Holiday Baking

Thank goodness it’s over!  I really enjoy baking, but when my one-woman kitchen begins to resemble the Tollhouse Factory assembly line I tend to get a wee bit crabby.  I have to figure out a way to attack things better next year.

sour cream cake

I made peppermint bark, and snickerdoodle blossoms, and peanut butter fudge, and Tollhouse pan cookies, and toffee bars (at least, that what we’ve always called them – it’s more of a butter cookie with melted Hershey bars on top), and spiced almonds, and mock turtles, and sour cream cherry coffee cake.  All good, but SO. MANY. DISHES. TO. WASH. And then I had to get it all wrapped up and divvied up and off my dining room table in time to set the table for Christmas Eve dinner.  AACK.

But, dinner was lovely, and ended with Dorie’s All in One Holiday Bundt Cake.  I’ve made this before, but I still loved it just as much the second time around. The cake is surprisingly light considering all the stuff it has to hold (cranberries, nuts and apples), and it absolutely doesn’t need the maple icing Dorie suggests.

All in One holiday bundt

We devoured it after a big pasta dinner, and the leftovers were in great demand for Christmas breakfast. Thanks to The Nitty Bitty for picking it back in November!

TWD: Sugar-topped Molasses Spice Cookies

These were a treat right around Thanksgiving, and given that I have a whole new bottle of molasses in the pantry now, I’m thinking they might be a treat again someday soon!

Spiced Ginger Molasses Cookies

These cookies were chewy and dense and certainly spiced well – you must like ginger snaps to like these cookies, because they offer FAR MORE than your grocery store variety spice cookies.  Also, they were a bit of a handful to get into the baking pan, so definitely chill the dough as Dorie recommends before trying to rol them out (I still ended up with a thin layer of dough on each hand after I rolled a dozen or so out). The woman knows her stuff!

I, of course, was drinking them with milk or weak tea, because that’s how I roll these days. But they would also be lovely with the last of the wine after dinner. They certainly are not overly sweet to where they might compete with the wine.  I served them after brunch (french toast, quiche, sausage and cocktails) with friends for the perfect ending to a delightful Sunday morning.

I seriously thought she was kidding

I routinely read the articles filed by the Chicago Tribune’s health  reporter Julie Deardorff, if only for their comic value.  She routinely finds ways that either I am shortening my life or ruining the lives of those around me by performing mundane tasks, like emptying the lint tray in my clothes dryer. If only I could use my left hand instead of my right hand for the chore, we’d all beat cancer.

Today, though, I really thought she was kidding in her article about 9 foods worth eating.  It describes foods we all learned to hate as children, why our parents made us eat them, and then why they are worth a second shot as adults.  I was with her for the first few: sardines, beets licorice.

Then she got to crickets.

I leave the rest to you.