Thursday, December 28, 2006

holiday baking extravaganza

I have admitted before on this blog that, unlike Lis and Tara, I usually avoid baking--I've only ever made yeast bread with a machine, my pie crusts are disastrous, my cakes come from mixes and my cookies from refrigerated tubes. But, buoyed by my success with this year's buche de Noel, and wanting to spend time with family and friends while preparing for the holiday onslaught, I managed to prepare (or at least be present at) the following:

--Six loaves of cranberry-orange-walnut bread (and this time I toasted the walnuts first, which made the flavor even richer)

--During the annual candy-making festivities with my mother- and sister-in-law, we came up with all sorts of goodies. Here's my candied orange peel (to flavor mulled wine, to put in fruitcakes, and to serve with espresso). Don't they look like glossy French fries? I also made haystacks with white chocolate bark and chow mein noodles.
--My mother-in-law's almond brittle (she also made toffee and caramels)
--Elizabeth's peanut butter chocolate bark

--Several kinds of cookies with my friend Dana and her children, nine-year-old Damien and seven-year-old Amelia, including pecan tartlettes and spritz cookies (the first time I've worked with a cookie press)
--Gingerbread cookies (with white pepper in the batter to make them spicier)
--And finally, while in Wisconsin, my mom and I decorated the cut-out sugar cookies that she had already baked.
--And this list doesn't even include what we baked for dessert on Christmas day and the four batches of apple pie cookies and s'mores bar cookies that Mr. Tart baked for a cookie exhange with friends while I was making candy!!! And you know what? I loved it everything about it. Maybe I'm not so averse to baking after all!


Blogger tara said...

Okay, it BLOWS MY MIND that Damien and Amelia are 9 and 7 now.

Also, everything looks awesome. :)

6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is a whole lot of baking, and it all looks delicious! The swirly brown and white chocolate is particularly attractive. I didn't do any baking this year, but I did eat a lot of other peoples!

7:04 PM  

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