Large Batches of Christmas

This year, Phil and I decided to be super serious and spend Christmas together.  This means that we've been in Pennsylvania since last Thursday, and we'll be leaving for Michigan in a day or two to visit my family.  It's been busy and fun, and it's given me good reason to make lots of cookies.  Which is good, because the things I've made have had VERY large yield.

129. Gingerbread Snowflakes
These cookies were supposed to be 7" in diameter, which totally wasn't going to happen.  I used my 3" cookie cutters, and what was supposed to give ~16 cookies turned into some 8 dozen!

If you follow the link on the cookie title, you can look at something very similar to this recipe.  I'm actually a little surprised that things were changed, as the book version turned out quite well.  The differences are the following: (1) my book calls for 5 1/2 C flour, not 6C; (2) no baking powder; (3) no pepper; (4) 1 1/2 C molasses instead of 1C.  Since I used a smaller cookie cutter, I reduced the baking time to 6 minutes, and the result was nice soft cookies.  The icing was a bit sloppy to do, but it was simple to make: it's just powdered sugar, (soy) milk, and meringue powder.  I shared these with my labmates, and a couple friends who were still in town, and still had a couple dozen to bring on our drive to PA.  They were very popular with everybody.

130. Peppermint Meringue Sandwiches with Chocolate Filling
Guys, I've finally done it.  I've made meringues that didn't totally fall, fail, or otherwise disappoint me.  It may have helped that I was using Phil's mom's fancy Kitchenaid stand mixer, but I am just so relieved that I was able to get meringues right for once.

Making these was a little different, as the recipe calls for dissolving the sugar into the egg whites prior to beating them, and then adding peppermint extract after they form stiff peaks.  To make the stripes, I took red gel food coloring and drew lines on the inside of a pastry bag.  The egg white mixture was squeezed through these to give a lovely, minty result.

The thing to remember when making meringues is that they are not so much baked as dried.  These took about 2h in a 175˚F oven to get the appropriate melt-in-your-mouth texture.  After they were completely cooled (I left them in the cooled oven overnight, actually), they were sandwiched with a semi-sweet chocolate ganache.  When I made the ganache, I think I messed up a little, since I bought whipping cream instead of heavy whipping cream, and so I ended up having to add lots of extra chocolate to make it firm up properly.  Nevertheless, these are pretty, impressive cookies, and I am just so glad to have finally gotten this right ^.^


This was a triumph

Last Wednesday was my friend Tyler's birthday, and when I asked him what kind of cake he wanted, his response was "pie."  Therefore, I baked him a chocolate cake with a pecan pie inside.  Incidentally, I decided also to make it look like the Portal cake.

Basically, I baked a pecan pie and then put it in a slightly larger pan with cake batter.  I baked this at 350˚F for more than an hour - basically until the batter was solid - and you can see below for the result.  I was hoping the pie wouldn't sink so much, but it's okay because it still tasted good.  I doubt I'll make this again, but it was a fun experiment, and isn't nearly so gross as the cherpumple.

Now you can try too!

The end of this semester was a little overwhelming, and so I got behind on my posting.  I'm currently in the process of taking care of normal life-type stuff.  Taking care of my backlog is very much included, so here are posts!  You may notice that I'm putting links on the cookie names - well, these are links to the recipes!  I realized a lot of these are available online, so I'll be linking them when available.

I've never been a big fan of milk chocolate - I find it to be too sweet, and prefer the more bitter taste of dark chocolate instead.  The more expensive varieties are a little better, and so I have no qualms about buying Ghirardelli when a recipe calls for milk chocolate.

These cookies were very delicious!  There's chocolate melted into the cookie dough, as well as chocolate chunks in the cookies.  A hefty half teaspoon of salt helps to balance out the sweetness of the chocolate, and the soft texture of the cookies is nice.  If you're looking for an easy chocolate cookie, I highly recommend this cookie.

Since I have less than a year remaining on this project, I realized that I need to get through the Christmas-type recipes now.  As I've said before, ginger is very much a holiday ingredient, and so this recipe was a good kick-off to the season.

These cookie bars have raisins, candied and ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, molasses, pepper, and cloves in them, which means the flavor is potentially very complicated.  However, the recipe recommends waiting a day or two for these flavors to mingle properly (which sounds a lot like instructions for soup or quiche).  I waited overnight to put brown sugar icing and more candied ginger on top of these, and this was enough time for the flavors to mix.  Once again, these were very easy and well-received by my friends, and I recommend this recipe if you have candied ginger on hand.

These German Christmas cookies have so many ingredients in them!  I had to buy candied orange and lemon peel, almond paste, almonds, hazelnuts, apricot jam, and mace (the spice, not the spray) for these cookies, as well as using dates and various other spices I had at home.  I couldn't find whole blanched almonds at the grocery store, so I bought whole almonds and removed the skins by letting them sit in hot water for a minute and then rubbing the skins off.  These blanched almonds are in the cookie dough, and on top of the cookies, with a confectioners' sugar and milk glaze on top of them.

With 10 or so distinct flavors mixed together, it was pretty much impossible to notice each one when eating these cookies.  I usually don't like it when I can't tell flavors apart, but this mix was superb.  The cookies themselves are soft, and the glaze on top adds just a bit of crispness and sweetness, which was well appreciated at bible study this week.


Related Posts with Thumbnails