2013 Holiday Baking Recap

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2014 is here, and I can hardly believe it. January is often a time for reflection, recovery, and resolutions…I think the following post may be one of the reasons why people have weight-loss oriented New Year’s resolutions (you will not find such a resolve here).

The holiday season is extremely food-centric; one of the reasons why I love it. Social gatherings triple in number with an opportunity to showcase family recipes or new and exciting ones. I have been visualizing Christmas treats for months and was embarrassingly giddy when the time for creaming butter and sugar arrived.

The following post highlights a few of the treats that came out of my little kitchen, including a recipe for my go-to sugar cookies. Although decorated for the holiday season, any of these treats can be applied to all occasions.

A few days before Christmas each year, a collection of us gather at my sister’s house for warming beverages, sweet treats, and carol singing.  This year for the occasion I turned to Pinterest for some inspiration.

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What you see are a mix of Vanilla and Chocolate Mini Cupcakes topped with Whipped Vanilla Buttercream decorated to mimic Santa hats and Christmas Trees. [Inspiration for the cupcakes: Santa Hats & Christmas trees]. (Note: I reduce the baking time in the above recipes to approximately 10-12 minutes for the mini cupcakes]

I also made Oreo Snowmen using this tutorial, inspiration from this photo. It’s as simple as dipping Oreoes in white baking chocolate. Once set, I used milk chocolate for the ‘coal’, and icing sugar/milk with orange food colouring for the ‘carrot’.

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The recipe for these sugar cookies come from a friend of mine from university…and I’ve been hooked ever since I first tasted them.  Despite the name, the cookies themselves are not very sweet and pair perfectly with the simple icing. The full recipe makes about 5 dozen cookies…but the dough freezes well if you’d like to split up your baking over a few weeks.

Enjoy!

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Sugar Cookies
Ingredients
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups (339g) of butter
3 cups white sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large(r) bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy (give it a good 5-6 minutes). Add eggs, and vanilla.
  3. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix until well combined. You may need to get your hands in there and ‘knead’ it.
  4. Cover dough ball with plastic wrap and let chill overnight.
  5. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  6. Roll the dough out (in portions, in order to keep relatively chilled) to ¼ to ½ inch thick. Cut into shapes and place on an ungreased baking sheet
  7. Bake for 6-8 minutes. WATCH CLOSELY. The edges will be slightly golden. They burn quick so keep an eye on them! Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Icing
Ingredients
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons milk
2 teaspoons corn syrup
1 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
Instructions
1. Stir together all ingredients until smooth. If too thick, add more corn syrup…if too thin add more sugar! If adding food colour, remember that you will need to add quite a few drops to get the right colour. This will affect the thickness so adjust according. A thin icing will run when piping.

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