Christmas baking

Well, I am not a good blogger.  Oh well.  Life happens.  Just wanted to post my yummy cookies this Christmas.  I made a double recipe of these Raspberry Sandwich Cookies.  I am sure they would taste even better with Chambord, but I am a little cheap for that.  Still very yummy cookies.  They come out about 2″ diameter so make sure your sticks are not too long for them.  Otherwise they can look pretty funny!  This is from Better Homes and Gardens 2010.

Sandwich Cookie Pops
Ingredients
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Chambord or milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 Raspberry Buttercream, see below
  • 1 1/2 poundswhite chocolate or white candy coating, chopped
  • Red non pareils

Directions

1. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt; set aside

2. In a large bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar and beat until creamy and smooth. Beat in Chambord and vanilla. Beat in flour mixture.

3. If dough is too sticky, cover and chill dough for 30 minutes or until easy to handle. Divide dough into two equal portions. Shape each portion into a 12-inch-long roll about 1 inch in diameter. Wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 4 to 24 hours.

4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cut the rolls into slices about 1/8 inch thick. Place 50 lollipop craft sticks 1-1/2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Place one dough slice on the top portion of each stick. Bake for 6 to 7 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Bake remaining cookie slices without sticks. Cool on cookie sheets 1 minute. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

5. Spread a slightly rounded teaspoon of Raspberry Butttercream on the flat sides of the cookies with sticks. Top with remaining cookies, flat sides down.

6. Place white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on 100 percent power (high) for 3 minutes until just melted, stirring after each minute; cool slightly. Holding pop by the stick; carefully dip and spoon melted chocolate over to coat; let excess chocolate drip off before placing on waxed or parchment. Sprinkle with nonpareils; cool. Makes 50 lollipop cookies.

From the Test Kitchen Tip

To store:Layer cookie pops between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze  for up to 1 month. Let come to room temperature before serving.

Raspberry Buttercream
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Chambord or milk
  • 2 tablespoons seedless raspberry preserves
Directions            In a large mixing bowl beat butter for 30 seconds. Beat in 1 cup powdered sugar; Chambord or milk, and raspberry preserves. Beat in 1-1/2 cups additional powdered sugar.

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Giving

So I am a little late to post this, but I am so excited about the opportunity I had.

I was really looking for somewhere to take my baked goods.  I love baking, I just can’t eat them all.  Or at least I am trying to not eat them all!  So I have been praying for an opportunity, someone who would really appreciate them.  I got some good ideas from people, but still no real leads.  Then as part of my church outreach program, I searched out ways to volunteer in my community.  See our church (along with 500 other local churches) has challenged us to give back to our community to show God’s love.

When I searched volunteer opportunities the Ronald McDonald House popped up.  Guess what…they wanted homemade baked goods!!!  Amazing.  People who would truely feel comforted by having a little slice of home waiting for them after a long day in the hospital with their child.  I could think of no other opportunity so perfectly fitting for me.

I called to see if I could still volunteer, you know there are just thousands of us offering to donate baked goods!  They said they could always take baked goods.  No real requirements or restrictions and I could bring them over anytime I please.  So amazing to me to find this opportunity.  So I baked my little heart out one day.  Made two types of cookies for the folks.  Then bagged them into servings of two cookies each.  Wisked them over to the Ronald McDonald House.  I found out they really need my baking and could use it any time I wanted to bake.  The office manager said they usually have a lot of donations during the holidays and near the end of school.  Which is perfect for me, because I get way too busy then anyways.

Just another way for me to see how God wants to use the talents he has given me.

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Double Chocolate Cookies

Ok so I have put the peanut butter cookies on hold.  My son has been asking for double chocolate cookies.  I saw this recipe a while ago in a Family Circle mag (Feb 2011).  So I decided next time I have a chance to make cookies I will make this one. 

I don’t know why I waited so long!  They are divine!  I did switch out half the chocolate.  It calls for 12 oz of milk chocolate, half to be melted in the batter and half used as chunks.  I melted 6oz and put that in the batter, but used 6 oz of dark chocolate chips instead of the rest of the milk chocolate.

I definitely need to make more of these to give away.

Double Chocolate Cookies (Family Circle, Feb 2011)

Ingredients
  • 2  cups  all-purpose flour
  • 1/2  cup  cocoa powder
  • 1  teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 12  ounces  milk chocolate
  • 3/4  cup (1 1/2 sticks)  unsalted butter
  • 3/4  cup  packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2  cup  granulated sugar
  • 2    large eggs
  • 2  teaspoons  vanilla extract

Directions

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a medium-size bowl.

2. Coarsely chop 6 ounces of the chocolate, and finely chop the remaining 6 ounces. Microwave coarsely chopped chocolate with butter for 1 minute, stirring halfway through. Microwave an additional 15 seconds if necessary; stir until smooth.

3. Transfer chocolate mixture to bowl of an electric mixer and add sugars, eggs and vanilla; beat until well combined Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in remaining finely chopped chocolate pieces.

4. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of dough onto ungreased baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.

5. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 9 to 11 minutes or until set. Let the cookies cool on baking sheet on a wire rack for 2 minutes. Transfer the cookies to rack; let cool completely.

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Why do you do the things you love?

So for me, I love baking and creating.  I really don’t care much for cooking, that is much more of an art.  I like the science of baking.  I like to bake and give to others.  So at first, I gave to neighbors, friends through school, and friends through church.  Now I am considering these people may not really want to get fat from my baking.  So I bake a little less.  But I really want to bake, so where do I go from here?

I like baking and sending, but that costs more money than just baking.

I love baking for those who need a day sweetener.  Some days you just need a free dozen, oh so yummy soft and chewy, chocolate chip cookies given to you.

So how do I go about finding these people who need a day sweetener.  It seems as though these people are not in the right mood to come looking and asking for them.  If I continually have them on hand, then I am likely to gain way more weight than my new gym membership can handle.

I have thought about what I want to be when I grow up, and thankfully 35 is only half way there.  I feel really pulled to opening up a service/business of helping others.  Maybe run errands, take people to appts, just sit and talk, oh and along the way pass out my cookies.  I will let you know if I make any progress on this sloooow journey, but hey I’m only 35.

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Baking again!

I finally got to bake again this week.  Yesh, too long of a break, but what can you do when you have sick kids.  Anyways I made the chocolate chip cookies and lemon cookies and they turned out totally different from the first time. Why is this?  Could the brand of flour make that much difference?  Or the temp and humidity(/or lack of) play that much of a roll?  They are still yummy, but the chocolate chip cookies were flat and started to cook the bottom too much before the inside was done.  The lemon came out thick and almost stiff not chewy.  Well I sent some off to my sister anyways.  I will try again.

Now on to today.  I plan on playing with yeast again.  I guess it is scary because it seems so labor intensive.  I plan on making some focaccia to go along with our homemade spaghetti sauce.  Yummy,   I will let you know how it turns out.

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Chocolate…mmmm….Chocolate…

Well I have been off of baking for a couple of weeks.  Sick kids, then I get sick, just not the time to bake.  So back to my favorite thing to do, bake!  Well create.  I started with some peanut butter balls, chocolate nut clusters, and chocolate hearts.  Since we were sick over Valentine’s Day, I guess I was making up for it.  Also it is hubby’s birthday this weekend.  I am so excited for the cake!  Did I tell you it was a chocolate cake, you probably guessed already. 

 This is the most fabulous chocolate cake, I have had in a while.  It is my favorite cake right now.  So what is it?   A chocolate boston cream pie.   OH Oh so yummy.  I was looking for a chocolate pie recipe for Thanksgiving.  I decided to look up what Hershey’s had on their website for recipes.  If you are ever looking around for a good recipe, go to a favorite product’s website or famous chef.  These people don’t mess around.  They want their recipes to shine, therefore their product shines.  So anyways I found this All-Chocolate Boston Cream Pie!  Hubby agreed to go away from the pie and add this to our menu.  Oh so yummy and so glad we did.  In fact we found an excuse in December to make it again.  And now we get to have it this weekend for his birthday.  We will need to find some people to give slices away to, but I have some people in mind already.  Sorry they have one up on everyone since they share the same birthdays.

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Lemon Cookie

Ok so I have been wanting a good sugar lemon cookie for a while.  I had a really good one on an airplane of all places.  It was chewy, sugar, and slightly lemon.  I didn’t want an over the top lemon cookie, just a little.  Well I started with a good chewy sugar cookie which I found in a King Arthur Flour cook book.  It called for a little lemon, so I just pumped up the recipe.  With what I have learned from Alton Brown, having a little more proteins in the cookie will make it chewy. I have also learned the importance of weighing ingredients!   So I added an egg yolk and then needed to figure out how much more flour to add.  After a couple of test, the testers have approved of this new lemon sugar cookie!  So yummy.

Lemony Sugar Cookie

  • 3/4c (6oz) unsalted melted butter
  • 3/4c (5 1/2 oz) granulated sugar
  • 1/2c (4oz) brown sugar
  • 1/4 (2 3/4 oz) light corn syrup
  • 2 ts vanilla extract
  • 1/2 ts lemon extract
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 1/2 ts baking powder
  • 1/2 ts baking soda
  • 1/2 ts salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 1/2 c (16 oz) all-purpose flour, or bread flour
  • 1/4 c coarse sugar, for coating
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.  Lightly grease two baking sheets.
  2. In large mixing bowl, beat together butter, sugars, corn syrup, vanilla, lemon, zest, baking powder, baking soda, salt, egg, and egg yolk.  Stir in flour
  3. Place the coarse sugar in shallow dish.  Drop the dough by the tablespoonful into the sugar, roll the balls to coat them.  Place them on prepared baking sheets.
  4. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, until the bottom edges are just barely beginning to brown.  Remove from oven and cool on the baking sheet for 5min, then transfer them to a rack to cool completely.

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