Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Baking

I'm still pretty new at this, and can't get organized enough to post within a week of baking. Soon, I hope. Anyway, I made about 300 Christmas cookies this year, and here are a few photos from one day of baking.

These are Dorie Greenspan's Sables. Buttery and yummy.

The pistachio cardamom spritz cookies from The Wednesday Chef. The cookie press can be finicky, but once I got into the rhythm of it I made quite a few in a short time.

I found these chewy, spiced chocolate crackle cookies on Evil Shenanigans. What a great name! Very good cookies, too.

I gave lots away, in person and by mail, and I packed up the rest for the family Christmas party. Those are iced sugar cookies and iced chocolate gingerbread on the right. I got some wildlife cookie cutters from Ikea that were adorable.

And that may be all the cookies I make till next Christmas!

Daring Bakers' December Challenge--A Gingerbread House

The December 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to you by Anna of Very Small Anna and Y of Lemonpi. They chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ everywhere to bake and assemble a gingerbread house from scratch. They chose recipes from Good Housekeeping and from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book as the challenge recipes.

I chose the gingerbread from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book, and the only change I made was using white sugar+blackstrap molasses, as I didn't have any brown sugar in the house. This made my dough much darker, but I think it also added a really nice flavour.

This was my first Daring Bakers' Challenge, and of course I posted last night just before the deadline! I had a lot of trouble with the dough--it wasn't dry exactly, but so crumbly and difficult to roll out and drape over the template. My fancy template consisted of a mixing bowl and a toilet paper tube covered in foil.

Here is the dough right after taking it out of the fridge. I had to leave it at room temperature for about 4 hours before I had any hope of rolling it out.

Next, I got it rolled out, but forgot to put it on wax paper, so had no way of getting it off the table. Finally, I got it rolled out, but see how it kept cracking at the edges?

It baked up nicely, without puffing too much, except it took the igloo a lot longer than the reindeer and snowman, so they are burnt. That's what icing and icing sugar are for, right?

Next, I made the blocks out of icing and let it dry overnight. I liked the way it looked with the dark gingerbread and the blocks, but I decided to flood the whole thing with icing the next morning:

My nephew can hardly wait to get his hands on it!