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Holiday Baking 2014

December 30, 2014

Holiday baking 2014

Holiday baking 2014

Holiday baking 2014

Holiday baking 2014

Holiday baking 2014

Holiday baking 2014

Holiday baking 2014

Holiday baking 2014

Holiday baking 2014

Kind of getting this in under the wire before the holiday season ends, but I wanted to share some pictures of the Christmas treats I made for my family.  I wasn’t really planning to do the Christmas baskets this year, because I didn’t think I’d have time, but at the last minute I decided to whip up a few goodies.  Nothing canned this time, but they all got red plum jelly over the summer.  Right before Christmas, I got an amazing deal on a KitchenAid stand mixer at Target, and that made a tremendous difference in being able to knock out all of this baking in just 2 days.  Alright, on to the goodies:

  • Hazelnut Coffee Toffee – recipe here (and also in the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook — my copy had a typo re: butter amount, but the blog recipe is correct).  I also made a batch of this for my coworkers.  Accidentally doubled the espresso powder in the batch I made for my family, but it still turned out amazing.  My mom kept telling everyone that if they didn’t like it, she’d take theirs!  But the only one who didn’t enjoy it was my 2 1/2-year old niece…she shouldn’t have had it anyway, but I think she grabbed a piece right out of her daddy’s hand.  Note: the recipe is designed to be poured onto a 9×13″ baking sheet.  It sets up nice & thick this way.  For the batch I made for my coworkers, I needed more toffee, so I multiplied everything by 1.5 and poured it out onto an 11×17″ baking sheet.  It came out a little thinner this way, but was still super delicious.
  • Pennsylvania Dutch Hard Pretzels – recipe from Pretzel Making at Home, by Andrea Slonecker.  Meh, these didn’t turn out so great.  I don’t think I baked them long enough, or rolled them out thin enough.  They tasted great, and they looked pretty (well, some people thought they looked like little piles of fake dog poo, but I thought they were pretty!), but they were really hard to eat.  I would’ve preferred to make soft pretzels, and still think those would’ve turned out better, but hard pretzels store better.  Oh well!  Wouldn’t be one of my Christmas baskets if there wasn’t something inedible in it!  🙂
  • Iced Sugar Cookies – similar cookie recipe here, icing recipe here.  A classic.  I make these every year, and was so happy to have found my favorite royal icing recipe when I was organizing my recipe collection a few months ago.  It’s so billowy and white, like marshmallow fluff.  And the stand mixer handled it like a pro — last year, all of that powdered sugar burned up the motor in my little hand-mixer.  The cookie recipe I’ve linked to here is the closest I’ve found to the one I actually use, which came attached to a polar bear cookie cutter I bought from King Arthur Flour a few years ago — just omit the ginger & nutmeg (or leave them in, because they sound delicious!).  I had such a fun time decorating the cookies this year; the bells were spray-painted with metallic gold Cake Graffiti, the brown frosting was flavored with Dutch cocoa powder & ground cinnamon, and I hand-painted names and seasonal sentiments on a few of the cookies with a mixture of red gel coloring & almond extract.
  • Gingersnaps – recipe here.  Last Monday, I had made the toffee and the doughs for the pretzels and the sugar cookies (both of which required an overnight rest in the fridge), and still had most of the afternoon ahead of me.  I decided to go ahead and make these gingersnaps, despite barely having enough ginger.  Mostly I just wanted something to put in these adorable little boxes!!

So, that was my holiday baking for 2014.  I’ve already got lots of ideas for next year’s baskets, including homemade sausage, something canned (maybe tomato sauce?), chocolate truffles, and of course the iced sugar cookies!

(All of the packaging was from World Market, except for the labels on the toffee boxes — those are just the standard labels that come with a box of Ball jelly jars.)

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 30, 2014 2:43 pm

    It all looks so tasty!!! You did a great job decorating the cookies. I think that is so hard. Glad to read two blog posts from you in a row! Happy New Year!

    • whitney marie permalink*
      January 1, 2015 2:43 pm

      Thanks, Christine! 🙂 Decorating is the most fun for me…I love all the little detail work. My mom was always too tired after making the dough, rolling it out, cutting, and baking the cookies to do the decorating, so it always fell to me. Nothing makes me happier than spending 2-3 hours hunched over a pile of cookies, making art with frosting & sprinkles!! 😀 Happy New Year to you too ❤

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