Holiday Baking

Discussion in 'Baker Banter' started by ninamari, Dec 5, 2017.

  1. ninamari

    ninamari Well-Known Member

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    Am I the only one surprised it's December already? I feel like I blinked and the holidays were upon us!! I'm sure the craziness at work isn't helping either, but... December! Holiday baking time (hopefully!) :D

    We usually go to my husband's aunt's for Christmas and I typically bake up a storm. I usually take vacation time towards the end of the year and spend 2 or 3 days baking. I can't do the same this year as she will be hosting the annual Christmas party this Saturday! And I'm working (which has been extremely draining emotionally)... I wanted to come up with a plan ahead of time but... yeah, that didn't happen.

    So, I know I'll be making almond-orange shortbread. I prepared the dough last night and it's resting peacefully in the freezer. I'll also make some peanut butter cookies as they are my husband's grandfather's favorite. I'm thinking of drizzling them with melted chocolate for a bit of a change. And my husband requested cherry chocolate cookies. And.. I wanted to try making pecan pie cookies that I saw online. Did I mention this is for this Saturday? And I'm working all week? Maybe I won't do sugar cookies, but I can't forget the almond shortbread cookies either :)

    And next week, we have a Christmas potluck at work... and it falls on a Thursday. I'm trying to think of something I can make ahead of time and panna cotta sounds like it'd fit the bill. It's simple, delicious, and just beautiful. I'm also tempted of making a holiday dessert from back home called tembleque, which is a coconut pudding (which also could be made ahead of time).

    Decisions, decisions :p
     
    ninamari, Dec 5, 2017
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  2. ninamari

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    We bakers just want to bake it all:p

    I have to bake for a Christmas Eve Dinner, Christmas Dinner, and a cookie decorating party. Plus make four gift baskets. I create a list of baked goods, then schedule backwards.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Dec 5, 2017
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  3. ninamari

    Angie CupcakeQueen Well-Known Member

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    This year is a little easier for me than past years. Instead of me doing almost all of the baked treats, we are having a cookie swap. So several people are making certain things.
    A few weeks ago I baked off some sugar cookies and popped them in the freezer. Sunday I baked some ginger molasses cookies.
    This week though I’d crunch week as our family Christmas party and cookie swap is this Saturday. I have so much to get done. Baking and cooking.
     
    Angie CupcakeQueen, Dec 5, 2017
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  4. ninamari

    -Daniel- Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to make gingerbread people, it'll be my frist time and I think I'll use this recipe. Any thoughts?

    I'm going to try them tomorrow for a party I'm hosting on friday night
     
    -Daniel-, Dec 6, 2017
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  5. ninamari

    ninamari Well-Known Member

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    Alrighty, today's the day! :D I'm getting ready to leave to go to the family Christmas party, but I'm so excited and wanted to share with you guys. After I got home from work yesterday, I spent the evening baking until midnight. I got up early this morning to continue and, not only did I manage to finish, but we even managed to sneak some time in to drop off my car for an oil change ;)

    So the final list of items we'll be bringing to the party is
    • Almond Shortbread
    • Almond Orange Shortbread
    • Peanut Butter Cookies (some with a chocolate drizzle, others plain)
    • Cherry Chocolate Cookies
    • Pecan Pie Cookies (or mini pecan pies, either works)
    • Star Twisted Bread
     

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    ninamari, Dec 9, 2017
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  6. ninamari

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Wow Ninamari, everything looks delicious and beautiful—picture perfect. The star bread is striking! Hope your family party is full of joy.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Dec 10, 2017
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  7. ninamari

    -Daniel- Well-Known Member

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    Wow everything looks delicious! Thanks for sharing the pictures!

    Do you have a copy of the recipe and instructions for the star bread? It looks so pretty I'd love to try it
     
    -Daniel-, Dec 11, 2017
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  8. ninamari

    ninamari Well-Known Member

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    Thank you @Norcalbaker59 ! I am pretty proud of that bread. To be perfectly honest, I was terrified that the bread wasn't cooked all the way through. I made it the day of the party and it's pretty big. The dough circles are rolled to be 12 inches in diameter, and it gets puffier in the second proof, after it's shaped. Since it has layers and jam in between, I didn't think I could stick a thermometer to check the temp and I definitely couldn't pick it up to check the bottom. The only way to know for sure was to cut into it. Thankfully, when we finally cut into it, it was baked all the way through :D

    @-Daniel- of course I can share the recipe. Here you go! Please let me know how it goes when you try it :)
    https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/christmas-star-twisted-bread
     
    ninamari, Dec 15, 2017
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  9. ninamari

    ninamari Well-Known Member

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    Today was the Christmas potluck at work and I ended up making the panna cotta for it. Work has been very crazy so I wanted something I could make ahead. One of the reasons I love this dessert so much is because it is so simple to make, but it looks absolutely stunning and elegant. Of course, it is also delicious!

    I made the panna cotta on Tuesday night, let it set overnight and yesterday I made the berry compote and finished assembling it. I ended up with about 27 individual servings... I wanted to make an extra batch but sleepiness won the battle. The husband took one to work with him to give to a co-worker. She absolutely loved it. I took the rest of them to the potluck and they were a hit! I was very surprised at how well received they were. They were all gone :D
     

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    ninamari, Dec 15, 2017
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  10. ninamari

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Very nice panna cotta. I used to make panna cotta a lot about ten years ago. But haven’t made any in ages. It really is delicious.

    I’m thinking about baking a savory version of the star bread. Use homemade pesto and a blend of grated cheeses; maybe even a bit of really good sausage. The bread is gorgeous.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Dec 17, 2017
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  11. ninamari

    ninamari Well-Known Member

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    Thank you @Norcalbaker59 ! I made another batch of panna cotta last night. I had left over heavy cream and wanted to use it up. I’m still in awe at how well received they were. I love it a lot, I find it’s just the right amount of sweetness and so delicious.

    A savory version of the bread sounds really good. I can now picture both the savory pesto (green) and sweet raspberry (red) at a holiday gathering, the colors do fit the season! I’ve been thinking of doing one with a cinnamon filling or chocolate (Nutella) filling.
     
    ninamari, Dec 17, 2017
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  12. ninamari

    Apocalypso Well-Known Member

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    Well, color me disappointed... but not giving up. I finally made the "Mary Berry's Manhattan Roulade" recipe I mentioned here (the picture had sold me on it), and I can only conclude that my hunches about the recipe were correct. The white chocolate buttercream filling is a ridiculously small batch, definitely not enough to fill two sheets for the roulade, let alone frost the outside. The cake, a fatless sponge, was fussy and bland. I'm going to start completely over, use my usual Asian cake roll sponge (which contains a bit of vegetable oil, making it a moister cake), and a white chocolate ganache. This was the recipe I used: http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/recipes/274191/Mary-Berry-s-Manhattan-roulade

    It looks impressive, and I still hope to come out with something that looks similar but isn't so dry. I'm glad I still have time for a do-over for Christmas eve.
     
    Apocalypso, Dec 21, 2017
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  13. ninamari

    Apocalypso Well-Known Member

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    I'm glad I rebaked. Not a good decorator but I think this cake is much better in flavor and texture.
     

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    Apocalypso, Dec 24, 2017
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  14. ninamari

    ninamari Well-Known Member

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    The picture in Mary Berry's recipe does look impressive, the amount of swirls make it look spectacular. Bummer that the taste wasn't there!

    How did your second cake come out?
     
    ninamari, Dec 27, 2017
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  15. ninamari

    RedShoe Well-Known Member

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    I had fewer orders this year than last, but was baking just about every day the whole week! I made Jolly Rancher vodka for a birthday cake and a Christmas cake, made a twin order of Hennessey caramel cakes, several orders of Sipps (cake pops), a mini mania that I forgot to photograph, a set of jumbo minis and repurposed some Jamaican Black Cake into Sipps. That's along with my restaurant orders! I've baked so much it smells funny when i make savory food in my oven... lol!
     

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    RedShoe, Dec 28, 2017
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  16. ninamari

    ninamari Well-Known Member

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    Wow! They look so tempting!! What's a mini mania?
     
    ninamari, Dec 28, 2017
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  17. ninamari

    RedShoe Well-Known Member

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    Thank you! A Mini Mania is an order of 18 minis. My minis come in a set of 4 (w/alcohol) or 6 (w/o), so multiple sets for one client. They're kinda a pain to make because i'm only using 1/3 - 1/2 of my regular batter for each flavor, then i have to bag, tag and freeze the rest, hopefully to need it for another order.
     

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    RedShoe, Dec 28, 2017
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  18. ninamari

    ninamari Well-Known Member

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    Ah, thanks for explaining :)
    Those minis look really good!
     
    ninamari, Dec 29, 2017
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  19. ninamari

    kellyon New Member

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    Thanks for the great recipes! That's what I was looking for
     
    kellyon, Jan 2, 2018
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  20. ninamari

    Apocalypso Well-Known Member

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    Maybe the taste was just for me... but I'm starting to dislike chocolate cakes that only contain a bit of cocoa powder and not melted chocolate.

    The second cake tasted much better and had a nice, moist-but-light texture. I'll say that I wish I'd stuck to a whipped-cream filling, as the white chocolate made it a bit too sweet for my taste, especially with the ganache outside, but it did make it look more Christmasy. I took my basic vanilla swiss roll recipe, modified from a 5-egg base to 4-egg (everything is metric so it's so easy to adjust it up or down) which made each layer thinner, and I swapped out some of the flour for cocoa powder, plus added four squares of melted chocolate. I made each layer separately, as I baked in a water-bath, and I only have one outsized sheet pan to put underneath. I'm going to be making that again without the white chocolate. (Fun fact, I had the bright idea of trying to repurposes some of the large bag of gummy worms I'd bought for my Halloween project, and used the heads of the red worms for the holly berries, but melting the green worm bodies with an iron between parchment sheets to make the leaves didn't work. They never re-set, even in the freezer.So I made some green frosting and cut some simple index-card templates, and just spread it on as I had run out of time and it was way faster than piping. :)
     
    Apocalypso, Jan 2, 2018
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