Holiday Baking

Not completely done yet, but a really good start.  3 batches of cookies and two loaves of banana bread came out of the oven this evening.  Andie was in charge of the banana bread, and I cranked out the cookies.  There may be a few more kinds, and there are definitely loaves of bread yet to be baked.  Fortunately, there is plenty of flour, butter, and sugar in the house.

I made one of my favorites tonight.  While I’m a big chocolate fan, one of my favorite cookies comes from the Lee mansion at Arlington National Cemetery.  It’s a molasses-based spice cookie that also incorporates cinnamon and ginger.  Not as sharp as a ginger snap, nor as crisp.  But a very flavorful cookie that just really speaks Christmas to me, for some reason.  And the recipe makes a ton … tonight I wound up just three cookies shy of 5 dozen.

Also on the menu this evening was one of Andie’s favorites.  She likes the Peanut Blossom cookies that is essentially a straight-ahead peanut butter cookie with a Hershey’s Kiss plopped down in the middle just out of the oven.  Sort of like a mega-chocolate-chip.  They’re also one that I’ve often made at this time of the year.  They’re really pretty simple, very tasty, and gives that really nice chocolate rush when you eat it.  Chocolate and peanut butter really ARE two great tastes that taste great together.

My third cookie was a variation on a classic.  I took the recipe for garden-variety Toll House cookies, and added a mocha twist.  If you’ve been seeing the seasonal M&M’s in the stores, one of the best of them (IMHO) is the Mocha M&M.  There’s not  a hard candy shell on the individual pieces like your standard-issue M&M’s, which made them ideal for baking.

I know, there are recipes that use every day M&M’s, and they make for a very colorful cookie.  But after munching on a few (dozen) of these specialty bites over the past couple of months, I thought “that’d be darn good in a cookie”.

So, I made the standard recipe dough for a crispy chocolate chip cookie.  After this afternoon’s shopping, I had a box of the mocha M&M’s chilling in the freezer.  Rather than use chocolate chips, I took the frozen M&M’s and put them in the food processor.  A few pulses later, I had some very nice mocha chips as well as enough granulated chocolate that the flavor spreads all through the cookie.

After that, it was add the chopped candy to the dough and bake as normal.

All-in-all, I probably made over 10 dozen cookies tonight.

The good news is, I love to bake, and it’s just fun to take them out of the oven and try one while it’s still warm.  And, all our friends who’ll be coming for Enchilada Eve will OOH and AHH over them … just one more home-made item in what will be multiple tables of home made food.

That’s what Christmas is all about.  Family, good friends, good food, fine wine, fellowship, and laughs.

Maybe it was just what I needed to get me in the holiday spirit.



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Filed under Christmas, Cooking, Holiday, Thoughts

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