Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Part I: Sweets Galore

Well I downloaded all the pictures we had last night and realized we didn't take a single pic of dinner. So I am relying on our official photographer and frequent reader of this blog whose last name begins with "S" and ends with "R" to take pity on me and zip me some files in the near future!

The lead-up to Xmas dinner was four full days of preparations.

Day 1: Butter Cookies, Sugar cookies baked and cooled, Dinner roll dough risen, shaped, cut and frozen, lollipops (Special for Miss D!), sugared nuts (one batch with pepper added, one without)

Day 2: Sugar Cookies decorated (by Grandma S, Miss D and yours truly), English Toffee with hazelnuts, Turkey stock (made by Grandma S)

I'll stop there for now. I don't know why I always feel the need to make so many treats.
Butter Cookies packaged for gifting. I made this recipe for the first time at thanksgiving. I've always been a drop cookie girl. I was always like "Put dough in the fridge? And wait FOUR HOURS? I don't have time for that." I want instant gratification when it comes to cookies. However, this recipe is SO easy, and the cookies so delicious, it is worth a little wait time. After thanksgiving i thought- hey! Throw a little colored sugar on those puppies and now they are a Christmas cookie. Am I right or am I right? One word of warning on these should you choose to make them. They are so light and crisp and delicious and numerous that if you put them out in a large quantity you will eat them like potato chips. At least, that's what I do.

A lot of people are afeared of the hard candy making, but I grew up in a household where it was not uncommon for Mom to make it- at least at Christmas time. And let's face it, although candy can be temperamental it is pretty much the easiest thing in the world to cook as all you have to do is boil it until it gets to the appropriate temperature. Miss D has been obsessed with lollipops since Halloween so I wanted to try to make some for her. I am a little shamefaced to mention whose recipe i used but I really wanted to make a fruity flavored pop and I didn't have time to special order some kind of crazy candy oil over the net. The flavor did turn out really well although the texture of the candy seemed a little odd to me. (Miss D doesn't seem to mind) Also, although you can't really tell from this pic, I didn't work fast enough when pouring out the candy so the ones at the end turned out pretty wonky. (The candy was hardening so it didn't pour smoothly) Oh well! Those are the ones i take to work.

Holy crap this recipe made a lot of cookies. Sugar cookies, cut into various shapes and painstakingly decorated with various icing colors and decorations is an annual tradition that i have chosen to uphold. Miss D helped last year too but this year she was more into it. At least for the first couple! She was also pretty interested in eating the icing and candies! ;) Grandma S was a huge help in getting these all finished. Grandpa A did one too.
The recipe was pretty interesting. Although I would dispute the moniker of "sugar cookies"
for them. The nutmeg is strong in these babies giving it more of a spice cookie taste. The accompanying icing recipe is pretty much pure sugar and hardens to an almost candy-like consistency. Very tasty, and definitely a more sophisticated take on the tradition. Not sure if I would make them like this every year, but definitely will keep it in my back pocket. Dough was very easy to work with as well.

Somehow I don't have any pics of the toffee but it turned out perfectly. My one work of advice is DO NOT USE hazelnuts. Taking the skins off is a time-consuming pain in the ass I did not need.

I think Santa like everything though...


Lakeview Coffee Joe said...

Cookies and candy!!! Yay!! Looks like you did a great job with baking.

Pulisha said...

Wow, that's a pretty impressive spread there. I hope our kids enjoy this tradition as much as we have. I opted for the slightly easier route of no cookies this year. We did some of the traditional candy (snickers, toffee, raspberry bars, and blackbottoms -- though I ate all but 5 of those before X-mas day...they are so good!

Erin said...

Wow! Looks like you guys had a great time making all those sweets! Your mom has instilled a fearlessness of candy-making in you girls that Xani and I have not yet impressive! I can't wait to see part two. Miss D is looking mighty cute these days!

alexis said...

I wonder what Dukes wrote to Santa

Dad said...

Awesome Stef! You are one party puttin' on animal. And the pictures are really good. I love the first one with you, Dukes and Grandma S