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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cookie (Treat) Advent Update

Here's an update on out Christmas Cookie (now Treat) Advent. We've actually kept it up every day, but added more variety so that we don't get bored. A few days, the treats disappeared too quickly for pictures, so we're planning on making those again to get some good shots! We literally have crumbs left of one of the cookies, which while delicious, don't look that appetizing. Some others aren't worth mentioning (I'm looking at you coconut caramels). All of the following were a success!

These are the best mint brownies I've ever had. Hands down. And my lucky couple friends we shared them with agree! I usually don't like fudgy brownies because they often end up gooey in the middle or over-baked., but I now understand why they're called fudgy brownies. These were actually the texture of fudge! They converted me. We followed the recipe, except I'm not a fan of normal McCormick mint extract, so we used 1/8 teaspoon peppermint oil instead. 

These were quite delicious! The cottage cheese in the dough threw me off, but mostly it just made the dough really flaky. When you picture these, think of super flaky handheld pies. We filled them with homemade currant jam. 

Kyle made this today. We love it so much that there's only a third left. Make it sometime. Plan to not eat much else that day.

These are like those Christmas cookies that come in a tin, but so much better! They're pretty easy, too. We altered the recipe just a little. We left out the salt and used a really good quality Amish salted cultured butter instead. They had a wonderful slight tang. 

This picture doesn't do the cookies justice, but these were amazing. These were the only two left! They were supposed to have frosting and be sandwiched together, but we loved them as was too much to mess with it. 

These were really good, but way too much work for me to make them again. If I did, I'd use a purchased dulce de leche. 

These are Kyle's favorites. They taste exactly like their name. I don't love them as much because I prefer a firmer cookie, but if you're in the gooey cookie camp, you'll love these!

These were good thumbprint cookies, but not particularly amazing. 

This was our first time making real gingerbread houses. We had our friends the Messerly's over for some decorating fun! Some of the reviews of the recipe above said it wasn't very flavorful. We doubled the cinnamon and cardamom in the recipe and would have doubled the ginger, except we ran out. It tasted pretty good, and was also really sturdy for construction. We made some royal icing for building and decorating, and some brown butter icing for delicious eating!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

TWD: Finnish Pulla

Okay, so I have to update what I said about the best ever brownies last time. This is my new favorite recipe from Baking with Julia! We made it as part of our Christmas Treat Advent today. I've honestly never had better soft bread in my life. It's slightly sweet with a perfectly balanced hint of cardamom. The sliced almonds and pearl sugar on top add great textural contrast.  If you still don't believe how good this is, we baked it tonight and there is only this much left:

I just keep going back for one more slice! Honey makes it even better.

I would never attempt a bow again though. It was harder than the braid and pretty much blended into the loaf. Other than that, I would definitely make this again! Kyle mixed up the dough as written, except we didn't have cardamom seeds, so he just used 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder. I'm pretty sure this would still be good without the pearl sugar, so if you don't have that, give it a try anyway! Here's the recipe and other blogger's experience

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

TWD: Gingerbread Baby Cakes

This recipe ended up looking very pretty, but I don't think it'll be one that we repeat.  We made one substitution: we replaced the espresso powder with extra cocoa powder.

You can find the recipe here.