Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas baking and candy-making

Last night we made our list of must-have Christmas-time treats.  I am not sure we'll get to baking all these items; I may opt to buy some instead.  We need something for a potluck lunch that's coming up, a few gift items, a New Year's Eve afternoon open house, and some just for us. 

In no particular order:

* Sugar Cookies. The rolled, cutout kind.  I avoided making these for years, but when Eleanor turned 10, we had to start.  This year I bought her a set of snowflake cookie cutters and some edible glitter.  We've learned the best way to handle sugar cookie dough (roll on parchment paper, freeze, cut, move parchment to baking sheet) so we have lovely shapes instead of the blobs my sister and I used to come up with.

* Cranberry Bliss (You Idiot) Bars. The name of this recipe is actually Cranberry Ecstasy Bars, and I found it in the Oregonian several years ago.  The "you idiot" part is in honor of the counter person at a Portland-area Starbucks who rudely corrected my husband when he had the misfortune to order a "cranberry bar."  The "you idiot" was not spoken but clearly implied.  So, we found the recipe and have never bought a cranberry whatever bar in Starbuck's since! 

* Chocolate-Orange Hazelnut Bark.  It will make you moan in delight.

* English toffee.  Recipes abound.  Just use real butter and good chocolate. This is not the place to go bargain.

* Peppermint bark.  Two of our family can't eat peppermint, so I'm not sure about this one.  I may turn Eleanor loose to do it herself, or .... we may buy that big tub at Costco. 

* Fudge.  I have a few requests from people to make fudge.  I think I've made it before, but I don't have a special recipe. Yet.

* Sponge candy.  This is also known as seafoam and I hope I can find my mother's old recipe.  It's an exciting candy to make - once the sugar/corn syrup mixture becomes very hot, baking soda is quickly stirred in.  I can tell you it's very  hot because one year my sister and I made it and part of the plastic spatula melted right into the candy.  Didn't affect the taste. 

* Anise candy.  This is another sentimental favorite.  It's just hard candy flavored with anise extract.  I could take it or leave it; but my sentimental girlie put it on the list.

* Biscotti.  We just like biscotti and rarely make it, so now it's formally on the list.

* Gingerbread men:  Eleanor would prefer to do a full-on gingerbread house, but... maybe this will be her project.

This doesn't seem like very much, does it?  We will probably make some other things before the season is out. We do love to bake around here.  But these are our must-haves. 

What are yours?


Sandy said...

Fudge. We just use the recipe on the back of the marshmallow creme jar. Comes out perfect every time. My kids have started asking for it on their birthdays instead of cake.

Marbel said...

Sandy, I will check that out. I don't remember the last time I bought marshmallow creme! But I know where to find it.