Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Baking 2012

I didn't even get any pictures of my Christmas cookies this year.  I did think of it, but I'm so out of the habit of taking pictures of food, that it was just a passing thought. 

What did I make this year?  I made a few oldies:

Gingerbread Men
Welsh Cookies
South Seas Cookies
Chocolate Chip Brownies
Chocolate and caramel covered Lorna Doones (like Twix), chocolate and caramel covered pretzels, roasted salted almonds topped with caramel and dipped in chocolate, marshmallows and caramel dipped in chocolate, all from this caramel recipe, which has a horrible picture (the caramel looks so dark and hard) but I love this caramel recipe.  It was too firm that first time I made it.  Another year I had to toss everything (after dipping!) and start over, it came out so hard.  Once I ditched the candy thermometer and used ice water to figure out when it was done just right (I like it soft), I've never had a problem with this recipe.

I made a batch of Five-Minute Fudge with mini marshmallows too but I didn't like the way it came out this year, maybe it was the brand of chocolate chips. I usually love this.

Fortunately all of the new recipes I tried were recipes I found online so even though I didn't get pictures, I can still tell you about them and direct you to the recipes.  I was happy with all of them but noted any changed I might make next time.

Hershey Kiss Macaroons  - I used lemon juice instead of orange which was fine but I would use less or leave it out next time.  I would use less almond extract or use vanilla next time.  I used the extra creamy Hershey Kisses that I've only found at Hersheypark.  I think they taste better than regular Hershey Kisses but they melt so easily I almost had puddles of chocolate instead of Kisses!

Chocolate Chip - I've made chocolate chip cookie with vanilla pudding before, maybe the same recipe, but I found this recipe online when I was in a hurry, bookmarked it on my phone and I've used it several times since.  I don't think I'll ever settle for one chocolate chip cookie recipe but this is one I will keep in rotation.

Double Chocolate Chip - I used this recipe from Nosh With Me - she used peanut butter chips, I used milk chocolate chips.

I added Hershey-ets to the tops of the chocolate chip and double chocolate chip.  These seem to be safe for my peanut-allergic son - I don't know why I am just discovering these this year.

Frosted Sugar Cookies - This is a Lofthouse copycat recipe I found online.  I haven't had the real ones in so long I don't know if it's a good copycat but I liked that the cookie wasn't very sweet on it's own since the frosting and sprinkles are so sweet. I also like the texture.  I used Easy Buttercream to frost them.

Schnecken - I once had a roommate who worked at a bakery that made Schnecken, a simple Rugelach-type cookie with cinnamon and sugar.  We loved those cookies!  This is their recipe for chocolate chip Schnecken, I just left out the chocolate chips.  I think I would make the dough just a tad bit sweeter next time.  Just an itty bitty bit.  It's been a long, long time since I had a bakery Schnecken, but as much as I liked these, I am sure the ones from the bakery were better. I've made something similar, Butter Horns, but I like the cream cheese dough better.