Friday, December 17, 2010

have yourself a little fancy christmas

I baked Wednesday. A lot.

Emmel and I decided we wanted to do a ridiculous amount of baking this holiday season, and we've spent a lot of our phone time lately discussing sweets. With the exception of the fudge, I made recipes I'd tried before and loved. Since we gave most of these treats away, I wanted to be sure they'd all get the fancy seal of approval.

I made the following:

chocolate peppermint crunch cookies
(my favorite cookie find from 2009)
peppermint brownies (recipe below)molasses crinkles (recipe below)
gingerbread biscotti
pumpkin granola
Little Fancy's Peppermint Brownies
makes 12 big brownies

Prepare a pan of brownies. (Sometimes I use a mix but I went from scratch this go round. The recipe involved 2 sticks of butter and the batter was amazing.)

Bake according to recipe. When there are 5 minutes left to bake, remove brownies from the oven, and place broken peppermint patties on top. Return pan to oven to cook 5 minutes.

After the brownies are done, immediately spread the melted peppermint patties with a spatula. Allow to cool completely before cutting.

Cousin Laura's Molasses Crinkles
makes 4 dozen

3/4 cup softened butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 large egg

1/4 cup blackstrap molasses

1/4 cup white sugar (optional)

2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger

Mix butter, sugars, egg and molasses thoroughly. Stir in flour, soda, salt and spices until completely mixed. Chill dough 1 hour.
Roll dough into walnut sized balls. Dip tops in sugar, and place 3 inches apart on greased baking sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes. Cool 10 minutes and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

I was especially excited to make the molasses crinkles, gingerbread biscotti and pumpkin granola because I got to use my new spices from Penzeys (thanks, Barronesses, for the fab hostess present!).
I made 24 bags, 12 of each theme. The chocolate bags had 1 large peppermint brownie, 3 peppermint chocolate crunch cookies, and 4-5 pieces of fudge. The molasses bags had 2 pieces of biscotti (one dipped in chocolate, one plain), 4 molasses crinkles, and 2 big scoops of pumpkin granola.
I shared a bag of each with our upstairs neighbor, and my in-laws got one of each as well. EDW took 19 bags to work, and we kept the last one (I also have extra everything except peppermint brownies and molasses crinkles). Edwin made like Santa and took the treats around, letting his coworkers choose which they wanted. We thought for sure the chocolate bags would go faster, but he ran out of the molasses bags first. Maybe it's because chocolate and peppermint are already so popular at the holidays, and people were intrigued by my exotic molasses offerings? Which would you choose?
I tried to rank the desserts for you, but I really can't. The fudge is definitely at the bottom of my list, but that's just because I don't like fudge. (Check that. It's not that I dislike fudge, and I certainly had my share of tastes on baking day, but it's not something I crave. Fudge and cheesecake are probably the only two desserts I can pass on-- I think it's because neither has an interesting texture.)

It was a looooong day in the kitchen. I started at 7 and finsished at 6 (with about a half hour break for breakfast and 45 minutes for lunch), but it was well worth it. For one thing, it's nice to give homemade Christmas presents to people. For another thing, it made my house smell incredible.

Too bad as soon as I finished cleaning the kitchen I made curry for dinner.

My home no longer smells like Christmas.


  1. Wow, that is a lot of baking! What a nice way to spread Christmas cheer.
    By the way, I love your blog's new look!

  2. I just went to Penzey's for spices, too! So fun.