Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cookie Baking Blowout 2010

Whew. Ten different kinds of cookies, roughly ten hours, ten sore toes, ten gallons of dishwashing liquid used, and probably ten pounds gained purely by osmosis of ten pounds of butter. But man, that was fun!

I loaded up my iTunes Christmas playlist, set it on shuffle, and hit the kitchen. According to iTunes, I have enough Christmas music for 1.5 days. I think iTunes calls a day 24 hours, which should give you some idea as to the level of obnoxiousness of my holiday music collection.

First order of business - check my baking list.

Next order of business - trash the kitchen.

I win! The kitchen loses!

Have I mentioned how much I hate my kitchen?

By the way, time for a shout out (holla!). Thank you Elise Higdon (Piper), for the tin that you gave Pootie in high school, which we have used as our sugar canister since before we were married.

Elise's artwork: Reliably holding sugar since 1989

Pootie cleared out, as usual, leaving me free to Christmas Boogaloo and coat everything in a thin film of Flour-Dusted Sticky.

Dinky was happy to keep me company, though.

Hope springs eternal when you are a dog on my kitchen floor.
 The doughs that needed refrigeration came first, of course. That's the kind of organized I am!

No, I don't have any idea why we are keeping that one wilted leaf of lettuce back there.

I mixed the softer doughs after getting these guys ready to go. That meant I got to use my favorite Kitchenaid mixer tool!

 I love this thing. It scrapes as it mixes and it works WELL. It lets me do things like this to my recipes:

I'm not a baker who likes to fuss with things much. Some would probably say that really makes me "not a baker". They would be correct.

The two easiest things came out of the oven first - the white chocolate brownies and the coffee toffee crunch bars.

My kitchen is so pitifully small that I have to ooze out into the dining room for cooling things.

Next out were the pecan sables. Man, I love, love, love these. And I just realized I didn't eat one this year. And they're all packed in boxes for shipping. Dang. That's just ganked.

A moment of silence, please, for the cookie I forgot to eat. Now I'm all sad.

Then I got to a new one - Dorie Greenspan's Sugar Topped Molasses Cookies from her most excellent cookbook "Baking: From My Home to Yours". If you are seriously into baking, this one is a must-have. Everything I've made from it has been great.

These were fun to make. The dough is easy to deal with.

And my, they are delicious!

I have no idea what happened here, y'all.

Then I got to my absolute-favorite-baker-in-the-whole-wide-world - nay, the UNIVERSE - Abby Dodge's recipe from her latest book "Desserts 4 Today". Her Nutella Fudge Brownie Bites are just so good, and ridiculously simple. I probably could have gotten permission from Abby to post the recipe here, because she's that nice. But I'm not going to, because you really should own this cookbook. The book is comprised of desserts that can be made from four ingredients, and it is perfect for weeknight entertaining, or, you know, not entertaining at all. Just for you. It's inexpensive and worth more than every penny, and I have ordered several copies for people for Christmas gifts already. People who are hopefully not reading this blog, come to think of it.

Then I got to try a recipe I found when I was browsing the interwebs for ideas. And in my browsing, I met a new friend and found a great new blog!  Jennie, of In Jennie's Kitchen, has a kick-ass blog and some equally kick-ass recipes. And she's so stinking sweet! Go. Read her blog. Hers is way better than mine, and you won't be sorry, I promise. Anyway, I found this recipe via her blog and wanted to try it and asked her if it would be OK if I posted about it on my blog, and she was just silly nice, AND the recipe is awesome, so go read it here. Her pictures are way better than mine, as well, so I'm just not going to post mine up here. It's a crisp chocolate chip cookie and brings slice and bake to a new level. They're excellent.

About mid-afternoon I got to the bourbon balls. I may or may not have had a nip to just make sure the bourbon wasn't poisonous before I put it in there.


Dinky was very interested in those. It's hard to keep that boy off the sauce.

Bad dog. No. The bourbon is mine.

I'd managed to finish up everything but baking the pinwheel cookies by 5:00 and tackled the kitchen cleaning.

At this point, my back hurt and I was sticky and tired. I seriously considered pouring myself a much larger shot of bourbon and throwing a lit stick of dynamite in the kitchen and calling it a night.

But I didn't. I even cooked dinner! That's what kind of crazy I am!

In the morning, I got to slice and bake the pinwheel cookies while I had my coffee. I got these from my favorite cooking magazine - Fine Cooking. (I'm a serious Fine Cooking pusher, I know. But you'll thank me.) These were amazingly easy to make - and remember, I don't like fiddly, fussy things. The dough is not sticky - it's easy to work, and even I didn't gank up the pinwheel pattern. They're very pretty.

Truly, though, I had my doubts about how good these would be. My experience with a basic sugar cookie dough is "meh". Oh. my. god. I was SO WRONG. They were SO good! I had two! Then Pootie had to threaten me to get me to stop eating them. (I was on a little bit of a sugar and caffeine jag, sure, but I don't think that had anything to do with it...). There's lots and lots of buttah in these. Mmmmmmm...

I'd have eaten the whole pan and not been the least bit sorry when I got sick.

Then I was done, except for the packing. Well, and of course, I had to gather the kids together for a little photo shoot.

Class picture.

Look sexy for me.

A little Nutella Bite cheerleader pyramid for Abby. Go, Abby!

I may go open all those boxes and take these out and hoard them for myself.
These peppermint crescents were good, too. I love peppermint.

All that was left was for me to box them up and get them ready to ship to their new home.

Now I'm about baked out for the season. If you'd like to try any of these, here are the links.

(this is another story for another day)

Nutella Fudge Brownies (you heard me. Go buy the cookbook)

Sugar-Topped Molasses Spice Cookies (I did not get permission from Dorie, so I'm not spilling the beans on this recipe.)

Now if you'll excuse me, I am done with baking for now. I have to rinse off all the sugar and go to a workshop to learn how to play Mele Kalikemaka and Christmas Island on my uke for Christmas.

Merry Christmas, y'all!

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