Friday, December 23, 2011

still baking...

I've been in the kitchen for most of the day today.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I love to bake and had so many ideas for the cookie swap, that I had to just keep baking knowing I still had people I wanted to gift some home baked goodies to and also have places to bring my goodies to this weekend for Christmas!  I started with a dough that needed to chill so it could sit in the fridge for a few hours while I worked on other goods...the Linzer Tart.  My husband claims his mom made this cookie when he was young and I asked my mother in law for her recipe, unfortunately it is one of those recipes that comes without any measurements.  I decided I will wait for her to come over and watch her make them so I can create a recipe to work from.  For this batch, I found a recipe on the internet that seemed tasty and followed that.  I did however use the "infamous" grape jam my husband grew up with in place of raspberry the folks at Epicurious suggested.  I will caution you, this dough is very delicate, but if you have experience with rolled/cut cookies, you should be good.

linzer dough rolled out & cut

making the "sandwiches"!

finishing touches...sprinkle with confectioners sugar

The next two cookies I made were from the 2010 Martha Stewart Holiday Cookies Special Issue.  I love these special issues and never throw them away.  They always have so many good ideas!  The first one is an Italian cookie called Ciambelle (Lemon Wreaths).  They actually look like little doughnuts!  You have to roll the dough out and shape them into wreaths.  It was just like rolling coils in ceramics, very cool.  The best part was dipping them in the lemon glaze and sprinkling on the nonpareils...a very fun cookie to make.  If you have kids they would love to help with this part.

wreaths baked & waiting to be glazed

glazed & doughnut anyone?

The next one is bar cookie and was a bit of a challenge at first, but surprisingly easy.  My husband loves eggnog, so when I saw the Eggnog Cheesecake Bars, I thought they would be perfect.  It wasn't until I read I had to bake them in a hot water bath that I got very nervous.  I usually shy away from cheesecake or any recipe that has a "bath" process...but honestly, it was very easy and they came out perfect (I haven't cut them yet, they are still chilling, but they do look perfect!)  

bars in water bath ready to go in oven...I used my turkey roasting pan!

While the bars were baking I was onto a special cookie for my dad.  My grandmother (his mother) used to make a soft raisin cookie, similar to a soft chocolate chip cookie (with raisins instead), but no one in the family has the recipe.  My mother did find a dog-eared recipe card that is "thought" to be the recipe, so I decided to give it a try.  I think they look pretty darn close, however I will have to wait until Sunday for the taste tester to give them a try! 

Dad's raisin cookies cooling

One last item on deck, not really a cookie, but something I remember my other grandmother making and sending my way, Festive Chocolate Pretzels.  I recently thought about these pretzels since M&M introduced the chocolate covered pretzels, of which I can not be left alone with a bag of!  These festive pretzels are so easy to make I even enlisted the help of my husband and we were done in no time.  This is another one kids could easily have a ball with!  I couldn't find the exact recipe I wanted, but with the one I used, I substituted the Hershey's Hugs or Kisses for the Candy Melts you can buy to make your own candies out of.  They are those colored disks they sell many times at stores like Michael's Arts & Crafts.  I bought red ones and then used the holiday red and green M&M's in the center.  I love sweet and salty together so these festive pretzel treats are just perfect.  I plan to make up little cello bags for everyone, and of course keep a few for myself!

Tom placing M&Ms in the melted chocolates

cooled & set...don't forget to save a few for Santa!

I still plan to make a banana pudding for dessert Christmas Eve and bread pudding for Christmas Day!  
What have you been baking?

1 comment:

  1. That is a LOT of baking for one day! Mel's mouth must have been watering! I know your family will appreciate all of these cookies baked with love. Merry merry! Xo


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