Monday, December 17, 2012

Time for Christmas baking

The boys' last day of school before Christmas vacation is this Friday, so that means it's time to get busy and do the yearly baking for teachers, aides, therapists, etc.

I thought I had written a post last year, which I was just going to link to here, but apparently I didn't, and apparently the stuff I thought I made last year I may have actually made in 2010. Oops. So at some point during the time my children have been in school, I've made their teachers sugar cookies, buckeye bark, cinnamon rolls, peanut brittle, monkey bread, banana bread and maybe chocolate chip cookies. I know there was more, I just can't remember it. It's also driving me crazy because I remember taking pictures of the stuff last year but I can't find them now.

I told myself that I was going to go super simple this year and just do six types of quick bread. That sounds like a lot, but two of them were going to be banana (one with chocolate chips and one without) and really, quick bread isn't all that involved. But somehow I ended up with a mostly different plan.

First up, banana bread. Just the recipe from my grandma, nothing fancy, no cream cheese or nuts or any of that.

Second, chocolate gingerbread cake, baked in mini loaf pans instead (all of the breads will be in mini pans) and without the frosting. I think I'll have to make one test mini loaf, which of course I will taste. Just for quality control purposes, of course.

Third, eggnog bread. I have never had eggnog, or at least I don't remember it if I have. Of course I have a notion that I don't like it, but I know other people do so I'm making it into bread. I might also taste some of the eggnog. I'm curious. I read lots of online reviews and they said that Organic Valley was the best, but when I went to the store it was also the most expensive. My store didn't have Hood Golden, which was the runner up. They actually didn't have any of the eggnogs tested, although I can't be sure about that because I found eggnog in no less than four different places there. But I just grabbed Roberts. It was that or Land o' Lakes and Roberts was cheaper.

And now, for the non-bread portion of the evening. First off, these almond sugar cookies. They have lots of good reviews on her blog so I'm going to give them a try. I considered doing half of them half-dipped in dark chocolate but decided against it.

Second, maple-glazed apple cookies. I wanted something wintry, but for some reason I didn't want mint. So I went harvest/fall instead.

And third, and the most difficult, pumpkin whoopie pies. Instead of the maple-marshmallow frosting I'm going with flour frosting. (If you want something truly sublime, mix 50% flour frosting with 50% Swiss meringue buttercream. You have to really follow directions and they're both a bit involved [and maybe not for someone who just started cooking today], but soooo worth it.)

Actually, now that I think about it this line up isn't that bad. The pumpkin whoopie pies will take the longest and they have to be pretty fresh, but I think it'll be OK. I'll mix up the breads on Wednesday and bake them Thursday while I make the other cookies. The frosting can be made ahead of time, too, I think. A little bit, anyway. It'll take a bit of juggling, especially for fridge space, but it's definitely going to be easier than peanut brittle and cinnamon rolls.

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