Year in pictures?

Yeah, I’m a bit behind here. And rather than try and write detailed posts for everything I’ve done since January, I’m just dumping a bunch of pics and one liners about each item and if anyone wants a recipe let me know and I’ll provide the link, this way I can start fresh going forward into holiday baking season!

Is anyone listening to me (if peeing your pants is cool, consider me Miles Davis). And I just lost my last reader to that somewhat obscure reference.

Here goes (and not even necessarily in chronological order because lord knows how my computer decided what order to load these)…

1. Spritz Redux: We remade the spritz that got jacked in the prior post for New Year’s Eve. Made in yellow with gold sprinkles. The 4 year old (at the time) was super excited about a cookie gun. Sigh.

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2. Chocolate cream pie – this was for New Year’s Eve too. It was awesome.

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3. I don’t even remember what I made these for but I think they were cake batter cookies. They were good.

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4. Superbowl Sunday football cupcakes. Nothing special, just chocolate cupcakes but frosted in football shapes.

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5. Valentine’s Day sugar cookies with my makeshift royal icing (I never have meringue powder on hand and am too squeamish for raw eggs so I usually just mix milk and powdered sugar). We used these for teacher gifts for preschool.

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6. Valentine’s Brownie Pops. Red velvet brownies cut into heart shapes, frosted with buttercream then shoved onto sticks. Except they were too heavy/dense to keep on the sticks and would roll over as soon as you picked them up. Tasted good though!

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7. St. Patrick’s Day thumbprint cookies. Just your typical chocolate cookies with hershey’s kisses, we just made them holiday appropriate with green sprinkles. I actually found them pretty blah.

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8. Chocolate chip cookie dough pie. The crust is a giant cookie. YES.

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9. Chocolate cake with salted caramel buttercream. OMG this frosting. I can’t share these recipes because they were from a dear friend who owns a bakery in California and is sweet enough to share recipes with me to use for the birthday of our twins we lost to prematurity. But this cake and frosting especially was AMAZING.

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10. Passover macaroons. Nothing special/fancy about these but we liked them. They’re not burnt, the bottoms are dipped in chocolate.

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11. Matzo crack. Like Christmas crack but made with matzo. I used sliced almonds for the topping.

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12. Easter cookies to follow Passover. Yeah, we’re confused. Just regular sugar cookies with royal icing but I got meringue powder and made real royal icing this time. It was a pain in the ass.

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13. Easter nest carrot cake cupcakes. These were all about presentation but also yummy! We brought them for Easter brunch at our best friends’ house.

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14. Purple cake. This was just a vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream, purple because it was the day of our annual March of Dimes March for Babies (and their trademark color is purple).

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15. Pumpkin whoopie pies. These are from just a week ago. I intended to just make soft pumpkin cookies and ice them but they were so cake like they reminded me of whoopie pies so I found a cream cheese frosting recipe and sandwiched them. BIG hit.

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16. Halloween cupcakes. Recipes from my bakery owner friend, both vanilla/almond cake (I tend to swap vanilla extract for almond) and the orange had vanilla buttercream, purple had almond buttercream. Monster and bats.

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17. Tart cherry cobbler. We stupidly signed up for a fruit/veggie CSA this summer (stupidly because we don’t have time to cook all the obscure things they sent and the kids wouldn’t touch most of it). But we did get nice fruit for baking. I had helpers.

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18. Chocolate cake with salted buttercream frosting again. Remade this for Gammy’s (my mom’s) birthday.

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19. Peach cobbler muffins. Another made with CSA haul, we got SO many peaches.

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20. Memorial day berry trifle. Not really “baked”, especially since we used store bought angel food cake for the cake part, but it looks pretty and is a prepared dessert?

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21. Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. These were more of a regular cookie (vs cake) consistency than the other pumpkin cookies we used for the whoopie pies. Delicious.

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Ok. Hopefully I’ll remember to post after each treat going forward so I can include more info. Thanks if anyone is still checking here ever!!!

Spritztastrophe

I won’t share the full details since I’ve made and blogged this before, but just in case anyone thought I no longer had the more than minor mishaps, may I present Ex-spritz-it A:

 

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I think it was a combination of being on too low a rack in the oven and that for some reason the recipe I’d printed last year said 12-15 mins baking when it really should have been 8-10 (as I found when I googled and found another blog with the same recipe). Not sure why last year they were fine but whatever.

Gingerbread, Spritz and White Chocolate Cherry Shortbread, Oh my!!!

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There was a lot of Christmas cookie making up in here this week. The white chocolate cherry shortbread were the same I made last year (so labor intensive but my favorite so worth it), therefore I won’t re-blog that.

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This year we added gingerbread men (from scratch instead of with a mix, and knowing that you have to chill the dough before rolling out) and cream cheese spritz cookies. Because I was baking these mostly with my little 3 year old helper dude I didn’t get many pics except of final products, but here are the recipes and final pics. I will just say that I HIGHLY recommend both of these recipes. Delicious and easy.

Gingerbread Cookie Recipe (from Taste of Home).

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Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Vanilla frosting of your choice
  • Red and green paste food coloring

Directions

  • In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and molasses. Combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight or until easy to handle.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut with floured 2-1/2-in. cookie cutters. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  • Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until edges are firm. Remove to wire racks to cool. Tint some of the frosting red and some green. Decorate cookies.

For frosting, I found a Paula Deen royal icing esque frosting recipe that didn’t include raw eggs (too nervous) or meringue powder which I couldn’t find at the store.

Icing:

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk
  • Food coloring, as desired

My little man loved decorating these with me. The frosting went on wet and shiny but dried hard. Layer wax paper between tehm before storing until completely dry.

For the spritz, I used this recipe but won’t reproduce here since it’s from someone else’s blog. They were DELICIOUS, much better than a typical butter cookie thanks to the cream cheese and cinammon which gave them an interesting flavor kick.

Christmas Cream Cheese Spritz Cookies.

I added green food coloring to 1/2 to make trees and wreaths. Loving my cookie press this year. We sprinkled sprinkles and nonpareils on the trees for ornaments, and red crystal sugar on the wreaths and stars. Dough was soft and sticky enough to move through the press easily but not so sticky it didn’t work well.

 

The Christmas Cookie Debacle of 2010 (Part 1)

Where do I begin? For one thing, this post will be in several parts due to the volume of photos and the fact that wordpress takes about 5 minutes to upload a single photo and I can’t sit here for 2 hours…

Maybe we’ll start with a teaser pic of the abominable end product?

This doesn’t do it justice, really. It looked MUCH worse in person, and obviously nothing like the aspiration.

Started out with my new Williams Sonoma cookie press, one batch each of sugar and gingerbread cookie mixes, and high hopes.

The dough instructions were easy – for each, just add the requisite amounts of butter and eggs (and for the gingerbread, water) to the mixes and “stir until it achieves a dough like consistency”.

Not quite dough like, is it?…

But after kneading it by hand for a minute I was able to get it more dough-like:

And into the cookie press:

Had a few false starts with the cookie press but finally started to get the hang of it (partially by just taking the leftover bits of dough off the press and trying to reassemble them into the cookies on the sheet.

So learning to use the press was a pain in the ass, and on some of the shapes (I tried a few others besides the star but gave up because it wasn’t working) I couldn’t even pull the trigger all the way, but the cookies came out fine. Only complaint is that they were crispy, not chewy (likely due to being so small/thin), and MUCH too small to decorate as holiday cookies.

See – tiny!

When I realized they were too small for good decorating, I used the leftover dough for some easy start cookie cutter cookies.

All baked and waiting for decoration…

Next time: Gingerbread and buttercream….