Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Treats 2011

In a move that is completely unlike me, I have barely baked at all this Christmas season. I mean, I've made two kinds of cookies (and more than 5 dozen cinnamon rolls to give away as gifts), but they were for Christmas parties, so they're already gone. However, that doesn't mean I won't count them on my list.

The two kinds of cookies I already made, included some cinnamon sandwich cookies that were fantastic (I can't find the recipe anywhere online), and these Peppermint Crunch-Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies, that I made for Gabbie's preschool party. They were a bigger hit with the moms and teachers than the kids, but I maintain the kids lack good taste, because they turned out fantastic!

For the teachers at daycare, I made a full batch of The Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls for the first time. I usually make a 1/4 batch because we don't need 5 dozen cinnamon rolls. Eight pie tins full of baked and iced cinnamon rolls were delivered this morning to very appreciative teachers. It just about killed me to bake that many cinnamon rolls and not be able to eat any of them. I never much cared for cinnamon rolls until I was pregnant with Sophie, and now I would eat them every day if I could. Thankfully for my waistline, I'm too busy to make cinnamon rolls that often. (Two other good recipes for cinnamon rolls - mine (these are by far Aaron's favorites), and Granny Foster's (I love the orange coconut rolls in an unholy way)).

And, here is the list of the rest of the sweets I'm planning to make, mostly over this coming weekend:
  1. Sugar Cookie Puzzles
  2. Buried Cherry Cookies
  3. a Buche de Noel
  4. Caramels, and lots of them, using the below recipe
  5. A birthday Carrot Cake, because my baby turns one next Friday!

Source: my mom

1 c. butter - no substitutions!
2 c. sugar
1 c. white Karo Syrup
1 c. Eagle Brand Condensed Milk (not Evaporated)

Mix all ingredients in a large pan, and cook, stirring CONSTANTLY, 245 degrees on a candy thermometer.

Remove from heat. Carefully stir in:

1 tsp. vanilla.

Stir well. Poor immediately into a buttered 8x8 pan.

When cool, cut in to small pieces (1/2 inch by 1/2 inch), and wrap each in waxed paper. If you try to stack them without wrapping, you will have one BIG caramel, which isn't all bad.

Hints: Use a good quality heavy pan. Stir with a wooden spoon. Also, you can make handles to lift the caramels easily out of the pan by putting a piece of wax paper in each direction, with the edges of the paper hanging over the edge. Set these out with a small dish of sea salt on the side for dipping. Also delicious dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt.


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