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Christmas baking 2009

Syrah's picture

Christmas baking 2009 (post #65236)

in

So, who's started planning?

I know that the Americans still have Halloween and Thanksgiving to contend with, but for us in the Southern Hemisphere, Christmas is the next big thing.

Today, I tried Gourmet's Cinnamon Crisps.. really delicious and the golden syrup that I used instead of molasses really shone through. I did make a change with how to roll them out since that dough does not roll and cut easily. I ended up making a sausage in cling wrap, freezing it and slicing.

http://www.gourmet.com/recipes/1940s/1944/10/cinnamon-sugar-crisps?printable=true

"Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and, above all, confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be obtained."
-Marie Curie
My perseverance will be rewarded.

"Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and, above all, confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be obtained." -Marie Curie

gardencat's picture

(post #65236, reply #1 of 66)

Those look very good! I've gotten as far as planning the dates for the cookie baking weekend with my friend. I don't usually do much more than that until mid November.

Syrah's picture

(post #65236, reply #10 of 66)

I've also got some strawberry cordial maturing in the cupboard for gifts. Jill if you happen to have any Vodka you want to get rid of, you could consider making flavoured cordials.


I think I need to start up like Adele and get into buying mode. Sunday was a perfect baking home day for me, rainy all day and cool, but I didn't have much of anything to make. The cinnamon crisps were made with ingredients I had, although Simon had to go and get me more golden syrup.


I need to make Evelyn's Kourambiedes because Simon adores them, and I love that they are so easy to make.


Tracy's Toffee was popular last year, I just can't recall if I bought a new candy themometer after mine broke.


The caramel popcorn was a bit of a hit last year, so I'll make another batch of that.


I also really liked the Speculaas I made last year, so want to have them again.


 


"Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and, above all, confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be obtained."
-Marie Curie
My perseverance will be rewarded.

"Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and, above all, confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be obtained." -Marie Curie

Jillsifer's picture

(post #65236, reply #11 of 66)

Jill if you happen to have any Vodka you want to get rid of, you could consider making flavoured cordials.


Timely observation! I had bought vodka a few years ago, intending to do just that. Placed it on a high shelf in the food pantry and promptly forgot about it.


Just the other afternoon, I got a furious phone call from my poor son, who'd been climbing the pantry shelves (SO much more interesting than using the stepladder!) in search of chow. He reached for something, which caused a domino effect, and the enormous vodka bottle tumbled to earth and clocked him right on his leeeeetle pumpkin head.


He vigorously--okay, profanely--described how he cleaned up the spilled part and dumped the rest down the kitchen sink.


It really wasn't funny . . . well, not ENTIRELY funny . . . well, yeah, it was pretty funny.


From ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties and things that go bump in the night, good Lord deliver us!



Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.

-- Washington Irving

Syrah's picture

(post #65236, reply #12 of 66)

Heee! Poor mite.

"Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and, above all, confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be obtained."
-Marie Curie
My perseverance will be rewarded.

"Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and, above all, confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be obtained." -Marie Curie

Jillsifer's picture

(post #65236, reply #2 of 66)

So, who's started planning?


I have. My gift list is getting trimmed this year, so for a lot of people, the baked things WILL BE the gift.


Wine jelly--most everyone is getting wine jelly. No fig jam--Rufus ate the entire fig crop before I could get to it.


From ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties and things that go bump in the night, good Lord deliver us!



Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.

-- Washington Irving

Marcia's picture

(post #65236, reply #3 of 66)

That's terrible about your figs; I'm a great lover of them.

What kind of wine jelly will you make?

I used to make many baked goods as gifts. One year it was applesauce cakes with many precious pecans, baked in loaf pans, and when I took them out of the oven, they cakes hadn't risen properly. I'd put in the sugar but the flour was sitting in a bowl, already measured in another part of the kitchen. Limited counter space, you know, but I got back to work and made more cakes. There were six or eight of them, and let me tell you, THAT never happened again. Live and learn is sometimes an appropriate expression however outmoded it may be. ;-)

Jillsifer's picture

(post #65236, reply #4 of 66)

Oh, bless your heart. You sure handled it better than I would have. Especially in all the madness of Christmastime with everything that goes on and all the emotions being close to the surface, etc. I'm sure I would have been in a pool of angry tears, pitching a grinchy fit. (We kinda plan on at least one of those per D*mncember anyway.)


I have made port jelly, cabernet jelly, merlot jelly and chardonnay jelly. Still have some more port to use up, and some champagne.


(My house went alcohol-free this summer--separate discussion--and I decided that instead of pouring pricey wine down the drain, I'd do something useful with it.)



From ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties and things that go bump in the night, good Lord deliver us!





Edited 10/25/2009 10:36 am by Jillsifer

Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.

-- Washington Irving

Marcia's picture

(post #65236, reply #5 of 66)

I was pretty young and more resilient than I would be now. My mother was visiting and we actually had a good laugh over the very flat cakes. I did mourn for the lost pecans.

Missed the thread about your house going alcohol-free, but aren't you clever to use your lovely wines in a delicious and creative way. You should be very proud of yourself, and Mister Rodgers and I are surely proud of you. ;-) (I do realize that M.R. is no longer with us, but still....)

Jean's picture

(post #65236, reply #6 of 66)

Good going.  What a great kid!


"The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled,
public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance."
                                               - Cicero  - 55 BC
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Jillsifer's picture

(post #65236, reply #7 of 66)

Thanks, Jean.


That delete was mine. I decided not to derail the happy little Christmas baking thread, but have reposted in Ipke if anyone is interested.


From ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties and things that go bump in the night, good Lord deliver us!



Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.

-- Washington Irving

Adele's picture

(post #65236, reply #8 of 66)

I've been in buying ingredients mode.  I'm doing biscotti this year, one with pistachio's and apricots for sure and one to be decided upon.


Lots of bark, just need peppermints for that.  Toffee- the rosemary/lemon one I made last year was a hit and that will be repeated, as will a plain one and peanut too.


Chocolate cherry cookies are a must, and I found chips last year that had red and green swirls in them, so made chocolate chip cookies and used the colored chips.  Will be looking for them again as the guys in the back really enjoyed them. 


I also printed a recipe out from the King Arthur site for Cocoa Blocks.  You put a stick in them and swirl them in hot milk to make hot chocolate.  They look cool.  :)  I'll try make them early next month after NY and see if they will be included. 


Quick cakes will be the chocolate cranberry and the orange/cranberry something else one. 


But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

Quilter's picture

(post #65236, reply #9 of 66)

I saw the recipe for the chocolate blocks and was really tempted, but then decided, no, I didn't need the extra calories.  Never thought about them for Christmas. :-(


Last year, (or was it the year before?  Time flies...) I was frantically searching for suet for plum puddings and mincemeat, even posted here asking for suggestions for substitutions, and then finally found one little bag in one of the grocery store freezers.


This year, my local Safeway has bags and bags of it!  I bought some.  It's too early for puddings or mincemeat, at least in my mind, but when I'm ready, I won't be short a vital ingredient!


 

oliveoil's picture

(post #65236, reply #14 of 66)

Is the recipe for your toffe with rosemary/lemon here on the site? Sounds lovely.

Adele's picture

(post #65236, reply #17 of 66)

I know I wrote about it, but have no idea where.   It's Tracy's Toffee, which is in tried and true.  I stripped a rosemary branch and sprinked the leaves on the bottom of the pan, I added lemon rind- really fine- then sprinkled the top with sea salt & pepper.  My Dad in particular liked it.


 


But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

Risottogirl's picture

(post #65236, reply #40 of 66)

Hmmm...maybe I'll make toffee for my neighbor gifts this year. This just was not a good summer for preserving :( I made a bunch of stuff with rhubarb early on but that's about it.


I did truffles a few years ago, no WAY would I do THAT again, although the reviews were great. PITA.


How do you package the toffee for gifts?


Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

Jillsifer's picture

(post #65236, reply #41 of 66)

I did truffles a few years ago, no WAY would I do THAT again


May I ask why you wouldn't do it again? I've considered it but would like to hear your experiences/disasters/frustrations if you don't mind.


From ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties and things that go bump in the night, good Lord deliver us!



Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.

-- Washington Irving

Risottogirl's picture

(post #65236, reply #42 of 66)

I am so NOT a pastry/chocolate/dessert person to start with. 


I made three kinds about 400 total, I think. None were dipped, all were rolled (I am not completely insane) but still I think I just lose my focus and patience with a large number of fussy individual items. I don't like decorating cookies either. I made a raspberry one that had puree in the ganache and was rolled in cocoa and I made two others, one was rolled in nuts I think and the other in coffee maybe? It was traumatic so I am blocking it, perhaps :)


I bought a couple of books, chose  some recipes, sourced awesome ingredients and cute packaging, but it just wasn't fun, it was tedious.  I find making preserves or pickles or canning tomatos to be really satifying. I love making infused vinegars or alcohol.


 


Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

Syrah's picture

(post #65236, reply #43 of 66)

I've banned them too..warm hand syndrome combined with summer heat = messy kitchen and Syrah.

"Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and, above all, confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be obtained."
-Marie Curie
My perseverance will be rewarded.

"Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and, above all, confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be obtained." -Marie Curie

Adele's picture

(post #65236, reply #45 of 66)

I won't do a large number of truffles again either.  My hands are hot and it gets really frustrating rolling a couple, washing hands, laying hands on ice filled pitcher for a minute, roll...........

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

RheaS's picture

(post #65236, reply #46 of 66)

I was about to start a Christmas baking thread because the holiday bug bit me last night. Then, I spotted this thread and realized that I'm behind by 46 messages! I've been having a miserable few months, so I haven't been doing much cooking or baking. Things are looking up now and all the holiday baking magazines have inspired me to start baking. I bought the FC one and the Martha Stewart holiday sweets issue. I love the ideas in the MS issue -- gingerbread cake house, igloo cake, orange thumbprint cookie where the filling is not jam/chocolate/caramel, cupcakes with gingerbread cookies on top and so on. I will likely use the cake decorating ideas and use different cake recipes. While at the grocery store last night, I spotted a nut and dried fruit mix that looks very festive and made me think of fruit cake. I bought a large bagful and baked it last night into Alice Medrich's Dried Fuit and Nut Cake (can be found in Pure Dessert and the low-fat baking book). It takes 5 minutes to put together and it's definitely one of my top 5 favourite recipes. I love eating thin slices of it with a nutty, firm cheese like Manchego.


I also made a triple batch of TracyK's microwave fudge last night using bittersweet choc chips with white chocolate chips and sour cherries added after. It's very good although all the sugar is making me dizzy. I kept eating pieces as I was slicing. Both the fruit and nut cake and the fudge were for work today and a housewarming party tonight. I think that both will likely be part of my baking gifts this year.

MadMom's picture

(post #65236, reply #47 of 66)

Yummm...I might add some dried cherries to mine.



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Adele's picture

(post #65236, reply #44 of 66)

The Dollar store has cute Christmas packaging. Think of Chinese takeout boxes in colored see through plastic with Santa's & snowmen & reindeer.  I put colored plastic wrap in the box then filled with the toffee.  I took another Dollar store find of red and green buckets with lids for the office.   

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

Rae's picture

(post #65236, reply #15 of 66)

Oh I printed out those Cocoa Blocks too. How cute are they? I'm making those for sure.

helena1's picture

(post #65236, reply #13 of 66)

I'm so glad you brought this up because I need to start planning. I have so little time these days, but I really want to make a bunch of cookie tins to give as gifts to my neighbours, Noah's daycare teachers, and some to my family. I need to make dough and freezeit, so all I have to do is pull it out of the freezer and bake. I haven';t decided on what to make yet! I remember I did a few weeks ago, but now I forgot what I'd picked (typical ;o)).


I want to make something out of a new book with ginger, and I know there were some recipes in Martha's book that I want to try. Oh, and definately biscotti. And I'd love to do nougat but don't know if I'll find the time. I'll go check out the cocoa blocks that Adele mentioned becaus ethey sound intriguing :o).


Will follow this thread closely for ideas!


Canuck's picture

(post #65236, reply #16 of 66)

Helena, have you tried anything from Martha's book? I'm interested in some new recipes from there; I've had great luck with all I've tried. (I can give you a list if you want; we've been marking the recipes.)

helena1's picture

(post #65236, reply #18 of 66)

So far I've made brownies and two different kinds of sugar cookies (the roll out kind). They were o.k. but not outstanding. But then, sugar cookies are pretty boring and only made because I want to decorate them ;o). I'd be very interested in the ones you've tried!

chiquiNO's picture

(post #65236, reply #19 of 66)

Here's what I'm teaching in my baking class this year:


Christmas Baking from Around the World 2009


Chiqui Collier


 


Italy :  Toto Cookies (Black Pepper/Chocolate Spice Cookie)


 


Greece:  Kourambiedes (Greek Butterball Cookie)


 


Morocco…Date-Nut Half Moons


 


North America….Moomie’s Cowboy Cookies


 


Mexico:  Mexican Brownies


 


Orient……Chai Tea Cookies


 


 


Lunch:  Seafood Treasure Chests ( Puff Pastry Boxes filled with a Seafood Medley)


              Salad Greens with a Cane Syrup Creole Vinaigrette


 


 

 

Canuck's picture

(post #65236, reply #21 of 66)

Sorry about the delay.


From Martha's Cookies, we love Chocolate Malt Sandwiches,  Grammy's Chocolate Cookies, Milk Chocolate Cookies, Dark Chocolate Cookies with Sour Cherries (we substitute Craisins sometimes), and Giant Chocolate Sugar Cookies. We do actually make non-chocolate cookies but I can't find one from her book right now LOL.

helena1's picture

(post #65236, reply #27 of 66)

Hihi, I *was* chocolate is popular in your house, LOL! But I really appreciate the suggestions and will earmark them in my book :o), Always better to make an already tested recipe and we do tend to like similar things if I recall correctly :o)

gardencat's picture

I really like the Chocolate (post #65236, reply #63 of 66)

I really like the Chocolate Gingerbread cookie that is the cover recipe on the book.It was a big hit last summer with the jazz festival stage crew and I'm sure it will also go over well at Christmas this year. I make small cookies, just one or two bites, because that is my preference.
Last weekend I made 1445 cookies:
Pistachio Cranberry Icebox Cookies
Glittering Lemon Balls
Mom's Almond Drops
Gingerbread Biscotti
Lemon cookies (aka Marble Slices)
Chocolate Chunk Cherry Cookies (C-4)
Ginger Cookies
CookieMonster's Triple Chocolate Cookies
White Chocolate Oatmeal Cranberry
Triple Chocolate Biscotti
Italian Anise Cookies
Toffee White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
Martha Stewart Chocolate Ginger
Coffee Toffee Sandies
White Chocolate Apricot
Ginger Oatmeal
Peter's Favourite Raisin Oatmeal
Ginger Snaps
Luscious Chocolate Cookies
White Chocolate Cranberry Macadamia

The Coffee Toffee Sandies are a real hit so far.

This weekend I'll make Gluten Free Cookies.
Replying to: http://forums.finecooking.com/comment/reply/65236/770331