Friday, December 18, 2009

There's No Swearing At Christmas....

Oh, really?

Let's just hope Santa was snoozing yesterday when the inevitable baking tragedies happened. Otherwise my chances of receiving that Le Crueset tea kettle and that life-sized Benicio Del Toro oil painting on black velvet are pretty slim.

Well, the Benicio thing ain't happening ANYWAY...but I still think it would look great over the fireplace.

Well, I suppose "tragedies" is a strong word....let's call them glitches! And when your goal is to pump out 20 different kinds of cookies in 4 days (yes, I know I said 15 yesterday, but those recipes keep haunting me!) glitches are bound to happen.

My first one was a big big, that I couldn't bear to photograph it. The toughest part was trying NOT TO SWEAR as I tried desperately to save the $#@%#&@ing dough from my first batch of pinwheel cookies. Don't get me wrong, this was 100% operator error here, because as I found out later the dough is actually quite easy to work with. But my assistant was on a bit of a sugar high and I was distracted by a number of things so I guess I tried to "wing it"...something I don't recommend as far as baking is concerned!

My first mistake - not chilling the dough before rolling it out. It actually held up pretty well, but trying to flip one sheet onto the other, then scraping it up off of the counter to roll into a log...yeah, that just didn't work. The result? A big glob of red and white dough, destined for the trash can. Had I taken a moment to think, I would have saved it because I actually could have used it...BUT, sometimes throwing away a botched recipe is like throwing away the urge to swear, so that's what I did.

Just in case Santa was listening....

Later, after regaining my composure, I realized I might have had better luck chilling the separate doughs before trying to assemble with the green batch, that's what I did. And it worked! I also rolled each color out on waxed paper, nicely floured, then flipped the green over onto the white, rolled it up and chilled that for a few hours. When it came time to bake, it was as easy as slicing, plopping a cinnamon candy in the center and baking. And they came out like this...

Beautiful! And pretty darn tasty, too.
I found myself with a few scraps of dough, so I rolled them into little balls, rolled in sugar and baked and got these....

Then I realized I could have had a whole bunch of red and white ones...DOH!

Oh well, Gitano's Christmas Pinwheel Cookies are over on AR - they make a very pretty addition to your holiday treats, and I'm sure you'll find them quite easy to make!

Later, I made a Coconut Ricotta Cookie from a fellow Allrecipes cook....ricotta cookies, dipped in an almond glaze then coconut....except I added the two cups of coconut to the batter as I yelled, "Gracie! Don't do that!" Oops. They still came out great, though, and instead of more coconut I just used Christmas sprinkles. I just wish on my inaugural attempt at this recipe I could have actually FOLLOWED THE INSTRUCTIONS! Arghhh!

Santa! Look over there....

Later, I decided to catch up on my blogging buddies, and found a recipe for Easy Homemade Fudge...perfect! Maybe instead of fighting with all these cookies, I'll just whip up a batch of homemade fudge. This one sounded sooo good, too! Semi-sweet and butterscotch (which I had a bag of and no plans for yet!) morsels, melted with sweetened condensed milk. I know for a fact I must own 13 cans of sweetened condensed you think I could find just one? Nope.

Block your ears, Santa!

There it was, 10:30 at night and because I had fudge on the brain I just wasn't happy with the piles of cookies accumulating in every corner of my kitchen. So I fell back on an old faithful recipe that I originally saw in the Boston Globe cookbook.

Cocoa-Oatmeal No Bake Cookies

Fudge...with oatmeal in it. I figure nutritionally, they kind of cancel each other out!

This was the first time I used a melon-baller to shape them, and I kind of like the rounder shape. Quick and easy, these make a nice addition to any cookie collection, and what's even better is you can whip these up on the stove while something else is in the oven. How I love to multi-task! Here's my version of the recipe that I've used for about ten years now.

Cocoa Oatmeal No Bake Cookie recipe:

2 cups sugar
5 tbsp. cocoa
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups quick oats
Few drops of hot water, if needed

In a heavy saucepan, mix together sugar and cocoa; add milk and butter and cook over medium heat, stiring very frequently, until boiling. Boil for six minutes, then remove from heat and stir in oats and vanilla. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper and let cool. If mixture becomes dry and crumbly, a few drops of hot water stirred in will help reconstitute.

Believe it or not, I'm only about halfway there! I haven't made my Italian Spice cookies, my cut-outs (with a very special cookie cutter I got in Cleveland!!) and none of my breads. But I made enough to put together these tins for my daughter's teachers today:

The best part about baking all this stuff is the giving away of it all! :) That's what makes Christmas baking so enjoyable for me!


Lissaloo said...

Yummy! They are so pretty! Sorry about that first batch, I am sure Santa hears a lot of *@@@**ing this time of year from frantic bakers, I know I am guilty. I like to stomp around and throw things too :)

Chicago Mom said...

Those pinwheels are awesome! I can't wait to try them. Thanks for the link to the fudge, I hope it goes smoothly for you!

5thsister said...

Absolutely beautiful pinwheels. Sorry about the botched batch, though. But I must insist that you STOP showing pictures! I am gaining weight just looking at your beautiful and, I am sure, tasty treats! :o)

Tattoos and Teething Rings said...

You are so ambitious! I think I will be lucky to get out a couple different kinds for our Christmas dinner cookie tray.

Willoughby said...

Those are some gorgeous cookies!!I've so been there with the botched recipes. Cutout cookies are the usual culprit. If the dough isn't the perfect temperature they just don't work.

Speaking of profanity, I tripped and slammed my knee into the doorframe when I was walking into the house a few days ago. It hurt like you can't imagine and I let a few "choice words" fly. I thought my daughter was upstairs in her room, but she wasn't, she was in the living room playing and she said "I can hear you, you know." Oops!!