Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Holiday Baking Play Date

It surely was a baking holiday for me this year. For a variety of reasons, we decided to give baked goods for most of our holiday gifts this year. For the work presents, I was lucky enough to elicit help from my awesome friend Fearnow, who offered up her awesome kitchen with two double ovens - which is about 4x the square feet of my tiny kitchen. So I brought my mixer over and some baking pans and all the ingredients that I pre-measured out to speed things up and we went to town. 6 hours of baking later, plus a little help from some friends, we made 20+ gifts for our co-workers. Here are the photos and recipes.

Fearnow and our curious friend

Chocolate Mint Cookies and Mini Rum Cakes

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies & Chocolate Fudge

Blue Ribbon Almond Roca Cookies

The spread before the boxing bonanza!

The Final Gifts

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Adapted from Food Network

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cups chocolate chips
1 package Andes Mints chopped up

3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 drops mint extract, or more to taste
3 1/2 teaspoons water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a mixer beat together the butter with the sugars until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until smooth after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add in the vanilla. On a low speed beat in the flour mixture a little at a time. Gently mix in chocolate chips. On an ungreased cookie sheet, drop teaspoons of the batter about 2 inches apart. Bake until just cracked on top, about 8 to10 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the cooking time. Cool completely.

For the glaze:
In a small bowl mix together the sugar; mint extract and water until smooth. Transfer mixture to a medium resealable plastic bag and snip off the corner. Drizzle glaze over cooled cookies. Let cookies stand until set, about 10 minutes.

Blue Ribbon Almond Roca Cookies from Food Network

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 package toffee bits
1 cup coarsely ground almonds
4 ounces milk chocolate
1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend sugars together on medium speed. Add butter and mix to form a grainy paste. Add eggs and vanilla and mix at medium speed until light and fluffy. At low speed, slowly add the flour mixture and then the toffee bits. Mix until just blended; do not over-mix.
Place ground nuts in a small bowl. Using hands, roll balls of dough into 1 to 1 1/2-inch balls, then roll in the ground nuts. Place on cookie sheets several inches apart. Bake approximately 22 minutes and then transfer cookies to a cooling rack.
Melt the chocolate with the vegetable oil in a double boiler or in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Drizzle melted chocolate over cooled cookies. Place cookies on a cookie sheet and place in freezer or refrigerator until chocolate is firmly set.

Colorful Candy Bar Cookies from Taste of Home

1/2 tube refrigerated sugar cookie dough, softened
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
24 miniature Snickers candy bars
Red and green colored sugar

In a small bowl, beat cookie dough and flour until combined. Shape 1-1/2 teaspoonfuls of dough around each candy bar. Roll in colored sugar. [Tip: it helps to get your fingers wet and lightly coat the cookie balls so the sugar sticks better] Place 2 in. apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove to wire racks. Yield: 2 dozen.

Rum Punch Cake

· 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
· 2 cups sugar
· 3 large eggs
· 3 cups flower
· 1 teaspoon baking soda
· ½ teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
· 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (or ground nutmeg)
· 1 cup sour cream
· 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
· Grated zest of 2 limes
· ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
· ½ cup top-quality dark rum
· 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
· 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
· ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (or ground nutmeg)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cream butter and sugar with electric mixed until light and fluffy. With motor running, beat in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour, baking soda, salt and nutmeg and whisk to lighten and mix. Combine sour cream and lime juice in second bowl. Beat dry ingredients into batter alternatively with sour cream mixture. Beat in lime zest until smooth. Butter and flour a Bundt pan (or 6 miniature bundt cake pan) and spoon batter in, smoothing top. Bake in center of oven until toothpick comes out clean 65-70 minutes (30-35 minutes for minature bundt cake pan).

While cake bakes, make glaze. Strain lime juice through fine sieve into small bowl and add remaining ingredients. Whisk until completely blended. When cake is done, cool on rack for 10 minutes, then unmold and return to cooling rack (placed over tinfoil or parchment paper). Prick evenly all over with toothpick. Drizzle and brush glaze evenly over cake(s). Repeat until all the glaze is absorbed (re-pricking with a toothpick to make additional holes if you like). Let dry completely, then dust with powdered sugar.

1 comment:

  1. I love the cookies in this post. I did Christmas baking for work gifts, and you look so organised (and neat!!) compared with me. These are fab.