Christmas Goodies

Ok, so I lied. I didn’t post up any more fall desserts.. it’s been terribly busy getting ready for a new person! I have about a month left, so this might be the last post for a little while.. oh, here’s some shoofly pie I made from Thanksgiving. I make it with a very gooey bottom. For those who don’t know, it’s basically molasses pie; very delicious.

shooflypie

Well I’ve been baking up a storm, like everyone, for Christmas. Maybe I made a little too much for being almost 9 months pregnant… but it’s so fun!

The easy cookies first: Ginger cookies and Chocolate hazelnut with orange zest.

christmasgoods

These cookies I got from the book Flour, but added candied ginger and orange zest on my own. It gives it a little more character.

Then, from the Martha Stewart magazine (it’s online too), I made some caramels. They turned out great… the second time. It’s actually pretty easy, you just can’t let it burn on the bottom and you have to watch the candy thermometer really close. The first batch of classic caramels I didn’t stir a lot and it burned slightly on the bottom. The second batch was perfect. Also, caramels are super sticky. The first batch I cut up and decided to put them all in a dish to transport over to the table for wrapping.. big mistake! They all stuck together. I tossed them.. after eating a few..

caramels

The other caramel I wanted to make was chocolate coffee. This one I followed a different recipe. I melted the chocolate with heavy cream, but didn’t heat up the rest of the ingredients to 248°, just to medium heat and then added the mix. It worked. At the end I added the 1/4 cup of  instant espresso like Martha said, but man, now it just tastes like coffee. Not really any chocolate to be heard of! Next time I’ll try half as much. It’s still a nice caramel if you like coffee.

Next on the list, sugar cookies of course! Love decorating them. Now this is a secret recipe; but a hint: shortening and flour in the recipe keeps the cookies from spreading. And add lots of lemon zest and extract, yum.

sugarcookies

They only take 8ish minutes to bake, let them cool completely and flood them first. The icing should dry for 24 hours and then you can add details. Details are always hard to do.. and it’s good to have a steady hand! I use a 1.5 – 2 tip for decorating.

And finally I wanted to make marshmallows for Christmas. Love homemade marshmallows, they taste so much better. They don’t have many ingredients but they are a slight pain to make. Let me talk you through my experience..

I made marshmallows from the book Sugar Baby. They didn’t really work out well.. hard and sticky. If it gets super sticky, it’s impossible to put on a cookie sheet.

So I tried another recipe online, and it worked the first time however I made a mistake and it turned out great!

First you put the gelatin in your mixer bowl with some water; you want it all to dissolve.

gelatin

Then in a pot, you put in the sugar, water, salt and corn syrup. At this point I wasn’t thinking and poured about a 1/4 cup of corn syrup into the gelatin but I said oh well and continued..

sugarmix

I heated up the sugar to a lower temperature (238°) than Sugar Baby (250°) and poured it into the gelatin mix while the whisk was slowly stirring.

sugarsyrup

After that, you crank it up to high. From the Sugar Baby book, it gets light and fluffy in 5min (though she does add egg whites too but then they only last about 2 weeks which I opted out of), but with the other recipe it takes about 10-13min.

fluff

I did 10min and right at the end added peppermint extract (at this point you can add whatever flavour you want) and a little red food colouring.

With your spatula all goobed up with shortening and your cookie sheet ready with icing sugar covering every inch, this batch was easy to scoop out.

icingsugar

marshmallowsheet

Usually it’s so sticky, I lose a quarter of a batch and it gets stiff really fast. This peppermint batch was perfect, a lot softer and pourable. This makes the marshmallow super fluffy, soft and melt in your mouth.

After pouring it in, sift icing sugar over it and let it sit room temp for 4 hours or overnight (longer the better).

marshicingsugar

When it’s ready, I cut it with scissors (so much easier) and have a little bowl ready with icing sugar to dunk the pieces because all the edges will be sticky.

marshmallows

The second marshmallow I made was vanilla and they didn’t turn out as fluffy.. I did everything the same but I might have went over my 10 minutes at the end. I think the more you mix, the tougher your marshmallow will be. And hey, some people like it like that. It almost becomes like a normal marshmallow.

marshmallowsvanilla

Hot chocolate and marshmallows, so Christmas!

hotchoc2

Those were my Christmas adventures. Now for something healthy to eat, I’m hooked on steel cut oats. So much tastier then mushy oatmeal.. the secret is to brown the oats first like you would do with nuts, then cook them up with water. I added apples, cranberries and cinnamon too. Yum!

oatmeal

Merry Christmas and see you in the new year, with an extra person!

hotchoc

 

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