Esther 4:14b

"...and who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this."

Monday, December 14, 2009

Holiday Baking

In continuation with the handcrafted Christmas gift kick I’m on this year, I decided to spend Saturday in a baking frenzy so I’d have lots of treats to give away. Here was my list for the day:

  1. Cake Balls (about 5 dozen)
  2. Chocolate Truffles with Sea Salt (about 4 dozen)
  3. Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix (made enough for 4 pint size jars)
  4. Homemade Marshmallows (I halved the recipe)
  5. Savannah Bow Ties (about 4 dozen)
  6. White Chocolate Chunk & Dried Cherry Cookies (a little over 9 dozen)
  7. Corn Chowder (for dinner)
  8. 3 loaves of French bread (for dinner)

I’m proud to say I accomplished all of it on Saturday besides the marshmallows and bow ties because I decided to go see a local remake of Scrooge with my in-laws, but I finished those items after church on Sunday.

Here are my reviews for numbers 1 to 6 (and I’m sure the first two will be sacrilegious to some readers!):

1. Cake Balls – Everybody it seems raves about these little treats Bakerella has made so popular. Personally, after tasting them, they were so not worth the time and mess. I have a major sweet tooth and these were too sweet for me. Maybe if I used only half the frosting they’d be better, but honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever make them again.

2. Chocolate Truffles with Sea Salt – I’ve tried a few different recipes from the Pioneer Woman lately and they’ve all been hit or miss. These looked delicious, though, and I stowed them away in my brain until now. They were rather easy to make and pretty tasty, but I’m not a big fan of the sea salt. Plus, it made my chocolate look weird the next day. I might make these again, but more likely I’ll keep searching for a raspberry truffle recipe.

3. Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix – This had received mix reviews, but unfortunately the most helpful ones weren’t posted until after I made it. Seems these newer reviewers had the same thoughts I did. This mix has a good beginning, but it leaves a lot to be desired in terms of chocolaty taste. Tonight I’m going to dump all my jars out and add more cocoa powder and powder sugar as these reviewers suggest and see if it helps.

4. Homemade Marshmallows – Not being a big marshmallow fan (unless it’s in hot cocoa or on a s’more) I’m not going to review these based on taste (although they did have a nice marshmallow flavor). I don’t know if it’s because I halved the recipe or what, but my marshmallows were not pourable at all. I used a candy thermometer and followed the directions exactly, but half of my mixture got left in the mixing bowl and the part that made it into the pan never spread into a smooth layer. I may try these again, but most likely not.

5. Savannah Bow Ties – Hubby and I saw Paula Deen make these a couple years ago and have made them every Christmas since then. They are pretty yummy. Expensive and tedious to make, but yummy.

6. White Chocolate Chunk & Dried Cherry Cookies – This is one of the Christmas cookies my mom makes every year and hubby’s favorite of hers. It’s based on the Mrs. Field’s chocolate chip cookie recipe and is very good. Here is the recipe:

White Chocolate Chunk & Dried Cherry Cookies

5 c. old fashioned oats
4 sticks butter
2 c. each brown and white sugar
4 eggs
2 t. vanilla
4 c. flour
1 t. salt
2 t. each baking powder and soda
24 oz. white chocolate chips
3 c. dried cherries (can substitute cherry flavored craisins)

Blend oats to fine powder. Mix butter and sugars. Beat in eggs and vanilla. In separate bowl combine oatmeal, flour, baking powder, and soda. Add to butter mixture. Blend well. Stir in chips and nuts. Roll into balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 10 –12 minutes.

Makes: Approx. 9 dozen

holiday baking
Here are my treats all finished and ready to be packaged. I picked up 6 Martha Stewart craft boxes from Michael’s because they were 50% off. Each one has four different compartments so I included four of each of the following: cake balls, white chocolate-dried cherry cookies, savannah bow ties and chocolate truffles with sea salt. Hubby is going to give these away to people he works with. The hot cocoa and marshmallows will be packaged nicely and given away to some of hubby’s clients or friends and the rest will be enjoyed by our family or taken to my office.

What are some of your favorite holiday baking recipes?

1 comment:

  1. I have a brownie recipe on my recipe blog (sister blog to my original one where I "park" all my recipes).

    It is called raspberry truffle brownies. The truffle part of the brownie should give you an idea how to turn regular chocolate truffles into raspberry chocolate.


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