Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas Party Time!

I had a belated Christmas party the other night. I spent all day cooking and baking the recipes I have been bookmarking for months and my hours spent food blog reading paid off!

Almost all of the recipes I used had sugar in them. I figured this was a rare occasion to bake some fun, sugary recipes and not have to worry about who would eat them. Originally, I wasn't going to eat any of them, making baking so difficult. I had to keep wiping my fingers instead of licking them... Anyways, I made them all without tasting, but ultimately decided I couldn't really post about the recipes if I had no idea what they tasted. I had small bites of each.

Egg Nog Cheesecake

Compared to the other new recipes I tried, I really had no problem making the cheese cake. I had never made a crust for cheesecake before, so I wasn't really sure what the consistency should be before I baked it. However, after 4 tablespoons of butter, the crumbs were still so dry, I couldn't imagine how it would bake into a solid. So, I kept adding more until I thought it would. I can't remember exactly how much I used, but I think I might have ended up doubling the amount, using a combination of ghee (clarified butter) and butter. It took longer to cook than the recipe suggests and never really browned, but I just assume this is because of the extra butter. I also discovered part way through making the recipe that I didn't have a paddle attachment for my mixer, so I just used the beaters and a didn't combine perfectly, but in the end you couldn't really tell... Plus, I was making it at like 2 am and just wanted to go to bed. I didn't let them cool very long before sticking them in the fridge, but it ended up being fine!

Cinnamon Cranberry Pinwheel Cookies

These cookies were the reason I was up until 2 am. Making the cranberry filling was a lot of fun, actually. I liked hearing the cranberries pop! Just a warning, don't watch too closely because it spits as they pop and I got splashed in the face with some burning cranberry juices. The dough, on the other hand, was a disaster. I followed the measurements for the dough exactly, but this was a mistake. The dough was so crumbly. I hoped the hour in the fridge would make it more manageable, but when I pulled it out, it fell apart almost instantly. So, I tried freezing it, among an assortment of other things, but nothing worked. Finally, I got too upset, put the dough back in a bowl, added a ridiculous amount of Bailey's (because it was just sitting on the counter...) and put it back in the fridge. I certainly added too much liquid and the dough was really sticky, but at least I could roll it out this time. I didn't let it cool for the full hour (I just wanted to go to bed!), and it started getting pretty unmanageable as I worked with it. I just kind of rapidly rolled it with the filling and forced it into a log-ish shape using the plastic wrap and aluminum foil. All I cared about at that point was being done.

I expected disaster cutting them the next day, but they really didn't look all that bad, plus they tasted great! I think this was my favourite new recipe (taste-wise, obviously).

Upon making the Linzer cookies the next morning, I found its dough was really for the same kind of purpose and much more manageable. If I ever make these cookies again, I think I'll check back to the Linzer dough and combine them, or something.

Egg Nog Linzer Cookies

These cookies were also a bit of a pain in the butt, but I received a Linzer cookie cutter for Christmas and I really wanted to use it! The dough was pretty sticky, and no matter how much I dusted my flour board and rolling pin, it kept sticking! Food blog reading paid off again, as I recalled another recipe I made (which I will post about sometime) which suggested putting the sticky dough between two pieces of plastic wrap. Using this method and then refrigerating it again before cutting the dough solved my problems. I had to work quickly cutting them, but otherwise it was smooth sailing and the cookie cutter was great!

These cookies were a lot of fun to make. I didn't dust them with confectioner's sugar because they were definitely sweet enough. The only thing I added was vanilla to the cream filling. Making the sandwiches, I just drizzled some cream in the middle because it spread a lot once I put the tops on. I tasted them and they weren't my father agreed, though my mom and the friends I asked did not.

Stuffed Mushrooms

This was the most popular recipe, I think. The only changes I made were by accident. I used almond oil instead of hazelnut oil (simply based on availability) and let them cook nearly 10 minutes...because I forgot about them. I will try and stuff the brie more into the cap next time, to make them look nicer, but otherwise, this recipe was great and so simple!

To my dismay, I forgot to take pictures of the following creations but both were DELICIOUS.

Spinach Dip
I loved the spinach dip! I had never made roasted garlic before, so I was extra pleased with its delicious smell as I pulled it out of the oven. I used the muffin tin method, tightly fitting the foil around the tin rather than the garlic. It took closer to 35 minutes to get the paste texture.

Baked Brie
I googled a couple recipes for baked brie, and thought this one looked delicious...especially inspired by the smell of my roasted garlic success. I cut off the top rind of the brie (I found this suggested in some other recipe I looked at) and used roasted garlic rather than raw. I sprinkled sea salt and then just drizzled honey on top. Easiest recipe ever...


  1. The mushrooms were SO GOOD!!! Everything was delicious. I want to try to make some of these! Maybe I will start with the pinwheel cookies.

  2. PS I always roll out my shortbreads between two pieces of wax paper—another good strategy for rolling out sticky dough!


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