Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve Baking

Merry Christmas Eve!  Today there was something very important that my family needed to do- we had to bake all of our Christmas cupcakes and cookies!  My mom, sister, and I got right to work this morning.  We had mixed up our cookie dough in advance, so all we had to do was make the cupcakes and bake the cookies.  Everything came out beautifully and incredibly festive!

The peppermint cupcakes and buttercream are from a wonderful recipe from Bakingdom.

Peppermint Cupcakes
Makes 2 dozen

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1-2 tsp peppermint extract
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line muffin pan with cupcake papers.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream the butter and sugar.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined.  Add the peppermint extract and stir.  Add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the sour cream in two batches.

To marble the cupcakes, stir in red food coloring to 1/2 of the batter.  Add a scoop of each color batter to the cupcake tins and swirl with a toothpick.

Bake for 14-18 minutes.

Peppermint Buttercream

1/2 cup butter
4-5 cups powdered sugar
3-4 tablespoons milk
1 tsp peppermint extract

Cream the butter until light and fluffy.  Add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, beating until well combined.  If the frosting gets too thick, add milk 1 tablespoon at a time.  Add peppermint extract.

 We also made molasses cookies and sugar cookies- all we had to do was shape the cookies and pop them in the oven, since we had already made the dough.  Both doughs  needs to be refrigerated for awhile, so it's easy to make in advance.

Molasses Cookies

3/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 tsp baking soda
2 cups sifted flour
1/2 tsp ground clove
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 375°.

Melt shortening and let cool.  Add sugar, molasses, egg to a large bowl and beat.  Sift together remaining ingredients and add to mixing bowl.  Mix until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Roll into small balls, coat in sugar, and bake for 8-10 minutes.

Sugar Cookies
(from Joy of Cooking)

1 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cup sifted flour

Cream butter, sugar, and salt.  Add egg and vanilla, beating until just combined.  Slowly stir in flour.  Refrigerate dough for at least 3-4 hours before rolling out.

To roll out, dust with flour and roll out to 1/4" thickness.

Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes.


1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon corn syrup
2 tablespoons water

Combine ingredients and spread onto cookies.

Merry Christmas Eve,

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Home for the Holidays

Now it's officially winter.  The winter solstice has happened, and it's nearly Christmastime.  It has felt like winter for a bit longer than that, though.  We had our first (and only) snow back in October, the trees lit up on campus a week after Thanksgiving, and since then the days have been progressively shorter while the hours spent on work have grown progressively longer.  Unfortunately, that doesn't leave as many daylight hours in which to bake and photograph, so most of my holiday baking has taken place after the sun has gone down.  So it's not to say that I haven't been baking- I've made several pumpkin loaves, loads of gingerbread cupcakes, and holiday cookies galore- it's just that I haven't had pictures to share.

But now that I'm home, that all changes.  I woke up this morning to the smell of a pumpkin chocolate chip loaf baking in the oven.  Mom did a lovely job- it was just cool enough to slice when I made my way downstairs for breakfast.  The recipe that I used at school was from Food Network, since I was baking with fresh pumpkin.  I would always substitute the seeds for chocolate chips though!

Happy Holidays!