in the nearly 30 years I've known him, he has never made donuts once. He claims he made them all the time with his grandmother, but when my son asked my MIL about it, she said she couldn't recall, which isn't surprising since she hates cooking! As a joke, my son gave my husband a donut book, but I'm the only one to have used it. Anyway, this time I making the classic donuts from Marion Cunningham's The Breakfast Book. I'm toying with making the Berliners too, and then I can say with some confidence, "I am a Berliner," lol.

          1 Reply
          1. re: roxlet

            All the way with JFK!

          2. I just pulled out a pan of the 'gooey cinnamon squares' from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook. They look and smell yummy but I can tell I left them in a few minutes too long and probably won't be as gooey as her description.

            They were a bit of a pain to make because I only have one large bowl for creaming butter and sugar and one hand mixer, and you have to do that step twice -- once for each layer. Based on how these are received tomorrow (they really do smell great) I may have to attempt this again soon when I have baking momentum... I hate stopping in the middle of baking to do a full wash and dry of a set of dishes/equipment to finish the recipe.

            I'm also baking SK gingersnaps today, and making the homemade Thomas Keller oreos next week.

            1 Reply
            1. re: calmossimo

              They do look great, don't they! I got that cookbook for my mother for her birthday, and i am fairly certain that I will also find a copy under the Christmas tree..

            2. Yearly Christmas baking here. Today it's the fruitcake. Heh, you are what you eat.....

              1 Reply
              1. re: jammy

                I love making fruitcake. I have several vintages in the fridge at the moment.

              2. Melissa Clark's Coconut Fudge brownies. Just took them out of the oven. Can't wait to dig in!

                1 Reply
                1. re: shaebones

                  Those are truly fabulous.. I finally tried them a few months ago, and am looking for another occasion to make them!

                2. I want to try my hand at a babka....I think I may be crazy.

                  Perhaps some shortbread...

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: CocoaChanel

                    I've been thinking about babka lately too. Which recipe are you looking at?

                    1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                      This one from Epicurious.

                      http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                      1. re: CocoaChanel

                        Thanks! Report back if you make this. :)

                        1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                          I've used a babka recipe originally from Martha Stewart and clearly presented on smittenkitchen. It's a great recipe and just the aroma of the baking loaves is enough to make everyone swoon! It's a big and time consuming recipe that I usually make into two or three loaves, baking one and freezing the others before the final rise.

                          http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2007/0...

                          1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                            I made the epicurious recipe recently (and thought I posted here but can't find it?). It was excellent, so good that I am making loaves to give away this holiday season.

                          2. re: CocoaChanel

                            That does look good. I have been contemplating babkas myself lately. Must be the weather or my husband watching Seinfeld DVDs.

                            I have been making rolls. Butterhorns, flaky swirly kinds, parkerhouses, bialys... it all started so innocently with some left over fried onions and too much flour for the flour bin to hold...

                      2. I've started making doughs for the freezer. gingerbread cookie dough, dutch almond cookies, and Pierre Herme chocolate sables - first time for those.

                        Check these out - I am thinking of making "Whoville" swirl cookies tomorrow: http://www.crumbdoodles.com/?p=636 The pictures just make me smile. Hope mine will turn out as consistently smooth pinwheels as hers! ;-)

                        Monday I will make blueberry muffins for scout troop meeting at our place. The recipe is here http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... Delish but they do take time.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Julia_T

                          Those are cute cookies!

                          1. re: Julia_T

                            Those Whoville cookies are so cool! And I am actively against food coloring; I protest inwardly when I use colored sugar for my spritz cookies!

                            I think I may have to swallow my aversion to coloring just this once to make these cuties.....

                            1. re: Julia_T

                              Adorable!

                              1. re: Julia_T

                                I made the Whoville cookies today. They turned out pretty well. Photos in my other post this evening (pink/white swirls). I think next year if I make them again (and why not! the dough froze well, although when baking you have to watch closely because they brown quickly) I may add more holiday flavor, such as a dash of cloves. The lemon was very subtle.

                              2. I made peanut butter cup brownies today and I have deep dish pizza in the oven now.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                  Here are the brownies ... I'm hiding them from myself now.

                                   
                                  1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                    I can see why. Just looking at the picture is making me slightly hungry...

                                    1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                      I almost pawed my hand at the computer screen to grab this brownie and eat it.

                                      1. re: eviemichael

                                        LOL, thanks!

                                        1. re: eviemichael

                                          Likewise

                                        2. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                          I love people who frost brownies. And make deep dish pizzas. : )

                                      2. Joy of Cooking Pumpkin Bread. The batter tasted very good, and it just came out of the oven.

                                        It's not baking, but I am going to make Guiliano Bugialli's chestnut "truffles". Boil chestnuts. Mash with sugar, cocoa, and rum. Thin with milk if needed. Roll in more cocoa. When complete they will resemble truffles.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: ChrisOfStumptown

                                          Those truffles sound delicious. Let us know how they are....

                                        2. I made my mom's banana bread today, complete with toasted walnuts. I seem to be on a 'desserts from my childhood' kick.

                                          1. I made the Clementine Cake from Nigella and also on SK. Nothing I would ever make again. I liked another cake made with whole citrus(lemon) so I thought this would be great, but no. It uses eggs and almond meal as well as the cooked clementines. I usually love the bitterness of the rind, but this time .... Oh well.

                                            10 Replies
                                            1. re: mscoffee1

                                              Was it very bitter? I always wonder about these cakes that use the rind and pith of citrus fruits. I had a disaster once with a Shaker Lemon Pie, so I am extremely wary.

                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                I hear that. No pith for me.

                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                  The cake was bitter and there was not a positive taste to even compete. The orange was not strong enough nor was the almond. Maybe if the almonds was roasted as in another recipe, but not worth the time.
                                                  I have found when I have occasionally roasted sliced lemons with chicken and when they become very, very soft usually in the bottom of the pan, they can be very good and no longer bitter.

                                                  1. re: mscoffee1

                                                    Did you use clementines or oranges? I have made this with clementines and didn't find it bitter, but maybe you had a pithy bunch! I found the almonds added more texture than taste, as the clementine was the dominating taste in mine. I must say that we loved it.

                                                    1. re: pavlova

                                                      Isn't the word "pithy" fun?

                                                      1. re: pavlova

                                                        They looked like clementines and grocer called them clementines, but I did not taste them since I had only three. The weight was right. I'm sure you are right, something was wrong. More eggy then citrusy. Pithy is a good word.

                                                        My mother used to make Orange Kiss Me Cake that I remember fondly and it used ground orange (no precooking). It had a slight bitterness, but I liked it. Maybe my taste buds are off.

                                                        1. re: mscoffee1

                                                          I just made my grandma's orange bread, that I make every holiday; it uses a whole ground orange, and there's never any real bitterness.

                                                          1. re: girlwonder88

                                                            girlwonder, would you be willing to share your grandma's orange bread recipe? I'm intrigued.

                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                              Absolutely. She was quite a difficult woman, but a very good cook-nice to remember good times with baking.

                                                              Blend 2 eggs and a 1/2 c vegetable oil in the bowl of your mixer.
                                                              Grind a whole orange, peel and all, till you have a cup (took about one medium orange for me)
                                                              Sift together 4 c flour, 1 2/3 c sugar, 2 TBS baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt.

                                                              Alternate mixing 1 1/2 c milk, the flour mixture, and the orange into the eggs until you have a batter.

                                                              Pour into well-greased loaf pans (3 regular or 5 or 6 small), and let sit for 20 min.

                                                              Bake at 400 until tops crack, then finish at 350 until toothpick comes out dry.

                                                              Keeps well wrapped in saran wrap and foil in the freezer. Best sliced thinly and toasted, with butter and orange marmalade or flavored cream cheese. Ooh...I bet pear butter would be good.

                                                        2. re: pavlova

                                                          I made this last week with clementines as well. It wasn't bitter in the least, and we liked it quite a lot, but I had wanted something denser, I guess. Of course I didn't know that until after I'd made this one.

                                                          I topped with orange chocolate ganache and some homemade candied orange peels and it was beautiful and everyone raved. I doubt I'd make it again tho, even though I thought it was quite easy.

                                                  2. been doing a lot of recipe testing and development as of late... tonight was eggnog cookies with an eggnog based glaze. reviews thus far have been positive ;)
                                                    some variations on biscotti
                                                    gingerbread ornaments

                                                    also learned this weekend that i better pay attention when making a recipe i make all the time... lest i leave out an egg. how much difference can one egg make in a cheesecake? enough to take it from fantastic to "not so bad..."

                                                    later this week, pumpernickel bagels and mock toaster strudels...

                                                    1. My daughter has promised a "mystery fruit pie" as snack this afternoon for her debate club. I guess I'm off to the farmer's market to see if they have any unusual fruits. I kind of think all they're going to have today is apples and random citrus. Dried fruit of some kind is probably what I'm going to have to wind up going with.

                                                      I love weird, last minute requests. Sigh.

                                                      1. More Christmas baking.. and some disaster (this always happens this time of year when too much is happening and I get distracted)... including an entire pan of Peppermint bark falling out of the freezer and on to the floor.. the batch made with my precious Trader Joe's pound plus! Sob.
                                                        Made my mother's whipped shortbread, toffee pretzel bark, sugar and spice pecans, english toffee bars (which proved almost impossible to pry out of the pan.. I ended up with toffee bits everywhere, including my hair?), and made and froze the dough for austrian raspberry shortbread. I am going ot try to make the Smitten Kitchen maple nutmeg cut-out cookies tomorrow night, but it may not happen. These are all intended to be gifts.
                                                        Needless to say, with all of that baking, not much else is happening in the kitchen... and I'm going through a lot of butter...

                                                        23 Replies
                                                        1. re: rstuart

                                                          I swear by the parchment-paper sling for every bar-type cookie or confection. And then I use a generous amount of baking spray on any uncovered sides or corners. Even if things turn out to be too thin or fragile to safely lift out in one piece, there's insurance against adherence to the pan. Especially helpful with sticky sweets!

                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                            I wondered if that work with something like this though (I did consider it as I hacked away). It's a lot like this....http://southernfood.about.com/od/brow...
                                                            However, even when I look at the recipe, I see that they use foil. Is the consensus that parchment paper would be safe? I put it in the freezer for an hour or two to set..

                                                            1. re: rstuart

                                                              Oh, that's like the ubiquitous saltine/matzo/graham cracker toffee crack, only without the chocolate (here's CHOW's version: http://www.chow.com/recipes/28236-mat...). You really need something under the crackers, because as you found out, the toffee really sinks in the cracks. Either foil or parchment on the pan works. If you're not using saltines, a sprinkle of salt on top, or using salted nuts, makes them even more irresistible.

                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                No, the version that I make has a bag of milk chocolate chips, a bag of Skor bits, and a cup of pecans. I've been making it for about 15 years, but have always had mixed success with removal. My Aunt (who I got the recipe from) said that she uses non-stick bakeware.. that doesn't seem to have helped me! I'll try parchment for the next batch... I have eaten half of the first one already, despite my dislike of all nuts! Thanks for the tip Caitlin..!

                                                                1. re: rstuart

                                                                  What about one of the silicone baking sheets?

                                                                  1. re: rstuart

                                                                    I see. I was making the comparison based on the link you provided, which I guess is much closer to the matzo, etc toffee recipe than yours is. Regardless, parchment or foil should work for you, I think. FWIW, I've never met "nonstick" bakeware that didn't need to lined or greased somehow.

                                                                    Like you, my ex wasn't a fan of tree nuts, so we made the toffee-chocolate-cracker stuff topped with roasted, salted peanuts, and neither of us could stop eating it.

                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                      There is something so addictive about them! Think that I will try parchment next time...

                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                        With peanuts -- salted -- uh oh!!!

                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                          THANK YOU Caitlin! Used parchment paper, and it was a snap getting it out of the pan and breaking it up.. also significantly less messy! Much less cleaning.. and no toffee in my hair! Hallelujah indeed!

                                                                          1. re: rstuart

                                                                            Yay! So glad it worked out, R.

                                                                        2. re: rstuart

                                                                          rstuard, would you mind sharing your recipe please.

                                                                          1. re: Wtg2Retire

                                                                            For sure.. will do it tomorrow!

                                                                            1. re: Wtg2Retire

                                                                              Here you go.. the recipe is a bit terse now that I read it..
                                                                              English Toffee bars:
                                                                              Graham Crackers
                                                                              2 sticks butter (1 Cup)
                                                                              2/3 Cup dark brown sugar
                                                                              1 bag milk chocolate chips
                                                                              1 bag Skor bits
                                                                              1 Cup chopped pecans
                                                                              Preheat oven to 350
                                                                              Cover jelly roll pan with graham crackers. Bring butter and sugar to slow boil (do not burn). Pour over graham crackers and place in oven for 10 minutes or bubbly.
                                                                              Remove from oven and pour chocolate chips, skor bits, and pecans over pan. Press down with waxed paper. Place pan in freezer for about 3-4 hours, then break into pieces (easier said than done!)

                                                                              1. re: rstuart

                                                                                Just saw this. Thank you so much, rstuart.

                                                                                1. re: Wtg2Retire

                                                                                  Enjoy. I took the suggestion of someone on this board and lined the jelly roll pan with parchment papers; saved on tears and ruined pans!!

                                                                                  1. re: rstuart

                                                                                    Thanks for that tip.

                                                                      2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                        I am planning to make a toffee of some kind in the next couple weeks. Sounds like I need to be planning on a parchment sling or foil too.

                                                                        1. re: karykat

                                                                          It's odd.. I've been making this recipe for years, and one batch will come off no problem.. and then the next will cause no end of agony trying to remove (my mother once used too much butter, and broke a knife trying to get the bars off). Definitely trying the parchment next time!

                                                                          1. re: rstuart

                                                                            Weird that too MUCH butter would do that.

                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                              It made toffee that appeared to be melded to the pan. It should also be noted that while my lovely mother has many virtues.. patience is not one of them ;)

                                                                          2. re: karykat

                                                                            I do a few layers of foil and then I use a spray on top of that and I've never had my toffee stick. I don't do butter because I don't want more butter residue on the bottom. I do the SmittenKitchen style toffee bark .. which I just call crack.

                                                                        2. re: rstuart

                                                                          I'm coming to your kitchen! :b

                                                                          What's whipped shortbread?

                                                                          I use parchment or foil a lot too -- both to get things out more easily and also for less cleanup.

                                                                          1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                            Whipped shortbread involved whipping an entire pound of butter with powdered sugar, then adding some cornstarch, flour, vanilla and salt and whipping some more! They are very light and melt in your mouth..

                                                                        3. Last weekend I made Italian ricotta cookies to use up some leftover whole milk ricotta.
                                                                          http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1918,...
                                                                          I brought them to a friend's for dinner the same day they were made and didn't get what all the fuss was about this type of cookie. As buttertart observed, these kind of cookies are "good, in a blandish sort of way."

                                                                          However, I had at least a dozen cookies left, which were stored in the fridge. Well, it turns out the refrigeration really improves the cookies, and I've been enjoying them all week for breakfast with tea or coffee. So maybe I am a convert after all!

                                                                          1. Delving into the Baggett book this weekend -- our office Christmas party is coming up, and we always have hungry out-of-towners in and out the day before and of.

                                                                            1. For a holiday event this weekend, I baked snickerdoodles using half garam masala and half cinnamon in the sugar they're rolled in. First time making them, and after considering the recipes in my cookbooks, I ended up using the Chow recipe (coincidentally, pictured there in the right column of this page at the moment). It seemed like the one most likely to deliver the crisp-chewy texture I wanted, and did. I made as written except for the spicing and when I tasted them just cooled they seemed way too sweet to me, but they mellowed overnight and were better balanced today. I wish I'd used a greater proportion of GM, but they were well-liked regardless.

                                                                              N.B. to anyone using the Chow recipe: They need to be 2 inches apart on the baking sheet, not the 1 in the instructions, or they'll run together.

                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                My mom makes cardamon snickerdoodles that she loves.. she accidentally added twice the cardamon and said that it was still pretty good!

                                                                                1. re: rstuart

                                                                                  Those do sound very good, both. Cream of tartar in them, I hope?

                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                    I only considered recipes with cream of tartar, so yup. The Chow recipe delivered on classic snickerdoodle flavor and texture. The one in the Medrich cookie book is meant to be crispy, which is just wrong.

                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                      I cannot agree more! Snickerdoodles must be soft. I think that I sent the recipe to my mother.. it was a Joe Yonan... includes cream of tartar!
                                                                                      http://projects.washingtonpost.com/re...

                                                                              2. I am in the middle of making these:
                                                                                http://stickygooeycreamychewy.com/201... and I'm just not sure if they are working... think that the recipe calls for too much powdered sugar, so the filling is too dry and sweet. Always disappointing when you put a lot of time into something and it doesn't work! Hoping that it all comes together..

                                                                                1. I have the white chocolate chunk espresso brownies done, and the dulce de leche congo bars in the oven, both from the new Baggett.
                                                                                  Both are made in a large saucepan, and yes, dear reader, souschef are you there, I used the same one without washing it in between the brownies and the bars.
                                                                                  I'm hoping the latter isn't too sweet -- it has a good bit of brown sugar as well as the ddl (Itambe brand, from Brazil, oh my heavens delicious) and chocolate chips in it.
                                                                                  I decided against making these again this year: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/201... because I thought they were too ridiculously caloric (and the honey in them was sort of offputting, but these are both probably just as bad. Or good.)

                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                    Now I can't wait to get this book out of the library...

                                                                                    1. re: rstuart

                                                                                      Posting pics later.

                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                        They are both very good but extremely sweet.

                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                          I've never had a problem with extremely sweet...

                                                                                          1. re: rstuart

                                                                                            This is the book for you, then!!!

                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                              Great.. can't for it to arrive at the library!

                                                                                  2. My usual Christmas Buche de Noel. In addition to that, I've already made my Brooklyn Decker Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies. Will be making Compost Cookies, Madelines, Momofuku Milk Bar's Crack Pie and Candy Bar Pie, and their Corn Cookies. Will also be baking biscotti and macaron with pistachio filling; chocolate ganache filling, and almond filling. Brioche will be baked as well.

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: jarona

                                                                                      Can you possibly post Momofuku's crack pie recipe? I have seen many on the internet but would love to see the authentic one. Thx.

                                                                                      1. re: jarona

                                                                                        I was just looking at the Corn Cookie recipe. Have you made them before?

                                                                                      2. Just made a few dozen sugar cookies. Recipe is the same one my grandma used, and my mom uses. Boys and hubby helped decorate. Out of all the crazy cookies I bake, they are my hands down favorite.

                                                                                        1. Mom made a great burek with leftover cheeses and phyllo dough, I had a lot of left over dairy so I made one. It's pretty easy, just fold some good melting cheese into buttered layers of phyllo dough and bake. She would put a little rosemary in there- so I'm not sure how authentic that was, so I called it "gringo burek" just to be silly.

                                                                                          1. Peppermint brownies today...

                                                                                            1. I made these bar cookies, which are very like a rich shortbread with jam, for the department holiday party:

                                                                                              http://www.landolakes.com/recipe/1876...

                                                                                              Instead of raspberry jam, I used cranberry sauce, and the tartness cut through the richness nicely.

                                                                                              1. Made the candy cane brownies w/ mint. Sunset recipe. Let is sit overnight, as recommended. The flavor is there but a little too dry and crumbly.

                                                                                                1. We're getting ready for a candy making extravaganza this weekend. My aunt (whom I'm living with at the moment) is having her granddaughters over for candy making and a grandma sleepover, and I've been recruited to help. She's gluten free, so candy is easier than cookies to give to friends and neighbors (who might not appreciate gluten free cookies)

                                                                                                  We are planning one cookie to add to the plates, Alice Medrich's Chocolate Souffle cookies, which are flourless and amazing!

                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: sarahjay

                                                                                                    Can I come? I really want to learn candymaking.

                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                      We're just doing basics like fudge, caramels (I'll do them before and have the girls wrap them) buckeyes, and truffles on a stick (easier for kids to dip) but I think the kids will like it. I thought about taffy, but I'm in a different climate (and much higher altitude!) so I'd need to do a few test batches to be sure it would be a success, and I don't have time right now (school and job hunting are taking most of my time), maybe in the summer!

                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                        I do too. I seem intimidated by the softball/ hardball talk. My mom makes it and when I see her do it I get all cocky thinking that if she can I certainly can and then i don't. I have made pralines and toffee but only because I was desperate and snowbound and nothing else was going to satisfy my. They were iffy.

                                                                                                      2. re: sarahjay

                                                                                                        I learned about Thomas Haas Chocolate Sparkle Cookies on chowhound last year and there's no turning back - they're amazing and they happen to be gluten free. There are two recipe variations around - I prefer the one with honey...

                                                                                                        http://community.cookinglight.com/sho...

                                                                                                      3. A mincemeat pie all fruit which I got from Anna Olsen baking show.
                                                                                                        Making a Red Velvet Cake for my creative writing class tomorrow night. Cake is done, icing is next.
                                                                                                        Will be making a french fruitcake that my Mom made each year, which she got from Ladies Home Journal way back when Jacqueline Kennedy was first lady.
                                                                                                        Love Christmas for these special recipes.

                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                          Ruthie, you've piqued my interest with the french fruitcake. Care to share?

                                                                                                          1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                                                            This fruitcake was originally in the Ladies` Home Journal touted as a Jacqueline Kennedy favorite. My Mom made it every year and it is really good.
                                                                                                            http://recipes.epicurean.com/recipe/3...

                                                                                                            1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                              That does sound good. It's like "Le Cake" in "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" (and why shouldn't it be?).

                                                                                                        2. Now that we're unpacked and the oven is working again I've been busy. I've made a preferment for pain au levain and dough for multigrain baguettes today. Tomorrow I'm going to make a broccoli and cheese quiche and try my hand at compost cookies from Momofuku Milk Bar.

                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: zitronenmadchen

                                                                                                            I'd like to hear how those compost cookies come out. I have the book but haven't baked from it yet.

                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                              I liked the cookies, they had a nice chewy texture, I don't know if that was from creaming the butter and sugar for ten minutes or the corn syrup (I already had corn syrup, so I didn't feel like buying glucose as well) It seemed to that none of the individual components stood out, except the chocolate. I almost forgot to add in the graham crust pieces, and realized it after I had one tray of cookies done, so I smooshed some into those cookies and quickly mixed it into the rest of the dough. I was worried they would have that funky dried milk flavor, but I couldn't taste it.

                                                                                                               
                                                                                                               
                                                                                                          2. My last tray of fiori di sicilia spritz cookies are in the oven. Chocolate wafer dough and maple nutmeg dough are chilling. Dried sour cherries are macerating in kirsch for David Lebovitz's chocolate-cherry fruitcake. Next up is chocolate chestnut cookies from The Guardian. Hoping to get all this in the mail in the morning!

                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: pavlova

                                                                                                              This advice is based on personal experience: make sure the pan(s) for the chocolate-cherry fruitcake are exceptionally well greased/floured. If you're using loaf pans, I'd suggest lining with parchment, because despite my prep I had a sticking problems after the rum drizzle and cooling steps. To salvage it for gift giving last year, I had to repurpose some of them into rum balls!

                                                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                Thanks for that! I will use parchment AND grease/flour. I already have a rum ball recipe lined up. Now I just need to stop snacking on those cherries in kirsch...

                                                                                                                1. re: pavlova

                                                                                                                  I loathe fruitcake. But if it involved dried cherries in kirsch and chocolate, I'd make an exception. Is this from his blog or in one of his cookbooks?

                                                                                                                  1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                    It's in the (sadly out-of-print) Ripe for Dessert, but he also has it on his site: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2007/11/...

                                                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                      Thanks Caitlin..

                                                                                                            2. So glad to find this thread again.

                                                                                                              I did a trial run on candy this past weekend and made Almond Butter Crunch, which is the old - really old - name for Almond Rocha. My aunt taught me to make the recipe when I was about 9 and I'm, ahem, considerably older than that now ;-). It's one of those family recipes I can't get away without making every year no matter how tired of making it I am. So last weekend's batch turned out great. They're forecasting rain this weekend so we'll have to wait and see if candy making stays on the agenda or not. In addition to the Almond Rocha, there will be a least 1 batch of fudge, numerous batches of iced nuts and 100 hand rolled and dipped chocolate drop candies.

                                                                                                              Cookies look to be sometime late next week in preparation for traveling on Sunday the 23rd. So far I know I'm doing...

                                                                                                              - Dark Herb Cookies
                                                                                                              - Chocolate Sambuca Cookies
                                                                                                              - Peppermint Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
                                                                                                              - Gingersnaps
                                                                                                              - and if time permits I do a log cookie that is a relative of the ubiquitous thumb print cookie.
                                                                                                              - and to whoever mentioned the Skirbo cookies, those are ridiculously and fabulously delicious. If' I get really ambitious I may make them even if they don't travel especially well.

                                                                                                              And once at my sister's I know there will be an apple cake to bake along with numerous pies

                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                dark herb cookies?

                                                                                                                I make choco sambucas. Love them. Oh so alcoholy (Gournet recipe).

                                                                                                                I love thumbprints. Ubiquitous for a reason. Your line up is missing a sugar or shortbread sorta cookie!

                                                                                                                So nice to have a sister do something else. My sister always covers savory and all things jam.

                                                                                                                1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                  Yes, the chocolate sambuca cookie from Gourmet, they are SO good.

                                                                                                                  The dark herb cookies were also from Gourmet. I lost the recipe but found it again, of all places, in the Better Homes & Garden forums. Molasses, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, coffee, aniseed and crushed corriander. An unlikely, but delicious, combo

                                                                                                              2. just tried a 'chewy chocolate ginger cookie' adapted from Martha, but it was neither chewy nor very chocolatey. More like a dense, short gingerbread light on ginger and heavy on molasses. It's growing on me but it needs teaking. Too sweet in the long view. May use them for mini ice cream sandwiches filled with salted caramel ice cream, or make a caramel frosting and turn them into sandwich cookies.

                                                                                                                Will make some English Toffee tomorrow, need to get customer gifts done and packaged. Can't seem to get enthused this year!

                                                                                                                Oh and the old standby, Jam Splits. Fast easy, slices of delicately flavored shortbread with vanilla and raspberry jam in the middle.

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: toodie jane

                                                                                                                  Have you made the chewy chocolate ginger cookies as Martha's recipe is written? They are amazing, especially when made with chopped up great dark chocolate, and plenty of fresh ginger grated in.

                                                                                                                2. Last week I made sugar cookies for a holiday party. Used the Chow recipe and decorated with royal icing and sprinkles. They turned out really well and were eaten up!

                                                                                                                  Over the weekend I made marshmallow dreidels for Hannukah with my little cousins. Small pretzel stick + marshmallow + Hershey's kiss dipped in chocolate and then left in the fridge to firm up for an hour or so. Really fun and great activity with kids.

                                                                                                                  Today I made a batch of chocolate-dipped brownie cookies while procrastinating writing final papers. They weren't the simplest to make, but they turned out great! Very chocolately and fudgy and addicting.

                                                                                                                  On my to-bake list this weekend are a double batch of my great-grandma's murbteig rugelach (to send out to the fam), cranberry or gingerbread muffins and raspberry thumbprints.

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: thelittlemiller

                                                                                                                    A photo of the brownie cookies:

                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                  2. Yesterday I made chocolate biscotti from an old Epicurious recipe. Falrly easy peasy but I'm not much of a baker and I like results that look like I know what I'm doing.

                                                                                                                    1. Oh boy - so many things! I think we went a little overboard this year 14 items on the list that we have to get done to ship across country for family! We've gotten most of them done - all pretty much old family recipes that I don't know the origin of: Merry Christmas cookies (essentially a soft gingerbread cookie), lemon bars, raspberry shortbread, Surprise Packages (ball shortbread cookies stuffed with different chips, nuts, fruits, etc.), peppermint bark, candy cane cookies, and more! I love to bake, but sometimes after Christmastime I take a month or two break :)

                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: melval

                                                                                                                        The Merry Christmas cookies sound good.. care to share the recipe?

                                                                                                                        1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                          I wasn't sure what the guidelines for posting recipes on here, so I found it online :) http://www.tablespoon.com/recipes/mer...

                                                                                                                          This is actually a doubled recipe from what I have (but the salt didn't get doubled, I use 1 tsp salt in my recipe too).

                                                                                                                          There's also a honey version, but the molasses ones are my favorite :

                                                                                                                          )

                                                                                                                          (And we never frost them)

                                                                                                                          Is that as clear as mud?

                                                                                                                          1. re: melval

                                                                                                                            Works for me! Looks like a yummy molasses cookie.. with a great name! Thanks Melval!

                                                                                                                      2. I just returned to baking after a long hiatus (my health was conspiring against me), and made RLB's Golden Grand Marnier Cake (which I've made dozens of times before) to ship to my SIL in CA. When the batter turned out like bread dough it suddenly hit me that I forgot the sugar, so I beat it in then, but there was no saving the texture of the batter.

                                                                                                                        Rather than throw it out, I bunged the batter into the pan, and bunged the pan into the oven. The cake did not rise as high as it normally does, but it tastes okay.

                                                                                                                        I made it again this morning, this time not forgetting the sugar. The texture was right, and it rose as high as it normally does.

                                                                                                                        Does anyone here know the chemical process involved when the sugar is not added?

                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                          The only thing I can think of is that the sugar didn't dissolve like it normally would have, giving you less liquid, and a firmer dough. Then because the sugar didn't recrystallize during baking your cake didn't rise as much? I'm more sure about the first part than the second part.

                                                                                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                            Was it a creamed butter and sugar cake? When you cream butter and sugar together, there are lots of small air bubbles around the sugar which the baking soda/powder+heat then enlarges, leavening the cake. By adding the sugar later, you probably missed making these air pockets that would later expand in the oven.

                                                                                                                            1. re: pavlova

                                                                                                                              Thanks for the explanations Pavlova and Lemongirl.

                                                                                                                              Yes, it is a creamed butter and sugar cake. RLB does something unique: all of the dry ingredients are mixed together at low speed in a mixer, then sour cream and butter are added and creamed together. Finally, eggs combined with sour cream are added to the batter. Then chocolate chips (I use chopped callets) are stirred into the batter before baking. As soon as the cake come out of the oven it is poked all over and brushed with a syrup made of orange juice, sugar, and Grand Marnier. After being turned out it is brushed again. Highly recommended.

                                                                                                                              I had a slice of the failed cake for breakfast. Very nice!

                                                                                                                          2. My baguettes are done, now onto making pain au levain dough for baking on Sunday.

                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                            1. Baking up a storm! As some members of our family are Celiac, many treats are GF and those are generally 'made-up' recipes, adapted to family tastes from standard formula...

                                                                                                                              So far, the shortbread has been successfully rolled in three different sugars and two nuts and produced gorgeous (rice flour, icing sugar, butter and cornstarch) sweeties.

                                                                                                                              The GF peanut butter cookie recipe has been adapted to both almond butter and sesame versions with appropriate green cherry and red jelly adornment.

                                                                                                                              But for hubby and moi, a bit of private Saturday indulgence is planned. Tomorrow, we are testing the Pumpkin Marshmallow Cheesecake recipe from Bon Appetit's 'Dessert' tome. We can eat gluten so I will use commercial crushed gingersnaps (Anna's preferred) for this pre-Christmas trial.

                                                                                                                              If the (halved) recipe passes our taste-test, then I will make my own GF gingersnaps and reproduce the dessert as the crowning glory for Christmas dinner.

                                                                                                                              I know food is not the 'reason for the reason', but I am reminded daily of the love and hospitality aspect of this time of year when my kitchen is filled with the sights and smells of baked goods that I know bring pleasure to family, friends and the seniors/shut-ins that we will deliver to over the next couple of weeks.

                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: LJS

                                                                                                                                What a sweet note, LJS! And I'd love to have any of your tried and tested GF recipes...my first attempt at doing some of my xmas baking GF this year.

                                                                                                                                1. re: girlwonder88

                                                                                                                                  Always happy to help out someone working their way through the GF adventure....here are three of my best, with variations...the Skillet Cornbread hardly falls into the category of Christmas treats but is the best way we have found to satisfy the 'bread-lust' that strikes my GF gang from time to time...I make it whether they are present or not.

                                                                                                                                  Melt-in-Mouth GF Shortbread

                                                                                                                                  1/2 cup cornstarch
                                                                                                                                  1/2 cup confectioners/icing sugar
                                                                                                                                  1 cup white rice flour (Bob's Mills is my pref.)
                                                                                                                                  1/2 tsp salt
                                                                                                                                  3/4 cup chilled butter, cut into sugar cube sized pieces (I use salted, but excellent quality)

                                                                                                                                  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees and lightly grease two baking sheets/cookie sheets.

                                                                                                                                  2. Sift dry ingredients into large bowl

                                                                                                                                  3. Add butter and mix by pastry cutter or two knives until the consistency of small peas (think pie pastry)

                                                                                                                                  4. Using hands work dough very lightly until it will form a ball...if this seems unlikely, add 1-2 TBS of chilled water, very slowly, testing for workability.

                                                                                                                                  5. When you can form a ball, it is decision time before you let your dough 'rest' for an hour in fridge
                                                                                                                                  : a) leave as a ball for plain shortbreads (form into 1" balls after chilling)
                                                                                                                                  b) divide into 2-3 'logs', rolling each into coloured sugar, dragees, chopped almonds or other fine nutmeats

                                                                                                                                  6. After the chilling time (and 2 hours is as long as I have left it, but you can experiment), proceed to eith form 1" balls, pressing lightly with fork or slice the logs (about 1/4" thick). In either case, place on greased cookie sheet about 1" apart...they do not spread.

                                                                                                                                  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, on middle racks of oven...watch carefully, adding time if necessary...tops do not brown, and bottoms only VERY lightly when done!

                                                                                                                                  8. Allow to rest on sheets for 1-2 minutes before carefully lifting to cooling rack.

                                                                                                                                  These are really good, not grainy, IMHO, when freshly baked...they will hold for a couple of days and I am experimenting with freezing right now!

                                                                                                                                  The BEST Peanut Butter Cookies!!!
                                                                                                                                  1 cup peanut butter
                                                                                                                                  ¾ cup granulated sugar
                                                                                                                                  1 large egg, lightly beaten
                                                                                                                                  ½ tsp baking soda
                                                                                                                                  ¼ tsp kosher or table salt
                                                                                                                                  1 cup ground almonds OR chopped peanuts
                                                                                                                                  (up to 2TBsp. butter-optional-only if needed after blending to ensure ability to roll dough into balls)
                                                                                                                                  (½ good chocolate chips or dark chocolate, roughly chopped-optional)
                                                                                                                                  Good finishing salt-I use kosher, but Fleur de Sel would be brilliant

                                                                                                                                  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
                                                                                                                                  2. In a large bowl (preferably electric stand mixer), blend well the peanut butter, sugar, egg, baking soda and ¼ tsp salt
                                                                                                                                  3. Add ground almonds/peanuts and chocolate if using. Test to see whether the dough can be made into balls…if too crumbly, add butter and mix well.
                                                                                                                                  4. Roll into balls and place on prepared pans, about 1-2 inches apart-flatten slightly with tines of fork.
                                                                                                                                  5. Bake on middle rack(s) of oven, turning 180 degrees, midway through 12-14 minute baking time.
                                                                                                                                  6. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle very lightly with finishing salt.
                                                                                                                                  7. Remove cookies carefully to cooling rack and allow to cool thoroughly.
                                                                                                                                  8. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week (if you can!!!)

                                                                                                                                  Skillet Cornbread (Gourmet Cookbook-Ruth Reichl-Editor)
                                                                                                                                  You will need a well-seasoned 9-10inch cast iron pan to do this….though I do believe that recipe is resilient enough to experiment with muffin and ‘corn biscuit’ shaped cast iron pans…)

                                                                                                                                  1 ½ cups yellow cornmeal
                                                                                                                                  1 TBSP granulated sugar
                                                                                                                                  ¾ tsp baking soda
                                                                                                                                  ½ tsp salt
                                                                                                                                  2 large eggs, lightly beaten
                                                                                                                                  1 ¾ well-shaken buttermilk
                                                                                                                                  4 TBSP softened butter

                                                                                                                                  1. Preheat oven to 425…when nearly prepped, put skillet in oven for 10 minutes on middle rack.
                                                                                                                                  2. Meanwhile, stir together all dry ingredients in small bowl.
                                                                                                                                  3. Wisk eggs and buttermilk together in large bowl.
                                                                                                                                  4. Remove skillet from oven and add ALL the butter to hot skillet, swishing it around to coat pan…it will sizzle and brown slightly.
                                                                                                                                  5. Quickly, add hot butter to buttermilk mixture and return skillet to oven to retain heat.
                                                                                                                                  6. Quickly, with fork, stir cornmeal mixture into buttermilk-butter mixture …mix until just moistened and barely mixed…yes, it is okay if it is slightly lumpy.
                                                                                                                                  7. Remove skillet from oven and immediately scrape batter into pan and replace in middle of oven: bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden (watch sides for browning-this is the best bit!)
                                                                                                                                  8. Remove from oven and turn cornbread upside down onto rack to cool…right it when serving to make a presentation of the entire pan-I sometimes turn it back into the pan for “show”. Serve warm.
                                                                                                                                  9. Also keeps well, tightly wrapped in foil.

                                                                                                                                  I have tried two additions so far. I used ½ small can of niblet corn once for a chunkier mouth-feel (with soup): that worked well.
                                                                                                                                  Another time, I added a very small amount of jalapeno peppers once, ½ small tin of El Paso peppers-too few, I think as it wasn’t noticeable. Maybe dried chili peppers?
                                                                                                                                  Plan to try grated cheddar (1/2 cup?) and some ham bits for cornbread to eat with salad as light lunch in winter.

                                                                                                                                  Happy Holiday and all-year-round GF baking!!!

                                                                                                                                2. re: LJS

                                                                                                                                  with rice flour alone, how is the texture of the shortbread? not at all grainy? white or brown rice flour? the cheesecake sounds yummy... looking forward to your review...

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Emme

                                                                                                                                    Shortbread made with rice flour is exquisite. It is very crisp and light in texture.

                                                                                                                                3. I made two batches of almond buttercrunch today and two batches of lime-Mexican wedding cookies (Fine Cooking ... yum!)

                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                  1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                                                                    Oh and cream biscuits. Now I have a double batch of cran-pistachio biscotti going.

                                                                                                                                  2. Just made some no-bake peanut butter squares to take to a party. My real baking extravaganza is next weekend. I've been having to pile ingredients on the counter as the pantry is full!

                                                                                                                                    1. Should we have a second part, or are we comfy here?

                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                        I think we are comfy here. Considering the season, I'm surprised that there aren't more posts; I guess people are busy baking.

                                                                                                                                      2. I made a double-batch of charcoal cookies tonight: reverse chocolate chip cookies made with black cocoa and white chocolate chips.

                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                                                                          Here are a couple of my latest cookies, the charcoal and the cran-pistachio biscotti

                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                          1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                                                                            Charcoal cookies look great.. where did you get the recipe from?

                                                                                                                                            1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                              Thanks! I found the basic reverse choc. chip recipe online somewhere and have since tweaked it a bit.

                                                                                                                                        2. Biscotti Nocciole-Ciocolato.A recipie from Lou Seibert Pappas.The book ,Biscotti. I do not bake often. I just pulled them out of the oven. I did not have the hazelnuts. Made with toasted almonds,chocolate. Can't wait to try.

                                                                                                                                          1. Yesterday I made mincemeat pecan cookies, and today I made my English Matrimonials with pear and peach jam. I mixed up the dough for sugar cookies, too, and it's chilling till I get a chance to roll it out.
                                                                                                                                            I also had an experiment ..I mixed up my mother's recipe for Nut Butter Balls, which I think are also called Mexican Wedding Cakes. I used White Lily flour, and the recipe said to sift it. The flour seemed awfully light after sifting, and the dough seemed too buttery, but I went ahead and chilled it, made little balls and baked them. They spread out into little mounds, just like I was afraid they would. So I crumbled them up, mixed in some peanut butter and baked that for about 10 minutes. Then I melted chocolate chips on top and spread that, and sprinkled some of the chopped pecans on top.
                                                                                                                                            The test will be if they come safely out of the pan, and if they hold together. Keeping my fingers crossed!

                                                                                                                                            1. Made CI More Best Recipes drop biscuits last night (interesting technique, you stir melted butter into cold buttermilk until it forms small lumps and then add it to the dry ingredients). They were terrific hot and even good this morning. Ii expected a softer dough than I got (yes souschef I weighed the flour), but they baked up very nicely.
                                                                                                                                              And made madeleines on request of the lord and master ;-)...Marion Cunningham's recipe. Forgot the dang vanilla, but they're v good anyway. Had run out of Wilton cake release so I buttered the molds with melted butter, dusted them very lightly with flour from a shaker (the French word saupoudrer would be useful to have in English), AND used Pam-ish spray (supermarket brand) on top. They released very nicely.

                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                Buttertart, I'm glad you're developing good habits :)

                                                                                                                                                I have tried buttering Madeleine molds with melted butter, but find that it works better with softened butter that I apply with my fingers; less work too as you don't have to melt the butter, and one less dish to clean up. I find it unusual that you used the spray on top of the flour.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                  Belt and suspenders method.

                                                                                                                                              2. On the weekend, I made the panettone muffins from the King Arthur Flour site as mini muffins to take to a holiday thing. Flavored with vanilla and fiori di Sicilia, with dried fruit (I used golden raisins, dried cranberries, and candied orange and lemon peels).

                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                  And? How were they?

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                    They were good; the fiori di Sicilia really does give a hint of panettone coupled with the fruit.

                                                                                                                                                2. This Christmas I am giving out a lot of cookie tins each tin contains an assortmen of either chocolate chip cookies, white chocolate macadamia nut cookies, ina's outrageous brownies, rum balls, gingerbread cookies, chocolate raspberry linzer cookies, rugelach and cranberry bliss bars. I also made two chocolate pecan pies with bourbon and a batch of "Irish car bomb cupcakes" a la smitten kitchen. For Christmas eve, I am making the eggnog tiramisu trifle on epicurious and for christmas day I am making a stump cake featured on chow and an apple cranberry pie. I am also thinking of making a bread pudding but not sure. Oh and as per a request I made stollen from a new york times recipe.

                                                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Redstickchef

                                                                                                                                                    Everything was a hit, and I really enjoyed making the stump cake, it was a real showstopper, for Christmas. I made a rum raisin apple pie instead of the cranberry and did not make the bread pudding.

                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Redstickchef

                                                                                                                                                      Is that the stump cake from this site? I thought the picture of it was great -- really ingenious.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: karykat

                                                                                                                                                        karykat it was the stump cake from this site and it was really easy and fun to make. My picture doesn't look as festive without the rosemary leaves but I don't think it's too shabby.

                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Redstickchef

                                                                                                                                                          Very cool. Your mushrooms look great.

                                                                                                                                                          This cake idea is just ingenious.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Redstickchef

                                                                                                                                                            It's fabulous! The meringue mushrooms are the perfect touch.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Redstickchef

                                                                                                                                                          Can I get on your Christmas list, Redstick? Sounds fabulous.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: bear

                                                                                                                                                            Thanks Bear, it was a lot of work but I really enjoyed going all out this year!

                                                                                                                                                      2. Whew, four out of five gingerbread house decorating parties done as of this morning! 70 gb houses baked so far. About 25 more to bake for the friends-and-family party on the 23rd, and one large one to bake and decorate for a door prize/fundraiser for my daughter's Irish dancing school on the 22nd.

                                                                                                                                                        Oh yeah, and cookies for about 250 for that same fundraiser on the 22nd. Thank goodness I have double ovens this year! I've never made treats for a crowd this large. Anyone have any opinions about how many I should plan on for each person?

                                                                                                                                                        1. Yogurt cake with pear and dark chocolate. http://www.food52.com/recipes/9463_yo...

                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: THewat

                                                                                                                                                            That has long been on my list "to bake"..

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                              I've been making a Pear / Chocolate cake that I found on the web, where it is credited to Al Di La restaurant in Park Slope. The version from food52 is less fussy and makes a sturdier final product, which I like. I clearly like something about the combination enough to keep trying, but I'm not entirely won over by either version. I often eat it out of hand at room temperature; I think it would be better if I heated / toasted it, put a scoop of ice cream on top, and served it as a full-out dessert.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: THewat

                                                                                                                                                                There's another version from Smitten Kitchen that I printed out, but have yet to make. Sturdy is good in a cake..

                                                                                                                                                          2. Currently baking savory, not sweet, treats, but I think they're equally festive!

                                                                                                                                                            1. Bacon cheese bread using Jim Lahey's no-knead method..
                                                                                                                                                            2. Also making cheesy gougères (choux), which are so easy to make. With a dash of nutmeg and pepper, they're perfect for parties.

                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: vorspeise

                                                                                                                                                              I love gougeres, and yours are lovely! The only time I've seen my cat up on the counter is the time he was stealing a gougere.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: zitronenmadchen

                                                                                                                                                                Thanks! It took me a few tries to get the hang of piping out round gougeres, but practice does help!

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: vorspeise

                                                                                                                                                                Both look wonderful. Is the bacon cheese bread from Lahey's book? Do you just mix the cheese and bacon into the wet dough? And does it rise ok when you do that?

                                                                                                                                                                (It must - yours look beautiful.)

                                                                                                                                                              3. Today - Dec. 18th - is National Bake Cookies Day. Let's have at it.

                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                  I made oatmeal raisin cookies completely unaware that it was Bake Cookies Day.

                                                                                                                                                                2. Made my first ever batch of ginger molasses cookies. They've never been a tradition in my family but my sister requested them so I used the recipe from a local restaurant/bakery and they turned out nicely. Could have been a bit chewier... perhaps I overbaked them just slightly.

                                                                                                                                                                  Next up is a double batch of great-grandma's murbteig cookies. I'm also planning on making some rice pudding this week.

                                                                                                                                                                  I have a ton of molasses left over from the ginger cookies. I know it keeps for a while, but any recipe recommendations to use it up are welcomed!

                                                                                                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: thelittlemiller

                                                                                                                                                                    In exchange for ideas for using up molasses (Indian pudding,spice cake, brown bread, bran muffins, Boston-baked beans, and, if you come from Newfoundland, instead of sugar in tea), you have to tell me what 'murbteig' cookies are??? (and, don't worry, tightly sealed molasses keeps very well for several months).

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LJS

                                                                                                                                                                      Murbteig cookies are sort of a family legend. My great-grandmother used to make them regularly and send them out to her many grandchildren, and I assume her mother made them as well. As resident family baker, this task has been passed on to me.

                                                                                                                                                                      Technically murbteig is an Austrian short dough (Viennese, specifically), that is used in a variety of Austrian pastries, including tarts, cakes, cookies, etc. When I started making my great-grandma's cookies I became interested in their origin and did some research. Traditionally the short dough is made with just sugar, butter, flour, egg and salt. My great-grandma's dough recipe though is quite different - with baking powder, no salt, Crisco and a bit of orange juice. I have no clue why she (or my great-great grandmother, who would have brought the recipe over from Austria) would have subbed baking powder for salt. Crisco was used to make them parve.

                                                                                                                                                                      In this case, the murbtieg dough is used in a rolled cookie (similar to a rugelach) that I can only imagine was invented by my great-grandmother because I've never seen or heard of anything like it. Basically you roll out the doll, cut in half, layer each half with pineapple preserves (which is so random! I have no idea where my great-grandma was getting pineapple preserves in Scranton, PA in the 1930's/40's/50's), golden raisins and chopped walnuts. Then each half is rolled into a strudel-like pastry, baked, and sliced once baked so that you get, ultimately, these little rolled pastries.

                                                                                                                                                                      For a really long time we had no idea why they were called murbteig. I was doing some research though and stumbled upon the name and it all made sense!

                                                                                                                                                                      I'll attach a picture of the last batch I made! And thanks for the molasses ideas. Indian pudding sounds intriguing. And I definitely might make some muffins!

                                                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: thelittlemiller

                                                                                                                                                                        That looks really good!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: thelittlemiller

                                                                                                                                                                          RE: the little miller's great response to her gorgeous Austrain murbteig cookies: Thank you SO much for this great and full response...I LOVE the idea of pineapple preserves in this 'rugelach-like' approach. Pineapple preserves were also a part of my growing up-as part of a banana-split recipe, that called for strawberry jam, p. preserves and hot fudge sauce to be poured over the split banana and what we knew as Neapolitan ice cream (vanilla, chocolate and strawberry in a slab).

                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, Indian pudding is an east coast favourite that works well around Christmas time....you can dress it up with chopped red and green cherries.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: thelittlemiller

                                                                                                                                                                        I believe the gingerbread man recipe I used growing up had molasses in it. That might be a bit too close to ginger molasses cookies. We free formed the men as a kid though, so it could be a fun activity, even for grown ups... although that tends to get a bit more uncouth ;)

                                                                                                                                                                        I made molasses crinkles a couple weeks ago so I too have a lot of molasses. I'm going to make this pork recipe on Thursday... using pork chops though instead of medallions, and baking instead of grilling. My mom already beat me to it and said it's really good. http://traceysculinaryadventures.blog...

                                                                                                                                                                        I also know people like it in baked beans. Another plus of molasses is one jar will last you for forever, I'm not sure it ever goes bad.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: thelittlemiller

                                                                                                                                                                          i use molasses in my gingerbread ornaments ... nice dough, easy to work with, and look great on my tree :-D

                                                                                                                                                                          gingerbread of course

                                                                                                                                                                          Pulled Molasses Taffy

                                                                                                                                                                          Pumpkin Molasses Cheesecake with a Rum sauce >:->

                                                                                                                                                                          Chicken glazed with Mustard-Molasses based sauce

                                                                                                                                                                          Blueberry or Pear or Plum Molasses Streusel Cake

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Emme

                                                                                                                                                                            Pumpkin Molasses Cheesecake?!? That sound delicious. Any particular recipe you like, Emme?

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: thelittlemiller

                                                                                                                                                                              somehow i missed this, so i apologize, but...

                                                                                                                                                                              Pumpkin Molasses Cheesecake

                                                                                                                                                                              Cheesecake Base
                                                                                                                                                                              450 g Cream Cheese
                                                                                                                                                                              1 cup Sour Cream
                                                                                                                                                                              3 whole Eggs
                                                                                                                                                                              200 g Sugar
                                                                                                                                                                              1 tbsp. Lemon Zest
                                                                                                                                                                              2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
                                                                                                                                                                              Pumpkin Cheesecake Layer
                                                                                                                                                                              225 g Cream Cheese
                                                                                                                                                                              1.5 whole Eggs, 3/8 cup
                                                                                                                                                                              50 g Sugar
                                                                                                                                                                              ½ cup Sour Cream
                                                                                                                                                                              1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
                                                                                                                                                                              1 cup Pumpkin Puree
                                                                                                                                                                              75 g Brown Sugar, Packed
                                                                                                                                                                              2 tbsp Molasses
                                                                                                                                                                              ¼ tsp., rounded, Nutmeg
                                                                                                                                                                              ¼ tsp. Cloves, rounded, dash more
                                                                                                                                                                              ¼ tsp. Ginger
                                                                                                                                                                              ½ tsp., rounded, Cinnamon
                                                                                                                                                                              Crust
                                                                                                                                                                              2 cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
                                                                                                                                                                              113 g, Melted Butter
                                                                                                                                                                              ½ tsp. Cinnamon

                                                                                                                                                                              For crust, mix ingredients. Line a springform with parchment and wrap in aluminum foil. Spray with non-stick spray and press in crust. Freeze while prepping batter.

                                                                                                                                                                              For cheesecake base, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add in eggs one at a time, scraping down as necessary. Add sugar and sour cream, then vanilla and lemon zest. Pour into crust. Put in fridge while prepping the pumpkin batter.

                                                                                                                                                                              For pumpkin batter, proceed the same way as with the cheesecake base -- cream cheese, eggs, sugar, sour cream, and vanilla. Separately mix the pumpkin with the brown sugar, molasses and spices. Mix into cream cheese mixture. Pour on top of refrigerating cheesecake batter and swirl.

                                                                                                                                                                              Bake at 350 F in a water bath for 55-65 minutes, or until the edges are set but the center remains jiggly. Turn off oven, and let cool in oven for 30-45 minutes. Remove from water bath. Let cool slightly, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours to overnight.

                                                                                                                                                                              Enjoy!

                                                                                                                                                                        2. I'm getting geared up to do my baking. I'm hoping it'll be too snowy to go to work tomorrow so I can at least mix everything up, instead of having to do it after work late at night. We're traveling up to Wyoming on Monday so I can't cook too much ahead, I don't want things to be stale by the time we get there. Here's what's on my list, nothing crazy:

                                                                                                                                                                          -Peanut Blossoms
                                                                                                                                                                          -Chocolate Crinkles
                                                                                                                                                                          -Cranberry Orange Bread
                                                                                                                                                                          -Grandma's "honey" rolls (cinnamon rolls)

                                                                                                                                                                          Also, depending on time, I might do gingerbread roll out cookies and will decorate them. I love doing it but it's so time consuming. Photos of mine from a few years ago are included....that was the first year I tried them.

                                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                            How pretty!

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                              Nicely done!

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                Well it did end up being too snowy so I stayed home today and finished mixing up my cookies. I also made gingerbread! So I'm going to start working on the cutouts tonight. I probably won't do all the colors I did in that picture, I'll probably just stick to white and do only the snowflakes and maybe a few snowy Christmas trees. I do have some moose cookie cutters, which I will use because my BFs stepmom collects moose paraphanelia and even has a form of "moose" on her license plate, so I'm going to make about a half dozen smiley mooses for her. Should be cute :)

                                                                                                                                                                              2. Today I made the apple dapple cake from the Chow website. Both posters suggested using cinnamon, so I added some in to the batter. I will be curious about this cake since it initially seemed as if there were too many apples for the amount of batter, but it has risen well and looks very good. Also, the method for putting the topping on seemed very convoluted. I unmolded the cake and simply put the topping on. Much easier that way.
                                                                                                                                                                                http://www.chow.com/recipes/30514-app...

                                                                                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                  I was a little disappointed by this cake. I felt that the topping soaked in too much, almost making it seem as if the cake was underdone, which it wasn't. It also made it seem a bit too sweet.

                                                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                    It`s pretty.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                      Roxlet, I'd agree with you that the method for adding the caramel topping is weird. I also don't think this cake benefits or needs to be cooked in a tube pan. I'm probably going to use my 10" springform pan next time I make it. And I'd rather do a cream cheese icing on it - or even no icing and serve it with ice cream instead. I didn't have a problem with the topping soaking in because my topping was over cooked and a little past that ooey-gooey stage.

                                                                                                                                                                                      But I liked the cake because it had a very high nostalgia factor for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                        This cake was new to me, although I do know that there have been other versions of it around and about. I might also add that by today, the whole thing was a soggy mess. I'm not very happy with this cake, and will stick to the same old apple cake I make (which is not that different in terms of ingredients) that seems to make everyone happy.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                          Wow, sorry to hear that. My cake lasted for a few days, remained moist but definitely did not get soggy.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Over the weekend I baked a pear upside down cake (it turned out really good - not quite as pretty as I would like, but very flavorful - White House recipe), chocolate chip cookies (standard), chewy chocolate gingerbread cookies (Martha Stewart), and gooey cinnamon squares (These were well-received, but I don't think they're my favorite bar cookies. It's weird to eat such a gooey bar - I think I'd jut prefer regular snickerdoodles - new Smitten Kitchen Cookbook).

                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: milklady

                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm definitely going to check the WH pear cake :).

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. It's our team holiday potluck tomorrow, so I made what I have for the last 5 or so years.. my aunt's cranberry cream cheese pound cake. So good.. how could it not be with 8 oz of cream cheese, 1.5 Cups of butter, 3 cups of sugar, and 6 eggs??

                                                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                        Holy Cholesterol Batman! ;-) That does sound really good though, could you share the recipe?

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: zitronenmadchen

                                                                                                                                                                                          I feel very luck that we have no tendency towards hypercholesterolemia in my family...
                                                                                                                                                                                          This recipe makes a lot of batter, and by the end, my 40-year-old mixmaster makes a slight burning smell. I use a bundt pan but really, next time I will use the tube pan.. it's a whole lot of cake!!

                                                                                                                                                                                          Here is the recipe:
                                                                                                                                                                                          1 and 1/2 cup softened butter
                                                                                                                                                                                          1-8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
                                                                                                                                                                                          3 cups sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                          6 eggs
                                                                                                                                                                                          3 cups cake flour (sifted)
                                                                                                                                                                                          2 tsp vanilla
                                                                                                                                                                                          3 cups frozen whole cranberries (don't use fresh as they will stain the cake batter)

                                                                                                                                                                                          In a large mixing bowl, combine butter and cream cheese. Gradually add sugar until mixture is light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually add cake flour, mixing well. Add vanilla. Dredge frozen cranberries in 2 Tbs of flour. Mix into batter.
                                                                                                                                                                                          Pour batter into a well greased 10 inch tube pan or bundt pan that has been dusted with granulated sugar. Bake at 320 degrees for at least 1 hr and 30 minutes (I find it usually takes closer to 2 hours). Test with skewer to see if it is done. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, and then take tube section out and let cool completely before removing.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                            This sounds great. (Monarch flour ;-) ?)

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                              Bulk barn.. but in Canada, who knows where they get it ;)?

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I made these twice-baked crackers. I used figs, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds this time, along with rosemary, black pepper and whole wheat flour. They are my favourite crackers, alone or with cheese. http://dinnerwithjulie.com/2009/01/27...

                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pavlova

                                                                                                                                                                                          pavlova -- based on your comment in the other thread about crackers, I'm planning on making these over the weekend. Bought all my ingredients today. I'm thinking about using pumpkin seeds, pecans and prunes or raisins instead of the figs.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm looking forward to these and think they'll be great with cheese.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Wonder what you would think of using smaller loaf pans so you could cut them into smaller shapes? Would you anticipate any problems? Any difficulty telling when the loaves are done?

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: karykat

                                                                                                                                                                                            I hope you like them. I use whatever nuts, seeds and dried fruit (except raisins--don't like those) that I've got around. The first time I made them I used all whole wheat flour and this time part whole wheat. I've also used spelt. It's a nice recipe for using up bits of things.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I use a regular, perhaps smallish loaf pan, and the slices, once baked are about the size of melba toast. You could make them smaller, or cut larger slices in half. The slicing can be a bit fiddly so I put the loaf in the freezer and use a serrated knife to cut them as thinly as possible. I am thinking of trying to cut them on my mandoline next time to get them as thin as possible. Too thick and they are just hard.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I just bake the loaf for the recommended time and have never had a problem--it gets firm and lightly browned and is like a dense soda bread before the second baking. I do often bake the crackers at 275F now, as they can burn easily with the dried fruit.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Enjoy!

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pavlova

                                                                                                                                                                                              Yes, these turned out nicely. I used small loaf pans. My freezer was full. Luckily (?) it's been ultra-cold here, so I was able to put the loaves in my car overnight to freeze.

                                                                                                                                                                                              I used pecans, craisins, and pumpkin seeds. I had some dried orange zest on hand so I put a little of that in too.

                                                                                                                                                                                              It's a little hard to get them really thin. I had one batch out of the oven and they seemed a little soft. So even though they had cooled I stuck them back in the oven to heat a little more and that worked fine.

                                                                                                                                                                                              These go really well with the cheese we had.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. I did my major baking today, packaged boxes for friends and neighbors, and delivered a few - will probably need to get the rest delivered tomorrow. Just one more big baking day to go - Sunday or Monday. Here's a picture of some of the cookies I baked today.

                                                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Julia_T

                                                                                                                                                                                            Your "whoville" cookies are very cute!

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                              Thank you! It was great that the recipe worked out. It will be on my list again next year.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Julia_T

                                                                                                                                                                                              I love the tops of those... brownies? Really pretty :)

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Julia_T

                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, how did you do the tops of those chocolate bars?

                                                                                                                                                                                                Looks like a pretty design.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: karykat

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think you're looking at the soft glazed Tartine gingerbread. Their recipe has you cool the dough in a thick block, and then imprint it as you would shortbread - although of course you could just slice and bake instead. I use my shortbread pan, which has a snowflake design - press in the gingerbread; turn it out onto silpat/cookie sheet, cut apart the squares and then bake.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  After the cookies emerge from the oven, I let them cool 10 minutes, then paint on the recommended glaze of 1 C sifted confectioners' sugar whisked with 2 tsp water.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  The cookies are delicious, and it's fun to have their unique look on the plates.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Julia_T

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Those are very pretty! How do the Tartine Gingerbread taste?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Julia_T

                                                                                                                                                                                                      So pretty :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Currently questing cream puffs and macarons. I leveled up my pate a choux, turns out I was pulling them out too early and they weren't drying enough.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Today I'm making chewy ginger spice cookies. I love this recipe (from Epicurious), as it has tons of crystallized ginger and other spices in it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Today I made a chocolate chip banana bread and a batch of oatmeal-chocolate chip-white chocolate chip- dried cranberry cookies. Oh,and pecans, too. One thing I like about this recipe is that you run the oatmeal through the food processor first to make more of a rough oat flour texture, instead of the standard rolled oats.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I was just looking at some (purchased) oatmeal cookies & thinking it looked like they had run the oatmeal through a food processor. I've never seen it in a recipe. Why do you like it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: THewat

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I love regular oatmeal cookies, too. These have a texture more like Toll House cookies, but with the oaty flavor.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          It's just a nice change of pace. I got the recipe from a coworker back in the 80's, and they were called "Mrs. Field's " cookies, but I read somewhere that it really wasn't the cookie shop's recipe.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          No matter- I still like them after all these years. And after a few Christmas cookie bombs the other day, I figured I'd better use a tried and true recipe today.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Pecan Pie Cookies - I've made these two years in a row now, and while they're tedious I think they're a keeper.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.bakersroyale.com/cookies/p...

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: maplesugar

                                                                                                                                                                                                          That's a very interesting cookie recipe, maplesugar. I make pecan tassies, which are really like little pecan pies too, but it's the first time I've seen this recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. I finally started my Christmas baking yesterday. First up, I made cinnamon buns in 15 minutes from King Arthur Flour. Basically, it's a method of par-baking and then freezing cinnamon buns. You finish baking them in 15 minutes so you can have them for breakfast without too much stirring around.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.kingarthurflour.com/blog/2...

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I also made Medrich's Screaming Ginger Cookies, which I have made before, and which are excellent. I made them with just the powdered ginger and the ginger chips, not having fresh ginger in the house. Maybe they don't scream, but they're plenty gingery.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                            wow Roxlet.. I am a big ginger fan.. which of her cookbooks is that from? I will have to check that out?
                                                                                                                                                                                                            ANd so do the cinnamon buns.. which I adore.. parbaking and freezing is a great idea. It's only my mom and I this year for Christmas morning, so we bought scones, grapefruits, and peameal bacon..

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                                              The recipe is from Medrich's Chewy, Crunch, whatever and whatever cookie book. I can never remember the whole damn name. They are super delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ah.. yes, I've taken that out of the library. Will do it again to get the recipe... I do love ginger...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This looks like the recipe for the Ginger Cookies:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  http://alicemedrich.com/?recipe=my-gi...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mscoffee1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks MsCoffee!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Those sound great! I love ginger (and have a ton of it right now). Will have to try those.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. Heidesand (a sandy German cookie) from "Backen Macht Freude", the Dr. Oetker baking book, in the hopes of finally hitting the nerve left unhit since the demise of a lady who used to make gazillions of similar cookies for my husband's family when he was little (they called them Pfeffernuesse but they are nothing whatsoever like Pfeffernuesse, I think it was a name remembered by my father-in-law from his 1st generation German-American upbringing)...and 4:2:1 shortbread as my mom made it (recipe from her Scottish friend, 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup butter, 1/4 cup sugar, form and bake for about mins at 325 deg F).

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. sooo much baking and candlestick making ahead tonight... on tap --

                                                                                                                                                                                                                -browned butter white chocolate brownies with a white chocolate malt frosting

                                                                                                                                                                                                                -amaretti

                                                                                                                                                                                                                -gingerbread ornaments -- after a friend coveted the ones on my tree, i'm adding some to her xmas gift

                                                                                                                                                                                                                -browned butter butterscotch pie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                -some variation on tosi's cereal milk panna cotta with cornflake crunch (well, the crunch has to be baked...)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                -mock ding dongs -- xmas present for a friend who laments the demise of hostess

                                                                                                                                                                                                                ....not technically baking:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                -cheesecake ice cream with a yet to be determined fruit... and if i get the 2nd wind, with graham cracker crust pieces swirled in... but i'd have to bake these first... sigh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                -sponge toffee candy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                -herbed sea salt combos for xmas gifts

                                                                                                                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Emme

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Very impressive and delicious! You will have a late night! I will be finishing up 4 danish-style coffeecakes to freeze unbaked for Christmas morning, toasting my variation of raincoast crisps, and making Ruhlman's pate. Today I baked maple-mustard pecans and made buckeyes. All of this contingent upon not drinking too much wine, of course!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Emme

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Browned butter white chocolate brownies with white chocolate malt frosting! ! Is it legal to combine so many delicious flavors? Would you mind sharing the recipe?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Emme

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      the brownies sound great.. I love white chocolate, browned butter, and malt! What a great combo! I second Modthyrth's request!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        once i've had tasters, i will happily post. my creating and developing a new recipe shouldn't involve you having failures :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        got everything done, save the sponge toffee... my thermometer... my NEW thermometer broke. i pulled my sugar, but it still managed to burn even though it really shouldn't have. i was going to start again, but i didn't have the time or patience to babysit it with such great detail to get it to 300 F. sigh... need new digital clip-on thermometer... i know this is more for the cookware board, but any suggestions are appreciated and welcome!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Emme

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I need a new thermometer too. I made a toffee with my digital thermometer. But it kept conking out and then needed to be reset. But I managed to get the mixture to about 315 degrees and it worked. Next time -- a new thermometer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. 2 Double batches of Almond Butter Crunch done, iced and ready for travel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      5 batches of Iced Nuts (similar to brittle), 3 cashew, 2 almond

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      100 bonbons, filled, rolled and dipped

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 batch Fantasy Fudge done and partially consumed, the other half was shipped earlier this week

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3 dz. Dark Herb Cookies (think molasses-style, soft gingersnap with ginger, cinnamon, clove, anise and corriander seed) done and ready to fly tomorrow night

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 batch Chocolate Sambuca cookie dough in the fridge to be baked after dinner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 batch Chocolate Peppermint Crinkle cookie dough in the fridge to be baked after dinner, or maybe after breakfast if I run out of steam tonight.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Still one deck 1 batch of Gingersnaps which may, but probably won't, get made

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Still have to pack for 5-days away...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Tonight is the last of five gingerbread house decorating parties. I think I'm finally done baking them (final count this year: 93), but I need to assemble this morning and make sure I have enough for neighbor gifts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The cookie bar for the Irish dancer's Christmas show was a big success yesterday! 420 people, including the dancers. I basically just baked until I ran out of time and hoped for the best. ;-) I made cranberry pistachio biscotti, pink-pillowy-soft style biscotti, poppyseed rugelach, Russian tea cakes, white chocolate chip pistachio cookies, krumkake, gluten free gingerbread, fluer de sel caramels, pralines, peanut brittle, English toffee, creme de menthe bars, and homemade crackers (parmesan and rosemary sea salt varieties) to go with the cheese plate. Whew. All very well received. The poppyseed rugelach is definitely going on my personal cookie tray from now on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Tomorrow, baking for Christmas. A couple pies, cinnamon rolls and poppyseed kolaches for breakfast. An easy day of baking after the last week. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: modthyrth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Wow! That is gorgeous! My kids are in awe, and so am I.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: modthyrth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Second that Wow. That's a gorgeous gingerbread house

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: modthyrth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Modthyrth.. looks GORGEOUS! Wow! so pretty, and the recipes look fab!! the creme de menthe bars look good.. have you shared that recipe before?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I did in a cookie thread last year. I'll find it and post the link.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: modthyrth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Doh, forgot AGM Cape Cod's apricot foldovers (from the Christmas cookie thread--definitely a winner) and snickerdoodle blondies from the list.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: modthyrth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  How lovely!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. The New Good Housekeeping Cookbook's ginger snaps and snickerdoodles this morning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I made the TKO's from the bouchon bakery book yesterday (think oreos)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    They were really good, Im going to use the cookie part of the recipe to make ice cream sandwiches this summer!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: twyst

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Good to know, I'm hoping to find Bouchon Bakery under the tree in 2 days ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I was just invited to a pre Christmas Eve (seven fishes dinner), pre Christmas dinner tonight at a family member's house....just opened a bottle of Galliano to make a Harvey Wallbanger cake that they have been asking for....am making ricotta filling for cannoli now. If I get an answer to my peanut butter ball question in my other post, I'll be getting those started too. I am making some almond meringuey type cookies later.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. This morning I cut and baked Flo Braker's Pain d’amande, which I have been wanting to make for ever. So far, the reaction from both my husband and son was a less obnoxious "meh." They're an odd cookie, I will admit, almost more of a sweet cracker, actually. I also made a batch of spritz cookies using Carole Waters's recipe for spritz cookies, which I like more than the Wilton one I made when I was trying out my new Oxo spritz cookie maker. However, the cookies took a lot longer to bake than stated in the recipe, and they did not hold the design as crisply. Chilling in the fridge are brown butter pecan shortbreads, which I will cut and bake tomorrow. Tomorrow I will also make struffoli and I'll see whether I make my sticky toffee pudding tomorrow or Christmas day. I don't have that much to do before our dinner since my husband is basically cooking the whole meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. my mother and I are discussing the dessert options for Christmas dinner.. it turns out that there will be 10. She was adamant that she didn't want anything "rich", which eliminated must of my suggestions. In the end, I think that we are going with lemon budino, a cranberry upside down cake, and assorted cookies and baked goods..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            There's a cranberry tart/cake in Dorie Greenspans Baking book. If you've got that particular cookbook, check out the recipe. It's a fairly light upside down style cake and definitely not too rich and it is delicious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That sounds good.. will check out. I know that my mother has that cookbook.. since I gave it to her!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks DD!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                So I ended up changing my mind and making Fine Cooking's espresso gingerbread cake instead.. very good. I prefer what I made last year though, which was Dorie Greenspans' cranberry shortbread cake..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Baked fruitcake a while ago to age and get properly soused in port, gingerbread cookies, Christmas pud (steamed), mince tarts with frangipane, almond crisp cookies, and speculaas. I'm wistfully looking at the chocolate goodies coming out of ovens here, but I'm the only chocoholic in the family. sigh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. I'm finally done w/ my holiday baking, my back and piping hand are killing me! My cinnamon rolls didn't quite turn out. They are baked in a cake pan with syrup and brown sugar in the bottom, but I guess I didn't grease the pans well enough, because one of the pans refused to "let go" of the rolls. So I ended up with a messy pile of sticky rolls. Oh well, they still taste good!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Also, I made a small army of moose (see picture). BF's stepmother) collects moose stuff so I couldn't resist making some of these for her. Not my finest piping work but I think they're pretty cute :) I also flooded 2 dozen christmas trees with white icing and decorated w/ various red, green, and white sprinkles, and had a few dozen various types of snow flakes, some frosted, some had cutouts. All gingerbread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Really cute! I never have the patience to decorate cookies

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Agree.. my decorating skills are pretty tragic, so I'm always very impressed by other people who are able to! What a great present!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Those are super cute!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Julie, I just finished making a few dozen cut out Christmas cookies, and don't want to use the thick frosting recipe that the recipe writer recommends. What did you flood your cookies with? I could do that and add sprinkles or jimmies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I make a glazey type icing with powdered sugar, corn syrup and milk. I think the actual recipe is like 2.5 cups powdered sugar, 2tbsp corn syrup, 2tbsp milk but I just sort of wing it, adding here and there until its the consistency I like. It doesn't get as hard as royal icing but does get a harder outer layer so you can stack them as needed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks, julie. That was perfect. I added a bit of almond extract to it, since I was thinking earlier that the cookies could have used a little almond flavor to them.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Your moose are delightful! I just shook some sprinkles on...I am no cookie decorator! That's on the bucket list of skills I'd like to learn.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Great, I'm glad it worked for you :) thanks to everyone else too! I went to school for interior design and I guess the detailed hand drafting/rendering skills I learned there applies itself well to cookie decorating. I work in a very non-creative job so I tend to take out my artsy fartsiness on cookies at Christmas :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Well, like most everyone else, I've been baking up a storm for the past month. Things I've really liked have been Kelsey Nixon's Carmelitas (with a teaspoon of vanilla in the dough and in the delicious salted caramel sauce) and Paula Deen's Caramel Apple Streusel Cheesecake Bars (using Kelsey's caramel sauce recipe.) Both were delicious and went over really well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    On a funny note, last night I decided to make the Florentine recipe on Chow. I made it as written but subbed a teaspoon of vanilla for the orange zest since my husband isn't a fan. I neglected to read through the recipe and didn't notice that it makes about 36 cookies. I made twelve, and they quickly became two very large Florentines in the oven. Lesson learned!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    By the way, the recipe is delicious and has a great texture.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Tomorrow I'll be baking Smitten Kitchen's Apple Sharlotka, serving it with lightly sweetened cinnamon whipped cream. There's been so many sweets around, including tons of cookies and a huge chocolate cake less than a week ago, so I decided to keep it simple and not too sweet for Christmas. And apples are always good. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I've had SK's Sharlotka on my want to try baking it list since I saw the post. I look forward to hearing how it turns out :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: maplesugar

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It was good! It was like a pie-cake -- lots of apples with some puffy cakey bits towards the top (I did spread the batter downward, as directed, but there's still the part on top, and that puffs up nicely). I added apple pie-type flavors to the batter--cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves--and served it with whipped cream. Everyone liked it, and we all liked that it wasn't overly rich or heavy (vs. other things we'd been eating, lol.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks Chocolatechipkt! Something on the lighter side is just what I was looking for :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Right now, I have Roxlet's coconut cake in the oven. Very excited to try this - it the finished product tastes half as good as the batter on the spoon, the family is in for a treat!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This morning, I made Dorie Greenspan's fig cake with port sauce (from the Baking cookbook). Smells delicious!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Not sure yet, but I may finally get around to gingerbread people this afternoon. I have the ingredients - just not sure about the energy :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: CocoaChanel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think it will!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LOL! I am sure it will
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. I just finished my struffoli, and the brown butter pecan cookies, and I am ready to move on to the sticky toffee pudding -- if not today, then tomorrow morning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I came down with a cold at the end of last week, just in time for getting ready for the holidays. Woke up Friday without a voice, and it's just now sort of getting back to normal. Despite feeling lousy, I figured I'd better spend some time in the kitchen on the weekend so I'd have gifts ready to go by this morning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I made the Smitten Kitchen apple cider caramels, and they have nice flavor, although to be honest I prefer the plain butter caramels and dark chocolate caramels I make from the How to Cook Everything recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Next, a variation on typical rum/bourbon balls combining minced dried apricots, chocolate, butter, sweet dessert wine "such as Sauternes" the recipe says; I used late-harvest muscat), and shortbread cookie crumbs, rolled in toasted sliced almonds.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I had been planning to make thumbprint cookies, but couldn't face all the fiddling, so instead I used the Chow recipe for "split-second" cookies where you make a trough in a log of dough and fill it with jam, then slice it after baking. I added orange zest and cardamom to the dough, and used homemade pomegranate jelly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And then I made my orange marmalade almond cake in 4-inch round fluted paper pans. Due to lack of time and energy, I skipped glazing them. Now I have to pack it all up, along with the mini Dowager Duchess fruitcakes I made the weekend before (US) Thanksgiving and have since doused with booze a few times.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hope that you are feeling better Caitlin.. I also came down with a nasty cold which I can't seem to shake.. who knows how many boxes of Kleenex I have gone through.. and I look a great deal like Rudolph! What makes a fruitcake a "dowager duchess" cake? does it ask "what is a week-end" ;)?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks, I seem (I hope) to have hit the back end of this thing and am at least less miserable than I was a few days ago. I hope you're better soon, too!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I haven't heard a peep from the cakes, but then they're somewhat soused on sherry. It's a pound cake with candied peel (orange and lemon). I swapped the almonds in the recipe for candied ginger, but it's somewhat overwhelmed by the citrus.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This is it: http://www.marthastewart.com/354028/d...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I really have a lot of it left, as well as the cookies. Made too much this year, then gave away less than some years. I'll take some of it to my mother's New Year's Day open house.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Feeling slowly better but it's quite a cold! Looks like the fruitcake predates downton abbey..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                How did you like your bourbon balls. Sounds like an interesting mixture. It has wine instead of the bourbon or rum or in addition to it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Do you recommend this one? And where did you get that recipe?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: karykat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  karykat, they just have the sweet wine. I like flavor of the apricot/chocolate/shortbread mix, and it's fine with the wine but would also be good with rum or brandy instead (I probably wouldn't use bourbon with these flavors). It's from a book called the Baker's Field Guide to Holiday Candies and Confections by Dede Wilson. She lists it as a Purim sweet, which is where the sweet wine comes in. If you're interested in the recipe, let me know. They're easy and quick to make, and keep for weeks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Uh oh, I love Dede Wilson. New book?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Not new, it's from 2005. She has several of these "A Baker's Field Guide to..." books. It's kind of cutesy, with this field guide conceit, but nicely produced with a two-page spread for each recipe, each with photo, background, etc. This has some international recipes that look interesting, but I probably won't keep it. Lots of homemade takes on commercial favorites that I don't even care for, like Cadbury creme eggs and Peeps (!), plus usual suspects like marshmallows and truffles. I'll copy this recipe I used, though, because I liked it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks Caitlin.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I would love that recipe if you get some time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: karykat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Here's the recipe for the chocolate-apricot balls. She calls for semisweet chocolate, however I used 57% (Trader Joe's branded Callebaut "dark"). She also specifically calls for Lorna Doone cookie crumbs, but I wanted something less junky without resorting to making my own so I used Walker's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried apricots
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1/2 cup sweet wine ("such as Sauternes"; I used late-harvest moscato)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        4 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 T. sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 T. Dutch-processed cocoa
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        4 T. unsalted butter, in pieces
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 cup shortbread cookie crumbs (I used a bit more)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 1/4 cups natural (unblanched) sliced almonds, toasted and roughly chopped

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Using a food processor, mince the apricots finely (I also used the processor for the chocolate, and of course the cookie crumbs). Put the apricots, wine, chocolate, sugar, and cocoa, in a saucepan (I added a pinch of salt, too) and stir over medium heat until the chocolate is melted and the sugar dissolves. Off the heat, stir in the butter a piece at a time, then the cookie crumbs. Refrigerate at least an hour, or until stiff enough to roll. Roll into 1-inch balls using the palms of your hands, then roll each in the sliced almonds. Store in an airtight container with waxed paper between layers for up to 6 weeks refrigerated (I've been keeping the tin in my unheated laundry room, which is chilly in the winter here in Northern California).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Those sound v good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Yesterday I made vanilla crème brûlée with a layer of chocolate cream on the bottom. We were four for dinner, but the recipe made eight. One of the leftovers was great for breakfast this morning (didn't bother caramelizing the top).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It would be a good breakfast... after all, creme brulee is a good source of dairy!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My thinking exactly!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. i've got sourdough rising right now.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    i made a plain poundcake for our christmas dinner, and served one of the wonderful homemade jams we had received from friends as a topping. SO easy and wonderful! great way to end the meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    i just saw a sticky bun recipe on food 52 that was orange flavored rather than raisin-centric. it looks so good, but i just haven't gotten around to it yet! hoping to get there before the kids go back to school.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I baked Claudia Fleming's Guinness Stout Ginger Cake today, which is going to become the base of a gingery trifle this weekend.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sounds great.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A true classic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And the trifle sounds great.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The trifle was delicious. I cut the ginger cake in cubes and layered it with pears poached in Stone's ginger wine and ginger-infused pastry cream folded into whipped cream.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            For the same dinner, I made a rosemary focaccia. I used a no-knead recipe - not Lahey or its derivatives, but from a cookbook called No Need to Knead that came out back in 1999. I've owned it for at least 10 years, but this is the first time I've actually used it. This focaccia - possibly the easiest yeast bread in history - was terrific. Perfect moist and open texture with just the right amount of chew. Everyone loved it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yum. Just yum.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Our Christmas dessert resulted from a brainwave in the middle of baking Heidesand, which are German refrigerator browned butter shortbready things, from the recipe in the Dr Oetker "Backen Macht Freude", which I hoped would produce the ur-cookie of the Beast's childhood...but it didn't ("good, but too sweet"). I'm going to give the recipe another whirl with 1/2 the sugar (the texture of the ones he remembers was firmer, too, so less sugar should get them closer).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Annnywaaay, I took about 1/3 of the chilled dough, added about 2/3 of a cup of flour, an egg yolk, and an egg to it in the food processor, pressed the resulting dough into a false-bottomed tart pan, and chilled it for several hours.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I then baked it blind until pretty much done.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I had thought about using a sort of pot de crème recipe with white chocolate as the filling, but I thought it's be too sweet/cloying (wanted candied chestnuts in it too), so I made a small recipe (3 oz of cream cheese) of Japanese cheesecake, flavored it with Cognac, and poured it over 8 candied chestnuts (Turkish ones, in syrup) I had cut into bits. Baked it for about 25 mins, et voilà...awfully good, if I do say so myself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sounds great!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. I made whole wheat croissants from RLB's Pie and Pastry Bible. The flavor was nice, but the texture was different from regular croissants, drier.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: zitronenmadchen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                You probably have to make the dough a little wetter than she calls for (god forbid I should challenge la Beranbaum, but whole wheat baking is tricky).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I made the "real Irish soda bread," in the most recent Fine Cooking, to go with a beef stew we had tonight. This is a quick bread with just four ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk, which made it nice and moist.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The one in Beard on Bread is the same way, with ww flour. It's my standard.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. my OH is on the opposite side of the world, and to distract myself, i bake. a lot. most of it test-stuff; most of it donated.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  --chewy butterscotch mallow cookies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  --potato chip choco-scotch cookies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  --a variation on momofuku corn cookies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  --cheese kuchen - quite pleased with this
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  --cheesecake/cream cheese mousse
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  --oreo cheese stuffed "whities" -- totally random -- using up some homemade "white cake mix" -- mixed with some egg white, melted butter, dash of oil and milk. put half in an 8x8. mixed up a little cream cheese (nuked in microwave til really soft) with a pinch of sugar and vanilla. spread over base. layered on the remainder of a pack of double stuff oreos the OH left laying out. then dolloped on and spread the remaining cake batter. baked for 20 minutes or so until mostly set around edges and still slightly soft in the middle. i'd be more ashamed if people didn't respond so positively... sigh. gross.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  also baked up a egg cheese casserole for some girlfriends that came over...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  is NY yet?!?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Yesterday I started baking for our open house on New Year's Day. I made these really lovely little lemon cookies from King Arthur Flour's web site. They are made with butter, confectioner's sugar, a drop or two of lemon oil and flour, but when they're done they are rolled in a mixture of confectioner's sugar and lemon powder. They are just delightful. I also made the rest of Flo Braker's Pan d'amande, but this time I made them smaller, and dipped the end in melted chocolate and sprinkled with almonds. I also made some brown butter pecan shortbread, pecan tassies, a cheesecake, and the dough for some chocolate crinkles, which I will bake later.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Wish I lived in your area; I'd drop in!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Happy New Year everyone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And you'd be welcome!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sounds fabulous, roxlet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thank you! How did it go?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh wow, that does sound great. Wonder where I could find lemon oil?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A company here called Boyjalian puts it out, should be available there?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Probably could look at Bulk Barn..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                rstuart FWIW I've seen Boyajian at Homesense, and if memory serves - Save On Foods or Sobeys...and our local health food store too.. so you may want to try the one near you or contact them about where they sell in Canada: http://www.boyajianinc.com/contact.html

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: maplesugar

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh wow.. I have seen those at Homesense too. Thanks Maplesugar! They're a bit pricy though.. ironically, the kind of thing I would usually ask for at Christmas! Maybe next year...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Pain d'Amande is my favorite cookie - as a matter of fact, I made several batches to give as gifts for Christmas this year. Thinking of changing up the recipe a bit for next year... can't wait.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. So we've shared what we all made for the Christmas holidays, we've got a little over 12 hours left (+/- depending upon your current location) on the last day of December, what's everyone making for New Year's Eve

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm trying out a recipe called Veil of Vanilla (and not entirely sure why) from my new Elizabeth Falkner book, Demolition Desserts. I'm subbing the honey semifreddo with vanilla bean ice cream, but the rest of the recipe I'm pretty much trying as is...apples cooked tart tartin fashion but without the pastry, pecans in rich caramel and blue cheese ( Pt. Reyes, my fav) pastry crumbles. Ice cream into the bottom of a double old fashioned glass, some apple cubes, pecans and topped off with the blue cheese crumble. Plated desserts are not my forte, which is why I got this book, so I could practice during 2013.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm also making the Shagalicious cake (from the same book) for tomorrow. Genoise, passionfruit diplomat creme, whipped cream and coconut.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Also for tomorrow, the chocolate muffins from Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, etc Carole Walter book. (My 93 y.o. mother requested this one to eat while watching the Rose Parade)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            What's on your dessert table tonight?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ho lee cow!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8842...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              New thread...and Happy New Year, everyone!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I made the Hershey's Black Magic chocolate layer cake for our Parisian guests this Saturday (at their request, they loved it last time in town -- it's not our favorite, but...) and frosted it with our very own kattyeyes's sublime salted caramel frosting...her recipe calls for Bourbon, but I used vanilla bean paste and Cognac (we're decidedly not Bourbon drinkers in this house). Very tasty indeed.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Also have an old favorite, Mrs Elizabeth Ovenstad's bread from "Beard on Bread", rising, to be baked tonight.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Here's what's left after 6 people had at it...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. I just made a "mincemeat" pie using dried cherries, cranberries, figs, fresh apples, and Cointreau. It smells heavenly - I can't wait to have a piece this evening!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I've had a lot of baking projects this month:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  mini onion quiches
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  cheesy spinach and mushroom pinwheels
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  pain d'amande
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  lemon poppy seed overload cake
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  scottish shortbread
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  skillet almond butter cake
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  creme brulee
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  cookie butter bundt cake
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  pomegranate ginger muffins

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Patrincia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Where did you get the pinwheel recipe and do you recommend it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: karykat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I second the question! those look fabulous, and I love the idea of having more savory options in my collection.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Patrincia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Cookie Butter bundt cake sounds yummy.. was this the recipe that you used?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/desse...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8842...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      There's a new January thread, baking friends!