Holiday Baking Backlog!!

15 Jan

I baked a LOT over the holidays…I ate a LOT too. I gained 5 lbs. Which is a LOR, considering I weigh around 115 normally. I chalk it up to lifting harder at the rec and gaining more muscle mass. That’s why my pants are a little tight, right?

Chocolate Chip Peppermint Cookies
Amanda and I got the itch one night and decided to make some chocolate chip cookies. We just used the recipe off the back of the Ghirardelli semisweet chocolate chip bag, and threw in some crushed up mini candy canes.

These were great! They were made dairy free by using Earth Balance, as always (I love that stuff, butter flavored Crisco is disgusting), and had those beautiful spread marks around the edges. God, they were so good, I ate half a dozen when I got home from working out that night!

Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies 2.0 & Skittles Cookies 2.0

Remember those sugar cookies they had at Randall’s when you were little? They were super bright colors and crunchy, not soft and chewy? Well THAT my friends is how I like my sugar cookies, so I decided to replace half of the butter in Martha’s Old Fashioned Sugar Cookie recipe with shortening to make them crunchier.

It worked PERFECTLY. I rolled them into balls, mashed them into sanding sugar, rolled the sides in the sugar, and they all baked into perfect circles all the same sides and had the most perfect texture I could want in a sugar cookie. Bake one level tablespoon of dough for 10 minutes, rotating halfway through, and you will not be disappointed.

On the topic of Skittles cookies, I was taking these to work for the AtariMatt & Great Unwashed Luminaries in-store show, and thought that just taking 48 sugar cookies was kinda boring and lame. I thought that the lemoniness of the cookies would work well with Skittles, so I threw some in, and even used green and red ones to make them look festive.

Long story short, I unloaded about 30 cookies at the show, and everyone loved them. Too bad the fat mall cop shut us down. The sugar cookies are my new favorite cookies, and the new base for the Skittles Cookies.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting
I had been wanting to make gingerbread cupcakes ever since seeing them in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. I figured since Amanda already had the supplies for those, but wasn’t in town or able to bake with me, I would try Martha’s Gingerbread cupcake recipe. I made up a recipe for my own mascarpone frosting using a half a tub of mascarpone, powdered sugar, lemon juice, and salt.

Phenomenal. The cupcakes were great just by themselves and had a wonderful springy texture, but the mascarpone frosting made them absolutely amazing. MAKE THESE.

Christmas Cookies 979

I made 7 different kinds of cookies this year for my friends and “family” in Bryan/College Station. I had little goodie bags and homemade gifts tags I lovingly cut out and glued onto nice cardstock. I love you guys and miss you…I’ll be back very very soon…

Peanut Butter Nipples
Nothing to write home about, I used the recipe on the back of the Hershey

Kiss package which is nothing spectacular and can be improved, but I wasn’t in the mood to find a new one. But they sure as hell are addicting, Shelia ate three just while I was baking them!

Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies
I love these! They’re from Martha’s Cookies book (duh), and the chunks really make them perfect – so don’t use chips, use chunks! The molasses and rolling them in sugar makes them ooh so amazing! MAKE THESE! You’ll be surprised how great they are!

Red and Green Sugar Cookies
I wish I had a photo of these by themselves, they were super vivid! I acquired some Wilton green and red icing gels, and thy are the most amazing things I have ever gotten. Next time I get a Michael’s coupon I’m buying a whole set. I roller the red ones in white sanding sugar and the green ones in red sanding sugar – they looked ultra professional. Someone special even got a half red and half green one from the leftover dough.

Skittles Cookies
My Skittles 2.0 recipe, handily made with the sugar cookie dough as a base – which is good, because that recipe makes more than 50 tablespoon sized cookies that spread to be at least 3 inches in diameter!!

Toffee Walnut Cookies
These turned out to be the dark horse favorite. And I don’t care if I’m using the term dark horse incorrectly. I baked these for my dad the day before, and he liked them alright. They were Bucky’s favorite and a few other people’s favorites, too. I used a recipe from the Inn Cuisine and their photo of them is so ridiculously amazing that I’m embarassed to show mine. Definitely toast the walnuts before mixing them in, next time maybe I’ll try with only the brickle part of the Heath bits. I threw in more brown that regular sugar, too.

Same old Martha Stewart recipe from her Cookies book. They were so beautiful and all the same size. Perfect!

Oatmeal Applesauce Cookies

These are from Martha’s Cookies book, also. They were the first recipe I tried from it and were an instant hit at home. I don’t think they went over that great with everyone at work, but Amanda loved them! I subbed maple extract for the flavor in the syrup, because maple syrup is crazy expensive! They are super soft, and the cookies by themselves are ok, but with the maple glaze, they have the perfect amount of sweetness. They are even better the next day, so hold off on the ones fresh out of the oven – you will be rewarded!

Christmas Cookies SL

Every year my mom and I bake cookies for Christmas. I’ve been doing this since I was inside her stomach. All were made with butter flavored Crisco (my mortal enemy! seriously, I’m trying to use it all up so I never have to see it again!) so Amanda and her family and Sabrina could eat them, with the exception of the pralines. Mom, Sarita, and I spent 8 hours baking that day!

I made the same Peanut Butter Nipples, Snickerdoodles, and Toffee Walnut cookies as in College Station. Toffee walnut was the favorite across the board besides the classic cookie cutter cookies!

Cookie Cutter Cookies with Mom’s Top Secret Frosting
We make these every year, they are the most vivid in my memory. I remember waiting for the dough to chill, rolling it out, stamping out cookies, and eating the extra scraps of dough. Then mixing the food coloring into the frosting.

My mom has two giant popcorn tins full of cookie cutters. I challenge you to find a cookie cutter she doesn’t have. You won’t succeed. If I can scrounge up the recipe for the cookies, I’ll post it, but the frosting recipe is futile. No matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to make it as good as my mom’s.

Turtle Cookies

This is another old Zank family recipe from my granny. My mom made these all on her own, so they’re totally hers. They were yummy and the cookies were mapley. I don’t really dig this type of cookie though, so I couldn’t appreciate it as much as a turtle fiend could.

Sour Cream Pralines
My mom makes these ONCE a year every year, only ONCE except for the year Bucky asked for them for his birthday. She thinks they are a pain in the ass, so I was more than happy to learn how to make them for her! I made the pralines this year! They were awesomely good and easy, except they do require a lot of just standing around stirring and waiting on that damn thermometer. If I can find the recipe, I’ll post it. It’s one of those written in Granny’s tiny script.

Chewy Molasses Crinkles
These are a Martha recipe from her Cookies book. It was a dud. Either I did something wrong or her recipe is wrong. I chilled these all day and baked them last, and they were paper thin adn spread all over the pan. My mom added some flour and turn them into crappy little cakey cookies. Sorry if you got one of these in your cookie bag.

Amanda’s Fruit Cake Cookies

Amanda told me about these last year, and I’ve been thinking about them for a whole year. Seriously. And they are totally awesome. They have bits of candied fruit in them, and a little glaze on top. I ate them both right there on the spot. Er, one in front of her, the other in the car when I went to leave, hehehe! Alas, I don’t have the recipe…and I kinda want it to stay that way. It will be that illusive treat I get once I year – I make myself way too many treats!

So there you have it…my Christmas in a nutshell – er, a cookie sheet. Next time, 2010 fresh start baking blog, and in further episodes, healthful cookies and vegan lemon bars!

In other news , I’ve been back to running every day, and it feels good again! Also, I’ve been really diggin’ the Descendents lately – I think it’s appropriate for a college grad stuck at home with no job who misses her friends to be into. Makes me wish I had gotten to spend more time with certain people…


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