Christmas Cookies & A Wonderful Gift.. (A bit late, I know)
Hope everyones Holiday's have been filled with wonderful feelings and food. I know mine has; the cookies don't seem to ever disappear.
The picture above and aside is my beloved new Kitchen Aid Professional 600 mixer that my father so surprisingly bought me for Christmas. I wasn't ever expecting to get this although I had pined over it at William Sonoma and internet websites many nights... This gift accompanies many other wonderful baking supplies from other family members and my boyfriend including cake decorating stand, cake stand, mini tart pans, biscuit cutter set, a slip-pat mat and many others. I was definitely spoiled this Christmas. They'll receive wonderful goodies in return in addition to there Christmas cookie bags.
Holiday baking this year was like no other so far. I baked off my own set of holiday delectables for gift giving in addition to mother's traditional Christmas cookies. I wanted a diverse and colorful plate and I think I ended up with just that. I also learned a lot in the process. I love the trials and tribulations of new baking adventures. I feel much more seasoned as a baker after this experience. I learned do not heat your jam for your rugelach too much or else the dough will melt to your work surface (yet still bake up into a yummy little mess of goo), I learned making caramel requires attention and will set your burners a flame if it escapes from your pot, and last but not least: baking alone to your favorite music is more soothing and fun than a warm bath with candles.
Here is the complete set. Starting with the dark chocolatey ones from the left, we have Double Chocolate Brownie Cookies with M&M's adapted from Martha, Caramel Nut Bars from Martha with three types of nuts: Salted Peanuts, Cashews, and Pecans, Trail Mix Cookies adapted from the Gourmet Cookbook - hearty oatmeal cookies chock full of salted peanuts, raisins and chocolate chips, Holiday Butter Spritz from Cooks Illustrated - dipped in semisweet chocolate and white chocolate adorned with holidays sprinkles, pistachios, and almonds. Next is Rugelach from Martha with 5 different fillings: apricot, walnut and brown sugar, spiced apple + brown sugar, spiced apple + brown sugar w/ walnuts, chocolate chip and pistachio and honey almond and last but not least Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti from Martha as well.
Whew. Well I'm going to scour my new cookbooks for a cupcake recipe to christen my new mixer with. One last photo... these rugelach are too good.