Surely you haven’t had enough of indulgent eating and recipes? After a late start, we’re enjoying our treats spread out over the two-week Christmas/New Year’s period and sharing them with family and friends.
Uncharacteristically, we only got started on our Christmas baking about a week before the big event. I’m not a big planner, but the boys and I would normally be motivated to get started with baking fairly early in December, and my husband likes to wrestle with his mother’s Christmas cake recipe as soon as he can. I went so far as to lay in the necessary baking supplies, particularly for the family Christmas cake, but promptly forgot about it all until the big day was approaching.
Oddly for me, I’ve been in a supporting role this year, with my husband and younger son taking the main honours, although I do take credit for finally cracking the family Christmas cake. A much loved and loathed recipe that often results in a glorious outer layer and an uncooked centre, which has kept both my husband and his mother up all hours while it finished baking (or not, as the case may be), the cake is dense and flavourful. My experience with baking on our woodstove came to bear and I realized that a bundt pan would likely do the trick, by removing the devilish centre from the picture. This, along with cutting the recipe in half, also reduced the baking time, which clocked in at around two hours at 325 degrees. Success! (Note: we did the baking in the conventional electric oven this year, wanting to crack the method before switching to the woodstove, which I think we can easily plan to do next year.)
This season my husband was also inspired to whip up a couple of batches of crackers, which we all love and which have made multiple appearances for appetizers throughout Christmas. The first batch (being prepared in this picture) resulted in crackers that were too thick and which therefore didn’t get crispy enough for our liking. The second batch, run through the pasta bike for a really thin dough, worked a charm. I think he’s going to do one more run tomorrow as we have another batch of guests coming.
These gorgeous crackers (broken into shards after cooling down) are called Lavash and are an Armenian-style cracker. They are wonderful with cheeses, dips and on their own. The recipe that we use is from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice and I’ll be detailing it in my next post.
Youngest son was inspired to go all out with gingerbread cut-out cookies, rolling and cutting them out for baking the first day.
And frosting them the next.
The results were sweet to look at and to eat (quite a few went missing within minutes of completion).
Finally, we also made two batches of quick fudge this year, both of them mint-flavoured chocolate recipes. So easy to prepare, fudge is such a great Christmas treat as a little goes a long way. Cut up into very small squares, our fudge made it into gifts and is still appearing on our dessert trays.
I’d love to hear what treats made it to the top of your list this year.