It’s been FAR too long since I last posted on my blog! December somehow became a rather busy month for me, in the most fun ways! Instead of blogging, my time became occupied with more baking, Zumba, time with my boyfriend, my birthday celebrations, and of course Christmas! A good amount of the gifts I received were either baking, cooking, or cupcake related…’art of cooking’ books, cupcake decorations and recipe books, a PINK immersion blender, a mini loaf pan, a homemade cupcake stand (thanks sis!) and so much more. I’m waaaay too excited to put all of it to use! In fact, I have already begun to do so.
This past month, I got into the habit of coming home from work, preheating the oven, and baking something. Anything. Cookies, brownies, mini loaves, or something for dinner. Of course, I then had so many baked goods, I had to spread the cookie wealth! To roomies, friends, the boys who live below us, my boyfriend, co-workers, and my parents. No, I’m not trying to fatten anyone up, but I just love baking so much! What a terrible addiction I have, eh? 😛
And so here’s what I’ve been making! I realize that Christmas is over, but cookie baking should never end!
We had a lot of leftover cubed and dried bread from our Thanksgiving stuffing, so later that weekend, I used up a good bunch of it in this dessert bread pudding…which we ate for dinner 🙂 And it was delicious! Moist, flavorful, filling and peanut buttery. I highly recommend this recipe. Perfect with a cup of hot cocoa or a cold glass of milk.
Candy Cane Cookie Bars, adapted from a recipe at VegWeb
I had a bag of Hershey’s Candy Cane kisses in my pantry for some reason, and wanted a way to use them up. The only recipes I could find, however, were for cookie blossoms, but I didn’t want that. Instead, I used the above recipe as my base, pulsed the (unwrapped) kisses in my food processor to chop them up, and placed the resulting dough in a greased 8×8″ glass pan to make cookie bars! They were delicious.
Orange-Scented French Toast stuffed with Strawberry Cream Cheese, adapted from this recipe at TastyKitchen
One of my girlfriends came over one lazy Saturday and we made this amazing french toast for brunch! The fresh-squeezed juice in the egg wash makes such a interesting flavor profile on the toast. We also subbed homemade strawberry jam for the cranberry sauce. And OH MY GOD, it was incredible! We’ll definitely be making this again, and perhaps with different fruit fillings.
Brownie Cupcakes with Cookie Dough Frosting adapted from this recipe at YammiesNoShery
I went to an Ugly Christmas Sweater party at a friend’s house. When I asked what he wanted me to bring, he suggested cookies, brownies AND cupcakes. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED, I said! And I made these bites of heaven. A brownie base in cupcake form, topped with what is essentially cookie dough (without the leavening ingredients and raw eggs). Everyone enjoyed! Rich, decadent and sweet, these were most definitely NOT the ugliest things there…my boyfriend won that award! 😀
Butterscotch Souffle, inspired by this recipe at BHG
Another girlfriend came over for dinner and dessert one day, and in “Chopped” fashion, I asked her to bring a random ingredient that I would then have to incorporate into our meal. So she brought butterscotch pudding powder. Wracking my brains, and my pantry, I finally settled on making a butterscotch souffle for dessert. I had never before done anything with butterscotch that required an oven, nor had I ever made a souffle. So this was definitely a challenge! I searched the internet (not following the exact Chopped guidelines 😛 ) and came up with a recipe I could use for the base, and take it from there. I replaced the cocoa powder in the above linked recipe with the same amount of butterscotch pudding powder, and it actually worked! In fact, we devoured the entire thing (with my sister and roommate as well). It was so god. Hot, fluffy, sweet, and delicious. She’s promised me that next time she comes over to make dinner with me, she’s bringing more difficult and random ingredients so I can play “Chopped” again 😀
PB&J Thumbprint Cookies, from a recipe at Shape.com
Back to the cookies, I made these after work one evening. However, I used strawberry jam instead of raspberry. These were a bit dry as dough, making them difficult to roll into balls, but it worked out, and they tasted quite yummy!
Pumpkin Pasties, Harry Potter Style, from Britta
My boyfriend attempted making pumpkin pies in jars. Which did not work out, at all. However, we managed to salvage half the homemade pie dough and half the pumpkin pie filling. So I consulted this recipe, baked up the filling in a glass pan, filled rounds of the rolled out dough with the pumpkin, and baked until golden brown! They were delicious, and a great unintentional dessert.
Gingerbread Cookies, from ChasingDelicious
Chocolate Spritzgebaeck, from the recipe pictured below.
I’m German, so a lot of the food I’ve eaten and made has a German background. Last year, my Oma gave me this Gebaeckpress, with which to make shaped cookies. Inside was a recipe card (and instruction card) for different cookie flavors, so I went with the chocolate version. While I can read German, I was glad to see they had translated the recipes into English as well (the press is from Berlin, from decades ago!). Also, luckily, when I couldn’t figure out how to use the darn thing, Oma was able to help me out after a quick phone call to her (danke, Oma!). And these cute little trees resulted from it. Tiny, buttery, chocolatey, and slightly sweet, these were lovely cookies to eat and share.
Shortbread Cookies, from Bake Bake Bake
This was the first time I’ve made shortbread. And the first time I’ve enjoyed eating shortbread! This recipe, the “cheater” version of shortbread cookies, was super easy to make, fun to decorate, and even better to eat. My sister and I had a good time coming up with shapes to pipe on top, letting our friends vote on which ones looked the nicest.
Mini Hot Cocoa Cookies, from Two Peas and Their Pod
I made these little gems as my birthday treat for my co-workers last week. And they all enjoyed! They were perfect with a hot cup of, you guessed it: hot cocoa! The mini marshmallows on top make them just so adorable. These actually taste like bites of chocolate cake, there’s so much chocolate in them! I need to make these again 🙂
Mini Cranberry Loaves, adapted from Bake Your Day
I happened to have a spare bag of fresh cranberries, and had no idea what to do with them, when I came across this recipe! And for my birthday, my parents gave me a mini loaf pan (the official Food Network one). So I used that, plus this recipe to make edible Christmas gifts for the managers in my department and my boss! They all enjoyed the treat…big enough to share with the family, but not too big that there are leftovers. And these tasted AMAZING. Even my sister, who doesn’t like cranberries, enjoyed this cake. And the greek yogurt really brings out the cranberry taste, which is made less tart with the sugar. So yummy, and highly recommended. In cake or mini loaf form!
Sugar Cookies, from Sweet Sugar Belle
Christmas requires cut-out sugar cookies, decorated with unnaturally colored frostings, sugars and other decorations. So we made and decorated these! A LOT of these. One of the managers at work gave me a bunch of Christmas cookie decorating supplies – sparkle gel, cookie cutters, sprinkles and nonpareils. It was perfect! These cookies were tons of fun to decorate (though we developed sugar-induced stomach aches in the process thanks to snitching at the cookies and frosting). And they were pretty delicious too. We also used the royal icing recipe found in the one linked above. It worked really well, and easy enough to divide and make multiple colors.
Flourless Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache and Caramel Glaze, from Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice
I was tasked with making dessert for our Christmas Eve dinner, and this is what I came up with! Rich, decadent, slightly flat, and full of yummy flavor, this cake was a winner with everyone! It definitely requires a cold glass of milk though, or at least some coffee. So yummy.
Candy Cane Blossom Cookies, directly from Hersheys.Com
Finally, I made the traditional Hershey Kiss Blossom cookies, with their candy cane kisses. Simple, easy, cute and tasty. This was a piece of [cookie].
So, that’s what I’ve been up to. I apologize that not all of these have my own pictures attached (some were eaten up before photography could happen!). It’s been a fun month, to be sure, and hopefully I’ll be blogging about more health-related topics in the new year. But for now, whip up a batch of cookies and enjoy!