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 epicurious.com'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.