Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Cookies

Honestly, the title of the post should really be Christmas cookie, as in, I only successfully made one type of cookie this year.  The ingredients for Niek's favorite holiday biscotti are still in the cupboard, and I've set a goal of getting them finished before Valentine's Day.  If I'm lucky, I just might make that deadline.

Although it wasn't a full-out baking marathon (those days may not happen in this house until Johanna is a bit older), I did get to introduce my sister-in-law to the pure joy of making Christmas cookies.  I'm not sure what she knew she was getting herself in for when she accepted my invitation to come over and bake.  I made her pour through my back issues of Bon Appetit and Martha Stewart Living while I simultaneously perused's list of "must bake" cookies.  In the end, we settled on the yet-to-be-made biscotti, a chocolate thumbprint cookie, and some Corn Flakes wreaths

My sister-in-law was really fascinated by the picture of the wreaths, which is why we chose them.  Just a heads up in case you are planning on buying food coloring in the Netherlands--it's not easy.  The stock room manager at my local supermarket told me they don't sell it anymore because artificial coloring isn't healthy.  Seriously, that is what he told me as he stood in the grocery aisle full of candy.  I suppose it was as good of a reason as any he could come up with on the spot.  On the walk back home, feeling a little defeated about having not green food coloring, we dropped into the Indian market just on the off chance they might carry the scourge known as a combination of water, propylene glycol, Blue #1 and Yellow #5.  I'm not quite sure what the ingredients were, but he sold us a powdered form for €1.  Nothing much to lose there.  Unfortunately, it did not color the Corn Flakes well.  At least we got to have some fun with "American" marshmallows, even if the marshmallow mixture did not hold everything together well.  I gave up in the end and just made a big, Corn Flakes colored wreath.  Our efforts ended up in the trash later that evening, but it was festive while it lasted.

Our other attempt at Holiday baking seemed to come together at little better than the other one.  Surely, it's almost impossible to go wrong with chocolate on chocolate.  My sister-in-law apparently has never really baked before, but she did a great job.  I am also, admittedly, a little difficult to work with in the kitchen, and I was proud of myself for not letting my over-bearing and controlling tendencies get the best of me.  I made the ganache while she rolled out the dough.  Lovely, easy cookies that everyone seemed to love.
Once the cookies were finished, Niek and his brother finished decorating our tree.  Without my brother-in-law and sister-in-law we wouldn't have any cookies, and I'm pretty sure our tree would still be bare.  Nothing like Christmas and baking to bring a family together.

Monday, December 19, 2011

I just got Baked!

My parents are flying in at the end of the week, but they sent a box of gifts ahead in the mail.  The problem with a reading family is that most people ask for books as presents, and those tend to set suitcases over their weight restrictions rather quickly.  None of the books were wrapped yet, and I saw that one of the cookbooks I requested was in the box:  Baked New Frontiers in Baking.  OMG (am I allowed to write that?  Maybe I should also write that I luv it and think it's gr8).  So excited to try out some new recipes--after this coming Thursday's Christmas cookie extravaganza, of course.
Until I'm ready for a kitchen post, here is a picture of le bebe after our walk today.  I've been afraid to walk with her in the wrap, but our strolls have been cut to a minimum due to a certain miss cranky pants not loving extended periods in the stroller.  Luckily, my friend sent her a slightly too large pair of fleece pants.  Perfect as an outer layer during our chilly jaunts outdoors.
Bring on the cold, North Sea.  My baby's ready for it.