Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Goodies

Every year I love baking Christmas goodies. I think about it weeks ahead of time. Buy lots of magazines, and browse a lot of websites looking for the best. There are also a lot that are passed down from generation to generation that it just wouldn't be Christmas without them.

Here is what I have made this year:

Homemade Coconut Marshmallows (this is a link)
**In the picture on the left**
I started making these a few years ago in a Cooking Light Magazine. Everybody loved them and I ended up making 3 or 4 batches within a few days span. James loves them dipped in chocolate. This is definitely going to be one I do every year.

Cooking spray
2 cups flaked sweetened coconut, toasted
2 1/2 envelopes unflavored gelatin (2 tablespoons plus 1 1/4 teaspoons)
3/4 cup cold water, divided
2 cups granulated sugar, divided
2/3 cup light-colored corn syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites
2/3 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch

Line a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with heavy-duty plastic wrap, allowing plastic wrap to extend 1 inch over sides of pan. Lightly coat the plastic wrap with cooking spray. Spread coconut in an even layer in bottom of pan; set aside.

Sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water in a small bowl; set aside.
Combine remaining 1/4 cup of water, 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, and corn syrup in a large saucepan. Cook, without stirring, over medium-high heat until a candy thermometer registers 260° (about 15 minutes). Remove from heat; gradually stir in softened gelatin (mixture will appear foamy).

While sugar mixture cooks, beat the vanilla, salt, and egg whites at high speed in a heavy-duty stand mixer with whisk attachment until foamy. Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until stiff peaks form. Gradually pour in gelatin mixture, beating until very thick (about 5 minutes). Gently spread marshmallow mixture over coconut in prepared pan. Coat 1 side of another sheet of plastic wrap with cooking spray. Place plastic wrap, coated side down, over marshmallow mixture. Chill 8 hours or until firm. ** actually only took a few hours**

Sprinkle powdered sugar and cornstarch over a cutting board. Remove top sheet of plastic wrap. Invert marshmallow mixture over powdered sugar mixture. Using a dough scraper, cut mixture into about 1-inch squares. Store between sheets of wax or parchment paper in an airtight container.

Truffles (this is a link)
**In the picture on the bottom**
I found this one this year, It is from Alton Brown's website on Food Network. I really wanted a great truffle recipe, and this is the one for me. Pretty easy, but it is pretty messy. Make sure you plan ahead and have everything ready or you will be in a pickle.

10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/4 cup brandy **I used a teaspoon of almond extract**
1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa powder, finely chopped nuts, and/or toasted coconut, for coating truffles
8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine

Place the 10 ounces of chocolate and butter in a medium size glass mixing bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds. Remove and stir, and repeat this process 1 more time. Set aside.
Heat the heavy cream and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Remove from the heat and pour the mixture over the melted chocolate mixture; let stand for 2 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, stir gently, starting in the middle of bowl and working in concentric circles until all chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth and creamy. Gently stir in the brandy. Pour the mixture into an 8 by 8-inch glass baking dish and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Using a melon baller, scoop chocolate onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and return to the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Place the cocoa powder, nuts, and/or toasted coconut each in its own pie pan and set aside.
In the meantime, place the 8 ounces of chocolate into a medium mixing bowl which is sitting on top of a heating pad lined bowl, with the heating pad set to medium. Depending on the heating pad, you may need to adjust the heat up or down. Stirring the chocolate occasionally, test the temperature of the chocolate and continue heating until it reaches 90 to 92 degrees F; do not allow the chocolate to go above 94 degrees F. If you do, the coating will not have a nice snap to it when you bite into the chocolate. Once you have reached the optimal temperature, adjust the heat to maintain it.
Remove the truffles from the refrigerator and shape into balls by rolling between the palms of your hands. Use powder-free vinyl or latex gloves, if desired.

Dip an ice cream scoop into the chocolate and turn upside down to remove excess chocolate. Place truffles 1 at time into the scoop and roll around until coated. Then place the truffle into the dish with either the cocoa powder, nuts or coconut. Move the truffle around to coat; leave truffle in the coating for 10 to 15 seconds before removing. In the meantime, continue placing the chocolate-coated truffles in the cocoa or other secondary coating. After 10 to 15 seconds, remove the truffle to a parchment lined sheet pan. Repeat until all truffles are coated. Allow to set in a cool dry place for at least 1 hour; or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Truffles are best when served at room temperature.

Gingerbread men
**In the picture on the right**
I found this one on Allrecipes.com last year, but this is the first year I have made this particular ginger bread man recipe. They turned out exactly the way you want a gingerbread man to come out. The right amount of spice, perfect crispness.

1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg yolk
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar until smooth. Stir in molasses and egg yolk. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg; blend into the molasses mixture until smooth. Cover, and chill for at least one hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until firm. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks. Frost or decorate when cool.

Almond Snickerdoodles
**In the picture on the top, they look like sugar cookies**
This recipe has been passed down from my Grandma Skipton, she got it from a friend a long long time ago. This is the recipe that if I didn't make them, it just wouldn't be Christmas!! I have such great memories baking with my mom in the kitchen, decorating and cutting out cookies.

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 c flour
2 t cream of tarter
1 t soda
1/2 t salt
1 t almond extract (I usually add an extra 1/2 t)

Mix first 3 till light yellow and smooth. In a small bowl, whisk flour, cream of tarter, baking soda, and salt. Mix in with wet ingredients. Add almond extract and mix. Put in fridge for a few hours.
Using cookie cutters, roll out and cut in desired shapes. Bake 8-10 minutes at 400 degrees. **Mine usually take exactly 7 minutes**

And here are a few others I am either in the process of making, or have already made, but they are all gone and so I don't have a picture for them :)
**These are links**
Nainamo Bars
Lemon Coolers
Chocolate Chowmein Clusters


Blogger christyrose said...

My favorite were the gingerbread cookies! Delicious, and so soft too, I was surprised. Well not too surprised, since it was Kate who made them.

December 23, 2008 at 10:03 AM  
Blogger The GosFam said...

I will have to try the almond snickerdoodles. Snickerdoodles are my fav cookie. I only did basic Sugar Cookies, and then Buckeyes. What a baker you are :) I hope you had a Merry Christmas

December 29, 2008 at 7:07 PM  
Blogger Reba said...

We made your coconut marshmallows with the young women last night and they were a big hit. Thanks

February 12, 2009 at 3:13 PM  

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