Christmas Cookies pt 1

img_7023.jpg

I LOVE baking cookies… but I’m not a cookie lover myself, I’m more of a chips, cheese and pickles gal.  I couldn’t tell you how many I bake/make before Christmas each year..  it’s the only time of year I actually bake cookies.  Last year I took a break from Christmas baking as we were living at my sister’s house while our house was under construction.  Even though I had access to her fabulous kitchen, I had packed up all my baking supplies, and we were just too busy and i decided to give myself a break.

Since moving back home on Dec 21st almost a year ago, I’ve been excited to use my new kitchen and gas oven to bake in.  (still learning how to use the convection setting on the gas oven, so different than regular electric baking!!) 

Those of you out there with Gas Convection ovens.. what are your tips?   

img_4173-1

Our church does a live Nativity walk through play every year we call “Evening in Bethlehem” Live animals, indoors, outdoors, campfires, hot chocolate and cookies.. LOTS of cookies.

img_7026

img_1684.jpg

We’ve been doing it for about 15 years now. We, the church ladies, bake all the cookies for the approx 1200 people that come through on the 2 day event.  This is a photo of the “cookie room” at church ready for EIB last year.  3 yrs ago I baked over 75 dozen cookies.. not just for EIB, but for my neighbours, coworkers, family and EIB together. At one point our guest room was filled with boxes and containers stacked high on the bed and dresser.

img_6992.jpg

 

EIB is a pretty big project for our church every year.  Bill’s headed out now for a day of set construction, a full month before the event.  While he’s there, I’ll be nicely warm and sheltered in our kitchen baking cookies for the event.

One of the favourites I’ve been making the last few years is Reindeer heads, using an upside down gingerbread man.  I’ll blog about that one another day, but here’s a preview.img_1683

img_6990.jpg

Today I’m baking 3 different recipes that I found on line several years ago, – I made the dough a couple days ago, and just took them out of the fridge to thaw a bit before baking.

NOTE: Yes, I use freezer bags.  ’cause i can wash and reuse them several times.  You can’t wash Saran wrap and re-use.  These 3 bags are all washed now, and hanging to dry for the next batches of cookie dough I’m making later this week.

(from top to bottom:
1. an old family recipe for Gingerbread cookies “Speculaas” that I’ll blog about separately
2.  Red Velvet cookie dough
3.  Orange slice & bake dough.. see below for details and caveats…

Credit where it’s due:   The first recipe I baked today is “Dark Chocolate Orange Slice & Bake Cookies from Sallys Baking Addiction.   The recipe is HERE.  Trust me, these are fabulous – and quite easy to make.   Sally makes some amazing cookies.. I just got lost on a rabbit trail on her blog looking for this link… yummmm..

img_7025

I realized when I took a second look at her recipe for the orange/chocolate cookies, that I was supposed to roll the dough into logs BEFORE I refrigerated the dough.  D’OH! 

hahah.. get it?  Dough?  D’OH? 

I had the ingredients to make a second batch,  so I went ahead and did that while I was waiting for the first batch, now in logs back in the fridge, re-chilling.

Question for you bloggers…. do you have issues with your mixer when you make single recipes?  I feel mine behaves much better when i do large or double recipes.  Look at this butter!!! how do you cream butter when it doesn’t leave the paddle?   LOL

img_7004

Recipe calls for a room temperature egg.. oops.. mine were in the fridge.. no worries.. I put an egg in a cup of quite warm water for about 5 minutes.. that should do it i think?
What are your tricks?

  And who remembers to take eggs out with the butter ahead of time??

I like to make sure I use good quality ingredients.  ie.. no fake vanilla crap.  The best Vanilla I’ve had is from Mexico.  My sister gifted me with a bottle a few years ago, I picked up more myself when I went 2 years ago.. and will restock when we go later this month.  You know even this Vanilla itself thinks it’s the best? Just look at it’s name.. VAINilla..

haha… ok, that’s right down there with bad Dad jokes…

img_7009

img_7007

 

This recipe calls for 2 cups + 2 tbsps of flour spooned and levelled.   I used these new measuring spoons we received as a gift at a wedding last year.  Aren’t they sweet?   Each spoon has a saying on the handle:

TBSP: A heap of love
TSP: A spoonful of laughter
1/2 TSP: A dash of kindness
1/4 TSP: A pinch of patience

What good reminders as we bake with love for those we love. 🙂

Re the “logs” of dough for this recipe, Sally says in her recipe to make 2 x 8″ logs, about 2.5″ in diametre.. I did about half that width1.25″ width (and did 4 logs.. and got about 16 cookies from each log. (she says 12)  NOTE:  i had WAY too much flour on them… don’t do that…

When i cut the logs, I thought.. ok these are a bit toooo small.. but then when the first tray came out of the oven, they had expanded quite a bit, to about the size I would want them.  (close to 2″ diametre for most of them)  I mean..they just need to be a taste.. right?  So you don’t feel guilty going for two.. or three?

(first pic is pre-baked, center pic shows baked cookies with one unbaked in the centre to show how much they grew in the oven, 3rd pic after baking)  Yes, I know. i do have to work on my consistency…

Recipe suggests to roll the logs in coarse sugar.. I didn’t have any in the house, so I used table sugar.. and it didn’t work so great… I think i would skip that next time, or at least make sure I have coarse sugar in the house

One thing i learned quickly is to roll the log between each cut.. probably because my dough wasn’t chilled enough.. it got squishy as I was cutting.  I had to re-shape most of the cookies.  And that’s where i  lost the consistency of size and shape.

After baking & cooling, heat up chocolate (i used 72% pure dark Belgium chocolate melting wafers) then sprinkle with sea salt. (I used Pink Himalayan sea salt.. isn’t it pretty?)

img_7021

img_7025

The second recipe for today is Red Velvet Crinkle Cut Cookies.  A single recipe using 5, yes FIVE tsp of red food colouring.  So if you’re not a fan of red food colouring.. just skip past this one.   I found (pinterested) this recipe from Cooking Classy.   Recipe is HERE.

In case you’re wondering why I didn’t post recipes for these cookies..here’s a short explanation.

If someone else already posted a recipe, like both these talented bloggers – and they did a great job.. I’m not messing with it, or copying it.. you can visit their blog, and give them a shout out.  They are much better food bloggers than I am.. I just post my experiences, and my results.  The recipe isn’t mine.

You’ll notice mine turned out quite a bit darker in colour than those on Cooking Classy’s blog.  I think it’s due to the cocoa.  I used really really dark cocoa. LINK: Rodelle Gourmet Baking Cocoa if you’re interested. It’s so rich and chocolately.. mmmm

img_7017

Lemme tell you, both these bloggers, and so many others.. take the most amazing photos of their creations on their sites… I’m not able to do justice to what they do to showcase their recipes.. but I hope to have some fun and allow you the reader to enjoy the journey with me.

these are nice n’ easy.. it’s basically a really spruced up chocolate chip cookie.. that you roll in little balls, then in icing sugar.. and bake.  I set myself up at the island with all my tools.. gloves, mug of hot water with my cookie scoopers to alternate scooping with, bowl of icing sugar, and trays lined with parchment.

img_6993

I used a smaller scoop, making smaller balls than the recipe called for.. getting a lot more cookies out of one batch.. but again, these are definitely “right sized”.   At least I think so.  They’re so pretty and festive.  And SUPER yummy.

Please DO wear gloves doing this.  Reason#1 for food handling safety, and #2.. red food colouring.  you will have pink hands for days if you don’t.  Bill is a hobby mechanic, so he buys plastic gloves in bulk, and shares with me.

img_6996

img_6997img_7002

If you were looking, you saw my gingerbread men baked in one of the above photos. (go back and look if you missed it..)   I’ll blog about them later this week when I get around to decorating them, and I’ll tell you all about the recipe handed down.

so tell me… are you drooling yet?

Are you inspired to start your Christmas baking?  

 

Published by billandamyskitchen

Bill (Guillermo 'cause he likes pretending he knows Spanish) and I (Amy) have been married since Sept 2005. We live in Southern Ontario, Canada - Niagara Peninsula in fact, smack dab between 2 of the Great Lakes. We love God, our family, our church family, and making each other laugh. (ergo the profile pic, he decided to make our photographer laugh by throwing a leg up on me just before the shutter clicked, which made ME laugh) When we married, I told Bill: "I don't know how to cook" but he had faith in me. So 15 years later, I'm still learning, and having fun. I've never (in my whole life) cooked a whole bird, chicken, turkey or otherwise. I've never roasted a beef, other than in a crockpot on low for 8 hrs. I like trying to find healthy & easy recipes and then I rarely follow them. I don't enjoy recipes that take hours or intricate steps. I have a special fondness for the Podleski sisters, writers/creators of the Looney Spoons, Crazy Plates and Yum/Yummer cookbooks. In 2018 we suddenly decided to rip our small house apart from stem to stern, moving out for 4.5 months while the house was demolished inside and out, and then rebuilt with an addition. If you go back in the archives to July-Dec 2018 you can follow that story. It's made our house open and so much more conducive to entertaining, small groups and large. It's given us the kitchen I've dreamed of to create and learn in. We feel incredibly blessed to be able to write about our journey, our faith in God and some fun recipes along the way. Thanks for joining us.

Join the Conversation

2 Comments

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: