I was contacted by Domino sugar and offered a gift card to buy ingredients in order to make something from the Domino website. I took a quick gander and decided that wouldn't be a problem at all. They have lots of great recipes on there now but gosh, I bet their site will just grow and grow. I mean, they have such few limits with sugar as their product.
I have to admit that I will often buy store-brand baking ingredients but when I do my holiday baking, I usually reach for brand names and for sugars that means Domino. If I'm going to the trouble of baking all those treats for my friends and family, I want to use the best ingredients. Is there any difference between Domino sugar and other brands? Well, I've never come across lumps in my Domino sugar - I can't say that for the store brands. That's just my own personal experience.
So what did I make? Well, strangely enough, even though I usually follow recipes as closely as possible, I played around a little bit here.
I combined the design idea of Peanut Butter Reindeer Cupcakes with the recipe for Chocolate Sugar Cookies and made Reindeer Cookies. Since my son can't eat M&Ms (due to his peanut allergy) I used Sixlets for the eyes and nose. Sixlets aren't as sturdy in the oven as M&Ms and melted quite a bit but I think they're still cute.
They were so cute, I couldn't settle on just one picture.
I don't like to make cute cookies just for the sake of being cute. These were also delicious. I wasn't sure if the pretzels would work here but it tastes like eating chocolate-covered pretzels when you eat that part of the cookie. I'd also like to note that I rolled the cookie dough out between sheets of parchment paper which is one of the most awesome baking tricks I've ever learned and I like to pass it along whenever I can.
I also made some Drop Sugar Cookies. I was intrigued by the combination of oil and butter and the use of cream of tartar instead of baking powder or baking soda. I added some green food coloring to the cookies - I usually do that with any sugar cookie at Christmas. These had a nice crispy texture around the outside with a soft, chewiness in the center. I liked them with just the sugar on top but alternatively, these could be frosted.
But the very first thing I made was this Peppermint Swirl Fudge Cake. I opted to top it with vanilla candy coating instead of the chocolate glaze, just because. I used chopped up candy canes and candy cane kisses on the top. I added a bit of green food coloring to intensify the green in the peppermint cake batter. I just wish I had something green on the top too - next time I'll get the candy canes that have both green and red.
I love how we spend the holidays now but someday I hope I get a chance to host my own Christmas gathering so I could put a gorgeous cake like this out for my guests.
It wasn't just pretty, it tasted great too. The cream cheese gave it a nice texture. It wasn't too minty like I've found some peppermint-flavored recipes to be - the level of mint was just right for my taste.
Although, I'm not a Tweeter myself, some of you might be interested in one of Domino's programs to fight hunger. Basically for each time that #NoKidHungry is mentioned in a tweet, Domino®/C&H® Sugar will donate $1 to the Share Our Strength® organization. They're going to donate up to a maximum of $10,000.
I'm excited to do even more holiday baking now. Thanks to Domino for getting me started.
Question of the Day: What plans do you have for holiday baking this year?